Sunday, April 26, 2009

Introducing Steve Jenkins

It's possible that you haven't yet explored the books of Steve Jenkins. With hope that you are already familiar with his incredible work, I would like to highlight him here. In case you haven't seen his books, get ready to be amazed. If you check out your public library for your reading, you might need to go visit that non-fiction section. Some libraries house his books with the general picture books and other shelve them with the juvenile non-fiction.

Steve Jenkin's signature work art work involves intricate and beautiful paper collage and his subject matter is typically non-fiction about animals. Ten of his books are featured below. He frequently partners on projects with his wife, Robin Page. What is great about many of his titles is that they include a lot of detailed information intended for an older audience, so these make great non-fiction reads for your elementary aged kids. However, many of them also include pages with short snippets of text along side of longer, more detailed text, so the short version can be read to younger, preschool aged children. Plus the illustrations are amazing to children (and adults) of all ages.

To check out more about Steve Jenkins, please visit his website. Also read below for a short interview that he graciously provided to The Almost Librarian.

1. What importance do you find in reading aloud with young children?
Reading to my own children is what got me started as an author and illustrator. I was trained as a graphic designer. When my first child was born, my wife and partner Robin Page and I were running a small design studio in NYC. We began reading to Page when she was no more than two or three months old. I think she liked the ritual, the soothing rhythm of our voices, the color and pattern of the pages. At first she was pretty passive, but she soon began to talk to the books, touch the pictures and -- naturally -- try to eat the pages whenever she got a chance.

My first son, Alec, was born when Page was two. We added him to our nightly reading sessions, which continued until my daughter was around 14 -- long after she was reading adult fiction on her own. We started with picture books, then worked our way through Roald Dahl, Garth Nix, Phillip Pullman, Lois Lowry, and J.R.R. Tolkein, with tastes of Dickens, Twain, Steinbeck, and Kerouac mixed in. Reading time was something we all looked forward to. It was the one time of day without distractions.

Now I read almost every night to Jamie, our 10-year-old son. We are just finishing The Graveyard Book. Before that we read Oliver Twist and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Having a third child gives me the chance to re-read some of the books I enjoyed best the first time around.

I suppose I should add something here about instilling a love of reading, about the knowledge of the world that the kids acquired, and so on. And that is important -- all our children read widely and enthusiastically on their own. But, no question, the best thing about reading to a child is the time spent together, curled up on a chair or under a quilt, sharing the experience of other lives and other worlds.

2. What were some of the favorite books that you shared with your children when they were young? Did your family have any traditions or habits surrounding reading and books? How do you think these early experiences have impacted your children today?
I guess I answered the second parts of this question already. In addition to the authors I mentioned above, the kids, when they were younger, loved Where the Wild Things Are; the Dragons of Blueland and the other dragon books (Ruth Gannett); Island of the Blue Dolphins; Pippi Longstocking (not sure my son was as crazy about this one); The Hatchet and its sequels (Paulsen) The Indian in the Cupboard books (Lynne Reid Banks); and, of course, Charlotte's Web, Trumpet of the Swan, and Stuart Little. We also read lots of non-fiction books about rain forests, dinosaurs, volcanoes, explorers, prehistoric people, etc.

3. Why do you think children are drawn to non-fiction topics like the themes of many of your books?
It's easy to see why children are drawn to fiction, and I think the lists above are heavily weighted on the fiction side because its easier to lose ourselves in the excitement, sadness, or triumph of a good story, one in which the plot pulls us along. Non-fiction is a little more work. But it is real, and I think that's what kids respond to. In my experience, children have a real drive to understand the world and how it works (sadly, it seems that most of us lose this impulse by the time we are adults).

I hope you enjoy the work of Steve Jenkins and will check him out from your library soon!

