Thursday, December 31, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Loretta Mason Potts by Mary Chase

I received Loretta Mason Potts for Christmas. It is written by Mary Chase who wrote my all time favorite children's chapter book, The Wicked Pigeon Ladies in the Garden. 



She wrote Loretta Mason Potts in 1958 - several years earlier than The Wicked Pigeon Ladies in the Garden.

Blurb from Amazon: Imagine how shocked you would be if, like ten-year-old Colin Mason, you were the oldest (smartest, best) kid in a family of four, and then you found out that all these years, without knowing it, you’ve had an older sister, an “awful, awful, bad, bad, girl—Loretta Mason Potts.” Who? What? Wait! ... But this is only the first of many surprises that lie in store for Colin, as things get curiouser and curiouser very fast. Loretta (a glum gangly girl and so very very rude) comes home and before you know it, Colin is secretly following her down a hidden tunnel that leads from a bedroom closet to an astonishing castle, where a charming and beautiful countess keeps court attended by a dapper and ever-obliging general, and in this world everybody loves Loretta (especially when she’s rude), so much so that they’re begging her to stay with them forever. What is the secret behind this mysterious other world and how does it connect to the many secrets in the Mason family? It’ll take a spellbinding, hair-raising adventure, involving not just Colin and Loretta but their mother and the rest of the family, to work that out.

I found this story fun, but it left me with many unanswered questions. What was up with the father in the story and why did he just disappear? Why would a small child be holding a cigarette? Why would Loretta's mother allow her to live somewhere else? There is an older lady that helps them. What is her back story?

I liked Colin and found him a realistic child. I also like how the family begins to work together.

This book is worth reading, but The Wicked Pigeon Ladies is still my favorite, and I wish that it would be reprinted with the original illustrations, so that I could buy one for each of my grandchildren.




Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Mouse Around by Pat Schories

Published in 1991, Pat Schories' Mouse Around is a fun story about a baby mouse that is curious about a water leak in the pipe above his nest. He tries to touch the drip of water and falls into the back pocket of the man fixing the pipe.



He is transferred unwittingly from one place to the next and takes a journey around the town. I originally purchased this book because I liked the art so much. In "reading' this book with no words, I really like the story. There is so much to see as you travel with the baby mouse and wonder if he will make it back to his mama and nest.




If her art looks familiar to you, it is because she has illustrated many, many children's books including the Biscuit books. Check out her website here. The images of the pages from the book are from her website.

Wordless books give your child the chance to tell the story. They allow your child to be observant. Often tiny details are told with the artwork. This book contains pictures within pictures, so there is a lot to see.

Do you have a favorite wordless book?


Monday, December 28, 2015

After Christmas Clean-up: Too Many Toys by David Shannon

Too Many Toys by David Shannon was published in 2008. This book has classic David Shannon Artwork. Spencer, the main character is a little boy who is loved by all his family members who give him toys at every single holiday including the 4th of July.

Now his house is full of toys and his mama is tired of stepping on them, so she tells him it is time to get rid of some toys. Of course he has tender feelings tied to many of his toys, but they are able to fill a box. But, will the toys stay in the box?

You can see more of his books and artwork here. His illustrations are bright, detailed, fun.

Blurb from his website: Spencer has too many toys! His father trips over them, his mother falls over them, and the house is overflowing with junk. Now its time to give some of the mountain of goodies away, but Spencer finds it hard. In the end, he fills a box, but decides the one toy he can’t part with is the box itself!



This is a book that both parents and children can relate to as at some point, all of us need to de-junk our houses.

How goes the toy parade at your house?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas NICU Update - and Three books for little ones.

Thanks to everyone who ordered books for their children from our Usborne Link . We were able to get twenty-two new books for the newborns at McKayDee NICU. Because of those books and others, fifteen more packets of books will be delivered on Christmas Day to Angie.


I love to put Usborne books in the packets because they are well made, sturdy, and adorable. Today, I will focus on three of the books in this selection of Usborne books.

