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Friday, January 7, 2011

Read-To-Me Picture Book Challenge: There's a Book

Establish a "Routine for Reading" and you will be amazed at the amount books you will read with your children.

Our family has a "Routine for Reading". Each night we read three books before bedtime.  My two children and I each choose a book to have read aloud.  The books come from the bag of books we have selected from our local library.  Many of the books, but not all, are chosen to celebrate the birthdays of children's book authors.

Our family has been taking part in the Read-To-Me Picture Book Challenge hosted by There's a Book (an awesome blog!).  This challenge is designed for families that love picture books.  The deadline to join is November 20, 2011, but why wait until then because there are going to be prizes to win each month. To sign up for the contest click here and make sure you read all the details! I am so excited for this challenge because I have always wanted to keep track of the books we read!

I have been amazed at the number of books that we have read but only reading 3 books each night.  But, it does make sense; 3 books x 365 days = 1,095 books each year! Wow - it almost sounds crazy that over 1,000 books could be read by spending only 30 minutes each night!

January 6, 2011 (Bedtime)
1. Fireboy to the Rescue!: A Fire Safety Book by Edward Miller (my son's choice) - Fun book. It reads like a comic book and allowed our family to talk about many important fire safety concerns like "escape plans" and "family meeting place".
2. No Ghost Under My Bed by Guido van Genechten (my daughter's choice) - We had to read this book twice! Mysterious noises cause the young penguin to call for his dad many times.  Eventually everything is all better as the young penguin has a very cute way of stating that the problem was solved.
3. Zen Ghosts by Jon J. Muth (my choice) - I had seen this book on many book blogs and was really looking forward to reading it.  It was way over my son's head (3 years old), but my daughter was able to make some connections.  We read the author note at the end to help us have a greater understanding.

January 7, 2011 (Before Quiet Time)
4. I'm Dirty! by Kate and Jim McMullan (my son's choice) - An all time favorite in our house.  Funny thing - when we read this new library copy we noticed that the book had more to the story than we had read before.  I guess someone figured out that the old library copy that we had checked out about two dozen times had been missing pages! It was like reading a whole new book.
5. How Do You Wokka-Wokka? (my daughter's choice) by Elizabeth Bluemle - This is stand-out read aloud.  I would never turn down a chance to read this book to my kids.  Wokka-Wokka is so much fun to say.  Our favorite line is "I wokka-wokka like a fish flop on a dock-a, flip-a-floppa, off-the-docka, put-me-back-in-wata-wata."
6. Fortunately by Remy Charlip (my choice) - My favorite picture book from when I was a child.  I still remember where on the shelf the book sat at the library.  It was so much fun sharing this book with my kids.  We have been creating our own Fortunately, Unfortunately stories too.

January 7, 2011 (Bedtime)
7. Parts by Tedd Arnold (my son's choice) - I hadn't read this book in a long time.  A funny book about a boy who thinks his body is falling apart - a few hairs in a comb, skin flaking off, teeth! The boy's imagination gave us quite a laugh.
8. Mad At Mommy by Komako Sakai (my daughter's choice) - Great illustrations and concise text to reflect the emotion of a young bunny toward his mom for things like telling him to hurry up all the time, watching her shows (not cartoons) on TV, and picking him up late from school.  Ending is cute too.  This book bothered my daughter a little -  only because this is exactly how she thinks!
9. Mother, Mother, I Feel Sick; Send for the Doctor, Quick, Quick, Quick by Remy Charlip and Burton Supree - I found this book very humorous.  The son had gotten so fat that the mother calls the doctor over immediately.  He realizes the situation is not good and rushes the boy to the hospital to find that the boy is full of stuff; a ball, galoshes, a plate of spaghetti, a bicycle.  I think I found the perfect book for my buddy who is a G.I. doctor! I am sure he has removed things we wouldn't have thought possible!

January 8, 2011 (Bedtime)
10. More Parts by Tedd Arnold (my son's choice) - The sequel to last night's read Parts by Tedd Arnold. This book deals with the strange things adults say that are certainly misunderstood by children like "my heart broke" or "This joke will crack you up".  The illustrations of these sayings were very humorous, but some of the sayings were still confusing to my kids.
11. Green Wilma, Frog in Space by Tedd Arnold (my daughter's choice) - Green Wilma hears buzzing which she thinks is a fly but it is a alien ship that mistakenly picks her up and takes her into space.  It isn't long before the aliens find out that she is not who they thought she was.  My daughter wondered if the fly in the story was from the Fly Guy Series also by Tedd Arnold.
12. Do You Have a Cat? by Eileen Spinelli (my choice) - This book is very similar to Spinelli's Do You Have a Hat?  I became a big fan of Spinelli when we celebrated her birthday and this book is another great read.  We don't have a cat but we learned about many famous people that did including Calvin Coolidge and Henri Matisse.

January 9, 2011 (Before Quiet Time)
13.  Good Night, Stella by Kate McMullan (my daughter's choice) - Mom is away at a movie and Stella's Dad puts her to bed.  Stella has a lot on her mind and can't fall asleep.  After numerous times calling for Dad he tries a little reverse psychology and suggests that he go to bed while she waits up for Mom. Stella plays for a while only to fall asleep.  Wow, that Dad was a genius!  My daughter said, "Awww. That was a good book."
14. Once Upon a Royal Superbaby by Kevin O'Malley (my son's choice) - We immediately noticed that this book has three illustrators Kevin O'Malley, Carol Heyer, and Scott Goto.  We thought that was strange until we started reading.  The story unfolds through the eyes of a boy and girl who were given the assignment of jointly writing a story together about a King and Queen.  The vastly different illustrations, typeset, and writing style differentiate the boy's and girl's contribution to the story.  Very creative picture book and a super fun read aloud!
15. Little Old Big Beard And Big Young Little Beard: A Short And Tall Tale by Remy Charlip (my choice) - Our favorite part about this cowboy friendship tale is the song at the end, "A-Grazing Grace, How Sweet You Found, Such wretched souls as we...We cried and cried 'til we nearly drowned...I'm glad you're close to me."  These silly friends lost their cow and went on a search.  They were sadly unable to find her and cried puddles of tears until they heard a familiar sound!

January 9, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
16. Hey, Pipsqueak! by Kate and Jim McMullan (my daughter's choice) - My daughter thought this book was a "little weird, " and I agree it was certainly different.  A young boy finds a present with an attached map and a note asking if the finder would take it to a party.  The boy was up for challenge but runs into a troll on the bridge he needs to cross to get to the party.  Creatively the boy outwits the troll to cross the bridge to find a surprise on the other side.
17. Noel the First by Kate McMullan (my son's choice) - The second book of the trifecta for Kate McMullan.  Noel is a ballet dancer in training and is promoted to first position at the barre.  However, a new dancer enters the class and quickly replaces her as the leader.  It gets worse and another new girl moves to the front leaving Noel in third.  The three try to out-dance one another each class.  One day, the teacher surprises the class by teaching them a part of the Cinderella ballet.  Noel puts the competition with the girls aside to dance with feeling and emotion which pleases her teacher very much.
18. I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullan (my choice) - This was my son's favorite book when he was two years old.  It is one of my favorite alphabet books too.  Can I name one more favorite? It is one of our favorite audio books!

January 10, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
19. Hi! Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold (my daughter's choice) - We really liked this beginning reader chapter book.  A young boy who happened to be named Buzz needed a pet for The Amazing Pet Show.  He bumped into a fly and was astonished he knew his name! Buzz thought that the fly would be a great pet but others were very skeptical. In the end Buzz was right and he and Fly Guy became great friends.
20. Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh (my son's choice) - We went away from our bag of library books and picked a book from our own bookshelf.  This is one of our favorites!
21. Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball by Vicki Churchill (my choice) - A cute little wombat loves to curl up in a ball sometimes so no one can see him. However, he also likes to make noise, run fast, and make funny faces. I really like the illustrations in this book as I was able to point out a lot funny expressions on the animals faces!

January 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
22. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman (my daughter's choice) - I have been reading the board book version of this story the past few weeks to my son.  It was nice to read the full complete version tonight.
23. Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner (my son's choice) - Everybody with me in muy muy soft voice, "My name is Skippito Friskito, I fear not a single bandito." Probably one of my favorite lines of all children's books to read aloud.
24. It's Not My Fault! by Nancy Carlson (my choice) - George gets called to the principal's office and spills the beans about all the things he did wrong and blames them all on other people.  George quickly learns his lesson and accept resposibility for his actions.  I love the simplicity of the message in Nancy Carlson's books.

January 12, 2011 (Before Quiet Time)
25. Aunt Eater Loves a Mystery by Doug Cushman (my son's choice) - This is an early reader chapter book (I Can Read Book).  Aunt Eater loves to read mystery books. In each chapter we meet new characters that are involved in a mystery that Aunt Eater tries to solve.  I couldn't help thinking about other early reader books and how some are so difficult to read WITH your kids.  This was a great read aloud with a great story.
26. Disney's The Rescuers (my daughter's choice) - I have never seen this Disney movie but the book made me want to check it out.  This story is about a group of mice that "will help anyone...anywhere!"  In this adventure they saved young Penny from two diamond thieves.
27. Papa's Song by Kate and Jim McMullan (my choice) - Baby bear wouldn't fall asleep for Grandma, Grandpa, or Mama.  They all tried singing Baby to sleep.  Papa gives it a try, knows just the right song, and is successful getting Baby to fall asleep.  We really liked this book.  My daughter and I have recently really liked books that have songs in them.  We find it challenging to find the right tune.

January 12, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
28. Pete's a Pizza by William Steig (my son's choice) - I don't think anything is more fun than pretending to make your child into a pizza!
29. Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully (my daughter's choice) - This book was awarded the Caldecott Medal. Mirette lives at a boardinghouse where her mother takes care of many guests that include jugglers, mimes, and other entertainers.  One day Bellini, the great high wire walker, checks in and Mirette observes him walking on the clothes wire in the back. She is determined to walk just like Bellini, and he reluctantly takes her on as his apprentice.  To his surprise she ends up helping him as much as he helps her.
30. There Was a Bold Lady Who Wanted a Star by Charise Mericle Harper - A very cute take on the familiar song.  The 'bold' lady tries various modes of transportation to obtain a star for one special reason. We just love Charise's books!

January 13, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
31, 32, 33.  I had to make a quick trip to the library today to pick up more books.  Today we decided to read another trifecta.  This time we read 3 Walter the Farting Dog Books by William Kotzwinkle, et al.  We read the first 2 Walter books in the series back in December when we found them on my best friends son's bookshelf when we spent the weekend at their house.  I didn't know there were more books in the series until I was at the library.  Honestly, I think we like these books because we get to make farting noises.  Book 3 was lacking opportunities to make the noise but book 4 and 5 made up for it!

January 14, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
34. Mavis and Her Marvelous Mooncakes by Dar Hosta (my choice).  I saw this book at the library and I had to check it out.  I read this to my daughter at least three dozen times when she was around 2 years old.  Mavis bakes a mooncake over 14 days and nights until it is complete and then asks her friends to eat it up until there is one little sliver left for herself. It is a unique book for teaching the phases of the moon.  We like to pick out our favorite other desserts that Miss Mavis bakes!
35. Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman (my daughter's choice). This book answers the question of dinosaur extinction in a very unique way.  Cavemen invent underwear, the dinosaurs really like them, and it ultimately leads to their demise.
36. Buzz vs. Torque: One-on-One (Step into Reading Book 3 - my son's choice).  Enjoyed by my son, but unfortunately not by me.  I have said it before; most early readers are best not read aloud.

January 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
37. I'm Bad! by Kate McMullan (son's choice)
38. I'm Big! by Kate McMullan (my choice). Two books on the eve of Kate McMullan's birthday.  I'm Bad is my second favorite in the series to read aloud after I Stink.  And I think after tonight I finally figured out how to read aloud I'm Big.  It took me quite a few reads to find the right voice and pace of reading.
39. Eliza's Kindergarten Pet by Alice B. McGinty (daughter's choice).  This was a fun book to read aloud.  It had great emotions (Eliza was terrified of the class pet, a guinea pig, Cookie), great drama (Cookie escapes), and nice conclusion (not going to tell, but it has something to do with Eliza and Cookie!)

January 16, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
40. Jake Goes Peanuts by Michael Wright (my choice).  Jake will only eat peanut butter sandwiches.  His parents devise a plan to cook every meal to include peanut butter hoping to kick his bad habit.  There were quite a few funny moments in the book including, "Jake was eating so much peanut butter stuff, he made peanut butter poop!"
41. Angelina and the Princess by Katharine Holabird (my son's choice). My son actually clapped at the end of this book when the ballet that was put on by Miss Lilly's ballerinas for the Princess of Mouseland went off without a hitch.
42. Angelina at the Fair by Katharine Holabird (my daughter's choice).  Both Angelina books were great read alouds! This one was about the Spring Fair that Angelina couldn't wait to attend. Finally the fair finally showed up, but so did her cousin Henry.  She was required to take him to the fair which didn't make Angelina too happy.  However, after a unfortunate event the two have fun together at the fair.

January 17, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
43. Angelina's Birthday by Katharine Holabird (my daughter's choice).  Another wonderful Angelina story! Angelina's bike was ruined when she crashed it while racing a friend. However, for her birthday her friends and family planned a big surprise.
44. The Legend of the Golden Snail by Graeme Base (my son's choice).  Another great illustrated story by Graeme Base complete with hidden items to find.  The story seemed different from other stories as it lacked a mystery element or a focus on the environment.  Yet, this story was cool because a young boy loved listening to his mother read The Legend of the Golden Snail.  After his mom makes him a captain's hat reminiscent of the legend the story comes to life and the boy sets sail in search of the Golden Snail. When he finds it he has his own vision for how the story should end.
45. Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak (my choice). My son asked for this book to be read twice! On the second time through, my daughter was saying the , "I don't care" line.  She was singing the line in many voices - quite funny! This is a classic!

January 18, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
46. Mr. Elephanter by Lark Pien (my choice). This was quite a simple book.  Mr. Elephanter takes care of young elephants and this is one of his days. It had some cute moments.  I enjoyed the noses on all the characters!
47. Thank You, Miss Doover by Robin Pulver (my daughter's choice). As a former teacher I immediately liked this book because the teacher is instructing her students how to write a friendly letter.  The teacher urges a student to rewrite and revamp to improve his letter - all of her suggestions are also great for a teacher to use as a lesson.  But, the book was much more than just a good book for teaching letter writing. It was very creative, everything was connected, and had a heart warming ending.  Very cool book!
48. Vampire Boy's Good Night by Lisa Brown (my son's choice). I read this book in my best vampire voice and I once again my son asked for an encore.

January 19, 2011 (Before Quiet Time)
49. Yoko Writes Her Name by Rosemary Wells (my daughter's choice).  This great book explores the idea of a student with English as a second language in a Kindergarten class.  Initially, the students do not understand why Yoko writes letters and reads a book differently than them.  Two classmates make fun of her and convince her that she is not going to graduate to first grade. However, Yoko's Japanese culture and language have a profound effect on her class throughout the year, and even the two classmates come around in the end. The birthday of Rosemary Wells is coming up at the end of the month and this was a book we were reading for that reason. This is why I like the format of celebrating children's author birthdays so much because this wouldn't have been a book I would have checked out normally.
50. The Day Ray Got Away by Angela Johnson (my son's choice). You know the large balloons in the holiday parades.  What if they had put in years of service and were ready to retire?  That is essentially the premise of this book.  With a little help from his friends Ray is able to escape the same old same old and venture off to something new.
51. LMNO Peas by Keith Baker (my choice).  I love alphabet books and I finally got to read this one.  I can't remember where I saw this book advertised but I immediately thought it was such a cool idea.  Loved it!

January 19, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
52. and 53.  Two books for the eve of Tedd Arnold's birthday (my choice and my son's choice) - Super Fly Guy and Fly High, Fly Guy!.  I really like this early reader series.  The books are surprisingly good read alouds and have great illustrations. And Fly Guy is so cool and my son loves him.
54. Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco (my daughter's choice) - Wow! I don't ever remember crying reading a children's book.  This book did it for me.  Regrettably, I have never read a book by Patricia Polacco before, but after this I will be reading more.  I can't even begin to describe how wonderful this story was to read to my children.  The emotions of sadness, rejection, disappointment, companionship, happiness, and triumph were all covered.  Just awesome!

January 20, 2011 (Before Quiet Time)
55. Otto Runs For President by Rosemary Wells (my daughter's choice). Tiffany and Charles are the popular kids that are running for class president.  Otto decides to go against the odds and run for class president himself.  Instead of self-promotion like his competitors he focuses on the needs of the voters like kindergartners needing blankets for naptime and the desire for healthy food like watermelon in the cafeteria.  I think you know how this one turns out!
56. 13 Words by Lemony Snicket (my choice). This book connects 13 words together to create story. Some of the words are simple like bird, dog, goat, and hat.  Others are more complicated like haberdashery, despondent, and panache.  We really liked this book for the illustrations and word #13, "mezzo-soprano" which of course allowed us to sing! My daughter sang the last page of the book while standing on the bed.  It was fun!
Note: My son chose to reread Vampire Boy's Goodnight by Lisa Brown

January 20, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
57. Swim! Swim! by Lerch (my son's choice).  We had read this book about a month ago. I saw it at the library this week and I had to get it again.  Lerch is a fish that is lonely and is in search of a friend.  He unsuccessfully tries to make friends with what he sees in his immediate surroundings.  However, they don't talk fish or talk at all.  Lerch does eventually get some help, but it is from a very unexpected party. This is a very cool book!
58. Spork by Kyo Maclear (my choice).  I had seen this book on quite a few blogs in the past few weeks.  A children's book about a spork - this I had to read! Spork doesn't fit in with the rest of cutlery in the drawer.  He is very despondent as he watches the spoons and forks being used and getting a nice bath at the end.  Spork eventually does get appreciated for his special ability.  My family appreciated who saw the potential in Spork. Our favorite page was of illustrations of other potential kitchen utensils that were two-in-one like a Spatula Potato Masher, aka Spasher!
59. The Gulps by Rosemary Wells (my daughter's choice).  We read this book last year when we celebrated the birthday of Rosemary Wells.  The Gulps are a family of five and young Dawn is the only one that is health-conscious.  It takes their camper breaking down and an invitation from a farmer to stay at their house to get them on the road to good health.  This book allowed us to talk about healthy foods and behaviors.

January 21, 2011 (Before Quiet Time)
60. Yoko's Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells (my daughter's choice).  Yoko makes paper cranes for her grandmother's birthday.  My daughter instantly wanted to do origami so we put it on the list for the Rosemary Wells birthday celebration.
61. Crow by Leo Timmers (my choice).  Crow is lonely and wants to make friends.  However, the other birds are afraid of his black feathers.  He gets the idea to paint his feathers to make friends.  It does work out but not in the way he expected. My son was not happy that the chickadee in the book was not the correct colors!
62. The Story of Darth Vader by Catherine Saunders (my son's choice).  I don't like reading these DK Reader books, but my son picks them out independently at the library which is pretty cool.  He heads right for the section as soon as he gets to the library which is a big deal because it used to be the computer.

January 21, 2011 (Before Bedtime - Son was on an overnight)
63. Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis (my daughter's choice).  I really liked that this book was a diary of the first month of school.  This book would be perfect for a teacher or parent to read many times at the beginning of school to ease the nerves of a new kindergartner.  I think it would even work to create dialogue with any kindergartner.  There were many things my daughter was able to relate to including cupcake parties, playing on the playground, new friends, etc.
64. The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (my choice).  We haven't read a wordless picture book for quite a long time.  At first my daughter didn't know what to do; she played with her socks, adjusted her stuffed animals.  Then, I asked her to make predictions or to tell me what was happening in the pictures to keep her engaged.  She was pretty happy when she guessed how the mouse was going to help the lion.

January 22, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
65. Marvel Heroes Amazing Powers by Catherine Saunders (my son's choice).  This was another DK Reader about Super Heroes.
66. Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells (my daughter's choice).  Nora isn't the child being helped by mum or entertained by Father.  But, she can make noise. This irritates the family and her parents tell her to be quiet.  Her sister even tells her she is dumb.  Nora decides she has had enough and leaves.  Does anybody notice?  This was a great book for me to read, because I always worry about my son as the middle child. I try so hard to give him equal time, yet it is difficult with my daughter learning so many new things at school and with the baby needing so much attention.
67. Angelina Star of the Show (my choice).  An another Angelina book for the eve of Katharine Holabird's birthday.  This was not my favorite of the Angelina books but I did like the interactions that Angelina has with her grandparents.  My kids got to see both sets of grandparents today and it is so evident how important they are to them.

January 23, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
68. Shy Charles by Rosemary Wells (my son's choice).  Charles' shyness is aggravating for his parents and they unsuccessfully try everything to get him to open up.  But, when there is an emergency Charles is able to make a quick decision on his own and use his voice to help someone.  In the past I had only read Max and Ruby books by Rosemary Wells.  The other books by Wells that we have been reading this week give me a greater appreciation for her work.  She certainly can write a story that relates both to the child and the parent.
69. Betsy Red Hoodie by Gail Carson Levine (my choice).  My daughter did not like that I picked this book. She read it and didn't like it at all.  Which after reading it aloud her opinion is understandable because it veers quite a bit away from the Red Riding Hood story that she may have expected.  Additionally, it throws in a Little Bo Beep aspect too with a lost sheep.  There is just a lot going on in this book from silly dialogue from sheep, a strange ending,  and lots of attempts at humor that was way above my children's heads.
Note: My daughter opted to reread Thank You Miss Doover by Robin Pulver.

January 24, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
70. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer (my son's choice).  My son smiled every time George did something other than bark! It was so cool.  I have loved this story since the moment I saw it performed by a young librarian at a nighttime story time!
71. The House Across the Street by Jules Feiffer (my choice).  I can remember as a child always thinking that other kids had better toys and got to do cooler things.  Feiffer captures those childhood emotions in this book. Very cool!
Note: My daughter chose to reread The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco.

January 25, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
72. Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells (my son's choice).  Ruby makes an angel surprise cake with raspberry icing for Grandma's birthday, but Max has a special idea to make his earthworm cake extra tasty.  This is one of our favorite Max and Ruby books.
73. Henry the Dog with No Tail by Kate Feiffer (illustrated by Jules Feiffer) (my daughter's choice).  I shared with my children that Jules Feiffer used to tell his daughter's stories before bedtime and it lead to his oldest becoming a children's book author.  My daughter said this book was "awesome!"
74. By the Side of the Road by Jules Feiffer (my choice). Another book for the eve of Jules Feiffer's birthday.  I think every parent gets to a point of wanting to drop their kid off on the side of the road.  After this book, it is clear we all should think twice.  They might just end up living there.

January 26, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
75. Sneaky Sheep by Chris Monroe (my choice).  Rocky and Blossom wanted to try the clover in the high meadow on the mountain but the sheep dog, Murphy warned them that it wasn't safe.  This didn't stop the daring sheep from making multiple attempts to leave the lower meadow.  Luckily Murphy is a great sheep dog.
76. 77. 78. We read 3 books by Rosemary Wells from the Edward: The Unready (my daughter's choice).  I can't believe how much my kids love her books.  These were particularly charming books about Edward being unready for a sleepover, a pool party, and play school.
Note: My son chose to reread The House Across the Street by Jules Feiffer - Happy Birthday Jules!

January 27, 2011 (Before Heading to See Denise Fleming)
79. Lunch by Denise Fleming - We read a few books by Denise Fleming before we went to meet her at a library in Cleveland.  The illustrations that Fleming created for this book are great.  Mouse ends up eating his way through some healthy foods but he gets very messy!  Denise Fleming said today that Mouse is actually her. She loves food but is a "slob"!
80. Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming - Mouse is back in one of my favorite alphabet books.   Denise Fleming said today that she loves power tools and loved using them to build her house. This is a perfect book for kids who love to build and make things.
81.Where Once There Was a Wood by Denise Fleming - This is a great book for teaching conservation. The woods and meadow are homes to animals yet we are displacing them as we build our own homes.  I read that Fleming added leaves and other earthy items to her pulp when she painted these illustrations.

January 27, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
82. Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming - The idea for this book came from Denise Fleming seeing beetles in her own backyard.  This is a great book to read aloud because of the rhymes and action words!
83. McDuff Saves the Day by Rosemary Wells - My daughter said, "Now that was a good book!"  She is such Rosemary Wells fan.  McDuff kinda runs the show in this family ironically more than the baby.  Even though he always gets his way he does save Fourth of July from being a diaster.
Note: My son opted to reread The Gulps by Rosemary Wells.

January 28, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
84. The Great Roadrunner Race by Sarah Willson (my son's choice). This was a Ready-To-Read Level 1 book that my son checked out at the library. We made attempts to read using the picture symbols provided within the sentence.
85. Yoko by Rosemary Wells (my choice).  A great book for the eve of Rosemary Wells' birthday.  Yoko takes sushi for lunch and her classmates poke fun at her.  Her teacher Mrs. Jenkins comes up with the idea of an International Food Day to help introduce different foods to the children in the class.  But, does it work?
86. Here Comes Mother Goose by Iona Opie, Illustrated by Rosemary Wells (my daughter's choice).  I love reading nursery rhymes with my daughter.  By the end of this book she was singing all the poems!  My son liked the illustrations and said, "Hey, there is Max!"

January 29, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
87. Carry Me! by Rosemary Wells (my choice).  I picked this book to read for Rosemary Wells' birthday today. It was a nice poem with her signature illustrations.  However, it wasn't one of my favorites.  We have read so many good books from her this week and this one wasn't one of them.
88. Angelina's Special Week by Katharine Holabird (my daughter's choice).  This book came in the mail today.  I forgot that I won this in a blog drawing a while back.  This book was pretty neat because it talked about activities Angelina did each day of the week.  Then, it asked a question like "What do you do special on Mondays?"  It was interesting to hear what is special about each day for my children.  It made me feel good that some days were just days to play.
89. Art and Max by David Wiesner (my son's choice). We picked up a whole bunch of books by David Wiesner to prepare for his upcoming birthday. We read this book twice, because I didn't read it correctly the first time.  The second time through I figured out the voices and the intonation that were needed to convey the story better.  This was a very creative book.

January 30, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
90. Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems (my daughter's choice).  We began reading books by Mo Willems to prepare to celebrate his birthday in February.  The first book was about the dinosaur Edwina who is loved by everybody except Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie (my son thought his name was hilarious!)  Reginald tries real hard to convince everyone that Edwina is extinct, but no one seems to care - not even Edwina. My daughter thought the book was too short.
91. Sector 7 by David Wiesner (my son's choice). This book is a wordless book that was awarded Caldecott Honor.  A very artistic boy heads to the Empire State Building on a very cloudy day with his classmates. He meets a cloud at the top who takes him to Sector 7 Cloud Station where the boy shares his talent of drawing with the clouds.  The boy's drawings have quite an effect on the clouds much to the chagrin of Sector 7 management. Awesome book! It is very fun trying to guide my kids through the story.
92. The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming (my choice).  A great book for the eve of Denise Fleming's birthday.  A snowman is made to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas song.  This is one of my favorite illustrated books by Fleming because I now know that the pulp painting process is not easy. The color and shading of the snow is very cool.

January 31, 2011 (Before Quiet Time)
93. Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst (my daughter's choice). Judith Viorst's birthday is this week so I pulled out our Alexander books.  My daughter picked this one up because we hadn't never read it before.  I actually found this book in my old teacher files.  This is my least favorite Alexander book, but my daughter liked it because she loves counting money.
94. The New Baby by Mary Packard (my son's choice). This was a pretty good early reader.  My children asked for it to be read twice because it had some pretty good rhymes.
95. The Three Pigs by David Wiesner (my choice).  I had never read this Caldecott Medal Winner. The illustrations are imaginative and amazing.  The scene where the pigs board the paper airplane was very cool because we just made paper airplanes last week.  But, I didn't care for the story that much.

January 31, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
96. We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems (my choice). Wow! This was a fun book to read! I really got into Gerald the Elephant laughing! It even made my 7 month old baby laugh too as he was playing on the floor.  I am looking forward to reading more Elephant and Piggie books this week.
97. Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion by Mo Willems (my daughter's choice). This is my favorite book of the Trilogy.  The first two books were fun, but this one is both fun and touching.  The ending is awesome and brings closure to the series.
Note: My son opted to reread Edwina by Mo Willems.

February 1, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
98. Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems (my daughter's choice). We absolutely loved this book.  Leonardo is not a very good monster because he isn't very scary. He decides to boost his self-esteem by picking on the wimpiest kid. But, the kid a really rough day and Leonardo comes to a crossroad in this life.  Our favorite part is when the kid, Sam, breaks down and tells about his rough day!
99. Flotsam by David Wiesner (my choice). Another Caldecott Winner from David Wiesner.  Flotsam is something that floats.  The boy in the story discovers something mysterious on the beach during one of his scavenging adventures. With persistence and a little wit he uncovers what he has found.  My son said, "This is weird, this book has no words."  This has been such a cool and different experience investigating his books this week.
100. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems (my son's choice).  "Aggle Flaggle Klabble," "Blaggle plabble," "Wumby Flappy?" "Snurp."  My son about rolled off the bed laughing when Trixie tried to tell her Daddy that she lost Knuffle Bunny.  Love the book, Love the series.

February 2, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - Happy Groundhog Day (Spring is Coming Early)
101. Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems (my daughter's choice).  This was actually the first Knuffle Bunny story I read my daughter a few years back.  My son had never heard it before today.  He did not like it as much as the first book in the series which he asked to me reread tonight ("Aggle Flaggle Klabble!").  We were pretty excited to find Leonardo the Terrible Monster on Trixie's bed.
102. Alexander, Who's Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst (my choice).  It is Judith Viorst's birthday today.  We did not do a full celebration, but I had to read a few Alexander books.  I just love how grumpy Alexander is in these stories.  It reminds me of how I was as a kid.
103. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (Bonus Birthday Book). We had to sneak in a fourth book without mom knowing about it.  I often get in trouble for not getting the kids to bed on time, but with a snow day today we actually got the kids to bed early.  Looks like the kids will be back at school tomorrow and I hope no one has a day like Alexander.

February 3, 2011 (Activity)
104. Tuesday by David Wiesner - We were "experimenting" with wordless books today. We each read this Caldecott Medal Winner by ourselves while being videotaped.  Then we watched the recording to see how our stories with similar or different.  It was quite an interesting experience. More to come in the David Wiesner birthday post.

February 3, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
105. Hurricane by David Wiesner (my daughter's choice) - This is a book by David Wiesner that has words. I thought I was going to be disappointed with this book. When it started I thought it was going to be all about just a hurricane. However,  Wiesner's imagination and illustrations soon took the story in another unexpected direction. It is very cool story about a storm that knocks down a tree in the boys' backyard. Wiesner's illustrations bring to life the pretend play of the boys as they use the tree as a many different vessels.
106. June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner (my choice) - Another Wiesner book today as we are in the midst of our birthday celebration.  This one was very cool and my daughter thought it was a lot like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Note: My son opted for Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems again.

February 4, 2011 (Before Quiet Time)
107. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems (my choice) - This was a pretty simple story. A naked mole rat named Wilbur likes getting dressed.  His peers do not like that he covers his naked body so they tell Grand-Pah Mole Rat of the situation.  He thinks deeply and decided that it is okay for naked mole rats to get dressed. In fact, it can be quite fun! A fun story that was fun to read once.  On the other hand, my son opted to read Knuffle Bunny again (maybe the 4th time)!
108.Alligators: Fast and Fierce by Norman Pearl (my daughter's choice).  My daughter checked a bunch of books out about alligators after a library program by Alligator Eric.  He showed many different animals to the large crowd including skinks, tarantulas, and snakes.  His finale was an alligator! This was a very good non-fiction book.  We learned that female alligators make a nest for their eggs and that many alligator babies don't make it to their first birthday.  Raccoons and birds like to eat them!

Note: Kids were at Grandma's house for an overnight, so no bedtime books!

February 5, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
109. The Invincible Iron Man: Friends and Enemies (my son's choice) by Michael Teitelbaum.  My daughter says, "I am not listening to this book."  My son replies, "Well, I like Super Heroes."  Funny thing, as I was reading about each character  my daughter peers over to check each one out!  This was a decent Level 3 DK Reader.  It went through lots of Super Heroes which my son loved very much.  It was a welcome change after 4 days of Knuffle Bunny!
110. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems (my choice).  The back of the book said that this was Mo Willems's first book for children.  Also, he was an writer and animator for Sesame Street!  I didn't know this. Pretty cool! I tried really hard to get my kids to participate by talking to the Pigeon, but they weren't really into it.
111. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems (my daughter's choice). I liked this one better than the Drive the Bus.  I wondered when reading this if the Pigeon was based upon one of Willems's kids?  The idea of wanting a dog, but not totally understanding the responsibility and reality of having a pet seems to be very much like a real experience.

February 6, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
112. Time to Sleep, Sheep the Sheep! by Mo Willems (my son's choice).  Another great early reader from Mo Willems.  This book uses the simple repeated text, "Time to Sleep..." for each animal (i.e. Shark the Shark) as it prepares for bed.  However, the reader must pay attention to the illustrations to learn how each animal is getting ready for bed - well, each animal except Owl.
113. I Am Going! by Mo Willems (my choice).  I think I said it before, but I love reading aloud the Elephant and Piggie books.  They are so dramatic and the exchanges between Elephant and Piggie are precise.   Looking forward to more...
114. Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback (my daughter's choice).  This book was a Caldecott Medal Winner.  The illustrations were done using watercolors, gouache, pencil, ink, and collage.  Additionally, there is a die cut element that creatively shows how the overcoat transforms.  Many are familiar with Taback's die cut elements from his book There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. The message of this book is "You can always make something out of nothing."

February 7, 2011 (Randomly in the afternoon)
115. The Flying Witch by Jane Yolen (my daughter requested a midday read).  I made a trip to a library that is a little out of the way while the kids were at school.  I loaded up a bag of books by Jane Yolen for her upcoming birthday. My daughter sifted through the bag, found this book, and immediately asked me to read it.  She has read many versions of the Baba Yaga Russian Folktale and never turns down a chance to read another.  This version was not as creepy as other versions we have read and the ending was well done.   My daughter very much approved of this retelling by Jane Yolen. I liked the focus on traditional elements like the mortar and pestal (the witch flies around in this) and the iron nose of the witch.  But, I also liked new elements like turnips and a extra clever young girl. Many versions I have read include talking animals that are not present in this version.

February 7, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
116. Dear Mother, Dear Daughter: Poems for Young People by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple (my daughter's choice). This was a very cool approach to a book of poetry.  Two poems are presented on a spread about an issue of contention between a parent and child like homework, boys/talking on the phone, and staying up late.  One poem is told from the point of view of the child (Heidi Stemple - actually Jane Yolen's daughter) and one poem is told from the parent's point of view (Jane Yole). There was a topic I skipped about guns and violence because I felt my kids weren't ready. Overall, my daughter liked the poetry and my son was completely uninterested.
117. How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (my son's choice). We read quite a few books from this series last year during our celebration of Yolen's birthday. However, this is the only one I picked up this year.
118. The Sea King by Jane Yolen and Shulamith Oppenheim (my choice).  I wanted read books we hadn't read by Jane Yolen this time around.  This book was another original folktale that contains multiple instances of folklore, particularly the brief appearance of Baba Yaga.  My daughter said at the end, "That was good book."  I think she really liked the ending with the princesses and the prince.

February 8, 2011 (Before Doing or Mo Willems Birthday Activity)
119 - 122. We read 4 Elephant and Piggie Books (There is Bird on Your Head, I am Invited to a Party!, Are You Ready to Play Outside?, Elephants Cannot Dance).  When we went upstairs it was just to read books.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I needed to read them because I had an idea for an activity later in the week.  I wanted to know Gerald and Piggie just a little better.  But after, we were finished my daughter and I got a piece of paper and made our own Elephant and Piggie story.  Of course, she was Piggie and I was Gerald. It just kinda happened - very cool, her ideas and mine together. The result will be posted in the Mo Willems birthday post!

February 8, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
123. Dimity Duck by Jane Yolen (my daughter's choice).  Dimity Duck and Frumity Frog play until dark.  Yolen describes all their activities with wonderful rhyme that made this book a pleasure to read.
124. Cat the Cat, Who Is That? by Mo Willems (my choice). The repeated text in this book gave my son an opportunity to read tonight.  He is starting to get excited about the thought of reading.  Once he got the pattern he was very proud of himself for being able to participate.
125. Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems (my son's choice).  He chose this book just because Knuffle Bunny was under Pigeon's wing on the cover.  My kids have loved finding other characters by Willems placed within the illustrations of his books.  It seems somebody always shows up!

February 9, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
126. Let's Say Hi to Friends Who Fly! by Mo Willems (my choice).  I was hoping to capitalize with my choice of a Cat the Cat book so my son would have an opportunity to read a little bit more tonight. However, he was not interested.  Maybe tomorrow - but it must be said that we were big fans of Rhino the Rhino.
127. Valentine Mice! by Bethany Roberts (my daughter's choice). We pulled out our Valentine's Day books this week.  I thought this was a hard book to read aloud. I felt like it wanted to be a rhyming book, but wasn't. I tried to find the rhythm, but I couldn't. However, my daughter did think it was "cute book."
128. Arthur's Valentine by Marc Brown (my son's choice).  My son said, "This is a different Arthur." The illustrations are from earlier in the Arthur series when he actually looked like an aardvark. I reassured him that it was the same Arthur.  The illustrations might be different from what my kids are accustomed to, but the story was not. Arthur once again is in a situation and this time it involves a secret admirer. Who is leaving mushy notes for him to find? Is it who he thinks it is?

February 10, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
129. It's Valentine's Day by Jack Prelutsky (my daughter's choice).  This is not my favorite of the holiday poem books by Prelutsky.  The Thanksgiving book is my favorite by far.  However, it was perfect for the night before my daughter's Valentine's Day party at school.
130. Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond (my daughter's choice - she chose 2, kinds excited about her V-Day Party tomorrow!) My daughter spent over an hour making her own Valentines today for her classmates today.  I was very proud of how hard she worked.  I wish I could be there to watch her pass them out.
131. Time to Pee! by Mo Willems (my son's choice).  Thankfully, I am not potty training right now.  I think that is one of the hardest things I did with my daughter. It was easier the second time around, but that first time was tough.  This book will be handy in about a year and half.

February 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
132. This is the House that Jack Built by Simms Taback (my choice). We have read this book or books that contain a similar rhyme numerous times.  But, this one has a important piece about Randolph Caldecott at the end that allowed me to talk about him and the connection to the Caldecott Award.
133. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback (my son's choice).  My daughter said, "I have read this book 100 times."  I had to explain to her that her brother has not heard some of these books as much as you and that this was his choice.  She did enjoy the book and helped me make sound effects for the rooster, maiden who is forlorn, etc.
134. The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine (my daughter's choice).  My daughter picked this out at the library today.  It was a very good book.  I highly recommend! A rusty wok that Ming trades for a bunch of eggs ends up bringing great fortune to his family and the people of Beijing.
135. Papa, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse (Bonus Book). We had a little extra time so my son picked out an extra book.  A great multicultural book that has hints of Margaret Wise Brown's Runaway Bunny and Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.

February 12, 2011 (During the Day - kids are sick :(
136. City Animals by Simms Taback - We were home all day with sick kids.  My daughter had the idea to pretend we were at preschool, so we did a circle time routine with books and music.  I picked up this book which is a perfect book for a group read aloud with very young children.  It encourages interaction by trying to guess the animal. Plus, with each question the pages fold out to reveal a large illustration of the animal.  Very cool design.
137. My Uncle Emily by Jane Yolen - My daughter asked me to read this today after we saw it on a blog.  She had remembered it from the stack of Jane Yolen books we brought home from the library.  This book is about Emily Dickinson and her nephew Gib.  Emily writes a poem for Gib to take to school to share.  A boy pokes fun at Gib by saying mean things about his Uncle Emily and her poetry (she was called Uncle because the two thought it was funny!). Gib punches the boy in the nose.  Gib is embarrassed with his actions and has a hard time confessing to his family. Another great story by Jane Yolen.

February 12, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
138. Ghost Wings by Barbara M. Joosse (my daughter's choice).  Monarch butterflies and Grandma are very important to a little girl.  She visits the Magic Circle with her grandmother to observe the butterflies leave each year.  Then, one year, the same day the last butterfly left, Grandma passes away.  The little girl initially struggles with Grandma's absence and her memory of her is foggy.  However, with the help of the butterflies she once again feels a strong connection with her grandmother.
139. I Miss You Every Day by Simms Taback (my choice).  A book for on the eve of Taback's birthday.  I really like this book.  The idea of sending yourself as a package in the mail to someone you miss very much is a very cool idea.  I am a big fan of Taback's illustrations and this one is no exception.
140. Bulldog's Big Day by Kate McMullan (my son's choice).  My kids gave this book 10 stars out of 5. Bulldog is unemployed, yet decides today is the day to get a job.  But, he fails at each job he tries for different reasons. Through the failures he finds out what he is should be doing with his life. Well written and the illustrations have a Richard Scarry-like feel to them (which I liked very much.)

February 13, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
141. My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? by Jennifer Fosberry (my daughter's choice).  My son went through a phase where he was Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and Obi-Wan Kenobi all in the course of a day. He would even ask his sister, "Who you be?"  She would always choose Princess Leia.  This book is about a similar idea.  However, Isabella is not pretending to be Star Wars characters, but important women of history like Sally Ride and Annie Oakley.  The person Isabella chooses to be next to last is the best part of the book.
142. Monsters Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Eric Kaplan (my son's choice).  I thought this was going to be a very cool book.  A father is tired of the whining from his two children and he tell them that monsters eat whiny children.  Of course, this doesn't stop them and then a monster steals them away.  Back at the lair, the monsters bicker about how to actually eat the children which leads to a tone that could be disliked by parents. There are even some word choices that some would not like.  But, they are monsters which are rude, right? The end is positive but overall the book was just okay.
143. Roawr! by Barbara Joosse (my choice).  I sometimes wonder if my kids sometimes ask me to read a book again because I read it better the second time.  The first read through I sometimes do not get the right pace or expression.  That was the case with this book.  During the second read, I got more into the head of the boy as he was trying to protect his mother from a wild bear.  The first time I didn't read with the right speed as the boy was gathering berries and fish to feed the bear.  Once I got things right I liked the book much more.

February 14, 2011(Before Bedtime) - Grandma read two books tonight.
144. In the Night Garden by Barbara Joosse (my daughter's choice).  Three young girls are pretending to be a whale, a bear, and a sled dog in the garden by moonlight.  All is well until Mom calls for them to come in for bedtime.  But, this doesn't stop the girls from returning to their animals characters while they are getting ready for bed.  Lots of cool sounds effects were made by my kiddos during this book.

February 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
145. The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake: A Book About Kitchen Chemistry by Joanna Cole (my daughter's choice).  We made a trip to the library again today.  I had a few books that I had on hold for Barbara Joosse's birthday celebration.  My daughter is really doing a nice job picking out books on her own.  She grabbed a good variety including a few Magic School Bus books.  She was excited to find picture book versions since she thought they were usually chapter books. This was the first Magic School Bus book that I have ever read.  It was pretty neat and held my son's attention too.
146. Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse (my choice). I remember having this book in my classroom as a teacher, but I do not remember ever reading it.  It was very cool.  The dialogue between the mother and child is so accurate to a child's wild imagination.  I also love that the book was able to teach us a little about Inuit culture.
147. Mr. Cookie Baker by Monica Wellington (my son's choice).  This was a perfect book for my son to pick out.  For many weeks at preschool he and his classmates have been pretending to have bake sales.  However, last week the teachers took it one step further by organizing a real bake sale with the help of kids.  All the goodies they sold helped raise money for the local children's hospital.  In the book, Mr. Cookie Baker shows the reader step by step how to bake cookies and then sell them in his shop.  There are even 4 recipes in the back of the book!

February 16, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
148. Raisin and Grape by Tom Amico (my son's choice). Raisin is grandpa.  Grape is his grandchild.  They have a great relationship; one of mutual respect and love.  My heart felt warm when Grandpa says, "When I was a grape, I was just like you."  Grape replies, "When I'm a raisin, I want to be just like you - except King!"  Also, there are a lot of funny lines in this book that will make you laugh out loud too.
149. Sleepover at Gramma's House by Barbara Joosse (my choice).  I am so lucky that my kids have special relationships with their grandmas like the little elephant in this book.  She is so excited to go to Gramma's house that she packs her own things and confidently tells everyone/thing goodbye.  I see this especially with my daughter as she prepares for a grandma visit. She is so proud, confident, and excited before she leaves.  And who wouldn't be excited to go to a place where you are the center of attention and get to do fun activities like paint, tell stories, and wear pinky party hats.  My wife and I love the time our children get to spend with grandmas, but we dread the return home.  My daughter is such a grouch when she comes home. It is such a let down for her. Maybe Joosse can write a sequel about coming back from Gramma's house.  I doubt it will be as delightful.
150. I Love You the Purplest by Barbara Joosse (my daughter's choice).  Two brothers go fishing with their Mama. However, the story is not about the fishing trip but about them trying to compete for Mama's love. "Mama, who has the most worms?" and "Mama, who's the best rower?".  I wish I was as collected as Mama as she gives the best answer to make both of her sons feel special.  Her best answer is at the end when she is asked "Who do you love the best?"

February 17, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
151. Little Critter's Read It Yourself Storybook by Mercer Mayer (my daughter's choice).  How come when I start a book with multiple stories and say "We are going to only read one?" do I end up reading the whole book? The stories in this book were hilarious especially Little Critter's This is my Friend. We laughed so hard when his friend tricked him by giving him a cookie made out of sand!
152. The Magic School Bus Meets The Rot Squad: A Book About Decomposition by Joanna cole, John May and Jocelyn Stevenson (my son's choice).  This was a perfect book for my children.  We have compost piles and love to dig for worms.  my daughter is about to do a science fair project on worm composting too.  Also, it is February and this got us thinking about Spring when we can spread compost on our garden.
153. Higgledy-Piggledy Chicks by Barbara Joosse (my choice).  A book for on the eve of her birthday. This was a fun book to read aloud especially once the baby chicks started to venture out. Mama Hen was a very busy bird trying to keep all the chicks away from danger.  I loved the counting of the chicks as they became safe under her wings - one, two, three, four, five! Whew!

February 18, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
154. Wind-Wild Dog by Barbara Joosse (my choice).  Happy Birthday Barbara Joosse! This book was a lot different than the others we read by Barbara Joosse this week.  It was a story about a dog named Ziva whose mother was a sled dog.  He was half-wild and this caused mushers to shy away from him.  But, one day a man took a chance on Ziva and took her home. He grew to love Ziva very much but knew one day she would have to choose to be with him or to be wild.  What will she choose?
155. School Lunch by True Kelley (my daughter's choice).  Another great book my daughter picked out at the library. This was about a school cook, Harriet, who needed a break to relieve the stress of trying to serve healthy foods that the kids and faculty would love. While she was on vacation the school went through many cooks that made the children really appreciate Harriet's cooking. There was diner cook, a laid-off chef, and even a witch that tried cooking for the kids in her absence. Each scenario was quite humorous.
156. Can you See What I See: Seymour and the Juice Box Boat by Walter Wick (my son's choice). My son loved this book.  It had the element of "seek and find" from the Can You See Series, but also had the character Seymour.  I liked having a Walter Wick experience presented as a read aloud.  It left me wishing that there were more of these books in the series.

February 19, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
157. Corduroy's Hike by Alison Inches (my daughter's choice).  This is Level 2 Puffin Easy-to-Read book based upon Don Freeman's loveable character, Corduroy.  This reader was full of action as Corduroy sneaks into Lisa's backpack before she went on a hike.  While on the hike, he peeked out of the backpack and tumbled out without notice to Lisa. Will she ever find Corduroy again?  Be prepared for a very abrupt ending.
158. Hot City by Barbara Joosse (my son's choice).  Still reading Barbara's books even after her birthday.  This was one of our favorites.  It is hot in the city.  Mimi and Joe, sister and brother, seek refuge in the cool library.  Joosse definitely showed her "musicality" with this book.  A great read aloud!
159. Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow: A Compost Story by Linda Glaser (my choice).  My daughter started her worm composting science fair project yesterday.  I picked up this book to read because it makes mention of worms helping the composting process.  Composting is so cool.  We started a bin two summers ago by using an old garbage can.  Everything discussed in this book we have experienced - pretty cool!

February 20, 2011 (In the Morning)
160. Can You See What I See? Dream Machine by Walter Wick.  My son and I worked on this book behind a chair in his baby brother's room (one of his favorite places to hide).  It was quiet and fun to just sit together to solve the picture puzzles without anyone bothering us.  He loved trying to find Seymour on each page.  I loved this book because each scene was connected as Seymour traveled further and deeper into the sequence.

February 20, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
161. Can You See What I See? Seymour Makes New Friends by Walter Wick (my choice).  Seymour is back in his second book! It was so much fun having my kids take turns finding the items on the page.  This series is a lot easier than iSpy and Can You See? as it is designed for 3-5 year olds.  With it being easier my kids felt very successful and my son was excited when he found the item before his sister!
162. Franklin's Library Book (my daughter's choice).  This book made me miss watching the Franklin TV show.  It was one of my daughter's favorites when she was 3.  There is always a great lesson in each story.  In this story Franklin loses his library book, but it is story time day.  He has an interesting way to avoid Mrs. Goose, the librarian, until he can locate his book.
Note: My son chose to reread The Magic School Bus: Meets the Rot Squad, A Book About Decomposition.

February 21, 2010 (During the Day)
163. On A Scary Scary Night by Walter Wick.  It has been really cool working through the Can You See? books this year.  Last year we focused mainly on iSpy.  This was another Can You See? book by Wick that went deeper (kinda like Google Earth) until then end.  It is modeled after the famous story In a Dark, Dark Wood.  The picture puzzles start with "On a Scary Scary Night," then "Beneath a Scary Scary Moon."  Wick takes you closer until you find a "Scary Scary Shelf" and then a "Scary Scary Bottle".  I bet you know what is inside the bottle!

February 21, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
164. Franklin and the Cookies by Sharon Jennings (my daughter's choice).  My daughter said she picked this book because we made cookies tonight.  They were oatmeal chocolate chip!  Franklin and Bear have a little trouble controlling themselves and eat all the cookies leaving none for their sisters.  I had a little trouble controlling myself too as I ate probably 6 cookies worth of dough!  Bear and Franklin find out that not only is it fun to eat cookies, but it is also great to bake them with friends.
165. Grandma Calls Me Beautiful by Barbara Joosse (my son's choice).  My son said, "It's Jo-see not Jo-say," when I incorrectly said the name of the author.  This book is by the same author as Mama Do You Love Me? and it follows a very similar pattern.  The little girl has a special bond with her Grandmother and wants to hear the story of she got her name Beautiful.  Her Grandmother grants her wish and also confirms to her that she will always be beautiful in her eyes.
166. Benno and the Night of Broken Glass by Meg Wiviott (my choice).  Honestly, this one snuck up on me.  I didn't know it was about the beginning of the Holocaust.  I thought it was going to be about a cat's adventures.  However, it is well done and leaves the reader with a lot of room to expand on the topic on their own.  In my case it is ambiguous enough that I was able to give a 5 year old summary of the Holocaust - "A mean leader of Germany didn't like some people so on this night he had his man get those people and take them away."
167. Nikolai, the Only Bear by Barbara Joosse (Bonus Book).  My daughter has had questions about adoption in the past. Additionally she has wondered how some kids cannot have a mom or dad.  This book will probably bring about more questions this week.  Nikolai is the only bear in the orphanage and is misunderstood by the orphanage's staff.  He can't communicate well and is still learning many things about playing with friends.  But, on a special day he is chosen to be adopted by a wonderful family who loves him for who he is.

February 22, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
168. Can You See What I See? 100 Fun Finds Read-And-Seek by Walter Wick. I picked this book to read on the eve of Walter Wick's birthday.  Another enjoyable experience with my two children taking turns and finding 100 objects in this level 1 Beginning reader.
169. Franklin and the Contest by Sharon Jennings (my daughter's pick).  The third night in a row for a Franklin reader.  This time my daughter read the book to my son and I which was very cool.  I never force her to read at bedtime, but when she offers the floor is all hers.  In this book, Franklin tries to win a magazine contest, but it is all the "thinking" about what he is going to do to compete that makes the story a wonderful read.
Note: My son chose to read Little Critter's Read it Yourself StoryBook again. It made us laugh again!

February 23, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - Nothing better than picking your book from a new huge stack from the library.
170. Jumpy Jack and Googily by Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackall (my son's choice). I was walking through the stacks of books at the library and this book was literally begging to be checked out.  It was sticking out, slightly at a slant for me to notice it.  I hadn't read this book in well over a year.  It is just awesome!  Jumpy Jack is a nervous snail that is scared of monsters.  He asks his friend Googily who is a monster to check to make sure there are not monsters behind a tree, in a paddling pool, etc.  Ironically, it is Googily who gets scared before bed.  You won't believe what he is scared of!
171. 13 Words by Lemony Snicket (my choice).  A picture book that uses the words haberdashery and panache is just plain cool.  I felt like Snicket had 100 words in a hat and picked out 13.  Then he wrote a story around those 13 words.  It is definitely an unusual book, but what else do you expect from Snicket.
172. McElligot's Pool by Dr. Seuss (my daughter's choice).  Dr. Seuss's birthday is right around the corner.  You are starting to hear rumblings already.  We picked up a bunch today at the library before the mad rush.  My daughter was pretty excited to read this book.  She saw it on a documentary about Dr. Seuss's life.

February 24, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
173. Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss (my son's choice).  I might have just found a new favorite book by Dr. Seuss. I can't believe I had never read it before.  It has a great message that, it is possible to make things considerably better just by admitting it is your fault and saying "I'm Sorry."  I am lucky I picked to read this book first because it is very long and probably wouldn't have been enjoyed as well if it would have been book number three.
174. Snow by Uri Shulevitz (my choice).  I thought this was an appropriate choice since another snow storm is bearing down on our neck of the woods tonight.  I found myself saying multiple times, "I love that picture." The illustrations are awesome and the words on very concise.  It captures the hope of a child in a single snowflake and it displays the joy when the snow piles up enough to play in it.  You can't help love the grumpy adults, too.
175. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss (my daughter's choice).  I see this book as a cautionary tale for parents not to squash the imagination of their children.

February 25, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
176. The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss (my daughter's choice).  I don't know what my daughter liked more, the story or the list of all the books written by Dr. Seuss on the back.  She said, "Dad, tomorrow we should make a list and say "yes" or "no" if we have read them."
177. The Moon in my Room by Uri Shulevitz (my choice).  My daughter realized tonight that her great-grandfather's birthday is the same as Uri Shulevitz.  This book may be one you would pass on if it were in a stack of books.  The illustrations are simple and not very colorful. My kids weren't initially attracted to the book either.  But, as I read the simple text about a boy and his room they began to pay attention.  By the time, I came to the part where the boy lost his Prince Bear they were hooked.
Note: My son chose to read a few chapter of a Captain Underpants book by Dav Pilkey.

February 26, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
178. Arthur Goes to Camp by Marc Brown (my son's choice).  My wife found a few Arthur books at the thrift store for 25 cents.  My kids were so excited. We had read this book before, but they loved it like it was the first time!
179. Arthur's New Puppy by Marc Brown (my daughter's choice).  My kids liked that Pal, Arthur's new puppy, went to the bathroom on the floor! We do not have a dog and we joke with our kids that we will never get one because they poop and pee on the carpet.
180. The King's Stilts by Dr. Seuss (my choice).  I was surprised that my daughter didn't pick this one because we went through the list of Dr. Seuss books from the back of Bartholomew and she marked this book with a "NO".  According to her list, after reading this one, we now have read 29 different Dr. Seuss books in her lifetime. I enjoyed this one very much.  Another long book though, book time tonight was 50 minutes! My son took a few breaks to walk around, but overall he did pretty awesome for a 3 year old!

February 27, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - I thought we weren't going to be able to read books tonight as we were out of town celebrating Great-Grandpa's birthday.  The kids fell asleep on the way home in the car.  But, as I was carrying my son to bed he said, "Can we have a snack and read some books?"  So, I picked two books and he fell asleep during the second one.
181. Oh, the Places You'll Go! - This book was a gift my wife received from a teacher in high school upon graduation.  The book is perfect for a graduate, but I am unsure if my kiddos grasped any of it (especially in their sleepy stupor).
182. Dogzilla by Dav Pilkey - In the city of Mousopolis, a barbeque cookout awakens Dogzilla who ends up destroying parts of the city. However, The Big Cheese (a mouse General), acts quickly before all is lost, to rid the city of Dogzilla.  All he had to do is think of what dogs hate the most.

February 28, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
183. Spidey Strikes Back! by Todd Dezago (my son's choice) - "Graphic novel" has become a household term in our house.  However, this was the first Marvel graphic novel/comic book that I have ever read.  At times I had a hard time reading it.  Is there a specific way to read a comic book?  I never read them growing up.  But, I was pleasantly surprised, there was very little violence and language.  I was very pleased with this book.
184. The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket (my daughter's choice) - I had originally planned to celebrate Snicket's birthday, well Daniel Handler's birthday today.  But, mostly lack of time prevented a celebration and after reading a little of Unfortunate Events, I decided to hold off the celebration until my kids were a little older.  However, we had the books, so since my daughter picked this book today - HAPPY BIRTHDAY DANIEL HANDLER aka Lemony Snicket.  This book was about a lump of coal that wants to be an artist and rolls around the city looking for his chance or as he calls it " a miracle."  After a few failures he meets a man dressed as Santa Claus who decides to give Lump of Coal a shot as a lump of coal in his stepson's stocking.  A miracle does happen as the boy receiving the coal is an aspiring artist and the two make a great team.
185. The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss (my choice).  We had read the Sneetches story from this book once before, but it is the other stories that my son enjoyed the most this time around.  Especially, What was I Scared of?  A little Seussian character is haunted by a pair of empty pants.  However, once he gets to know the pants he realizes he should have never been scared at all.  It is amazing that all these silly stories by Seuss end up having a great message.

March 1, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
186. The Dumb Bunnies' Easter by Dav Pilkey (my daughter's choice).  I really like the Dumb Bunnies Series.  Yes, it is dumb, but it is pretty darn funny.  Strangely, it also makes the kids think.  There are lots of play-on-words humor. I love hearing them legitimately laugh when they get the intended joke.
187. Hunches in Bunches by Dr. Seuss (my choice).  We picked up this one at the library today.  It was another book by Seuss that we had never read before. This birthday celebration we have added around a half dozen books to our "Books we have read by Dr. Seuss" list.   I really liked the idea of portraying a "hunch" or thought in your head as a character with an arrow on their head.  Tomorrow is the big day!
188. Transformers Robot Heroes: I am Optimus Prime by Chris Ryall (my son's choice).  My son discovered the graphic novel section at the library.  He was very excited with his choices.  This book was perfect for him.  It was set up like a picture book but had the comic book feel to it.
189. The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss (Bonus Book).  A classic read aloud for the eve of Seuss's birthday!

March 2, 2011 (Before Bedtime)  - We read a whole slew of Dr. Seuss books today too.
190. Potato Joe by Keith Baker (my son's choice).  You know the familiar rhyme, "One Potato, Two Potato...." Well, one of those potatoes' names is Joe - Potato Joe and he grows down in the dirt.  But, before he returns to the dirt we get to meet a few of his friends, potato three and potato four to name a few.  I personally really like potatoes and now I like Potato Joe.
191. and 192. Dumb Bunnies and Make Way For Dumb Bunnies by Dav Pilkey.  Dr. Seuss felt nonsense was a good thing.  Well, I think silliness is a good thing too.  These books were certainly silly. Don't read these if you consider yourself serious.  You'll be disappointed.

March 3, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
193. DC Super Friends: Flying High by Nick Eliopulos (my son's choice).  My daughter said, "Why do my books always go last?"  Truth is her book was second in the pile.  Another truth is that my son had ants in his pants and if I didn't read his book first he wasn't going to get anything out of story time tonight.  This was a quick level 1 reader that had all his favorites guys; Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman!
194. The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snicket (my daughter's choice).  My kids favorite part of this book was when the latke was screaming.  Most of the other stuff about the Hanukkah and its traditions went flying over their heads.
195. Waffle by Chris Raschka (my choice).  My kids loved counting the smiley face illustrations in this book. It was an opportunity to work on one-to-one correspondence with my son while my daughter counted by twos and threes.  I reread the book after all the smileys were counted, but they weren't much interested.  I really thought the book was creative but it was not about one of my favorite breakfast foods.

March 4, 2011 (Before an Activity)
196. and 197. The Purple Balloon and Five for a Little One by Chris Raschka.  Last night, I watched a video about Chris Raschka and The Purple Balloon, a book for families with children that have life threatening illnesses.  He demonstrated how he used a potato to illustrate the balloons for the book.  Then, while reading an interview, I read that he also used potato stamps for Five for the Little One which is a book about the five senses.  I thought this would be a fun activity for the kids.  We read these two books and then started our craft.

March 4, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
198. There's No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent.  This a funny little book about a mother who says there is no such thing as dragons, but one just happens to be in her house.  Her son brings it to her attention when it is as big as a kitten, but it must grow larger than the house for her notice.
199. The Dumb Bunnies Go To The Zoo by Dav Pilkey (my son's choice). Happy Birthday Dav Pilkey! Unfortuantely, I have to say this was my least favorite Dumb Bunnies book.  It really wasn't DUMB enough.  The jokes in this one seemed a bit forced.  But, I am a big fan of the others we read this week.
200. Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka (my choice). This was a Caldecott Honor book that has only 34 words but the illustrations and the visual of the words say a whole lot more.  It is story about the beginning of friendship and the awkward exchange to feel each other out; trying to find out if hanging out would be a good idea.  Yo! I liked this one!

March 5, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
201. Would You Rather Be a Bullfrog? by Dr. Seuss (my daughter's choice).  My daughter said she picked this because she wanted to add another to her list of books she has read by Dr. Seuss.  The book is a series of "serious" questions like  "Would you rather be a bullfrog or be a butterfly?" My kids started off answering the questions, but then asked me to just read the book.  But, that only lasted for two pages and they were back to answering the questions.  Fun book!
202. Little Black Crow by Chris Raschka (my choice).  A book for the eve of Chris Raschka's birthday.  The text is perfect for reading aloud.  The rhythm and rhymes are allowed me to read it like an exquisitive child.  I am a big fan of watercolor illustrations too.
203. Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Volume 10 by Matt and Shawn Fillbach (my son's choice).  I initially said no to this book because it is a complete graphic novel with four episodes.  My thought was it was going to be too long. But, I am mindful of letting my kids choose the books they want me to read to them.  I quickly changed my mind and they loved the book.  The text was very light and had lots of sound effects.

March 6, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
204. Punk Farm by Jarrett Krosoczka (my son's choice).  When we celebrated Jarrett Krosoczka's birthday in December our library only had the sequel to this book Punk Farm On Tour.  This week we found Punk Farm on the new book shelf at our library and we were very excited.  My children loved standing on the bed with their pretend microphones in their hand singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm right just like Sheep.
205. Puss in Boots by Steve Light (my daughter's choice).  The only thing I knew about Puss in Boots before reading this book was what I had seen in the Shrek movies.  I enjoyed hearing the story of how Puss came to have his boots and how he helped his master marry the young princess.  Steve Light uses hand-painted pattern papers for the illustrations which is similar to a demonstration he had on his Facebook page around the holidays for his book The Christmas Giant.
206. What You Need Is... Table Manners: The Edifying Story of Two Friends Whose Discovery of Good Manners Promises Them a Glorious Future by Chris Raschka (my choice).  Happy Birthday Chris Raschka.  This was my daughter's favorite book by Chris Raschka this week.  The book is a hodge-podge dialogue between Raschka and Vladimir Radunsky's alter-egos Dudunya and Chester about how to behave around the table.  My daughter was a big fan of the end papers; before and after pictures of real kids!

March 7, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
207. The Shoemaker Extraordinaire by Steve Light (my daughter's choice).  The Shoemaker Extraordinaire makes "shoes that fit each customer just right."  He makes them fit just right not because he measures the foot perfectly or uses the finest leather but because identifies a need of each customer.  A short man needs shoes to make him tall and a woman who has lots of dogs to walk needs shoes that won't tire her out.  The Shoemaker Extraordinaire is very successful which frustrates the local cobbler that makes normal shoes. The cobbler devises a plan to trick the Shoemaker Extraordinaire into approaching a hungry giant.  The Shoemaker must identify what the giant needs more than him as his breakfast meal to escape with his life.  This was a wonderful book with unique collage illustrations.  The author note mentions that the patterns on the paper were created with ink and shoe prints.  Very cool!
208. Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons by Agnes Rosenstiehl (my choice).  The book is tagged on the front with this label, "A first comic for brand new readers."  This was a book my daughter picked out at the library and was disappointed.  She said, "I thought it was going to be good, but it wasn't."  She told me all of this after she half-listened to the story while I read. We talked about how it was okay to not like a book and that not every book we get at the library was going to be great.
Note:  My son chose to reread Dumb Bunnies Go to the Zoo by Dav Pilkey.  While we were reading he said, "Boy, these bunnies are dumb."

March 8, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
209. Late for School by Steve Martin (my daughter's choice).  My daughter picked this book because she saw that it includes a CD with the song "Late for School" also by Steve Martin.  I am looking forward to listening to the CD.  I think it will help me read this book better. I found some of the rhymes a little awkward, but that usually happens with me the first time through a book.  The illustrations by C.F. Payne are stunning.  My kids were dialed in the whole time and gasped (while laughing a little) at the ending.
210. Whistle For Willie by Ezra Jack Keats (my choice).  Ezra Jack Keats' birthday is this week, March 11.  I love all the books by Keats with Peter in them.  This is a good one because my daughter just figured out how to whistle.  Peter wants to learn to whistle to call his dog Willie.  Keats captures the excitement of Peter when he finally figures it out. Whistling is so cool!
Note: My son checked out Jumpy Jack and Googily by Meg Rosoff at the library again today.  Of course we had to read it!

March 9, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - Happy World Read Aloud Day!
211. Olivia Goes to Venice by Ian Falconer (my daughter's choice).  My kids loved looking at the illustrations and figuring out which part was drawn by Ian Falconer and what part was a real image.  We got to talk about a lot of cool things like gondolas, gelato, and palazzos too.
212. Snowbots by Aaron Reynolds (my son's choice).  My son picked this book up and said, "This is going to be a good one!"  If I were to judge the book by the cover I wouldn't have guessed the book was going to have rhymes.  I thought it was going to be a book with very simple text. Nonetheless, my son asked for it to be read twice!  I guess there is nothing better than robots playing in the snow!
213. Goggles by Ezra Jack Keats (my choice).  Each time I read Ezra Jack Keats I become a bigger fan. This is one of my favorites! Archie and Peter stand up to the big kids to protect their newly found yellow goggles!  We watched the Scholastic Storybook Treasures Ezra Jack Keats Collection tonight too!

March 10, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
214. Zoomer by Ned Young (my son's choice).  We picked this book up at my daughter's school book fair today.  Zoomer is a busy and creative little dog who refuses to go to school because he has too much to do.  His dad is in charge of getting him to school while mom is away. However, Dad is failing miserably at keeping Zoomer focused on getting ready. Zoomer ends up being the one who is right in the end knowing that its not a good idea to go to school.
215. Sneezenesia by Deb Lucke (my daughter's choice).  New favorite alert! New favorite alert!  This book was amazingly creative and weird - but a good weird.  A boy begins sneezing at the grocery store and then without warning he sneezes everything out of his brain; numbers, presidents, dinosaurs.  The boy is saddened by losing everything he has ever learned.  How is he going to get everything back into his brain? We wondered where the author got the idea for this book - dinosaur shaped snot in a tissue?
216. Pet Show! by Ezra Jack Keats (my choice).  Archie brings a germ to the Pet Show.  The judges deliberate and award Archie a prize. Tomorrow is Ezra Jack Keat's birthday - looking forward to reading more tomorrow.

March 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
217. Jennie's Hat by Ezra Jack Keats (my choice).   Jennie does not get the hat she was hoping for from her aunt.  She is very disappointed and takes her mind of it by feeding the birds.  She takes care of the birds on this day and the next day they help make her hat extra special.  My daughter said, "Birds can't do that."  I really like this book, but my kids are not big fans.
218. The Jellybeans and the Big Camp Kickoff by Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans (my daughter's choice).  We have read other Jellybeans books.  We found this one on the NEW BOOK shelf at the library.  I really like the overall theme of these books.  A group of friends who are different, but really get along well together.  But, maybe it is subliminal because jellybeans are my favorite candy!  This would be a good book for a girl who likes soccer as the main character loves soccer, but it is not played at her camp.  Her Jellybean friends have some great ideas to cheer her up!
219. Nothing Can Stop the Sandman! by Daniel Quantz (my son's choice).  This comic book novel was a little long for my kiddos, or maybe it was because I saved it to the end.  But, they were checked out before it was finished.  I kept reading though as it meandered along.  The climax seemed to take forever to get to and then suddenly the book was over.  I know it is important for my son to be able to choose the books he wants to hear, but sometimes it is really hard to read them!

March 12, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
220. Spider-Man Versus Doctor Octopus by Daniel Quantz (my son's choice).  This book was much better than the one from the night before.  There was an actual flow to the story.  Or maybe it was because I read it first.  The order of reading books is so important when reading before bedtime. Anyhow, there was a nice message in this book - NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP!
221. Banana! by Ed Vere (my choice).  This book only has two words - banana and please.  It was very predictable and my kids weren't that impressed. One monkey (probably a young monkey) sees another monkey (probably a parent monkey) with a banana.  He immediately wants it.  But, the monkey holds out for manners.  Then, since he said, "Please" the younger monkey assumed the banana was his and takes it. Well, that wasn't the right way to solve the problem of having one banana.  I am sure you know the predictable ending.
222. Spartacus the Spider by Etienne Delessert (my daughter's choice). Spartacus is a spider that doesn't make very strong webs.  With some guidance he learns how to make his webs stronger, but realizes that his really strong webs could be too strong and disrupt the balance of nature.  So, he goes back to making webs the way he had before.  There was an attempt at lesson in this book, but I don't quite see it resonating with my kids.
223. Ninja Cowboy Bear Presents the Way of the Ninja by David Bruins and Hilary Long (Bonus Book).  My son wasn't ready for books to be over, so since it was Saturday we read another book.  They declared at the end, "That was a good bonus book!" Ninja is much more adventurous than his friends.  Yet, his friends are willing to try a few things outside their comfort zone like jump on the bed and climb trees.  Ninja's friends are not very good at being adventurous and this causes Ninja to want to try his adventurous activities on his own.  But, he realizes something is missing and he doesn't have as much fun without his buddies.  Cool book.  I like the smaller size of the book too.

March 13, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
224. Tony Baloney by Pam Munoz Ryan (my daughter's choice).  Do you have a middle child?  If you do, let me know if there is a way to avoid middle child syndrome.  My son has it bad! I try so hard to pay attention to him, but his older sister gets to do all the fun activities and the baby demands so much of my time.  Plus, his sister is bossy and the baby just frustrates him because he can't play right.  My son is Tony Baloney. Everything from trouble following him to his sister making him be the pet when they play house.  I don't think he made the connection of his own life to the book, but I sure did!
225. I Wanna New Room by Karen Kaufman Orloff (my son's choice).  Tonight, my daughter picked a book that reflected her brother.  Now, he picked a book that reflected her situation.  When we had our third child we didn't have enough bedrooms so we put our two oldest together in the same room.  It really has been a reasonable situation.  No real big problems since it is the largest room in the house.  But, in I Wanna New Room the oldest boy in the family writes a series of letters to his parents about his need for a new room.  Mom only writes back once, and the rest of the responses are from Dad.  The boy complains about his brother's behavior in the room and that he doesn't have privacy.  All of the boy's reasons are valid, but one letter resonates with Dad enough for him to come up with a plan.  It's not a new room in the house, but something very special that leads to a very valuable lesson.
226. The Odious Ogre by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer (my choice). I had been wanting to read this book ever since celebrating Jules Feiffer's birthday January 26.  The reuniting of the award winning team of Juster and Feiffer will not disappoint with this book.  It was a tough but enjoyable read aloud.  Tough and enjoyable at the same time because it is full of lots of elaborate vocabulary! Normally you do not get to say words like indefatigable, scourge, and confounded in a picture book.  My daughter liked the word invincible and she asked what it meant.  I had to define it by referencing the "Star" special power on Mario Cart Wii.  Another funny thing about reading this story was when the Odious Ogre was heading through the forest my daughter jumped off the bed and declared, "If I was hiding in the forest when this Ogre walked by. I would jump out and karate chop him. Hiiiii-ya!!"  I have no idea where it came from but it was hilarious she her karate chop and kick the invincible ogre in her bedroom.

March 14, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
227. Arlene Sardine by Chris Raschka (my daughter's choice).  When we celebrated Chris Raschka's birthday I heard that this was a very controversial picture book.  It is about young brisling fish named Arlene that wants to be a sardine.  As you know a sardine is a smoked fish packed in oil in a can.  The book follows her from her birth to her death, but then to the supermarket. When Arlene dies, my daughter said, "oh."But, the story carries on and she tried to figure out exactly what was happening to Arlene. We both decided that we didn't want to ever eat an Arlene.
228. Hickory Dickory Dock by Keith Baker (my choice). Keith Baker illustrates the well known nursery rhyme and adds on to the rhyme to take us through 12 hours of the day.  Animal after animal visits the clock until night falls.  At midnight it is time for the mouse to go to sleep.  Our favorite part was the mouse parachuting from the top of the clock to the ground and then heads off to bed.
229. A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems by Chris Raschka (my son's choice).  My kids didn't like this book as much as I thought they would.  I thought they would get into the words of the poems being formed into a shapes.  Actually, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.  Our favorite poem was Tennis Anyone? where the words of the poem go back and forth on the page.  Your eyes must read it like your are watching the tennis ball in a match. I would like to try this book again when the kids are older.

March 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
230. Awesome Powers by Michael Teitelbaum (my son's choice).  Lots of talk this past week during the Share a Story, Shape a Future blogging event about the importance of letting your children chose the books they want to read.  This would not have been my choice, but he loves them.
231. Fancy Nancy: Spectacular Spectacles by Jane O'Connor (my daughter's choice).  I really like Fancy Nancy books for their infusion of vocabulary.  This is a level 1 reader but had words like becoming, challenging, distressing, lavendar, spectacles, and spectacular.  Very cool for kids!
232. The Christmas Giant by Steve Light (my choice).  I picked this book up for Steve Light's birthday this week.  It is such a good book even though it is not the Christmas season.  It is more a book about working together and creatively overcoming a misfortune.  I was so honored to have interviewed Steve Light back in December.  He is such a creative person.

March 16, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
233. I Don't Want to Go To School! by Stephanie Blake (my daughter's choice).  I saw the title of this book at the library and I had to check it out.  My son has said this to me for the past two weeks before going to preschool.  Then, once he gets there he says, "Bye. Dad!"  In this book, we meet Simon, a rabbit who is not excited about going to school.  But, he has a great experience at school once he is there and doesn't want to leave.  Sounds like a familiar story, but the illustrations are unique and the ending is clever.
234. Atomic Ace and the Robot Rampage by Jeff Weigel (my son's choice).  Both of my kids liked this book tonight.  I guess it would be appropriate to call this a comic book-picture book.  It is illustrated like a comic book and has many comic book elements, but there is some text on the page like a picture book. At times it was hard for me to figure out what part to read first but I got in a groove by the end.  The story is cool too.  A boy's dad is a super hero and he has also showed signs of having special abilities.  The recently released from prison, evil Roboconqueror,  sends his Robots to get his dad, but they end up finding him.  His powers aren't strong enough to fight them off.  He is saved at the last minute by a surprise heroine.
235. Those Darn Squirrels! by Adam Rubin (my choice).  One of our all-time favorite picture books.  Old Man Fookwire loves his birds and the squirrels have him at his wits end.  Winter sets in, the birds leave because of the squirrels, and he can only enjoy his cottage cheese with pepper to comfort his loneliness (my kids actually ask for their cottage cheese - "Fookwire-style please").  The squirrels notice that they saddened him and plan a way to cheer him up.

March 17, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - Happy St. Patrick's Day
236. The Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever by Teddy Slater (my son's choice).  Thankfully, I remembered to take our St. Patrick's Day books upstairs tonight.  This was a delightful book with fun rhymes and bright illustrations.  Many traditions are mentioned including parades, dancing, good food, friends and family, and finally a toast! To tell you truth though, I don't know why it was called the Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever.  There really wasn't anything that stood out as being extra lucky.
237. The Leprechaun's Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards (my daughter's choice).  This was our favorite of the three St. Patty's books that we read tonight.  Old Pat is a fine harpist whose apprentice Young Tom feels he has now surpassed his master at the skill of playing the harp.  Young Tom and Old Pat also differ greatly on their treatment of others.  Young Tom is selfish and Old Pat is very generous.  The Royal Palace is holding a contest to find a Royal Harpist and both Tom and Pat decide to enter.  Young Tom tries to sabotage Old Pat but with the help of a Leprechaun he is able to show his talent to the King.
238. Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola (my choice).  This is a silly tale of Jamie O'Rourke, the laziest man in all of Ireland.  So lazy, that he makes his wife Eileen, plant, water, and harvest the potatoes.  Winter is near and Eileen falls ill and Jamie worries that he is going to not survive the winter because he doesn't have potatoes.  On his way to the church he finds a Leprechaun and captures him.  The Leprechaun talks Jamie into releasing him for a potato seed that will grow the biggest potato instead of giving up his pot of gold.  Jamie plants the seed and it indeed grows as big as his house.  This potato creates a big problem for the town, but it  also creates an opportunity for the laziest man in Ireland to remain lazy for the rest of his life.

March 18, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
239. Annie Was Warned by Jarrett Krosoczka (my son's choice).  My wife and I are preparing a Jarrett Krosoczka Experience for second graders at her school.  Therefore, we have Krosoczka's books all over the house.  This is one of my son's favorites! Technically, a Halloween book, but can be enjoyed throughout the year because of the surprise ending.
240. Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee (my choice).  This book is a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book which is awarded annually for books classified as beginning reader.  Bink and Gollie are best friends and love to do simple things together like eat pancakes, go roller skating, and talk on the phone.  The humor in this book is quirky and bought about by the friend's differences. Bink is little more outrageous and Gollie is a little more serious, but serious in a good way.  I enjoyed how all three chapters of the book were connected.  The last chapter about Bink's unmarvelous fish was our favorite.
241. Marvin One Too Many by Katherine Paterson (my daughter's choice).  This a great story for a struggling reader.  Marvin feels left out of his first grade class starting on the first day and it continues when he is the last in his class to figure out reading.  The other kids poke fun at him, but he soon learns that his father, someone he really thinks is smart, had trouble reading when he was younger.  His father reads with him every night to give him the confidence to excel at reading.

March 19, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - Boy am I in trouble tonight - we read for almost an hour!
242. and 243. Mercy Watson to the Rescue and Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride (my choice and my daughter's choice).  WOW! These are fun books! Mercy doesn't say much (oink), but she sure has a personality!  In the first episode, she rescues, but doesn't actually rescue Mr. and Mrs. Watson from falling with their bed through the upstairs floor.  She was really looking for sugar cookies when she wandered over to the Lincoln's house next door.  One thing led to another and the fire department was called to help all because of Mercy!    In the second episode, Mercy unexpectedly takes over the wheel while Mr. Watson is driving.  An unexpected guest in the backseat of the car helps bring the car to a stop as Mr. Watson couldn't move his legs with Mercy sitting on top of him.  There is so much action in these stories with matching illustrations that my kids just loved them.  We read these books in about 40 minutes - and they were right there through it all. I just love Eugenia Lincoln, a grumpy opinionated old lady from next door!
244. Iron Man  - I really have nothing to say about this book.

March 20, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
245. and 246. Mercy Watson Fights Crime and Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise (my choice and my daughter's choice).  We are officially addicted to this series.  Even my son who won't admit liking the books, hangs on every word! In book 3 and 4, we get to see favorite returning characters like Ned and Lorenzo the fireman and also Eugenia and Baby Lincoln.  We just love these books!
247. One Shoe Blues by Sandra Boynton (my son's choice).  My son loved celebrating Sandra Boynton's birthday last year.  The video of One Shoe Blues made him laugh and laugh.  We watched it so many times last year that I actually was able to sing this book tonight (just like BB King, of course!)

March 21, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
248. Last Son of Krypton by Michael Dahl (My son's choice).  This book probably shouldn't be listed as a part of this challenge, because it is not a picture book.  Yet, there are some pictures.  This is the story of how baby Kal-El (who later becomes Superman) escapes his home planet of Krypton before it explodes.  He lands on the planet Earth in the middle of Kansas.  The Kent's find the baby and decide to take care of the young Superman because they always wanted a child of their own.  It was pretty cool to hear this story as I had never heard it before.
249 and 250. Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig and Mercy Watson: Something Wonky this Way Comes (my choice and my daughter's choice).  We finished up the series of Mercy Watson tonight.  Loved every minute of each book.  This set of books will be on my list of ideas for gifts in the future.  I asked my kids which book was their favorite.  My daughter said, "All of them!"  My son said with some prompting, "The first one with the bed!" Last year at this time we first experienced Kate DiCamillo with her book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  This year we had this experience.  I will never forget either one! Oh by the daughter's favorite characters were Baby Lincoln, Mrs. Watson, and Mercy.  My son liked the firefighters Ned and Lorenzo.  I loved Eugenia Lincoln and Mr. Watson.

March 22, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
251. Zinc Alloy: Super Zero by Donald Lemke (my son's choice).  Now this is more like it! An awesome graphic novel/comic book-like book that is perfect for my son! Zack Allen has been bullied by two boys, Johnny and Billy for quite a long time.  But, the time has come.  Zack has the knowledge he needs to build a robot that he controls from the inside.  This robot will help him seek revenge on the bullies!  Zack builds the robot and calls it Zinc Alloy. The kinks still need to be worked out and he gets side-tracked to help stop an out of control train. But, Zinc Alloy confronts the boys and tells them to leave Zack Allen alone.  Will they listen?  Is Zinc Alloy's one act of saving many people from the out of control train his only heroic act?  To be continued.... (The book's length is perfect for my son's attention span, little violence, boy humor, and a great story!!)
252. Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken (my choice).  Louise is a chicken that seeks adventure which is not found on the farm where she tucks her head under her wing.  She must leave the farm and head to places like the high seas and tussle with pirates.  She must join the circus and walk the high wire.  These adventures get her heart beating fast and are exactly what she wants but as each adventure concludes she longs to be back at farm with her fellow hens. This is a journey of self-discovery for Louise that is packed with action and excitement and emotion.
Note:  My daughter opted to read once again Mercy Watson: Something Wonky this Way Comes.

March 23, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
253. Uno's Garden by Graeme Base (my daught'er's choice).  My daughter said when she picked up this book, "This is by one of my favorite authors.  This is my favorite book by him. But, I don't like his Golden Snail book."  I think my daughter really likes this book for a couple reasons.  She is very interested in nature and "being green".  This book shows the negative impact that humans can have on animals and plants.  But, the best part is that it also addresses that humans can repair the environmental mistakes they made.  She also really likes this book because on each page spread you can search for the different animals and the elusive Snortlepig.
254. How to Raise a Dinosaur by Natasha Wing (my choice). I had high expectations for this book, maybe too high.  It has lift-the-flaps, a cool cover with a dinosaur peaking through a hole, and pages that look likes bites were taken out of them.  I found myself wanting the book to be over while I was reading it. The lift-the-flaps really served no purpose in the story; they kinda got in the way of the flow of the text. Additionally, half of the book isn't even about raising a dinosaur, but acquiring one for a pet.  My kids didn't even like it, even with all the gimmicks.
255. Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer (my son's choice).  He was excited to pick this one because it was about monsters.  The main character, Bernadette is a monster, but she is only mostly monsterly because likes kittens, flowers, and baking.  She even likes group hugs.  This is a tough place to be in for a monster.  She doesn't quite fit in.  Up until this point, the book was pretty boring.  But, then when she was trying to figure out how to make friends with the other monsters it was a little better.  Her clever idea to show them that monsters can do more than growl, lurch, and cause mayhem was pretty cute.
256. Not Me! by Nicola Killen (Bonus Book).  We needed a bonus book for two reasons.  Two out of the three books were kinda duds, and we have been used to reading for about about an hour all week. This was a quick book with very cute illustrations. The little ones in the book are trying to hide their mischeif of eating all the cake and making the carpet dirty. But, their response is always, "Not Me"   However, the illustrations tell a different story.

March 24, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
257. Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel (my son's choice).  If you like ABC books then this is the book for you.  It is 4 ABC books in one.  Kitty turns bad when there is no more food he likes in the house.  All that is left is healthy food (1st ABC Book).  He shows his disapproval by misbehaving (2nd ABC book).  All is better when he scores a shopping trip (3rd ABC Book).  A well fed kitty equals a happy kitty (4th ABC book).
258. Pitching in for Eubie by Jerdine Nolen (my daughter's choice).  My daughter and I loved this book. Eubie gets accepted to college, but the family doesn't have enough money. The whole family begins pitching in over the summer.  However, Lily has a hard time trying to contribute.  She uses ingenuity and readiness to obtain a small job to help out her older sister.
259. The Endless String: Poems for Children (and the people who read to them) by Tom and Tess Hannah (my choice).  We only read about 10 poems.  My daughter said, "I wish we could read the whole book."

March 25, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
260. Plantzilla Goes to Camp by Jerdine Nolan (my daughter's choice). Reading the sequel first is sometimes difficult.  Mortimer has a plant for a pet - Plantzilla. But, his parents signed him up for summer camp.  His parents then won a vacation as a prize, and had to arrange a plant-sitter.  Mortimer was having a horrible time at camp until Plantzilla escapes for home and ventures to camp to check on him.  Plantzilla decides Mortimer needs some intervention and helps him make friends at camp.  Plantzilla fits right in at camp too and adds to the fun. The book is set up in a series of letters which would be cool for a lesson at school.
261. Air Show! by Treat Williams (my choice).  I picked this book for my son.  It is big book with lots to look at. Ellie's dad is a pilot and on this day they are flying to an Air Show.  Ellie wishes her dad's plane was a stunt plane.  The Air Show is a blast, but gets even better for Ellie when her Dad surprises her with a ride in a stunt plane!  My son loved looking at all the planes, but he asked a lot of questions I couldn't answer.  I don't know much about airplanes.
262. Captain Raptor and the Space Pirates by Kevin O'Malley (my son's choice).  My children weren't interested in this book.  It is comic book picture book that was a little out there with dinosaurs fighting pirates in space ships that stole their gold.  Lots of twists and turns and hard for my little ones to follow.

March 26, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
263. In My Momma's Kitchen by Jerdine Nolan (my daughter's choice).  She loved this book, not as much as Pitching in for Eubie, but she really liked it. It was a series of short stories that all took place in Momma's kitchen.  They were just great.  Real. Well told. Entertaining.
264. I'm a Truck Driver by Jonathan London (my son's choice).  This book covers all the trucks and heavy machinery that boys love.  The pattern and rhythm of the text was good too.  However, I have read so many truck books it seemed like all the rest to me.
265. Raising Dragons by Jerdine Nolen (my choice).  This was the only book that I recognized when I decided to start preparing for a birthday celebration for Jerdine Nolan.  I think I ordered it from Scholastic books when I was teaching or in college.  But, I certainly didn't remember this great story.  A little girl stumbles upon a giant egg.  Her father warns her to stay away from it, but she just can't.  One night she hears loud cracks and she sneaks out to find out what happened.  A dragon came out of the egg!  From that moment she makes the commitment to raise the dragon the best she can.  She watches the dragon grow until it is time to take him to Dragon island.  It is a sad time, but the mood changes quickly with a surprise that is fit for a girl who is born to raise dragons.

March 27, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
266. The Trouble with Sisters and Robots by Steve Griffton (my son's choice). Can a bothersome sister actually be helpful?  Kyle wants to be left alone after he finds a robot head buried in the backyard. Yet, his sister is there all the while he builds the rest of the robot.  She is even there while the completed robot terrorizes the house and neighborhood by turning everything to metal.  But, it is his sister, Lizzy, that helps stop the robot from continuing its rampage.
267. Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin (my daughter's choice). A classic book in our house for the eve of Doreen Cronin's birthday.  I don't think we will ever grow tired of reading this book.
268. Binky the Space Cat (A Binky Adventure) by Ashley Spires (my choice). This graphic novel was not one of my favorites, but it was still good.  Binky is a house cat that believes outside is "outer space."  He makes preparations to venture out, but realizes at the last second that the humans need him to protect them from alien intruders (bugs).  Binky is a master at catching bugs and even builds his own spaceship from within his kitty litter box.  It is an entertaining book that my children enjoyed very much.

March 28, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
269. Just How Long Can A Long String Be?! by Keith Baker (my daughter's choice). We loved seeing the little ant again that we first met in Potato Joe.  My son loved seeing the birds in the book, too and all the uses for the string in the book. All the string ideas are ones that were relatable for my kids like using string for sweet pea vines, necklaces, yo-yos, and a jump rope!
270. Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolen (my son's choice). We really enjoyed the idea of a farmer growing balloons on his farm.  Can you just imagine what a sight that would be? We have really enjoyed reading Jerdine Nolen's books this week and this was another good one.
271. Chicken Big by Keith Graves (my choice). The Big Chicken is an anomaly that confuses the other chickens on the farm.  The chickens quest to figure out exactly what he is will make you laugh.  Not to mention, I love reading in a chicken voice.  I thought this was going to be another take on Chicken Little and was pleased when it was only mentioned slightly in the book.

March 29, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
272. Zinc Alloy vs Frankenstein and 273. Coldfinger by Donald Lemke (my son's choice and my choice).  I had been wanting to read more of this series since we read our first about a week ago.  They provide my son with a comic book experience that he loves right now and they are enjoyable to read aloud.  Both of these episodes that we read tonight were enjoyed by my kids and I.  In Frankenstein, Zack Allen as Zinc Allly confronts Frankenstein only to find a peer with a similar desire to help save the city.  In Coldfinger, Zack Allen stumbles upon evil Dr. Icee who plans to freeze the city.  With a little luck Zinc Alloy saves the city and Zack gets the girl!  These books are much more appropriate than the Marvel comics my son finds at the library.
274. A Picture Book of Davy Crockett by David A. Adler (my daughter's choice).  My daughter has not wavered in her love of biographies for about a year. She loves the picture book biographies by Adler.  Tonight we learned that Davy Crockett served as a congressman in addition to being a great frontiersman.  We also learned that he died in the Battle at the Alamo.  I am sure we will be reading more biographies in the coming weeks as we prepare for David A. Adler's birthday.

March 30, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
275. Play Ball, Jackie! by Stephen Krensky (my son's choice).  This was a hard book to read. Not because of the words or the story, but because of all the questions it generated for my children.  We talked about the history of segregation, baseball rules, the year many of our relatives were born, etc.  For this reason, I loved the book. Isn't that one of the benefits of a good book - to generate a dialogue.  As annoying as it can be when your kids stop you mid-sentence. It was very cool to be able to have a discussion with them about the first african-american to play the game of baseball. My daughter was pretty excited when I told her that her grandpa has baseball cards of Jackie Robinson!
276. The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore (my choice).  This was a cute story about a group of animals that find a book in the forest.  But, it takes a boy to show them its true potential.  He shows them that is much more than a hat or a table.
277. Dear Tyrannosaurus Rex (Bonus Book).  My daughter thought this book was cool because it was about a little girl, before her 6th birthday, inviting a dinosaur to her birthday party.  We just planned my daughter's sixth birthday party yesterday! But, we will not be inviting a dinosaur, because he might just come!
Note:  My daughter chose to read Sneezenesia by Deb Lucke again.  Great book!

March 31, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
278. Magic Pickle Graphic Novel by Scott Morse (my son's choice).  This graphic novel was recommended to my son by his 5 year old cousin.  Pretty cool that they are already suggesting books to each other.  I noticed that my son was more than excited to read this book because of the recommendation.  We were only able to read a couple chapters before bed because it was longer than most graphic novels we have been reading. We finished it up together the next day (minus his sister; she didn't like the book). He loved it! When we finished he had to draw Magic Pickle and the mean carrot because there were directions on how to draw at the back of the book.
279. Amazing Cows: Udder Absurdity for Children by Sandra Boynton (my choice). This is a step out of the box for Boynton - a book for older children. The book is a series of stories, jokes, funny spreads, etc. My kids didn't get all the humor but enjoyed a large majority of the book including the "Red Rover" story.
280.Faraway Home by Jane Kurtz (my daughter's choice) I wanted to save the books we picked up at the library by Jane Kurtz for closer to her birthday, but my daughter loves picture books that are realistic fiction.  This was about a daughter's struggle with her father leaving home to visit his ailing mother in Ethiopia.  When it was over she said, "That was a good book."  When she says this without prompting, she really means it.

April 1, 2011 (Before Bedtime) **My daughter was at her grandma's, my son was very excited to only read books he chose.
281. Zinc Alloy: Revealed! by Donald Lemke.  This is my favorite graphic novel series at the moment to read to my son.  The books are just the right length.  The story is easy to understand yet full of action. I was surprised in this book that Zack Allen REVEALS that he is Zinc Alloy.  He then becomes Zinc Alloy in daily life which leads to some really cool things for Zack, but not everything ends up perfect.
282. and 283. We read two Eek and Ack books; The Puzzling Pluto Plot and EEK and ACK Vs the Wolfman by Blake A. Hoena.  I didn't like these books as much as Zinc Alloy, but my son liked them.  They are very "boy" - aliens, some fart jokes, etc. Length of the book was good for read aloud.  Overall, I was pleased.

April 2, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
284. A Picture Book of Jackie Robinson by David A. Adler (my daughter's choice).  We really loved Play Ball Jackie by Stephen Krensky, a book we read a few days ago.  When we were at the library looking through the biographies I had the thought, "I wonder if David A. Adler has written a picture book biography about Jackie Robinson."  We were excited to find that he had and it was available for check out.  I really liked this biography because there was a lot of information about Jackie's before-baseball life.
285. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead (my choice).  Such a deserving book for the Caldecott Medal.  There are so many things to like; the sequence of wordless page spreads showing the animals on their way to Amos' house, the way the animals -- each in the best way they know how-- take care of Amos.  And how about, Amos talking to the sugar bowl.  Just a delightful book.
Note: My son chose to reread Eek and Ack Vs. the Wolfman by Blake A. Hoena.

April 3, 2011 (Afternoon Activity)
286. The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery by Graeme Base.  My daughter had been bugging me to read her this book and solve the mystery inside for over a week.  First, she asked at bedtime, but I told her this wasn't a good book for before bedtime.  Second, she asked when I was alone with all the kids, and I told her it wasn't a good time because we would get interrupted.  Finally, today she asked when her brothers were busy playing with mom.  We went upstairs to her room to read the book.  Once the book was finished we had to solve the mystery of who ate all of Horace's food he prepared for his 11th birthday party.  Then once we knew the name we had to solve a code to tell us how the culprit pulled it off.  This then led to another activity that I won't discuss in case you want to read the book yourself.  But, we spent well over an hour interacting with this book.  It is one of my favorite books by Graeme Base.

April 3, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
287. Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld (my choice).  Cloudette is a tiny cumulus.  She is not too tiny that the other clouds do not notice her.  They like to give her cute nicknames.  But, being tiny has kept her from doing some big things like participate in thunderstorms and water huge crop fields.  One day Cloudette finds a frog in a big puddle that used to be a pond.  Cloudette is keen enough to know that this is her chance to make a difference. Great book!
288. A Picture Book of Harriet Beecher Stowe by David A. Adler (my daughter's choice).  I learned quite a bit while reading this book.  I didn't know that Uncle Tom's Cabin was written over the course of 40 weeks in an anti-slavery publication before it became a book.
Note: My son opted to reread Eek and Ack: The Puzzling Pluto Plot once again.

April 4, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
289. A Picture Book of Benjamin Franklin (my daughter's choice).  It was cool to hear my daughter make connections between the two picture book biographies.  She realized that Ben Franklin was older than George Washington and lived longer too.
290. A Picture Book of George Washington (my choice). My son had a rough day at preschool today.  He was very nervous because he was going to be the leader.  As the leader you get to lead the class to the bathroom, perform many of the tasks at circle time, and turn the lights back on after cleanup/quiet time.  There were many tears shed, but when I picked him up he was very happy with how things went.  I made a big deal about his success and we talked about how he "Became Brave like a Superhero." I feel he is going to be more confident tomorrow.  As we were reading this book he picked up on the word "leader" that was mentioned several times to describe Washington.  I also pointed out the word "brave" too - just like you!
Note: My son chose to reread Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo.

April 5, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
291. Plantzilla by Jerdine Nolen (my choice).  A book for the eve of Jerdine Nolen's birthday.  We had already read Plantzilla Goes to Camp a week ago.  We probably should have read this book first.  The book is set up as a series of letters most by Mortimer the young boy who decides to care for Plantcilia over the summer.  Mortimer's parents have a roller coaster ride of emotions that are described in their letters.  It takes them time for them to realize how important this plant is to Mortimer. My daughter enjoyed the transformation and growth in Plantzilla over the summer.  Very cool!
292. A Picture Book of Sacagawea by David A. Adler (my daughter's choice). We learned about the important 17 months of Sacagawea's life that helped Lewis and Clark open up the West to the United States. My daughter enjoyed hearing about Thomas Jefferson too.
Note: My son chose to reread Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly.

April 6, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
293. The Spooky Tire by Jon Scieszka (my son's choice).  This is the best Trucktown book by far in our opinion.  Whenever my son finds a Trucktown book on the shelf at the library it reminds him of this book and he has to have it.  Melvin gets a flat tire and finds a golden tire, but once he puts it on he is trailed by a Spooky voice! Lots of fun.
294. Silverlicious by Vicki Kann (my daughter's choice)  I thought this book was quite clever.  Pinkalicious loses a tooth, but not just any tooth, her sweet tooth.  Yummy things just don't taste the same and unfortunately her tooth fairy is away on important business.  So, Carlos Cupid, Edgar Easter Bunny, and Elf #351 try to help out her absence in the best way they know how.  Pinkalicious is very ungrateful of their attempts.  It is only through self-reflection that Pinkalicious figures out how to cure her sweet tooth dilemma.
295. The Red Hen by Rebecca and Ed Emberley (my choice).  This book may have changed the way I say a frog's noise forever.  Most books use "ribbit" or "croak".  This books used, "bribbit".  Sounds so much better.  And why am I talking about a frog, well, he is one of the characters unwilling to help the Red Hen with her cake.

April 7, 2011 (Before David A. Adler Activity)
296. A Picture Book of Eleanor Roosevelt - I made an activity sheet for this week's blog post celebrating David A. Adler's birthday.  It was on the stack of picture book biographies that we checked out this week.  I set it out in the open just so my daughter would notice and inquire about it.  She did as soon as she got home from school, but it wasn't until the afternoon that she asked to do one of the activities.  She chose to make a poster of her favorite person she has learned about.  She hadn't read about Eleanor, so we had to read this book just to see if Eleanor would be interesting enough to make a poster about.  However, Sacagawea and Harriet Beecher Stowe still ranked higher in her mind.

April 7, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
297. Star Wars: Clone Troopers in Action by Clare Hibbert (my son's choice). This is your typical Star Wars reader.  Nothing much else to write about except my daughter said, "Hey, I'm learning a few new things about clone troopers."
298. Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey (my daughter's choice).  Another historical fiction choice for my daughter.  I checked this out to be one of my choices and she beat me to it.  I had never heard of The Negro Motorist Green Book before reading this book.  The book tells a story of a family traveling south during the time of "Jim Crow".  They were having difficulty getting a place to stay  until they got their Green Book.  This resource was vital to African American travelers because it told them all the establishments they would be welcome.   At its peak, the Green Book was over 80 pages and covered all 50 states and Canada and Mexico!
299. It's a Book by Lane Smith (my choice) Be warned - the word Jackass is in the book and it plays a role in the humor with a hilarious last line.  But, my kids with their age just thought it was the donkey's name.  Great book though!

April 8, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
300. Pirates Don't Take Baths by John Segal (my daughter's choice). The young pig does not want to take a bath and uses its creative mind to tell his mom that he is pirate and pirates don't take baths.  The little pig must get his cleverness from his mother because she says OK, since your a pirate you'll have to get used to being seasick.  The pig moves on to other things that he is but mom always fires back with something the pig would have to endure until she ultimately wins this battle of wills.
301. The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld (my choice).  My son declared before I read this book, "This book is gonna be dumb."  He admitted when it was finished that he liked the book.  If you turn the word OK on its side it looks like a stick person.  This particular stick person is just OK at everything, but is comfortable is its own font.  And therefore, is having fun trying out everything.  Both of my kids were impressed with this book.
302. Snow Trucking! by Jon Scieszka (my son's choice).  My son really liked this book because he experienced a snow day for the first time this winter.  All the trucks in Trucktown had a snow day and they clear the streets in the town while they play.

April 9, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
303. Yoda In Action!  by Heather Scott (my son's choice).  This Star Wars: The Clone Wars DK Reader was a tolerable read aloud.  There was a storyline to follow instead of page after page of character summaries.   My daughter is getting really frustrated with these books, but she is being a good sport.
304. Fairly Fairy Tales by Esme Raji Codell (my daughter's choice). This was a unique twist on fairy tales.  The book quickly became interactive with short one word questions and responses - Sticks? Yes. Straw? Yes. Bricks? Yes.  Solar Panels? NOOOOOO! The following page was a full page spread with a Three Little Pig Village that was very environmentally friendly with a community garden, rain barrels, and of course solar panels and the words "Well, Maybe".  The book continues on in the same fashion and my kids couldn't help shouting out Yes and Noooo.  It was a fun and very creative book.
305. Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming (my choice). I am a big fan of this book.  Poor Jack decides to bake a cake for the princess for her 10th birthday party in which all the children of the realm were invited.  He has to trade a few of the things he owns to acquire all the ingredients needed to bake the cake.  On his way to the party he encounters many obstacles and with each encounter part of the cake is compromised.  When he arrives at the castle he only has a strawberry - the most succulent one in the land that he found himself.  But, the princess is allergic to strawberries.  Sounds like a downer of a book right.  The ending is awesome.

April 10, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
306. Stuck in the Mud by Reverend W Awdry (my son's choice).  This Level 1 reader is based upon the Hero of the Rails movie. Thomas helps out an old train that he finds before he is sent to the scrap yard.
307. Except if by Jim Averbeck (my choice).  It all starts with an egg that will become a baby bird "except if" it becomes a baby snake.  The pattern of "except if" loops full circle back to an egg.  Will this one be a baby bird? My kids were lukewarm on this book.
308. The Retired Kid by Jon Agee (my daughter's choice).  Being a kid is tough.  As parents we get our kids involved in lots of activities.  Brian in this book has had enough and decides to retire from being a kid.  He flies to Florida to spend time at the Happy Sunset Retirement Community.  Initially, it is fun, but  Brian quickly realizes he doesn't fit in with Ethel, Tex, Myrtle, and the gang.  He heads back home and admits that being a kid is hard but that he loves his job.  My daughter has been funny recently when she realizes that she has picked a book that we all enjoyed.  She will say, "That was my pick, oh yeah!"

April 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
309. The Growing-Up Feet by Beverly Cleary - Last year right after Cleary's birthday, I found The Growing-Up Feet at a used book sale.  When I found this book I was not aware that Cleary had written any picture books.  However, I have since learned that she has written six picture books including Hullabaloo ABC and Janet's Thingamajigs The Growing-Up Feet is a story about twins whose mother felt it was time for them to get new shoes.  However, Mr. Markle, the shoe salesman,  discovers after a measurement that the twins' feet hadn't grown enough to warrant new shoes.  Jimmy and Janet's mother takes the suggestion of Mr. Markle to buy boots that will fit over the current shoes and stretch to fit over the next pair too.  Jimmy and Janet leave the store happy but soon find that there are no puddles to try out their new boots. But, that doesn't stop them from wearing them until bedtime.  The next day, Jimmy and Janet's father has a clever idea to provide the twins with a chance to try out the new books.  My children loved this book.  I am so happy that I saved the book (and remembered where I kept it!) to celebrate Beverly Cleary's birthday.
310. Dizzy Izzy by Jon Scieszka - This book follows the rhyme pattern of Fuzzy Wuzzy Was a Bear, but instead it is Dizzy Izzy Is Not Dizzy, Is He?  The text sounded great read aloud.  We read it twice because it was so fun.
311. How to Teach a Slug to Read by Susan Pearson.  This book is a series of 10 steps or ways to teach a slug to read.  There are suggestions like letting him underline words in snail slime.  There were a few parts of the book that were cute.

April 12, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
312. Trouble by Jane Kurtz (my choice).  Trouble follows around young Tekleh; he gets dust in the roasting coffee beans, his goats get in the neighbors garden, and army ants sting his fingers.  His father gives him a gebeta board to keep him out of trouble.  However, trouble follows Tekleh even with the gebeta board.  He meets a few traders. Then, he mistakenly hands over his gebeta board and they use it for firewood.  Tekleh is very upset.  What is he to do?  Tekleh might usually attract trouble, but you will find that he can make some good decisions that lead to a good fortune.
313. Mr. Putney's Quacking Dog by Jon Agee (my son's choice).  My kids loved this book.  It is a series of riddles about Mr. Putney's animals and how they help him.  For example, my favorite, Who keeps the rain out of Mr. Putney's tool shed?  A Giroof.  Great illustrations.  It was hilarious listening to my kids come up their guesses to the riddles.
314. Nothing by Jon Agee (my daughter's choice).  Otis is a store owner who sells out of all his inventory.  A rich women comes in and asks what is for sale.  Otis says, "Nothing." She pays him $300 for "nothing."  Soon, the town is in a frenzy and everyone wants to buy nothing.  Then, they throw out all their stuff to make room for nothing.  Otis is smart and gathers up all the stuff people no longer want.  Funny story!

April 13, 2011 (After a Library Book Sale)
On of our favorite things to do as a family is to investigate a library used book sale.  Today, I went with the three kids.  My oldest two and I each had our own bag.  Picture books were on 3 for $1.  We walked about with $25 with a books!  This afternoon, it was warm enough to sit on the big couch on our 3 season porch. My daughter gave me a stack of books and we read until I was too tired to read anymore and fell asleep.

315. The Monster Show: Everything You Never Knew About Monsters by Charise Mericle Harper.  Bold bright illustrations with lots of monsters doing silly things.  It was a hit with my kids.
316. The Invisible Mistakecase by Charise Mericle Harper. Grandpa helps Charlotte through a situation with her friend Kate.  He tells her a childhood story and introduces her to the "invisible mistakecase" that helps remind him of things he did once and never wants to do again.  This story and a little bravery helps Charlotte apologize to her friend Kate for calling her a "big pink baby".  A great lesson about telling the truth with Grandpa's story too.
317. Mabel Dancing by Amy Hest.  Mabel's mom and dad were having a party and she wasn't invited because it was after her bedtime. But, she loves dancing and the music was loud enough that she couldn't sleep.  She makes her way downstairs from her bedroom for a dance and her parents embrace her for a dance too.  They happily take her back up to bed and she falls asleep with no trouble at all.
318. What's Under My Bed? by James Stevenson.  Another great lesson from a Grandpa.  This time about being too scared to fall asleep. He tells Mary Ann and Louie a childhood story about his experience being unable to fall asleep and it involves ice cream!
319. Loudmouth George and the Cornet  by Nancy Carlson.  I think my daughter was annoyed with my impersonation of a George's badly played cornet by the end of this book.  In this book, George realizes that the cornet is not for him and apparently cornet noises are not for me either!
320. Loudmouth George and the Sixth-Grade Bully by Nancy Carlson.  My daughter loved this book.  Harriet and George teach a bully a lesson for stealing George's lunch every day.  I have a feeling that almost 30 years later this book won't fly in a bully lesson.  Taking matters into your own hands probably wouldn't be taught at a school.  But, putting all that aside, we liked the book.
321. THE GROWN-UP DAY by Jack Kent. I love reading older pictures books and Jack Kent has some delightful books.  This book was just okay, but Kent really gets into the mind of these two little ones pretending to be grown-ups.
322. Grumley the Grouch by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.  This is a touching love story.  Grumley Badger complains about everything.  Then, his house floods after a big rain.  He seeks shelter at his friends house but doesn't like the living quarters.  He heads to another house and complains there too.  He heads to a third house of a female badger that complains as much as he does.  As the two get to know each other they bring about the positive thoughts and qualities in each other.  They then get married but Grumley still complains about rain - can't blame him though.
323. A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History by Lynne Cherry.  This would be a great book for celebrating Earth Day.  The history of the Nashua River is explained from its origins as Nash-a-way (River with Pebbled Bottom) to a polluted mess because of paper factories and then to be reborn through the work of the community.  Very cool.  My daughter would probably pick this as one of her favorites of the afternoon.
324. Flower Faerie by Frank Asch.  I wanted to read this book when I celebrated Frank Asch's birthday, but never got around to it.  Now I own it! The emperor's son finds a flower faerie, but the boy's father snatches her for his own good.  But, as a result, there is a misbalance in nature.  The people worry about their crops.  The boy rescues the flower faerie but is captured and placed in a tower with none other than his father.  With the flower faerie's help they are able to escape and redeem themselves.

April 13, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
325. Thomas and Friends: Fast Train, Slow Train (my son's choice). Thomas the Tank Engine can be so enjoyable.  This book had the lesson of helping out friends even if you were in the middle of a race.
326. Fire on the Mountain (my choice).  I am really enjoying Jane Kurtz's books this week.  This was another tale that she heard during her childhood in Ethiopia.  Alemayu lost his parents to disease and heads to live with his sister who is a cook for a rich man.  Alemayu finds himself in a bet with the rich man that he can stay on the mountain all night in the frigid cold with only a shemma. The rich man backs off the bet when Alemayu succeeds by focusing his mind on a barely visible fire on another mountain to keep himself warm.  The rich man feels he cheated, but the servants disagree and make a plan to show the rich man a lesson.
327. A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid (my daughter's choice).  Petunia wants a skunk for a pet.  But, her parents say she can't because they stink.  Petunia has no idea that they stink until she gets mad and decides to live in the forest and encounters one herself. Cute book.

April 14, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
328. Terrific by Jon Agee (my daughter's choice).  An emotionless man named Eugene was unexcited about winning a trip to Bermuda, but went anyway.  His cruise ship sunk and he ended up on an island.  The island was uninhabited except for a talking parrot.  The parrot coaches Eugene on how to build a boat. Eugene and the parrot get rescued and the man still is quite unemotional -- until the end.
329. Water Hole Waiting by Jane Kurtz and Christopher Kurtz (my son's choice).  This book is about a young monkey and its mother trying to keep it safe from the parade of animals visiting the water hole.  The little monkey just wants a drink, but it is just not safe with crocodiles, hippos, and elephants visiting regularly. Eventually there is a break in the action for the monkeys to sneak down to quench their thirst, but be careful! The author note suggests checking out to view a real water hole.
330. Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire (my choice).  Happy Birthday Robert Lopshire! A classic book in our house since my daughter was one year old.

April 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
331. Smart Feller Fart Smeller: And Other Spoonerisms by Jon Agee (my daughter's choice).  I am a big fan of the word play books by Jon Agee.  But, I had never read this one before. A spoonerism is the interchanging of the initials sounds of words.  According to Agee in the author's note, a professor named Spooner used to have a bad habit of flip-flopping his sounds.  Apparently, he couldn't help it. But, to me it sounds like a high level jokester.  My daughter really liked this book and she really started to understand the concept as the book progressed.
332. Do Kangaroos Wear Seatbelts? by Jane Kurtz (my choice).  A boy and his mother are on their way to the zoo and the boy asked "If we were kangaroos would I have to wear a seat belt when you took me for a hopping?"  The mother responds of course not because a "mama kangaroo knows her joey won't go flopping. Her little one is safely tucked inside."  This exchange of inquiries by the child and responses from the mother covers many animals including penguins, hippos, bush babies, monkeys, and more.
333. The Wonder Book by Amy Krause Rosenthal (my son's choice).  We only made it through half of this book.  Not because it was bad, but because it is full of lots of poems and thoughts.  And, the kids were just too tired.  We enjoyed what we read though, especially The Less Famous Friends of Mary Mack.

April 16, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
334. Elvis Lives!: and Other Anagrams (Sunburst Book) by Jon Agee (my daughter's choice).  We first tried Jon Agee's Jumbo Shrimp and Oxymorons book, but it was too hard to understand.  The anagrams was easier to understand, but we didn't like it as much as his Palindromes books.  I guess we think palindromes are much more cooler than anagrams.
335. In the Small, Small Night by Jane Kurtz (my choice).  Abena's imaginative younger brother Kofi makes it into her bed in the middle of the night.  He can't sleep and is a little scared of mampams in his blankets.  Abena tells him two tales to help him get back to sleep.  The two tales are very cool.  Jane Kurtz mentions in the author's note that these stories were told to her by a friend from Ghana who thought they might work well in one of her books.  Apparently, he was right!
Note: My son chose not to read a book because he was so tired from all the day's activities; morning at the movies with preschool and an afternoon birthday party.

April 17, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
336. Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld (my son's choice).  This is such a cool picture book.  An illustration that could be a duck or a rabbit is a conversation piece until the discussion scares away the optical illusion.  My kids loved it!
337. Orangutan Tongs: Poems to Tangle Your Tongue by Jon Agee (my daughter's choice).  My daughter read a lot tonight! We took turns reading the tongue twisting poems.  She was actually better than me at most of the poems.  My son tried too by repeating some of the lines three times fast.  Lots of laughs.
338. River Friendly, River Wild by Jane Kurtz (my choice).  I always ask authors to share a birthday memory for their birthday post.  This book is unfortunately a birthday memory for Jane Kurtz.  According to the author's note, on her birthday in 1997, her neighborhood fell victim to a great flood. The series of poems tell the story of this horrific event and how a neighborhood dealt with the loss of homes and material possessions. Happy Birthday Jane Kurtz!

April 18, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
339. Truckery Rhymes by Jon Scieszka (my son's choice). This book has been a favorite at our house for a few years.  We love reading the "truck" versions of the nursery rhymes.  We then challenge ourselves to say the real nursery rhyme that it was based on.  Lots of fun.
340. Gabby Growing Up by Amy Hest (my daughter's choice).  This a wonderful story about an anxious young girl's day meeting up with her grandfather for his birthday.  Gabby has knitted him a pair of mittens for his present.  She can't wait to see him, but she has to get her hair cut first.  She opts for a short hair cut that she hopes her grandfather likes very much.  Eventually they meet in the park to go ice skating, and he loved his surprise mittens.  Grandpa loves the haircut, and Gabby thinks it makes her look older.  Grandpa urges her to not grow up too fast. My daughter was quite pleased with her selection of this book.
341. Milo's Hat Trick by Jon Agee (my choice).  This was the only book by Jon Agee that we had left in the house to read.  It was a perfect one on the eve of his birthday.  My son said before we even began, "This is a super-duper-duper book!"

April 19, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
342. You're Finally Here! by Melanie Watt (my son's choice).  A funny little bunny is waiting inside this book for you to meet.  He is a little twitchy.  For us, he was initially happy to see us but then he gave a hard time for keeping him waiting.  But, we understood - it has to be hard living in a book.  Pretty funny book and the layout is very cool with lots of big words and cool lists of ideas. Some things are very similar to Scaredy Squirrel.
343. Sunday Chutney by Aaron Blabey (my daughter's choice).  My daughter picked out this book at the library because it had the word "chutney" in the title.  She learned that word when we celebrated Jerdine Nolen's birthday.  I think she thought the book was going to be about eating chutney on Sundays.  But, it was about a little girl named Sunday Chutney that moved around a lot because of her parents' jobs.  As hard as it is to travel and to be enrolled in a new school, Sunday makes the most of it with the help of her imagination and strong personality.
344. A House for Birdie by Stuart J. Murphy (my choice).  We will be reading many of Murphy's MathStart books this week as we prepare for his birthday.  This particular book was teaching the concept of capacity.  Birdie was a small bird that was in the need of a house.  His friends were all different sizes. They were able to find houses that fit their bodies perfectly.  Birdie struggled to find a house until his friends help out.

April 20, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
345. Do Not Build a Frankenstein! by Neil Numberman (my son's choice).  A boy built a Frankenstein and as with many new toys it is fun at first.  The Frankenstein was fun, but became annoying. So, annoying the boy moves to the next town and he tells all the boys and girls that they should never build a Frankenstein.  My son is currently scared of Frankensteins, and he often says, "I can't go upstairs. There is a Frankenstein up there."  But, he wasn't scared of this book.
346. Sacagawea by Lisa Erdrich (my daughter's choice).  At the library, my daughter said, "I'll be in the biography section if you need me."  She came back with another Sacagawea book.  This book was longer than the David A. Adler biography that we read a few weeks ago.  It was basically the same information just told in a little more detail.
347. Double the Ducks by Stuart J. Murphy (my choice).  The math concept taught in this book was doubling of numbers up to 5.  The story was good, and I once again loved the activities in the back.  There was even a quick one we were able to do as I tucked the kids into bed.  It is called Mind Reading. Where you think of number and then double it.  I thought of 8 and told my kids I doubled the number and got 16.  They have to guess the number 8.  I used the phrase, "I am thinking of a number and I doubled it to get ___.  What number was I thinking of?

April 21, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
348. Smash! Crash! by Jon Scieszka (my son's choice).  I think I have read this book about a hundred times, but it is the first for the Picture Book Reading Challenge.  Jack and Dan love to Smash! Crash! Smash-Crash!  Even if their friends are busy they smash and crash their way to play with each of them.  Then, Wrecker Rosie has a job that the boys will enjoy.  My daughter even loves shouting Smash! Crash!
349. Animals on Board by Stuart J. Murphy (my choice).  The math concept in this book was addition. My wife pointed out that these books are perfect for our three year old son.  He was able to count the animals and then add on more.  It is so cool to see my kids excited about math through reading.
350. 100 Days of Cool by Stuart J. Murphy (my daughter's choice).  She says, "Why does it say cool and not school?"  Well, we find out the Maggie might have misunderstood "school" for "cool" but her group of friends come up with 100 days of "cool" things to do.  This book presents the math concept of numbers up to 100 with a visual of a number line on the top of each page.  This allowed my kids to track their progress until the 100th day. There is a cool surprise for the 100th day too!

April 22, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
351. BabyMouse: Dragonslayer by Jennfier Holm and Matthew Holm.  My son was staying at his grandma's house tonight and my daughter had a Girl Scout outing until late.  Therefore, we only had time for one book.  She chose to read the latest BabyMouse book.  This is her favorite graphic novel series at the current time.

April 23, 2011 (Afternoon Reads)
- I found a library that had the new I See I Learn books by Stuart J. Murphy.  My wife and kids ran up to get them while I was at work.  My daughter and I sat down to read them on the porch, our favorite place to read, when I got home. Finally, a warm, sunny day.
351. Percy Plays It Safe by Stuart J. Murphy.  Percy pretends to be a monster on the playground and this frustrates his friends.  It isn't until he gets too crazy and bumps his knee that he realizes that he needs to play it more safe.
352. Freda Plans a Picnic by Stuart J. Murphy.  Freda learns all the steps needed to have a successful and fun picnic with her friends.  This would be a great book for teaching children about sequencing.
353. Good Job, Ajay by Stuart J. Murphy.  Ajay is having trouble throwing a ball.  His friends give him lots of encouragement and remind him of times when he succeeded at other things like swimming and talking to his teacher.  
- I can't wait to read these books with my son.  They are written for pre-k children, so my daughter thought they were cool stories, but was not interested in discussing the questions in the "A Closer Look" page.

April 23, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
354. The Case of the Missing Monkey by Cynthia Rylant (my daughter's choice).  My daughter was so excited to find this series of books at the library.  She said, "I found readers by Cynthia Rylant. Isn't that awesome, Dad?"  However, I don't know if we will be reading anymore from the series. She didn't seem to excited after the story.  Maybe a little too much hype.
355. The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon (my choice).  A great story about a young girl who is struggling with double vision.  She endures some ridicule and perseveres through her school tasks until she has an eye test at school.  The school nurse recommends a visit to the eye doctor.  Luckily, she doesn't need surgery.  The only thing needed is an eye-patch.  After reading this book my kids tried to walk around the room and find things with their eyes closed for some reason.
356. Punk Farm on Tour by Jarrett Krosoczka (my son's choice).  My kids were screaming the "Wheels on the Van" song during this read! Awesome! Peace Out Colorado!

April 24, 2011 (Easter)
No books today!  A late night traveling back from spending time with family for the holiday.

April 25, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
357. The Friday Nights of Nana by Amy Hest (my daughter's choice).  This book was about the Jewish Holiday of Sabbat.  However, I didn't quite understand what this holiday was when I read the book.  Therefore, I couldn't explain to my children exactly why the family was having this special dinner on Friday Night.  After research, I found out the Sabbath is celebrated after sundown on Friday Nights until Saturday evening - a day of rest on the seventh day of the week.  All these details were laid out in the illustration, but I didn't have the background knowledge to pick up on it.  My daughter was very pleased with her choice of the book because it was a nice story about a granddaughter helping her grandmother prepare for the special dinner for the family.
358. Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk (my choice).  One of my favorite books.  Library Mouse lives in the library and reads every night when the lights are turned out.  One night he decides to write his own story.  He shelves his book and it is found the next day by a patron.  He writes two more books and the librarian leaves a note requesting that he reveal himself at "Meet the Author" day.  Library Mouse has a clever idea that inspires creativity.
Note:  My son chose to reread The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon.

April 26, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
359. Hush, Little Alien by Daniel Kirk (my son's choice).  My son loved Daniel Kirk's take on the well-known Hush Little Baby song. We read it twice and the second time through the kids filled in the last part of each line.
360. Library Mouse: A Friend's Tale (my choice).  Sam's cover is blown when a young boy, Tom, discovers footprints on a desk. The night before Sam recovered his notebook he left out but ran right through an ink pad.  Tom cleverly reaches out to Sam which leads to a partnership on a new story. Very cool book and an excellent sequel.  This book, like the first, reflects a love of writing stories, but takes it a step further by discussing illustration.
361. Library Mouse: A World to Explore (my daughter's choice).  3 books tonight by Daniel Kirk! This is last book currently available in the Library Mouse series. In this episode Sam meets Sarah, an adventurous mouse from another part of the library. Sarah helps Sam put aside his fear of heights through exploring, while Sam teaches Sarah about "research" and how it has taught him about what the world has to offer.  I love the Library Mouse books.

April 27, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
362. Star Wars The Clone Wars: The Battle Begins by Rob Valois (my son's choice).  This book was deceivingly long. It looks like a typical picture book, but it had 48 pages which makes it more like a graphic novel.  My kids got a little squirrely by the end.
363. The Bus Stop by Janet Stoeke (my daughter's choice).  I was throwing around the idea of celebrating Janet Stoeke's birthday on April 30, but there are too many other things going on - maybe next year.  This book was very simple, yet would be perfect for little kids about to ride the bus.  It captures the excitement and the possible nervousness too.
364. Lunchroom Lizard by Daniel Kirk (my choice).  Gil the gecko gets out of cage to chase after a fly.  The fly was attracted to the lunchroom.  There are lots of conversations going on between the kids and Gil is hiding on each page.  My kids loved trying to find him.

April 28, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
365. Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller (my son's choice).  We love doughnuts and we love Arnie! This is a hilarious book that we first enjoyed on DVD from Scholastic Storybook Treasures.  Tonight my daughter saw the words, "Fresh Doughnuts Inside!" on the cover.  She was flipping the pages as if to find a real donut! I questioned her and she said "No, Dad, I thought there was going to be recipes."  Mr. Bing buys Arnie to eat him, but Arnie protests.  Their relationship appears that it is not going to work until Mr. Bing has a great idea to make them life-long friends.
366. Jack and Jill by Daniel Kirk (my choice).  Daniel Kirk answers the question of why Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.  It was to get water for their fish tank, but they meet a strange crocodile in the well.  I wondered if Kirk was influenced by his parents who traveled as puppeteers doing their own versions of Mother Goose.
367. The Deparate Dog Writes Again by Eileen Christelow (my daughter's choice). Emma the dog is quite upset about her owner having a girlfriend.  She initially thinks she is trying to kidnap him.  It gets worse, she takes up his spot on the couch and she also has a dog, Hankie.  Emma seeks help from Queenie, an advice columnist, to deal with her emotions. The book is fun to read in a dog voice.  And even though it is set up like a comic strip/book it is good read aloud.

April 29, 2011 (After Library)
368. The Book That Eats People by John Perry (my son asked me to read it to him).  This book is dangerous as it does eat people. Luckily, it didn't eat us, but we were nervous.  An enjoyable read!  Might be scary for some children though.
369. Trash Trucks by Daniel Kirk (my son asked me to read it to him).  This is the book that lead me to contacting Daniel Kirk to celebrate his birthday.  We have had the book in our house for a long time. I am not even sure where we picked it up.  What boy doesn't enjoy a book about garbage trucks?  Let alone one about trucks that save the day!

April 29, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
370. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts (my daughter's choice).  My daughter picked this book up at the library today.  She has such a nose for good books.  This was a fabulous book about a boy who wanted the latest high top shoes, but they were too much money for his grandmother to afford.  He thought he hit the jackpot during a trip to the thrift store when he found a pair of the prized shoes, but they were too small.  That didn't stop him from buying them and wearing them until band-aids were needed.  The shoes find a new home in the end with someone special.
371. I Must Have Bobo by Eileen Rosenthal (my choice).  Earl the cat is pretty good at stealing Bobo away from a little boy.  Bobo is very important for the little boy and helps him through many tough situations.  Therefore, you can understand why he gets pretty upset when he can't find him.
372.  Snow Dude by Daniel Kirk (my son's choice).  The magic of Frosty the snowman meets the gingerbread man.  My kids really liked looking at all the snow dudes at the end of the book.

April 30, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
373. Don't Step in a Crack by Colin McNaughton (my daughter's choice). My daughter liked this book because she said, "I do that. I don't step on a cracks."  I don't think I would either after reading all the crazy things that could happen if you do; forget your pants when you go to school, your Dad becomes a hippie!  Funny!
374. A Friend for Minerva Louise by Janet Morgan Stoeke (my choice).  Happy Birthday Janet Stoeke.  We didn't have time to do a formal celebration but we did check out all your Minerva Books.  We had never read them before - but we loved them!  The "clueless" chicken, Minerva, is a hoot. I don't mean to sound condescending, but she is clueless!
375. Minerva Louise and the Red Truck by Janet Morgan Stoeke (bonus book).  This is a great Minerva book for boys - lots of trucks!
Note: My son choose to reread The Book That Eats People by John Perry

May 1, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
376. Today I Will Fly by Mo Willems (my son's choice) Piggy decides she is going to fly, and Gerald makes sure she knows it is not possible.  Pigs don't fly!  First, a dog scares Piggy enough to cause her to jump on top of Gerald. She thinks she flew, but Gerald clarified that it was just a jump.  Piggy decides to enlist a helper to get her to fly.  It fools Gerald for a second.  I love when my kids laugh while I read them a book!
377. Otto Goes to School by Todd Parr (my daughter's choice).  The Otto books are very cute, but I don't like them as much as Todd Parr's other books.  We did laugh out loud when Otto introduced us to his friends Cool Kitty and Noodle Poodle!
378. The Green Alphabet: A First Look at Ecology (my choice). The ABC book presents a wide variety of "green" vocabulary.  Young readers will recognize words like F is for Forest and M is for Mountains.  They will also have the opportunity to learn new words like B is for Biome and O is for Ozone Layer.  Each vocabulary word is defined in a simple way that will allow a young reader to understand its meaning and how it is connected to "making the world a greener place." My children enjoyed the illustrations and often used them for assistance when I asked questions like, "What can you compost?" and "What animals live in the jungle?" The best part about this book is that it allowed us to talk about "green" decisions and the positive impact they can have on our world.

May 2, 2011 (Afternoon Reading)
379. Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni. I am going to be reading this book to my daughter's kindergarten class this week for Right to Read Week.  It will be a great book to talk about Leo Lionni the author because it was his first book he ever published.  A book that was born on a train when his grandchildren were misbehaving.  My kids love when Little Blue and Little Yellow turn green.
380. A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni.  This was the first Leo Lionni book that I ever read and it wasn't until college that I read it!  My son loved the illustrations of the mushrooms. I think they reminded him of Mario Kart!
381. Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by Leo Lionni.  One of Lionni's 4 Caldecott Honor books, and one of my favorite books of his.  I love the emotions with Alexander; he wants to be a Wind-Up Mouse but that turns out to be a bad idea and his caring heart helps make a friend forever.

May 2, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
382. Once Upon a Banana by Jennifer Armstrong (my daughter's choice).  This is a fabulous wordless picture book that starts with a banana and ends with lots of bananas.  In the middle there is a ton of action and laughs!  This would be a good book to start with if you are nervous about wordless picture books.
383.  Pigs Make Me Sneeze! by Mo Willems (my son's choice).  This is the first Elephant and Piggie book that I have read that I didn't care for.  It was very predictable and there was too much sneezing!
384. Theodor and the Talking Mushroom by Leo Lionni (my choice).  I like this book, maybe because I like to talk like a blue mushroom - "Quirp!"  The moral is great - "Don't lie. It could come back to haunt you!" My daughter was able to figure out the moral. Hooray!

May 3, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
385 and 386.  Abiyoyo and Abiyoyo Returns by Pete Seeger (my and my son's choice).  We love Abiyoyo! I remember seeing Abiyoyo a long time ago featured on Reading Rainbow. And with my children we have read Abiyoyo countless times.  It is great tale by a great storyteller.  The first time I read Abiyoyo Returns I felt lukewarm on it.  However, tonight I really enjoyed it.  Maybe it was the magic of reading it on Pete's birthday!
387. Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller (my daughter's choice).  I have always wanted to read this book.  I see it every time I check out Arnie the Doughnut.  This time I just decided to check it out too!  I thought it was very clever.  A family of otters move in next door to Mr. Rabbit.  He is quite nervous, but is reminded of the old saying, "Do unto otters as you would have otters do onto you." Mr. Rabbit goes through a laundry list of things he would like otters to do like be polite and considerate.  Of course, the humor of this book is not the text but the outlying dialogue and illustrations which is very similar to the Arnie book.

May 4, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
388. Otto Goes to the Beach by Todd Parr (my daughter's choice).  Otto goes to the beach because he doesn't want to be alone.  He is hoping to find someone to play with but it is difficult at first.  Otto becomes very sad, but after his nap he wakes up to a surprise. Great story about making friends.
389. Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj (my son's choice).  An enjoyable, interactive book.  It reminded me of a book by Melanie Watt.  The cats in this book are talking directly to the reader.  They want to know if the reader is a cat before they read from their "Cat Secrets" book.  Be careful not to miss the tiny grey mouse on every page. What is he up to?
Note: I started to read short stories from The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong. I read 1863: The Jubilee.  It was about the Emancipation Proclamation. We also read Edison's Conquest on Mars.

May 5, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
390.  That's Good, That's Bad in the Grand Canyon by Margery Cuyler (my son's choice).  My kids understood the book a little better once I started reading it correctly.  In this book, things that appear to be good are bad.  Things that appear to be bad are actually good.  It is funny how the tone of your voice can completely change the meaning of a story. Once I figured this out the book went along much better.
Note: We read more short stories from The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong.  We read He Laid Down His Hammer and He Died about John Henry which was perfect because we are still listening to Pete Seeger who has a great rendition of the song.  We also read, Hard of Hearing - East about Alexander Graham Bell and his invention of the telephone.  Lastly, we read What is That? about Giant Redwood trees in California.  All very cool, but not very interesting to my three year old son.

May 6, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
391.  Yum! by Colin McNaughton (my son's choice).  I wasn't a big fan of this book.  It is a discussion between Preston the Pig and The Big Bad Wolf about getting a job.  Hmmm...just wasn't that good.
392.  Audubon: Painter of Birds in the Wild Frontier (my choice).  I loved this book.  It was a little long for my kids but they got the gist of who Audubon was by the end.  Their favorite part was when the flocks of pigeons were so great that bird droppings were everywhere and the wolves encountering the trumpeter swans.  I was going to read the author note -- my favorite part -- and my kids shouted, "No, Dad not the author's note!"  Oh well, guess I'll read it later.
Note: My daughter selected to read more of The American Story.  She choose the short story The Great Chicago Fire.

May 7, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
393. Once Upon an Ordinary Day by Colin McNaughton (my daughter's choice).  We have been reading lots of books by Colin McNaughton in preparation for a possible birthday celebration.  This was my favorite book by this author thus far. Everything is ordinary in the ordinary boy's ordinary life.  Until Mr. Gee shows up at school as his teacher.  Mr. Gee is an extraordinary teacher that helps the ordinary boy unlock some extraordinary creativity.
394. I Love My New Toy by Mo Willems (my choice).  This Elephant and Piggie book was much better than the last one we read.  I have often heard Mo Willems referred to as the Dr. Seuss of this generation. There is a point within this book that the text, near the end, reads very Seussish.
Note:  My son chose to reread Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly.  This time my daughter and I read it twice in reader's theatre style!

May 8, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
395. Preston's Goal by Colin McNaughton (my son's choice).  My kids really liked the illustrations in this book.  I think that is why I am struggling with McNaughton's books.  There have been very few that have been good read alouds.  The reader must rely on the illustrations for complete understanding of the story.  In this book, Preston is heading to the store.  The text is him acting out a commentator's dialogue to his imaginary soccer game.  But, the story is about the mess he is making and the wolf that his following him being blamed for it.
396. Otto has a Birthday Party by Todd Parr (my choice).  I replaced the word Otto with my daughter's name.  She didn't like it much.  It was fun for me though.
Note: My daughter chose to read stories from The American Story by Jennifer Armstrong.  We read about the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, The Great Convoy after World War I and the Great Molasses flood in Boston in 1919 (WOW!)

May 9, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
397. OOMPH! by Colin McNaughton (my daughter's choice).  Preston the Pig returned to our bedtime reading once again tonight.  This book was basically a first-grade love story.  Preston is at the beach for a vacation and bumps into Maxine.  He hurts his nose, but she kisses it to make it better.  Preston continues to have problems with his nose just to get kisses.  The silly wolf is in the book, but sort of takes a back seat to the romance.
398. Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith (my choice).  This picture book shows all the different ways plants are engineered to help themselves thrive with their seeds traveling by wind, rain, animals, people, etc. A great book for this time of year since our family is thinking about gardens and springtime. My kids noticed the illustrations of "Twirly Whirlies" which they like to play with when they fall from the trees.  They also noticed how dandelion seeds are spread - they should have known this already by the looks of my front yard!
Note: My son chose to reread the graphic novel, The Magic Pickle.

May 10, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
Blogger issues erased these entries.  Books were returned to library, so I am not able to recall the exact three books we read.

May 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
Blogger issues erased these entries.  Books were returned to library, so I am not able to recall the exact three books we read.

May 12, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
399. Mudkin by Stephen Gamell (my choice). This is practically a wordless picture book.  The words that are in the book are very few and some words that might have been there were replaced by splotches of mud.  My children enjoyed making splattering-mud sound effects. 
400. The Fungus that Ate My School by Arthur Dorros (My daughter's choice).  This book reminded us of Plantzilla by Jerdine Nolen.  It is has the same illustrator, David Catrow which we were excited to learn that he lives in Ohio!
401. Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush by Will Hillenbrand (My son's choice).  I will always welcome a book that allows me to sing.  Sometimes it is so refreshing.  This Mulberry Bush version takes on the story of a shy child going to school and learning to enjoy school very much by the end of the day. 

May 13, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
I had to work, so mom got to do the reading today.

May 14, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
402. City Chicken by Arthur Dorros (my choice).  This is a creative book about a chicken from the city venturing into the country to see if it would be better than where he lives.  He learns about cows and horses and about large industrial chicken farms.  He realizes he loves his little coop in the city taken care of by a small boy.
403. Gator Gumbo by Candace Fleming (my daughter's choice). This was a terrific bayou-enhanced version of the classic Red Hen story.  Gator is getting old, and is growing tired of eating greens and of an opossum, otter, and skunk that are tormenting him.  He decides to cook up some gumbo, but the three tormenting critters have no desire to help.  The gator adds all the ingredients to the gumbo and has an idea for the finishing touch that will make it taste that much better.
404. When the Pigs Took Over by Arthur Dorros (my son's choice).  We now know that the word "mas" in Spanish means "more."  It is used quite frequently along with many other spanish words.  My children enjoyed offering suggestions on how to solve the many problems in this book like lots of snails in the city to truckloads of pigs eating everything in sight.
405. Louie by Will Hillenbrand (BONUS BOOK!)  This is a great book about a pig whose life was based loosely on the life of Ludwig Bemelmans, creator of Madeline.  My daughter was excited to make connections from this book to the Madeline story.

May 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
406. Stone Rabbit: Pirate Palooza by Erik Craddock (my son's choice).  We tried out a new graphic novel tonight.  I thought it was pretty cool.  Funny. Action Packed. My children got a little antsy, but focused in when the story tensed up. I would recommend to this to fans of graphic novels.
407. Mother Goose Picture Puzzles by Will Hillenbrand (my daughter's choice).  My son was pretty excited to participate in reading the nursery rhymes tonight.  Hillenbrand used pictures in place of many of the words within each rhyme, much like a rebus.  I liked that the rebus pictures matched the illustrations on the page which were labeled with the words that belonged in the story.  So, when we didn't know the word we were supposed to say we were able to find it in the page illustration. Very fun book where we were all able to participate.
408. Abuela by Arthur Dorros (my choice).  This was another great book by Arthur Dorros.  It reminded me much of Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold because the little girl flies around the city with her Abuela.  Once again there was many spanish words incorporated into the English text.  Dorros does a great job providing context clues for the reader to know the meaning of the spanish words.  However, I was happy to see a glossary at the end of the book.

May 16, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
409. Numero Uno by Alex and Arthur Dorros (my choice).  This has been my favorite book by Arthur Dorros we have read this week.  A story first conceived by his son when he was 12 years old.  I loved Hercules and Socrates.  Hercules thought it was more important to be strong.  Socrates thought it was more important to be strong.  The villagers grew tired of the arguing and sent them away while they built a bridge to decide which was more important.
410. What a Treasure by Will and Jane Hillenbrand (my son's choice).  A young mole gets a new shovel and decides to dig for treasure.  He finds numerous things that are able to help others, but he then finds a treasure for himself -- a friend.  My daughter was excited and exclaimed, "Now that was a good book!"
411. Imogene's Last Stand by Candace Fleming (my daughter's choice).  What a difference a year makes for this book.  Last year, we read this book to celebrate Candace Fleming's birthday and I don't remember my daughter getting too excited about it.  But, she is so into history right now, she thought it was awesome.  She loved the end pages too -- which helped explain many of Imogene's quotes she restated from famous Americans. Another benefit of the Happy Birthday Author format.

May 17, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
412. Mama and Me by Arthur Dorros (my choice).  This is the brand new (released March 15, 2011) companion book to Papa and Me by Arthur Dorros.  Each of the books has beautiful illustrations by Rudy Gutierrez.  I actually liked this book a little better than Papa and Me.  The Mother's Day tie-in at the end was really nice.  Additionally, I found myself doing much better with reading Spanish after a week of experiencing books by Arthur Dorros.
Note: My son chose to read a personalized book based on the Cars Movie that he received from his grandmother as a Christmas present.
Note: My daughter chose to reread Imogene's Last Stand by Candace Fleming

May 18, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
413. Railroad Toad by Susan Schade (my son's choice).  We need to make a trip to the library.  So, my son found this book on his bookshelf.  A very nice reader with a few good rhymes and a nice storyline.
414. Tippy-Tippy-Tippy Hide by Candace Fleming (my daughter's choice).  Mr. McGreely is awesome! That is all I have to say.  Probably one of my all-time favorite characters.  He gets so amped up about those bunnies.  I love it!
415. When Agnes Caws by Candace Fleming (my choice).  This will be the featured book for our birthday celebration for Candace Fleming.  I love reading this book aloud.  Colonel Edwin Pittsnap is one of great villains of children's picture books.  He talks in an "oily" voice and laughs "wickedly"!

May 19, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
416. This Is the Baby by Candace Fleming (my choice).  This book follows the "This is the House that Jack Built" repeating text pattern.  I saw my future when I read this book -- getting a toddler dressed in numerous layers to head outside only to have him take them all off!  I will be there is 6 short months!
417. Ka-ChoWWW! by Ty Robinson (my son's choice).  Another choice from the bookshelf.  This book was quite fun to read because I tried my best to talk like the Cars Movie characters.  I thought my Doc Hudson voice was the best!
Note: My daughter chose to reread Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.  She had a really bad day yesterday.  Thankfully, today was much better.

May 20, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
418. Fine Feathered Friends by Jane Yolen (My choice).  Our bird feeders have been very busy the past few weeks. It has been so fun watching all the native birds enjoy the treats we provide.  Blue Jays love the peanuts in shells.  Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, and House Finches love the black oil sunflower seeds.  Carolina Wrens love the peanut and sunflower chip.  The Downey and Hairy Woodpeckers love the suet.  Our favorite is the Northern Cardinal.  In this book by Jane Yolen she has a poem called "Fireworks" - A Red Explosion bursts in the green.  What a great way to describe a Northern Cardinal.  We call our special cardinal - Papa C.
419. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patti Lovell (my daughter's choice).  I had heard many great things about this book -- first on a blog called Winning Readings. This is a great book about self-esteem and being proud of who you are.  In the story Molly Lou has a grandma who gives great advice -- I foresee  my children's grandparents being important influences in my children's lives too.
Note:  My son chose to reread Fortunately by Remy Charlip.

May 21, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
420. Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming (my daughter's choice).  We read Tippy-Tippy-Tippy Hide this week which is the sequel to this book.  You know how I feel about Mr. McGreely - he is awesome! My favorite part of this book is when he gets FURIOUS!
421. Bob the Builder: Bob's Toolbox Mix-Up (my son's choice). This is board book with lift-the-flaps.  It was actually a good book.  Bob lost his hammer and his friends, the machines, try to help him find it.  He finds it in the strangest place!
Note: I chose to reread Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming

May 22, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
422. Sunny Boy!: The Life and Times of a Tortoise by Candace Fleming (my choice).  Another great story from Fleming.  Sunny Boy, a tortoise, out-lived many of his owners.  He loved each one in different ways, but Biff is the most adventurous and teaches him to live a little -- something he probably needed.  However, maybe going over Niagara Falls in a barrel isn't the best idea.  This story is based loosely a real turtle that survived the trip over the Falls and lived for many years at the Niagara Falls Museum.
423. Fancy Nancy and the Late, Late, LATE Night by Jane O'Connor (my daughter's choice).  I love the vocabulary in the Fancy Nancy books.  Any time my daughter wants to read one of these I will surely comply!
Note: My son chose to reread What a Treasure! by Jane and Will Hillenbrand

May 23, 2011(Before Bedtime)
424. Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker (my choice).  My son loved the illustrations in this book. He thought the square cat was kinda funny!  The story is that the square cat wants to be a round cat.  His round cat friends get into boxes to show him all the great things that can be done if you are a square.
425. Arthur Turns Green by Marc Brown (my daughter's choice).  We have been wanting to read this book for a long time.  It wasn't published in time for Marc Brown's birthday in November.  Then, we saw it at Barnes and Noble, but didn't have time to sit down and read it.  Today it was on our NEW BOOK shelf at the library. Hooray!  We weren't disappointed.  A great book about making green choices for the environment.  Arthur is working a school project - The Big Green Machine.  Arthur, his Dad, and Buster get green paint on their hands and D.W. actually thinks the machine is turning them green!  Great!
426. Scaredy Squirrel has a Birthday Party by Melanie Watt (my son's choice).  Another greatly anticipated read! Scaredy Squirrel is planning a birthday party for himself -- only he is invited.  However, he decides to invite the dog, Buddy at the last minute.  This backfires on Scaredy Squirrel and throws him into a tizzy -- Scaredy Squirrel-style!

May 24, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
427. Tell the Truth B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra (my daughter's choice).  This is a creative take on the classic Three Little Pigs tale.  Big Bad Wolf owns up to the mistake he made by blowing down the houses of the three little pigs.  He asked for forgiveness and repaid the pigs in a very generous way.  My children were lukewarm on the story but really liked the illustrations.
428. The Secret Science Project that Ate the School by Judy Sierra (my son's choice).  It seems that we have read lots of stories recently about gross things taking over a school.  We read a couple by Jerdine Nolen and another my Arthur Dorros.  This one by Judy Sierra was great!  I think the rhyming text helped differentiate it from the other school-projects-gone-wrong books.  We were also excited to see Stephen Gammell's illustrations and the similarities to Mudkin.
429. Miss Dorothy and her Bookmobile by Gloria Hurston (my choice).  After reading this book my daughter said, "This book is a like a biography."  She was exactly right.  It is a story of a librarian that lived in the country, but longed to worked in a big brick library in the city.  With the help of her neighbors they began a bookmobile that made an impression on lots of people -- young and old.  This was a very good book and would be a great book for a school Right to Read Week celebration.

May 25, 2011 (During Tornado Warning)
430. Henry and the Dragon by Eileen Christelow.  The tornado sirens were going off tonight at our house.  We spent about an hour in the basement.  Reading books made the time much more comfortable for the kids.  My daughter was pretty anxious about the situation.  This book by Christelow was about a Henry being scared of dragons in his room after his father read him a bedtime story.  The next day he even built a dragon trap.  On his own time, he overcame his fear and had a little fun with it too.
431. Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey.  My son loved this book!  The dog may have bad breath but it really helps when robbers attempt to enter the house.
432. The Mystery of the Magic Green Ball by Steven Kellogg.  We got this book at a book sale.  What a great find it was!  Steven Kellogg really captures children's emotions involved with the ownership of toys.  Timmy's new green ball goes missing and he holds out hope even through the winter that he would find it.  It didn't turn up where you would think and he and his pal devise a plan to get it back.

May 25, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
433. Big Bouffant by Kate Hosford (my daughter's choice).  I loved this story up until the end.  A young girl wants to bring style to her class so she styles her hair big like her grandmother used to do when she was younger -- a big bouffant.  It catches on with the other students, but then gets boring for her.  So, she needs a new way to differentiate herself.  Still a good book, but the ending kinda left us feeling indifferent.
434. Amanda and Her Alligator by Mo Willems (my son's choice).  We loved the new Mo Willems book.  My children laughed out loud at a few parts.  It even broke my daughter out of her tornado-siren- funk! You have to check it out! Our favorite part was when alligator was chewing on Amanda's head!

May 26, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
435. Little Whistle by Cynthia Rylant.  My daughter loves books by Cynthia Rylant.  However, she had never read this book before.  She was quite pleased with her selection! Little Whistle is a guinea pig that lives at the back of the toy store.  He sleeps all day when the children are entering the store because he has been up all night having fun reading books and interacting with the toys that come to life.  It was a well written story that was pleasant to read aloud.
436. EEK, Stories that Make You Shriek: Bug Off by Jennifer Dussling (my choice).  This reader was pretty good.  Billy's nickname is Bugsy because he torments bugs and often kills them.  Until one day, he meets a gold bug that seeks revenge by stinging him.  The next morning Billy turns into a bug and learns a quick lesson.
437. Look a Book! by Bob Staake (my choice).  This is a seek-and-find book with easy to read rhymes.  The book was not overwhelming for my little ones, but that doesn't mean there is not a lot to look at.  The rhyme only asks the reader to find one thing on the page! We then had the freedom to ask each other to find other things if we wanted.  If there would have been a list of things to find we would have been compelled to find each thing before turning the page.  Hooray - a seek and find that can be read before bedtime! Note: There is a challenge at the end of the book to find more things.

May 27, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
438. Brownie and Pearl: See the Sights by Cynthia Rylant (my son's choice).  Brownie, a young girl, and Pearl, a cat, head into town to visit a hat shop, a shoe shop, and cupcake shop.  They have fun but get sleepy and head home for a nap.  A simple, yet delightful book.
439. Little Whistle's Medicine by Cynthia Rylant (my daughter's choice).  I liked this book more than the first book in the Trilogy that we read last night.  In this story, Little Whistle goes to visit Soldier to hear him read his nightly bedtime story.  However, he was not feeling well enough to read because someone dropped him on his head during the day at the toy store.  Little Whistle was determined to find something to make the Soldier feel better.  My daughter was thrilled once again with her choice of book.
440. The Three Bully Goats by Leslie Kimmelman (my choice). Three Goats lived in the meadow and they were bullies.  One day they decide to cross the bridge to get to the other side because it looked better.  The only thing that stood in their way was the ogre that lived under the bridge.  But, he was puny and the bully goats just trip-tripped their way across and began to cause problems in the field with the flowers and baby animals.  Ogre devises a plan to save the day.

May 28, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
441. Born to Read by Judy Sierra (my daughter's choice).  Before we even began my daughter said, "Hey, I was born to read!"  I agreed whole-heartedly!  There are some great messages about readers in this book, "READERS WIN AND WINNERS READ!", "READERS CAN DO ANYTHING!", and "READERS CAN GO ANYPLACE!"
442. My Book Box by Will Hillenbrand (my choice).  After reading this book my daughter said, "We have to make a book box!"  There are simple instructions in the back too.  Elephant has an empty box and imagines all the things he can do with it -- a sock box, a hide and seek box, etc.  He decides to make a book box that ends up being perfect for allowing him to read his favorite books in many places.
Note: My son chose to reread Amanda and Her Alligator by Mo Willems.

May 29, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
443. Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand (my choice).  I have said this before, but I love books you can sing.  As this book progressed, my son was chiming in and to me this is reading!  He was able to add words if I stopped too.  I really like that Hillenbrand set the story in a zoo.  Our zoo just got a new train and we are looking forward to riding it this summer.
444. The Bird House by Cynthia Rylant (my daughter's choice).  Rylant's story books have been a joy to read this week.  Her word choice made for a smooth read.  This was a story about a young girl without a home who happens upon a house.  Many bird's live around the house which initially made me feel like the house was abandoned.  However, the girl sees a old women emerge from the house which causes all the birds to scatter except for an owl.  The girl returns day after day until a strange event keeps her away.  The mystery of the event and house pull her back.  The mystery turns to fear as the motionless owl takes flight. However, the owl is not a protector but a welcomer.
445. Itsy Mitsy Runs Away by Elanna Allen (my son's choice).  This was a very imaginative book about the simple idea of a child wanting to run away to avoid bedtime and a father throwing out a bunch of scenarios to keep the girl at home.  I couldn't tell if he was mentioning all these things just to have fun with Mitsy or because his feelings were sort of hurt because she wanted to run away.  My son pulled this stunt a while back and I had fun with his desire to run away but I was sort of sad at the same time.  Mitsy, of course, has solutions to all her father's dilemmas and succeeds at running away but fails at avoiding sleep.

May 30, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
446.  Brownie and Pearl Get Dolled Up by Cynthia Rylant (my choice).  I have to be honest.  I picked this book tonight because it was short.  I let the kids play and watch video games a little too long before bedtime tonight.  So, I wanted to make books a little shorter to get them in bed at a decent time.  This book was enjoyable even though it was short.  Brownie and Pearl powder their faces and wear feathers to look fancy.
447. Thomas Alva Edison by Will Mara (my daughter's choice).  This was a book that is part of the Rookie Biography Series.  The text was limited, but was just enough for my daughter to wrap her head around.
448. The Best Soccer Player by Susan Blackaby (my son's choice).  I think my son was tired too.  He picked this short reader.  Katy is the star of the team but she isn't a little girl or boy but a dog.

May 31, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
449. The Great Trash Bash by Loreen Leedy (my daughter's choice).  Nowadays this book would be called a "GREEN" book.  Leedy was a little ahead of the times -- this book is 20 years old, but still in print!  It is about the mayor of the city of Beaston.  He realizes that something is wrong with his town.  He figures out that they have a trash problem, so he proposes a "TRASH BASH" to clean up the town.  There is a list of things you can do "Cut down trash" at the back of the book and my daughter was sure to point out the ideas that we don't do.
450. Wild About Books by Judy Sierra (my choice). We loved this book.  The rhymes and text are wonderful to read.  The idea of animals reading books at the zoo is very cool.  I guess that explains why they are always hiding when we visit our zoo.
Note: My son chose to reread Wolverine: Amazing Powers by Michael Teitelbaum.

June 1, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
451. When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant (my choice).  We read this book in preparation for our visit to Kent State to view many of Cynthia Rylant's manuscripts!  My children got a kick out of the idea of a johnnyhouse.  I told them, "Maybe we won't go to Kent State to celebrate Cynthia Rylant's birthday.  It might be more fun to build a johnnyhouse in the backyard."  My son said, "Dad, we don't need to do that.  We have a toilet inside!"
452. The Great Graph Contest by Loreen Leedy (my daughter's choice).  There was a lot going on in this book which made it challenging to read aloud.  But, the discussion of many different types of graphs was great.  My children were able to pluck information from the graph and understand where the information came from.  Great book for math class!
Note: My son chose to reread Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld.

June 2, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
453. Mr. Griggs' Work by Cynthia Rylant (my choice).  We had a fun day at Kent State researching Cynthia Rylant.  This book was another simple but well written story about a postal worker that loves his job so much that he thinks about letters even during his free time.  For Mr. Griggs it is devastating when he has to miss a day of work when he is sick, but coming back the next day made him appreciate everything about his job even more!
454. The Wonderful Happens by Cynthia Rylant (my daughter's choice).  It was cool to watch my daughter pick this book.  The top of this book was sticking up a little bit higher than the others and all you could see is "Cynthia Rylant".  That was all it took for her to select the book.  As for the book, it was WONDERFUL.   A great book to read to your children to let them know that when they came into your life it was wonderful!
455. Preschool to the Rescue by Judy Sierra (my son's choice).  This book reminded me so much of my son's preschool teacher.  A mud puddle in the school yard becomes a full day experience.  My son's teacher has the ability to pull learning out of very small happenings in a preschoolers life.

June 3, 2011
School is officially out for both of my children and they are celebrating at Grandma's!!

June 4, 2011
I had to work.  Mom got to read books tonight.

June 5, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
456. Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln by Patricia Polacco (my choice).  This was a fabulous book.  It was riveting, action-packed, and tingly (you know the feeling, kinda like the chills -- when an ending of the story is so good!).  I have read very few of Polacco's books, but the ones I have read are awesome and memorable.  I was finished with this book and I couldn't stop talking about how good it was. Two boys travel to Harper's Ferry, WV with their grandmother. Amazingly, after viewing a small Civil War museum they step out of a door into the time of 1862.  The boys encounter Abraham Lincoln and a battlefield.  It all seems so real, but it can't be -- right?
457. Everything I Know About Pirates by Tom Lichtenheld (my son's choice). This book is full of great illustrations which provide a lot of details to study, plus many labels to read.  The text in the book is very long with makes it a slightly difficult read aloud only because of the length -- not because of the word choice.  My son loved everything about the book.
458. A Suitcase Surprise for Mommy by Cat Cora (my daughter's choice). Zoran's Mommy will be going to New York soon and he is not happy about it.  Together they work through the reasons Mommy has to leave and how they can make Zoran feel comfortable with the situation.  Zoran and his Mommy have a wonderful idea to make the experience the best it can be.  The cover is a little misleading to what really happens in the story.

June 6, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
459. Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra (my choice). B.B. Wolf is invited to a tea party at the library.  Crocodile helps him with proper tea party etiquette.  However, at the party B.B. Wolf feels a big belch coming. Will he remember his manners?
460. The Patterson Puppies and the Midnight Monster Party by Leslie Patricelli (my daughter's choice). This was a really good book for my son.  He is always talking about monsters in his room.  In this story, Petra is not sleeping well.  But, her brothers and sisters have the idea of making cookies for the monster. Petra finally is able to get a good night's rest after meeting someone special at a midnight monster party.
461. Everything I Know About Monsters by Tom Lichtenheld (my son's choice).  My son probably thinks there are monsters in his room because he picks books like this to read before bed.  The format is very similar to the Pirates book.  Lots of great illustrations with labels and funny stories to explain everything about monsters.  Perfect book for a boy.

June 7, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
462. The Ticky-Tacky Doll by Cynthia Rylant (my choice). I needed this book about 2 months ago when my son was having a hard time going to preschool.  He told me every day that he hated going and some days were even filled with tears.  It was awful.  This book may have helped.  The little girl did not like school because ticky-tacky dolls are not allowed.  However, Grandma realizes this and makes her a ticky-tacky doll baby that can stay in her book bag without anyone noticing.  This makes the girl feel secure and happy.
463. BallyHoo Bay by Judy Sierra (my daughter's choice).  After reading this book my daughter declared, "I always pick good ones to read!"  I guess she liked it.  This was a great pick for the eve of Judy Sierra's birthday. A community tries to save their beach from being developed by builders.  The book has Sierra's signature rhythm and rhymes that made it a joy to read aloud.
464. A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black (my son's choice).  A pig parade may sound fun but we found out many reasons why it wouldn't work including pigs not being willing to wear the majorette uniforms.  This was the second time I had read this book to my children.  I really liked it the second time around.

June 8, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
465. Little Whistle's Dinner Party by Cynthia Rylant (my choice).  This was the last book that our library had in the Little Whistle Series.  I believe there is a Christmas book in the series that our library did not have.  Little Whistle has been enjoyable to read this month. In this adventure he prepares a meal for all of his friends in Toytown.  He serves up guinea pig treats that he has been saving for a special occasion.  He also makes a special trip to the store to pick up a treat that makes his friend Lion very happy!  Little Whistle has been so great that it makes me want to get a guinea pig for a pet. (Just kidding...I will never have a guinea pig for a pet ever again -- smelly and noisy little things!)
466. Octopus Soup by Mercer Mayer (my daughter's choice).  I think my daughter was little disappointed to find out this was a wordless book. In this story an octopus heads off into the real world and almost gets cooked by a walrus chef.  He manages to escape and heads quickly home to the opens arms of his parents.  Great illustrations and easy to follow story.
Note: My son chose to reread The Invincible Ironman: Friends and Enemies.

June 9, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
467. The Whales by Cynthia Rylant (my choice).  This was the first Cynthia Rylant book that we read this week that she illustrated.  I had read that she really loves whales, dolphins, etc.  I loved her description that blue whales "swim past delicately and with impeccable manners."  My daughter and I had an argument on which was bigger a blue whale or a whale shark.  She was close, whale sharks are the largest fish. The Blue Whale is the largest mammal and animal on Earth.
468. All Better by Lisa Thiesing (my son's choice). This a great reader book about Boo-Boos.  My son is highly prone to Boo-Boos and the loved the book.
469. My Mother is So Smart by Tomie dePaola (my daughter's choice).  My daughter was once again pleased with her choice. She declared, "I pick such good books. Don't I!" This a very simple book about a boy's mother and the smart things that she can do including standing on her head!

June 10, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
470. A Picture Book of Louis Braille by David A. Adler (my daughter's choice).  A few weeks ago my daughter told me that Louis Braille became blind after an accident in his father's workshop.  I wasn't sure she was right. But, after reading this book tonight I learned that she was absolutely right.  After the accident, there was an infection that spread to the other eye.  My kids loved experiencing the braille letters on the last page too.  My daughter finished the evening by grabbing a pen and trying to spell her name and her brother's in braille dots.
471. I'll Be You and You'll Be Me by Ruth Krauss (my choice).  This was my pick to celebrate Maurice Sendak's birthday.  I enjoyed this as much as A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss.  My favorite poems were   "Skippy skipped over the rocks" and "Dopey".
Note:  My son chose to reread Jon Scieszka's Trucktown: Spooky Tire.

June 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
472. Good-Night Owl by Pat Hutchins (my choice). We had fun making all the bird sounds in this book.  Owl is trying to sleep but the birds are keeping him up. My youngest son, who sleeps downstairs, probably had a hard time falling asleep with all the pipping and rat-a-tat-tatting that was going on throughout this book.
473. There's Only One of Me by Pat Hutchins (my daughter's choice).  This book was pretty cool book because it allowed my daughter to ask about half-siblings and step-siblings.  The little girl in the book is a lot of things to different people -- a granddaughter, a half-sister, a stepsister, etc.
Note: My son chose to read a chapter from The Magic Pickle by Scott Morse chapter book.

June 12, 2011
No books read. It was a late night traveling out of town.

June 13, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
474. Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life by Maurice Sendak. My wife chose all the books tonight.  This was quite a long one, and it put the kids to sleep by about chapter 6.  However, I kept reading to find out what happened to the dog, Jennie. If you haven't read this book by Maurice Sendak I suggest trying it out. It isn't your normal children's book, but quite entertaining and enjoyable to read aloud.
475. Mommy Where Are You? by Leonid Gore.  This is a charming picture book that has many diecut pages to amuse the younger readers.
476. In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak.  I love reading this book!  We are big fans of the animated version of the book from Scholastic and the audiobook.  These versions of the book have allowed me to learn a very cool way of reading the book.

June 14, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
477.  When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco (my daughter's choice).  This is a book about the magic of a family reunion. Seeing family members that you don't get to see to often, lots of good food, many activities, and best of all, stories.  All this magic gets bottled up at the end of the day in the form of fireflies for the children to take home in jar.  Great book.
478.  My Best Friend by Pat Hutchins (my choice).  A simple story that shows the importance and value of having a good friend.  It shows that best friends often complement each other in many ways.
Note: My son chose to read a chapter from The Magic Pickle by Scott Morse chapter book.

June 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
479. Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins (my choice).  This was probably the first time we actually read this book, but it certainly was not the first time we had experienced the story.  It is a favorite animated story from one of our Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVDs.  Reading the book with my children was just as fun as watching it.  My son was great at making predictions of what was about to happen to the fox.
480. The Sign on Rosie's Door by Maurice Sendak (my daughter's choice).  Both of my children were captivated through this whole book.  It is right where they are in the lives -- summertime and a little bit of boredom, and parents that have a lot to do.  "Now do something," was Rosie's mother's response to Rosie's statement, "I have nothing to do."  Then, Rosie pasted a sign on the door.  Rosie's mother said, "Now find something else to do."  Awesome -- but I don't think it is going to work with my kiddos.
Note: My son chose to read a chapter from The Magic Pickle by Scott Morse chapter book.

June 16, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
481. The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins (my daughter's choice).  This book is a classic.  Well, written with a little bit of math and a perfect ending.  My daughter said at the end, "Why isn't it longer?"  She didn't like the unknown ending of another doorbell ring at the end.
482. Clocks and More Clocks by Pat Hutchins (my choice).  A man buys clocks for every floor of his house, but he thinks that the clocks are telling the wrong time.  He asks for help from the local clock master to check to make sure they are working correctly.  With the help of a pocket watch the clock master verifies everything is in working order.
Note: My son chose to read a chapter from The Magic Pickle by Scott Morse chapter book.

June 17, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
483. Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg (my son's choice). We didn't have a formal celebration for Chris Van Allsburg's birthday but we did check out a whole bunch at the library today.  My son picked this book because it has robot.  My daughter only partially listened to the story because she said it gives her the creeps.
484. Barn Dance by Pat Hutchins (my choice). This was a funny little rhyming book that had parallels to parenting.  It sounds like such a good idea to stay up late and have a good time after the kids fall asleep, but it only takes a little excitement to make us tired. Then, it is time for bed.  The kids are ones who are able to be up all night having a good time.
485. Mosquitoes by Cheryl Coughlan (my daughter's choice).  I thought it was great that my daughter checked this book out today at the library.  We have been getting lots of mosquito bites on our hikes this week.  She learned that only female mosquitos suck blood!

June 18, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
486. Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins (my choice).  A great little counting book that held the attention of my children with the sing-songy text.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading books by Pat Hutchins this week.  Happy Birthday Pat!
487. Lizards by Emily Rose Townsend (my daughter's choice).   Reading this book reminded me of my days working at the zoo.  Also, I told my children of my vacation in Arizona when I saw as many lizards there as I see chipmunks here.
Note: My son chose to read a chapter from The Magic Pickle: A Garden of Evil by Scott Morse chapter book.

June 19, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
488. The Boxcar Children Graphic Novels: The Pizza Mystery by Rob M. Worley and Mike Dubisch (my son's choice).  We really enjoyed this book even though it is longer than a normal bedtime book for us.  The Aldens are returning home from vacation. However, a stop for their favorite pizza is in the works for dinner -- Piccolo's Pizza.  The Alden's discover that their favorite pizza has come under some hard times -- gas lines broken, strange orders, good employees calling off sick, and a new factory next door has just changed their lunch time policies.  After helping the Piccolo's for a few days, business begins to pick up along with suspicion that something strange is going on.  Is someone out to ruin Piccolo's Pizza?
489. Baloney, Henry P. by Jon Scieszka (my daughter's choice). My daughter loves this book.  Her favorite part is the glossary at the end that reveals the meaning of the numerous non-english words in the story.  If you haven't read this and this sounds strange -- don't worry the illustrations fill in the missing holes from not knowing the meaning of many of the words in the story.
490. Crazy Like a Fox: A Simile Story by Loreen Leedy (my choice).  My son and I got a kick out of this book.  It is a story completely told in similes including many others that are part of the illustrations. Fabulous book that would be great for a teacher introducing the topic for a lesson in school.

June 20, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - My daughter has Girl Scout Camp in the evenings all week.
491 and 492. Happy Hocky Family by Lane Smith (my son's choice) and Happy Hocky Family Moves to the Country by Lane Smith (my choice).  My children and I love these books.  I saw them at the library and I had to pick them up again.  The layout of the book is perfect for my son -- quick little, skit-like chapters.  We especially love Baby Hocky and his unending optimism.

June 21, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
493. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Vol. 4 by Chris Mowry (my son's choice). This was a tough read aloud for many reasons.  I don't know anything about Transformers, I never watched the movies, and my son was exhausted.  I am sure Transformer fans would love this book though.
Note: I chose to reread There is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems.

June 22, 2011 (Before Activity-At the Park)
494.  Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli.  We headed to the nearby park for a cookout and baseball. We also snuck in reading this book to celebrate Leslie Patricelli's birthday.  We read the book before heading over to the swings. I can't believe how excited the kids were yelling "Higher, Higher" while I pushed them.  It was a great birthday celebration.

June 22, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
495. The Patterson Puppies and the Rainy Day by Leslie Patricelli (my choice).  This was a great story about a boring rainy day in the house and how the puppies pretend to be at the beach.  Unfortunately for mom and dad, the puppies dump a lot of water on the carpet to make an ocean.  My son loved this book!
Note: My son chose to reread Robot Zot by Jon Scieszka.

June 23, 2011 - I had to work tonight so Mom got to read books.

June 24, 2011 (Morning Reading)
496 and 497. Mighty Mike Saves a School Bus and Mighty Mike Repairs a Playground (my son asked for me to read him these books this morning.  I jump at the opportunity to read him books because he rarely asks!)  These two books were very good.  Mighty Mike is a hard working fella that would like to get some rest, but he wants to help out people in need.  In the School Bus book the weather is not cooperated so he decided to head home early, but gets a call that a school bus has broken down.  He checks everything out and finds out the bus is out of gas.  In Repairs a Playground, Mighty Mike is heading home after a long week and is ready to relax the whole weekend, but hears a child get hurt at the playground.  The playground is falling apart and Mike decides to not relax but fix up the place so no more children get hurt.

June 24, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
498. Poor Puppy by Nick Bruel (my daughter's choice).  I remember reading Nick Bruel's Bad Kitty and thinking it was an innovative ABC book.  Now, I think that this book is even more of an innovative ABC book.  It is innovative because it is a counting book and an ABC book at the same time (i.e. 1 Airplane, 2 Balls, 3 Cars, etc.)  How said is it that my daughter picked up on it before I did!
499. Bad Day at Riverbend by Chris Van Allsburg (my choice). The book is a story about characters from a coloring book trying to figure out where all the colored scribbles are coming from.  My children were intrigued right to the end.
500. The Widow's Broom by Chris Van Allsburg (my son's choice).  We didn't have an official birthday celebration for Chris Van Allsburg, but we still wanted to reread his books this month.  This book is one of my favorites of his.  An old witch's broom loses its value to a witch and is left behind.  But, it comes in quite handy for a widow by learning how to do household chores.  The neighbors object to the presence of a witches broom and move to discard it.  However, the widow has a plan to keep the very special broom.

June 25, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
501. Mommies Say Shhh! by Patricia Polacco (my daughter's choice).  This was the first book by Patricia Polacco that we have read that is for younger readers.  There are lots of fun animals sounds to make and great illustrations (of course!). Our favorite part about this book was the jumping animals.
502. The Loathsome Dragon by David Wiesner and Kim Kahng (my choice).  This was a great tale about a princess that is turned into a dragon by her evil stepmother.  Her brother is the only one that can break the spell.  I found myself wishing this would have been made into a movie by Disney instead of Cinderella (sorry to my daughter for this comment).
Note: My son chose to reread Mother Mother I Feel Sick Send For the Doctor Quick Quick Quick by Remy Charlip and Burton Supree.

June 26, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
503. Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Polacco (my daughter's choice).  Save the Libraries or there will be consequences! This is a fantastic book that every patron, politician, and person should read and understand.  It is clear that without libraries a community would be vastly different -- and for the worse.  Aunt Chip and her nephew Eli become heroes in a small town as they save their town from a life without books.
504. The Buffalo are Back by Jean Craighead George (my choice).  This book was fantastic and my daughter loved it.  She was rooting for Theodore Roosevelt and the farmers to get the prairie back in shape to bring the buffaloes back.  She also loved the illustrations!
Note: My son chose to reread Marvel Heroes: Amazing Powers by Catherine Saunders.

June 27, 2011 (Before Bedtime, but around the campfire!)
505. I'm a Shark by Bob Shea (my son's choice).  The very cool illustrations and cover drew me into this book.  This book has the pace of a young boy during summer vacation after eating 4 doughnuts.  But, it works and my son enjoyed it very much. The only thing I didn't like is that the spider joke seemed to be over used.
506. The Butterfly by Patricia Polacco (my daughter's choice).  Another wonderful historical picture book by Polacco.  This book is set in France during the German occupation.  Monique learns that her home is a safe house for a family trying to escape the Nazis.  Unfortunately, a neighbor also learns of the secret which forces the family to flee.  Monique does not know how things turned out for the the family, but an unusual visit from a group of butterflies provides hope.
507. Frightful's Daughter by Jean Craighead George (my choice).  I was so excited to find this picture book which is an extension of the My Side of The Mountain adventure.  The peregrine falcon, Frightful, has three babies, but 2 are stolen by a poacher.  Oski, who likes to do things her own way, survives when Sam Gribley rescues her.  Oski is reunited with her mother and with Sam's help she matures and learns to fly.  Oski makes things interesting when she choses not to go to South America for the winter.  This was a great story and my children learned a lot about peregrine falcons too.

June 28, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
508. The Pebble First Guide to Lizards by Zachary Pitts (my son's choice).  My kids loved looking at all the different types of lizards in this book.  The presentation of this book is like a field guide with facts and descriptions of each lizard.  My kids liked the horned lizard that can squirt blood out of its eyes and the blue tongued skink.
509. My Side of the Car by Kate Feiffer and Jules Feiffer (my daughter's choice).  I was very excited to have found this book at the library.  I had been wanting to read it every since celebrating Jules Feiffer's birthday.  It is based roughly on a true event between the father and daughter team many years ago.  Kate swears that it was not raining on her side of the car on her trip to the conservatory when she was younger.  This is just like the little girl in the story who swears it is not raining on her side of the car as she travels with her father to the zoo.  A great story that captures a child's desire for a perfect day.
510. Frightful's Daughter Meets the Baron Weasel by Jean Craighead George (my choice). I really liked the sequel to the Frightful picture book that we read last night around the campfire.  This book had less information about peregrine falcons infused into the text.  However, I liked the story a little more.  The Baron Weasel attempts to get Oski's babies numerous times, but it is the last attempt that actually has positive comments for the young falcons.

June 29, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
511. The Last Polar Bear by Jean Craighead George (my choice).  I found this book very sad.  The last polar bear? Are we ready to be thinking about that?  Jean Craighead George shows us that we need to be thinking about that or it will soon come to be.
512. The Sweetest Fig by Chris Van Allsburg (my daughter's choice). My dreams are pretty wacky when I remember them so I hope I never eat a sweet fig from a crazy lady.  This is a great story of a grumpy dentist who thought he could make everything in his life perfect, but his dog had other plans.
513. Mouse and Mole: A Winter Wonderland by Wong Herbert Yee (my son's choice). A delightfully simple easy reader chapter book.  The book is full of things young readers will love -- repetition, a few sing-songy rhymes, and a great friendship.

June 30, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
514. The Boxcar Children Graphic Novels: The Haunted Cabin Mystery by Jeff Limke and Mark Bloodworth (my son's choice).  This is the second Boxcar Children graphic novel that we have read and the series is gaining momentum for my kids.  The first book was really good, and they really enjoyed this one too. I think they really like the suspense and of course the mystery!
515. Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco (my daughter's choice).  My daughter took one night off from Polacco and then was right back at it tonight.  My daughter really liked that this was a story passed down to Polacco all the way from her great-great-grandfather.  I asked her what she thought of the story and she said, "It was sad."
516. Giraffe Trouble by Jean Craighead George (my choice).  This book reminded me of Frightful's Daughter because George sneaks in facts about giraffes just like she did with peregrine falcons.  We learned that a giraffe's tongue is 18 inches long.  We learned that they have sharp hooves that help fend off lions and hyenas.  It was a good story too.

July 1, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
517. The BoxCar Children Graphic Novels: The Amusement Park Mystery by Shannon Eric Denton and Mike Dubisch (my daughter's choice).  Another great graphic novel from the BoxCar children. I think we will be reading even more because my son found their location at the library.  The books we have read so far, even with their length, have been able to keep my son's attention.  I love it!
518. Emma Kate by Patricia Polacco (my choice).  My wife told my daughter, "No Patricia Polacco, tonight."  They were at grandma's house swimming past their bedtime. But, I found a shorter book by Polacco that would keep us on schedule.  This was a book that was an ode to Polacco's childhood imaginary friend -- an elephant!
519. Earth to Clunk by Pam Smallcomb (my son's choice).  Another great book for my son.  These three books before bed tonight kept his interest the best in many weeks.  The boy in the book has an older sister and a pen pal from outer space that he doesn't want.  So, he ships his big sister to the pen pal hoping he won't write back.  Eventually the alien stops writing and the boy misses his pen pal.  Clunk comes for a visit and the boys find that they have something in common!

July 2, 2011 - No book tonight, Daddy had to work!:(

July 3, 2011 (MidMorning Reading Request - making up for last night, I guess)
520. Bubba and Beau Go Night-Night by Kathi Appelt.  I was reading to my son and my daughter was reading on her own.  They ended up earning a few stickers for their summer reading program at the library this morning!  My son really liked the book.  I think it reminded him of his little brother who loves to wave good-bye!
521. I See the Moon by Kathi Appelt. I have had a few baptism's that we have attended recently.  This book would make in on a list of books that are appropriate for a christening gift.  A nice poem about God watching over a child with awesome illustrations!

July 3, 2011 (Before Bedtime - daughter was at grandma's house overnight)
522. Brand-New Baby Blues by Kathi Appelt (my son's choice).  Wow, I wish I would have known about this book when my first son was born.  My daughter cried when she found out we were going to have another baby.  This book is perfect for a first born child that is about to have a new baby!
523. Bubby and Beau Best Friends by Kathi Appelt (my choice).  I liked the Bubba and Beau book we had read this morning and thought we would give this one a try.  This book is the first in the series (probably should have read it first).  It tells of how proud the parents were to have Bubba and Beau come into their lives. Then, the two prized sons meet and become best of friends.  Nice story!
524. CookieBot! A Harry and Horsie Adventure (Bonus Book!).  Harry and Horsie are building blocks and need a snack, but the cookies are too high to reach.  They decide to build a robot to help them reach, but the robot goes crazy for cookies!  Great boy book!

July 4, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
525. Al Pha's Bet by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (my son's choice).  This was a very creative ABC book.  Al Pha responds to the King's challenge to find the best way to arrange the letters.  Al Pha bet's himself that he will get the job done right.  By paying attention to things around him, some ingenuity, and coincidence Al Pha establishes our ABCs!  Loved it!
526. My Father's House by Kathi Appelt (my choice). This was another faith filled book from Kathi Appelt which is based upon John 14:2 - In my Father's house are many mansions.  The illustrations by Raul Colon are beautiful.  I really like the placement of full page illustration spreads without any words throughout the book.
527. Newts and Other Amphibians by Mary Schulte (my daughter's choice).  This book taught us all about amphibians -- wet skin, backbones, come from eggs, cold-blooded. My daughter learned that toads are amphibians where she recently thought they were reptiles!

July 5, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
528. The Boxcar Children Graphic Novels: Tree House Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner (my daughter's choice).  I think this is our 4th Boxcar Graphic Novel that we have read.  My daughter was pleased with her pick.  I am still amazed that the book holds their attention the whole time.  I found that I don't even have to point at the pictures that I reading the dialogue from like other graphic novels or comic books.
529. The Kids' Guide to Monster Trucks by Michael O'Hearn (my son's choice). I wasn't looking forward to this book, but we just read parts on each page which made it the perfect length for my son.  It reminded me of my days when I was about 7 or 8 and seeing a monster truck for the first time.
530. Piggies in a Polka by Kathi Appelt (my choice). This book was a pleasure to read.  The rhymes were spot on! There was a lot of great vocabulary too --  hootenanny, rigadoon, roundelay, castanets, falsetto, serenades.  It made me wish I was pig and was able to attend the yearly hootenanny!

July 6, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
531. Incredible Me! by Kathi Appelt (my choice). Happy Birthday Kathi Appelt! It has been a wonderful week reading your books.  This book was another that I enjoyed reading aloud.  You can tell by the title that it is a book about positive self-image. I am a big fan of the illustrator too - G. Brian Karas.
532. Snakes Alive: Boa Constrictors by Colleen Sexton (my daughter's choice).  We learned that boa constrictors use the scales on the bottom of their body (scutes) to move.  Also, we learned that boa constrictors live in Mexico, Central America, and South America.  My son said, "Good thing we don't have boa constrictors where we live!"
533. Monkey Truck by Michael Slack (my son's choice). This is silly book about a banana powered monkey truck that saves all the animals from a tsunami.  My son loved it!

July 7, 2011 (Before activity)
534.  The Peace Book by Todd Parr.  Today we were inspired by the line in this book, "Peace is helping out our neighbors."  We read the book in the van that was packed with all of our lawn tools.  We were heading over to a family member's house that needed help with yard work.  The kids were excited to help out.   We spent two and half hours cleaning, pruning, and mowing! Thanks Todd for inspiring this random act of kindness.

July 7, 2011 (Before Bedtime)  - My daughter was out at the movies with her girl scout troop watching Cars 2.
535.  The Boxcar Children Graphic Novel #1 by Gertrude Chandler Warner (my son's choice).  This was the first book in the series of graphic novels.  It told the story of the the Aldens living in the boxcar and meeting their grandfather for the first time.
536. This is the Game by Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander (my choice).  I expected a repetitive rhyme book kinda like This is the House of Jack Built.  The book had similar rhythm, but didn't repeat over and over (thankfully!) The rhymes included quite a bit of history about the game of baseball.  It was a pleasant read aloud.

July 8, 2011 (I had to work and my wife read books - from what I heard it was lots of Todd Parr books to celebrate his birthday!)

July 9, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
537. Pond Walk by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace (my choice).  My children really liked the jokes the boy bear told his mother while on pond walk.  My children were able to relate well to using a field guide to identify animals and draw in the sketch books.  This was a very cool book with a great craft at the end!
538. Rat Snakes by Colleen Sexton (my daughter's choice).  Recently, when I read a non-fiction book about animals, it has been very difficult to get through it.  There are so many questions and comments and stories.  It is like my children are two dueling scientists trying to outdo each other with their knowledge.  Wow! Who knew my three year old had so many experiences with Rat Snakes!
539. The Art Collector by Jan Wahl (my son's choice).  This was a nice book about a boy that begins collecting art after his great-grandmother draws him a picture of a chicken with a red crayon.  He finds great pleasure in looking at art.  When he is all grown up his collection grew so much that a museum was needed to display it all.  My son was quite proud of his choice of book this evening.

July 10, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - Just me and my son!
540. DinoTrux by Chris Gall (my son's choice). My son and I read this book hundreds of times when he was a 2 year old.  This is the first time we have read it in quite a long time.  He even said, "I loved this book when I was 2."  It was nice revisiting this book with him tonight.  I think this will be a book he remembers when he is grown.
Note: I chose to reread Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner.

July 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - My son and nephew!
541. Pumpkinhead by Eric Rohmann.  I bought this book and had it signed for my sons at the Mazza Conference.  The gift shop had many choices of books written and illustrated by Rohmann, but I thought this one was the one they would like the best.  I made the right choice.  My son (3 years old - almost 4) and my almost 6 year old, nephew loved the idea of a boy with a pumpkinhead. Then, to have the head be taken away by a crow and fall in the ocean.  It doesn't get much better than that, right?  Oh, maybe it doe -- the pumpkinhead gets eaten by a fish and squeezed out of the fish by a squid.  What an adventure!
Note:  I was able to get Candace Fleming to autograph Clever Jack Takes the Cake.  We read this tonight also.  I enjoyed reading it for the first time to my nephew. I was able to scare him a little with a spooky voice when Jack was in the narrowing forest.

July 12, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - Just my son!
542.  There's Nothing To Do on Mars by Chris Gall.  I was able to get this book signed today by Chris Gall.  I thought this was his second best book (after DinoTrux) to read aloud to a boy.  I thought this because it is about Mars and spaceships.  But, then I learned the boy's dog is a robot.  And there are aliens and building forts and climbing trees (is it really a tree?).  Seems like lots of cool stuff, but Davey Martin thinks Mars is pretty boring until he makes an important discovery.
Note: I also got Chris Gall to autograph my son's copy of DinoTrux.  I was so happy when my son asked me, "Dad, did that author sign my book?  Not only that...but he explained to my son that Blacktopadon has to go because, "I can't hold it any longer!"  Thanks Chris for making my son's night!

July 13, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - Just my son!
543. Trick or Treat Marley! by John Grogan and Richard Cowdrey.  I was able to get this book signed today by Richard Cowdrey at the Mazza Museum.  Meeting Cowdrey today was one of the many highlights of the week! His presentation was fabulous too.  However, I can't believe this is the first time that I have read a Marley book.  The word at the conference is that this is probably the last Marley book that is going to be published :( The book was great! Lots of Halloween fun!
Note: My son and I reread Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel.  I was able to have him sign the book for my niece for her birthday!

July 14, 2011 (Before Bedtime) 
544. The Three Kittens by Jerry Pinkney.  We read an "F and G" of this book! I had never heard the term "F and G" before this week, but I learned that it means a fully printed book before the binding.  My children thought it was pretty cool.  The book was great too.  My children liked the illustrations of the birds that were on each page.
Note: My daughter chose to reread Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner.

July 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
545. Henry and Crazed Chicken Pirates by Carolyn Crimi, Illustrated by John Manders.  Today I was able to see John Manders paint a picture of Henry.  He showed the audience how he starts with a quick sketch and then adds a background color. At this point, his sketch stood out on the page against the colored background.  Then, he painted Henry starting with the biggest brush he could and worked down to a smaller brush for the details.  It was quite a demonstration to watch. I rushed right over the gift shop after the demo to pick up this book, the sequel to Henry and the Buccaneer Pirates, for him to autograph for my kids.  It is not quite as good as Buccaneer Pirates but Henry is a great character with a passion that I admire.

July 16, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - Back Home after a week at Mazza!
546. Our Colonial Year by Cheryl Harness.  We loved this book.  There was so much to talk about and recall from our spring visit to Hale Farm and Historical Village. The format of the book is like a calendar -- walking you through the months of the year.  Each page highlights one of the 13 colonies and an activity the people of the era would have engaged in during that month -- quilting to keep warm in January, Maple Syrup in February, etc.
Note: My son chose to read a joke book and my daughter chose to read two stories from a Beatrix Potter Treasury (Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle Duck).

July 17, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
547. Why Do I Have to Make My Bed? or a History of Messy Rooms by Wade Bradford (My daughter's choice).  You might initially think that this is going to a story about a boy and his mother grappling over the chore of making the bed.  However, it is a spiraling history back to 40,000 B.C. of children not wanting to make the bed.  A mother tells a story she remembers from when she was little which sparks another story from further back, and so on.  It allowed me to talk about B.C. and A.D. with my kids.
548. The Sandman by Ralph Fletcher, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey (my choice).  This was a fantastic tale about a tiny man named Tor that discovered a dragon scale that helped him with his sleeplessness.  He used his new found magic to help all the sleepy children until his dragon scale sand was all gone.  Then, he has to confront the dragon to get another scale. There are some great full color spreads of the dragon from Cowdrey!

July 18, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
549. Marley Goes to School by John Grogan, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey (my choice). These books are just great.  A silly dog that gets in a lot of trouble, a loving family, and great illustrations!
550. I Could Be, You Could Be by Karen Owen (my son's choice).  This book is comprised of short rhymes and ends with that all important message of just being yourself.
551.  Big Brothers Don't Take Naps by Louise Borden (my daughter's choice). This is a nice story about a little brother and the positive influence that his old brother has on him.  James without knowing is teaching his younger brother Nick how to be a big brother.  Nick is ready when a baby sister comes along.

July 19, 2011 - Daddy had to work. Mommy and Grandma read tonight.
July 20, 2011 - Daddy had to work, again. Mommy read tonight!

July 21, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
552. Star Wars Episode 1: Dangers of the Core by Jim Thomas (my son's choice). We gathered up all our Star Wars readers today to see how many we had.  We actually had two copies of this book and I had never read it to my son.  If you like to impersonate Jar Jar Binks then this is book for you.  Lots of dialogue that is from the first part of the Episode I movie with slight variations.
553. Meow said the Cow by Emma Dodd (my choice). My first thought was, "How many books do we need about animals switching sounds?"  But, I liked this book.  It read aloud really well with some nice rhymes.  The ending was the best part where the cat got what was coming to him for putting the sound switching spell on all the animals.
Note: My daughter chose to reread I Don't Want to Go to School by Stephanie Blake.

July 22, 2011 - Daddy had to work again! What a week! Mommy to the rescue!

July 23, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
554. Star Wars: Blast Off by DK Publishing (my son's choice).  This is a pre-level 1 reader that introduces all the characters of Star Wars.  The text is simple, "Meet R2-D2.  He is a droid."  There are even a few random labels that I found interesting like "beard" with an arrow pointing to Obi-Wan's beard and "fur" with an arrow pointing to Chewbacca.
555. I'm Not by Pam Smallcomb and Robert Weinstock (my choice). I honestly had a hard time with this book.  Maybe it was because we were out late,  in the rain, at Blossom Music Center watching the Cleveland Orchestra.  But, the illustrations made it hard to tell the dinosaurs apart and I don't think my kids got the "I'm not" idea, especially when it switched between characters.
556. Jackie Robinson by Wil Mara (my daughter's choice). My daughter said, "It's late.  Rookie Biographies are good books for a time like this."  Yes, they are concise books that are great when it is an hour after bedtime!

July 24, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
557. A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Maurice Sendak (my choice).  I pulled out the Ruth Krauss books that we own to read on the eve of her birthday.  I actually bought this book for my children for Christmas this past year.  My daughter said, "Maurice Sendak draws good pictures."  We love this book.
558. Is This You? by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson (my son's choice). After reading this book tonight we decided to use it to celebrate her birthday tomorrow.  The book is hilarious! Asking questions like "Is this your house?" and shows a boy under a mushroom.  After each question and silly illustrations, Krauss asks the reader to draw the correct answer.  At the end of the book you should have completed a complete book about yourself.  Very cool!
559. Young Abe Lincoln: The Frontier Days by Cheryl Harness (my daughter's choice). My son fell asleep during this book, which is why I kept it for last.  He is not a big fan of biographical books.  My daughter enjoyed learning about Lincoln's early days that included many triumphs of going to school and succeeding in Vandalia in the Legislature, but there were also sad times like losing his mom and sister.

July 25, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
560. Gossip Gang by Jan and Mike Berenstain (my daughter's choice).  My daughter was so excited to find this book on the NEW BOOK shelf at the library.  She was aware that Jan Berenstain's birthday is tomorrow and couldn't believe there were new Berenstain Bears books! The new Berenstain Bears books have religious references which is a nice touch.  This particular book has quotes from the Bible.
561. Bad Dog Marley by John Grogan, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey (my choice).  I was surprised to learn that this series started only back in 2007.  I guess I thought it had been around longer than that.  This is my favorite Marley book that I have read aloud thus far.  Of course, it is the first in the series and I didn't read it first -- which I never seem to do!
562. Star Wars The Clone Wars: Hero of the Confederacy Vol. 3 (my son's choice).  My son said, "Did you see all those Star Wars books I buyed from the library?"  He got about a dozen.  This book was just a like a comic book only with a hard cover.  I had to say it was actually enjoyable with a clear beginning, middle, and an end. 

July 26, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
563. The Magic School Bus Get All Dried Up by Joanna Cole (my son's choice).  My children found Magic School Bus books a while back at the library, then they saw the TV show.  Now they want to read more Magic School Bus books.  Yes, TV and books can work together!
564. Marley and the Kittens by John Grogan, Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey (my choice).  I think this is my favorite Marley book now. Baby Louie talks a lot in this one which makes my son laugh out loud! Happy Birthday Richard Cowdrey!
565. Abe Lincoln Goes to Washington by Cheryl Harness (my daughter's choice).  We learned a lot about the Civil War tonight.  The different views the North and South had on slavery.  The trouble Abe Lincoln had with his generals.  The great speeches that Lincoln gave to rally the country.  This is a fabulous book.

July 27, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
566. Star Wars The Clone Wars: Stand Aside - Bounty Hunters by Simon Beecroft (my son's choice).  I thought my son had read all the Star Wars readers. But, this was a new one for us.  The main character discussed in this book is Cad Bane, but it also discusses all the bounty hunters that help him.  This is a level 2 reader.
567.  Sand Cake by Frank Asch (my daughter's choice).  I got out our Frank Asch books to read for his upcoming birthday on August 6.  I found this book at a used book sale and saved it until now to read.  I really liked this book.  I would imagine this book is out of print, but it is a good one.  Dad and his son make a cake on the beach with flour, milk, and eggs -- not real ingredients though, just pretend.  But, the book is very clever!
Note: I chose to reread Orangutan Tongs by Jon Agee which was a blast! Nothing like tongue twisters before bed.

July 28, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
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569. Star Wars The Clone Wars: Battle at Teth (my son's choice).  I am now used to my son picking these books for bedtime reading.  Also, I am enjoying them more because I am reading them with the same energy I do a picture book.  If I were to go to the top of this page I would see that I wasn't happy reading these books at the beginning of the year. But, I realized that it is not fair to him if I don't put the same effort into reading his choices as others.
Note: My daughter chose to reread The Flower Faerie by Frank Asch for his upcoming birthday on August 6!

July 29, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
570. Sun Up, Sun Down by Gail Gibbons (my choice). Another book by Gail Gibbons as we celebrate her birthday this week.  This book was a little different than her others.  There was a lot less text and fewer facts.  But, it was still a learning experience.  My kids learned that the sun comes up in the east and how shadows are different throughout the day.
571. Fire! Fire! by Gail Gibbons (my daughter's choice).  This book is the reason why you read non-fiction with your children.  We had a very in depth discussion about fires and how a fire would effect us in our own house.  It was one of those times when the book could have taken about half the time to read straight through, but there was something to talk about on each page.  I liked that the book talked about how the response to fires is different in the city, country, in the forest, or on water.  Excellent and thorough book!
Note: My son choose to reread Wolverine: Awesome Powers by Michael Teitelbaum.

July 30, 2011 - No books tonight.  My brother-in-law got married and we were out really late!

July 31, 2011 (Mid-Morning)
572.  The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons.  Our birthday celebration for Gail Gibbons didn't happen today.  My youngest and oldest come down with a flu bug that kept us from visiting our friends' honey farm.  My son and I went ahead and read the book together anyway! We learned that all worker bees are female, and that worker bees change jobs within the community as they get older.

July 31, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
573. Zoo by Gail Gibbons (my choice).  Another great book by Gail Gibbons! This book was very accurate and similar to my experiences working at a local zoo.  It was nice to be able to add a few of my own stories as we read.
574. Bunny's Lessons by Harriet Zieffert (my daughter's choice). This is the second book this week that we have read that was illustrated by Barroux.  While I was reading this book, my son was turning the pages for me. He was really into all the lessons the bunny was learning from Charlie.
575. Eddie Gets Ready for School by David Milgrim (my son's choice).  This book has very little text -- a series of checklist items that help Eddie get ready for school.  I thought this book was going to be a serious, lesson teaching-type book, but it wasn't.  It had quite a bit of humor which made for a pleasant read aloud experience.

August 1, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
576. The Magic School Bus: Wet All Over, A Book About the Water Cycle by Joanna Cole (My daughter's choice).  I thought this book was brilliant.  It explained the water cycle so simply that my three year old son was able to understand it - sun makes water vapor, condenses when cooled, rains, repeat!  I love reading these books with my kids. The commentary in the illustrations by the child characters is always a hoot!
577. The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons (my choice).  Happy Birthday Gail Gibbons! After reading the water cycle book we got to read about the apple tree cycle.  There are lots of books about apple trees and how they change through the seasons, but I like many of the unique additions that Gibbons had in this book -- explanation of an apple cider press and including how the boy played differently in each season too.
Note: My son chose to read a Star Wars Graphic Novel that we only were able to get partially into before we needed to move on.

August 2, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - I had to work late. Mom and Grandma were on book reading duty tonight.

August 3, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
578. Moondance by Frank Asch (my choice). I thought this was the book that my son and I did a puppet show rendition for Frank Asch's birthday last year.  But, that was Happy Birthday, Moon. This was a good book about Bear getting up the courage to ask the moon to dance with him. He successfully dances with the clouds on a foggy day and the rain on a rainy day.  These two dances give Bear the confidence he needs to ask the moon to dance.  Also, I have come to love the endings to Frank Asch's books -- always clever.
579. Vincent's Colors by Vincent Van Gogh (my daughter's choice). My daughter was so excited to read this book. She found it at the library today.  The words of the book are actual words by Van Gogh (from letters written to his brother) describing his paintings.  He uses many color words that make for a great children's book.
580. National Geographic Kids Volcanoes! by Anne Schreiber (my son's choice).  With each non-fiction book I read the more I am a believer in reading non-fiction books aloud to your children.  The questions, comments, and discussion are great.  My children don't argue and they listen to each other's comments. I think I should have at least one non-fiction book each night.  How else would my kids and I have a discussion about volcanoes!

August 4, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
581. Lego Duplo Around Town by DK Publishing (my son's choice). My son found this book on his own at the library. He was so excited and came running over to show me.  After we finished reading the book tonight he ran over to the stack of books to find another in the series and asked for a BONUS BOOK!
582. Mind Your Manners by Diane Goode (my daughter's choice). My daughter had a hard time with this book because it used older sentence structure conventions like having the word "not" after the verb -- like "graw not your bones".  She also didn't understand words like thy and forth.  She said, "Why are they saying those words?"
583. The Reasons for the Seasons by Gail Gibbons (my choice).  This wasn't my favorite Gail Gibbons book.  She definitely simplified the topic but the idea of earth tilt influencing the seasons, but then they are different in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.  Then, along the equator there isn't seasons.  It was quite complicated still for my young ones.
584. Lego Duplo On the Farm by DK Publishing (Bonus Book).  These Lego Duplo readers have very simple text and photographs of the Lego Duplo playsets.  My son loved them!

August 5, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
585. Emergency Vehicles by Seymour Simon (my choice).  This week we will be reading quite a few See More Readers by Seymour Simon.  My children are very much into" reader" books and I thought it would be a good way celebrate his birthday on August 9th.  I have talked about the great conversations I get when I read non-fiction with my children.  They try to outdo each other with their knowledge.  I have noticed that my almost 4 year old son has a great perspective on the world. In this book there was deep-sea diving robot.  Seymour Simon mentions that they can go down to the bottom of the ocean.  I told the story of the oil spill last year and how these robots were needed to fix the leak because divers could not go down that far.  My son says, "Scuba divers can go down far, Dad.  If there is a fire down on the bottom of the ocean (we read a volcano book the other day), the scuba divers will go down to the bottom and say, "Stop, Fish!" and then put out the fire.
586. Star Wars: The Adventures of Han Solo (my son's choice).  My son found this new Star Wars reader at our library. I learned that Han Solo was raised by a Wookiee which is how he learned the language to be able to talk to Chewbacca! Who knew?
587. The Christmas Witch by Joanne Oppenheim (my daughter's choice). A Christmas book in August! This is a story about a witch that refuses to go to Bethlehem with a procession of people because she did not have a gift and later regrets her decision.  Then, she bakes some cookies and makes a doll, searches for Bethlehem but is unable to find it. Then, every year after that she searches for the miracle she missed by stopping at each house and delivering toys and treats.

August 6, 2011 - No Books tonight. We didn't get home from the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement ceremony until very late.

August 7, 2011 - (Seymour Simon Birthday Celebration)
588. Let's Try it Out in the Water by Seymour Simon and Nicole Fauteaux.  This is a fabulous book that walks the reader through a series of experiments that teach about volume of a containers and the sinking and floating of objects in water (I don't know what the science term is for this).  We gathered up our containers, made predictions, tested the hypothesizes, and recorded our results.  This is a well presented book that is very appropriate for young children.

August 7, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
589. Rude Giants by Audrey Wood (my son's choice).  My son said with a smile at the end of this book, "Did I pick a good book?"  I answered, "Yes, you did!"  This story is about a butter maid that helps save her beloved cow from becoming a meal for two hungry giants.  She was able to accomplish saving her cow with cleverness and a kind heart.  Her actions also help the giants and the villagers to accept one another.
590. Big Bugs by Seymour Simon (my choice).  Our favorite part about this book was using the "actual size" visual to compare the bug's size to our body parts.  We learned that the bird-eating spider would cover our face! Yikes!
591. Amazing Aircraft by Seymour Simon (my daughter's choice). My children were surprised to find out that the hot air balloon was the first successful flying machine.  They enjoyed learning about the progress that has been made in aviation.  The book does a nice job comparing the early flights to the capabilities of today's aircraft.

August 8, 2011 (Special Request)
592. Knights and Castles by Seymour Simon.  My daughter and son requested that I read them this book this afternoon.  It was great.  I was able tell them all about a medieval festival that I went to while in college.  My daughter said, "After we read this, can we play knights and castles? I'll be the queen."  Later, I found myself making a sword for my son out of two paint stirring sticks.  I used a plastic baseball bat for my sword.  We defended the castle, the queen, and her baby princess.  The queen made us great meals of leaves and nuts before and after battle. We even played in the rain!

August 8, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
593. Danger! Volcanoes by Seymour Simon (my choice).  I picked this book for the eve of Seymour Simon's birthday.  I have read other books about volcanoes to my children, but I really liked the photographs in this book.  Also, I liked how the author didn't shy away from the destruction caused by a volcano. My children learned that volcanoes can destroy but also build land.
594. Cool Cars by Seymour Simon (my son's choice).  There were lots of cool cars discussed in the book -- Model T, Rolls Royce, VW Beetle, Indy cars, electric cars, etc. The book also discusses how cars have changed the world "looks and moves."
595. Spaghetti and Meatballs for All!: A Mathematical Story by Marilyn Burns (my daughter's choice).  I thought the book was enjoyable to read, but the math was very vague.  I felt like my daughter wasn't picking up on what was happening.  The general idea of the story was that the Comforts were having a family reunion for 36 people.  Once, the guests arrived they started pushing tables together.  This lead to Mrs. Comfort panicking that she wouldn't have enough places for people to sit.

August 9, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
596. A Dog Needs a Bone by Audrey Wood (my choice).  I think this book is going to be the basis for our Audrey Wood birthday celebration this week.  I love reading it aloud.  The expression on the dog's face add so much more text than is printed on the page.
597. Alphabet Adventure by Audrey Wood (my daughter's choice).  Little i lost his dot and the rest of the alphabet must find it before school starts.  I found this book on our bookshelf.  I can remember reading it to my daughter when she was a lot younger.  I think it was a popular "Potty" reading book for her too.
Note: My son picked a chapter book about Bionicles that wasn't very good.  We read only about 5 pages.

August 10, 2011 - I was at a meeting and was unable to read books tonight.  But, it sounds like Mom read lots of books by Audrey Wood.

August 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
598. Jubal's Wish by Audrey Wood (my daughter's choice). This is a story that read aloud great.  There was a lot of action and fun characters.  Jubal has a picnic lunch prepared but everyone is busy.  He encounters a wizard and is granted a wish.  He wishes for Gerdy to be finished with her housework and the Captain to have his adventures back.  Initially it appears that the wish doesn't come true, but a thunderstorm brings together the friends and wraps up into a happy ending.
599. Alphabet Rescue By Audrey Wood (my son's choice).  Before reading the last book in the series tonight my son said, "Dad, an activity we can do is take all the letter cookie cutters we have to the basement and set them on the floor."  I was so excited to hear that he was thinking of a way to bring his favorite books from this week to life!
600. King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by (my choice). My son described this book as "silly" when we were finished.  The King is in the bathtub and is not getting out.  His people try suggesting activities to get him out, but the King decides those activities would be fun to do in the tub instead.  The page is clever in the end and figures out a way to get the King out.

August 12, 2011 - Daddy had to work tonight.  Mommy read books tonight!

August 13, 2011 (During the Day)
601. Giant Machines by Seymour Simon.  My son asked me to read this book to him this morning when he woke up. Nothing better than starting out the day reading a book in bed!
602. The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood.  We found this book at a garage sale today.  It was a fabulous sale with books only 50 cents.  We acquired many for our author birthday celebrations.  My son asked me to read this book to him this afternoon, I think he recalled the book from preschool.

August 13, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
603. Giant Snakes by Seymour Simon (my choice).  I hid a plastic snake on the last page of this book and surprised my son by flicking it on him by snapping the book open.  It was awesome!
604. Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld (my daughter's choice). My daughter chose this book and she didn't even get to hear it.  She fell asleep before we read it.  Last night she spent the night at a friend's house and was up really late.  My son loved the book thought. I thought it was very creative, but it was a difficult read aloud.
Note: My son chose to read Yoda in Action, a Star Wars reader.

August 14, 2011 (During the Day)
605. Skippyjon Jones Lost in Spice by Judy Schachner.  We spent the day coloring Skippyjon Jones pages from Schachner's website and watching various YouTube videos about her.  We then headed to the library to find as many Skippyjon books as we could.  My son asked me to read this to him right before dinner.  It was so much fun to read aloud, just like every Skippyjon book.  I love the rhymes and spanish speaking parts.
606. Glasses: Who Needs 'em? by Lane Smith. My son also asked me to read this book too. I remembered reading this book to them last year around Lane Smith's birthday.  I loved it then because of the crazy lunatic, eye doctor and I loved it once again.  They loved the way I read the book so we read it twice. It made us very silly up until dinnertime.

August 14, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
607. Yo Vikings by Judith Byron Schachner (my son's choice).  I can't believe this book is based a Schachner's daughters.  They actually acquired a viking ship and kept it in their backyard.  There is even the news clip on her website as proof!
608. Space Travelers by Seymour Simon (my choice).  Another great reader.  My son was intrigued by life in the space station -- what they ate, how they go to the bathroom.  I remember being very fascinated by the same ideas when I was younger.

August 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
609. Become a Pokemon Trainer by Michael Teitelbaum (my son's choice).  I think the word "Pokemon" is in this book about 200 times!  Strangely, I enjoyed reading this book.  My first of teaching, many years ago, taught me many of the Pokemon characters.  The boys in my class were obsessed.  I couldn't believe I remembered all their names!
610. Cats by Seymour Simon (my choice).  I really liked the suggestion of the author to get to know everything you can about cats before you decide to have one for a pet.  There was a lot of information in this book, but it was presented in a child-friendly manner.  On the last page are questions to ask yourself to see if you are ready to have a cat for a pet.
611. Madam President by Lane Smith (my daughter's choice).  My daughter didn't fall asleep during books tonight.  This book presents all the duties of a president in a way for a child to understand and of course with a little Lane Smith-humor!  Like, a disaster area that needed to be seen which happens to be a messy bedroom!  This would be a fun book to read to older children learning about the executive branch of government.

August 16, 2011 - I was at work again! Mommy read books tonight.

August 17, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
612. Don't Pop Your Cork on Mondays: A Child's Anti-Stress Book by Adolph Moser, illus. by Dav Pilkey (my son's choice).  My daughter very ready to be back at school.  She is finished hanging out with her brother.  This book talked all about stress and how people handle it differently.  It also covers ways to handle stress.  My children liked the beginning where the author compared different reactions to stress to animals.  My daughter said she was a bull, who smashes everything in sight.  My son said he was a turtle who hides in his shell.
613. John, Paul, George, and Ben by Lane Smith (my daughter's choice). I thought this book was hilarious, but it went way over my children's heads.  And it was quite frustrating trying to explain the jokes, only for them to say, "I don't get it."  However, my daughter loved the true and false section at the end of the book where Lane Smith covers all the material in the book and whether he made it up or not.
614. Princess Hyacinth, the Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Lane Smith (my choice).  I guess Mom read this book last night, but I read it again anyway.  I loved the book.  It is about a princess who floats when she isn't weighed down by a huge crown and lots of jewels.  One day she heads outside without her gear, and she floats, and floats, and floats. Good thing she has a friend with a kite.

August 18, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
615. Squids will be Squids by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (my daughter's choice). My son loved the beastly fable called Horseshoe Crab and Blowfish.  The two sea creatures call each other names back and forth like balloon butt and helmet head.  Quite funny. Many of the fables didn't make any sense to my little ones, but they stayed interested throughout the whole book.
616. Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones by Judy Schachner (my son's choice).  This is one of my favorite Skippyjon books.  The "itchee gitchee gumba" is so awesome to read! My daughter did the honors tonight.
617. Skippyjon Jones Class Action by Judy Schachner (my choice).  Very excited to read the latest Skippyjon Jones book to celebrate Judy Schachner's birthday on August 20.  Skippyjon pretends he attends dog school and confronts the feared bullito. It is great to see my kids pointing out minor characters like Don Diego and Poquito of the Los Chimichangos in the illustrations.  

August 19, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
618. Skippyjon Jones in the Dog House by Judy Schachner (my choice).  It is the eve of Judy Schachner's birthday.  I saved this book for tonight, because it was a Skippy book that we hadn't read before.  It has been quite a week -- we are all speaking randomly in spanish accents!
619. Moving is Hard by Joan Singleton Prestine (my daughter's choice).  We are moving in about 3 weeks. My wife is always good about picking up books like this at library that help my children with certain situations.  The funny thing is that my kids are pretty excited about moving.  There really isn't much anxiety.
620. P.J. Funnybunny Camps Out by Marilyn Sadler (my son's choice).  This is was funny little book.  It was a nice reader with a good story with a great twist at the end.

August 20, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
621. Chicken Bedtime is Really Early by Erica S. Perl (my choice). This book started with the little chicks getting ready for bed.  The rest of the farm goes to bed after them.  It is important for the chicks to go to bed because they are the first to get up after the rooster calls.  But, what about those hamsters -- they do things a little different.  This book was a pleasure to read aloud.  The meter and rhyme were perfect.
622. Dotty by Erica S. Perl (my daughter's choice).  I really, really liked this story. Dotty is the imaginary friend of Ida.  She takes her to school on the first day to find out her friends have imaginary friends too.  But, her friends grow out of the need to have an imaginary friend and poke fun at Ida for continuing to rely on Dotty.  This leads to an altercation and a surprise from her teacher.
Note:  My son chose to reread The Happy Hocky Family Moves to the Country by Lane Smith for his birthday celebration.

August 21, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
623. In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming (my choice).  We actually got to hear Denise Fleming read this book around her birthday this year.  I just found our own copy of the book at the garage sale! A great use of 50 cents!
Note:  We reread Glasses Who Needs 'em and The Happy Hocky Family by Lane Smith.

August 22, 2011 - The two oldest kiddos were at grandma's overnight! Slumber party before school starts.

August 23, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
624. Moving House by Anne Civardi (my daughter's choice).  The book stated, "Packing his hard work." My daughter said, "No, it's not."  She has been helping us by packing up her desk and various other things in her room.  Apparently, she is enjoying it.
625. Money, Money, Honeybunny! by Marilyn Sadler (my son's choice). A fun, rhyming book to read aloud.  Honey bunny has lots of money, and she goes shopping.  But, she doesn't spend on just herself.  She buys a gift for each of her friends and family members.
626. See Art? by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (my choice).  We read this book in preparation for a visit to the art museum tomorrow to celebrate Lane Smith's birthday.  I have been wanting to go for a long time and I thought this was the perfect time.  My children enjoyed the book.  A boy is trying to find his friend Art in the Museum of Modern Art.  It is quite frustrating, but he learns a lot of about art including that film, sculpture, and photographs can be art during his search. Also, the book includes great examples of lots of different pieces of art including Van Gogh, Picasso, and Dali.

August 24, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
627. Spooky ABC by Eve Merriam and Lane Smith (my daughter's choice).  This book was originally published as Halloween ABC and it would be a great ABC book for October. A poem and great illustration by Lane Smith accompany each letter.   BEWARE! Many of the poems are capable of scaring little ones.  However, I can say my children did not have any nightmares after reading this before bed.
628. Richard Scarry's The Early Bird by Richard Scarry (my choice).  I needed a quick book as we were running late to get my daughter to bed at a decent time for school tomorrow.  Nice story about a bird becoming friends with a worm, plus you have Scarry's signature illustrations.
Note: My son chose to reread Squids Will Be Squids by Lane Smith.

August 25, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
629. The Monster Under the Shed by Richard Courtney (my son's choice).  This would be considered a classic Thomas the Tank Engine book in our house.  I have read it at least a dozen times with my son and he loved it once again tonight.  Just enough spookiness to be fun.
630. My Firstborn, There's No One Like You by Dr. Kevin Leman and Kevin Leman II (my daughter's choice).  My mother-in-law bought bought this book for us to read to our daughter.  The premise is that the firstborn cub asks her mother, "Which cub do you love the most?"  The mother tells story after story, but does not reveal until the end that she loves all her cubs the same but each is very different. I loved how many of the characteristics the mother bear described of her firstborn were very similar to our own daughter.
631. The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco (my choice).  My daughter loved that this book included Patricia. She liked seeing the illustrations of her when she was younger. She said, "Is this really a true story?"  The quilt was passed down in her family for over a century and was used at many important events including marriage ceremonies and births.

August 26, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
632. Chicken Butt! by Erica S. Perl (my son's choice).  This book reminded me of a Saturday Night Live Skit -- Guess What? Chicken Butt! This is a truly silly book that was perfect for my son.  He thought the sequel should be about chicken farts.
634. Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann (my choice).  I almost chose this book to have Eric Rohmann sign for my children at the Mazza Museum conference over the summer.  I settled on Pumpkinhead instead.  This book is about a promise a dog makes to a boy - "No matter what happens, I'll always be with you."  The dog passes away which crushes the boy.  However, when the boy needs him most he fulfills his promise.
635. Tiger Trouble by Diane Goode (my daughter's choice).  I love the fact that the tiger in this book is named Lily -- Tiger Lily! Very cool.  A new tenant in an apartment building is not happy to have a tiger living in the building.  But, it is the tiger that helps the man when he is in great need.  Great illustrations too!

August 27, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
636. Bubble Bubble by Mercer Mayer (my son's choice).  I am such of big fan of Mercer Mayer's books.  Before I started this blog, I only knew Mercer Mayer for his Little Critter books.  There are so many books other than the Critter books that I like so much more. This book is a perfect example -- a boy buys magic bubbles and they turn into creatures like a hissing snake and mean cat and big elephant.  My daughter was laying on the floor when I was reading this.  At first she said, "Just read it. I'll just listen." But, she kept asking for me to show her the pictures -- true sign of a good picture book -- she needed the pictures to understand the story completely.
637. Birthday Presents by Cynthia Rylant (my daughter's choice).  "I just love Cynthia Rylant,"  my daughter said before reading this book.  This book was a great book for my blog.  All about the first six birthdays of a little girl and the role her parents played in each one of them.
Note: I chose to reread Glasses Who Need 'em by Lane Smith.

August 28, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
638. Ninety-three in My Family by Erica S. Perl (my choice).  My daughter thought aloud, "I wonder how many are in our family?"  I told her we should find out.  This story was told by a little boy who has 93 in his family which makes life a little hectic -- 88 pets, his two sisters, his two parents, and himself.  The book was a pleasure to read aloud with great rhythm and rhymes.  Mike Lester's illustrations are really fun too!
639. There's a Monster Under my Bed by James Howe (my son's choice).  We love Mercer Mayer's There's an Alligator Under My Bed and There's a Monster in My Closet.  I was worried that this book was going to be very similar. However, it was really good and had an surprise ending.
Note: My daughter chose to reread June 29, 1999 by David Weisner.

August 29, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
640. Big Dog...Little Dog: A Bedtime Story by P.D. Eastman (my son's choice).  My daughter said, "This is by Dr. Seuss, right?"  One of those common misconceptions that most kids have about Go Dog Go and other P.D. Eastman books. It seems to be as common as children thinking that Dr. Seuss is a black cat with a red and white hat.
641. Cosmo and the Robot by Brian Pinkney (my daughter's choice).  Last year we celebrated Brian Pinkney's birthday (August 28) but only had time to read one of his books this year to celebrate.  My children loved this book.  It was perfect for their sibling rivalry and I hope my daughter picked up on the fact that a little brother has a lot to offer.
642.  Cupcake by Charise Mericle Harper (my choice).  This would be on a list of my favorite read alouds.  Cupcake is just plain vanilla and doesn't get picked from the plate.  Candle tries to help find a topping to make Cupcake more fancy -- but he isn't very good at finding toppings.  This book is hilarious.

August 30, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
643. Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco (my daughter's choice).  We found this book at a garage sale. Tonight my daughter announced with a singing voice, "We own this book.  Now we can read it whenever we want."  The book is about Patricia's grandmother helping her overcome her fear of thunder storms by baking a cake when she was younger.  I can remember counting in between lightning and thunder to estimate how far away the storm was from our house.
Note: My son chose to reread Chicken Bedtime is Really Early and I chose to reread Dotty for the eve of Erica S. Perl's birthday.

August 31, 2011 (During the Day)
644. Mater's Tall Tales by Frank Berrios.  It has been very frustrating having most of our books packed up for the move.  There have many times this week when I have almost opened the boxes just to read some of the books from our collection.  My son did find this book today and asked me to read it to him.  The book includes Rescue Squad Mater, Mater the Greater, and El Materdor.  The book is almost exactly like the short films.

August 31, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
645.  Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola (my choice).  I have heard my daughter say on numerous occasions over the past few weeks, "I don't want to read this book -- it is wordless!"  Well, tonight she experienced a wordless book she really enjoyed. I can say that I connected to the main character's actions -- I would going to any lengths for pancakes if I had a craving!
Note: My son chose to reread Chicken Butt! for Erica S. Perl's birthday.  My daughter chose to read a Bible Stories anthology that she received from her great-grandfather.  These books were read to her grandmother and aunt by her great-grandfather when they were little.

September 1, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
646. Henry Knox: Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot (my choice).  The only thing about Henry Knox that seemed familiar when reading this book tonight was the term,"Knox's Folly".  I bet it was a term I put on an index card to memorize for a test when I was younger.  But, I didn't remember the heroic story of Knox and his supporters transporting cannons to Boston.  Maybe I wasn't told the story because it wasn't in the textbook.  This book was remarkable with wonderful illustrations, great vocabulary, and just the right amount of text in each chapter to move the story along. It should be used in classrooms studying the American Revolution.
Note: My son chose to reread Cosmo and the Robot by Brian Pinkney and my daughter chose to reread When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant.

September 2, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
647. Bear Needs Help! by Rita Schlachter (my son's choice).  Bear has a bee in his ear and his buddy Rabbit insists on giving him soup to feel better.  Bear tells him not to worry about the soup and help him get the bee out of his ear.  Rabbit cooks the soup anyway and it tastes very good, but the bee is still causing problems.  Rabbit tries many things to entice the bee out of Bear's ear until he finally succeeds!
648. The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord (my daughter's choice).  This was a very good book.  Wasps invade a town and they don't know what to do.  Bap the Baker suggests making a large strawberry jam sandwich to trap them in.  The sandwich is enormous, reminiscent of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Note: I chose to read a few passages to from Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book by Anita Silvey.  I picked authors that my kids know like Jack Prelutsky, Jon Scieszka, Chris Van Allsburg, and Maurice Sendak.  We also read a chapter from The Bible Stories.

September 3, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
649. Be Quiet, Mike! by Leslie Patricelli (my choice).  I was very excited to find this at the library today.  I have been wanting to read this book since learning about it when we celebrated Patricelli's birthday back in June.  We learn about Mike, a monkey born to tap out a rhythm, in this book that is completely in rhyme.  He is told over and over to be quiet.  One day when shopping with is Pop he sees a drum set, but he doesn't have the money to buy it.  So, Mike does what any musician would do -- he improvises!
650. Rah, Rah Radishes by April Pulley Sayre (my daughter's choice).  I first saw this book on Anita Silvey's (Happy Birthday today!!!) Children's Book-a-Day Almanac.  My children loved the full color photographs of all the vegetables.  Their knowledge of vegetables made we realize all my hard work in the garden has paid off.

September 4, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
651. You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown (my choice).  Lucy Bear was certain she was going to make a friend today.  But, things do not go as planned.  She handles it well at first, but after each failed attempt she gets a little more irritated.  Lucy resorts to being very forceful which doesn't help make a friend either.  When she stops trying so hard she makes a friend right away.
652. The Boy Who Burped Too Much by Scott Nickel (my daughter's choice).  Of course my children loved this graphic novel.  I had to make burping sounds at least 75 times.  The burping is a problem the boy really couldn't control, but with the help of his grandpa and a lucky frog things worked out quite well in the end.
653. Zoomer's Summer Snowstorm by Ned Young (my son's choice).  This Zoomer sequel was nice, but lacked the surprise ending the first book had.  All of the other elements we love about Zoomer were there -- his perfect brothers, Hooper and Cooper, Zoomer's imagination, and outstanding illustrations.

September 5, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
654. Lego City: Fire Truck to the Rescue by Sonia Sander (my son's choice). My son loved the illustrations of the lego guys and their expressions throughout the book.  The book contains lots of sound words which were fun to read.
655. Nate the Great Stalks Stupidweed by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (my daughter's choice).  This was my daughter's first book she checked out from the library at school this year.  Very surprised with her first choice. I was happy though, because I loving reading Nate the Great books aloud.  I try to use a short and choppy detective voice.
656.  Star Wars The Clone Wars Adventures Volume 5 by Matt Jacobs and the Fillbach Brothers (my choice).  We finished up this graphic novel tonight.  We read it over the course of a few days.  There are four different adventures in this book.

September 6, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
657. The Frog Prince Continued by Jon Scieszka (my daughter's choice). About the only thing I didn't like about this story was that it wasn't illustrated by Lane Smith.  No offense to Steve Johnson - I just really like the Scieszka/Smith combo.  Actually, the illustrations are quite cool.  I love the drawings of the Frog Prince running with his really long legs.
658.  The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (my son's choice).  My son loves the Stinky Cheese Man.  Actually, I was quite happy to have heard him laugh quite a few times throughout the book.  But, Stinky Cheese Man is definitely his favorite.  I think we need to make a trip to the store tomorrow to find some stinky cheese.
Note: I read a poem from What A Day It Was At School by Jack Prelutsky.

September 7, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
659. Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast by Jack Prelutsky (my daughter's choice).  Only a master poet could write poems that include dinosaur names.  Wow! This was a great book for the eve of Jack Prelutsky's birthday.  I am not surprised that my daughter picked this book as she has been reading and writing lots of poetry at school.
660. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka (my choice).  This classic book was the perfect one for the day before Jon Scieszka's birthday.  My kids acted as if I have never read it to them before - can that be? Nahhh....
661. Stone Rabbit: Ninja Slice by Erik Craddock (my son's choice).  I told me son when we started the book that we wouldn't read the whole thing.  I got really into the book.  At the end my son said, "Hey, you read the whole thing!"  I would highly recommend this graphic novel.

September 8, 2011 - I had to work.  Mommy read books tonight.

September 9, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
662. The Boy Who Cried Ninja by Alex Latimer (my choice).  We made a late day trip to the library today.  The kids weren't feeling well in the morning, so we just hung out until late afternoon.  It was nice to get some new books, plus get out of the house.  This was a funny little book about kids, parents, and lying/storytelling.  It emphasized the truth that kids get in trouble if they lie, and in trouble if they tell the truth.  Tim, the boy in the story, has a creative way to show his parents that he wasn't lying in the first place.
663. The Middle-Child Blues by Kristyn Crow (my son's choice).  My son picked this out at the library today.  I don't know if he was drawn to this book or that the book chose him.  We enjoyed singing the blues along with the middle boy, Lee.  Great illustrations by David Catrow.
664. Small Saul by Ashley Spires (my daughter's choice).  Saul isn't your typical pirate - he likes to cook, interior decorate, and isn't really that tough.  The other pirates overlook what Saul has to offer and it is only when he has been thrown overboard that they realize that he influenced the ship in a positive way.

September 10, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
665. A Boy of a Thousand Faces by Brian Selzick (my son's choice).  This was the only book we read tonight.  Both kids fell asleep during the book after a busy day with grandma and grandpa.  I however, thoroughly enjoyed the book.  A boy, unlike the rest of the kids in his town, loves monsters.  He and a older neighbor end up with a unique bound that ends with a wonderful birthday experience.  This book read very well aloud too!

September 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
666. Gumption! by Elise Broach (my daughter's choice).  This is a great example of a picture book.  Without the pictures you do not get the whole story. Peter heads on an expedition with his favorite Uncle Nigel.  The perspective of Uncle Nigel concludes that the expedition was uneventful, but for Peter it was full of surprises.
667. Meeow and the Big Box by Sebastien Braun (my son' choice). This was an entertaining, quick read.  Meeow is a cat that has a big box.  He paints it his favorite color and makes a few modifications. His cleverness invents something that should keep him busy for a while.
668. America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates, illustrated by Chris Gall (my choice).  I saved this book to read on September 11th.  It was nice to sing this patriotic poem by Chris Gall's great-great-great aunt to remember the events that happened on this day 10 years ago.  On one page there is an illustration of the firemen raising a battered flag from the rubble of the Twin Towers.

September 12, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
669. Migrant by Maxine Trottier (my choice). I tried real hard to make a connection to this book for my kids to understand it more, but I don't know if I was successful.  My grandfather was a farmer and often employed migrant workers to help in the fields.  This story is told from the perspective of a young girl whose parents are migrant workers.  The girl draws comparisons to animals to explain the life of a migrant working family.
670. Kindergators: Hands Off, Harry! by Rosemary Wells (my daughter's choice).  My kids loved this book! Harry was having trouble staying in his personal space at school. This caused many problems with his friends and they let him know how unhappy they were during Friendly Circle Meetings.  Harry learns his lesson when he has to wear a "bumper tube".  This would be a great social story for teachers.
Note: My son chose to reread a Pokemon book.

September 13, 2011 - Daddy had to work tonight.  Mommy read books!
September 14, 2011 - Daddy had his writing critique group meeting. Mommy read books tonight.

September 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
671.  Tom by Tomie dePaola (my son's choice).  Today is Tomie dePaola's birthday.  Life is crazier than ever with us moving in 3 days, but I am glad our books were still accessible.  The three books we read tonight were so much fun.  This book is a hilarious book about Tomie's experiences with his grandfather, Tom.  My daughter said before we started, "This book is creepy."  I didn't remember why until I got the part about Tom being a butcher and teaching Tomie how a chicken leg tendon can make a chicken foot open and close.  My children loved when Tomie took the chicken feet to school to give a few scares to his favorite people.
672. Strega Nona (my choice). Bubble Bubble Pasta Pot. Boil me some pasta nice and hot! This classic book will never tire for me.  I love everything about it.
673. Strega Nona Her Story (my daughter's choice).  My daughter picked this book because it was a book by dePaola that we had never read before.  This is the prequel to Strega Nona.  You learn how she learned all her remedies from her grandmother, Concetta. The book ends with the beginning of Strega Nona.  Very Cool!

September 16, 2011 (Before Bedtime) -- last night reading in our old house!
674. The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie dePaola (my choice).  My son was quite intrigued by this book. He was fascinated by the tipis and how the native americans would have made a doll out of buckskin.
675. Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola (my son's choice).  Last night my son chose to read Tom about Tomie's grandfather.  Tonight, he chose to read this book about Tomie's grandmother and great-grandmother.  I am happy to say that I held it together while reading the end of the book -- usually I am a tearful mess!
676. The Popcorn Book by Tomie dePaola. A Classic!
677. Bed Hog by Georgette Noullet (my choice).  This was the first day reading books in the new house.  My brother-in-law was cursing all of our boxes of books by the end of the move.  This was a book by an author that visited my wife's school last year.  Cute book!
Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin (my daughter's choice).  I was surprised that we haven't read this book this year.  I actually got this book autographed at the Mazza Conference by Harry Bliss.
Note: My son chose to reread Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates by Carolyn Crimi

September 21, 2011 - Mommy read books tonight with Daddy working (Last time for the year!!)

September 22, 2011 - (Before Bedtime)
679. Baby Rattlesnake by Te Ata. This is a tale about Baby Rattlesnake wanting a rattle before he is ready.  The elder rattlesnakes give him a rattle, but he has trouble with the responsibility associated with having it.
680. Underwear Do's and Dont's by Todd Parr. Only Todd Parr could pull off a book like this.  My kids love it.
Note: My son chose to reread Dinotrux by Chris Gall.

September 23, 2011 - Mommy read books tonight with Daddy at SCWBI Conference.

September 24, 2011 - (Before Bedtime)
681. Where's Jenna? by Margaret Miller (my son's choice).  My children really like this book and I wonder if they like it because it is illustrated with photographs.  Jenna is hiding from her mom so she won't have to take a bath.  Simple -- but they love it!
682. Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest by Gerald McDermott.
683. Timothy Tunny Swallowed a Bunny by Bill Grossman (my daughter's choice). There are some pretty silly poems about some very silly characters in this book. This gave us a few laughs.
Note: We also read many poems from Falling Up by Shel Silverstein.

September 25, 2011 - (Before Bedtime)
684. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Happy Birthday Shel Silverstein! I can still remember reading "Boa Constrictor" when I was a kid.  On another note, I had never read The Giving Tree to my children.  I thought today was a good day to do so.
685. Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros by Shel Silverstein (my daughter's choice).  We had never read this book before either.  We actually received it from one of my son's preschool teachers last year.  She found it at home and thought we would enjoy it.  She was right!
686. Spider-Man Saves the Day by Acton Figueroa (my son's choice).  This was your typical super hero beginning reader book.
Note: We also read many poems from Falling Up by Shel Silverstein.

September 26, 2011 - (Before Bedtime)
687. Alice in Wonderland by Jon Scieszka (my daughter's choice).  Alice in Wonderland was my favorite Disney movie when I was little.  I have enjoyed watching the movie with my own kids too.  I was surprised to see Scieszka as the author of this book.  My children enjoyed it because it was very similar to the movie.
688. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Dusky Rinker (my choice).  I had been wanting to read this book ever since celebrating Tom Lichtenheld's birthday.  My kids enjoyed the repeated text and joined in.
689. Cowboy and Octopus by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (my son's choice).  This book makes us laugh every time we read it.  Beans and Bacon, Bacon and Beans, Beans with a little bit of Bacon! Hilarious!

September 27, 2011 - (Before Bedtime)
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691. Condor's Egg by Jonathan London (my choice).  When my youngest son realized that the book was about birds he forced himself into my lap for a better view.  It was awesome!

Note: We reread In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak and Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells.

September 28, 2011 - (Before Bedtime)
692. B is for Buckeye by Marcia Schonberg (my daughter's choice). My daughter was pretty excited to read this book.  We read only the text of the book, but there was a lot of information in the sidebar of each page.  However, I did refer to a few when questions arose. I love non-fiction books with sidebars or little factoids that help me answer all the questions that are asked by my children.
693. Lizards for Lunch: A Roadrunner's Tale by Conrad J. STorad.  This was a gift from my mom for my kids after she was out west.  There is reoccurring rhyme throughout the book that made the book special.  My daughter had fun saying it aloud!
694. In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz (my son's choice).  My son loves this book and it scares my daughter.  She really finds "The Ribbon" to quite frightening, but after that story was over she rejoined us to listen to the rest.

September 29, 2011 - (Before Bedtime)
695. The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV by Stan and Jan Berenstain (my daughter's choice).
696. The Berenstain Bears and the Ghost of the Forest by Stan and Jan Berenstain (my son's choice).
697. The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight by Stan and Jan Berenstain (my choice).  We read a trifecta of Berenstain Bears books. I couldn't believe how many BB books we had to choose from.  There must have been 3 dozen, but my daughter found a few duplicates.

September 30, 2011 - (Before Bedtime)
698. The Berenstain Bears In the Dark by Stan and Jan Berenstain (my son's choice).  My daughter stayed the night at Grandma's house tonight.  Just the dudes reading tonight! This is one of my favorite Berenstain Bear books.  It was nice to lay on my son's bed and read tonight.
Note: We reread The Monster Show by Charise Mericle Harper.

October 1, 2011 - (Before Bedtime)

699. The Berenstain Bears and the Green Eyed Monster by Stan and Jan Berenstain (my son's choice).  My son decided to read this book since he couldn't find the Halloween Berenstain Bears book that he wanted.  This was a perfect book for the upcoming birthday of my son.  Brother Bear gets a new bike and Sister Bear gets jealous.  The Berenstain Bears books always seem to tie into something going on with your kids!
700. The Pumpkin Fair by Eve Bunting (my choice).  After reading this book I wished that there was a pumpkin fair near our house.  I think my son and I would dominate a pumpkin seed spitting contest. I loved reading the rhymes of this book aloud.
701. The Berenstain Bears Learn about Strangers by Stan and Jan Berenstain (my daughter's choice).  This was a very thorough book on strangers that is well explained.  I honestly can't see myself ever needed another resource on the topic.

October 2, 2011 - (Before Bedtime)
702. The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat by Stan and Jan Berenstain (my son's choice).  This is the book my son wanted to read last night. He found it on our Halloween book display in the basement today.  This book would be perfect for parents sending there children out to trick or treat by themselves this year.
703. The Rain Came Down by David Shannon (my choice).  I pulled out our books by David Shannon to start reading for his birthday.  This is one of my favorites by him.  The rain stirs up lots of commotion in the city which comes to an end when the rain stops.  I love that Shannon accounts for all the characters he introduced throughout the book in the end.
704. The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst (my daughter's choice).  My daughter sang the Gingerbread Girl's rhymes for this book. She did a wonderful job.  I have to remember to ask her if she wants to read parts of the book.  She just interrupted me this time and started reading, so maybe I don't have to worry about it -- she'll read if she is inspired.

October 3, 2011 - (Morning Reading)
705. A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon.
706. No, David by David Shannon.
707. David Gets in Trouble by David Shannon.
708. David Goes to School by David Shannon.  After breakfast and dropping my daughter off at the bus stop the boys were antsy as I inhaled my breakfast.  It had rained for the past 3 days and was once again raining. I had run out of activities, so we went to my son's room and he asked me to read A Bad Case of Stripes.  Then, we proceeded to the David books.  While reading the David books my son kept saying, "Is that in the book?" I was adding dialogue for David and his mom in addition to the simple text on each page. This gave me the idea to have my son add dialogue to David in the form of cartoon bubbles for the book No, David. It was quite fun, and a great birthday celebration!

October 3, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
709. Whopper Cake by Karma Wilson and Will Hillenbrand (My daughter's choice). My favorite book by Karma Wilson! It is great read aloud.  I changed that Grandad was making the cake for my son whose birthday is coming up.  I thought it was pretty cool, but my daughter was not happy.
710. Quiet Night by Marilyn Singer (my choice).  I found this book at the library today and it was a perfect way to celebrate Singer's birthday! We had never read this book before and enjoyed making all the animals sounds.
711. Too Many Toys by David Shannon (my son's choice).  This is a very good book too. This was the basis of our birthday celebration for David Shannon last year.  It is cool to remember what we did with the book about a year ago.

October 4, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
712. Duck on a Bike by David Shannon (my choice). While I was reading this book my daughter said, "Dad, you make the best animals voices." This made me feel pretty good as I try really hard to bring the stories to life with the voices I make.  I have taken to heart the recommendation made by Pete Seeger to use funny voices when storytelling.
713. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by James Marshall (my son's choice). This is your traditional Goldilocks tale, not too much different.  The only thing I noticed was the emphasis on Goldilocks not being a very nice girl -- which is conveyed in the text and illustrations.
714. Mortimer's First Garden by Karma Wilson (my daughter's choice).  Another great book by Karma Wilson.  I loved everything about this book! Mortimer heard that a miracle can happen with his sunflower seed. All that is needed is a little water, soil, and sun.  However, he initially is discouraged when the green doesn't come the next day.  With a little faith Mortimer witnesses the miracle and is very thankful not only for the plant but the flower and seeds that grew too!

October 5, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
715. How to Bake an American Pie by Karma Wilson (my choice).  This book would be a great book for around the Fourth of July -- and it could even work for any other patriotic holiday.  It would also provide an opportunity for parents to talk about words that children often hear but may not know the true meaning -- freedom, liberty, etc. I really liked how Wilson was able to pull together so may ideals of being American and present them as a recipe.
716. Sweet Briar Goes to School (my daughter's choice).  My children really were dialed in for this book. Sweet Briar is a skunk that is not well accepted at her school.  The other children are very cruel to her until her heroic act helps them realize she is a very special skunk.
Note: My son chose to reread a Cars movie book.

October 6, 2011 (Before Bedtime - my son was at grandma's for an overnight!)
717. Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (my choice).  I have heard so many wonderful things about this book.  The boy's great-grandpa studied horticulture when he was younger.  The plants that he has cared so much about are now holding onto his memories.  I once saw an interview with Lane Smith and he said that he has tried to write serious books, but they always come out silly.  Well, Smith pulled off a book that was definitely more serious than his others, but that doesn't mean jokes are completely absent.
718.  Swine Lake by James Marshall and Maurice Sendak (my daughter's choice).  My daughter asked since her brother was not here tonight, "Can I pick two books and you pick one book tonight?"  I said, "Sure."  She pumped her fist and said, "YESSS!"  I am so glad she still enjoys me reading to her.  This was a great book where I thought all along the wolf was going to find a way to eat a pig. My daughter predicted that he would just watch the performance and not be tempted to eat a pig.  She was right and I was wrong!
Note: She also chose to reread Too Many Toys by David Shannon.

October 7, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
719. Merry Christmas, Space Case by James Marshall (my son's choice).  All three of us enjoyed this book very much.  I enjoyed reading the lines from the Goobers.  I guess the best testament to how I felt about this book is that I usually can't stand reading holiday books outside the season, but this book was very enjoyable.
720. George and Martha by James Marshall (my choice). 5 great little stories are included in this book.  My favorite was "The Mirror".  In this episode, Martha loves to look at herself in the mirror.  It annoys George a little so he drew a silly picture of Martha on the mirror.  I think this would be a great activity for my kids to celebrate James Marshall's birthday.
721. George and Martha Back in Town (my daughter's choice).  There are many lessons about friendship in this book of George and Martha tales including choosing not to discuss something knowing it could cause an argument, taking a leap of faith for a friend, friendly paybacks are healthy, and friends will always want special privileges.

October 8, 2011 (Before Activity)
722. George and Martha Encore by James Marshall. This morning we were set to have our birthday celebration.  I had all the materials on the deck ready and my son said, "Can we read some of that book?"  He was referring to the George and Martha Collection.  So, we read Encore and proceeded with our activity.

October 8, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
723. Mary Alice Operator Number Nine by Jeffrey Allen, illustrated by James Marshall (my daughter's choice).   After reading this book I wondered if this sort of thing happens nowadays.  Mary Alice is a phone operator that provides the time of day. She gets sick and no one is able to do it as well as her -- even her Boss.  Therefore, when she comes back to work her boss wrote her a note, gave her a gift, and thanked her for doing her job so well. (Naaaahh! Doesn't happen anymore!)
724. Hansel and Gretel by James Marshall (my son's choice).  I dawned on me as I read this book to my kids that I had never read this story to them.  I thought it was funny, because I probably have read them Goldilocks and the Three Bears at least 50 times.  But, I hadn't read this one which happens to be one of my favorite fairy tales of all time.
725. George and Martha Rise and Shine (my choice).  My favorite episode from this one was The Picnic! I loved that Martha put the bed on roller skates and pushed George to the picnic location! So, happy to celebrating James Marshall's birthday!

October 9, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
726. Spider-Man Versus Kraven by Susan Hill (my son's choice). We watched a Spider-Man episode about Kraven before bed then we found this book among our library books! Pretty cool to watch the show and read a book too.
727. Supercat to the Rescue by Kate McMullan (my daughter's choice).  This board book is set up like a comic book or graphic novel for the very young.  My kids really liked how Supercat helped with boo-boos and with bedtime.
728. George and Martha One Fine Day by James Marshall (my choice).  We just can't get enough George and Martha this week.
729. George and Martha Tons of Fun by James Marshall (Bonus Book).  I think this bonus book was a little of "I am not ready for bed" and "I want more George and Martha."

October 10, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
730. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshall (my choice)
731. Miss Nelson is Back by Harry Allard and James Marshall (my daughter's choice)
732. Miss Nelson Has a Field Day by Harry Allard and James Marshall (bonus book)
733. George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends by James Marshall (my son's choice).  We celebrated James Marshall's birthday all week but for his birthday today we read the remaining books in our bedtime reading stack.  It was fun to read all the Miss Nelson books in one sitting. I mentioned in the birthday post that my daughter loved that her kindergarten teacher dressed as Viola Swamp for Halloween.  She mentioned tonight that she had the privilege of adding a "wart" to her teacher's face with black lipstick to make the costume complete! It was also nice to read the last of the George and Martha Collection that we have been working on all week!

October 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
734. Miss Lilly is Leaving based on stories by Katharine Holabird (my daughter's choice).  My daughter was so excited to find a whole row of Angelina Ballerina books at our new local library.   Angelina and her friends misunderstand Miss Lilly's preparations for a weekend getaway as she was leaving for good.  Collectively our family checked out over 50 books and this was her choice to read tonight -- just shows how excited she was!
735. The Class Artist by G. Brian Karas (my choice).  I am still bummed I missed having a big birthday celebration for G. Brian Karas at the end of last month.  But, with no internet access and the move, it was impossible.  I found this book at our library today and I loved it! I loved the perseverance of Fred. I will consider this a belated birthday celebration for Karas!
Note: My son raided the beginning reader section at the library and chose to reread Clone Troopers in Action by Claire Hibbert.

October 12, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - I was at a writer's group meeting tonight. Mommy read books!

October 13, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - Tonight we were at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  My son insisted on books before bed even though it was late.  I told him that if he didn't fall asleep in the car on the way home we would read books.  He stayed awake but my daughter fell asleep. He chose to reread In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz.
736. Ghosts! Ghostly Tales from Folklore by Alvin Schwartz (my choice).  We had never read this book before.  There were a few very good stories and couple were a little scary!  Our favorite story was A Little Green Bottle!

October 14, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
737. Tangled: Kingdom of Color by Melissa Lagonegro (my son's choice).  This was a nice quick read on a Level 1 Ready to Read level. 
738. Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain by Edward Adrizzone (my choice).  I read this book in preparation for a birthday celebration activity tomorrow.  I had never heard of this author before researching for James Marshall's birthday.  Maurice Sendak mentioned Adrizzone's name along with Marshall's.  His birthday just happened to be this week.  I headed to the library, read the books, and thought my son would love them.  He did and I think he is going to love the trip to see a real steamship tomorrow.
739.  Tim and Ginger by Edward Adrizzone (my daughter's choice).  We had one other book by Adrizzone and my daughter whispered, "Wouldn't it be cool if he picks the other book and then we can read them all tonight?"  Well, my son didn't pick it but we will read it tomorrow. Funny thing was that my daughter fell asleep during this book but my son was engaged the whole way through.  A great adventure story for a boy to hear.

October 15, 2011 (In Cleveland)
740. Tim's Friend Towser by Edward Ardizzone.  We celebrated Ardizzone's birthday today in Cleveland.  The William G. Mather Museum was closed but we still were able to read this book right by the huge steamship.

October 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
741. The Fearless Four: Braced for Battle (my son's choice). I read this book earlier in the week with my son and I didn't like it.  However, tonight, I got into each of the characters and made voices for each. It was alot more fun!
742. Thanks, Mom by Ed Emberley (my daughter's choice).  I was excited to find this book at the library.  We had never read it before.  The book is set at the circus and a chase starts with a mouse, then a cat, and so on.  Thankfully the mouse's mom is there to help him escape the crowd including a large elephant.
743. If you are a Monster and You Know it by Rebecca and Ed Emberley (my choice). The illustrations in this book are very unique.  We enjoyed acting out the book and singing along!
744. Firefighters by Norma Simon (Bonus Book). I think I have read this book three dozen times to my son, but they were all about 2 years ago.  It was nice to read this book again. It is a very thorough firefighter book.

October 16, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
745. Regards to the Man in the Moon by Ezra Jack Keats (my daughter's choice).  My daughter found this book at the library and ran over to me.  She said, "We haven't read this Ezra Jack Keats book.  I am going to put it in the bag."  I loved the book.  I loved how Louie and Susie encourage the other kids to use their imagination by showing how much fun it can be.
746. Arthur's Homework by Marc Brown (my son's choice). I think Mr. Ratburn is awesome for not punishing Arthur for not having his homework complete.  He gave him credit for helping all of his friends.  
747. Drummer Hoff by Rebecca and Ed Emberley (my choice).  We loved the rhyming names in the book.  It was nice to have all the characters on each page as the text repeated so I was able to point at each when I said their name.
748. Clara and Asha by Eric Rohmann (bonus book).  I first read this book at the Mazza conference over the summer. It was my second favorite book they had available to buy by Rohmann.  I ended up buying Pumpkinhead because I thought my son would like it more -- though he liked this one very much tonight.

October 17, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
749. Angelina Ballerina: The Rose Fairy Princess based on books by Katharine Holabird (my daughter's choice).  This is the second Angelina book that we have read from the stack my daughter picked out at the library.  I enjoyed reading both very much and they kept my children's attention.  In this book, Angelina was worried about the grand finale in her ballet where she would fly high above the stage on a single wire.
750. There Was an Old Monster by Ed Emberley (my son's choice).  Scritchy-Scratch-Scritch.  That is the way Emberley described the ants that the monsters swallows.  My daughter said, "That is kinda a tongue-twister." My kids were way into this book -- my daughter was reading along!
751. Ed Emberley's ABC by Ed Emberley (my choice).  Each letter of the book is a series of illustrations that reminded me of old Sesame Street animation.  I had fun adding sound effects to the step-by-step illustrations.  My children loved finding things on each page that started with each letter.

October 18, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
752. The Close Shave by Reverand W. Awry (my son's choice). This is a level one early reader where Duck, Thomas's friend, crashes into a Barbershop. Not the most exciting read, but fitting since we got out our Thomas trains and track this week to play in the basement.
753. The Mysterious Tadpole by Steven Kellogg (my choice). Love this book and the idea of a baby Loch Ness Monster growing up in the middle of the city.  
My daughter chose to reread The Mystery of the Magic Green Ball by Steven Kellogg. A funny thing happened when I read this book.  My son said, "We read this book during the tornado."  I looked back through the list of books and he was right on May 25 of this year we had a tornado warning and read this book! Wow!

October 19, 2011 (Just a book we have been reading all week.)
754. Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler (my youngest son's choice).  My 16 month old son has been carrying this book around all week.  He is obsessed with pumpkins and skeletons.  He points them out on walks and in the grocery store!  This book has been his favorite of the season.  He even does he own version of hiccups! Hic-Hic-Hic!

October 19, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
755. The Incredibles: Return of the Supers (my son's choice). The book is setup just like a comic book. It surprised me as it looks like your traditional 8 x 8 Disney storybook.  I thought the design was pretty good.
756. H is for Haunted House by Tanya Lee Stone (my daughter's choice).  This was a very nice rhyming alphabet Halloween book.  I noticed that the author and illustrator took great care in making it not at all scary.  For example, F is for Frankenstein, but the mask is up and reveals the kids' principal!  This is a well done book for little ones.
757. My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann (my choice). My son loved this book.  He loved the animals being carried in and when they all fell.  I love when a simple book with very little text can bring a smile to a child's face.  I guess that is why it won Caldecott.
758. Time Flies by Eric Rohmann (Bonus Book!).  This is a wordless picture book and was great for a bonus book.  My son loved when the bird appeared to be eaten by the dinosaur.  He was honestly surprised!

October 20, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
759. Millions to Measure by David M. Schwartz and Steven Kellogg (my choice).  This was a very thorough book on measurement. It included the history of measurement all the way back to prehistoric people and the difference between our system of measurement and the metric system.  The best part was that my son managed to find a tape measure that I left in his room and he was measuring everything in the room! Unfortunately, he measured something and said it was "20 pounds."
760. Cesar Takes a Break by Susan Collins Thoms (my son's choice). This is a story about an iguana that is a class pet.  He experiences his first Spring Break at the school, meets a lot of friends, and realizes who is most important to him. My son was very happy with his choice.
761. Mary Had a Little Jam and Other Silly Rhymes by Bruce Lansky (my daughter's choice). I love reading Mother Goose rhymes with my kids.  This book was fun too! My daughter had fun reading quite a few of the poems.

October 21, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
762. The Twelve Princesses by John Cech (my daughter's choice).  I had never heard this fairy tale before.  We absolutely loved it.  It was on the longer side but my kids were enthralled through the whole book. This was a well written story.
763. A Kitten Tale by Eric Rohmann (my choice).  This book made me think of having a fourth child.  One of the four kittens couldn't wait for snow while the others complained.  On the first snow fall, he bounded out in the snow -- a free spirit -- while the others look on.  Free spirits do have the power to inspire. Which one of my children is going to be the free spirit?
Note: My son chose to reread a Star Wars reader.

October 22, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
764. You'll Soon Grow Into Them, Titch by Pat Hutchins (my daughter's choice). We went to a used book sale today and were really lucky to find a bunch of books by Pat Hutchins.  We love reading her books and many of the books we found today were ones we have never read.  My children loved the idea of handing down clothes to a younger sibling.  Plus, it had the addition of a fourth child, which will happen to our family very soon.
765. Shrinking Mouse by Pat Hutchins (my choice). This was a unique take on things appearing to get smaller as they travel away from you and appear to get larger as you come closer to them.  Pat Hutchins has a great ability to capture the thought process of young children.
766. What Makes the Seasons? by Megan Montague Cash (my son's choice). My son found this book at the book sale.  He was very proud of his choice.  This was a very good read aloud with pleasant rhyme and meter.

October 23, 2011 (During the Football Game)
767-768. The Stupids Have a Ball and The Stupids Take Off by Harry Allard and James Marshall.  We found these books at the book sale yesterday.  Actually, first, I saw them sitting in pile of books in a stroller.  I thought, "Shoot, I wish I would have found those." Then, I realized it was my stroller and my wife had found the books.  My buddy and his daughter's were over to watch football today, but the game was so boring we did a lot of other things.  We got quite a few laughs from these two silly books.

October 23, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
769. Bubble Bath Pirates by Jarrett Krosoczka (my choice).  This is one of the picture books by Jarrett Krosoczka that we hadn't read yet.  It was very cute and I loved reading with a pirate voice.
770. A My name is Alice by Jane Bayer and Steven Kellogg (my son's choice).  My son found this book before bed and said to me, "Tonight, I am going to read another ABC book."  We enjoyed all the names, countries, and animals that started with each letter -- and of course Kellogg's illustrations.
771. Paul Bunyan by Steven Kellogg (my daughter's choice).  My daughter was really trying to wrap her head around the idea of a tall tale -- what was real and what was exaggerated.  She sort of understood when the tale told that Paul Bunyan made the Grand Canyon with his axe, but still asked, "Did he really make it?"

October 24, 2011 (Before Activity)
772. Pumpkinhead by Eric Rohmann.  My son and I read this book before we completed an activity to celebrate Eric Rohmann's birthday.  This book that we read was signed by Rohmann when I attended the Mazza Conference over the summer. My son loved the book and loved making Otho come to life outside.

October 24, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
773. Pascual and the Kitchen Angels by Tomie dePaola (my daughter's choice).  I had never heard of the patron saint of cooks and kitchens before and Pascal is a very important family name.  This was great book.
774. Froggy's Halloween by Jonathan London (my son's choice).  I haven't read a Froggy book in a long time. Froggy totally shows why I hated Halloween when I was a teacher.  His thoughts were completely consumed with costumes and candy. 
775. Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino and Steven Kellogg (my choice).  This is a classic book but the first time I have read it to my children.  They loved the page turns in the book that allowed them to guess which animal mother went with the baby.

October 25, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
776. Halloween Is.. by Gail Gibbons (my choice).  There is always something new to learn when you read a book by Gail Gibbons.  I learned that the term jack o'lantern came from a legend of a man who was not allowed into heaven.  The devil threw him a hot coal and he put it in a carved turnip.  Then, he spent his nights looking for heaven by the light of his turnip.  The people called him Jack of the Lantern.  Cool!
777. The Everything Book by Denise Fleming (my son's choice).  Everyone was able to read something in this book.  My daughter and I read many of the poems.  My son was able to use the pictures and first letter sounds to read many of the labels on each page.  
778. Testing Miss Malarkey by Judy Finchler (my daughter's book).  I wasn't a fan of this book because it reminded me of my days of preparing children for the proficiency tests when I was a teacher.  I hated it.  The kids hated it.  This author happened to write a book about how every hated it.

October 26, 2011 (Before Bedtime)

779. Bonjour, Mr. Satie by Tomie dePaola (my daughter's choice).  This book is a prime example of why I love used book sales.  We own this book for just a few cents and we may have never known about it because it is now removed from the library circulation.  We loved the book, the characters, and talking in a French accent.
780. Thomas Helps Out: A Interactive Play-a-Sound Book (my son's choice).  I was quite impressed with my son's ability to follow along in the story, pay attention, and choose the right sound button to press.  Nice job, buddy.
781. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams (my choice).  My daughter remembered reading this book in preschool.  I can remember her class acting it out together as a group. The sound effects, actions, and suspense make for a wonderful read aloud experience.

October 27, 2011 (Before Bedtime)

782. Three-Star Billy by Pat Hutchins (my daughter's choice).  My son loved this book so much we read it twice.  Billy doesn't want to go to nursery school and misbehaves.  However, his teacher is successful with good old reverse psychology! I was never successful with that when I was a teacher.
783. Pecos Bill by Steven Kellogg (my son's choice).  My son loved trying to find the rattlesnake that Bill made into a lasso on each page.  He was really into this book! 
784. The Day the Goose Got Loose by Reeve Lindbergh and Steven Kellogg (my choice).  My son pointed out the eyes on the many of the animals. The sheep were scared and their eyes really showed it.  Very cool he was paying such close attention to the illustrations.

October 28, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - Just my son and I. My daughter was at Grandma's.
785. Ralph's Secret Weapon by Steven Kellogg (my choice).  My son said that he read this book the other day but couldn't find his secret weapon.  I am sure he was looking for a light saber or blaster gun.  But, Ralph's secret weapon was his bassoon that had an unusual effect on reptiles and so did his Aunt Georgina's cake.
786. Cars Galore by Peter Stein and Bob Staake (my son's choice). Our favorite part of this book was matching the words to the illustrations of the cars.  It seems that books usually put illustrations in order and are easy to match the words, but these cars were all over, which made it challenging and fun.
787. Spongebob Squarepants Meet Patrick (my son's choice). My son watched Spongebob Square Pants for the first time a few weeks ago.  I guess that is what sparked this choice at the library.

October 29, 2011 (Saturday Morning Reading with my boys)
788. Trick or Treat? by Bill Martin Jr. This has been a favorite book this Halloween season of my middle son.  The trick or treating experience of a boy gets silly after a trick by Merlin on the tenth floor of the apartment building.  All the treats the boy then receives are backwards.  Luckily, an important family member knows how to break the spell.
789. I Like Pumpkins by Jerry Smath.  My son really liked the pumpkin games in the back of this book.
790. Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino.  This has been a favorite of my youngest son this Halloween season.  He has been obsessed with pumpkins and loves to point them out.  This is one of my favorite holiday rhymes too.

October 29, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
791. Too Many Monsters by Eve Bunting (my daughter's choice).  This is a classic book in our house.  We love it.  In this story the mom and dad convince their son that the monsters in his room are scared of ducks.  So, they quack the monsters away.  Awesome! We used to have to spray Monster Spray (Febreze) in my son's room to keep the monsters away.
792.  There Was an Old Witch by Howard W. Reeves (my son's choice).  This book is a Halloween version of There Was an Old Lady.  Not bad!
793. Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor (my choice).  I remember reading this book a long time ago and I didn't like it.  I don't know what I was thinking.  Reading it aloud to my children this time was great.  Loved when the pumpkin was rolling down the hill past all the animals.

October 30, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
794. Shrek by William Steig (my son's choice).  My children were very excited to learn that this book was the inspiration for the movies that they love so much.  Shrek and the princess are quite a couple.
My son loved seeing donkey!
795. Wanda's Monster by Eileen Spinelli (my daughter's choice).  We have read so many monsters-in-your-closet books.  But, this was another great one.  I loved how Granny taught her granddaughter to care for the monster in her closet.
796. The Hallo-weiner by Dav Pilkey (my choice).  It can't be Halloween without reading Hallo-weiner - "Weiner Dog! Weiner Dog!"  We love how super silly this book is.
797.  In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting (Bonus Book!).  We got the kids to bed a little early today.   There is one benefit of the sun going down earlier.  But, we had time for a Bonus Book!  Along with Too Many Monsters. This book has a great surprise ending -- which isn't a surprise anymore because we have read it so much!

October 31, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
798. The Magic Pumpkin by Bill Martin Jr. (my daughter's choice).  Happy Halloween! A great Halloween poem picture book after a wonderful night trick-or-treating with the kids.  This was our first time in our new neighborhood.  Lots of fun.
799. Wizzil by William Steig and Quentin Blake (my choice).  I loved that Quentin Blake illustrated this book.  The story felt like a Steig book with a little Roald Dahl mixed in.
Note: My son chose to reread Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld.

November 1, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
800. Potch and Polly by William Steig and Jon Agee (my son's choice).  We just started reading books by William Steig this week. This is the second romance story between people that would be considered not very attractive.  We loved Potch's attempts to win back Polly's love.
801. Doctor De Soto by William Steig (my daughter's choice).  We were surprised to see a Newbery Honor Medal on a picture book.  My son was completely engaged throughout the book -- making worried faces when the he thought the fox might eat Dr. De Soto.
802. The Amazing Bone by William Steig (my choice).  I haven't laughed out loud during a picture book for a while. But, when the bone said, "Yibbam!" My son and I lost it.  I had to read the whole magic spell twice that the bone used to save himself and Pearl from the fox. Hilarious!

November 2, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
805. CDB! by William Steig (my choice).  My kids loved the concept of this book.  They couldn't believe that letter names could sound like words and then be put into sentences.  My daughter loved that there was an Answer Key in the back of the book.  This helped her understand the concept even more.  My favorite was I M A U-M B-N.  U R N N-M-L.  (There is a picture of a man pointing to a dog.)
806. Doctor DeSoto Goes to Africa (my daughter's choice).  My daughter loved the first Dr. DeSoto, but she wasn't into this one as much.  I, however, liked the character Honkitonk -- what a funny name.
807. Maisy, Charley, and the Wobbly Tooth by Lucy Cousins (my son's choice).  My son chose this book at the library.  He was so excited to have it read today.  I honestly didn't even know that he liked the Maisy Books.

November 3, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
808. Trupp by Janell Cannon (my choice).  Happy Birthday Janell Cannon! This was the only book of hers that we had left to read to celebrate her birthday.  This book was a departure from the style of her other books, yet they still had the "unappreciated animal" undertones.
809. Paul Bunyan: My Story by David L. Harrison (my daughter's choice).  My son picked this out at the library today and was very proud that his sister wanted to read it.  They remembered the Paul Bunyan story from reading Steven Kellogg's version of the Tall Tale.  My kids are still trying to figure out if he was real or fiction.  They want to believe that he was real!
810. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold (my son's choice).  My daughter was looking through the library bag and my son burst into the room, "I got a bunch Fly Guy books!"  He said this with a huge smile on his face.  I was happy to see him try something new at the library!

November 4, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
811. Batman and Robin: Heroes and Villians by Ann Geotz (my son's choice).  My son is currently enjoying the Batman Lego Wii Game.  This has transferred over into the books he wants to read.  He found this book at a library book sale.
812. Batman Beyond: Grounded by Sholly Fisch (my son's choice, picking for his tired sister).  This was comic book-like book.  Without having any background knowledge we assumed the character Terry is the heir apparent to Batman.
813. Zeke Pippin by William Steig (my choice).  My daughter perked up from her sleepiness for this book.  I have noticed that Steig pushes some scenarios as far as he can -- Pippin being attacked and almost chewed up by a coyote and a band of dogs debating on how to do away with Pippin (which make his books exciting for adults to read).  This book was suspenseful and we loved it.

November 5, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
814. I Spy Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold (my son's choice). This book told an almost tragic story of how a friendly hide-and-seek game could go terribly wrong.  Fly Guy was hiding in a trash can when it was picked up by the garbage man.  Buzz rushes to the dump to find his friend but was met by millions of other flies. Fly Guy ultimately wins this game of hide and seek.
815. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (my choice).  Another great story by William Steig.  I keep thinking about an article I read this week by Anita Silvey suggesting that story books could rescue children's book sales if embrace by publishers and readers.  So many new books are short and sweet -- not much meat. All the books we have been reading by William Steig this week are longer stories.  My children are just loving them. I think she is right.  We as readers want more books that have great stories that we can read over and over again.

November 6, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
816. Solomon and the Rusty Nail by William Steig (my choice). We read Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and a donkey turns into a rock.  In this story a rabbit turns into a rusty nail.  I just love these stories -- so unique and original.
817. Z Goes Home by Jon Agee (my daughter's choice). The illustrations in this book take us along with the letter Z as he heads home.  My children really liked how Agee worked the letters of the alphabet into his illustrations -- for example, the letter S was formed into a seashore.
818. Scooby Doo and the Cupcake Caper by Sonia Sander (my son's choice). I really have to work on my Shaggy and Scooby voices.  They are awful!

November 7, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
819. Scooby Dooby Doo's Double Reader by Gail Herman (my son's choice). Reading these books the past few nights have reminded me of how much I loved watching the TV show when I was younger.
820. Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert (my daughter's choice). My daughter chose her second ABC book of the week.  It was fun talking about all the fruits and vegetables we have eaten.  There are so many more yet to try.
821. Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert (my choice). My son and I just transplanted a few tree sprouts from our front yard to our backyard.  This was great book to show how a tree starts and comes to your home from a nursery.

November 8, 2011 (Before Activity)
822. Pie in the Sky by Lois Ehlert.  We read this book before making our pies for the birds today. I am so glad the birds liked their pies!

November 8, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
823. Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert (my choice). I was hoping for a squirrel to sneak a taste of the pies.  Then, I could have brought out this book to read but no such luck. We read before bed instead.
824. Cinderella's Rat by Susan Meddaugh (my daughter's choice).  This is the story of the rat that was turned into a coachman to take Cinderella to the castle.  I think it would be fun to ask a bunch of kids to write a story about what the rat would do as a coachman while Cinderella is at the ball.  I liked Meddaugh's story, but there are so many possibilities.
Note: My son chose to reread There's Nothing to Do on Mars by Chris Gall.

November 9, 2011 - Mom read books tonight.  Dad was at a writer's group meeting.

November 10, 2011 (In the morning)
825. If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty and Steven Kellogg.  My son asked me to read him this book this morning.  When we were finished he said, "That was a good book."  It was quite a lengthy picture book, but the text really explained what it would be like to go to the moon.  Kellogg's illustrations were familiar to my son which he enjoyed too.

November 10, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
826. Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall (my daughter's choice).  My son actually had me read this book to him earlier today.  I like the book more each time I read it.  Some of the rhymes were initially hard for me to read and I stumbled. But, I have it now and my voice for the Creacher is improving.
827. Dear Fish by Chris Gall (my son's choice).  We really liked this book too! I was like Cloudy with the Chance of Meatballs meets the ocean.  We enjoyed the letter writing aspect of the book between Peter Alan and the fish.
828. Farmer Palmer's Wagon Ride by William Steig (my choice).  This was probably the one book by Steig that fell flat with my kids. But, I laughed outloud when the donkey and Farmer Palmer switched places.  The donkey was ecstatic to be sitting in the wagon and not pulling it!

November 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
829.  Snowballs by Lois Ehlert (my choice).  We had the first snow of the new season this morning.  Just enough to cover the grass, but it was enough to make snowballs and throw them at Daddy.  I thought this book was appropriate for this cold day.  My son and I enjoyed looking at all the objects in the collages.
Note:  My son was by himself tonight for books. His sister was overnight at Grandma's.  He chose to reread two Fly Guy books by Tedd Arnold.

November 12, 2011 (At Breakfast)
830.  Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.  I made pancakes this morning and while they were cooking we read Nate the Great.  He loves pancakes and so do we! This was a simple yet yummy birthday celebration!

November 12, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
831.  Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.  We found this book at a used book sale and I was saving it to read on Sharmat's birthday.  It is about a boy who is unhappy about moving out west.  He thinks everything is going to unpleasant including Gila Monsters meeting him at the airport.
Note: My daughter was too tired to pick a book so my son chose to reread Shrek and Doctor De Soto  Goes to Africa by William Steig.  It is worth noting that my daughter did not fall asleep!

November 13, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
832. Alpha Beta Chowder by Jeanne Steig and William Steig (my choice).  This was the only book by William Steig that we had left in the house to read before his birthday. This book is a ABC book that has a poem for each letter. Each poem uses lots of words that start with that particular letter.  The poems are full of rich vocabulary that my daughter enjoyed trying to read. We took turns reading the lines of each poem.
Note: My daughter chose to reread Dear Fish by Chris Gall and my son chose to reread Big Dog Little Dog: A Bedtime Story by PD Eastman.

November 14, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
833. Superhero ABC by Bob McLeod (my son's choice).  What a great idea for an ABC book.  Every page has a unique Superhero with great comic-like illustrations.  This is one of my son's favorite books to page through by himself.
834. Hit the Ball Duck by Jez Alborough (my choice).  Yesterday was Alborough's birthday.  I was thinking of him when I got his books from the shelf this morning.  I scored a whole slew of his books at a used book sale about six months ago -- just happy I remembered to pull them out.
835. The Goose that Almost Got Cooked by Marc Simont (my daughter's choice).  I liked quite a few things about this book.  First, it was a story about a Canada goose and we have lots around our house.  Second, the goose molts her feathers.  My kids have loved talking about molting ever since I worked at the zoo and explained penguins molting their feathers. Lastly,  I love that the goose knocked over the farmer's grouchy wife!

November 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
836. Fix-It Duck by Jez Alborough (my son's choice).  I think this is my favorite book by Jez Alborough besides his Bobo books.  Duck cracks me up! He tries to help but only makes things worse.
837. Nate the Great and the Hungry Book Club by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (my daughter's choice).  My son picked out a bunch of Nate books at the library today.  I was excited because we will be celebrating Marc Simont's birthday very soon.  This book, however, was not illustrated by Marc Simont but Jody Wheeler.  Still a great mystery and still pancakes!
838. The Stray Dog by Marc Simont (my choice).  This is great picture book.  So many things within the illustrations that make the story better and more alive.  I love when the family returns to the park and the dad is peering out of the corner of his eyes to look for the dog.

November 16, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
839. Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett (my son' choice).  Last year we read Gingerbread Baby to celebrate Jan Brett's birthday.  I thought I would use this book when we make gingerbread cookies again this year -- but my son beat me to the book.  I liked the mix of singing verse and prose.
840. Nate the Great and the Owl Express by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (my daughter's choice). Another great Nate the Great mystery. I love reading these books aloud.
841. A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry and Marc Simont (my choice).  This book was awarded the Caldecott Medal.  I loved the simple text -- it sort of reminded me of Margaret Wise Brown's The Important Book.  I might have found my birthday celebration activity for Marc Simont in this book.

November 17, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
842. How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World by Faith McNulty and Marc Simont. (my choice).  My daughter asked after the book was over, "Was that book true?"  It was packed with facts on what you would encounter if you traveled to the earth's core and back out the other side.  However, I had to burst her bubble and tell her it was not possible.
Note: My daughter chose to reread Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.  My son was at Grandma's house for an overnight.

November 18, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
843. The Backward Day by Ruth Krauss and Marc Simont (my choice).  The funniest part about reading this book tonight was that my son was struggling with his jammies while his sister and I were waiting to start reading the books we selected.  He put them on backwards and I said, "Perfect! You can were your jammies backward for Backward Day."  He just said, "Dad, can you just help me?"
844. The Backyardigans:The Trash Planet by Emily Sollinger (my son's choice).  This book was pretty rough.  It had a rebus component which made it harder to read aloud and the story was pretty weak.  Oh well.
845. No More Monsters for Me! by Peggy Parish and Marc Simont (my daughter's choice).  The little girl, Minneapolis, was struggling with her mom's persistent view on "no pets" in their house.  One night, she took a walk to blow off steam after an argument and she finds a baby monster.  The monster doesn't stay small for long as it eats all the food in the basement.  Minn, tells her mom about the monster and feels it is just her imagination.  She tells her to rid the monster from the basement and she can have a real pet.

November 19, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
846. The Best Nest by PD Eastman (my choice). One of my favorite classic books by PD Eastman.  I wondered when I read the book what inspired Eastman to write this story.  My wife and I wanted to move many times, but decided the house we had was best.  Now --- we finally did actually move and it was the best choice we made.
847. Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt by David Catrow (my daughter's choice). My children were excited to be reminded that Catrow is from Ohio.  I loved the illustrations in this book.  I loved Max Spaniel, but the story left a little to be desired.
848. The Baby Uggs Are Hatching by Jack Prelutsky (my son's choice).  The poems in this book are about a bunch of strange creatures including sneepies, snatchits, and grubby grebbles.  My daughter said, "These are like tongue twisters."  Many of the poems felt like reading tongue twisters -- challengingly fun to read.

November 20, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
849. Mimi and Lulu by Charise Mericle Harper (my daughter's choice). My daughter decided she wanted to go to bed early tonight to be ready for school tomorrow.  She wanted me to read her books then read books to her brother.  Well, I only got through this book and her brother decided to go to bed early too.  He was even watching Star Wars.  Books beat out Star Wars tonight!
850. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett (my choice). My kids were pointing out all the things that were borrowed from the book to make the movie -- Jell-o, bathtub in the tornado, etc.
851. Captain America to the Rescue by Lucy Rosen (my son's choice). I liked the glossy pages in this book and vivid illustrations.  This book was a gift my son received for his birthday.
852. Thanksgiving Day by Gail Gibbons (BONUS BOOK!). "On Thanksgiving Day there is so much to be thankful for."  A great way to end a great book for Thanksgiving.  I can't believe it is almost here -- seems like November just started.

November 21, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
853. It's Thanksgiving Day! by Mary Packard (my daughter's choice).  This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving books to read every year.  I am unsure why -- it is a Hello Reader book -- maybe because it captures may favorite part of Thanksgiving -- keeping it simple with family.
854. Luke Skywalker: Jedi Knight by Ken Stacey (my son's choice). This is a Golden book that provides a nice summary of Luke Skywalker's quest to becoming a Jedi Knight.
855. One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B.G. Hennessey (my choice).  My daughter sang this book to us tonight.  She did such a great job. It reminded me of when I read this book to her and her friends when they were 2 years old. I watched three girls and I ran my own version of preschool circle time. This was one of their favorites!

November 22, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
856. The Christmas Story with Ruth J. Morehead's Holly Babes (my daughter's choice).  A great selection to start off the Christmas season.  A simple account of the birth of baby Jesus.  An important story to share with my children that I shouldn't allow to get lost among all the other holiday stories and picture books.
857. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May (my son's choice).  This is one of my favorite renditions of the Rudolph story with realistic illustrations.  The whole story is in verse too -- which I love!
858. There Was an Old Lady that Swallowed a Fly by Alison Jackson and Judy Schachner (my choice).  I remember when we celebrated Judy Schachner's birthday and I learned that there was much discussion about the ending of this book.  Schachner fought hard and won to have her illustration of the old lady as an inflated balloon in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Glad the editor listened to her!

November 23, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
859. Fred and Ted Like to Fly by Peter Eastman (my son's choice).  I wanted so much to have a PD Eastman birthday celebration this year.  But, with the Thanksgiving holiday -- it just isn't going to happen.  Enjoyed reading his books though.
860. Ruff's Bone by Eli Noyes (my daughter's choice). This is a classic book with my daughter that she now calls, "babyish".  This is probably because she loved it way back when she was two and three years old.  We had an animated/interactive version on the computer that she just loved.
861. An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long (my choice).  My mom bought this book for my son for his birthday this year.  The illustrations are remarkable.  We loved looking at all the different types of eggs -- which are not only from birds, but also reptiles!

November 24, 2011 (Before Bedtime) - We were at Grandma's and these were the books I found in the car.
862. Tomie dePaola's Mother Goose Flies Again.  My daughter and I read these mother goose rhymes out loud.  Actually, we sang most of them!
863. Who Hops? by Katie Davis.  This book might make a top-read-aloud list for me.  I have read it aloud to all my children.  It is hard to imagine how many times I actually read it!
864. Thanksgiving Cats by Jean Marzollo. I was so glad that I was able to find at least one Thanksgiving book in the car.
865. The Little Cloud by Eric Carle.  My favorite part in this book is when Little Cloud turns into a hat. Why a hat? Well, you will have to read the book to find out.

November 25, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
866. It's Hanukkah! by Jeanne Modesitt (my daughter's choice). I sang this book - but I don't know if I was supposed to.  After each line, I added, "It's Hannukkah!"  It worked, well, don't ask my daughter.  She would probably say that it was "dumb!"
867. Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola (my choice).  This was a perfect story for the beginning of advent.  Strega Nona has so much preparation to do before Christmas or Natale.  However, it appears that Big Anthony has caused problems again and ruins her feast for the whole town.  Or is there room for a little magic?
868. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell by Lucille Colandro (my son's choice).  Not a fan of this book, but my kids think it is funny.  I guess swallowing a sleigh and reindeer is funny, but the ending is a little weak.
869. Opposites by Robert Cowther (Bonus Book!).  I can't believe this lift-the-flap/pop-up book has survived 3 children.  I did keep it high and shelf and only brought it out for when the kids and I could read it together.  But, it is great book for teaching opposites -- very cool!

November 26, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
870. Frosty the Snowman by Jack Rollins and Richard Cowdrey (my choice).  We have read this book for a few years at Christmas time.  However, this year it meant a little more because we celebrated Richard Cowdrey's birthday in July.  The illustrations are phenomenal.  My daughter enjoyed the endpapers which were the sheet music for the song.
871. Super Duck by Jez Alborough (my son's choice).  We are still working through our Jez Alborough's books a few weeks after his birthday.  I wasn't feeling too well tonight but I was really into the animal voices for this story -- love goat and sheep voices!
872. The Christmas Blizzard by Helen Ketteman and James Warhola (my daughter's choice).  Despite my fever and cough I read this book with my best old-man-voice.  Quite a few times it sent me into a coughing fit but it was worth it.  Great tall-tale!

November 27, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
873. Christmas Eve at the Mellops' by Tomi Ungerer (my choice). Today is the eve of Tomi Ungerer's birthday.  With the holiday I didn't have time this year to have formal celebration, but I did find this book at the library.  This should be on your Christmas reading list this year.  A fabulous story about the true meaning of Christmas! However, my children thought the illustration of the poor sick grandmother was pretty creepy.
874. Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett (my son' choice).  My son picked this book and said, "I love this book!"  At the end he said, "Yep. That's a good book." Last year, we used this book to celebrate Jan Brett's birthday.
875. Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn and Mark Buehner (my daughter's choice).  This is a charming story of how a boy thinks snowmen celebrate Christmas.  This is a favorite to read at our house every year.

November 28, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
876. Scientific Progress Goes "BOINK": A Calvin and Hobbes Collection by Bill Watterson (my son's choice).  We read quite a few pages from this book today.  My son has been reading these books in his bed by book light before falling asleep.  My godson/nephew did the same thing at his age.  I wish I would have known about these books when I was younger.
877. Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear by Stan and Jan Berenstain (my daughter's choice).  I think this might be the longest Berenstain Bears book.  There was a lot going on in this one -- Christmas starting too early, not being greedy, giving to others, is Santa real?  Whew!
878. Crictor by Tomi Ungerer (my choice).  I got this book at a used book sale many months ago and saved it to read on Ungerer's birthday.  I loved the O-shaped box that Crictor came in and his face as it defeats the robber.  My kids were really trying to wrap their head around the idea of the book being over 50 years old!

November 29, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
879. Belioz the Bear by Jan Brett (my choice).  My kids and I loved this book. They were so interested in the book that they noticed the sheet music that Berlioz had on the last page was Flight of the Bumblebee.  I ran and got the iPad and we listened to it. Love that piece of music -- kids get it right away.
880. DiggerMan by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha (my son's choice).  My son loved this book.  He was very pleased with his choice.  It totally captures a boy's fantasy of driving big machinery. I like the secondary storyline too -- a big brother caring for his little brother.
881. Comet's Nine Lives by Jan Brett (my daughter's choice). About 6 pages into this I realized that my kids had never heard the saying, "A cat has nine lives."  Thankfully, I didn't read the whole book before explaining or they wouldn't have understood it at all.

November 30, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
882. Jokes about Bugs by Judy A. Winter (my son's choice).  This is a joke book about bugs.  The best ones were about the dung beetle.  But, that is just my opinion!
883. Annie and the Wild Animals by Jan Brett (my daughter's choice).  My daughter remembered the garage sale where she bought this book.  Kinda funny -- but she was with my son's godmother and her name is Annie.
884. The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett (my choice).  This was a new take on Goldilocks and Three Bears, and it is set in the Arctic.  When Aloo-ki is trying to find her dogs that were lost on an ice floe she found where three polar bears lived. While the bears were out, she did similar things that Goldilocks did in her story.  Then, I was so excited when the polar bears rescued Aloo-ki's dog team from the ice floe.  I thought the story was going to veer away from the traditional tale, but it didn't. The bears come home, Aloo-ki is startled, and she runs away with her dogs.

December 1, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
885. Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett (my choice).  Happy Birthday to Jan Brett! This was a book we had never read before.  It reminded me of the my early teaching days and some of my parenting days. Teeka tries to be stern with the reindeer, but it only causes more trouble with the reindeer.  She realizes a caring and helpful voice works better. My experience teaching and parenting compels me to agree whole-heartedly!
Note:  My daughter chose to read Tony Baloney by Pam Munoz Ryan and my son chose to reread Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld.

December 2, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
886. The Incredible Hulk: An Origin Story by Rich Thomas (my son's choice).  We found this picture book at the library. Yes! a Marvel Comic picture book! Loved it! It explained how Bruce Banner became the Incredible Hulk.
887. The Money We'll Save by Brock Cole (my daughter's choice).  Another great holiday story.  The family in this story is scraping by on pennies.  They are saving everything they can for a big Christmas Day meal.  The wife sends her husband to get 2 eggs and a 1/2 lb. of flour.  But, he comes back with a baby turkey too.  The chicken man told him it would make a great Christmas meal and think of the money you'll save.  The turkey wreaks havoc on their apartment and things look grim, but Christmas spirit shines though in the end.
888. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. (my choice) My son is going on a Polar Express train ride very soon.  I wanted to make sure that I read the book before he went.

December 3, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
889. Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett (my choice).  This was a clever book.  My children liked how the girl, Treva, tricked the trolls throughout the story and then one last time to really make them mad!  This was the first time we read this book by Jan Brett.  My daughter realized it was a book that was available in her classroom reading/listening center.
890. Dorothy and Mikey by Keiko Kasza (my daughter's choice).  There were three short stories in this book.  In one story, Dorothy and Mikey realize after a fight that playing is better when they are together. In another, Mikey is bragging and Dorothy outsmarts him.  Lastly, Mikey refuses to play with Dorothy which riles her up, but he has a surprise for her that is quite worth it. My kids loved it!
Note: My son had me read one story from a Super Hero Squad Graphic Novel.

December 4, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
891. Noah's Ark by Jan Brett (my choice).  I was excited to read this book to my son.  Noah's Ark somehow came up in conversation and he didn't know the story.  This beautiful book will give him a great reference point in his mind the next time he hears about Noah's Ark.
892. Stuck by Oliver Jeffers (my daughter's choice).  A creative book - flat out!  I loved the cluelessness of Floyd.  The only thing he was thinking about was getting his kite out of the tree.  I just loved it.
Note: My son had me read one story from a Super Hero Squad Graphic Novel.

December 5, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
893. Chilly Milly Moo by Fiona Ross (my choice).  Most cows like the sun.  It helps them make milk.  But, Milly Moo is having trouble giving milk even with abundant sunshine.  Then, a cold front whips through and brings bitter cold air.  To the surprise of the other cows and the farmer,  Milly Moo likes it chilly and gives ice cream instead of milk.  Great illustrations and page design too!
894. The Pigs' Picnic by Keiko Kasza (my daughter's choice).  My kids liked this book.  Mr. Pig wants to on a picnic with Mrs. Pig.  His friends hear all about it and want to help.  Fox lends his tail, lion lends his mane, and zebra lends his stripes.  Instead of looking good, Mr. Pig looks scary! That is exactly what Mrs. Pig thought too.  Mr. Pig almost blew his chance at a picnic but he thinks fast!
Note: My son had me read one story from a Super Hero Squad Graphic Novel.

December 6, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
895. Man in the Moon by William Joyce (my choice).  I have waited and waited and waited to read this book.  I was able to request a copy from another library.  This story was so imaginative.  I loved it!  So much that I ordered an autographed copy on tonight to give to my kids for Christmas.
896. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (my daughter's choice).  A holiday favorite!
Note: My son had me read one story from a Super Hero Squad Graphic Novel.  We finished two others during the day today too!

December 7, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
897. The New Baby by Mercer Mayer (my son's choice).  Holy Cow! All I had to do was bring the stack of our Mercer Mayer books upstairs and the kids went crazy! I thought I would let everyone know that I do have all the books by the authors that we have celebrated sorted on bookshelves in the basement.  Therefore, when their birthday comes back around I can just grab the lot of them!
898. A Very Special Critter by Gina and Mercer Mayer (my daughter's choice).  Another Critter book! The first was about a new addition to the family and this one was about a new edition to the classroom. A new boy was starting in Little Critter's class and he uses a wheelchair.  All the children realized that he was just like them.
899. George Shrinks by William Joyce (my choice). I was so happy when I found our own copy of this book at a library book sale!  Love this book.  We might have to do an activity with this book this week for Joyce's birthday.
900. There's Something in My Attic by Mercer Mayer (Bonus Book!).  We got going to bed early tonight and there was time for one more book.  My daughter was looking for Alligator Under My Bed, but we couldn't find it.  This was a good second choice.  My son said, "Hey, that nightmare is too big. How did he get up the stairs?"

December 8, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
901. Dinosaur Bob and his Adventures with the Family Lazardo by William Joyce (my choice).  My son really liked this book, but my daughter chose to write math problems to herself on a small pad of paper.  Oh well!
902. Just a Baseball Game by Gina and Mercer Mayer (my daughter's choice).  This book actually brought back some good memories from my childhood.  Basically, I spent my entire youth on a baseball field.  In the book, the teams line up to say good game -- I always liked that.
903. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel (my son's choice). I hadn't read this book since I was a kid.  I actually won this copy of the book on a blog many years ago and we had never read it.  My kids were almost able to say the first boy's name when the book was finished.

December 9, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
904. The Invincible Iron Man by Rich Thomas (my son's choice). This book was another picture book from the Marvel Comics Origins series.  It describes how Tony Stark came to be Iron Man.  I really like the idea of presenting the Marvel superheroes in picture book form.
905. The Bravest Knight by Mercer Mayer (my daughter's choice).  The illustrations in this book are fantastic.  I have said before that I am big fan of Mayer's books that are not Little Critter.  Looking forward to celebrating his birthday on December 30th.
906. Waiting for Spring Stories by Bethany Roberts and William Joyce (my choice). This book was a series of stories told by Grandfather bunny to help the little bunnies make it through the waning days of winter before Spring.  Many of the stories were very cute.  There were only a few that fell flat.

December 10, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
907. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp (my choice). I couldn't believe that I found this book.  I remembered seeing the Marcel YouTube video many years ago.  My kids thought the book was funny, but then appreciated it even more after I showed them the video.  The only thing I didn't like was that the text was in the messy handwriting found in the video.  It was tough to read a few times.
908. Just Me and My Cousin by Gina and Mercer Mayer (my daughter's choice).  I really liked this Little Critter book.  It covered a very important experience that kids have -- playing with other kids that make them feel uncomfortable but then with time a relationship begins to form.  Initially, LC's cousin plays a few tricks on him, throws his toy out the window, and is a little rough during the pillow fight.  But, an apology makes LC think that his cousin is a good person.
Note: My son chose to reread The Incredible Hulk: An origin story!

December 11, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
909. Badger's Fancy Meal by Keiko Kasza (my daughter's choice). My son really liked the unique illustration layout in this book.  Each spread was drawn to reveal another illustration lying underneath that showed what else was happening (kinda like a lift the flap with a flap or a lift!).  This allowed for more of the story to be told without words.  Actually, my son was able use his words to tell what was going on.
910. What Do You Do with a Kangaroo? by Mercer Mayer (my choice).  Imagine if an animal shows up in your house.  What do you do?  Call an exterminator...yell for about RUN!  Well, that is what I would do.  But, the little girl in this book just throws them out, until....
Note: My son chose to reread Tony Baloney by Pam Munoz Ryan.

December 12, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
911. Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant (my choice).  My son was at the Polar Express experience with his Grandma and Grandpa tonight so I took advantage of reading a Cynthia Rylant book with my daughter. We are both big fans -- my son on the other hand is not necessarily a big fan.  This book was great.  A great surprise ending that my daughter loved. We talked about "debt" during the book.  The boy grew up and felt he owed a debt to the man who delivered the Silver Packages.  We talked about how it is when you owe someone something for something they gave you.  Interesting discussion.
912. Madeline and the Bad Hat by Ludwig Bemelmens (my daughter's choice).  I can't believe this is the first Madeline book we have read this year.  This is our favorite because we love Pepito.
913. Arthur's Christmas by Marc Brown (BONUS BOOK!).  We were already late to bedtime, so we thought we would read an extra book and make it later.  We loved the ending.  My daughter picked up on all the clues that D.W. did something very special for her brother.

December 13, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
Note: I chose to reread Poor Puppy by Nick Bruel and my son chose to read a few chapters of The Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants by Dav Pilkey.  My daughter chose to read two poems from Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake.

December 14, 2011 - I did not read books tonight.  I was at my writer's group meeting.

December 15, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
914. All I'll Ever Want Christmas Doll by Patricia McKissack and Jerry Pinkney (my choice).  After reading this book I said, "The kids in this book only got one toy as a Christmas present.  What would it be like if that was the case this year in our house."  My daughter said, "Well, that wouldn't work in our house because we don't have all girls."  I said, "But, what if it was the depression and all we could afford was one present."  She responded, "Well...huh...(rolled her eyes)...I don't know."  Very thought provoking as I have been thinking if we need to buy a few more things for them because I thought we hadn't bought enough.
915. The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss (my daughter's choice).  We only had time to read one story, The Bippolo Seed, but it was very good.  A great lesson about being too greedy.
916. The Boxcar Children Graphic Novels: Blue Bay Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner. (my son's choice).  I was very excited when I found more of these books at the library yesterday.  My kids love them and they are very long.  But, they are very attentive through the whole book.  I would recommend these to any child who wants to start reading graphic novels.

December 16, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
917. Simon's Book by Henrik Drescher (my choice).  I wanted to celebrate Drescher's birthday this month but I was unable to find any of his books at the library.  Then, I went to a library used book sale today and found this book!  I will have to save this book for next year.  This book was very unique.  The characters in a book that was in this book transcended the confines of their book to make the book we read tonight.  Yes. If you understand that you are awesome.  Very unique book!
Note:  My daughter was at Grandma's house for an overnight, and my son chose to read old comics that we found at the library book sale and a few more chapter of Captain Underpants.

December 17, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
918. Emma's Turtle by Eve Bunting (my daughter's choice).  I really like this story.  A turtle dreams of adventure after listening to his caretaker read from a book.  The turtle breaks free from his pen and wanders around the backyard thinking that it has traveled to Africa, Australia, and India.
919.  Little Red Riding Hood by Jerry Pinkney (my choice).  This is one of the best Little Red Riding Hood books that I have read.   The story was authentic and the illustrations of the wolf were fantastic.  My son loved it!
Note: My son chose to read a few more chapters of Captain Underpants.

December 18, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
920.  Aesop's Fables by Jerry Pinkney (my choice).  We read about 6 stories from this book, and will probably read more tomorrow.  It was challenging trying to explain some of the morals -- like, don't count your chickens before they hatch.  Our favorite was The Woodcutter and the Mermaid.
921. Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poppypants by Dav Pilkey (my son's choice).  We finished this book after a reading it over the course of the past few nights.  Our favorite part was learning our new names if Professor Poopypants would rule the world -- Pinky Pickleshorts and Poopsie Pickleshorts (my son and daughter's new names).
Note: My daughter chose to reread All I'll Ever Want Christmas Doll.  I asked her at the end to tell me the moral of this story.  She said, "share with others."  I thought that was a good moral for the story.

December 19, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
922. The Boxcar Children Graphic Novels: The Mountain Top Mystery (my son's choice).  This Boxcar children graphic novel seemed shorter and less complicated then the others we read.  Therefore, the attention of my children was less.  It was still a good story -- but there wasn't as much "mystery."
923. A Day's Work by Eve Bunting (my choice).  Happy Birthday Eve Bunting! What a great way to celebrate her birthday by reading this book.  This book is perfect -- the trek to the climax didn't miss a beat and then the apex ( and I was punched in the gut with what happened to the boy and his abuelo!)  I am not going to say anything more than that.  Great read.
Note: My daughter chose to read more Aesop's Fables by Jerry Pinkney.

December 20, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
924. The Wall by Eve Bunting (my daughter's choice). Before reading this tonight my daughter said, "The wall.  I think this is in Israel somewhere."  She has been talking about Hanukkah at school all week.  I was happy that the author's note broke the news to her that the Vietnam Memorial is in Washington D.C.
925. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Jerry Pinkney (my choice).  This is a wonderful book.  I loved how the chipmunk told the story.  By far my favorite book by Jerry Pinkney that we have read this week.
Note: My son chose to read parts of a Jughead comic book that he found at a library used book sale.

December 21, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
926. Night of the Living Dust Bunnies by Erik Craddock (my son's choice).  Yet another case of "I'm not going to be able to read the whole book -- but I read the whole book!" My son cracked up at two different times and asked me to reread the lines over and over again.
927. Smoky Night by Eve Bunting (my daughter's choice). I tried to explain this book to my kids. I think I did a sufficient job.  My daughter was drawing comparisons to the days of segregation to understand the riots.  I loved the cats in this book!
928. The Little Red Hen by Jerry Pinkney (my choice).  A good book for the eve of Jerry Pinkney's birthday.  My kids and I will forever think of pulling the husks off ears of sweet corn when we hear the story of The Little Red Hen. This past summer my kids, my nephew and I were preparing the sweet corn.  My nephew refused to help.  I asked him, "Do you like sweet corn?"  He said, "Well, yeah!"  I told him the story about the little red hen and then said, "Start shucking baby!"  He still didn't help until his dad came out and made him do one ear of corn.  Oh well.  And that story has nothing to do with this book, which was yet another good one from Pinkney!

December 22, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
929. Just Me and My Puppy by Mercer Mayer (my daughter's choice).  These books may be simple but they are great examples of picture books.  There was more of the story told in the pictures than the words.
930. The Wolf's Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza (my choice).  I read this book earlier in the week to my youngest son, but I thought my other two children would enjoy it.  I really like the characters in this book -- Uncle Wolf and Mrs. Chicken.  I like that Uncle Wolf ends up having a kind heart. A great book on the eve of Keiko Kasza's birthday.
Note: My son chose to read excerpts from a Calvin and Hobbes book.

December 23, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
931. Going Home by Eve Bunting (my daughter's choice).  This book fell a little flat with my kiddos.  I felt as if I was reading it to myself.  It was a very simple story about a family returning to Mexico.  Not a lot of action, but a nice story.
932. Twitcher McGee and the Wonderful Tree by Mary C. Ryan (my choice).  Can a mouse and a cat be friends?  Magical things happen around the holidays.  I received this book at our last writer's meeting from Mary Ryan.  I could almost hear Mary's voice reading it along with me as I read it to my children.
Note: My son chose to start a new Captain Underpants book.

December 24, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
934. Mater Saves Christmas by Kiel Murray (my son's choice).  This is a pretty good Christmas book.  Someone has stolen all the gas in Radiator Springs.  Mater with the help of Fillmore drives the letters to Santa Car at the North Pole.  However, when he gets there he learns Santa Car's reindeer have been stolen too.  It is Mater's job to save Christmas!
935. Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O'Connor (my daughter's choice).  Many people don't like Fancy Nancy books, but I love them! The idea of "Fancy" vocabulary is great! In this story, Grandpa handles the tragedy of a broken Christmas topper!
936. Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore (my choice).  I don't think there is a more appropriate book that I could have read tonight!

December 25, 2011 - Merry Christmas! Grandma read books tonight!

December 26, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
937. Santa Calls by William Joyce (my choice).  I love this book -- my kids unfortunately are lukewarm on it.  This is an adventure story of Art Aimesworth, his friend, and his little sister visiting the North Pole. Art and Spaulding are unsure the whole time why they were called by Santa to go to the North Pole, however Esther never has much to say about it.  We find out in the end that she was involved in setting up this adventure.
938. Froggy Plays in the Band by Jonathan London (my daughter's choice).  This book was under our tree this year.  A cute little story about Froggy putting together a band to try to win a contest.  He practices, learns the rules of marching, and performs his heart out.
Note: My son chose to reread Lost in Spice by Judy Schachner

December 27, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
939.  A Special Trick by Mercer Mayer (my choice).  I have saved this book for many months -- waiting for Mercer Mayer's birthday.  When I found it at a used book sale, I wanted to read it as soon as I pulled it off the shelf.  I wasn't disappointed tonight. It was a great story with magic, mischief, and monsters.
Note: My daughter chose to reread Bubble Bubble by Mercer Mayer and my son chose to read more from Captain Underpants.

December 28, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
940. Cock-a-Doodle Christmas by Will Hillenbrand (my choice).  I was able to have this book signed by Will Hillenbrand when I met him at the Northern Ohio SCBWI conference in the fall.  I gave this book to my children for Christmas.  My daughter looked at the note that went along with the autograph, "Good News to You!"  She said, "Why does it say that?"  I said, "Let's read to find out."  Well, she learned that the Good News was the birth of Jesus. This could be my favorite new holiday books I read this year.
941. The Rocking Horse Angel by Mercer Mayer (my son's choice).  This book was a different than any other Mercer Mayer book that I have ever read.  My daughter hung on my shoulder for the whole thing.  The ending was very surprising for me. Here's quick summary, a boy discovers in the attic the rocking horse he is to receive for a gift.  He is feels a guilty about his discovery but wants to know more about the rocking horse. Then, the rocking horse starts to appear in his dreams.  The boy falls ill and with the help of the rocking horse he is able to recover.
Note: My daughter asked to read more Captain Underpants.

December 29, 2011 (Before Bedtime)
942. There's a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer (my daughter's choice).  My son absolutely loves the part in this book where the boy says, "Go away, Nightmare, or I'll shoot you."  It is one those things that make you want to read the book more and more just to see his face.
943. Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies by Dav Pikey (my son's choice).  We read this book over the past few nights.  It wasn't one of the best Captain Underpants books that I have read.
944. Oops by Mercer Mayer (my choice).  This is almost a wordless book, which my daughter has grown to really dislike.  But, my son thought this was a very cool book. He said, "That says, Oops.  I'll say the Oops when they come."  Very cool!

December 30, 2011 - No reading tonight by Mommy and Daddy! Grandma and Grandpa read tonight. We were out of town for our anniversary.

December 31, 2011 (New Year's Eve Party at Grandma and Grandpa's - No books tonight).

Here is my challenge statement:  I will be "reading with my children" at the "Harvesting" (200 picture books) challenge level. I am going to keep a running tally of the books we have read.  No duplicates will be included in the count, but will be mentioned.
Bookmark this page as I will continue to keep it updated.  Thank you There's a Book for putting together this awesome challenge!

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