Friday, April 24, 2009

The Creative Family

Introducing a new category here at Mrs. Cropper's Books:  Parenting Books!

And I am sooooo excited to announce the very first title on the list!  It's The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections by Amanda Blake Soule.  You have likely seen Amanda's popular blog--SouleMama.  Along with gorgeous photographs, she writes all about her parenting adventures--with an emphasis on creating with her children.  

Now, in her new book, Amanda imparts all sorts of her wisdom and incredible ideas.  From creative play to freezer-paper stenciling to knitting to making fairy houses to making holidays handmade, The Creative Family is exciting and inspiring and beautiful.  It makes me want to be a better mother--and gives me the tools and ideas to do so.  Brilliant.

Hope you love it as much as I do! 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Harold and the Purple Crayon

I made a resolution awhile back to read more of the classics. I just felt it was a crime to be in the middle of Stephenie Meyer's vampire series when I hadn't ever read My Antonia. (So now Eclipse and My Antonia are sitting on my bedside table collecting dust. Awesome. I so need to get back to reading every day.)

Anyway, I think this applies to children's lit as well. There are just SO many great classics out there that we need to be reading with our kids!

One such classic we've been adoring lately is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. Written in 1955, it tells the tale as Harold creates it with his crayon.

"One evening, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight. There wasn't any moon, and Harold needed a moon for a walk in the moonlight (draws himself a purple moon). And he needed something to walk on (draws himself a purple sidewalk)." And so begins his adventure, that includes a picnic, a dragon, a boat, a hot air balloon ride, and so much more.

I absolutely adore the simplicity of the illustrations and marvel at how cleverly Johnson used them to narrate the story. I love how we sense Harold's young feelings and imagination. This book beautifully captures the magic of a child's mind.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Celebrate with Dr. Seuss

Monday is March 2nd and do you know what that means? Dr. Seuss's birthday! I'm reminding you now so you can use the weekend to make preparations. Here are some fun things to do to celebrate:

*For breakfast--Green Eggs and Ham, of course!

*For reading--go to the library this weekend and bulk up on some of his greaties. (A catalog of Seuss titles here.) Dedicate a big chunk of the day to reading. Cancel everthing else, let your laundry and dishes pile up, make some fun snacks, snuggle up with your kiddoes, and READ!

*For games--Seussville.

Have fun!!

(I wrote more about Dr. Seuss's birthday and all the fun you can have with it here.)

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Child's Day: An Alphabet of Play

My sister Elizabeth had our names for Christmas. Along with two of my favorite movies and a new Tyler Florence cookbook, she sent an alphabet book that is absolutely TDF (to die for). A Child's Day: An Alphabet of Play by Ida Pearle is a simple alphabet book with two characteristics that distinguish it from all the other scads of alphabet books.

#1. Pearle's cut-paper collages are absolutely gorgeous. I've told you before--collage is hands down my favorite medium--so naturally I love this book. (Ida Pearle is an artist by trade. This is actually her first book. Go here to see more about her and her beautiful artwork.)

#2. Alphabet books filled with 26 nouns are a dime a dozen. In this book, Pearle uses verbs. BRILLIANT. So J is Jump, L is Listen, I is Ice skate. And each one is illustrated by a child in that action.

This is the first book I've been super excited about in a long time. I love to read it to Blaine over and over because I am so enchanted with each simple yet detailed illustration. I hope you will love it as much as I do!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Finally a new Rainbow Book: How I Became a Pirate

"Tell me 'bout Jeremy Jay-tub 'gain, Mama!"
That's what Blaine begs from the backseat every day in the car. And happily I comply. "Well, there was this boy named Jeremy Jacob and he was very good at building sandcastles..."

My rendition is not nearly as clever as Melinda Long's. She wrote this endearing tale which is brilliantly illustrated by David Shannon (you know his stuff. Think Duck on a Bike, Alice the Fairy, etc. More on him later. Love him!)

Blaine received this book from his beautiful "auntie" Lisa and has loved it ever since he would sit still long enough to look at the pictures with me. Now that he is even older, he gets it more and loves it more.

The story is told from Jeremy Jacob's perspective and takes you on an adventure with Braid Beard the pirate and his crew. With Jeremy Jacob we learn pirate jargon ("shiver me timbers," "scurvy dog,"), pirate manners (none), pirate cuisine (meat on the bone, no vegetables in sight), and pirate bedtime stories (none--the only thing to read on board the ship is a treasure map). Jeremy Jacob thinks being a pirate is the greatest ever until he realizes he misses the comforts of home and family. And then a storm hits with lightening that breaks the mast of the ship. Will they survive the storm? What will they do with the treasure? Will Jeremy Jacob make it home in time for soccer practice?

You MUST get this book and read it with your children. It is so cleverly written and colorfully illustrated. Blaine adores it at 2, but I would recommend it up to 7 or 8 because, of course, the older they get, the more of the humor they get.

Hope you love it!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mrs. Cropper is on maternity leave. She'll be back soon with some great new picture books and some new book club material. Until then...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

"Mr. Hatch was tall and thin and he did not smile. Every morning at 6:30 sharp he would leave his brick house and walk eight blocks to the shoelace factory where he worked. At lunchtime he would sit alone in a corner, eat his cheese and mustard sandwich, and drink a cup of coffee. Sometimes he brought a prune for dessert."

So begins this perfect-for-heart-day story written by Eileen Spinelli (yes, that's the wife of our beloved Jerry Spinelli) and illustrated by Paul Yalowitz. And so begins every day for Mr. Hatch. Just as drab as the last. But on Valentine's Day he receives a candy-filled heart with a card that says "Somebody loves you," and his whole world changes. Mr. Hatch starts to feel differently about himself and begins to interact with those around him. But what will happen when it turns out that the Valentine's Day gift was delivered to Mr. Hatch by mistake? You'll have to read this gem to find out!

(Some great things about this book: First of all, Eileen Spinelli is clever as can be. She had me from that first paragraph. (I mean, come on, who eats a mustard and cheese sandwich?! I had to learn more about this Mr. Hatch...) Secondly, Yalowitz's colored pencil illustrations are wonderful. He uses color perfectly to capture the mood of each scene. For example, the illustration accompanying that first paragraph is full of dull gray tones. We see warmer colors as the story continues. Brilliant.)

Enjoy this read and enjoy your Heart Day!