2014 Missouri Building Blocks: That Is NOT a Good Idea

Book cover for That is NOT a Good Idea by Mo WillemsThat Is NOT a Good Idea” by Mo Willems

Who would think to write a children’s book in the style of an old silent film? Mo Willems, of course! You can almost hear the ominous piano music as the wily fox lures the plump goose away from the safety of town, into the dark forest, and then right up to his kitchen fire. Your children will love chiming in with the chorus of goslings that keep warning, “That is not a good idea!” And once you hit the twist at the end, they will want to read the whole suspenseful (for preschoolers) thing again. Continue reading

2014 Missouri Building Blocks: Mustache Baby

Book cover for Mustache BabyMustache Baby” by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Joy Ang

To those many people who say that “librarians are always right” (because I know there are tons of you out there), let it be known: sometimes, librarians are wrong.

When I first stumbled upon “Mustache Baby,” I was entertained. But I wondered, how could young kids identify with this story that so emphasized facial hair? Would a child get the concept of a good-guy mustache versus a bad-guy mustache? Surely this book could not be a contender against other Missouri Building Blocks nominees? My fears are certainly unfounded – this book has proven just as popular as other Building Blocks contenders. Continue reading

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.