Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway: Winner

Congratulations to Serious Reader (Linda Henderson)! 
She won the Gratitude Giveaway at this blog.  The winner has been contacted via email. 
Thank you to everyone who participated.  I appreciate all my followers.   Please check back this month for other giveaways and lots Christmas reading suggestions. 
Happy Holidays!

Picture Books: Counting Down to Christmas

These Christmas tales use counting as a platform to tell about holiday traditions.  While they are useful for teaching or reinforcing counting skills, these books are entertaining and enduring in their own right.  Each book illustrates tradition, holiday spirit, and family memories. 

 Counting Christmas (ages 3-6) by Karen Katz  
Three children count down to Christmas Day.  In preparation, they wrap the tree with lights, put out the presents, make cookies for Santa, hang their stockings, and race upstairs.  Once the parents lovingly put them to bed, the children dream of Christmas goodies and gifts.   On Christmas morning they joyfully play with their toys and family.   Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Numerals, Number Words, Ryhme, Alliteration, Traditions

Christmas for 10 (ages 3-8) by Cathryn Falwell  
A simple counting format frames the festivities of a loving family preparing for Christmas.  The family decorates their tree, plays music, listens to stories, wraps presents, bakes cookies, and strings popcorn.  In addition, they pack baskets for the needy and cheerfully welcome guests.  Christmas for 10 illustrates children, parents, and grandparents making holiday memories together.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting (backward & forward), Numerals, Family, Traditions

The 12 Days of Christmas (ages 3-8) by Linnea Asplind Riley 
This cumulative picture book illustrates the popular Christmas song by the same name.  It is the story of a young man who gives his true love many unusual gifts, such as two turtle doves, three French hens, four colly birds, and five golden rings.  The vibrant paper cut-out illustrations are appealing.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Numerals, Ordinal Numbers, Vocabulary Building, Music

Ten Little Christmas Presents (ages 4-8) by Jean Marzollo 

Ten presents are sitting in the snow, labeled with an animal's name.  Each two-page spread illustrates an animal with his Christmas present and the number of presents left along with rhyming text.  For instance, "Ten little Christmas presents, in the snow so fine...Mouse gets earmuffs!  Now there are nine."  The pattern continues as each new present is opened.  After all the presents have been revealed, they ask, "Who's our Secret Santa?"  Then, Santa Bear slides down the hill and wishes everyone a merry Christmas.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Numerals, Forest Animals, Vocabulary, Rhyme, Generosity

Under the Star (ages 4-10) by Jane Yolen 
Each two page spread repeats the words, "Under the star, Under the star" on the left. Then, in ascending order (1-10) a countdown of people and animals who would have seen the Star of David on the night Jesus was born are called out.  The final picture is of all the people and animals gathered around Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in the manger.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Number Words, Numerals, Christmas, Bible Story

Snowbear’s Christmas Countdown (ages 5-10) by Theresa Smythe  
On the first day of December, Snowbear starts to prepare for Christmas.  Each day he fulfills one of his holiday traditions.  Snowbear writes out his Christmas cards, makes ornaments, picks out a tree, goes shopping, and wraps his presents.  In addition, he enjoys the winter weather by sledding and ice skating.  On Christmas Eve, Snowbear bakes cookies for Santa and his reindeer.  Readers will enjoy this countdown to Christmas (1-25).  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Ordinal Numbers, Weather, Traditions, Bears

Counting to Christmas (ages 4-8) by Nancy Tafuri  
Similar to Snowbear’s Christmas Countdown, a young girl counts down day by day.  Every couple of days she participates in a different activity, such as sending cards, making a gingerbread house, baking cookies, wrapping presents, and stringing popcorn.  Part of her holiday tradition is to prepare a Christmas treat for the animals outside.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Traditions, Numerals  

Concept Books: Counting to Ten and Back Again

Children will be delighted with this enchanted counting book!  A little girl falls asleep with her fairy tale story book.  She dreams of frog princes, the ugly duckling, gingerbread men, magic beans, and many others captivating images. After counting to ten and back again with these fairy tale inspirations, the little girl wakes up.  Children will enjoy identifying the fairy tale reference in each picture.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Numerals, Number Words, Alliteration, Fairy Tales

One Naked Baby  by Maggie Smith  
One naked baby comes running out of the bathroom, ready to start his day!  As he gets dressed to go outside, many things are observed in his surroundings, such as two fat cats, three laundry baskets, and four silly hats.  After his snack, he heads outside to observe nine stepping stones, eight robins, seven worms, and much more!  After getting muddy in the backyard, he ends up back inside, ready for another bath!  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Number Words, Numerals, Daily Routine, Weather, Nature, Backyard, Rhyme, Alliteration, Bathtime

One Frog Sang by Shirley Parenteau  
This wonderfully illustrated book is sure to please.  Counting 1-10, various types of frog are depicted in typical spring time behavior and singing their diverse calls.   Then, they hear a car splashing down the wet road.  Counting backwards, the frogs are shown hiding each in a different way.  Until, one frog leaps on the high garden wall and begins to sing again.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Number Words, Frogs, Amphibians, Spring, Alliteration, Onomatopoeia, Habitats

Raindrop Plop!  by Wendy Cheyette Lewison   
Entertaining rhyming couplets and lively illustrations capture the fun that an unexpected rainstorm can be on a summer day.  A little girl counts and sings as the raindrops begin to fall.   When she gets inside, the counting moves from ten to one as she takes a bath, dresses, drinks hot cocoa, and watches the animals outside.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting (backward and forward), Number Words, Rhyme, Onomatopoeia, Weather, Bathtime

