Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Theodore Geisel’s birthday was March 2 and for schools across America, this is Seuss week – a chance to celebrate books, host read-a-thons and dine on green eggs and ham. Driving in to work this morning, I saw several zillion kids heading off to a “Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast” at one elementary school, all excitedly clutching books and tugging up their stripey socks. Too cute.
If you’re celebrating the great man behind the Cat in the Hat, Things 1 and 2, Horton and Whos this week, here are some ideas to get you in the mood…
OK, yes, I know it looks like I fell off the face of the earth – but I’m back, box of kleenex under one arm, still sniffly but upright at least! And we’re ready to give away an adorable Valentine-y book, “Henry in Love” by Peter McCarty. It’s the tale of a little kitten’s first schoolyard crush and it’s pretty darn cute. And it can be yours!
Click “comments” and tell us, do your kids do storebought valentines or home made? And if the latter, share your cutest idea. (We’ll pick a book winner on Feb. 8!)
p.s. Congrats are due to Judy W., who won last week’s Diego DVD giveaway!
There’s a new American Girl in town and this one’s on a mission to get girls outdoors. Lanie – who has her own series of books, an activity-filled Web site and a partnership with the National Wildlife Federation – is a curly-haired blond with a penchant for outdoor adventure. Very cute.
We’re giving away the first book in the series, “Lanie” by Jane Kurtz. And all you have to do to win it is click “comments” and tell us, what do you do to encourage your kids to play outside?
(Congrats to Cindi, by the way, who won last week’s Barney DVD!)
Remember Flat Stanley? He’s the hero of that 1964 children’s classic by the same name, written by Jeff Brown. Stanley is a normal little guy until one morning, he gets flattened by a bulletin board. Suddenly he’s flat as a pancake. But life as a flat kid isn’t all bad. It’s much easier to travel, for one thing, he can fly like a kite or go by airmail – and his escapades have delighted schoolchildren for more than 40 years. For the last decade, classrooms of school kids have made Flat Stanley paper dolls and mailed them off to pen pals around the world, enclosing notes recording their adventures with the little guy. (That’s Josh Greenhut, one of the authors of the Flat Stanley Worldwide Adventure Series, pictured above, reading “The Japanese Ninja Surprise” to third graders at the Library of Congress – AP Photo/Disney)
Rumors are blazing through the Hundred Acre Wood. Piglet told Rabbit and Rabbit told Owl and… well, seems Christopher Robin’s coming back! And not as some cheesy Hollywood sequel either. The new book, “Return to the Hundred Acre Wood” by David Benedictus, went on sale yesterday, with the approval of the Trustees of Pooh Properties, which oversees A.A. Milnes and illustrator E.H. Shepard’s estates. The Associated Press’ Jennifer Quinn says this is “a classic-looking Pooh.” Christopher Robin looks a little older, but everyone else looks exactly the same – and they’ve got a new buddy, Lottie the Otter, a cricket fan and etiquette maven. What do you think of a new Pooh?
Fascinating story in yesterday’s New York Times about a middle school teacher in Georgia who is taking a different approach to literature curriculum. For years, the story says, Lorrie McNeill assigned Harper Lee’s classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” to her eighth graders. Now, she’s letting kids pick their own books and the choices are all over the map: young adult, chick lit, James Patterson’s thrilling “Maximum Ride” series and even “Captain Underpants.”
But some kids are picking heftier tomes, and the resulting engagement far surpasses what happens when teachers do the picking. “Done correctly,” McNeill told the Times reporter, “letting students make some or all of their reading selections can be a life-changing event in a child’s or teen’s life.” Other school districts in Seattle and Chicago are following suit.
What do you think? Do kids respond more when they pick their books? Or are they missing out when they’re allowed to go all “Underpants” all the time?
When we asked you for backseat pastimes last week, we never expected such a surge of great ideas! Anyone traveling this Labor Day weekend will want to browse the list. Meanwhile, we’re sending the copy of “Origami on the Go” out to this week’s winner, Marie.
Now we’re moving on to another giveaway and this one’s a very funny picture book – one I think we can all relate to – “The Parents of Flannery McKracken” by Gary Wise. Flannery, you see, does not like to get up, get dressed and get going in the morning. Nope, it takes seven Fairy Godmothers, a marching band and a cannon just to get the kid dressed. Not sure who’s going to giggle at the goings on more, you or your kid. Want the book? Click comments and share a “dragging the kid out of bed” tale or other parenting tip. We’ll draw a winner’s name next Monday!
No, really a book giveaway of “Almost,” the adorable picture book by Richard Torrey. It’s perfect for younger sibs who, like Torreys’ hero Jack, are always trying to compete with that idolized big brother or sister. Jack almost manages to ride his brother’s bike – till he crashes. Jack almost cooks his own breakfast – till the milk goes splat and the toaster spews smoke. And Jack almost hits a home run – er, except for that pesky pitcher and bat and ump. You’ll love it. And all you have to do to win a copy is click “comments” and share a tale or tip about sibling woes. We’ll draw a winner’s name on Monday!
What does one do with a tail like that? Steve Jenkins’ charming books – this one and “Biggest, Strongest, Fastest” – are both being featured by Kohl’s Cares for Kids, which raises millions to support children’s programs. Idea is, you go to a Kohl’s and buy these books for $5 apiece, and Kohl’s not only donates the money to children’s health and education initiatives nationwide, they’ll also give your child a plush toy. They sent us a huge, pale green iguana and it’s fab! We’ve given ours to the local battered women’s shelter for their nursery, but we’re giving away the two books this week – and hoping you swing by Kohl’s and help support this worthy cause too. Meanwhile, if you’d like to win these books, just click comments and tell us, who’s your child’s favorite author? Jenkins? Eric Carle? You tell us.
(Congrats, by the way, to Edward who won last week’s Spongebob DVD!)
Junie B., that irrepressible grade schooler, is back! Barbara Park’s brand new “Junie B.’s Essential Survival Guide to School” has hilarious tips on everything from “bossy bosses who will boss you” to names you should never ever call classmates. Among them: “You stinky stinkbomb” and “You dirty rotten ratty pants.” Instead, she suggests, try “You person who I don’t want to smell at this particular time” and “You teensy little hamster pants.” In other words, invaluable back-to-school advice for the K-3 crowd! And it can be yours. Just click “comments” and tell us, does your family have a favorite back-to-school ritual? Tell us all about it, and we’ll draw a winner’s name next Monday.