long time, no post….

Life gets busy… that.is.the.truth.
But, it is NOT an excuse… I need, and I want, and I will get back on my writing goals.

I joined a group that is challenged to write one picture book every month in 2012.. 12×12. I am excited and anxious.
Wish me luck..


book review: Gecko on the Wall

Gecko on the Wall
By: Danielle Bruckert
Published by:  Red Sky Ventures
Date:  2010
ID:  8702089
Price:  available for free online
Ages: preschool
Rating:  4 stars
Reviewed by:   Kris Quinn Christopherson
Synopsis:  An encounter with geckos on the
wall, each with a different personality. Which one will the narrator enjoy more?
Overall thoughts:   A simple but delightful
book with colorful illustrations.  This wonderfully rhyming story
allows the reader to take pleasure in seeing each gecko in a fun setting. Smiles
will no doubt occur when reading about these fun geckos.

book review: Bugs by Numbers

Book Review: Bugs by Numbers

Bugs by Numbers
By: Danielle Bruckert
Published by: Red Sky Ventures Date: 2010
Hulu.com ID: 9290679
Price: available for free online
Ages: preschool
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Kris Quinn Christopherson

Synopsis: A counting adventure filled with bugs. Children are encouraged to count the number of bugs in the first page before turning the second page, where each bug is numbered and the numeral displayed.

Overall thoughts: Young children always enjoy counting books, and this book will be no exception. With repetition and bugs as the subject matter, children will be eager to find the bugs, count them, and check their answers!

Links: http://www.freekidsbooks.org

cleaning up playtime…

I appreciate how important playtime is to my children. Family members, myself included, have graciously contributed to the playtime efforts through birthday gifts, holiday gifts, and just because gifts. Downstairs in the basement, we have a plastic house, bins filled with spiky dinosaurs, and we have strollers for baby dolls, teacups with princess stickers, and many trucks, large and small. The wooden table and chairs are usually ready for a tea party at a moment’s notice. Crayons, markers, and colored pencils no longer remain in their original packaging, but are set to create masterpieces. A too-short for outside basketball hoop lends itself to some wintertime shots.

However, I worry about cleaning up bright-colored, miniscule blobs of playdoh from the carpet. I have stepped on many a stray lego. And, when vacuuming, I have sucked up teeny-tiny high heel shoes that belong to Polly Pocket. I admit that I can be a bit particular (all right, fussy) when it comes to mess. I do not make my bed every morning, but I do like things in order. I expect my children to pick up after themselves, and sometimes they actually do without being reminded. In spite of my nagging to put their dirty clothes in the hamper and, no, the bathroom floor is NOT the hamper, and to throw bubble gum wrappers away, I realize that the mess does mean my kids are home and that they are living life, having fun, and learning. Will I miss cleaning up trails of jackets, ballet shoes, footballs, and juice boxes?

My son’s appetite for toys has grown to electronic games filled with hunts, duels and magic. The dress up clothes I used to clean up on a daily basis remain in their trunk longer and longer. Lost library books and missing earrings remind me just how quickly my children are growing up. I sincerely hope my children remember the joy of our home, and not my constant reminders to put their backpacks away…..

Story time ……

This morning I read stories at two local daycares where both story times are held downstairs in the daycare moms’ basements.  I absolutely love coming down the stairs and seeing the excitement in the children’s faces.  I hear “Hi, Kwis”… “Hi, Kris the Reader!”….  “How many books are you going to read today?”   

I am glad that the children are enjoying the books I have chosen to read, and I am always delighted when they laugh at the right spots, or are so interested in the book, they are a bit sad when the last page is read, or when they recite any repetitive phrases in the prose in the right places of the story.   But, I am so proud of the boost in their literacy I am able to be a part of — the many words they are hearing, maybe some for the first time. 

As I have read for several months now, the children are used to me, and sit so politely during our time together — although, during these crazy cold MN winter days, some wiggles are bound to occur.   More often than not, a small hand will come to rest on my knee as I read, as the child gets a bit closer to the book, feels comfortable with me — how great is that???

book review

Book Review: The Adventures of Isaiah James Beach Boy

The Adventures of Isaiah James Beach Boy
By: Sabrina K. Carpenter
Illustrated by: Doreen Freeman
Published by: Perfected Pen Publishing   Date: 2010
ISBN: 978-0982773710
Price: $12.95
Ages: 3- 6 years old
Rating: 4 ½ stars
Reviewed by: Kris Quinn Christopherson
Synopsis:  The author’s first children’s book, The Adventures of Isaiah James Beach Boy, cohesively blends learning, imagination, and brilliant illustrations for young children.  The debut book in a series, the story finds Isaiah James swimming with the dolphins, crawling with the crabs, and learning fundamentals throughout his entire journey. 
Overall thoughts:  This is a very sweet picture book with lovely illustrations.  A rhyming tale that simply, but effectively, captures the readers’ attention.  I read this story aloud to two different groups of children, and all enjoyed guessing the answer to the opening question of “what is our adventure today?”.  Although the title and the pictures quickly give away the answer, the children were proud to shout out the answer, “the beach!”   A nice mixture of rich language, bright colors, and a bit of guessing and counting, this book was an easy and fun read. 

