Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Twist It Up! by Jack Witherspoon great recipes for tweens (ages 9 - 14)

Children love making things and they especially love cooking. Tweens are especially excited to get cooking, learning to use different ingredients to make dishes their family and friends will want to eat. If you have a kid who has fun experimenting in the kitchen, check out this new cook book from the inspiring Jack Witherspoon.

Twist It Up: More than 60 delicious recipes from an inspiring young chef
by Jack Witherspoon
CA: Chronicle, 2012
ages 9 - 14
preview available on Google Books
available at your local library, favorite bookstore or on Amazon
Young Chef Jack will inspire kids to get into the kitchen and make some magic. His passion for cooking began in the hospital at age 6, as he was battling a relapse of childhood leukemia. One day, he happened upon the Food Network and ever since he has followed his passion to become a chef himself.

Today, 11-year-old Chef Jack is happy and optimistic that his treatments will keep him healthy. The sales of this cookbook benefit pediatric leukemia research.

Our school’s cooking teacher and some of her students reviewed Twist It Up and give it a definite thumbs up. The roasted sweet potato wedges were delicious and crispy without being fried. Another rainy winter day, they tried the Norwegian pancakes. The kids especially enjoyed filling the pancakes with jam and then rolling them.

While this book doesn’t emphasize whole grains or seasonal fruits and vegetables, it does get kids excited about cooking. The mouthwatering photographs and Jack’s personal stories pull readers into this cookbook again and again.

Take a look inside this book here:
Twist It Up: More Than 60 Delicious Recipes from an Inspiring Young Chef

And watch Jack in action in this video:

For more great cookbooks for kids, head over to this month's Parents Press. This month's monthly Bookshelf column features cookbooks for children, from young preschoolers through tweens.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Chronicle Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Frog and Friends, by Eve Bunting - new series for beginning readers (ages 4 - 7)

Finding books that work just right for new readers is a tricky business, as many families know. Children who are new to reading on their own often want humor, surprises and twists in the plot - and yet they need fairly straightforward books that are easy to grasp. The wonderful Eve Bunting, author of more than 250 children's books, has started a new series for beginning readers: Frog and Friends. This lovely series is designed for newly independent readers who are ready for short chapter books, much like the classic Little Bear books and Frog and Toad books.
Frog and Friends
by Eve Bunting
illustrated by Josee Masse
I Am a Reader series
MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2011
ages 4 - 7
available at your local library, favorite bookstore and on Amazon
Frog and his forest friends will bring a smile to your face as they explore their world, stumble across strange discoveries and figure out how to solve problems. With three short, independent chapters, Bunting and Masse have created a group of friends that feel at once familiar and fresh.

Each story has just the right amount of twist or surprise to keep new readers hooked. In the first story, Frog and his friends discover a huge orange THING. Well, the reader knows at once that it's a balloon, but the fun is watching Frog and his friends investigate this strange thing, getting lifted high up into the sky (bringing on memories of Pooh Bear floating away on a balloon), and then confounded when it pops on a spiky tree branch. The second and third stories require Frog to engage in some creative problem-solving skills, with an unwanted present and an over-sized visitor. Each of the stories can be read on its own. This helps new readers feel like they are reading a "chapter book", and yet they do not need to carry the plot from one chapter to the next.  Masse's illustrations, with their bright colors and cartoon feel, play off Bunting's humor perfectly and will appeal to young readers.
Frog and Friends:
Party at the Pond
by Eve Bunting
illustrated by Josee Masse
MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2011
ages 4-7
available at your local library, favorite bookstore and on Amazon
With the second in this new series, Bunting continues the same balance of humor and friendship. In the first story, Frog invites a new animal to his party, a chameleon that he thinks is lonely. Although his friends aren't sure they want to accept the chameleon, Frog is determined to welcome this new friend. With a happy twist, the chameleon discovers how much fun the other animals have with his trick of changing colors.

