‘Fun Size’ – Julia Reviews Tuesday’s Look at THIS Book

Great Book: Fun Size by Gill Davies with illustrations by Gary Neill (1997, Reading’s Fun, Ltd.)

Back of the Book: “Learning about size can be enormous fun! This book explores the extremes: as the flaps open out so the funny creatures stretch and grow – or meet animals of an entirely different size or weight. The funny pictures and amusing poems will delight small children, while at the same time helping them to learn about sizes and opposites. Educational and great fun!!!”

Quote: “Light frogs can rest on lily pads: They are the perfect size. But if a heavy walrus sits on one, he has a wet surprise!!!”

My Review: I absolutely loved this book when I was little. I still love it, and I’m almost 10! I love the flaps and the rhymes and the AMAZING illustrations!!!  My dad says it is also great for math and measurement, geometry and shapes, and just plain fun reading out loud.

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A Fine Feathered Friend

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Our 9-year old has a friend.  She is kind and helpful and talkative and always, I mean always, smiling.  We took them to dinner with us over the weekend and just marveled at their natural companionship, just how comfortable they are in each other’s presence.  We went for a walk after dinner and the girls were very excited to find a peacock feather, the very one you see in the picture above.  Though her friend found it and took it home that evening, when our daughter saw her the next day she received this pen as a “just because” gift.

This little present stands out in my mind for one reason – my wife and I saw how special this find was in the eyes of both little girls.  They were mesmerized by its brilliant color and fascinating, stylish design.  They were intrigued at how such an exotic bird might have wandered into the area that we were walking through that evening – the Bricktown RiverWalk in our city.  The girls spoke of little else once they discovered this single feather.  It became a wonderful token of a happy evening among friends and family.

But to have it returned and recreated in a new way especially for our daughter by her closest friend, well, you should have been there.  It meant so much more to her and was received with such surprise that her friend was as happy and surprised at its giving.

It all makes me stop and think about how a “just because” kind of gift can make all the difference in the world.  It is the stuff of a great friendship, no matter how old you are.

 

Claire Writes! – ‘Baby Frederico and the New Teacher’

One day Baby Frederico’s Papa Frita decided to become a first grade teacher. Baby Frederico was very excited for this. Mostly because he was a first grader himself and he couldn’t wait to have his very own Papa as his teacher!

One night, Papa Frita was showing Mama Mia pictures of his brand new classroom. He said, “I am so excited! It’s like my own special world!” Baby Frederico smiled to himself. He couldn’t wait to be a part of this new special world!

The next day, one of Mama Mia’s friends, Mrs.B the Bee, who also used to be a first grade teacher, buzzed on over and told the family they could come shop for school things in her attic. Baby Frederico couldn’t wait! He was going to get to help pick out everything that would be in his classroom!

Shortly after, Mama, Papa, and Baby all went over to Mrs.B’s hive. As they made the long trek up the stairs to the attic, Baby Frederico’s anticipation grew. He was just so excited! When Mrs.B opened the attic door, Baby Frederico could not believe his eyes. There was every sort of game, book, and Velcro that you could ever imagine! And yes, I did say Velcro! There was even a whole tub of Velcro just sitting there waiting for them! There was EVERYTHING!

After the family cleared out the attic and thanked Mrs.B, they all went home and opened up the boxes.

As Baby Frederico dug through a box, he told his Papa, ” Papa, I am so happy you get to be my teacher this year! It’s gonna be the bestest year ever!”

Mama Mia and Papa Frita exchanged a confused glance.

“What do you mean Baby? Don’t you remember?” Said Mama Mia.

Baby Frederico also made a confused look, “Remember what?”

Papa Frita sighed, “Baby Frederico, you’ve already been a first grader.”

Baby Frederico laughed, “Yes! I know THAT! I AM a first grader!”

Papa Frita sighed again, “No, Baby. You WERE a first grader. Now you’re a second grader. I’m sorry. That’s just how it works!”

All of a sudden, Baby Frederico felt tears well up in his little iguana eyes.

“But Papa, ” he cried, “I thought I was going to spend every day with you!”

Papa Frita gave him a big papa iguana hug and said, “Oh my silly little iguana, I will get to spend every day with you! I might be a first grade teacher, but I’ll be a first grade teacher at your school!”

Baby Frederico sat up with surprise. He didn’t even think about that!

He smiled, “Ya’ know what Papa? I love that you’re a teacher, but I REALLY love that you’re my Papa.”

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Just Fishin’

It’s one of those storybook evenings here in Oklahoma. The clouds are long and low, brilliant white on their face as the setting sun inches its way toward the horizon. There are buckets of minnows and boxes of worms, fishing line notched to red and white bobbers, rippling waves that bounce the pontoons closer and closer to the sandstone shores that form the waters edge, and a father and son.

I’m here with my brother-in-law and my nephew, enjoying the silent places in a hidden cove at the north end of this watery landscape…and I’m listening as a dad and his boy maneuver through the anecdotes of life on the water, of their great love for simple fishing, and of life as father and son.

The son fishes and the father senses it is something more. There are lessons to be learned here, time slows, and much-needed patience presents itself as bobbers float and sink and rest once again. The talk ebbs and flows and eventually settles into a near-perfect stillness.

Fish come and go, released back into their murky homes somewhere beneath us, while we laugh and talk and watch all that lies before us.

The sun draws our day towards its end, and we are all better for it.

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‘Prehistoric Actual Size’ – Tuesday’s Look at THIS Book!

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room…

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Today’s great book: Prehistoric Actual Size by Steve Jenkins (2005, Houghton Mifflin Company)

About the Author: http://www.stevejenkinsbooks.com/

Teacher Resource:  http://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?tid=23811&a=1

Time to Read: informational, facts and figures; great illustrations!

Summary:  from Scholastic.com…”What is it like to come face-to-face with the ten-foot-tall terror bird? Or stare into the mouth of the largest meat eater ever to walk the earth? Can you imagine a millipede that is more than six feet long, or a dinosaur smaller than a chicken? In this “actual size” look at the prehistoric world, which includes two dramatic gatefolds, you’ll meet these awe-inspiring creatures, as well as many others.”

Best Quote from the Book:  “In this book you’ll see what these prehistoric animals, along with many others, may have looked like at actual size.”

Our View:  Written and illustrated by acclaimed author Steve Jenkins, Prehistoric Actual Size is the award-winning sequel to another of our favorite books by the author, Actual Size.  The book is full of great and intriguing information about prehistoric animals and includes detailed illustrations that give readers a sense of just how enormous (or tiny) many of these animals were.  There is also an index of information with more details about each animal.  We bought this book because our nephews are drawn to such informational books right now and devour them quickly and then talk about them for days on end.  Jenkins’ books are especially captivating and truly bring to life some amazing information.  This is a unique book that dads can purchase and give away whenever they have the opportunity.  

A Walk in the Park

Our daughters joined me for a walk in the park last evening. Oklahoma summers are really warm this time of year so we wait until the hour before sunset and set off on the trail of one of our favorite parks in town.

It’s a simple thing to do and it costs absolutely nothing, but the gains seem at this moment in my life to be immeasurable. There are certainly the health benefits that are important and I know that, but the conversation and lack of distractions and unplugging of technology while we are on the trail together are exceptional.

We don’t always share deep thoughts or even talk, but the point is we can and we do. We have each other’s undivided attention in a way that I cannot find in most every other area of our lives.

Over the years, a walk in the park has helped us mend some fences, share some funny stories, laugh, sing, talk and listen to each other and the world around us. It reconnects us and it gives our little group a shared path to take and a finish line to help each other reach.

It is truly a walk in the park.

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