Halloween Books We Love

halloween-books

I can’t say it tops Christmas, but almost in our house.  Our family has always loved (ok had an obsession) with Halloween.  It starts in early September when we bring out the Halloween books, mid-September trips to the pumpkin patch, and then of course our decorations are always up before October.  I love to bring out holiday books because they have a sort of unique novelty to them.  The kids love to look through them, and say “oh I remember this one!”.  It seems to also refuel their interest in reading, and most importantly, it’s FUN.  I hope you will check out and enjoy some of our family favorites that our 8, 6, and 2 year old love!  What are some of your Halloween Favorites?

The 13 Nights of Halloween by Guy Vasilovich

Max’s Halloween by Rosemary Wells

Skeleton for Dinner by Margery Cuyler

Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O’Connell

Pete the Cat Five Little Pumpkins by James Dean

Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex

Witches Four by Marc Brown

Pop-Up Surprise Haunted House by Roger Priddy and Sarah Powell

Monster Needs A Costume by Paul Czajak

3 Easy, Simple Ways to Keep your Kids Reading this Summer

Image courtesy of Time.com

I’ve read a lot of articles about ways to make sure your children keep reading over the summer.  Many involve signing up for some type of reading club, tracking the number of books read, reading charts, and rewards.  While this may work for some families, it just doesn’t in ours.  We are so busy with activities, charts, tracking, etc during the school year, and I just prefer summer to be a time to take a step back and RELAX!

It doesn’t mean however, that I want my kids to stop reading.  I want them to read, and I want them to WANT to read.  I just prefer a more low-key approach, and this works for us.  So here are a few easy, simple ways you can ensure your children continue reading throughout the summer:

  • Visit your public library weekly.

That’s it!  There are no rules when you get to the library other than your kids get to choose what book they want to pick out.  Some libraries also have Children’s Storytime once a week.  My kids love this.  {On a side note:  This can be a good time to go as well, because chances are someone else’s kids will be screaming and yelling…so you won’t feel so bad if your own have a meltdown!}  Libraries offer more than just books, and I’m okay with that.  If my kids want to check out a movie or hop on the library computer for a bit – I let them.  I want the library to be an experience they enjoy and look forward too.

  • Change up your reading spot frequently.

I’ve written about this before, but it truly is the easiest way to make reading fun.  I let the kids decide what new and fun spots (inside or out) they would like to pick for reading.  We’ve read in my son’s crib, in home-made forts, in the playset, at the picnic table, under the table,  in the dark with a flashlight…you name it.

  • Make time for reading.

During the school year bedtime is when we read.  In the summer it’s just not the best time for our family.  We are outdoors every evening and typically let the kids stay up later.  So we do our best to try and carve out time earlier in the day for this.  My rule this summer is for the kids to wake up, make their beds, brush their teeth, and do a few simple chores.  Before they can turn on the TV, they need to read for 20 minutes.   Sometimes I do hear a few groans, but once we start reading they forget about the TV and sometimes end up reading longer than I had even hoped for.

If you have other tips or ideas on how to keep your little ones reading this summer, please share with us!

Book Review: Wacky Wednesday

“It all began with a shoe on the wall. A shoe on the wall? Shouldn’t be there at all!”

A good friend of mine shared this book with me – and I’m so glad she did because it’s a hit with my four year old son!  If your little one likes books such as Where’s Waldo or I Spy, they will definitely enjoy Wacky Wednesday, by Dr. Seuss (writing as Theo LeSieg).  Not as well-known as other popular Seuss books, but just as fun to read. 

A little girl wakes up one morning to find everything in disarray!  Nothing is where it belongs, but it doesn’t seem to bother anyone around her.  Shoes on the ceiling, houses without doors, airplanes on the road, and a policeman with three legs…SO wacky! 

Not as much of a tongue twister as some of the other Suess books, Wacky Wednesday is an easy read with a good rhythm and rhyme.  The illustrations by George Booth really make the book, and your child will love searching on each page to find every wacky image.  I really enjoy my son’s observations and talking and laughing together about all that is wacky.  I’m always surprised with how quickly he can find everything!  As a parent you think you should be able to spot everything before they do…maybe I am just getting old…

Enjoy!

Book Review: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

I can’t believe it took me so long to discover Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, written and illustrated by Mo Willems.  This brilliantly written book is one of the funniest I have read in a long time.  There might be a chance I enjoy it more than my kids, but that can be our little secret!

A Caldecott Honor Winner in 2003, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, is an interactive book perfect for reading to two or more children at a time.  Why?  When the bus driver has to leave his post, he puts young readers in charge of watching the bus.  In comes a sneaky pigeon who begs and pleads to drive the bus.  The key to this book is to pause and allow your kids to respond (okay yell) at the pigeon.  My little boy and girl love being in charge and being able to tell the pigeon “NO!”…followed by giggles and smiles.

Really it’s that simple – and so are the illustrations…but that’s what I enjoy most about it.  So much I plan on checking out his other popular books including Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! and The Ducking Gets a Cookie!?.

Book Review: The Monster at the end of this Book

An oldie but a goodie.  When I originally found Sesame Street’s, The Monster at the end of this Book, I was taken back to memories of enjoying this fun and playful read with my own mom.  Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover, this interactive book begins with Grover explaining to the reader how he is scared of the “monster” at the end of the book.  So scared in fact, he begs young readers not to turn the pages.  As the story unfolds, Grover build walls and takes other creative measures to prevent this from happening. 

I personally enjoy watching my son’s anticipation grow with the turn of each page.  Reading this one together brings lots of laughter to story time – a definite must-have for your child’s book collection.  We love this book so much that we purchased the ipad version as well, which gives an animated quality to the classic.  Enjoy!

Book Review: Giraffes Can’t Dance

Lately, my 3 year old son has been choosing Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae as his go-to bedtime read.  He is a superhero fanatic (which is adorable), however, I have to admit I love when he chooses a book like this as opposed to a Spiderman or Captain America book! 

This is a really touching story about Gerald the Giraffe who so badly wants to dance with the other animals, but feels awkward and self-conscious.  A sad Gerald meets a friendly cricket who teaches him to listen to the sounds around him and dance to his own tune.  So well in fact when he re-joins the other animals – they are in awe.

What my son loves about this book are the vibrant and detailed illustrations of the animals dancing in the jungle.  He giggles when the “chimps do the cha-cha” and “the lions do the tango”.  What I love is the message it sends, which is that it’s okay to be yourself even if that means being different.  This poetic rhyme is song-like, flows well, and is fun to read to your children.

Spread from Giraffes Can’t Dance

Top 10 "Must Have" Classic Children’s Books

A great children’s book is unique because unlike a “fad” toy, a wonderfully written story doesn’t have an expiration date.  Whether you are giving a gift or building your child’s book collection, you can not go wrong with any of these selections.  Kid tested and mother approved, many of these picks currently reside on my children’s bookshelves.  I believe these classsic children’s books will continue to captivate the imaginations of little readers for years to come.

Top 10 Classic Children’s Books

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord
Corduroy by Don Freeman