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Curious Critters Volumes One and Two

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Recently during a math lesson, I asked Sister what three plus two is.  She just turned five, so simple math should be… well, simple for her.  Distractedly she said, “I dunno.”  So, I did what I often have to do when it comes to determining if she knows the answer to something… I phrased it around animals. “If I have three dogs and two cats, how many animals do I have?”  She quickly answered, “five,”  and gave me one of her “Silly Mommy” looks.  I get those often.  Anyway, she says she wants to grow up and be a farmer, an animal doctor, or a zoologist.  What better way to encourage her love of animals AND get her interested in reading than to give her books ABOUT animals?  For her birthday, we gave her Curious Critters Volumes One and Two.

Curious Critters

In CURIOUS CRITTERS Volume One, photographer David FitzSimmons turns his camera on a variety of animals common throughout North America. CURIOUS CRITTERS presents stunning images of everyday animals, including a red flat bark beetle, an Eastern spiny softshell turtle, a spotted salamander, and many other intriguing creatures. Each Curious Critter is photographed against a white backdrop, showcasing the animals’ colors, textures, and shapes with precision and clarity.

CURIOUS CRITTERS Volume Two showcases more amazing animals—from cute cottontails to a babbling bunting—posed for portraits. Good thing photographer and writer David FitzSimmons once again recorded what the mathematical moth, buccaneer bluegill, bilingual armadillo, and other Curious Critters had to say!

Each Curious Critter is showcased with a story, poem, or song from it’s own perspective.  Like the Bush Katydid (pink bug) that Sister is pointing to in the bottom right photo? It is her favorite.  The pink katydid says, in part, “Sometimes I wish I could change my color.  I mean, all the other katydids are green, but I’m pink.  Scientists say that pink katydids are special. My mother thinks so, too… My bright color is often pretty cool.  I blend in with pink flowers…”

Since Sister has such a huge heart for animals, it is especially neat to her that the text is written from the animals perspective.  She giggles as she asks, “Mom, did you know that a Geometer Moth is really good at math?  It started as an inch worm!”

I hope she keeps her love for animals for ever, and I am to feed that love with books like Curious Critters!  Mister is especially interested in marine life, so I hope to add the Curious Critters Marine and the Curious Critters 4-in-1 Educational Card Game to our collection.

Learn more about Curious Critters on Facebook.

 

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How Hippo Says Hello and How Gator Says Good-bye

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If you’ve visited here before, you know that I place a strong emphasis on education and on language.  Mister and Sister watch DVD’s in Spanish, Mandarin, and Hebrew.  I am a HUGE fan of teaching my kids about other languages and cultures.  Little Miss is a bit young to be speaking multiple languages, as she hasn’t mastered much beyond Momma and Dadda yet, but it isn’t too early to start thinking about her language skills.  Sterling Children’s Books recently released two adorable board books that we love. HOW HIPPO SAYS HELLO and HOW GATOR SAYS GOOD-BYE teach how to say “hello” or “good-bye” in seven languages: French, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish.
how hippo says hello and how gator says good-byeThese 7×7 board books brightly colored and cutely illustrated. In How Hippo Says Hello, Hippo travels the world to seven different countries, and everywhere he goes, he cheerily greets people in their native language. Kids will have fun trying out these simple foreign words, from “namaste” (India) to “privyet” (Russia). In How Gator Says Good-bye, Gator travels back home (to San Francisco) after visiting China, Japan, and India, to Egypt, Russia, and France, and finally to Argentina. It’s hard to leave friends, but bidding them farewell in their native languages is easy!  These books retail for $6.95 US and $7.95 CA.  They are recommended for children ages 2-4.  Hippo and GatorWhat a cute way to introduce languages to your little ones, and to stress the importance of greeting people (and bidding farewell) in a way they can understand.  Both would make a great addition to Easter baskets, as well.

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The Well and The Color Door

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In November we reviewed the book Teya Toucan and Youcan Too , from Chungaboo, for Sister and she really enjoyed it.  When Chungaboo offered to send two additional books, The Well and The Color Door, for Sister, I was intrigued.

The Well CoverThe Color Door Cover

Chungaboo is an innovative, family-owned and oriented publishing company that creates highly interactive, educational content.  They are based in Austin, Texas, and produce print books and Apps that feature rich stories and refreshing artwork.

The Well

The Well

Nestled in bed, dreams fill my head, when a tap on my window is heard.
Wipe sleep from my eyes, to find a surprise, in the form of a beautiful bird.
Should I follow his lead? Should I stay or proceed? He has taken me to the well.
My curiosity grows, about what it below. There is only one way to tell.

The Color Door

The Color Door…

Have you seen the door?  Have you knocked and heard something knock back? Is it true what they say about the other side? The Color Door is a beautifully illustrated rhyming adventure about a young boy and a mysterious door that leads him to an exciting new friendship. An intriguing new world is sure to change his life forever. 

Both books are beautifully illustrated and engaging.  Sister was drawn more to The Well, simply because of her love of animals.  Mister is able to read both books independently, and enjoys reading them to Sister and Little Miss.  Both books are available in print from Chungaboo and retail for $9.99.  The digital books, which feature an Interactive sketchpad with artwork from the books, are available from the iTunes iBookstore for just $4.99 each.

Sister and Mister give both books two thumbs up.

Either book would be a great basket stuffer from that mythical bunny next month.

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Learn Absorb and Praise Books for Kids

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Piggy-backing off of my recent post about resources to aid in my own quiet time, I’m also always on the look-out for resources that can help me teach my kids about God’s love, His grace, and the sacrifice He made sending Baby A with Learn, Absorb, and Praise booksJesus to the cross for our sins.  When I was growing up, my family really didn’t have family devotion time.  My mom home-schooled us for many years and so we completed Bible curriculum daily with her, but as far as having unstructured God-time as a family, we just didn’t do it.

Don’t get me wrong: my parents were AWESOME, God-loving people and even though we didn’t have family devotions, I SAW my parents (both of them; every morning) reading their Learn Absorb Praise Books  for KidsBibles and praying.  I love that I witnessed what a personal relationship with God looked like.

Anyway, when I had my own kids, though, I started thinking about how I could best teach them what a personal relationship with God looked like.  I want them to see me walk my faith out, but more than that, I want them to learn about God outside of church on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Just at the right time, these little gems got sent to me: Graham Blanchard children’s books from their Learn, Absorb, and Praise collection, designed to help children learn about God on their own level.  They  aren’t really books that my big girls (ages 8 and almost 6) can enjoy (I mean, Learn Absorb Praisethey could enjoy them, but they get hung up on the fact that they are cardboard and look like baby books…prima donnas, I tell ya!), but they are definitely appropriate for young children.

What I love about these books is that each delivers a Bible lesson to my toddler, in a simple, easy to understand, and engaging way.  The books are colorful, the illustrations are great, and I’m a sucker for board books that my kid can look through on her own without risking it getting ripped to shreds.

In short, I’m very happy with these books and the simple way in which they present Biblical truths to my kids.

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Mulberry Street Unit Study- Sensory Bin

If your littles are too little for “Stop Light Treats” or to write on the Mulberry Street Printable Journal Page, you’ll love the last stop on our Mulberry Street Unit Study!  It’s a Mulberry Street Sensory Bin. What on earth is a sensory bin?  It is simply a bin (or tote or basket) that is filled with with objects that appeal to a child’s senses (sight, sound, touch, smell).  Sensory bins can be themed around a story, as in this case, or around textures or seasons, or whatever.  They are a great way to encourage imaginative play or to help a child calm down when needed.

Mulberry Street Sensory Bin

The Mulberry Street Unit Study Sensory Bin is simple to make.  Just paint white lines on a large piece of black construction paper to represent the road in your sensory bin.  You can also use masking tape or white electrical tape if you’re fresh out of paint (or don’t want to break it out).  Toss in some vehicles, animals and people from the kids toy bins.

Encourage your kids to make it a storytelling game as well, making up stories as they play in the bin. They are sure to love making up tales about the creatures and people in the bin.

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