A beautiful sleepytime book and a cozy quiet-time craft

Read this gorgeous new going-to-bed-book and make tiny animal beds of your very own!

The Big Book of SlumberTHE BOOK

The Big Book of Slumber, written by Giovanna Zoboli; illustrated by Simona Mulazzani (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers)

This just might be the loveliest going-to-bed book ever! It’s nighttime, and all the animals—monkeys, hippos, camels, puppies, and more—are snuggled deep into their beds under colorful quilts. The well-crafted rhyming text, with its cozy, rocking rhythm, describes each animal’s sleeping habits.

The author’s rich word choices (“In sleeping bags garnished with leaves and boughs, five giraffes dream of the foliage they browse”) and the even richer colors and patterns in the captivating illustrations combine to make this a book that will grow with kids through the years.

Here’s an inside spread so you can see the wonderfulness: BigBookOfSlumber 2

photo by Red Ted Art

photo by Red Ted Art



Matchbox Stone Pets

Easy, inexpensive, and cute as all get-out, these little matchbox beds hide tiny, irresistible stone animals. All you need are matchboxes, felt or fabric scraps, glue, stones, and wiggly eyes. Instructions are provided by the lovely Maggy at Red Ted Art.

The beds could also hold little plastic animals or dolls that you have around the house or classroom. Use the tiny matchboxes for tiny critters, or the large-size matchboxes for slightly bigger toys.

Read Dragons Love Tacos and make yummy fruit salsa

Dragons Love TacosTHE BOOK

Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri (Dial Books)

Dragons love tacos, but NOT the spicy salsa. Know what happens when they eat spicy salsa? Disaster!

Kids who love dragons will be wild for this book. The words and pictures strike just the right note of silly, which is exactly what you’d expect from the duo who created Those Darn Squirrels.

If you want to throw a taco party of your own, go ahead–but be very, very careful to serve mild salsa. You’ve been warned.

photo from How Sweet It Is

photo from How Sweet It Is


Dragon-safe Fruit Salsa

Salsa is always fun to make with kids, because who doesn’t like to chop stuff?

If your kids prefer their salsa mild like dragons do (or if, like me, cilantro makes them want to barf) try this strawberry mango basil salsa from the good people at How Sweet It Is. Soft mangos and strawberries are easily choppable with table knives if you’re unsure of your kids’ sharp knife skills.

Summer’s here! Time for Inside Outside bucket lists

Summer’s great, whether you’re inside or outside. Read this book and make your own inside/outside bucket lists!

inside_outsideTHE BOOK

Inside Outside, written and illustrated by Lizi Boyd (Chronicle Books, 2013)

As the seasons pass, a child and dog (and two elusive white mice) spend their days together, both inside and outside. This wordless book provides a lot to look at, both inside and outside, as the child builds snowmen, plants a garden, splashes in puddles, and more. Cleverly placed die-cut windows let readers look out when they’re inside, and in when they’re outside. Inside Outside is a great choice for quiet time, and a great story starter for when you’re feeling more talkative.

Inside Outside bucket lists

photo from GoodHappyDay.blogspot.com


Inside Outside Bucket Lists

Now that summer vacation is here, don’t get caught in the “I’m bored” rut. Make two “bucket lists”: one for inside activities and one for outside. All you need are craft sticks, paints, a fine-point marker, and two containers of your choice. Decorate the sticks with paints, write activity ideas on them, and put them in the buckets. Patricia at GoodHappyDay.blogspot.com has some great ideas to share!


1) Toss a bunch of colored glow sticks in a pool and swim at night.

2) Play Cheeto Head. Get two shower caps. Grab a friend and put the shower caps on. Cover each other’s shower caps with shaving cream. Add swim goggles if you want to. Sit on the grass. Now throw Cheetos at each other’s heads. Whoever gets the most Cheetos to stick on the friend’s head after five minutes wins!

3) Make pet rocks and take them on an adventure.

4) Make silly hats and take pictures of your friends wearing them.

5) Show a movie on your garage door and invite the neighbors.

6) Make fruit smoothie popsicles.

7) Freeze plastic dinosaurs in a plastic bucket. Then chip them out with a hammer and screwdriver like a paleontologist.

8) Have a water balloon fight on a hot day.

9) Favorite Food Friday. Everyone picks one favorite food from the grocery store, and that’s dinner.

10) Read all the books on CraftLibrarian.com and do all the crafts!

All the World inspires kids to make mini-worlds of their own

Liz Garton Scanlon’s beautiful book All the World will help kids look at their world in a whole new way.

2010h2THE BOOK

All the World, by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Simon & Schuster). A Caldecott Honor book.

Reading All the World makes you feel glad to be a part of something bigger than yourself. It’s a quiet, unassuming, but profound look at the little things and the bigger things in our world. Following a family and their community through a normal day, the rhythmic text swings from close-up views of everyday scenes to wide-angle panoramas (“Tomato blossom, fruit so red . . . all the world’s a garden bed.”) The diversity of ethnicities portrayed in Marla Frazee’s lovely illustrations make this a book in which many different kids can find someone who looks like them.

photo from ParentPretty.com

photo from ParentPretty.com


Moss Terrarium Mini-Worlds

All the World looks at our world up close and from a bird’s eye view. Terrariums can give kids the same big/small feeling. They’re so easy and so very satisfying to create. If you live near a wooded are or are vacationing in one, take a walk with a magnifying glass in hand. Look carefully at the tiny bits of our big world. Gather a little moss and some stones to bring home with you.Then use a clean canning jar to make these moss terrariums with easy instructions brought to you by the good people at ParentPretty.com.


Why This Little Caterpillar Eats Its Way Into Our Hearts

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a classic but always fresh read that deserves a place on every child’s bookshelf.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar, written and illustrated by Eric Carle (Philomel)

There’s a very good reason why The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold more than 38 million copies in over 50 languages: it’s simply one of the best picture books on the planet for young children. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this book, and that adoration is well deserved. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

You remember the story: a little caterpillar eats his way through the week and through many different kinds of colorful food (as a result, I’m always left craving cherry pie and salami). Pretty soon the little caterpillar is a BIG caterpillar, and that’s when the magic happens: the very hungry caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly.

This book’s universal appeal stems from its uncomplicated complexity. The simple shapes are cut from tissue paper painted with luscious colors and intriguing textures. Plus there is SO MUCH to learn: the days of the week, how to count, the names of new foods, and what happens to a caterpillar after it makes a cocoon. There are little holes that kids can poke their fingers into, for goodness’ sake. What more could you possibly want in a picture book?

photo from IHeartCraftyThings.com

photo from IHeartCraftyThings.com


Balloon Printed Caterpillars

For little hands, here’s a fun and easy way to get fabulous caterpillar results by making balloon prints. Instructions brought to you by I Heart Crafty Things.

photo from HappyLittleMesses.com

photo from HappyLittleMesses.com


Tissue Paper Creations a la Eric Carle

Look how one mom worked with her little boy as they learned to paint tissue paper together like Eric Carle—and picked up a lesson in gentleness along the way. From the blog HappyLittleMesses.

photo from CuteFoodForKids.com

photo from CuteFoodForKids.com


Caterpillar Snacks

You’ll be hungry after reading about all the foods the Very Hungry Caterpillar eats, so turn the tables and make your own yummy caterpillars! Fun ideas collected by the good people at CuteFoodForKids.com.