Actual Size
Actual Size is a favorite for kids who love animals. The illustrations in the book are to the actual size of the animal. For example, a gorilla's hand - you can stretch your hand on top of the illustration and see how it sizes up in comparison. (Ages 4-9)
(Full bibliographic info: Jenkins, Steve. Actual Size. Houghton Mifflin, 2004.)

Prehistoric Actual Size
A follow up to Actual Size, this book follows the same concept. The illustrations all show the author's depiction to size of various prehistoric creatures. (Ages 4-8)
(Full bibliographic info: Jenkins, Steve. Prehistoric Actual Size. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.)

Almost Gone: The World's Rarest Animals

The introduction to the book includes a synopsis of what happens, how our world is effected when a species becomes extinct. The book then introduces animals from all over the world that are endangered. (Ages 5-9)
(Full bibliographic info: Jenkins, Steve. Almost Gone: The World's Rarest Animals. Harper Collins, 2006.)

Animals in Flight
Published with his wife, Robin Page, in 2001, Animals in Flight introduces readers to many flying creatures. An appendix is included with additional animal information.  (Ages 4-9)

(Full bibliographic info: Jenkins, Steve and Robin Page. Animals in Flight. Houghton MIfflin, 2001.)

Dogs and Cats
If you read Dogs and Cats right-side-up from the front, you find out all about dogs.  Flip the book over and start from the back, upside-down and then you're reading all about cats!  This book is filled with interesting info for any animal lover.  (Ages 5-9)

(Full bibliographic info: Jenkins, Steve.  Dogs and Cats. Houghton Mifflin, 2007.)

How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly?
Answering this question and five more intriguing quests, this book by Steven Jenkins and Robin Page is another winner.  Each question is answered with six examples through six separate animals.  An appendix is included at the back with additional information.  (Ages 5-9)

(Full bibliographic info: Jenkins, Steve and Robin Page. How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly? Houghton Mifflin, 2008.)

Living Color
Moving through an array of colors, Steve Jenkins shows us animals and creatures of many hues and also shares with us why they are these colors.  An appendix with additional information is included in the back. (Ages 4-9)

(Full bibliographic info: Jenkins, Steve. Living Color. Houghton Mifflin, 2007.)

Created by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, Move! is intended for the younger audience.  Twelve animals are introduced through energetic illustrations and bold verbs which overlap.  For example, the blue whale dives, but also swims.  The armadillo swims, but also leaps.  The crocodile leaps, but also slithers, etc.  An appendix is included in the back with additional animal information.  (Ages 2-6)

(Full bibliographic info: Jenkins, Steve and Robin Page. Move! Houghton Mifflin, 2006.)

Sisters and Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World
Another joint project by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, Sisters and Brothers introduces us to how other animal species get along as siblings.  Themes include competition, cooperating and playing games and animals include grizzly bears, elephants and cheetahs.  An appendix in the back includes additional animal facts.  (Ages 5-9)  

(Full bibliographic info: Jenkins, Steve and Robin Page. Sisters and Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World. Houghton Mifflin, 2008.)

What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?
This Caldecott Honor title explores what different animals do with their various body parts.  For example, "What do you do with ears like these" is answered from the perspective of a bat, a jackrabbit, a cricket, a humpback whale an a hippo.  An appendix with additional animal information is available.  (Ages 4-9)

(Full bibliographic info: Jenkins, Steve and Robin Page. What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? Houghton Mifflin, 2003.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Adventure Notebooks

These "Adventure Notebooks" are an idea to get some literacy while you're out on the road.  This idea is not homegrown, but borrowed from several articles that were read in various parenting magazines.  Do you remember those old black and white covered composition books from ages ago?  Cover one of those with two sheets of 12X12 scrapbooking paper using spray adhesive, trim away the excess and voila!  A personalized Adventure Notebook to take on the go for your little one.

To personalize the notebook further, decorate the
 outside together with a favorite photo, theme or character.  And to have a writing tool at hand, use some of the spray adhesive to glue on full side of a sandwich baggie on the back to store a few crayons. 

So what do you put in an Adventure Notebook?  Well, anything you want, really.  As an example, these notebooks are being used to track daily places that are traveled.  So each page is dated and then listed with places to go and things to acquire.  When items have been purchased or places have been visited, a notation is made in the notebook while traveling to keep us organized.  But the vision is start filling the notebooks with so much more - drawings and pictures of items from shopping lists or of what is observed out in the world or places that were visited, favorite words and sayings, maybe stamps or signings from the store, library or other errand places, pre-writing and invented spelling - can't wait to see what this can turn into! 

So what does an Adventure Notebook get you?  Well, this whole activity is not the most ingenious or creative and there are many ways to design something similar, but the idea is simple and sound and what you can get from it can only be good things.  (That is, unless, the crayon melts in your car in the sun.)
  • A chance for your preschooler to feel involved and important.  So often we are on the go-go-go and the children are bopping along the for the ride - in and out of school, in and out of stores, in and out of doctors offices, etc.  By stopping and briefly talking about the plans for the day and including your child in making a daily page for the Adventure Notebook, he or she quickly feels more important in the process.  Your child now has a project to keep track of - did we make all the right stops?  Did we get all the things on our list?  Did we see anything interesting along the way that needs to be recorded?  Who did we talk to?  
  • The opportunity to practice writing and symbols in an authentic way.  When you make your grocery or errand list and put it in your pocket, your child can see that you've been writing and that you're going to use that writing to help your remember to do things - and this is a great way to demonstrate to children one of the ways that we use literacy in our daily lives.  But these notebooks bring it one step further.  They let your child create or help create the list.  They let your child do the work and first handedly experience how this part of literacy is useful and important.
  • The chance to physically practice those pre-writing and writing skills.  No need to bring out practice books for making letters - you have the chance to do loads of practicing right here.  If your child isn't ready for writing yet, sit with him/her to make the list together.  Save those flyers from the grocery and cut pictures out of whta you're going to get to glue into the book.  Or draw the pictures.  Writing slowly and clearly, showing the relationship of some of the letters and their sounds or point out how two words start with the same letter or ask your child to help you decide the first letter of a word by listening to the beginning sound.  For those that are doing some writing, help your child with invented spelling by listening for sounds of a word and practice writing words to correspond to the visual picture.  The opportunities are endless - but don't push it.  Take cues from your child and if they aren't into it on any given day, don't force the writing or drawing - that breaks the fun of the idea as a whole.  Just try again on a different day!
  • Lots and lots of talking and chatting, too.  Because you're spending all that time together making the book, talking about activities and errands and to-do's, you're also doing lots of talking.  And talking is another awesome literacy skill to have.  
  • An activity to distract from potentially boring outings.  These Adventure Notebooks aren't going to be the cure-all for all grocery store or shopping meltdowns.  However, they have potential to help.  If your little guy is busy looking for items on his created grocery list and marking them off, that's a few extra minutes that he or she isn't pulling boxes off the shelves or rolling apples off the stack.  The lists can also help guide children through the adventure and gives them a sense of control - they will be able to see that they've been to two places and there's only one more stop left to go.   
  • A little bit of pre-math skills, too.  If you talk about sequencing ("First we'll go here, next we'll go there", etc) and talk about some numbers ("We've gone to three places.  How many are left?  I forget..."), then you're adding in pre-math skills to these literacy skills.  They really can be all tied together - it's great fun!  
Just an idea to try - an activity to do together to share a little bit of early literacy skills in an authentic, real way.  Have fun as you "adventure" together!

Lions and Tigers and Bears - Oh My!

If your young child loves animals, then try these titles below.  This selection offers a variety of styles and genres as well as a wide range from classics to current.  If you're looking for more animal filled tales, check out these books from previous postings: Scoot by Cathryn Falwell,  Stellaluna by Janell Cannon, One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root, and Who Ate All the Cookie Dough? by Karen Beaumont.

