July 9 – It’s National Anti-Boredom Month

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About the Holiday

After the initial excitement of school’s ending begins to wear off, many kids start asking, “Now what do I do?” or the ever-popular “I’m bored!” A good dose of boredom, though, can often lead to unexpected adventures, surprising creativity, and exciting discoveries. Reading is a wonderful way to incorporate all three while introducing kids to new ideas, people, places, and experiences. And don’t forget the concept books for younger kids that help them develop language skills, learn science facts, and increase math understanding in fun ways. So during this month’s holiday, keep boredom at bay with the excitement and joy books deliver!

Pip’s Big Hide-and-Seek Book

By Thaïs Vanderheyden

 

Who is Pip? He’s the little gray mouse wearing a red bandana and counting with his eyes closed while his 100 friends find somewhere to hide. Yes! They’re having a humongous game of hide-and-seek, and readers are invited to help look too! All one hundred fuzzy mice are off and running… Oops…all except one, who fell down. Do you see him? Ten of the mice have decided to hide in the circus caravan. While they wait to be discovered, “they are doing crazy things!” Can you find all ten before Pip does?

Ten more mice have gone all the way into outer space to avoid Pip. They’re hiding all over the cool spaceship. There’s a restaurant, a TV room, a bedroom with a curvy slide, a playroom, and even a garden room. Take a look around. More lucky mice are squirreled away “high up in the old beech tree” where “there’s an old mouse hotel.” This motel is pretty neat with its own spa that includes a sauna, a massage room, and a pool. Did you find the mice?

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Copyright Thaïs Vanderheyden, 2018, courtesy of thaïsvanderheyden.com.

Moving on, you have to tiptoe. “Shhhhh, Mommy dragon is looking after her little dragon babies! Can you help Pip find the ten little mice hidden in the mouse castle? Maybe there’s one among the crocodiles in the moat? Will you help Pip find the treasure in the castle too?” From the castle you and Pip will splash into the sea to check out the submarine, and then it’s off to the farm, where the underground farm factory is continuing to churn out yummy treats and soft woolens despite the game.

Wow! These mice have it all! The next place to find ten mice is up in the sky—in the mouse blimp! Then, hey, dude, it’s time to hit the surf shack where more mice are hanging…ten! Too much water? You might prefer the desert house, where ten mice are hiding under beautiful carpets. Yikes! There seem to be quite a few snakes too. Can you count them all?

Ahhhh! It was getting pretty hot in the desert—the mouse igloo is just the thing for cooling down. Some mice are enjoying some winter fun while others like the cozy fireplaces in each room. Hey! Guess what?! “You helped Pip find all one hundred hiding mice! To celebrate Pip is buying everyone ice cream and cotton candy. You in? Want to play again?

Thaïs Vanderheyden’s cute I-spy adventure will delight little ones. The book’s oversized format and twelve double-spread illustrations present plenty of room for the mice to hide in while waiting to be found. Unlike in some search-and-find books where discovering the hidden objects takes an eagle eye, here the mice are more easily found while engaging in silly hijinks that will make kids giggle and that are part of the fun. The challenge to find ten mice in each environment is an open invitation to count—not only the mice but the food on the tables, toys on the shelves, beds in the bedrooms, and much more. Possibilities for math learning go beyond counting to include addition, subtraction, position and pattern recognition, size, and more.

Whimsical touches will keep children and adults lingering over each page to talk about all the details. Vanderheyden’s engaging text charms with humorous prompts to look here or there for the mice as well as suggestions for noticing specific aspects of each environment.

With so much to see and do on every page, Pip’s Big Hide-and-Seek Book offers lots of repeat readability for very young to older readers. The book would make a great take-along for outings and car trips and would be a perfect 10 to add to home and classroom libraries.

Ages 3 – 7

Clavis, 2018 | ISBN 978-1605373683

Discover more about Thaïs Vanderheyden, her books, and her art on her website

National Anti-Boredom Month Activity

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Who’s Hiding? Dot-to-Dot

 

Can you find the character among the numbers in this printable Who’s Hiding? Dot-to-Dot Puzzle? When you do, grab some crayons and color it in!

