Little Chipmunk’s Wiggly, Wobbly Tooth by Mary Packard, illustrated by Lisa McCue

little chipmunk's wiggly tooth

If you have a lower elementary aged child, get ready for some wiggly teeth! This book is the perfect fit for those first wiggly tooth experiences. My 1st grader loved this and my preschooler is convinced that he has loose teeth just like Chipmunk. When Chipmunk’s awesome front tooth starts to wiggle even though he takes great care of it, he wonders what is going on. His initial confusion turns into understanding and joy when he realizes all the other kids his age are going through the same thing he is. Chipmunk is a little naive for my taste- what child doesn’t know about losing teeth- but maybe there are some kids like that out there. That particular fact didn’t seem to bother my kids one little bit, and they gave this book a big thumb’s up- and that’s what it’s all about! Do you have any tooth wigglers at your house?

*I received a review copy of this book for free.


Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann & Elizabeth Kann

pinkaliciousI’m in love. With a book. And a color. How could I have not heard of this book before? It was written just for me! I’m sure of it. Pink, pink, pink, pink. How can anyone not love pink? Pretty much pink has been my favorite color my whole life. The obsession began when I was knee high to just about everyone and was so severe, I’m not sure why I wasn’t diagnosed with pinkatitis. I’m sure I had it. I just must not have exhibited too many worrisome symptoms. I think I’m probably a carrier.

Um . . . I just realized that, while writing this post, I am wearing a hot pink long-sleeved t-shirt underneath a pink and white striped t-shirt. Did I mention I like pink?

Forget the fact that I have all boys. I’m buying this book for me! They can read it if I feel like sharing. One of my sons actually liked pink quite a bit for awhile. He wanted to be like me. I was very flattered. Then he found out that pink was a girl color. (sigh) Why is it that men won’t wear pink? Actually, my husband says he will wear pink if I really want him to. But I know he doesn’t really want to. I really liked the part in the book where pinkarella’s little brother is green with envy of her pinkness.

So, as soon as I read this book I called Cari and told her she couldn’t review it, that I had first dibs. I think I might have scared her with my intensity. I told her that this would have been my very favorite book when I was little. She said I wouldn’t have let it out of my hands let alone my sight. She’s right. I might keep it by my bed even now. What a nice story to send me off to sleep every night so I can dream about being pinkarella . . .

Okay, this is sounding a little cheesy and corny. But, I identify with this book so much it’s past funny. The only time in grade school I said my favorite color was anything but pink was to try to impress this popular girl, who wasn’t impressed. I went back to pink. In high school, I changed my favorite color to Prussian blue just because that was a cool water-color tube name that mostly no one had ever heard of before. I still liked pink though, I just thought I had to ‘grow’ out of it, so I gave it a trial separation. I went back on my knees.

Once I grew up enough, I realized that pink will probably always be my favorite color. I just don’t decorate with it. Except for accents, and jewelry, and artwork. But, no pink carpets or toilets at my house. That’s just asking for trouble when you have boys who can’t aim already- talk about giving them a reason to spray! Yeah, not going to happen.

Cari (left) & Holly (in her 'pink' of course)
Cari (left) & Holly (in her 'pink' of course)

When I was little I had this pink polyester outfit that I called my ‘pink’. I wore it all the time. I took it off only to let my Mom wash it and then I satby the washing machine and dryer in my drawers waiting for it to be done. And, being polyester, it is still around somewhere. (My Mom saves things like that).  If I’d had a pink fairy dress I would have worn it everywhere I’m sure. My favorite dress-up gown at Grandma’s was the pink ball gown that was three feet too long and had a neckline that reached all the way down to my belly button. Yeah, I wasn’t allowed to wear it in public, but I sure had sparkly shiny eyes every time I wore it. Actually, I just remembered we had a cousins parade around the block wearing Grandma’s dress-up gowns. Of course I was in the pink dress. I think it was tied up in the back though by some proper grown up who didn’t want me streaking through the neighborhood showing off my belly button.

Me in my favorite dress-up costume, gloves, t-shirt and all!

On a recent trip to my Grandparent’s house my Grandma dug around and pulled out our old dress-up bag. Guess what was in it? Yep. Here’s a picture of me modeling it in the back yard. (I think the neighbors thought I was pretty strange out there). I wore a t-shirt to make it as authentic as possible and also because the dress is still a little too big and I didn’t want to show my belly button or anything very close to it. My husband, the gracious photographer, couldn’t stop laughing at me, so many of the pictures I was really hoping would be cool, actually turned out blurry due to the shaking of his hands, er belly.

I was discussing this book with some friends when one of them shared that her niece had been invite to a pinkalicious birthday party. I think I might have turned a little green with envy. So, I decided that when I have my next major mile-stone birthday (a long way off, I hope) there will be no black balloons. Only pink. And if you don’t wear pink, you’re not invited. I’m not kidding!

Obviously, I love this book.  I love even more that this book was written and illustrated by two sisters! You can find out more about them at Elizabeth is the witty author, and Victoria is the amazing, award-winning artist. How sweet is that?! Their sister picture in the back is adorable by the way. You ladies are my new heroines!

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss

“Save the Worms! Save the Worms!”diary of a worm

We’ve had a lot of rain this spring, and each time it rains, the worms come out for air. Our walks to school then take twice as long and are filled with worm rescues- but usually only for the biggest and the best. I’m warned to be careful multiple times, and chastised every time a stroller wheel rolls over an unfortunate one. But, when there are so many out there, it’s amazing I miss as many as I do. It reminded me of junior high and our (Cari and my) half-mile walk to the bus stop. We almost missed the bus one day in the spring because we were stepping so carefully (and screaming like girls about gross worms) to avoid all the worms. We had to run for the last 300 yards pell mell and stepped on tons of worms in our mad dash to catch the bus.

On the way home a few weeks ago, after a down pour, my toddler spotted a big juicy one right in the middle of the road. And he insisted that I save it. “What?” I did not sign up to be a worm rescuer when I became a Mom. But, I couldn’t turn him down, he would have been heart broken. So, I found a piece of paper in my pocket and tried to pick the worm up with it. It didn’t work very well, and I got slimed when the worm contracted and writhed as all worms do. Eventually, after much dropping and sliming, I got the worm moved over to the gutter, which was ‘safe enough’ to make us all happy.

Living in the country as we have these past five years, we didn’t often see the worms come out and party every time it rained- apparently its more of a city worm thing to do, either that or our soil drained remarkably well in Washington. Anyway, all of this worm business got me thinking about a cute book we read awhile ago called Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin (author of Click, Clack, Moo and other family favorites) and excellently illustrated by cartoonist Harry Bliss. The book has that Sunday Comics pleasure read feel- and yet is also filled with facts that make it a useful teaching tool.You can even follow it up with a worm count walk after the next downpour. Today, my little one and I took an extra long walk home so he could count worms. “1, 2, 3 . . . 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, uh-yeven.” It was fun and educational and preoccupied him from sending me to the rescue of every worm we saw. (phew!)

So, if you’ve been coming across lots of worms this spring, give this book a good read and you will come away more appreciative of the great work worms do for our earth- especially our gardens! Maybe you’ll even be brave enough to rescue one or two. I like worms, even if I don’t like to touch them. Do you like worms?

Beatrix Potter Nursery Rhyme Book and CD

beatrix-potterI have been aware of Beatrix Potter since I was young and heard the tales of Peter Rabbit who was endlessly getting into trouble. For my surprise girl’s night birthday party that my dear husband put together for me this last year, my good friend, Becky Y., brought a newer movie I’d never heard of before. She thought it would be perfect for a group of friends, most of whom are avid readers like me. The movie was new to me, all about the famous author Beatrix Potter. I had begun requesting her titles at our library as part of an effort to broaden my horizons and become familiar with more classics. I loved the movie (you don’t have to read a book first to make it worthwhile), which closely follows the life of Beatrix. She was one amazing woman, crossed in love, and always with a story at the tip of her tongue- or should I say fingers?

