Showing posts with label Children's Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Children's Books. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

How to Make A Christmas Cookie Gift Set...Without Baking

How to Make A Christmas Cookie Gift Set...Without Baking

When you think of Cookies at Christmas, what comes to mind? Probably a few good recipes and some great memories. What about a great Christmas cookie cookbook? A beautiful children's picture book? A Christmas apron or a cookie jar or a plate or even a coffee mug? That's what you'll find on this page. No recipe, just my tribute to the yummy Christmas cookie and a host of ideas for you to use to create a cookie themed gift set with no baking required though obviously fresh cookies would be a fabulous addition to any cookie gift set.

A COOKIE COOKBOOK


Rose's Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum

ROSE'S CHRISTMAS COOKIES


Let's start with this beautiful cookie cookbook by Rose Levy Beranbaum who is famous for her many beautiful baking books. Almost too beautiful to use, this one would make a very impressive Christmas gift for anyone who loves to bake. Find your copy of Rose's Christmas Cookies on Amazon by clicking here.

OUR CHRISTMAS COOKIES


One year I did the unthinkable. I didn't make our traditional Christmas cookies. My sister-in-law visited and she baked and that meant we had plenty of sweet treats in the freezer. I simply did not need to bake and so I didn't. I thought nothing of it and no one said anything, until a few months later when one of my sons referred to the Christmas when they didn't have any of their favorite Christmas cookies. I felt so bad and I will not be repeating that faux pas ever again though this Christmas, Christmas 2020, the year when we cannot have people drop by to say hello, I will definitely be cutting back since there are only two of us to eat cookies.

With the exception of that well-remembered year when I did not make any cookies, we normally have three kinds of cookies on hand at Christmas: the best-ever ginger crinkles, the best ever M&M cookies with Christmas colored M&Ms and the best-ever brownie bites. They're all easy, they're all yummy and they all freeze beautifully. Best of all, they offer a nice variety and when I put a plate of cookies out and I am fairly comfortable that I can please not only my family but anyone who drops in during the holidays.

The Best-Ever Brownies Recipes
Love chocolate? How about brownies? If you are looking for the best brownie recipe, you will find it here. Actually, you will find three of the best brownie recipes here. The first is for miniature Brownie Bites. They are perfectly simple,...

The Best-Ever Ginger Crinkles Molasses Cookie Recipe
We love these ginger crinkle cookies. There's nothing like their slightly crispy exterior and chewy interior with a cold glass of milk!

The Best-Ever M&M Cookies Recipe
This best-ever M&M cookie recipe makes irresistible cookies. Don't bake them unless you are prepared to eat them until they are all gone. 

A CHILDREN'S COOKIE BOOK




Paul Galdone's The Gingerbread Boy

Here are three great cookie-themed picture books for children. The first is not actually a Christmas story as The Gingerbread Boy makes his break for freedom in a season that definitely is not winter at least in my part of the world. Paul Galdone's version shown here is one of the classic versions and was my family's favorite. Featuring a barnyard full of critters and one foxy fox, the gingerbread man is unfortunately and as always undone in the end. You can find my complete book review of The Gingerbread Boy here or read more about the book on Amazon by clicking right here.

Christmas Cookies: Bite Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

The second book, Christmas Cookies: Bite Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, introduces your young child to new vocabulary words like 'tradition' and 'celebrate' in the context of good manners in certain social situations. It is a beautiful combination of wisdom and artistry. You can read my review of Christmas Cookies: Bite Size Holiday Lessons here or you can read more about it on Amazon by clicking here.

If You Take A Mouse To The Movies by Laura Numeroff

The third and final book, If You Take A Mouse To The Movies, is a special Christmas edition featuring that cookie-loving mouse that was created by Laura Numeroff in If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. The Christmas version has all sorts of extras including a CD and recipes. You can read my review If You Take A Mouse To The Movies here or you can buy it on eBay by clicking here. At the time of writing this post, I was unable to find it on Amazon.

A COOKIE APRON


Christmas Cookie Baking Team apron

An apron is such a practical and affordable gift idea. If you or someone you know spends a lot of time in the kitchen at Christmastime, you (or they) should definitely own a Christmas apron and there are so many great ones available. I love this Christmas Cookie Baking Team apron from Etsy and the fact that it can be personalized for all of the members of your baking team.  You can find it on Etsy by clicking right here.

