{ Book Review } Mary Poppins Picture Book

 

 

img_1157Are you all super excited for the new Mary Poppins Movie ? I sure am and I am trying to figure out a way to go see it. ( with baby and all a bit difficult these days lol ). Anyways, I was so excited when I saw this beautiful new edition, that I am about to introduce to you. My two older girls have watched the old movie of course, and read some of the stories as well, and now they are thrilled that they can share the story with their new baby sister.   I think this classic belongs into everyone’s library, big or small !

Okay here is what my daughter thought about the book 😉

Mary Poppins is a wonderful story, shortened into a picture book. This book tells the story of the magical Nanny, who arrives in the night by an umbrella and takes the children Jane, Michael and the twins on many adventures. Some of her whimsical adventures are: going to the zoo at night and hanging stars in the sky on ladders.
This picture book has very pretty illustrations. I can clearly see the expressions of the characters and Mary Poppins does “ look as neat as a pin”, with her heeled boots and lacy apron.
Mary Poppins is one of my favorite stories to read and this book got me really excited and I couldn’t wait to read this tale as a picture book version. I am excited to share this picture book with my younger sisters to read.
I really like the technique the illustrator uses to create the artistic pictures and you can really see when and where the story takes place.
This version did a wonderful job of recapturing the whimsical and fun story of Mary Poppins, everyone’s favorite Nanny. This book is wonderful for all ages and as a read aloud !

 

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Book review : Brick Who found herself in Architecture

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What a cute, adorable book. My kids have always loved Legos since they were little. They  have played hours and hours long with all kinds of legos and other bricks through the years and often many amazing buildings have sprouted from their creativity. And that’s how I got curious about “Brick” .. it’s and easy tie in, while Littles are playing with certain bricks, or a fun quick book for older kids, who can understand the connections to real historic buildings….  But here is what my daughter thought of the book :

When Brick was small her mother would tell her “great things, start with small bricks”, so when Brick is an adult she sets out to find her place. At first, she visits many castles all around the world. Soon her travel takes her to many places of worship, including Saint Basils Cathedral, Malwaid Minaret, and others. She also visits ordinary apartments, the suburbs, and then the Great Wall of China until she finds her place.
This book was lovely because it teaches kids about finding your place in the world while reading about amazing places and buildings the world has to offer. I also thought the illustrations were adorable and beautifully done. Another great part is the detailed description of the buildings in the back. I would recommend this read aloud to kids 5 and up.

 

BOOK review : Charlie and Frog

I am going through some of our older reviews, and saw we never blogged this one yet. This was such a great, unique read. Stepping into the world of sign language, was really interesting for my kids and taught them even a few sings. They enjoyed the mystery the kids in the book had to solve as well… It was one of their favorite reads from earlier this year ! Here is her short review…

 

Charlie and Frog is an exciting mystery about a kid named Charlie, who is trying to escape boredom and adventures out to the Castle on the Hudson, and Frog, who desperately wants to solve a mystery.

Charlies parents once again left for an exciting adventure but left him at home. He quickly gets bored and eventually decides to visit the library, but he arrives a little early before it even opens. He sees an old woman sitting on the steps, and she looks really upset. He quickly figures out that she is deaf and that she is very worried because she told a secret to someone, and now terrible things could happen because of it. Miss Tweedy the Librarian tries to help and tells Charlie to go to her sign language teacher, Frog, to figure out some of the mystery signs the old woman made.

Charlie and Frog make a wonderful team and  race to solve the mystery at hand before anything bad happens.

I really loved this book because it was an exciting mystery, and it was a very fast-paced and a fun read. I don’t often see a lot of new mysteries on the shelves at stores, so it was great getting to read a new one. I also found it interesting to peek into the world of sign language. I would recommend this book for kids eight and up.

Reviewed By: Hannah – Age 11

Bella & Harry Series ( Book review )

 

We were in a super rush to head out the door for the library again today and just last minute, I remembered to get a picture of these guys. So not the best picture, but hey.. you do what you gotta do 😉 !!

