October 12 – It’s National Book Month

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-this-little-scientist-cover

About the Holiday

When children hear, see, and live what’s in the news, they want to know more about the whos, whys, and hows—and they want to know what they can do. Through picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult novels young readers and adults find ways to understand, interpret, and discuss issues in the world today. Many books from picture books on up inspire readers to stand up for others, be a friend, use their talents to help those in need, and make a difference in their own unique way. This month gives readers a great opportunity to discover books that can answer questions, empower children, and make the world a better place for them to grow up in.

This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer

Written by Joan Holub | Illustrated by Daniel Roode

 

Like the best school career day ever, ten of history’s and today’s greatest scientists line up in front of the chalkboard to talk about their work. First they reveal that secret to their success—the scientific method: “Asking why. Then making a guess. Asking how. Then proving with tests.” First up is Sir Isaac Newton, who discovered gravity. Little ones will learn that he also found the color spectrum and “figured out three rules for how objects move.”

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Image copyright Daniel Roode, 2018, text copyright Joan Holub, 2018. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Next to take center stage is Maria Sibylla Merian, a painter who through her art explained wonders of the insect world, including “how caterpillars turn into butterflies through a change called metamorphosis.”

Even the youngest readers may recognize Albert Einstein with his disheveled white hair. They’ll be amazed to learn that he devised a formula to explain how “energy and mass are the same thing in different forms.” He also found that nothing is faster than the speed of light.

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Image copyright Daniel Roode, 2018, text copyright Joan Holub, 2018. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Katherine Johnson can look back on a stellar career as a mathematician who “solved hard math problems on paper” before computers were used “so that space heroes like John Glenn could safely orbit the Earth.” Kids who love animals will want to meet Jane Goodall who “studied chimpanzees / and made friends with them / among Africa’s trees.” And starry-eyed kids who look to the skies will want to hear about Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium who “helps us understand / how our universe works / and how it began.”

Four more scientists step up to tell their stories. To close out the book, little readers will find a double-spread portrait gallery of seventeen more, complete with one-sentence descriptions for their contribution. Readers will find that the final frame has been left open for… them?

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Image copyright Daniel Roode, 2018, text copyright Joan Holub, 2018. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Joan Holub distills the scientific method and the biographies of ten influential scientists into short, clear nuggets of information that even the youngest readers can appreciate. A four-line rhyming verse introduces the scientist on the lefthand side while one or two facts on the right-hand side expand on their work. The engaging tone and variety of sciences and scientists represented will entice discoverers-in-the-making to learn more.

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Image copyright Daniel Roode, 2018, text copyright Joan Holub, 2018. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Daniel Roode cartoon-inspired but readily recognizable portraits of each scientist will charm readers as each is portrayed working with the subject of their experiments or set on a backdrop of their specialty. Clothing and hairstyles give kids a sense of each scientist’s place in history. Roode’s vibrant colors and dynamic illustrations in addition to the bright smile each scientist wears celebrates the sciences while applauding the discoveries made by women and men dedicated to advancing knowledge and creating the future.

For little ones who are curious about the world around them and how it works, This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer, part of the This Little series, which includes This Little Explorer, This Little President, and This Little Trailblazer, is a smart, innovative choice for home, classroom, and public library shelves.

Ages 3 – 5

Little Simon, Simon & Schuster, 2018 | ISBN 978-1534401082

Discover more about Joan Holub and her books on her website

The Gift of Story Time Giveaway

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-give-the-gift-of-story-time-giveaway-picture

Little Simon board books make the perfect gift for all of the young readers in your life! With cute and creative illustrations, accessible and engaging stories, and the perfect size and durability, these books are great for new parents and for reading aloud. These fun series teach important lessons and concepts through adorable characters, interesting stories, and hilarious creatures!

One (1) winner receives this collection of five sweet stories from Little Simon

  • The Itsy Bitsy School Bus, written by Jeffrey Burton | illustrated by Sanja Rešček
  • Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud, written by Ame Dyckman |illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths
  • Día de los Muertos, written by Hannah Eliot | illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez
  • This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer, written by Joan Holub | illustrated by Daniel Roode
  • Hello Knights!, written by Joan Holub | illustrated by Chris Dickason

To be entered to win, just Follow me on Twitter @CelebratePicBks and Retweet a giveaway tweet during this week, October 8 – 14. Already a follower? Thanks! Just retweet for a chance to win.

A winner will be chosen on October 15.

 Giveaway open to US addresses only | Prizing and samples provided by Little Simon.

National Book Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-silly-balloons

Experiment!

We all know that cooler weather means shock season will soon be here. But you don’t have to wait until the fuzzy socks and fleecy blankets come out to have some fun with static electricity. Using a blown-up balloon can be a dramatic way to show kids what’s going on with the electrons that are at the center of this phenomenon.

