The House that Witchy Built by Dianne de Las Casas – Review and Giveaway

This cute, cute Halloween addition by Dianne de Las Casas  and illustrated by Holly Stone-Barker is a take on “The House that Jack Built”.  I know, there are a thousand and one stories built on this framework, but there must be a reason. When Halloween rolled around in my library, the perennial favorite of my kindergarteners (and 1st and 2nd graders) was The House that Drac Built by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Not only because of the myriad of scary creatures but because of the repetition, repetition, repetition. I can’t speak for the rest of the world but my students always LOVED saying the story with me. Ah, the sneakiness of new vocabulary deftly dropped into a familiar chant.

But I digress … The House that Witchy Built (Pelican Publishing, 2011) delivers on its promise of Halloween fun, including sound effects for each story element. Between the creaking, rattling, flapping, cackling and smooching – yes, I said smooching – the reader will hardly be able to hear himself above the din. Holly Stone-Barker uses cut paper and collage for the artwork. Have I ever said how much I like this technique? Well, alot, especially for lower elementary stories. Just look at the cover – kids are going to pick that right up – and every page is just as inviting. (more…)

Shoes for Me! by Sue Fliess – Review and Giveaway

Last week I had a wonderful surprise on my doorstep, courtesy of Pinwheel Books, a division of Marshall Cavendish. Shoes for Me! (2011) is a delightful rhyming picture book by Sue Fliess. She really gets it right in this debut story for the preschool, kinder, and early childhood set.

In Shoes for Me!, Hippo is off to the store with her mom for new shoes – and she gets to make the choice. Oh, the power! The young fashionista goes through every shoe in the store before her mom threatens  to leave without a purchase. That gets our girl’s attention and she finally makes her selection. Mike Laughead‘s bright and snappy illustrations go well with the clipped rhythm of the short text.

The colors, patterns, and types of shoes in the story lend themselves to a multitude of classroom activities – and the importance of making a choice is a lesson in and of itself. Nice work, Sue. I can’t wait to see what happens when Hippo goes clothes shopping in next year’s A Dress for Me!

I’ll be giving my copy away to one lucky person. Leave a comment on this post by August 19th and you’ll be included in my random drawing.  If this is your first comment to my blog, the comment will not post until I approve it. It’s a great book for the younger set. If you don’t have any young children hanging around your house you could share it with a preschool teacher or librarian. Feel free to pass the contest on to anyone who might be interested.

Genres: Picture Books, Rhyming Books

Things to like about this book: Great rhyme! It’s fun and colorful and makes a great read aloud.

Audience: Toddlers, Preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade. Also great for parents looking for a quick bedtime read.

Reviewed from: Hardcover provided by publisher.