Monday, February 24, 2014


by Shel Silverstein

And now for the Dancing Pants,
Doing their fabulous dance.
From the seat to the pleat
They will bounce to the beat,
With no legs inside them
And no feet beneath.
They'll whirl, and twirl, and jiggle and prance,
So just start the music
And give them a chance--
Let's have a big hand for the wonderful, marvelous,
Super sensational, utterly fabulous,
Talented Dancing Pants!

from A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, 1981, Harper & Row

Friday, February 21, 2014

Love and Friendship Go Together (FAMILY magazine reviews)

Loving relationships between parents and their children are nourished in small and large ways.  Reading together is one easy path to daily loving contact.  By offering another way of communicating, reading introduces ideas and concepts in a fun way.  Additionally, reading with your child builds listening and memory.  Your child can exercise her/his imagination during your reading time together, too.

1)    The more stories you read aloud, the more words your child is exposed to and the better s/he will be able to talk.  Also, s/he is more ready to learn to read.

2)    When you read, your child hears you express both sounds and emotions.  This helps her/him grow both socially and emotionally.

3)    Invite your child to point, touch, and answer questions.  S/he will also begin to imitate sounds, learn words and recognize pictures.

4)    Possibly the most important reason to read aloud with your child? It connects her/him with what s/he loves most – closeness to you, hearing your voice – and books.  This helps your child associate books with happiness and loving relationships.  It also creates budding readers.

Valentines Day supplies another grand opportunity to spend time together. Snuggle and try out any of these tales of friendship and love.  

The Ring Went Zing: a story that ends with a kiss 
by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jill Barton
Dial, $16.99 (hardcover) 
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 2  
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online:

            “Once upon a time, once and never again, a frog fell in love with a chicken, and bought her a golden ring.” But when he drops the ring, the fun begins.  Neither the swan in her pink sneakers, a skateboarding rabbit, a goat on wheels, nor a sausage dog playing guitar can get a grip on the ring.  It zings and pings, merrily, rolling away from the loving pair. The gang of creatures tries to stop the zinging ring, like the well-known gingerbread boy.
            Large amounts of white space feature the acrobatic antics of the animals. In comic dress, they try to catch the zing-a-ding ring.  Pencil and watercolor paintings show animals’ expressive faces.  Rhythmic and rhyming text combined with comic illustrations, demonstrate the active teamwork involved.   Finally, the frog recovers the ring, resulting in a surprise at the end.

Farfallina & Marcel 
by Holly Keller
HarperColllins, $6.99 (paperback) 
Interest Level:  Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1 
 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Main Branch.  Also may be purchased from Books & Books online:

            A caterpillar named Farfallina and her best friend, a baby goose named Marcel, do everything together. Until one day. Things begin to change.
            Farfallina climbs a tree to rest. She is gone for such a long time that Marcel, although worried and lonely, stops coming to the tree.  And when Marcel sees his reflection in the water of the nearby pond, he notices how much he has grown and changed.
            Farfallina is also changing.  When she comes out, she opens her beautiful wings and sits on a flower to wait for Marcel. But Marcel doesn’t come and Farfallina is tired and confused.
            Bright watercolors in mostly greens and blues match with spare but lively text.  The warmth of a strong friendship glows in the gentle illustrations.  It’s clear in the expressive faces of the two characters.  It’s also visible in the movement of the two friends not only as they play together, but also throughout the book.
            Like Marcel, Farfallina goes to the pond where the two friends used to play.  Each has changed so much they do not recognize the other.  When they finally realize who they are, delight is immediate and powerful.  This strong and loving story of friendship is one even the youngest of listeners understand.  An author’s note is included about the change from caterpillar to butterfly.

by Eric Carle
Penguin, $17.99 (hardcover) 
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1  
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online:

            Boy and girl are friends until she moves away.  Alone and lonely, he decides to cross a river, climb a mountain, travel through a meadow and forest to find her.  In a garden he collects flowers.           
The book features Carle’s trademark artwork.  He creates colorful images, using layers of tissue paper with acrylic paint.
            When they meet up together again, the ending is a playful fantasy with the two wearing dress-up wedding clothes.  Back matter includes a photo of the author with a friend when they are both three years old. 

Fox Forgets 
by Suzanne Bloom
Boyds Mills Press, $16.95 (hardcover) 
Interest Level:  Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1  
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online:

            This wonderful book is fifth in a series about bear and duck. Less than one hundred words show a story of leaving and returning. 
Author-illustrator Bloom once again immerses her audience in a tale of friendship. Using her characteristic mix of deep colored and lighter pastels, she seamlessly fuses illustration with spare text.
            Goose tells Fox she’s leaving, but she’ll “be right back.” And please, “tell Bear.” But in Fox’s distraction with wanting to play with Bear, he neglects to give the message.  Bear, preoccupied with wondering where Goose is, can’t concentrate on the games. Then Fox sheepishly remembers and tells Bear, at the same time that Goose returns. The ending is a group hug so hearty that young readers can almost feel it.
            Brief sentences and simple language make this perfect as an EZ reader.  It is so much fun, early readers will scarcely realize they are reading.

More great books to choose from:

We Love Each Other 
by Yusuke Yonezu
Minedition, $9.95 (Board book) 
Interest Level: Age 1-3 years  
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online:

by Thereza Rowe
Toon Books, $12.95 (hardcover) 
Interest Level: Pre- Kindergarten – Grade 2 
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online:

Max & Milo: The Mixed-up Message 
by Heather & Ethan Long
Aladdin, $14.99 (hardcover) 
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2 
 (This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online:

Monday, February 17, 2014

LOVE (Monday Poem)

by Shel Silverstein

Ricky was "L" but he's gone home with the flu,
Lizzie, our "O," had some homework to do,
Mitchell, "E" prob'ly got lost on the way,
So I'm all of love that could make it today.

from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, 1974, Harper & Row

Monday, February 10, 2014


by Sara Teasdale

I stood beside a hill
    Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
    From the cold evening glow.

There was no other creature
    That saw what I could see--
I stood and watched the evening star
    As long as it watched me.

from The Sky is Full of Song selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Dirk Zimmer, 1983, Harper & Row

Monday, February 3, 2014

SHADOW RACE (Monday Poem)

by Shel Silverstein

Every time I've raced my shadow
When the sun was at my back,
It always ran ahead of me,
Always got the best of me.
But every time I've raced my shadow
When my face was toward the sun,
I won.

from A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, 1981, Harper & Row