Lost in London Duplo Adventure

My granddaughter and I made a mini travel adventure with Duplo about Egypt. Of course she wanted a mummy in it. I decided to make it into a mini video and a series was born.

I created a  Lego Dyplo adventure in London, England next. The two biggest problems were having enough Duplo for the large structures and convincing my granddaughter I had to take Buckingham Palace apart in order to build the next set. She wanted it to cover the dining room table forever. I added songs to this one and used PhotoShop to improve the pictures.

Lost in London: Using legos (mostly duplo) Cassie visits several historic sites in London, England but can’t enjoy herself until she finds Polly. What has happened to her best friend? This video is a great jumping off point for kids to write an adventure about Polly, whose appearance might surprise you. Sprinkled with variations of Mother Goose.

Check it out.

Bonjour! Let’s Learn French by Judy Martialay. Book Review.

This part textbook part picture book would be an excellent addition to a French Immersion or Core French classroom. It would also be wonderful for a parent to share with a child who is learning French.

While it tells the story a group of children building a sandcastle and a little snail declaring himself king of Le Chateau, the child is exposed to basic French vocabulary.  It employs humor and a bit of drama to old a child’s interest. Also included are list of common words, a skit, information on French culture, a song, and even a section on Monet the artist and a follow-up activity. There is enough information and plenty of activities to make this book a favorite.

The best thing about this book is the site that goes along with it. http://www.Polyglotkidz.Com expands on the information in the textbook. For those of us whose French is less than bilingual, an hour long download is available that gives the correct pronunciation for everything in the book.

I was dismayed to learn “only 25% of public and private elementary schools in the US offer any form of language instruction.” Because Canada is a dual-language country, French instruction begins generally in grade 4 unless you enroll your child in immersion which begins in senior kindergarten. The cultural, mental, social, and economic benefits of second languages are irrefutable. This book would be valuable in any situation working with children 10 years old and under.

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Silly Scientists Take a Tip-Toe with the Tadpoles by Lindsey Craig. Illustrated by Ying Hui Tan. Book Review.

The silly scientists are a bizarre variety of aliens. Their mission is to ensure Taddy the tadpole hatches from an egg, develops into a tadpole, and then into a frog.

 

This is a wild and fantastical book for children who enjoy extensive zany detail while they learn a little about animals. The pages are fairly bursting with vivid characters. There are seven brightly colored aliens, numerous pond plants and creatures, and ten tadpoles. Younger children might find the illustrations a bit challenging but those that enjoy examining pages with a lot of content will be satisfied.

 

Although the story is fiction, there are text boxes that explain, in rhyme, the life of a tadpole. The last two pages explain metamorphosis, producers, consumers, and decomposers.

 

There are moments of humour in the book. Many readers will enjoy the mixture of fact, storyline, and silliness.

 

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Eating Green by Molly Aloian. Book Review.

 Buy Link Eating Green (Green Scene)

“Eating green means understanding the impact our food choices have on the environment and trying to lessen that impact. To eat green, we must buy food with little or no packaging. We should eat fresh food and local food that is grown or made nearby. Eating green also need avoiding foods that have been sprayed with harmful pesticides.”

Although this picture book is written for children, it is a reminder for people of all ages of the impact of our choices. It discusses necessary and unnecessary packaging and its impact on landfills. It explains the difference between processed foods and fresh foods and their impact on the earth and our bodies. Organic foods are preferred and the harmfulness of pesticides is explained. The reader learns why buying local is a good habit. The accumulation of toxic plastic drinking bottles is examined. The book encourages little-free lunches. It ends with the beautiful double page spread on the importance of family mealtime. Bonus: a simple but healthy pizza recipe at the end of the book. There is also a glossary and an index.

The illustrations in this book are full-color photographs which highlight and elucidate the message. You cannot look at that pile of garbage, mostly plastic, and not feel we need to change. This is an excellent book for families to share.

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Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

Making a Simple Action Based Copy Cat Book with Your Child

You will need:

  • an example book such as Elephants by Rebecca Heller
  • 8″ by 14″ sheets of paper
  • old magazines, catalogues, tourist pamphlets etc. that contain pictures of people being active
  • child scissors
  • glue
  • fine point marker or pen
  • needle and thread or sewing machine
  • strong tape to reinforce spine
  • optional thicker paper for cover

If possible, read the sample book to your child. Explain that the elephant is doing actions. Talk about actions your child likes to do.