Babies and young children should be supervised by an adult while playing with balloons.

How does it work? Static electricity is generated when there is an excess of electrons on one object giving it an electric charge. These electrons are attracted to an object with fewer electrons and will jump to it when placed close by.

How do you produce static electricity? Just rub the blown-up balloon on your shirt, on your hair, on a blanket or other surface. Then try these experiments!

CRAZY HAIR

Generate static electricity on a blown-up balloon then hold it near your hair and watch it go a little crazy!

HANG A BALLOON

Generate static electricity on a blown-up balloon and gently place it on the wall and watch it hang all by itself.

BEND WATER

This bit of balloon magic will amaze you! Generate static electricity on a blown-up balloon. Turn on a faucet to a thin stream of water. Hold the balloon near the stream of water and watch it bend toward the balloon. 

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-this-little-scientist-cover

You can find This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer at these booksellers

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

Picture Book Review

October 11 – It’s National Book Month

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-hello-knights-cover

About the Holiday

All this month people are reading and celebrating their favorite books—both old and new. It’s also a terrific time to honor independent bookstores that serve their community with carefully chosen titles for all ages of readers. Some indies focus on one genre or age of reader, offering a vast array of familiar and surprising books for customers to explore. Others are known for a particular ambience—mysterious, scholarly, fun! But all give readers a sense of community and a feeling of awe and wonder at all of the stories to discover. This month make a stop into your local bookstore a family event and pick up a new book (or several) for everyone!

This week I’m happy to be sharing five new board books from Little Simon and to be partnering with them in an amazing giveaway of all five books. Simon & Schuster sent me the books to check out. All opinions are my own. You’ll find details about the giveaway below. Watch every day this week for another terrific title!

Hello Knights! (A Hello Book)

Written by Joan Holub | Illustrated by Chris Dickason

 

A knight checks out her shining reflection in the mirror before starting a day full of important jobs. In the castle, “knights run up. Knights run down. Take the queen her royal crown.” And what does the king need? Well! “Knights march here. Knights march there” all to “take the king his underwear.”

Besides these duties, knights have to protect the castle from dragons, but oh, no! Here they come! Purple, green, orange and pink, they’re flying in from every direction! The dragons are huge – much bigger than the knights. How can they defeat those fire-breathing beasts? The knights shout from the castle wall, warning the dragons to go away. But the dragons say they’re “coming in! “Will a battle now begin?”

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Image copyright Chris Dickason, 2018, text copyright Joan Holub. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

On the turret the knights hold their swords, ready to fight. But one clever knight has a different solution. What’s that she says? “Wave the…underwear?” This flag is raised, and “all the dragons stop and stare.” What do they think? What do they do? In just a minute they’re “Huff-puff laughing dragon-style.” With belly laughs and music and dancing, a “party starts. Battle ends.” Now “knights and dragons” are “making friends.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-roary-the-lion-roars-too-loud-hello-knights-king

Image copyright Chris Dickason, 2018, text copyright Joan Holub. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Little royalty will giggle and gasp as colorful dragons menace the castle only to be stopped by a silly display of the king’s underwear. Joan Holub’s fast-paced, dialogue rich storytelling will keep the youngest readers riveted to her gently suspenseful story that ends in laughs and a big bash, where the knights and dragons show off their musical talents, while a dragon and horse dance, the queen meets a newly hatched dragon, and the king roasts marshmallows by dragon fire. Holub’s short sentences invite kids to read along on second, third, fourth… readings.

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Image copyright Chris Dickason, 2018, text copyright Joan Holub. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Chris Dickason’s kingdom is as shiny as polished silver and as busy as a beehive, with knights running here and there to serve the king and queen and thwart the dragons. The queen with her smiling eyes and fluffy white kitten sits elegantly as the knights set her golden and jeweled crown atop her turquoise hair. The tattooed king readies himself to put his undies on as a knight looks away and a shocked dragon peers through the window. Little knights in the making will love the double-spread view of the dragons soaring through the clouds and the ensuing battle preparations. The showstopper is the double gatefold that reveals the castle courtyard complete with two die-cut walls that enclose a wild and royal jammin’ party with new friends.

Hello Knights is jousting good fun that little ones will want to hear again and again. The book is a treasure for gift-giving, home, library, and preschool classroom bookshelves.

Ages 1 – 4

Little Simon, Simon & Schuster, 2018 | ISBN 978-1534418684

Discover more about Joan Holub and her books on her website.

To learn more about Chris Dickason, his books, and his art on his website.

The Gift of Story Time Giveaway

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-give-the-gift-of-story-time-giveaway-picture

Little Simon board books make the perfect gift for all of the young readers in your life! With cute and creative illustrations, accessible and engaging stories, and the perfect size and durability, these books are great for new parents and for reading aloud. These fun series teach important lessons and concepts through adorable characters, interesting stories, and hilarious creatures!

One (1) winner receives this collection of five sweet stories from Little Simon

  • The Itsy Bitsy School Bus, written by Jeffrey Burton | illustrated by Sanja Rešček
  • Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud, written by Ame Dyckman |illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths
  • Día de los Muertos, written by Hannah Eliot | illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez
  • This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer, written by Joan Holub | illustrated by Daniel Roode
  • Hello Knights!, written by Joan Holub | illustrated by Chris Dickason

To be entered to win, just Follow me on Twitter @CelebratePicBks and Retweet a giveaway tweet during this week, October 8 – 14. Already a follower? Thanks! Just retweet for a chance to win.

A winner will be chosen on October 15.

 Giveaway open to US addresses only | Prizing and samples provided by Little Simon.

National Book Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-plastic-party-dress-craft

Knight’s Tunic

 

Being a knight is exciting and fun! It’s even better with a knights tunic to wear! With this easy-to-make tunic, a t-shirt can be recycled into some cool royal wear!

Supplies

  • Tee shirt with the sleeves cut off
  • Thin cardboard (a cereal or other food box works well)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Scissors
  • Permanent Markers 
  • Play jewels (optional)
  • Fabric glue
  • Rope, twine, or shoelace for a belt
  • Tape

Directions

  1. Cut the sleeves off of the T-shirt
  2. Use the cardboard to create a crest shape
  3. Cover the cardboard with aluminum foil
  4. Tape the aluminum foil in back if necessary
  5. Children may enjoy decorating the crest for their tunic with markers and/or play jewels by themselves or with a bit of adult help
  6. Attach the finished crest to the tunic with fabric glue
  7. Use rope, twine, or a shoelace for a belt

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-hello-knights-cover

You can find Hello Knights at these booksellers

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

Picture Book Review

October 10 – It’s National Book Month

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About the Holiday

During National Book Month readers give special thought to the authors and illustrators who share their creativity and insight in books for all ages. Children especially benefit from learning about all the wonders of their world, from familiar people, places, and events to those from different cultures. Being introduced to world languages, festivals, traditions, and more through books gives children a sense of belonging and community. There are so many voices to be heard! This month visit your local bookstore or library and discover some of the amazing new books on the shelves! 

This week I’m happy to be sharing five new board books from Little Simon and to be partnering with them in an amazing giveaway of all five books. Simon & Schuster sent me the books to check out. All opinions are my own. You’ll find details about the giveaway below. Watch every day this week for another terrific title!

Día de los Muertos (Celebrate the World)

Written by Hannah Eliot | Illustrated. By Jorge Gutierrez

 

At the end of October, the holiday Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, takes place, the narrator tells readers. “Día de los Muertos is an ancient tradition celebrated in Mexico and other places around the world.” It’s a time to remember family and friends who have passed away and to celebrate their lives. Preparations for the holiday include baking delicious “sweet rolls called pan de muertos, or bread of the dead.” Atole, a hot sweet and spicy drink goes with it too.

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Image copyright Jorge Gutierrez, 2018, text copyright Hannah Eliot, 2018. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Flor de muertos, or the flower of the dead, is picked to add to decorations and to our altares. On the altars there are also pictures of loved ones, items that they liked, and candles. “The light of the candles and the smell of the flowers help guide the spirits back to us.” There are a lot of colorful skeletons too. Some are huge while others are tiny. They’re painted and even dressed up. Then they’re posed “doing silly things, like playing the guitar or dancing or even taking a bath!”

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Image copyright Jorge Gutierrez, 2018, text copyright Hannah Eliot, 2018. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Not only are the altars festive, but the whole town is decorated  with cut paper designs called papel picado and calaveras, or skulls, many of which are made of sugar and icing. “We do all this to celebrate the beauty of life and death rather than mourn it.” At the end of the holiday, people visit the cemetery to clean tombstones of family and friends, play music, and tell stories about their lives. At the end of the holiday all the decorations are put away, but our memories of loved ones “stay in our hearts forever.”

