Kids

Monthly Highlights

Kids Blog

Thu, 08/09/2012 - 8:14am
The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon

When my son was in kindergarten, he was diagnosed with a "lazy eye."  I do not know if that is still the appropriate term to use, but the result was that he had to wear a patch over one eye (the stronger one) to force the other eye to work harder and to strengthen.  In the book The Pirate of Kindergarten, by George Ella Lyon, the main character, Ginny, receives a similar diagnosis when she does not pass a routine vision screening at school.  Ginny has difficulty seeing.  She runs into things in the classroom, and some of her classmates laugh at her.  Ginny loves reading but when she reads she has trouble seeing the letters, and she has to get very close to the page.  The imagery of the letters hopping "around like popcorn" and the number 2 looking more like a swan help bring the reader into Ginny's world.

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 9:43am

Over the next few weeks I expect to be sleep deprived and living in a daily news bubble.  Every bleary eyed daily interaction that follows will be worth staying up past my bedtime to cheer athletes from around the world.   My own obsession began with Nadia Comaneci and I’m convinced Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and Gabrielle Douglas will excite a whole new generation of fans.  After all, the Olympics don’t come around every year and the spectacle, willpower and determination of the competitors is riveting.  

In “How to Train with a T-Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals” by Michael Phelps and Alan Abrahamson, Phelps provides insight into his success, translating the hard work it required into stunning numbers and easy to understand terms.  He trained for six whole years--a kindergartner’s entire life--swimming a total of 12,480 miles during that time.  “That’s 183,040 trips around the bases” and it’s “like swimming the full length of the Great Wall of China three times!”  His legs became so strong he could press “300 pounds 60 times”  which is the equivalent of pressing a tyrannosaurus rex and ten velociraptors.  Children will enjoy the comparisons and will have a deeper understanding of the preparation it takes to be an Olympic athlete.   An added bonus is that they will be able to follow Phelps’ pursuit of a new record for the most Olympic medals.

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 4:22pm
I'd Really Like to Eat a Child by Sylviane Donnio

If only I had read I'd Really Like to Eat a Child when I was small, life would have been so much easier.

This is not because I fell victim to some carnivorous beastie that could only be satisfied with devouring yours truly--though once I was surrounded by a ferocious herd of petting-zoo goats. Rather, I might have understood the importance of eating whatever my parents told me to.

I am a former picky eater. Fruits and vegetables were not my bag, and hot dogs reigned supreme. One time I even threw a stuffed pepper out the window. Fortunately, time has passed, and I began to appreciate the foods that I once avoided. But I know how the little crocodile Achilles feels when he rejects his parents' meal of freshly-picked bananas. "Today, I'd really like to eat a child."

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 4:18pm
Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex

Chloe and the Lion is not about a young girl facing off with a ferocious feline, no matter what the title says. Sure, Chloe's present, saving up her nickels and dimes to ride the merry-go-round. She does, in fact, spin around that ride so many times that she gets dizzy and lost in the nearby woods. It is at that very point that Chloe should meet a lion. Instead, a large, ferocious, winged, burgundy dragon steps out.

Writing a picture book is hard work. You must have a solid story, likable characters, and the right choice of words. What's more, this delicate balance can be completely thrown out of whack by a maverick illustrator who thinks that "a dragon would be cooler."

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