Summer Fit

Summer Fit (

(Summary taken from the back book cover.) “Keeping brains thinking & bodies active during school breaks is entertaining and engaging with Summer Fit workbooks and online games and activities. Created by educators, fitness trainers, and parents, Summer Fit activities focus on key areas of child development, including academics, physical fitness, and core values. Right now it might feel like a million years away, but the first day of the new school year will be soon upon us. With Summer Fit, your child will take a seat better prepared to handle the mental, physical and social challenges of the new school year.”

I have the K-1 Summer Fit book and I’m very impressed. You may not know it, but I have my degree in elementary education, so I was very interested in these books. Last summer I drove my kids crazy because every day they had 20 minutes of reading and 20 minutes of homework. I spent a lot of time on the Internet searching for the correct math problems and reading activities for my kids to do. They learned a lot and did great, but it took a lot of effort on my part. This book makes it easy! All I have to do is buy a book (I haven’t seen the older books so I’m hoping I won’t have to supplement.).

This is a great idea. Why didn’t I think of it??? The summer is broken down into weeks and then days. There is a page for each day of summer (I haven’t counted, but it’s got to be really close.). On this page there are some brain activities like math problems or reading activities. There are also some physical activities. The kids not only have to exercise their brains but their bodies as well. There are cardio and strength exercises that switch off. There are lots of ideas and there are more online as well. Then each week there is a value. The first one in this book is Honesty. There is a picture of Abraham Lincoln and it discusses his nickname “Honest Abe.” It talks about how honesty is important and why. I hope the values are the same in each book so it will be easier to discuss with my kids all at once, but I’m not sure. For each week there is a certificate to complete when the child finishes the weekly activities and there is an incentive. The incentive could be whatever you want. It could be a treat, but it could also be a trip to a local museum or a picnic at the park, or a family game of kickball in the backyard. I love this! There are also a lot of activities, games, and more challenging work pages online.

As a teacher I would definitely recommend these books to parents, and as a parent I am so glad that I don’t have to do all the work this summer! I love that it is not just for the brain, but for the body as well, and I love that it allows me to have fun with the kids while they are learning. I have the K-1 book but now I need the 2-3 and the 3-4 books as well!

Lily Hates Goodbyes

Lily Hates Goodbyes by Jerilyn Marler

(Summary taken from the back book cover) “Lily’s Daddy is in the military. Sometimes she has to say goodbye to him for about a billion days. She feels a swirl of unhappy emotions that can be scary. And she aches to feel connected to her Daddy. Join Lily as she learns how to cope with her emotions and to be happy in her daily life while she looks forward to joyfully saying hello when Daddy gets home. See the last page for the author’s suggestions to help your child get the most value from this book!”

The story of this book is so sweet. Ms. Marler’s granddaughter was having a very hard time dealing with her emotions while her Daddy was away with the Navy. Her mom and grandmother tried everything to help her cope, but nothing worked, until this story. This story gave Lily a “third person” with which to talk about feelings. Ms. Marler says, “Book Lily was mad. Book Lily was sad. Suddenly it wasn’t so scary for Real Lily to talk about those feelings.”

What a wonderful reason to create a story! And think how many military children will benefit from reading this book, and talking about it, as Ms. Marler did with her granddaughter. I think it is a beautiful story that will help children all over the world. It is useful to help children who have daddies that travel a lot, even if they travel for work. It could also be used to help children whose mommies are in the military or travel a lot. The characters are believable and there are many feelings discussed and ways to deal with those feelings. Thank you, Ms. Marler, for giving hope and help to famililes across the country. I have a neighbor whose husband is away with the military right now, so I am taking this book over to her this afternoon. I definitely recommend this book for any family who deals with parents being gone for long peiods of time.

Rating: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: Great for all ages!! And very helpful for those kids who need a way to cope with difficult feelings.

The Napping House

The Napping House by Audrey Wood, Illustrated by Don Wood

I love this book! Kids love this book as well! The story is so cute. A Grandma is napping on a bed and then all sorts of things start to nap on top of her, including a dog and a mouse. Then a flea comes along and…’ll have to read it to find out! The illustrations are amazing. I love the lighting in them because it gives such a sense of peace and rest. Then as the book goes on it gets lighter and lighter until….you’ll have to read it to find out! It’s fun for children because there are lots of ways to embellish it. It would be fun to predict what happens, to add your own animals and creatures to the mix, and to write your own version. It’s predictable enough that even small children pick up the patterns and can help read, yet it also has a fun element of surprise. This is a must-have for every children’s book collection. I definitely recommend it!

Rating: G (Completely clean!)

Recommendation: Great for all ages!

The Touch of the Master’s Hand

The Touch of the Master’s Hand by Myra Brooks Welch, Illustrated by Greg Newbold

The poem The Touch of the Master’s Hand was written by Myra Brooks Welch in 1921. I have heard it before and have always enjoyed it. It is very touching and has such a good moral in it. It is great for teaching children not to judge others, for teaching them to find the good in everyone, including themselves, and for reminding them that people can change. This book was illustrated by Greg Newbold. He used the poem as  it appeared in 1936, and added his beautiful illustrations.

I love this book. Mr. Newbold did a fabulous job with the illustrations. I love the attention to detail and the old-time feel in each of the paintings. On the page when the violinist is playing the violin you can almost hear the beautiful melody coming off the page. The lighting and the placement of the bird and the village make you feel like you are there and can hear the music. The man at the end of the book looking up is filled with such hope and you feel like you want him to succeed. I will be reading this to my children many times in the upcoming weeks and years.

Rating: G (Completely clean!)

Recommendation: Great for all ages!

I definitely recommend this book to everyone. It is a good, clean, uplifting book that teaches a wonderful lesson and is beautifully done.

Media Guests

Cowardly Clyde

Cowardly Clyde by Bill Peet

I love this book! I love Bill Peet’s books, and this is one of my favorite. I love that I can relate to Clyde. He is a very nervous horse who is the trusty sidekick of a brave knight. He runs away from his fears at first, but ends up proving himself in the end. I really enjoy Mr. Peet’s illustrations. This book is a very fun read-aloud and it’s also fun to read all by yourself. My nine-year-old saw the book out on the table and started reading because he likes it so much. It’s fun for all ages. Mr. Peet is so clever and the stories just come to life on the page. I love that I can hope to overcome my fears as Clyde overcomes his. This is a great story to teach courage and determination.

Rating: G  (The picture of the ogre may scare some smaller children, but my kids aren’t phased by it.)

Recommendation: Great for all ages.


Tuesday by David Wiesner

“Let your imagination take flight”   ~David Wiesner

I love this book! There is no summary because I don’t want to ruin anything! If you haven’t read this to your children you need to, it is so fun! Let me just say there are only about 7 words in this whole book. It is basically a word-less book, so it allows for your imagination to run wild. Kids love inserting their own words or just looking at the beautiful illustrations. It is a “Caldecott” winner. It is also fun to have them write their own version of it after you read it. There are so many places to go with this book.

Rating: G

Recommendation: Great for all ages!

Grandpa’s Teeth

Grandpa’s Teeth by Rod Clement

(Summary taken from the back book cover) ” ‘Help, I’ve been robbed! It’sth a disthasthter!’ Grandpa’s teeth, handmade by the finest Swiss craftsman, are gone–stolen from his bedside table! Grandpa suspects anyone who doesn’t smile widely enough to prove that their teeth are their own. Soon everyone in town is smiling–all the time–and their ghastly grins are frightening the tourists away. Can the culprit be caught before the whole town cracks up?”

This is a fun, great book! It is perfect for a read-aloud book. My kids love it, and my first graders loved it, because you have to read it as if you don’t have any teeth. It’s very funny. The kids laugh and laugh. The story is very cute and has a twist at the end. The illustrations are very well done and very creative. Some children don’t know what dentures are, and so you need to explain that, but once they get it, they love it. I chose this book as my first children’s book post because I think it is such a fun and creative book, and I think kids of all ages (and parents too) will enjoy this book. Happy reading!