A CHRISTMAS COOKIE JAR


A Christmas Cookie Cookie Jar

Nothing could be more fun than a cookie jar especially when it is full of cookies. I found this beautiful but simple glass cookie jar on Amazon. I love the idea that it will hold your Christmas treats and, when they are gone, go in your dishwasher for easy clean-up. You can find it on Amazon by clicking here. Gift it empty or even full of your favorite Christmas cookies.

A COOKIE PLATE


Waechtersbach Santa's cookies plate

This Waechtersbach Santa's cookies plate is perfect for leaving cookies out for Santa or simply serving cookies throughout the month of December. It would make a fine tradition for any family.  We love using the same plate every year. To find this plate and a few other Christmas-cookie themed ones, look to eBay  by clicking right here.

A COOKIE MUG


Disney's Mickey Mouse Cookie Coffee Mug

Yes, there's such a thing as a cookie mug and I don't mean a mug with the image of a cookie on it but rather a mug that has a pocket for holding your cookie. This is a fun one featuring Disney's Mickey Mouse and promising to deliver holiday cheer. Find it on Amazon by clicking here.

A COOKIE BAKING SET

Fun for Christmas or anytime of the year for someone who loves to bake cookies!


Finally, I will close with this fun child-sized baking set, which you can find on Amazon by clicking here. Whether you offer it on its own or team it up with some of the other great gift ideas on this page, the choice is yours. Maybe you could create a set for the family with this set for the children.

So how about it? Is there something sweet in this batch for you? Are you a smart cookie who likes to assemble gift sets cookie themed or otherwise?  

Life is
what you bake of it!
Brenda, Treasures By Brenda

More Christmas Reading:








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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum Book Review

Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum Book Review

I think it is because I am very interested in the world of art, particularly paintings, that I listened carefully to a recent CBC radio story about the Dr. Seuss book Horse Museum, which was released posthumously in 2019. 

It was a fascinating story as this was a book found decades after Theodor Seuss Geisel, who wrote as Dr. Seuss, had passed away. The manuscript was discovered in a box that for whatever reason missed being sorted through at the time of his death and was only discovered in 2013.

Pages from Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum Book Review

This book is a different type of book for author and artist Dr. Seuss in that it does not feature rhymes like so many of his other books and it is also one of the few books that he wrote that is non-fictional in nature and not intended to help children with their reading skills. Instead, the goal of this book is to help children learn about looking at and creating art and yes, there's something to be learned within the covers of this book for adults, too.

Horse Museum looks at how artists have painted horses over the years. The choice of horses was not because Seuss was fascinated by horses but because he knew many artists have painted them and he had to choose a theme that provided lots of artwork to learn by. 

Art from Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum

Within the cover are many horse-themed pieces by famous artists like Picasso, George Stubbs, Rosa Bonheur, Alexander Calder, Jacob Lawrence, Deborah Butterfield, Franz Marc and Jackson Pollock. While learning about horses, you and your child will also be discovering information about how artists create pictures and about how to observe art.

Suess did not do the illustrations for this book. His found manuscript was not finished but rather a guide to what his idea for the book was with rough sketches in place. Illustrator Andrew Joyner was brought in to illustrate the book with the caveat that the illustrations must be somewhat Seuss like but yet still represent the artist’s style. Throughout the book you will see Joyner's illustrations blended with illustrations from real works of art. 

Art from Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum Book


A fun bonus in the book is that you will see cameo appearances of the characters we know and love from Dr. Seuss books. Those guests include the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch and Horton the Elephant. 

OFFICIAL HORSE MUSEUM BOOK TRAILER


Here’s the official book trailer for this adorable children’s book. Fair warning, you may want to buy this book for the children in your life once you watch this trailer.


Anyone, child or otherwise, who loves Dr. Seuss and who wants to learn about art and horses will enjoy this book. Find your copy of Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum on Amazon by clicking here.

See you
at the bookstore!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween Movie Review.
A Wonderful Way to Grandparent Across the Miles.
Children's Classic Books Reviewed.


Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

What Beavers Do - Review of Beaver Valley by Walter D. Edmonds

Beaver Dam: Review of Beaver Valley by Walter D. Edmonds
Image by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay  I added text.

What Skeet Sees


My photo of  book cover
Skeet is a young deer mouse who lives in a burrow on a spruce knoll above a swamp in a peaceful valley. A brook runs past the knoll toward a pond. Skeet lives with his mother, his sister Samantha, his baby brother Loopey, and his grandfather, Overdare.

One day while he's getting a drink in the brook, he hears something making a loud splashing sound. He was curious, so he drew nearer to the sound. He heard a high-pitched whistle. The splashing stopped. Then he saw a dark brown head looking cautiously around an edge of grass. He had never seen such an odd creature as that which emerged. He thought it looked comical with its large orange front teeth and its paddle-like tail. Skeet stopped being afraid because he could see this awkward creature would never be fast enough to catch him. The creature was soon joined by five more like it.

Skeet ran home to ask Overdare what these creatures might be. “'Beaver!' exclaimed Skeet's grandfather....'I hoped I'd never see in my lifetime when beaver get into this valley.'” (p, 7)

Overdare confirmed the beaver weren't dangerous to mice, since they didn't eat meat. So Skeet couldn't understand why his grandfather didn't want them around. Overdare explained:

“Beaver...think they know the way everything ought to be in any place they settle down. If it isn't that way, they make it so, and they don't care a bit what happens to anyone else in the process.” (p. 8)

What the Beavers Do


Grandfather hopes the beaver will leave, but curious Skeet hopes they hang around long enough for him to watch. And watch he does. He sees the beavers build a dam, chop down trees, raise the level of the pond, build a canal for transporting logs from the places where they had felled them, and build a second dam. The water level kept rising higher and higher.

Photo of p. 16-17, Beaver Valley, Leslie Morrill's illustration, text by Walter D. Edmonds
Photo of p. 16-17, Beaver Valley, Leslie Morrill's illustration, text by Walter D. Edmonds


What Author Walter D. Edmonds Thinks of Beavers


Edmonds was raised in upper New York State in the small town of Boonville. He frequently observed beaver at his family home, Northlands, along the Black River . He personally saw how negatively the beavers impacted the ecosystem when they moved into an area.

Beavers have always fascinated me. Most of us who have never seen one in the wild think of them positively because they are such industrious animals. Teachers often hold up the hardworking beavers as examples their students should follow. Edmonds seems to see them as industriously destroying their environment to please themselves.

He reveals this attitude in one of the book's last sentences. He describes a mother who had brought her young son to the spruce knoll for a picnic to see the beaver ponds. She wanted to teach her son some natural history. She didn't seem interested in all the dying trees whose roots had gotten too wet. She was only interested in all the work the beavers had done building their dams, their home, and their canal. Let's eavesdrop on her:

“Isn't it wonderful, Tommy?....They're as clever as engineers. They're just like men.” (p, 69)

Should You or Your Child Read This Book?


Whether you love beavers or not, you will learn a lot about their behavior in this book from one who has observed beavers over time. Older readers will pick up the author's attitude. The book would be perfect to read aloud as a family and discuss. 

The author shows us each step in the beavers' transformation of the valley, and suspense builds as the water level rises. Skeet at first is just curious. But as the water level continues to rise, he realizes that animals in burrows on lower ground will lose their homes. Some don't get out in time and are trapped to die. Skeet and his family wonder if they, too, will have to find a new home.

The copy of the book I have is illustrated by Leslie Morrill. I love her drawing of the beavers and the mice. Her hand-drawn maps help readers keep track of the changes in the valley.

Photo of p. 10-11, Beaver Valley, Leslie Morrill's illustration
Photo of p. 10-11, Beaver Valley, Leslie Morrill's illustration


This is chapter book is at a grade 3-5 reading level. It's a great book for homeschoolers. Almost any age from kindergarten on will find it interesting. Why not get a copy for your home library?

This book is out of print. It is still available at Amazon

All quotes and book illustration photos are from this book: Beaver Valley by Walter D. Edmonds, illustrated by Leslie Morrill; Little, Brown and Company, 1971.

