Independence Cake

A Revolutionary Confection Inspired by Amelia Simmons, Whose True History is Unfortunately Unknown

by Deborah Hopkinson

illustrated by Giselle Potter

 

 

Independence Cake introduced me to a historical figure that I had never heard of Amelia Simmons. She is the author of the very first cookbook in America called American Cookery. I love a good cookbook and just think she is what has inspired many to publish their own cookbook. She was revolutionary in 1796 to have a cookbook when to be honest I bet this was pretty unheard of. Deborah Hopkinson created a fictionalized account of Amelia Simmons life since very very little is known about her. Amelia’s cookbook was very popular and reprinted for 30 years after the first printing. This picture book would be a neat one to read to a budding chef to inspire them to maybe create their very own cookbook. I enjoyed reading her fictionalized biography of sorts and was happy to learn about an unknown historical figure.

summary: Master of the historical fiction picture book Deborah Hopkinson takes us back to late eighteenth-century America and the discombobulated home of Mrs. Bean, mother of six strapping sons, who simply can’t manage—until Amelia Simmons arrives and puts things in order. And how well she cooks—everything from flapjacks to bread pudding to pickled cucumbers! She even invents new recipes using American ingredients like winter squash. Best of all, she can bake, and to honor the brand-new president, George Washington, she presents him with thirteen Independence Cakes—one for each colony. “Delicious!” he proclaims. Author’s Note and original recipe included!

Thank you Deborah Hopkinson and Giselle Potter  for sending me a copy of Independence Cake. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

A Letter to My Teacher

by Deborah Hopkinson

illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

 

 

A Letter to My Teacher is the perfect gift for that special teacher that goes above and beyond their teaching job. This is for all those who really inspire and do everything to make sure each student feels special and that they can achieve anything in school. If you are looking for a wonderful heartwarming end of school year gift for one of those special teachers this year or future years than add this sweet picture book to your gift idea list. You might want to add a box of tissues to the gift bag since it might cause a few happy tears to form while reading it. Have your child add a dedication on the front cover and you have given them a very sweet touching gift.

About the Book: Dear Teacher, Whenever I had something to tell you, I tugged on your shirt and whispered in your ear. This time I’m writing a letter. So begins this picture book about a girl who prefers running and jumping to listening and learning and the teacher who gently inspires her. From stomping through creeks on a field trip to pretending to choke when called upon to read aloud, this book’s young heroine would be a challenge to any teacher. But this teacher isn’t just any teacher. By listening carefully and knowing just the right thing to say, she quickly learns that the girl’s unruly behavior is due to her struggles with reading. And at the very end, we learn what this former student is now: a teacher herself.

Thank you Deborah Hopkinson and Nancy Carpenter for sending me a copy of A Letter to My Teacher. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World

series: Jack and the Geniuses

by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone

illustrations Nicholas Iluzada

For more science fun check out Bill Nye’s Printable One Sheet science activities

 

 

Bill Nye the Science Guy – Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill! 🙂 We love our Science Guy so we were excited to see this piece of book mail. I didn’t know he was branching out into chapter books. This book is a work of fiction with some real non fiction thrown in there so your learning little tidbits of science and climate change as well. At The Bottom of the World is book 1 in a new series Jack and the Geniuses and I can’t wait to read the rest and see where all this goes. The story was well developed and taught the reader without being preachy. I think it is great to all ready get kids aware of climate change – what it means and what can be done to slow it down. There are illustrations, it isn’t loaded with them but they are scattered throughout the book.  They just enhance the book and are simpler to illustrations in upper elementary books, the reader will not feel like it is a younger kids book with them included.  The main characters are 3 kids Ava, Matt and Jack along with a wacky fun scientist Dr Hank Witherspoon. In this book they travel all the way to Antarctica for a big science award ceremony, as well as help Dr Witherspoon’s friend who has made a very important discovery. By the time they arrive she is missing and no one seems to know or act like they know where she is. Jack and the gang get to work solving the mystery as well as learning everything they need to know in order to survive in the harsh conditions of the Antarctic. The story was well developed and the characters were well-rounded. I really liked Jack, Ava, Matt and Dr Witherspoon. The book tackles science, experiments, stem and makes the kids just as smart and inventive as the adults. I like that the kids held their own and the girl was a strong STEM minded girl who didn’t back down. Once you are done reading the book you can read more about Science and STEM in the This Is Reality People! where it takes things discussed in the book and give further explanation on how it could be used in the future. Next section is all about Antarctica titled Ten Absolutely Essential Questions About Antarctica. The explanations are good and full of information but in terms they can understand (as well as adults who will learn things as well 🙂 I know I did). The last section was a favorite of my 5th graders and that is the science experiment! Yippee!! I mean really it couldn’t be a Bill Nye book with out a super fun experiment to get the kids even more interested in science fun. This one is a density experiment and uses all stuff you have in your house already. The only thing I didn’t have was food coloring but that was simple and very affordable to buy. This book would also be really great in a classroom or even as an upper grade science read aloud. The book ends with a trip to Hawaii being mentioned. I can’t wait to see what all we learn about in that one and even more excited to see what the experiment might be to go along with what all the book discusses! Bill Nye and Gregory Mone did an amazing job and I’m sold. I will be using this book and items to make a simple science kit as future gift ideas for upcoming birthdays and holidays.

