Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Le Books

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

DIY Preschool Jet Pack--with Bonus Cardboard Rocket!

My friend Nina S.G. gets 1,000 mom points for hosting a birthday party where all the kids got jet packs made from bottles, duct tape, elastic bandages and colored cellophane. Plus this giant cardboard rocket to play inside--so awesome! We may have to make our own at home. Thank you Nina and happy birthday A&L!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Books for Three-Year-Olds: Our Read-Aloud Record for 2013


“Let me give you an idea of how widespread the misunderstanding is about the difference between listening [level] and reading level, as well as the magic that can occur when they are understood. About twenty years ago I was doing an all-day seminar in a blue-collar community on the Jersey Shore. At lunch, a young teacher named Melissa Olans Antinoff introduced herself and said, ‘You’d love my kindergarten class!’ She explained that she read one hundred picture books a year to the class, but also read ten to twelve chapter books...When the seminar resumed after lunch, I asked how many kindergarten teachers were in that room and learned there were eight. Further investigation showed that Antinoff was the only one who read chapter books to her class. Which of these eight classes will be better prepared for first grade: the ones who heard 150 four-minute picture books, or the one that heard one hundred picture books along with a dozen novels? Which class will have the longer attention spans at the end of the year and larger vocabularies, and exercise more complex thinking?” --Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook,(7th edition, Penguin, 2013), p. 59.

D’Aulaire, Ingri & Edgar Palin

Averill, Esther

Wilder, Laura Ingalls
Wilder, Laura Ingalls

Atwater, Richard & Florence

Corrin, Sara and Stephen
Tove Jonsson
Done 11/25. J points at doghouse-sleeping Snoopy on my T-shirt: “Mom, that looks like a Moomin!” Bonus read: Who Will Comfort Toffle? by Tove Jonsson
Edward Ardizzone
Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain, plus:
1. Tim & Ginger
2. Tim in Danger
3. Tim’s Friend Towser
Ruth Stiles Gannett
1. My Father’s Dragon
2. Elmer and the Dragon
3. Dragons of Blueland


“To begin with, [three] is a suitable time to introduce the first fairy stories. The three-year-old seems prepared to accept the ‘other-world’ quality of these earliest tales (the ‘Beast Fables’ they have been called, appropriately). I would suggest for a start The Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Man (hardly a beast, but of the same ilk), The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Little Red Hen. These have in common features which render them suitable for the child whose contact with stories has so far been confined to simple, progressive narratives and straightforward cause-and-effect tales...It is important to note the difference between these stories and the more sophisticated tales, such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Snow White. The ‘Beast Fables’ help children to move into an imaginary world which is quite unlike their own, but whose qualities are universal. The characters are often in peril, but the child who comes to know that they will emerge unharmed in the end if they are courageous and wise. The rules are rigid; the first two Little Pigs were eaten because they were foolish, the Gingerbread Man because he was, after all, a biscuit, and biscuits are meant to be eaten.” --Dorothy Butler, Babies Need Books: Sharing the Joy of Books with Children from Birth to Six, (Heinemann, 1998), Chapter Five: When I was Three, I was hardly me, p. 99.

A. Individual illustrated folk-fairy tale titles

1. Paul Galdone illustrated titles: Henny Penny, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Red Riding Hood, The Magic Porridge Pot, Little Tuppen, The Elves and the Shoemaker, Three Ducks Went Wandering, Cat Goes Fiddle-i-Fee, Rumpelstiltskin, The Litte Red Hen

2. William Stobbs illustrated  titles: The Crock of Gold, The Story of the Three Bears, The Golden Goose, The Golden Goose, Good King Wenceslas, Chanticleer, Johnny-Cake, Who Killed Cock-Robin?

