Posted in Education, Family, Library, literature, Opinion, parenting, pop culture, reading, Uncategorized

6 Children’s books that are just wrong

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I love seeing spoofs of children’s literature, even the obscene ones. However, as I was reading to my daughter the other night I started to notice there’s enough creepy nonsense in a lot of these stories to begin with. Spoofs may not even be necessary.

So now I will ruin some childhood classics-

Corduroy

Corduroy is one of my favorites. I loved it as a kid and I love reading it still. However, this is the first book that I really was like, “huh, I can’t believe I didn’t notice that before.” In most of the pages all the other toys are staring straight ahead, with that deadpan flopped head look they are supposed to have.

When Lisa comes back to buy Corduroy however, things turn dark. All the toys glare at poor Corduroy and the bunny next to him stares hard with bright red eyes. RED EYES?

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cord

Goodnight Moon

You may already know my stance on Goodnight Moon. It’s not great. It’s so easy to find flaws in this comically nonsensical children’s book. One can argue that Brown was a revolutionary, writing children’s books that represented life at the time of publishing (1947). Before that most children’s story were telling tales of far away places, fairy tales, and other things that were not super relatable to children.

I would still have to say…I just can’t stand it.

Why is that fireplace so big? Where are the parents stopping the children from toppling in and cooking themselves into a nice rabbit stew? Who is the decorator, because they need to be fired.

Green walls, red carpet, yellow and blue curtains, we want this child’s room to be avante garde…nailed it. Oh, but throw in a tiger skin rug, that will really pull everything together.

The color scheme we're going for is

Love You Forever

I know some of you are going to be like “noooo, leave Love You Forever alone!” but come on.

Books blog

Why is she crawling? Why is she crawling into her teenage son’s room? I have a son, I will not be doing that.

Then continue on to see her spooning her adult son like he’s still an infant. Shoulder to cry on? Sure. Rocking to sleep at 25? Probably not.

In a Dark Dark Room

At least this book is supposed to be creepy, but I had to add it. I saw in another post someone mentioned the green ribbon story. I second that fear. That story has stuck with me my whole life. When I started teaching I saw this book in our collection and was like “oh man, that freaking girl with the ribbon is in there, nope”.

And Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark? The stories aren’t even scary but those drawings are terrifying.

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Arthur

There really isn’t anything wrong with the Arthur books, I actually really like Arthur. Arthur the Aardvark, the story goes that Marc Brown’s son wanted a story about a weird animal and the first one that popped into Brown’s head was an aardvark. The first illustration is from the original Arthur books published in the 70’s. The middle is Arthur’s transformation in the 80’s. Then the last is him now. I can’t even tell what the last Arthur is anymore! Is he a dog? A giant hamster type thing? Maybe a bear?

Richard Scarry Butcher Shop

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Image result for richard scarry butcher shop

So the butcher character is in multiple Richard Scarry books but there’s a common theme for the character…it’s a pig. A pig, slicing up ham and sausage and pork chops and bacon and…yeah it’s a little gross.

Curious George Takes a Job

Image result for curious george ether book

Curious George is a favorite at my house. I did not realize this one particular book actually has quite the following. Curious George Takes a Job is like all classic Curious George tales of mishap and mayhem…except this time George tries ether.

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So…yeah kids try drugs and feel like you’re flying and rings and stars will dance around your heads then you’ll pass out with a giant smile on your face while your family looks down at you in shock. I guess it’s accurate at least.

What are some more classics that maybe need to be reread with adult eyes?

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Posted in Education, Family, parenting, summer, teaching, teen, toddlers, Uncategorized

Outdoor Education and Camping!

Tablets, smartphones, laptops, eReaders, television, game systems: There are so many reasons for your kids to stay inside and stare blankly ahead not absorbing the world around them (note: I put eReaders on the list because a lot of times I see kids using them they’re playing games, books are okay 🙂

I’ve posted a few articles about being outdoors with children and how it’s educational for them, but this weekend is our first attempt at taking our three year old camping. I am nervous and excited but it also prompted me to look up educational reasons to take your kids camping that I wanted to share. (Update: we didn’t make it through the night. We did get to do some of these things though it was fun for awhile just playing in the woods so…still worth a shot!)

1) Outdoor Education- this is an educational initiative all its own now. Many countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway come to mind) have outdoor education as part of their normal school curriculum. It consists of everything from hiking trips to playing more outside, to having several recess breaks throughout the day, to fishing trips. In the New Zealand Curriculum Framework, they state that providing outdoor education gives students “opportunities to develop personal and social skills, to become active, safe, and skilled in the outdoors, and to protect and care for the environment.”

2) Problem solving- many spur of the moment issues can arise while camping. Is that poison ivy? Is there rain coming? Taking children camping can help them better their problem solving skills and quick thinking techniques. To prep for the trip have your children be involved with packing their own supplies. Obviously, guide them to pack essentials but let them really decide what they want and what they do not.

