June 25 – It’s Potty Training Awareness Month

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About the Holiday

Potty training is a rite of passage for little tykes of a certain age. With so many (sometimes conflicting) offers of advice, online forums, and other resources, plus a sometimes-added time crunch, it can be difficult for parents to navigate this issue without feeling stressed. A regular routine, patience, and following a child’s lead can go a long way in making this time in life successful and positive for all.

I’ve Got to Go

By Guido van Genechten

 

Doggy has an urgent problem. He needs to go to the bathroom, but his little sister is using his little plastic potty. He runs by, toilet paper roll clasped under his arm, to find his sister’s potty, but mouse is already sitting there. Doggy rushes on and sees why Mouse is in the wrong spot—“Frog is having a wee in Mouse’s potty…”

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Copyright Guido van Genechten, 2017. Courtesy of Clavis Books.

 

With a “pardon,” Doggy moves on. Hmmm…Zebra is using Frog’s potty—well mostly. Maybe it’s because “Giraffe has been sitting comfortably on Zebra’s potty for a very long time now….” All this running and waiting has made Doggy’s dilemma even more immediate. There’s only one place left, so “he runs—for the very first time!—to the big toilet.” Phew! It’s free.

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Copyright Guido van Genechten, 2017. Courtesy of Clavis Books.

Doggy climbs up with the help of a little stool, and…ahh…that’s better! And it wasn’t hard at all! Doggy remembers to wipe his bottom, push the flusher, and then he washes his paws. He opens the bathroom and can’t wait to share his big news. “‘Sis!’” he then calls out, proud as a peacock. ‘You can keep my potty! I don’t need it anymore.’”

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Copyright Guido van Genechten, 2017. Courtesy of Clavis Books.

Part race against time, part matching puzzle, and wholly fun, Guido van Genechten’s I’ve Got to Go will have preschoolers giggling as they follow Doggie past potty after potty in search of a place to go. The large-format book with van Genechten’s brightly colored portrayals of each adorable animal sitting on a potty is sure to engage kids. With time and options running out, Doggy’s “big boy” decision to try the regular toilet will intrigue little ones learning this skill themselves.

Young readers will also have fun matching the potty with the animal and enjoy learning some “big words” for when the bathroom is in use. Reenacting Doggie’s triumphant run with toys at home may just be the kind of silly but “Ah-ha” experience that puts all the teaching together for success.

Ages 2 and up

Clavis Publishing, 2017 | ISBN 978-1605373379

Potty Training Awareness Month Activity

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Potty Buddy

 

Sometimes a little encouragement from a friend can help kids try something new. This easy-to-make, kind-of-silly Potty Buddy can be designed by the trainee to be just the friend they want along as they make that first step toward independence.

Supplies

  • Toilet paper tube
  • Toddler size sock or cloth
  • Several feet of yarn
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • Scrap of foam, colored paper, or cloth
  • Glue

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Directions

  1. Pull a toddler-size sock over the paper towel tube and fold down the top to make a collar. Alternately, wrap cloth around the toilet paper tube and glue in place.
  2. Glue googly eyes on the tube
  3. Cut a small triangle or other shape for a nose from the foam or colored paper
  4. Loop the yarn about 20 times in a 5 – 6 inch length
  5. Tie the yarn in the middle
  6. Fold and glue into the top opening of the tube for hair.

Picture Book Review

May 2 – Baby Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-how-many-baby-animals-cover-clavisAbout the Holiday

Today we celebrate babies in all their cuteness, curiosity, and cuddliness.  If you have a baby or young child, spend the day doing something special with them! The years go by so quickly—enjoy showing your little ones the world around them! Of course, kids love babies of all kinds—and as today’s book shows Moms of all kinds love their kids!

How Many Baby Animals

By Guido van Genechten

 

It’s springtime and the farm animals are about to welcome lots of little ones to their families! How many? Little readers are about to find out! Mama Sheep is happily waiting for her babies to be born, and with a turn of the page, kids discover “Baa, baa, baa! / Three little lambs playing / in the meadow! / She gives them each / a kiss on the head, oh!” Mama Cat smiles at the thought of her new kittens to come. Just lift the flap and see—she has five: “Max, Mary, Mo, Molly, and Mittens!”

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Copyright Guido van Genechten, 2017. Courtesy of Clavis Publishing.

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Copyright Guido van Genechten, 2017. Courtesy of Clavis Publishing.

“Mama Chicken sits on her eggs / for more than a week. / Then the eggs begin to wobble / and start to speak!” Her new little peepers are keeping her busy—they’re such “brave little chicks!” What do they look like? Well, “they’re yellow and fluffy and there’s a freckle on number six.”

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Copyright Guido van Genechten, 2017. Courtesy of Clavis Publishing.

Wow! Mama Pig’s belly nearly touches the ground! How many babies will she welcome? Just flip the flap to count eight little piglets snuggling close. Mama Mouse is preparing for her little brood with tasty cheese and nuts, but how much should she store away? Enough for “eleven wee mice! They love sleeping together. Isn’t that nice?” And Mama Fish is the last to give birth. She swims through the water and hides in the plants with her large, happy family of…thirty three?!

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Copyright Guido van Genechten, 2017. Courtesy of Clavis Publishing.