3. Jack Kent illustrated titles: The Fat Cat, The Bremen Town Musicians

4. Edward Gorey illustrated titles: Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin

B. Selections from folk-fairy story collections

1. Selections from Tales from Storyland, illustrated by George and Doris Hauman (Platt & Munk, 1938): The Ugly Duckling, The Bremen Town Musicians, The Boy and the North Wind, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Billy Goat Gruff, The Marriage of Robin Redbreast and the Wren, The Lion and Mouse, Teeny-Tiny, Five Peas in a Pod, Shingebiss, Why the Bear Has a Stumpy Tail, The Fox and the Stork

2. Selections from A Treasury Of Bedtime Stories, illustrated by Hilda Offen (Simon & Schuster, 1981): The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Patchwork Quilt, The Great Big Turnip, The Gingerbread Man, Tim Rabbit and the Scissors, Pix Pax Pox, The Elves and the Shoemaker, Nail Soup, The Three Little Pigs, The Elephant and the Bad Baby, The Kings of the Broom Cupboard

3. Selections from The Fairy Tale Treasury, selected by Virginia Haviland, illustrated by Raymond Briggs (Hamish Hamilton, 1972): The Gingerbread Boy, Henny-Penny, The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids, The Little Red Hen and the Grain of Wheat, The Story of the Three Bears, The Turnip, The Three Billy-Goats Gruff, The Half-Chick, The Sun and the Wind, Molly Whuppie

4. Selections from The Tall Book of Nursery Tales, illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky (HarperCollins, 1944): Little Red Riding Hood, The City Mouse and the Country Mouse, The Foolish Milkmaid, The Wolf and the Kids, Lazy Jack, The Little Old Woman and Her Pig,

5. Selections from The three bears & 15 other stories, illustrated by Anne Rockwell (Harper & Row, 1975): The Three Bears, The Lion and the Mouse, The Gingerbread Man, The Water-Nixie, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Henny-Penny, The Shoemaker and the Elves, Teeny-Tiny, The Three Little Pigs, Lazy Jack, The Dog and the Bone, Little Red Riding Hood, The Little Pot, The Star Money

6. Selections from The Old Woman and Her Pig and 10 Other Stories, illustrated by Anne Rockwell (Crowell, 1979): The Old Woman and Her Pig, The Three Sillies, The Travels of a Fox, The Tortoise and the Hare, The Bremen Town Musicians, The Lad Who Went to the North Wind

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Today's Used Book Haul

Found at a Little Free Library and a couple of thrift shops in scenic Lakewood. Particularly excited about the Spier and the Jannson. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

1954 Reading List: Christmas Read-Alouds

"Chapter 14: On Reading Aloud in the Family -- For Christmas"
from Josette Frank's Your Child's Reading Today, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1954.
  • Amahl and the Night Visitors - Gian-Carlo Menotti. Adapted by Frances Frost. Illus. by Roger Duvoisin. Whittlesey House. Beautiful pictures illustrate the opera story of a crippled boy, the Three Wise Men and a miracle.
  • Christmas in the Woods - Frances Frost. Illus. by Aldren A. Watson. Harper. A lovely Christmas poem comes to life in exquisite and appealing illustrations.
  • Maggie Rose - Ruth Sawyer. Harper. A little girl and her family celebrate a community Christmas in Maine.
  • The Light at Tern Rock - Julia L. Sauer. Illus. by Georges Schreiber. Viking. An unforgettable Christmas in a lighthouse brings to Ronnie its true meaning in a fine story with a salty tang.
  • Once in the Year - Elizabeth Yates. Illus. by Nora Unwin. Coward-McCann. Tender and reverent retelling of the old legend of the animals talking on Christmas Eve.
  • Paddy’s Christmas - Helen A. Monsell. Illus. by Kurt Wiese. Knopf. A bear cub finds out that Christmas “makes you feel good from the inside out.”
  • The Long Christmas - Edited by Ruth Sawyer. Illus. by Valenti Angelo. Viking. Thirteen unusual stories in a beautiful book for the literary child.
  • Told Under the Christmas Tree - Selected by the Association for Childhood Education International. Illus. by Maud and Miska Petersham. Macmillan. Stories old and new from many lands for the Christmas season.
  • The Birds’ Christmas Carol - Kate Douglas Wiggin. Houghton. A charming old-fashioned story with a welcome message of love and good will mingled with tears.
  • Christmas Stories - Charles Dickens. World Book. Famous tales for Yuletide reading. (Also: A Christmas Carol)
  • The Night Before Christmas - Clement C. Moore. Illus. by Arthur Rackham. Lippincott. Beautifully illustrated edition of this old favorite.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Used Book Report

I used to go fishing with dynamite at the $1 Bookstore so I stopped doing these "treasure!!" posts, but now that store is gone and the Goodwill always disappoints, so the pickin's have lately been slim.

