My Mom Has X-ray Vision—Book Review

My Mom Has X-ray Vision—Book Review

Our latest bedtime read, My Mom Has X-ray Vision, was a big hit with both the kids and myself. This picture book, written by Angela McAllister and illustrated by Alex T. Smith is about a young boy, Matthew, who is trying to figure out why his mom knows what he’s doing, even when she can’t see him.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, you don’t want your children to know your secrets, and you don’t want this book to reveal them. Trust me, I felt the same way, but I still feel like your skills will be safe.

I’ve shared before that my kids love analyzing illustrations, and this book is perfect for that. We loved figuring out why Matthew’s mom knew what he was doing, like in this example below.

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Although Matthew never really figured it out, we delighted in determining if Matthew’s mom really had some super powers (of course she did 😜).

This book is good bedtime read for young children, and is great for taking some time to look at illustrations to see what they notice.

Keep #RaisingReaders!

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Book Series Review– Eloise by Kay Thompson

Book Series Review– Eloise by Kay Thompson

If for some reason you are interested in trying to see if you can run out of breath during a #bedtimeread, then I highly recommend the Eloise books by Kay Thompson. Or, if you or your children like books about mischievous children (or are mischievous children themselves), then they might want to get to know Miss Eloise.

In my son’s class when they’re the Star of the Week, they can have an adult come in and read to the class. Recently, a parent came in and read Eloise, and my son could not stop talking about it and asked if I could get it from the library. I had to put it on hold, so he may not have been the only student from his class that made that request.

Although this book was written in the 1950s, I personally have never read these books. Eloise is a young child who has a nanny and basically runs havoc in the hotel that she lives in, which is the part my child naturally could not get enough of.

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Here’s the thing, since Eloise herself is telling the story, the book reads like you would expect an active 5 year old to talk, and that’s how I ran out of breath. There’s a lot of repeated phrases, and not very many periods. Both of my children loved listening to the book, even though there were some aspects that they thought were a little strange about Eloise, including the lack of parental supervision.

Since they enjoyed that one, I decided to get some of Eloise’s other books, including Eloise at Christmastime and Eloise in Moscow.

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Dad got to read the Christmastime book (yay!), and I got to read the one about Moscow. As much as we enjoyed the original book, I’ll be honest and say the Moscow one was not one we could identify with. The important thing for me to reiterate is that this book was written in 1950s, when America’s relationship with Russia was clearly not a friendly one and it is very clear in this book. Since my children don’t know anything about Russia, they didn’t really relate to any of it. Eloise had a good time of course, and continued to tell her story in her cute rambling manner, but for us, not so much.

Now from my research, it appears there’s many updated versions of Eloise’s stories, including a movie and “easy-to-read” books, none of which our family has read, but I can imagine that she’s still as rambunctious as she was in the 1950s.

Although Eloise in Moscow wasn’t a hit, we still enjoyed reading about Eloise’s adventures, even if I was out of breath when it was over.

Keep #RaisingReaders!

Book Review–Get to Know Your Universe series

Book Review–Get to Know Your Universe series

Occasionally, I get books in the mail (#bookexcursion) or bring books home that one of my kids will grab before I get a chance to read it. In this case, both of my children have grabbed these books and kept them from me for a while.

These Get to Know Your Universe Science Comics are right up both of my kids’ alley, so they may be good for your readers too.

*If you have a reader who likes graphic novels or comics, this series could be for them, OR

*If you have a reader who likes nonfiction, this series could be for them, OR

*If your reader asks a lot of “why?” questions, these books could work for them, OR

*If you have a reader that wants to learn more about any of the variety of topics they cover, including dogs, sharks, or volcanoes, this series could be for them.

As you are #RaisingReaders, you probably have a child that fits in at least one of these categories. My kids each fit in more than one, which explains why they disappeared from me so quickly. This series of books have the right combination of information and fun that kept both of my children reading these books over and over.

 

Help!…Harry Potter is invading our holidays (including Christmas) too!

Help!…Harry Potter is invading our holidays (including Christmas) too!

I’ve written multiple times about my kids’ attachment to Harry Potter for two main reasons, 1) I didn’t see it coming and had NO IDEA it would be this addictive for them and 2) it pushes me as a parent to support something my kids adore that I have no interest in. You can read my previous posts here, here, and also here (good grief that’s a lot of HP!).

So what do I mean when I say that Harry has invaded our holidays? Well, naturally, since they are obsessed, my kids have decided to represent their perspective Hogwarts houses (Hufflepuff and Slytherin) for Halloween. This was not my first choice, but they were both pretty adamant about it, and finding the costumes was simple, so we were good to go.

Now, I like to start my Christmas shopping early, that way I can space it out and I’m not overspending. Since we borrowed books from either a friend or the library, my daughter only owns a couple of the Harry Potter books. From my readings about HP fans, it appears that many of them read the books over and over again, not to mention that she’s already reread parts of the ones she owns. With that and the fact that there’s these new 20th anniversary cover versions, I’m thinking that I’ll get her a complete set.

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However, as I was looking through the Scholastic Reading Club flyer, I also noticed the illustrated versions and began to second guess myself. Should I get her the nice big illustrated ones, even though we can’t get all of them yet? Or should I stick with my original idea?

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What a quandry…

I came up with what I think is a compromise. I’m sticking with my original plan for her, but I think I’m going to get my son the illustrated version of the first book. He’s “read” the books, but in all honesty I know he hasn’t read every word like my daughter has. I also know that he loves illustrations of any kind, so he would be all about this version. I’m not committed enough to buy more than one of the illustrated ones, but I think this is the route I’m going to go.