Have the blank book and picture selections ready ahead of time. Have 8-10 pages prepared ( you only need 4-5 plus the cover) . (You know your child’s interest sustainability.) Sew the pages down the middle and fold them to make a book.

Get out magazine pictures you have preselected, outlined, and labelled (about double what you need). Make sure each one has a different action. Discuss the actions with your child.

 She choses her favourites and cuts them out.

She glues one on each face-up page (not the cover).

 

Print the two (or three) word sentence below each picture. Keep the sentence structure the same. For example:

  • A boy drums.
  • A girl rocks.
  • Girls drive.
  • A cat meows,
  • A minion hugs.
  • A man waters.
  • A girl gardens.
  • A boy looks.
  • A dog barks.
  • A boy reads.
  • A Barbie dances.
  • A girl pushes.
  • Kids build.
  • A boy slides.
  • A girl jumps.
  • A boy crawls.
  • A girl shoots.
  • Cats climb.
  • A girl carries.
  • Boys ride.

An older child might like to draw the pictures. This would stretch the project out for many days. You can print the sentences first.

A child might like to search a safe site for graphics using action words and print the pictures instead.

Make a cover by hand or using a computer before or after the book is completed.

AMBITIOUS?  Personalize it. Print photographs of your child being active instead. They can cut them out and glue them. For example:

  • Kayleigh jumps.
  • Kayleigh slides.
  • Kayleigh laughs.

Echo read the book with your child until she can read it alone. Send her to read it to every human and stuffed toy available.

DON’T BE SURPRISED IF your child insists on different wording or otherwise derails your plans. Go with it. There will be at least one page they can read easily.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

Let’s Eat! What Children Eat Around the World by Beatrice Hollyer. Book Review.

This book features food of five children: Jordan from France, Luis from Mexico, Thembe from South Africa, Yamini from India, and AA from Thailand. Each section gives an overview of the child’s life, family, and food. It features a special day where food is prominent. The book begins with a chocolate cookie recipe from chef Jamie Oliver.

Eight-year-old Thembe has to carry water in a clay pot, walk across the hills to school, work in the vegetable garden, collect firewood, and help with dinner. The special event is a wedding.

Something that will surely encourage discussion, “The groom’s friends have killed two cows for the wedding feast. The best pieces are barbecued for the men, and the rest is put into big pots to stew.”

Six-year-old Luis collects eggs and cares for the sheep. He washes his face with water from the big cement basin in the courtyard. Breakfast is cold rice pudding or cornflakes and chocolate milk. He eats tortillas at nearly every meal. His special day is fiesta just before Christmas.

Eight-year-old AA helps to feed a Buddhist monk every morning. She can cook her own eggs.

The book continues sharing similarities and differences between the lives and diets of these children. It is written in a way children can understand and shares relevant and interesting facts. It ends with a recipe from each child and a glossary. The recipes are a milk tart, tomato salsa, Thai fried eggs, chocolate cake, and coconut sweet.

This book would help children connect with other cultures and also appreciate what they have. I wish the recipes were more substantial and not focused so much on sweets.

All proceeds from this book go to Oxfam.

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Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

 

New Schedule – Making a Picture Book with Your Child

 

MAKING A PICTURE BOOK WITH YOUR CHILD

If your child is pre-reading but beginning to “pretend” read or a beginning reader, she is ready for copycat books. Here’s an example.

My just turned four granddaughter had memorized Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle. Highly recommended if you are unfamiliar with it.

Together, we found free colouring pictures of other animals on the internet.

I printed them on 8″ X 14″ paper, landscape format. I didn’t try to print them on both sides of the paper as it often shows through regular printing paper and the spatial logistics are really complicated. Use two columns.

On the right type something similar to “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?” Put the colouring picture below. Leave an extra large space on the right of the text to have room for stitching.

On the left INDENT TWO EXTRA TABS to make room for stitching. Type something similar to “I see a yellow duck looking at me.”

I folded the pages down the middle and sewed them together to make a realistic book.

I taped the spine top reinforce the stiching. I glued the blank backs together.

Here’s  the cover. I should have capitalized all the words.

Below is the first page. I started with the child and ended with the child creating a circular story but you can start with an animal. I used rainbow girl because she loves colorful clothes but you can use the child’s name instead.