But today, while doing a weird errand for Wikipedia (because I'm weird), I stumbled upon a very unique junk shop in an unexpected part of town. I came home with a bag of overripe fruit (the guy insisted!) and all these books.

Provensen (x2), Parents Magazine Press (x2), a grip of vintage Golden Press, Anne Sellers Leaf (what can I say, I like her cherry-cheeked, sanitized nursery rhymes fairy tales!), an OOP Mercer Mayer monster book from the 1970s, a Tresselt-Weisgard collaboration I'd never heard of before, and lots more.

I turned the overripe fruit into banana bread and I'm absolutely delighted with the books.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Quickie Update Post

What we're working on and what's working for us (or not) right now:
  • Preschool Prep Meet the Sight Words: He doesn't voluntarily ask for these videos, but he does now point out these words in print and on placemats and stuff. "Mom, look, 'of!' That's a sight word."
  • Jacqui and Colin Hawkins phonics books: These are basically flip books, but they have cute stories to go with the rhymes and they make a nice break when J won't look at the next BOB Book.
  • Kumon Workbooks: We love these but J's writing skills need a great deal of, uh, development, so we'll probably slow down and practice writing letters and numbers with other materials before continuing too far.
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder: We've started doing one longer read-aloud in addition to shorter picture books. After Googling just enough to find this paper "Kansas Settlers on the Osage Diminished Reserve: A Study of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie," I have chosen to censor out all mention of Native Americans from this particular book. (For the record, there was one branch of my family that were very much "pioneers," always the first settlers in a newly opened land, and after while I realized, oh, they were just always early to capitalize on the federal government's regular displacement of Indians. Sigh.) The first Little House book was a better read-aloud match for us than this one, which has so far included a great deal of somewhat technical construction descriptions. I think we'll pause this series after Prairie and work on something else. Possible next titles: Mr. Popper's Penguins or Finn Family Moomintroll (Common Core selections), or James Herriot's Treasury for Children.
  • Montessori school seems to be a big hit. It's been about 10 weeks since the transition and J likes everything but nap. He has a little gang of guy friends, but he seems to get along OK with everyone, despite having become very sexist at the ripe old age of three. ("I only play with boys. I'm only friends with boys.") There's endless preschool psychology I could share with you (both peer relations and academic), but for now I'll just report that he seems to be a very proper Montessorian. Every morning, he gives us a perfunctory kiss and then walks off to his "work" without a backward glance; handshake with eye contact for teacher, and then busy for hours, including a near-daily bracelet-beading exercise. (We have quite a collection by now!)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Platt & Munk's 1970s "A Child Guidance Book" Series

Sometime deep in the 1970s, Platt & Munk put out a series of oversize children's books that seemed very inspired by Richard Scarry's Busytown books and/or the general output of Golden Books. (They borrowed several illustrators from the Golden stable for the project as well.) There are lots of animals wearing clothes (moles toil underground, beavers handle all woodwork), and there is a ton of interesting vocabulary and information. I kind of love these books because, as a rule, they are very readable (not too much text, not too little), they are fun, and they are perfect for pulling out as a reference when a particular topic comes in conversation. Up top I have some scans, and down at the bottom of the post I have a clumsy bibliography. Kudos to whichever groovy editrix put this series together back in the 1970s. You done good.

How Do They Build It? - Tim and Greg Hildebrandt - Platt & Munk, 1974 - ISBN 0-8228-7610-8.

Topics: Houses, boats, cars, furniture, roads, skyscrapers, dams, bridges, planes, oil wells. 

Where Everyday Things Come From - Aldren Watson - Platt & Munk, 1974 - ISBN 0-8228-7611-6,

The technical watercolors in this book are extraordinary. This is an image from the section on steel. Other featured topics: Rubber, paper, books, coal, electricity, glass, steel, soap, plastic, paint, cotton, clothing, wool, fruits and vegetables, honey, sugar, chocolate, salt and breads.

