Arbordale Costume Contest!

The fall air is crisp as the temperatures drop, as the pumpkins find their way to front doors across the country, children begin to plan a great transformation. On October 31st everyone has the opportunity to become someone or something else. Well, when you are not sure what to be for Halloween Arbordale books are here to help make your decision easier.

Here is a reading list for your last minute costume ideas:

 

Fur and Feathers

FurFeathers_187By Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein

When Sophia dreams that howling winds whisk the fur and feathers right off her animal friends, she shares some of her clothes with them. But her clothing doesn’t work well for the animals. Seeing their disappointment, she offers to sew each one the “right” coat. Animals line up to explain what they need and why. Polar Bear needs white fur to stay warm and hide in the snow. Fish needs scales, but with slime. Snake needs scales too, but dry ones. And how will Sophia make a prickly coat for Porcupine? The award-winning team of Halfmann and Klein (Little Skink’s Tail) reunite to bring animal coverings (and classification) to life in an imaginative way.

 

If a Dolphin were a Fish

Dolphin_187By Loran Wlodarski, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein

“If a Dolphin Were a Fish” is the clever story of a dolphin who imagines that she is a fish, a turtle, a bird, an octopus, or even a shark or manatee. She (and the readers) learn just how special she really is and how special each of her other sea animal friends are too. The Creative Minds section has teaching trivia, crafts and games related to dolphins and some of her sea-creature friends.

 

If You were a Parrot

Parrot_187By Katherine Rawson, illustrated by Sherry Rogers

“If You Were a Parrot” is a whimsical book that has the child imagining what life would be like if he or she were a pet parrot. The parrot’s special feet allow it to climb curtains, bookshelves, and plants. The hooked beak lets the parrot chew all kinds of great food: seeds, nuts, chair legs, popsicles sticks and all, and even a telephone directory! Join the parrot as it goes through its daily routine of climbing, chewing, eating, bathing, and finally, snuggling down for the night after a long day of parrot fun. The “For Creative Mind” section has parrot teaching trivia, crafts and games to supplement learning.

 

Little Skink’s Tail

Skink_187By Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein

While Little Skink hunts yummy ants for breakfast, she is suddenly attacked by a crow! But she has a trick to escape she snaps off her tail, and it keeps on wiggling! Little Skink is happy to be alive, but she misses her bright blue tail. Little Skink’s Tail follows Little Skink as she daydreams of having the tails of other animals in the forest. Readers will enjoy pretending with her, trying on tail after tail. The first is too puffy-fluffy, and another too stinky! Then one day Little Skink gets a big surprise and she doesn’t have to dream of tails anymore. The “For Creative Minds” section has information on tail adaptations and communications and a mix-and-match tail activity.

Tweet us your costume pictures @arbordalekids by October 31 and one lucky winner will get a copy of all four of these books!

Weather predicting rodent: why February 2nd is significant

groundhogSpring seems so far away, yet it is almost time for Punxsutawney Phil, Staten Island Chuck, General Beauregard Lee, and many others to emerge from their winter den to predict the weather for the remainder of winter. While there is not much actual science behind the holiday, this rodent’s prediction is highly coveted as the hope for an early end to the icy, snowy weather is anticipated.

Where did the idea for this holiday come from? February 2nd has been a significant day in winter for centuries. This date reflects the midpoint of winter, halfway between the solstice and the equinox. From the Pagan holiday (Ibolc) to the Christian holiday (Candlemas), many past celebrations have marked this midwinter point.

The first mention of weather prediction on Candlemas day comes from the Germans. This date was also a day for the farmers to assess their feed supply, and predict if they would have ample supply for the remainder of the season, or skinny cows come spring.

The early German settlers brought their weather predicting traditions to America. Instead of a hedgehog, or a badger the groundhog fit the bill to be woken from his hibernation and predict the duration of the remaining winter. The first reference to Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania was in 1841, the first reporting in the newspaper was in 1886, and the first time Punxsutawney Phil emerged from Gobbler’s Knob was one year later in 1887.

Through 2013 Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow 100 times predicting more winter, and only 17 times has he predicted an early spring. What will the prediction be in 2014? Find out at 7:30 on Sunday morning.

Celebrate with this groundhog coloring page! And learn more in Prairie Storms by Darcy Pattision.

February-Coloring-Page-72

 

Information for this post gathered from http://www.groundhog.org/, and mental_floss http://mentalfloss.com/article/29889/where-did-groundhog-day-come.

September is National Literacy Month

The month of September is National Literacy Month.  In celebration of literacy, our featured ebook for September will be “Animalogy: Animal Analogies.”  This beautifully illustrated book makes use of animals’ characteristics and actions to teach children about analogies.

Our homepage features a free ebook every month, so go and check it out!

Take advantage of this time with your kids and teach them different ways to make reading fresh and fun! There are all sorts of ways to get children excited about picking up the next new read.  Involve your child by reading with feeling and emotion, or letting them guess what may come next in the story.  Something as simple as this can make reading books a treat to look forward to daily, be it in the middle of the afternoon or right before bedtime.

Here are a few tips to practice with your children:

  • Spend time in conversation with your child to develop vocabulary and knowledge of the world.  Label what you see and explain how things work.
  • Read aloud with your child everyday. Don’t just make sure they understand what is being read, but how a book works.  For instance, we read from left to right, as well as from the front of a book to the back of a book.
  • Teach your child about letters and words.  Take notice of the words and letters in the world around you, whether it’s on a cereal box or a billboard.  Point them out to your child.  You can post their name in their room, and let them get familiar with the letters.
  • Play with language in order to help your child become familiar with rhymes and letter sounds.  Read them nursery rhymes and involve your child by seeing how many rhyming words you can think of together: dip, lip, sip, tip, trip, hip.  Use a series of words that start with the same letter (alliteration).  This will allow your child to start recognizing letter sounds. Ex) ‘Frank the ferret found a friend.’

Visit the Reading and Literacy Tips page on our website for more advice on reading to and with children of all ages!