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Image copyright Jorge Gutierrez, 2018, text copyright Hannah Eliot, 2018. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Through Hannah Eliot’s engaging story, children learn the meaning and traditions of Día de los Muertos from a child narrator who is excited to share the holiday with readers. Eliot clearly explains the various parts of the celebrations, emphasizing the uplifting remembrance of loved ones who have passed away. Descriptions of the preparations, food, decorations, and skeletons will entice kids who don’t celebrate the holiday to learn more while also helping them to understand the significance of these holiday elements when they see them in their community, at stores, and elsewhere. For children looking forward to the holiday, Día de los Muertos is a magical and warm-hearted look at this spirit-filled tradition.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-día-de-los-muertos-town

Image copyright Jorge Gutierrez, 2018, text copyright Hannah Eliot, 2018. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Each of Jorge Gutierrez’s vibrant illustrations is a feast for little eyes as children eagerly collect decorations and make special dishes for the holiday. Calaveras and skeletons, sporting mustaches, hats, colorful painted designs, and wide, toothy smiles dot the pages. Portraits of loved ones who have passed away hang on walls while their spirits, smiling and rimmed in a blue glow, stand nearby. Similarly, spirits hover over children as they decorate skeletons, happy to check out the likenesses the kids are creating. The fun and poignancy of this holiday are especially demonstrated on double-page spreads of a candlelit altar and a festive town center, where the whole community has come to celebrate, as well as in images of families spending time in the cemetery and finally saying goodbye to the visiting spirits as they float upward and away for another year.

Día de los Muertos is a dazzling book for youngest and older readers. An informative and enchanting introduction to a popular holiday, the book would be an excellent addition to home, classroom, and library bookshelves.

Ages 2 – 4 and up

Little Simon, 2018 | ISBN 978-1534415157

Discover more about Jorge Gutierrez, his art, and his animation on his website.

The Gift of Story Time Giveaway

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-give-the-gift-of-story-time-giveaway-picture

Little Simon board books make the perfect gift for all of the young readers in your life! With cute and creative illustrations, accessible and engaging stories, and the perfect size and durability, these books are great for new parents and for reading aloud. These fun series teach important lessons and concepts through adorable characters, interesting stories, and hilarious creatures!

One (1) winner receives this collection of five sweet stories from Little Simon

  • The Itsy Bitsy School Bus, written by Jeffrey Burton | illustrated by Sanja Rešček
  • Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud, written by Ame Dyckman |illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths
  • Día de los Muertos, written by Hannah Eliot | illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez
  • This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer, written by Joan Holub | illustrated by Daniel Roode
  • Hello Knights!, written by Joan Holub | illustrated by Chris Dickason

To be entered to win, just Follow me on Twitter @CelebratePicBks and Retweet a giveaway tweet during this week, October 8 – 14. Already a follower? Thanks! Just retweet for a chance to win.

A winner will be chosen on October 15.

 Giveaway open to US addresses only | Prizing and samples provided by Little Simon.

National Book Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-día-de-los-muertos-coloring-page-1

Día de los Muertos Coloring Pages

 

Día de los Muertos is vibrant and fun! Celebrate the holiday with these two coloring pages thanks to Topeka Día de los Muertos!

Día de los Muertos Coloring Page 1 | Día de los Muertos Coloring Page 2

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You can find Día de los Muertos at these booksellers

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

Picture Book Review

 

October 9 – It’s National Book Month

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About the Holiday

This month-long holiday was established to get families excited about reading. As the weather turns cooler and activities turn indoors, reading together is a wonderful way to spend time having fun and making memories. Small children love being read to—and so do older kids! Sharing board books, picture books and chapter books that can be read at one sitting is always fun. Taking the journey of a novel together with tweens and teens can provide inspiring, emotional, funny, and bonding moments that last a lifetime.

This week I’m excited to share five new board books from Little Simon and to be partnering with them in an amazing giveaway of all five books. Simon & Schuster sent me the books to check out. All opinions are my own. You’ll find details about the giveaway below. Watch every day this week for another terrific title!

Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud (Wee Beasties)

Written by Ame Dyckman | Illustrated by Alex G Griffiths

 

Roary is a little lion, who “LOVES to roar his big outside roar.” Like when he wants to “say hello to Daddy,” he sneaks up on him and “ROARRRR!” Then Daddy is so surprised he rips his newspaper, spills his coffee, and tips over the little table.

Roary also loves his Mommy and can’t wait to say thank you when she does something nice for him—like bringing him some lemonade. But his “ROARRRR!” is so loud it shakes Mommy right off her feet, and the pitcher of lemonade and the glasses go flying. “OOPS! You roared too loud, Roary.”

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Image copyright Alex G Griffiths, 2018, text copyright Ame Dyckman, 2018. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Roary thinks the new baby is so sweet. He just wants to say good night. Is this a good time for a Roary “ROARRRR!?” No! Maybe you can show Roary what a quiet, inside voice sounds like. “You did it!” Roary thinks so too and whispers “Night-night. Sweet dreams” to the sleeping baby.  When the baby wakes up, what kind of voice does she use? Well, let’s just say she and her brother should get along roaringly well!

