Saturday, October 25, 2014

Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen {2012}


I picked up knitting when on bedrest with William, so naturally when I saw a children's book about a girl who knits and never runs out of yarn, I had to bring it home. Fortunately, S loved Extra Yarn as much as I did. It is a magical little gem of a book. Hope you will read and enjoy it with your babes too!

Plot. One day Annabelle finds a little box of yarn. She begins knitting, and soon her whole gray and snowy little town is starting to look more colorful as a result of Annabelle's bright and cheery sweaters. Will she ever run out of yarn? When an Archduke comes and demands the box, Annabelle's chance at future happiness seems bleak at best. But love, generosity, and simple kindness prevail in this heart-warming tale.

Thematic Elements. Annabelle is an admirable and principled young lady. She diligently knits sweaters for everyone, is a generous giver, turns haters and naysayers into friends, perseveres when people say she can't, and won't sell out. Kids can also learn about the joy and color a generous person brings to others, and how one person {no matter how small} who is committed to something can make a big difference and have great influence.

On the other hand, kids can also benefit from the Archduke's bad example. Greedy and selfish people do not prosper in this tale.

Activities.

  • Make rainbow colored yarn prints with a rolling pin on paper. 
  • Decorate the letter Y with yarn scraps. 
  • Practice fine motor skills and make a yarn-wrapped rainbow.
  • Try a simple threading exercise: cut any shape out of paper {heart, star, circle, etc.} and use a paper hole punch to make holes around the sides. Cut long pieces of yarn and let your child thread away.

Be sure to also check out... Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen also collaborated on the book Sam and Dave Dig a Hole , which I haven't yet read with S, but plan to. Jon Klassen is a fantastic illustrator who has also written I Want My Hat Back and This is not My Hat {both hee-larious!}. If you love Lemony Snickett {I just can't help myself}, Jon Klassen also illustrated his book The Dark, which S did like a lot.


Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gingerbread Baby, by Jan Brett {1999}


For some mysterious reason, my daughter S is obsessed with the classic tale of The Gingerbread Man. We've read dozens of versions, and even own a few, which have all delighted her to no end. Which is why when I saw Gingerbread Baby on the library shelf, I knew that I had to check it out for her. Thus I came to be introduced to the delightful works of Jan Brett.

Plot. Little Matti opens the oven door several minutes too early, and lo and behold, a baby gingerbread man pops out of the oven. You'll never guess at the surprise twist ending!

Author. Jan Brett is the queen of details- her gorgeous, water colored, hand-drawn illustrations are all framed by even further little drawings. The gleam of copper pans, fur of the cat, and grain of the wood floors are all captured in remarkable detail. A feast for the eyes.

Thematic Elements. As in other takes on the tale, the Gingerbread Baby is a bit too self-assured for his own good. He teases and teases the townsfolk, but it isn't so funny when they've almost caught up with him. Fortunately he doesn't end up to worse for the wear, but talk with your child about the importance of wisdom and humility {if he had just run away quickly and quietly, he wouldn't of had such a scare at the end!}.

Educational Opportunities. Perfect opportunity for a baking lesson- discuss ingredients, and the importance of following directions when it comes to amounts and baking time. Then get in a little bit of field practice and make your own gingerbread men!

Activities.


Other Resources. Enjoy this read-aloud version. I loved watching Jan Brett herself talking about the story, and showing how to draw the Gingerbread Baby. So neat!

Be sure to also check out... Just look up Jan Brett on the shelves of your library's children's section. They probably have a stack! I haven't read them all, but we have liked The Umbrella, The Mitten, Town Mouse Country Mouse, Mossy, Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella, and Comet's Nine Lives.


Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Growing Vegetable Soup, by Lois Ehlert {1987}


Since we featured Chicka Chicka Boom Boom earlier this week, it only seems natural to segue right into the book's illustrator, Lois Ehlert, who has written quite a large body of work in children's literature herself. Growing Vegetable Soup is one of my favorites, since it teaches kids where food comes from, from start to finish, and shows all of the work and steps involved.

Plot. A father and child plant a vegetable garden, in order to "grow" vegetable soup. You don't see any characters, just their hands at work, as well as the tools, sprouts, full grown veggies, and the end result pot of soup. The colors are very bright and fun.

Author. Lois Ehlert is a Wisconsin native and octogenarian. Her unique medium of illustrating is collage- all of her books originally are composed of hand cut {or collected} and glued pieces.

