Sunday, August 28, 2016

Horrid Henry

Speaking of funny books for early readers, because I have have a small relative named Henry, Amazon highlights kid's books for me with that name in the title. That is how I ran across Horrid Henry. The book has been out for over twenty years in the United Kingdom, it just made its way to the US a few years ago. The author, Francesca Simon, is an American expat who lives in London. The book (and its many sequels are ) are laugh out loud funny. Our hero (or anti-hero), Henry, has "an amazing talent for trouble".

There are four short stories in the book, the first one illustrates why Henry is so horrid. Henry has a little brother known as Perfect Peter. Peter says "please" and "thank you", helps make dinner, and loves vegetables. One day, Henry wonders what would happen if he were perfect. His experiment in perfection drives his perfect brother into horrid behavior. Perfectly horrid!

In the third story, Henry and his frenemy, Moody Margaret, fight over who gets to be Captain Hook, make Perfect Peter walk the plank 14 times, create a huge mess making glop and dare each other to taste it before giving some to the unsuspecting Peter.

There are dozens of books in this series. The illustrator, Tony Ross's drawings remind me a bit of Quentin Blake's drawing for the Roald Dahl books. The Sonoma County Library has three copies and many of the sequels. The AR is 3.3.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Happy National Dog Day

It is no secret that this blog likes dogs, one of the most accessed posts is Dogs at the Book Fair. Over the years we have accumulated quite a collection of books about dogs and even one that is narrated by a dog.

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Caldecott Honor recipient, Christian Robinson, features two dog families who meet in the park, a family of poodles who have a French bulldog member and a family of French bulldogs who have a poodle member. Clearly, there has been a mistake. A switch is made, can you guess how it turns out? The book is worth reading if only to read the the girl poodle names out loud: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo and Ooh-La-La in your very best French accent. The Sonoma County Library has nine copies and the AR is 2.8.

I'm My Own Dog is written and illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner, David Ezra Stein. Our hero declares that, "I'm my own dog. No one owns me. I own myself." He takes care of everything he needs except for a little place on his back that needs a scratch that he can't reach.  A little guy scratches his back then follows him home. What is a dog to do but let him stay. He trains the little guy and soon they become best friends. The Sonoma County Library has eight copies and the AR is 1.5.

 Mrs. Birdhead has had it with Bobo's bad behavior in How To Be A Good Dog  by Gail Page. She sends him to the dog house. But Cat misses Bobo. Armed with a dog training manual, Cat  teaches Bobo to shake, fetch, heel, lie down, roll over and stay. All goes well until Mrs. Birdhead comes home from the grocery store. How does Bobo get back in her good graces? The Sonoma County Library has one copy and the AR is 1.4.

Homer by Elisha Cooper is a celebration of old dogs. Homer's family is at the beach house. does he want to play chase with the other dogs? No, sitting on the porch is fine. He also declines to explore the field, go to the beach and swim in the waves. Eventually everyone comes back and joins him on the porch and shares their adventures. Does he need anything? No he has everything he needs, he has his family. We have an old dog much like Homer, this story rings true. The Sonoma County Library has eleven copies and the AR is 1.8.

Percy loves puddles of all kinds but the one he loves most of all does not love him back because it is occupied by Mama Pig and her piglets. A big storm comes and a tree falls in the perfect puddle scattering Mama and her piglets. One is missing. Where could she be? Percy finds her and now the perfect puddle loves him back. The rhyming in this book is a great vocabulary builder.
Sonoma County Library has one copy and the AR is 2.4.

 A few more dog books reviewed over the years:

An easy reader, A Dog Is a Dog by Stephen Shaskan.

Atticus, the aforementioned dog narrator knows what is going on, his co-narrator, Ben, has no clue in Road Trip by Gary and Jim Paulsen.

Pug and Other Animal Poetry by Valerie Worth and illustrated by Stephan Jenkins is a collection of eighteen short poems about animal behavior.

Since National Dog Day is a celebration of rescue, it is only fitting that Trouper by Meg Kearney is included.

One more link from Brightly, 21 Woof-tastic Children's Books About Dogs. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reading and Bookish Links

Need help finding chapter books for your early reader? Erica at What Do We Do All Day has some helpful guidelines:  How to Choose Early Chapter Books for Kids.

Ask young kids what they want most in a book and the majority say they want it to be funny. You can find books for all reading levels, including early readers, again from Erica, a list with short reviews of 100 of the Funniest Chapter Books for Kids.

How about adding some Dr. Seuss notes to your kid's lunchbox? Jenae from I Can Teach My Child has done all the hard work for you, all you need is a printer.

And finally, from Neil Gaiman:

Start the School Year Right

Sage advise from the US Department of Education:

Hat tip: Reading Is Fundamental

Sunday, August 14, 2016

50 Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read

School starts here in a couple of days. Yulupa is a K-3 school, so learning to read is a big part of what goes on here. Learning to read starts at birth, it is a complicated process. Both teachers and parents have a role to play.  Allison McDonald from No Time for Flashcards has a list of 50 ways  to help your child learn to read.  The most important thing a parent can do is to read and talk to their child starting at birth. Some of my favorites on her include rhyming games, getting a magazine subscription (what kid doesn't like to get mail?), and let them choose their own books at the library or in the store. One more way that she alludes to is pointing out environmental print: stop signs, names of stores, billboards, street sign and exit signs. I think most of us knew what a stop sign said before we could read the words in a book but didn't think of it as "reading".