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'Tis the Season to Bake!


'Tis the season to bake! From whopper cakes to massive puddings, children will enjoy these outrageous stories and recipes.

 

Cover of Whopper CakeWhopper Cake: It’s Grandma’s birthday and Grandpa has grand plans to bake a whopper chocolate cake. This is not any ordinary cake, it is a gigantic cake that takes ten bags of flour, 86 eggs and an oar to mix it all up. “Eureka!” Grandpa cries as he mixes all of the ingredients in the pickup bed of his old jalopy. Grandma and her neighbors are in for a treat!

 

Karma Wilson tells a rhyming and delightful story of an eccentric Grandpa who celebrates his wife’s birthday with an oversized surprise.  Will Hillenbrand’s colorful, ink and egg tempera illustrations enhance the exaggerated escapades, emphasizing the whopper mess Grandpa inevitably makes while preparing his surprise.

 

(Recipe for Whopper Cake included at the end of the book)

 

Cover of Wild Boars CookWild Boars Cook: Boris, Morris, Horace and Doris may not be the nicest, friendliest or neatest friends, but they know how to have a good time. The fabulously stinky and hungry wild boars are back and this time they are hungry. Their recipe for Massive Pudding calls for all sorts of zany ingredients including sugar, donuts, bananas and squid. Find out if they like their concoction and if it is enough to satisfy their hunger.

 

Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackall team up again for another adventure with the wild boars. Their first book Meet Wild Boars was a huge success and Wild Boars Cook is a welcome follow-up. Rossoff humorously describes all of the destruction the boars leave in their wake as they crunch and munch their way through the house. Blackall’s ink and watercolor rendering turns these otherwise stinky, greedy and rude creatures into lovable characters.

 

(Recipe for Massive Cookie included at the end of the book) 



Pirate Stories?


Pirate vs Pirate coverAhoy Matey!  Do you have a little one who just loves pirate stories?  Well, there are some excellent pirate children's picture books for pre-schoolers to 1st graders.  Mary Quattlebaum has an excellent tale about Mean Mo, the mightiest girl pirate ever, and Bad Bart, the baddest boy pirate in the world, who meet to compete to see who is the greatest in Pirate vs Pirate.  The two pirates meet only to find that they are equals and that they "like" each other.  God forbid!  A union of pirates, but that's for another tale. 

 

The Pirates Next Door coverAnother tale equally appealing, is The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle.  A beloved pirate family sail into a lazy seaside town to the amazement of its neighbors.  "Who are they?" they wondered.  The pirate family was certainly different, and they did things that nobody else did.  The town soon learns that though they are different they are still lovely family. 

 

This Little Pirate coverThe third tale is This Little Pirate by Philemon Sturges.  A spin-off from the rhyme "This little piggy,"  this story takes place on a deserted island where two groups of piggy pirates discover a treasure chest.  The battle that ensues batters both sides until a truce is called, and both sides open the chest to discover party supplies of food and musical instruments.  A light-hearted tale, This Little Pirate is sure to delight your little one.



Three Kings Day


Hooray for Three King's Day book coverHurray for Three Kings' Day, written by Lori Marie Carlson and illustrated by Ed Martinez is a story about a girl named Anita and her family, and how they celebrate the Three Kings Day, also known as Epiphany.   The family's celebration begins on the evening of January 5, and continues into the evening of January 6.   This book is also available in Spanish.   



The Legend of Old Befana book coverThe Legend of Old Befana: an Italian Christmas Story, retold and illustrated by Tomie de Paola is a gentle story about Old Befana, who visits the children of Italy on the Feast of the Three Kings to leave them gifts.

 

 

Strega Nona's Gift book coverStrega Nona's Gift is another delightful story by Tomie de Paola.  The reader learns about many Italian holidays, including the Eve of Epiphany, where it is believed that all animals can talk.   The author recommends another book, Celebrating Italy by Carol Field for additional information about Italian holidays.  

 

All of these books have interesting plots, cultural details, and beautiful illustrations.   Happy Reading!



Months of the Year


Would you like to teach your child or children the months of the year?   Any time is a good time to start; however, January is an especially good time.

Here are some fun picture books to help them learn the about months of the year.   

A Kitten's Year Book CoverA Kitten's Year, written by Nancy Raines Day, and illustrated by Anne Mortimer shows a gray and white kitten participating in various activities throughout the month, growing with each beautifully illustrated page.   This book is also available in Chinese.  

 

 


Parade Day Book CoverParade Day: Marching Through the Calendar Year, written and illustrated by Bob Barner shows parades for each month of the year.   The back of the book has information about the months of the year as well as some holidays during each month.  There are also directions how to create and decorate a calendar out of paper.

 


Snowy, Flowy, Blowy Book CoverSnowy Flowy Blowy: a Twelve Months Rhyme, written and illustrated by Nancy Tafuri shows a word for each month accompanied by seasonal scenery.   This is a great book for chidren learning about rhyming words.



Winter Activity Ideas


Has the winter weather and shorter daylight hours created more indoor time for your family? This is the perfect opportunity to capture the moment with winter-themed activities.  Young children can learn a little bit about hibernation, elementary-school aged kids can conduct cool winter-themed science projects and kids of all ages can enjoy making snowflakes for all occasions.

 

Here are a few titles to help you get started.

 

Book cover for "Under the Snow" by Melissa StewartUnder the Snow
This beautifully illustrated book provides an interesting look at how animals adapt to living in winter conditions. Author Melissa Stewart, an award-winning science writer, captures the quiet and calm of winter days. This is a perfect read-aloud for young, budding scientists.

 

 

Book cover for "Explore Winter: 25 Great Ways to Learn about Winter" by Maxine AndersonExplore Winter: 25 Great Ways to Learn about Winter
Aimed at elementary school-aged children, this book is chockful of experiments that can be conducted at home with common household items. Science concepts are introduced, vocabulary defined, and simple activities are provided that emphasize the subject. There are also fun facts and jokes interspersed throughout the book that kids enjoy.

 

 

Book cover of Snowflakes for all SeasonsSnowflakes for All Seasons
Tired of the same old snowflakes patterns? This book has an abundance of ideas to craft one of their distinctive snowflakes. You can also learn different techniques for creating your own unique snowflake for different occasions. Who knew you could have so much fun with just a pair of scissors and paper?

 



Happy New Year!


Happy New Year! coverRinging in the New Year is done in many cultures, in many different ways, and at many different times of the year. Emery Bernhard's book, Happy New Year!, brightly illustrated by Durga Bernhard, introduces children to many different traditions from around the world. The book explores ancient and modern traditions from such varied places as Rome, Egypt, Bali, Ecuador, China and Japan. Adults are bound to learn new things from this book too!



The Missions of California Books Online!


The Missions of California cover

Are your kids always telling you last minute that they have a project on a Mission and when you get to the library all the books are checked out? Worry no more! The Missions of California Books are available in digital format online at sjpl.org. Go to our catalog and do a keyword search for "missions of california." Then click the link on the mission your child has to do report for then type "missions" for username and password and you're set. All the same information online ready for you at anytime.



A Book is the Best Present


Are you trying to squeeze in some last minute gift-shopping for a child in your life?  I may be biased since I'm a librarian but the best gift you could give a child is a really great book.

 

Cover of Stuart Little by E.B. WhiteOn Christmas Eve, my family always exchanged gifts and when I was 9, I was given a copy of Stuart Little by E.B. White.  I spent most of the next day curled up on the couch immersed in the world of that little mouse who was adopted by a family and went on some great adventures.  What a wonderful memory for me.

 

All children should have books of their own to keep and to read over and over.  According to research studies, the number of books in the home is one of several factors directly connected to reading achievement in kindergarteners.  Books to own don't have to be expensive.  Many schools have programs for purchasing inexpensive paperback copies of books.  And the Friends of the Library always have lots of gently used books at great prices for children of any reading level.

 

If you need help selecting a great book for a child, check in with us at the Library and ask for some recommendations. 

 

Cover of Can't You Sleep Little Bear?  by Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth
Aside from Stuart Little - which is about at third grade level, here are a couple more of my favorites.  Can't You Sleep Little Bear? - by Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth is a sweet book for a preschool aged child about a little bear who needs a very special night light. 

 

 

Cover of I Will Surprise My Friend! by Mo Willems I Will Surprise My Friend! by Mo Willems is a beginning to read book so hilarious, you'll be laughing out loud the whole time you read it.  Elephant and Piggie are an unlikely pair of best friends, but they are so much alike and so very silly. 

 

Cover of Hatchet by Gary PaulsenHatchet by Gary Paulsen is a book that will grab the attention of any middle-schooler no matter how much they say they don't like to read.  A boy is the sole survivor of a plane crash and must make it on his own in the wilderness.  This book is short and the story is so compelling, you can't put it down!

 

 

So even if you've finished your holiday shopping, get one more present for the child in your life - make it a book - and make it a holiday tradition!



¡Feliz Navidad!


Feliz Navidad is a fun book in which artist David Diaz created pictures accompanying the lyrics of the beloved song “Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano.   The reader views beautiful illustrations of Christmas celebrations in Puerto Rico as well as in colder climates.

 

In the book Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid, written and illustrated by Xavier Garza, Santa Claus needs some extra help delivering gifts to children who live along the Texas/Mexico border.  Whom does Santa Claus ask?   Vincent’s uncle:  Tío Pancho, also known as “Charro Claus.”

 

The Legend of the Poinsettia, retold and illustrated by Tomie DePaola, is a retelling of a Mexican legend about the origin of poinsettia flowers, also known as flores de Navidad and flores de la Nochebuena.   This book is also available in Spanish

 

Pablo's Christmas, written by Hugo C. Martín, illustrated by Lee Chapman is a story about Pablo and his family in Mexico, and how they adapt to changes.  

 

Too Many Tamales, written by Gary Soto and illustrated by Ed Martinez is a story about a family celebrating Christmas Eve by making tamales.    This title is also available in eAudiobook format, Spanish book, and  Spanish Book and CD Kit.

 

Feliz Navidad Book Cover Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid book cover Legend of the Poinsettia book cover Pablo's Christmas Book Cover Too Many Tamales Book Cover



Hanukkah Stories for Children and Families


 

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah book coverHanukkah, Oh Hanukkah by Susan L. Roth is a nicely illustrated book depicting adorable mice celebrating Hanukkah. The "Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah" song that starts out with the words "Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, oh light the menorah" accompanies the colorful collage illustrations. Susan L. Roth's website contains other pictures from her books, as well as some pages describing her collage techniques.

 

Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap book coverEngineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap, written by Deborah Bodin Cohen, and illustrated by Shahar Kober, features Ari, a train engineer who steers his train toward his destination.   On the way, Ari sees a camel is resting on the railroad tracks.   What will happen next?   Will Ari get to celebrate with his friends in time?   Read and find out!  

 

Letter on the Wind Book CoverHayim, the poorest man in the village, asks the local scribe write a letter to the Almighty. In his letter, Hayim requests enough oil to light all menorahs in town. Will Hayim receive a response? Read Letter on the Wind: a Chanukah Tale, written by Sarah Marwil Lamstein, and illustrated by Neil Waldman in order to find out!