Monthly Archives: March 2014

Spring into Read-Aloud

What are signs of spring? Warm sun, eggs hatching, grass growing, green! Flowers blooming, rain falling, baby animals, windy breeze! Even though the weather has been wintery, the official first day of spring is March 20. Let’s say good-bye to the cold and hello to warm days ahead.

Here are some springtime books to read aloud as you anticipate the new season with your young child:

“Cheep! Cheep!” by Julie Stiegemeyer, illustrated by Carol Baicker-McKee. There’s a chick on his way to being born, “cheep!” There are only seven different rhyming words in this book, but a hatching story is told. The illustrations are simple collage of fabric, clay, and other materials that young children will adore.

“Baby Bird’s First Nest,” written and illustrated by Frank Asch. One warm night, Baby Bird fell out of her nest. Frog helps her gets cozy on the ground and then back home in the tree where Baby Bird belongs. This is a story about bravery and persistence.

“Spring is Here,” written and illustrated by Lois Lenski. Originally published in 1945 and now back in print, this cheerful, rhyming book is illustrated with “old-fashioned” pictures.


“This Little Chick,” written and illustrated by John Lawrence. A long-legged, yellow chick gleefully visits all the farm animals and their babies. In rhyming verse with a repeating refrain, Little Chick skips and jumps and finds out what noise each of them say.  The pictures look like woodcuts stamped in block of color.

“It’s Spring!” by Samantha Berger and Pamela Chanko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet. A very cute, hopping rabbit bounces through this book gathering animal friends and announcing, “It’s spring!” One by one all the signs of spring appear, including a bear family, waking from their long winter’s nap.

“The Windy Day,” by Frank and Devin Asch. This father and son team created a book told from the wind’s point of view. What would you do if you were the wind? A little girl finds out and she tumbles, glides, and soars.

“Mouse’s First Spring,” by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Buket Erdogan.  The illustrations are rounded and colorful, the story full of vivid descriptions of the many discoveries young mouse makes that signal that spring has arrived. This is one of a series of “Mouse’s First” books.

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by | March 25, 2014 · 2:41 pm

Let’s Read More!

Have you ever read a book that you just don’t want to end? You’ve grown to know and love the characters. You ache for them as they face challenges, cheer them on as they begin adventures, and celebrate their triumphs… and then, the story’s done! It feels like you’ve lost a friend!

The way to continue the relationship with these new-found friends, is to read books that come as a series – multiple stories about the same characters with new challenges, adventures, and triumphs.

Series books are written for all ages. Beginning with the youngest listeners, there are groups of books that use the same characters to explore a child’s world. Helen Oxenbury has a series of four board books:  “All Fall Down,” Clap Hands,” “Tickle, Tickle,” and “Say Goodnight,” that are all the same-sized, square books featuring the same cute, round headed children doing baby things.  Also popular with young children are the “Baby Face” books that all have photos of real babies.

You can keep up with the adventures of “Spot,” the yellow dog, in Eric Hill’s many books about the lovable canine. If your child likes the story by Don Freeman of how the mischievous bear “Corduroy,” comes to live at Lisa’s house, make sure to also read “A Pocket for Corduroy” and the other books about this same fuzzy stuffed animal with shoe-button eyes.

Corduroy Bear

Nancy Carlson’s plucky character Louanne Pig, Rosemary Wells’ bunny siblings Max and Ruby, Kevin Henkes’ feisty girl mouse Lilly, and Tedd Arnold’s boy frog Huggly all have many books written about each of them, so when your child befriends one character, you can read more books about that same individual. As the personality and behavior of the character becomes clear, your child can start predicting what that character will do in the story. Where is Louanne going to ride on her bike? Will Max and Ruby get into trouble this time?

Older children will enjoy series books such as “The Box Car Children,” by Gertrude Chandler Warner, about four children on their own. (There are over 100 books in this series.) For some American history, read the autobiographical “Little House” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder about her family’s trek across the New Frontier. In this collection of books you’ll read about Laura as a young girl and witness her growing up and finally get married in the 9th book of the series. The series continues in books written by her children. There are also series of books about “The Magic Treehouse,” “Cam Jansen,” “Harry Potter,” “Redwall,” and many, many others.

To relate these books to real life, pick out some activities from your child’s favorite stories to do at home. Cut sandwiches into fun shapes with cookie cutters (like Lilly does in “Chester’s Way”), create a pocket with paper and tape (like Corduroy’s) or make an old-fashioned bonnet out of a paper bag and string (like Laura Ingalls wore on the prairie). For more titles of books in a series, ask your school or public librarian.

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by | March 6, 2014 · 2:10 pm