Tag Archives: Kid Konnection

Kid Konnection: Thunderboom! Poems for Everyone, by Charlotte Pomerantz

Every Saturday, Julie from Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection about anything related to children’s books. Today I thought I would share a review of a children’s poetry book that we discovered at our library.


Thunderboom! Poems for Everyone
by Charlotte Pomerantz
pictures by Rob Shepperson
Front Street (an imprint of Boyds Mills Press)
2005

Children’s poetry delights me.  Always has, ever since I read A Child’s Garden of Verses when I was young.

Lately, it’s become harder and harder to find books to read to Betty and Boo during snacktime. At 8, they have different interests and even though they can read completely independently now and don’t need their Mommy to read to them, I think there’s something about us reading together while enjoying snack that they don’t quite feel ready to give up. 

Truth be told, I’m in no hurry either.

Still, I know our days for this are probably numbered, so in order to keep this ritual going a little longer, I’m revisiting the old favorites and introducing some poetry into the mix.

Thunderboom! is one of the children’s poetry collections I checked out of the library recently and these poems don’t disappoint.  They are, as the title suggests, poems for everyone. (The inside jacket proclaims them to be “a ragtag, boodlebag of poems.”) There are 41 poems in Thunderboom!, several based on classics (“Bloomsday”), nursery rhymes (“For Humpy My Dumpy”), holidays and celebrations (“Passover”, “Wedding Song of Mole and Vole”), songs (“We Three Queens of Orient Are”) and  – my favorite of all these, beloved children’s stories (“Good Night, Margaret Wise Brown”)

Good Night, Margaret Wise Brown 

In the great green room
There was a cellular phone
And a Mylar balloon
And a picture of 
A Mars probe hurtling past the moon
And three endangered bears
On inflatable chairs 
And Internet-bought socks 
And digital clocks 
And a virtual dollhouse
And an ergonomic mouse 
And a bowl full of high-fiber low-carb mush
And a baby monitor murmuring “hush.” 
Good night, room
Good night, moon
Good night, Mars probe hurtling past the moon
Good night, stars 
Good night, air 
And random acoustics everywhere 
Good night, city
Good night, town
Good night,
Margaret
Wise
Brown. 

Isn’t that great? See what I mean about these being poems for everyone?  Indeed, they really are – although, maybe not my kids, because they seem to still be developing an appreciation for poetry.  That’s OK with me, though. 

I intend to keep reading it to them until they tell me to stop.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Kid Konnection: Book Review of Odd Boy Out, Young Albert Einstein

Every Saturday, Julie from Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection — a regular weekend feature about anything related to children’s books.  
Boo was very into biographies this summer (and still is), so when I was perusing that particular section of the children’s library, I was thrilled to discover this picture book about Albert Einstein’s struggles as a young boy.

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein

by Don Brown
published September 2004
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
32pp
Age Range: 5 to 8
We’re approaching the point (actually, we’re there) with Boo where he is beginning to realize he is different than other kids.  He knows he has Asperger Syndrome, that his brain sometimes “works differently,” but sometimes it is a hard concept to comprehend.  (Sometimes it is for us as adults.)   So, I tend to look for books that reinforce the idea that it is OK to be different and how to cope with “a brain that sometimes works differently than others” (as we tell him, when the subject of his differences comes up).
 
I usually go to the library with Betty when Boo is at his social skills group on Tuesday evenings, so this happened to be one that I chose for him. I wanted him to identify with some of Einstein’s struggles mentioned in the book.  
 
Albert’s interests aren’t quite the same as those of other kids. He builds houses of cards “fourteen stories high,” dislikes sports, practices the violin, and is fascinated by a compass (“He turns it, tilts it, tips it, and yet the gadget’s needle always points north! What ‘hidden thing’ makes it work? he wonders.”) 
 
People familiar with autism are also familiar with the claims that Einstein was autistic. Although autism isn’t mentioned specifically or by name in Odd Boy Out, there are enough characteristics of the behaviors indicative to the autism spectrum to be familiar. There’s his “single-minded attention” to preferred activities, his friendship (“a rare thing for Albert”) with a medical student named Max Talmud that Albert’s parents invited to their home, an explosive temper, the dismissal of teachers who tell him that he will “never get anywhere in life.”  
 
The book’s lesson for young kids (and adults) is that despite all these obstacles, Albert does, indeed get somewhere in life (obviously!) and that the things he thinks about become important discoveries for all of us.
 
