It's the unofficial end of summer and everyone is heading back to school. Parents are collapsing into bed at night elated by the end to long, hot summer days while kids are bemoaning the loss of their freedom. Some of you are already there -- I envy you. The rest of us are counting the days. In a nod toward the return to routine, classrooms and homework, this month's book suggestions are geared toward making learning a little more fun.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers | <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1442457023/ref=s9_hps_bw_g14_ir02?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0TZS6D0DBDEKD3BAXJZ1&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1374281582&pf_rd_i=4 " target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> I always equate school with libraries and stacks and stacks of books. The smell of pages turned by hundreds of other children, dog-eared corners and well-worn covers were magic to me. This book is new, but I hope beyond hope that it becomes a dearly loved classic. The story is beautiful, moving, funny, and memorable not only because of the words themselves, but also because of the remarkably rendered drawings that capture every moment of Mr. Morris Lessmore's literary life. A lovely way to signal the end to summer and a return to school, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Blue Apple Books | <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bugs-Numbers-Sharon-Werner/dp/1609050614/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345405095&sr=1-1&keywords=bugs+by+the+numbers" target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> I'm so in love with this book, I hardly know where to begin. It rhymes, it has flaps, it is beautifully illustrated, it is educational, and it includes numbers like 1,750,000! Far from your ordinary counting book, Werner and Foss explore the bug world by illustrating the bugs with nothing but numbers. Science and counting are masterfully combined - a spider is lovingly created using only 8s, while ants are drawn with 1s, 2s, and 3s. You have to see it to believe it. You and your kids can get lost in every page of this extraordinary look into the world of insects, bugs and spiders. For an equally delightful take on the alphabet, be sure to check out <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Alphabeasties-And-Other-Amazing-Types/dp/1934706787/ref=cm_cmu_pg__header" target="_hplink">"Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types"</a>.
Schwartz & Wade | <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Rocket-Writes-Story-Tad-Hills/dp/0375870865/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1345402769&sr=8-2&keywords=rocket+learns+to+read" target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> I credit Tad Hills for my son's recent fascination with story telling. He's always loved books and words, but it wasn't until we found "Rocket Writes a Story" that he realized that he could write a story all his own. Following-up on the success of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=rocket+learns+to+read" target="_hplink">"How Rocket Learned to Read,"</a> Hills' second book starring Rocket and his teacher the little yellow bird is just as wonderful as the first. If your kids are ready to find their inner authors, this book is all the inspiration they'll need.
HarperCollins | <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bang-Boom-Roar-Busy-Dinosaurs/dp/0060879602/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345404779&sr=1-1&keywords=bang%21+boom%21+roar" target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> Let's see - combine construction trucks, dinosaurs, colorful illustrations, a building site full of mishaps, and a water park with a working volcano and you've got an ABC book sure to please even your most reluctant reader. Your kids can search for hidden letters on every page while you enjoy the visual jokes. The energetic rhymes will keep everyone involved until the very end of a busy dinosaur day.
Chronicle Books | <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Press-Here-Herve-Tullet/dp/0811879542/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345404806&sr=1-1&keywords=press+here" target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> It takes a low-tech book to remind us of all the fun you can have without a single electronic gadget. Counting, colors, directions, and patterns are all covered with nothing more than some dots and your imagination. "Press Here" is great for even the littlest kids, but never dull for the grown-ups.
Random House Books for Young Readers | <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Chicken-Problem-Jennifer-Oxley/dp/0375869891/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345404871&sr=1-1&keywords=the+chicken+problem" target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> Peg + Cat + Picnic + Pig + Pie + 100 chickens running wild = A great book about numbers, problem solving and, of course, pie.
Schwartz & Wade | <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Lemonade-Winter-About-Counting-Money/dp/0375858830/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345404898&sr=1-1&keywords=lemonade+in+winter+by+emily+jenkins" target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> I don't know about you, but I have trouble teaching my son about money. I can't explain why the nickel is bigger than the dime even though the dime is worth more and he always looks skeptical when I tell him there are 25 pennies in a quarter. Sometimes I just give up and give him a dollar bill to play with. "Lemonade in Winter" tries to make all that a little easier with a tale of two entrepreneurial kids who open a lemonade stand in the middle of a snow storm. I'm not sure the ultimate lesson is one you want your kids to embrace (the lemonade stand loses money), but a little exposure to the harsh world of finance never hurt anyone.
Beach Lane Books | <a href="http://www.amazon.com/1-2-3-Peas-Keith-Baker/dp/1442445513/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345404942&sr=1-1&keywords=123+peas" target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> Brightly colored illustrations coupled with industrious vegetables make counting fun for your preschoolers and early readers. The busy illustrations find peas racing to catch the bus, losing their shoes and fishing all while exposing children to counting by 10's.
Little Simon | <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Happy-Little-Yellow-Box-Opposites/dp/1416940960/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345404966&sr=1-1&keywords=the+happy+little+yellow+box" target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> I have a love/hate relationship with pop-up books. I love that they're usually inventive and surprising and whimsical. I hate that they end up destroyed after a few days in the hands of anyone under the age of 18. Provided you can keep this sturdy book in one piece, "The Happy Little Yellow Box" is a simple introduction to opposites for preschoolers. In bold yellow, black and white, the youngest book lovers can begin to appreciate the difference between high and low, near and far, in and out and large and small. At least until their grubby hands tear it all to shreds.
HMH Books | <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Aint-Gonna-Paint-More-board/dp/0547870353/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345404988&sr=1-3&keywords=i+ain't+gonna+paint+no+more" target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> The pictures alone are reason to read this colorful rhyming look into what happens when a toddler gets his hands on a set of paints and paintbrushes. As an added bonus you can use it to teach colors and body parts to your little Picassos.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers | <a href="http://" target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> Anyone sending a kid off to kindergarten this year may want to pick up this story of a baseball-hat-wearing red bird named Marco. A bird with dreams of going to the moon is always a good distraction from any anxiety your little ones might have.
Arthur A. Levine Book | <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Gold-Star-Zog-Julia-Donaldson/dp/0545417244/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345405060&sr=1-1&keywords=a+gold+star+for+zog" target="_hplink">Buy From Amazon</a> I'm not sure that schools these days teach flying, roaring, breathing fire, or capturing princesses, which is a shame because I think kids would find school a lot more interesting if they could swoop through the air. Zog the dragon gets to learn about all those things in his dragon classes and he seems to love school. But it's the lessons he learns through his friendship with Princess Pearl outside of class - things like persistence, patience, compassion and the importance of friendship -- that really matter.
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