A Fairy AND a Princess – The Very Fairy Princess: A Spooky, Sparkly Halloween by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton. Illustrated by Christine Davenier. Book Review.

 Click here to buy The Very Fairy Princess: A Spooky, Sparkly Halloween

This book is one in a collection of Very Fairy Princess books written by Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. Yes, I already reviewed one of her books, Dumpy to the Rescue, but it was so awful I thought I’d give her another chance.

In this book, she has taken two things that little girls love, fairies and princesses, merged them together and built a business of picture books, music, a television series, and even a writing course for authors. Her books are advertised as a #1 New York Times Best-selling Series. When scanning the list of books, you immediately realized that they are all written to help children in socially difficult situations such as the end of the school year, losing the class pet, and not being chosen to sing the solo.

In this particular story, Gerry, who is a princess with actual fairy wings, uses a white sheet to dress as an angel for Halloween. When her best friend, Delilah, wears a dentist uniform that becomes covered in ketchup, Gerry uses her ingenuity and generosity to save the day. She transforms her sheet into a tooth costume for her friend. Together they morph Gerry into the tooth fairy. The girls win a big box of chocolates for creative teamwork. I love the message that friendship and compassion are more important than looking good.

If the other books are like this one, I think they would be enjoyed by little girls and beneficial to their social development. The story was suspenseful; my granddaughter was quite concerned when Delilah’s costume was ruined just before the parade. The text is longer and the vocabulary is a bit more advanced than I would have expected for the target audience, but with adult assistance shouldn’t be a problem.

The pictures are created with soft pastels with a lot of pink and purple. The one thing I noticed was that in the classroom scenes I could only find one child of color. Perhaps Christine Davenier could be more conscious of diversity in her illustrations.

I will be reviewing other books written by celebrities in January. It will be interesting to see if celebrity authors develop a series of books like Julie Andrews or just a one-shot affair and if they have a message they want to spread.

By the way, this was about as “spooky” as a week old kitten.

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Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

New Video – The Sense of Smell

This is the script for the video for primary/junior students.

The video is here. https://youtu.be/fLsywvtkWDY

The sense of smell

Did you watch the video on the sense of taste? Then you already know smell is an important part of tasting. But your sense of smell is also important for other reasons.

Your sense of smell can find and identify odors. Odors are things you can smell. There is a big word for this sense – olfaction.

Our sense of smell can keep us safe.

The odor of rotting or moldy food will warn us not to eat it.

Smelling food can help us decide if it is something safe to eat.

A person’s odour can also help doctors treat an illness or injury. Sometimes they can smell an infection.

Our sense of smell can warn us of dangerous gases.

The odour of smoke warns us that a fire is near.

We may not know it, but our sense of smell can also warn us if someone is angry or upset. Their odor will change.

Other people’s odours help us to decide if we want to spend more time with them.

What you eat will change the way you smell to others. You might love the taste of garlic but other people might think it makes you stink.

Every single person smells differently from everybody else. We all have a special odor. If you cover up a baby’s eyes, it will know which person is their mother just from smelling their mother’s skin.

There is a big word for the sense of smell. Olfaction.

Where does olfaction happen? Up inside your nose. There are two patches called olfactory receptors. They work with your brain to figure out smells.

People have a pretty good sense of smell. We have about five or 6 million yellowish cells on our olfactory receptors.

But many animals have a stronger sense of smell than we do.

A rabbit needs to have a good sense of smell to survive. It has about 100 million of those olfactory receptors. This helps them to smell food like wild cabbage and to smell danger like foxes.

Dogs have an amazing sense of smell. A dog has about 220 million olfactory receptors. That is why they make such excellent trackers for finding lost children by using their sense of smell.

Bears have even a much better sense of smell than dogs. That’s why they are so good at hunting food. That is why you should not keep snacks or even soap that has a yummy odour inside your tent when you’re camping. You don’t want to have a night time visit from a hungry bear!

Women and girls have a better sense of smell than men and boys.

Everyone doesn’t like the same smells. Some people are even allergic to certain smells.

Perfume and hairspray can give some people headaches, make their eyes and nose run, or even make it hard for them to breathe. If you are going to be in a crowded place, don’t wear perfume or cologne.

Some places like schools and hospitals have signs that say “scent free zone”. This means you are not allowed to wear strong smells like perfume because it might may someone sick.

People spend a lot of money trying to make themselves smell good to other people but there is no way to tell how others can smell you. However, if you do not want to smell bad, being clean is important.

Brush your teeth after every meal.

Wash your hands carefully after using the toilet or playing outside.