“For scientists, Albert’s discoveries mean the photoelectric effect, theories of relativity, and E = mc2.
 
For the rest of us, his ideas mean automatic door openers, television, space travel, and atomic energy.
 
For Albert, his work earns him a great award, the Nobel Prize.  He becomes famous, but to him fame is like the hubbub of his parents’ parties, something to be ignored while he enjoys wonders and puzzlements of his own invention. 
 
For the world, Einstein comes to mean not fat baby, or angry child, or odd boy, but great thinker.”
 
Something for all of us – young and old – to think about.
 
 
copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.
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Kid Konnection: The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade

Each Saturday, Julie from Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection where participants talk about children’s books – picture books, middle grade fiction, whatever.  This weekend marks the first time I’m participating in Kid Konnection.  Since we read so many kids’ books, I thought it would be a fun way to include more of our thoughts and reviews of such here on the blog. 

We recently read an incredibly fun book called The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade by Deborah Diesen.  Here’s what we thought.  

The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade
written by Deborah Diesen
illustrated by Tracy Dockray
Tricycle Press, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
published 2010

They’ve eaten one too many mashed peas and played one too many games of peek-a-boo. They’re fed up with bibs and saying good riddance to cribs. They’re cranky and grumpy. Make no mistake about it, they’re going to let their screaming infant voices be heard. 
They are the barefooted, bad-tempered, baby brigade and children’s author Deborah Diesen gives them to kids and parents alike in all their adorable protesting glory in this hilarious picture book. 
“It was quarter past six when the babies set out,
dragging banners and posters and signs that they’d made.
They flung off their booties and took to the sidewalks,
A BAREFOOTED, BAD-TEMPERED BABY BRIGAGE.
‘We can’t all walk yet, but we’re marching in protest,’
they called to their parents who brought up the rear.
‘We’ve plenty to say, and it’s time that you heard it.
Take notes. You will need them. We’ll try to be clear.
(In a scene familiar to any parent of a child ready and raring to go at 6:15 a.m., the parents are bleary-eyed and bathrobe-clad as all these declarations of independence are being made.)
“We won’t get our hair cut.
We won’t wear our sun caps.
We won’t play with smart toys to skip us a grade.
We won’t like the doctor. We won’t take our naps.
WE’RE A BAREFOOTED, BAD-TEMPERED BABY BRIGADE!
Stop tickling our tootsies and kissing our noses!
Stop calling us sweet and adorable names!
Stop blowing loud raspberries right on our bellies!
And stop, oh, please stop, with those peekaboo games!
Face facts: We’re whiny. We’re messy. We’re smelly.
We keep you up nights and wreck plans that you’ve made.
We dump out our toys and make ear-splitting noise
WE’RE A BAREFOOTED, BAD-TEMPERED BABY BRIGADE!”
Betty and Boo are a little older than the age range of 3-6 for this book, but that didn’t stop all of us from laughing and enjoying The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade. This is one of those books that is perfect for parent and child alike.  The adult will nod along with the confirmation at long last that their cherubs really do have an organized plot afoot to drive their parents crazy, and kids will find it amusing to see babies crawling down Main Street chanting “goo goo” and “ga-ga.”  The heartwarming ending reminds us that, despite the toddlers’ theatrics, these trying times are ones to treasure.
The illustrations by Tracy Dockray are also a delight. There seem to be hundreds of young’uns in these pages but the picture capture each grimace and clenched fist of protest. They’re simply drawn, but with plenty of amusement for parent and child alike. If her illustrations look a bit familiar, it might be because Tracy is the artist behind the new illustrations in the new Beezus and Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. 
At first I thought this would be a great baby shower book, but … no.  You see, at that stage you’re still in that gauzy-blissful frame of mind where you think that parenthood is going to be one big baby-fresh smelling Johnson’s Baby Shampoo commercial.  No, this is a book that’s perfect to give for the kid’s first birthday (along with a gift certificate to a spa or for a housecleaning or a dinner out at a five-star restaurant for the sleep-deprived stressed out parent.)
I absolutely loved this book and was delighted to see on the back cover that author Deborah Diesen has a blog, Jumping the Candlestick.  (Love that title … and I love that someone else admits to reading almost as many blogs as I subscribe to, as evidenced by her lengthy blogroll that I need to spend more time with!)
copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.
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