The Bella and Harry series was a lucky grab a few weeks ago and we were pretty excited that our small library actually had quite a few from this series. This was our second grab already and we enjoyed each one of these.

They are clearly  for the younger audience ( 5 and up ) but if your child loves travel stories I think just about every age would still enjoy these. I know my almost 10 year old had fun reading these with her little sister. They both just love these little Chihuahuas !  We have studied many countries through homeschooling in many great details and I love adding little fun stories in between just to recall some of the basic facts, these were perfect for that !

The little puppies travel along with their family to all kinds of amazing places in the world and get to have little adventures. Each page is beautifully illustrated and very colorful. The story is brought to life in fun ways with little dialogues between the puppies as they travel through each city and full of great educational information.

They would be a wonderful addition to anyone’s library, educational, inspirational and just a whole lot of fun !!

 

Check out some of the other books from the series, maybe Bella and Harry have already visited the city you have on your next travel plan !!




I wonder.. ( book review )

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I am trying to get out of our morning slump and it has been so hard with the renovations going on and summer slowly knocking on the door. I did not want to spend all summer on renovations on our house and I really did not want to spend our real first summer in Oregon catching up on school stuff. We are not really, really behind ( but my A- personality type, list keeper and goal setter in me, tells me I am / we are).We finished all math curriculum way early even..but… I am good at creating stress for myself. You know –

Anyways. We hit the library at least once a week and bring home tons of books. The girls spend tons of time reading and I almost feel left out. I don’t make as much time as I should to still read with them, the 20 minutes here and there or bed time reading goes over in a blurr and I long for the couch …  So I want to give our morning reading baskets a new chance.

I think I will dedicate another whole post to morning baskets because it is such a beautiful routine to work into your homeschool.

The first book we actually picked from our basket this morning was ” I wonder” and it was so incredibly special and beautiful that I literally wanted to post about it right away ! I clearly have been out of the loop, since this book has been out for several years..

When I saw it at the library I figured it was special and it would be a great fit for my ever asking children. One fact of motherhood and especially of homeschooling that dazzles me continuously  are the questions they ask and the things their little minds truly wonder about….  ” Why do are there stars in the sky ? Why do we have to eat ? What was the first flower ? Why is there gravity ? Where , how , what and when… ?!” I have learnt to appreciate all these questions though ❤

This book, with all it’s beautiful pictures is a great conversation started and a beautiful way to put their minds at ease. While I encourage my children to start finding answers on their own, do their own research through books and the internet, I still want them to know that sometimes, just sometimes, it is okay to not  know know the answer to EVERYTHING… that some things on earth are still, even today, are still a mystery…. I want them to know that even scientists still do not have the answers to many questions about our world, planet and so on ! It’s good to be curious, to explore and also just be amazed and believe !

The book clearly hits more of  secular believes, it mentions science and a few short explanations but it does not talk about religion or God, so if you are looking for religious aspects to be explained this is probably not a good fit.

While the book is targeted towards 1 year olds and up, I think it’s a lovely story for older ones as well. When we get older these questions come up a lot more, and the mind wonders … i know ate age 6 the questions really started coming. While the book does not give exact information on how to answer the questions, its lovely to explore together, and also dream a little.. and just live life sometimes without knowing ” everything”.

I am not sure if a 1 year old would even understand the story line of this book. While I think it’s a beautiful story to share with any child,  if I would could select the age range of my readers I would select Kindergarten age probably 🙂

9-11 A house of Tailors ( Immigration)

We are still playing catch up with 9-11 MBTP but are enjoying it big time. This is another Unit she has once again been looking forward to and so have I honestly. The books included with this lesson are incredible.

As a photographer myself, old photographs always enthrall me. Like I said, I enjoyed this unit a lot myself. The first two books go with the social study unit Immigration.

And we also added

And of course this is the main book for the literature unit.

