Lotta’s bikeby Astrid Lindgren(Author), Ilon Wikland (Illustrator)
Little Lotta knows that she can ride a bike! She has seen her brother and sister riding their outside their house so many times. Now Lotta is hoping to get her own bicycle for her upcoming 5th birthday! On the day of her birthday, Lotta gets many many gifts. But a bike is not one of them.
So Lotta decides to “borrow” her neighbor Mrs. Bergs’ bike. But Mrs’ Bergs’ bike is too big for her to ride! And the hill she decides to climb is much too steep. Poor Lotta ends up falling into a rose bush and learns the hard way that she just can’t ride *any* bicycle after all! She needs one that is just right for her size
Lotta decides that her birthday has been a disaster. But just then, dad comes home from work in the evening and gives Lotta the surprise that she has been waiting for — a bike that was just the right size for little Lotta.
The author of Pippi Longstocking books, Astrid Lindgren creates another mischievous and independent character “Lotta”. “Lotta’s Bike” is an adorable story of Lotta who we loved to empathize as she struggles to resolve a situation. The stories around Lotta are everyday stories of this little girl that often comes with a moral for young readers. The illustrations are warm and lovely. They highlight the warm cozy neighborhood of the small town.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranesby Eleanor Coerr(Author), Ronald Himler (Illustrator)
Sadako, a young Japanese girl, lives with her parents and two brothers. Her home is not far from where the atom bomb was dropped in the World War II of 1945. As she goes about her daily life, Sadako sees the consequences of the bombing in her village. She sees the evidence in the faces of the people, in the disfigurement and the “atom bomb” disease.
Sadako loves racing. Her dream is to compete in the relay races at her school. She knows she is really good at running. So every day she practices very hard. But lately she has been feeling dazed and unusually tired. Then race day comes and as she runs, she collapses on the field and black’s out. Sadako is soon diagnosed with Leukemia, the “Atom Bomb” disease.
Sadako is heart-broken. Her spirit wants to fight the disease and struggles to find a way to cope daily. Then her friend suggests that if she folds and offers a thousand paper cranes to the Gods, then she can ask them to make her better. And so she begins to fold and her brother helps to hang them on her ceiling..
This story is a true story, told simply and beautifully. And although it was heart breaking to read this book, it is also a story of hope and faith. It is a beautiful book to read to children, to learn about the many horrors of war and the after effects of the bomb for many generations to come.
Yes this book will make you cry. But don’t be afraid of reading it. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is an extraordinary book.
For the Love of Music : The Remarkable Story of Maria Ann Mozartby Elizabeth Rusch (Author), Lou Fancher (Illustrator), Steve Johnson (Illustrator)
Little is known about the “other” musical prodigy, Maria Ann Mozart. Born first to the musical household, Maria was not formally educated in reading music on sight or improvising. However, to her father’s amazement, Maria mastered all of these skills on her own. Her daily practice sessions and devotion to music inspired little Wolfgang Mozart at the age of 3. Soon, brother and sister Mozart’s were touring through Europe traveling thousands of miles and performing.
However, when it was time to go to Italy and learn to play, improvise and compose, Maria was left behind. Scholars believe that the family were financially able to educate only one child. Some believe that it was thought inappropriate for women to have musical education!
“For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Ann Mozart” is a wonderful picture book biography of Maria Mozart. The author organizes the book into short segments titled with musical terms designating the units of a Sonata such as “The First Movement”,”Allegro”,”Development”,”Cadenza”, “Finale”. Each segment coincides with various parts of Maria’s life. And yet, the flow of text in this form only makes the reading more interesting. The biography ends with an “Encore” – a two page explanation by the author on the limitation on women’s participation in music and arts.
Fancher and Johnson’s illustrations add warmth to this picture book by using oil and acrylic on canvas. The illustrations capture in vivid detail the characters, the settings and the costumes of the era.
This is indeed a remarkable dedication to a child prodigy, a woman who was equal in her talents yet less known to the world than her brother. It was heart-warming to read the story of a brother and sister who not only loved music, but also loved each other dearly.
Kid Lit Blog Hop
Every First and Third Wednesday’s of each month, a group of kidlit bloggers group together and share their reviews, interviews and such with the world at large. We love talking and sharing the wonderful books that we read to our children at home, at school and anywhere else. It is an exciting virtual journey into the world of children’s literature. We find great hidden gems here and rush off to read them to our kids.
Excited? Want to share and Participate? Here’s what you could do:
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Classics of Childhood, Vol 1. Classic Stories and Talesby Various Authors (Author), Various Readers (Narrator)
Great language and wonderful stories!
