Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Big Birthday Bash

Oh gosh, cute CUTE stuff today!! Have you heard of Salem Hyde? And her cat Whammy? Salem (created by Frank Cammuso) is a little girl, who is also a witch-- well, learning to be a witch-- she has trouble sometimes…
She's sweet and spunky and she's in the of habit causing these delightfully hilarious accidents! (Sometimes with her magic and sometimes not.)

Salem's latest adventure (in graphic novel form) came out in May and revolves around a birthday party for Salem's buddy Edgar.

The problem is this nasty little girl (Shelly) keeps messing things up! Poor Edgar!!

But don't you worry, Salem uses some of her sporadic magic to make Edgar feel better! (That's all I'm telling you!)  It's so great! Funny stuff!

Oh, and speaking of funny stuff-- you will read about THE MOST HILARIOUS SLUSHEE INCIDENT EVER!!

It does not end well this time either!! But so so so funny! Lilac and I were cracking up big time!! Salem has another adventure coming out in October and I'm sure it will be just as silly and endearing as this one! I can't wait!!

Happy reading!!
PS-Images in the actual book are in color...if you were wondering.

PSS- The first book!! I'm gonna find it ASAP!

PPSS- All these opinions are my own. I assure you no one forced me to laugh out loud (literally, I did) about a cat drinking slushees! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I really wanna go to the beach.

So, I really wanna to the beach…in case you didn't see that above, I thought I'd reiterate.

The beach.

It sounds great, doesn't it?

Of course I have to not think about it too hard because actually going the the beach from where I live requires a lot of packing and planning and loading and then of course the aftermath of sand.

Oh the sand…everywhere-- hey I do know one secret for getting it off people (not everything else, but I know how to get it off people-- that's a start.) USE BABY POWDER!!! Seriously, it totally works!! The powder like absorbs all the moisture in the sand or something…or maybe it's magic!

Anyway, since I'm ignoring the hassle of getting there, the beach sounds wonderful! But I don't think its gonna happen. So, I guess I've have to live vicariously through people on my instagram feed. Oh and Strega Nona

Looks lovely, doesn't it? (Have you seen this one? We just happened upon it at the library yesterday.)  Don't worry, Strega Nona warns Big Anthony before she leaves…

But it wouldn't be a Strega Nona book without some mishaps, now would it…

All I'm telling you is that this time it's not Big Anthony's fault!  

Happy reading & happy going to the beach if you're that lucky-- remember the baby powder!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Beautiful Oops!

Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

I feel like everyone probably knows about this book already.  It's amazing.  It's wonderful.  My sister gave it to us last week and I couldn't believe I hadn't ever read it before.  Really, it's the best!  There's a quote right on the front  that says this book is the perfect gift for anyone of any age.  I agree.

The back of the books says…
"When you THINK you have made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something BEAUTIFUL!"

Who doesn't need that message?  we all do.

The message is fabulous.  The art work is endearing.  AND- it's just such a creative and interactive book!  You're whole family will love it.  Believe me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Little Red Hen & fun fracture versions

Lately it's been all about the Little Red Hen at our house. I'm not really sure why-- you'd think the kids would want to escape the pattern of someone asking for help (me) and others denying that help (them).
(I'm hoping you can relate...BUT if you can't, don't tell me-- at least right now I think everyone's kids are "not I-ing' just like mine.)

Anyway, we've been trying to get our hands on as many versions a possible.  Here are some of the ones we've enjoyed most…
Paul Galdone, has a lovely (of course) traditional version and we've it read over and over. Don't think I'm weird, but my favorite part is how he put the faces in the not I's.  Also, the hen's "I'm going to eat it!" angry face is pretty much spot on, don't you think?

And, since my kids and I are all suckers for a fractured fairytale we've read quite a few mix up versions of The Little Red Hen too.

The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel was a new one for us. It's inventive and definitely untraditional.  The red pen needs help grading papers but the other school supplies aren't interested (of course) until the pen falls into THE PIT OF NO RETURN (the trash). They band together and launch a rescue mission!

The Little Red Elf by Barbara Barbieri McGrath has been a HUGE hit around here. Cuteness is pretty much obsessed with this one.  The unhelpful friends' (a reindeer, a penguin, and a hare) responses in this one are hilarious and the Little Elf's can do attitude is fun and funny too!  I wish we could have found The Little Green Witch by this same author…. I must make a mental note to look again next time I hit the library.

The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) by Philomen Sturges is the book that set this whole red hen reading fest in motion.  I like the funky cut paper illustrations and the hen's eclectic style and slightly scatter brained tendencies (she goes to 3 different stores all just to make this one pizza) make her endearing and relatable…at least in our house.

And of course this list would not be complete without the mother of all red hen parodies, Cook-a-Doodle-Doo! (This one is also by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel-- they must have a thing for this particular story.) Hopefully you are well aware of the adventure and antics happening all through this book as the little red hen's great grandson tries to make strawberry shortcake with a few new barnyard friends. Plus there's lots of math and cooking fun & a recipe in the back!

So, any Little Red Hen versions you think we need to see?  Also, I'm taking an informal poll: at the end the this fairytale do you prefer the hen to cave and end up sharing what she's made, or do you like it better when she eats it all herself?  Just curious.

Happy reading!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer Reading (failure and triumph)

 Long story short…

I decided to read Stuart Little to my boys as a read aloud at the beginning of the summer.  They hated it.  They honestly gave the story a shot and they honestly hated it.  I felt a little bad.  Stuart Little is a classic.  But then, instead of forcing it- we went a different direction.  We got The Animal Book A collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Slyest - and Most Surprising- Animals on Earth by Steve Jenkins a while back.  We've spent time with this book- but we certainly hadn't read it from cover to cover.  

The time had come.  This beautiful (thick) piece of non-fiction became our summer read-aloud.  My boys and I devoured it.  We loved every minute of it.  We learned TONS.  Every night we'd read several pages.  The following morning we would look up pictures of the creatures online.  It was such a wonderful magical read aloud experience.

We loved comparing Jenkins illustrations to the pictures we found online.  I've been enamored by his work for some time now, after this experience I think he's more amazing than ever.  I LOVE Steve Jenkins.

All in all it's been a good experience for me.  I find parenthood is all about breaking down those preconceived notions about 'how things are supposed to be' and finding what actually works for your family.

Happy Summer Reading,