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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pout-Pout Fish Blog Tour

One of my favorite jobs as an elementary librarian is reading and reviewing new picture books. When asked to review a copy of the newest book - The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish, of course I said yes! My Kindergarten students love Pout-Pout Fish. I was ecstatic to see a Christmas version of this adorable story.

Pout-Pout Fish is worried about finding the perfect Christmas presents for his fishy friends. Pout-Pout learns the best gifts are not found at a store.  Filled with lively illustrations and wonderfully rhyming text, this one will be a hit with my students. The repeated rhyming text will be perfect as a read-aloud with the younger students. 

Written by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna, these two talented artists are creating beautiful stories for me to add to my collection of picture books. 

Interviews with Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna (at least my favorite parts):

Deborah Diesen
What is Mr. Fish up to now? Does he have a case of the “dreary wearies” in the latest book, too?
Mr. Fish’s newest adventure is called The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish.  In it, Mr. Fish is in a bit of a holiday panic, searching for perfect gifts for all of his friends.  His shopping trip is unsuccessful, and Mr. Fish is sure that he’s let all of his friends down.  But his friend Miss Shimmer reminds him that the best gifts of all come straight from the heart, and she helps him craft simple and meaningful presents to bring to the holiday party.  His friends are delighted with their presents, and together everyone celebrates peace, joy, and love – what a very merry gift!

What do you hope young readers (ages 3-6) will learn from The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish? Is there a message here for grown-ups as well?

I hope that Mr. Fish’s latest tale will help children to realize that presents don’t need to be expensive or complicated or splashy.  Simple, heartfelt presents that connect us to one another are the best gifts of all.  A drawing; a craft project; time spent together; even just a smile!  These sorts of gifts are the most cherished and the most enduring.  It’s a lesson we grown-ups have to re-learn periodically as well.

Dan Hanna
What medium do you use to make the illustrations? What’s your favorite to work with? Tell us about your creative process.
I use the PPPPP approach: Paper, Pencils, Pens, Paint and Photoshop.

My favorite is just pencil and paper.  When I start a new book I like to visit a variety of coffee shops in my area.  I let my caffeinated mind roam, scribbling out ideas and laughing to myself.  If a sketch doesn't make me laugh then it usually doesn't make the cut.

What illustration in The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish did you have the most fun creating?
I especially like the one where Mr. Fish imagines giving Ms. Clam the robot body.  She just looks so happy and empowered.

The items in the shop and the gifts Mr. Fish imagines in this story are so detailed and quirky. How did you come up with them? Did you have a specific inspiration?
For the imagined gifts, I drew on my own experience as a kid where I would dream up magnificent presents for my family and friends.  Eventually, as with Mr. Fish, I would have to confront reality and drastically scale back my plans. The shop items are based on all the goofy stuff you can find on the shelves of some of the more interesting gift shops.

Follow the blog tour with these talented bloggers:

Chat with Vera 
Anakalian Whims
  Mymcbooks Blog 
 Outnumbered 3 to 1 
Picture Books Review
 Check It Out 
 Jumpin Bean 
Caiafa Craziness
 Kid Lit Reviews
 Heck of A Bunch
 Leslie Lindsay
  Double Duty Twins 
 Cassandra M’s Place
  Philly Burb Moms 
Not So Average Mama 
Tales of Mommyhood
 Susan Heim on Parenting 
Bookish Babes 
Bea’s Book Nook 
Bumbles and Fairytales
  Be the Difference 
Stacking Books
 Local Busy Bees
 Reading through Life
 Parenting Healthy 
Unleashing Readers
 Kristen Remenar
 Oh My! Omaha 
My Silly Little Gang
 The Corner on Character
 Mommy Ramblings
 SoCal City Kids
 Saffron Tree
 Mrs Brown Loves Bookworms 
 The Neighborhood Moms 
 Inspired by Savannah 
 The Reading Nook Reviews 
 In the Pages Blog 
Writers’ Rumpus Miss Marple’s Musings Investing Love 
 Natural Mama 
One Crazy Kid
  Mommy’s Block Party 
 Mommy Has to Work  

Would you like to win a copy of The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish? Enter my little Rafflecopter for a chance to win your own copy. If you have or work with 5 - 6 year old's, you'll love it!

