‘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.


‘A Chair for My Mother’ – Tuesday’s Look at THIS Book!

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


Today’s great book: A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams (1982, HarperCollins)

About the Author: http://www.kidsreads.com/authors/vera-b-williams

Teacher Resource:  http://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?tid=1264&a=1

Time to Read: 32-pages, a touching family story; we read it before bed

Summary:  from the publisher…”The jar of coins is full. The day has come to buy the chair – the big, fat, comforable, wonderful chair they have been saving for. The chair that will replace the one that was burned up – along with everything else – in the terrible fire.  A book of love and tenderness filled with the affirmation of life.”

Best Quote from the Book:  “When we can’t get a single other coin into the jar, we are going to take out all the money and go and buy a chair.”

Our View:  Written and illustrated by Vera B. Williams and named a Caldecott Honor Book by the American Library Association, A Chair for My Mother has been a longtime favorite of mine and I read it every semester to my college students who are aspiring to become teachers of young children and their families.  The story places itself firmly in the lives of a little girl and her mother and grandmother, deep in the heart of the city, among a close knit group of family and friends that surround them.  Taking care of each other, hard work, saving, financial issues, fire and the loss of a home – each topic weaves itself through the plot and brings to life the courage and dedication of a family to keep going and do great things…together.  

Julia Reviews! – ‘Small Steps’

TitleSmall Steps: The Year I Got Polio
AuthorPeg Kehret
Year It Was Published: 1996
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Summary…from the back of the book, “Acclaimed author Peg Kehret has written the true story of the year when she was stricken with polio. At first paralyzed and terrified, she fought her way to recovery, aided by doctors and therapists, a supportive family, and loving roommates fighting their own battles with the disease, and plenty of grit and luck. With the humor and suspense that are her trademarks, Peg Kehret vividly recreates a year of heartbreak and triumph.”
My View: My big sister, Emily, bought this book when she was my age because she loved reading the mysteries and adventures that Peg Kehret was writing for kids our age.  After she read Peg’s biography, Small Steps, the author became even more important and she began telling our family more and more about this wonderful lady.  I am now also a big fan of the Peg Kehret series of books, especially books like Cages and Don’t Tell Anyone.  When my dad told me that there was a biography about the author (and we even had it!), I was excited.  I learned a lot about things I knew nothing about before, especially about the time in our country when polio was such a big topic.  My favorite story in the book is about how much Peg loved her doctor during the time she was in the hospital.  It is a very funny story!  All I have to say now is that readers will be hooked from page one.


Julia (age 9) Reviews! – ‘Cages’

Title: CAGES
Author: Peg Kehret
Year It Was Made: 2001
Publisher: Puffin Books
Time It Took Me To Read It: 3 weeks
Back Of Book: Kit never means to steal that bracelet. She’s just mad after losing the lead in the school play and fighting with her unbearable stepfather. But when she is caught and sentenced to twenty hours of volunteer work at the humane society, she’s sure she’s blown her chance at a scholarship. Kit doesn’t mind volunteering at the humane society; she knows how it feels to be stuck in a cage like those animals. And with the help of one special friend, Kit begins to learn that the key to her own cage is right in front of her.
My Review: This is such an amazing book! On the first sentence of the first page, it’s like it pulls you right into the book! This story just gets happy, then sad. Then, it gets happy, and then sad again. It finally stays on one thing at the end of the book. HAPPY!!!


Baby Frederico Reviews! – ‘Inch by Inch’


*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story (or book review) from our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. His backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!

Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and…books about insects.  Here is something new:

May 16, 2014

Hi everyone,

Here is another of my favorite books by one of the greatest children’s authors and illustrators ever- Leo Lionni.  My Papa Frita has read this book to me so many times I have it memorized!

So today, let’s make a list of some of the great things I love about Inch by Inch (1960, Alfred Knopf).

1.  There is nothing like a good book of words AND drawings, all in the same place. This book does that on EVERY page.

2.  There’s a very “green as an emerald” inchworm in this book, and you know how much I love small green animals.

3.  The book is written from the point of view of a very smart inchworm. He can outwit all kinds of inchworm-hungry birds.

4. The most important part of the book is that it explains how a clever solution exists for most any problem.

There all kinds of fascinating birds in this book and the illustrations were all made using collage, colored pencil and crayon! I love all three of those things!

Reading is it,

Baby Frederico

Tuesday’s Look at this Book! – ‘It’s Mine’


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

Today’s great book: It’s Mine! by Leo Lionni (1985, Scholastic)

Interesting Facts about the Author: http://www.randomhousekids.com/brand/leo-lionni/

Time to Read: we read it just before bed

Summary:  from Scholastic…”It’s Mine! is the Caldecott award-winning author/illustrator Leo Lionni’s classic about three lovable frogs who learn a valuable lesson.”

Best Quote from the Book:  “Worms are for everybody!” they cried. But Milton croaked defiantly, “Not this one. It’s mine!”

Our View:  As it is with so many of the great fables of our own childhoods, this short story conveys a wonderful moral with the help of colorfully illustrated animals and a world of perspective.  Lionni uses words and illustrations as only a few of the great children’s authors of the past century have to bring to life an idea that is faced by every human being, large or small – being selfish or being selfless.  It is not always an easy choice, but it is a choice we all must make.  When we find that we can make the selfless choice, it is amazing how many times others will follow and do the same.  It’s Mine goes right to the heart of it without sounding preachy or moralistic, while all the time remaining grounded in goodness and grace, always with the child’s perspective as its balance.  This is not one to miss!

Favorite Illustration from the Book:


‘Too Purpley!’ – Tuesday’s Look at this Book

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.

 Too Purpley

Today’s great book: Too Purpley by Jean Reidy with illustrations by Genevieve Leloup  (2011, Bloomsbury USA Childrens)

The Author’s Book Website:  http://www.jeanreidy.com/TOO_PURPLEY.html

Time to Read:  short and sweet; great for naptime or bedtime or anytime

Summary:  from the dustjacket…”You know exactly what clothes you want to wear, right? Well, you sure know which ones you don’t want…for little fashionistas everywhere.”

Best Quote:  “Too itchy, too scratchy, too stichy, too matchy!”

Our View:  This is the number one book that our 2-year old niece asked us to read with her nearly every day for two weeks while they were with us during the Christmas holiday.  By day three, she could read it to us – which is part of the magic of books like this that include just two or three or four words on each page that are directly related to the wonderful illustrations of the little girl that takes the starring role in this story.  Our little one was reading it for herself in no time and that makes for a great, early success in bringing children along as lifetime readers.  Regarding the topic of clothes in this book, I remember when our girls were little that one of the great opportunities we had as parents to help them learn to make decisions and choose wisely was in allowing them to choose what they wanted to wear.  Depending upon the activities of certain days (church, park, school, around the house, outside in the dirt and mud, etc.) , we had in mind what we would prefer they wear, so we would give them two different outfits to choose from, and that helped us all.  Other times, it was just a matter of their mood as to what they wanted to wear, and that is where Too Purpley shines!  We all feel this way at one time or another, whether we are young or old, and this book just gives words and ideas to that very topic.  The colorful pages are exceptionally bright and cheery and often funny, while the text is short and sweet and makes for an easy read that concludes with a decision and a smile.  Don’t miss this one!

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe – “Too Purpley Cows “ – created by the kids to accompany this particular book.