There are also some great video’s suitable for this age range. I added a few to the list.

During one of the lessons you will also visit and tour the Ellis Island museum. Isn’t it amazing what we can do with technology nowadays ? The links are provided in the curriculum.
http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/immigration/tour/index.htm

And you will also get a glimpse of how immigrants lived in the tenements.
So much good stuff on these websites alone.
https://tenement.org/education_lessonplans.html

I sure wish we could take a trip to NY right now and see some of these historic sites, luckily this fun family has taken many trips for us and its always fun watching and exploring with them. If you have amazon prime you can watch this episode for free ( you might find it on youtube as well)

There are also some big writing assignments in this unit and be ready to put aside some time for the the artsy projects, like making a hat pattern and making a quilt at the end of the story !

We ended the unit with an amazing final project, a story quilt about the house of tailors !!

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Albert’s Almost Amazing Adventure

Albert is back from vacation and meets all his friends at the playground, of course they all want to know about his adventures but keep interrupting him over and over again. In the end he doesn’t even get to tell them what his awesome adventure really, really was 🙂

It’s a very funny, imaginative story with beautiful drawings. The author made the right choice when he switched from the black and white drawings to the beautifully illustrated, lively images in color. It explains the story so well and lets little ones follow even easier . The story does have some silly images and mentions zombies and monsters, but really just in a funny way. Both my girls ( 6,9) loved it and thought it was hilarious, especially the zombie cats !! A fun and silly, original picture book !! Check it our here !!

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Editorial Reviews ( from amazon)
Review
The contrast between when Albert is telling his story and when his friends are making guesses as to his amazing adventures is illustrated in pictures that shift between black and white and wonderful colors. It is a clever device to help your students determine what is real and what is fantasy. –Brian Smith, Scholastic Blog for Teachers
About the Author
Marty Kelley currently works as a writer and illustrator, but in the past, he s worked many jobs baker, animator, and balloon delivery guy are just a few titles he s held. The former second grade teacher has published many children s books, including Fall Is Not Easy, The Rules, and Summer Stinks. Even though the lingering aroma of Sloppy Joes and tater tots will forever haunts his dreams, he still visits 60 to 70 schools each year to talk about writing and art with students and teachers. He likes to show students how he creates his books, and sometimes he even uses these unsuspecting kids as a focus group for his unfinished works. He’s a member of the New Hampshire State Council for the Arts and a frequent presenter with The Children’s Literacy Foundation. His favorite authors are Chris Moore, Chuck Palahniuk, and David Sedaris. And he doesn t watch any TV. Really.

Bab’l Books Review : BILINGUAL BOOKS

I am always on the hunt for new, awesome kids books and I am very involved in all kinds of educational groups, forums and more because of homeschooling and my love for books itself. Recently in one of our bilingual groups, I came across an amazing new company called,  Bab’l books. Being bilingual and raising our children this way is something that has interested me since before their births, but I didn’t honestly know much about it back then. There was so much else to worry about at the beginning. Now almost 10 years later, I regret a few things, but luckily we are still succeeding in raising them bilingual. One of my problems back then was simply to find good material to use. I had a few options for german- english books from Europe ( Germany has tons more than the US) but it was still difficult and expensive to get them.

I want to thank  Bab’l books for introducing us to this amazing new series and give us a chance to review them. We have so many friends from all over the world that are growing up as bilinguals or even trilinguals. What better is there than growing up, learning multiple languages ? The advantages we can give our kids with this are almost too big to measure and since they will be reading colorful fun books, it will be just a normal part of their life instead of having to learn difficult vocabulary later on life. Nothing more boring than that.

 

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But Bab’ls books is not just books. They have a wonderful website where you can actually participate and help bring books closer to kids worldwide, and you can be part of this by helping to translate some of them, in the form of crowdsourcing ( It’s multiple people doing the translation of one book. That is the key to having higher quality translations. On the Translate site, you can see all of our books page by page, sentence by sentence, and see the translations that people have submitted.) . We tried this out. and it has actually been so much fun clicking through the images of the books and translating a little here and there. You can choose if you just want to transalte a few pages, or a whole book. And you can earn points and then guess what… you will earn books !!

