Review of The Nantucket Sea Monster by Darcy Pattison

The Nantucket Sea Monster by Darcy Pattison

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Book Review of The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story by Darcy Pattison

Lately it seems like there has been a lot of discussion about fake news stories. I don’t think I’d heard much about fake news stories until just a few years ago. Because they have been focused on, it makes it seem like printing fake news stories is a new thing. Apparently it’s not! Which sadly makes me feel better. In 1937 there was a story printed about a sea monster off of the coast of Nantucket. Was it real? Were the people of Nantucket doomed to live in daily fear for their lives? Find out more in my book review of The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story by Darcy Pattison.

Blurb:

“Do you believe everything you read in the newspaper? Early in August 1937, a news flash came: a sea monster had been spotted lurking off the shore of Nantucket Island. Historically, the Massachusetts island had served as port for whaling ships. Eyewitnesses swore this wasn’t a whale, but some new, fearsome creature. As eyewitness account[s] piled up, newspaper stories of the sea monster spread quickly. Across the nation, people shivered in fear.

This nonfiction picture book is a perfect story to start discussions about non-political fake news stories.”

My Book Review:

I haven’t ever heard of this story before! I’m glad that Ms. Pattison has brought it to life for us to learn from. I think the story is well written. It explains the story well and is easy to read and understand. The fact that it’s a nonfiction picture book is great, of course.

The illustrations are a little different, but are bright colored and fun. It does have the feel of an earlier time; say maybe 1937? I think they’re well done, and I like the layout of the pages with the speech bubbles, the big headline font, and the quote boxes.

Reading this book to a class (or family) would be a great way to start a discussion about non-political fake news stories. It offers a safe way to discuss the pros and cons and the whys of fake news stories. I think it would be fun to split the class into two and have one half write real news stories and the other half write fake news stories. Then try to figure out which ones are which. It’d also be fun to have kids create their own sea monsters.

If nothing else, it’s a fun way to get kids interested in reading about history!  

Content Rating GRating: G (It’s clean!)

Recommendation: Everyone

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2InM6D0

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Hail to the Chief by Callista Gingrich What are You Thinking by Valerie Ackley  Discover America by Katherine Lee Bates
 
 

Make a Teacher Happy: Prevent Summer Brain!

Summer Fit 2-3

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Prevent Summer Brain with Summer Fit Workbooks!

Remember last fall when the kids went back to school and had forgotten most of what they’d learned the previous year? It’s called…Summer Brain. Ouch! All of that work–gone. How do you prevent Summer Brain? You have to be a mean mom and make the kids use their brains this summer. I know, it’s hard. I’ve grown callous to the mean summer mom eye rolls because I’ve been doing it for so long.  It’s a good thing, I promise.
 
I’ve tried a few different things like printing off my own packets, workbooks, and online programs. I finally settled on the Summer Fit workbooks. It’s so easy and mom friendly!
 

Why Use Summer Fit Workbooks to Prevent Summer Brain?

I have used the Summer Fit workbooks for a few years now, and I LOVE them!!! They have a level for each grade in elementary school (they start with pre-K and go to 8th grade), which is great. The workload is the perfect amount. Each day there is a page of reading and a page of math. It isn’t super hard, but it is hard enough to keep the kids from forgetting everything over the summer.
 
I love the Friday material. Every Friday is a value (compassion, determination…..that kind of thing), and it highlights a person who exemplifies that value. The kids do activities surrounding that value and person. Also, each day has an exercise for the kids to do. It’s not hard, but it gets them up and moving. And the great thing about these books is that it eliminates all the mom-work. There’s no searching the internet or printing off individual worksheets; it’s all right there in the book. It makes mom’s job so much easier!!! They even have a book for 7th and 8th graders, which is great because it’s harder to know what the older kids need. I highly recommend the Summer Fit workbooks!
 
 

Content Rating GRating: G (clean!!!)

 Recommendation: Pre-K to 8th grade

 

Which One Is Right For You?

(If you’d like to purchase a workbook, click on the image below.)

This post was first published on 5/23/16; Updated on 5/11/18.

Book Review of Rhyme Crime by Jon Burgerman

Rhyme Crime by Jon Burgerman

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Book Review of Rhyme Crime by Jon Burgerman

When I taught first grade, one of the things I would stress to parents was the importance of rhyming.  As a kid I learned all of the nursery rhymes and repeated them often. Rhyming is an important skill for beginning and early readers to master. I love it when rhyming is emphasized in children’s books because it reinforces that skill. So did this book live up to my expectations? Find out in my book review of Rhyme Crime by Jon Burgerman.

Blurb:

“Someone stole Hammy’s hat…and replaced it with a cat!

And Marlow’s happy smile…became a crocodile!

What rhyme crime is next? Is anyone safe? Good thing YOU are on the case!

From the creator of SPLAT! Comes more playful, irreverent, kid-empowering fun—with a rhyming twist.”

My Book Review:

Rhyming is such an important skill for beginning and early readers, so I love it when children’s books contain rhyming. I love the idea of this book. It has a very clever premise, and it’s funny. I mean, what kid wouldn’t laugh at a hat being replaced by a cat? Or by a smile being replaced by a crocodile? I know my kids and I would spend 15 minutes after reading this book laughing at all the other rhyme thefts we could come up with.

The mistake the thief makes is classic. Oops! I know my kids would enjoy that part too. So this book has a lot of good things going for it. I like the premise, the rhyming, the story, and the humor. Unfortunately though, I do not like the illustrations. They’re weird and kind of creepy. They might scare the children they should be entertaining. I don’t know though, because some of the cartoons that are popular right now also have weird looking characters. So maybe it’s just me.

Overall, I like this book. I wish the illustrations were a little less creepy, but other than that I think it’s a fun book. The rhyming is good and the humor makes it fun. It would make a good addition to any home or school library.

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: Everyone

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2rzeVpq

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood Laura's Star by Klaus Baumgart  Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by David Soman and Jacky Davis
 
 

Raising A Reader: How To Help a Struggling Reader

Child Reading Book to Doll

How To Help A Struggling Reader

I love this image! It’s my daughter when she was little. She’s twelve now, and of course she’s still cute, but this picture just melts my heart. She’s so little! Okay, back on track! When I taught first grade parents always asked me what they could do to help their child become a better reader. Even now, parents ask me how to help a struggling reader. My answer is always the same! READ to her!

Reading Aloud to Children

Did you know that in my state government officials plan for prisons based on first grade reading ability? That’s right. Crazy, huh? They take the reading ability of the first graders to plan for future prison needs. It’s a little scary to think about! If a child struggles to read through third grade, then there are resources set aside to help her. After third grade, the resources quickly decrease. If a child still struggles to read when she gets to junior high then there are very few resources to help, and even good teachers have moved on. It’s usually not a priority.  So what can parents do?

Today’s tip on how to help a struggling reader is the easiest and the most fun!

READ aloud to your children!!

Reading to your kids every day is the best way to help them enjoy reading. What is better than piling on the couch or the bed and enjoying a great book together? Not only is it good quality time together, it also teaches them to enjoy reading. It can be picture books or chapter books, depending on their age, but either way…….Just Read!!!

If we could get our parents to read to their preschool children fifteen minutes a day, we could revolutionize the schools. ~Dr. Ruth Love, Superintendent, Chicago Public Schools (1981)¹

The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.²

When my daughter (the one in the above photo) was in second grade, she really struggled with reading. She was my third child and I hate to admit that we had gotten busy and had not been as good at reading every day. At parent teacher conference her teacher told us how much she was struggling and I was surprised. I hadn’t realized! So what did we do? We started reading. A lot. I read aloud to her daily, and usually more than once a day. We read picture books and chapter books. I read aloud and I had her read aloud. 

What happened? She began to improve. It didn’t happen over night, but by fourth grade she was back where she needed to be. So good, in fact, that she read all of the Harry Potter books in fourth grade. She is now in sixth grade and is doing great. Her teacher gave her a goal of 40 books this year and she has read well over that. Reading aloud works to help struggling readers! They love the time together, they hear your pronunciation, your fluency, and your enjoyment. Struggling readers also learn vocabulary words and background knowledge. They learn that reading is enjoyable.

What about older kids?

My kiddos are getting big! My oldest is 16 (ahhh!), but they still ask me every night if we can read. It’s my favorite time of the day! I have all four kids in the same room with me, and I have their full and undivided attention! Start when they’re little and make it a priority. Beware though! Once you start they won’t want to stop! If they’re big now, it’s ok, start now! There are fun books to read to older kids too! We’re reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman at the moment. Before that we read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. (Just in case you’re wondering, the book is WAY better than the movie!)

