Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Gingerbread Girl

I imagine that all little girls will love The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst because she is one smart cookie (HA HA.) The old couple who lost their gingerbread boy to the devious moves of the fox are so sad that they decide to bake a little girl. They hope that she will be a sweet one and not run away like the boy. But, as soon as the oven door opens, out runs the gingerbread girl 'with a leap and a twirl'. She moves along a similar path as the boy, out running all the people and animals that are interested in taking a bite of her delicious smelling gingerbread. And like the boy, the gingerbread girl meets up with the sly fox and the bank of a river. But, this is where the stories differ. Although the girl does take the fox up on his offer to give her a ride, she is no dummy. As the water grows deeper, the girl takes the fox's advice and moves closer to his mouth. The fox thinks that he has yet again tricked another gingerbread cookie until the girl whips off a licorice strand (her hair), and uses it to lasso the fox's mouth shut. Who's the sly one now? In the end, the old couple and the girl begin to bake for the entire booktown and no one is lonely anymore.

*Create a Venn Diagram that compares and contrasts the Gingerbread Boy story to that of the Gingerbread Girl.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


What child doesn’t love chocolate? Mine sure do. I guess that lets you in on a little secret… I give my kids sweets, and dessert might just be a major meal in our house. That’s why we love this book! Chocolatina by Erik Kraft is the story of Tina, a little girl who loves chocolate. That’s how she gets the nickname Chocolatina. Chocolate milk, chocolate cereal, fruit salad covered by chocolate…the usual. Tina’s health teacher, Mrs. Ferdman gives the students prunes and makes them repeat “You are what you eat.” So one night, Tina makes that wish one day as she bites off the ear of a chocolate bunny. Then, it happened. Tina turns into a chocolate girl, reminiscent of Chocolate Fever. Tina runs into some trouble at school: her best friend won’t sit next to her because she doesn’t want to get chocolate on her shirt, she misses the word ‘cocoa’ during the spelling bee, and she begins to melt during recess. Tina’s biggest problem is facing Mrs. Ferdman. Although Mrs. Ferdman preaches healthy eating, she shows her true colors by trying to take a bite out of Tina’s right ear. Poor Tina makes another wish to be normal again. Wish granted. Taste for chocolate still intact.

*On the last page, there are no words but a picture. Infer what has happened.
*Read Pinkalicious and make text-to-text connections.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

By My Brother's Side

I thought all of my entries would be “must haves,” but in the interest of saving some money in more difficult economic times, I had to change my strategy. Somehow, I ended up with two copies of By My Brother’s Side by Tiki and Ronde Barber. And somehow, as hard as I work at hiding the book in the depths of the bedroom bookcases, it always makes its way into little hands. The story follows the brothers when they are young. The two boys love sports, but Tiki has an accident on his bike and has to sit on the sidelines while Ronde continues his athletics all summer (not really the definition of by someone’s side.) The injury is serious enough that the doctor is not sure if Tiki will ever play sports again. This is all building to a climax that is nothing more than the doctor giving the OK to take the leg brace off. On one page, we see the brothers complete their homework before football, but that message seems to be added as an afterthought. Although the book ends with the brothers playing football together and winning the game, it is painfully long with little elegance to the writing. I can think of a sports book or two that gives a true message of perseverance, determination, and loyalty. Skip this one, parents.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Colors of Us

A budding artist wants to paint pictures of all her friends in The Colors of Us by Karen Katz. She tells her mother that “brown is brown” and that is where the journey through her neighborhood begins. The young girl looks at the skin color of her friends and neighbors to give the reader beautiful and unique descriptions of the differences in our skin tones. I never mind reading this book because I love the way “tawny and tan” and “coffee toffee” sound when reading aloud. The Colors of Us does a nice job at emphasizing the beauty of our differences and how special we each are.

*Describe your own skin using an original simile or metaphor. My skin is like…

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Kitchen

Just so you get an idea at my son's obsession with the kitchen and cooking. Note, I am not making anything here. The KitchenAid Mixer and Vitamix are definitely his most expensive toys.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Toddler Cookbook

My son is an original. I mean, how many two year olds lose their minds when they have to leave Bed, Bath and Beyond, specifically the blender and mixer section? He could not care less about Toys R Us or any other toy store but loves Target for the mixing bowls. Truly, heaven for my little man is Crate and Barrel. So when it comes to reading, we are out of the box thinkers. B loves reading kid cook books. One of his favorites is The Toddler Cookbook by Annabel Karmel. He loves the page with a full spread of all the small appliances and kitchen utensils, all labeled. To be honest though, no need for labels for B because he will correct you if you call a whisk a beater or a colander a strainer. This is serious business for him. Each recipe has a picture to go along with the numbered step. They are fairly easy to make with children helping out and quite appealing. We have made the baked chicken fingers (with crushed low fat potato chips instead of bread crumbs,) meringues, tropical ice pops, and homemade lemonade (with added strawberries thanks to my kids’ suggestion.) Only problem that we have found is a lack of breakfast food recipes.

*Write steps for any daily activity like ‘how to get ready for bed.’ Include numbers and pictures and turn it into a book. Use simple sight words with repetition when learning to read. (I brush my teeth. I wash my face. I change my clothes.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Here’s a little story for you. When my brother was 8 and I was 5, my dad decided we would be able to choose a Christmas present for my mom. To be honest, no one can remember what I chose since my brother’s gift was so…um…memorable. My brother loved the Atari. What boy didn’t? So, naturally he chose the game Frogger.
For the Atari.
For my mother.
So when my husband and I put into effect a limit of $35 on Christmas presents, you can imagine my shock in receiving a Kindle. Now that’s love. Or was it genius. You decide. That evening I found myself looking at my husband read the first downloaded book to the Kindle. It wasn’t Anita Shreve, Geraldine Brooks, or Ann Patchett. It was something like Selling Power or The Cold Call Gone Hot. After a few weeks of sharing my new present, my husband so kindly downloaded the Kindle to my Blackberry. And then it dawned on me…I had been Froggered.
With my birthday and Christmas right around the corner, I am now lobbying for an iPad. It’s either that or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from turning pages almost constantly on my Blackberry. So to all my friends out there, remind my husband of my wish as he claims those two days sneak up on him every year.