In my favorite story of the lot, "No Kisses for Frog", a little girl captures Frog determined to turn him into her fairy tale prince. She is shocked that Frog does not want to turn into a prince! Well, no more shocked than Frog is that she is going to kiss him! Readers will laugh at the way that Frog cleverly convinces this thoroughly modern girl that playing soccer and climbing tress is much more fun than being a princess and sitting properly at long dinners.

Once again, Bunting uses simple language, repetition and patterning of language, and humor to engage new readers in these stories about friendship. I will certainly be recommending this to our 1st and 2nd grade teachers.

Frog and Friends was a finalist in the 2011 Cybils Easy Reader award - have you checked this list out to find out about other great books for new readers? You can read other reviews at:
I am looking forward to the third in this series, Frog and Friends: The Best Summer Ever, which will be published next month. The review copy came from our school library collection. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In the Sea, by David Elliott and Holly Meade (ages 4 - 9)

Do you share poetry with your children at home? I wish I shared more with my own children. Just a dash here and there. Not to belabor, but just to add a little flavoring. We especially love children's poetry that is combined with illustrations that pull you in and hold your attention. A new favorite is David Elliott and Holly Meade's beautiful book In the Sea. These short poems twist words and phrases to create playful look at sea creatures.

In the Sea
by David Elliott
illustrated by Holly Meade
NY: Candlewick, 2012
ages 4 - 9
available at your local library, favorite bookstore and on Amazon
preview available on Google Books
With grace and skill, Elliott and Meade take well known sea animals and help us look at them in new ways. Combining playful, short poems with dynamic woodblock prints, they draw your attention in and ask you to think just a little more about each of these animals.

Each poem starts with what a child knows, but then extends the image just a bit more. See Elliott's poem on the dolphin:
"The Dolphin
He jumps.
He leaps.
He twirls.
He spins.
He's the jester
of the briny deep,
an acrobat with fins."
David Elliott's poems are completely accessible to children, and yet they create associations the reader might not have thought of. These would make excellent models for children's own writing - strong, active verbs and images. Elliott's humor will also definitely appeal to children. In an interview with Jules Danielson at 7 Impossible Things, Elliott said, "No matter what I’m writing, I’m trying to demonstrate for young readers the power and the beauty, the resilience and the play in their language." I so appreciate that he can do that in a way that is accessible to young children, meeting them at their level and then stretching them just a bit.

Holly Meade's illustrations grabbed me from the very beginning. The giant sea turtle on the cover, with its dappled shell swimming in the aquamarine ocean - just beautiful. The illustrations throughout combine bold, striking woodcut prints with soft hues from watercolor paint. She's written more about her woodblock printing process, describing the indirect path taken to create these prints - a path that results in "images that have a singular boldness and insistence."

The poems and the images combine together in perfect harmony. Just take a look at this page about the sea horse:
The movement of the kelp and bubbles carry your eye right to the swimming sea horse. The open space of the water leaves enough room so that you attention is not overwhelmed by the illustrations, but can drift down to the words. The large font size and comfortable line spacing makes this easy for young children to read by themselves. And the colors - well, they just make me smile from ear to ear.

Elliott and Meade have collaborated on two other volumes of animal poetry picture books: On the Farm and In the Wild. They hope to extend this series to include two new volumes. I couldn't be happier. Head over to Anita Silvey's Book-a-Day Almanac to read about On the Farm. In the Sea has received a starred review from Booklist.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Candlewick. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Crafty Chloe, by Kelly DiPucchio (ages 4 - 8) - creative fun!

One of my favorite moments is watching a child completely engrossed in creating something. I love watching their focus, their imagination at work, the way they pull things together to create something out of raw ingredients. Kelly DiPucchio's new book, Crafty Chloe, celebrates this creative spirit with zest and gusto, and plenty of sparkly attitude.

