book stack · lift the flap books · media · picture books · universal themes

It’s Icy! It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey. The kids’ version has been adapted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS. Visit their blogs to find out what other people are reading.

All of the rules go out the window when my daughter is sick.  Last week, she was really sick with a fever, a cold, and croup.  Therefore, I let her watch as much TV as she wanted.  She watched HOURS of “Sesame Street,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Super Why,” “Cat in the Hat,” and “Curious George.”  As she got better, I tried to coax her back to her toys and books.  However, she tried to assert her independence pitch a fit every time I turned off the TV.

My husband and I put her on a “Television Detox” program over the weekend.  We allowed her to watch one show “Sesame Street” or “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” each day.  She was less than pleased about this. Since she was well enough to go out (to synagogue and dinner on Saturday and to breakfast, grocery shopping, and on a play date yesterday) over the weekend, the detox program went pretty well.

Overnight we had freezing rain that topped the dusting of snow that fell yesterday.  Enter an ice day where not much is moving in the outside world today.  So we’re home.  ALL DAY.  I brainstormed a list of things we could do this morning in lieu of television. Heck, I even looked on Pinterest for ideas (since I’m pretty tapped out after being home with her for a week!).

This morning Isabelle has rediscovered her toys that she shunned while she was sick.  She also rediscovered some of her favorite books and enjoyed some new ones with me.  Here’s what we’ve read so far today:

Izzy’s favorite page in The Silver Button.
  • Chloe, instead by Micah Player — A post I wrote last week sums up my thoughts about this favorite.
  • Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems — I tried to introduce the Knuffle Bunny books to Isabelle earlier this year, but she wasn’t into them.  NOW she loves hearing them read aloud.  In fact, she even gets some of the humor.  What a treat for me since these are some of my favorite picture books.
  • The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud — The illustrations are exquisite in this book, but they seem to overwhelm Isabelle.  There’s a LOT on each page and therefore I tried reading it to her this morning while she was playing.  She really enjoyed hearing the story without looking at the pictures, which makes me think she’ll come to love the illustrations in this book as she gets a bit older.
  • The Queen of France by Tim Wadham and Kady MacDonald Denton — This is a book about a little girl, Rose, who loves to dress up as the Queen of France.  Her parents go along with her and make her realize just how lucky and treasured she is as Rose.  (Izzy likes the pictures in this one since she enjoys putting on my bracelets — just like Rose.)
  • The Runaway Hug by Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood — This is a new picture book I received a review copy of last week.  The book is filled with specific words, which I’m trying to infuse into my interactions with Isabelle.  There’s a loving sentiment to this book, which needs to be added to our bedtime stack.  (I’ll have more on this book in an upcoming post!)
  • The Silver Button by Bob Graham — This book helps youngsters realize lots of other things are happening in the world at the same time as they’re engaged in their own lives.  Isabelle, who is great with babies, especially likes the page where the baby is born!
  • Truck Stop by Ann Rockwell and Melissa Iwai — This is a favorite book of Isabelle’s, which she requested when I went upstairs to brush my teeth this morning.  We explored the book’s end pages, which contain colorful illustrations of a variety of trucks, at length this morning.
  • Walk This World by Lotta Nieminen — There are LOTS of flaps to lift in this book that takes you on a journey around the world.   The illustrations helped me travel around the world from my couch this morning.  What a treat!

After two straight hours of reading books we made banana bread:

Mashing the Bananas and the Butter in her Play Kitchen

And then… I caved.  I let her watch “Sesame Street.”  But just one.  (She’s watching as I’m typing on my laptop.  I never use my computer in front of her, but if I have to watch any more kids’ programming after the week I had in with her, I might lose my mind. Therefore, I’m breaking my “no computer in front of the kid” rule.)

Next up we’ll eat lunch, read some more, and then I’ll put her down for a nap so I can get some work done.

book stack · lift the flap books · picture books · universal themes

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey. The kids’ version has been adapted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS. Visit their blogs to find out what other people are reading.

