Book Review: Crinkleroot Nature Series

Springtime brings a renewed interest in nature study to our home.  We long to take walks in the woods or learn more about the birds that are all over the yard.  It is as if this subject has awakened from its winter hibernation.

There are plenty of nature books and guides to be found. But none like the one I am linking to today- a collection that I wish I had heard about years ago!

My latest nature book find is the Crinkleroot Series!

Crinklerootside

The author, Jim Arnosky, is a naturlist and artist.  Here are a few topics that are found in these whimsical yet educational books: avoiding poison ivy, how to identify animal tracks, and beautiful sketches that are labeled- this alone makes these books worthy of a place on a nature study table.

The main character is Crinkleroot, a woodsman who sets off to explore his surroundings while giving facts and interesting tips to the young explorer. I hesitate to say young explorer, because while these books are Excellent for elementary ages, they could be a great starting off point for a middle schooler who is just getting started in nature study.

There is a Crinkleroot book for almost every nature topic.  Here are the titles we have read:

 Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Birds    ( has a wonderful labeled bird diagram )

Crinkleroot's Guide to Walking in Wild Places  ( ferns, ticks, poison ivy plant family )

Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing Butterflies and Moths ( butterfly labeled diagram )

Crinkleroot's Guide to Animal Tracking, Revised Edition 

The Brook Book 

Crinkleroot's 25 Birds Every Child Should Know (just names and a picture, I wish the photos were real life )

Crinkleroot's 25 Fish Every Child Should Know (just names and a picture, again I wish these photos were real life )

Crinkleroot's Nature Almanac (informative and spanning a whole year, much of the info in this book is compiled from others )

Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking (great info and sketches to get you started in studying nature )

There is one more title that I would like to read and that is the Crinkleroot Guide to Trees.  I will have to put that one on my amazon wishlist.

StackGrab a Crinkleroot book and begin exploring nature today! 

What other books do you use for nature study?

The Essential Seuss Book List

Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr Seuss wrote and illustrated over 40 books in his lifetime. That total does not include the books written by other authors and  published by his company Beginner Books.  I have read a lot of Dr Seuss books- I grew up reading them, my children cut their reading teeth on a Seuss library. We have a family tradition centered around one title. 

We love our Seuss! 
This book list contains the Dr Seuss books that we pull off the shelves every 2nd of March. 

Essential Seuss List

 

A Dr Seuss reading list could not be complete without this classic.  Written using only 225 words and simple 3 color illustrations. This story with its simple plot of rainy day boredom and mother being out, still engages children's imagination today.

 

One of my favorites!  Simple one word rhymes start out the story and gradually grow into four sentence blocks. A bit more colorful than the Cat in the Hat and a good book for beginner readers to recognize word families.

 

The Seuss book of opposites. This is title where beginner readers start picking up speed.  Single word opposites and simple sentences all about feet. This was a favorite with my son when he was learning to read- maybe because at one point it was memorized!

 

The book where we start seeing the number sight words. Counting words and longer sentences add enough challenge for the growing reader.  Full of rhyming fun and made up Seuss words, this book keeps the pages turning.

 

The book that encourages children to try new things, even food, because they may like it! With its easy repetitive sentences and rhyming endings this title delights over and over. Plus you can fix your own Green Eggs and Ham.

I was going to stop at five, but I can't leave out-

 

This was one of my childhood favorites.  It is an amusing book of tricky tongue twisters.  It is still considered a beginner book, but it can be painfully long if the child does not have a good grasp of reading. This book is a good choice for an older sibling to read or for you to read aloud. The perfect title to keep Seuss fun going strong.

Which Dr Seuss books are your favorites?

 

 

Celebrating Dr Seuss Day

I am drawn to the quirky and unusual, the things that bring newness to the ordinary.  Maybe that is why celebrating Dr Seuss day has been one of my favorite days for almost twenty years now.

The first person who celebrated this day with me was my to be husband.  We had been dating for just over a month and I invited him over for breakfast. It would be the first time I cooked for him. We can't remember if I told him what the menu was but we do know he was informed that it was Dr Seuss day. Placed along side the bowl of fruit was none other than a heaping serving of Green Eggs and Ham.

He did not jump up and say "I like Green Eggs and Ham," he may have even made a face like this:
Greeneggface
…but it made for a lasting impression for what would become a tradition in our home.
My children have never known a year when we did not pay homage to the man whose beginner books started them on the path of reading.

Celebrate copy 2

The festivities begin with dramatic readings from our favorite Seuss collection. I will be sharing an Essential Seuss List that I think should be in every childs library, tomorrow. The only book off limits is Green Eggs and Ham, which receives special attention come meal time.

What is served on Dr Seuss Day? 

Greeneggs&ham

Green Eggs and Ham!

This is one of the easiest and fun meals you will make all year! 

Whip up some green eggs.  I have prepared these two different ways:

Option 1- scramble your eggs, while in the pan add a couple drops of green food coloring. Stir and cook. Easy!

Option 2- crack eggs into a blender, add in a handful of spinach and blend it up.  Repeat spinach step until you get the green shade you are looking for. Pour into pan and cook.  Again, easy & it's a way to get spinach into a kid!

Then take sliced deli ham and roll it up and stick a toothpick in it.  Extra fun points if you print out a cute Dr Seuss inspired printable for the top.

Toppers

While the special meal is served or sometimes after the meal is finished; the reading of Green Eggs and Ham begins. The up and coming new reader would get the honor of reading aloud to everyone.  When the learning to read stage was over, it became a whose year is it to read kind of event.

Something we all still look forward to.

Dr Seuss Day is a tradition that brings together the love of books and fun food, both of which can be enjoyed by kids of all ages!

 

You Choose History Series

Have you ever read a choose your own adventure book? The kind where at the end of a chapter you had to decide- do you go into the haunted mansion or run away scared?

That same plot line has been given a new and educational twist- in the You Choose: History book series!

Titles

Teaching history to kids sometimes gets the groan of shame because some books are way too text-booky and filled with boring information. Or the book has one obscure fact lost in pages of make believe.

Not the case with these history story books set in different time periods. 

Lets say you choose The Revolutionary War  book. 

The book begins with a short introduction and informative chapter on the history of that time period.  At the end of the chapter, you must choose which side to be on in the American Revolution. 
That choice sends you to a certain page and you will see the outcome of that decision for your character. 

Choice

What a fun way to learn about history!

In this book  ( The Revolutionary War ) there are 3 different story paths to choose from, 65 choices the reader can make and 16 different endings!

Frontcover

My kids and I have enjoyed reading as many of these You Choose: History books as we can put our hands on!
I would say the reading level is around 4th-6th grade.
The authors strive to be historically accurate throughout the books and there are numerous historical photos and other illustrations.   

The ability to choose how the story ends, could be an incentive for a reluctant reader. Or these books may interest a child in a historical period by placing them inside the story.

Small print moment…..for the sensitive child or the mamma that likes to know these kind of things…….there are paths in the book where the character will die or every member of the family will perish except that character.  Use your discretion on what is appropriate for your family and child.

Theend

 A very enjoyable series!  Below are links to our favorite You Choose History books so far!

The Titanic: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

The Civil War: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

Westward Expansion (You Choose: History)

The California Gold Rush: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

 

   ****Companion Book Series **

For the young reader craving more adventure and a little less history the Can You Survive series will be just the thing!


DSC08562

These books follow the same format as the history based ones. 
The first chapter sets the stage with facts and information.  At the end, the reader must choose which path to take.  Their survival will be determined by the decisions they make.

Maybe it was the idea of impending doom or the thrill of adventure but my son read by flashlight to finish these interactive stories!

The reading level is roughly 4th-6th grade.  The books have great photographs and illustrations. This book series is a winner in our house!

The small print—-use your discretion on what your child can handle emotionally.  There are paths where the character does not survive or those around the character do not survive. You know best when it comes to what your child should read.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

The Penderwicks

I enjoy reading aloud with a book in my hand.

But lately we have been spending a lot of time driving to and fro, getting people to where they need to be.

So, I did the next best thing to reading a book, I popped in an audio book.

Is it still considered a read aloud if I am not doing the reading? 

We are reading aloud or listening together to The Penderwicks. 

The Penderwick family is off enjoy their summer at a rental cottage on a large estate.  The story centers around the four sisters- Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty. The girls enjoy many summer adventures at Arundel Hall where there are friends to be made, a snooty lady to be avoided and lost rabbits?!

This is a charming story that has kept us entertained for miles and looking forward to stop lights- so we can listen for just a few more minutes.

Do you listen to audio books?

Ivy and Bean Series

I check out piles and piles of books for the kids at the library and hope that one or two of them will become a “get lost in a book” kind of read.

I check out stacks more hoping to find read aloud books that will have even me saying one more chapter!

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows, was a title I grabbed and thought it looked okay. 

Ivy&bean

Imagine my surprise as I sat down to skim a chapter but ended up reading the whole book, laughing at the antics of these characters!  This book was a delight.

I read it to the kids that night & they loved hearing all about Bean and the trick she plays on her older sister, & how a girl across the street turns into a friend, even when they think they have nothing in common.

That first Ivy & Bean (Book 1) (Bk. 1) led us to read the entire 10 book series. 

Girls ages 8-12 are sure to enjoy this dynamic duo & will love the mischief that occurs in these stories.

That being said, my son thought they were highly entertaining as a read aloud. But I doubt he would have pulled them off the shelf for himself.
So if you want a read aloud that can handle multiple ages and be fun for boys and girls- Ivy and Bean is a winner!

 

 

A Minecraft Gamer’s Adventure Series

Minecraft.  You may have heard of this block building phenomenon. 

My kids love to play minecraft. On the computer, ipad, phone, on any device, really.

I would much rather my kids read than play video games. So imagine my joy when my son tells me there was a fictional Minecraft series he wanted to read!

Minecraft

From a mom stand point, the books have a so-so plot line.  My gamer son thought they rocked!

However, I was pleased with the vocabulary in the stories.  For example instead of using the simple word “inside” the author used “interior”.

There are four stories in this series by Winter Morgan.

 The Quest for the Diamond Sword: An Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure,Book One

The Mystery of the Griefer’s Mark: An Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure, Book Two

The Endermen Invasion: An Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure, Book Three

Treasure Hunters in Trouble: An Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure, Book Four

The suggested age range on the back cover is 7-12.  Unless the seven year old is an amazing reader-these books may be a little challenging to read alone.
These titles were just right for my 9 year old, with chapter length, wording, and plot.

Minecrafters will enjoy following Steve and his treasure hunting friends on their adventures.   Moms will enjoy that the kids not gaming but are happily reading.