Archive for December 2011

Emerging Readers – ELizabeth and Sophie hanging out in Grandma & Grandpa’s backyard!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season! Snow or no snow, have a great time! We look forward to sharing more recommendations for great books available through the TPL (or purchase) in 2012! Don’t forget to share your favourite books with us! Stay well, friends!


11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill & Nancy Carpenter

Bernadette in the Doghouse, by Susan Glickman

On a recent drive over the Grandma’s house, Elizabeth (7 years old) decided to quiz Sophie (almost 5 years old) on some math questions.  Sophie held her own, providing some pretty creative answers. To end that session Elizabeth concluded with some exasperation, “Sophie! You have so much to learn!”

Most days spent with my daughters have at least a few moments when I am struck by that same notion of there being so, so, so much more to learn. This feeling may be invoked from my daughters constantly changing personalities or by a reminder of some long ago stored away school information or by a science fact that I never really truly understood. Luckily there is the Internet and Anil is also a pretty reliable source of facts so there is a fair share of referrals going on!

Young children seem to love science and all the questions about how the world operates, so we were all pretty happy to sit down for 11 Experiments That Failed, and we weren’t disappointed! This young lady has some pretty zany ideas and who doesn’t occasionally wonder – could you live on snow and ketsup? What would happen if you tried to grow something in your brother’s old sneaker?  I’m not sure if this book will quell or fuel Elizabeth’s future investigations (our freezer has more experiments than food in it currently). This book (re)introduced us all to the word hypothesis, so we will likely  see this activity continue!

At the same time we wrere also reading a chapter book about a third grader named Bernadette who identifies herself as a young scientist – Bernadette in the Doghouse.  The added complexity of this book was how much more complicated friendships are beginning to become for girls her age. Along with the world of science, these are deep waters to navigate. It was nice to have a story so Elizabeth understands that she is not alone when friend A says something bad about friend B or friend C says she doesn’t want to play with her today.

Here is to hoping that the coming new year is a time of wonderful discoveries in science and friendly friendship for girls (and boys) all over the world!

Samantha on a Roll by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Christine Davenier
Whiffy Wilson – the wolf who wouldn’t wash by Caryl Hart and Leonie Lord

It all started with the recently released Dr. Seuss stories which were orginally only published in magazines – The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories reminded us how much fun a good rythming story can be. This book is pure fun for readers and listeners! Hopefully this is not the first you have heard about this book. Even more recently, my daughters and I found several new books which are also outstanding examples of this type.

If you are interested in the adventure of a young girl’s experience with new roller skates check out Samantha on a Roll. How will Sammy’s adventures end? Will her mama find out she has snuck out to try out the new skates? This is one frolicking adventure!

If a good wolf tale is more your style (or if you know someone who has developed an aversion to taking baths or taking care of his/her body) pick up Whiffy Wilson – the wolf who wouldn’t wash. This one talks about lots of smelly topics that are bound to be of interest to your youngster.

Both are very worthwhile and make reading lots of fun! Check them out!

Forget-Me-Not Beautiful Buttercup by Michael Broad

I’m so glad the wise young women in Elizabeth’s after-school program informed me that it was Anti Bullying Week – Nov 14-18 in the UK and arranged a day for the kids to colour pictures and talk about bullying. This is an issue that sometimes seems low on the parental radar, but can raise it’s negative influence and become all encompassing the second it is impacting your child. Guarding against it is one of the reasons we enrolled Elizabeth in Taekwondo and is also why we are interested in hearing ideas to support building self confidence. We see, through Elizabeth’s attending public school, how much schools try to communicate around this issue (it will NOT be tolerated). At least at the elementary level, students hear messages to make them feel they can raise issues that occur.

In thinking about this blog I ran across efforts to create an equivalent national awareness Anti-Bullying Day here in Canada – December 16. By luck, early this week Sophie was at home sick with pink eye, giving us the opportunity to see a discussion session on TVO Kids with a representative from Kids Help Phone and young people phoning in to talk about this isue. All of this awareness is a without a doubt a good thing.

Forget-Me-Not: Beautiful Buttercup touches gently on this topic. I think that any book that approachs a serious topic like bullying, but lets the readers and listeners draw their own conclusions, can be more powerful than simple preaching. Sophie, for one, appreciates the importance of being a good friend and had a very positive response to the characters in the book.

This is a story with colourful illustrations about a young elephant and a warthog. The warthog is the littlest of her litter and subjected to taunts of “teeny-tiny-ugly-wugly”. Her friendship with the elephant and their resulting actions just go to show how – we are all different, some in ways more visible than others and we all contribute in our own ways. It is a story of how to embrace and appreciate others despite their differences. The elephant and the warthog do just that – much to everyone’s appreciation in the end. There is a good “sticking up for what you believe in” message in this book, and a reminder of the power of friendship. Enjoy!