Crafty Chloe
by Kelly DiPucchio
illustrations by Heather Ross
NY: Atheneum / Simon and Schuster, 2012
ages 4 - 8
available at your local library, favorite bookstore or on Amazon
Chloe faces a dilemma that will be all too familiar to many girls. Chloe has been invited to her best friend Emma's birthday party, and she's searching for the perfect gift. Oh how she wants to give her a Violet the Flower Doll - that's all Emma talks about! But London announces smugly that she's already gotten Emma that doll. Chloe is devastated and can't think what to do.

Chloe is never one to follow the crowd. She isn't very good at soccer, or video games, or ballet. But "what Chloe is very good at is making stuff. She knows that a whole new outfit can be made out of Dad's old shirts, and that coffee filters make very good flower hats for show-and-tell, and that anything becomes less boring with googly eyes on it."

After some serious doodling, lots of glitter, gluing, painting and sewing, Chloe comes up with her own perfect present for Emma. In an utterly satisfying ending with a surprising twist, Chloe gracefully helps London and makes her best friend happy as can be.

Children will adore Chloe, connecting to her dilemma, her every-day activities, her creative sparkle, her  drama, but above all, her heart. Heather Ross's pencil illustrations, colored digitally, balance pink pastels with delightful individuality. Her facial expressions convey great emotion, whether it's Chloe's determined focus or her mother's harried exasperation. DiPucchio has created a simple story that draws readers back again and again, as they celebrate Chloe's creative spirit and kind heart.

Does your child love doing crafts? Check out the Crafty Chloe website for lots of great easy ideas. I love the simple way they've created a fluffy tutu with almost no sewing. And I know many kids will have a blast creating glow-in-the-dark stamps for their PJs!

Check out these other reviews:
* starred review on Kirkus Reviews
* KidsRead review

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Simon and Schuster. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Eye of the Storm, by Kate Messner - exciting futuristic adventure (ages 9 - 12)

There's no doubt about it - so far, the weather in 2012 has been bizarre, from coast to coast. Here on the west coast, we had no rain at all for the entire month of January and February. Now as we are being deluged for 5 straight days, the east coast and midwest are experiencing 70 degree weather in the middle of March!

And yet it's the power of severe storms that really frightens us. Just this week, a tornado ripped through a rural southeast Michigan community, damaging or demolishing homes (USA Today article). Earlier this month,  a large number of tornadoes wrecked havoc "across the South and the Midwest on Friday, leaving behind at least 27 deaths, hundreds of injuries and countless damaged buildings in several states", the New York Times reported.

Kate Messner's newest novel, Eye of the Storm, envisions a not-to-distant future where out-of-control weather threatens everyday life. Tween readers will love the way Messner develops an exciting, suspenseful story in this dystopian novel.
Eye of the Storm
by Kate Messner
NY: Walker Books, 2012
ages 9 - 12
available at your local library, favorite bookstore, or on Amazon
preview available on Google Books
In this future world, monster storms and huge tornadoes rip through communities, forcing people to hide in safe rooms beneath ground. Thirteen-year-old Jaden Meggs is fascinated by the science behind these storms, and is determined to follow in her father’s footsteps figuring out ways to dissipate these life-threatening storms.

Jaden is excited to spend the summer at Eye on Tomorrow, the exclusive summer science camp that her father has founded. But are her father’s intentions purely noble? He has made a fortune creating Placid Meadows, a StormSafe community that no tornado can touch.

Readers will enjoy the action as Jaden and her friends run from their lives from the deadly storms, and work hard to figure out ways they can apply science to solving life-threatening problems. I particularly liked the way that Messner creates a dystopian novel that will draw in children ages 9 - 12; these children are the young side for the brutal violence of The Hunger Games, but they are fascinated by the dark possibilities that our actions today might bring.

Messner spoke this month at the TED conference, sharing her thoughts on why children are drawn to dystopian stories.
Kate Messner begins by asking us, “How many of you have ever played with Legos?” Those of us who have (which is most) already know about world building, and the power of What If? Messner is a writer, and all of her books grow out of What If.
She went on to talk about how through these stories children are able to think about the impact of our current policies and lifestyles, the impact that our decisions today might have on the world tomorrow. I'm hoping that her talk will be shared on the amazing TED video channel.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Walker Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Penny and Her Song, by Kevin Henkes - a delight for new readers (ages 5 - 7)

Today I shared with my students books that make me smile. There is an utter loveliness to books that bring us a simple smile. They may not be hilarious books, but they fill us with warmth, with a small moment that brightens our day. Penny and Her Song is just the sort of lovely book that will bring a smile to the face of a beginning reader.

