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CRICKET IN THE THICKET


A nonfiction picture book of poetry about fascinating insects with accompanying facts, notes, and illustrations by the Caldecott-winning Melissa Sweet.

Pray tell us, Mr. Mantis,
Do you pray or simply prey?
Do you scout about for victims
Or fold your hands all day?

In addition to the playful rhyming poems, the supplementary text highlights surprising facts about bugs of all kinds - from familiar ants to exotic dragonflies, cringe-worthy ticks and magnificent fireflies. Melissa Sweet's collage-inspired mixed-media illustrations beautifully render these creatures and complement the poems' whimsical tones. This is an enchanting and informative look at a perennial topic of interest for kids - cool bugs!



ABC ART RIDDLES


Challenging riddles in rhyme spark the curiosity of young readers as they match letters, sounds, and clues to solve art puzzles. This book also features a page at the end with Ideas for Parents and Teachers. Kids will love this book.

REVIEW: ABC Art Riddles isn't an ordinary ABC book; each page gives a rhyming riddle, the answer to which is a word with most of its letters left as blank spaces. Kids will enjoy solving the riddles, each of which connects to art. The simple color illustrations also offer clues to the riddle's solution, stimulating young minds and vocabularies. For example, the entry for Q is "_ q _ _ _ _: Q in the second letter in my name. / There are five more letters, none are the same. / Four right angles are part of me. / I am a shape you often see. / My sides are equal, always straight. / What's my name? Don't hesitate", and the illustration shows six brightly colored squares. A wonderful exercise in both reading and the imagination.


HURRY UP


All Rookie Readers actively engage young readers, encouraging language development, building fluency, and promoting independent reading. By targeting a skill, like learning about rhymes, young readers are building fundamental reading skills with the help of fun, lively, colorfully illustrated stories.

REVIEW:A young boy's ebullient aunt urges him to brush his teeth, comb his hair, wash his hands, and make his bed. If he hurries, she tells him, she has a surprise for him. In brisk couplets, the boy hurries to wash his hands, comb his hair, and wipe "some toothpaste off the chair." The red-haired narrator and his goggle-eyed dog rush through Garbot's lively cartoon-colored illustrations. Aunt Ella's surprise turns out to be a trip to the circus, fun for all (though one wonders if the dog would be allowed in). The fun artwork in this Level C "Rookie Reader" will engage fluent readers. A word list is included. 2003, Scholastic Library Publishing, -- Candice Ransom


JENNY'S SOCKS


All Rookie Readers actively engage young readers, encouraging language development, building fluency, and promoting independent reading. By targeting a skill, like learning about rhymes, young readers are building fundamental reading skills with the help of fun, lively, colorfully illustrated stories.

REVIEW: Like many people, Jenny has a collection: Jenny collects socks. She has socks of different colors and sizes. Even her pet cat is part of the collection (his name is Socks). What is more, she wants to share her collection with her readers. This new book, part of the "Rookie Reader" series is basically a tour through Jenny's large assortment of footwear. The book is perfect for early readers. Each page has one sentence about socks. The repetition of words and the use of sight words make the story easy for children to decipher. Accompanying each sentence is a brightly colored illustration that excites readers and gives clues to the meaning of the sentence. The best part of the book is its small size; it is perfect for small hands to hold. While socks may seem boring to an adult, to a child, especially one just learning to read, this book is a perfect fit. 2004, Scholastic, Ages 4 to 6. --Heather Mason



SHARKS AT SEA


Children can swim with the sharks - and have fun with stickers, too - with this entertaining sea story. At the shark's invitation, they'll follow him into the deep where the young ones play, and swarm and swish through schools of fish. Putting down stickers all the way, kids will enjoy going through underwater caverns and caves, examining a sunken treasure ship, and finding their way through a coral maze.

Review: This sticker book is really cute and well done. There are a lot of stickers for the money and they are all so cute - great graphic designs. There are all kinds of sharks, pirates, boats, sea shells, and various other fun items. The pages in the book tell little stories and give suggestions on where to put the stickers but also allow for a child's imagination. I gave this as a gift to a very bright 4-year old. He was a bit too young to put the stickers in the way that perhaps the author intended but he had great fun with them and wound up with a creative sticker book. He also enjoyed adding his own drawings to the pages of the book. This is an excellent book, highly recommended.