I hope this helps you to know how to help your struggling reader! Here are some of the books I’ve read to my kids over the years. Click on the image to read my review!

The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood   The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks   Frindle by Andrew Clements   The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary   The BFG by Roald Dahl   Mr Poppers Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater   Charlotte's Web by E.B. White   The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl    the chocolate touch   the hundred dresses   The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo 

¹The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease p. xi

²The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease p. 3

This post was first published on 2/4/14; updated on 5/3/18.

Book Review of Sleep Train by Jonathan London

Sleep Train by Jonathan London

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Book Review of Sleep Train by Jonathan London

One of my favorite things to do is read to my kids before bed. I love that time we share together. Children’s books are especially fun to read because we can take the time to look at the illustrations. I hope you enjoy my book review of Sleep Train by Jonathan London.

Blurb:

Night is falling.

A steam whistle softly calls.

A yawn begins.

It’s time to slip under the covers

And catch the sleep train. . . .

 

I count the ten sleepy cars

instead of counting sheep.

And I’ll count those cars

until I go to sleep.

My Book Review:

I have mixed emotions about this book. On one hand, I like the idea of the book. It has a cute premise. The little boy is in bed at home, and instead of counting sheep to go to sleep, he counts the train cars. His imagination puts him on the sleep train to help him doze off. On the other hand, I didn’t love the execution. It’s supposed to be in rhyme, and a lot of it is. However, I’m not sure what happens with some of it because the rhyming just isn’t there. It’s kind of in and out, and the formatting isn’t consistent.  

I like many of the illustrations and their dream-like feel, but I’m sorry…the little boy looks a little creepy when he’s on the train. He looks fine in the beginning when he’s in his room, but once he’s on the train, he looks like one of those creepy marionette or ventriloquist puppets. I do like the illustrations of the train and its cars though.

The most important part of a children’s book is if the kids will like it. I think they will still enjoy it despite its flaws. Many children love trains, and those children, especially, will have fun with this book.

 

Content Rating GRating: G (It’s clean!)

Age Recommendation: Everyone

Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

If you would like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2HOIyws

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood Nina the Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy  Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by David Soman and Jacky Davis
 
 

 

 

Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by David Soman

Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by David Soman and Jacky Davis

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Book Review of Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by David Soman and Jacky Davis

I am a sucker for children’s books! I love them! Maybe it’s sentimental; it goes back to when I was a child and my mom read to me. In any case, I still love children’s books even though my kiddos are all getting big. They love them too because they’ll still pull out the picture books and read them occasionally. Please enjoy my book review of Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs by David Soman and Jacky Davis.

Blurb:

“At the farmers’ market, Lulu spies some adorable furry friends. These rescue dogs need to be brushed, played with, and given water. But more than anything, they need forever homes! Lulu can’t adopt all the dogs herself, but maybe Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad can work together to make a difference. This might be their most important mission ever!”

 

My Book Review:

Where have I been? Did you know there are already 11 Ladybug Girl books? This book makes number 12. She is so cute! If I ever go back to teaching first grade, I’ll need the whole set for sure! The illustrations in this book are adorable! My niece’s name is Lucy and we call her Lulu, so I think Aunt Monica better give this book to her for her birthday!

Along with darling illustrations, Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs also has a great message. Lulu sees the dogs that don’t have homes and wants to help. Of course, her mom says no to adopting them all, so she needs to think of other ways to help. I like that Lulu is helpful in the story. She doesn’t wait around waiting for directions, she takes initiative.

Lulu gets the dogs water, brushes them, and plays with them. At this point she’s joined by the Bug Squad who helps her in her mission. The impromptu dog parade is my favorite part. I like that this book teaches children to help without being asked. It also teaches children that even though they are small, they can still help change the world in small ways.

Dog lovers, children, moms, Ladybug Girl wannabes, teachers, and grandparents will all love this book.  

 

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Everyone!

Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you would like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2IZrDEn

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood Laura's Star by Klaus Baumgart  Nina the Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy
 
 

Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? by Jory John

Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back by Jory John

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Book Review of Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back by Jory John

Have you ever experienced that annoying itch that won’t go away? It’s the worst when you can’t reach it! You’re trying to scratch it with a pen or a wooden spoon handle, but nothing works. That’s what happens to Elephant in this story. Poor guy. I hope you enjoy my book review of Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back by Jory John. 

Blurb:

“This elephant has an itch.
Can any of the other animals help him scratch his back?
Dynamic duo Jory John and Liz Climo present a hilarious and heartwarming(ish) tale of perseverance, creativity, and helping others (well…most of the time).”
 

My Review:

This is such a cute book! I love the adorable little elephant. The illustrations are well done and so darling. I like the font too. Is that weird? Did you know I have a secret love of different fonts? I know, I’m crazy. A lot of the pages in this book are very simple. There’ll just be one little picture with a speech bubble, but it works well. All the different animals are so fun. My favorite is the crocodile; he’s hilarious! I love his big grin. And elephant’s reaction to him is perfect. Oh, the sloth is great too! Haha!
 
Crocodile in Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back
Photo Credit: Amazon.com
 
 
Elephant gets more and more desperate with each page you turn, and he gets more frustrated too. With his frustration, he may get a little more cranky as well, which is understandable. So sometimes he’s not as polite or as grateful as he should be. This is the perfect opportunity for parents and teachers to talk about manners and being grateful when people help us. 
 
I think this is a darling story. Even though my kids are big, I think I’ll read it to them. My nine-year-old will still enjoy it, at least! This book will make a great addition to any home or class library. And now please excuse me while I go scratch my back (all this talk about itches is making my back itch)!
 
 

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Everyone

Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you would like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2EFIids

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood Hail to the Chief by Callista Gingrich  The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman
 
 

Book Review of Bus! Stop! by James Yang

Bus! Stop! by James Yang

Book Review of Bus! Stop! by James Yang

Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love children’s books. There’s just something about a children’s book that takes you back to your childhood. I still love reading them to my kids even though my kids are bigger now. So, whenever the opportunity to review a children’s book comes up, I jump on it. I thought the concept of Bus! Stop! by James Yang sounded fun, so I said I would review it.

Blurb:

Wait!
 
A boy has just missed his bus.
 
Good thing other buses are stopping.
 
But they don’t look like his bus.
 
And the bus riders look different too….
 
Should he try another bus?
Stop! Bus!
 

My Book Review:

I thought this book sounded so cute! Many people, including me, have had to run for a bus only to see it drive away. It’s always a stressful situation because you have to find a schedule to see when the next (correct) bus will come. You could be late for work or school, so you’re worried about that. Will the next bus be on time? How long will I need to wait? All those things run through your mind. It would be even worse as a child.

When the boy in the book misses his bus, he stays there and waits. He’s all alone (where is his mother?), and he ends up waiting. Several different buses pass, and each one looks completely different. The passengers look different too. Some of the buses look more fun than his bus does, but he keeps waiting. He waits all day. It’s now dark (again, where is his mother?), and a bus passes by that looks fun. The boy decides to take that bus, so he gets on, and away he goes!

The illustrations in Bus! Stop! are different. They’re not cutesy; they are fantastical, but also a little strange. I do like the bright colors of the illustrations, and I like the creativeness. The words are repetitive, so it does help beginning readers, but they are also quite sparse. There’s not much to read. I wish that there was a bit more to the story.

My main concern with this book is that this small boy is left alone all day long, and then he just gets on some random bus and goes. He doesn’t know where he’s going, and no one else knows where he is.  I understand where the author is going. He’s saying that sometimes we need to think outside the box and try something different and fun. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I don’t think this context is the place to do that. Children can’t just get on random buses and explore. It’s a good lesson for a different context. This would be a good opportunity for parents to discuss rules and safety.

It is a fun book to discuss creativity, how people are unique and have different styles, and what to do if you miss your bus. I think it would also be the fun start to an art project about creative ways to get where we want to go (transportation).

 

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Everyone

Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

To purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2GLJstZ

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood Nina the Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy  Remember the Ladies by Callista Gingrich
 
 

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler

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Book Review of Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter: Children's Edition by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler

Stores start stocking those yummy mini Cadbury eggs in February! Consequently, it’s easy to get caught up in the commercial aspects of Easter. It’s easy to forget the real reason we celebrate Easter. Celebrating A Christ-Centered Easter: Children’s Edition by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler can help your family remember.  

