Archive for the Book Category

Letter of the Week – F

The Gemini Mama Letter F

 

After a long week together, or was it two? I made the decision that we do not get along with the letter F. Why?

 

Well I told you in my letter E update that I did a poor job in some of my book selections. I requested and selected books for letter’s E and F at the same time. I should have made adjustments after E went the way that it did, but I did not. I am glad that nothing is, or has to be set in stone. It really makes me feel better.

 

The week wasn’t a complete failure. We had some successes, and pin pointed some areas to work on.

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Writing capital F was easy for K1, but lowercase is right up there with lower case E. They are both a struggle for her. This caused me to take a step back, and add in more dot to dots this week, and we will come back to writing letters later. I mean she has her whole life to learn that. I have to admit I really wanted to push her to write her own name, because (shun me now) I have seen that other kids her age can. That is totally unfair of me. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Totally true, and children develop differently, at different times. Yes I am sure that she could learn to write her name today, if I sat down and did that with her, but maybe she isn’t ready? The “Letter of the week” is about her, and only a guide for me. So I will let her do more of the guiding.

 

Onto the books. I am still using Letteroftheweek.com as a guide, and here is a link to the suggested “F” curriculum.

 

The Firebird (affiliate link)- this book was the biggest surprise of the week. Early in the week I breezed through it, and the pages looked too wordy for my kids. Because of that I skipped over this book all week long, until there was nothing left to read. Remember I was jaded in my book selection for two weeks also. My children ask me to read them a “book they never heard before” so I grab this one. They were so sucked into the story! Maybe it was the gold on the pages, or the story itself, but classic. It was a good book, not as many “F” words in it as I expected, but for a story book it was great.

 

The Foot Book – I started the week with this book. Lot’s of “F” words in it. We played the game where they jump up each time they hear a particular word. I chose “feet.” K1 loves when we do this with books that we have already read once, but she doesn’t quite have the concept down yet. She needs pauses and reminders “what word was that?” Still fun for her.

 

Down on the Funny Farm and Rainbow Fish were also good choices that my kids enjoyed.

 

The last of the “good” books is Flamingo (Heinemann Read and Learn) (affiliate link). This book was a great choice to teach a young child about flamingos. It was exactly what I was hoping for.

 

If you choose to teach your children about the flamingo during “F” week, you could also teach them the ASL sign to go with it. Side note, I thought about including a video for you of this sign, but not being a member of the deaf community I might be the wrong candidate. Also the sign that I have learned for flamingo is different than what I could find on the ASL sites online. They show “pink bird,” what I learned looks like a flamingo and to me is more tactile for children. It could be a dialect difference, not sure. Put your index and second finger down and curl the rest into a fist. Bend the index finger at the knuckle and tap the second finger on the open palm of your other hand. Flamingo.

 

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The Fish book from Sesame Street wasn’t too bad. It had lots of great information, but not my first choice. That opinion could be clouded because I don’t love Sesame Street in general.

 

All the other books were poor choices for my almost 4 year old daughters age group. That book Forest is about a deer. Yeah that got me too. I wanted a book to teach about the forest. The books on fractions were cute, but we very focused on percents and decimals too, which was too much. They had everything mixed together. It was not in sections, where I could skip what we weren’t ready for.

 

Strangely the Fire Truck book didn’t even hold my kids attention. They love fire trucks, so this was a surprise. I was hunting for a book that talked about the job of a firefighter, and wasn’t finding anything. This book is about building a firetruck, but was too detailed for us. Maybe next year.

 

Have you been doing a letter of the week program? What did letter “F” look like for you?

 

 

 

Too Many Teddies Review and Giveaway 3/10-3/24 US and Canada

The Gemini Mama Too Many Teddies

 

I am really excited to share this book with you today.

 

Too Many Teddies

 

We were sent a copy of Too Many Teddies so that we could check it out, and I love it. I mean the kids love it. Actually we all do. My kids have asked me to read them this book at bedtime every night for the past week.

