Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Room on the Broom

Room on the Broom

Written by Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

I love Halloween.  I love the clever costumes, fun foods, parties, and decorations.  We meet and talk to more neighbors on Halloween night than on any other night of the year.  Most of all, I love seeing my little ones dressed up and excited for their night full of goodies.

Whatever your thoughts on the holiday may be, I do hope that you'll include Room on the Broom as one of your October read-alouds.  A witch and her cat are flying on a broom when various items fall to the ground, such as the witch's hat, her hair bow, and her wand.  Each time they go to retrieve the fallen item, a new animal comes out with the lost item, along with a request to join the witch and the cat on the broom.  Excitement continues when the broom breaks and a dragon enters the story!  

Retelling:  Shadow Puppets

The characters in the story are all perfect candidates for shadow puppets.  My kiddos had the time of their lives putting on a puppet show while I read aloud the story.  They played with the shadow puppets the entire afternoon.  

To make the shadow puppets, I found free coloring pages of the main characters.  I printed them off on cardstock and cut around the edges.  I then taped a skewer on to the back (I would recommend using Popsicle sticks if you have little ones!).

To make the shadow puppet theater, I cut off the top and bottom flaps of a cardboard box.  I then covered the top opening of the box with a white piece of tissue paper and taped the tissue paper to the sides.  We used a small lamp, and it worked out great.  

You might also check out the book's website!  It has some fabulous resources and activities!

Happy reading!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Release: Leroy Ninker Saddles Up

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume One
Written by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Our house adores the Mercy Watson series.  The series tells of a funny little couple whose lives are centered around their "porcine wonder" named Mercy (who is always up to something!).  Deckawoo Drive, the street they live on, is full of adventure.  Imagine how excited I was to see that a new series was coming out with the same characters!

Some of you might remember Leroy Ninker from the Mercy Watson series.  Leroy is the reformed thief who works at the popcorn stand at the drive-in movie theater.  He dreams of being a cowboy.  In this book, Leroy makes his dreams come true by buying a horse named Maybelline.  Sweet old Maybelline has distinct characteristics that make her as unique and as lovable as Mercy.  Maybelline has four teeth and LOVES spaghetti.  

I would highly recommend this book as a preschool read-aloud or as a beginning chapter book. Leroy's attempts at owning a horse in the city make for a delightful story for boys and girls.  Amusing pictures are featured on most pages.  Unfortunately, the illustrations are printed in black and white, as opposed to the colored illustrations found in Mercy Watson books.  Even so, Chris Van Dusen's illustrations captivate young readers, as usual.

Possible Activities:
Family Fun:  Watch a Western movie together and eat popcorn.  You might try The Apple Dumpling Gang.  
Imagination:  Pretend you're living in the Wild West for the day. :)
Food:  Eat buttered toast for breakfast, and spaghetti for dinner.
Language Arts:  Write sweet compliments for Maybelline using similes and metaphors.
Math: Cook up a variety of lengths of spaghetti noodles and measure them in centimeters and inches.

Happy reading!