Archive for ‘Home Library’

February 24, 2012

Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons

Title: Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons

Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrator: Jane Dyer

Publisher: Harper Collins, 2006

Book Type: Fiction, Concept Book

Ages: 5 and up

Themes: Manners, Vocabulary

Opening Sentences:

“Cooperate means,

How about you add the chips while I stir ?”

Synopsis (from Harper Collins site):

Everyone knows cookies taste good, but these cookies also have something good to say. Open this delectable book to any page and you will find out something about life. Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons is a new kind of dictionary, one that defines mysteries such as “fair” and “unfair” and what it really means to “cooperate.” The book is by turns clever, honest, inspirational, and whimsical. Go ahead, take a bite!


In the Classroom:

  • Lesson plan that discusses ways to include this book in a language arts class.
  • Felt cookies containing a character trait of the week. Click Here.


  • I couldn’t find a crossword puzzle on the web, so I made one up using Crossword Puzzle Maker. Here is the puzzle and the key. If you see any errors, please let me know.
  • Word matching game from Harper Collins for One Smart Cookie.

Why I like this Book:

Cookies is a very unique book, it teaches etiquette without being preachy. The book uses “cookies” as a means of explaining concepts such as Patience, Trustworthy, and Fair. My favorite line to use on the girls is “Patience means, waiting and waiting for the cookies to be done”; the best part is they get it! The illustrations complement the text very well in helping to convey the meaning of these higher-level words.

Older kids can read this and understand the meaning, as the text is simple and precise. For younger kids I would recommend a parent and child read it together, the book is a good conversation starter. Perfect for story time, classroom, or home library.

Other books in the series are: Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons, Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love, and One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

February 16, 2012

See Inside Your Body

Title: See Inside Your Body

Author: Katie Daynes
Illustrator: Colin King
Publisher: Usborne Books, 2006
Book Type: Non-Fiction

Ages: 3-8

Themes: Human Body, Science


Learn how the body works in this simple, colorful lift-the-flap book. Topics covered are Eating & Excreting, Breathing Air, Pumping Blood, Bones & Muscles, Brain Power, the Senses, Drinking & Peeing.


Many of the Usborne non-fiction books have an accompanying webpage full of supplementary Internet links. Here is the link for this book.

Here is an extensive classroom plan for teaching the human body with worksheets. Another site which has worksheets and puzzle games. TeacherVision (membership site) has extensive resources such as lesson plans, printables, quizzes, science activities on the subject of the human body, click here.

Why I Like This Book:

This is a wonderful educational book which breaks down various concepts of the human body into simple, easy-to-understand text. Each page spread discusses one of the body’s systems, by covering the main functions of the relevant organs and walking the reader through a step-by-step process. What makes this book unique are the extra little side notes. The author uses these side notes to connect the concepts to everyday occurrences. For instance the first page, Eating & Excreting, discusses how the body processes food.

Technical: Your windpipe takes air to your lungs.

Side Note: If food goes down your windpipe by mistake, you cough to push it back up.  (I use this line of my kids, when they are bouncing up and down at the dinner table.)

The illustrations are colorful, lively, and humorous. There are over 50 flaps which kids will love to look through and find nuggets of information. The book is a hardcover with board book type pages. There are only 15 pages but a kid could easily spend over a half hour pouring through the details.

Since the text and illustrations are quite detailed and the numerous flaps, this book is best suited for a classroom or home library.

This book is part of the “See Inside” series by Usborne. They have numerous other titles covering science, history, space, and more.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

February 2, 2012

The Monster at the End of this Book

Title: The Monster at the End of this Book

Author: Jon Stone

Illustrator: Michael Smollin

Publisher: Golden Books, 1971

Ages: 3-5

Themes: Fear, Humor, Interactive

Opening Sentences:


On the first page, what did that say? Did that say there will be a Monster at the end of this book???

IT DID? Oh, I am so scared of Monsters !!!


Grover comes up with innovative ways to beg the reader to not turn the page, for there is a MONSTER at the end of this book.

Why I Like This Book:

First all I must have been living out in the boonies when I was a child. I only learned of this book a few months ago as a number of kidlit folks (authors, librarians) have listed this book as one of their childhood favorites or the book they often gift. It has now become one of my go to gift for young kids.