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-roary-the-lion-roars-too-loud-mommy

Image copyright Alex G Griffiths, 2018, text copyright Ame Dyckman, 2018. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Ame Dyckman’s Wee Beasties series, including Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard and upcomingTouchy the Octopus Touches EVERYTHING, introduces little ones to good manners and social skills that revolve around going out, meeting new people, and expressing their emotions. Several examples of “over doing” are followed by an opportunity for the young snake, lion, and octopus to do the right thing. They just need to learn how. Through a direct appeal for help from the narrator, kids can practice speaking quietly, hugging gently, and looking without touching. In Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud, Roary is a sweet cub who loves his Daddy, Mommy, and baby sister as well as a little bit of fun (and maybe a bit of mischief too). He doesn’t mean to be disruptive; he just needs to learn to use his quiet voice. Dyckman ends the story on just the right note. While Roary is proud of himself for using his indoor voice, his equally loud baby sister provides one more laugh to charm readers.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-roary-the-lion-roars-too-loud-quiet-voice

Image copyright Alex G Griffiths, 2018, text copyright Ame Dyckman, 2018. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Alex G Griffiths got the enviable job of creating mayhem from Roary’s loud ROARRRR! Tranquil scenes of Daddy quietly reading the newspaper and Mommy carrying a loaded tray of lemonade lead into slapstick panels of chaos, complete with toppled furniture, splashing drinks, lost eyeglasses, and slices of lemon that land everywhere, including on Roary’s head. Daddy and Mommy’s stern looks tell little readers that too loud is…well…too loud. Positive reinforcement for readers who “show” Roary how to use a quiet voice comes in the form of smiles, thumbs up, and confetti as well as an encouraging statement. When Roary whispers night-night, little ones will be happy to see Daddy giving him a big hug.  

A joyful way to teach toddlers and preschoolers important social skills, Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud and the rest of the Wee Beasties series would be an often-asked-for read for home and classroom bookshelves.

Ages 2 – 5

Little Simon, Simon & Schuster, 2018 | ISBN 978-1534410787

Discover more about Ame Dyckman and her books on her website.

To learn more about Alex G Griffiths, his books, and his art, visit his website.

The Gift of Story Time Giveaway

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-give-the-gift-of-story-time-giveaway-picture

Little Simon board books make the perfect gift for all of the young readers in your life! With cute and creative illustrations, accessible and engaging stories, and the perfect size and durability, these books are great for new parents and for reading aloud. These fun series teach important lessons and concepts through adorable characters, interesting stories, and hilarious creatures!

One (1) winner receives this collection of five sweet stories from Little Simon

  • The Itsy Bitsy School Bus, written by Jeffrey Burton | illustrated by Sanja Rešček
  • Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud, written by Ame Dyckman |illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths
  • Día de los Muertos, written by Hannah Eliot | illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez
  • This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer, written by Joan Holub | illustrated by Daniel Roode
  • Hello Knights!, written by Joan Holub | illustrated by Chris Dickason

To be entered to win, just Follow me on Twitter @CelebratePicBks and Retweet a giveaway tweet during this week, October 8 – 14. Already a follower? Thanks! Just retweet for a chance to win.

A winner will be chosen on October 15.

 Giveaway open to US addresses only | Prizing and samples provided by Little Simon.

National Book Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-Match-the-Lions-activity

Match the Lions!

 

These lions love to play together, but they’ve gotten separated from their twin! Pair up the lions that look alike in this printable Match the Lions Puzzle.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-roary-the-lion-roars-too-loud-cover

You can find Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud at these booksellers

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

Picture Book Review

October 8 – It’s National Book Month

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About the Holiday

National Book Month celebrates the joys of books for all ages. Starting at birth, children reap tremendous benefits from being read to every day. Even before they can talk, babies love listening to stories and looking at bright, colorful illustrations. Reading with babies improves their language development, literacy development, their understanding of math concepts, and their recognition of emotions. Board books, with their smaller, chunky size and thick pages are perfect for the youngest readers and their parents, grandparents, and other caregivers to share! Board books make excellent gifts for baby showers and new babies as well as for other gift-giving occasions.

This week I’m thrilled to share five new board books from Little Simon and to be partnering with them in an amazing giveaway of all five books. Simon & Schuster sent me the books to check out. All opinions are my own. You’ll find details about the giveaway below. Watch every day this week for another terrific title!

