Category Archives: humorous

Laugh It Up!

by Katrina Morse for Family Reading Partnership

Humor can help create friendships, make difficult situations easier, and can make children beg for more books. Humor can work wonders! A lot of humor is based on portraying a skewed view of a normal situation. Children age 3 to 4 and up can start appreciating how something should be, and then the funny alternative way it is described in words and pictures.

What if animals took over a farm for the farmer? What if cows could type? What if you knew a woman named Mrs. Submarine or a housefly that danced? Characters changing places and play on words make stories silly and encourage creative thinking.

Laugh it up with these funny books:

“Buggy Riddles” by Katy Hall and Lisa Eisenberg, pictures by Simms Taback. This is a book of riddle just right for a young child. Q: How do you start a lightning bug race? A: On your mark! Get set! Glow! and Q: What does a fruit fly do in a cornfield? A: goes in one ear and out the other! Look for the many other riddle books by these two authors.

“Rainy Morning” by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Jill Pinkwater. One rainy morning a husband and wife are having hot, corn muffins for breakfast. “Would you like another breakfast, dear?” Mrs. Submarine asks her husband. “I’ve had two breakfasts already,” Mr. Submarine says. “But it is raining very hard. I will have one more breakfast, please, but just a small one.” From there, you won’t believe who joins them for a muffin!

“Cows in the Kitchen” by June Crebbin, illustrated by Katharine McEwen. Pigs in the pantry? Ducks in the dishes? Hens on the hat stand? Silly, silly, pre-school silliness!

“Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type,” written by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin. A Caldecott Award winner for its bold and whimsical illustrations, this book is reportedly humorous to even two year-olds. Cows can’t type! Cows don’t use electric blankets! Look closely at the illustrations for some surprises.

“Quiet Night” by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by John Manders. A cumulative story that starts with one very large mouthed frog croaking “Ba-rum!” and ends with ten campers yawning on a now noisy night. The exaggerated illustrations are even funnier than the noises.

“Quick! Turn the Page!” By James Stevenson. An interactive story that will tickle your child’s funny bone. This may become your new favorite family book!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under humorous, imagination

Connecting with Grandchildren and Books via Skype

grandparesnt-readingkeepintouchwithgrandparents_skypestorytime

by Elizabeth Stilwell
Early Childhood Specialist

If you are like many grandparents today, you may be experiencing the “love lag” of having young grandchildren who live far away and out of arm’s reach. More and more long distance grandparents are closing that gap using Skype, a service that allows you to communicate by voice and video over your computer. Seeing your grandchild on screen, watching all the new developments and making sure that they are familiar with your voice and your face, can make a big difference in feeling connected. Skype is also a great way to create read-aloud rituals with toddlers and young children.

 

If you are new to Skype – don’t worry! Chances are that you have everything you need to Skype. The setup involves a computer and a webcam. Most newer computers come with built-in webcams. Your computer will need a high-speed connection and you’ll need to use a speaker or earphones. That’s it! Then go to skype.com and set up your account. It is a free service and your adult children can help you with the simple set up and operations.

 

Reading aloud to children is a time-honored tradition used by grandparents to create special connections and memories with grandchildren. Although it’s not the same as having a little one snuggled on your lap, starting read-aloud rituals through Skype is another way to create and maintain meaningful relationships. Here are a few tips to make this experience more engaging for your grandchild and more rewarding to you.

 

  1. Choose books that are simple and age appropriate.   Often we remember childhood books that we read to young children when they were five or six. If you are reading to a toddler, classic picture books like ‘Make Way for Ducklings,’ or ‘The Little Engine That Could,’ have too much text and plot to keep a very young child engaged. It’s best to start with a simple board book, possibly with rhyming words or repeated phrases. Visit your library and get some help from the children’s librarian to find a rich selection of stories that are appropriate for you grandchild. The best part of this is that you can then invite your grandchild (and his/her parents) to check out the same story at his or her own local library!

 

  1. Make a “Skype date” for your read-aloud. Call or text your adult children to find a time that works for you to read to your grandchild. This should be separate from a regular video chat. The read-aloud Skype date will be a special time for you to share a story. Eventually try to set up a regular reading time that you can all plan on and look forward to.

 

  1. Practice the logistics of Skype reading with your spouse or another adult. It might feel awkward at first and if you practice you can be sure that you are holding the book so the child can see the illustrations and that you’re comfortable. Try pausing after reading each page and then do a “close up” so your grandchild can point to things in the illustration, just as they would in a traditional book. Read through the story in advance so you can anticipate characters, plot, and create special voices.

 

  1. Add a finger play, rhyme or song. Often at library story times for young children, the experience starts with a brief song or finger-play. This “warms up” the audience and helps the children settle in for the story. You could start each Skype story-time with the Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Patty-Cake, or any other simple song or finger play. Here is a website with songs and finger plays in case you need some inspiration! http://www.songsforteaching.com/fingerplays

 

  1. Read chapter books to older children. At Family Reading Partnership we believe that reading aloud to children should continue well beyond the time they can read independently. Sharing reading time with older children through Skype is a gift of time that you as a grandparent can give. It might be while parents are busy making dinner or as a break from homework. Invite your grandchild to check some books out of the library, choose a book to share and text you the title so you can check out the same book. Or, as a special treat, send a copy of a book to the child, maybe one that you remember reading aloud to your own children. Invite your grandchild to read ahead if it’s too hard to wait for your next Skype reading time but to let you know so you can do the same. Then have a conversation about the book in your own private Skype “book group”. In real time, these focused interactions can sometimes be hard to schedule in the busy world of young families. Skype can actually be a more intentional one to one interaction with an older grandchild.

