Friday, May 29, 2009

Mustache Mania

Moosetache by Margie Palatini has become one of our new favorite books this summer. It has loads of tongue twisters and fun illustrations by Henry Cole. Plus, it's also a sweet little love story and a 1997 publication that's way ahead of it's time.

In case you haven't noticed, mustaches have been cool for a while now. Maybe not the one on your face, but product designers everywhere have been celebrating the mustache. Hip hip hooray for the mustache!!!
Not the one on your face.........but on everything else.
Look! A mustache cookie cutter. Who knew cookie decorating could be so much fun!

Some mustache pencils for Back to School.

A custom mustache onesie for the new baby!

This cute little mustache mania tote is perfect for those trips to the library when you end up checking out way more books than you had planned on. Here's a list of kids books to fill it with:

The Magic Mustache by Gary Barwin
The Rajah's Moustache by Asha Nehmiah

When you read mustache books to your kids, it's a good idea to have some of these self-adhesive mustaches handy. Makes reading even more fun!

Friday, May 22, 2009

World Music For Kids

Right now we are listening to the sounds of World Playground, A Musical Adventure for Kids. It's the cd compilation of world music from a complete activity kit by Putumayo. It's an introduction to the people, places and music of six continents and it's full of cultural information and hands on activities. If you are homeschooling, I highly recommend this program. It does require a lot of child/ parent interaction.

Children love music and I believe in the importance of multicultural awareness through music. It's a fun way to learn about the world we live in and bring everyone closer together.

You will get to visit the countries of : Senegal, Bolivia, Chile, Jamaica, Australia, Canada, Greece, France, Democratic Republic of Congo, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Israel, Ethiopia and the USA and you can sing along to all the songs from each country, because the lyrics are included (with translation too).
Here's a fun Kids clip from Putumayo's Animal Playground:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life

Lee & Low Books is visionary in its choice of educational books for children. They've published the Vanishing Cultures series by Jan Reynolds as well as her 2007 Children's Book of the Year, Celebrate! Connections Among Cultures.

Reynolds' newly released title Cycle of Rice Cycle of Life: A Story of Sustainable Farming is a primer for teaching ecology and sustainability to elementary school children. But it is also an engaging photo documentary of Bali, the land and the social and spiritual interdependency of rice and the Balinese people. My 5-year-old thoroughly enjoyed our exploration of this book together. Jan Reynolds thoughtfully connects science and social studies with visual imagery that explains a rather complex system in a way children as young as five can understand. An excellent interview with Jan Reynolds about the making of this book can be found on the Lee & Low site. Here are two excerpts from that interview:

When did you first become interested in Balinese rice farming?
"I wanted to teach sustainability, but it is a big word for small children. Molly Bang, a scientist and children’s author, suggested using rice to teach the concept. When I did some investigating, I found that rice farming in Bali was the best example to teach sustainable agriculture. That was about twelve years ago, and sustainability was not a commonly heard term."

Of the things you learned while researching Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life, what caught your interest the most?
"What caught my interest most was the fact that the farmers all had herds of ducks. This made explaining the cycle of sustainability easy. The ducks ate the pests (bugs) and fertilized the field (manure), so they were the natural pesticide and fertilizer for the rice fields. No chemicals were used. This way of farming had been followed without detriment to the environment for more than one thousand years. It was sustainable!"

Reynolds completed an environmental studies program at the University of Vermont back in the 1970's so naturally she was compelled to write about the topic of sustainability, but it actually took 10 years before a publisher would take on this project. The term, sustainability had been considered too unfamiliar for children. So I'm thinking, if we had been talking with our children about how the food we eat is grown and about our "ecological footprint" ten years ago, how would our shopping and eating habits be different now? Maybe it's time for some reform- starting with the groceries we buy. Sustainability starts in the fields. It starts with knowledge and awareness of the interdependency we have with our environment. Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life seamlessly and beautifully explains this concept for children. You will find a three part video presentation of material in this important book on Jan Reynold's website. And if you are not yet familiar with her Vanishing Cultures series, it's well worth seeking out and sharing.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I Love Mommy

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms of the world!
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes,
because that is the doorway to her heart,
the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
but the beauty of a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is in the caring that she lovingly gives,
the passion that she shows,
and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

I Love Mommy by Lizi Boyd is a super sturdy picture book (perfect for all: babies, toddlers and their older siblings) with sweet, rounded edges on the pages and beautiful contemporary illustrations done in gouache. Capturing those simple shared moments of mother and child that all moms can relate to. It has a companion book as well, I Love Daddy, because Father's Day is right around the corner!

Here is a link to Design is Mine's beautiful photo round-up of mother and child. Enjoy the day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Chris Raschka, Bridget Zinn Auction & Maybelle Reviews!

I'm a little groggy and soggy from four days of rain and no outdoor play with the girls so what could be more amusing (Disney aside please) than poetry! A Kick in the Head An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms is an illustrated collection of 29 poems by various writers each written in a different form such as a cinquain, sonnet, ballad, ode, haiku and others. A short explanation of the rules for each particular poetic form is listed in the back of the book as well as at the bottom of the page. The author suggests reading the poem once then reading the rules of the poetic form and then rereading the poem. Notice if you experience the poem differently and appreciate the art form more.

The team that created A Poke in the Eye, Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka have brought us a vibrant, amusing and instructional book. Caldecott award winning artist Chris Raschka's paint and torn paper collage illustrations compliment the poetry of Shakespeare, Gary Soto, Paul B. Janeczko and other greats.

I have yet to get my hands on the newly released, A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing and Shout, the third illustrated collection of poetry by this team but if I like it look for another review here.

I have news from the Kidlitosphere. Jone MacCulloch author of the blogs, MacLibrary and Deowriter is organizing an aution for fellow blogger and children's author, Bridget Zinn who we pray is getting stronger and healthier each day with love and treatment. Treatment is expensive and to help offset some of the medical bills many of us have contributed to this very important cause. Jone is posting the details at BridgetZinnAuction. We hope to have lots of participation and Bees Knees Books is donating a copy of Maybelle, Bunny of the North and a sweet plush companion bunny. There are some terrific items up for auction so please stop by and participate.

Maybelle, Bunny of the North
is getting some great reviews and it's very exciting! We are honored to receive reviews from these writers/educators whose blog posts are always well crafted. I'm posting the links to three reviews in order of posting date below:

The Reading Tub

Write for a Reader

The Book Chook

Thank you Terry, Shelly and Susan for including this small press debut and introducing author/illustrator Keith Patterson to your readers!

I think you will enjoy this clip of Chris Raschka showing some of his original picture book mocks. Now I feel inspired to spend the rainy day indoors making little books together : )