Monday, January 24, 2011

Best Picture Books According to 5-year-old Tabitha

Five-year-old Tabitha asks for these picture books again and again. As a matter of fact, she found it hard to complete her blog post, because she wanted to just keep reading the books!

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub

Tabitha: This book is funny because the king never gets out of the bathtub until the very end! He eats in the bathtub, he goes fishing in the bathtub . . . he does everything in the bathtub!

Mom: This book is beautifully illustrated, and a favorite among all four of my kids.

D.W. Thinks Big

Tabitha: I like the book because D.W. is a hero!

Mom: This book describes D.W.'s feelings of lostness in the hectic flurry of her aunt's wedding. In the end, she saves the day!

If You Give a Pig a Pancake

Tabitha: This is the silliest book!

Mom: Yup.


Tabitha: I like her outfits. And her humongous sand castle building that goes all the way up to the sky!

Mom: Olivia rocks! This is one of MY favorite books.

The Cat Barked

Tabitha: I like this book because the cat wants to be a dog and then the dog wants to be a cat!

Mom: A great book about the futility of comparing yourself to others and trying to be something you're not.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Great Series for Readers of Simple Chapter Books by 8-year-old Emily

8-year-old Emily has read these simple chapter books over and over again.

The Tiara Club

Emily: I like this series because they are books about everlasting friendship.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

Emily: These books have funny and magical ways of curing children's bad habits.

Mom: My children often want us to use one of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's hilarious "cures" for bad behavior. Very fun!

The Littles

Emily: Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be little? Find out in the adventures of the Littles.

The Bailey School Kids

Emily: Are you worried about boogiemen? Learn how to get them away with the Bailey School Kids!

Magic Tree House

Emily: In these books, I get to learn about the past and other places in Jack and Annie's adventures.

Mom: These books explore many different cultures, places, habitats, etc. They entertain and educate, and are popular with boys and girls alike.

Children get so excited about reading chapter books, and all of these are simple enough to really build confidence and a love of reading. For more simple chapter books, see Emily's post on mysteries.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chapter Books We Read Aloud And My Kids Enjoyed

(by Mom, with help from Grace, age 11, and Emily, age 8)
"Please, just one more chapter!" Those words never fail to bring a smile to my face. I always have fun hiding the book so no one reads ahead. Here are some chapter books that I've loved reading to my children over the years.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl is a master of wacky plots and lovable characters. My 11-year-old, 8-year-old and 5-year-old were all begging for more.

Emily (8): Great book!

The Wheel on the School

This book doesn't look like it's going to have a riveting plot, so it sat on our shelf for a while. Boy, was I wrong. It's a fascinating story about the Dutch village of Shora coming together to bring back the storks. All of my children loved it, and just recently, one asked if we could read it again.

Emily (8): It was me!

The Whipping Boy

This prompted some great discussion in our family. If you want a great plot and some good talks about discipline, unlikely friendships and unexpected heroes, this is your book.

Grace (11): This was really one of my favorite books Mom read out to me.

The Winged Watchman

A real page-turner set in occupied Holland in World War II. I couldn't help myself. I read ahead. (Sorry, kids!)

Grace (11): Don't worry, Mom, we knew you were reading ahead and we forgive you! I remember this book well: the helplessness, the determination, the risks that people took to get their independence back!

The Little Riders

Another book set in Nazi-occupied Holland. It prompted thoughtful discussion on loving our enemies and real courage.

Note from Emily (8): I loved it because it shows courage, kindness, and love.

Kid Approved Picture Books that Build Character (According to Mom)

(by Mom, with help from Tabitha, age 5, and Emily, age 8)
I treasure books that have interesting plots, fun characters, vivid illustrations, AND wonderful morals. Here are some of the picture books that I and my children have learned sweet lessons from.

The Ant and the Elephant

This book has fantastic African animal characters, a story that keeps moving, and insights about helping, thankfulness, and pride. It's one of my all-time favorites.

Tabitha (5): I like the elephant!

