Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Play with Your Words: encyclopedia

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One of my favorite “substitute teacher” activities I loved to do with older students was a word game that ties right into this poetry form. I only realized this after I had difficulty coming up with a poem, and then went back to my old sub/word play game to give me a list of words from which to work.

The word play game consisted of me writing a very long word on the (back then) chalk board. Usually “supercalifragilisticexpealidocious.” I would then set a timer and instruct students to play with the word and come up with a list of words they could make using only the letters of the word on the board. True, this is a giant word, so the possibilities were nearly endless. But that made it easier for the students. If only I had gone on to use our word lists to make up fun poems!

I discovered this fun method in a poetry book I picked up at the library. It just looked enjoyable. And it is. Check out or purchase this book and play with some words yourself.

Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word

written by Bob Raczka

illustrated by Nancy Doniger

Roaring Brook Press, 2011


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Picture Books of the Moment: Gage & Autumn Picks

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Meet Gage (3 going on 4) and Autumn (2 going on 16). Gigi is also featured above, all 3 of them enjoying a Babybel cheese break.

Preschoolers have discerning tastes and interests. I’d like to add that both of these magnificent grands are eloquent, opinionated, book afficionados. Here are their current favorite picture books. And why I think each has preschool staying power.

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“Again!”

This remark nearly guarantees a great picture book. They should call it the AGAIN Award. SPOILER ALERT: Both grands love Peter and his adventures in the snow, though Gage is convinced the snowball did not melt, but is in fact, tucked beneath Peter’s chin as he sleeps. Don’t believe me? Look at that page. The background white section looks exactly like a snowball. They both love the snow adventures.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Simplicity of text, universal preschool and young reader experiences, nature focus, playfulness of a child’s day in the snow

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Froggy and his silly antics keep Gage and Autumn glued to the story. They love me to read this to them as they eat lunch. They love jumping to the conclusion before I even get there. The laughing portions of the book have great child appeal.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Humor, age-appropriate excitement and desire to enjoy life, Froggy’s disregard for reality (hibernate in winter), repetitive language

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Of all the books we read, this one surprises me. Not that it’s a bad book, but, you know, she dies at the end. Despite that, Gage LOVES this book. He knows the ending and he loves how the old lady gets larger and larger. I always use a sing-song voice when I read it, so music complements the retelling. Who knew?

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Illustrations, musical options, repetitive, cumulative, silly, full of exaggeration, contains extra details that can be shared as readers mature

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This book was a hit the very first time I read it, with both Gage and Autumn. They love memorizing the story and retelling it themselves. I did hear that older brother, Donavyn, was purposely saying the wrong thing as she was reading to herself. This made her very angry! (This might have happened with the next book instead…). Preschoolers love reading about the caterpillar.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Nature aspects of change, life cycle, eating, growing, overeating; days of the week; interesting pages and features like holes and different-sized pages; simple text and easy to recall story; classic picture book tale

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This was one of the first books I dug out to share with Gage and Autumn. They loved it and immediately memorized the pattern of text and wanted to read it alone. This book is easy to figure out by simply turning the pages. The bright colorful illustrations help readers retell and enjoy the story.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Predictable, patterned, colorful illustrations, teaches colors, simple text, imaginative (blue horse?!), fun to read, readers enjoy being in control and being the ‘teacher’ as they read

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Anything with a flap is award-winning for preschoolers. This simple book has repetitive text and involves visual and textual clues to use to guess the answer. Fill-in-the-blank reading is lots of fun and both Gage and Autumn love shouting the answers. Animals, flaps, mystery! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taped this book back together.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Lift the flaps, simplicity, animal connections, emotions, cause and effect, thinking skills to figure out which pet is best

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Three words: Hug, Bobo, Mommy. Who says you can’t tell a story with only 3 words? Everybody knows about hugs and mommy’s. Gage and Autumn love this book because of the mommy factor. Mommy’s are important and it would be horrible if she went missing. All the animals work together to help Bobo. So many good things in three words and great illustrations.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

The mommy factor, hugs, friends, helping, simple text, universal needs and desires, family, being lost and getting found

Introducing the AGAIN Award. You heard it here first, friends.

Let’s find other books that deserve the AGAIN Award. For in those beloved books, we will find the joy of reading and the shared experiences of lap time.

 

 

 

 


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Talk to Me Tuesday: Little Voices

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“Sing the sitting song,” said 3-year-old Gage.

“What?”

“The sitting song!”

I was stumped. I had no idea, not even a glimmer of a clue.

This boy, along with his other 4 cousins/siblings, have been my captive (literally) audience over the years as they ride in the Nana Bus (my white 4-door Mazda 3) They all know the song about riding in the Nana Bus. And they have all been victim to my silly songs and antics during forced participation car trips around the city.

But the sitting song? When had I ever sang a song about sitting? We tried several, but no, not it.

“Sitting on my lap, sitting on me,” he finally said in frustration.

OHHH. “Willaby Wallaby Woo?”

“YES!”

So we sang:

Willaby wallaby woo, an elephant sat on you!

Willaby wallaby wee, an elephant sat on me!

Willaby wallaby wAGE, an elephant sat on GAGE,

Willaby wallaby wANA, an elephant sat on NANA.

 

Continually, we added cousins, siblings, parents. This song can go on forever. Like the song that never ends.

When I was finally able to quit singing the sitting song, he continued to talk. Nonstop. This chatter about a wide variety of topics, including many repeats, went on for at least an hour. I am not kidding. It started at home during play, kept going during our drive, and did not stop even when we finally met mommy for the hand-off.

I was dying and mommy was laughing because he does this up to bedtime and she has a hard time getting him to STOP talking. Just like his mommy. Wait. Just like his Papa, over filled with words and must get them out. ALL of them.

Here’s wishing you many good times singing sitting songs and chatting with the littles in your life.


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: Dog vs Cat

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purple tongue panting

sun-heated fur, sunshine paws

I hike! I like! ruff

 

on a scale of 1 to 8, I’m a ca-nine by Ally Andersen

 

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aloof feline boss.

I rule, command, what I see.

know this, slave, or die.

 

cat-ness by Angie Quantrell

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Teacher (the older one) and student (from way back when in 3rd grade) who is now a senior in high school!

Fun! What a lovely, well-spoken young lady! It was a joy to spend time with her.

 


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge

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gnarled shelves grasp earth

etched granite skin, moss blanket

tree’s knees bend and rest

 

by Angie Quantrell

 

Happy Hump Day! How about a haiku challenge? I’d love to read yours.

 


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If you know me from my teaching days, or kid-caring days, or church days, you know I’m all about books, language, and literacy. Not too long ago, a friend introduced me to Barefoot Books. My grands LOVE the little videos and songs that go with the different stories.

Barefoot Books is coming out with another great tool for story building, language, and literature: Build-a-Story Cards. I love these! Characters, settings, and objects cover wordless adorable colorful cards. Some characters show emotions to help create story conflict. Playing with these will be loads of fun!

Head on over to Tara Lazar’s blog to see photos and more explanation of these new literacy tools. The first set is a fairy tale theme. Fun times ahead!

Thanks, Tara, for giving us the heads-up on these Build-a-Story Cards!

via How Do You Build a Story? Play Cards! (plus a giveaway)


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge

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a blizzard in May,

cottonwoods are cottoning;

warm flakes unmelting

~ by Angie Quantrell

 

Welcome to May cottonwood season! No deep breaths, wide open mouths, or keeping fluffs away from your face. Still digging out!

Wednesday is the Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge! I’d love to read your Haiku, especially if it revolves around nature, kids, or family.

Happy Hump Day!


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Hump Day Haiku

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Scone

maple icing treat

warm from oven, coffee too

yearning for a taste

 

Welcome to Hump Day Haiku!

Everybody loves Hump Day – Wednesday! Otherwise known as half the week is gone, we’re over the hump, and we’re so close to the weekend we can taste it.

If you enjoy Haiku, join in by sharing a Happy Hump Day Haiku.


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Small Things, 1

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By Angie Quantrell

 

Traveling east, white

surprise spring snow shower, don’t

leave, stay; coat flowers


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Throwback Thursday: Old Words

Note: I originally posted this long, long ago on February 24, 2016. Hah! I know. It was only last year. But I do so love old books, newspapers, and things, I deemed it worth bringing into the future. And now I remember how much I miss my claw foot bathtub.

 I was preparing to take a relaxing bubble bath in my claw foot tub last night when I saw a wadded up log of newspaper on the floor.

 

The paper log was actually old newspaper. Old 1949 newspaper.

 

It was super dusty and fragile, so I didn’t undo it, but went ahead and enjoyed my bath, contemplating the sudden arrival of newspaper in the bedroom.

 

This morning, long after honey had gone to work, I noticed the newspaper had been carefully unrolled and somewhat flattened.

 

That was when I saw the date on the antique (or is it vintage?) Seattle Times. Sunday, March 27, 1949. Fascinating.

 

I do love looking at old newspapers, especially the ads. Odd, I realize, but the price comparisons between then and now are amusing and sad. The articles in this bundle also told tales of the times – fashions, comics, businesses, and even child rearing and feeding advice.

 

This was no ordinary newspaper. It was mystery newspaper that had been recycled to provide padding for an old wood and woven jute chair. We didn’t even know it was stuffed. Look at how creative folks were at repurposing way back before the word was even in use.

 

Now we know more about the chair (it is older than both of us) and the news of the day from several decades ago.

 

Words are valuable. No matter how old or in what format they are discovered.

 

What are some words that are valuable to you?