reviews and stories about parenting with picture books

I Spy…The Start of a New School Year!


Ready, set…school!

I’ve been getting up to go to school every day for most of my life, and so the last two years have been…well…tricky. How could I start my day without a first bell? A bit disjointedly, I’ll admit. But with my daughter’s first day of 4K the bell is back, and boy does it feel good.

Not that it’s been exactly easy. My daughter would sleep late if we let her, and so 6:15 a.m. has been a shock to her little system. But the sunrise shining on Silver Lake and shimmering on the hulls of the first fishermen’s’ boats energizes us all on our drive in. Much like last year, drop-offs aren’t totally tearless, but they are getting better. With, of course, the help of a good book.

Yesterday after class Katy’s teacher said that she had perked up while they were reading Llama Llama Misses Mama.

“We have that book!” Katy supposedly told her teacher, who then asked Katy if she would like to bring it in to share the next day. “If I can find it,” her teacher reported Katy answered.

This conversation about the book gave Katy a connection between school and home, and made going to school today at least a little bit easier. With Llama Llama Red Pajama in her bag and a freshly laid egg wrapped carefully in a carton for show-and-tell, she came closer to not crying…

I am looking forward to what I know will be a great school year, filled with great books. I will learn about Katy’s teachers’ favorites, and hopefully be able to share some of our favorites, with them—and you.

Even though I haven’t been blogging we have been reading. Dog books, chicken books, car books and one of our new favorites…I Spy on the Farm.

I will be sharing this book, in the form of birthday and Christmas presents, with pretty much everybody.

I Spy on the Farm, by Edward Gibbs (Templar Books, 2012) is the perfect book for babies, kindergartners and all the tippy toddlers in-between. There is a giant hole centered on the cover. On the first full spread, on the left side, text spreads over the illustration of a round yellow eye in the same centered space as the hole and reads: “I spy with my little eye…”

On the right side… “something yellow that begins with D.” There is a hole in this page too, allowing us to peek through to the next page to see something yellow and a little bit…fuzzy? What could it be ?

There is a clue is case we are still stuck: “Quack, quack!” reads the dialogue bubble.

“It’s a duck!” Katy yells.

“Let’s turn the page and see!”

She was right! “I’m a duckling!” it reads.

This pattern continues: “I spy with my little eye…something red that beings with an R.” (Cock-a-doodle-doo!”), and continues, with a lamb, a pig, a goat, a horse and a cow, who says, “I’m a COW, and I spy…YOU!”

The second to last spread, which has a hole in its page that lies perfectly on top of the hole in the back cover of the book, has text that reads: What can you spy with your little eye?” and of course both kids, who are newly obsessed with playing “I Spy” grab the book and peek…again…and again…and again…

The illustrations are digital, but soft, vibrant and beautiful. Baby readers will love their parents’ attempts to get them to make animal sounds. Toddlers can have a fun identifying colors, and for preschoolers/kindergarteners like Katy, this book provides an incredibly exciting lesson in phonemic awareness. “/p/ /p/ /p/ PIG!”

And hey, I’m a sucker for any book that has a chicken on its cover…

I’m happy to be back. Back to school. Back to blogging. Busy, busy as always, with the kids and my own writing and now some editing, but blogging will be a priority. It has to be! There are just too many good books to be read and stories about them, to tell.

Wishing all my friends (students and teachers alike) a great start to the year.













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