The first is Oh, Baby! the A to Z by Kane Miller. Published in 2013, this adorable ABC book has pictures of baby animals for each letter. This is a great way to open your child's world to 26 different baby animals.

The cover:

Where else can you easily teach your child about hedgehogs, marmosets, newts, and raccoons? The photography is stellar and so sweet. This book wins in the cuteness category. Each letter is shown in upper and lower case and many different colors are used, so this book can help your child learn many things.



The next two books are Cats, Cats  and Dogs, Dogs  written by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt and published in August of 2015.



The illustrations all have bold black outlines, and the story is told in rhyme, which makes it fun to read.

Some inside pages:






The last page of each book has a mirror so your child can pretend to be a cat or a dog. 




This book introduces words your child may not hear in everyday conversation. Remember that a child who is read to on a regular basis begins school with hundreds of thousands of extra words.

You can still order books for your child from Usborne. If you use This Link, the babies in the NICU get free books and your child gets great quality books. Thanks again to everyone who ordered because it is the easiest and least expensive way for us to give books to the NICU.

My neighbor brought six more books over for the babies. I appreciate her generosity toward the littlest of readers. Thanks, Michelle! I have to get that Underwear book. It is too cute.



Find a child to read to today, even if that child is you.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday: The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie de Paola and The Christmas Witch by Joanne Oppenheim


Published in 1980, Tomie de Paola tells and illustrates the The Legend of Old Befana. She is a cranky old woman who sweeps and bakes. The other people in the town don't like her and the children think she is cranky and sweeps too much. When she sees the star representing the birth of the Christ Child, she is annoyed that it interrupts her sleep. When the Wise Men come and tell her that they seek the Savior, she feels that she is too old, too busy, and doesn't have a proper gift for him.

Later, as she sweeps, she realizes that she can bake some goodies to take to him. She decides she will bring her broom and sweep the floors for the new mother. "And I'll take along my broom to sweep the room clean, for the Baby King's mother will be tired."

Unfortunately, she was waited too long and is unable to find the Baby King, but she keeps searching. "Every year on the Feast of the Three Kings, January the sixth, Old Befana runs across the sky. She visits all children while they sleep and leaves them gifts from her basket. Then she takes her broom and sweeps the room clean. 'For, after all,' says Old Befana, 'I never know which child might be the Baby King of Bethlehem.'"

Matthew loved this story, so tonight we will read The Christmas Witch written by Joanne Oppenheim and Illustrated by Annie Mitra. Published in 1993, this story also relates the legend of Old Befana. Old Befana looks more the part of the witch in this story and she sings horribly.



The story is the same but not as tender as de Paola's version. His use of dialogue brings Befana's voice to the story.

It is important for children to compare and contrast stories. Allow them to decide which one they like better and explain why. Maybe they will like some parts of one and some parts of the other one. Talk about the choices the authors and illustrators made in each book. Discuss why those choices matter and which ones made the book stronger. By reading with your child and guiding them through the critical thinking process, you will make them stronger readers who question the choices of authors and illustrators.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Chalk by Bill Thomson


Wordless books are one way to tell a story. The child (or adult) has to look carefully at the pictures to see what is happening. All emotion, all details, everything is told only using illustrations. This can lead to many interpretations depending on what each child notices. Generally the artwork is amazing in wordless books. It is a place for the illustrator to showcase their talent

The art by Bill Thomson in Chalk looks almost like photographs. Here are some examples of what you will see in the book from his website:






+

Three children walking in the rain find a gift bag full of chalk at a playground. They start to draw, and because the chalk is magical, their artwork comes to life. The expressions of fear on the children's faces when the T-Rex comes to life are incredibly realistic. What will they do to save themselves from this beast?

My thirteen-year-old son loved this one. So many times he said, "Wait," would turn the pages back, restudy the pictures, and then go forward. He loved this book as did I. All of the pictures in this book would be wonderful to use as writing prompts.