The Itsy Bitsy School Bus

Written by Jeffrey Burton | illustrated by Sanja Rešček

 

It was a big day for itsy bitsy school bus! With a full backpack and a ready smile, the itsy bitsy bus was “dropped off at school, it was time to learn and play.” In the bright classroom with pictures, numbers, and a colorful table where all the students sit the teacher said hello and then  itsy bitsy bus read and played, drew and painted with new friends – pink car, little police car, and tiny cement truck. And what happened after school? “The itsy bitsy school bus asked to go back again.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-itsy-bitsy-school-bus-teacher

Image copyright Sanja Rešček, 2018, text copyright Jeffrey Burton. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

A fun, school-time twist on the nursery rhyme “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” Jeffrey Burton’s sweet story for the preschool set is sure to charm the littlest students as they go off to school on their first day or want to relive the fun of the day at story time. For little ones who have not yet started school, the jaunty lilt of the story and upbeat activities shown will get them excited for when their turn does come. The story can be read and/or sung and invites kids to join in on subsequent readings.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-itsy-bitsy-school-bus-friends

Image copyright Sanja Rešček, 2018, text copyright Jeffrey Burton. Courtesy of Little Simon, Simon & Schuster.

Sanja Rešček’s first double-spread page lets little ones into the Bus family’s sunny kitchen with its car-motif tablecloth, healthy breakfast, and garage-sized door. Itsy bitsy bus rolls on out with backpack attached and zips down the road, first in line. The school has an equally wide door through which other vehicle families can be seen entering. Waving their tires, the little bus and Daddy say goodbye. The teacher, an orange beetle car, greets her new students and, after reading time, she shows them to the arts and crafts area where they all love making pictures of…themselves! When the final bell rings, the students file out to be picked up, but their smiles show that they’re ready to come back tomorrow.

Ages 2 – 4

Little Simon, 2018 | ISBN 978-1534416956

The Gift of Story Time Giveaway

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-give-the-gift-of-story-time-giveaway-picture

Little Simon board books make the perfect gift for all of the young readers in your life! With cute and creative illustrations, accessible and engaging stories, and the perfect size and durability, these books are great for new parents and for reading aloud. These fun series teach important lessons and concepts through adorable characters, interesting stories, and hilarious creatures!

One (1) winner receives this collection of five sweet stories from Little Simon

  • The Itsy Bitsy School Bus, written by Jeffrey Burton | illustrated by Sanja Rešček
  • Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud, written by Ame Dyckman |illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths
  • Día de los Muertos, written by Hannah Eliot | illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez
  • This Little Scientist: A Discovery Primer, written by Joan Holub | illustrated by Daniel Roode
  • Hello Knights!, written by Joan Holub | illustrated by Chris Dickason

To be entered to win, just Follow me on Twitter @CelebratePicBks and Retweet a giveaway tweet during this week, October 8 – 14. Already a follower? Thanks! Just retweet for a chance to win.

A winner will be chosen on October 15.

 Giveaway open to US addresses only | Prizing and samples provided by Little Simon.

National Book Month Activity

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Sort the Straws

 

With a box of colorful plastic straws and a muffin tin, you can set up a sorting activity that will keep little ones happily busy. Talk with children about how they can sort the straws and why they choose that method.

To start: cut straws of different colors into various lengths. For younger children, use only two or three lengths. Older children may enjoy a more challenging activity with straws that are cut into lengths that are more difficult to distinguish.

To sort: children can sort straws by size, by color, or by any way that makes sense to them.

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You can find The Itsy Bitsy School Bus at these booksellers

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

Picture Book Review

July 16 – World Snake Day

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About the Holiday

Of all the creatures in the animal kingdom, none may inspire such fierce emotions as snakes. And while there are plenty of species that rightly strike fear into people’s hearts, there are also many snakes that are beautiful and mild-mannered. As predators, snakes play a vital role in providing balance in the ecosystem. More than 3, 458 species are found in every part of the world, including frozen tundras and deep oceans, but habitat destruction, pollution, and other dangers threaten their population. To celebrate today’s holiday, read up on snakes or watch a documentary about these fascinating creatures. You may find yourself embracing them – just maybe not as much as the star of today’s book!

Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard (Wee Beasties Series)

Written by Ame Dyckman | Illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths

 

Huggy the Python LOVES a lot of things. And he “LOVES to hug the things he loves.” It’s just that Huggy is missing a bit of …well… hug control. When he sees something he loves—like a balloon—he rushes over and gently, gently wraps himself around it. But, really, one more little squeeze won’t hurt, right? Oh dear! “Pop! Oops! You hugged too hard, Huggy.”

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Image copyright Alex Griffiths, 2018, text copyright Ame Dyckman. Courtesy of Little Simon.

Maybe some ice cream will turn that frown upside down. Okay, spoon’s at the ready… so far so good. A little scoop… Yummm! That bowl needs just a leeetle hug. Oh no! What a mess! There’s even whipped cream and a cherry on top of Huggy’s very tall top hat! Perhaps a “fuzzy little dog” will cheer him up. Huggy’s all ready to give that puppy a hug when—“WAIT!” Maybe the reader can “show Huggy how to be gentle.” That’s right! So sweet!

