Posts Tagged "books"

On Meadowview Street

Posted on Jan 17, 2010 in Food, Reading, Simple Living | 1 comment

On Meadowview Street

I’m usually the one who takes Rain to the library but one week I sent Aaron. He came back with this treasure of a book. On Meadowview Street is the story of a girl who moves to a house in the suburbs and decides with her parents to sell the lawn mower, let the grass grow long and turn their yard into a nature preserve. They plant some trees and build some ponds. One of the latter pages in the book also has lovely drawings of the type of natural plants and creatures she might find in her yard after the makeover. And her idea starts to spread down the street. I love it that Caroline gets her parents on board. Too often, the reality in this story is that the parents would put an end to her nature preserve. This is a story about respecting the earth and about going outside the norm, not being afraid to be different. It’s a story about how one person following her heart can start a trend. I am not a fan of lawns, especially those square lawns in subdivisions and in front of patio homes where all the houses look the same, and the only embellishment to the yard are a few low maintenance shrubs and some tiny poorly pruned city trees. I love this book for inspiring children to think about the changes that could be made to return their lawns to a natural state. I love this book for daring to say that an un-mown lawn in its natural state is more beautiful than a manicured city lot. I love it for suggesting that living in the city doesn’t have to mean you can’t commune with nature. Imagine if the book went a step further and suggested only planting local native species? I’m even dreaming about a second book where the front yard is turned into an edible garden, where Caroline grows lettuce, tomatoes, beans, peas, herbs. Imagine if everyone really did this? There is an organization that is trying to encourage people to do just that. You can check out the book Food Not Lawns and also find them on the internet. There may even be a chapter near you. These are local grass-roots organizers who encourage people in their communities to convert their yards into gardens and grow their own food. They organize seed exchanges and put on workshops for people who want to learn how to garden but don’t know how to start. Until then, you can read this book with your children and inspire them to think differently about what they can do about their own environment and about the food they eat. Book Description: Caroline lives on Meadowview Street. But where’s the meadow? Where’s the view? There’s nothing growing in her front yard except grass. Then she spots a flower and a butterfly and a bird and Caroline realizes that with her help, maybe Meadowview Street can have a meadow after all. On Meadowview Street Henry Cole Harper...

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Wordless Books: 1001 Things to Spot

Posted on Dec 16, 2009 in Reading | 0 comments

Wordless Books: 1001 Things to Spot

For my preschooler, these books are awesome! I have seen other spotting books (like the I Spy series that uses real photographs) but I find that they are too busy for my 4 year old. They also require an adult/reader who can tell the child what they should be looking for from the list. The 1001 Things to Spot series from excellent children’s publisher Usborne is super cool because the pictures are hand drawn and seem more appropriate to a preschool skill level in that they are detailed but not overwhelming. The things to spot are listed both with a word and an image so that Rain can easily see what he’s looking for without having to ask me. Also, it helps gear children up for counting as the number of things they have to find is indicated with a big number beside the picture. At the back of the book, there is always an extra page of bonus items that have to be found somewhere in the book. These are of course harder because they could appear on any page. There is always a lot to talk about on every page and Rain’s imagination is often jump-started by these books. Just today we had to google armadillo images after he spotted one in the 1001 Things to Spot on the Farm book and thought it was a bandaged up calf. This series appeals to a broad age range and as a result your child will get several years worth of enjoyment out of the 1001 Things to Spot series. At first they might only look at the pictures, or spot one or two items. Eventually, they will be counting on their own and getting more adept at finding the more difficult items. The books appeal equally to my 4 year old son and to my 7 year old niece. I would suggest trying a couple out from the library to find your favourite. We found some had pictures that were a bit too simple or boring, while others were really delightful. Our favourites so far are 1001 Pirate Things to Spot and 1001 Things to Spot in the Sea. I’m also looking forward to checking out 1001 Things to Spot in the Town. UPDATE: This afternoon we got 1001 Things to Spot on the Farm in our Scholastic Book order. This one was better than I expected including pages about harvest, orchards, green houses, stables, ranches and even rice fields. And bestill my AP heart, we had to find 5 babies in slings on the rice field...

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Wordless Books: A Boy, A Dog & A Frog series

Posted on Dec 9, 2009 in Reading | 0 comments

Wordless Books: A Boy, A Dog & A Frog series

This week we are sharing an old classic, probably older than I am, much loved by my kids and by me. This is the Mercer Meyer series A Boy, a Dog and a Frog. The drawings are monochromatic and have a sort of timeless yet retro feel (as impossible as that seems). And I gotta love any artist that uses crosshatching. The pictures are sweet; the adventures silly. The set of three books we borrowed from a friend were also tiny, like 3×4 inches. This is a lovely size for little people. The books fit easily in a bag to bring to restaurants or other places where you have to w…a…i…t. Plus, it seems like little people usually like little things, things that are made just for them, in their size. There are quite a few books in this series and to be honest, I remember them from my childhood but so far, we’ve only delved into a couple with Rain. I’m looking forward to going through all of them. Most recently we read One Frog Too Many in which the boy who already has a dog, a frog and a turtle brings home another little frog. Unfortunately, the first frog is jealous and behaves poorly. There were plenty of opportunities for discussing emotions and appropriate actions. Mercer Meyer seems to have a talent for drawing postures and facial expressions that intimately convey emotion and we really got caught up in the feelings of sadness, disappointment, surprise and joy. The books have definitely been a Quiet Time favourite at our house....

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Wordless Books: Flotsam

Posted on Dec 1, 2009 in Reading | 0 comments

Wordless Books: Flotsam

Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a kick of finding wordless books for Rain during our library trips. The beauty of these books is that we can take turns telling the story and talking about the pictures and the telling is a little different each time, but also Rain is more than happy to take them on car trips and into Quiet Time to “read.” I usually choose our books based on an attraction to the art and wordless books usually don’t disappoint in the art department. I have a few up my sleeve that I’d like to recommend but first up is Flotsam, by David Wiesner (2007). The book is whimsical, fantastic, mysterious and a Caldecott Medal winner. You will spot something new in the pictures every time you re-read the book. We liked that the boy looked somewhat like my son will look when he is older and I sometimes tell the story as though it were happening to Rain. We absolutely adored the way the mystery of the camera found on the beach unfolded and were delighted with the imaginative underwater photos. Even a few pages in, I was hooked by Rain’s quizzical intrigued smile. Inside: by David Wiesner Houghton...

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An Egg Is Quiet

Posted on Nov 3, 2009 in Reading | 0 comments

An Egg Is Quiet

Having recently stumbled on this fabulous book, I decided to add a reading section for sharing the standouts from my trips to the library with Rain. The art in An Egg is Quiet is absolutely stunning. The text is simple but softly poetic, like a lullaby. It wasn’t too dense: easy to read before bed after a long night when I am often dissuaded by books with too much text. Rain loved all the lovely labelled eggs and even I learned things I hadn’t known before. I loved that the book drew parallels between bird eggs, fish eggs, reptile eggs and showcased nature’s beauty so artfully. Though the text was definitely worthwhile, An Egg is Quiet is really amazing for the pictures. I was transfixed by this book. There is a sister book called A Seed is Sleepy which we’ve put a hold on at the library and not yet received. Can’t wait to check that one out too. It looks to be equally lovely. Check out this info page on the two books from Chronicle. The books have received many many well-deserved awards which are listed on this page if you’re interested and there is also a free teacher’s guide that you can download to expand on the books. Inside: By Dianna Aston Illustrated by Sylvia Long Chronicle...

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