This is one hilarious book, perfect for story time or lap-time reading. It is a blast to read out loud; who doesn’t love exaggerating when it elicits a laugh or two out those precious little kids. Kids reading it on their own will enjoy the interactivity of the book. In the narrative, Grover is talking to the reader. He tries to convince the reader or “prevent” them from not turning the page. Once the page is turned, the reader is rewarded with Grover’s theatrics about getting closer to the monster at the end of this book. The ending will delight the reader as it confirms what he already knows, which is that Grover is the Monster.

I love how the text and illustrations wonderfully convey Grover’s over the top antics. He is a bit of a drama queen. This book is also available as a book app. I just downloaded and it is even better than the book, as it heightens the hilarity of the whole situation. I can’t wait to show my kids the app this weekend. There is also a sequel book and book app called “Another Monster at the End of this Book“.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

January 20, 2012

Calvin Can’t Fly

Title: Calvin Can’t Fly

Author: Jennifer Berne
Illustrator: Keith Bendis

Publisher: Sterling Publishing, 2010

Suitable for: Ages 4-8

Themes: Family, Friendship, Importance of Learning, Individuality

Opening Sentences:

Calvin was a starling. He was born under the eaves of an old barn with this three brothers, four sisters, and sixty-seven thousand four hundred and thirty-two cousins. Starlings have BIG families.

Right from the beginning Calvin was different …


Calvin is an unusual starling. While his siblings and cousins learn to fly, Calvin learns to read and let his imagination soar. Since Calvin was always reading, he never learned to fly; thankfully his siblings help him out during migration season. It is Calvin who saves the flock when they fly into stormy weather.


Here is a link to some activities, that focus around the formations that birds fly in. Another activity (I brainstormed), handout a coloring sheet of a book with a blank cover. Have kids come up with a story title and cover image of what they think Calvin would like to read next.

Why I Like this Book:

A perfect book for story time, and a must have for any book lover young or old.  I adore this book on so many levels. How do I love thee, let me count the ways:

I love that Calvin is a bookworm.
I love that being called a “bookworm” is a bad thing for birds, because it has the word worm in it.
I love Calvin’s silly siblings who help him out when it is time to fly away.
I love that Calvin saves the day with his book knowledge.
I love the book for its comical illustrations.
I love Ms. Bearne’s mastery of the written word. Pitch-perfect, tight, and full of humor.
I love Calvin’s character and voice in the story; he really does sound like a bibliophile.

I just love everything about this book. So run to your library or bookstore and get this book. It is a true gem.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

January 12, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday – One

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Title: One

Author & Illustrator: Kathryn Otoshi

Publisher: KO Kids Books, 2008

Suitable for: Ages 5-8

Themes: Bullying, Standing Up for Oneself

Opening Sentences:

Blue was a quiet color.

He enjoyed looking up at the sky, floating on the waves, and on days he felt daring … splashing in rain puddles.

Every once in a while he wished he could be more sunny like Yellow. Or bright like Green. More regal like Purple. Or outgoing like Orange. But overall he liked being Blue … except when he was with Red.


This unique story uses color splotches to discuss the issue of bullying. Blue is a quiet, happy color unless hot head RED is around. The other colors Orange, Yellow, Green, and Purple see what is going on, but they don’t know how to stop the bullying. Until, One comes and shows them how to stand up to Red.

Activities: Here are links to some activities and discussion questions.

Why I Like This:

This book is wonderful on many different levels. Young kids will enjoy identifying the colors and numbers. Older kids will understand the bullying issue that is going on, and be able to relate to the colors’ emotions. I enjoyed the clever use of certain words which had double-meaning. For example the word ‘count’ in  “Blue saw the colors change (into numbers). He wanted to count.”, means both Blue wanted to change into a number, and he wanted to have value.

If you would like to know more about inspiration for the book, check out this insightful interview at Character Counts. You will need to scroll down the page about halfway.

If you like this book also checkout her sequel called Zero. This book deals with the issue of self-esteem.

Would love to hear your thoughts on “One” book. Did your kids/students understand the book, were they able to relate?

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