2014 Missouri Building Blocks: This Little Piggy

Book cover for This Little PiggyThis Little Piggy” by Tim Harrington

Tired of doing the same little piggies with your little one? Has going to the market or not having any roast beef become too routine? Well then, this great book is for you! Within these pages, you’ll follow a piggy that races go-karts! You’ll thrill to the adventures of Super Toe, who defeats a smelly sock with tickle power! And of course, don’t forget to follow the adventures of little piggy who built a spaceship. Continue reading

2014 Missouri Building Blocks: The Watermelon Seed

Book cover for The Watermelon Seed by Greg PizzouThe Watermelon Seed” by Greg Pizzoli

Crocodile loves watermelon so much that it becomes a regular meal choice – for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. This love for melon leads to a gulp with a seed included. What might happen inside Crocodile’s tummy? Have you ever swallowed a seed?

While reading “The Watermelon Seed,” try pausing the story just after the seed is swallowed. Encourage the kiddos to make predictions about what might happen to Crocodile. After the story, try some of these extension activities.

  • Plant a seed and watch it grow! Discuss the conditions that plants need to grow – water, sunlight, warmth, etc. Would a seed be able to grow inside a stomach?
  • Make a chart of favorite foods – write out the names of family members and encourage them to draw a picture of their favorite.
  • Visit the National Watermelon Promotion Board website for lots of fun facts about watermelon, and make sure to visit the Carvings page to see some really interesting creations. You can even enter a watermelon carving contest! This website also has many great recipes and a section just for kids.

Check out some of these titles on watermelons, planting seeds, swallowing things and the human body: Continue reading

Missouri Building Blocks 2014: Moo!

Illustration from the picture book, Moo!It’s hard to express how much I love, love, LOVE “Moo!” by David LaRochelle! But I will try.

1. I love a good laugh, and reading “Moo!” will make your whole crew chuckle. If you have a 3-year-old, there might even be floor rolling involved. Who can ignore the hilarity of a cow who “borrows” a car?

2. I adore how LaRochelle brilliantly showcases the art of emotional expression. Believe it or not you can tell a whole adventure using only one word: Moo-Moo? Moo! I find the kiddos really get into this aspect of the book if you practice being sad cows, happy cows and excited cows before you launch into the more complicated moos explored in the book.

3. I dance with excitement when a book leads to more fun! “Moo!” naturally launches into creative and educational activities. Check out LaRochelle’s website for handy activity guides, puppet patterns and more. Your friendly state librarians have also gathered ideas on the MLA award page and Pinterest board. Personally, I’m dying to write “Baa!” – the sequel to “Moo!”

Still skeptical? Grab a copy and see for yourself. And remember to help your child vote for his or her favorite Missouri Building Block Picture Book after you’ve read at least five titles.

Cooking With Kids

daughter making cookiesCooking with children is about more than food. It’s also about spending quality time together and making good memories. It can teach kids confidence and independence, and even some math.

I recommend starting with cookies. Two of my younger sisters still talk about how much they enjoyed making cookies with me when they were kids. (They are 8 and 10 years younger than me.) Two years ago my older son said, “Mom, I remember baking cookies with you every Christmas. Will you continue the tradition with my son?” His son was 6 months old at the time, but he was still able to press down on the cookie cutter to make cookies. Last year he was able to help stir the batter. This year, he’ll be able to do even more. When I asked my younger son if he remembers baking cookies as a child he said, “Sure. I think that was the beginning of my enjoyment of cooking.” He now cooks for himself and loves to invite friends to his home for meals. The older son also cooks and often has dinner ready when his wife comes home after picking up the children at daycare. Continue reading

Give the Gift of Reading!

presentLooking for a gift for little ones? The gift of reading is beyond compare. And while you can check out all your child’s favorites at the library, we understand there may be some special titles you’d like to keep at home all the time. The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books produces an annual Guide Book to Gift Books every November. Find over 300 titles divided by age group with author, title, description, publisher and current price. Print out your pdf to take shopping, or download it to your smart phone and away you go!