Too Darn Cute

Friday, February 28, 2014

One Special Day

One Special Day
Written by Lola M. Schaefer
Illustrated by Jessica Meserve

"Does having a new brother or sister make you into more than you already are?"

This beautiful story for big brothers and big sisters shows how Spencer is strong, funny, and fast. But when a new little someone comes into his life, he becomes a big brother, too. I love that this story shows how even though he has a new role, Spencer stays the same little boy he always was. He can be all the things that he already was AND he can be new things, too. All of us are many different things and this is a great book to share with our little ones to help them see all the things that they are too.

This is a fun story for small children because of it's familiar pattern and predictable text. Each page shares a new attribute of Spencer's personality ("He was strong-") with a picture of him playing outside and showing that attribute somehow. When you turn the page, the sentence is completed with a short phrase and a picture of an animal that embodies that attribute as well ("strong as a" bear). Children can guess what animal will be shown on each page and then figure it out as they observe the picture on the next page. After a few readings, they will be able to predict which animal will appear next.

One Special Day can be used in the classroom to help students learn about similes. After introducing the idea and definition, students can help identify the similes in the story. As a follow-up activity, it would be fun to let students create a poster with similes to describe themselves. What characteristics (and animals/objects that share those characteristics) would they use to show who they are?

I think one of my favorite things about this book, though, is the illustration. Each page is bold, with strong lines and vibrant colors. Spencer is an adorable, messy-haired boy with simple, but expressive, features. The animals are cute and fun, showing just as much personality as Spencer. The illustrations add so much to this sweet story. My favorite picture is at the very end of the book, where the two sweet children are lying next to each other. I can't wait to see my own little ones cuddling like this.

I love this one too, but it isn't the picture I said is my favorite. You'll have to check out the book to see that one. 

There are a lot of "new baby" books out there. While many of them cover possible jealousy or attention issues, this is a sweet, refreshing story that focuses on the loving excitement of new older siblings. There's a time to be wild and a time to be gentle and kids need to know that they can be both. I definitely recommend sharing this one with your favorite little ones!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Grin and Bear It

This winter has kind of been bogging me down. If it is not below zero degrees, it's snowing. ALL DAY LONG. Neither is very inviting for a fun day out and about. I just can't seem to shake the cabin fever and winter blues.

In an effort to break the routine and try something new, I decided we needed to stage a photo shoot. I was very diligent about taking monthly pictures of Leo throughout his first year, but haven't done any since his birthday. So I invited a few friends, scrounged up some Valentine props, and made a simple backdrop. It was nice to have some new life in our house after weeks of feeling locked in by ourselves. And we even got a few cute pics out of the crazy day!

How could I not start to warm up with those beautiful blue eyes staring up at me? I had so much fun taking these photos. I feel like I learn more every time I pull my camera out. He's getting harder to photograph though. He's squirmy and curious so I can usually only snap a few shots before he crawls over to me, wanting to check out the cool camera I'm holding (and push all those tempting buttons!).

Shake, shake, shake!

She loves me, she loves me not...

My goofy valentine

A new friend came with her two adorable kids to take some pictures with me and taught me lots of new things. Ashley does photography professionally, so she is a fountain of knowledge and talent. She was patient while I pestered her with questions about white balance, flash, and histograms. I hope I haven't scared her away because I have since thought of several new questions I want to ask her next time we talk. I hesitate posting a few of my favorite shots that she took and sent me because, well, they're amazing and show how much I have to learn. But they're so cute and my desire to brag about my cutie is greater than my pride.

This last one is by far my favorite shot of the day. Leo has started showing off his silly side quite often lately. When he's feeling goofy, he'll flash this super cheesy grin at us. It cracks me up every time, but I haven't been able to get a good picture of it. Luckily, Ashley did! I think he's trying to tell me that even when winter is long and cold, you just gotta grin and bear it. And it sure is easier with this little guy by my side.