Posts Tagged animals

Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds

Well, it’s almost Yom Kippur so my thoughts are already turning to … food. One day maybe they will turn to religious/ spiritual things but for now food is my main pre-occupation.

Chicks and Salsa

Chicks and Salsa

One of my favorite children’s books about food is Aaron Reynolds’ Chicks and Salsa. It’s just a fun and silly book about a collection of farm animals who get tired of eating chicken feed, slop, etc. and instead start farming the vegetables to make their own delicious treats. The writing is fun and zippy, the illustrations are hilarious (look out for the mice who are the “dealers” of the story) and maybe one day my sons will love to cook? Well, maybe that won’t be influenced by this book, but as a parent, I love reading it.

For those who are fasting, have an easy fast, and to everyone else, eat well!

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Eight Animals on the Town by Susan Middleton Elya

So, truthfully, I’d like to keep writing about why Twilight is so gripping (I’m now 1/2 way through Breaking Dawn — guess what I did over Rosh Hashanah), but I feel like you’ve got the point. I recommend the series highly, for anyone who isn’t sure. Not so much for teens (because they read it months/years ago) but for adults who want to temporarily remember what it felt like to be a teen. Moving on (we’ll see how long that lasts.) 

Eight Animals on the Town

Eight Animals on the Town

So, here’s a completely different suggestion. We received Eight Animals on the Town by Susan Middleton Elya as a gift. And, I’ll admit, I wasn’t that jazzed about it when I first saw it because it is a bilingual book. To me, that just seemed silly. I mean c’mon, there’s enough pressure on my 5 year old already that I don’t need him to be learning Spanish. At least not this year. So, I’m recommending this book not because it will help your young child learn to speak Spanish but because it’s a bilingual book that is just fun to read. And, though the small child does not appear to either know how to count or name animals in Spanish after countless readings, I’m actually starting to learn those things — which is helpful given that I speak no Spanish at all.

Basically, this book is the story of a bunch of animals who go on the town to buy food, have a big dinner party and then come home. The 30 Spanish words are nicely integrated into the story so by the time you realize you didn’t know what that word is, you’ve figured it out. Here’s an example:

Eight animales, ready to eat, head to the market on animal feet.

First comes a mouse. He’s a raton. Numero uno, out on his own.

Again, I wouldn’t start making flashcards out of the words or anything, but there’s something kind of cool about hearing a story that blends different languages and different sounds. And, according to Amazon, I’m in for a treat because the adventure continues with Eight Animals Bake a Cake and Eight Animals Play Ball. Can’t wait to find out what Spanish words I’m going to learn, I mean my kids are going to learn, next.

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The High-Rise Private Eyes by Cynthia Rylant

I’m having an author crush on Cynthia Rylant. More so than any other author right now, she is making a difference in my life. (Sorry Anna Levine but I do still love you!)

The issue is carpool. I carpool 5 kids between the ages of 4 and 9. They are a mix of boys and girls with different interests and ideas of what is appropriate carpool talk and different feelings about carpool with no Disney radio. They are lovely children but they sit in my car for about 30+ minutes three times a week and sometimes I think seriously about dropping them off at the nearest school rather than the school they actually go to.

Enter Cynthia.

The High-Rise Private Eyes

The High-Rise Private Eyes

Last year I started going to the library and borrowing books on tape to listen in the car. They were successful, but I also had fewer kids and a narrower age range in the car. I’ve reintroduced the stories this year but I started them off with The High-Rise Private Eyes, a mystery series that Rylant (trying to be professional here) wrote for young readers. So far, I believe there are about 9 books in the series but our library only has 2 of them. The kids are addicted. There is no difference between the older ones and the younger ones, they are all really into the (inane) mysteries that detectives and best friends Bunny Brown and raccoon Jack Jones try to solve. (Bunny is the brains, Rylant says, Jack is the snoop…)

Yes, the mysteries are inane. The dialogue is often silly. But it’s cute and the kids love it and they listen to it over and over again and they are quiet for the 30 minutes it takes me to drive them to school. And my son and his best friend often play the High-Rise Private Eyes where they make up little mysteries and try to solve them. And because of all this, I love Cynthia Rylant.

Here are some of the books in the series. I actually really like the audio version, there’s a great narrator:

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