Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hats Off to Dr. Seuss and March Digital books for little ones

Happy birthday to Dr. Seuss.

This week because of Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2nd there are sales on Dr. Seuss digital books from March 1 to 7th on the App Store, Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Barnes and Noble NOOK Store and Windows Store.  
Here are some reviews of wonderful Dr. Seuss books that both children and adults will enjoy reading.



Other Digital books that will benefit children are from the popular Berenstain Bears and Little Critter series.  Check out these three terrific new interactive book apps available.
The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Chores (iOS and Android, intro price of $2.99) - Papa Bear and the cubs always seem to find a reason not to do their chores. When Mama Bear decides to avoid doing her chores as well, the mess builds up ... and up ... and up!  I really enjoyed reading this book to my little ones and reminding them that everyone in the family needs to pitch in to do chores i.e. cleaning up.  Sometimes I feel just like the mama bear when the chores don't get done :) and when my children surprise me by pitching in and helping out, it makes my day.     
Just Me and My Puppy (iOS, intro price of 99 cents) - Little Critter is proud of the job he's doing taking care of his new puppy. The funny illustrations show that having a puppy is a lot of work and quite a handful! 
It was cute to read how he describes all the help his puppy did i.e being a guard dog and bringing the paper for Little Critter's dad. 
What a Bad Dream (iOS and Android, intro price of 99 cents) - Little Critter dreams that a magic potion turns him into a scary, disagreeable monster that no one wants to be around. Luckily for Little Critter, it's all just a bad dream.
The sound effects in all these stories are lots of fun to listen to while we read the stories to ourselves or read it on auto play.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Peaceable Forest: A Tale of Kindness to Animals


The Peaceable Forest is an ancient Indian Vedic tale about Kindness to Animals, written by Kosa Ely.  In this ancient parable from India was passed on to children through an oral tradition.  This story reminds children to be compassionate to all living creatures and respecting life.

In this story a forest-dwelling hunter learns that cruelty has consequences and that compassion has rewards.  When the hunter meets the wise man, Narada, "Do unto others as they would do unto you" takes on a very concrete meaning. The sage leads the hunter on an imagined journey in which the hunter becomes the hunted. When the hunter realizes his actions affect other living things, he has a change of heart and begins to live in peace with the animals he once pursued for fun and without reason.  My daughter said that her favourite part was in the end when the hunter becomes a good person and lived in a peaceful way.
Anna Johansson's richly detailed illustrations show the animal kingdom and enchanted forests with fine lines and luminous colors.  The Peaceable Forest is an inspiring picture book that illustrates flora and fauna native to India.  My children found this book to be colourful and fun to read.  The interesting pictures will attract young readers as they see the world in the perspective of the animals.  My son liked observing the pictures and asking questions regards to the characters' clothing and liked the picture of the hunter's stance when he was shooting the arrow.  
The beautiful and accessible message within The Peaceable Forest opens up conversations about kindness and nonviolence to all living things, which teaches children to respect life in all its forms.  After reading and looking through the book we can have meaningful conversations with our children about this philosophy.  

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Guide to Learn Windows 8

Everyone is talking about the new Windows 8 so I wanted to learn a little more about it as I like keeping myself current with new technology no matter how rapidly it is changing :) This book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Microsoft Windows 8 by Paul McFedries has helped me to understand and learn about Windows 8.
Learning from a book is always more detailed, especially when it is a book like the Complete Idiot's Guide where all the details are explained and nothing is left out.  As the author says, Windows is simple and easy to use only once you know how to use it.  Therefore we must learn it first.  
When we first start using Windows 8 without the visual hints and prompts it is quite hard to figure it out.  The book is organized into 4 parts; getting to know, having fun, getting things done and customizing, maintaining and troubleshooting Windows 8.  
After learning from this book and practicing I feel comfortable using Windows 8.
I like the fresh features of Windows 8.  The built-in and other apps that can be download through the Windows store is very useful.  I find having apps such as the travel, weather, music, Netflix, Skype, Evernote, Dropbox apps in the start screen makes it easy to navigate and use.  Once we learn and start using Windows 8, we are sure to appreciate all its features.   
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fun digital books that children will enjoy cuddling to

These fun digital books have professional narration, background audio and enlarged artwork for each scene that children will enjoy.  Young children will like touching the pictures on iOS devices to see individual words being highlighted and read.
Dr. Seuss's Hunches in Bunches digital book shows us that it's easy to become overwhelmed by advice when we haven't made up our own mind. Sometimes the best plan is to trust our own hunches and disregard the vocal bunch of Hunches clamouring for attention.  The nonsense and cleverly crafted message in Hunches in Bunches is similar to Dr. Seuss's many other classic picture books.  My son enjoyed the fun to read rhymes and thought it was cool to read the silly words and started laughing.

The "Record and Share" feature in the book will be really enjoyed as it lets readers record their own voice and share the recording with family, friends and teachers.  
Just Shopping With Mom is about Little Critter going shopping with his family that turns into an eventful day.  While at the grocery store, his little sister becomes upset when she can't buy candy, cake, dolls, toys and many other things.  She makes a big mess by pulling items off of the shelf and then gets lost in the store. 
Little Critter's patience pays off when mom finds a fun way to end the day.  Mercer Mayer's Little Critter stories address major issues of growing up that both children and parents will enjoy reading and talking about.  
The Berenstain Bears Hug and Make Up is about the whole Bear family waking up grouchy one morning and the mood in the house is not happy.  We will find many things that happen in the story that we can easily relate to :) 
By the end of the day, the Bear family learns that sometimes laughter is all it takes to hug and make up.  
This book is recommended for children age 4 to 8.  Reading this book as made it even more exciting for us to experience watching the Berenstain bears on stage in March.
Your little ones and you will enjoy cuddling up and reading this book, The Kissing Hand.  Chester Raccoon does not want to go school, so to help ease Chester's fears, his mother shares a family secret called The Kissing Hand.  This gives Chester Raccoon reassurance of her love that he can have any time when his world feels a little scary.  
This book is a children's classic that is useful to parents and children especially at times of separation.  
My children enjoyed reading and talking about this book with me.  We agreed that we would remember the kissing hand when we are all out and about in our worlds exploring and learning, and know that our loved ones are always close to us.  
These colourful digital picture books can be read over and over as children learn to read.
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Beaded Jewelry: Creating our own style

Maya Brenner introduces us to simple, bold and modern jewelry making through her book Beaded Jewelry.  Her designs are worn by celebrities and are featured on many magazines and media.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Collection of Dr. Seuss digital media books for Children

I believe we must embrace new technology when we are teaching our children.  From a very young age even before my children turned one I have allowed them to use our smart devices such as the iPad and iPod for entertaining and learning purposes.  However, I do put restrictions on how much time they get to use it because smart devices can be addictive :)
As parents, we all know that sometimes it is difficult to find the time to sit and read, so having useful educational apps make it easier for us to teach our children in a fun way.
We have all heard of and know how educating Dr. Seuss's books are for children.  Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #1 and #2* and McElligot's Pool* digital book apps are fabulous for children who are learning to read and well as those who have started to read.  It will also benefit people who are learning English.  

The original books written by Dr. Seuss have become livelier through these digital books and technology.  Our children will be more interested and motivated to read these books using the digital book app in smart devices.  Giving a book and asking to read doesn't always work, however I know that when we get them involved and teach them through play is very likely to keep our young ones engaged.  The collections of these Dr. Seuss digital books are interactive so my children are more willing to read.   

The books are full of beautiful drawings and graphics, which are an important part of reading and learning for young children.  The original artwork from Dr. Seuss's books can be panned and zoomed through these digital books.  I like this interactive touch based learning that helps curious minds.  
When children touch the pictures and words on the digital books it reads it to them.  This helps my son who is learning to recognize letters and sounds by relating it to pictures.  My daughter clicks on the words that she has trouble pronouncing, so she can continue the story without getting frustrated by one word that she has trouble with.

These digital book apps are not only geared for visual learners but also to auditory learners.  Children who like learning by listening will enjoy the sound effects and the stories read to them.  
In addition to the professional narration of the stories, these digital books allow us to record our own voice and share.  I thought that this is very neat, and is one of the features that we enjoy using.  Young children love when they hear their favourite story being read by a familiar voice i.e. parents or siblings.  A familiar voice tends to soothe little ones and as parents we all have a few stories memorized because we had to repeat it a few hundred times :)  My daughter is also encouraged to read because of this recording feature by inputting expression into the stores so she can hear back her voice or allow her brother to listen to.

We can buy the collections and keep adding new digital book titles as they become available through iTunes.  We can download the free Dr. Seuss Bookshelf app to keep our self organized because once a few books are downloaded it could make the iPad look cluttered.  This bookshelf app helps us rearrange and organize the way we prefer by type, price or age so we can easily find the specific books we are looking to read.  
This Dr. Seuss Bookshelf has made it easy for my little ones and us to browse all the Dr. Seuss apps and keep up-to-date when new books are released.  Keeping up-to-date will help us to take advantage of free books, introductory pricing and sales.  
Parents can either lock or unlock the app store so the little ones will do not download the books and apps without our permission.
These digital books are valuable for children who are learning to read and will benefit having it easy to access when we are at home, travelling, in schools, Montessori's and day cares.
A closer look at some Dr. Seuss book titles:
*McElligot's Pool by Dr. Seuss is about young Marco casting his fishing line deep into McElligot's pool and imagining curious sea creatures that might bite.  This book appeals for readers of all ages.

*The Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #1, will help young children to enjoy reading.  The 5 titles in this collection are recommended for children age 2 to 6.  The book titles are (this list is from iTunes)
1. The Cat in the Hat stars a cheerful and exotic Cat that brings chaos to the house of two young kids on a rainy day while their mother is out.
2. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is a freewheeling plot about a boy and a girl and the many amazing creatures they meet.
3. The FOOT Book introduces the concept of opposites through funny and creative depictions of different kinds of feet!
4. Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You? is Dr. Seuss's Book of Wonderful Noises and explores with children the sounds they hear everyday, and how to mimic them!


5. Fox In Socks features two delightful characters Fox and Knox, who converse almost entirely in rhyming tongue-twisters. "A tweetle beetle noodle poodle bottled paddled muddled duddled fuddled wuddled fox in sox, sir!"

*The book titles in Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #2 are (this list is from iTunes)
1. Green Eggs and Ham: One of the best-selling children's book of all time. Sam-I-Am is determined to share the tasty treat of green eggs and ham with his doubtful companion. Containing just 50 unique words, this title is a must-have for beginner readers.
2. Dr. Seuss's ABC: From Aunt Annie riding an Alligator to the Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz, Dr. Seuss teaches children the ABC's through whimsical Seussian words and illustrations, guaranteed to entertain as much as it educates!
3. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back!: The behatted and bow-tied cat is back and stirring up his own brand of mischief. This time he enlists Little Cats A through Z to help him clean up the mess. But will they be a help or a hindrance?
4. There's a Wocket in my Pocket!: This charming, light-hearted story follows a young boy around his house as he introduces the reader to the amusing imaginary creatures that live with him.
5. Hop on Pop: Known as "The Simplest Seuss for Youngest Use," Hop on Pop offers simple, delightfully entertaining rhymes to inspire children to read on their own. "Pat. Cat. Pat sat on cat. No Pat No. Don't sit on that."


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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dazzling duct tape bracelets

I made these cute bracelets following the step-by-step instructions from the Dazzling Duct Tape Designs book by Tamara Boykins.  This book has lots of ideas with colourful pictures for us to make cool things using duct tape and other easy to find material.  I was surprised to see the duct tape sandals, which we can wear.  The other ideas in the book include handbags, wallets, wall art, fashionable accessories, party banners and many more.
To make these simple fun bracelets we used...
Duck Tape brand printed duct tape
scissors
clipboard or paper clip optional to hold when braiding
First fold the duct tape to make a single folded duct tape strip.  For adults use a 14" long piece for each strip and for children use 12" long piece.  To make the braid we need 3 single folded strips.
If you have someone to hold then you don't need the clipboard or paper clip.  Secure the three pieces using the clipboard then tightly braid and secure the ends using a small piece of duct tape.  Measure around the hand and bring the sides together and tape it to secure the ends, make sure it is easy to remove and put.
Enjoy wearing the bracelets!
Giveaway:
If you would like to win a copy of this Dazzling Duct Tape Designs book enter the giveaway through the rafflecopter below.
Winners must provide an address in US or Canada and follow all my social media networks to qualify.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond from the time I contact.  The giveaway ends on Jan 23rd.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Using colourful patterned Duck Tape to pack gifts


Using colourful duct tape in creative ways is the newest craft trend.  Since "ductivities" are becoming popular there are a lot of coloured and patterned duct tapes available in craft stores, home hardware stores and online.  
I have been using grey duct tape to make crafts such as this rattle and to fix things around the home.  When I saw the beautiful varieties of duct tape Duck Brand has I felt very excited as it helps us become more creative.  
Duct tape crafts are durable, no mess and wonderful to do on our own or as a group.  Although, there are so many things we can do with these creative Duck Tapes the project doesn't have to be complicated.  For starters we can use it to do small creative things such as using it to decorate holiday gift bags.  For this "eco-friendly activity" :) you will need...

Paper shopping bags
colourful Duck Tape
scissors
permanent marker

I reused paper shopping bags that I had.  
Use colourful Duck Tape and paste it over the area you want to cover.  Then personalize each bag by writing a message with a permanent marker over the tape. 
Using a roll of decorative duct tape is only limited by our imagination and these types of colourful duct tape help us get started and become creative.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

A Science Kit that Entertains and Educates

This Science Kit from DK books has taught and entertained my children and I with many scientific facts.  There are over 100 experiments inside the kit that allows us to experiment with easy to find material from around our home.  The kit also includes some material that we need to start experiments. 
Although, this kit is intended for children over 8 years my 4 year old son liked joining his sister and me to do these experiments and to be part of it.  My daughter inferred her knowledge from school when we did some of the experiments.
This type of kits and books encourage children to start liking a subject such as science and makes it a part of their lives, rather than just "school subjects".  When parents get involved with teaching and making this type of learning fun from an early age, children will not think of it as a "chore" to learn subjects like science and geography.
This Science kit has action packed experiments that teach how everyday things work, so we can see and marvel at the mysteries of science.  We don't need to be a "science whiz" to do these experiments because the instructions are step-by-step.  I just wish the book has close up pictures on some instruction that need us to cut or do things more carefully; for example when we did the spinning helicopter it didn't exactly turn out the way it is supposed to because I didn't understand on how to cut the straw correctly, but we still had fun experimenting and trying to figure it out.  After all when experiments go wrong that too is science; that is what I told my children :)
When we did this experiment of inflating a balloon without blowing on it my children were involved and looked in awe at the result :)  I felt good trying to make connections and teaching them about carbon dioxide and how gas molecules take up more space than liquid molecules.  
You will need...
a balloon
glass bottle with a narrow neck
vinegar
baking soda
funnel

1. Pour vinegar into the bottle until it fills 1/4 of the bottle.
2. Fill baking soda into the neck of a balloon through a funnel until it is half full.
3. Stretch the balloon over the mouth of the balloon and leave it to hang.
4. When you are ready for action quickly lift the balloon so that the baking soda falls into the bottle.
5. Voila the balloon will inflate.
I asked my children to record the observations of the experiment in the book that came along with the kit.  My little one drew the picture while my elder one labeled and wrote what happened in the experiment.
I like that these types of kits encourage learning while children have fun.
Contest:
DK Canada books is having a holiday contest so we can win a DK shopping spree worth $250.  The contest ends on December 17th. 
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