Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Going to Market

I've been trying to teach my kids about money this summer. So far my daughter has managed to learn the difference between a penny, a dime, and a nickel. What she has a harder time realizing is that you can't really buy anything these days with a handful of change. So we've left many a zoo gift shop/museum gift shop/gift gift shop in tears when she hasn't been able to buy something (i.e. a toy) with "her money." Since she's all about instant gratification, this first book was right on the money.

Pigs Go to Market: Fun with Math and Shopping by Amy Axelrod and illustrated by Sharon McGinley-Nally

With their Halloween party guests arriving any moment, the pig family realizes they are out of candy (Grandma Pig got a little carried away). Arriving at the store, they find themselves in a frantic shopping spree that leaves them exhausted....and hungry. A helpful chart at the end will help your listener (or more advanced reader) count all the candy the pigs gobbled on the way home. Your older child can figure out how much the candy weighed.

Max Goes to the Grocery Store by Adria F. Klein and illustrated by Mernie Gallagher-Cole

Your beginning reader can follow Max and Zoe on their quest to compile all the ingredients they need for a special movie snack.

My Favorite Foods by Dana Meachen Rau and illustrated by Grace Lin

Read about loopy noodles, tangy juice, and chilly ice cream in this engaging reader that stresses counting, containers, and adjectives with crunch. I liked the parent's page at the end that suggests a grocery store scavenger hunt.

Added 9/9/11

I just found this great resource and had to add it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

These Boots

E has boots on the brain. Rain boots, snow boots, cowboy boots. Every day he wants to wear a different pair. So with that in mind, (and to give him a little practice counting), I made a rain boots grid game. We roll the dice and put buttons on the same number of boot squares.

We also read some books about rain, snow, and rainbrellas:

Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse and pictures by Jon J. Muth

For those days that "sizzle like a hot potato," parch your plants, and leave you wishing the rumble of every truck is really thunder. Muth's watercolors in funky perspectives capture both the wilting heat and quenching rain.

Jamaica and Brianna by Juanita Havill and illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien

Jamaica hates wearing her brother's old boots. Her friend Brianna doesn't make things any better. When Jamaica finally gets to show off some brand new boots, what will Brianna say? This book is about living with the choices we make and helping our friends understand those choices. It's also about a pair of really cool cowboy boots.

The Rainy Day by Anna Milbourne and Sarah Gill

What happens when it rains? A group of friends take a walk outside to explain. Their brightly colored clothes pop against the drizzly background.

One last thing. My mom recently told me about a fun online reading resource for kids. Click here to find it. And then click on the blue button that says TumbleBooks.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Persistence pays off. This is not just another book about a working mother attempting to raise three kids (with the help of a husband and nanny), succeed at her high pressure job, and justify keeping her weekend home in Vermont. Well at the beginning it is. Keep reading. Terrible to say, but the novel improves after this do-it-all/be-it-all mother (Sarah) is in a terrible car accident.

The accident damages Sarah's brain and leaves her with left neglect. She no longer has awareness of anything on her left side. Curiously when she does normal things like apply make-up, she only applies make-up to the right side of her face. However, her brain processes an image of herself fully made-up. So she really isn't aware that anything is amiss until someone tells her. She can no longer trust the reality of what she sees - or walk, or dress, or do anything as she did before the accident.

What we see is a character that reconnects with those she neglected before the accident. And is happier for it (mostly). And for a few days at least after reading this novel, we are hyper-aware of all those things we've neglected whether they are on the left or not.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Tax on All Your Closets!

The title of this post refers to an interesting fact I learned while on a tour of this local historical site. The tour guide claimed that a lot of houses of the 1800s didn't have closets because you were taxed for the number of rooms you had. (And due to the fact you sewed all of your clothes, you probably didn't have that many to store anyway). The closet-less house we toured stayed in my mind as I finished reading The Mother Who Stayed by Laura Furman.

Divided into three trios of related stories, Furman examines friendship, different eras of domestic life, and the life of a poet.

Opening the book is a set of stories about a group of families that summer together but don't manage to socialize much when they return to their city lives.

In a story in the second trio, we travel with the biographer of a writer named Marian Foster Todd as she seeks to uncover her lost correspondence. Any story that includes a setting in the library archives has me hooked. I know. I'm weird that way.

In the last set of three stories, Furman references a journal of a mother and wife of 1874. My to-do list for today (go to Kroger, empty the dishwasher) is laughable when compared to a woman who not only canned berries and finished sewing a winter coat but also killed the pigs. And that was just Monday.