Monday, July 27, 2015

Eight Picture Books for Your Little Builder

Do you have a little handyman (or woman) in your house? A little guy or girl who can't seem to get enough of that toy work bench? Some kids really love their tool toys, maybe even more than they love books! (gasp!) If that is the case for you, or if you are simply looking for books that will appeal to your child's fix-it or build-it nature, then these eight books might be just right for you and your little builder.

WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez
Illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi

Of course I would have to include my own book on this list! Tools and building are front and center in this book about a group of friends building a tree house.

TOOLS RULE! by Aaron Meshon

This bright and colorful book is about a team of tools pitching in to build a shed.

TAP TAP BANG BANG by Emma Garcia

The littlest builders will enjoy learning about what tools do and the sounds they make in this simple, colorful companion to TIP TIP DIG DIG and TOOT TOOT BEEP BEEP.

Illustrated by Meg Hunt

This is a terrific re-imagining of the classic Cinderella story, with a sassy heroine who's great with tools, especially when it comes to building spaceships!


The name says it all here! What little tinkerer wouldn't want to read about a monkey who works his way out of a problem with his very own tools?


For the slightly older builders. They'll enjoy reading about a little girl and her family building their very own house.

Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz

Fans of the FROGGY books will enjoy this story about Froggy and his friends (with some help from dad) building a tree house.


Based on the T.V. show, this is an interactive book that comes with its own little movable tool.

Do you or your child have any favorite books that feature tools? I'd love to hear about them. In the mean time, happy reading. And building!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Poetry Friday: The Storm

For Poetry Friday today, I thought I would dig into my own poetry archives, and share something fitting for this summer season. Thunderstorms are a common occurrence in my part of the world, and one of my favorite things about summer. This poem was inspired by an especially vigorous, especially colorful storm several summers ago.

Photo by daughter #2
The Storm

The storm wars on
in gray and black
with jagged, silver lightning cracks.
Then, when done
the thunder sun
breaks through in greenish gold
and casts a rainbow in the sky,
arching wide
and bright
and high.
Then clouds ignite in firelight,
a wonder to behold!

(c) Rebecca J. Gomez

For more of today's Poetry Friday posts, visit Reflections on the Teche. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

On Children Growing Up (too fast)

As I write this, my youngest child (and only son) is outside mowing the back yard. It is a completely cliché parenting moment for me, as I look outside and wonder how the heck my kids are growing up so fast!

So much has changed over the past year. Not only is my youngest child now mowing the lawn on a semi-regular basis, but he is also only a few weeks away from starting high school. He has stopped wearing graphic T-shirts, has rebelled against books and reading, and will barely tolerate me kissing him on the forehead. He is truly a teenage boy.

As for his older sisters, all I can say is, "Whoa!" Last Thursday my middle daughter turned in her provisional driving permit for an actual license, registered to vote, and signed a petition. She will be starting college in the fall, at the same school her older sister (and my oldest child) has been attending for the past two years.

Usually at this time of year, we start thinking about shopping for new clothes and school supplies. We make sure the backpacks are in good shape, fill out piles of back-to-school paperwork, and make sure vaccinations are all up-to-date. Some of that we'll still be doing, of course. We can't send our kids off to high school or college without some new duds, after all! But the school supplies look a little different. College textbooks, external CD drives, twin XL sheet sets. What a change from crayons and colored folders.

And yet, when I look at my taller, nearly grown-up children, I see that they haven't changed so much as developed. They are still every bit the individuals they were when they were small. I hear it in their laughter, see it in their eyes when they smile or frown, and feel it every time they need their mother.

They may be growing up too fast, but they'll never outgrow being my babies.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Poetry Friday: Monster Goose

One of my current projects is a rhyming picture book inspired by various nursery rhymes. So I thought it would be fitting to choose a poem from Judy Sierra's MONSTER GOOSE for today's Poetry Friday post.

Children's poetry is, I think, the perfect format to explore all things slimy, spooky, or strange. It's a
safe way for kids (and adults) to get a little sense of something uncomfortable without actually getting their fingers gooey or their toes bitten off! And very often, it brings on the giggles!

Here is my favorite poem from MONSTER GOOSE. Enjoy, and then be sure to check out today's Poetry Friday round-up over at The Logonauts.

Cannibal Horner 
Cannibal Horner
Sat in the corner
Eating a people potpie.
He bit his own thumb
And cried, "Oh, yum, yum,
A tasty young morsel am I"!

Hungry for more? Check out MONSTER GOOSE at your local library, or oder it online today!

Do you have a favorite monster-themed poem or poetry book?

Friday, July 03, 2015

Poetry Friday: Grave for a One-Week-Old Chick

My daughters have been house/dog/chicken sitting for the past week. It has been a fun experience for them overall, I think. They've had a chance to spend a few nights on their own, away from mom and dad, having to fend for themselves for food, and being responsible for the care of two dogs and a few dozen chickens!

All has gone well overall, except for the tragic, untimely death of one baby chick. My daughter wrote a poem about that experience and gave me permission to post it here on my blog for Poetry Friday.

Enjoy! And then head on over to Mainely Write for this week's Poetry Friday roundup.

Grave for a One-Week-Old Chick

With my hands I returned him to the soft earth,
a snug (if somewhat stifling) bed
of packed dirt,
topped with a twine-and-twig cross
and a bouquet of wildflowers.

I know it seems
but it was the least I could do
to make a decent grave.
I mean,
a plastic bag is such an ugly thing,
meant for holding the refuse
of an unfinished meal,
not the delicate, still-warm remains
of a wee baby chick.

He was shrunken in death,
feathers on one side matted
from the inconsiderate bustlings
of his loud and pushy wash bin-mates.
They must have sensed his frailty,
his exhaustion,
long ago,
and resigned him to his fate.
No mourning on their part,
no weeping
or gnashing of beaks.

The realism of the natural world is cruel,
but efficient.
And hope
is an inconvenience with which,
it appears,
only humans have been burdened.

(c) 2015 Samantha Gomez

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Moose's First Public Appearance (a.k.a. my first signing)

Saturday was a big day. Moose and friends and I made our first public appearance at The Bookworm in Omaha, Nebraska!

I was nervous at first, but the Bookworm staff was awesome, and lots of people came, and everyone seemed to enjoy the reading of the book. My favorite moment was when I asked a little boy what he thought of the book and he answered simply, "Great!" How's that for a one-line review?