Shower or bathe often with warm water and soap and especially after you have been sweating.

Some people like to put herbs in their bathwater because the smell of vanilla or lavender can be very relaxing.

Smells of nature can make you feel good. Trees and other plants help to clean the air and make it smell healthy. Open your window to give your room a fresh, healthy smell.

Here is a smell experiment you can try. Have someone put a different scent on individual cotton balls by soaking up liquid or rubbing it against a solid. Keep them in separate sealed plastic bags or jars. However, if you are going to use something powdery or small, like a spice, be careful about inhaling it. Only put it in a jar with a top with tiny holes or gauze on top.

You can try vanilla, coffee, chocolate and more. I will give you a list of ideas. You try to figure out the smells or you can have two of each one and match them up. Make itsure you don’t look. Wear a blindfold.

Things can happen that makes our sense of smell weaken.

People lose much of their sense of smell when they get old and when they have certain illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease.

Head injuries can damage your sense of smell. Be sure to wear a proper helmet when playing risky sports.

You might not be able to smell very well if you have a cold. But it will return when you feel better.

Allergies, just like colds, can make it hard to smell odours.

Smoking will really damage your sense of smell.

Take care of your sense of smell and it will help to take care of you.

Ideas for Your Experiment

vanilla, coffee, chocolate, lavender, spices, dish soap, shampoo, garlic, onion, herbs, vinegar, pickle juice, ketchup, fruit peelings, sawdust or wood chips, a flower, cut grass, baby powder, cornstarch, pine needles, hay, candy, perfume, toothpaste, wet teabag, icing sugar, lemon juice, lime juice, soy sauce, butter, pepper, salt, soil.

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

Alligator Angles by Stephanie Neilan. Book Review.

 

This tiny book introduces a clever way for children to remember the three major types of mathematical angles.

The narrator finds a cute baby alligator. On the page, an alligator is represented by straight lines, his jaw forming an acute angle. The right angle is represented by an alligator mother. (After all, aren’t mothers always right?) The father, is the obtuse angle. These are the three alligators drawn on the cover above.

The book ends with seven questions on these angles, each drawn using the alligator shape. Then a word bank explains five essential terms.

This is a catchy idea to help kids learn angles but it is awfully short to be sold as the book. It was seven pages on my tablet.

After introducing the three characters, I felt the author could’ve written a genuine story featuring the alligators to reinforce the concepts.

Or, the author could have combined this with other mathematical tips.

CLICK ON THE COVERS FOR MORE INFO OR TO BUY THE BOOKS

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

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Unforeseen Consequences – Erasable by Linda Yiannakis. Book Review.

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If you read yesterday’s interview with Linda Yiannakis, you have already realised that Erasable is an intriguing novel for children.

The protagonist, nine-year-old Ellie, discovers something in her grandmother’s attic that promises to solve all her problems. But like the genie who grants three wishes, one never knows where magic will lead. Ellie has little understanding of the karmic results of her decisions. What begins as little improvements cascades into major life changes, not all positive.

I love how this book explains that one small action can have huge impacts on numerous people. It is impossible to tell what “erasing” something or someone from her life will cause. No one is immune to the results, not even Ellie.

The characters are likable. The family dynamics are realistic without being syrupy. The kids are kids, thoughtless and impulsive one minute, wonderful the next.

Yiannakis writes like a professional. The reader loses herself in the book. The prose is tight, the plot is trim, the dialogue is natural, and everything flows the way it should. It’s hard to believe this is Linda’s first book.

Although this book is targeted towards 9, 10 and 11-year-olds, it can be enjoyed by readers outside that age range. It would be a great book for a parent and child to read and discuss.

The book is not illustrated, per se, but there are little pen sketches dotted throughout. These are tiny, almost thumbnails, at the top of the chapter. I wondered why they weren’t larger.

All in all, this is an interesting, enjoyable, and thought-provoking read.

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Click on this link to buy Erasable

A B C Letters in the Library by Bonnie Farmer. Illustrated by Chum McLeod. Book Review.

This book goes through the letters of the alphabet relating them to things in the library such as dictionaries , encyclopedias, volunteers, and story time. H is the librarian going sh. T is the teacher going tsk at loud teens who shrug in response.

There is no story and the tone is generally serious. I was hoping for a bit of humor. We found this book rather dull and a bit stereotyped. I can see a librarian using it to introduce children to the library but there must be other, more fun books out there to choose from.

 The pictures are quite nice with skinny body people who have large heads with tiny eyes. They are imposed on a white background. It is unfortunate that the artist did not introduce a story line, something more compelling, or at least something humorous. This is an okay alphabet book but rather lackluster.