 

There is a quote I love by Lois Wyse that says, “Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation”. Sharing books through Skype is one more way for long distance grandparents to help connect the dots!

Leave a comment

Filed under activities, At Home With Books, bedtime, benefits of reading together, board books, book activites, book routines, books for toddlers, can do, children's books, classics, Creating a Book Home, creativity, e books, easy readers, family, family book traditions, family reading, fathers, Feelings, friendship, grandparents, humorous, imagination, library, love, magic of words in picture books, movement, music, non-fiction, opportunities for conversation, Read to me, read-aloud for big kids, read-aloud for teens, sing-along, transitions

Explore the Fall Season with Children’s Books

Experience the colorful, bountiful season of autumn in new ways with ideas from children’s books. Read a book to your young child and then extend the book experience with crafts, cooking, counting, and learning.

Enjoy your time reading and exploring together with some of these books about fall:

Leaf Man

“Leaf Man” by Lois Ehlert. With just a few leaves of different shapes and colors, “leaf man” is created and off on an adventure, sailing through the autumn sky. After reading this book you’ll be inspired to make your own leaf people and animals. Go on a walk and collect leaves, nuts, and other fall treasures to arrange into a story you and your child can make up together. There are also facts in the back of the book so you can learn the names of the trees in your neighborhood.

“Johnny Appleseed” by Steven Kellogg. Enjoy a crunchy red apple as you read the story of the American frontier hero, Jon Chapman, know best as Johnny Appleseed. The text is a bit long, but younger children can see the story unfold in the dynamic illustrations. Facts about the early 1800’s are woven together with some tall tales about Johnny Appleseed’s adventures to make an entertaining story.

“Pumpkin Soup” by Helen Cooper. A cat, a squirrel, and a duck work together to make pumpkin soup the same way, every day, until… Duck decides to do it a different way. Oh no! The three friends have to figure out how to still be friendly to each other. There’s a pumpkin soup recipe included if you want to try cooking up some of your own.

“Apples and Pumpkins” by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzie Rockwell. Apple picking, pumpkin carving, and marveling at red and yellow leaves are all part of autumn fun. Bold, colorful illustrations and simple text introduce young children to the wonders of the season. The book ends with jack-o-lanterns shining and trick-or-treating.

RunawayPumpkin“The Runaway Pumpkin” by Kevin Lewis, illustrated by S.D. Schindler. This is a rollicking, frolicking rhyming journey of the Baxter family trying to catch up with a runaway pumpkin. Preschoolers will giggle at the antics of the chase and silly sounding words in this story.

“Why Do Leaves Change Color?” By Betsy Maestro and Loretta Krupinski. Learn why autumn leaves are so colorful and discover lots of activities you can do with the leaves in your own backyard. This is a “Let’s Read and Find Out Science” book for young children.

“How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?” by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This is a story of children in a classroom, but also an estimating game using math and science knowledge. Pumpkins seeds are slimy when they come out of a pumpkin, and there are so many to count. Which has more seeds–a small pumpkin or a big one?

Leave a comment

Filed under activities, autumn, colors, family reading, humorous, non-fiction, science books

Now That’s Funny!

What makes us laugh? Something you don’t expect—like using a hammer made out of rubber to try to pound in a nail. Something out of place—like seeing an elephant taking a stroll in the park. Contrasting things put together—like watching a purple goldfish trying to ride a rickety red bike. When it’s a surprise, you can’t help but giggle!

What a joy to hear your little child’s first belly-laugh! Often all it takes is a game of peak-a-boo to start the smiles. Or a funny sound like paper ripping can make a small child grin from ear to ear. As your child grows, his sense of humor will get more sophisticated and he will start telling jokes and noticing funny things around him. “Look mom, that kitten is trying to catch a bumblebee! Dad, that cloud looks like grandpa’s face!”

Here are some funny books that will make you and your child both laugh:

Frankie“Frankie Works the Night Shift” by Lisa Westberg Peters, illustrated by Jennifer Taylor. This orange tabby cat is very active in the hardware store at night. Frankie “helps” in his own way and counts as he does his work so there is the added fun of learning numbers.  The illustrations, which are a combination of photos and drawing, are hilarious as they show what really happens when Frankie takes over the store.

“The Dog Who Cried Wolf” by Keiko Kasza. A pet dog is bored with his life.  Ho hum! But when he reads about the lives of wolves that get to hunt for their food and howl at the moon he wants to join the pack. He runs away, but finds out that it’s much cozier and easier to live at home as a dog.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

“Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?” a book with 14 illustrators including Mo Willems, Tedd Arnold, Jerry Pinkney, and Marla Frazee. Each artist was asked to create the answer to that age-old chicken crossing the road question. You’ll see some very funny artwork with varied humor and illustration styles.

“Samantha on a Roll” by Linda Ashman, pictures by Christine Davenier. Samantha puts on some roller skates and flies all over the town, collecting items from each person she side-swipes. She gets a butterfly net, a bridal veil, and then a kite. When she finally gets home she finds out that her mother didn’t even know she was gone!

Leave a comment

Filed under family reading, humorous