We’re getting ready for Thanksgiving and Chanukah, which has been affectionately nicknamed Thanskgivukkah, around our house. Gel clings for both holidays have been purchased and affixed to the mirrors where my daughter brushes her teeth.  Isabelle and I have begun talking about what she’s thankful for. We’ll be starting a gratitude poster, which she’ll share at Thanksgiving dinner, today.  And, of course, we’re reading about the upcoming holidays.  Here are some of our favorite titles right now:

9780062198693_p0_v5_s260x420My daughter is OBSESSED with Pete the Cat these days. There’s one Pete the Cat book that will prepare her for Thanksgiving, Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving.  Pete the Cat starts in his school’s Thanksgiving play.  He is nervous about acting in the play, but he is as cool as ever as he retells the story the first Thanksgiving in a way that is genuinely enjoyable for kids to hear.  This is a lift-the-flap book, which keeps Isabelle engaged in a historical lesson that she probably wouldn’t sit for if it didn’t involve Pete the Cat.

Han Board BookIsabelle has been carrying around My First Hanukkah Board Book, which my cousins passed down to her last year.  It’s a pretty basic book about the holiday, which is helping her learn about the symbols and the foods we eat.  I’m not sure I would’ve picked it out myself, but it’s perfect for teaching her basic things about the holiday.

papa's latkesThis week I’ll begin reading Papa’s Latkes by Jane Breskin Zalben. We received this book through the PJ Library.  On the surface it’s a book about a family’s latke making contest.  However, it’s really about shalom bayit (peace in the house), since the family comes together to do something fun.  I’ll talk with Isabelle about things we can do as a family — perhaps playing dreidel together — during Chanukah.

What books are you reading to prepare for the upcoming holidays?  Please share your favorite titles when you leave a comment.

lift the flap books · OBSERVATIONS

Reading Dilemma

My mother-in-law is a retired literacy coach who was also a Reading Recovery teacher.  While I have a master’s in literacy, I like to ask for her input when I’m unsure of something.  She was a master teacher of both children and teachers and over the past eight and a half years has become a resource for me.

A couple mornings ago, I emailed her with this dilemma:

I think Isabelle has read Where’s Spot one too many times. This  morning I walked into her bedroom and she was reading Peekaboo Baby. If you remember, that’s a book where you lift the flaps and it reveals the baby. Every time that she lifted a flap she said “nooooo! ” which is right for Spot. In fact, I’m out of her room right now and she still doing it. Should I continue to let her do it? (I said nothing so far. I figure I’m squelching her if I do.). Thoughts?

(BTW: If you don’t know Where’s Spot by Eric Hill, it’s a lift-the-flap book where the reader helps Sally, Spot’s mom, search for Spot.  The reader looks under the bed, inside a grandfather clock, inside a baby grand piano in an effort to find Spot.  When the flap is lifted there’s another animal, or sometimes two or three animals, that say “No!”  Therefore, the reader has to keep turning the pages and lifting the flaps to find him.)

She wrote me back quickly with the following advice:

My feeling is you should leave it alone at this time.  It is great that she knows to lift the flap and give an oral response.  What I would probably do when you are reading other books with flaps and different pictures make a big deal of the pictures under the flaps.  I bet in no time she will realize it herself.  I agree with you that correcting her now might inhibit her from trying to approximate text in the books she knows so well.  I am so excited that she is doing so well with her reading, but I am not surprised because of all your hard work immersing Izzy in books is the reason.  That is just wonderful!

I took her suggestion by making a big deal when I lifted the flaps of Peekaboo Baby when I read it to her later in the day.  When I lifted the first flap in the book I heard her say “Noooo!”  Therefore, before I opened the next flap I said, “Yes!” and then I went right into “Peekaboo!”  Isabelle looked at me quizzically, as if I were breaking up her fun.  I did the same thing for the other two flaps and didn’t hear another “No!” out of her when I lifted the flaps.

Perhaps that was all it is going to take…

book stack · home library · Jewish · lift the flap books · picture books

At the top of this week’s book stack…

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey and the kids’ version has been adapted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.

This week, there are four books that seem to be making it out of Isabelle’s wall unit bookshelf:

  • City Signs by Zoran Milich has a school bus on the cover.  My daughter is fascinated by all forms of transportation, especially school buses.  She wakes up around 7 a.m. at which time I open the blinds to her bedroom almost immediately.  While she’s still in her crib, we often see a school bus pass by, which delights her to no end.  However, the reason I think this book is out is because she likes it when I sing “The Wheels on the Bus” to her.  In fact, in order to get me to sing the song, she will often open to the page in Milich’s book that has the school bus and then she’ll sign “more,” which I’ve learned means, “Sing the ‘Wheels on the Bus’, Mommy.”  And, of course, I do.
  • Happy Birthday, Moon (Moonbear) by Frank Asch is an older book I recently added to our home collection since my daughter has a great fondness of the moon these days.  I was perusing moon-themed birthday parties (She’s turning two soon.) on Pinterest, which is when I first learned about this book.  Isabelle LOVES pointing to the moon on each page.  As time goes on, I look forward to teaching her about the concept of an echo by utilizing this book.  (Bear calls out to the moon from the mountaintops and believes the moon is answering him back.  In reality, as you probably already guessed, he is hearing his echo.)
  • Isabelle’s cousins gave her The Shapes of My Jewish Year by Marji Gold-Vukson several months ago.  It’s long been a favorite.  As Chanukah approaches, it is a reminder to me to talk about the shapes of things (e.g., the gelt, the candles, the dreidel) with Isabelle so that the holiday isn’t just about religion… it’ll also be a time that reinforces basic concepts as well.
  • Whose Toes Are Those? is a new lift the flap board book by Sally Symes.  Each page spread asks the reader to guess which animal’s nose and toes are hiding behind the flap. Once the flap is lifted the adorable animal is revealed and giggles ensue.  This is one of the cuter lift the flap books I’ve encountered in recent months and I look forward to buying it for friends whose kids also have second birthdays coming up in the next few months.

Come back next week Monday to learn about some of our favorite Chanukah books!

board books · lift the flap books · meme

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey and the kids’ version has been adapted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.
When Maribeth came to dinner last month she brought a gift for Isabelle.  One of the items she brought was Where’s Spot?.  This book lift-the-flap book written and illustrated by Eric Hill has become a fast favorite of Isabelle’s.  She can spend an elongated period of time lifting the flaps to try to find Spot.  She loves searching for Spot so much that she’s already bent the piano (which reveals a hippo and a bird, not Spot, hiding there) and the dust ruffle of the bed (an alligator is beneath the bed).  She doesn’t care about the bent flaps so therefore I shouldn’t either.  What I really love about reading this book with Isabelle is listening to her make the familiar animal sounds when she discovers an animal hiding in the place where Spot should be.  She especially loves to make the sound of the monkey, who is eating a banana, inside of a free-standing closet.

I have to admit, I knew very little about the Spot books, other than the fact that I had recently received a review copy of Spot Loves Sports from Hill’s publisher (G.P. Putnam’s Sons).  I’m not sure how I missed the Spot books considering they’ve been around since 1980!  (Maybe my mom read them to me and I just forgot about them once primary school began.  Yeah, that’s gotta be it.)

Anyway, back to the Spot books.  On the back of Spot Loves Sports I noticed there was a website listed.  Once I checked out the Fun with Spot website I scratched my head wondering how Isabelle made it through a year and a half of her life without me knowing about all of Hill’s incredible Spot books.  After all, Spot has many adventures, such as visiting his grandparents, going to bed, celebrating holidays, and so much more.  The books are adorable, as is the interactive kids’ website.

I’m afraid that I’m going to have to exercise some restraint when it comes to purchasing them from Amazon later this week.  Therefore, if you’re more familiar with the Spot books than I am, please tell me what your favorite ones are.

animals · book stack · lift the flap books · new york · picture books

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey and the kids’ version has been adapted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.

This is my first What Are You Reading? post.  I’m excited to be a part of this wonderful meme!  I’ve already a a book, Beach Feet recommended by Betsy, to my Amazon Wish List.  I’m sure there will be many other great recommendations other bloggers have written about today!

