138. “Froggy Gets Dressed” by Jonathan London

It is Halloween and  although the only nuisance today should be ghosts, some parts of the US have been haunted by snow storms as well. Is it going to be White Halloween next to White Christmas now? I hope not, but this gave me and idea for today’s book. Meet Froggy:

When Froggy woke up and saw it was snowing outside, he wanted to go out and play. He got up and got dressed. He put on his mittens, snow boots and hat and “flopped outside”. Before long, his mother yelled after him: Frrooggyy! He forgot pants.  He put on his pants and the rest of the winter gear, but as soon as he left, his mother reminded him about his shirt. He repeated the drill, but then missed his underwear. Froggy came back home one more time and decided that getting ready to play outside in the winter was too tiring and he went back to bed, where all frogs should be anyways till the spring comes.

“Froggy Gets Dressed” is a part of a delightful Froggy series, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz.  The character is as cute as funny and children can easily relate to his dilemmas, challenges and adventures.

137. ” Diary of a Worm” by Doreen Cronin

A few posts ago I shared with you our excitement about a very atypical journal, written by a spider. Today, I have another unusual diary for you, written by Worm, who happens to be Spider’s friend, actually. You think worms have no thoughts? Think again. They are very deep creatures. And they can dig deeply too, especially when the fishing season ushers in and they are not ready to turn into bait quite yet. Giant Birds playing hopscotch scare them even more than shovels, by the way. But they do like showing up in the park and scaring children.  Worms are good at dancing hokey pokey, too. Do you know which part of the song they do best? Apparently, it is fun to be a worm, as the diary author says. Worms don’t need to go to the dentist. But on the other hand, they can’t chew gum and that is not so cool.

There are other things that Worm finds not so cool either, but I don’t want to spill all the beans. And besides, Doreen Cronin did a better job “ghostwriting” the Worm’s diary and Harry Bliss added lost of amusing pictures. You might prefer reading the real thing to my commentary. Have fun and play hopscotch responsibly!

136. “Engine, Engine, Number Nine” by Stephanie Calmenson

Engine Number Nine is rolling down the train track, making frequent stops, picking up passengers. Among others, there is Bess with her pet Pig, Ranger Bill and his sheep, Sal and his roosters, Jake and his cow, a band and mommies and daddies with noisy children.  Where are they all going? Where is the Engine Number Nine taking them to? “Wheels are turning, whistle’s blowing. Soon we’ll find out where it’s going.” To the County Fair, of course! 

Join the frolicky crowd for a rumbling joy ride to eat, play and win contests. The rhythmical rhyme will carry you along to the fair and back and provide lots of giggles at every station. A wonderful, brightly illustrated by Paul Meisel,  read-aloud for every little boy or girl.

135. “Welcome Home Mouse” by Elisa Kleven

My mom used to complain that my brothers never helped her with the household chores. Well, she never really let them do anything. And if she did, she yelled at them for not doing it the right way. My mother in law was one step ahead of my mom. She never asked for help of anyone because she knew they would never do anything as well as she would. Well, I decided to engage my son in our daily life and chores because I think that children naturally want to help. I go grocery shopping with my son and he often helps to load the cart. We happen to have more cheese than we need, but so what? We also make pancakes together, and even if the batter is a bit over-stirred, they still taste delicious. Yesterday my son “helped” my husband assemble a little table and we just couldn’t believe how our son enjoyed  being a part of the project team.

Stanley the elephant wanted to help his mom to make pizza. Unfortunately, he spilled tomato sauce and his mom sent him grocery shopping for more tomatoes. On the way, he crashed a little mouse’s house, by accident, and as it later turned out, clumsy was his middle name. But even though he lacked a bit of grace, Stanley was an elephant with a kind heart. He didn’t leave the mouse homeless. He was good at thinking out of the box and he built her a cute little house… out of the tomato box.

I love this book for a few reasons. First of all, because it entertains my little reader with a cute story and bright pictures. Secondly, because it promotes being kind and helpful to one another. And thirdly, because it inspires readers to do fun crafts with simple things like boxes, bottle caps, post stamps etc. Seriously, as much as I love wandering around craft stores, I can’t help thinking about how redundant lots of the things are. Instead of spending dollars on children crafts, I can provide the same fun to my son using old paper, scissors and some glue. And you must know, dexterous is not my middle name at all. To give you an example: out of all his bath toys, his favorite ones are plastic bottles cut in half, that he uses as cups, boats, submarines and who knows what else.

But coming back to the book, I just want to say, enjoy reading it and let me know how it inspired you and your little helpers. maybe you created a new doll house out of a carton box?

134. “Go Away, Dog” by Joan L. Nodset

The friendship between people and animals can’t be denied. It can have at least two faces as I’ve noticed. Some relationships can be described as the long-lasting, mutual love at first sight.  My sister in law, for example would buy the ZOO if she had enough money. Other people, like me or my husband, would perhaps consider having a cat, yet… there are always a few reasons why we don’t.

The boy in the book doesn’t look like an animal lover either. He doesn’t like dogs for a fact, so when a tail wagging creature starts bothering him in the park, asking him to play  fetch, the boy seems nothing less than annoyed. But the dog doesn’t give up, until… the boy gives in. What fun! But then the boy needs to go home. Will he leave his new friend behind?

Find out for yourself as you read the book with your emergent reader. My son has got this book today and we almost know it by heart by now. Besides, the pictures by Paul Meisel are cute and engaging.