Now it’s Huggy’s turn to show what he learned. Huggy looks a little uncertain as he stares down into those big puppy dog eyes. But he picks the puppy up and snuggles “just right.” But that tube of toothpaste in his tail? Well, you’ll see!

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Image copyright Alex Griffiths, 2018, text copyright Ame Dyckman. Courtesy of Little Simon.

Part of Ame Dyckman’s new Wee Beasties series of social skills board books—which includes Roary the Lion Roars Too Loud and Touchy the Octopus Touches Everything—Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard addresses the penchant of little ones to show just how full of love their heart really is. Combining examples that will elicit giggles, wording that prompts fun dramatic readings that toddlers can easily join in on, and a page that allows kids to practice giving just the right squeeze, Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard gently teaches restraint in a story little ones will want to read again and again.

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Alex G. Griffiths’ Huggy is a dapper cutie with his blue scarf, feathered top hat, and big, ready smile. As he whips over to show the balloon how much he loves it or cozies up to a tall dish of ice cream, his enthusiasm is infectious, but a POP! and a SQUISH! later that happy grin is a full-on frown. When Huggy wants to show some love to the little puppy, it’s up to readers to show him how it’s done. And no little one will be able to resist giving the book a snuggle when they see the sweet puppy’s outstretched arms! Griffiths’ cleverly uses nearly identical imagery when the balloon and the ice cream succumb to Huggy’s squeeze in order to show young readers the unwanted consequence of over-zealous hugs. The smiles all around when Huggy and the puppy connect just right will have little ones smiling too—and ready to give plenty of hugs.

Offering a peppy, playful way to teach young children how to hug pets, babies, friends, and even their toys as well an opportunity to discuss various emotions, Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard would be a favorite addition to any toddler’s home bookshelf and a terrific choice for daycare, preschool, and kindergarten libraries.

Ages 2 – 5

Little Simon, 2018 | ISBN 978-1534410800    

Discover more about Ame Dyckman and her books on her website.

To learn more about Alex G. Griffiths, his books, and his art, visit his website.

World Snake Day Activity

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Goodness Snakes! Matching Puzzle

 

These twin snakes slithered away from each other! Can you match them up again in this printable Goodness Snakes! Matching Puzzle?

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You can find Huggy the Python Hugs Too Hard  at these booksellers

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

Picture Book Review

August 6 – Sandcastle Day

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About the Holiday

While pinning down the official date of Sandcastle Day is as hard as holding back the tide, any sunny summer day is perfect for going to the beach and letting your artistic abilities take over! These days sandcastles are so much more than creations made with a few buckets full of wet sand and a few shells. Elaborate sculptures of every imaginable subject and character soar into the blue sky—some up to 50 feet! So whether you celebrate today, August 19, or any other day, every day is perfect for this distinctive art form!

The Critter Club: Liz and the Sand-Castle Contest

Written by Callie Barkley | Illustrated by Marsha Riti

 

In a summertime adventure for one of the girls in the Critter Club, Liz Jenkins, her brother Stewart, and their parents take a long weekend vacation at the beach. Liz is excited about visiting a new place, but knows that she’ll miss her friends, Ellie, Amy, and Marion.

With the car packed with beach supplies, sports equipment and food, the Jenkins family heads for Luna Beach. Next to Liz in the seat compartment are her drawing supplies. Both she and Stewart can’t wait to get out on the water to surf, boogie board, and swim. And of course, Liz is looking forward to building a sand castle. As the car travels down the highway, Liz imagines the castle she might build and remembers all the photos of past sand castles she’s built.

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Image copyright Marsha Riti, courtesy of Little Simon

As soon as the Jenkins family settles into the cottage they have rented, they walk to the beach, ready for a fun weekend. Suddenly, a boy whizzes past Liz on his bike, almost hitting her. He pedals on, but looks back and Liz thinks she sees him smirk. The afternoon at the beach goes quickly. On the way back to the cottage, Liz spies a sign advertising a sand castle building contest. Thrilled, Liz and Stewart go to the lifeguard station to sign up. Liz is about to give the lifeguard her name when a boy rudely interrupts, demanding to sign up for the contest. It’s the same boy Liz encountered earlier.

It seems the one open spot will have to be given to either Liz or Tommy based on a toss of a coin, but just then the lifeguard receives a call from a contestant who is dropping out. The next morning Liz assembles her sand-castle-building tools and is shown to her square on the beach by the lifeguard. In the square next to her is Tommy. Liz says “Hi” and tries to engage him in conversation, but Tommy remains silent and sullen.