Children who love animals and/or have pets will be enchanted with this unique counting book that also teaches a little bit about the nature of…nature. Sweet, smiling animal moms welcome their babies and cuddle up close, while Guido van Genechten’s funny rhymes lead readers to count increasing numbers of babies. The bold, vibrant pages allow kids to see each baby clearly, making counting easier. They also include one or two details about each animal’s farm habitat that can spur discussions of how and where each animal lives. The half-flap pages provide opportunities for interaction and fine-motor-skill practice, and the paper is heavy enough to stand up to much flipping back and forth.

Ages 2 and up

Clavis, 2017 | ISBN 978-1605373249

Baby Day Activity

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Baby’s Own Family Photo Book

 

Babies love seeing pictures of their family! Take the opportunity of Baby Day to put together a photo album for your baby or young child to look through. An album with pages of individual photographs makes it easier for babies to focus on one picture at a time, and close-up shots of family members smiling will make kids smile too. When you share the photo book with little ones, talk about the person in the picture and tell a family story. Doing this will help kids learn about their family and develop closer bonds!

Picture Book Review

March 4 – National Grammar Day

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About the Holiday

I must confess that today’s holiday is one of my favorites. Even as a kid I howled at the unintentional ridiculousness misplaced punctuation and poor editing created and absolutely loved diagramming sentences (I know, right?!). While the rules of grammar in any language may sometimes seem confusing and unnecessary, they help structure the language so what you write and say makes sense and exactly states your meaning. National Grammar Day was established in 2008 by author Martha Brockenbrough, the founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar.

Little White Fish Is So Happy

By Guido Van Genechten

 

Little White Fish has been swimming on his own, but is so happy that his “mom is coming to get him.” Before he leaves, however, he wants to say “goodbye” to his many friends. “Bye-bye, snail in the shell,” he burbles. The “frog on the rock” also receives a happy “goodbye.” Little seahorse is playing under a leaf, but Little White Fish spies him.

Crab waves from behind a stone as Little White Fish swims by, and goldfish smiles at him from his spot “between the reeds.” As Little White Fish sends his friends a final farewell, they all stand “next to each other” to see him off. The best part of going home for Little White Fish, though, may be getting to swim “in front of” his mom!

In Little White Fish Is So Happy, young grammarians are introduced to a few of the most common prepositions, with clear visuals to reinforce their meaning. Bold type prompts adult readers to emphasize the prepositions and to expand on the idea by pointing out how the words apply to each particular sea creature. The endearing relationship among these friends will charm young children as the idea of being away from home is presented in an upbeat way that encourages independence while also reassuring little ones of parents’ love and attention.

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Well Done, Little White Fish

By Guido Van Genechten

 

Little White Fish is visiting his friends. First up is crab who is “can cut sea grass with his claws.” This is a pretty cool talent, and Little White Fish wonders what he can do. Turtle is strong enough to carry a rock on his shell, and “sea urchin easily does seven somersaults in a row. And Little White Fish? What can he do?”

Wow! Little jellyfish “can light up the dark.” Little White Fish is astonished; he knows he can’t do that. Starfish is like a ballet dancer when she stands on one leg. “Little White Fish doesn’t even have legs….” Little White Fish knows he must watch out for Octopus when he spits out ink, and he likes playing over and under with sea snake when he makes “a beautiful arch.

And Little White Fish? He “can swim really well, even backwards and upside down!” Now it’s time for his friends to be amazed, and as Little White Fish swims around his group of friends, they all cheer and applaud his special talent.

Well Done, Little White Fish explores individuality as the small fish watches each of his friends demonstrate their talents. At first everyone seems to be cleverer, stronger, and more agile than he is, but when Little White Fish displays his swimming skills, he learns that he too is unique. Bold text points out each creature’s special ability and can also serve as a gentle lesson about verbs. Van Genechten’s adorable sea creatures, with their ready smiles and buoyant enthusiasm, will delight young children as they learn facts about nature while embracing these characters.

Guido Van Genechten’s Little White Fish books, including Little White Fish, Little White Fish Has a Party, and Little White Fish Has Many Friends, make a sweet series for the youngest readers. The spare text is lively and cheerful and makes use of the type of repetition that little ones respond to. The bold, multicolored and multilayered illustrations set on a black background are eye-catching. Small children will love the smiling sea creatures and the playful relationship among the friends.

Ages 2 – 5

Clavis Publishing, 2017

Little White Fish Is So Happy | ISBN 978-1605373263

Well Done, Little White Fish | ISBN 978-1605373270

Grammar Day Activity

Active Words Playtime

 

It can be fun to teach grammar by playing! Prepositions such as up, down, under, in, on, through, over, and out can provide opportunities for active fun inside or outside. A playground is a perfect place to demonstrate prepositions to kids while they climb, slide, crawl, and swing on the equipment.

Inside, all you might need is a large box or a homemade pillow fort to build your child’s vocabulary. Kids will love jumping up, crouching down, getting in the box or fort, getting out of the box or fort. Pillows or an open-ended box make a great tunnel to crawl through. You and your child can even make up a story to go along with the actions.

That old perennial favorite Simon Says is another great way to play with grammar, so get creative…and enjoy grammar!

Picture Book Review