Do you have a favorite wordless book?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Teen Tuesday - Inkheart by Cornelia Funke


Imagine a reader who reads so well that the characters come to life, literally. Meggie's Father is such a reader. He's had things come out of stories before, but this time he has read an evil ruler off the pages and into their world. Now they are all in danger. I always like a good bad guy, but I sure wouldn't want any of the bad guys from my favorite books to be in my real world.

In Cornelia Funke's Inkheart, characters are read right off the page and into real life, but there is a catch. for each character that comes into our world, someone from our world is sent into their world.

I enjoyed this story and the premise of someone reading aloud so well that they make the book come alive - and all the problems that could come from that happening.

I liked the villains and how they were created from someone's imagination. I liked the depth of them and the fact that the author always knows more about the character than they tell the reader. The main characters, Meggie, her father, Elinor, and Farid are people I would want on my side during hard times.

This book made me think - because I really love books and often felt so immersed in them that I felt I had entered their world, but what if books could enter our world - not that it is possible, but which characters would I have enter my world if I could?

There is a bit of swearing in this book - not a lot, but it didn't really need any.

If you long to be a master reader or storyteller, you will like this book. I consider myself a good reader. I've had students faint in class during my read aloud of Touching Spirit Bear, but even I can't read the characters right off the page.

This is the first book in a series of three.

I read Inkspell and liked it even more than Inkheart. I have not yet read Inkdeath. 





Monday, December 14, 2015

Bah! Humbug? by Lorna Balian



One of my favorite book authors and illustrators is Lorna Balian. Her books are always fun, a bit magical, and often have a surprise ending.

Bah! Humbug? has been reprinted in bright colors. My copy isn't nearly as nice as the new one. In this story, Margie's big brother, Arthur tells her there is no Santa Claus. He makes her help him build a Santa trap so they can catch him if he exists. The story is told in Margie's words and writing - with some things spelled incorrectly. Her teddy bear Herold is a fun part of the storytelling in the illustrations. Is there really a Santa Claus? Will they catch him in their trap?

The story is charming and so much of the story is told by looking at the pictures.

Do you have a favorite Christmas book?


Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey  written by Susan Wojciechowski and illustrated by P.J. Lynch is a beautiful book that was published in 1995. This story has a few more words than most books that I like to read as a storybook, but every word is needed in this beautiful story of Jonathan Toomey who the village children call "Mr. Gloomy."

He frowns, he doesn't really care about his appearance, he seems much older than he really is, and he is gruff with people. He is also the best woodcarver in the area, and a widow and her son come and ask if he can carve a nativity set for them as their own set was lost in the move to the village.

He says he will. The widow and little boy begin stopping by so the little boy can watch Jonathan carve. Soon, Jonathan helps the little boy learn to carve. In the course of carving the nativity for the little boy, we learn why Jonathan is so somber. Jonathan also learns about himself. This book always makes me cry. The illustrations alone are worth the price of the book.

Here is a link to P J Lynch's gallery.  His art is amazing and the following images are from his website and are in The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.



The story is touching and a great one to share at Christmas time. Here is a link to Susan Wojciechowski's website so you can check out her other books.

This book won the following awards:
  • ALA Notable Book of the Year  
  • Parents' Choice Honor Book 
  • IRA Teachers' Choice Award  
  • Kate Greenaway Medal  
  • Christopher Medal for excellence in children's books  
  • New York Times Book Review editor's choice  
  • American Booksellers' Pick of the Lists  
  • PaLA Carolyn W. Field Medal 
  • Grammy Award nomination for gift pack CD
This book was made into a movie in 2007. I haven't seen it, but now that I know of its existence, I'd like to see it. 

Here is the movie trailer.