Happy Reading!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Daredevil Duck Book Tour

I recently received the cutest picture book to review. When Cassie from Running Press asked if I was interested, of course I said yes! I love reading picture books.  I will admit to  hanging out at Barnes and Noble just to check out the new books to add to my wish list for the library. I was a little worried as I hadn't heard of Charlie Alder. After a little research I discovered she is an English illustrator. Daredevil Duck is her firstsolo book to author and illustrate.  Like Daredevil Duck I has a little afraid in the beginning.

Fear not! If you have a preschooler or a kindergarten, they will love this one. In a nut shell - Daredevil Duck dreams he is the bravest duck in the whole world. In reality he might be described as the biggest scaredy cat in the whole world. (Bless his heart, he's just like a kindergartener those first few days of school. They act real brave but really the big kids down the hall terrify them.) Love that he overcame his fears to help a friend. Everything about school/life is less scary with a good friend. The books flaps are the only drawback I have for this one.  I will have to be really careful with this one. Maybe use this one when I'm discussing book care at the beginning of the year.... Will keep tabs on Ms. Alder for future books. Talented new author!

Follow the book tour for chances to win a copy of Daredevil Duck! If you are interested in winning a copy, enter the following rafflecopter by May 17th. Contest open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

By Charlie Alder  
Blog Tour Schedule
5/10 ReaderKidz

I like reviewing books I can use with my students. This one is definitely going in the stack for next years Kindergarteners. I did receive a free copy of the book for my honest review.

Keep Reading!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Go, Pea, Go! Book Tour

Normally I only review books I am considering for my K - 8 library. I made an exception for Go, Pea, Go! by Joe Moshier and Chris Sonnenburg.  It sounded really cute for my friends who have young children, and I'm so glad I did. This adorable story is not only encouraging but engaging as well. I love using stories to interact with the students at school. This one is perfect for parents who need just another method to encourage their darlings with potty training. I'm definitely recommending this one to my day care friends.

In a nutshell, Pea Junior is running a race. The prize, it's the Potty Prize of course! Personally I loved the page were Pea's friends are encouraging him to win. It brought back memories of me cheering on my two boys as they learned to "go potty".

This one is full of puns the younger children may not catch, but will keep the grown ups laughing! Great illustrations and a song for those of you musically inclined. The sticker chart will be great for tracking personal successes in the "potty race"!

Visit the following blogs for their review of Go, Pea, Go!
By Joe Moshier and Chris Sonnenburg
Blog Tour Schedule

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This contest will run from April 22nd - May 4th. One winner will receive a prize pack consisting of a pea plush, pea beach ball, pea tote bag, pea hair clips, stickers, and a copy of the book. Three winners will win a prize pack consisting of a pea beach ball, pea postcards, stickers and a copy of the book. Five runners up will win a copy of the book and stickers. Winners will be contacted by email and must notify us within 48 hours of the notification email with address and acceptance. Please note this contest is for US residents only.

(The only compensation I received for this honest review was a free copy of the book.)

Keep Reading!!!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Monday Made It - Puppet Stage

Once again it's time for Monday Made It with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics. I get so excited over seeing everyone's great classroom projects. I incorporate those ideas into projects around my school, my library, and now my niece's classroom. A couple weeks ago I was inspired by  Mr. Greg from Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten. Greg had made a math tub center from PVC pipe. Now I don't need a math tub center in the library, but I did need a puppet stage.
I was so excited! Off to Lowes I went. Now the sweet little guy at Lowes tried to help me, but looked a little confused when I said I was shopping for parts to build a puppet stage. I should have taken a picture. His reaction - priceless! Must not get many requests for those in the plumbing section.  I should probably get a prize at my local store for asking the oddest questions. (Yes, Mrs. Brown, you can build a puppet theater from PVC pipe!)

