I am Lucy

You may want to take this quiz to see which Peanuts character you are.  I found it scarily accurate!  My husband has always said that I have Lucy’s personality.  And I must admit that it’s true…

I tend to be bossy (hence the director job).
I tend to enjoy rather cruel jokes (and would have pulled the football away from my younger brothers given any chance at all).
I am very opinionated (hence the book reviews).

Embrace your inner Lucy! 

Thanks to Liz for the link!

Power of Fantasy

The New Jersey Star-Ledger has a great article about the power of fantasy books for children.  They interview professor Michael Levy from University of Wisconsin Stout, who specializes in YA lit. 

The article is full of good quotes and thoughts that will make you cheer.  Here’s my favorite:

“People talk about it as escapist, but it is also a
way of dealing with real problems,” Levy says.
“Harry Potter is every kid who’s ever been
picked on by a bully, who’s had to deal with someone
of the opposite sex. It helps them feel they’re not
alone, that they can find solutions. They can’t find
magical solutions, but they can find solutions.”

Augustus and His Smile

Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner. 

Augustus the tiger was sad.  So he went off to find his smile.  On his way, he found shiny insects, birds, mountains, fish, and gets caught in a rain storm.  And finally, there in a puddle, he finds his smile.  He learns that his smile is always with him as long as he takes the time to explore and find happiness wherever he is.

This book has marvelous illustrations that are a great mix of brilliant art and child-friendly subjects.  I also enjoyed the way that the words on many of the pages suit the subject.  They are zigzagging with the mountain tops, waving in the water, and falling with the rain.  The entire book is well designed and well written.

I love a book that presents feelings as things that are under your control.  It offers an empowering look at emotions.  Use this with preschoolers and kindergartners for both tiger stories and for stories on feelings.

Shrinking Sam

Shrinking Sam by Miriam Latimer.

As Sam begins his morning, he realizes he is shrinking.  When he tries to tell his parents about it, they are too busy to listen to him.  The dog sneezes on him and blows him up the stairs where he takes a bath in the sink floating on the soap.  He is then sucked down the drain to find himself outside near another child who has also shrunk down.  She helps Sam get back home through the drier vent.  The dog finds him there and gives him a friendly lick and Sam finds himself growing larger again.  He grows bigger and bigger as his family gathers around him.

I liked that the parents in the book were not cruel or awful, just busy.  As parents we have all had mornings (or afternoons) where we don’t lavish enough attention on our children.  This allowed the story to be about a normal family rather than a dysfunctional one.  The illustrations are bright and friendly and will work well with a group. 

This book is a great gateway to a conversation with children about the times when they feel small or lonely or ignored.