May 2 – It’s Children’s Book Week

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About the Holiday

Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy program in the United States. The history of the holiday goes back to 1913, when Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, toured the country to promote a higher standard in children’s books and proposed a Children’s Book Week. The week is celebrated by authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and schools with special readings, events, and materials to get kids excited about reading. To learn more and find free, downloadable bookmarks and graphic novel, visit Every Child a Reader.

Disney-Hyperion sent me a copy of the Itchy Book to check out. All opinions are my own. I’m also thrilled to be partnering with Disney-Hyperion in a giveaway of a fantastic prize pack of books and other swag. See details below.

The Itchy Book! 

By LeUyen Pham | Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! Series from Mo Willems

 

Piggie has a question for Elephant: “Do you like books that make you feel things?” Indeed, Elephant does! And Piggie has just the book to give Elephant the feels all over. It’s called The Itchy Book!, and it opens like this:

Dino-Mo, a thoughtful, bespectacled pachycephalosaurus, comes strolling by and notices a sign that reads Dinosaurs Do Not Scratch. “Who knew?” says a tortoise snoozing next to the rock. Dino-Mo is contemplating this new bit of knowledge when a young triceratops comes by whistling a tune. Suddenly, she stops and bends down to scratch her bandaged knee, but before she can get her claws moving, the pachycephalosaurus rushes forwards to stop her.

He shows the triceratops the sign. “But I am ITCHY!” Triceratops tells him. There’s only one thing to do. “Dinosaurs are TOUGH! We do not scratch!” Dino-Mo instructs. The triceratops is doing her best not to think about it when a pterodactyl flies by chased by a bee. The bee catches up to her, and now she has a terrible itch. After a dire warning, Pterodactyl keeps her wings up and toughs it out.

Pterodactyl is ready to do battle against Brontosaurus’s back itch, though and zips up on top to help out. Triceratops thinks this looks like fun and is making the leap when Dino-Mo shouts, “HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!!!” He reminds them all of the sign, and, duly dejected, the three dinos quit their itchfest. But someone else is coming! It’s T-Rex with a scratchy, scratchy tag. He even promises not to eat anyone if they’ll just help with the incredible itching that he can’t reach.

“You tell him,” says Triceratops, and Dino-Mo does. They all acknowledge that “It is tough to be tough.” Only Dino-Mo is itch free, but in a show of solidarity, he asks the other dinos to make him itchy. Triceratops tickles him with a feather. Pterodactyl throws cut grass on him, and Brontosaurus adds an ant. Everyone else is getting itchy just watching all of this, but Dino-Mo doesn’t flinch. Even a wool sweater brings no response.

With a bit of a crazed look in his eyes, Dino-Mo recites the mantra “Dinosaurs…Do…Not…SCRATCH!” as the other dinos shower him with itch-inducing things until they’re all just a bundle of itchiness. They’re hanging tough, though. They’re proud. They’re doing what the sign says. Then the tortoise, refreshed from his nap, gets up and wanders away leaving the whole sign exposed. It seems there’s a little more to this dinosaur scratching business than originally thought. Have an itch to find out what? You’ll have to read along with Elephant and Piggie!

LeUyen Pham rocks the prehistoric landscape with her hilarious early reader that will have all ages of kids—and adults too—giggling, laughing, and groaning in sympathy for these dinos with Gigantosaurus-sized itches. As anyone knows, just thinking about scratching makes the problem worse. Throw in a rule about not scratching, and you have Pham’s recipe for a perfectly frantic and giddy story that kids will love to read again and again.

Pham’s expressive dinosaurs—who really want to obey the law etched in stone—are endearing as they tough it out and encourage their friends to do the same. Bold colors, a great dynamic among the dinosaurs, and the cartoon-inspired format will engage kids. Repeated words and phrases as well as speech bubbles color-coded to each dinosaur will guide early readers.

The Itchy Book!, Book 5 of the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading series, is a must for early and emerging readers or for any fan of the Elephant & Piggie books, It’s also a terrific read-together for younger kids. Adding The Itchy Book! to home bookshelves and classrooms will make them richer—and funnier! 

Ages 6 – 8 , younger children will enjoy having The Itchy Book! read to them.

Disney-Hyperion, 2018 | ISBN 978-1368005647

Discover more about LeUyen Pham, her books, and her art on her very cool website.

Learn more about Mo Willems and his books, find fun activities, and much “Mo” on his website.

To Learn More about The Itchy Book! visit the book’s Official Site.

Children’s Book Week Activity

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Dino Diorama

 

Ever get an itch to visit the land of the dinosaurs? With this fun Dino Diorama craft you can make a mini version for your own room.

Supplies

  • 1-pound plastic deli container or glass jar
  • Three or four small plastic dinosaur toys
  • Dirt or sand to create a ½-inch ground layer in the bottom of the container
  • Small rocks or pebbles
  • Plastic leaves or plants, available from craft or fish tank supply sections of pet stores
  • Or use succulents in place of plastic plants to make a terrarium diorama
  • Goo-B-Gone for removing label-glue residue from the deli container (optional)

Directions

  1. Wash the deli container and carefully remove the label
  2. Use Goo-B-Gone to remove any residual glue (optional)
  3. Spread the dirt in the bottom of the container
  4. Place the rocks, plants, and dinosaurs into the container
  5. Put the lid on the container
  6. Or plant the succulents and decorate around them with the rocks and dinosaurs
  7. If using succulents, leave the container open

Picture Book Review

September 21 – World Gratitude Day

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About the Holiday

In 1965 an international gathering in Hawaii established World Gratitude Day as a time for people everywhere to formally appreciate and give thanks for all the wonderful things in the world. In 1966 the attendees celebrated World Gratitude Day on this date in their individual countries, beginning a tradition that has grown over time. The benefits of positive thinking have become well documented. The founders of Gratitude Day also recognized that by taking a day to celebrate the amazing parts of our lives we might become happier, more content people.