I say all this to say, my commitment is to #RaisingReaders. And for me that means buying costumes and books, and whatever else I need to in order to keep them as active readers, even if its for a series I have no interest in.

#RaisingReaders with Fractured Fairy Tales

#RaisingReaders with Fractured Fairy Tales

A trend I’ve enjoyed in children’s literature is an increase in the number of fractured fairy tales, and my kids and I are loving it. Fractured fairy tales take the original story, like Little Red Riding Hood or Cinderella and make a change. Sometimes it’s a big change and sometimes it is something small, like the setting. Either way, once your child knows the original versions, reading more versions of these stories makes them more enjoyable and elicit conversations with you and your child. Below are a couple of recent fractured fairy tales that my kids and I enjoyed.

The Three Little Superpigs by Claire Evans is a cute story that tells what happens after the Big Bad Wolf goes to jail. The pigs, along with everyone else in Fairy Tale land start to live their lives without the Wolf, but little do they know, the Wolf has comeback plans. Even so, these pigs are superpigs, so…

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This book was a hit in our house, and there were many requests for me to bring it back home after I took it to school. Both kids loved the story, but the second time through they spent a lot of time looking at the illustrations, and there’s lots to see there. To be honest, if your kids don’t know the original tale, it won’t be as entertaining, so keep that in mind.

The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier is a different version of The Little Red Hen. In this version, instead of making bread, main character Ruby is building a fort. And instead of other animal friends, Ruby has 3 brothers. This version has a simple predictive structure like the original and a happy ending, but will probably be easier for your child to identify with because of the human characters.

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We loved this book and how impressive Miss Ruby was with her fort building skills. Plus both of my kids were irritated with the brothers and how lazy they were, which made me happy.  However, my kids didn’t catch on as to which fairy tale this was connected to, which is fine because this story stands alone well. However, when I did remind them of the Little Red Hen’s story, they were able to make the connection right away.

These are just two examples that we loved, but there are tons of fractured fairy tales out there. If you are looking for a way to elicit more conversations with your kids about books or just a new way to tell a old story to your kids as you are #RaisingReaders, then fractured fairy tales is a way to go!

 

 

If Polar Bears Disappeared…

If Polar Bears Disappeared…

Author Lily Williams has struck again with the next book in her series about what would happen if an animal became extinct, this one titled, If Polar Bears Disappeared. In this book, we learn what would happen if polar bears became extinct animals. Not only do we learn what will happen to the polar bears if sea ice continues to melt, but how their disappearance will affect so many other aspects of the artic environment. With beautifully clear illustrations to accompany the text, this is definitely one to add to your library as you are #RaisingReaders.

There are many things I do enjoy about this book, both as a educator and as a mother. Here are a few of my faves:

–I love how Lily Williams explains it all. She doesn’t just start with the disappearance, she explains what would cause their disappearance. Also, she doesn’t just tell you they’ll be gone, she also suggests how you (even as a child) may prevent that from happening.

–She explains complex ideas, like global warming, in a way that a young child who picked up her book will understand.

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–Like I mentioned in my review of If Sharks Disappeared, I love that the main character is a young girl of color, and now she has a female companion with her in this one. As the mother of a curly haired brown girl, I love the Girl Power!

My kids loved the first book in the series, so they were super excited for me to read this one.  They definitely enjoyed this one, and are even more knowledgeable about the how the environment works as a result. This book would be great for a child who is an animal and/or environment lover and/or in a classroom where you are learning about global warming, Earth Day, endangered or extinct animals or animals in general. I could continue with other times this would be a great book to read, but really it doesn’t have to fit into a certain time, its just a great book to share with children.

*I was provided with an ARC of this book as a member of #bookexcursion.

A Reminder About Leaving Books in the Car…

A Reminder About Leaving Books in the Car…

One of my earliest blog posts (almost 2 years ago!) was about my wonderful epiphany about having books that stay in the car for the kids, so they always have something to “do” while we’re riding. You can read that post here. Even then, my idea slightly backfired with a child who wanted to constantly read out facts to me. Unfortunately, I just discovered that another casualty of having books stay in the car is the destruction of the actual books! 😦

After only a short ride to lunch and Target (’cause its Saturday, so a Target visit is a must), this is what I found in the backseat when I got home:

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Yep, that’s two pages of a book that are no longer part of the actual book. Now in the beginning of this car ride, they were arguing over the book. My 7-year old wouldn’t share the book with my 9-year old and she was getting frustrated because he was flipping past pages she “needed” to look at right then. The whining, yelling, and fussing got so bad that I threatened to throw the book out the window. Actually, I said that their behavior makes me want to throw the book out the window, because as my daughter immediately responded, “We treat books like they’re precious.” Exactly.

So one would think that this is when the pages got ripped out, right? Nope. The pages got ripped out on the way home from Target when they were actually getting along and behaving more civilized (doesn’t a visit to Target to that to everyone?). Without any suggestions from me, they decided to put the book in the divider between the two of them, and look at the pages together! Duh! The conversations and giggling sounds were just what I had in mind when I initially suggested they keep a book in the car, just without the ripping sounds that accompanied them. But even the ripped pages was followed by giggles, so as mad as I wanted to be, I could not disrupt the happiness, mostly for fear that it would disappear, never to return.

Do I still think that having books that stay in the car is a good thing? Most definitely. Just don’t let them be books that you (or they) are super attached to, ’cause even during a pleasant read, bad things could happen.

Keep #RaisingReaders!