Ten Dirty Pigs/Ten Clean Pigs  by Carol Roth 
One by one dirty pigs get into the tub where they scrub, rinse, splash, and brush.  Flip over the book.  The pigs get out of the tub where they dry off, dress, and go out.  Then, they get dirty all over again.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Number Words, Personal Grooming, Bathtime, Rhyming Words, Alliteration, Poetry

Monday, November 29, 2010

Concept Books: General (Learning Numbers & Counting)

Even though counting books are geared for preschool aged children, older kids will often enjoy them too.  My nine year old looked at One Boy several times because it is so creative and entertaining.  He also enjoyed Over at the Castle and One Tractor.   Check out my favorite counting books (general). 

One Boy by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Using a peek-a-boo window, children can practice counting, identifying words with in words, and predicting.   This clever book begins with a simple phrase on the left side and a window looking on to the next page on the right side.  As you turn the page, the phrase creatively continues and uses parts of the previous one.  In addition, more of the original picture is revealed.  It is sure to bring children back over and over!  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Numbers, Numeral Words, Prediction, Words with in Words  *My Top Pick 

Over at the Castle by Boni Ashburn
Using the familiar “Over the Meadow” folk song, a picture of castle life is illustrated.  A mother dragon and her child wait for the right moment to make their entrance.  Meanwhile, groups of lords, servants, chefs, weavers, knights, and others are seen doing their daily work.  Written in beautiful rhyming quatrains and coupled with vivid pictures, the dragons appearance makes a glorious glow in the sky.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Numeral Words, Rhyming, Alliteration, Poetry, Castle Life, Middle Ages, Dragons

One Tractor by Alexandra Siy
Little boys will love this imaginative counting book!  A boy sees a toy tractor on this grass which he imagines is out of gas.  From there, he imagines his interaction with other forms of transportation like planes, boats, dump trucks, trains, and buses.  Each are in groups from two to ten with pirates (and a single mouse) driving, flying, running, swimming, hoisting, and more.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Numbers, Numeral Words, Transportation, Pirates, Rhyme, Alliteration, Poetry, Imagination 

One Sister Smiling by Lucy Coats
From breakfast with one smiling sister to pick-up timeby ten happy parents, a joyful preschool day is described with lots of fun activities and happy faces in the illustrations.  The children are seen painting with five pots, eating six donuts, skipping in a group of seven, and much more.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Numbers, Numerals Words, Rhyme, Alliteration, Onomatopoeia, Poetry, School, Daily Schedule  

This delectable book counts to a baker’s dozen, thirteen.  A baker is illustrated with creating his delicious desserts, such as four sticky buns, five gingerbread cookies, six jelly rolls, seven heart-shaped tarts, and so forth.  Then, all the desserts are shown again for more counting practice.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Numbers, Numeral Words, Rhyme, Baking, Shapes 
Various construction vehicles are shown in action, such as earthmovers scraping up a load, bulldozers reshaping the ground, and backhoes scooping up the gravel.  Little boys will love watching these amazing vehicles in action in this backwards counting story.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Construction Vehicles, Transportation 

Carlo Likes Counting by Jessica Spanyol
Carlo, a giraffe, loves counting.  He walks around to many different places like a farm, a toy store, a park, a diner, a garden, and a construction site.  In each scene there are several groups of items for one specific number.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Number Words, Animals, Vocabulary Building (each group of items is labeled) 

Ten Red Apples by Virginia Miller
Bartholomew Bear loves his apple tree.  He climbs it, hugs it, swings on it, and shakes it as he watches the apples ripen.  Watch as a new apple turns red on each page until there are ten in all (Children can also feel the smooth texture of the red ones!).  Then, Bartholomew and his mother make an apple pie with them and enjoy it together under the tree.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Number Words, Bears, Baking, Apple Picking

One Beautiful Baby by Martine Oborne  
A mother is seen waking her baby boy for the day's activities.  The first thought is his one sweet smile.  As she feeds him, she thinks of his two adorable eyes.  She counts things for him like three bananas at breakfast and four diaper during changing time.  The baby plays with his five soft toys before his mother buttons him up for a trip to the park to feed eight ducks and have a picnic.  When you put all of these parts of his body and day together, the end result is "one beautiful baby!"  Teaching Opportunties:  Counting, Number Words, Ducks, Park, Body Parts

City Lullaby by Marilyn Singer
In this backwards counting tale, a baby is sleeping while being strolled through a noisy city.  Horns beeping, cell phones ringing, dogs barking, and trash cans bashing are amoung the many loud sounds the baby sleeps soundly through.  Ironically, when a single bird twitters, he awakens with a smile.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Numerals, Onomatopoeia, Rhyme

You Might Also Enjoy:
Circus 1-2-3 by Megan Halsey  
Beginning with a dynamic ringmaster, members of circus acts are grouped from two to ten.  Two spunky mice lead the way through the acts as elephants do somersaults, bears dance, acrobats defy gravity, seals balance, clowns amuse, and much more.  Each page has a number and a single word describing the acts.  Teaching Opportunities:  Counting, Numerals, Circus Acts, Vocabulary Building 

Freedom Over Me (Ashley Bryan)

Title:   Freedom Over Me:  Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life Author :   Ashley Bryan Illustrator :   Ashley...