The Thank You Book: An Elephant & Piggie Book

By Mo Willems

 

Piggie and Gerald are relaxing together when Piggie thinks “I am one lucky pig. I have a lot to be thankful for….” Then it dawns on her that she “had better get thanking!” With resolve she vows to thank every important person in her life. Gerald doesn’t believe Piggie will be able to do this and is sure she will forget someone—even someone important. But piggie is determined, emphasizing, “I. Will. Thank. EVERYONE” and she trots off on her “Thank-o-rama” while Gerald stands by in awe.

First Piggie encounters her squirrel friends and thanks them for their great ideas, next Piggie gives Snake a big hug for playing ball with her. The Pigeon is thanked for “never giving up,” and Piggie even apologizes for The Pigeon’s never being in their books, although the sly Pigeon knows better. Piggie whistles and dances away to continue her mission, while Gerald reiterates that she will forget someone.

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Image copyright Mo Willems, courtesy of Disney-Hyperion

Piggie comes upon Mouse, Birdies, Rhino, Hippo’s Big Sister, Barky Dog, Pelican, Bear, Hippo and Worms, and thanks them all for “being great friends.”  Doing a cartwheel, Piggie says, “See that, Gerald? I am a thanking machine!” But Gerald is miffed because Piggie has forgotten someone important, and he gives Piggie a big smile. Piggie seems to get the hint and promises that her next thank you will be a big one. And it is! Piggie yells up at Whale, “Thanks, Whale! You are nice!”

Ice Cream Penguin receives gratitude for the ice cream, and Doctor Cat is thanked for “being a great doctor” while Gerald tags along behind. Piggie meets Brian Bat and thanks him for sharing drawing time. By now Gerald is getting a bit steamed, and tries to attract Piggie’s attention quietly and then with a shout—“PIGGIE!”—that sends Piggie reeling. “You are forgetting someone,” Gerald reminds her, looking her straight in the eye. “Someone VERY important.”

Finally Piggie understands. She gazes at Gerald wide-eyed and says, “Now I know who you are talking about.” Gerald smiles, but his happiness is short-lived as Piggie thanks the flies for cooking with her. Gerald can’t take it anymore. Waving his arms he shouts, “NOT THE FLIES, PIGGIE! But Piggie gives it right back—waving arms and all: “I CANNOT THINK OF ANYONE ELSE I HAVE FORGOTTEN TO THANK, GERALD!”

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Image copyright Mo Willems, courtesy of Disney-Hyperion

Gerald displays an “it’s obvious” pose and finally Piggie does understand. She is shocked and contrite. “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Elephant Gerald!” Piggie gushes, holding Gerald’s hands. With a hug Piggie continues, “You are the best friend a pig could ever have!” Gerald accepts Piggie’s thanks, but reveals that he did not think Piggie had forgotten him. Piggie is so confused! She explodes: “WHO DID I FORGET TO THANK!?!”

“Our reader.” Gerald says “You forgot to thank our reader.” Poor Piggie is so embarrassed. “You are right!” she says. Piggie looks straight out from the page and with sincerity says, “Thank you for being our reader!” Gerald joins her to say, “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” and Piggie agrees: “You are the best!” The two friends congratulate each other on their thanking and return to relaxing together. “Yep,” Piggie thinks once more. “I am one lucky pig.”

With this 25th Elephant and Piggie Book, Mo Willems brings his award-winning early-reader series to an end in an emotional tribute to all of the duo’s friends and their readers. In The Thank You Book Gerald and Piggie’s special relationship, born of humor, conflict, misunderstandings—and ultimately understanding, is on full display. The evocative illustrations reveal Gerald’s growing discontent and consternation while the dialogue, displayed in speech bubbles and with varying type sizes, expresses the changing dynamics of the story.

While regular readers of the Elephant and Piggie books will be sad to say goodbye to new stories, Willems has left them with many wonderful memories and adventures to return to again and again. New readers will be—like Piggie—very lucky to discover these two friends and develop their own relationship with this unique pair.

Ages 3 – 7

Disney-Hyperion, 2016 | ISBN 978-1423178286

Find books, games, activities, and lots more on Mo Willem‘s website and play along with Pigeon and the gang on Pigeon Presents!

Do you want to know what’s up next for Gerald and Piggie? Head over to Mom’s Radius: life. love. books. and find out! You’ll also discover a whole bookcase-worth of books you’ll want to read!

World Thank You Day Activity

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What Are You Thankful For? Poster

 

Write all of the amazing things in your life that make you happy on this colorful, printable What Are You Thankful For? Template! Then display it in your room or locker to make you smile or remind you to thank everyone who is important to you! 

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Picture Book Review