January 14 – It’s Celebration of Life Month


About the Holiday

Today’s holiday was established by Food for Health International to encourage people to take a holistic approach to taking care of themselves, benefitting not only their bodies but their emotional health as well. Celebrating all that life has to offer and taking time out from work to enjoy time with family and friends goes a long way towards greater happiness and health. Sharing spontaneous fun with our kids is one way to take a break and reap the benefits of downtime. 

Naughty Ninja Takes a Bath

Written by Todd Tarpley | Illustrated by Vin Vogel


Naughty Ninja had been training in the jungle when his rumbling stomach told him it was time to go home. As he stepped in the door, he announced that he needed food. But Naughty Ninja aka Will “was covered with river mud, smelly leaves, and beetle dung. Flies buzzed around him.” His mom and dad told him he needed to take a bath before he had his “ninja nuggets.”


Image copyright Vin Vogel, 2019, text copyright Todd Tarpley. Courtesy of Two Lions.

Will’s dad filled the tub and calmly reminded him not to say “‘Ninja to the rescue’” because whenever he did bad things happened. But Naughty didn’t hear. He was focused on the flies that were now swarming around his dad. He recognized them as “wild, poisonous flies from the jungle.” His dad saw the gleam in his eyes and begged him not to say those dreaded words.

But they were already leaving Naughty Ninja’s mouth, and his foot was already coming up to kick those flies. Unfortunately, he kicked his dad instead. Dad fell backward into the tub of water. Naughty Ninja was sure a fierce alligator had dragged his dad into the tub. Calling out his signature phrase, Naughty Ninja leaped into the air and rescued his dad. Of course, he also caused a tidal wave of water to fill the bathroom. He was sure his dad was okay now, but Dad said he was ‘not better.’ Naughty Ninja thought about this. “It could only mean one thing…invading samurai warriors!” In on smooth move, Naughty Ninja picked up the bubble bath, soared into the air, and poured it into the tub. In a moment, clouds of bubbles filled the room. Naughty Ninja yelled for his dad to run.


Image copyright Vin Vogel, 2019, text copyright Todd Tarpley. Courtesy of Two Lions.

As water and bubbles, bath toys and toothbrushes flowed out of the bathroom, Naughty Ninja bounded across the bathroom and out the door. Ninja Dad gave chase with an armload of towels. But Dad slipped and slid on a towel across the room and back again. “Naughty Ninja thought that looked like fun.” He grabbed a towel and slid loop-de-loops around the floor, walls, and ceiling. By this time even Ninja Dad was having fun.

They came to a halt in front of Mom, who wanted to know what they were doing. “Naughty Ninja and Dad stopped and slowly pointed at each other.” Mom didn’t care who started it or how it had happened. She was just thrilled with how clean the house looked. Dad smiled at Will. It was just another successful Ninja rescue.


Image copyright Vin Vogel, 2019, text copyright Todd Tarpley. Courtesy of Two Lions.

Todd Tarpley’s madcap ninja adventure will thrill kids who play hard and have active imaginations. His funny description of Naughty Ninja’s dire need for a bath segues naturally into the slapstick comedy to come. Ninja Dad’s wary warning ramps up the suspense, and readers will be eagerly anticipating Naughty Ninja’s catch phrase to see what “bad things” happen. Tarpley’s disconnect between Naughty Ninja’s thought process and his dad’s desires to get him in the tub create moments that will have appreciative kids laughing out loud. As Dad embraces the slip-sliding fun and Mom thanks them for cleaning the house, readers will be happy to adventure with this Ninja Family again and again.

Vin Vogel’s humorous, action-packed illustrations depict all the fun of Naughty Ninja’s imagination with clever details and a deft eye for scenes that make kids giggle. Flailing arms, heroic leaps, and air-born kicks are all part of Naughty Ninja’s repertoire, and his ninja outfit (which includes a black hoodie with the size tag sticking out and one untied sneaker) is inspired. Readers will enjoy pointing out the flies, bath toys, and bath accessories that become unwitting stars of Naughty Ninja’s daring rescue.

Sure to be a favorite of Ninja-loving kids and fun-loving adults, Naughty Ninja Takes a Bath would be an often-asked-for addition to home, school, and public library collections.

Ages 3 – 7

Two Lions, 2019 | ISBN 978-1542094337

Discover more about Todd Tarpley and his books on his website.

To learn more about Vin Vogel, his books, and his art, visit his website.