 

This is an entertaining story about Trixie and her love of teddies. Her teddies kind of take over her family’s lives a little. Just look at the cover photo, which is also happens to be a page in the book.

 

I love that this book is not only an engaging story for my children, but it gives them a good lesson too. They learn about giving, and how giving can feel good too. Side note, I think that we need to follow Trixie’s lead. We have lots of teddies too.

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The pages in this book are illustrated cover to cover. It is bright and cheerfully done. The artwork does a great job of portraying the story, and keeps readers engaged. We have read this book every night since it has come to our home, and my kids “read” it to themselves periodically throughout the day. Thanks to the beautiful illustrating they are not yet bored with this book.

 

The pages of this book do not contain too many words, and I could also see this as a book suitable for new readers.

 

From Amazon;

Too Many Teddies tells the story of Trixie, a little girl who has accumulated way too many stuffed toys. Even though Trixie loves all her teddies, she has to admit that things have gotten way out of hand, especially when she’s crowded out of her own bed. The solution that Trixie and her mother come up with certainly isn’t easy for a girl who is attached to her toys, but in the end, Trixie learns the value of giving and makes a whole bunch of new friends.

A fun-to-read story that incorporates themes of philanthropy and generosity and also promotes the value of a less-cluttered living space, Too Many Teddies will win your heart.

 

Want Too Many Teddies too?

 

You can purchase Too Many Teddies on Amazon today.

If you would like to win a copy of Too Many Teddies, please enter with the Giveaway Tool below! This giveaway is open to all US and Canada (void in Quebec) residents, ages 18 and older. Canadian residents must answer the skill question on the Giveaway Tools form in order to participate. The giveaway will run from March 10, 2014 through March 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM PST.  Entries will be verified.  Winner will be notified via email, and will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize or another winner will be selected.

Good luck!

 

 

Gwen from The Gemini Mama received a copy of this book to facilitate her review, no other compensation was received. YOU BLOG HERE, and all participating blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment.  This giveaway is in no way associated with social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Heather the Scared Tooth Fairy – Review

Heather the scared tooth fairy on The Gemini Mama

 

It has been a while since we have had a new children’s book over here. I was given the opportunity to review a copy of Heather the Scared Tooth Fairy, and decided to give it a whirl.

 

Heather, the Scared Tooth Fairy

This book is unique book because the illustrations are all hand drawn, and the book is written, illustrated, and published by a mother daughter team. How exciting!

 

You should know usually prior to agreeing to review a book, I look it up online and do a preliminary check. It gives me a better idea of what to expect, and if it would be a good fit for us. I did not do that with this book. I can’t say exactly why, I just didn’t. The description seemed perfect, and I just went with it.

 

From Amazon;

At tooth fairy school, Heather is too scared to meet her new flight teacher to go to school. Find out what silly and amazing things happen when Heather meets her new flight teacher for the first time.

 

I have to admit when it first arrived I was a little bit disappointed. I am not sure what I was expecting, but I was totally judging the book by it’s cover. Bad mom move. Being that my kids love books and story time we read it despite my dismay. My kids were completely unphased with my lackluster for the book. They were immediately sucked into the story. The words “a hush fell over the crowd” would describe what happened perfectly.

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We went on a fun adventure with Heather. I enjoyed how the story rhymed, which made it fun to read. I also love that the story really flows with the imagination of a child, because I think that is why K1 was so into the book. I also thought that the illustrations in the story might inspire her artwork some.

 

I know my daughter really enjoyed this story. I read this book to her at bedtime and then the kids immediately went to sleep. When K1 (my 3 year old) woke up in the middle of the night she started telling me about the tooth fairy. How cute! I really thought much of the story was over her head, but after that I knew she was both paying attention, and enjoyed it.

 

The Verdict

After my initial judgement of the book I realized that I was wrong. I am glad that I did not check it out online before saying yes to review it, because we likely would have missed out on a fun read. This is a completely enjoyable story with cute hand drawn  illustrations. I also love the mother daughter team aspect.

 

Want this book? Great news! As of the date of this post, Heather, The Scared Tooth Fairy is available as a Kindle book for only 99 cents!

