Monday, November 23, 2020

I Miss You Most



            This crazy Covid world has turned our lives upside down.  Play dates, family get-togethers, school, parties, even shopping looks quite different than it used to.  It’s hard for us to conceive how much things have changed over the last nine months.  Imagine what this change looks like in a child’s eyes. 



            Author Cassie Hoyt was reflecting on this very thing as she watched her preschooler try to understand why he couldn’t see his grandparents.  This sad situation sparked the idea for I Miss You Most.

            In this charming story the little boy uses his imagination to overcome his loneliness.  Instead of missing his grandparents and friends, he imagines all kinds of fun adventures he would be doing with them. He narrates this story in rhyme.

            The colorful, full-page illustrations are by Stefanie St.Denis.  I love how she drew characters of different races, so all children can see themselves in the story.

            If you are looking for a book to help a 4- to 8-year-old through a separation, like a deployment, a move, Covid restrictions, or a loved one’s hospitalization, this is the one.  Early childhood teachers, you’ll will want to have this in your classroom library to share in-person or with your distance students.  Check out the activity pages on Hoyt's website.

Friday, November 13, 2020

A Little Spark


       

         Prepare to be enchanted by this new story, a tale of dragons, mean monsters, animals about to be frozen out of their village, magic, and a brave little mouse, named Spark.  A Little Spark tells the story of a community of animals that lived around Lake Zuron safe from the icy nearby mountains.  Their hero and dragon, Daniel, kept their village warm by blowing his fire at the frigid winds that blew down from the mountains.


            The animals became worried when Daniel’s fire started going out and he could no longer keep them warm.  The ice was quickly advancing on the village, so they met to figure out what to do. After listening to some well-intentioned bad ideas, tiny Spark stepped forward with an idea of how to light the fire in Daniel’s belly.  Although he successfully lit Daniel’s fire, he soon needed to do it again. 


            Daniel began to weaken, and the situation was dire for the village.  None of the other animals knew what to do, so Spark boldly announced he was going across the icy mountain to find help.  So Spark and Veem the weasel set out on a dangerous quest that included facing the dangerous Scabes.



 

            Author Chris Parsons created this delightful tale of courage, hope, and friendship.  Mike Motz's beautiful illustrations really add to the story’s charm.  A unique feature of this book is the inclusion of QR codes throughout the book, linking to songs especially written for this story.  You can download them here.

 

        The book ends with some pages of lessons learned from the book.  These provide good discussion points between you and  your children, linking the actions in the story with kind ways to treat others.  The website has posters to use with your discussions.


        If you are looking for a book that shows how one person can make a difference and how everyone has that "spark" within themselves, this is the book. You'll want to include A LIttle Spark in your personal library!