Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. ~ Dr. Seuss







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Lotta’s bike

Lotta’s bike
by  Astrid Lindgren(Author), Ilon Wikland (Illustrator)

 Super Sweet!

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.

Lotta's Bike inside

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.

Lotta's Bike inside 2

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.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
by Eleanor Coerr(Author), Ronald Himler (Illustrator)

Unforgettable!

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..

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes Sketches

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.

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes MOnument

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.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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For the Love of Music : The Remarkable Story of Maria Ann Mozart

For the Love of Music : The Remarkable Story of Maria Ann Mozart
by Elizabeth Rusch (Author), Lou Fancher (Illustrator), Steve Johnson (Illustrator)

Musical Prodigy(s)

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.

 For the Love of Music Maria and Wolfgang

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.

 For the Love of Music together

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.

For the Love of Music Maria Ann Mozart

 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.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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Classics of Childhood, Vol 1. Classic Stories and Tales

Classics of Childhood, Vol 1. Classic Stories and Tales
by 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!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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The Two Cars

The Two Cars
by 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!

Read ReadAloudDad’s review on The Two Cars here.

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.

Two Cars beginning

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.

Two Cars bump

As the car race ends, you are left wondering who really won the race? And whether winning it was indeed important?

Two Cars Rail tracks

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.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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The Story of Ferdinand

The Story of Ferdinand
by Munro Leaf (Author), Robert Lawson (Illustrator)

A Classic!

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.

The Story of Ferdinand little

 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!

The Story of Ferdinand inside

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!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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Noah Webster and His Words

Noah Webster and His Words
by 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 Webster and His Words No Farmer

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.

Noah Webster and His Words Teacher

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 Webster and His Words Final Work

Noah died in 1843, but his life’s work lives on today.

Noah Webster and His Words Real Image

“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” Smile

Noah Webster and His Words Dictionary 1828

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!

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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Exclamation Mark

Exclamation Mark
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Author), Tom Lichtenheld (Illustrator)

Identity Crisis!

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 Being Different

Exclamation Mark is very sad and wanted to run away!

Exclamation Mark 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.

Exclamatin mark STOP

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.

Find it here: Library, Amazon, Better World Books


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thumbnail For the Love of Music : The Remarkable Story of Maria Ann Mozart article post
thumbnail Classics of Childhood, Vol 1. Classic Stories and Tales article post
thumbnail The Two Cars article post
thumbnail The Story of Ferdinand article post
thumbnail Noah Webster and His Words article post
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