Physical activity for kids is important, and other links.

Statcan studies highlight importance of physical activity for children. via City News. To anyone who has ever parented a child, taught a child, cared for a child, or met a child this will not come as a surprise.

Prince William and Kate to deliver book written in rare native tongue to indigenous children via The Star

Giant Teddy Bear Perfectly Sums Up Why Grandparents Shouldn’t Buy Gifts via Scary Mommy. I always wondered who actually bought those!

Discover your Patronus via Pottermore. The first time I tried it, it said I was too slow. Apparently I’m an Osprey.

Etihad launches new children’s activity packs via Trade Arabia. That’s not all- “For guests flying long-haul, every aircraft is staffed by a Flying Nanny”. The best way to fly with children! Every single flight anywhere should be staffed with a Flying Nanny. Imagine flying on a plane where the kids were given special meals, activity packs and entertained by a nanny? I’d pay extra for a flight like that.

First Day of Fall Painting

As much as I will miss the fun of summer, I do really enjoy Fall (or Autumn as some may say). For the first day of Fall I thought I’d show how to do a tape resist painting in Fall colours.

This is a great activity because it is very process based, the child doing the activity can choose what paint to use, how much, where to put it, what types of brush strokes to use etc. At the end of it though, you also end up with a nice project that you can display.

Materials for Fall painting
Materials for the Fall painting

I used a handmade textured brush but you can use a regular paint brush, foam brush or even have the kids paint with their fingers.

Starting to tape the canvas.
Starting to tape the canvas.

Use tape to section off areas of the canvas. You can use masking tape or painters tape,  whichever you have on hand. Older kids can do this part themselves but younger kids may require you to give them pieces of pre cut tape or put the tape down for them for the youngest ones.

Finished taping the canvas.
Finished taping the canvas.

This is more or less what the canvas will look like when you’ve finished taping it. You can do a geometric pattern or make it more random. For a fall painting it would also be neat to create a tree trunk and branches out of the tape.

Starting to paint the canvas.
Starting to paint the canvas.

I chose red and yellow paint because they would mix to create orange. Using primary colours would also be good to teach colour mixing, or you could use favourite colours, colours to match a season or theme or whatever you have on hand ūüėČ

Finished painting.
Finished painting.

Here’s the toddler completed painting. He was really interested in applying a lot of paint to one fairly circular area.

Completed painting.
Completed painting.

Here’s the end result! A Fall coloured tape resist painting for the first day of Fall ūüôā

Book News Round Up

I’m counting down the days until Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children comes out on September 30th! I can’t wait to see this, although as with any book that’s been turned into a movie I’m worried it won’t live up to my expectations. What are your thoughts on books vs. movies? Do you feel the movie generally does a good job of representing the book or do you have to think of them as two separate entities?

11 Children’s Books That Help Kids Understand Autism via Romper

Excerpts from Chris Hadfield’s New Children’s Book via The Star

The Darkest Dark is about Chris Hadfield’s childhood fear of the dark and how he was able to get over it. This is on my TBR list for sure. I was lucky enough to see Chris Hadfield present on his life and journey to space and he seems like such a genuinely nice person with amazing stories to tell. Plus the illustrations by the Fan Brothers look fantastic!

An Illustration from The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield, illustrated by the Fan Brothers and showing a boy and a dog on a bed surrounded by spaceships, a planet and a whale.
Illustration from The Darkest Dark

Locke Street Festival Finds

Last weekend was both the Locke Street Festival as well as SuperCrawl in Hamilton. Lots of food trucks, art, concerts and entertainment. I wanted to quickly share a couple of my favourite finds from the weekend.

 

Cover of Edgar and the Treehouse of Usher by Jennifer AdamsFrom the book sale at Epic Books I bought Edgar and the Treehouse of Usher by Jennifer Adams. It looks like such a fun book and I can’t wait to review it.

 

Along a Long Road by Frank VivaMy other find was Along a Long Road by Frank Viva, found at the Hamilton Public Library’s sidewalk sale. I love the simple story and the illustrations in this book, especially how they used a contrasting texture for the road so that the children can follow it along with their fingers.