Here are the second and third pages. I recommend no more than 7-8 animals.

Notice that the color word is printed in the color the child needs to use. Keep it fun. Don’t fret about coloring skills.

The last page should feature your child. You can post a photo or have the child draw herself. Kayleigh is going to draw herself in colorful clothing.

Buddy read with your child. Point to each word as you read it aloud. Then have the child do it for you. Don’t get too concerned with pointing to the exact word at the beginning just make sure she is pointing from left to right. At first, stress the color words. Then focus on “looking” which has two open eyes “oo” and “see” which has two partly open eyes “ee.” After that is mastered focus on the animal’s name, then the rest of the words. Keep it light and fun. Progress at the child’s speed. Don’t persist if she becomes bored or frustrated. Have fun.

Because this blog is taking so much of my writing time, I will no longer post on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Sundays – Recycled Humor Column

Monday – Book Review

Wednesday – Writer Interview or Book Review or Special Series

Friday – Book Review

Saturday – Randomness

Please keep following, commenting, and sharing.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

 

 

 

A Clever Variation – The Three Bears, An Alphabet Book by Grace Maccarone. Illustrated by Hollie Hibbert. Book Review.

Click here to buy The Three Bears ABC

This is an alphabet book that also tells the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It begins, “A is for alphabets, and here it is.” The alphabet is superimposed on a tree. Then the story begins. “B is for bears. There were three Bears – Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear, who were in bed. Then Mama Bear made breakfast – big bowls of porridge. C is for cool. The Bears waited for the hot porridge to cool. So Papa put on his cap, Mama put on her cape, and Baby his coat.” And so it continues with examples on each page of words beginning with the featured letter.

The story follows the traditional tale. And in case you’re curious, “Z is for zipped. Goldilocks zipped back home as fast as her legs could carry her. And Z is for zany… Because it was that kind of day!”

I thought this was a clever retelling of the story. I think the child should be familiar with the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and with the alphabet in order to get the full enjoyment out of it. Children three years old and up would enjoy it. Beginning readers, on the second time through, could help to find the other words that begin with the featured letter.

The illustrations done by Hollie Hibbert are double spread, cute, and bright. They remind me of Little Golden books illustrations. Interestingly, Goldilocks has brown eyes and brown skin and a whole lot of blonde hair. I especially liked Baby Bear. He would have made a cute stuffy.

This is a book that could be revisited as your child’s understanding of initial consonants improves.

As a retired teacher, my first thought was how much fun this would be to share with the class and then choose another simple folktale to turn into an alphabet tale. Then, as a writer, I wondered if it would be plagiarism to do it with a different story. Maccarone could actually do an entire series like this. Looking at the numerous books Grace Maccarone has written, I see she hasn’t repeated the idea. Maybe once was enough! She made it look easy but I know it isn’t. Maybe you could try it. Not me, I already have more book ideas than I have time to complete.

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Ali the Inventor Saves the Garden! by Amire Makin. Book Review.

This was a unique and positive picture book. Ali is a boy who loves math and electronics and considers himself an engineer and inventor. He looks to be about 10 or 12 years old. Ali explains to the reader that electronics show how a thing really works. Math formulas solve electronic problems.

Allie goes out into the community to see who can he can help with his skills. He meets Mr. Maxwell whose vegetable garden is dying because the sprinkler system won’t work. Allie takes the electronic circuit board to his lab where he fixes it. While he works, he explains how to be safe using electronics. With the assistance of Mr. McCoy, he solves the timer problem using mathematics. This is pretty advanced formula work. Even though a child may not understand the math, they will be able to follow the story. Allie successfully repairs the sprinkler system.

The story ends:

“Friends, remember we used math to convert the time for minutes into seconds. We also used math to fix an electronic circuit so sprinkler system would work. Always use a grown-up when working with electronics. The ability to make a big difference is deep inside of you. Train your brain to solve problems in your neighborhood!”

I love that this young man showed how important, useful, and fun understanding math can be. He also demonstrated that we can use whatever our skills are to contribute to our society. He was socially engaged and responsible. This would be a great book to read to a child who says, “I’ll never use math in real life.”

The book showed people of diverse backgrounds. The illustrations were in the style of early comic books. Allie was a lovable protagonist, especially when he did his little victory dance.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages