Toy Review – Spuzzle Game by Disney

“The crazy racing puzzle game” Frozen by Disney

Two to four player build the characters Anna, Elsa, Hans, Olaf, and Kristoff containing four puzzle pieces each. Players take turns blindly picking up puzzle pieces. Duplicates are left behind. For added fun a player can occasionally put back an opponent’s piece. Once a four piece character is complete they are locked and safe from opponents. A “Spuzzle” card means every player gets to pick up a piece. When a player completes all five four-piece puzzles, they win.

There are other movie variations of this game.

Durability Four stars Well made heavy cardboard. Thick puzzle pieces.

Play quality Five stars. Loads of fun for small children especially Frozen fans. Rules are easy.

Safety  Five stars.

Age interest Four stars. Labeled 4+ but teens might be bored. Some three-year-olds could play this.

Storage and portability four stars. Fits into a comfortably sized box.

Price Three stars. Averages $45 to $50 on Amazon.

Recommended for children ages 4-9.

Other variations.

Buy link https://amzn.to/2JfR8XC

Buy link https://amzn.to/3muCxG4

Bathtime for Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. Illustrations by Pat Schories. Book review.

Buy link https://amzn.to/2Vhcgz2

The Biscuit series of books are classed as “I can read!”. They are perfect for very beginning readers. Biscuit is an adorable puppy who does the kinds of things real dogs do. In this story, he resists getting into the bath.

The little girl wants Biscuit to get into that tub but he wants to dig instead. She struggles to manipulate him into the water but, after a short emmersion, he escapes and chases another puppy named Puddles. The two of them dig in the mud and play in the water. Then they roll in the flower bed where the girl tries to catch them with a towel. Both puppies latch on and a tug-of-war ensues. It ends with the little girl falling into the bathtub herself. Children laugh out loud at this ending.

It is difficult to find emergent reading books that have engaging, logical stories children can relate to and enjoy reading. The Biscuit stories are perfect. Capucilli captures the mischievous and endearing nature of puppies while Schories draws them with simplicity and charm.

Highly recommended for emergent readers in Kindergarten and first grade.

I am accepting books for review. For information on how to submit, go here: https://bferrante.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/get-featured-on-my-blog/

Food Fun

As you may have noticed, I have been focusing more on making videos and writing than on reviewing books. This is temporary as I am focusing on my creative projects before Parkinson’s makes them impossible. It is becoming a more difficult struggle and so I am feeling a time constraint. However, I am still open to accepting print books for review and will post my review other places as well if so requested. Here is the information you need to submit a book for review.

https://bferrante.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/get-featured-on-my-blog/

Check out my latest endeavor  on my YouTube channel. If you haven’t subscribed to my Channel, please do and share it with your friends.

Rhymes and Songs About Food

Traditional rhymes with a new twist using Lego and graphics.

Suitable for ages 3 and up.

Buy link https://amzn.to/33mWqHB

Imaginarium Discovery Wooden Block Set – Toy Review

For ideas on how to get the most out of block play,  watch the 3 minute video here.

Durability 5 stars These blocks are tough. They don’t chip or splinter over time.
 
Play quality 5 stars The possibilities for block play are endless. Once your child has lost interest in building, check out the nontraditional ideas on the internet.
 
Safety 4 stars The edges are rounded over. They are small and light. However, there have been recalls of other Melissa & Doug Imaginarium blocks with lead paint.
 
Age interest 5 stars From two to eight, their use changes with age but there’s always a new way to use them.
Storage and portability 5 stars The bucket holds  them all neatly. As an added bonus, there is a built in shape sorter on the lid.
Price 4 stars $40-50 at ToysRUs, $50-$60 on Amazon, $84.00 at Best Buy.
 
Strongly recommended. An essential toy.

My First Best Friend by Derek Washington. Book review.

This picture book is a sweet story of a father’s unwavering love for his child. He expresses his admiration for his son’s determination and his enjoyment of his boy’s growth. Throughout the book he builds the child’s confidence and sense of adventure. They do everything together and their lives are filled with joy and affection.

Then his son takes a major step toward independence. The father confesses that sending his child to school is difficult because his son is missed. When his son says he has a new best friend named Miles, the father reminds him that he will always love him and be his first best friend. I think it is important that when a child has to negotiate the scary and unpredictable world away from home, especially the social quagmire of school, that he knows his father is always there to back him up and support him. However, I would have liked the dad to show more interest in Miles and encourage his son to make friends outside the family.

The book is written in rhyme which holds together fairly well but it isn’t really necessary, especially considering the story’s focus. The illustrations are full color, full-page, cartoon style. There is a color page and a maze the back of the book.

This would make a lovely gift for a new father or father to be.

Little Pencil Finds His Forever Friends: A Rhyming Pencil Grip Picture Book by Christine Calabrese. Illustrated by Maria Victoria Flores. Book review.

I always feel a bit of trepidation when I get a rhyming book to review. It is so difficult to write well and too many people attempt it who have  otherwise never written in rhyme since grade school. Happily, Calabrese succeeds with this charming little story.

The pencil is sad because everyone else seems to have a job. The photographed hands of a small child use a ruler, clay, scissors, blocks and more while the pencil sobs feeling left out.

Variations on this refrain are repeated throughout the book:

Poor little pencil

Sobbed, “Boo-hoo hoo.

Poor little pencil

Had nothing to do!”

The author varies the verb sobbed exposing children to some interesting synonyms.

At the end, the child picks up the pencil and begins to write. We learn the correct way to hold a pencil if you are a right-handed person or a lefty.

The illustrations are an engaging combination of photographed hands and illustrated tools all with expressive faces. The colors are bright and engaging. The book is a large 8 x 10 so all children can clearly see the proper way to hold the pencil.

As a former teacher, I know how difficult it is to change a child’s awkward grip on a pencil once it has become habit. As soon as your child can hold a crayon, marker, or pencil, be sure their grip is correct. Not only does it help with letter formation but it is less fatiguing. This book is a great way to introduce the proper method with less conflict.

Buy link

 

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

 

 

 

The Power of Three – A Numerically Themed Month

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When my littlest granddaughter turned three, I shared numerous books with her about the number three, amazed at how often it appears in literature and culture.

Three is significant in religious stories. Christianity has the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Three Magi bring gifts to the baby Jesus. Jesus prays three times in the Garden of Gethsemane and rises from the dead on the third day. Peter denies Christ three times.

In Taoism, the number three stands for heaven, earth, and human. The Hindus have Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Many Mahayana Sects end their chants with three calls to Amida Buddha. Buddhism has the three gems, The Buddha, The Dharma, and The Sangha.

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The number three is featured in numerous nursery rhymes and songs. The Three Little Kittens lose their mittens. Three Blind Mice lose their tails. The black sheep provides three bags of wool. Sing a Song of Sixpence talks about the King, the Queen, and the maid. Wynken, Blnken, and Nod sing you to sleep. There are three proposed solutions to stop London Bridge from falling down. Little boys and little girls are each made of three things, either frogs and snails and puppy dogs tails or sugar and spice and everything nice.

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Three characters or three events are common in fairytales and folktales. The Queen has three chances to guess Rumpelstiltskin’s name. The woman searching for her husband, in East of the, West of the Moon, gets three gifts. It is on the third cry for help that The Boy Who Cried Wolf is ignored. Jack takes three trips up the beanstalk. The Shoemaker leaves clothes for the elves on the third night. A genie will grant three wishes. Goldilocks invades the home of the three bears. Three Billy Goats Gruff cross the troll’s bridge.

Protagonists often have to answer three riddles correctly. Heroes have to undergo three trials. It is usually the third son who succeeds in the quest. Wikipedia lists twenty fairytales that begin with the words “The Three”.

Stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Even time itself is divided into three parts, the past, the present, and the future.

For the rest of this month, I will be exploring the number three in children’s stories. I have used this myself. The Dawn’s End New Adult books are a trilogy: Nightfall, Poisoned, and Outworld Apocalypse. In the early young adult novella Terror at White Otter Castle, three friends form the triangle of power.

I have also used this in picture books. Rayne Shines uses three complainers, the father, the mother, and Rayne. In No More Red, three negative things happen to Amy before she decides to wish red away. The pattern of three is also used in Too Quiet, Too Noisy.

There’s something satisfying about the number three. Have less and it feels unfinished. Have more and it feels like too much. Three is perfection.

three fingers

Here’s a parenting hack about the number three. If your preschooler is unable to hold down her baby finger with her thumb in order to show three straight fingers, teach her to do this way. You can even say, “being three is okay.”

Read all the books on a rainy day? Get active and play bean toss with painter’s tape on three triangles, rectangles, or squares (not recommended for carpets. Don’t leave it on for more than two days.

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Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

Ava’s First Day of Kindergarten by Kristen Weber. Illustrated by Isabel Belmonte. Book Review.

I was happy to receive a copy of this book since my granddaughter is starting school in September. It is written in rhyme which, unfortunately, clunks in spots. Rhyming books also make it more difficult to show and not tell and to evoke emotion.

The tone of the book was light and positive. It has none of the drama or gripping suspense of The Pocket Mommy by Rachel Eugste reviewed  here  on August 27, 2016 http://wp.me/p1OfUU-wz . Neither does it explain all the wondrous things taught in kindergarten like The Best Thing About Kindergarten by Jennifer Lloyd reviewed March 4, 2017 http://wp.me/p1OfUU-2cQ. Instead the author focuses on eating a good breakfast, choosing a dress, riding the bus, and making friends. She practises handwriting on the board (actually printing) does arts and crafts, sings, dances, and plays on the outdoor equipment. The time flies by and at the end of the day she is reluctant to leave.

This is a positive first book about attending kindergarten but probably not the kind of book that would evoke a “read it again.” My granddaughter wasn’t that interested although she is with many other books. It certainly is a safe and encouraging introduction into starting school though.

The artwork is cute and features children of diverse races. My granddaughter wondered why the teacher was the only one singing.

After listening to the book, my granddaughter felt confident and positive about kindergarten which is the point of a book like this. I just wish there had been more of a story. http://a.co/0JPHNGK Buy link.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

My Videos for Kids, Parents and Teachers on Youtube Bonnie0904

https://www.youtube.com/user/Bonnie0904

Preschool to Kindergarten – counting to 5 for teachers and parents- Counting to 3 on the Cheap

Preschool to Kindergarten – counting to 5 for teachers and parents – Counting to 5 on the Cheap

Preschool to Grade 1 – counting for children – Sing to Ten and Down Again

Preschool to Grade 1 – counting, number recognition ideas for teachers and parents- Play and Learn with Number Mats

Preschool to Grade 1 – physical activity & more for children – Come On. Let’s Play.

Kindergarten – numbers, shapes, counting for children- Do You Believe in Fairies (not narrated)

Preschool to Grade 2 – classification of animals & more for teachers and parents – Educational Play with Animal Puzzle Mats

Kindergarten to Grade 3 – animal rescue, fractured folktale for children – The Gingerbread Man

Kindergarten to Grade 3 – (book read aloud) – focussing on the task at  hand, nutrition for children – Never Send Callie

Grade 1 to 3 – sound, a balanced life, problem solving – Too Quiet, Too Noisy 

Grade 1 – mixing paint colours – Mixing Colours

Grade 1 to 3 – human body for children – The Fascinating Sense of Taste

Grade 1 to 3 – human body for children – The Sense of Smell

(The other senses will be coming soon.)

Grade 1 to 2 – opposites for children – Opposites #1

Grade 1 to 2 – opposites for children – Opposites #2

Grade 1 to 3 – animal rescue, fractured folktale for children – Three Little Pigs are Rescued

Grade 1 to 3 – (book read aloud) worrying – Then the Tooth Fairy Won’t Come

Grade 1 to 3 – traditional fairytale with legos & graphics for children – The Snow Queen

Grade 2 to 4 -(book read aloud) gratitude brings happiness – Rayne Shines

Grade 2 to 4 – fractured fairytale told in rhyme with fashion dolls for children – The Real Princess (The Princess and the Pea)

If you would like me to create a video on a specific topic for children aged 1- 10, please leave a comment.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages