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Holy Lil’ Bear Book Club, Batman!

lil bear book clubI was pretty excited when the big white box came in the mail this week.  The one with the little sticker in the middle that had a sweet little bear on it.  You see, I had read recently about a website that offered a monthly book club for littles and since, you know, I am All About books for littles, I Had To Check It Out.

lil bear book club collage 

The folks over at Lil’ Bear Book Club were kind enough to send me a box pronto.  And they did not let me down.  I think my very favorite thing about this particular club was the packaging.  Because there are many book clubs out there, right?  But this one is special.  I mean, really special.  Because your little, if you sign up, will receive a box in the mail every month that contains from 2-4 books in it.  And those books will be individually wrapped, then wrapped together in tissue paper.  I’m not going to lie, I haven’t been a little for at least 30 years, and my heart still pounded when I saw those rectangular presents sitting there in the box.  My Littles, who claim to be big now, stopped in their tracks when they saw the box of gifts.

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“What is That?”  they asked.

I couldn’t contain my grin.  “Books.  There are books in there.”

And my teen and tween boys lit up.  “Let’s see ’em!”

So we opened our presents.  This particular box had board books in it.  Lil’ Bear Book club has two options:  board books and picture books.  The board books option is a little cheaper than the picture books option, but they are both quite reasonably priced.  You can sign up for month-to-month books, which will run $16.99 a month plus $5 shipping and handling.  Or you can sign up and pay for a whole year at once, and you save $1.99, paying $180.00 for 12 months of books.  At 3-4 books a month, that’s $5 or less a book.  You can also choose a 3 month or 6 month option, both of which also save you a little cash.  And you’re not just getting books here.  You’re getting a service.  You’re getting a monthly Christmas morning for your littles, who will not only enjoy getting their own mail, but will have the added bonus of that mail being comprised of wrapped gifts.  Every month.  It’s like having a year-long  birthday.  I’m not breathing right, I’m so excited.

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Listen, I really didn’t know what to expect book-wise from this club.  Some book clubs just aren’t worth it, right?  But I was pleased to open my presents and find quality, relevant books inside.  And yeah, they’re board books, but Littlest jumped all over the Dinosaur Train book, because when they were small, my Littles Loved That Show.

littlest dinosaur train

Middle’s favorite was Jack and the Beanstalk.  Because everyone loves fairy tales and the illustrations in this one were hilarious.

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Me?  I was a big fan of the third book.  Because this a book club and sometimes you get what you pay for and sometimes you don’t.  In this case, you totally do.  If you have a preschooler or a little just learning to read, imagine how much she would love this book:

Um, I love that!  No cheesy, cheap board books here.  Lil’ Bear provides the good stuff.

I think it is probably the best thing in the world that a book can transcend age and expectations, that if we see one that draws our interest, we can read it without worrying about grade level, a rating, or some other censorship.  That my Littles devoured these board books just like they would a Jim Butcher novel or a Walking Dead comic.

You want your littles to be that way, too, right?  I can’t think of a book club that would be better to join.  I highly recommend checking Lil’ Bear out.  Even if you only join for a month or two, you’re going to make your littles feel so special.

Anything you can do to keep them reading, you should do.  Creating these kinds of memories to associate with reading?  Yeah yeah, Mama.  That’s the stuff.

Love wins,

KT

Reading in the Rain

I woke up to the pattering of rain against my roof and windows.  It’s funny, during winter you kind of dread that sound.  It could be ice.  It could become snow.  It will definitely be cold.  But with warm weather seeming determined to stick around, the sound was soothing and welcome.  Our lives are just as affected by the seasons now as they were thousands of years ago when our ancestors worshiped the sun and planned their year around the turning of the seasons.  Go outside today and remember that.   It’ll make you feel more connected.

reading in the rain books

Still, no matter the season, rain is important to us, and mostly we’d rather have it than not.  Because gardens.  And water supplies.  There’s a lot your littles can learn from and about rain, and there are, of course, books you can read with them to help them learn.  And there’s nothing like a cuddly, rainy day on the couch exploring the pages of a few good books.

Fiction

waiting out the storm

This poetic masterpiece is a gentle question-and-answer book about what happens during a storm, including where different animals go.  You can’t get much cuddlier than reading this book with the sound of rain plonking in the background.  This book is not only excellent for making a child feel safe while explaining storms to them, the format also helps littles make their own observations about what is going on outside.  The illustrations are downright gorgeous, too.  The little girl asks what the turtles, chipmunks, and birds do during a storm, providing you with a few options if you want to do a craft to go with the book.  In fact, there’s a simple paper plate turtle craft at Glued to My Crafts that I think you’ll enjoy and won’t take too much work on your part.

the storm book

This book.  Wow.  I have to warn you, it is wordy for a picture book.  But oh, these words.  From the hazy heat of a summer day to the first crack of lightning to the rainbow following the storm, this book is such a great intro to description your little will swoon.  Take your time.  Read it slowly.  Enjoy the lyrical description of a thunderstorm and how it affects several people.  Then make a thunderstorm of your own from construction paper and ribbon, like this:

thunderstorm craft

Pretty self-explanatory–jut cut out some cloud and lightning shapes, let your littles glue them together however they want, and tape some curly ribbon to the back so it looks like falling rain.  Yeah yeah.

listen to the rainIf you’re looking for sparer text and beautifully painted pictures, look no further.  This book is full of onomatopoeia, and could be a great way to get into a discussion about figurative language.  Also, it just plain sounds pretty.  If you’re looking activities to go with it, check out my post 11 Awesome Activities to Do in the Rain.

water danceFinally, my favorite.  More onomatopoeia.  Told from the first person, this book goes through the water cycle as if the water were tell you its story.  But you can just look at the cover and see how lush and breath-taking the illustrations are.  And this one provides many options for activities.  Set up an evaporation experiment.  Create a cloud in a bottle.  Break out your watercolors and paint the storm taking place around you.

