When Will It End? Series Books!

When Will It End? Series Books!

Children’s series chapter books are a three-generation thing around here. Right now, our house looks like it’s hosting a Magic Tree House Festival. I, personally, loved the The Three Investigators and Nancy Drew. My mom still rhapsodizes about Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series. We’re in good company—turns out that Supreme Court justices have a thing about Nancy Drew! Which ones are your favorites?

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Poetry--Let's Bring Back the Party Piece!

Poetry--Let's Bring Back the Party Piece!

When my mother was a little girl, everyone had a “party piece.” This was pre-television, and at a large party everyone would take part in the entertainment by singing the crowd a song, reciting some poetry, doing a dance, or something else that they’d memorized to amuse a crowd. I say it’s time to bring this tradition back—who wouldn’t want to be in the audience when the next Bob Dylan sings “Accentuate the Positive?”

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Put Me in the Zoo: a Critical Review by Kate Hambrecht

Put Me in the Zoo: a Critical Review by Kate Hambrecht

How many of you check out the bookshelves when you go over to other people’s houses? Our friends the Hambrechts’ bookshelves are overflowing! They love to read and they love to share their favorite books—they’ve gifted Junior with everything from a Pecos Bill compendium to D’Aulaire’s Book of Norse Myths. When I heard that Kate disliked Put Me in the Zoo so much that she threw it across the room, I had to know more. . . so I asked her to write a guest post.

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Aftermath of the Book Advent Calendar

Aftermath of the Book Advent Calendar

When I wrote about our Book Advent Calendar in December, we were only four books in. Below are reviews for the rest of the books. The real surprise for me was that we didn't finish the reading list--there were a lot of activities during the month which kept us out so late that we had to skip bedtime reading. I asked for reviews of the month's reading post-Christmas, and both Junior and my partner said that they want to do the Book Advent Calendar again next year. 

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2017! What are your reading resolutions?

2017! What are your reading resolutions?

It’s the start of a new year! I always make New Year’s resolutions. Do you? This year, reading Dearie, a new biography of Julia Child, is spurring a resolution to learn a few go-to fancy salads this year. Bookwise, the year is just full of possibility. One of my friends has started a family book club which includes herself and her 6-year-old. I’m planning on following up on a book club invitation I received over the holidays, and also to look over the “Best of 2016” lists to come up with a reading list for 2017. Do you have any reading resolutions?

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Diving on the Mailbox!

Diving on the Mailbox!

We get a lot of mail. Most of it’s junk, and disappointingly for Junior, almost none of it is for him. When Lego Club magazine shows up, it makes his day! He immediately sits down to read, only surfacing to request pencils or crayons or for me to take his picture right now with a Lego creation to send in to one of the magazine’s contests. Lego Club magazine has taken him from a beginning to an intermediate reader because he’s motivated to read it. Every page. In this blog post, I’ll talk about some other great magazines that will have your reader lunging for the mailbox—with links to sample issues and promo codes!

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Reading Our Way Through December

Reading Our Way Through December

Advent calendars are an eagerly awaited part of the Christmas season at our house. Every year, faraway relatives gift us with the Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar. Junior can’t wait to dive into the day’s new activity, scene, or game. Junior also receives a Lego Advent Calendar. Breakfast can wait while he assembles the day’s mini Lego build. This year we’ve added a third: the book Advent calendar. I got the idea from the Cottage Mama: every day during Advent, you and your family read aloud a new Christmas-related book at bedtime. Below is our lineup for December—let me know if you have a favorite that we should include!

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Alphabets for Everyone

Alphabets for Everyone

What prompted this post? Dinner. I've finally mastered homemade chicken soup, and the secret is alphabet noodles. Junior is so busy finding letters and numbers in his soup that the meal that he complained was "boring" minutes before dinner disappears with astonishing speed. This post details some of the funner ways I've found to reinforce alphabet learning.

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All Aboard! Train Books to read aloud again... and again... and again...

All Aboard! Train Books to read aloud again... and again... and again...

We had no idea what we were getting into as a family when Junior showed an interest in trains at 18 months. We’ve played trains, read train books, watched train movies, gone on train rides, toured train museums… at one point, his friends’ parents were keeping train sets at their houses for him to play with when he came to visit. Below, I give you the lowdown on train books that we still like after many, many readings.

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