ages 3 – 6


5M4B disclosure

I can read 1I found that my children were quite receptive to figuring out the fundamentals of reading at an early age, perhaps more so in their preschool years than when they reach the age when directed reading feels like school. Of course nothing compares to just reading great books with your children, so I hope that’s your primary concern, but books that are set up with repetition and rhyme can go a long way to teach kids to read with a combination of phonics and whole language. Though my children are too old for these types of books, I was delighted when they landed on my doorstep and eagerly checked them out.

Learn to Read with Tug the Pup and Friends! Box Set 1: Levels Included: A-C (My Very First I Can Read!) has eleven books that progress in difficulty. The first book is at level A for guided reading. “Big Pig” has short repetitive sentences declaring and showing what Big Pig can do (“Big Pig can hop, Big Pig can skip” etc.). By the 11th book, the reading level is C. “The Birthday Party” uses words and characters who have already been introduced and has slightly more complex sentences such as “Peg the Chick will hold the balloons.”

I can Read 3Readers can then progress to Learn to Read with Tug the Pup and Friends! Box Set 2: Levels Included: C-E. The format is exactly the same, and hits the middle ground between the first and third set. Learn to Read with Tug the Pup and Friends! Box Set 3 gets more advanced. The first book in the box “Flat Tire” starts at guided reading level E with longer sentences such as “‘That tire really is flat,’ said Nat the Cat.” The eleventh book “The Dancing Lessons” is level G and has two or three sentences per page, such as “‘Now we know our dance moves,’ said Pen Hen. ‘Big Pig, we’re ready for you!’ Big Pig plays a happy tune on his fiddle.”

They are also available on Kindle, which might be a fun experience for kids and certainly easy to carry and use on a Kindle app on your phone.


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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

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Big Whoop!

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Song for Papa Crow

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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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How to Lose a Lemur

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5 Great Poetry Collections for Kids #NationalPoetryMonth

With April being National Poetry month, we had to share some of our favorite poetry collections. Most of these books were sent to us for review in the past, but they continue to stand out in our mind. I (Jennifer) am sharing 3 of my favorites first, and then I turn the list to Dawn, who shares two of her favorites. The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry – This is the first book that always comes to my mind when I think of poetry collections. The combination of new and classic poems and great illustrations is a win-win. Kenn Nesbitt’s The Tighty Whitey Spider- I love funny poetry, as does my son. This is one of mine and my son’s favorites. I Didn’t
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