Monday, January 23, 2012

I love Pete the Cat!

Do you know Pete?  On my most recent trip to the book store, I spotted a picture book with the most adorable cat on the cover...  "Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes."  Pete introduces colors in a fun, musical way. 

Pete has a pair of white shoes that he LOVES.  He loves them so much that he sings a song about it!  As he walks around, he keeps stepping in messy stuff that change the color of his shoes.  Pete never gets upset, he loves his red shoes, blue shoes, brown shoes, and wet shoes!  He sings a song about each one.

My daughter loves anything musical, so I knew we had to get this book!  I didn't get it right away because it's listed at $16.99!  But I won't complain because I do love using the local library.  We love reading the same book over and over, so I do like to buy. I am glad Pete has made his way into our library.

The best parts:
1. Its simple.  Pete's shoes go through 5 changes: white, red, blue, brown, and wet.
2. Its repetitive.  With each color change, the text repeats with minor changes.  Kids love that!
3. Plot has a circular pattern.  His shoes start out white and end up white, wet but white. 
4. Free reading of the story set to music is available FREE online!

The worst parts:
1. Its too short... WE WANT MORE PETE!
2. I don't like the brown page, it looks like Pete is drinking coffee.  I guess it could be hot chocolate. 
3. I love the color changes, but when Pete gets blueberries on his red shoes, I think his shoes should be purple, not blue.  But since my daughter is too young to know that, I guess it doesn't matter.
4. The free story download doesn't follow the text exactly.  So it wouldn't work very well for reading along.  Young readers might get confused.

I say, add Pete to your library!  He is so much fun!  And don't forget to download the free story and song! 

Pete the Cat Story and Song Download  plus some downloadable Pete the Cat activities!

Harper Collins features this youtube video.  It's cute but the little girl isn't always clear.  video

Pete's website:

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Wondering About Color Wonder? Review

My daughter is almost 20 months old.  So, I thought it was time to start some more structured learning times during the day.  As I looked around for learning supplies and activities, I discovered it is VERY difficult to find anything that is appropriate for the under 2 crowd.  So, I started buying things labeled for 3 and up.

Its been about 10 years since I taught preschool, and its been a little difficult for me to get back into the early childhood mindset.  I created about 90% of my lessons back then, because my budget was small.  Believe it or not, it was $100 for the YEAR.  That was $100 total for the whole building!  We had one toddler room, one preschool room, and before and after-school care up to age 12.  The $100 was for crayons, paper, pencils, balls, toys... everything we needed had to come from the $100!  I don't know how I did it!

It just goes to show you that I'm no stranger for pulling lessons and activities out of the air.  But I must admit, I am struggling to find activities that my daughter is willing to do.  (Thank goodness she loves books.)

Wandering around Kmart last week, I spotted the Color Wonder finger paint set.  At $10 for a teeny amount of paint and 12 sheets of paper, I thought "RIP-OFF!"  Plus it said ages 3 and up.  I wondered if I would be wasting my money on a 20 month old.

As you probably guessed, I bought it.  I thought it would sit in the closet for a few months, till I thought she was ready.  I pulled it out this morning, thinking we could make a "Happy Birthday" sign for my husband.  I thought he would feel special that her very first painting was made just for him.

I sat her at the kitchen table, strapped into her booster seat.  I laid out the double wide Color Wonder paper and popped open the orange well on the very cute, plastic Color Wonder hand.  I dipped my finger into the gooey, clear paint.  It looked and felt a little like Vaseline, only goopier and not greasy.  I smeared it smoothly on the paper, saying, "look here, see?"  We both looked.  Nothing.  No orange.  I smeared some more.  It slowly turned orange.  But guess what, she wasn't looking anymore!  When she looked, she clearly didn't understand that I had put that orange there.  It was too much of a delay. 

I then picked up some more paint and smeared it on the paper.  I kept rubbing my finger on the spot until the color appeared.  That seamed to help her get it.  Next, I showed her how to dip her finger into the paint and smear.  She tried to eat it twice.  It must not have tasted very good because she did get a very big blob into her mouth, but it slid right out.  The goopiness of the paint kept it as a solid in her mouth... MAJOR PLUS!

She loved the plastic hand and the lids on the paint.  She spent most of the time trying to open and close them.  She liked it best when she had a big blob to smear.  I'm still not sure she understood that she was coloring the paper.  I think she liked the smearing part.

I went onto Amazon to see what other moms thought of this product, more precisely what moms of older kids thought.  It seems that many kids do not like the texture.  For older kids, it doesn't seem to be enough paint.  The best feature appears to be the mess free clear paint.

Thinking of my preschool classes of the past, I think this is not the right paint for 3 and up.  The lag time from clear to color is too great.  Preschoolers do have some precision to their painting and they need to SEE what they are doing.  The goopy quality would also hinder any preschool age precision.  The paint seemed to work best when my daughter took handfuls and smeared with the palm of her hand.  I recommend that Crayola rethink the age on this and recommend it for 18- 36 months.

In the end, I do recommend it... but don't replace traditional finger paint with it.  This is a nice addition to your art bin.  And tape your paper down!

Find it:

Crayola Color Wonder Paint

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review or Review of My Brain: You Be the Judge!

Its no secret around this house that I enjoy "The Mysterious Benedict Society" series.  When I heard that a "Mysterious Benedict Society" puzzle book was coming out, I nearly died from pure joy!!!  I love puzzle books too.  They must be making this book just for me!!!

On my latest trip to Barnes and Noble, I spotted it on the shelf.  With great self control, I didn't crack the cover till I got home.  Not one flip!  I wanted a cup of coffee and a few cookies... a sleeping toddler wouldn't hurt either.

I sat down in my old, half-broken recliner, put my feet up, sipped my coffee and turned to the first page:

                               Dear Reader,
                               ...these individuals have developed a wish to see their owns wits tested...

That's ME!!  I want to test my wits!

Excitement was building. 

I reigned it in, because, after all, this was a KID'S book.  Would it really test my wits?  Would it even hold my attention?

I turned to the first puzzle.  It looks like the newspaper advertisement for "Special Opportunities" from the beginning of book 1.  Ok, that's cool.  Is it a puzzle?  Hmmm.  I'm not sure.  I turn to the next puzzle.

A riddle.  I'm not very good at riddles.  "The Message in the Advertisements."  Do I use the newspaper clipping from the previous page?  Hmmm.  I'm not sure.  I turn to the next puzzle.

Morse code.  Turn.

"The Maze of Pages."  Followed by 9 black pages with eyes.  What is this???  I have no idea!!!

I start flipping through the book.  Trying to find something I can understand!   The only parts I get are the quotes from the series that are in between the puzzles.

My husband looks over from the couch and asks, "How's the book?"

"Its great!" fake excitement fills my voice.  To myself, I wonder, "Is this book really bad?  or am I just this dumb?"

The world may never know...

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"The Mysterious Benedict Society: Mr. Benedict's Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious Conundrums "  Trenton Lee Stewart

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316181935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316181938
  • Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    What I am supposed to do with a blog???

    What am I supposed to do with a blog???  I know everyone has one, right?  You should get one, right?  Well here I am with nothing to say and no one to read it, right?!

    So, here's my plan.  I'm going to try to write every week.  I'll review books.  I'll write about teaching my daughter.  I'll write about lessons.  I'll write about writing.  My free time for doing all this depends on my daughter's nap. 
    So we are all the whim of a 1 1/2 year old!!! 




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