Click on the cover to buy the book.

Learning Resources Goodie Games ABC CookiesLearning Resources Snap-n-Learn Alphabet Alligators

 

The Learning Journey Match It! Memory, Alphabet

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

Mixing Primary Colors

Mixing Colors

Follow soon -to-be four years old Kayleigh as she mixes the primary colors to create the secondary colors. How to make secondary colors is reinforced with graphics.
My goal is to make 1-4 videos a month that are both fun and educational for children or  helpful to teachers and parents. If you have a topic you would like me to tackle, please leave me a line.

The Best Thing About Kindergarten by Jennifer Lloyd. Illustrated by Qin Leng. Book Review.

This book takes place on the last day of a kindergarten class as they prepare for their little graduation. The teacher poses the question, “Who can guess what is the best thing about kindergarten?”

As the day progresses, children propose different answers: calendar time, playhouse center, block corner, arts and crafts time, math time, writing center, story time, and recess.  After the children have received their diplomas and marched probably in front of their parents they demand to know what the answer is. “What is the best thing about kindergarten?” they shout.

The teacher replies, “It is each one of you of course! You, my students, are the best thing about kindergarten!”

 This is definitely a feel good book for children going to school. I think it would be a wonderful thing for the teacher to read at the end of September in order to get across the idea that although she has to fill the jam-packed day with curriculum, yes even for kindergarten, the best thing about it is the kids.

The illustrations are simple. There are children of different races in the kindergarten class but no one with any obvious disabilities is represented. A pleasant book to share. 

Click on the covers to buy the book or for more information.

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More great books about kindergarten.

  

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

Children In Need – Author Cleo Lampos Three Random Questions Interview

4139881Cleo Lampos has written several books on important issues:

  • A Mother’s Song: a Story of the Orphan Train
  • Rescuing Children: Teachers, Social workers, Nuns and Missionaries Who Stepped in the Shadows to Rescue Waifs
  • Second Chances: Teachers of the Diamond Projects School Series
  • Teaching Diamonds in the Tough: Mining the Potential in Every Student
  • Miss Bee and the Do Bees: Teachers of the Diamond Projects School Series
  • Grandpa’s Remembering Book (Alzheimer’s Disease)
  • Cultivating Wildflowers: An Urban Teacher Romance
  • Dust Between the Stitches

Bonnie Ferrante: Your biography on Goodreads is phenomenal. Why did you to return to university and earn a Masters degree in Learning disabilities while working in the LD/BD Clinic as a diagnostician?

Cleo Lampos: The events in one’s life defines a lot of their character. This is true for myself. At the age of three, my father died of heart failure and several years later my mother married a man with an alcohol addiction. Both of these life changing events influenced my decisions as an adult. I became acutely aware of children suffering from low self-esteem or the effects of abuse. As such, I eventually earned a Master’s degree in behavior disordered/emotionally disturbed education and taught for 26 years.

Ferrante: What inspired you to write about the orphan trains?

Lampos: Having spent a year in foster care, the idea of a mother giving up a child for adoption or allowing them to be fostered out for their own safety intrigued me. The realization that adult women could not protect or provide for their children helped me to delve into the research of the orphan trains in which 250,000 children rode the trains from New York City to the Midwest for a chance at a better life. The historical novel A Mother’s Song is the result of a lifetime of experiences.

 Click on the cover to buy the book or for more information.

Ferrante: Teaching is an emotionally and physically draining career that can easily take over your entire life? Were you able to write while you were teaching? Were you writing about teaching or something else?

Lampos: Writing provided an outlet for therapy and coping with difficult situations. As a teacher, I journaled in order to make sense of the trauma, drama and triumph of the classroom.

Ferrante: How do you find time for writing with all the volunteer work that you do? Do you have a routine you follow?

Lampos: Most of my writing has been done early in the morning when my mind is clear and the house is quiet. This writing routine spans decades of my life.

Ferrante: Many of your books are about serious and difficult subjects such as Grandpa’s Remembering Book and A Mother’s Song: A Story of the Orphan Train. Previously, I read about the orphan trains and found the story of what these children encountered to be emotionally painful. Alzheimer’s Disease has touched almost everyone’s family or friends by the time they reach my age and even though we know it is prevalent, it is a difficult thing to accept. How do you deal with researching such heartbreaking events?

Click on the cover to buy the book or for more information.

Lampos: Researching the issues of adoption, attachment difficulties, Alzheimer’s, or foster care breathes life into me as I begin to understand these conditions. For many years, these nuggets of insight provided narrative for magazine articles and Sunday School take-home papers.