133. “The Way I Feel” by Jonan Cain

It is my son’s birthday today. I SHOULD feel excited and help my son to feel the euphoria, right?. It is a big celebration time, after all! Well, neither him, nor me felt too glorious this morning. He was whiney, I was cranky. What was going on?! My frustration was growing with every minute. I tried to keep up the festive spirit, but with no results. After a little analysis of the situation, I realized that we both were under-the- weather and needed a nap. It worked for me, and my Birthday Boy is sleeping.

Feelings and emotions can be a tough nut to crack. One moment we feel like we can fly, then everything brings us down. One day the world seems all rosy, and then, out of the blue, it  turns black. Feelings can be tricky, indeed. However, I believe we can make our lives easier if we learn three things about our emotions.

First of all it is crucial to recognize the right feeling properly and name it. If we seem blah, is it because we are bored and need more stimulation or tired and need some rest? Only the right solution can be effective. Secondly, we should realize that no feeling lasts forever. We can’t feel over the moon every minute of every day, so why to hold on to it. The same way, sadness doesn’t last forever either, so don’t worry, it will pass before you know it. We can try to reach a permanent state of happiness, though, but this is a different story. Thirdly, all feelings and emotions are a part of us and our lives and we should be able to embrace them. They make our lives unique, surprising and interesting in so many ways.

“The Way I Feel” is a precious, little book about  feelings. In playful rhymes,  It teaches children how to read “symptoms” of different emotions. We are excited when we want to jump, we frown when we are angry and we feel frustrated when we can’t do something… But “Feelings come and feelings go.” And they are all a part and parcel of ourselves.

A cute book with a message and interesting illustrations.

132. “Foggy Friday” by Phyllis Root

When a few weeks ago I was writing about “Thirsty Thursday”, I had no idea that Thursday was not the only day of the week on Bonnie Bumble’s farm that was worth writing about. On Thursday clouds had to be tickled to trigger some rain, and what mystery needed to be solved on Friday?

Just imagine, one foggy Friday morning, the rooster lost his cock-a-doodle-doo. Other animals wanted to take over, but neither “oink-a-oodle-oo”, nor “moo-a-moodle-moo” had no power to wake people up. Finally, Bonnie Bumble had to start the search, and even though the rooster’s voice wasn’t in the pig pen or in the henhouse, it was still where it had been dropped. Before long, the rooster got down to work and woke everyone up. Everyone, but for Bonnie… 

Another cute and charming story by the lady with imagination, Phyllis Root, brightly illustrated by Hellen Craig. If you need  to extract a few smiles from your little ones, just read them the book.

131. “The Smash! Smash! Truck” Recycling As You’ve Never Heard It Before by Professor Potts

The time when waste management was a problem of environmental engineers only is a long gone era. Waste storage and recycling has become a problem of all of us. It is mind-boggling how much garbage we generate daily, even if we are conscious about it. I try not to buy individually packed cookies, bottled water, and minimize my gift wrappings, yet our garbage bin fills up mercilessly quickly. I thought that bridging the issue of recycling to my son was a good idea, but I had no idea where to start! I was very happy when today’s title got in my hands Well, the excitement didn’t last long…

The book explodes with smashing and banging and fluorescent colors. It makes a connection between recycling and The Big Bang Theory, in order to prove the point that recycling has been an inherent quality of the Universe. Nothing disappears in nature, it just changes shape.  Well, the book surely captures the issue in a big picture, it even mentions earthquakes as rock recycling,  but… Really? Is this how I am supposed to talk to my three-year old about recycling? The book managed to overwhelm me, let alone my son. He turned off his ears and eyes already on the second page. In other words, our mission was incomplete.

Anyways, even though the book didn’t work for us, I still think it is worth mentioning it. Perhaps you can use it for your older children, or maybe, you can recommend a better title on the topic. I would really appreciate it. Either or, I think that we should teach our children to limit the waste and maximize recycling.

130. “Milo’s Hat Trick” by Jon Agee

Milo was a magician but although his artistic name was Magnificent, his tricks were pretty pathetic. In order to  save his reputation and keep the job, he was given one more chance: to master the hat and the rabbit trick. First he needed to catch a rabbit, but… he caught a bear instead. What good can be a bear? Well, that bear was actually quite helpful. He had learned the art of jumping into the hat from a rabbit. Apparently it was all about pretending that the bones were made of rubber. It worked for the bear. And later on it even worked for Milo. His career picked up and Milo’s closing trick was truly magnificent.  

As they say, we can move the mountains if we believe in it.

Jon Agee  has definitely secured his place in history as a great writer and illustrator. His knows how to make his work stand out. The story is basically a unique take on suspense and mystery. The cartoonish drawings with wacky characters are not only hilarious, engaging but also very memorable. The whole thing is just like Milo: magnificent.


129. “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault

This book sure makes you believe in the power of teamwork. The writers put their heads together and arrived at something exceptional: the alphabet adventures.

A, B ,C and the rest of the alphabet raced one another to the top of the coconut tree. But how much can  a coconut tree bear? “Chicka chicka BOOM! BOOM!” And the whole crew tumbled down.  D skinned its knee,  E stubbed its toes, H tangled with I, K wanted to cry… Luckily mommies and daddies were there to comfort the little bruisers. But hey, “Chicka chicka BOOM! BOOM!” Since it was  a full moon and the letters couldn’t sleep, why not to dare one another to the top of the coconut tree again!

A greatly amusing adventure story for the little readers and the most unusual way of teaching the Alphabet. No more boring repetitions or even singing the letters as a nursery song. “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” brings the letters to life and turns them into a bunch of curious busy-buddies that every preschooler wants to meet.  Besides, the bright, almost fluorescent pictures by Lois Ehlert, engage with the colors and simple geometric shapes.

I hope my write up has made you want to read the book with your children, but if not, I hope that the illustrated summary by my six-year-old will help.


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