After a little experimentation, my finished project!

Just in case anyone wants/needs a puppet stage, here's how I did it.
From Lowes:
Purchased 55 feet of PVC Pipe (5 - ten foot pieces and 1 - 5 foot piece) 8 elbow joints, and 2 T joints. I only need 50 feet of pipe, but after cutting realized I would have 2 odd pieces and be short.  So I purchased one extra short piece.

When I got home, (And yes you can put 5- ten foot pieces of PVC pipe in a Camry!) I sweet talked the oldest teenager into cutting the pipe for me.
 5 - 4 foot pieces
6 - 2 foot pieces
2 - 3 1/2 foot pieces
2 - 5 1/2 pieces
Then came the assembling! All joints were elbows except for the two middle joints in the front. For now it's strong enough. The kids can't swing on it or do chin ups, but should be fine for a puppet stage.

 I went to Hobby Lobby, found some material I liked and added curtains to the front and sides. I purchased 7 yards of the black and white. Could have used a little more..... 1 yard was plenty for the red. (My sweet mother-in-law did the sewing for me!) Basically, just sew a seam at the top and slide on the pipe like a curtain. Yes, she hemmed all the sides except for the bottom of the front. (I'm a little spoiled!)  I should have purchased a little extra of the black and white.

As for the cost, my Lowes ticket was around $21.00  I spent another 45 dollars on fabric. Yes, I spent a little over $60 on my puppet stage. But, I like it! Love that it's portable. I can easily take it apart when I don't have the puppets out and store it in the library.  If you want a more detailed set of instructions, email me at easttennesseebookworm at and I'll be happy to send you a set - with pictures!
The kids are going to laugh. It matches my chair perfectly! (Ignore the paperwork, I wanted to get my stage done.) Can't wait to see their faces when they see it this week.
Have a great week and don't forget to check out other Monday Made It's on Tara's blog - 4th Grade Frolics.

Keep Reading !!!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

#IMWAYR August 11th

Like most teachers in East Tennessee, I'm back to school full time. My reading time has decreased over the last week, but I managed to finish a few. This list includes what I've read for the last two weeks. I didn't get my post written last week. Check out other reads with Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Rickie & Kellie at Unleashing Readers to see what others have read for It's Monday! - What are You Reading?
This past week I started reading The Chronicles of Prydain by Alexander Lloyd. I finished The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, and The Castle of Llyr. I'm almost finished with Taran Wanderer. (Should finish it tonight.) Hopefully I'll finish the series off with The High King later in the week.

I will admit I had not read them. Really until Harry Potter, fantasy had been a hit or miss with me. I'm such a mystery girl! Fantasy books are started to grow on me. I felt my literacy knowledge was lacking without reading a little Lloyd. I can't recommend books to my students if I haven't' read them.

Also finished reading the Dreamhouse Kings by Robert Liparulo. I had read Book 2 and Book 3 earlier. Book One stayed checked out.

My older students love these. They're just creepy enough to be perfect for my upper middle grade students. In case you haven't heard of this series, the King family moves from LA to an old house in a small town. Things quickly become horrifying when mom is snatched by a time traveler. Come to find out, Dad lived in the same house when he was a small boy. The Kings must save the future by fixing the past. This one is full of historical tidbits. There are elements of horror that will keep the older students on the edge to their seats.

Can't wait to see what makes it to my stack this week.

Keep Reading!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Monday Made It - Bulletin Boards

I survived the first week of school and managed to finish a couple bulletin boards for Monday Made It. Thank you, Tara! I always get great ideas for my school from all the great teachers who link up.