PIRATES TREASURE HUNT


Yo ho ho: the pirates are here! And they're packing the ship for a trip to a faraway island. What will they do there? Search for buried treasure, of course! Kids can take their pirate-themed stickers - including plenty of colorful characters and their paraphernalia - and sail along on the adventure. They'll row to shore, stop at a deserted castle, take out their maps, and dig, dig, dig until they find a chest filled with gold and rings and fancy things.

REVIEW:The Carol Murray books we have are Sharks At Sea, Puppy Parade, Pirate Treasure Hunt, Day of the Dragons, and Jenny's Socks (not a sticker book). All of them are sturdy and durable enough for all young children and lots of fun.


PUPPY PARADE


Make way for the puppy parade with oodles of poodles, floppy-eared mutts, spaniels, herders, hunters, and hounds. They're posing, they're playing, they're riding the carousel. With a yip, nip, and bark, they're invading the park. Kids can help swell the parade by placing stickers of puppies in all breeds and sizes along the path, dressing them in costumes and accessories (like bandannas), and giving the doggies toys to play with.

REVIEW: My granddaughter received Carol Murray's books as a gift. She is two (2) years old and loves these sticker books. The fun thing about Murray's books is that the stickers can be used over and over again as they both stick and can be removed and moved throughout the book. I would have thought that a toddler would want to fill ALL pages with ALL the stickers, but I was surprised when my granddaughter moved a single puppy sticker from page to page as we read!!


DAY OF THE DRAGONS




A gaggle of dragons has arrived - but they're stepping into the cool pool instead of breathing fiery flames. That's because they've checked into a hotel for a fun vacation. Kids will have a blast grabbing some stickers to decorate the page and joining the dragon crew on mountain hikes, working out at the hotel gym, showering in the fountain (with their rubber duckies), posing for photos, and ending the day with a pillow fight.

Storytime Sticker Books are a series published by Sterling.



PHONICS THROUGH POETRY


By Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz. Carefully prepared lessons use the rhythm and rhyme of poetry to teach phonics. This book's 115 read-aloud poems - some from well-known children's authors like Norma Farber, Maurice Sendak, John Ciardi, and Jack Prelutsky, others written specially for this book - immerse children in particular language sounds again and again, in word after word, within an exciting context. Each poem comes with teaching apparatus comprising word lists using the targeted sound, a "focusing talk" to cement and extend students' connection to the poem, and an idea for a hands-on activity. Photocopy masters supply "letter cards for sounds the book targets. Multiple indexes (by the poem's first line, by title, by sound, and so on) aid ease of use. Grades preK-1.

REVIEW:This book can be used for creating a poetry collection for first graders learning sounds. I was very impressed with it when I saw it and will probably use it more and more each year.

Carol also has several poems in an additional volume entitled, More! Phonics Through Poetry, appropriate for grades 2 and 3.



Highlights


Carol is a supporter and fan of Highlights for Children and the Highlights Foundation. She has had many poems purchased and most of them published with illustrations in the Highlights magazine.

Some of those include:

Sonnet for a King
At the Petting Zoo
Rhino
Robin's Return
Football Fever
Rock Hound Detective.
White as Snow
No,Thanks!

No, Thanks!

No, thank you, no more bugs for me
or grubs - I've had my fill.
I'm feeling stuffed.
My stomach's puffed.
Perhaps the whippor-will.


(used by permission, Highlights for Children)


BLESS THE BEASTS Children's Prayers and Poems About Animals



Children love animals, their connection with animals fosters respect for creation and humanity. These inspirational prayers and poems offer graceful words of personal observation, joy, and concern about their favorite creatures, from the cuddliest pets to the wildest beasts.

Filled with over 30 lavishly illustrated reflections to suit any mood, this interfaith collection includes thoughtful, funny, and profound poems and prayers by such beloved writers as Carl Sandburg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jane Yolen, and Rudyard Kipling - along with fresh offerings from newer poets and a sprinkling of heartfelt prayers written by children themselves. Together they provide an accessible door to a child's spiritual life and development of compassionate values.



HOUSE BLESSINGS



The home has long been the center of our family lives. This is where we gather to create memories with family and friends and to find comfort and solace for ourselves. In House Blessings, best-selling anthologist June Cotner has assembled a moving collection of interfaith prayers, poems, and toasts that speak to the experiences we share in turning our houses into our homes. With 112 pieces collected from 38 writers, this little book offers a reading for every occasion. From housewarming to holiday celebration, from planting a garden to raising a family, gems of wisdom and inspirational selections celebrate all our most treasured moments at home.

         
         
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