They already have 9 languages listed for most of the books and they are working hard to add even more languages.

The books are guided towards 3-7 year old, but even my 9 year old enjoyed the books we got to test out and read together. She has been asking for french books for a long time ,since this is the 3rd language she wants to learn and is already very fluent with German. Bab’l books looks for stories that have a lesson or message the author wants to share in a subtle manner. The story’s message needs to translate across cultures, like the importance of sharing, never giving up, or not bullying. Stories with universal appeal.

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Think about it, more than 20 million school-aged children in the U.S. live in multilingual households, but few children’s books are available for smaller language groups. Multiple studies have proven the importance of bedtime stories and reading to your child over and over again. By having bilingual books we give children across the world a chance to connect ! By connecting languages, we connect cultures and with that we are on the best way to a better future for all of us !

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Some are available even on amazon, so if you just can’t wait you can go ahead and find some awesome titles right there, some as e-readers or others as paperback edition. I am old school on this I guess, because I still adore the actual book. But if you are on the go and an active traveling family, these would be an amazing addition for the e-library !

” Im a homeschooler” . Books that let your kid be proud about homeschooling.

Finding books for our kids, where kids are portrayed as homeschoolers, are still hard to find. But the good news is, they are becoming more. Slowly but surely more authors are picking it up, or homeschool moms themselves pick up the writing tools and create these books themselves. Especially for the younger kids more and more books are present that show another option than traditional schooling. I think it is wonderful and exciting to be able to show them the different option and it is so important to be able to show them, ” Look, this is okay ! There are others that live this way !

After all many of us get nearly “brainwashed” at a very young age. Maybe brainwashed seems like a harsh word for some of you, but let’s think about it.  Kids are being told about school at an incredibly early age, and it’s still being pushed upon us earlier and earlier. First it was only Kindergarten, now it’s ” timmy goes to Pre-K” and so on. That kids just stay at home before the age of 5 is becoming rarer and books need to show other options !

If you look at my girls ages, 6 and 9, most say they have probably outgrown the picture books age. But I don’t care. We still check out picture books from the library like crazy. And we still often buy must haves. Some of these are on my list of must haves…

Here is a list of all the new, recent books I have found :

Ippie’s a barefooted, band-aid covered, free-spirited eight-year old. She’s a lot like all the other kids in her neighborhood, except for one thing…Ippie doesn’t go to school. She has no teacher and follows no curriculum. So just what is Ippie doing all day? And how can she possibly be learning? Come spend some time with Ippie and find out. Written by former educator and current unschooling mom of four Nicole Olson, this ground-breaking story gives us a sneak peek into the world of unschooling through a child’s eyes.

‘Twas the first day of homeschool,” begins the poetic tale of a young child’s return to schooling. The story weaves through the exciting first day as the family enjoys a special time of learning, helping, and sharing together – interrupted only by a mischievous visit from Homeschool Elf who hides the children’s school supplies and sends them on a hunt to find the missing books, pencils, and more! In addition to the story text, younger children will enjoy trying to find the hidden Homeschool Elf peeking out from the book illustrations while older children are encouraged to interact with the story by answering questions related to the text and their own homeschool experiences. For those eager to begin their own Homeschool Elf tradition – a pattern of Homeschool Elf has been included at the back of the book. We recommend copying the pattern and cutting it out so if something happens to Homeschool Elf during the year, you will always have a pattern to replace him.

When a young kangaroo asks a lot of questions, her parents know it’s time to homeschool. The little ‘roo thinks there’s too much to learn, but her doubt turns into delight when she uses her driveway for a blackboard and learns she “Kandoo” all things through Christ who gives her strength.

I Am Learning All the Time is the story about 5 1/2 year-old Hugh as he begins the discovery process of what it means to not go to school. He reflects on life at home and life of his neighborhood friends, who go to school.