 

Just as a disclosure, I received this book in hopes that I would complete an honest review. All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own, and may differ from yours.

Buying Textbooks is Expensive

disclosureMost of you know that I have been taking classes at night. Slowly but surely I will finish something. Next fall I hope to take more than just a class or two, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

 

This semester I am actually not taking any classes. I registered for two classes, but in the end I had to drop them both. One I dropped because finding someone to watch the kids while S was out of town training was too difficult. The second class, well this one I dropped for a completely different reason. The book were too expensive.

 

After paying for class, and parking, child care (if you have to pay for it), you still have to consider the cost of books. While I know that I wasn’t expecting a math class to require two books, with two more recommended. Beyond that, I wasn’t expecting just one of those books to cost $133. Yes that price is in US dollars.

So can someone tell me why I didn’t consider renting? Duh. This was my answer and I forgot all about it!

 

With CampusBookRentals.com I could have saved 40-90% off bookstore prices, and they don’t charge for shipping either way! I love that they have flexible rental periods, which is great because I have learned that not all colleges follow the same schedule. (My college is thinking of decreasing semesters by one week)

 

I don’t usually highlight in books, because I am always hoping to sell them back, but if I used CampusBookRentals.com I wouldn’t have to worry and could highlight to my hearts desire. Besides that it’s nice to not have a new book printed for it to only become outdated next year, and who am I kidding, I won’t be referencing it later. When you throw on top that CampusBookRentals.com donates to Operation Smile with each book rented, they have me sold.

RentBack 
Your Books…

Get 2-4X as much Cash.

Just in case you were silly and bought that pesky textbook, and you aren’t 100% sure you want to let it go for good, you can rent it!

 

With RentBack.com you can rent textbooks you own to other students.  This is a great option because selling books back at the end of the semester isn’t really worth it. I know I have mentioned it before, but it’s really really sad. If you choose to rent your text books to other students you can make 2 to 4 times more than you would selling it back. 

Have you rented textbooks in the past?

Letter of the Week D

Back on track and better than before. Well, minus the part where we did letter D for two weeks instead of one. After our vacation waiting for requested books to arrive at the library took longer than anticipated. (FYI Amazon affiliate links included in this post for books and dvd listed)
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As I told you I would in the beginning, we are still using letter of the week as a loose guide. Here is their list for letter D.

 

For read aloud books we only followed three from her list, but that was all that we really needed (you will see why in a minute).

 

Danny and the Dinosaur – This book was by far my kids favorite. I mean, they already like dinosaurs, so this was perfect. We read this book several times, and I can see us owning this book in the future. It’s a story about a boy who loves dinosaurs and wishes to play with one, like a pet, and then gets to. It is a cute story.

Duncan the Dancing Duck – Was great for K1 as she still loves everything related to anything dance.
One Duck Stuck: A Mucky Ducky Counting Book – or as my kids called it “The duck mud book.” This book was fun to read, and it was easy to involve the kids in the story. It includes counting, up to the number 10. I had fun asking them what animal or insect they thought would arrive next to help the duck. I also let them tell me what animal or insect was on the page before reading it to them.

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Since I am getting better at this, I was included geography and science this week.

 

For science we learned about doves, dolphins, and dandelions. I wanted to plant dandelion bulbs as an activity for the week, but couldn’t find any. (So when you do this, plan ahead, unlike me.)

 

These are books not from the list. The books pictured I selected myself, based on availability and what I thought my kids would like.

 

Last Saturday we went to a tree farm, where they have tropical birds on site. (If you are in San Diego county check out Bonita Creek Nursery.) While we were there we got to see two different types of doves, up close and personal. One pair were even sitting on eggs. This worked out great because the National Geographic Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America I just got so that I could talk about them verbally. It did include a picture of each bird, but it was rather small, as the books purpose is to provide facts.

 

National Geographic Readers: Dolphins – As I expected from National Geographic, this book included great photos, and interesting facts. K1 is really grasping everything that I throw at her, so she remembered many details from this book after we read it. Did you know Orca’s are dolphins? I didn’t. Apparently many whales are dolphins.