3) Imaginative play- camping provides ample opportunities for imaginative play. Being out in nature surrounded by trees (or the ocean if you choose to camp on the beach) gives them a backdrop they aren’t used to at home. The campfire is also a great place for imaginations to take off. Take turn telling stories. If you are having trouble starting, try making up new endings to stories you already know. Like what if Little Red Riding Hood didn’t realize that the wolf was pretending to be her grandmother? What if they lived together for a while, how would the wolf act?

4) Unplug! Along the same lines as imaginative play, being outdoors and camping really gives you and your family a chance to unplug together. It may be tempting to break out the phones or bring the iPads but don’t. Spend your time together, together. You are not home so you shouldn’t be worrying about work and things that can be dealt with once camping is over.

5) Cooking in a new atmosphere- cooking is a great learning experience. Measuring, mixing, and playing with different textures and ingredients. Camping provides a completely new way to experience the learning process of cooking. Bring some pre-made items like pancake mix and let your child help with pouring it on the pan over the fire. In addition, being outside instead of in the kitchen might help you not worry so much about the mess.

Here are some activities to do with your children while camping to make the experience fun and educational!
Scavenger hunt- there are many available online if you don’t want to create one yourself
Frisbee or catch
Fishing or crabbing
Bubbles
Crafts- a lot of ideas out there on Pinterest. Here are some I really like.
Sand toys

Posted in Education, Family, Library, literature, parenting, teaching, toddlers, Uncategorized

eBook

Hello readers, I just wanted to pop in for a moment to say that I have not gone anywhere. I have actually been working on an eBook called Early Literacy Starts with You which I hope to have out early next year and will be available to purchase on here.

As part of an early literacy education initiative that is nation-wide, my library (Ocean City Branch, Worcester County) will start having Early Literacy Starts at Home, which is a program I developed for parents and guardians who are interested in learning how to improve their children’s literacy skills.

It may seem scary to some and a little overwhelming but I promise it isn’t. If you would like more information on the program please visit http://www.worcesterlibrary.org and look at our events. There will be a program on January 15th at 3 and again on March 11th at 3.

 

For now I would like to leave you with some celebrities reading aloud children’s books to get you into the reading mood.

 

Tim Tebow reading Green Eggs and Ham

 

Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog

 

 

 

Sean Astin reading A Bad Case of Stripes

 

 

Posted in Education, Family, Library, literature, parenting, teaching

Goodnight Literacy

So the title may be a bit dramatic- however! I am an avid believer that reading to your infants and toddlers should not just be a night time activity. Part of my program Early Literacy Begins at Home, which I will be teaching through the Ocean City Library next year, will be discussing this and showing techniques for exciting reading!

But for now I would like to share some books that ARE good for night time reading and some that are NOT.

 

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore

The story is about a little boy who is relentless in his pursuit to find out what he could be that would make his mother not love him anymore. Of course, he is shown that his mother would love him no matter what he became. Even a “super smelly skunk”. The story takes place at night and is about the boy getting ready for bed so a great bedtime story.

Llama, Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Again, takes place at night, little llama having some separation issues (great to read for kids who are at that age where they are not staying in their beds at night). It does have rhyme and rhythm but not enough to make it distracting for those nighttime heavy eyes.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

You have to put it on here. I said in a past post that my daughter never really took to this story but I have heard from many others that this has helped completely transform nighttime routines. In the story the little rabbit says goodnight to everything before going to sleep. If you have a sleep fighter I have heard that reading this book and then letting your child say goodnight (goodnight lamp, goodnight couch, goodnight rug) to your house before going to bed might help.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

I just need to say I love this whole series and so does Riley. This story is great because its funny and entertaining but is also teaching good bedtime routine.

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

I have probably mentioned this book in the past as well but this is one of my all time favorites. The art is extraordinary and the words are gorgeous. This was my first go to every night at bedtime for the first year. Tillman has had a couple more since this and the art is still beautiful but the words are not as captivating to me as in this book.

Books to NOT read at bedtime:

(Disclaimer: I am not saying don’t read these books so if you are just skimming at least know I still love titles to be read, just not before going to sleep)

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Obviously, a classic. Everyone should know the story. Even though this book takes place at nighttime I steer away from it as a bedtime book for one reason: roaring! If you are reading this correctly you should be roaring and causing the “wild ruckus”. I like this better for early in the day or after nap time.

Any Eric Carle Book Ever

Again, obviously classics. Eric Carle has a very unique style that is super recognizable and I love all the colors he uses in his art. However, because his art is so bright and vibrant I tend to say this is a day one as well. Also for titles like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You Hear, you’re going to be making some noises. Roaring, growling, ect.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr

This book has so much rhythm and rhyme going on if you are tired after reading it you’re not doing it right. You should be singing and thumping and clapping and whatever else it moves you to do.