Friday, August 13, 2010

Lady Lollipop by Dick King Smith

 Kid Appeal: 5 stars
Parent Appeal: 5 stars

Lady Lollipop by Dick King Smith
Sallie and I read this in July 2010. She absolutely loved it. There is a simple pencil drawing on nearly every page which helped keep her interested, and the story was perfect for my four year old (somewhat spoiled) princess. It's about a (very) spoiled princess who wants a pig for her birthday. She gets the pig, but the pig, named Lollipop, will only obey its trainer, Johnny Skinner. So the trainer moves into the palace stables along with the pig. Johnny Skinner ends up training not the pig, but the the princess . . . to think of others and to not act so spoiled. The king is so impressed with Johnny, that at the end of the book, he makes Johnny a duke and Lollipop a lady.  We could easily read one or two chapters in a sitting, and Sallie often asked to read just one more chapter. (You gotta love that!) 

This book will appeal to: 
Those who enjoyed the movie or the book  Babe The Gallant Pig will enjoy this book by the same author, Dick King Smith. This is a great read aloud for little ones just beginning to enjoy listening to chapter books. Older independent readers (maybe up to age 7)  will enjoy the pig's antics and the and the interaction between Johnny and the Princess. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Picture Book Review: MunChA! MuncHa! MuNcha! by Candice Fleming

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!
(Reviewed Spring 2010)
I discovered this book through a friend's blog ( She called it "gardenlicious". I was hoping for some inspiration for the children to want to get our garden up and going. We--meaning Brent--are taking baby steps to getting our garden planted. (As a result of deep rooted childhood experiences . . . gardening makes me grumpy!) Brent did a great job last year of building square foot garden boxes and putting soil in them. I don't think "we" planted anything. But, here comes another spring to keep trying! The book did it's job. We are now quite excited to plant a garden (even me)!

Mr. McGreely dreamed of planting a garden. One day he decides, "This is it! I'm going to plant a garden." He carefully hoes and sows and watches his garden grow. Then one night, three cute, but conniving, bunnies sneak into his garden. They chomp his blossoms, chew his stems, nibble his leaves and gnaw his sprouts. The wordplay is catchy and the darling illustrations intertwine perfectly with the text. As Mr. McGreely tries harder and harder to allow "no bunny" to enter his garden, the giggles get bigger and better!

We read the book after scripture snack. The children were enjoying giant ice cream cones (in celebration of Sophia passing off Minuet 3 in Book 3 and Coco passing off Go Tell Aunt Rhody) At the finale of the story the giggles turned to guffaws. . . and Coco raced around the counter to the garbage can calling out, "That's so funny, I'm going to throw up!"

Sidenote: The summertime consequence/punishment when I was growing up was . . . "Go pull 100 weeds." The winter consequence was "Go mate the socks." In a household with seven children this meant a lot of weeding and a lot of mating. (Of the socks!)But, it ruined me forever. Now I despise pulling weeds and mating socks. I must have been in trouble often to have such deep set antipathy toward such simple tasks!

Great Books to Complement Charlotte's Web

Pete & PicklesPete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed 
(unlikely friendship, one friend willing to sacrifice all, 5 

Sophie's Masterpiece: A Spider's TaleSophie's Masterpiece: A Spider's Taleby Eileen Spinelli 
(a talented spider seeks to help others, 5 stars)  

The Three PigsThe Three Pigs by David Weisner 
(a "pig power" story with an unexpected ending, 5 stars)

The Three Little PigsThe Three Little Pigs by Steven Kellog 
(another fun "pig power" story, adapted from the original tale, 4 stars)

 Piggie Pie!Piggie Pie!by Margie Palatini 
(my favorite "pig power" story! 5 stars)

Incredible You! 10 Ways to let your greatness shine throughIncredible You! 10 Ways to let your greatness shine through by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer 
(Help your child discover great things about herself, just like Wilbur, 3 1/2 stars) 

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Kid Appeal: 5 stars
Parent Appeal: 5 stars
Awards: Newbery Honor 1953, Laura Ingalls Wilder Award (won by author E.B. White)

(reviewed January 2009)
Lala (age 3)  and I have been reading this as part of her reading lesson while the other children "do school." I adore this book. I think it is one of my top picks of all time.

Charlotte's Web is a story of friendship, of loving others despite of (or because of) their differences. It is a story of acceptance, of service, of love. 
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about personal mission, and it struck me that although Charlotte will be remembered for her webs that saved Wilbur, she described her egg sac--and her children--as her magnum opus.

I've been collecting quotes from books that stand out to me, and this book is full of wonderful little bits of wisdom. Sallie was quite concerned when I would write in her book (This isn't a 'write in it' book, Mother."), but then I would re- read the little bit I wrote and say, "Isn't that lovely? I just want to underline it, so that I can find it and read it over and over."

Here are some of the best "bits of wisdom":
"No!" said the goose, "it's the old pail trick, Wilbur. Don't fall for it! He's trying to lure you back into captivity. He's appealing to your stomach!"

The quickest way to spoil a friendship is to wake somebody in the morning before he is ready.

I've got a new friend . . . but what a gamble friendship is!

[Mothers for miles worried about Zuckerman's swing:]--Children almost always hold onto things tighter than their parents think they will.

"If I can fool a bug," thought Charlotte, "I can surely fool a man. People are not as smart as bugs."

All these sounds made him feel comfortable and happy, for he loved life and loved to be part of the world on a summer evening.

Slowly! Slowly! Never hurry and never worry!

It is deeply satisfying to win a prize in front of a lot of people.

After all, what's a life anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.

"You would live longer,: said the old sheep, "if you ate less."
"Who wants to live forever?" sneered the rat. "I am naturally a heavy eater and I get untold satisfaction from the pleasures of the feast."

Fun memory: (page 159)
When Zuckerman explained his fainting pig "He's modest and can't stand praise" My Lala said, "Wilbur's MODEST! Isn't that wonderful, Mother?" (Yes, I know she is three, but she really talks that way.) I agreed that it is wonderful whenever someone chooses to be modest.

A Bit of Background on The Book Diva

"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain."
Louisa May Alcott

I hope this blog, Book Diva Books, will help foster a love of reading among those that discover it. 

I have worked hard to create a culture of reading within my family.  Several years ago, the Book Fairy (complete with English Accent, sparkling tiara and pink gossamer wings) started visiting our home. Later, she wanted a new look, and her friend, the Book Diva (who wears elbow length gloves, a lot of bling jewelry, carries a black feather boa and talks like Zsa Zsa Gabor) began visiting. Now, the Book Diva often sends the Bookaneer (who sports a fabulous red and black tutu and a custom made pirate hat) in her place.  

Fairly regularly, (monthly or more) the  Book Diva, Book-a-neer or Book Fairy (depending on my mood) comes sweeping, sauntering or flitting down from Book Diva Land (my closet). My arms piled high with brightly colored boxes, (filled with a personally selected book for each child), I wait for the cheers to subside. As the Book Diva I ask each child in turn (in my best Zsa Zsa Gabor voice), “Have you been a good reader ’zis veek, Daa-hling?” After they describe the books they have been reading recently, I give a brief book talk, describing why I selected the book for them. Then they open the gift box, usually cheering with excitement. I admit, I feel like a rock star when fifteen minutes later, mild-mannered Mom returns to see all five children curled up on our worn, comfy couch immersed in their Book Diva books! 

The Book Diva gets books from bookstores, online bookstores, second hand stores, the library, and online  used book stores. My closet is actually called “Book Diva Land.” It does not matter where the book came from, it does not matter if it is new or a library book. The book talk creates excitement, as does the actual unwrapping of the gift. 

Shauna and her alter egos: The Book Fairy, The Book Diva, and The 'Book-aneer,' work hard to create ravenous readers out of children in and near their home in American Fork, Utah. Her husband Brent claims that she suffers from OTTD (Over The Top Disorder), a condition that prevents her from doing things "the boring way." A mother of five home schooled bookworms, Shauna earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Economics from Eastern New Mexico University, a Juris Doctorate from the J. Reuben Clark Jr. School of Law, and a Master of Public Administration from the Brigham Young University Marriot School of Management. A nationally published author, she currently serves on the American Fork Library Board of Trustees.
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