Blurb:

“Discover how the people around Jesus during the week of His Crucifixion and Resurrection can lead your family closer to Christ this Easter season. This children’s edition of Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter will guide you through seven meaningful traditions inspired by the people closest to the Savior during His holy week.

These simple experiences are not meant to add chores or stress to a reverent holiday season but to offer something different. They will give your family an opportunity to slow down from the candy and egg hunts and instead spend time reflecting on the Savior’s ultimate sacrifice and triumphant Resurrection.

This interactive book invites children to get to know various people in Christ’s life during those sacred days and to discover the lessons they learned in their encounters with Him. It encourages children to ask what they might have done if they had been there on the days when Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

Seven colorful Easter ornaments have been created to accompany the lesson each person teaches. Displaying the ornaments throughout the Easter holiday will remind your children of the lessons they are learning from Christ’s magnificent act. Download the ornaments at christcenteredcelebrations.com.”

 

My Review:

You know me; I love children’s books, especially holiday books. We have several Easter books, and even though my children are getting older, they still enjoy reading them. This book will be a fabulous addition to our Easter collection. You start reading it on the Sunday before Easter, and you read one section a day. On each day you read the scriptural account, you learn about a person, and you do a very small activity. There are ornaments to go with each day that you may download from the website to help remind you. I like that it takes the focus off the Easter Bunny and all the candy, and puts it back on the Savior. The illustrations are beautiful. I like this book a lot, and am excited to read it with my children this week.

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Toddlers and up

Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

To purchase this book click here: https://amzn.to/2DYgKQk

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

  ChristCenteredHome  Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler  Even This by Emily Belle Freeman

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!

Happy Birthday To You by Dr. Seuss

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!

 March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’ Birthday!
 
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
 
~Dr. Seuss
 
Dr. Seuss
Photo Credit: amazon.com
 

It’s Dr. Seuss’ Birthday!

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts to Theodore and Henrietta Geisel. His mother’s maiden name was Seuss, and it was also his middle name. While at Dartmouth College, he worked on the school’s humor magazine, called the Jack-O-Lantern, until he and his friends were caught having a drinking party, which was not allowed. Consequently, the school let him go from that position. Apparently he still wanted to write because he continued to contribute to the magazine under the name “Seuss.”

Theodor’s father wanted him to be a college professor, and so after Dartmouth he went to Oxford University in England. He became bored, though, and ended up touring Europe instead. While he was there he met Helen Palmer. They later married, and she became a children’s book author.
 
When he returned home from Europe, he tried many different careers. At first he tried to be a cartoonist. He did publish a few things, but that career never took off. Then he ended up working for Standard Oil for 15 years creating their advertising campaigns. Towards the beginning of WWII, he began contributing political cartoons to PM Magazine. He also worked on creating training movies. After working on the illustrations for a collection of children’s sayings for Viking Press, which didn’t do well, he wrote the book And To Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street. 27 publishers rejected it before Vanguard Press published it.
 

Dr. Seuss is born!

 
It was his next book, The Cat in the Hat, that really began his career. The project was a joint effort between Houghton-Mifflin and Random House, and they asked him to write a story using “only 225 ‘new-reader’ vocabulary words.”(1) Lucky for us, it worked! That began his career writing children’s books using the ‘new-reader’ words.
 
Dr. Seuss passed away on September 24, 1991. At the time of his death he had written and illustrated 44 children’s books. Over 200 million copies of his books have been sold, and he was awarded “two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award and the Pulitzer Prize.”(1) 


Our home library has many Dr. Seuss books in it, and they have been read many, many times! My children have loved them, and the kids I taught at school also loved them. Dr. Seuss is beloved by many, and has contributed to my love of reading as well as my kids’ love of reading. Thank you Dr. Seuss for your creativity, determination, and imagination!
 

 Here are some great links to Dr. Seuss information and activities!!!

 
 
 
 
 
Doesn’t this sound like so much fun? You have the kids scan the qr code and they can
listen to the stories. Click the photo to go to the activity.
 
Click on the above photo to find the Dr. Seuss cut and paste bingo!
 
How fun to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day with a fun photo booth! Click on the image for the link.
 
Everyone loves cootie catchers! Click on the above photo to make yours!
 
 
 
Have fun celebrating today!!!
   
 
 

This post was first published 3/2/17; updated on 3/2/18.