If you are looking for a good book to add to your Christmas collection, this is a great pick. 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Rare Nativity by Sam Beeson

A Rare Nativity written by Sam Beeson with images by Nina and Terral Cochran was published in 2015. The book begins with a quote from the New Testament, Matthew 5:43-44 which says, Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

I've pondered this book a bit, and while at first it seems to be a book about doing good to those who would hurt you, or about the pettiness of being unkind, it is also on a deeper level a great book for those who have been hurt, who carry that hurt deep inside, and who need to let go of that hurt. This books shows the true value of forgiveness.

The story begins with the narrator telling what he/she gave to his/ her enemy on each day of Christmas. "On the first night of Christmas, I gave my enemy a briar from a tanglewood tree." This goes on each day until the enemy is given broken eggs, crooked forks, old potatoes, shards of glass, crumpled tissues, scraps of paper, clumps of clay, rusty nails, a torn up bird nest, eleven dead leaves, and twigs. The books says, "The night that followed number twelve, I slept 'til half past three. And wallowed in my sallow state against my enemy." This person has nightmares and is awakened by a knocking at the door.

Outside the door is a package with the words, "Forgive me" written on it. When the package is opened, it contains a nativity created from the garbage that was given to the enemy. "Five shards of glass composed a star - a singular display. And sheep were made of tissue. Bits of bird nest made the hay. Potato shepherds came to life with carvings and with clays. As paper angels shouted out their wonders and their praise."

The story goes on to say, "All foolish things, all rotten things I'd sent my enemy, were carefully converted in this rare nativity. He turned the other cheek and made my ugliness a gem. And by so doing, pointed me. . . to lovely Bethlehem."

In my life, I have a father who I can no longer see as he is so destructive, but I can take the rotten things he gave me and create goodness and light, turn his ugliness into a gem, and keep my eyes on the Savior, Jesus Christ. The package I give him could have the tag, "I have forgiven you" instead of "Forgive Me." Forgiveness is a great gift - especially for the one doing the forgiving. It frees your mind from hate and anger and brings peace. John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." This is what comes from forgiveness.

My father may not see those good things, but I know I have forgiven him, and I can choose to stop the flow of rottenness and instead act as a filter that sends out waters pure and clear.

The images in the book are created by photographs of the items made into art. This book is stunning and well worth the price of $17.99, but it is on sale at at Deseret Book for $14.39. It is for older (over age 6) children and adults. This book is deep and requires a bit of life experience to fully appreciate it.



A quick shout out to my neighbor, Michelle. She brought over twelve books for the NICU babies. Thank you, Michelle for giving the gift of reading and a love of books to the littlest of babies.



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

We read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman a few months ago, and so far, it has been my favorite book of the year.

The story is set in Sweden and told by a Swedish author. The story has been translated, and it translates well. He begins with Ove in an Apple store trying to buy a computer, but Ove doesn't understand iPad talk and in frustration walks out. The story then goes back by three weeks, and we meet Ove as he walks his neighborhood. We get to see all the things that annoy Ove, and how fastidious he is in everything he does.

Ove is an overly organized man who doesn't appreciate anyone messing with the order in his life. He has recently been laid off from his job. '"It'll be good for you to slow down a bit,"' they'd drawled. Slow down? What did they know about waking up on a Tuesday and no longer having a purpose? With their Internets and espresso coffees, what did they know about taking a bit of responsibility for things?" (13).

Ove, age fifty-nine is responsible - overly much so, and now he has no job, and his beloved wife is gone, and he can't see a reason to go on. He decides that in Ove fashion he will end his life.

Now, please don't think that this story ends here because it doesn't. Backman introduces new neighbors for Ove, and you will love these neighbors. Ove names them the Blond Lanky One, the Pregnant One. The Lanky One promptly smashes Ove's mailbox as he tries to back a U-Haul up to the house. He also meets a young man he calls the soot-eyed boy, another by the name of Adrian who needs a bike fixed, a cat, and two little girls.