A fun, compelling story narrated by Hugh about his life at home. Full of bright, eye-catching illustrations with realistic (and realistically messy) scenes from family life. Your children will love and identify with the characters in this book.

Whether your child is homeschooled, unschooled or schooled, the positive approach brings understanding and similarities into focus, creating confidence in your children no matter what your family s educational choice is.

This story helps to uncover the unknowns of homeschool life. It is great book to share with your child if their friend or neighbor decides to homeschool. Your child s worries will melt away as they begin to understand what homeschooling is and that they can still be friends with their homeschooled friends.

You can feel confident about the positive nature put into the creation of this book in every way!

Drawing from his own childhood experiences, Jonathan Bean takes the autobiographically inspired family he introduced in Building Our House through the special rhythms and routines of a homeschooling day. For young Jonathan and his sisters, Mom is the teacher and a whole lot more, and Dad is the best substitute any kid could want. From math, science, and field trips to recess, show-and-tell, and art, a school day with this intrepid, inventive family will seem both completely familiar and totally unique. Includes a selection of family snapshots and a note from the author

And here are a few books for older Kids

Nellie appears to be a normal nine year old girl. But Nellie is not normal. Nellie is an amazingly gifted scientist who lives in a family of amazingly gifted scientists. One day, her brother, Niles, who is eleven, teases her (as all respectable big brothers do). This time, however, Niles goes too far when he tells Nellie that girls are silly and no woman has ever changed the world. This sets off a spark of an idea in Nellie’s most amazing mind and sends her down the path to create a time machine and meet wonderful women who made a mark on the world. First stop, Amelia Earhart! With a few bumps along the way and a government agency out to steal her technology, Nellie and Niles are in for an incredible adventure!

With her first step off the airplane and into the sunny tropics, ten-year-old Jess McConnell begins an adventure. She and her parents are spending five months at an archeological dig of ancient Maya ruins in the Central American country of Belize. It’s Jess’s first time out of the United States. It’s her first time being home-schooled. And it’s her first trip without her older brother and sister to keep her company. Yet Jess is excited to explore a new place on her own. She’s ready for adventure and anxious to discover just who she is. When Jess meets a new friend and is invited on an eco-adventure, she makes some real discoveries-about the wonders and the dangers of the Belizean jungle, about the people who have lived there since long ago, and about herself. The “True Story” section at the back of the book focuses on a girl from Florida who spends every summer in Belize with her archeologist parents.

Announcing Book #1 in the first series about a homeschooling family. The Wrights travel the USA in an RV. Each month brings them to a new state with a new educational theme to explore and play with. They prove that learning can happen all the time, anywhere, and that being with family is fun! Meet Aidan, age 7: Boisterous and joking all the time, this sporty boy knows how to have fun! Meet Nadia, age 11: Curious and fiery, this intellectual girl can always find out answers to even the most difficult questions. Meet their parents: Harrison, a writer and linguist expert, and Stephanie, a telecommuting computer expert; ready to adventure with their children. Meet Prince Pumpkin III, turtle extraordinaire: This 50 year old little guy is holding on tight, as the family RV and a mysterious device take him on an adventure no turtle has ever gone on before. Explore an Arizona desert cave with the Wrights as they begin their trip. What will Aidan and Nadia discover? This series is Wright on Time.

Latest Geronimo Stilton books

Are there any Geronimo Stilton fans out there ? 

You know we are ! We still love this silly scaredy mouse and his family. We have almost every one of his adventures and the girls still love to read them. Some of his latest adventures have been more on the sillier site than educational, but you know that’s okay sometimes too. I am happy to hear my girls giggle and laugh about the stories. They are reading, having fun, and their creativity and imagination grows. I was excited to see so many new releases and added many to our list right away !

This just came out today !!

I, Geronimo Stilton, was so excited to travel on my third journey through time! Professor Paws von Volt had invented a portal to take my family and me to the past.