summary: New York Times bestselling authors Bill Nye the Science Guy and Gregory Mone take middle-grade readers on a scientific adventure in the launch of an exciting new chapter book series, Jack and the Geniuses. The perfect combination to engage and entertain readers, the series features real-world science along with action and a mystery that will leave kids guessing until the end, making these books ideal for STEM education.

In the series opener, Jack and the Geniuses: At The Bottom of The World, readers meet Jack and his foster siblings, Ava and Matt, who are orphans. But they’re not your typical kind of orphans—they’re geniuses. Well, Ava and Matt are, which sometimes makes life difficult for twelve-year-old Jack. Ava speaks multiple languages and builds robots for fun, and Matt is into astronomy and a whiz at math. As for Jack, it’s hard to stand out when he’s surrounded by geniuses all the time.

Thank you so much Amulet Books for sending me a copy of Jack and the Geniuses At the Bottom of the World.  I really enjoyed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Fruits in Suits and more…

written and illustrated by Jared Chapman

I got sent the cutest, funniest little picture books recently that will not only have your little ones laughing but you also. These might even be a fun way to get your kids to possibly (fingers crossed ) try some new fruits and vegetables. Even if that doesn’t happen I know my 2 were very stuck with the few fruits and veggies they liked when they were younger. These books are cute and sure to become favorites for read aloud.

Fruits in Suits  { Available April 11, 2017 }

These cute little book takes all those yummy fruits to the pool! They need all kinds of suits so they can beat the summer heat doing summer water sports. These fruits are enjoying swimming, sunbathing, surfing and scuba diving. This book as well as Vegetables in Underwear is just full of laugh out loud fun! The illustrations in both are simple and brought bold colors. This book would be perfect for infants through early elementary listeners and beginning readers.

 

 

Have you ever seen a banana in a bikini? Or a tangerine in trunks? What about grapes in goggles? In this uproarious follow-up to Vegetables in Underwear, kids will learn that there are many kinds of suits—including suits for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and scuba diving. But can you wear a business suit to the beach? Fruits in Suits has the same irreverent silliness as Vegetables in Underwear and shows just how much fun swimsuits can be—and how important it is to hold on to them when you jump into the water!

 

Vegetables in Underwear { board book available April 4, 2017 }

This one would be a perfect potty training book. No it doesn’t talk about potty training but it is all about how important underwear is and I think this might just be a way to get them willing to try it. I really liked this one and think it was funny. Fruits in Suits was a favorite of the 2 but they were both really cute. The bold bright colorful illustrations will appeal to infants as well as toddlers and preschoolers.  While this is already a picture book the board book version of Vegetables in Underwear is coming out in April.

 

 

A bunch of friendly vegetables wear colorful underwear of all varieties—big, small, clean, dirty, serious, and funny—demonstrating for young ones the silliness and necessity of this item of clothing. The unexpectedness of vegetables in their unmentionables is enough to draw giggles, but the pride with which the “big kid” attire is flaunted in front of the baby carrots in diapers will tickle readers of all ages. With rhyming text that begs to be chanted aloud and art that looks good enough to eat, this vibrant story will encourage preschoolers to celebrate having left those diapers behind!

Thank you so much ABRAMS Appleseed for sending me copies of Fruits in Suits and Vegetables in Underwear. We enjoyed them and laughed so hard while reading them. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free books.

Say Hello, Sophie

by Rosemary Wells

Max and Ruby was always read and watched in my house. Both my girls really enjoyed these siblings  and Sophie reminds me so much of those lovable bunnies. Sophie is your typical little toddler she is shy and sometimes has a hard time speaking up and using her words. In Say Hello, Sophie her parents are trying to get her to use her manners while out and about. Simple say Hello, say thank you and such are prompts but Sophie is shy and nervous and while they are on the tip of her tongue they just can’t come out. Many times it is confusing to little ones, we tell them don’t talk to strangers. Then we tell them say thank you to a stranger who is holding a door or wanting to share a sticker with them.  As the story continues Sophie has many opportunities and all but nothing seems to work on getting her to talk. Grandma to the rescue and her little plan is perfect and gets Sophie talking. The first graders that I read this one to really enjoyed it and were cheering Sophie on to talk. They were so proud of her when she finally did talk and used her manners. This also lead to a great discussion about when they were little and shy or fellow classmates that are still a little shy. Rosemary Wells books are just so cute and great for toddlers through early elementary aged listeners and readers.