Who Invented It and What Makes It Work? - Sarah Leslie, illustrated by Tom O'Sullivan - Platt & Munk, 1976. ISBN 0-8228-7612-4. For the record, I've seen a few things from O'Sullivan lately, and I think he was an absolutely unrated star illustrator with a very unique and lovely style!

Each two-page spread is split into a historical survey of the invention, and then a description of the technical workings of the item in question. Above, an easy-riding cat shows off the parts of a motorcycle. Other topics in the book: balloon, clock, dynamo, lightning rod, piano, telescope, airplane, camera, printing press, bifocals, electric light bulb, phonograph, motion pictures, animated cartoon movies, telegraph, typewriter, telephone, elevator, thermometer, motorcycle, zipper, escalator, matches, radio, refrigerator, sewing machine, television, cotton gin, vacuum cleaner.
The Big Farm Book - Annie Ingle, illustrated by Aurelius Battaglia - Platt & Munk, 1976 - ISBN 0-8228-7617-5. 

Whee, pesticides! By and large, The Big Farm Book depicts an idealized vision of rural American life that probably didn't even exist when this book was written, but this one page about crop dusting is (a) startling to the modern eye, and (b) charming on its own terms. (As my dad has pointed out, for most of the 20th century, there was no such thing as organic farming; everyone used chemicals.)

The Big City Book - Annie Ingle, illustrated by Tim and Greg Hildebrandt - Platt & Munk, 1975 - ISBN 0-8228-7616-7.

A sample page, on the topic of the police department. I will leave it to you to ponder the imagery of perhaps the perv cat and the innocent mouse-child, but overall this is a good example of what you'll see inside. Lots of useful details in here, using what is probably New York City or another major East Coast metropolis, as the source. (This is likely the only children's book in history to include the words "commissioner of weights and measures.") This and the Farm book have a slightly more "narrative" style than the other Child Guidance books I've looked at, which tend to take a survey approach.

How Come...? Easy Answers to Hard Questions - Joyce Richards, illustrated by Susan Perl - Platt & Munk, 1975 - ISBN 0-448-13031-9. I think I remember this book from when I was little, or at least I think I remember Susan Perl's spacey, uniquely-haired children from another one of her books.

"Why Is the Ocean Salty?" - This book is quite a mish-mash of topics. I think in both this and the Body book below, Perl's illustrations either overwhelm the weaker text or at least fail to show something the text can't tell. The illustrations are very interesting, but somehow these two don't feel as successful to me as the other Child Guidance books I've seen.

You: How Your Body Works - by Leslie McGuire, illustrated by Susan Perl - Platt & Munk, 1974 - ISBN 0-8228-7320-6. My copy of this book is smaller than the other volumes appearing under the Child Guidance imprint.

"Where do you do all your thinking?"

Baby brainiacs in Susan Perl's imagination, circa 1974.

How Come...? Easy Answers to Hard Questions
Joyce Richards & Susan Perl

More Easy Answers
Joyce Richards & Susan Perl

Who Invented It and What Makes It Work?
Sarah Leslie & Tom O’Sullivan

Where Everyday Things Come From
Aldren Watson

Letters, Sounds and Words: A Phonic Dictionary
Linda Hayward & Carol Nicklaus

Numbers, Signs and Pictures: A First Number Book
Shari Robinson & Sal Murdocca

The Big Farm Book
Annie Ingle & Aurelius Battaglia

The Big City Book
Annie Ingle & the Hildebrandts

The Curiosity Book: Answers to Questions That Every Child Is Most Curious About
Selma G. Lanes & Robert J. Lee

The Bible Story Picture Book: Stories from the Old and New Testaments
Louisa Britton & Victor Ramon Mojica

Mabel and the Rainbow
Carol Nicklaus

The Great Big Funny BookSue Lundgren
The Almost Anything You Might Ask Almanac {I didn't like this one at all and eventually left it at a Little Free Library.}
Pappy Klima 

Marvelous Creatures: A First Book About Animals
Bernard Garfinkle & Meryl Joseph

Are there other Child Guidance titles out there that I haven't found? I'd love to know about them if there are. Please post in the comments if you find any that aren't listed here, or if you'd like to see more scans from any of the titles above.