Kidlit & Minecraft: Tikki Tikki Tembo

  Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel is the second book we read for SKrafty's Young Literature Classics 1 self-paced class. This 1968 classic claims to be a retelling of an ancient Chinese folktale about why Chinese names are so short. (SKrafty does point out that this is based on a fictional tradition). I'll be honest: I wasn't a huge fan of this book, and I don't think it's one we'd read it again. The problems I had lie mostly in the illustrations (although the text isn't perfect) and ranged from Chinese culture being confused with Japanese culture to outright errors (Chang bowing backwards probably being the most glaring). These issues left me with a very subtle feeling of cultural insensitivity that…

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KidLit & Minecraft Review: Billy and Blaze

  Last Sunday I mentioned that Minecraft is very popular in our house lately. SKrafty is the kid-friendly/homeschool server we joined. After we explored a bit and got the hang of things, I signed up C for a science class and a literature class, both geared toward younger kids (C is 5½). We started the Young Literature Classics 1 self-paced class, which will cover six children's classics, one per week if we stay on schedule. I thought it would be fun to highlight them here on the blog as we finish each one, especially since five (!!) of the six books are new to me. This week's book was Billy and Blaze, originally published in 1936, written and carefully illustrated by C.W. Anderson. Young Billy receives a pony,…

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Small Fry Saturday: Artsy Boys and Smelly Girls by Elise Gravel

  Gender stereotypes, grrrr. I know I'm not the only person who cringes when children are pigeonholed. I cheer for books and toys which promote kids being themselves! C still enjoys a good picture book, so I was excited to stumble upon Elise Gravel's e-book Artsy Boys and Smelly Girls. It has fun illustrations (just like the cover image above) and its message is easy to understand. Each page features an adjective or an emotion — such as angry, or sensitive — and illustrates it in a way that defies common gender stereotypes. An angry girl, a sensitive boy, etc. Each example is also very normal, which makes such a simple message pretty powerful. If it were available in print (it'd make a great board…

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Small Fry Saturday: Nonfiction Kidlit Mini Reviews

I always have my eyes open for nonfiction titles I think my daughter will enjoy, especially if I can include them in our homeschooling day. The following two books were big hits. I received a copy of each from Kids Can Press to be considered for an honest review. If... A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers written by David J. Smith illustrated by Steve Adams Huge concepts are scaled down to help kids wrap their minds around facts such as the age of the earth, the size of our galaxy, etc. To be honest, it can be difficult for adults to fully grasp this degree of enormity. I'm a sucker for living math/science, and the cover art…

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Mini Reviews from Classic Children’s Literature

C is almost 5 and still enjoys plenty of picture books, but this year we've been reading more and more classic chapter books. Between audiobooks while we're in the car and whatever book we're reading here at home, we're on a roll! I thought I'd combine our most recent reads into a mini review post. Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard & Florence AtwaterThis was a completely new one for me. How had I never even heard of it? I loved the rich vocabulary, the problem-solving (especially how to keep the penguins happy and healthy), and the little bits of social studies woven seamlessly into the story. C's reaction? "Sooooo cute and those penguins are hilarious!"Little House in the Big Woods…

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Small Fry Saturday: Scarlatti’s Cat

Small Fry Saturday is a meme inspired by The Well-Read Redhead, showcasing books our children enjoy.This week's pick is:  Title: Scarlatti's CatAuthor: Nathaniel LachenmeyerIllustrator: Carlyn BecciaPublisher: Carolrhoda BooksExpected Release:March 1, 2014Source:I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.Find it on:    Scarlatti's Cat grabbed my attention both as a musician and music teacher, and as a parent who appreciates a quality picture book. The book is based on the legendary story behind Domenico Scarlatti's Fugue in G minor and how it became known as the "cat fugue." This fugue is built upon a somewhat unusual set of six notes, which inspired a tale in which Scarlatti composed the piece during an improvisation session after…

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Small Fry Saturday: John Coltrane’s Giant Steps

Small Fry Saturday is a meme inspired by The Well-Read Redhead, showcasing books our children enjoy.This week's pick is:  Title: John Coltrane'sGiant StepsAuthor/Illustrator:Chris RaschkaNarrator: Richard AllenPublisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson BooksReleased:July 1, 2002Source:I borrowed this book from my local library.Find it on:    John Coltrane's Giant Steps offered so much more than I expected in a children's book! The CD included with the book is a must; this is really meant to be experienced as an entire package. The CD offers two tracks: one with page turn cues, one without.The story's "performers" are some raindrops on drums, a box playing string bass, a snowflake on piano, and an adorable kitten on tenor sax. (Get it? Raindrops? Snowflake? Kitten?) Narrator Richard Allen has a laid back, very chill style…

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Small Fry Saturday: Itsy Bitsy Christmas

Small Fry Saturday is a meme inspired by The Well-Read Redhead, showcasing books our children enjoy.Advent begins tomorrow, so this week's pick is:Title: Itsy Bitsy ChristmasAuthor: Max LucadoIllustrator: Bruno MerzPublisher: Thomas NelsonReleased: September 10, 2013Source: publisher (giveaway)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis (from Goodreads):"The King has come! Even for a little one like me." Do you ever feel like you are too small or too ordinary? That is just how Itsy and Bitsy feel. When these two charming little mice hear that a King is coming to Bethlehem, they set off with great enthusiasm to find Him. Along the way, they are met with discouraging words telling them they are too little and unimportant for any king. Just when…

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A Happy Kid Lit Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! I thought I'd quickly share the Thanksgiving books my 4-year-old and I have been/are reading this week:1, 2, 3, Thanksgiving! by W. Nikola-LisaWe borrowed this from OpenLibrary. This is a clever and sweet counting book with a Thanksgiving theme. It counts from 1 up to 10, and then back down again to 1.The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovernI purchased this title last year, but C wasn't interested in it at all as a 3-year-old. I tried reading it to her again yesterday, and this year she sat through and seemed engaged by the entire story. It does have a Christian perspective. I found the text a bit on the dry side, and I was a…

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Small Fry Saturday: The Giant Cabbage: An Alaska Folktale

Small Fry Saturday is a meme inspired by The Well-Read Redhead, showcasing books our children enjoy.This week's pick is:Title: The Giant Cabbage: An Alaska FolktaleAuthor: Chérie B. StihlerIllustrator: Jeremiah TrammellPublisher: Sasquatch BooksReleased: March 2003Source: my personal library (gift from a friend)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis (from Goodreads):Moose discovers a very big cabbage in his garden that could win first prize at the Alaska State Fair. But there's a problem--it's so huge he can't lift it! An old Russian folktale inspired The Giant Cabbage, but this contemporary version showcases Alaska with vivid illustrations, adorable animal friends, and verbal twists and turns.C's godmother went to Alaska this summer and brought back this book. (She finds the.best.books! Remember Z Is For…

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