Learn more about beavers and other wild animals in my review of Nature's Everyday Mysteries. I review some of my favorite picture books about animals here. You may also enjoy fellow contributor Renaissance Woman's review of Deep Creek.  





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Anne of Green Gables Early Reader Chapter Book Reviews

Anne of Green Gables Early Reader Books
I do not have any wee folk around anymore nor did I ever have any wee girls about the house but that did not stop me from holding throughout my life a love of all things related to Anne of Green Gables and Prince Edward Island.  A hold over from my girlhood, I am thrilled to know that the red headed heroine we loved as girls continues to be introduced to successive generations of girls through some beautiful books and television programming.

Green Gables in Anne Arrives
Anne Arrives and Anne's Kindred Spirits are a retelling of the traditional Anne of Green Gables story for early readers in an easy chapter book format that have been adapted by Canadian author Kallie George. Kallie, that is, with an e. Anne Arrives was released in 2018 and Anne's Kindred Spirits will be released in 2019.

The first story introduces the young reader to Anne Shirley and sets her down at Green Gables where we all know that she belongs. She settles in, that is, after a rough start when they find out she is a girl and not a boy and after she has a run in with the neighbor, Mrs. Lynde.

The second story introduces Anne and the reader to her bosom buddy, Diana. In this book, Anne enjoys a community picnic, which is her first, although that outing is jeopardized when Marilla's prized brooch goes missing.

Author Kallie George has written a number of other books for children including a picture book about Anne Shirley called Goodnight, Anne. Kallie says that she believes that she and Anne Shirley are kindred spirits!

Anne Shirley in Anne Arrives

The illustrator Abigail Halpin says that she was gifted with a copy of the original book when she was a teenager and that that book still holds a special place on her book shelf.  The illustrations in Anne Arrives, she says, were "influenced by her memories of one of the most beautiful, magical spots on the planet, Prince Edward Island." Her illustrations were crafted using a combination of traditional and digital media.

Both of these books were written with children aged 6 to 8 or in grades 1 through 3 in mind. However, if you child is not quite ready to read these books on her own, you could certainly read them to her. Although intended for children, they are suitable for any one who loves Anne.

I think that this book is wonderful, sharing as it does a simple version of the classic story with the accompaniment of some charming illustrations. My favorite picture might be the two page spread that shows Green Gables in the distance, shown above.  It sets the scene in my head, for sure.

As you can tell, yes, this book is RECOMMENDED by me. I think it is lovely but I am biased toward anything from Anne's world.  However, Kirkus Reviews calls Anne Arrives, "A dream of an adaptation that is an unabashed love letter to the series that inspired it." In my mind that is high praise indeed.

I think that either book would make a beautiful gift for anyone who loves Anne but it would be especially appropriate for any young girl who is learning or will soon be learning to read. If you want to expose your children to Anne's world, you can never start to young!

You can find both books on Amazon by clicking here.  If you are looking to put a great gift set together, you might consider bundling one of these books with one of the beautiful Anne of Green Gables gift ideas found on this page.

See you
at the bookstore!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy Anne Arrives and Anne's Kindred Spirits on Amazon.
Find a page full of beautiful Anne of Green Gables gift ideas.


Anne Arrives by Kallie George

Anne's Kindred Spirits by Kallie George






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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Patricia Polacco Is a Storyteller with Heart: A Review

Why I Love the Books of Patricia Polacco


Patricia Polacco's books aren't just stories. They are connections to the hearts of her readers. You will see why in a moment. Polacco is not just a talented artist with a style that's easy to recognize, but she's a storyteller with heart.


Patricia Polacco Is a Storyteller with Heart: A Review



Patricia Polacco is only a year younger than I, but she led a much less sheltered life. Her parents had divorced when she was only three, and she and her mother had been living with her grandmother in many different towns until her grandmother died. In one of those towns, Union City,  Michigan, they had lived on a farm. Life on the farm with her Babushka (grandmother) provided Polacco with many of her story ideas when she later began to write.

Most of Polacco's stories relate to problems and fears that children have. In some a child has lost a beloved adult -- a grandparent or neighbor.  I have read many other children's books, both fiction and nonfiction, that deal with these issues, but none have made the connection with my heart that Polacco's did. I believe that in almost every one of her books I've read, and I've read lots of them, her own heart and feelings were involved. In others, her love of books and reading connected with me.