On this trip, we visited the Ice Age, ancient Greece, and the Renaissance. I encountered wooly mammoths and enormouse bears, wrote and starred in a play, and even helped put a bad guy in prison! But then the portal started malfunctioning — could we get back to the present day, or would we get lost in time? It was an amazing adventure!

This one released just right after Christmas !

My family and I, Geronimo Stilton, were invited to Lisbon, Portugal, to retrace the journey of the great explorer Vasco da Gama. He was the first European to reach India by sea — and was apparently an ancestor of the Stiltons! But once we got on the boat, I learned that someone was trying to sabotage the voyage. Could I figure out who?

Released today 😀

While at the beach, Geronimo Stiltonix stumbles upon a mysterious treasure map! The spacemice follow it and end up on Aquarix, a planet that’s entirely underwater. During their exploration, they face fur-eating seaweed, ferocious piranha aliens, and . . . pirate spacecats! Squeak! Can the spacemice keep the spacecats from stealing the treasure?

 

All these titles have been announced to be released in the next few months, time to save them to your lists or just go ahead and pre-order some 

It’s the start of an exciting cavemice contest: a race to Boulder Bay and back! It’s a dangerous route, but it will supply the village cheese maker with rare hot lava peppers, and there’s a big cash prize. Trap teams up with Geronimo — who has a lazy, slow, city autosaurus (the cavemice mode of transportation). Can they reach the finish line without going extinct on the way?

Fairies, dragons, wizards, and more await Geronimo in this magical adventure!

I, Geronimo Stilton, was amazed to find myself called back to the Kingdom of Fantasy for another adventure. Blossom, Queen of the Fairies, needed my help ― time itself was under threat! Something evil was making the hands of the magical Tick Tock Timepiece spin faster and faster. It was causing Blossom to age at an alarming rate . . . and if she perished, so would the entire Kingdom of Fantasy! Holey cheese! It was up to me to restore time and harmony to the land. Could I do it before the clock reached its final hour?

No further info yet, it looks fun though 😀

There was a mystery in New Mouse City’s Egyptian Mouseum! The Black Papyrus, an ancient document that reveals the secret of eternal youth, had disappeared. The mouseum’s director asked me to help him find it. Yikes — those Egyptian artifacts freak me out! Luckily, a secret agent came to our aid… but could we trust him? It was up to us to recover the precious scroll!

BONUS! After the story, read an extra Mini Mystery adventure and jokes galore!

Who is Geronimo Stiltonord?
He is a mouseking — the Geronimo Stilton of the ancient far north! He lives with his brawny and brave clan in the village of Mouseborg. From sailing frozen waters to facing fiery dragons, every day is an adventure for the micekings!

Attack of the Dragons
The micekings are in a panic. The village’s best cook is ill, and until she recovers, there’s no delicious stew to eat! Geronimo Stiltonord departs immediately in search of a cure for her. But on the way, he ends up snout-to-snout with terrifying dragons! Can he make it back with his fur intact?

Join Geronimo Stilton in all new Fabumouse adventures across time and space!

It’s time for Bart Barnacle, the prehistoric pirate who has been visiting the cavemice, to return to his island home. It’s up Geronimo Stiltonoot to accompany him on his long, treacherous journey ― during which they’ll encounter megalithic danger and hungry sea monsters. Squeak!

Join Thea Stilton and the Thea Sisters on an adventure packed with mystery and friendship!

The Thea Sisters are heading to Hollywood! A friend has invited them to the set of a film. The mice are thrilled to be around famouse and fabumouse directors and actors as they’re working. But then someone tries to sabotage the film with a mysterious theft! Can the Thea Sisters catch the thief and save the movie?

The Thea Sisters are five fun, lively students at Mouseford Academy on Whale Island, who want to be real, live journalists, just like their hero, Thea Stilton. Between classes, friendships, crushes, and some bizarre mysteries to solve, they find life to be a never-ending adventure!