For the past couple of weeks I've been getting the library ready for back to school and helping the my niece with her new classroom. She was hired the day before school started. Her school is about 20 minutes from mine. Last week got just a little crazy. For her owl themed classroom, I created a student work display.


I placed Velcro strips on the fabric and attached to the wall for the foliage. I plan on changing it with the seasons.  The owls were placed in chip clips from the Dollar Tree, just in case one moves or she gets a new student. The tree was made with packing paper. I've made a couple trees on bulletin boards, but this is the first time I've attached one to a block wall. I'm not sure who I should credit with the scrapbook paper idea. (THANK YOU!) I've seen this in several classroom reveals. It turned out really cute. I went by her classroom last night. The students already have work displayed. She has open house this week.

For my school I finally finished the welcome display in the main hall.

I'll leave it up for a month or so. The students enjoy seeing their pictures and  the teachers' pictures displayed. When possible I try to incorporate all the school staff into my displays. This fall I have most of the staff driving race cars. Of course I took a picture of the principal for the lead driver.

Check out other great Monday Made It's on Tara's blog - 4th Grade Frolics. Hopefully I'll make it to the fabric store this week. My new puppet stage is almost finished. I want to post pictures of it next week.

Keep reading!!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Made It - It's a Traffic Light!

It's time for another Monday Made It. This week I made a traffic light for the school's welcome bulletin board. Be sure and check Tara's blog 4th grade Frolics for other great "Made It's".

Saturday I went over to school to work on a couple things for the school's welcome bulletin board. This year the welcome display is going to have a racing theme. “Racing off to a great year!” I have a few more things to make, but those will have to wait till the teachers return. (I need their pictures!) I'll post a picture of the finished display as soon as it's complete. As part of the display I wanted to make a traffic light. I checked the teacher idea box – otherwise known as Pinterest – and found a few ideas. Of course I had to change it up a little. Got to use what’s one hand. My light:



To make my light I used:

3 ice cream buckets from Wal-Mart. The rectangle shape worked great.

White Christmas lights

Black construction paper

Black poster board

Small piece of red, yellow, and green tissue papers

A boat paddle

Bucket of rocks

Lots of hot glue

Duct tape –

Carpet knife and scissors


 Step One:

Duct tape the 3 ice cream buckets together. It doesn’t’ matter what color you use. With the carpet knife I cut hole in the back of the top bucket to feed the Christmas lights into the buckets. I also cut small holes in the bottom of the top and middle sections of the traffic light. The carpet knife sliced the plastic like butter.



Step two:

I took the black poster board and made the front and sides of the traffic light. To make it look like a traffic light, I glued tissue paper on the inside to make it look like a traffic light. I hot glued the poster board to the ice cream tubs and had the top part of my light.

*Hint* If anyone else makes one of these, don’t glue to front of the light on until you have already attached the light to the stand. I had to take it off to connect it to the boat paddle.


Step three:

Create a light pole! I used a boat paddle. That’s what I had. Didn’t figure the boys would use it in the next month or so. If you are going to use this for a long time, use a piece of wood or thick PVC pipe. Mine was meant to be temporary. I wrapped the paddle with black construction paper and scrapes from the bulletin board paper in the library.


Step four:

 I placed the stand (boat paddle) in a bucket, filled it with rocks to make it sturdy. Another mistake I made was attaching the light to the upright paddle.* Hint* I would advise attaching the traffic light to the stand before you place it in the bucket of rocks. I almost burnt a couple fingers in the hot glue. Ice cream buckets are made of very thin plastic. I could feel the hot glue melting the buckets as I attached them to the paddle. Make sure to watch the placement of the cords to the Christmas lights. You want to be able to plug them in after all this hard work. My finished traffic light!!!  I'll tape the extension cord to the back. It will only be on during open house or special occasions. Don’t want to get into trouble with the fire marshal.


Go check out other great Monday Made It’s on Tara’s blog! Might find something you just have to make for your library or classroom.

I need to go by school and shelf those books. That was my "read it"  stack from last week.

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