L M N O Peas by Keith Baker. Book Review.

Click here to buy LMNO Peas

This is an adorable, funny alphabet book. It is difficult to come up with original ideas for the ABCs. Amazon.com listed 47,112 results in a search for alphabet books.  Keith Baker has designed a unique one using his Peas series.

The picture book’s large size emphasizes the tininess of the adorable little peas who are acting out each of the letters. For example, A has seven little peas with hoops climbing up the letter A that say, “We’re acrobat’s.” One lonely little pea is painting a tulip that is twice his size. Two other peas are conducting a spacewalk from a capsule (astronauts).

Children will enjoy finding the peas on each page and deciphering their occupation or hobby. The artist has cleverly incorporated the letters into the activities. For example the right side of the K is a river for kayakers. The book ends with, “We are peas from A to Z. now tell us, please… (Turn the page) who are you?

This book will definitely engage readers. The pictures post just enough challenge to keep both children and adults interested throughout. The fun thing is, peas are so easy to draw, that children could make their own response using their initials and their own hobbies or interests.

If the child is too young to draw the illustration, give their thumb in green fingerpaint and have them press on the “peas”. Then an adult can add the detail. Together, you can decide what to draw based on the letter. It can be simple. After, if the child wants, she can colour the letter with marker.

K peas B peas

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Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

How Do You Deal with an Unfair Father? – The Passover Surprise by Janet Ruth Heller. Illustrations by Ronald Coffman. Book Review.

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Click here to buy The Passover Surprise

This is an early chapter book with some simple black-and-white illustration suitable for children aged seven and eight.

In The Passover Surprise, a brother, John, and sister, Lisa, compete to win a special stamp collecting book from their father. In order to prove their worthiness, they both work hard hour after hour on their stamp collections while their father assesses their commitment. In the end, the father gives the stamp book to the boy reasoning that he put in equal effort but he is younger child. Lisa is devastated and feels the decision was unfair. After a conversation with her mother, Lisa decides to approach her father and discuss her feelings. Her teacher also coaches her in how to handle this discussion. The father is completely understanding and says, “When I was young, only the boys in my family collected stamps. I didn’t realize that the album meant so much to you.” Even though the family is struggling to make a payment on their house, father manages to give his daughter a new stamp as well during Passover.

This is a good story on perspective. The daughter felt the father was unfair and sexist. Father thought he was making a fair and informed decision. Because the father was kind and receptive, the problem was resolved happily.

There is an explanation of Passover and Seder, a short discussion on discrimination against African American soldiers in the Second World War, and sharing of family history.

This would be a good book for Sunday school or other values teaching. Children will connect with Lisa and find helpful advice on how to approach difficult discussions with their own parents.

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A copy of this book was generously donated by the author to my Little Free Library.

An interview with the author will appear on this blog on January 25, 2016.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

Is Different Bad? Frog Has No Fur (La Rana No Tiene Pelo) by S. J. Bushue and Deb McQueen. Book Review.

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 Click here to buy “Frog Has No Fur”: “La Rana No Tiene Pelo”

(So Big & Little Bit Adventures)

This is a bilingual picture book. Unfortunately, I cannot read Spanish so I am only reviewing the English part.

So Big, a mammal, and Little Bit, a frog are friends even though they are not alike. The text explains their differences: brown and green, fur and no fur, mammal and amphibian, lives on land and lives on land and water, active during the day and active during the night, a heart with four chambers and a heart with three chambers, ears and only eardrums, focusing eyes and whole eye turning, first to walk on land and walking on land 100 million years later.

It ends with:

We do not have to be the same. We are friends… Just because we like each other.

The fictional message is about acceptance of differences but, as the child reads, an enormous amount of factual detail is presented. (I didn’t even know about the heart chambers.) There could be two types of follow-up discussions to this book. One could be about relationships and differences. Two could be about the animal kingdom and classification. Of course, the parent should try to draw out the fact that the child is also a mammal and not an amphibian.

The illustrations are big, black outlined, colorful, and simple. They have a happy, fun quality.

If you go to this page on The Little Fig website, you will find a coloring page you can download, a link to the accompanying song on YouTube, and the YouTube link to the book being read aloud in Spanish.

This is a wonderful product that addresses a need in picture books. Check out their other bi-lingual books while you’re there.

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A copy of this book was generously donated by the author to my Little Free Library.

S.J. Bushue was interviewed on this blog on November 30, 2016.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

Stars Only Shine in the Dark – THE DARKEST DARK by Chris Hadfield and Kate FiIllion. Illustrated by Terry and Eric Fan. Book Review.