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You can find Pip’s Big Hide-and-Seek Book at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Picture Book Review

August 4 – It’s Family Heritage Month

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About the Holiday

When families form, each person comes with their own history, which is then blended to create an entirely new story. Some families know all about great, great, great grandma or grandpa, while for some the distant past is a bit hazy. No matter how much you know about your family, though, you know that each step along the way for each person has brought you to the place you are now—together! This month encourages people to research their genealogy and discover more about their ancestors. It can be fun to draw a family tree or put together a scrapbook of photos, old and new. But whatever you do, don’t forget to celebrate your family!

One Family

Written by George Shannon | Illustrated by Blanca Gomez

 

It’s 6:00 and “one is one”: a little lady with a cotton-candy swirl of white hair is reading one book in the light of her one lamp. In the bedroom “one is two”: a boy and a girl have changed into pajamas, leaving one pair of shoes—two shoes with yellow laces—and a shirt on the floor. They’ve grabbed their team of horses—two stick ponies—and are galloping around the room. They make one family.

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Image copyright Blanca Gomez, 2015, courtesy of us.macmillan.com.

Outside, “one is three”: a little girl is out with her mom and dad. As they pass a window, she points to one bowl of fruit holding three pears. In the toyshop window, the girl sees one house of three bears. The one family walks by happily. On another street “one is four”: two kids sit in their grandpa and grandma’s car. Grandpa has one ring of four keys. Grandma is carrying a basket with one pile of four puppies. Where is this one family going?

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Image copyright Blanca Gomez, 2016, text copyright George Shannon, 2015. Courtesy of us.macmillan.com.

At the zoo “one is five”: a family of three kids and two adults watch one monkey hold one bunch of five bananas while another plays with one hand of five cards. In a busy house “one is six”: While a woman hangs out one line of six wet shirts, a girl paints one butterfly with six legs. The six people are one family working together.

In another neighborhood “one is seven”: one flock of seven birds flies over the tall apartment houses as one family of four adults, a child, and twin babies talk. Who is the “one bouquet of seven blooms” for? A door opens to a home where “one is eight”: one picture of eight ducks hangs on the wall above a child coloring with one box of eight crayons. The room is getting full as eight people from one family find places to gather.

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Image copyright Blanca Gomez, 2015, courtesy of us.macmillan.com.

At the seaside “one is nine”: a group of nine men, women, and children sit on one bench near one staircase of nine steps. One of the children has built one cairn of nine rocks. In a bustling kitchen “one is ten”: sitting at the table and standing near the stove are ten members of one family. A girl has baked one batch of ten cookies. On the wall is one shelf of ten books.

In this one town, all these people come together walking dogs, playing with balls, visiting neighbors, waving from windows, strolling babies, and having fun. Here “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

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Image copyright Blanca Gomez, 2015, courtesy of us.macmillan.com.

In his unique take on a counting book, George Shannon challenges readers to consider the way we think about the number and the idea of “one,” both mathematically and linguistically. Along the way the story also invites readers to think about the nature of family. As each family unit grows larger from page to page, children see that no matter how many people are included, the group is one family. The sequential building on the idea of family organically leads to the insight that our one world is made up of many people—and even many families—but that we are all connected as one family on earth.

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Image copyright Blanca Gomez, 2015, text copyright George Shannon, 2016. Courtesy of us.macmillan.com.

In her vibrant and inclusive illustrations, Blanca Gomez celebrates what it means to be a family and even invites readers to perhaps make up their own stories about how each family came together. Every page offers welcome views of multigenerational, interracial, and multiethnic families. Three examples of the featured number on each two-page spread are just the right amount for kids to count and discuss how we use collective nouns to denote ideas such as “one pair” for two or “one batch” and “one bunch” for any number of cookies or flowers. A final spread gives readers another chance to count the items they found in the book, and the endpapers tell a story of their own.

With so much to see, talk about, and count, on every page, One Family is a fantastic book to add to school, classroom, and home libraries.

Ages 4 – 8

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015 | ISBN 978-0374300036

Find a gallery of illustration and other artwork by Blanca Gomez on her website!

Family Heritage Month Activity

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I Love My Family Tree! Coloring Page

 

Filling in a family tree is a fun way to learn more about grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and where your family came from. Print this I Love My Family Tree! Coloring Page then write the names or draw pictures of your family members in the hearts, and color the picture.

Picture Book Review