April 24, 2014 by

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

I am listening to this book and it is making me want to hang out in my car a lot more than usual!  Lincoln Hoppe’s narration of the main character and his stuttering dialogue is so touchingly done, I wonder if I would have been quite as enthralled by the book if I read it instead of listened to it.  As the boy throws papers and goes to collect each week, he gets to know many of the people on the route.  Hoppe brings to life Mr. Spiro, who treats the boy to real conversation and challenges him to think.  He lends a southern accent to the housemaid and a drunken slur to Mrs. Worthington that makes each character come alive.

I highly recommend this audiobook version!  Here’s a description of the book to get you interested:

An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend’s paper route for the month of July, he knows he’ll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drinks too much and a retired merchant marine who seems to know just about everything. 

The paper route poses challenges, but it’s a run-in with the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, that stirs up real trouble and puts the boy’s life, as well as that of his family’s devoted housekeeper, in danger. [from Goodreads]

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Tiptoe Joe

April 23, 2014 by

Tiptoe Joe

By Ginger Foglesong Gibson


In this beautifully illustrated and interactive book, Tiptoe Joe invites his friends to come along on a secret and special adventure.

The illustrations are warm and inviting. The animals’ expressions are sweet, friendly and absolutely adorable, and the details of their clothing are such fun. Each animal has on a colorful item of clothing. (I love Tiptoe Joe’s red sneakers!)

The repetitive rhyming text and wonderfully fun use of onomatopoeia makes this book a great choice to read aloud to your little one.  It would also perfect for a classroom read.

My favorite part of all though is the wonderful surprise waiting at the end of the book.  I’m not telling – you’ll have to discover it on your own. Give this one a try.  You’ll be glad you did. Happy reading!

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It’s Not Yours, It’s Mine!

April 22, 2014 by

51TcxlOOnaL._SS500_It’s Not Yours, It’s Mine!

By Susanna Moores

We’ve all had that special toy that we didn’t want to share. Blieka the bunny has a ball. It’s big and round and red and wonderful, and it’s all HERS. To keep others from getting it, she takes it with her everywhere. They have tea parties together, and go to the movies together, and take baths together. Her friends asked to play with it, but Blieka always said, “It’s not yours, it’s mine!” But when her favorite ball gets a hole, Blieka needs help to fix it.

While Blieka still struggles to share her ball, she learns that something wonderful can happen when you share with your friends. A warm story with fun, simple illustrations, it’s a great read to help make sharing a little bit easier.

Recommended for ages 3-6.

Nicki P. (Schimelpfenig)

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Kid Picks

April 20, 2014 by

Title: No No, Yes Yes

Author: Leslie Patricelli

What I thought about it: What I liked best about this book was that it showed funny pictuers of babys doing stuff there supposed to do and not suppsed to do.

Reviewed by: A’Teya Leonard



Title: Magic Tree House (Series)

Author: Mary Pope Osborne

What I thought about it: I thought about that I was Jack and I could save anything even monsters!

Reviewed by: Brian




Title: Fancy Nancy

Author: Jane O’Connor

What I thought about it: (Tell what you liked best) When she given some tutus!

Reviewed by: Seeja




Title: The Tale of Despereaux

Author: Kate DiCamillo

What I thought about it: A mouse goes throug many dangers to save a princess accidently in a dungeon by a rat.

Reviewed by: Sanjana




Title: Prince Caspian

Author: C.S. Lewis

What I thought about it: I thought it was great of how he writes his books and the way he thinks differently.

Reviewed by: Isaiah Lawshe




Title: The Blue Ghost

Author: Marion Dane Bauer

What I thought about it: It was scary

Reviewed by: Sanjana





Title: Green Eggs and Ham

Author: Dr. Seuss

What I thought about it: I loved it the grinch thought he didn’t like it but he never tried it

Reviewed by: Genesis

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Recommended App of the Week

April 19, 2014 by

lazoosquigglesLazoo: Squiggles! (optimized for iPad, iOS 5.0+):  Make squiggles with this fun and simple app.  Choose a scene: blank, one of the 12 installed in the app, or one from your device.  Then, listen to the instructions and add the appropriate “squiggles” on the drawing.  After you are done, press “go” and the drawing will become animated.  Take a look at the video below for a demonstration:


This app is available for free here and is recommended for ages 2 and up.

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Star in the Forest by Laura Resau

April 18, 2014 by


Star in the Forest

Star in the Forest by Laura Resau

Zitlally’s father has been deported, and she feels alone.  She hides in the junkyard of rusted car parts near her trailer park, where she finds a dog which has been chained and abandoned.  Eventually she begins to trust the dog, and with the help of her next-door neighbor and new friend, Crystal, she finds the courage to rescue Star.

As Zitlally withdraws from her friends at school, she develops empathy for Crystal, a girl who is considered a liar and an outsider. Star in the Forest is an important story for children, because it opens the door to several good discussion points, like the meaning of friendship, and immigration. Immigration, a topic not normally discussed with children, does affect them.  Why not begin the discussion around a book?  Laura Resau’s website,, has two discussion guides that might be useful, plus you’ll learn how to pronounce the author’s name.  There are also pronunciation guides in the back of the book for Spanish and Nahuatl words.

Best for grades 3 to 6, I hope you’ll enjoy reading about Zitlally, Crystal and Star.

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Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat

April 17, 2014 by

Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat

Anna Branford

I love the heroine in the Violet Mackerel series.  She is sweet and caring with just enough spunk to make her seem like a seven-year-old.  Violet Mackerel’s NaturalHabitat is the best entry in the series so far.   Young Violet spies a tiny ladybug in her backyard and the little bug reminds what it’s like to be the smallest and youngest in her family.  She picks up the bug, names her Gloria and places her in a jar and feeds her cheese bread.  Violet soon learns that the jar is not the best habitat for a ladybug.  Meanwhile, Violet’s sister, Nicola, is trying to come up with an idea for her natural-science project.  Violet suggests a ladybug project and she helps her sister come up with an excellent plan.  The project brings the two sisters closer together and results in a satisfying conclusion to the story.


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Shoe Dog

April 16, 2014 by

Megan McDonald

Shoe Dog by Megan McDonald.

All dogs love to chew and they can usually be placated by a bone, a toy or even a smelly sock but  not Shoe Dog.  How did he get that name?  We meet this adorable dog at a pet store where is is anxiously waiting for a home.  The owner has no idea what she is in for until she discovers his passion, shoes!  In fact, that is how he got his name.  He can’t seem to help himself as he discovers just the right size boxes filled with shoes.  Even though he is called “BAD DOG” and has to sleep at the bottom of the bed or on the cold downstairs floor the lure of those shoe boxes is just more than he can stand.  You would think he would have learned his lesson but when a large red bag appears he hears that familiar rustling of paper and he knows those boxes are just waiting for him.  Shoe Dog will find that bag and when he pulls it over what falls out makes him stop in his tracks.  He no longer needs shoes for his has found a new passion.

I really enjoyed the illustrations in this large colorful book.  The drawing of Shoe Dog really fit his spunky personality.  Who doesn’t enjoy a good dog adventure and this one is worth reading.

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Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature

April 15, 2014 by

growing patterns

Growing Patterns:Fibonacci Numbers in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell

There’s a number sequence, a pattern, that mathematicians call Fibonacci numbers.  Each number is the sum of the two numbers that come before it: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…and so on.  So what?  Well, it happens that this pattern shows up in the strangest places throughout nature.  In the petals on a flower, the bracts on a pinecone, the skin of a pineapple, and the shell of a nautilus.  Who knew that nature and math were so intertwined!

This book makes a somewhat sophisticated math concept accessible to elementary age kids, although it helps if the reader has experience with number patterns.  Simple, striking photographs illustrate the concept beautifully, and the last page in the book expands on related concepts like the Golden Ratio and Lucas numbers for those readers who want to know more.  Fabulous and simple non-fiction about a concept unusual in children’s books.

fibonacci 1

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Early Literacy Tip of the Week

April 14, 2014 by

After you read a story together with your child a few times, let your child tell or ‘read’ it back to you. This helps them understand how stories work and helps their comprehension when they read.


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