Nonfiction

nat geo stormsI love these Nat Geo books, because they give simple introductions to their topics.  This one is meant for younger readers, but it can be a great starting place or refresher course for any age.  Plus, the pictures are really amazing.

who likes the rainThis book is a flap book that answers some pretty amazing questions, like what raindrops really look like, why rain makes the air smell different, and why gardens need water.  Plus, kids love flap books.  All of them do.  It’s something about the hidden knowledge, I think.  So don’t think this is only for preschoolers, because even though you know I Shudder at the thought of reading levels, the book claims to be for up to second graders.  Which means anyone can read it.  Anyone at all.  Just like any other book.

everything kids weather bookFavorite.  This book has everything in it.  Plus, puzzles and ideas for scientific activities.  Um, win.  I wouldn’t even bother with a library copy.  This one’s an owner.

It’s pretty easy to turn a rainy day into a cozy, fun-filled one if you have the right tools.  And you know the Lit Mama, the toolbox always includes books.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cuddle 2 sweet and beautiful boys and get them to make some crafts with me.

Love wins,

KT

 

Story Time: Big Red Barn

Story Time: Big Red Barn - Crafts, printables, and activities for the pictue book

This is the time of year when things really get hopping on a farm.  The garden and fields are being prepared for planting, baby animals are being born, and there is a general air of activity every day from dawn until dusk.  It’s one of my favorite times on the farm, because everything seems new and full of promise.

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown encapsulates that feeling.  I love the way the story starts with the bright day and all the activity and ends with moon riding high over the sleeping animals in the barn.  Of course, I can tell you from experience, geese are never quiet all night.  But that’s okay.  They make a lovely sound.

I’m a bigger fan of the original, soft, pen-and-ink illustrations of Roselia Hartman than the new board book versions (which are more cartoon-ish) but it says something that this book has remained popular for over 60 years regardless of who does the illustrations.
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Books That Take Your Breath

One of my favorite things in the whole world is finding a new author to fall in love with.  I told you last month that I had stopped trying to convince the Littles to read Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright because they kept putting me off for what they thought were more adventurous stories.  And I have to admit, I was pushing it on them based on the back-cover synopsis alone.  It looked like the kind of book I Would Have Loved as kid, and I wanted them to know that kind of story.

Enright-Gone Away

What kind of story?  The kind where the kid goes to stay with relatives in the country for the summer.  The kind that makes summer seem like a revelation and country living more fascinating and exciting than any old suburb or city.  The kind that has at least one frog, one forest, one barn or other mysterious building.  Mostly though, the kind of story that gets by with no violence, very little mystery, and as Middle pointed out, “Hey, there wasn’t any real conflict in that story.”

(Before I go on, may I just say my kids Freaking Rock?)

“Well,” said I, “there were points of conflict.”

“I know,” he said (and I was So Proud!), “but most books have a major conflict in the plot and this one didn’t.”

Boom.  I have taught them something, after all.

The cool thing about it all is that I have also now introduced them to a memorable story and an author who can write books without major conflict in them and still make a point that resounds in their little hearts.

Every time I suggested they read Gone-Away Lake on their own, I thought to myself, “Why don’t I just read it?  Then I can Really Convince them.”  So one night I took it to bed with me.  I read about 5 pages.  I put it down.  Because I knew I was going to be making it a class as soon as we finished the book we were reading aloud together.  Within 5 pages I knew I had always been right about that book.

Want to know the best part?

We finished Gone-Away Lake last week.  Just so happens in my (far too) extensive library, I had the sequel, Return to Gone-Away.  Guess what we’re reading this week?

return to gone away

They insisted.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Listen, if you don’t already read aloud together in your homeschool every day, Get On It.  I’ve talked about the benefits before, but this one is new even to me.  If you pick the books for your homeschool reading class, you have the opportunity to introduce your littles to books they might not normally read–and I don’t just mean the Classics, though you know I think that is important, too.  I’m talking about the kinds of books that are written just for kids, the kinds that stay with us all our lives.  The kind that made me wistfully dream of living in the country when I was small and led me to my own beautiful farm and wondrous life.  The kind that can change everything for them and they don’t even know it till they turn the first page.

I truly hope you check out these books.  I like them so much I’m honing the novel studies I wrote for my shop’s grand opening.  You’ll love the study, too.

More shameless plugging.

P.S.  You still have through tomorrow to enter my giveaway for the Dr. Seuss canvases.  If you haven’t already, head over and give yourself a chance to win!  I’ll be announcing the winners on Friday.

Love wins,

KT