Check out my review of Use Your Words, Sophie

 

 

Can Sophie say the word Hello?
No! She just can’t say it.
Why?
Because Hello and Thank you and Goodbye get stuck
in Sophie’s mouth and won’t come out.
What can help Sophie say Hello?
As always, Granny has the answer to one of the
universal problems of toddlerhood

 

Thank you Penguin, and Viking Books for Young Readers for sending me Say Hello, Sophie. I know this will get lots of use in the elementary classroom! All thoughts and opinions are my own and were no way influenced by the free book!

Ready, Set … Baby!

By Elizabeth Rusch

Illustrated by Qin Leng

 

 

This picture book is a perfect gift to any child that is about to become a big brother or sister. While some might feel it is a bit graphic with pictures of what babies look like in mommy’s tummy, I never got that feeling nor did any adults that I showed this to for their opinions. Kids will like the story and learn a lot about their future little brother or sister. This is THE BOOK to get it is very similar to the What to Expect when you’re expecting but tamed down fun kid version. The author tackles it all from the loud noises and smelly diapers to the fun of having the sibling around. The whole book is told through a kids point of view and eyes making this a must have on bookshelves. The illustrations are well-defined and detailed with out too much to see on each page. The thought bubble dialogue made this picture book feel a bit like a graphic novel which really made the young listeners excited. They said it made them feel like the big kids that read the graphic novels and that made this book a real hit with the book crowd. The pictures are not graphic in nature and done in a very sweet way. Kids as young as kindergarten enjoy this picture book. Many talked about how their mommy was going to have a baby or just had a baby. It opened up discussion and the kids really enjoyed it. If you wanted to read this in a classroom setting but not sure about the content you could skip some of the dialogue or pictures.  Skim parts of the book and post – it the pages that you are going to breeze over. Maybe set it out and let the parents look over it and you can find out their thoughts. Most of the kids I read this to liked it and remembered more about the stinky diapers – baby farts and screaming than what the baby looked like in mommy’s tummy. Grab a copy and look it over decide if it is right for your child or classroom. Overall I felt it was a good book – well informative – and done up in a tasteful manner. The kids liked it and enjoyed the book. Most of the comment that I wrote down from the kids that were there for the review were about the funny things their own little siblings do that was in the book.

summary: Big kids Anna and Oliver give young readers the inside scoop on what to expect when a new baby is expected. In a fresh picture book/comic style, Ready, Set . . . Baby offers up a funny, loving, reassuring peek into life as a big brother or sister—with solid information, kid-friendly humor, and even tips for parents on how to help kids thrive when the new baby arrives.

Thank you HMH Books for Young Readers for sending us a copy of Ready, Set… Baby! for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Very Hungry Caterpiller

by Eric Carle

Click HERE to enter giveaway for one of 5 copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Follow the progress of a hungry little caterpillar as he eats his way through a varied and very large quantity of food until, full at last, he forms a cocoon around himself and goes to sleep. Die-cut pages illustrate what the caterpillar eats on successive days.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s ABC : Children can learn their ABCs with the Very Hungry Caterpillar and animal friends.

Love from the Very Hungry Caterpillar : The very hungry caterpillar displays its love for the reader as the cherry on a cake, the apple of an eye, and the bee’s knees.

Eric Carle How Things Grow : An acorn becomes an oak tree, a tadpole becomes a frog, and a very hungry caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly.

Today is not only the first day of Spring but it is also The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day! 🙂 My girls loved this book growing up and while we have long past the stage of this book it still remains a favorite childhood book and we created many memories while reading it.

3 of our favorite activities when they were little:

2 B’s make a Butterfly: A simple craft where you cut out 2 upper case B’s and glue the solid line of the B’s together and decorate them to creat a butterfly. You could also do this with just 1 and have it look like the butterfly was flying.

Butterfly Sensory Tub: Orzo Pasta, Rotini or Pipette, Shells and Bow tie pasta, paint or food coloring and a tub to hold it all. The Orzo is the egg – Rotini or Pipette is the caterpillar – Shells are the chrysalis and Bowtie is the butterfly.

image source

Butterfly Garden: Research online what flowers – caterpillars  and butterflies are native to your area and make a list and go your nursery and create a butterfly garden. Butterfly gardens also attract hummingbirds and Bees!  PLEASE make sure to use plants that are not treated with chemicals that are killing off the honeybees. I know that means it making an extra trip but what isn’t good for the bee’s surely can’t be good for hummingbirds and butterflies too.

I hope you have fun with Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar today and any day. Looking for more ideas and inspiration hop on over to the following blogs that are participating in The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day.

Others Joining in the #VHCDay Fun!
Books and Giggles
Swoony Boys Podcast
Giveaway Legal: Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (ARV: $21.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on March 20, 2017 and 12:00 AM on March 27, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about March 29, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.