RThis is a wonderful collection of children’s favorite Classic stories. included in this 1 Audio CD are following stories:
1. Puss in Boots read by Robby Benson
2. A Day at Santa’s Workshop read by Betty White
3. Elfis, the Elf who saved Christmas read by Brian Austin Green
4. Jack and the Beanstalk read by John Ritter
5. Peter Pan read by Sandy Duncan
6. The Wild Swan read by Michael York
7. The Elves and the Shoemaker read by Michael York
This is almost 4 hours worth of storytelling read by professional stage and screen actors/actresses. This is a great collection for children 3 to 5 year olds. Some of the stories are short enough for a quick ride, others a little longer.
Our favorite was the Puss in Boots and the Wild Swan stories. The music in the background is just right and not too loud to distract you and creates a good “atmosphere” while the story is read out. Great Classics told by professionals!
The Two Carsby Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire (Authors, Illustrators)
Distinguished and Memorable!
I came across the wonderful book on Read Aloud Dad’s fabulous website. In his most unique way, Read Aloud Dad inspired us to rush and find this book at once! And sure enough, we were not disappointed!
This story is about two cars. One beat up old red car and one shiny brand new green car. They both decide one moonlit night to have a race. To find out which one of them was the “best” car on the road.
And so the car race begins. The green shiny new car is off smooth and quick. The red car sputters and coughs and shifts gradually into his gear.
As the two car race each other, we find two very unique personalities emerging. That of a new energetic optimistic and almost carefree young car and that of a old mature and wise car. Much like in real life, the new car makes mistakes and is reckless at times. But he learns to correct his actions and learn from his mistakes. The old car, on the other hand, has much compassion to offer and takes time to stop and think about his past friends and care for those who he meets on the way.
As the car race ends, you are left wondering who really won the race? And whether winning it was indeed important?
We enjoyed reading this book over and over again. Once, we discussed the many meanings of emotions that were going on in the story. Mean and nice, empathy and compassion, fearless and reckless, careful and carefree, wise and foolish… as we read the story we tried to understand what the characters were “being” and how it impacted their actions.
Yes. There is a great deal of moral to this story. But that is not why you want to read it after all.
The Story of Ferdinandby Munro Leaf (Author), Robert Lawson (Illustrator)
Published more than 50 years ago and one of the bestselling children’s book of all time, the simple sweet story of Ferdinand the Bull will remain a classic for a very long time.
Ferdinand is unlike all the other bulls. While the other bulls like to run and jump and play, Ferdinand liked to sit under his favorite tree and smell the flowers. Ferdinand grows to be a big and bold bull, just like the other bulls. But while the other bulls liked to jump and snort and butt heads, Ferdinand liked to stroll over to his nice shady spot under his favorite tree and spend the day just smelling the flowers. Now one day a group of men come around to pick the best bull for the arenas. All the bulls are busy showing off except Ferdinand. Suddenly Ferdinand gets stung by a bee and goes howling across the farmyard. Impressed by the “show”, the men immediately choose Ferdinand for their bull fight. But little do they know that they are in for a surprise!
This is one story that will be passed on for generations. The book has so many talking points. Whether it is about Ferdinand being different from the others or how Ferdinand is always true to who he really is, there are many conversations around this story. Truly a timeless tale!
Noah Webster and His Wordsby Jeri Chase Ferris (Author), Vincent X. Kirsch (Illustrator)
bi.og.ra.phy [noun.: written history of a person's life]
Noah Webster was born to a farmer in Connecticut. By age of 12, he knew how to grow everything. And although his father said that Noah would be a “fine farmer”, Noah did not want to be one! He didn’t want to be a farmer at all!
Noah wanted to be a SCHOL-AR[noun: one who goes to school; a person who knows a lot]. He graduated from Yale and decided to become a teacher. He wrote the first American Spelling book, an American grammar book, a reader and many more school books for his students.
Later, he decided to write the very first American dictionary. He planned to explain every word in the English language including new American words. Finally, 2000 pages and 20 years later, Webster penned his last word for the dictionary ZY-GO-MAT-IC[adj.:related to the cheek-bone]. Webster’s dictionary was published in 1828 and he gave it to America with these words:To my fellow citizens… for their happiness and learning.. for their moral and religious elevation… and for the glory of my country…
Noah died in 1843, but his life’s work lives on today.
“Noah Webster and His Words” is not only superb in its dedication to his life’s work, but also a very clever picture book biography. The story is written simply and packed with facts. The text breaks down long and complex words like so: REV-O-LU-TION-AR-Y[noun: one who calls for radical change]. The insertion of dictionary words make for creative reading. It is a fun way to read the meaning of words and learn to spell them at the same time! The illustrations are fun to see with Noah’s head unusually large to emphasize that Noah was indeed a “scholar”
The book is a great introduction to a “Dictionary” and the man behind the American Dictionary. This book is a keeper. If you and your child are interested in exploring activities, find a useful resource here (CCSS guide, historical timeline, games, word label game cards, crossword puzzle, dictionary locator, audacious alphabetizing, discussion questions) We tried several of these and have enjoyed them very much!