 Click on the cover for more information or to buy a copy.

This picture book is written by Chris Hadfield, one of the, world’s most famous astronauts, and Kate Fillion a best selling author. Together they tell the true story of Chris’s childhood fear of the dark.

As a small boy, Chris love to play astronaut. He liked to pretend he was fighting deadly aliens, but his imagination created a fearful atmosphere when his room was dark. “The kind of dark that attracts the worst sort of aliens.”

His parents struggled to get him to sleep in his own bed. They even gave him a bell to ring if he was nervous. But nothing seemed to help.

One special day, Chris’s family joined several others watching the moon landing on television. Chris was amazed and he also noticed that outer space was darkest dark ever. That night, he was able to cope with his dark room. He became hooked on exploring the night sky. He seriously pursued his dream of becoming an astronaut and one day, it came true.

That is where the story ends. Fortunately, Hadfield has written two other books about his experiences as an astronaut. After reading this picture book, children can find more about Hadfield from these books or online.

What a wonderful twist for a little boy who is afraid of the dark to grow up and travel into space, in fact live there for five months. How inspirational for children who have similar fears. This book teaches them that as they grow and learn, they will change and be able to conquer the things that hold them back. How reassuring to know an astronaut was once afraid of the dark.

The vocabulary in this book is suitable for children ages 5 to 8. There is just the right amount of text on each page. Both the text and the illustrations are infused with a subtle sense of humor.

When it was time to get out of the bath and go to bed, he told his father – politely, because astronauts are always polite – “Sorry, no can do. I’m on my way to Mars.”

On the page where Chris dreamed he flew a spaceship to the moon, his rocket is made from cardboard, his dog is also suited up and floating beside him, and Chris carries a flag with pictures of the two of them and their names printed in childish script “Chris and Albert.”

Although the book is in color, gray and black are dominant throughout. At first, because of Chris’s imagination, the dark holds frightening creatures with glowing eyes. As Chris matures, those glowing eyes are replaced by twinkling stars and glowing galaxies.

The last two pages read as follows.

And, he realized, you’re never really alone there. (in the dark)

Your dreams are always with you, just waiting.

Big dreams, about the kind of person you want to be.

Wonderful dreams about the life you will live.

Dreams that actually can come true.

This is a well written, beautifully illustrated picture book that will teach your child about a brave, brilliant, and personable Canadian hero as well as inspire him or her to pursue big dreams.

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I won a free copy of this book.



Click on the images for more information or to buy the product.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

 

If You See a Dragon – New Release

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If you saw a dragon, what would you do? Would you catch it and keep it as a pet? Would you sell it to the circus? There’s lots of exciting ideas to choose but which one would the dragon want? – A book that helps children develop empathy and kindness to animals. Half the profits go to animal rescue funds.

SAMPLE PAGES

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http://a.co/gWw1iRU

Stars for Sing the Planets: I’ll Remember That

If you are a elementary classroom teacher or a parent of a child who is developing an interest in space, these reviews are for you.

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To buy the book, click on this link-Sing the Planets: I’ll Remember That

Autumn Reviews

on October 31, 2016
Song, hand and body movements, mnemonics and more—Sing the Planets: An “I’ll That” Book by Bonnie Ferrante is sure to be a hit in the classroom and at home. This gem of a book is perfect for reaching readers and listeners of diverse learning styles.
Ferrante not only includes the sheet music for the song, she has also produced a YouTube video (you’ll find its web link in the book), making it easy for teachers and parents to get the kids singing and swinging, enthusiastically performing hand and body movements to the tune. Sing the Planets not only includes detailed information about the eight planets (explaining that Pluto is no longer listed among them), it presents information about the entire solar system and includes mythological details about the origins of the naming of the planets. The illustrations include photos taken by NASA and other space agencies. Ferrante not only makes learning about the planets easy to remember—she makes it memorable! I highly recommend Sing the Planets to elementary teachers, librarians and to parents as well.
~ Bette A. Stevens, author of award-winning picture book Amazing Matilda (Children’s Literature): The Tale of A Monarch Butterfly and other books for children and adults
on November 5, 2016
Many of us still remember the songs or verses we learned for learning the colors of the rainbow or the months of the year, or the number of days in each month. This book is a fun way for kids to learn the names of the planets by way of a song. At the beginning of the book is a link to a YouTube video where you can learn the song tune and the movements to the first verse. It is helpful to watch this upfront and then to read the book with your child, while learning the song together. The fun hand movements for the whole song are clearly explained in the book by way of images and are easy to follow. There is also a page of information on each of the planets with images as well as some other interesting information on the inner and outer planets. As an adult I even learned some new stuff! Children learn best by incorporating different learning styles and this book includes reading, listening, visual, movements and singing. Kids will never forget the planet names after this.
Recommended for all young children learning about the planets at school or at home.
on October 20, 2016
Through songs, this book offers a creative and fun method of learning about the planets in our solar system. It’s designed for children, and is to be used in tandem with the author’s youtube channel. The information is laid out in a very logical, straightforward manner. The readers will not only learn about scientific facts about our solar system, but also the meaning behind the planets’ names.