Educational Opportunities. Read this book to your child in the spring, and plant your own garden together. Since we are apartment dwellers without a proper yard for gardening, I've dabbled in container gardening from time to time... but not since having kids. This spring I fully intend to start a big ole container garden with S and W! I know they will love it. Then periodically, as we see progress in the plants' growth, we can reread this book and talk about it.

This book also opens the door for a culinary education. Cook with your kiddos! The author shares her vegetable soup recipe on the last page of the book- make it together. Tell them the names of all the vegetables you pass by in the supermarket. Let them watch you chop veggies, and allow them to dump clean cut veggies into your cooking pot. Taste test the variety of the vegetables named in the book together.

Activities.


Be sure to also check out... If you'd like more material on gardening and/or vegetables, Lois Ehlert also wrote Eating the Alphabet and Planting a Rainbow. Since it's Autumn, you should get ahold of her book Leaf Man for a fun seasonal read with the babes. I also loved the book Scraps- a colorful collection of Ms. Ehlert's photographs and art supplies, with an explanation of how she does her work, and her background story. Very interesting for a mom, with colorful pictures to keep kids entertained ;).


Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce {2012}


Another much newer book than most of the titles I'm featuring in this series, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is destined to become a classic. Exquisite artwork in rich colors combines with a sweet and sad, yet ultimately positive, story. The language matches the rich colors and textures of the illustrations. All in all, it is a masterpiece. A must-read for all writers and bibliophiles.

Plot. Morris Lessmore is very contented with his life- he loves words, writing, and books, and is happily composing his own story. Then one day a hurricane blows in, upsetting his entire life. Fortunately, he bumps into a woman who knows that all he needs is a good story. She hands him her favorite, who then leads him to the nesting place of all the books {think: library}. Morris buries himself in the joys and sorrows of the written world and continues writing his own story. He grows old, but when it's time to move on another reader comes to take his place.

Author. William Joyce wrote this in honor of a library promoting friend, the late Bill Morris. Hurricane Katrina interrupted the progress of his book, and he hints at that in the text with Mr. Morris Lessmore's own hurricane. It took him over a decade to complete this little gem, and all of the time and thought that went into it can be plainly seen. I glean a little more insight and appreciation for all of the details with every read through. Apparently, he is also the creator of Rolie Polie Olie {remember that show? book first}, and helped create conceptual characters for both Toy Story and A Bug's Life. A very interesting guy!

Thematic Elements. To quote Morris, "Everyone's story matters." Characters turn from black and white to vivid color as they open books, artfully displaying the importance of a book in changing and bringing depth to a person's life. Death is hinted at, but it will go over your children's heads. I think that I appreciated all of the themes in this book more than my daughter can {yet}, and I haven't tried to explain them to her. We just really enjoy the story, and I try not to tear up at the content.

Educational Opportunities. If you haven't already, or don't regularly, take your child to the library {have you picked up yet that I'm a fan of those?}. Show her how the books "nest" on the shelves :). Be an active reader yourself, and show him how you believe in the power of story by example.

Activities. This little, simple craft looks sweet and fun!

Other Resources. Before the book was released, William Joyce's story was an Oscar-winning short film and an app. The film is lovely, though we haven't yet tried the app. Have you? How was it? Do share in the comments.

Be sure to also check out... William Joyce is apparently a rather prolific children's author {though he claims this book as the most personal of his career}. I haven't read any of his other books yet, but definitely want to give them a try! You can read all about him and his work here.



Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault {1989}

Yesterday we dealt with the depressing idea of snow, so I'm attempting to redeem myself today with a slightly warmer, tropical theme. Coconut trees anyone?


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom has got to be the most fun book about letters. The rhythmic beat of the language, the colorful cut-out work by Lois Ehlert, and the letters taking a life form of their own all contribute to its brightness.

Plot. All the lower case letters of the alphabet decide to climb up a coconut tree. Will there be enough room? Toes are stubbed, eyes blackened, and knees skinned when they all come crashing down.

Educational Opportunities. This is probably pretty obvious, but I would definitely use this book to introduce your child to letters ;). If they already have a handle on their alphabet, use it for further letter recognition practice and beginning phonics skills.

Activities.

Other Resources. There are several song versions of the book which little kids will love dancing and singing along to: one and two. You can listen to a kid reading it here.

Be sure to also check out... Chicka Chicka ABC and Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 {with which you could adapt all of the activities mentioned above for numbers instead!}.



Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!