ages 3 – 6


5M4B disclosure

PicMonkey Collage2If you regularly spend time with toddlers and young preschoolers, you’ve likely learned just how interesting the immediate world around them can be. As a preschool teacher for over a decade, I took classes of three and four year old children on a multitude of field trips to places in our own neighborhood- the post office, the grocery store, restaurants, and the like- just so they could get an inside look at how places they’ve regularly visited actually work. Along that community theme, a new series of oversized board books featuring a handy, hard-working guinea pig are a wonderful addition to young readers’ collections. In Stanley the Builder and Stanley’s Garage, children are introduced to tools, construction vehicles, and real world jobs that relate to concepts in their own neighborhoods.

Head over to 5 Minutes for Mom to read my full review on these delightful books for little ones, and enter to win a copy of both books in our giveaway!


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5 Books for Back to School {Friday’s Five}

I know just about all kids are already back to school but it’s never too late for some good back-to-school books.   This list is geared for the younger set who may be nervous about starting preschool or kindergarten but are also a good refresher for those who are a little older. Pre-School (ages 3-5): How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague. As with the other “How Do Dinosaurs” books, this one shows what dinosaurs should and shouldn’t do at school, some of which are funny and ridiculous. These books would be preachy if they weren’t so well done. Sea Monster’s First Day by Kate Messner, illustrated by Andy Rash.  I reviewed this book, as well as “Sea Monster and
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Learn to Read with Tug the Pup and Friends

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Calvin, Look Out!: A Bookworm Birdie Gets Glasses

A few years ago, I became enamored with a little starling named Calvin, a book-loving bird who skipped flying lessons in favor of trips to the library and more time immersed in a book. Jennifer Berne’s Calvin Can’t Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie became a much loved read aloud in my preschool classroom, and it remains a favorite of my own children to this day. Imagine my excitement when I saw that Berne had collaborated with illustrator Keith Bendis once again to bring a new Calvin story to the shelves. Calvin, Look Out! A Bookworm Birdie Gets Glasses gives the gist of the book’s tale right there in the title, but be prepared for a little silly adventure in the process, of course. When Calvin
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Kindergarten, Planes, and Sea Bears from Chronicle Books

Planes Go by Steve Light is a highly appealing book for the youngest of booklovers. I have to enumerate what I love: I love board books, but this one is unique because of its size, 12 x 6 inches. Fun sound words like “wheeeevvrrruuhmmm,” “huk, huk, huk, wwwhhhiiirr,” “bbbrrrrmmmmmm.” Bright pictures and a fun font make each page exciting. The Bear’s Sea Escape by Benjamin Chaud is another uniquely-sized book, at 14.5 x 9.8 inches. It has an old-fashioned busy style of illustration which takes up the majority of the page,inviting readers to find Little Bear on each page, as Papa Bear is looking for him as well. The scenes are diverse, from snow to sand to sea. Planet Kindergarten equates starting Kindergarten to a
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You Are (Not) Small

Anna Kang’s new picture book You Are (Not) Small introduces young children to the idea that when it comes to size, everything is relative. Without any reference point, can you tell if that fuzzy guy on the cover is small, or not? Well, one of those fuzzy, bear-like creatures first appears on the title page, but with the first page turn, a larger furry foot is seen entering the scene. This second guy is much bigger than the first, but when he pointedly tells him, “You are small,” the first guy responds with a decisive, “I am not small. You are big.” They each proceed to gather their similarly-sized pals to emphasize the other’s difference in size. Their interactions become quite heated, as indicated by the print that
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Big Whoop!

Young children may not be familiar with the word curmudgeon, but when they meet Mr. Fox in Maxine Lee’s new picture book Big Whoop! (POW!/powerHouse Books, July 2014), they’ll certainly understand the concept. Mr. Fox doesn’t smile, and he doesn’t laugh. He goes about his business with the same unemotional expression on his face all day long. Two of his friends, Roman and Harrison, want to do something about that. These fun-loving pals have a plan to get Mr. Fox to laugh, starting out by donning simple costumes and acting like they’ve turned into zoo animals, but Mr. Fox responds in the same way he always does, by simply stating, “Big whoop,” and continuing on with his reading. Roman and Harrison up their game with each
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Song for Papa Crow

My kids and I can often be seen walking around our yard area trying to pinpoint a songbird up in the trees. There are some calls that are easy for all of us to identify- the American robin’s cheery trill, the blue jay’s jarring calls, and the chickadee’s confident repeating of its own name. Of course, another one most folks can immediately recognize is that of the American crow, though their raucous caws don’t usually convey the same warm feelings as the songbirds. Perhaps after reading Marit Menzin’s picture book Song for Papa Crow, however, children (and parents) may come to have a new appreciation the next time they hear a crow’s caws. In colorful cut-paper illustrations that convey texture even on the two-dimensional page, the story
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Angry Birds: Stella and the Hunt for the Jade Egg

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you know about (and probably love) Angry Birds. For the younger set, there is a cute new picture book out, Angry Birds: Stella and the Hunt for the Jade Egg. The book is perfect for reading aloud to little kids, while it is cute enough and has few enough words on the page to appeal to new readers, as well. The book opens with a detailed description of each of the birds in the book – and the pigs. It gives their name with an illustration and some information about their personality so that it’s easy to transition from birds and their expertise in the app to characters in the book. In Stella and the Hunt for the Jade Egg,
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The Baby Tree #Giveaway

It’s an inevitable rite of parenthood– answering the age-old question, “Where do babies come from?” Accomplished author/illustrator Sophie Blackall tackles this question in a beautifully rendered new picture book, The Baby Tree. My eight-year-old daughter and I had a little chat about the book, which we’ve enjoyed reading together, as well as about how she used to think babies originated. Check the video out over on 5 Minutes for Mom, and enter to win a copy of the book for yourself while you’re there! Now, let me tell you that I absolutely love this book. I’m already a huge fan of Blackall’s illustrative style, ink and watercolor pictures with a soft quality that immediately conveys tenderness. In this story, a young boy’s parents tell him that
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A Pet for Fly Guy

If you’ve never met Fly Guy and Buzz, the big-eyed friends in Tedd Arnold’s easy reader series, it might be that you have younger children who haven’t yet made the leap to that level of books. With his newest creation, picture book readers can join in the fun, too! A Pet for Fly Guy keeps all the lighthearted fun of the easy reader books in the picture book size and story format. After an opening introduction similar to those found in the other Fly Guy books, the unlikely friendship between young Buzz and his tiny buggy pal takes center stage. Like any friends, they love to hang out and play together, and in this story, they spend the day at the park doing just that. Soon they
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Frozen: The Junior Novelization

This past winter, Frozen, was the hit of the theaters. Everyone saw it, and I’m pretty sure everyone loved it. This is one of those movies you can’t see just once, and I know for a fact that we aren’t the only family who has seen it more than once – and bought the DVD the day it came out. You can’t watch movies every day, however, which is where Frozen: The Junior Novelization comes in handy. The junior novelizations are some of the wee ones’ favorite books. It takes their favorite movies and makes them into bite size version of just over 100 pages that retell the movie so they can relive it over and over even when I’ve said no to watching the actual
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