In the course of this story, Ove is a cranky man - one who seems to be unaccepting of others. However, don't let his outside demeanor fool you. Ove loves his wife with a love unequaled. Ove cares passionately about people, but he is a quiet man, one who shows his love by his actions. He has a bad temper, but he will make you laugh (and cry) from the tips of your toes to the top of your head.

Backman gives us Ove's backstory in bits and pieces. We meet his friend and learn how their friendship ended. We get to see him court his wife, and we see their sorrows too because life has both joys and sorrows.

I borrowed this book from my neighbor who had borrowed it from the library, and then ordered my own copy because I had to share this novel with my mom. I knew she would love it, and she did.

You may feel a bit put off while you get through the first few chapters of this story, but stick with it while you get to know Ove because you will love him. I can't wait to re-read this book.




Monday, December 7, 2015

Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present by John Burningham

One of my favorite Christmas books to read aloud is Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present by John Burningham. This book was published in 1993, and it has such cute illustrations.

Santa has just finished delivering presents all over the world. He puts the reindeer to bed (one of them is sick), and "He put on his pajamas and was just climbing into bed when he saw something that made  him gasp. At the end of the bed lay his sack. Santa could see the shape of one present still inside it. Santa pulled the present out of the sack. The present was Harvey Slumfenburger's."

"Santa knew all about Havey Slumfenburger. . . He knew that Harvey Slumfenburger lived in a hut at the top of the Roly Poly Mountain, which was far, far away."

Because this is the only present Harvey Slumfenburger will get on Christmas day, Santa, tired as he is, gets out of bed, puts his coat on over his pajamas, and starts the long walk through the cold to the top of the Roly Poly Mountain.

Santa meets others who help him get there. It is a fun trip to the Roly Poly Mountain. I shared this book with Callie and Kayana when they spent the night over Thanksgiving weekend, and they loved it. This was Matt's favorite Christmas book when he was small.

This book is out of print, but it is still available for a good price at several internet sources. The kindle edition is also available at Amazon.com.


I sent an email out to the winner of my giveaway - Angejohnson18. I'll get that book out to you so you can use it for Christmas gift giving. Thanks to all of you who ordered books from Usborne and helped us get books for the NICU.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Calico Bush by Rachel Field

Recently in my blog travels, I came across this blog: http://readingwhilewhite.blogspot.com/, which led me to this blog about American Indians in literature: http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/.

It made me really think about the book I was currently reading, Calico Bush by Rachel Field. Published in 1931 and a Newbery Honor book, Field's novel tells the story of orphaned thirteen-year-old Marguerite Ledoux who has been sold as a bound-out girl in return for food and shelter until she is eighteen-years-old to a family who is settling in Northern Maine in 1743. The lexile is 1060. Because this book is still in print, the messages it contains should be considered.

During this time period, France and Native Americans were at war with the early settlers. As I read, I thought about the viewpoints that were missing and how Rachel Field attempted to include those point of views in small ways.

Every time the Indians were called Injuns, which was most of the time, I cringed. However, I think Rachel Field did a good job of showing how xenophobic the early settlers were. She wrote this before 1931, and what she writes shows that we still have a way to go. In 1743, white Europeans were the interlopers, yet they felt themselves above those who were indigenous to America. When WWI came, Germans in America were treated terribly. During WWII, Japanese-Americans were locked up because white America was afraid. As Syrian refugees flee torture and murder and try to find safety, once again, we are afraid.

I enjoyed Rachel Field's book, but I am viewing it through a white lens. I think for its time, this book brings many issues as discussion points to the table. Marguerite is deprived of her name and given the name Maggie because her new family doesn't like her French name. She is not allowed to speak French in their presence. At one point she is offered the chance to go be with her own kind showing that even for all she has done to help the family she is bound to, they still don't consider her one of them.

She doesn't have adequate clothing or food, but the family is poor, and none of their children have what they need either.

Scenes in the story show Native Americans in a stereotypical light. They are seen as childlike, savages, easily distracted with a button or pretty fabric and dance, yet another character admires them for their knowledge of plants and healing.