I was very excited to find these gems and add them to my collection! What great books (children’s or otherwise) have you added to your collection recently?

Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

John Patrick Green Hippopotamister Blog Tour

Welcome to the Hippopotamister blog tour!

Hippopotamister by John Patrick GreenSynopsis

The zoo isn’t what it used to be. It’s run-down and falling apart. Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he’ll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He’s a good employee, whether he’s a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

Drawing of a hippo as an artist.

Review

I really loved Hippopotamister! It would be such a fun book to read aloud. Many times with comics and graphic novels the text alone doesn’t give you enough of the story, which makes¬†reading them aloud less fun, but Hippopotamister’s story is so well written¬†that it would be a good book for reading aloud.

Hippopotamister is a sweet and encouraging story that has strong¬†messages about being true to yourself and persevering. I also really liked the way the zoo was written about. As someone who loves animals, I was a little nervous when I saw that a zoo was one of the locations in the book but I was very happy to see the correlation shown between a well maintained, caring zoo and happy and healthy animals!¬†I loved that the book had such positive messages in it in addition to the story, it’s not written in a heavy handed way. It would tie in well to discussions of character traits and being a good citizen,¬†and would make a wonderful addition to any child’s or classroom’s library.

You can buy Hippopotamister here, or visit the Good Reads page for Hippopotamister here.

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs on the tour!

May 10, 2016: Perusing Pages
May 11, 2016: Pages Unbound
May 12, 2016: Melanie Hays
May 13, 2016: Midwestern Book Nerd
May 14, 2016: Charmingly Simple
May 15, 2016: Novel Cravings
May 16, 2016: Bookish Babes
May 17, 2016: Bumbles and Fairy-Tales
May 18, 2016: Book Stacks Amber
May 19, 2016: Lyseofllyr
May 20, 2016: M & Em Read
May 21, 2016: Trisha Jenn Reads
May 22, 2016: Twirling Book Princess
May 23, 2016: The Whimsical Mama
May 25, 2016: The Vivacious Hobo
May 26, 2016: Fangirl Confessions
May 27, 2016: The Plot Bunny
May 28, 2016: Reading With Cupcakes
May 29, 2016: Hermit Librarian
May 30, 2016: The Kindred Reader
May 31, 2016: Polished Page Turners

Hippo wearing a chef hat from Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Elliot by Julie Pearson and Manon Gauthier

Elliot book written by Julie Pearson and illustrated by Manon GauthierElliot written by Julie Pearson and illustrated by Manon Gauthier is a picture book about a little rabbit named Elliot whose family does not know quite how to take care of him. Although they try on their own, they need some outside help and a social worker comes to help educate them while bringing Elliot to stay with a different family.

Generally when I think of stories that talk of foster care or other situations that can be difficult to explain to children I think of those horrifying, cheesy picture books that can usually be found in the parenting section of the library, but Elliot is just a gentle and heartwarming storybook that happens to deal with the foster care system and adoption. The muted colours of the collage illustrations match the tone of the book and support the story well. The text manages to tell of a difficult situation without being down, depressing or preachy, kudos to Julie Pearson for managing that!

While Elliot would be a nice addition to any bookshelf, this would be a beautiful book to give to a child who is entering the foster care system or who is moving towards having their adoption finalized.

Review: Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman, Illustrated by Chris Case

Jacob's New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman Illustrated by Chris CaseWhen I picked up Jacob’s New Dress at the library and started to read it, I teared up. I thought of all the kids I’ve taught in child care over the years¬†who have been teased for using the “girl clothes” in the dress up centre, all the parents who have been angry when they’ve come to pick up their son and found them in a dress, or the parents who have told me that their child may only wear the dress up clothes that matches their child’s sex. The amount of parents who get upset over this boggles my mind.

