Archive for the ‘Edna’s Picks and Reviews’ Category

Arlo Needs Glasses (Arlo is a dog!)

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

This book Arlo Needs Glasses by Barney Saltzberg is fun for all kids, but for those who wear glasses, it’s a real find!  It’s about a little dog who can’t catch a ball, no mattter how hard he tries.  The ball always bonks him on the head.  His owner takes him to the eye doctor, and of course, once he gets glasses he’s a great ball catcher!

Kids reading this book get to interact with eye charts — it’s a pop-up pull-tab kind of book.

The great thing about this book is that there are real cardboard glasses in a pocket, and kids can pull out and try on their favorites.  There are Movie Star glasses, Superhero glasses, and Mad Scientist glasses.  We’ll be giving the book away soon in a drawing.  So stay tuned to facebook where we’ll announce it!


When a Dragon Moves In, by Jodi Moore

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Wait just a minute…summer is not over, it’s only the end of July!  And this book written by Jodi Moore and illustrated by Howard McWilliam will make you want to run to the beach or at least a sandbox!  

It’s hard to get your family to believe a dragon (a gigantic fire-spitting one) has moved into your sandcastle simply because it’s a perfect sandcastle fit for such a charming beast.  Oh, but he’s not so perfect.  Was it he who ate the peanut butter sandwiches, blew bubbles in your lemonade, and nibbled the brownies.

Something wild is definitely going on at the beach.  Is it a dragon or just a wild imagination?  Hmmm, you be the judge.

The Sand Bucket List: 366 Things to do with Your Kids Before They Grow Up

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Okay, we all need to be reflective and we all need to laugh, so I highly recommend The Sand Bucket List: 366 Things to do with Your Kids Before They Grow Up by David Hoffman, because it compels you to do both.

Kids grow up in nanoseconds, it seems.  And with all of the choices laid out before them (especialy the choices that involve screen time and techie devises) there’s a desire among parents to capture the “real” moments.  The ones that leave a deposit in the family memory bank.

Since there are 366 ideas in this little book, I thought I would mention a few of my favorites.  Number 75:  “Explore the backyard with a magnifying glass.”  Wouldn’t that be an adventure well suited to a young scientist?  And how about, Number 92 “Bring them into the booth with you when you cast your vote.”  That would shed some positive light on what is often a fairly negative process leading up to elections.  This one would definitely stand out in any child’s mind.   Number 103 “In the week before you remodel or repaint, let them draw all over the walls.”  This one is personal to me and it still makes it into our favorite family stories.  My son had a train room.  Sounds extravagant, but it was actually a pretty modest little train set with a couple bridges and tunnels set up on a huge piece of plywood surrounded by pretty ugly gray cinder block walls.  We decided to jazz it us, so all of the kids in the neighborhood were invited over,  their bodies were covered with a garbage bag and their shoes covered with plastic sandwich bags.  Each child got to choose a color of paint (leftovers from all kinds of projects) choose a canvas made up of four cinder blocks, pick up a “real” paintbrush, and create their own painting.  Boy was it hard to move out of that house with the four and five-year old renditions of pointed roof houses, gigantic birds that looked like airplanes, and flowers, and butterflies galore.

There are a few scary ideas on the sand bucket list.  Try this if you are especially courageous:  Number 111, “Let them pick out our clothes.”  The “them” referred to, of course, are your children.   If you try this, please let us hear from you!  Watch out, your kids may see it as payback time!

The Tiny Seed, by Eric Carle

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

This time of year, what could be more timely than reading The Tiny Seed to children?  It’s a classic story by Eric Carle of the life cycle and adventures of  a tiny flower seed.  The mini book edition includes a piece of seeded paper children can plant and take care of as it grows.

After reading the book, let the children create their own collage flowers with bits of tissue paper and glue.




detachable seed-embedded paper housed on the


inside front cover. Readers can plant the entire


piece of paper and watch as their very own tiny


seeds grow into beautiful wildflowers.

Sticks and String––Did you see this on Exchange?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Child Care Information Exchange on ExchangeEveryday recently posted a very compelling tidbit that I think everyone involved with young children will appreciate.

They forwarded a list of “The 5 Best Toys of All Time,” published, of all places, in the high-tech Wiredmagazine.

This is the list:

  1. Stick
  2. Box
  3. String
  4. Cardboard Tubes
  5. Dirt

Roger Neugebauer, publisher of Exchange Magazine, said he and Bonnie looked over the list and would substitute Ball for Cardboard Tubes.  That was my sentiment, exactly.