Ferrante: Many of your books, even your romance Cultivating Wildflowers: An Urban Teacher Romance, feature orphaned or abandoned children. If you could get one message across to your readers pertaining to the situation, what would you like them to understand?

Lampos: The overriding theme of all my writing is the inherent value and potential of every child regardless of their circumstances.

Click on the cover to buy the book or for more information.

Ferrante: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

Lampos: I love to volunteer and meet people. Rather than watching television, my husband and I work in the local community garden, pack lima beans for a group involved in hunger, teach at the local senior groups or local colleges, and help out in projects. The feelings from being part of a well organized outreach is priceless.

Ferrante: Tell us about your latest work.

Lampos: My latest published book took five years to research, including reading my mother’s diary from the Great Depression. The historic novel, Dust Between the Stitches, presents the difficulties of a rural teacher in the Dust Bowl as she tries to help her grandfather keep the family homestead from bank foreclosure. During the course of the book, the teacher falls in love and creates a quilt from the feed sack scraps she collects. Despite depressing events, this is a book of hope in the midst of challenge.

Click on the cover to buy the book or for more information.

three random questions

Ferrante: Almost everyone can recall a missed photo opportunity because he/she did not have a camera. What moment above all others do you wish you could have caught on film?

Lampos: If I could have been caught on film, I wish that I had been photographed with my students ten years ago as we made leaf rubbings in the autumn.

Ferrante: If you could float in a hot air balloon over any city or place in the world, what would you choose to float over?

Lampos: On a balloon ride, I want to float over the beet farms near Greeley, Colorado, and trace the irrigation ditches.

Ferrante: What is your favorite day of the week? Why?

Lampos: My favorite day is Sunday, because I love to sing hymns and again connect with hope.

Ferrante: Thank you for sharing with us today. Your books sound wonderful. Good luck with your writing.

Miss Bee and the Do Bees was reviewed on this blog January 14, 2017.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

 

Note: the three random questions are from “Chat Pack – Fun Questions to Spark Conversations”.

 

Social Skill Wrapped in Hilarity: Bossy Flossy written and illustrated by Paulette Bogan. Book Review.

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Click here to buy Bossy Flossy

It is such a great feeling when I find a picture book that both my granddaughter and I enjoy. Bossy Flossy had turned us into Paulette Bogan fans by the third page.

Flossy butts heads with everyone, including her toys. The book begins with Flossy standing in the middle of her bedroom telling all her toys what to do. With one hand on her hip and the other pointing, she demands, “Sit up straight. Look at me. Listen to me. Pay attention. Do what I tell you.” She is bossy to her cat, her little brother, and even her mother.

Although flossy is a simple, cartoonish character, her big wild red hair, her dramatic gestures, and her expressive face make her a real person and a force to be reckoned with.

Flossy does not understand that she is being bossy. When she is sent to her room, she tells herself, “I’m not bossy. Mom is bossy. She always tells me what to do. She never listens to me. I’m just trying to tell her something.” We realize that Flossy doesn’t see herself the way others do. As well, we aren’t sure about her interpretation of her mother’s behavior. Maybe Mom is bossy. At times, it seems as though Flossie is trying to be helpful but is unaware of the effect her behavior has on others. She tells a classmate how to paint and then takes the press and draw the line on her artwork. She orders another classmate to wear a hat she has chosen to complete his dress-up costume.

When a new boy, Edward, joins her class, Flossy meets her match in the overbearing department. Frustrated, Flossie challenges Edward but he doesn’t back down. The argument escalates until they are both sent to timeout. There, they agreed to stop bossing others. They both improve and become great friends.

Although it might sound like a didactic book, it really isn’t. Bogan disarms us completely with humor and charm. Children might identify with Flossy’s problem but will find her behavior intriguing and silly. If you have an overly dominant child, I would avoid discussing bossiness immediately after reading this. It is such a delightful book, you wouldn’t want to spoil it. After reading it a couple of times, you might want to bring up the difference between being bossy and being helpful, taking turns, listening to others, and so on. In my home, “Bossy Flossy” has become a code that can make either my granddaughter or myself stop and think about how our words sound to the other person. Even if you don’t have a bossy member in your family, this book can be just pure fun to read.

The illustrations are interesting in that they appear to be drawn individually, cut out and arranged on the page. This could be a fun art activity to do with your child. You can both draw and cut out several different characters and then arrange them into different story scenes.

Highly recommended both for fun and value.

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An interview with the author, Paulette Bogan, will be posted on this blog, March 8, 2017.

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

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages