Scholastic Olympic Books Giveaway

For us in South Carolina, the Winter Olympics has collided with a massive snowstorm. So, we aren’t just celebrating the Olympics by watching the events on television but also by getting out, playing in the snow, and then snuggling up with a good book afterwards indoors. So, I think that it’s only appropriate to celebrate the Olympics here with a book list from Scholastic and a fun giveaway of a bundle package of 3 Olympic themed books hand-picked by me!

Disclosure: My family will receive books compliments of running this giveaway. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

olympic themed books

NEW YORK, NY – February 4, 2014 – In celebration of the upcoming Winter Games, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, created the “Gold Medal Book List,” a special winter sports-themed list of books curated by Scholastic Reading Club. This Winter Games reading guide aims to help kids, parents and teachers discover new books and genres, such as sports fiction and nonfiction, and, ultimately, to encourage kids to spend more time reading as they learn about the Winter Games games and favorite athletes.

“Major events such as the Winter Games are great opportunities to engage kids in timely and high-interest books,” said David Allender, Editorial Director for Scholastic Reading Club. “Reading books about new sports or an athlete’s determination can truly ignite a child’s imagination and encourage him or her to read more.”

The Scholastic Gold Medal Book List

(list is not ranked in any order)

Dream Big, Little Pig! by Kristi Yamaguchi (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky): ages 4–6

Olympig!: The Triumphant Story of an Underdog by Victoria Jamieson (Dial): ages 5–8

*Polar Bears on Ice by Kate Flanagan (Scholastic): ages 6–8

G is for Gold: An Olympics Alphabet by Brad Herzog (Sleeping Bear Press): ages 6–9

*Isabelle the Ice Dance Fairy by Daisy Meadows (Scholastic): ages 7–10

Rainbow Magic: Olympia The Games Fairy by Daisy Meadows (Scholastic): ages 7–10

*Ready, Freddy! #16: Ready, Set, Snow! by Abby Klein (Scholastic): ages 7–10

*Jigsaw Jones #29: The Case of the Snowboarding Superstar by James Preller (Scholastic): ages 7–9

Magic Tree House: Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne (Random House): ages 7–10

Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Ancient Greece and the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne (Random House): ages 7–10

*Geronimo Stilton #33: Geronimo and the Gold Medal Mystery by Geronimo Stilton (Scholastic): ages 8–10

Mystery at the Olympics: Rush for the Gold by John Feinstein (Random House): ages 10 and up

*Candy Apple #23: Ice Dreams (Special Edition) by Lisa Papdemetriou (Scholastic): ages 10–13

Gold Medal Winter by Donna Freitas (Scholastic): age 10–14

Gold Medal Summer by Donna Freitas (Scholastic): ages 10–14

*available as an eBook through Storia®.

All the books listed above are available through Scholastic Reading Club, Storia or bookstores nationwide. Purchases through Scholastic Reading Club support your child’s school and classroom.

Giveaway

After looking over this list of great books, I chose three books that I knew my kids would love. I’ve found that the Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne are excellent as both a read-aloud book for younger kids and as a chapter book for elementary age readers. My 5-year-old son absolutely loves listening to any of the books from the series on audio book while he’s settling down at night for sleep.

I also chose G is for Gold: An Olympics Alphabet for its excellent illustrations and Olympic facts. While it’s easy to dismiss picture books as being “just for little kids”, I’ve found that excellent picture books are a great way to engage even older kids with interesting facts and stories.

Prize: One winner of three selected Scholastic Olympic Books:

  • Magic Tree House: Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne (Random House): ages 7–10
  • Magic Tree House Fact Tracker:Ancient Greece and the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne (Random House): ages 7–10
  • G is for Gold: An Olympics Alphabet by Brad Herzog (Sleeping Bear Press): ages 6–9

Giveaway will open at the time of posting and run until Sunday, February 16 at 12 PM EST.

Our giveaway rules:

  • You must be 18 or older and live in the USA to enter this giveaway.
  • You must use a valid email address to enter this giveaway.
  • We will contact the winner via the email address provided within three [3] days of the giveaway ending. The winner will have three [3] days (72 hours) to respond via email. If the winner does not respond within the three [3] days (72 hours), the prize will be forfeited and another winner chosen. Directions for claiming the prize will be given via email. A valid mailing address will be required.Tw
  • For a complete list of No Twiddlw Twaddle’s giveaway policies and terms and conditions, see No Twiddle Twaddle’s policy page. By entering this giveaway, you agree to comply with No Twiddle Twaddle’s terms and conditions.

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4 Great Bob Book Resources for Beginning Readers

My son just started kindergarten this past fall and is finally learning to read. As you already know, we love books in our home, but he struggles to sit still long enough to practice reading (he would rather be outside pretending to sword fight with a stick). So, when Bob Books approached me with a request to review several of their apps and eBooks, I was excited for a chance to engage him with a new resource.

After all, what kid doesn’t think reading on a smart device is cool.

I was given these books and apps in exchange for a fair review. This post contains affiliate links.

Bob Books app review

What are Bob Books?

For those who are unfamiliar with Bob Books, they are sets of Early Readers by Bobby Lynn Maslen published by Scholastic. What I love about Bob Books is that the sets include books for even the earliest readers. In fact, my two year old and I have even worked through a Bob Book together. I think it’s fantastic that my child who can barely sound out words can still sit down and read an entire book in one setting.

What are the Kindle Versions of Bob Books like?

Each Bob Book set contains 12 small books. If you purchase the books in paperback, they are very thin and packaged in a little box. We do have a set of paperback Bob Books in our house, but they tend to get dumped out and lost unless I keep them out of reach from the kids. I personally loved reading the Bob Books on Kindle as it made it much easier to know exactly where the books were when it was time to practice reading.

The books naturally conform to ebook settings since the pages each have one simple illustration that spans the page and one sentence. We read the books on a iPhone through the free Kindle app and still had no trouble seeing the words on the page.

Review: Bob Books Set 1 and Set 2

Bob Books Sets #1 and #2 are both excellent starting points for a beginning reader. The books build on each other, so you will find that your child should be able to work through the books as they start learning how to read. The first books use short words with short vowel sounds exclusively making it possible for a first day reader to give it a shot.

The illustrations are simple but funny. While my child is never thrilled about reading time (no matter what we do), I do notice that he does enjoy the books and has a sense of accomplishment upon completion of a book.

In my experience, I have not found a better early reader for a beginning reader. Between the short books, simple sounds, and funny stories, the Bob Books are really a must-have resource for any parent or educator who is teaching children how to read.

Find Bob Books Set 1: Beginning Readers on Amazon

Find Bob Books Set 2: Advancing Readers on Amazon

Review: Reading Magic #1 and Reading Magic #2

The Reading Magic iPhone apps are perfect if you are looking for an app that will nicely correspond with the Bob Books. In the apps, your child will find four difficulty levels:

  1. Drag and drop letters to match.
  2. Learn left-to-right order.
  3. Spell without visual hints.
  4. Pick Letters to spell words.

screen480x480

Each level has 12 separate pages from the Bob Books (Reading Magic #1 corresponds to Bob Books Set 1 and Reading Magic #2 corresponds to Bob Books Set 2). On the level, your child will first see an illustration from the book with its sentence. The app will read the sentence out loud for your child. Then, your child will be shown blanks for one the word, will hear the word, and will need to place letters in the correct spots. Once the correct answer is given, the app sounds out the word and then reads it aloud for the child.

bob book app

My opinion on Reading Magic #1 and #2

  •  I really like the different difficulty levels inside the app. While my 5 year-old needs the challenge of Levels 3 & 4, my two year-old loves playing Levels 1 & 2.
  • I also saw a distinct improvement in my 5 year-old’s ability to read the Bob Books after playing the app. The app increased his confidence and helped him master pages within the book.
  • The app also had child locks automatically installed, and did not have advertisements or constant alerts asking the user to purchase new features.
  • I would have liked to see more fun for the kids in the app. While my two year old is content to drag letters and thinks that is fun, my preschooler does not view the app as a game. He does still enjoy it though more than just sounding out words on flashcards.
  • I thought that the check marks given during the app did give a sense of completion, but I also noticed my children did not want to redo the pages once they were checked.
  • Overall, I thought that the app was very strong educationally and a great fit for families already using the Bob Books. I also think that it’s perfect for introducing a very young reader to the mechanics of reading.

Find Reading Magic #1 in the Apple App Store.

Find Reading Magic #2 in the Apple App Store.

Bethany Winston: No Twiddle TwaddleHi! I’m Bethany. I’m a mom, weekly Greenville News columnist, and co-owner of Kidding Around Greenville SC. Welcome to my parenting blog No Twiddle Twaddle, all about adding a little magic to kids’ lives through play and reading. If you are new, don’t miss these popular posts: Skin Therapy Play Dough, Sticky Blocks, and 50+ No Sew Halloween Costumes. You can join me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest (I’m a BHG.com Pinner Pro!). Subscribe via email to get my updates straight in your inbox.

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Free Kindle EBooks for Black Friday

You won’t find a better deal than free! Here’s a couple free Kindle eBooks for kids that I’ve seen listed that you can download for free today. Remember that prices are subject to change.

These links are affiliate links meaning that I may receive a small commission at no cost to you when you shop through these links. This income helps cover the costs and time of running this blog.

Over the Bridge and Through the Streets

This book is a modern rendition of the popular song Over the River and through the Woods and is by talented artist Dianne Miller.

KiteReaders Classics – The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies

Great Deals in the Kindle Store

There are also a number of highly discounted Kindle books available today for $1.99. This list of books includes top sellers like Ella Enchanted and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Black Friday Kindle Deals

5 Resources for Teaching Kids about Mars

Are your kids interested in space? I know that my kindergartener loves reading anything about space and is fascinated with space travel stories. And, I’m sure that many of you have kids who love space stories too. I think that an interest in space is such a great interest to cultivate as it can help motivate kids to learn more about science, math, and technology.

Today, I’m sharing 5 Great Resources for Teaching Kids about Mars, but that’s not all.

Scholastic is offering to give four of you advance copies of a new (and awesome) book Mission: Mars by Space Scientist Pascal Lee. MISSION: MARS was launched in the Scholastic Reading Club this month. It will be available at bookstores nationwide on Nov. 1. Be sure to enter this giveaway today as it will only be open until midnight on October 24, 2013. (Terms and conditions apply, see below for more details).

5 resources for teaching kids about mars

I’ve never been much of a space nut, but I have to admit after watching all these videos and reading portions of Mars: Mission, I’m totally hooked. This stuff is like a real-life version of Dr. Who, well, without the aliens, sonic screw driver, and blue police box.

This post contains affiliate links to help support the time and costs of running this blog.

5 Great Resources to Teach Kids about Mars

1. Mission: Mars

Book details: 4th – 6th grade reader, targeting a 5th grade reading level; 48 pages and fully illustrated.

Summary: What will it take to undertake the first human mission to Mars? What would it be like to participate in that mission? Mission: Mars takes kids on a extraterrestrial journey with photos, facts, and a 6-phase training manual, to this red, mysterious planet that scientists hope might harbor life.

Look through sample pages and/or purchase on Amazon

Mission Mars by Pascal Lee

While I have not had time to read through this entire book, this limitation is only due to time restraints not lack of interest. My intention to just scan the book soon turned into an inability to stop reading the book as the pages are crammed with interesting information. While the book is designed as a reader for 4th – 6th graders, I think that Mission: Mars would be enjoyed by all ages of kids. I read several pages to my kindergartener and he was fascinated by the topic and even spent the rest of the day pretending to be a “space man”.

Dr. Pascal Lee is not only an intelligent scientist but he also is a talented writer. The book is engaging, interesting, and keeps the reader turning pages. The photos are brilliant and really capture the amazing nature of the possibility of a human mission to Mars in 2035.

I think that Mars: Mission would be a perfect choice for a reluctant reader. The book is easy to pick up and read in portions and the lists and bracketed sections of the book mimic a magazine layout in ease of reading. This book also could be used in conjunction with the scheduled launching of the MAVEN, making this book a great way expand on current events.

Scholastic also offers a learning module with videos and resources for teachers.

I really enjoyed watching these videos which show Dr. Pascal Lee demonstrating some of the actual equipment that is being developed for the future Mars Mission. These videos would be great as an extension activity or as another way to help engage a reluctant reader.

See below for your chance to enter for a chance to win one of four copies of  MISSION: MARS!

2. NASA’s Fun Zone: Mars for Kids

Download free printables, play free games, and read all about the Mars Mission on this fun hub of the NASA website.

NASA also offers this massive free PDF packed full of activities and learning extensions for kids wanting to learn more about Mars.

3. Online Videos about Mars Exploration.

While this video came out before the Mars Curiousity Rover landed, the video is timeless in how it portrays the extremely difficult maneuvers involved in safely getting even just a Rover to Mars. Definitely, a must-watch for any kid fascinated in space travel: Curiosity’s 7 Minutes of Terror.

Then, watch the footage of the scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the Curiosity actually lands. It’s a fascinating and thrilling video to watch after seeing the plan laid out in Curiosity’s 7 Minutes of Terror: Curiosity Has Landed.

You may also enjoy this interesting computer animation of the Curiosity Rover’s landing and exploration: Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Animation.

4. Mars Quest Online

Drive a Rover or complete a space mission on this interactive website: Mars Quest  Online. While this website is a little older, the activities are fun and for the most part worked on my computer. I especially enjoyed the module that let’s you drop objects on Mars surface to get a perspective on how large Mars really is.

Also, Mars Quest Online has a free PDF Family Guide to Mars and other resources in the resource and links section.

5. Mars Mission Module

Phoenix Mars Mission has a complete set of lesson plans about Mars including hands on activities and free PDFs.

MISSION: MARS Giveaway

This giveaway will run from the time of posting until 12 pm, October 24, 2013.

Please note my giveaway rules:

  • You must be 18 or older and live in the USA to enter this giveaway.
  • You must use a valid email address to enter this giveaway.
  • We will contact the winner via the email address provided on Friday, October 25, 2013. The winner will have three [3] days to respond with a valid name and US mailing address via email. If the winner does not respond within the three [3] days, the prize will be forfeited and another winner chosen. Scholastic will mail the prize to the winner using the address given.
  • For a complete list of No Twiddle Twaddle’s giveaway policies and terms and conditions, see the No Twiddle Twaddle policy page. By entering this giveaway, you agree to comply with No Twiddle Twaddle’s terms and conditions.

If the Rafflecopter widget isn’t working, you are always welcome to leave me a comment describing the problem so that I can manually enter your entry. Please include your email address in the comment.

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Bethany Winston: No Twiddle TwaddleHi! I’m Bethany. I’m a mom, weekly Greenville News columnist, and blogger at Kidding Around Greenville SC. Welcome to my parenting blog No Twiddle Twaddle, all about adding a little magic to kids’ lives through play and reading. If you are new, don’t miss these popular posts: Eye’m Lookin’ At You Cookies, Sticky Blocks, 10 Tips for Reading to Babies. You can join me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest (I’m a BHG.com Pinner Pro!). Subscribe via email to get my updates straight in your inbox.

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My Yellow Umbrella

I’ve featured several of Chris Robertson’s ebooks before on No Twiddle Twaddle, so I thought that you might be interested to know that Chris has just released a new children’s ebook this week, My Yellow Umbrella. To celebrate, Chris is providing us with a couple free coloring sheets from his new book.

Chris is a great artist, and I think that your kids are going to love these free My Yellow Umbrella themed coloring pages.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I received a PDF of My Yellow Umbrella in order to write this post.

my yellow umbrella coloring sheet

My Yellow Umbrella is about a girl with a special yellow umbrella and the feelings that her umbrella evokes. The illustrations are bold and use a contrast of a few single colors with the brightness of the yellow umbrella.

You can purchase My Yellow Umbrella on Amazon. It is currently only $3.19 at time of posting (price subject to change).

See My Yellow Umbrella on Amazon

Just like the book, my toddler is obsessed with her umbrella. She literally would take it everywhere. It’s not yellow but it has a big princess crown on the top. Have you ever tried to successfully get across a parking lot with a toddler in a tiara (oops, I mean a tiara umbrella) while its pouring?

Bit of advice – don’t try it.

IMG_3534

Umbrellas are pretty cute even if not practical, so I figured that I would let my kids take ours out on a sunny day just like the girl in The Yellow Umbrella. And, I bought a yellow raincoat for my toddler for the rainy days. Smart, huh?

According to the book jacket, Chris doesn’t even own a yellow umbrella, nor do his wife or sons. I’m not sure what I think about that. How can you write a book about a yellow umbrella if you don’t own one?

Yes, and the free coloring sheets. I’ll stop talking and give them to you.

Please remember that these coloring sheets are only for personal use and all logos and trademarks must be maintained. Please do not link directly to the PDFs. All additional permissions must be directed to Chris Robertson.

My Yellow Umbrella (rainbow)

My Yellow Umbrella (Eiffel Tower)

My Yellow Umbrella (front porch)

Additional books by Chris Robertson on Amazon (my favorite is Kit and Kaboodle).

I’ll Trade My Peanut Butter Sandwich

Little Miss Liberty

Kit and Kaboodle

The Tooth That’s On the Loose

Bethany Winston: No Twiddle TwaddleHi! I’m Bethany. I’m a mom, weekly Greenville News columnist, and co-owner of Kidding Around Greenville SC. Welcome to my parenting blog No Twiddle Twaddle, all about adding a little magic to kids’ lives through play and reading. If you are new, don’t miss these fall posts: 50+ Easy No Sew Costumes for Kids and Jack-o’-Lantern Doodle Sheets. You can join me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest (I’m a BHG.com Pinner Pro!). Subscribe via email to get my updates straight in your inbox.

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Pumpkin Patch Sight Words

I was recently sent a set of the newest BOB Books: Rhyming Words by the publisher. Not only did my early reader really enjoy reading and looking through the books, but we also had fun setting up an expansion activity to go with this set of BOB books: Pumpkin Patch Sight Words.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links to help support the time and costs of running this blog.

Are you trying to teach your kid to read? Find out about the newest BOB Book and a fun activity, pumpkin patch sight words, to help kids learn to read.

For those who are unfamiliar with BOB Books, they are a popular phonetic reader published by Scholastic tailored for beginning readers. The books come in sets of 12 inside a small box and also typically include a parent help sheet and sometimes extra materials. My kindergartener loves these picture books because the sentences are short, the illustrations entertaining, and each book focuses on a limited number of sounds. Our first positive reading experience was using a BOB Book, and I highly recommend all and any books in the series for parents of children who are learning to read.

Find BOB Books on Amazon

About Bob Books: Rhyming Words

This particular set of BOB Books focuses on “rhyming words”. Even though my 5 year-old has just started learning to read, this set of books worked well with his school’s curriculum which emphasizes rhyming words from the beginning. The set has 12 books and covers the phonetic endings: -an, -am, -en, -ed, -ip, -in, -og, -ot, -uff, and -ug. Included with the set is a Parent Guide and a set of 40 rhyming word puzzle cards.

See BOB Books: Rhyming Words by Lynn Maslen Kertell on Amazon

pumpkin patch reading activity

Our Sight Word Pumpkin Patch

We chose the -in family to review using our pumpkin patch. Some of the rhyming words we practiced didn’t correspond with the book, since we were trying to cover the words my child is learning at school. This learning activity could be adapted for any set of sight words or any of of the BOB Books.

How to Make Egg Crate Pumpkins

My pumpkin patch was inspired by the Secret Message Pumpkins on Reading Confetti. Here’s how I made my pumpkins. (Reading Confetti has a slightly different process and pumpkin though so you may want to check out her’s as well.)

  • cut the egg crate apart
  • painted the egg holders bright orange (We used this Crayola paint).
  • poke a hole in the tops with a sharp pencil
  • Using small bits of green pipe cleaner, insert pipe cleaner, fold inside base to secure, and curl

egg crate pumpkins

How to Set Up Pumpkin Patch Sight Words

I used a piece of green felt for my pumpkin patch but a piece of paper would work just as well.

Write the sight words you are practicing on small squares of paper. Be sure the squares are small enough for the pumpkins to cover.  I included the word “boo” too add a little fun to the game. It’s easy for a kid to recognize and every kid loves to shout “boo”.

Arrange the egg crate pumpkins on top of the words.

learning sight words through a pumpkin patch activity

Have your child “pick” the pumpkins and name the word.

I know that trying to read can be overwhelming for some children (like my own 5 year old). This activity can be simplified by “taking turns”. Or, you can also simplify by just asking your child to identify and sound out the first letter and then saying the rest of the word together.

What tricks do you have for practicing sight words with kids? You can check out some great ideas from my Facebook readers below:

For more pumpkin themed activities be sure to see my list of 10 Simple Pumpkin Activities! And, for more fall reading check out my list of 10 Halloween BOOks.

Bethany Winston: No Twiddle TwaddleHi! I’m Bethany. I’m a mom, weekly Greenville News columnist, and co-owner of Kidding Around Greenville SC. Welcome to my parenting blog No Twiddle Twaddle, all about adding a little magic to kids’ lives through play and reading. If you are new, don’t miss these other fall posts: 50+ Easy No Sew Costumes for Kids and Jack-o’-Lantern Doodle Sheets. You can join me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest (I’m a BHG.com Pinner Pro!). Subscribe via email to get my updates straight in your inbox.

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10 Must-Read Halloween BOOks

Are you ready for a book list? How about a list of fun Halloween picture books? I’ve even separated these books from the least creepy to the spookiest. Not that any of them are really that spooky, these are picture books, you know.

halloween picture books for kids: from not scary to slightly spooky, this list has all the Halloween books that you will need this year.

Not-Scary-At-All Halloween BOOks

These books are told in the setting of Halloween, but focus on the story rather than spooky elements.

The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey

Hallo Weiner

Find The Hallo-Weiner on Amazon

If you only read ONE Halloween book this year, don’t miss this one. Seriously, I don’t care if you are accidentally reading this post months after I wrote it and it’s Valentines’ Day. Go to your library or Amazon and get a copy of this book. The Hallo-Wiener is really that funny, and everybody thinks so. In fact the librarian placed it in our hands when we went to the library, and Erica from What Do We Do All Day? was asking me if I had read it only a couple days later.

Oscar, the dachshund, gets a little tired of the other dogs at school calling him a “wiener dog”. But when his mom buys him a hot dog costume for Halloween complete with mustard, Oscar knows that he is really in trouble.

This book makes the top of my list for being laugh-out-loud funny and full of puns and including absolutely hilarious illustrations.

Pumpkin Hill by Elizabeth Spurr and illustrated by Whitney Martin

pumpkinhill

Find Pumpkin Hill on Amazon

If you are looking for a Halloween book that avoids all the scarier aspects of Halloween, try Pumpkin Hill. In Pumpkin Hill, one lone pumpkin’s seed end up starting what ends up to be a massive hill full of pumpkins. These pumpkins then tumble into the town making a Halloween that no one (especially the kids) will ever forget.

I especially liked the way that the fun, lyrical language of the picture book bumps along with the pumpkins.

There came a mighty wind.

the whirly, swirly kind.

It blew the vines into a tangle

and sent the pumpkins rumble-tumble,

hurtling down the great green hill.

The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis and illustrated by S. D. Schindler

the runaway pumpkin

Find The Runaway Pumpkin on Amazon

When the Baxter boys snap the vine of the largest pumpkin they have ever found, it starts a rolling adventure that ends with a big Halloween dinner.

‘Round and ’round

across the ground

makin’ a thumpin’

bumpin’ sound

came that

thumpety

bumpety

thumpin’

bumpin’

round and roll-y

RUNAWAY PUMPKIN!

I confess I usually hate refrain books because reading the same words over and over makes me want to take a nap. BUT, this book is cute and it’s refrain is neither repeated too often and naturally rolls from your tongue making you want to read it aloud. The kids will be bumpin’ right along and the illustrations will add plenty of giggles.

The Perfectly Horrible Halloween by Nancy Poydar

the perfectly horrible halloween

Find The Perfectly Horrible Halloween on Amazon

If you are looking for a good story connected with Halloween, try The Perfectly Horrible Halloween. In this Halloween picture book, Arnold wants to win Room 13′s Halloween costume contest for Scariest Costume but finds his plans in trouble when he forgets his costume on the bus.

Albert’s Halloween: The Case of the Stolen Pumpkins perpetrated by Leslie Tryon

alberts halloween

Find Albert’s Halloween on Amazon

This Halloween seek-and-find is fun for kids, and the fact that the book is a seek-and-find is cleverly hidden until the end of the book. Note: I would probably check out this book from the library rather than purchase it since part of the fun is looking for the pumpkins, but it would make a fun gift.

Not-Very-Scary Halloween BOOks

These picture books contain more Halloween imagery and themes, but still have a happy tone.

The Witches’ Supermarket by Susan Meddaugh

The Witches' Supermarket

Find The Witches’ Supermarket by Susan Meddaugh on Amazon

The Witches’ Supermarket was one of my favorite Halloween books that we read this year. A small girl Helen and her dog Martha accidentally ends up wandering into a supermarket for witches when she tries to return a “one free broom” coupon to a passerby. While this theme might sound spooky, the book is actually quite humorous with funny illustrations and cute details.

Usually, I don’t recommend holiday books based on series, but this “Martha” books stands on its own for being original and worth reading.

Trick or Treat by Leo Landry

trick or treat

See Trick or Treat by Leo Landry on Amazon

In Trick or Treat, a cute smiley ghost named Oliver decides to hold a party for his Halloween friends. The party is going great until two unexpected guests arrive.

“We could spook them,” whispered the ghosts, “until they go away.”

Even the bats squeaked in alarm.

“I’ve got it,” said Oliver, and he slowly flew closer to the little cow and little jack-o’-lantern . . .

“TREAT!” shouted Oliver.

“WELCOME TO MY PARTY!”

I especially liked the cute, fun illustrations in this picture book.

Over in the Hollow by Rebecca Dickinson

over in the hollow

See Over in the Hollow by Rebecca Dickerson on Amazon

We loved this Halloween picture book so much last year, that I still remember it this year. In fact, my son decided to be a skeleton after reading it. With a fun little ditty the book counts to ten with various mamas and papas and their creepy kids. While the book has spiders, vampires, and skeletons as the main characters it’s definitely not too spooky as they feature rather non-scary grins.

Almost-Scary Halloween BOOks

By “almost-scary”, I don’t really mean that these books are really that scary or dark. They are just nice snuggle up and pretend to be spooked books. All feature light jovial endings. Sensitive kids may find some of the illustrations a little scary.

Halloween Forest by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by John Shelley

halloween forest

See Halloween Forest on Amazon

Perfect for kids who love skeletons, Halloween Forest is delightfully creepy with its illustrations of forest made of bones explored by a little girl in a skeleton costume. As you might expect, the ending is light and brings a humorous conclusion to the spooky book. My kid thinks that skeletons are the coolest thing ever (maybe he’ll be a scientist), so he was enthralled with the illustrations.

This Halloween picture book really is perfect in that both the illustrations and words are imaginative and clever.

The bare bones of trees

stand on a hill

in the chill

breeze.

Beware the Brindlebeast retold and illustrated by Anita Riggio

beware the brindlebeast

See Beware the Brindlebeast on Amazon

Count on an ancient fairy tale to be delightfully spooky. Beware the Brindlebeast is perfect for older kids (5+) who like listening to longer picture books. While the story of a woman who accidentally brings home a mysterious monster might scare some kids, the ending is happy and not scary. Note: Some of the illustrations are intense and feature the scary Brindlebeast who looks like a gargoyle.

What types of Halloween books do you enjoy reading to your kids?

Are you looking for more fall & Halloween posts? Check out my 50+ No Sew Costumes, 10 Easy Pumpkin Activities, Jack o’ Lantern Resist Paint {guest post} and Jack-o’-Lantern Doodle sheets!

Bethany Winston: No Twiddle TwaddleHi! I’m Bethany. I’m a mom, weekly Greenville News columnist, and co-owner of Kidding Around Greenville SC. Welcome to my parenting blog No Twiddle Twaddle, all about adding a little magic to kids’ lives through play and reading. If you are new, don’t miss these other fall posts: 50+ Easy No Sew Costumes for Kids and Jack-o’-Lantern Doodle Sheets. You can join me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest (I’m a BHG.com Pinner Pro!). Subscribe via email to get my updates straight in your inbox.

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Leaf Collage Art {Eric Carle inspired}

My kindergartener is learning about Eric Carle at school, so we decided to try the famous author/illustrator’s collage technique as a fun extension at home this week. Not only did we have a great time but we were able to turn our paintings into a beautiful fall leaf collage. While this project does contain several steps, don’t be intimidated. The steps to this fall leaf collage are simple, open-ended, and fun for all ages (even adults).

leaf collage eric carle

Disclaimer: This post uses Amazon affiliate links to support both the costs and time of running this blog.

Supplies for Eric Carle’s Collage Technique {simplified version}

Before starting, it’s helpful to watch this slideshow by Eric Carle himself of his actual tissue paper technique. The process that I will explain here is my own simplified version of his technique based on his video. You can find an additional simplified technique using actual tissue paper on Imagination Tree.

  • Construction Paper – While Eric Carle uses tissue paper, I chose construction paper to avoid frustration with the tissue paper tearing.
  • Paints – Pick several nice contrasting colors. I like using Crayola’s washable paints.
  • Paintbrushes – We only had small paintbrushes and sponge brushes, but if we did this technique again I would use a set of different size brushes.
  • Textured objects – Eric Carle uses a scrap of carpet in his video. We chose leaves, bottle caps, Legos, and a play dough rolling pin. Really you can use anything that has an interesting texture.
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick – I used a scrap booking glue stick so that the glue wouldn’t start to pull off over time.
  • Newspaper or oilcloth for work surface – this project is messy!
  • White paper or cardstock

How to recreate Eric Carle’s painting technique

Step 1 – Pick a piece of paper and a contrasting paint color.

