Artist Spotlight – Ed Young!

Artist Spotlight – Ed Young!

Let’s talk about ART baby!

Artist Spotlight: Ed Young

Hi-ho Book Buddy!

I wanted to try something a little different this month. Usually, I do an “Author Spotlight” and I realized I’m leaving something VERY important out…THE ART!

The illustrations in a picture book is 50% of the story. Without the pictures, you don’t have a picture book. Without the pictures, you don’t have a story in this genre. It’s so important. This is why I’ll be shifting your attention to some of the AH-MAZING artwork that you can find in children’s lit. If you’re like me, the visuals are what make you check out (or buy) the book most of the time!

We’re going to showcase Ed Young this month. Not only did he write “The Cat From Hunger Mountain,” he illustrated it as well.
It’s so visually stunning that is was named one of The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2016, and deservedly so!

I hope you enjoy this unique, edgy, and beautiful artwork. And I hope it inspires you to buy the book HERE, because the story is just as gorgeous as the art.

Enjoy this eye candy today:

May Fiction Review/Activity – BEAR HUNT!

May Fiction Review/Activity – BEAR HUNT!

Was That a b-b-b-BEAR?!

Fiction Review & Guide: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. Illo: Helen Oxenbury

Hi-ho Book Buddy!

Today, I’m reviewing a classic oldie-but-goodie “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” about a seemingly naive family headed in search for a bear. Now, you may be thinking, “What the?! Why are they looking for a bear?”
To that I would say, “I’m not so sure they thought they’d actually find one until…THEY DO!”
They go through all kinds of gorgeous environments, all the while the sing-songy theme of the book keeps drawing you in…


Half-way through this book I was thinking, “Oh! They’re not really going to find a bear. It’s a book about enjoying Earth and all its beautiful scenery.” And in essence it still is. The thing that put hearts in my pupils is that when they finally get to the cave, they realize that finding a bear wasn’t that hard. Then, it’s the ending that gave me a hilarious flashback to “The Great Outdoors” with John Candy (remember that one?!) If you don’t…pick it up immediate. You won’t be sorry.

It’s charming, cute, sensitive, and beautiful. Definitely for the outdoor adventurer in your life. Even the animal lover. You can sing it, read it, and do all of your “action movie” voices — all with this one story!

This is a fun one, peeps! Get your copy HERE.

Activity Guide for “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen
Download the PDF for printing HERE.

Ask the children to recall the different experiences that the family encountered while on their bear hunt. List their responses on chart paper.

  1. Encourage the children to imagine that they are going on a bear hunt. Ask them to think of different places they could go — like outer space, an island, a jungle, a zoo, etc. What types of experiences might they encounter in these environments? Record the children’s ideas.
  2. Review the list with the children. Ask them to think of a special sound and movement to accompany each idea.
  3. Substitute the new bear-hunt ideas as you reread the book. Encourage them to recite the repetitive phrases and to dramatize their new adventures.
  4. Provide students with drawing materials to illustrate their new bear-hunt ideas. Attach a sheet of paper to the bottom of the drawings to include the repetitive story text and new adventure. Bind the pages together to create a fun classroom read-a-loud.

The activity below is perfect for homeschoolers or parents with fewer kids: 

Activity – Go on a bear hunt!

  1. Place the suggested bear items around the classroom before the children arrive or while they are resting.
  2. Begin the activity by rereading the book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
  3. Explain that they will go on a classroom “bear hunt” to find bears or objects with bears that have been placed throughout the classroom. Provide children with a plastic bag to collect their items.
  4. Tell the children that they will begin their bear hunt when you turn on music. The bear hunt will end when the music is turned off and everyone will meet on the carpet.
  5. Ask them to show their classmates the different bear items they found. Children can count and compare their items.

Ada’s Violin – April Non-fic and guide!

Ada’s Violin – April Non-fic and guide!

Hi-Ho Book Buddy!

I’ve got an amazing non-fiction rec for you this month. If you love music, recycling, morals, tribe-mentality, teamwork and everything good on this earth, this book is for you and your littles! (And the activity guide will have you on all the high notes)…

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
By Susan Hood
Art: Sally Wern Comport

Ada lives in Paraguay in a village on a landfill. She digs through the trash with her neighbors to find objects they can recycle to earn a few cents. Ada’s family loves music, even though they live in a town of trash.

One day, she sees a sign for music lessons and decides to attend. But there are only 5 instruments and 10 students. The music teacher realizes that he will need to get more instruments so he can teach all of the students who want to learn.

But how in the world will he ever afford instruments like guitars and violins, when ONE would cost more than the homes of the students in the village?

Then he gets a great idea: to reuse the trash to make the instruments for the kids!
It would take a lot of creativity and the help of a local carpenter, but he had all the resources he needed right in front of him!

Because of all of their passion for music (and other beautiful lessons built-in), THE RECYCLED ORCHESTRA is formed!

This story teaches kids how one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Ada finds her love in a violin while others play guitars, cellos and flutes.

A powerful lesson involving the love of music, teamwork, and resourcefulness, your kids will appreciate how the villagers in Paraguay make awesome music from trash instruments to have a profound impact on everyone’s lives.

This one is not to be missed! Get your copy HERE.

ACTIVITY GUIDE for Ada’s Violin:
Click here for your activity guide! 

Much Love & Reading,
Birdy Jones

It’s TJ’s Birthday!

It’s TJ’s Birthday!

It’s Thomas Jefferson’s 274th Birthday Today!

Yep, you read THAT RIGHT. He’s one old dude!
Happy Birthday to our 3rd Prez. But I wouldn’t be Birdy if I didn’t lay a little book recommendation on ya!

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson had a HUGE library collection? It was so large that it helped create the Library of Congress (neat, huh?!)

He was a passionate reader ever since he was just a young lad. Before he knew it, he had so many books that he needed to build a personal library for them. But those few books turned into thousands! He had books on animals, politics, nature and history. Books in all different languages. This is why the texts that he collected became essential pieces of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

If you’d like to read more about this subject with your kiddos, check out the picture book Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dude! Thanks for being a lover of reading and for keeping the written word intact!

Much love and reading,

 The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Some BIRDY NEWS to share!

Some BIRDY NEWS to share!

Hi-Ho Book Buddies!


I’ve been invited to Book Expo 2017 in NYC to sign copies of my newest book, BLOSSOM PLAYS POSSUM (out in June 2017). If you happen to live in the city, swing by the Magination Press booth and shake my hand. I’d love to meet you in person!

If you’d like more information on the event, and what it’s all about, check out the site:

This would be my very first OFFICIAL book signing at such a high profile event. I’m so happy for the support you’ve all shown and I have hearts in my pupils for all of you! Thank you!

Of course, I hope to see you there. If not, get on the Blossom action early by pre-ordering! 

Much love and reading!