For kids who are really interested in astronomy, this book offers mainly general information (which makes sense given that the information is set to song). Be warned: Those of us who are still disappointed about Pluto no longer being classified as a planet will be reminded of that painful fact!

 

Author’s Blurb

Here is an active way to learn the order of the planets and have fun doing it. Children learn quicker and retain information longer, the more different learning styles are involved. This book uses music, rhyme, singing, pictures and movement to help students learn the order of the planets, the meanings of their names, their position, and their classification. The detailed illustrations demonstrate the movements accompanying the song which is roughly to the tune of Alouette. The particular notes are included with each movement as well as a full piece of music at the end of the book.

When teaching elementary school for thirty-three years, Bonnie Ferrante used this strategy effectively with several classes. Whether your child is learning about the planets for personal interest or for school, this book will provide the key facts and a successful method for learning them.

The first verse is demonstrated on youtube.

Great Day, Maybe.

I just finished writing a post about how great a day I’ve been having. I was worried I might jinx it by declaring it, but what the hay, I’m happy and grateful.

My first day of NANOWRIMO is going well. I found a file that I had thought was lost for good. My charting is working out except the Post-it papers keep falling off. I guess I should’ve spent more on them.

The best part of the day thus far is a brand-new five-star review for Sing the Planets. Check it out TEACHERS ESPECIALLY.

Format: Paperback

Song, hand and body movements, mnemonics and more—Sing the Planets: An “I’ll That” Book by Bonnie Ferrante is sure to be a hit in the classroom and at home. This gem of a book is perfect for reaching readers and listeners of diverse learning styles. Ferrante not only includes the sheet music for the song, she has also produced a YouTube video (you’ll find its web link in the book), making it easy for teachers and parents to get the kids singing and swinging, enthusiastically performing hand and body movements to the tune. Sing the Planets not only includes detailed information about the eight planets (explaining that Pluto is no longer listed among them), it presents information about the entire solar system and includes mythological details about the origins of the naming of the planets. The illustrations include photos taken by NASA and other space agencies. Ferrante not only makes learning about the planets easy to remember—she makes it memorable! I highly recommend Sing the Planets to elementary teachers, librarians and to parents as well. ~ Bette A. Stevens, author of award-winning picture book Amazing Matilda (Children’s Literature): The Tale of A Monarch Butterfly and other books for children and adults
 
Click here for more information or to buy the book. It is available in paperback and ebook (great for projecting onto classroom screens).
Now for the ironic part. As soon as I tried to post this, it disappeared into the nether land that is lost files. So, here I go attempting post number two.

Rhyme for Learning – Author Rachel Lassman

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I have always loved writing and working with children. So, I decided to put both of my passions together to create my series of completely factual, rhyming children’s books. I have been an educator since 2009 and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Eastern Washington University and a Master’s in the Art of Teaching from Concordia University Portland. I went on to teach and develop curriculum for a number of secondary biology classes in Washington, Oregon, and California.

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Click here to buy Ladybugs

My name is Rachel Lassman and I am the author/illustrator of a new and innovative series of rhyming, educational children’s books which some have described as “Educational Dr. Seuss.”  My three-book series covers material on worms, ladybugs, and snails. While some children’s books are educational and others rhyme, the two categories have rarely been combined. My books are completely factual, but written in rhyme to make learning fun and easy. The colorful pictures help explain the information, makes the information relevant to kids, and helps to keep children engaged and excited about learning.

 

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The benefits of learning through rhyme are astounding and have been proven in many studies. It not only helps young children improve their recognition of words and overall reading, but it can also help students with memory, enjoyment of learning, and overall confidence. Because of the rhyming format, my books are not just beneficial for children in standard classroom settings, but children in Early Childhood programs, children in home schooling, children in daycare systems, children in speech, language, or reading programs, for children excited about reading and learning at home, and those children with special needs including ADD and ADHD.