Polacco understands the importance of family relationships in both the nuclear and extended family. She understands the value of intergenerational relationships. In many of her books a child and a lonely elderly person make a connection that ends their isolation. Not all children have grandparents and not all widows and widowers have grandchildren. Polacco shows that these intergenerational relationships can be just as vital even when child and elderly person come from different races or cultures.


Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco


In this precious Christmas story, young Patricia and her brother have been living with their mother and her parents on a farm in Michigan. When Patricia's grandmother dies, her grandfather wants to sell the farm and move because the house is so full of memories. Meanwhile, Grandfather has hired a woman who says she is Kay Lamity to look after the children, as their Babushka used to do, while their mother went to work. Patricia's brother, especially, rebels at the thought that anyone can replace their Babushka. Rather than me summarizing the story, I will let you listen to the book be read aloud in this video. You will also see Polacco's wonderful illustrations as you listen, and you will also see what I mean by stories that have heart in this Christmas picture book for children 5-8. I really think it's for all ages.




A Gift for a Child with Dyslexia: Thank You, Mr. Falker


My brother had the misfortune to have dyslexia before anyone knew what it was. Born into a family with a mother and sister who loved reading and read to him all the time, everyone assumed he'd also become a reader. Except he didn't. As much help as he had from a mother who was a teacher and a sister who wanted to help, he just became more frustrated when books didn't make sense to him. Like Patricia, he didn't get help until he was in middle school. Like Patricia, he thought he must be dumb. He never told me what he might have suffered from teasing by his classmates. This is a book every teacher and parent should read -- especially if they have a child with a reading problem. Listen to Jane Kaczmarek read it on YouTube and see if you can keep your eyes dry. I couldn't




If you know a child who needs this book, please get Thank You, Mr. Falker for him or her. I recommend a physical book for all the picture books to enhance the reading experience.



My Favorite Polacco Book: Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair

This my favorite because I can't imagine a life without reading.  I've loved reading since I was three years old, and I loved being read to even before that. I've never been a great fan of TV, either. So I can imagine how it would feel to be Eli's Aunt Chip, the Triple Creek librarian, when people stopped reading to watch TV. Television was the center of their lives and they always had it on. Pretty soon even school teachers were replaced by television.

Although Aunt Chip still faithfully showed up to work every day, no one came. Finally the library was demolished and replaced by a giant TV tower, and Aunt Chip took to her bed. She told told the mayor and the townspeople there would be consequences to replacing books with television.

When Eli arrived on the scene, he loved his Aunt Chip. He did think it strange she'd not left her bed since he'd known her, but she told wonderful stories. Finally he asked her one day where she got her stories. She replied, "Some come out of thin air. Some come out of my dreams. Some come right out of books!"

Eli asked how you would get a story from a book. All he'd seen books used for were patching holes in the street, sitting on, building things, and even shoring up the dam. Never for reading. This is when Aunt Chip discovered that not only Eli, but no one else in the town could still read. So she showed Eli the inside of a book and explained about writing.

'Now look at this. Those are words. They tell about ideas, dreams, and feelings. They take you to places far from here....Books are a treasure. All you need is the key.'
Patricia Polacco Is a Storyteller with Heart: A Review
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay, edited on PicMonkey


I don't want to give the story away, but Aunt Chip leaves her bed and the town soon learns the consequences of their rashness in closing the library and replacing books with television. I think the ending will make you happy, and you will love what happens to Eli. This book is not a tear-jerker like the others I reviewed. Give it to anyone who thinks reading isn't important.

I finally found a video of someone reading this aloud, so if you don't mind a spoiler, enjoy the story.


Give a Child You Love a Patricia Polacco Book 

Here are more of my favorites. There's a story for almost any child in this group of books. You can find more detailed reviews of the books below and many others, as well as more about Patricia Polacco's life and inspiration in "Patricia Polacco and Her Books" at Books to Remember.  You will also find study guides and readers' theater scripts for the most popular of her books.




Find more reviews for children's books here at Review This!

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