This book shows the superstitions of the time period: Burning a baby on purpose to brand them against the danger of fire, They also view the travels of animals or weather as good signs or bad.

French is called foreign gibberish by one the most accepting characters, and the French dancing Marguerite does is seen as indecent by the settlers. On page 168 the "Injuns" and French are called pesky.

For all of that negative, I loved Marguerite. She is strong, brave, and faithful to those she loves. She endures much before she meets her "bound-out" family, but she continues on. The book ended before I hoped it would, and in my mind, I gave her the perfect ending. She seems smarter in many ways than the settlers, and I wondered if this was Rachel Fields way of putting the settlers' feeling of superiority in its place.

This books shows that while we as a nation have come a long way, in  many ways we hold on to our xenophobia with a death grip.

I gave this book 3 of 5 stars.


A few hours left to enter the giveaway!
On Friday, December 4, I will draw a winner to receive Usborne's Mosaic Picture Sticker Book a book for your child (or you) to create fun pictures with over 4,000 stickers. This book retails for $10.99. 

"How do I get entries in the drawing?" you ask. 

  • Follow my blog.
  • Leave a comment on my blog.
  • Share a link to my blog on Facebook, and let me know in the comments that you did so. 
  • For each $10 you order from the Usborne NICU book party, you get another entry. (See link below) Remember that the money you spend, goes to buy gifts for your own children and your order will be shipped directly to you. The NICU babies get the generous hostess gifts, and Usborne is very generous. 
  • Book your own Usborne Party with Catherine Johnson - she does Facebook parties and they are a lot of fun. Leave a message on this blog, and I will have her contact you. 
  • Invite a friend to follow my blog. Make sure they let me know that you sent them by posting in the comments. 
As you can see, you can get a lot of entries to win this fun book. I will draw the winner at 8:00 p.m. Mountain Time (Utah) on Friday, December 4th. 



Click here to Christmas shop at Usborne books. All hostess gifts will go toward purchasing books for the NICU babies at McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah to help them become lifelong readers. Make sure when you click on the link that it says, eShow: NICU Babies.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Three Word Thursday: No Talking by Andrew Clement

Since yesterday was wordless Wednesday, I thought it fitting to introduce you to Andrew Clements' No Talking today. Published in 2007, this book has a lexile of 820. The main character is in fifth grade; however, I can see this book being used with middle school readers up to eighth grade as the concepts would be interesting to try with students of that age.

Dave, the main character recently did a research project on Mahatma Gandhi and learned that for many years, Gandhi did not speak one day of each week. He used that day to listen, think, and learn. Dave decides to try to stay silent for one day, but his temper gets in the way and he ends up spouting off to Lynsey, "If you had to shut up for five minutes, I bet the whole top of your head would explode!"(10).

Their argument leads to a challenge:
  • Fifth grade boys against fifth grade girls
  • You can use three word responses at school, but only if a teacher or adult at school addresses you
  • No talking outside of school at all
  • Contest to last 48 hours
  • Winner gets to put a big L on the Loser's forehead in magic marker
  • David and Lynsey are the team captains
  • David keeps track of the girls score and Lynsey of the boys.
  • Words said outside of school are on your honor and you have to report them yourself to David or Lynsey
The students, normally a noisy unquietable bunch, take this challenge seriously. It causes some teachers to be quite upset, but other teachers see the value of it. The students have to get creative on finding alternative ways to communicate. They have to make every word count both figuratively and literally. The entire school finds that they have to view communication in a whole new light. They learn about themselves, about teaching, and about interacting in new ways. 

I'm unsure if Clements wrote this for students or for teachers as I can see usages for both, so we will say he wrote it for everyone. I would love to try this experiment in a classroom. This book reminds me of his book Frindle, as it shows how fluid and changing communication and language really are. What could I learn if I talked less? I need to try it.