Penny and Her Song
by Kevin Henkes
NY: HarperCollins, 2012
ages 5 - 7
available from your local library, favorite bookstore and on Amazon
Penny comes home from school one day with a smile on her face. She has made up her very own song, and can't wait to share it with her family. But Mama and Papa tell her she mustn't wake up the babies. So Penny goes to her room and sings to herself in the mirror - but she really just wants someone to listen to her. At dinner, Penny tries to sing again, but her parents ask her to wait until after everyone eats. Finally, Penny sings her special song for the whole family. Her parents adore the song, and then everyone joins in, singing Penny's song.

Young children will delight in Kevin Henkes' first book for beginning readers. They will relate to Penny and the way she just wants her parents to listen to her. But most of all, they will delight in singing Penny's song themselves, in bringing alive Henkes' simple words. The illustrations, in softly bright watercolors and clear black ink, support the text on each page. The variety of spot art, half page boxes, and some sequential small boxes adds variety, integrating the illustrations with the text. While Penny will remind readers of Henkes' outgoing Lily, Penny is her own character, singing her own song.

This book is perfect for new readers who enjoy simple, sweet family stories. It has delighted several of our 1st graders. I just wish I could capture the way they sang Penny's song for themselves. This won't draw readers who want a big laugh or lots of action, but for a quiet kid it will bring a lot of pleasure.

Head over to Mr. Schu's blog Watch.Connect.Read to learn much more about Kevin Henkes and his writing process. Listen to Kevin Henkes talk about Penny here (link courtesy of Mr. Schu):

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, HarperCollins, to the Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California, for review in BayViews. This is an excellent review journal, if you are a librarian looking for a dependable source of independent review. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Graphic novels for new readers: new from TOON Books (ages 4 - 9)

Students at my school love graphic novels. I've said it again and again. They are drawn to this visual storytelling. Do you have a new reader, or maybe a reluctant reader who loves comics? loves to laugh? loves visual humor? Steer them toward TOON Books - you'll find books for a range of new readers, from just beginning to more advanced. I love their two newest books, and am excited to share them with my students.
Chick & Chickie Play All Day!
by Claude Ponti
NY: TOON Books / Candlewick, 2012
Level 1 (grades K-1)
ages 4 - 7
available at your local library, favorite bookstore or on Amazon
“What do you want to play?” Chick asks his friend Chickie, as they start this giggle-inducing comic book for beginning readers. With simple dialog and clear design features, this Level 1 TOON Book will engage new readers with its humor and surprises. Chick and Chickie start by making silly, frightening masks, startling each other with a big, loud "BOO!"

"That was me!" says Chick. "Oh! That's funny, Chick!" replies Chickie. And then she mischievously puts on her own mask and startles Chick with her own mask. Next, Chick and Chickie decide to play school with a giant letter A, tickling it, throwing it and bringing it cake.

New readers will enjoy reading this again and again, noticing details layered within the illustrations and the humor. The illustrations of Chick and Chickie’s emotions are particularly noteworthy, reminding me in a way of Mo Willem's Elephant and Piggie series. These cues are so important for new readers, helping them read the dialog with expression and meaning. The short sentences, easy sight words, large font size and use of dialog bubbles makes this book perfect for brand-new readers in kindergarten or 1st grade.

Zig and Wikki in the Cow
by Nadja Speigelman
illustrated by Trade Loeffler
NY: TOON Books / Candlewick, 2012
Level 3 (grades 1 - 3)
ages 6 - 9
available at your local library, favorite bookstore or on Amazon
As Zig and his computer buddy Wikki zoom toward their home planet after our last encounter with them (Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework), they realize that something is wrong with Zig’s new pet fly. Zig thinks maybe he’s homesick, but Wikki realizes that the fly might need to live in his natural habitat on Earth. So they head back to the cow pasture where they found the fly, and find out that Zig's fly loves to eat cow poop!