Step 2 – Paint some sort of line going down the paper.

*Note: These steps 2 – 5 are based on Eric Carle’s video, but you will notice in his books that many of his painting just use a minimum of colors with interesting textures. I liked using the bright colors because they reminded me of fall, but some kids may prefer to stick to a couple colors for simplicity.

We only had sponge brushes (big thick brushes would have been much better.) But, my preschooler improvised with these bold dotted lines using the sponge brush.

painting the sheets of paper

Step #3 – Pick a new contrasting color and paint lines going the opposite direction.

painted papers with lines

Step #4 – Add dots or a fun pattern in a new color.

A sponge circle shaped brush is perfect for this step.

Step #5 – Use your textured objects to add texture in a previous color or new color.

As you can see below, some of our textured objects didn’t transfer the paint evenly. But once you start cutting the paper it all blends in, so don’t stress about perfection.

using different textures like leaves

Stop to let it all dry. The results are really fun, and my kid wanted to keep the papers rather than make a collage!

painted papers with textures

(Well, you are supposed to let it dry, but we actually blotted ours with a paper towel to hurry the process along. You only have so much time to have fun while the baby naps, you know.)

How to recreate Eric Carle’s collage technique to make a Leaf Collage

Eric Carle then cuts his tissue paper designs into carefully cut pieces that are made into his illustrations. We chose to make a leaf collage out of our pages.

Step #1 – Cut out leaf shapes.

It’s easy to over think this step of cutting out your leaf shapes. Remember that this whole process will have an abstract finished look, it’s okay if your leaves are just leavish shapes.

Step #2 – Glue the leaves to your paper.

glued leaf collages

Step #3 – You can use other scraps to embellish your leaf collage art or add a border.

Here’s our end products. I love both of our leaf collage art projects. The colors are bright and remind me of fall. I really liked how this art project was great for team work, not to mention a great learning experience about Eric Carle’s great work.

Are you looking for a book extension? Eric Carle has written a number of books, and all are enjoyable. Here are a couple of our favorites:

 

 

You can also check out my Eric Carle themed hike based on A House for Hermit Crab.

Bethany Winston: No Twiddle TwaddleHi! I’m Bethany. I’m a mom, weekly Greenville News columnist, and co-owner of Kidding Around Greenville SC. Welcome to my parenting blog No Twiddle Twaddle, all about adding a little magic to kids’ lives through play and reading. If you are new, don’t miss these other fall posts: 50+ Easy No Sew Costumes for Kids and Jack-o’-Lantern Doodle Sheets. You can join me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest (I’m a BHG.com Pinner Pro!). Subscribe via email to get my updates straight in your inbox.

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5 Curious George Books $.99 Today Only

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Kindle deal on No Twiddle Twaddle, but today’s deal is too good to pass up. Today only in the Amazon store, you can download five Curious George picture books to your electronic device for only $.99 a piece. After today, these books will still be available, just not for the special price. You can still download Kindle books on most non-Kindle devices by downloading the free Kindle app.

Today's deal on Curious George Kindle Books

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links in order to support the cost and time of running this blog.

Kindle Deal: Curious George

Curious George

Book Description: In this, the original book about the curious monkey, George is taken from the jungle by the man in the yellow hat to live in a new home, but—oh, what happened! Though trying to be good, George is still very curious and takes a swim in the ocean, escapes from jail, and goes for a flying ride on a bunch of balloons. This treasured classic is where it all began for the curious, loveable monkey and is a must have for any children’s book collection.

Kindle Deal: Curious George and the Birthday Surprise

Curious George and the Birthday Surprise

Book Description: When the man with the yellow hat tells George that he is planning a surprise, of course George is curious. Before long George finds a hat, noisemakers, decorations, and games. It must be a birthday! But whose birthday is it? That’s the surprise!

Kindle Deal: Curious George Librarian for a Day

Curious George Librarian for a Day

Book Description: Curious George won the 2010 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Animated Program on PBS-TV, and this delightful tie-in tells the madcap story of Curious George at the library. Of course, when the librarian Mrs. Dewey leaves George in charge, he’s in quite the quandary. How will he organize the books? By color? By size? Will he able to shelve them all before Mrs. Dewey comes back? Activities exploring alphabetizing and classification add even more fun to the equation. (Green Light Easy Reader, Level 1).

Kindle Deal: Curious George Makes Pancakes

Curious George Makes Pancakes

Book Description: Every year George and the man with the yellow hat attend the pancake breakfast to benefit the children’s hospital. Always curious, George finds his way to the pancake table. After making some of the most interesting pancakes the crowd has ever seen George gets into even more monkey mischief.

Kindle Deal: Curious George Saves His Pennies

Curious George Saves His Pennies

Book Description: When George decides to save up for that special red train in the toy store, he doesn’t realize how long it will take—or how hard he’ll have to work for his money. But when the time finally arrives to take his very full piggy bank to the toy store—surprise!—George loses it. Can this day, and George’s hard-won earnings, be saved?

I’m a traditionalist. I think if I were to choose one, I would pick the original classic. In my opinion, the first book has a much more imaginative flavor than the latter books. What do you think?

Which Curious George book is your favorite?

Bethany Winston: No Twiddle TwaddleHi! I’m Bethany. I’m a mom, weekly Greenville News columnist, and co-owner of Kidding Around Greenville SC. Welcome to my parenting blog No Twiddle Twaddle, all about adding a little magic to kids’ lives through play and reading. If you are new, don’t miss these other fall posts: 50+ Easy No Sew Costumes for Kids and Jack-o’-Lantern Doodle Sheets. You can join me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest (I’m a BHG.com Pinner Pro!). Subscribe via email to get my updates straight in your inbox.

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Book Review: The Candle Classic Bible

We use a lot of storybook Bibles in our home as a tool for teaching our children about our Christian faith. We also like to bring them to church for our kindergartener to look at during the preaching. So, I figured I would join this week’s book tour hosted by Kregel Publishing and check out one of their newer storybook bibles The Candle Classic Bible. This storybook bible has been available since 2012, so if you are familiar with it personally I hope that you’ll share your opinion too in the comment section.

This post  contains affiliate links to help support the costs and time of this blog. I was given a review copy of The Candle Classic Bible by Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion.

the classic candle bible

Note: I was not able to read the entire The Candle Classic Bible. Usually I read books in their entirety, but due to the length of the book (256 pages) and the busyness of school starting, I had to skim the book. I did read portions to my children and observed them while they looked through the book on their own.

Overview of The Candle Classic Bible

I was immediately impressed by the length and detail in The Candle Classic Bible. The storybook bible has a mature feel to it with a massive length of 256 pages packed with small text and brief stories. The storybook bible contains 365 stories, making it a perfect resource for parents looking for a devotional book to read to their kids each day.

The stories in The Candle Classic Bible follow the traditional order of the books of the Bible rather than chronological order. The book is easy to navigate with a complete table of contents listing every story under subheadings dividing the stories by character or book of the Bible.

Each story includes a chapter reference that the story is based on making it easy for parents to include scripture reading with the book. While every chapter of the Bible is not included, the selections did include a wide variety of scripture passages and looked like they would provide children with an excellent introduction to the Bible.

Writing in The Candle Classic Bible

The Candle Classic Bible has no listed author, and I wondered while reading it if a team of authors had written it. The stories are written in a simple conversational style. For the most part the stories stick to the biblical narrative with occasional conclusions or comments added. The writing was simple enough for children to understand, but lacked that engaging, imaginative quality that excellent children’s writing always has. The writing also overuses the exclamation point, but in the realm of Sunday School style materials what more can be expected! (Okay, I admit that was a lame joke.)

Sample texts

from the story “Jesus Loves Little Children” (page 312): “Then he picked the children up and held them in his arms. He often warned people never to do any harm to a child. Children are important to Jesus, and he loves them very much.”

from the story “A Surprising Announcement” (page 40): “Then he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph! God spared me so I could save you from dying in the famine. I really am Joseph. Go back and tell my father I’m all right. Bring him here quickly because the famine is going to last another five years.’ At first his brothers couldn’t believe it, but finally they recognized him, and they were so happy!”

Illustrations in The Candle Classic Bible

The illustrations were similar to the classic style of illustrations used in older Sunday School materials. I liked the more serious tone of the illustrations (no cheesy looking Noahs smiling beside giraffes), though some families might find a couple illustrations of battles inappropriate for smaller children.

Even though every story did not have its own illustration, every page had full color illustrations. The illustrations like the writing were simple and appropriate for children but lacked any extra imaginative qualities.

Formatting of The Candle Classic Bible

The formatting of The Candle Classic Bible was wonderful. The pages were high quality, thick glossy sheets. The binding seemed sturdy and the cover was thick. The book also had a red ribbon for marking the place. Again, the Table of Contents was very easy to navigate.

My Opinion on The Candle Classic Bible

Overall, I thought that The Candle Classic Bible would meet the needs of most families. The material was comprehensive, and I especially liked how the the book helped parents study the entire Bible with their children. I also felt like the book was a great choice for parents looking for a devotional resource to engage multiple ages of children. Since, the stories were told in their most basic forms, I also believe that the storybook Bible would be great across denominations and could be easily adapted to meet a family’s particular needs.

The greatest weakness of The Classic Candle Bible in my opinion was as I mentioned above, the storybook bible lacked the imagination and ability to really speak to children that is present in some of the best storybook Bibles. If used just as a guide, parents could compensate for this by supplementing with other resources and adding to the stories.

Find The Candle Classic Bible on Amazon.

This post uses affiliate links at no cost to you to help support the costs and time of running this blog.

See my other storybook bible & devotional book reviews:

Bethany Winston: No Twiddle TwaddleHi! I’m Bethany. I’m a mom, weekly Greenville News columnist, and co-owner of Kidding Around Greenville SC. Welcome to my parenting blog No Twiddle Twaddle, all about adding a little magic to kids’ lives through play and reading. If you are new, don’t miss these recent posts: How to Make a Boo-Boo Bunny, Build-a-Book Kit, and the Library Scavenger Hunt. You can join me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest (I’m a BHG.com Pinner Pro!). Subscribe via email to get my updates straight in your inbox.

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