Animalia by Graeme Base
Animalia is a fantastic alphabet book filled with unusual animals, lots of alliteration, and wonderful illustrations that will keep your detailed oriented one searching for a long, long time. (Ages 3-10)

(Full bibliographic info: Base, Graeme. Animalia. H.N. Abrams, 1986)

Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham
Mr. Gumpy who has a boat on the river near his house agrees to take along two children for a ride so long as there is no 'squabbling'.  One by one a rabbit, a cat, a dog, a pig, and more ask to come along.  It all starts out okay, but slowly degrades into a fun splash into the water.  Young delight in these kinds of shenangans. (Ages 2-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Burningham, John. Mr. Gumpy's Outing. H. Holt, 1970.)

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Having recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, Dear Zoo is still a lift-the-flap charmer for very young children who love animals.  In this story, the zoo is sending animals one at a time for a child's pet, but until the last choice, each animal has to be sent back for a variety of reasons - too grumpy, too naughty, too fierce.  (Ages 1-4)

(Full bibliographic info: Campbell, Rod. Dear Zoo. Little Simon, 1982.)

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
Get ready to move and bend and twist just as the animals do from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes.  Can you do it?  I can do it! I can do it! (Ages 1-6)

(Full bibliographic info: Carle, Eric. From Head to Toe. Harper Collins, 1997.)

Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert
Using a series of die-cut pages, vibrant colors and cool shapes, Ehlert creates animals to discover with each turn of the page.  If you enjoy this book, try Color Farm.  (Ages 1-6)

(Full bibliographic info: Ehlert, Lois. Color Zoo. Lippencott, 1989.)
In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
So what will we find today in the small, small pond?  Through Fleming's bright and energetic illustrations, we meet a series of animals at the pond.  Each page introduces one animal and is accompanied by simple, short rhyming text.  If you enjoy this title, try In the Tall Tall Grass. (Ages 2-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Fleming, Denise.  In the Small, Small Pond. Henry Holt & Co., 1993.)

Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand
Adapted from the old train song, this story follows a morning train that is picking up baby animals and bringing them to the zoo for the day to play with the bus load of school children.  The delightful illustrations dance along the pages as you can sing along - the music is provided at the back of the book.  (Ages 1-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Hillenbrand, Will. Down by the Station. Harcourt Brace, 1999.)

Over in the Meadow by John Langstaff
This beautiful 1957 classic is a counting story that you can sing along to and has been entertaining children for several generations.  Not to be missed.  (Ages 2-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Langstaff, John. Over in the Meadow. Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1957.)

Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
In the similar style to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Bill Martin, Jr. brings us another animal book filled with endangered species.  (Ages 1-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Martin Jr., Bill. Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? H. Holt, 2003.)

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
In this mostly wordless book, a zoo keeper is bidding animals a good night while a busy gorilla is behind him unlocking all the habitats and freeing the animals.  A fun book to share a bedtime one-on-one so you can explore the detailed illustrations together.  (Ages 2-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Rathmann, Peggy. Good Night, Gorilla. Putnam, 1994.)

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
For a slightly older crowd of children, Jumanji is the story of two children who go an adevnture when a jungle themed board game comes to life in their living room.  Chris Van Allsburg has an awesome imagination, wonderful storytelling skills and amazing illustrations.  (Ages 5-12)

(Full bibliographic info: Van Allsburg, Chris. Jumanji. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1981.)

Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood
A book written in similes, Wood uses animals to describe the many changing moods and characteristics of any individual child.  "I'm as quick as a cricket; I'm as slow as a snail.  I'm as small as an ant; I'm as large as a whale."  (Ages 2-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Wood, Audrey. Quick as a Cricket. Child's Play, 1982.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Magic of Butterflies

Within children's books, there is no shortage of stories about caterpillars and butterflies, but this natural, magical transformation is amazing to kids and they want to read about it. Below are five titles about those caterpillars and butterflies to share with your young ones - some are non-fiction and some are more fictional, but all tell the story of growing from caterpillar to butterfly.  Consider checking them out from the library and adding them to your spring line up of books!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Eric Carle's classic story of the caterpillar who eats his way through the week in an indulgent way is still a very favorite of young children.  This book can be found in many versions including a board book and has also been made into a board game.  (Ages 2-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Philomen Books, 1969.)

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
In Lois Ehlert's signature collage style of illustrations, Waiting for Wings depicts and describes in solid detail the life cycle of the butterfly.  The book starts as a smaller books within the book and the pages grow in size.  This is one not to be missed. (Ages 2-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Ehlert, Lois. Waiting for Wings. Harcourt, 2001.)

Butterfly Story by Anca Hariton
So many of the butterfly books depict the monarch butterfly.  This title follows the red admiral butterfly through subtle, beautiful illustrations with straightforward text.  This book is more to the heart of non-fiction in its description of the life cycle as it brings you from egg to egg.  (Ages 4-12)

(Full bibliographic info: Hariton, Anca. Butterfly Story. Dutton Children's Books 1995.)

Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar by Clare Jarrett
Arabella Miller finds a caterpillar and as she finds him a safe place to grow, she watches all the changes that occur.  Additional information on the butterfly life cycle are provided at the end of the book. (Ages 4-9)

(Full bibliographic info: Jarrett, Clare. Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar. Candlewick, 2008.)

Houdini The Amazing Caterpillar by Janet Pedersen
Houdini, the caterpillar, is destined for greatness.  He lives in a primary classroom where he is center stage performing his tricks (leaf munching and stick walking) to the amazement of his audience.  That is until the competition arrives - the turtle and the spider.  Not to be outdone, Houdini prepares for his grandest performance ever and transforms into the butterfly.  A fun twist on the butterfly story.  (Ages 4-8)

(Full bibliographic info: Pedersen, Janet. Houdini: The Amazing Caterpillar. Clarion Books, 2008.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Check It Out at Your Local Library

Not all libraries provide the same services, but the youth department in many local libraries have come a long way in providing a nurturing, accepting environment, excellent resources and a sense of community.  So if you haven't checked out your local library recently, you should swing by and see what they have to offer.  Here are some ideas of what you might find:

On-line Catalog
Gone are the days of those card catalog files - do you remember those?  Yikes.  Most libraries now have their catalogs on-line which you can access at the library or from home.  So think about that.  It streamlines your book choosing process.  You can use the catalog on-line at home when it's convenient for you and check to see what is checked-in even before you go.  You can verify author last name, location in the library, etc.  And you might be able to go one step further.  Let's say the book is in or checked out, but you place it on reserve through your library account.  Many libraries will now pull it from the shelf for you and notify you when it's ready for pick up at the check out desk.  Or if it's checked out, you can place a hold and then they notify you when it's ready for pick up at the check out desk.  Amazing.  

Library Website
Many libraries now have cool websites chock full of all kinds of great information in addition to that on-line catalog.  If you aren't comfortable surfing around the website on your own or if you don't feel like you have time, ask a librarian to point out a few key places on the website that are particularly helpful.  These are some examples:
  • Book Lists: Many libraries will provide recommended book lists by age or grade and then again by genre or style.  These lists are frequently posted on the website.  
  • Research databases:  Yep.  Many libraries now have subscription databases that you can access from the library or from home to do research.  The databases are often times for adults, but there are a number of great research databases that are geared towards children and can be helpful for homework assistance.  Ask your librarian if you have them, how to access them and which ones would be best for you.  
  • Blogs and wiki's: Lots of librarians out there are very savvy with cool Web 2.0 technology and have blogs and wiki's as part of the library's websites.  Check and see if the youth librarians have anything like this.  Some of them are interactive and allow you as the patron to rate books, post comments, make suggestions, etc.  It's another way to network with people and get information that is relevant to you.  
  • Access to digital resources such as e-books and audio books that you can download to your computer or I-Pod:  Check and see what downloadable resources are there for your use.  Maybe there are some chapter books that are age appropriate for a younger child to listen to in the car - you never know if you don't ask.  
  • 24/7 Reference Assistance: If you have a pressing question that Google is not answering for you, many libraries now provide a link from the website for 24/7 reference assistance.  Many libraries also offer homework reference in the form of instant messaging as well.  Could provide useful - you never know.  
  • Event Calendars and Registration: The website is a place to look to see what events are taking place and sometimes you can register in advance to attend special storytimes or craft days, etc.  
Storytimes, Special Events, a Place to Be
Many library children's areas are no longer the quiet Shhhhhhh places that they used to be.  They are now frequently located conveniently to the door (so you don't have the haul the stroller too far) and are filled with more than just books.  You might now find child sized, comfy furniture, books, cd's, computers and computer games, toys, puzzles, trains tables, puppet theaters and puppets, dvd's and vhs tapes, magazines and more.  They are usually cheerful places that encourage patrons and the children to come and stay a while.  A great alternative place to go on rainy days, cold days, dreary days or any day.  
And many children's departments now offer a wonderful line up of events and storytimes for all ages.  They want you to come and participate.  They welcome your feedback.  And you never know, you might make a new friend.  So ask for a line up of the upcoming schedule.

Personalized Assistance
Don't know what book or author to check out next?  Ask a librarian!  They have so many ideas to share and they are just bursting at the chance to provide you with a short list of 20 books they think you might love (or at least they should be and if they're not, then they're in the wrong field).  And it's also a chance for your child to develop another positive relationship with an adult in the community.  Children's librarians are usually pretty good and patient when talking with children (again, they should be or again, wrong field), so give your little guy a chance to have some great conversations.  

Try Cool Stuff for Free
Many children's departments can offer so much more than what you used to find.  Of course, there are still books and board books, but many now also have audio books, music cd's, magazines, theme totes (bags that contain books, videos, cd's and toys or puzzles or games all to a theme like "farms"), movies on dvd and vhs, computer software and games,and puppets, toys, board games, or puzzles for check-out.  And what's fantastic about all of this is that if you keep track of it all and return it on time in working condition, you can try it for free!  So it's nothing lost if you check out a book or cd that wasn't your style.  

So take an afternoon and go exploring your local library - you never know what awesome resource you might uncover right in your own backyard.  

Photo credits:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Introducing Cathryn Falwell

Cathryn Falwell has been authoring and illustrating children's picture books for 18 years since her own two boys were young.  Her love of color and artistry shines in every book.  The collage-styled illustrations bring alive movement and energy.  Many of her books also focus on early childhood concepts such as basic shapes or colors or counting. Many of her books also contain simple, bold text that make them appropriate for even the youngest of readers.  Some titles have been released in spanish as well.  If you haven't experienced Cathryn's books, you should check them out. With over two dozen titles, you'll have lots to read and share.  Ten of her books are featured below.  

Cathryn was kind enough to share some of her thoughts on early literacy and reading.  Thank you, Cathryn!
What importance do you find in reading aloud with young children?
Through reading ,we can take children on so many journeys!-- new ways to see the world, new concepts to explore, and new stories to ponder.

There's no better way to pass on the magic of reading to children. Although my own kids are now in their 20's, I visit many schools and libraries to present book programs to young children, so I still get to read aloud.

When I was in the first grade (a very long time ago!) I asked my teacher how to spell Allofasudden. I can still remember her smile when she said, "Your parents must read to you!".  Listening to good writing nurtures language development, expands vocabulary, and encourages expression.