Isabelle and I read lots of board books together, but since I’m a picture book lover, I make sure to read her at least one picture book a day.  Take a peek at some of the treasures that were in our book stack last week:

We continue to love Micah Player’s Chloe, instead.  Isabelle and Chloe have a lot in common (though Isabelle doesn’t have an older sibling).  I giggle whenever I see some of the things Chloe does to her older sister Molly since Isabelle does a lot of the same kinds of things (e.g., putting a crayon in her mouth, getting a little too excited about a book, etc.).  Molly expected to have a sister just like her, but she got Chloe instead.  I expected to have a daughter who was just like me, but I got someone who is very daring and full of boundless energy instead.  And you know what?  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Besides, do I really need a mini-me?

If you want to learn more about Chloe, instead be sure to check out my interview with Micah Player, which I shared on Two Writing Teachers last month.

Another book in our picture book stack is Nicola Davies’s What Will I Be?  The pages are a bit sturdier than a typical picture book, which is great since it’s interactive.  One reads a a page that provides a written and illustrated clue and then asks “What will I be?”  Then, the child has to lift the flap, which reveals the grown-up animal it will turn into (e.g., caterpillar turns into a butterfly.)  Additional pages give further explanation and include adorable illustrations.  Even though this book is kids three and up, Isabelle enjoys looking at the animal pictures and lifting the flaps, which is why it continues to be in our book stack.

I just received a review copy of New York, Baby!  It’s illustrated by Ward Jenkins.  I haven’t shared it with Isabelle yet.  It’s definitely going into this-coming week’s book stack!

New York, Baby! is my kind of book.  It’s about a baby who explores my hometown, Manhattan.  The baby in the book starts his day with a bagel and cream cheese, which is my preferred way to start a New York morning.  He takes the reader through Manhattan, from the Upper East Side down to SoHo for a day that includes a stop at the Met, a stroll through Central Park, a Broadway matinee, and a stop at the Empire State Building.  I can imagine that my daughter, who has boundless energy, will enjoy the fast-paced nature of this story.  Plus, it’s told from a child’s perspective meaning the view of everything is from the height of a child who is a new walker or who is riding in a stroller.  It’s too cute.  I hope Isabelle, whose next trip to Manhattan isn’t ’til August, will love New York, Baby! as much as I do.

lift the flap books · OBSERVATIONS

Lifting the Flaps

Isabelle has been loving the lift the flap books more than ever.  She pages through them lifting the flaps on her own.  However this morning, after witnessing her lift the flaps on Sebastien Braun’s Peekaboo Baby, she handed it to me to read aloud to her.  I happily obliged.  I encouraged her to lift the flap on the first page, which reveals a baby wearing pink.  She was happy to do that.  But then she wouldn’t lift the rest of the flaps.  She wanted me to do it.  What’s that about?

Alas, I cannot complain.  She wanted me to read to her.  Sometimes we all like to be read to, right?  (And besides, she’s starting to take her first steps with our help, so perhaps she wanted to be babied a bit.)

lift the flap books · OBSERVATIONS · touch and feel books

Morning Reader

Isabelle has done something interesting two out of the past four mornings once I’ve lifted her out of her crib.  Instead of wanting to be held by me, on my lap, while we sit together in her glider, she has nearly leapt out of my arms to get a hold of her board books instead.  The first time Isabelle wanted to get a hold of her books in the morning, she specifically opted for her touch and feel books.  She flipped the pages and felt the fuzzy animals’ fur.  This morning, however, she seemed to prefer a lift the flap book.  She has learned how to lift the flaps of these books independently.  Sometimes she’s a little rough with them causing the tops of the flaps to rip a bit, but the fact that she knows there’s text and a surprise picture underneath is fascinating to me.

To that end, right before Isabelle decided to look at her books this morning, I picked up Where is Baby’s Puppy to read to her (she was pointing at it from her position on my lap).  Today was the first time that she lifted all of the flaps while I read the book to her.  I was quite impressed.  Usually it’s me lifting the flaps.  I suppose this advancement is either developmental (She’s 13 months old now.) or has to do with the repetition of hearing and seeing the book read over and over to her (or maybe both).