Exclamation Markby Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Author), Tom Lichtenheld (Illustrator)
Exclamation Mark is not like everyone else. He “stood out” from the very beginning. He tried to “fit” in but the only time he was the “same” was when he was sleeping!
Exclamation Mark is very sad and wanted to run away!
Then one day someone “unexpected” came along. “Who are you?” asks the jolly, happy and snappy new friend. In fact, our peppy new friend asks 17 questions ALL in one breath. It’s all too much for poor Exclamation Mark. “STOP!” exclaims Exclamation Mark.
And that’s it! Exclamation Mark realizes and “finds” his true identity! And now there is no stopping him!
Amy and Tom do it again! This wonderful tongue in cheek humorous story is a story that we can all relate to. Young and old will identify themselves with Exclamation Mark’s identity crisis situation. But the happy ending of how a “friend” helps you discover who you really are is brilliant and so tastefully done.
The Raftby Jim LaMarche (Author, Illustrator)
Let your mind drift!
Nicky is not happy about his father’s decision to leave him with grandma over summer. Grandma lives in the Wisconsin woods with no one to play with nearby and not even a TV! But his father won’t change his mind as he drives off leaving teary eyed Nicky to fend for himself over the next few months.
At grandma’s, Nicky finds himself in a completely different world. Grandma’s house is full of books.. scattered everywhere, on the floor, on the chairs and on top of most of the tables. The walls of her house are covered with sketches, stuffed fish and charts of the river. To Nicky, the house looked like a river rat’s workroom with a large half finished carving of a bear right in the middle of everything!
Soon enough Nicky finds himself busy as grandma finds plenty of things for him to do around the house. One day he finds himself fishing at the quiet river. As Nicky waits patiently for a bite, he sees something moving in the water towards him along the river. As it gets closer and bumps up against the dock, Nicky realizes that it is a Raft. And this changes everything!
Author Jim LaMarche draws from his boyhood summer memories and takes us down the river on a raft. A raft that is covered with beautiful drawings of wild animals. As Nicky explores the woods on the river, the raft becomes his constant companion. The raft is almost magical as it draws the wild life out from the woods. Nicky is treated to the sights and sounds of nature as never before!
Beautifully illustrated and told, this story connects you with nature in a warm gentle way!
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandby Lewis Carroll (Author), Michael York (Narrator)
Down the Rabbit Hole!
There is little to say about this beloved children’s classic story about a girl called Alice and her adventures in Wonderland. We have read this book in many versions in many formats for a long long time! But when we picked up this audio CD set from our library, we were delighted to find ourselves once again Down the Rabbit Hole!
Emmy and Grammy nominated and award winning screen and stage actor Michael York takes you on a journey through Wonderland. Almost instantly we were transported to the world of the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts. York’s superb narrative of this classic tale is a keeper! You will enjoy the many accents York takes on as he narrates the story. Adults and children will equally enjoy listening to this evocative and enduring tale.
This 3 CD set consists of the original unabridged version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland story. It is 3 hours and 7 minutes long. Blackstone Audio has kept the narrative in focus and not included any music or sound effects on the CDs which could distract the listener from the core of the story.
Creepy Carrotsby Aaron Reynolds (Author), Peter Brown (Illustrator)
Tasty treats or creepy vegetables?
Jasper Rabbit *loves* to eat carrots! And there are plenty to pick form in the nearby Crackenhopper Field. He eats them on his way to school. He eats them walking home. He eats them on the way back from Little League.
All is good, until one day Jasper gets a creepy feeling that carrots are following him.”Tunk tunk tunk”.. He sees them in the mirror when he is brushing his teeth. “Tunk tunk tunk…” He sees them in his bedroom at night. “Tunk tunk tunk”… And he sees them in the backyard shed! Why are the creepy carrots following him? And why won’t anyone else spot them? Finally, Jasper hatches a plan to stop the creepy carrots from haunting him.
This is a delightful scary story of a paranoid rabbit seeing rabbits everywhere. But are they really following him? Or is it his overactive imagination! The story is brilliantly illustrated alluding to the creepiness of the carrots with the subtle black and white palate with hints of orange to “show” the carrots. Both the author and illustrator have struck just the right balance of spooky and delightful. Read this one! The ending will surprise you.
Find out what inspired Peter Brown here: