7/24 – 7/31 Children’s Book of the Week: The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree
by Shel Silverstein
A little boy makes a playground of a great, leafy apple tree, and the tree loves him  for it. The little boy is happy, and so the tree is happy. Soon the little boy grows, and grows away from his tree. At each new stage of his life the boy comes back, and the tree, always delighted to see him again, invites him to play around her like he used to and be happy. But each time, the once little boy has a different idea of what will make him happy, and asks the tree first for her apples, then her branches, and finally her trunk. The tree gives these things to the boy, happy to see him happy. As an old man, the boy comes back – by now the tree is just a stump, with nothing left to give. The boy is happy simply to have a place to sit and rest, and so boy and tree reclaim (though in a different way) the joy they shared when they were younger.

The ending makes for an interesting, open interpretation, and  still very beautiful. Children of all ages will enjoy this classic story.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the Founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts and the author of the book
Too Many Visitors for One Little House ~

 

7/4 – 7/10 Children’s Book of the Week: The Gooch Machine

The Gooch Machine : Poems for Children to Perform
by Brod Bagert
Illustrated by Tim Ellis
This playfully illustrated collection of poems is a great chance for kids to show off (or develop) their reading skills! Each poem is funny on its own, but when taken as a monologue provides a great chance for kids to really engage in their reading; either by simply reading aloud or going all out and making a performance out of it. The poems vary in length too, which means that even a timid reader could find something fun and non-threatening, or even work up to reading the book’s namesake (and longest) poem; The Gooch Machine. All told, the expressive illustrations really helps such timid readers feel at right home in this book!

Any age would like this book, but 6-8 would probably get the most out of the reading aloud experience.

Be sure to check out Brod Bagert’s and Tim Ellis’ other collection of poems, Elephant Games.

Bio: Susan Chodakiewitz is the Founder of Booksicals, dedicated to encouraging a love of reading through arts, crafts, music, theater and dance.  Check out the  Muscial: Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the SNOOZLE DANCE VIDEO based on the picture book.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of Too Many Visitors for One Little House. Susan is also a composer, lyricist and producer of musical theater. Too Many Visitors for One Little House is available as a musical DVD ~


6/20 – 6/26: Children’s Book of the Week; A Promise is a Promise

A Promise is a Promise
by Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak 
illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka
Allashua and her family live surrounded by cold, everything frozen and quiet. Allashua’s parents warn her not to take the harsh winter lightly: the Qallupilluit, witch-like trolls that live under the ice, steal away children who some too close to the cracked ice on their own. Allashua ignores this warning, going off the fish in the cracks in the ice by herself – but not without insulting the Qallupilluit, who probably don’t exist – first. The Qallupilluit drag Allashua down with them under the ice, allowing her to leave only when she promises to bring her brothers and sisters to the ice, too.

“A promise is a promise”

The Qallupilluit remind her, and her parents agree. But can Allashua, her parents and siblings, stay together without breaking the promise? They can, and Allashua learns both the power of a promise, and the importance of family.

 ~ Susan Chodakiewitz, Founder of Booksicals is also a composer and song writer.  Her company Booksicals is dedicated to encouraging a love of reading through the arts by taking picture books and bringing them to life ~

 

6/6 – 6/12 Children’s Book of the Week: Helga’s Dowry

Helga’s Dowry – A Troll Love Story
by Tomie dePaola
Helga’s the loveliest troll in the three parishes, but her troll sweetie, Lars, cannot marry her because she’s also the poorest, and has no dowry. Without batting an eyelash, Helga rolls up her sleeves and gets to work on earning herself a dowry. Hard work, brains, and a little troll magic get her there, but the troll Lars decided to marry instead, the very wealthy and mean-spirited Inge, tries to sabotage her along the way! With her perseverence and wit, Helga manages to outsmart Inge, but her hard work and Lar’s shallow priorities make her realize that she is worth more than the money she earned.

A creative, smart story with wonderful illustrations. Best for ages 5-8.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the Founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts and the author of the book Too Many Visitors for One Little House ~
 

 

5/23: Children’s Book of the Week; No More Water in the Tub!

No More Water in the Tub! 
by Tedd Arnold
What would happen if you forgot to turn off the water to your bath? Mom told Walter, William’s brother, to turn off the water after one minute–but William’s bath time adventure is just beginning. In a bath-time day dream, the faucet breaks when Walter turns it, sending William flying through his apartment building on a torrent of water!

“Out went Mabel on the table. Sue and Vern clung to a fern. Uncle Nash sat in the trash. Patty Fuzzle steered her puzzle. Little Dottie sailed the potty.”

Thankfully, William and his bathtub come just in time to put out a fire downstairs and save the day. The the day dream takes a turn when Walter, engrossed with the story, forgets to turn off the water for real.

Features the same characters as “No More Jumping on the Bed!”. Perfect book for storytime!

~  Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of Too Many Visitors for One Little House. Susan is also a composer, lyricist and producer of musical theater. Too Many Visitors for One Little House is available as a musical DVD ~

5/16: Children’s Book of the Week; Knuffle Bunny, a Cautionary Tale

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
by Mo Willems
Trixie is having a great day – she’s accompanying her Daddy on a journey down the block, through the park, past the school, to the Laundromat. She puts the coins in the machine, watches the clothes go round and round, and is on her way back home when she’s forgotten something. Where’s Knuffle Bunny?! Trixie tries to tell her Daddy but he doesn’t understand; she know real words yet! Mom brings him up to speed, and Daddy must save the day and rescue (the now very soggy) Knuffle Bunny.

A Caldecott honors book, this story is more than just another lost and found tale. It’s illustrations are very unique; cartoons drawn on top of sepia-tone photos. Great for Preschool-1st grade. Hurray again for Mo Willems!

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House. She is the founder of Booksicals books and theatrical.  Booksicals currently performs the picture book Too Many Visitors at schools, libraries, book stores, and special literacy events ~

5/9: Children’s Book of The Week; Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don’t)

Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don’t)
By Barbara Bottner
Illustrated by Michael Emberly
Miss Brooks is the ecstatic librarian of the elementary school…and our first-grader is not a fan. For all Miss Brooks’ extraordinary costumes of leprechauns, pilgrims, pumpkins, and groundhogs, she can’t win the resistant heart of our book-wary heroine. Our protagonist’s book-week is going to be a real chore—that is, until she finds a book about warts. A whole world is opened; one with monsters and warts and slime and all sorts of fun!

A quirky love of reading story that doesn’t have even a hint of preachiness. A charmer of a book from the producer/writer/designer of Sesame Street.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz, Founder of Booksicals is also a composer and song writer.  Her company Booksicals is dedicated to encouragin a love of reading through the arts by taking picture books and bringing them to life ~

 

4/25: Children’s Book of the Week; The Duchess of Whimsy

The Duchess of Whimsy
by Randall de Seve
illustrated by Peter de Seve
The Duchess of Whimsy is very particular about how things are done on her turf. Her friends must be fascinating, her clothes must be extraordinary, and food served must be the the most fabulous in the kingdom! In her court, there is no room for the hum-drum–which is too bad for the poor Duke of Norm, who the Duchess has dismissed as boring and plain, but who adores her nonetheless. One day though, the Duchess’ chef gets sick, and while the rest of the court goes digging for truffles, the Duke of Norm goes off and makes himself a nice grilled cheese sandwich. The Duchess in awe of the simple concoction, and wonders if there if something to this ‘ordinary’ business after all!

Illustrated by the famous New Yorker artist and author of the best-selling Toy Boat, this quirky love story is a “charming tale…This is a sure winner and a nice break from routine princess stories” (School Library Review), and I’m inclined to agree!

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the Founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts and the author of the book
Too Many Visitors for One Little House ~

4/18: Children’s Book of the Week; Pamela’s First Musical

Pamela’s First Musical

by Wendy WassersteinPamela's First Musical

illustrated by Andrew Jackness


This is a book near and dear to my heart as it captures that wonderful feeling of anticipation and thrill of seeing your very first musical!

For her eighth birthday, Pamela gets to spend the day with her glamorous aunt Louise in Manhatten. They catch a matinee of a spectacular musical extravaganza: hundreds of tap dancers, romantic corny-ness and fabulous costumes abound. And because Aunt Louise knows everyone in show business, Pamela gets to meet all of the designers/brains behind the show at the intermission, of course! The illustrations are just as splashy and gorgeous as the featured play itself. An inspiring and fun read for ages k-3, but a smattering of of theatre jokes keeps things fun for parents, too.

 ~ Author Susan Chodakiewitz is  the founder of Booksicals. Her debut picture book: Too Many Visitors for One Little House is also a live musical and is now available as a musical DVD along with the SNOOZLE DANCE VIDEO for kids. Too Many Visitors for One Little House will soon be released as an e-book with READ to ME musical narration ~

 

4/11: Children’s Book of the Week: The Three Little Javelinas

The Three Little Javelinas
by Susan Lowell
illustrated by Jim Harris
It’s the story of the Three Little Pigs – with a little tabasco sauce! In this American Southwestern retelling of the beloved story, the Three Little Javelinas (also known as wild peccaries) set out to make their forts and their fortunes. But instead of a big, scary wolf on their tails, they’ve got one mean, tricky coyote instead! Javelinas No. 1 and 2 have to rely on their resourceful sister and her resilient home of adobe brick to keep the trickster coyote out, and when he tries climbing in the chimney, the three light the stove and send him howling into the desert.

Expressive, detailed, and colorful illustrations. A Reading Rainbow Book. Great for kids 3-8 years old.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of Too Many Visitors for One Little House. Susan is also a composer, lyricist and producer of musical theater. Too Many Visitors for One Little House is available as a musical DVD ~