What were some of the favorite books that you shared with your sons when they were young?  Did your family have any traditions or habits surrounding reading?  How do you think these early experiences have impacted your sons today?
My children were read to every night and often during the day as well.  We hauled stacks of books from our library --a wide variety of favorites and new discoveries.  Favorites, among many, that come to mind right now: Brown Bear, Brown Bear; Sam's Ball; The Little House; Swimmy; and Amanda Pig.

Both of my kids enjoyed being read to all through elementary school. Even after we "graduated" to chapter books (I recall that "Charlotte's Web" was a big hit!), we still all enjoyed the comfort of picture books.

When each of them began to read on their own, we marked their progress with family celebrations. Reading was a very big deal at our house! We also encouraged them to create their own books with words and pictures.  As young adults, they are both still readers, very good writers, use language extremely well, and are creative thinkers.  

For more information about Cathryn Falwell, please visit her wonderful website and blog:

Cathryn Falwell's blog

Christmas for 10
Christmas for 10 is filled with a family's traditions such as singing, wrapping presents, eating cookies surrounding Christmas.  The tale counts from one to ten twice as more family joins in the celebration  (Ages 2-5).  

(Full bibliographic info: Falwell, Cathryn. Christmas for 10. Clarion Books, 1998.)

David's Drawings
Shy David notices a winter tree on his way to school. As he begins to draw, his classmates all add their own special parts of the drawing to create a beautiful class creation.  (Ages 3-8)
(Full bibliographic info: Falwell, Cathryn. David's Drawings. Lee & Low Books, 2001.)

Feast for 10
We count with a family from one to ten twice as they prepare a big meal together - grocery trip and all!  (Ages 2-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Falwell, Cathryn. Feast for 10. Clarion Books, 1993.)

Letter Jesters
This fun book is actually about the art of typefaces and serves as a child-appropriate introduction to the art of print.  This one is geared towards slightly older children.  (Ages 6-9)

(Full bibliographic info: Falwell, Cathryn. Letter Jesters. Ticknor & Fields, 1994.)

The pond animals are scooting and leaping and lurching and scampering.  But what about those six silent turtles - are they going to move, too?  (Ages 2-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Falwell, Cathryn. Scoot! Greenwillow Books, 2008.)

Shape Capers
A group of children shake shapes from a box and let their imaginations take them away in construction with circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, and semi-circles.  (Ages 2-5)

(Full bibliographic info: Falwell, Cathryn. Shape Capers. Greenwillow Books, 2007.)

Shape Space
A young gymnast/dancer creates a vibrant world from opening a box of shapes - circles, squares, semi-circles, triangles and rectangles.  (Ages 3-7)

(Full bibliographic info: Falwell, Cathryn. Shape Space. Clarion Books, 1992.)

Turtle Splash! Countdown at the Pond
In this reverse counting book which goes from ten down to one, we are introduced to many colorful and bright woodland animals including bullfrogs, deer, and butterflies.  Every animal is a non-threatening creature and the colorful illustrations will engage very young readers.  The book includes additional information about each animal as well as a craft idea to extend the fun!  (Ages 2-7)

(Full bibliographic info: Falwell, Cathryn. Turtle Splash! Countdown at the Pond. Greenwillow Books, 2001.)

We Have a Baby
Soft pastel illustrations accompany the simple text in this book which celebrates bringing home a new baby and sharing love in the family.  We Have a Baby is intended for very young readers - especially those who are becoming a new big brother or big sister!  (Ages 1-4)

(Full bibliographic info: Falwell, Cathryn. We Have a Baby. Clarion Books, 1993.)

Where's Nicky?
Where's Nicky? There he is!  The Nicky series of board books are filled with bright, bold illustrations and simple text for very young readers.  Additional titles include Nicky 1 2 3, Nicky's Walk, Nicky & Grandpa, Nicky Loves Daddy, and Nicky & Alex. (Ages 6 months - 2 years)

(Full bibliographic info: Falwell, Cathryn. Where's Nicky? Clarion Books, 1991.)