Monday, September 24, 2012

The Stone Hatchlings by Sarah Tsiang

Happy Fall Good Readers!
The Queen here with an enchanting tale of imagination and love. The Stone Hatchlings is an endearing story by Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang and illustrator Qin Leng. When young Abby finds two warm stones in her yard, she decides to take them inside and hatch them. Nobody but Abby see's what wonderful thing hatches emerges the stone eggs.

I enjoyed the tales and I hope you will, too. Check out the activity area for something fun to do along with this book and also click the links on the author and illustrator's name to see who is behind the story and what their story is as well.

Happy Reading!
The Queen


Book Title: The Stone Hatchlings
Author: Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang                                                                Illustrator: Qin Leng

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Annick Press (June 21, 2012)
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Book Info: Paperback: 32 pages
Genre: Children's Picture Book
ISBN: 978-1554514328

Book Theme:
Using your imagination, creativity, caring for others

Book Summary from
A child's imagination takes flight.
When Abby finds two warm, round stones in the backyard, she "adopts" them, pretending they're unhatched birds. She lovingly builds them a cozy nest and watches over them constantly until one day she imagines that with a crick and a crack, the stones hatch to reveal two gray chicks. With a flourish of her paintbrush, Abby colors the birds yellow, blue, and green, and proceeds to take excellent care of them.

Then the make-believe birds stop singing. Soon they also stop eating, and when they start to lose their feathers Abby realizes it is time to let them go. She waves goodbye as they fly off. But every morning, two new birds appear at the window and sing to Abby.

As in their bestselling book, A Flock of Shoes, this gifted author-illustrator team captures perfectly the whimsical imagination of a small child for whom anything is possible.

Activity Adventures:

Young Readers:
Draw two oval shapes onto a sheet of paper, using a black marker.
Offer your child crayons, decorations such as feathers, stickers, sequins, buttons and other oddities to decorate their own chicks with. Or, let them decide what will hatch out of the eggs and make new creatures or animals.

Encourage them to use their imaginations.

Older Readers:
Find some round, smooth stones. Go look by a creek or pond, or even in your backyard. Wash the stones up and now decorate them to make your own little animal. Use your imagination.

Take it a step farther: look around outside. Find limbs, leaves, bark. What kind of animals or creatures can you turn these ordinary things into?

Writing Prompts:
Now that you've made your new pets, write a story about them. Give them a name. Where did they come from? What will you need to do to take care of them? Do they need a warm spot to sleep? What will they eat? What fun activites will they enjoy doing? And, what special talent does your pet have?

Discussion Questions:
1. Why do you think Abby thought the stones were eggs?
2. Name the steps Abby took to hatch her pet eggs? (sequencing)
3. Why do you think the stone birds quit eating and singing?
4. Who do you think the new birds were that visited Abby every morning?
5. What did you think about this story?

Here's a fun video to help you make your own pet rock

Authors Arena

From Annick Press bio
Author: Sarah Tsiang
In addition to the highly acclaimed picture book A Flock of Shoes, Sarah Tsiang and Qin Leng are the creators of Dogs Don't Eat Jam and Other Things Big Kids Know. Sarah, who is also a poet, lives in Kingston, Ontario, while Qin, an award-winning animator and illustrator, lives in Toronto, Ontario.

As a child, Sarah Tsiang dreamed about being a part-time librarian and a part-time truck driver. Though many people suggested that she work in a bookmobile, it just didn’t thrill her the way an 18-wheeler could. Eventually, she gave up that dream and decided to be the prime minister of Canada. Somehow, this led her to writing picture books and poetry.

Sarah spends most of her days building giant snow forts, jumping in piles of leaves, and going to the splash pad at the park (adjust for season). She also writes. Sarah started writing at the age of four, mostly one-word stories comprised of her favorite words: “noodles” and “mommy.” She spent most of her time in elementary school making up stories for her friends during recess. She spent the rest of her time reading and re-reading books like Jacob Two-Two, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Indian in the Cupboard, and Where the Red Fern Grows.

Illustrator: Qin Leng

Qin Leng was born in Shanghai, China. At the age of five, she moved with her family to Bordeaux, France, where she spent the next four years. Soon after, she moved to Montreal, where she spent the rest of her childhood. Having been born in Asia but raised in the West, she uses both cultures as her source of inspiration. Looking at her illustrations, one can see the presence of both East and West.

Qin Leng comes from a family of artists, where the visual senses have always been of the utmost importance. She grew up watching her father work with acrylics, pastel, and ink. Father and daughter often spent their days drawing side by side. Drawing first started as a hobby, but soon became a way of expression.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Good Day Dear Readers,
The Queen here with another YA fiction based on a well-beloved fantasy. Jodi Lynn Anderson's Tiger Lily is a spin from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan classic. The story intrigued me, and I found things I loved about it. But there were things I didn't enjoy as well.
Two things I found disappointing about this book. One being in Tinker Bell's point of view, thought intriguing,  kept me from connecting with Tiger Lily. I honestly believe, the young Indian maiden could have been a deep character that might have captivated me. As it was, I found it difficult to connect with anyone, and thus, I had difficulty getting into the story.

Two- is I feel she took away the magic that is wrapped around the story of Peter Pan. Everything was explained, their agelessness, that the island was attainable from the outsiders just coming across it on their own, ect. The story could have been told without using the Peter Pan background and it still could have been a beautiful, heart-breaking story. I just wish she would have kept more of the magic in her version of the story, that was in the original. That's all.

Other than these two things, I truly did enjoy reading Tiger Lily. Anderson's writing puts you in the scene, and her words create a somber mood that fit Tiger Lily's heart for her circumstances.

I encourage you to give the book a try.
Happy Reading,
The Queen


Book Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson                                                                                                              

Book Information:

Publisher and date: HarperTeen (July 3, 2012)
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 304 pages
Genre: Fantasy Romance
ISBN-13: 978-0062003256

Book Summary from Amazon
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

Authors Arena

Jodi Lynn Anderson is the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches, The Secrets of Peaches, Love and Peaches, the popular May Bird trilogy, and Tiger Lily. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and an endless parade of stray pets.

Banjo, teaching, biking, reading like crazy, making claymation, running, music, and spending lots of time with my friends and family and my dog.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Old MacDonald Had Her Farm by Jonarno Lawson

Good day, dear reader friends!
The Queen is back with another bodacious read for you! Old MacDonald Had Her Farm is a romping twist on the old classic song, but with a vowel-ious twist. Each page features a vowel along with rhyming words all using that vowel.

The illustration are bright, busy and fun to look at. The rhyming provides a lively beat, and the subject a learning experience both homeschoolers and teachers can use while teaching. These are books I'm especially fond of. Children will love reading along with the simple, repetitive text, and trying out the tongue-twisting list of vowel words.

Check out our activity ideas, and most definitely check out this riotous read.
Happy Reading,
The Queen


Author: Jonarno Lawson                                                                  
Illustrator: Tina Holdcroft

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Annick Press (June 21, 2012)
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Book Info: Paperback: 32 pages
Genre: picture book
ISBN: 978-1554514564

Book Theme:
Rhyme, simple machines, vowels,

Book Summary from
Old MacDonald had a farm like you've never seen before!

With a nod to the familiar refrain E-I-E-I-O, a day on this farm is framed by the vowels A-E-I-O-U--and sometimes Y.

Old MacDonald appears in an explosion of color and, starting with the letter A, proceeds to "saw barn planks, stack sacks, crank cranks, and whack gnats." The day progresses as every vowel is featured in action-packed bursts of lively text. Old MacDonald has devised a myriad of tools to make her job if not easier, then a lot more fun.

In chaotic scenes filled with pulleys, catapults, and flying machines, the farm becomes the background for a circus-like riot of fantastic contraptions.

With dozens of details to discover, and hilarious tongue-twisting text, this book is destined to become a favoroite

Activity Adventures:

Young Readers:
write vowel words on index cards and allow little ones to sort according to the vowel sound. Help them read each word, until the can do this on their own. This will help them get started on reading.

Older Readers:
There are various pulley machines in the book. Do a lesson on simple machines and see if MacDonald's crazy contraptions would actually work. What kind of simple machine can you put together? 

Crafty Ideas:
Create a vowel book. Use the words provided in the book as a starting point. Now, go out and collect more vowel words and sort them onto the correct page. Decorate your books.

Writing Prompts:
Try to come up with your own wacky sentences using only vowel words.

Authors Arena

Author: JonArno Lawson
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, and raised in Dundas, JonArno's most formative experiences as a child were the months he spent in Florida at the age of 8. Missing almost an entire year of school (which, luckily, he wasn't forced to repeat), he spent his weekdays at the beach digging holes and collecting sea shells and coconuts, travelling in glass bottom boats, and visiting nature parks that had free-roaming monkeys and parrots. He wore a ship captain's hat at all times, and a green pouch on his belt, in which he kept a small golden sword, dozens of ticket stubs, a musket ball, brass souvenir coins, a small British flag he found stuck in his fish and chips one day, and other similar treasures (which he still has and enjoys looking at). His formative influences, as a writer, were mostly songs—"The Gumdrop Follies" recordings of Jim Copp and Ed Brown, "The Irish Song" by Tom Lehrer, and "The Shape of Things" by Sheldon Harnick. Yip Harburg, Stephen Sondheim, and Sylvia Fine, also deserve much greater credit for their inspiring, brilliant, funny, and innovative work.

Illustrator: Tina Holdcroft
Tina Holdcroft loves what she does. She's been illustrating for a quarter of a century from the messiest studio on the planet. Her art work has appeared in so many picture books, school text books, magazines and advertisements that she has lost count. More than 40 picture books and 100 text books for sure.
Tina was born in England, studied art in Toronto, married her high school sweetheart, and has one child. When not illustrating and writing, Tina is off sailing with her husband and more recently with her sixteen year old son. Tina has sailed 50,000 miles, crossed the Atlantic four times, dodged whales, survived storms at sea and anchored in the harbors of 24 countries.