This morning, while holding Philip’s hand, I slipped and fell down the stairs. Philip started crying about his hurt arm (which, thankfully, was OK) and I just sat crouched on the landing and tried to get my pain sensations under control. I was not a fully active mother today as a result. OK, the antihistamines I am taking for my poison ivy (rash all over my neck…ugh!) didn’t help, either. As a result, much of the day was spent reading!
Here are some of Philip’s favorites:
Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen. This has two of Philip’s favorite things in it: a character who tinkers with junk to make cool machines (FLYING machines, no less) and a character who saves people. He loves heroes. Who doesn’t? If you have a young boy who liked Frank ‘n’ Stan, you’ll probably want to read this, too.
Radio Rescue by Lynne Barasch. This story is based on the author’s father who became an amateur radio operator at the age of eight (I think!) and makes his own “shack” (for me, it finally clicked why the term “Radio Shack” was probably clever when it started) and saves a family–by using his radio to contact the Coast Guard–in the midst of a hurricane.
Crinkleroot’s Guide to Giving Back to Nature by Jim Arnosky. I have read this one several times now. I didn’t realize until just this moment that Crinkleroot is the star of his own nature series. Anyway, the book talks about several things you can do to help nature–feeding birds, seeding fields for grazing creatures, planting trees near streams, etc. There’s a good discussion about different birds and their food preferences that adults might find informative.
The First Drawing by Moricai Gerstein. If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that we loved The Field Museum’s exhibit of the cave paintings at Lascaux. Well, after reading this book, we learned that there is another cave in France that has even OLDER cave art and, interestingly enough, two footprints were in the cave: one of a young child, another of a wolf. The story in this book explores a misunderstood boy who introduces a world of magic (i.e., art) to his family. In the end, they share in the joy and no longer feel he is worrisome. It’s a lovely thought.
Even an Ostrich Needs a Nest: Where Birds Begin by Irene Kelly. I found this book fascinating. Not only do you learn about birds, but you learn about whether or not they make nests (some don’t) and the ways in which they make nests. I didn’t know, for example, that puffins BURROW! I have never thought that birds burrow. Incredible. And now, I admit, I want to build my very own eagle’s nest in my front yard. Maybe more than one. It will really convince the neighbors that “those people are just plain crazy.” Read this book. If you eat dead birds, you may want to start giving them some credit for their nest-making ingenuity and release some of your convictions that they are brainless and deserve to be devoured.
Why do Elephants Need the Sun by Robert Wells. Another great book by Robert Wells. We also loved his book, Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? In this one, you get to learn about the different parts of the sun (core through corona) as well as photosynthesis and basic concepts of energy. This book respects kids’ brains by giving them a foundation for scientific concepts and terminology, without overdoing it. (Incidentally, in my grown-up book, The Canon, which I am STILL reading by the way, I read an interesting quote. To paraphrase, “Every time you eat, you are taking a bite of the sun.”)
And, last, but not least…
Transformed: How Everyday Things Are Made by Bill Slavin. This book does a great job of introducing the behind-the-scenes processes for all kinds of items–from CDs to cereals to marbles. Each “thing” is described with wonderful illustrations in 2 pages. It’s a lot like The Way Things Work series by David Macauley, but with less detail and a shocking lack of mammoths. Very approachable for the younger reader.
Well, that’s it for right now. Enjoy!