Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dragons - for the Young Flyers


If your child is fascinated with dragons,
there are some wonderful books out there.
The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame*
is a gentle, funny fable about a misunderstood
dragon and the boy who helps him find a way
to coexist with those who fear him
(for a contemporary graphic novel take, 
look at The Monster on the Hill-a dragonish
creature who isn't scary enough).
The Reluctant Dragon boasts a Disney movie
and a play based on it as well.
You may already know the How to Train Your
Dragon movies are based on the books by Cressida
Cowell. They're fun. (I've a special
liking for the picture book that started it all-
Hiccup the Viking-but it's not Dragony).
Elsewhere on the blog I've discussed
My Father's Dragon, an excellent series 
for read aloud or early chapter books.
Dav Pilkey's Dragon series is as funny
and goofy as you would expect from the Captain 
Underpants writer, but much sweeter than
you might think and bridges the gap
between picture book and chapter book.

Next week I'll give some choices for more
advanced readers. I already wrote about
my favorite for tweens/teens here.
*a note about today's links - "Monster" & "here" take
you elsewhere in the blog. "Dragon" takes you to Amazon
and the lush Michael Hague illustrated edition.
Full disclosure: If a lot of you click through and buy that, they'll give me a credit.
Not to worry, I've earned one $20 credit in the five years I've blogged.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back to Johnny Boo

Currently my boy with autism is struggling with The Odyssey.
I really don't have anything to say about that yet,
other than that it's slightly ridiculous to expect him
to understand The Odyssey.
But if you want your kid to get a regular diploma .  .  .
My reluctant reader without autism is reading
Johnny Boo.
A few things about this make it relevant to this blog:
1  Full color pages with a few words per page invite
many reluctant readers.
2  Graphic Novels/Comics appeal to kids.
For more of those, see this post.
3  He's reading it in the car.
With both boys, if I hand them a book in the car, 
or leave a book in the car, they at least look at it.
This puts that book a few dozen nags ahead of 
other books.

On another note, if you're in the Nashville area,
don't forget The Billy Goats Gruff Creative
Dramatics Story Time at Green Hills Library
at 10:30.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Billy Goats and Trolls at the Library

Since my boy loves to trit trot over any bridge,

this story seemed a natural one for our kids to 

enjoy and act out.

I hope to see some Nashville area friends

at the Green Hills Library at 10:30 this

Saturday morning to share a fun, no 

pressure to perform, freedom to make noise,

stim, or hide away, good time.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Play some games and act out a story with Christine Mather, PhD, a playwright and theatre educator. A time for kids to do as little or as much as they want (and maybe catch the acting bug!). Sign up is encouraged but not required.
Contact: Green Hills Library (615) 862-5863

Here's the link to the library website description.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Belly Button of the Moon and Other Summer Poems

Summer came Saturday -
these poems celebrate this special season.
The colorful illustrations splash and spill over
the pages.
Here's a lesson plan that makes use of this
and other seasonal poetry books by Alarcon

My boy's thoughts (prompted and unprompted)
The Belly Button of the Moon
The book is about Spanish and how to translate it for poems.
There is a cow named Mariposa. Mariposa means butterfly in
Spanish. A cow named “Butterfly” is strange. There are some
things of her that look like a butterfly. Is it funny that there was a waterwheel poem on a waterwheel?
Any person who likes to go to Spanish class would like this book.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Education Friday - Proximity and Variety

Happy Summer!

School's out and the kids are home.
Which means brief entries or none
at all.
Two thoughts for summer reading -
With my both my boys, I've
had some luck with product placement.
I put a book (instructive or appealing,
or with luck, both) next to them or
in a place where they are going to 
be soon. In some cases, in the car,
I reach it back to them.
Here's the hard part - I say nothing.
They either read it or they don't.
The decision is theirs.
This sometimes works.
When I was a child, my Father insistence that
I read Kim kept me away from it from months.
When he shut up about it, I sought it out and
read it and decided I loved Rudyard Kipling 
My oldest son (the one with autism)
has to read The Hound of the Baskervilles
this Summer. He has challenges with
his working memory and
comprehension. He can read
a book aloud and be unable to tell you
anything but the number of chapters 
and what page each started on. So 
I'm trying the multi-channel approach.
Before we started, we watched book
trailers for it on the computer.
We're listening to it, he's reading it,
and he's reading the graphic novel.
He's also working on it in Extended 
School Year. I'll let you know how 
he does with it.
A typically developing child would probably
be heartily sick of the book by now.
But he seems no more reluctant than
usual to read it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Amazing Cows

Sandra Boynton
never runs out of silliness.
This particular book parses cowmedy into many forms.
The jokes that run through it about on the order of
my pun above, but the true humor lies in Boynton's 
unmatchable animals and whimsy.
But my boy likes the puns and the word play, and
the sheer absurdity of the stories, songs, and jokes.
Particularly the cow comic book which riffs on the
Superman tropes inimitably (in its imitation). 
What my boy remembers from the book:
Amazing Cows
Red Rover, Red Rover, let which cow named Tino come over? 
There were 80 cows named Tino. 
“Moo revoir.” 
“Bob, Bob, black sheep, have you any wool? ... little kid who lives dow th-MOOOOOOOOOO!” 
“Cock-a-doodle won’t do.” 
Counselor Phil was teaching his campers to be a cow until he said “Quackity-quack” 
“Johan Sebastian BOCKBOCKBOCK” 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Frog Trouble

In honor of Spring, I bring you a stampede of frogs.

Frog Trouble and Eleven Other Pretty Serious Songs
For ages one to older than dirt
Songs and Illustrations by Sandra Boynton
Recording Artists include"
Alison Krause “End of a Summer Storm”
Dwight Yoakum “I’ve Got a Dog” 
Fountains of Wayne "Trucks"
Ben Folds "Broken Piano"
Other cool songs:
Alligator Stroll
Heartache Song
The hardcover book includes words and music for the songs, bios of the musicians, instructions for a paper frog puppet, and a cd with all twelve songs.
My boy's notes:
In the song, “I’ve Got a Dog”, It’s as if Dwight Yoakum was singing, “I’ve got a dawg.” The song “Trucks” started in the key of D, went down to C, went up to D-flat, and went back to D. There was a song that talked about when pigs really fly! What does deepest blue mean?