Friday, December 30, 2011

Best of 2011- #7- Bailey

This week at Ready. Set. Read! I am counting down our favorite new books of 2011. So far, I have shared these books:
#11 Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
#10 Blue Chameleon
#9 Grandpa Green
#8 Pete the Cat, Rocking in my School Shoes
Today we are at #7- Bailey by Harry Bliss.






In Bailey by Harry Bliss, a dog named Bailey attends school at Champlain Elementary. Every day, he rushes to the bus and spends the day entertaining his fellow human students. He partakes in the normal school day functions. His best subjects are math and lunch. He gives reports, attends art class, and howls along in music. Along the way, however, he throws in some dog-like behavior. His attention is easily diverted by squirrels. He rides with his head out the bus window. He even eats his own homework! Bailey is a hilarious tale that will grab the attention of preschoolers through early elementary students. In fact, there is a lot of humor that adults will like too.
Bailey could be a great way to introduce the text structure of graphic novels. Each page is written with a simple one or two lines of text. The humor, however, is often in  the "side" conversations.
 This book could also be a fun way to compare and contrast appropriate school behavior for dogs as well as appropriate school behavior for humans.I sense a writing extension!
Bailey is also just a fun book to read aloud with your favorite funny kid! 
I originally posted this review on October 8, 2011 along with this book trailer.





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Shibley Smiles

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best of 2011- #8- Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes



Pete the Cat Rocking in my School Shoes rocked our back to school with books countdown in August. This book is the sequel to Pete the Cat dancing in my White Shoes. Pete is back this time rocking his way through the school. He is eating in his school shoes. He is reading in his school shoes. This book introduces each area of the school in a funny song-like book.
The text of this book is completely sing-able. The repetative text will make kids join right in. This would be a great book for building fluency in new readers.
Pete the Cat Rocking in my School shoes is perfect for the first week of school, but enough fun to last all year. This is one to add to your library and definitely a pick in our Best of 2011.
Check out all of my picks on my Best of 2011 Pinterest Board.
Here's where I am sharing:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best Books 2011- #9- Grandpa Green



Grandpa Green by Lane Smith is a story told through topiary. (I've never seen that before). A young boy walks through his great Grandpa's topiary garden which tells Grandpa Green's life story. Looking a the topiaries, he learns a story about a bygone era. He learns about a time with no cell phones, no computers, no television... a long, long time ago. The topiaries tell Grandpa's lifestory, a love story, and the story of a war hero. Although Grandpa now has a hard time remembering, the garden remembers the important stuff for him.
Before reading this book, I had read a lot of reviews of the book. I thought that it might be too sad. In contrast, I think the adults are the ones who are going to be saddened and nostalgic by this book---especially if they have lost a favorite grandparent. For kids, I think this book can be more about building special memories and telling family stories in creative ways. Who knows, your kids might be surprised to know that you grew up in a time without facebook or cell phones. This book could be a great way to get conversations going with your kids about your own family history.
This book was originally reviewed on November 9 along with my Family Trivia Game post.
This book was really enjoyed by my boys this year. It earns a place in our best of 2011 list, though, because momma adored this book! You can check out our entire list of best of 2011 books on my Best of 2011 pinterest board.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best Books 2011- #10- Blue Chameleon




The Blue chameleon is in need of a friend. As he encounters new objects, he changes to look like the object-- yellow like a banana, pink like a cockatoo, swirly like a snail. 
We have lots of color naming books. The thing that made this book stand out to me, is that it uses texture words like stripy and spotty. Using these words encourages my kids. They aren't creating representational drawings yet. I can encourage their drawing by showing a picture of the swirly snail and asking them to create swirls.
This book is worth picking up for your home library and is one of our top 11 of 2011. 
To see all of our top books, check out Best of 2011 on pinterest.
Here is where I am sharing:
Book Sharing Tuesday


Monday, December 26, 2011

Best Books 2011= #11 Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku

As the year turns from 2011 to 2012, I'll be counting down our top 11 picks of this year.  These may or may not be the books that win awards in during award season in January. They are the books that my boys requested the most this year. Most of these I have already reviewed during the year, so I'll provide you with a quick review and a link back to any activities we have done.
Our first book is  {drum roll}


Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw
 Seriously, the title pretty much sums up the entire story. This book tells the tale of a cat who is adopted from a shelter, taken to a new home, and given a name, Won Ton. The entire book is written in haikus like this:
Won Ton? How can I
be soup? Someday, I'll tell you
my real name. Maybe. 
This is the first picture book I've read that was written in haiku. Well, actually it's written in senryu. According to the author's notes, the haiku form requires writing about nature. Senryu follows the same syllabication of haiku but focuses on human nature (or in this case the nature of a snarky cat). Besides being incredibly funny, one of the great things about the book was the voice that was given to the cat. Through the choice of words and the structure of the language, you can hear this cat's personality.  The story is also moving. It touches on the relationship between the boy and his cat.The illustrations are great and add to the character of the overall story.
I think this would be a great classroom read aloud, however, it's one book that you won't want to read cold. Because of the haiku form, some of the sentences are a little choppy. I stumbled a little the first time through. So read it to yourself first... I promise, it will entertain you as much as it entertains the kids!
This book was originally reviewed on October 22, 2011.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from Ready. Set. Read!


 Merry Christmas
 from our home
 to yours!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Santa Ornament


Head on over to Adventures in Mommy Land to find my guest post with instruction on how to make this cute Santa ornanment with your toddler. 

The post actually went up yesterday but I spent all day with my mom and dad for their birthdays. Their birthdays are just one day away from each other and they are the same age. I was a little neglectful of my online life in favor of my "real" life for a day! The post is still there, though, and there are still 9 days left until Christmas! I'd love for you to go check it out!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Crafts and Books

I had so much fun with the 12 Day of Christmas with Lorie from Reading Confetti. We both shared 12 of our favorite Christmas books for kids. Each day we shared an accompanying activity-- a craft, a game, or a snack. If you missed any of the fun, I have a whole wrap up of the 12 days of Christmas for you today. Of course, there are 12 days left until Christmas day so pick and choose 12 fun activities and start the countdown!
We had many preschool friendly crafts like:
Lid Christmas Tree

Paper Punch Tree

Straw Tree

Polar Express Train



Snowman bubble wrap and stamp picture

We even had crafts for babies:
Footprint Christmas Tree

We also shared crafts for decking your halls:
Book Trees

Button Wreath

Snowman Ornament

Easy Jar Luminaries
Bell Trees

And we had crafts for helping your child celebrate the true reason for the season:
Blessings Tree

Colors of Faith Tree


Not only did we share crafts but we also shared games, puzzles, and playdate activities.
Olive the other reindeer bouncy ball game

Rectangle puzzle

Name Tree Puzzle

Polar Express Playdate
The old lady who swallowed a bell

Star Treasure Hunt

I Spy Snow Globes


I think Lorie must be a kindred spirit because we both had food activities and most of them included sweets!!
Like these sweet strawberry cheesecake Santa hats.

or this cinnamon sugar angel

We also had several versions of the nativity
Peanut Butter Sandwich Nativity

Candy Nativity

Marshmallow Manger
The best part of having another blogger join in on a challenge like this is that now I have 12 fab ideas to use with my own kids in the next 12 days!! Thank you to Lorie from Reading Confetti for sharing such great ideas. If you don't already follow Reading Confetti, go check it out. She is a reading specialist turned stay at home mom to two! (Just like me!) You'll find loads of great early literacy resources on her site.
Here's where I am sharing this week:
It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow
play academy

Shibley Smiles



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