About the Holiday
Today’s holiday honors transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, who was born on this date in 1817 and along with his many other talents and interests advocated for a simplified life. As summer heats up with a full calendar of camps, activities, vacations, work, day trips, and more, take today “off” and just enjoy the simple pleasures around you.
I received a copy of Welcome to Morningtown from Bloomsbury Children’s Books for review consideration. All opinions are my own. I’m also excited to be partnering with Bloomsbury in a giveaway of the book. See details below.
Welcome to Morningtown
Written by Blake Liliane Hellman | Illustrated by Steven Henry
It’s the crack of dawn in Morningtown and “everyone is waking.” A little cub rubs his eyes and sees his dad standing at the foot of his bed, fishing pole in hand, tackle box at the ready. The little tyke yawns and stretches along with the birds in the tree outside his room. Down at the pond, the frogs are “hopping, flopping, splashing awake while the turtles and a beaver enjoying the first cup of the day look on. All over Morningtown the animals, the insects, and even the fish are leaving their beds, brushing their teeth, washing up, and getting dressed.
Next comes breakfast! “Some crunch, some nibble, some sip their morning feast.” Then in houses all around town the windows are opened and the shutters thrown wide. What will the day bring? Perhaps a banjo lesson, a new friend, and chance to help out. The cub dries the breakfast dishes while his mom washes. “Every day’s a surprise, and as the sun rises… busy bees buzz, fun bunnies bounce, and eager beavers slide into the day.” Yes, it’s a busy day in Morningtown. “Everyone is up…except one.” It’s a good thing Mom likes to go fishing too.
Blake Liliane Hellman’s lyrical look at morning and all the promise it holds is an enchanting, cheerful way to start the day for little ones—and their adults. As the bear family wakes up in their stone home, the rest of Morningtown’s residents are also rising and greeting the day with all of those little details that go into getting ready to meet the world. Hellman’s evocative verbs, jaunty rhythms, and humorous ending make Welcome to Morningtown a joy to read aloud.
Accompanying Hellman’s story are Steven Henry’s beyond adorable forest creatures who populate this peaceful hamlet. The sky glows golden and then softens into a clear, light blue as the animals leave their beds. One snoozing butterfly catches a few more winks on her soft dandelion bed, a tiny turtle enjoys another minute on Mom’s back, and Mr. Mole climbs emerges from his “secret” bed underground while three chirping birds wake a little mountain goat on his snowy ledge. Smiles abound, and readers will find themselves smiling too as they follow the little cub as he gets ready to go fishing with Dad. Henry’s clever details and charming perspectives create a rich and, as the title invites, welcoming community that little ones will want to visit again and again.
To start a little one’s day with enthusiasm for what lies ahead, put them to bed looking forward to tomorrow, or share cuddly down time, the charming Welcome to Morningtown is as sweet as it gets and would be an often-asked-for addition to home, classroom, and public library bookshelves.
Ages 3 – 5
Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2019 | ISBN 978-1681198736
To learn more about Steven Henry, his books, and his art, visit his website.
National Simplicity Day Activity
Pancakes are served in a stack because they’re so delicious each one doesn’t last long! This game gives you the chance to see how many pancakes you can flip onto a plate! You can play this game several ways:
To Play Pancake Toss
- Give each player the same number of pancakes and see how many they can toss onto the plate during their turn
- Make a target with the plate in the middle and draw 3 concentric circles around it. Hitting the target can earn you 20 points. Getting your pancake in the first circle around the plate earns you 15 point, the second circle is worth 10 points, and the third is worth 5 points. Rotate through the players as many times as you like and add up the points at the end. The player with the most points wins!
- Instead of tossing the pancakes with your hands, try throwing them with a spatula!
- Make up your own rules—and have fun!
To Play With Dice
- Choose a number of pancakes that each player must add to their plate—say, maybe, a baker’s dozen.
- Take turns rolling the dice and adding the number of pancakes rolled to the plate. The first player to reach the agreed-upon number is the winner.
- Printable Pancakes Template
- Printable Breakfast Plate Template
- Poster board, cardboard, or foam board
- Print enough copies of the Pancakes and Breakfast Plates for the game you choose and cut them out. Playing pieces can be printed on card stock or on paper.
- If printing on paper, you can glue the pancakes and plate to poster board, cardboard, or foam to give the pancakes more weight for throwing and the plate more support
- Once dry, the game pieces are ready for fun!
You can find Welcome to Morningtown at these booksellers
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound
Picture Book Review