Category Archives: Children’s

A Mother For Choco by Keiko Kasza

Imagine my surprise when I read this book that is quite oriented towards adoptive and blended families and realized the author was Japanese – where neither adoptive nor blended families are the norm!  To be fair, she has lived in the US for years, but…I still take my hat off to her for writing such a sensitive and helpful book.

This is the story of a little yellow bird named Choco. He is in desperate want for a mother. He looks and looks for a mother who has some of the same physical characteristics as himself. But he is sorely disappointed when they all prove not to be his mother. The mother who finds him is a mother in the true sense of the word.

I was very touched by A Mother for Choco.  Obviously, my little Japanese Jun Bug and I look nothing at all alike, physically. So, I was so happy that I could reinforce our mother/child link through this book. Jun, on the other hand saw nothing at all unusual about the “real” mother becoming Choco’s mother, and doesn’t seem to yet see our physical differences. It made me laugh!

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Filed under Adoption, Children's

Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton

Well, you know, I think it would be hard to get too much of Sandra Boynton.  That being said I don’t like ALL of her books, just most of them!

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I’d like to tell you I have a deep reason for liking this one.  But, I don’t!  It is just plain CUTE!  I have found in the past 3 1/4 years that I love books that rhyme.  And this one rhymes wonderfully.  And it is silly.  And, if it NEEDS a redeeming factor, it does teach that pigs DON’T say ” La La La,” and that dogs DO say “bow wow wow.” 

This is just a delightful book that ends with the enticing question “It’s quiet now, what do YOU say?”

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Pete’s Puddles by Pierre Prat and Hannah Roche

A friend recently posted about toddler books that depict children from different parts of the world.  I am caucasian and my husband and daughter are asian.  Various other family members are various other …ian’s, so books that my daughter can identify with are really important to me. 

I have no idea in the whole world where I got this book.  Surely I didn’t pay real money for it.  However, as Jun has practically memorized it AND there are children from four various racial backgrounds in the series (only two in this particular book), I think I should introduce it so other parents can give it a shot if they like.

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Seriously, I’m not sure why Jun likes it so much.  No rhyme.  No real plot.  No real ending.  No real beginning.  But, apparently it was written by folks who are a lot better at reading a child’s heart than I am.  I guess I won’t be recycling this book for some time either!

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Filed under Children's, Multi-Cultural

Duck & Goose How Are You Feeling? by Tad Hills

I loved the Duck & Goose book about opposites so could hardly wait until this one came out.  I finally got my copy – opened it up – and thought…hmmmm  not what I expected.

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The same great duck and goose images were there, but the one word descriptions of feelings didn’t seem to be adequate.  My daughter, however, loved the book.  Then I remembered why these books are so great.  Because someone HAS to read them to the kiddies.  And, hopefully that someone has a clue what the words mean – take “frustrated” for instance – and can talk about the picture, give examples, AND coach the kiddo in what to do when he/she is FRUSTRATED.

This book has given Jun words to many important feelings, and, as I said, I’ve given her some tools to deal with some of them.

For example – frustrated.  Our family takes a big breath and says, “Help me, Jesus!”  big breath, “Help me, Jesus!”  It is amazing how many more things Jun has persevered through using this breathing and praying, now that we have learned the word “frustrated.”

We have a song about being mad.  The book says “angry”, but both work for us.  We say, “count to 5!  1-2-3-4-5!”

The picture of one duck who took ALL the flowers and the others who were so sad and the selfish duck was all alone, and…well, it just naturally leads into a discussion about sharing.

So, this book gets a great grade from me – and Jun (3 1/4 yo)!

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Filed under Children's, Moral Lesson

Fat Cat on a Mat by Phil R. Cox

If you guessed straight off that THIS book was a phonics book – well, you’d be right.  I have raided my bookshelves at work for books for Jun to read, and there are, therefore, too many phonics books to count.  As Jun is not yet reading these books herself, I “get” to read them again and again.  Phonics books, for anyone who doesn’t know, are often very uninteresting.  The plots and conversations are quite limited to words that, for example in this book, have the short sound for the letter “a” in them.

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So, in general, this book is your standard phonics book.  BUT it has a twist – or I wouldn’t bother to finally post about it here!  There is a nice moral in this simple story about a cat who, while escaping from a bee, knocks a birds nest off the branch of a tree.  She takes personal responsibility for her accidental action, and keeps the resident eggs warm, refusing to play with all the little animals that invite her, until they hatch!

I was so glad to find a phonics book that I could use to discuss “trying to make things right” after accidents with Jun.  I guess I’ll keep this phonics book around even after she’s done reading it herself!

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Filed under Children's, Moral Lesson, Phonics

Sankaku Tanguramu Puzzle – KUMON

We got this puzzle as a present when Jun was 1 1/2.  It was beyond her and my abilities then, but, I found it before going home to the States for Christmas last year and took it along.  Junnie and Grammy and Grandpa ALL loved this puzzle.  Each of the adults tried to get it away from Jun so they could figure out the patterns on some of the harder ones.  Jun has even those nearly down pat now.

Basically, there are pictures with shapes cut out in them.  There are 8 triangle wooden blocks that fit in the shapes.  Some are very easy.  One triangle per puzzle.  Others are harder 7 or 8 triangles are needed to fill in the shape.  I noticed on Amazon.co.jp, that KUMON has a few other puzzles too, like this. 

There is no need to understand a word of Japanese to use this puzzle with your child.  My Mom figured it out just fine! 

I never did well on spacial tests in school, so I hope this puzzle and ones like it will give Jun a leg up in this area.  Jun just enjoys the tickles she “earns” when she gets a puzzle right!

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Leap’s Phonics Pond – Help requested

Jun got her very own computer (Leap’s Phonics Pond) for Christmas.  Grammy found it at a recycle shop and got it for a steal.  Of course, being the knowledgeable parents we are – or are not – we didn’t know exactly how much of a steal till I checked it out on Amazon.  Nice $50 price tag.

It teaches lower case letters, gives a quiz on those letters, teaches and tests on phonics, does some basic spelling and…the reason for this post – has a song or some kind of music assigned to each letter.  Well, my musical Junnie LOVES the music feature.  However, there are no words to the songs.  I have been trying to recognize the songs and remember/search for the lyrics so I can teach her the songs too.  So far I have come up with the following.  I hope it might be helpful to someone else too!  There are a few I can’t figure out.  If you can…PLEASE tell me!  THANKS!

a – Part one of the ABC song:  a-b-c-d-e-f-g

b – Billy Boy

c – Clementine

d – Do you Remember Sweet Betsy from Pike?

e – fun sound

f – Farmer in the Dell

g – Same sound/rhythm as “k”

h – Part two of the ABC song: h-i-j-k-l-m-n-o-p

i – I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

j – Jimmy Crack Corn

k – Same sound/rhythm as “g”

l – London Bridge

m – fun sound

n – Sounds like the tune of I’ll Fly Away.  Again  – should start with an “n”, though, shouldn’t it?

o – ?? but sounds like some song!?

p – Pop Goes the Weasel

q – Part three of the ABC song:  q-r-s-t-u-v

r – Row, Row Your Boat

s – She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain

t – This Old Man

u – fun sound

v – fun sound

w – Part four of the ABC song: w-x-y-z, Now I know my ABC’s, next time won’t you sing with me!

x – fun sound

y – Yankee Doodle

z – fun sound

Any ideas on the question marks?

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Filed under Children's, Electrical learning