Jacob’s New Dress is about a little boy who wants to wear a dress to school. He goes through a few different options like dress up clothes and creating his own “dress-thing” while trying to get his family and peers on board. I loved that his friend Sarah and his teacher was on board with him wearing a dress and were supportive of him from the start. I really loved that his parents were a bit hesitant at the beginning, but were loving and interested in supporting their child. It feels more realistic to what children who are gender non-conforming might face at the start of sharing this with their families.

I truly feel that this book should be in child care centres and classrooms everywhere, regardless of whether that class has a gender non-conforming child in it. By showing children these ideas early on it can teach them empathy and help them to be more supportive of their friends, and to be less confused if they find that they are not interested in the things that they “should” be interested in.

The authors, Sarah and Ian Hoffman,  have first hand experience with gender non-conforming children and write at www.sarahandianhoffman.com.

Review: Alphasaurs and Other Prehistoric Types

Alphasaurs and Other Prehistoric Types book by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss

I was recently looking for an alphabet book for a child that is really interested in letters. I was looking for something more advanced than the typical beginner alphabet books, something that would be interesting and engaging to a child who loves to create illustrated alphabets, and preferably something with good design.

I found a book that met all the criteria: Alphasaurs by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss. This book goes through the entire alphabet, giving one dinosaur for each letter. Instead of typical drawings of dinosaurs, each dinosaur is made up of letters in a variety of fonts, for example a Brachiosaurus made entirely out of many Bs.  Each dinosaur page also includes how to pronounce the name, the size of the dinosaur and neat facts about each dinosaur.Brachiosaurus

This book was a big hit, not only with the child I had in mind when I got it¬†but the other children loved it as well. There were many dinosaurs that were new to them as well as me. I’ve read many a children’s dinosaur book so obviously I know of Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex but this book included some I’ve never heard of such as Nothronychus, Lambeosaurus and Fruitadens.

The book is well designed, from the fonts used to the beautiful colours. No garish colour schemes here, each page uses about three to five colours that complement each other well. The flaps and cut out details on some of the pages are a nice touch as well.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a new dinosaur book to add to their child’s collection or for an alphabet book that parents and educators will enjoy too.

Friday Links

The official trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has been released. I have very mixed feelings about this movie. The trailer makes the movie look good but not really what I was envisioning in my head. Although I guess that’s frequently the problem with books being turned into movies, isn’t it? One of my concerns for the movie is the casting of Miss Peregrine. How Miss Peregrine is shown in the trailer feels completely wrong to me, and I think they shouldn’t have cast Helena Bonham Carter. I realize that she is involved with Tim Burton, but he casts her as the lead regardless of whether or not she is a good fit for the role.

The shortlists for Kate Greenaway and Carnegie Medals have been announced. Via The Guardian. I’ll be adding several of these books to my TBR list. I’m especially excited to read Five Children on the Western Front. I absolutely loved reading Five Children and It, and a sequel written by someone other than the original author is intriguing.

The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems opens today at the New York Historical Society. It runs until September 25th, 2016 and I would love to be able to go see it. Road trip! New York Times article about the exhibit.

Travelling library: The two Indians on a road trip to promote books via BBC. I love stories of unusual book shops and libraries.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Rainbow Heart Cookies Eugenie Cookies
Via Eugenie

These rainbow heart cookies, called Eugenie cookies, would be a perfect dessert for St. Patrick’s Day.

make a lucky penny necklace
via 30 Minute Crafts

This lucky charm clover necklace is a great way to use pennies you still have hanging around. It would be great to wear on St. Patrick’s Day or all year round for a little luck.

Some of my favourite books for St Patrick’s Day, for kids of all ages.

Happy St Patrick's Day Curious George

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Curious George by H.A ¬†Rey, for children ages 2-5.

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a CLover! by Lucille Colandro and Jared Lee, for children ages 4-7

Leprechaun in Late Winter

Leprechaun in Late Winter by Mary Pope Osborne for children ages 7 and up

This would be a great craft to decorate your house with: Hanging Paper Four Leaf Clovers

Fun and easy craft to do with the kids: Bell Pepper Shamrock Stamp