Most 2nd graders I know, girls or boys, will find this the perfect combination of funny and interesting. Spiegelman and Loeffler pull in new readers with gross details (cow patties!) and interesting animals (dug beetles!). They keep the story moving at a good pace, traveling from alien spaceship to the farm ecosystem, from cow patties to the inside of the cow’s digestive track (the cow burps up the spaceship!).

The clear lettering, simple panel progression and straightforward dialog make this successfully targeted for level 3 beginner readers. The factual pieces are clearly written but strive to communicate complex processes, perhaps leading some beginning readers to skip over those sections as they enjoy the humor of the story. But the students in our 2nd and 3rd grade who've read this just enjoy the humor and want to keep reading. That's the sort of story I like to put in as many hands as I can!

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Candlewick Press / TOON Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Celebrating the 2012 World Read Aloud Day

We have been so excited at Emerson to celebrate our love of reading with students around the country this week. We've joined together to celebrate the 2012 World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by LitWorld. This remarkable organization, led by led by Executive Director Pam Allyn, cultivates "literacy leaders worldwide through transformational literacy experiences that build connection, understanding, resilience and strength."

Here at Emerson, we have connected with schools near and far as we work together to get kids excited about reading. Throughout, my focus has been getting kids to read aloud to other kids through video chats to other schools. At a school across town, 2nd graders read Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham to our kindergarten students. Today, we had a great time connecting with kindergartners at Baker Elementary School in Michigan, as we read Dr. Seuss's ABC Book aloud together.

What have students gotten out of these experiences? To start with, they've been excited about sharing their love of reading. But more than that, they're sensing that books are a shared experience that bring us together. It was so fun this morning to hear kindergartners in Michigan laughing at the same parts we laughed at. Mrs. Anderson's students loved waving to Lola in our class as we read the L page: "Little Lola Lopp."

Further, these experiences help broaden students' experiences. We connected with a 3rd grade class at Falmouth Elementary School in Maine, where students had just come from snowshoeing for their PE class. Our first graders were amazed! We worked on our mapping skills, talking about how it was breakfast time for us, but lunchtime for them. These connections and discussions about the weather help make these distances more concrete for students.

Where do we think this can go? Video connections between schools offer the opportunity for older students to practice their reading and performing with real audiences, without heavy set-up costs or travel time. Whether it's preparing book recommendations (like in Reading Rainbow) or poems to perform, these video conferences will allow our students the opportunity to read to a real audience. We shared with one 3rd grade class and I realized that we hadn't prepared enough as students were nervous reading in front of the camera.

These experiences can also get kids excited about writing. Our kindergarten class is excited to write letters to Mrs. Anderson's class in Michigan, extending this activity even further into authentic writing projects.

Even though the video feed is often blurry, the students get a sense of the immediate reactions of other children. They have to speak up loudly so the others can hear them. They love hearing the audience laugh in response.

It's been a great experience that we want to develop even more!

©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen (ages 4 - 8)

Do your children like to create things? That's like asking if the deer in my mother's garden like to eat roses, or if Peter Rabbit likes carrots. Children love to create things - whether it's lego machines or intricate drawings or bracelets for their friends. A wonderful new book, Extra Yarn, celebrates this creative spirit with a fun twist.
Extra Yarn
by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Jon Klassen
NY: Balzar + Bray / HarperCollins, 2012
ages 4 - 8
available at your local library, favorite bookstore and on Amazon
One dull winter day, Annabelle finds a box full of yarn - enough yarn to knit herself a sweater, and then one for her dog. There is extra yarn, and so Annabelle keeps knitting - a sweater for her neighbor, for classmates, for all the little animals. And she still has extra yarn. Soon, an evil archduke hears about Annabelle's magical box of yarn and he tries to buy it for her for a million dollars. But Annabelle is a strong, stubborn little girl who will not give into this sinister nemesis.