Liz decides to build a replica of The Critter Club barn, complete with animals, for her entry. She’s happy with the way her castle is turning out, but is amazed to see that the walls of Tommy’s castle look like real stone. “‘Wow!’” she says “‘That looks awesome!’” Tommy mumbles a “thanks” and returns to trying to build a sand horse. When the horse collapses, Liz offers to help Tommy build it again. He rejects her suggestion, and pointing to her barn says, “‘You call that a castle?’… ‘It looks like a plain old barn to me.’” Liz tries to turn the insult into a teachable moment and tells Tommy about the Critter Club and rescuing animals, but Tommy gets angry and throws his bucket. A gust of wind carries it into Liz’s square, where it lands on her sculpture of Rufus, crushing it.

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Image copyright Marsha Riti, courtesy of Little Simon

When Tommy gives her a half-hearted “sorry,” she almost says “‘That’s okay,’” but she doesn’t, choosing instead to walk to the ocean’s edge for a break. There she finds a baby octopus floating in the shallow water. When she tries to move it into deeper water, the octopus doesn’t swim away, and Liz knows something is wrong. She puts it in her bucket with water, and when Tommy joins her and asks about the creature, Liz explains.

Liz is now on a mission to save the baby octopus. Forgetting the sand castle contest for the day, she calls Dr. Purvis, the veterinarian, for help. Following Dr. Purvis’s instructions to keep the baby octopus safe in a container until it can regain its strength, Liz watches over her rescue animal carefully. Another run-in with Tommy later that evening at the miniature golf course, only serves to increase their conflict.

The next morning, Liz returns to the beach, and while her parents take care of the octopus, heads to her sand castle. When she reaches her square, she’s devastated to discover that it was destroyed overnight. Tommy is staring at her with a strange look on his face. Liz tries to stay calm, but remembering all the times he was mean to her and the accidental incident at the golf course, she demands, “‘Did you do this? Hitting you with the golf ball was an accident. You did this on purpose!”

Before Tommy can respond, the lifeguard appears and tells Liz that her castle was blown down by big winds during the night. Her castle was, unfortunately, the only one not protected by the seawall. Suddenly, Tommy blurts out a suggestion. He asks Liz if she would like to help him finish his castle. He even gives her a “real, warm smile.” Liz jumps at the chance and helps Tommy build animals for his castle while he lets her add a replica of the Critter Club barn.

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Image copyright Marsha Riti, courtesy of Little Simon

While the judges check out all the entries, Tommy finally explains his attitude. “‘Every summer I enter this contest. And I’ve never won. Not even close! I really wanted to win, finally—all on my own.’” Liz understands and tells him it was nice of him to let her help. Tommy admits that he could never have made the animals by himself without learning her trick.

Finally the ribbons are handed out. Third place goes to a skyscraper, second place to a replica of a Sphynx, and third place to a castle complete with working drawbridge. Tommy and Liz shrug and smile. But wait…one more prize is being awarded. An honorable mention award goes to…Liz and Tommy! They cheer and jump up and down.

One more exciting moment awaits. After the contest Liz carries her bucket down to the water’s edge. As soon as Liz places the bucket in the ocean, the octopus propels itself into the open sea and swims away. With the promise of a sand castle rematch next year, Liz and Tommy part as friends.

Enjoyed by early independent readers and any child who likes a longer story, Callie Barkley’s Critter Club books offer excitement, adventure, and purpose. Liz and the Sand Castle Contest sets up a commonly experienced conflict between children (and adults). Exposing honest emotions, this story reveals that there is often more to a situation than meets the eye and that good communication between people is important. The facts about the baby octopus rescue are organically introduced and incorporated into the plot, and the ongoing friendship between Liz, Marion, Amy, and Ellie makes a comfortable and reaffirming beginning to the story.

Marsha Riti’s grayscale illustrations beautifully bridge the gap between picture books and longer chapter books for the series’ young readers. Allowing readers to see the facial expressions of the characters, to view details of perhaps unfamiliar settings, and to develop relationships with Liz, her family, her friends, and those she meets increases understanding and enhances the reading experience. The baby octopus is adorable as it floats in Liz’s bucket and pool and will have kids cheering as it swims safely away in the end.

The Critter Club: Liz and the Sand-Castle Contest and the rest of the books in the series will find their way into readers’ hearts and are a great addition to early independent readers’ bookshelves.

Ages 5 – 9

Little Simon, Simon & Schuster, 2015 | ISBN 978-1481424059

To see a gallery of art and more books by Marsha Riti, visit her website!

Sandcastle Day Activity

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Dig This Beachy Dot-to-Dot

 

Enjoy this printable Beachy Dot-to-Dot Page! Follow the dots to discover the hidden picture and have fun coloring it in!

Picture Book Review