 

Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?: All About Deserts (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) – This book was full of usefull facts presented with colorful illustrations that are typical of any Cat in the Hat book. What was perfect is that I also checked out Ecology: Life In The Deserts, a DVD about the desert. It contained all the same information the Cat in the Hat book delivered in a different medium. They worked well together, and K1 asked to watch the movie about the deserts more than once, which was a surprise. Just thought I would add that the DVD is short, only about 20-30 minutes.

 

I was proud of her for being about to tell me facts about the desert without being reminded. PS. Antarctica is the largest desert. I didn’t actually know it was a desert. Good thing I am learning along with her!

 

We also practiced writing the letter D as well. I find it odd that the curriculum on their site doesn’t include writing at all, but maybe it is obvious.

 

I have already requested the books for letters E and F. Bring on next week, we are ready!

 

Have you used letter of the week to teach your children? Are any of these books your kids favorite?

 

 

 

 

What I Just Finished Reading

Have you all seen this image that has been traveling and floating around Facebook?

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Well, it’s true. I’m sorry, mostly.

 

I honestly didn’t know anything about the whole polar vortex business. I heard something on TV in passing, but I was totally not paying attention.

 

While the majority of the country (and northern hemisphere) are cold and snuggling under blankets, we are having a random heat wave. I actually wore shorts today, weird.

 

I did grow up in New England, so I know what I am missing out on in the winter. Shoveling, dusting and warming cars …. those are the parts I don’t miss. Sipping hot apple cider, or hot cocoa, and snuggling under blankets, I kinda miss that, a little. There is one thing that we all still can have in common, we can read. Yup, cold winter time indoors, is the perfect time to read. I have no idea what my excuse is, but I have been reading a bunch lately.

 

I thought that I would let you know. So if fantasy, or young adult fiction falls into your reading scope of interest, then check out the series I just finished. (Sort of)
Mortal Instruments Series (Amazon affiliate Link)

 

The series is currently incomplete. The last book The City of Heavenly Fire is not out yet, but it comes out May 27th! I am dying to know what happens!! Last week I watched The City of Bones movie, since there were no more books in the series to read, and it was meh. They didn’t really stick to the story line and they changed it enough to make me wonder how the second movie will work out, and remain about the same series. Even saying that, I will still watch a second movie. I know that production of the second movie was delayed, and they were working more directly with the book author, so it could be amazing or paused permanently. Only time will tell.

 

Anyway, the books are great, a little action, and little adventure, and little awkward teenage coming of age business, and of course some love and drama.

From Amazon about City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, Book 1) (affiliate link)

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Go read these books let me know your thoughts along the way, I would love it! P.S. I am so not getting paid to write this, I would if I could because I really enjoyed these book. If you happen know Cassandra Clare send her my email, okay?

 

While I wait for the next book, I think I’ll start on the prequel The Infernal Devices (Also Amazon affiliate link).

 

What are you reading right now?

Inspire Me To ….. Book Giveaway US only Ends 12/10

Welcome to the Inspire Me To…Book Giveaway!

Hosted by Simply At Home Mom

Sponsored by Inspire Me To

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Need a great gift idea for a special child in your life? The Gemini Mama readers all know that we love books in our house, so how about a personalized book from Inspire Me To…? They were founded by a busy mom of three, who wanted to help build strong morals and self-confidence in her children through adorable children’s books. These books not only teach important life lessons, but also allow your child to be an important part of the writing process. I have in previous years given personalized books as Christmas gifts, and I would do so again. Books are a timeless gift for kids of all ages, and seeing their name in print helps bring the story home for them. I know my daughter immediately connects with books that just have the same names as some of her friends.
Jennifer at Simply At Home Mom was given the opportunity to review one of these fun books with her son. You can read the full review HERE.
Inspire Me To is offering a coupon code for a FREE custom book just in time for Christmas!
Giveaway runs from 12/3 to 12/10 and is open to U.S. residents 18 years and over.

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The Gemini Mama is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

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