Our students have loved Extra Yarn - they respond to Annabelle's creative spirit, to her generosity and to her tenacious refusal to sell her precious box to the archduke. While the text and illustrations are subdued, the pacing and details are perfect - drawing readers into looking at each page, but pulling you through the story.

Klassen begins the story using only black, gray and brown tones over the white background, and then he slowly introduces the soft colors of the yarn. Throughout, he uses negative space to create shapes in a spare, fascinating way. For example, look at how Klassen has created the roof in the illustration above - it's really just the white background blocked out in the shape of the roof. Klassen's illustrations bring me back again and again.

Our students have celebrated Extra Yarn by helping our local independent bookstore, Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore, decorate their window with all sorts of hand knitting. Every recess, our Emerson knitters come into the library asking for more yarn - they have loved finger knitting. The creative, repetitive process of knitting taps into something for the children. Take a look at the fun we've had:

Do you see the evil archduke lurking amongst all the animals? Many thanks to Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen for inspiring us to keep the creative spirit alive, and to our local bookstore Mrs. Dalloway's for showcasing our student's creativity!

Other reviews:

The review copy came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Celebrating with our students!

We are excited to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday - Friday, March 2nd - at our school. As part of Read Across America, students at Emerson School are sharing their love for all things Dr. Seuss.

Our 2nd graders have been practicing reading aloud Dr. Seuss's books, and will perform some of their favorite excerpts for the whole school at our monthly assembly Friday. Other 2nd graders are getting ready to make a video montage with their favorite Seuss Snippets - ranging from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to The Sneetches.

Our kindergarteners are connecting with John Muir School across town through a video chat. They'll sing "Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss" to a group of 2nd graders from John Muir. The 2nd graders will read aloud Green Eggs and Ham for our kindergartners. It's a big deal for the 2nd graders - reading in front of the camera for our kindergartners. They've been practicing all week.

Another group of kindergartners are excited to try the Dr. Seuss iPad book apps from Oceanhouse Media. We've had a lot of fun with the 1st and 2nd graders reading these, and it's time for the kindergartners to try them out. We will start by having them reading Dr. Seuss's Beginner Book Collection - which features classics such as Cat in the Hat, Mr. Brown Can Moo, and Fox in Sox.

iPad book app from Oceanhouse Media

This is a great collection to try - each book can either work as the interactive "Read to Me", where the story is narrated as children swipe pages, or in the autoplay format for younger children. Kids I've watched particularly like being able to tap images and have the words zoom up at them. The Oceanhouse Media apps are an excellent way to have fun reading while developing essential early literacy skills such as rhyming, word association and letter sounds.

To celebrate the release of the movie and also Seuss’s birthday, Oceanhouse Media is dropping the price of its book app of The Lorax to 99 cents.

Dr. Seuss books are wonderful to read aloud - to young children just absorbing the early sense of rhythm and rhyme, as well as for school children learning to read. Some 2nd graders looked at me, wondering if these were too easy to read. But the Dr. Seuss rhythm and rhyme helps build their fluency and expression, even if they can already read/decode all the words.

Are you celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday with your children? You might have fun with this 20-page activity book, full of reading, math, and most importantly, fun! My Very Own Dr. Seuss Activity Book is free, courtesy of http://www.seussville.com/

Above all, have fun and share the gift of reading with a child in your life!

I have to give a special shout-out to my colleague Steve Healey, librarian with good humor and a twinkle in his eye, over at John Muir School, also in the Berkeley Unified School District. Neither of us have tried video chats with students before, but he's always game to try something new! Thanks, Steve, for trying this out with us! And a special thanks to the amazing teachers at Emerson School, who are game to try out all sorts of things with us in the library - whether it's getting the kids excited for a Dr. Seuss party, or experimenting with iPad book apps, or connecting with classes across town on video chat. Thanks to all of them.

©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books