Depending on reading level, my books are intended to help children up to 4th grade and there is no mature subject matter.

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Click here to buy Worms

These books are amazing! I can’t wait to purchase copies for my classroom. There is a wealth of knowledge in each of these books. The rhymes and illustrations make this content accessible and engaging for young learners (and teachers).

Brittany Hale Head Kindergarten Teacher at Belmont Oaks Academy Belmont, CA

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– “We had the pleasure of Rachel Lassman visiting our school to share her fun and educational books.  The colorful illustrations and rhyming text kept all of our kids engaged and eager to learn more interesting facts.  The children absolutely loved each book and enjoyed discovering more about the creatures they find so fascinating.”

– Principal of Merry Moppet Belmont Oaks Academy, Belmont, CA

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– “I read all three of Rachel’s books and I feel that they would be terrific learning material for both special needs children as well as regular ed. students.”

– Jerry Krauss Retired Head of Special Education Department San Mateo County, CA.

Purchase:

Directly through me at liv18soccr@hotmail.com or my website Morethanapoem.com

You can also find me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachellassman-9a92b519

 

Note: This promotion was written by the author.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

My Dragon

After a much too long period of time not writing, I’ve stopped wallowing in self-pity (for the moment anyway) about how challenging my Parkinson’s disease makes everything and got back on the horse. I’m trying various methods of illustration that can be done by a person with tremors. This is my first attempt.

I also decided to have a bit of fun and use some representational art (the people, the dragon). I hope adult readers will get it.

These are the first three pages of my new picture book for students in grade 5/6 to use in class with their teacher or for parents to share with their age 5 and up children. It is not a story. It is a book to stimulate discussion.

I would like your feedback on the first three pages. If you opened my book and saw this, would you continue looking through it? Please comment in the comment section.

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Little Miss History Travels to Mount Vernon by Barbara Ann Mojica. Book Review.

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 Click here to buy Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT VERNON

Barbara Ann Mojica is an expert on interesting sites to visit in the United States of America. In her latest book we are taken on a tour by Little Miss History through Mount Vernon. Being a Canadian, I knew absolutely nothing about this place. Barbara gives an interesting overview of George Washington’s plantation in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

On the one hand, we are given a tour of the grounds and the inside of the mansion. Several of George Washington’s rooms and gardens are shown. There is an interesting story about a key in a framed box on the wall. The key was used by the revolutionaries in France to storm the Bastille. I found it ironic, and somewhat disturbing, that a symbol of downtrodden people fighting for their freedom was hung on the wall in a plantation where slaves were used.

Last spring I had the opportunity to tour two large plantations in New Orleans. The emphasis was on the ostentation and history of the white plantation owners. What intrigued me the most was the snippets we were given on the slaves’ lives. I was very pleased to see that Mojica did not undervalue the story of these brutalized people. She mentions in the book that George Washington did not allow “harsh treatment of his slaves”. I guess he judged this on a continuum. Owning a person, selling them at will, controlling every minute of their every day, working them from dusk til dawn, is pretty harsh on its own.

By the second page of the book, we are made aware of the use of slaves to keep the grounds pristine. They used scythes to keep the Bowling Green usable by the free and wealthy. Martha Washington managed the kitchen with a hired person and several slaves who would’ve prepared many foods they were not allowed to eat. The quarters of 85 slaves were built out of sight of the main house. Doesn’t that speak volumes? I was pleased to see that, whenever possible, Mojica named the slaves and their specific duties. She explained the conditions under which they lived and their meager possessions. She related how long and hard they worked under a man who believed it was the government’s responsibility to end slavery and did not free his own slaves until his death wherein he was given a memorial. Even after their deaths, however, slaves were treated as chattel and buried in unmarked graves.

This book lends itself well to discussion. One of the most disappointing traits of humans is the ability to compartmentalize and avoid ownership of the results of their behavior. We can have a man who does not believe in slavery owning slaves. We can have an animal lover who hunts. We can have a psychologist who manipulates his wife. Accountability, responsibility, truth, all become evasive when humans can rationalize their behavior. It is especially damaging when leaders, such as presidents, can say one thing and do another.

I’m not sure if it was Mojica’s intention to raise these issues. Her books are for history lovers and those who like to symbolically visit interesting locales while sitting in a comfy chair. However, for me this book was more than that. An excellent addition to her wonderful series.

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Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages