Saturday, July 31, 2010

And the Winner is...



Congratulations to Allison Brooks-Juengel of North Grafton, MA. She is the winner of RED GREEN BLUE: A First Book of Colors by Alison Jay!

Little Nipper Books sponsors BOOK GIVEAWAYS each month. Our mission is to provide children's books that are both educational and fun. All winners are chosen by Random drawing. Our next giveaway will be announced in August. Stay tuned...

Friday, July 30, 2010

A "MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS" TOUR OF BOSTON: A Charming Look at Our Old City




I’m sure there are not many people who are unfamiliar with Robert McCloskey’s Make Way For Ducklings. Written in 1941, this tremendously popular children’s book has sold over two million copies.

A few months ago, I had the most remarkable opportunity to join my daughter’s 1st grade class field trip to Boston for a “Make Way For Ducklings” Tour: A journey to retrace the steps of Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings.

We began our excursion at the Massachusetts State House where we enjoyed a lovely and educational tour inside the building. From the State House, we walked toward Louisburg Square then travelled along Mount Vernon and Charles Streets until we crossed Beacon Street to enter the Public Garden just as Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings did in the classic story.

In 1987, bronze statues of Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouak, Pack and Quack along with Mrs. Mallard were erected as a tribute to the author. My daughter and her classmates delighted in posing for a picture with each of them. Later, we headed to the lagoon for a ride on the Swan boats where we noticed Mrs. Mallard and a few of her ducklings perched on the very same island that is featured in the book!

I highly recommend this day trip for any family with young children visiting Boston, Massachusetts. It is a very charming way to explore this old city!

For a detailed image of the route Mrs. Mallard takes from the Charles River to the Public Garden, click on the sidebar under:
“Mrs. Mallards Route”

Friday, July 23, 2010

THE VERY WILD AND AMAZING IMAGINATION OF CHRIS VAN ALLSBURG


I do believe that I must be the only parent alive who has not read The Polar Express. (That is, until recently.)

Furthermore, not only was I completely unaware of this beautiful story, I had never heard of Chris Van Allsburg! It wasn’t until I took on a project of researching children’s books for titles that contain messages regarding respect for the environment that I stumbled upon this magnificent author.

It all began with the book entitled Just a Dream. In this story, there is a young boy who dreams about a future earth that is devastated by pollution and this dream changes his way of thinking forever. For anyone who hasn’t read this book yet, it is a brilliantly written story full of magic and wonder. I immediately fell in love with it and once I realized that it was written by the same author who wrote The Polar Express and Jumanji, I became intrigued. I went to the library in search of every book ever written by Chris Van Allsburg and we spent weeks enjoying his many magical tales at story time.


I must say, I am now in complete awe of this man! He writes with such imagination! His stories are both mystifying and captivating upstaged only by his artwork. From black and white drawings to full color pastel paintings his illustrations are exquisite. I am delighted to have found this remarkable storyteller.

Check out my families favorites:
The Sweetest Fig: A story about two very magical figs.

The Widow’s Broom: A tale about a widow and her relationship with a witches broom.

Two Bad Ant’s: A look at our world from an ant's perspective.

(And of course…The Polar Express: The very moving Christmas story that was made into a major motion picture.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

BEATING THE HEAT WITH GOOD OLE FASHIONED FAMILY FUN



Summertime… the word conjures up memories of birds singing, butterflies fluttering and flowers blooming. Or at least it should. Instead all I hear is an endless barrage of grievances, such as “I’M BORED!”; “HE HIT ME!” or “WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO TODAY?”

(Wait a minute, that’s not how I remember summer.)

This year our family, along with many others, made the decision to forgo the expense of camp and keep the children at home. When I was a child, camp was not an option and I happily spent my days building sandcastles, climbing trees and riding my bike from first light to sundown. I didn’t think this would be a hardship for my children.

It’s not; however, it is for me! Gone are the days where parents can open the front door and let their kids out to play by themselves. Unfortunately, we live in a very different, very scary world, where unsupervised kids are abducted. Therefore, in these financially trying times what is a parent to do with school age children during summer vacation?

With a little help from herbal tea and a certain amount of innovative creativity, I’ve found several fun activities for my family and in the process I have rediscovered some childhood games long since forgotten. The following is a list of Top 5 Activities we’ve enjoyed this summer:

5. Early Morning Family Walk:
At precisely 6:00am every morning my kids are awake and full of energy! I decided to embrace this energy and combine it with my need for exercise. Thus the idea for the family walk was born. Therefore, after breakfast, at least once a week we embark on a journey around town. We live in a small, New England, coastal town that is full of beauty and history. Together, we choose a destination and along the way make up stories of the sights we see.

4. Friendship Bracelets
For only $5.00 we purchased a package of gimp at the local toy store and spent an entire afternoon making bracelets and key chains! As a child, my friends and I enjoyed the same activity in the neighborhood tree house. I’ve forgotten how fun this can be. It’s amazing how children can remind you of your past.

3. Homemade Ice Cream
This recipe was discovered purely by accident. We didn’t have any food in the house and my kids were hungry. I searched the freezer and found frozen strawberries and blueberries. I threw them in the blender with whipping cream and a dash of sugar and to my surprise ice cream appeared! My kids were never happier. I was a hero!

2. Hide and Seek
For anyone that wants to enjoy time with their kids, I’d highly recommend a round of Hide and Seek! Take turns as the “Seeker” and let your children find you. It’s so cute to listen to the rap and the tap of their little feet as they pass by your hiding spot, followed (of course) by a succession of giggles as they finally find you. I had a blast. I truly felt like a kid again.

1. Camping
After 10 years of marriage my husband finally convinced me to go camping. Honestly, I was a reluctant participant. I am a creature of comfort and the thought of sleeping outdoors was less than thrilling. However, that all changed when I saw how much fun my kids were having. They enjoyed an entire day swimming in the lake! We told ghost stories, toasted marshmallows and even saw fireworks! It was a very fun, inexpensive family vacation.

For more ideas on how to keep your kids busy this summer, check out: www.kidsturncentral.com

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Little Nippers Top 10



This month, I searched for entertaining books that would introduce children to the world’s most influential artists and inspire them to create their own works of art. I tried to find books that represent different techniques so the list can be used for teaching purposes in school or at home. Subject matter includes Surrealism, Impressionism, Pop Art, and Abstract Expressionism to name a few. Most of the books listed below are about specific artists. Two, however, are simply about the act of creating art itself. This assignment led me through quite the journey. My kids and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about fine art and, in the process; we’ve discovered many artists unknown to us. I hope this research will benefit other Moms and teachers as well.

TOP KIDS CHOICE:
Uncle Andy’s; A Faabbbulous Visit with Andy Warhol
Written and Illustrated by James Warhola. Ages 4-8. This book is based on a true story about the authors visit to his famous uncle in August of 1962; the year Andy Warhol introduced the world to his soup can paintings. As the author spends time with his uncle he notices how everyday things are turned into art. There are paintings of money, pop bottles and many versions of those famous soup cans. With his 25 cats (all named Sam), his crazy wigs and the piles of “junk” in his house, this tale of the quirky artist will sure to delight children and reinforce Warhol’s idea that there is beauty everywhere!

To view Little Nippers Top 10 list in it's entirety, click on the link in the sidebar under:
TOP 10 ART BOOKS

Friday, July 2, 2010

July Book Giveaway!



TITLE: Red Green Blue; A First Book of Colors
BY: Alison Jay

"Miss Muffet's scared of the big BLACK spider. He only wanted to sit beside her...

Old Mother Hubbard loves to share.
But her bright ORANGE cupboard is very bare."

Acclaimed author/illustrator, Alison Jay offers an exciting way to learn about colors in her newly released book Red Green Blue; A First Book of Colors.

In this beautifully illustrated story, young children can discover the world of colors through beloved nursery rhymes. Read along and witness Miss Muffet’s BLACK spider; Old Mother Hubbard’s ORANGE cupboard; and the GOLDEN palace of Old King Cole. There are 20 nursery rhymes represented in all!

Ideal for ages 2-5; Red Green Blue is just right for children learning their colors! A must have for parents and teachers.

Alison Jay has written a number of books including 123; A Child’s First Counting Book and ABC; A Child’s First Alphabet Book.

ENTER TO WIN THIS GREAT BOOK
HERE’S HOW:

~ Simply be a follower of this blog or become one! Then leave a comment to this post to add your name to the drawing.

This giveaway will end on JULY 31, 2010 The winner will be chosen by Random drawing from all valid entries submitted. The winner will be notified via email and will have up to 48 hours to contact me with their mailing address before another winner is chosen. No P.O Boxes please.

Good Luck!