This collection of nursery rhymes comes with a lovely CD that adds to the magic of Potter’s illustrations and turns the rhymes into sweet melodies, while also educating those of us who don’t know how to properly pronounce certain English words. Research has shown that children who are taught songs and rhymes do better at reading and in other areas of academics. Start young in the nursery with this collection, and you won’t be sorry! For the most part, there are not as many foreign phrases and terms as you find in some of Potters other tales ie. The Tailor of Gloucester.

Our former library recently purchased the Nursery Rhyme Book and CD at the same time that my favorite of all Potter’s little pocket size books finally became available on my request list:

fierce-bad-rabbit1The Story of A Fierce Bad Rabbit- a new favorite of my two year old. I think children at a young age like to see things in black and white, good vs. evil. He likes to see the Fierce Bad Rabbit in direct contrast with the nice gentle Rabbit. When the Fierce Bad Rabbit bullies the younger one, the consequences are more than he bargained for, and justice to the sweet gentle rabbit who escapes the man with a gun. Of course, our favorite page had to be the one my toddler can almost quote, “Shoot- Bang!” (along with actions and sound effects) The Fierce Bad Rabbit learns a very good lesson- to not be so greedy and rude. This is my favorite of the Beatrix Potter books and I highly recommend it!

Either of these books are a great way to celebrate new life this spring! Easter is just around the corner and any of Potter’s titles are a wholesome addition to baskets. They also make great baby shower/adoption gifts!

This is my Town by Mercer Mayer

I love ‘I can Read’ books. They are just the right level to really share a reading experience with beginning readers. There are plenty of beginning words like the, this that, him, I, go, they, etc. that boost new reader’s confidence. I also love Critterville and all the classic illustrations that invite interaction with little ones peeking over your shoulder. “Oh, I see hippo! Dat a monkey!” Little Critters are just full of warm fuzzies.

I remember my second grade teacher used to talk to us about giving each other warm fuzzies. These books always remind me of that and of a fuzzy little hamster that used to reside in the Boise, Idaho library. Books are a big warm fuzzy for me and sharing them with kids I love magnifies that warm fuzzy feeling. What book brings warm fuzzies in your home?

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

 Do you have a child who worries? Obsessively? Compulsively? Meet Wemberly, the queen of worriers. She’s got some great things to worry about- things at the playground that were, “Too rusty. Too loose. Too high.” . . . I thought this would be a good book for my little worry-wart. It ended up that it was just what the doctor ordered for all of us. It turns out that, while there are always things to worry about, there are also a lot of things to enjoy about life.


At the end of the book my kids said, “she worried about silly stuff.” We then discussed the things I know they worry about that in the daytime, after reading this book, also seemed a little silly. I’m glad that Wemberly learned that reaching out to others and making friends cause worries to disappear. Just like magic. I think I’ll work a little magic on a few of my worries and choose joy and friendship over all that worrying. I bet my waist line will appreciate it. I just learned from Body for Life for Women, that worrying is a sure-fire way to add pounds to your waist line. So, shouldn’t that work in reverse? If you decide not to worry I would think that would be a sure-fire way to make pounds disappear. Poof! (okay, it hasn’t worked yet, but I’m not gonna worry about that.


Yet another stellar book from award-winning author/illustrator Kevin Henkes. The illustrations are true to form- vibrant, colorful, endearing. I want to be like Kevin Henkes when I grow up!

Owen by Kevin Henkes

owen3We are excited to bring you Owen, a Caldecott Honor for our first Double Scoop of 2009, by Kevin Henkes. Kevin is an award winning author and illustrator. He has written several picture books including the 2005 Caldecott Award book Kitten’s First Full Moon. In addition, he has also written several novels including a Newberry Honor Book – Olive’s Ocean.

Holly: So, did you like the book?

Cari: I did I thought it was very cute.

Holly: Thanks for reading it over the phone to me again. Yes, I agree and, obviously (still chuckling), the blanket fairy makes me crack-up every time I read the story. I love that part!

Cari: Me too, it’s hilarious. What a cute idea to get rid of your kid’s blanket. Too bad for them that Owen’s so ingenious and thwarts his parent’s plans. Shoving the blanket down his pants so the fairy couldn’t get it.

(both chuckling)

Holly: Yeah. . . there just aren’t words to describe the picture. You’ve gotta see it! The image is indelibly marked on my memory. I just think about it and laugh. It reminds me a little of when our brothers used to store things in their underwear. I think it’s a fairly common experience for little ones to try and use undies as a “little pocket”.

Cari: When did you first hear about this book?

Holly: We have loved this book since my oldest child (P) – a blankie lover, received it as a gift in preschool from his teachers. He has always liked it.

Cari: My daughter really liked it too. She wanted to read it two times in a row, but announced boldly that she does “NOT want the blanket fairy to get my blanket.”

Holly: P didn’t approve of any of the tricks in the book for getting rid of blankets either. He didn’t want any of those things to happen to his blanket. He doesn’t take his blanket outside because he doesn’t want it to get dirty.

Cari: My daughter doesn’t take her blanket anywhere because she doesn’t want to lose it. And she doesn’t want to get too old for her blanket. She wants to sleep with it all night and she definitely doesn’t want handkerchiefs. “Never!” she says.

Holly: A family member suggested that when my son had a certain birthday we should have a special blanket burning ceremony because he would be too old and grown up for one anymore. He did NOT like that idea. So, we won’t be doing that, the consequences would be too much for me to handle. I don’t have a problem with him keeping his blanket at home on his bed. To be used when he is at home. He’s never wanted to take it to school.

Cari: I like the pictures, they’re really fun, I am a little concerned about my daughter getting a few ideas like Captain Plunger. Although she doesn’t like to get dirty and she definitely does not want to bury her blanket.

Holly:The nosy neighbor, Mrs. Tweezers, bugged me a little bit. At the same time she gave Owen’s parents a lot of good ideas, although none of them worked. He wasn’t her child. It just goes to show that sometimes parents have to figure out what works for their family.

Cari: The neighbor reminded me of  Wilson on Home Improvement. You never quite saw her whole face just like Wilson.

Holly: The main difference between Wilson and Mrs. Tweezers, is that most of Wilson’s ideas seemed to work and help . . .

Cari: . . . as long as Tim didn’t mess them up,

Holly: Yeah, Mrs. Tweezer’s ideas seemed to be more busy body nosy neighbor ‘pointers’. Parents are the ones who know their children the best.

Is this a blanket party or a birthday party?

Now, for a trip down memory lane . . .

Holly: So, we have a brother, who shall remain nameless, who still has his special blanket. If you passed him on the street, he would seem totally normal. For all intents and purposes he is. Even though he is almost 30 and still has a blankie.

Cari: Actually we have another one, who still has his special blanket, the one in medical school.

Holly: Really?

Cari: Yep. They’ve both passed their blankets onto their children.

Holly: Hmm. Well, my son’s blanket did belong to my husband (although he obviously didn’t love it to pieces or it wouldn’t still be here). Actually, I take that back. Our brothers’, especially K’s, was loved to pieces and still passed on.

Cari: B’s was called the goatwing, I don’t think K’s ever had a name.

Holly: Yeah, that’s the blankie he would hide under and wipe spit on his eyes pretending to cry so we would get in trouble for picking on him.

Cari: Actually I think his mother-in-law put a new back on it to extend it’s life for him.

Holly: It was a sweet day when I was going through all those old baby clothes with Mom and came across, drum roll please . . . a receiving blanket made out of the same material as K’s life-long companion. Keep in mind that this was relatively recently. I was so excited. I knew that K had been searching to find the same material to resurrect his favorite blankie. You should have seen the smile on his face when I showed him! You know that smile when old friends are reunited? Yep. That’s the one.

Holly: And now I think we should talk about Cari’s favorite blanket and how our mom tried to get rid of it by hiding it in the garbage can. The OUTside garbage can. She made the fatal mistake of not putting it in on trash day.

Cari: So what about my blanket?

Holly: I don’t know if you had a special feeling to look in the trash can, or if you had looked everywhere, and couldn’t find it. But, as all children do when missing a beloved item, we looked in the trash and sure enough, there it was. We even had to dig to find it. What proud detectives we were! When we finally pulled it out it had a big hole in the middle of it so you wore it like a shawl. You would twirl around and it would spin so beautifully (wistful sigh).

Cari: I have no recollection of this. I do remember playing with it outside wearing it as a shawl.

Holly: I probably remember it because I thought it made a really cool shawl and I was jealous.

Cari: Ahhhh HAAA! Holly get’s jealous . . .

Holly: And then, you shimmied it down to your waist and it became a really cool skirt. Oh, was I jealous of the spread on that skirt. What magnificent twirling! I might have turned a little green with envy. I am pretty sure we started playing pioneers. K’s blanket was the wagon cover.

Cari: So you did get jealous? But notice you didn’t cut it up. Wait a minute, did you put it in the trash? Hmm.

Holly: That would have been a great idea you probably deserved it . . . too bad I was not so conniving! I just wallowed in self pity.( pathetic sigh). That might have been when we started using our parachute as a skirt. I think our youngest brother uses his blanket, and he is still teenager enough that he might resent us telling that little juicy bit of information. K on the other hand, I don’t know if he ever cared that anyone knew. He took it to college, and then all the way to South Africa with him, probably to sleepovers too. It went pretty much everywhere. I don’t think he took it to school – he left it at home during the day. He took it to the shower with him though because half the time it was his towel. He would come out of the shower in the mornings dressed in his blankie (and only his blankie) to make the walk down the hall. Woah! Um, no wonder I have nightmares.

Cari: He probably doesn’t want us to say that. Besides, this blog is supposed to be G rated.

Holly: Oops. Sorry.

Cari: His blanket was more important than being teased so his blanket went with him. I wonder if he took it to Scout camp? He even sewed it in half once to preserve it.

Holly: I remember once being on a top-secret M&M hunt digging through Mom & Dad’s dresser. We were so astonished when we found K’s baby blanket, with the binkie still tied to the corner. I’m pretty sure we totally gave ourselves away by our shouts of utter disbelief and astonishment. “So that’s where he lost his blankie!

The blanket king before 'losing' #1

No wonder we couldn’t find it anywhere. We searched and searched and searched. I wonder how it could have got in there? Hmmm. . . there really must be a blankie fairy. I bet a fairy came and took it in the night. . . Because Mom and Dad would never have done that. K was so sad when he lost his binkie and white blankie . . .”

Maybe that’s why he got so inseparably attached to his other blanket.

Cari: So what do you think leads to such devoted blankie worshiping?

Holly: I don’t know. I’m sure it’s got to do with self-comfort. I’m trying to remember if I learned anything in Psych 101. Nope. Nadda. Actually, I take that back. I learned about how to take tests, but that’s a topic for a different discussion.

Cari: What ever happened to your blankets, Holly?

Holly: Ahem. I still have them.

Cari: You do?

Holly's blanket
Holly's blanket

Holly: Yep. I could never pick a ‘favorite’ one, I didn’t want the others to feel bad. So I rotated through my three blankies pretty regularly. I took good care of them. I keep them in my memory box. Every once in a while, I’ll open the box and pull out my most ‘favorite’ one (don’t tell the others the red one is a little more my favorite, it might cause problems) and cuddle it. Maybe sleep with it a night or two. Then put it away until I need another trip down memory lane. Didn’t we say we’re still young at heart?

Cari: Hmm. None of mine survived.

Holly: Do you really think anything breakable could survive your childhood? I sometimes think I barely survived (chuckle, chuckle).

Cari: Good point.

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