book review

  Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review: G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion

G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion
By:  George W. Everett
Published by:  WestBow Press   Date:  2010
ISBN:  978-1-4497-0443-8
Price:  $16.95           
Ages:  4-8 years
Rating:  4 stars (1-5)
Reviewed by: Kris Quinn Christopherson
Synopsis:  Larry the Lion is distraught.  His looks have changed over the years as he became an old lion.  Losing his teeth was a big blow to his ego and inner courage.  Along comes an unsuspected friend in the form of a very caring frog.  With some other critters from Frog Holler, and some creative genius, he fixes up the old lion, restores his courage, and saves the day!
Overall thoughts:  A bright and colorful book, it imparts a message for the readers.  The good-natured animals are highly relatable to children and are able to portray kindness; however, I found it beneficial that the moral of the story is clearly stated at the end of the book.  I would not want the message to go unnoticed by the younger readers. The addition of a ‘look and find’ of the critters in the story is a fun addition to the gentle story that children will certainly enjoy.
            G.W.Frog.com (coming soon)

Happy New Year~

I ended 2010 thinking about how I could strengthen my relationship with my children. I realized that I was them all the time, was always doing things for them, taking them to their events, cleaning up after them, and snuggling at bedtime, but that I was not really hanging out with them as much as I should be.  A lot of the time, we were coexisting in the house and doing our own things… and me just spouting out directions and corrections.  So.. I aim to BE with my children more.. enjoy them more…  I could see how joyful they were (and me too!) when I sat down to play a board game with them… or if I talked to them at the kitchen table, not being on Facebook.  I thought how 10 minutes a day, I would work on just being with them — no television, no computer, no folding laundry, no surfing the net, just be with them, talk to them, give them my full attention.   Now, I have 3 children, so I didn’t think I could give up 10 minutes to them individually every day — there is math homework, spelling words to practice, dance, basketball, they do need clean underwear, and I do like to see what is happening with my Facebook friends!!!    But, I hope that spending 10 minutes with them together, or with one of them, or two of them, will gradually increase to more minutes some days, and will allow me to really grasp them as people, enjoy them for their silly, loving, and yes, trying, kids they are.  

I haven’t been able to follow the 10 minutes really closely as I had hoped, but I am working on it…  I am more aware that my kids deserve my full attention, that they crave it, and that it will so, so beneficial for them and ME to do this.   At bedtime last night, I talked with my girls about some friend-issues, and I was fully present…. yes, I was a bit anxious as it was past the magic bedtime hour, and I was tired, and I had dishes in the sink, but I laid back in bed with them, and chatted, full attention — it was fantastic, and I think that my oldest really appreciated it, and thought it was fantastic, too. 

Wish me luck…  10 minutes….  I can do this right???? 

ON ANOTHER NOTE — I read at two daycares today… I have been reading at these for over a year now.  It is really fun to see how they have grown since I started, how they don’t wiggle and pester each other as much when I am reading… how they really listen….. 
I feel like a rock star when I arrive — KRIS!!!!   Even a little cutie who isn’t very verbal yet, will toddle over to me and cry out “books!  books!”  when she sees me — it melts my heart, and it makes me feel proud knowing that I am helping to foster my love of reading, the importance of reading.

A book both sets of children giggled at, and listened intently to, today was “Are You are Horse?”  by Andy Rash.  Very cute…..

book review: TEN HATS


Ten Hats
By:  Carolyn Mott Ford   Illustrated by:  Jack Gordon
Published by: E & E Publishing Date:  2009
ISBN-10:  0979160626
Price:  $15.95
Ages:   3-6
Rating:  4 1/2 stars (1-5)
Reviewed by:  Kris Quinn Christopherson
Synopsis:  An illustrated picture book that counts down through the various ‘hats’ people wear in their professions, Ten Hats confirms to children that they have choices in life. They will enjoy discovering who might be wearing the hats. 
Overall thoughts:  Children love to guess and love to see animals doing things that humans do.  This fun picture book allows children to do both.  The illustrations are charming, and the prose is appropriately repetitive for a pleasurable reading experience for younger readers.  Readers will find themselves giggling at the animals, and will probably not realize they are also learning counting skills. The delightful guessing and finding out about careers concludes with an inspiring message for children, for anyone.