‘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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Baby Frederico, Poet!

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*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story (or book review or movie) 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…Shel Silverstein.  Here is something entirely new:

It happened once many years ago

that there was a little green reptile by the name of Frederico.

His family called him Baby and there was even a lady

who once pulled his big toe.

Instead of a cry, he let out a giggle.

It was the kind of giggle that would make you wiggle,

and smile and laugh and giggle some more.

He often took naps with his grandpa (who would snore)

and he lived in the country with pets galore.

He had two chickens, two kittens, and a horse.

There was even a little black puppy named Charlie, of course.

His Momma was Italian and his Papa from Mexico

And together the three would learn to grow and grow

Into one happy family by the name of Frederico.

 Yes, that’s right.  It did happen once many years ago!

There was indeed a little green reptile.  His name?  Baby Frederico.

Father Knows Five 4-11-14

*Every Friday we serve you an “a la carte” list of 5 unique videos, articles, ideas, etc. from all kinds of locations. (If you are viewing this blog through your email subscription, please follow the link to our website to view all videos.)  See you next week!

1.  Here is a wonderfully creative clip that introduces us to Chip Kidd’s new book, Go, about design for children.  We met him at the ABC Children’s book conference in San Antonio earlier this week and really enjoyed his perspective on things:

2.  Here is a classic treasury of great children’s poems and rhymes that we are reading before bedtime at home this week.  After I read, I made (the good) mistake of leaving it at the end of our 9-year old’s bed as I said goodnight and left the room – and a half hour later she was still reading from it to her older sister.

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3.  Speaking of poetry, I had no idea that April is always Poetry Month.  Here is a great idea for your classroom – a “Poet-Tree” – for all of our favorite teachers out there:

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4.  I can’t talk about poetry for children without thinking about Where the Sidewalk Ends and its fascinating author, Shel Silverstein.  His website, http://www.shelsilverstein.com/, is so much fun!

5.  Anyone remember this great book?  I found it at a bookstore in Seattle a few months ago and it brought back some great boyhood memories so I had to purchase it:

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Just Like That…

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We spent some time with my grandmother this past week.  Our 9-year old also spent some time writing her first book.  It is a creative and very mysterious story she has titled “The Unplayed Piano.”

For the past couple of years, there are really just two types of books that our daughter loves to read most – poetry and mysteries.  As she completes a chapter of this story she is writing right now, she reads it to her mother and sister and me after dinner and makes changes here and there as she reads it.  There are elements of humor and anxiety and excitement, but they all revolve around the sound of this mysterious piano music that only certain people in this family’s house are able to hear.  We don’t yet know how it will end, but the suspense is killing us!

Here is what I wanted to share with you about my grandmother and my 9-year old and this story.  I was in the kitchen working on a puzzle with my grandfather last evening when I heard the following conversation in the other room.  It went like this:

Grandmother:  “Honey, I have been meaning to ask you all week…how is your book coming along?  I was just thinking that when we finish dinner, you and I should sit together so you can read more of it to me.   I want to hear what happens with that piano.”

Julia:  “Really?”

Grandmother:  “Yes, I can’t wait.”

Julia:  “Then I can’t wait to read it to you.”

Just like that, no more than a 30 second conversation and a little girl is so encouraged, so surprised, and so happy.  And just like that, a little girl becomes an author.

Yay Stars

Perspective is worth 80 IQ points.” - Alan Kay 

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Our 2-year old niece and I were sitting in the car waiting for my wife the other night when a wonderfully inspiring thing occurred.  This sweet little girl pressed her nose up close against the cold, frosty window and peered out into the darkness and said with great excitement, “Yay stars!”

She continued to stare out and up, as though she were being mesmerized by the clear night sky that lay before her.  And then she repeated to herself, just above a whisper this time, “Yay stars.”

It was beautiful.  A song, a poem, a reminder, a message – in two words from a two year old.  Sometimes, words need not be plentiful to be just what you need.

Yay stars…

I Hear the Bells on Christmas Day

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I am overwhelmed by the peace and joy that this Christmas season brings to so many in  our world today.  Beyond the Bible, there are few stories or songs or poems that truly grasp the meaning of this wonderful day.  However, there is one piece of classic literature that means a great deal to me and to my wife and children at this particular time of year.  It is a poem, originally titled ‘Christmas Bells’ when it was written in 1863 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and now most well-known (with only a few changes) as the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”  It is our prayer for you on this Christmas day that you will see beyond the lights and the trees and the gifts and the food to the heart and soul of it all.  I am grateful that Longfellow once saw it, too.

Christmas Bells (1863)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play, and wild and sweet The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent, And made forlorn The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong, And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Longfellow                           Bells