Monday, November 29, 2010

Original Tale: The Gingerman

A Little Old Woman baked a Gingerbread man
When she opened the oven, he jumped off the pan
He ran out the gate and on past a cow
Who started to chase him as fast he knew how

"Come back," they all cried, "We want to eat you!"
The Gingerman laughed as he passed a horse, too
"Just you run and you run as fast as you can,
You won't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread man!"

A little parade of cookie eaters began
But that's no place for a Gingerman
He ran past a rooster, who flew right up
And chased the running cookie with a cluck cluck cluck

The Gingerman came to a pretty bright brook
And along came a fox with a sly little look
"Little man," said he, "what's the trouble here?"
"I can't get cross this stream, I fear."

"I can swim you across," said the fox with a grin
The little man agreed and they started to swim
 "On my nose!" cried the fox, "I'm beginning to sink!"
Then he swallowed that cookie with a nod and a wink

Everyone arrived just a moment after
"Too late," said the fox, with a chuckle of laughter
"What do we do now?" said the hungry horse 
The little old lady smiled and said, "Come home with us, of course."

Written and Illustrated by R. Nigh

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Children's Book Review: Barnyard Dance!

Name of book: Barnyard Dance
Author  / Illustrator: By Sandra Boynton
What's It All About: Animals dancing and boy do they dance...except the donkey (he's why we bought the book).
My Favorite Bit:  Stand with the donkey has to be one of the silliest lines and drawings ever.  Plus, this has been my daughter's favorite with her Dad for a long time.  Boynton is another fab rhymer and we love reading these!
Suitable Age For Reading It To: Everyone gets a kick out of this but it seems destined for the fairly young.
Go Get It: Barnyard Dance  (board book)
A little about the Author and/or Illustrator:  Sandra Boynton is a children's author, illustrator, songwriter, and an American humorist, who was born in New Jersey and grew up in Pennsylvania.  She has written more than forty books, four music albums, and over four thousand greeting cards. 

I'm going to cheat a little here, because I couldn't decide on a Boynton book to review so here are our favorite of favorites (not there aren't more but I have to stop somewhere).

Blue Hat, Green Hat: A turkey has trouble getting dressed like the rest of the animals...oops!

The Going To Bed Book: Animals on the ark get ready to bed and "somebody turns off the light".

Hippos Go Beserk!: A Hippo throws a party until the house is full of hippos, then the party needs to wind down again.
Fifteen Animals: The Farmer has special names for all his pets.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Original Tale: The Book

I waited and I listened
But he didn't read the rest
I crept out after bed time
To the big wooden desk

I lit a little candle
And I opened up the story
Where the gallant prince goes sailing
On the seas of Hope and Glory

But my favorite bit of all
Was the little mouse so brave
Who left everything behind
To sail 'cross lillies to the wave

I know I'm just a little mouse
I've naught been far from home
But I can read about great deeds
That Reepicheep has done

Written and Illustrated by R. Nigh

Friday, November 26, 2010

Children's Book Review: The Gruffalo

Name of book: The Gruffalo
Author / Illustrator: Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
What's It All About: A little mouse goes walking through the woods and tells a frightening story about a Gruffalo to all the predators he meets.  But, will he meet the Gruffalo after all?


"Where are you going to, little brown mouse? 
 Come and have lunch in my underground house."
"It's terriby kind of you, Fox, but no--
I'm going to have lunch with a gruffalo."

My Favorite Bit: I really like the sing song poetry of this story.  Every page rhymes and you know it's done well because you start to say the lines with the lilt they were intended to have.  This book was recommended to me by my friend Christy, and we are enjoying more Julia Donaldson.
Suitable Age For Reading It To: From small to big, everyone can love the Gruffalo.  My three year old likes it the best but my eight year old will sit to hear and laugh, too.
Go Get It: The Gruffalo (this is the link for the paperback but it comes as a hardback or a board book, too.)
 A little about the author and/or illustrator: Julia Donaldson is a writer, playwright, singer, and song writer who has championed over a hundred and fifty books, many of them for schools.  You can check out more about her here.  Axel Scheffler was born in Germany and moved to England to study art.  You can learn more about him here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Children's Book Review: There's A Train Going By My Window


Name of book: There's A Train Going By My Window
Author / Illustrator: Written by Wendy Kesselman and illustrated by Tony Chen
What's It All About: A little girl dreams of going around the world on the train that goes by her house.  She meets many animals all interestingly and beautifully illustrated.  Each page is a rhyme. 
My Favorite Bit: The page with all the hippos playing hide and seek with the little girl.  Excerpt:

 " Arriving in Africa 
Chucka-chuck, chucka-cheek 
I'll go swimming with the hippos 
And we'll play hide-and-seek. "

Suitable Age For Reading It To: This is a great story for all ages.  The rhymes and sophistication of the illustrations are enough to capture the attention of the older children and still colorful and simple enough for the younger ones as well.  I highly recommend it.
Go Get It: There's A Train Going By My Window (This one's a little harder to find, too, but don't stop the hunt! It's really worth it.)
A little about the author and/or illustrator: Wendy Kesselman is mostly a playwright and I can't find much about her, so we'll leave it at that.  Tony Chen is an illustrator who also has illustrated a children's story Bible that looks beautiful though I haven't found it to read.  Sorry there's not more here but these people seem a little obscure to rake info up on.  Happy reading!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Original Tale: Where Does The Sun Go After It Sets

Where does the sun go after it sets?
Down to the sea to sleep in the west
What will it do there down in the blue?
Make friends with the beautiful pearly white moon
What will they talk about, do you know?
Where they have come from and where they will go
Shall they invite many friends in for tea?
The west wind, the north wind, the stars and me
How will the sun know just when to rise?
When the tea is all gone and they've said their goodbyes
Is the sun lonely when it shines in the sky?
No, for it shines on you and I

Written and Illustrated by R. Nigh

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Children's Book Review: The Judge: An Untrue Tale

 Name of book: The Judge: An Untrue Tale
Author / Illustrator: Written by Harve Zemach and written and illustrated by Margot Zemach
What's It All About:  Prisoners are marched in to plead with an unrelenting Judge.  They keep trying and trying to tell him of the horrible thing coming this way...Excerpt:

"Please let me go, Judge.
I didn't know, Judge,
That what I did was against the law.
I just said what I saw."

My Favorite Bit: I tell you, Judge, we all better pray! -- I really like the rhyming of this book.  It reminds me of my brother, as this book was bought for him but we all enjoyed it immensely and still say the line above when things are getting hairy.
Suitable Age For Reading It To: This one ain't really for the wee ones.  What I mean is, although it's quite funny and the illustrations are great, it has a sharp humor and...(plot spoiler) the Judge doesn't get a happy ending.  So, skip the little kiddos on this one and read it to your older ones--I'd say around age 5 up. 
Go Get It: The Judge: An Untrue Tale  You can check other places like Alibris or even Ebay as this one is a little harder to get, but it is a good one to have in your library.
A Little More About the Author and/or Illustrator(s): Margot Zemach was born in Los Angeles and collaborated on thirteen other books with her husband who went under the pseudonym of Harve Zemach.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Original Tale: Waiting At The Window

Many kinds of children pass my window every day
I sit or stand and wait for one to point to me and say
I'd like to take him home, Mother, he seems so soft and kind
I'd like to take him home, Grandpa, if you would lend a dime
The dolls aren't much to talk to and the cars don't make a peep
There's a monkey by my window, however mostly he's asleep
I'm waiting for the tinkle of the toy shop's front door bell
I'm waiting for a little child to point and me and tell
Dear papa, he's the bear for me, I'll take him home for tea
Perhaps today will be the day that somebody buys me

Written and photo'd by R. Nigh

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Children's Book Review: The Story About Ping

Name of book: The Story About Ping
Author/Illustrator: By Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese
What's It All About: A little duck who lives on a boat on the Yangtze River does not want to be last in line to go up the ramp to the boat or he will get a swat on the back.  One day he is diving for food and does not hear his master call until it is too late and he will be last in line into the boat.  Instead of accepting this, he hides in the grass and is left behind.  His adventures are new and frightening and he longs for his own family and his own boat.  At last he finds it and, though he paddles hard, he may be the last to the boat but does he care? Find out!
My Favorite Bit: I love this story.  The pictures are delightful, as are all pictures in books about ducks.  My favorite page has to be when the man is putting the basket over Ping and he stands with his eyes closed, clearly quacking importantly.  The illustrations are lovely and the story is just right. 
Suitable Age For Reading It To: Although you may read this to any age child as far as content, the pages each have roughly a paragraph to read and little ones may fidget through them.  I would recommend age four on up depending on the fidgety-ness of your audience.
Go Get It: The Story About Ping
A Little About The Author and/or Illustrator: Marjorie Flack was born in Long Island and is most famous for the book above though she also was responsible for the Angus books about her dog.  Kurt Wiese was a German illustrator who spent some time in China and this style can be seen in both the book above and another favorite of mine, The Five Chinese Brothers, which I also highly recommend.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Original Tale: Puddling

The rain is falling all around
All through the trees, all on the ground
Dripping drops from here to there
Soaking everyone, everywhere

It slides off my nose and drips off my chin
It's filling my boots and soaking my skin
If mother should ask why I've suddenly gone out
Please tell her I'm puddling and splashing about
Written and Illustrated by R. Nigh

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Children's Book Review: Chicken Soup With Rice

Name of book: Chicken Soup With Rice
Author/Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
What It's All About: Each month the boy featured on the cover has a little poem about why he likes chicken soup with rice.
My Favorite Bit: I love that the book is dedicated to Mrs. Ida Perles (who is named Ida anymore? it's such a lovely old-fashioned name) and I like the pages for July and September the best illustration-wise.
Suitable Age For Reading It To: All ages! You can start reading it to two year old kiddos (the little rhymes are short and lovely) and go all the way up to at least eight before kids might wander off to do something else.  If you're lucky and you have a child who loves books, they'll never let this one out of their library.
Go Get It: Chicken Soup With Rice (Keep in mind this is the Nutshell Library version which is a very small paperback copy.  Kids love this size but they are easily lost on a bookcase.)
A little about the author and/or illustrator: Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of the famous Where The Wild Things Are, is an American who decided on his career after seeing Disney's Fantasia.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Original Tale: The Park

We're stepping out, we're on parade
First there's Luke with lemonade

Off to the park, we'll swing on the swings
See Mercy and Rebekah wearing faerie wings

Can you watch me jump and dance?
Joshua's wearing his fireman pants

We're marching down cobblestones, here we come
Calvin is climbing, 'cause climbing is fun

The train park today is the place to be
Jamie's the lookout and what does he see?

More friends arriving from all over town
Now Jesse and Mattie are running around

At the park, there's a quiet spot
Callie and Augustine hang out there a lot

Brady's being a monkey on the monkey bars
Elisha has found all the little toy cars

Abel is swinging as high as the sky
And Genevieve's stopped a small dog trotting by

Who can skip as fast as they can?
Abigail skips while she's holding mom's hand

There isn't anything we have to do
But stay here and play here until it is noon

Then down we must sit for our picnic lunch
Duncan has found someone's carrot to munch

Elijah is finished, it's back to the slides
Hide and seek, I'll be it, so you run and hide

Ewan is jumping on his father's knee
There's wipes in the bag if you have to sneeze

Look back just a little way, you'll see we're all there
Most of us chatting and sitting (that's rare)

If you want to come find us, march down to the park
And play and play until it gets dark

Written and Illustrated by R. Nigh

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Children's Book Review: Saint George And The Dragon

Name of Book: Saint George And The Dragon
Author/Illustrator: Retold by Margaret Hodges and Illustrated by (my favorite) Trina Schart Hyman
What's It All About:
A Knight is sent by the Queen of the Fairies to fight a terrible dragon that is terrorizing the land.  Una, the Princess of the land in danger, rides with him.  The Knight fights the dragon and, though he is beaten back, he wins in the end with Una's help.  The King of the land offers his daughter, Princess Una, in marriage to the Knight and he accepts.  Though the dragon has been killed and the Knight marries Princess Una, he must still go and fight other battles for the Queen of the Fairies.  In time he earns his name and becomes known as Saint George.
My Favorite Bit:
Though the story itself is written well I have to say that my favorite bit are the illustrations.  The page with Princess Una pointing away to her father's castle as they ride through the countryside is one of my favorites.  I like the rolling hills and the children and farmers that come to great the travelers. 
Suitable Age For Reading To:
I can read this to my daughter who is currently three, but it is generally suited for a child that is a little older.  My eight year old enjoys it more as the words are a little more complex and the pages have at least a paragraph apiece, which anyone who has young children know it's hard to get them to sit still for that long of a page.  But, the illustrations are so lovely that I (don't tell my daughter) paraphrase the words so we can look at each page.
Go Get It: Saint George And The Dragon (I always recommend the hardback form but this paperback is worthwhile for a starter if you can't spend as much.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Original Tale: A Family Week

King Friday said to Mother Monday
I wish for a cup of tea
Take me down the mountain
And sail on the golden sea

Mother Monday's only wish
Was for a little more strawberry jam
The Prince of Wednesday made her wait
By running away with a lamb

Little old Tuesday came in to his supper
Only to find it was gone
Queen Thursday had eaten both chicken and rice
And all that was left was the dawn

Grand Father Sunday strolled into the hall
And announced in a voice most firm
That all of the family could walk to the lake
And go fishing for trout with the worms

Beautiful Saturday, child of grace,
sat nearby on a stool
And looked at the family all down by the lake
And laughed cause the week was through

Written and Illustrated by R. Nigh