Horton Hatches the Egg

Dr. Seuss at his best! Horton is faithful and does what he says he will do, despite all the troubles and adventures that come his way. A good lesson from a great story!

Emily (8): That good-for-nothing stupid old bird! It would have been better for everyone if she had just stayed on her egg. She's lazy.

The Berenstain Bears and the Truth

There are a lot of books out there that talk about honesty, but this is one of my favorites. Brother and Sister Bear learn the importance of trust in family relationships.

Tabitha (5): I hate the part where they lie!

Emily (8): I like it because they learn not to lie in the end.

The Lorax

Another Seuss Classic! This one links the problem of greed to the consequences of not caring for our planet. It's a lesson that's easy to swallow because of Seuss's unbeatable creativity.

Tabitha (5): I'm clapping. That means I like it.

Polite as a Princess

I confess: I usually cringe when my children beg for princess stories. This one is an exception, though. Each princess illustrates very appropriate good manners to your princess-loving child--everything from writing thank you notes to cleaning up a mess.

Tabitha (5): I like Polite as a Princess because it has good manners!

If you're like me and find it challenging to build character in kids, I'm sure you'll appreciate the help of these books as much as I do.

Asterix Comic Books: Fun Gift Ideas From Eleven-Year-Old Grace

(by Grace, age 11)
Asterix Comics are very, very funny--the most comical books I've ever read. These best-sellers are seriously something that the whole family can enjoy.

How Obelix Fell Into the Magic Potion: When He Was a Little Boy

Grace: The idea of a young Obelix is quite funny, and when I read it the idea became reality in the most comical way. READ IT, 'cause it really is the best.

Asterix and the Actress

Grace:  While Asterix and Obelix are celebrating their joint birthday party in the Gaulish village, strange things are happening. Why, for instance, are the Roman soldiers fighting each other? Find out in Asterix and the Actress.

Asterix in Spain

Grace: Join Asterix as he strives to reunite a little Spanish boy with his parents. Will Asterix be able to break out of prison without his magic potion?

Asterix in Britain

Grace: Asterix's adventure in Britain is so enormously funny that I shouldn't wonder if it is the most comical of the whole Asterix comic book series.

Asterix and Cleopatra

Grace: Caesar would tip his hat, er, helmet . . . at this book about Cleopatra. And as for Cleopatra, well, she would recommend it even though the book comments quite loudly about her nose.

Asterix in Switzerland

Grace: As Asterix seeks the antidote for a dire sickness, Romans are chasing him frantically. Who will reach the precious flower (the antidote) first?

I think they would all make good gifts, because whenever I get an Asterix book for a gift, I go through the roof!

Eight-Year-Old Emily's Picks: Easy Chapter Books for Kids Who Love Mysteries

(by Emily, age 8, and Mom)
Mom's note: While a series sometimes gets in a rut, these books are consistently enjoyable for 8-year-old Emily. The great thing about a series: she's already excited about the next book before she ever starts to read it.

Boxcar Children
Emily: The four Alden children start out living in a boxcar together in book one, and go on to live happily with their grandfather as they solve fun mysteries in the rest of the series. Great books! Can't stop reading them!

The Third Grade Detectives
Emily: With the help of the teacher, Mr. Merlin, the third grade class can crack secret codes and solve crimes. There's not a mystery they can't solve. I also enjoy trying to crack the codes if they're not too hard.

Cam Jansen
Emily: Cam Jansen can solve any mystery with the help of her friend, Eric, and her amazing mind that can remember anything she sees.

Top Three Silly Board Books My Two-Year-Old Loves (And So Do I)

(by Mom, with help from Baby, age 2)
Two-year-olds want the same favorite books read to them over and over again, so they might as well be books with a good rhythm, a catchy theme, and some silliness! These are some of the fun board books my littlest one likes to hear again and again (and I don't feel tempted to hide them from her like I do some toddler-friendly books!)

(Baby says, "Sankoo Mommy!" )

The Napping House

The artwork in this one is a big plus!

Is Your Mama a Llama?

This one's great if your little one likes critters!

But Not the Hippopotamus

This book never fails to make me smile. Classic Boynton!