His website includes a curriculum guide if you want to teach this book in a classroom.  No Talking curriculum guide 


Remember to enter the Giveaway!

On Friday, December 4, I will draw a winner to receive Usborne's Mosaic Picture Sticker Book a book for your child (or you) to create fun pictures with over 4,000 stickers. This book retails for $10.99. 

"How do I get entries in the drawing?" you ask. 



  • Follow my blog.
  • Leave a comment on my blog.
  • Share a link to my blog on Facebook, and let me know in the comments that you did so. 
  • For each $10 you order from the NICU Usborne book party, you get another entry (see link below). Remember that the money you spend, goes to buy gifts for your own children and your order will be shipped directly to you. The NICU babies get the generous hostess gifts, and Usborne is very generous. 
  • Book your own Usborne Party with Catherine Johnson - she does Facebook parties and they are a lot of fun. Leave a message on this blog, and I will have her contact you. 
  • Invite a friend to follow my blog. Make sure they let me know that you sent them by posting in the comments. 
As you can see, you can get a lot of entries to win this fun book. I will draw the winner at 8:00 p.m. Mountain Time (Utah) on Friday, December 4th. 

Click here to Christmas shop at Usborne books. All hostess gifts will go toward purchasing books for the NICU babies at McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah to help them become lifelong readers. Make sure when you click on the link that it says, eShow: NICU Babies.



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Flotsam by David Wiesner

Not that I can be wordless because when sharing books, I always seem to have too much to say, but books can be wordless.

In David Wiesner's Caldecott Medal Flotsam the only words are name brands and store signs. The story is told using amazing illustrations. I'm sure other illustrators hate having a book published the same year Wiesner does as he has won three Caldecott medals and three of his other books have won the Caldecott honor. He is a well deserved winner. I own four of his eight books and have added the four I don't have to my Christmas wish list.

In Flotsam published in 2006, a boy who is interested in all things of the sea is busily studying what he finds with a magnifying glass and a microscope. At one point the waves tumble over him, and an old camera is washed ashore. What is found when he takes the film to a one hour photo place is simply magical. The microscope comes into play and the adventure continues.

I have used Wiesner's books in my classroom as creative writing prompts or as journal entry prompts. His illustrations tickle the imagination and many differing and fun stories are created as a result of his art and my students' creative thinking.




Wordless picture books are a great way to help children gain an appreciation for the beauty of books, and they have many applications in a classroom. My son who is recovering from seizures, loves David Wiesner's books, and I love that his work helps my son continue his love of reading without having the words get in the way when his brain is fatigued.

Read to a child today, even if the reading involves no words.

Here is the book trailer from his website:

You can read more about David Wiesner here.


Two More Days to Enter the Giveaway!

Click here to Christmas shop at Usborne books. All hostess gifts will go toward purchasing books for the NICU babies at McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah to help them become lifelong readers. Make sure when you click on the link that it says, eShow: NICU Babies.



On Friday, December 4, I will draw a winner to receive Usborne's Mosaic Picture Sticker Book a book for your child (or you) to create fun pictures with over 4,000 stickers. This book retails for $10.99. 



"How do I get entries in the drawing?" you ask. 


  • Follow my blog.
  • Leave a comment on my blog.
  • Share a link to my blog on Facebook, and let me know in the comments that you did so. 
  • For each $10 you order from the NICU book party, you get another entry. Remember that the money you spend, goes to buy gifts for your own children and your order will be shipped directly to you. The NICU babies get the generous hostess gifts, and Usborne is very generous. 
  • Book your own Usborne Party with Catherine Johnson - she does Facebook parties and they are a lot of fun. Leave a message on this blog, and I will have her contact you. 
  • Invite a friend to follow my blog. Make sure they let me know that you sent them by posting in the comments. 
As you can see, you can get a lot of entries to win this fun book. I will draw the winner in one week at 8:00 p.m. Mountain Time (Utah) on Friday, December 4th.