Celebration of Life Month Activity


Fun Foam Bath Shapes


Instead of buying bathtub clings for your kids to play with, make some yourself! It’s easy with regular foam sheets, cookie cutters or stencils, and scissors! Make it a family activity and watch the shower of creativity that results!


  • Foam sheets in various colors
  • Cookie cutters or stencils
  • Scissors


  1. Trace cookie cutter shapes or stencils onto the foam 
  2. And/Or cut squares, triangles, rectangles, circles, and other shapes from the foam in a variety of sizes
  3. Cut out the shapes
  4. Wet the backs of the shapes with water and stick them to the tub or tiled or lined wall. Shapes will also stick with a little shaving gel or cream applied


You can find Naughty Ninja Takes a Bath at these booksellers

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

Picture Book Review

March 28 – Music in Our Schools Day

Music Class Today by David Weinstone and Vin Vogel

About the Holiday

The National Association for Music Education sponsors Music in Our Schools Month each March to promote greater awareness of the benefits and enjoyment high-quality music education brings to students and the community. Beginning in 1973 as a single Advocacy Day in New York, this celebration grew to include the entire month in 1985.

During the month special music programs, education, concerts, and classes take place to get kids and adults excited about the joys of music in schools.

Music Class Today

Written by David Weinstone | Illustrated by Vin Vogel


A little boy and his froggy toy join a music class full of other boys and girls led by a guitar-strumming teacher. The class starts with a song welcoming everyone by name and a verse inviting all to shake their musical eggs high and shake the eggs low. “One rolls away—where did it go?”

The new boy peeks around his mom’s back to watch the action, and when it’s time for a song he says, “I think I’ll just watch…But I’m listening!” The teacher gently sings, “That’s all right, that’s okay. / Whenever you’re ready, / come on over and play. / That’s all right, there’s no rush. / Whenever you’re ready, / come play with us!” These verses become a chorus repeated throughout the book, reassuring the little boy that he’s welcome, but that his own speed of acclimation is okay too.

The class continues with the kids kicking up their feet, drumming, and moving around the room in time with the music. The little boy comes out from behind his mom to sit on her lap and watches the fun. The teacher’s chorus brings the boy a little closer—to the edge of his mom’s feet—while clinging tightly to his froggy. He giggles as the kids swirl with scarves, getting dizzy, and falling down.

Now everyone’s dancing, being silly, and having a ball. Froggy joins in, dangling and wiggling at the ends of the boy’s hands. As dancing evolves into free-play time, the little boy accepts the teacher’s invitation to “come join the fun,” and leaves froggy at his mom’s feet with one more request for assurance—“Wait here till I’m done!”

“Good for you, that’s the way. / Everybody’s in the band!” the teacher sings as the little boy takes up the cymbals and leads the parade behind him. All too soon it’s clean-up time and class ends with a good-bye song. The boy is having so much fun that he tells the teacher he and froggy want to stay. The instructor knows just what to say to his happy, excited student: “That’s all right, that’s okay. / We’ll see you soon another day!”

In this cross-genre picture book, David Weinstone brings the musicality and movement of a toddler and preschool music class to the page. His song, also available as a free download, serves as the text of the story about a reluctant joiner who overcomes his apprehension to become a member of the group. The repeated chorus, that calmly and sincerely explains that it is okay for children to wait and watch until they feel comfortable, can be used for many situations and is a welcome message.

Vin Vogel’s sweet illustrations of a wide mix of kids kicking up their heels (literally, as a flying shoe bonks the instructor on the head in one giggle-inducing scene) and having fun are inspired in their focus on the children. The kids play instruments, dance, and cavort across the pages, filling the white space with joy. The view of the classroom changes from page to page to show other mother-child pairs, which helps emphasize that hesitant children are common, as well as baby siblings, toys, instruments, storage bins, and other sights familiar to children.

Ages 1 – 4

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015 | ISBN 978-0374351311

Music in Our Schools Day Activity

CPB - Music in Schools Day game

It’s Instrumental! Game


Play this fun game to gather all the instruments you need to create a music group. The first person to collect all 6 instrument cards is the winner!



  1. Print the Paper Cube Template, cut it out and assemble the cube die.
  2. Print the Musical Instruments cards, cut out cards, and separate the instruments into piles
  3. Players take turns rolling the die cube to collect musical instrument cards
  4. The first player to collect all 6 instrument cards is the winner