I spent time recently with some little hikers in our beautiful Colorado mountains.  Hiking seemed to cut it for a while but then one little kid picked up a stick and started trailing it behind him.  A little girl found another stick and before long every pint-sized hiker had a stick.  Karate chopping bushes looked like fun, then came the flying sticks to see how far they would go, and then, writing in the dirt.  Oh, and poking.  It’s a blast to poke sticks into holes.

A number of years ago when I was in Haiti where many children have absolutely no toys, I observed the same thing.  Kids improvised.  A tin can became a ball,  a piece of string was tied and untied around sticks and rocks to make pull toys.  And dirt.  Always close by it provided a canvas for writing and a medium for sculpting.

You could develop an enlightening teacher training session by providing 5 “toys” and letting the staff see what they could come up with to amuse and entertain.  Child’s play, you gotta love it!  What do you think?

Preschool Health and Safety Matters

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Preschool Health and Safety 150x150 Preschool Health and Safety MattersPreschool Health and Safety Matters edited by Jody Martin will be your go-to-guide for expertise on health, safety, and nutrition,  of young children.

This book answers your questions on everything from emergency preparedness and food safety to transportation and playground maintenance.   The chapter on child abuse and neglect, one of the most sensitive subjects when caring for children, answers many questions and provides a number of pertinent resources.

The appendix is packed with posters, forms, and checklists you can use on a daily basis.   Early childhood educators are charged with keeping kids safe, promoting their well-being, and teaching them lifelong healthy   habits––a huge responsibility.  In a perfect world, this book would sit on the shelf of every program for young children.

It’s published by Gryphon House:

This Is The Way We Pick Up Our Toys

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

The little tune, “This is The Way We Pick Up Our Toys” was sung hundreds of times at Little Folks Discovery Center when it was time to send the toys, art supplies, and  musical instruments back to their proper homes.   My grandson sings, What does it take? Team Work over and over and over until the last block is in it’s place and the last crayon is nestled in the cardboard box.  Singing does seem to be a great way to make pick up time go a little smoother.

Here are some other ideas:

Choose a color and ask children to pick up everything that is yellow or red or green.

How about setting a timer and seeing how many things can be picked up before the timer goes off?

Sprinkle all the kids with magic dust that turns them into swirling pick-up machines.

Ask children to pick up all of the things with wheels or all of the things that stack.

In your best robot voice say, “Please-pick-up-the-puzzle-pieces.  Now-pick-up-the-books-and-place-them-on-the-book-shelf.”

Let parking attendants park cars and trucks.

Making pickup time into a game makes the transition easier for kids and teachers!

There Was An Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

We just gave away a fabulous pop-up book , There Was An Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly illustrated by Marina Le Ray in our December Holiday Contest!

The pop-up pictures are hilarious from the first picture of grandma on a motor bike swallowing a fly to swallowing a cow while riding on a hay wagon on back of a tractor.  Then, of course, come the X-rays  and the operation.  In the end, the old woman decides to eat only fruits and veggies!

Get this book, it will delight parents, teachers, baby sitters, and older siblings who read it to the little ones.

Ernestine Buckmeister

Friday, November 11th, 2011

TheBusyLifeofErnestineBuckmeister9780979974694 c 150x150 Ernestine BuckmeisterIf you haven’t had a chance to read our review of The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister, please take a moment to look it over.  All of us working with children wan to see them have truckloads of time for play.  This book captures the dilemma parents and kids find themselves in with our over-scheduled lives.  I am thrilled to see it’s popularity spread–it’s getting rave reviews!

And speaking of busy.  The author of this amazing book, Linda Lodding must be reeling from the busy schedule she finds herself in as she promotes the book around the country.  And she took the time to write me and thank me for our review. You can learn more about her and the marvelous illustrator Suzanne Beaky.

Find out more about the book at and download all kinds of fun pages to go along with the book. You can also watch a quick trailer about Ernestine.

I definitely see this book being given away in one of our upcoming contests.  Stay tuned.

You can read more

Every Thing On It by Shell Silverstein

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Oh the memories conjured up when I just think of Where the Sidewalk Ends or A Light in the Attic by Shell Silverstein. This newest collections of poems and drawings will not disappoint, will make you laugh, and compel children to say, “Read it again, please!”

I have lots of favorites from this latest book such as, Housebroken,  Forth Place, and Yesees and Noees.  But my very, very favorite is an homage to the title, Every Thing On It.  Such a simple idea––a hot dog with everything on it from a bee in a bonnet to a porch swing––only Silverstein could think of such an outlandish idea.  And if you need a little something extra to read about for Halloween, check out The One Who Invented Trick or Treat.

Shel Silverstein, he’s made millions of children (and adults) laugh.  He was a one-of-a-kind!