Monday, August 16, 2010

Winner!


The winner of this exciting book is Sarah!  Thanks to all that threw your name into the drawing.  I wish you all wonderful ends to your summer and strong and steady starts to Kindergarten...preschool...or whatever stage you are at! 

Sarah, please email me your email and home address and I will get the information to the author.  You have 24 hours to contact me otherwise I will pick a different winner. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway: Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?


Recently, I was given the opportunity to review the book Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick.  The opportunity couldn't have come at a better time.  As the month of August starts to move forward, quickening it's pace as we go, I realize that my time with both boys home all day is coming to a quick end.  Charley will become an actual real life Kindergartner come September.  There will be no more spur of the moment trips to the zoo just the three of us.  We will have to plan.  Don't get me wrong - Charley is definitely ready for kindergarten and we are easing in to his school career with only the HALF day experience. 

The emotions though are becoming more and more apparent for both him and me.  I am excited for the routine, the stimulation it will give him, the time with friends, and the opportunity to be loved by another adult or two in his life.  I am fearing the impact the separation will have on Henry - even though I can see the good in the upcoming time apart.  I am dreading the feeling of not knowing everything that he is saying, thinking, doing, and learning.  I am praying that the connections I have established, the family meal time, the quiet afternoons that he and I will still have...will allow for plenty of time for this boy of mine to share all that he experiences. 

As a teacher, who is on leave to be home with these two little men + the one on the way, I have a handful of fun beginning of the year books.   I am delighted to have another one in my hands.  Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? is a book that will put a smile on both a child and adult's face. 

It touches on the anxiety that children have starting something new:  different looks, different skill sets (scissor skills), getting along with other children, and sharing.  It realizes the excitement of a new backpack and figuring out ones place in a classroom.   It uses current language and phrases like:  How crazy is that? and Kidding!

 My favorite page says:

He'll stop, take a deep breath,
and remember the Rules for
Sharing and Caring.

That's why kindergarten's so great.
You learn to get along without using your horns.


There is also a discussion guide and  coloring sheets available.



Is Your Buffalo Ready for School? is a great book to throw into the weeks building up to the new experience of kindergarten. I am so glad it found it's way onto our bookshelf.  You can win a copy of your own by leaving a comment telling me something you are looking forward to about the school year beginning, how you get ready for the routine shift, or share a favorite kindergarten memory or children's book.

The winner will be chosen on Sunday, August 15th.

The winner will also get their name submitted with mine to win this opportunity....The winning team (blogger and blogger contest winner) each get to choose a personalized pose for the buffalo which Daniel will illustrate and then print onto a book bag for each.

The following is an interview I had with the author Audrey Vernick.   Thank you Audrey for sharing your thoughts. 

Enjoy!


1. What inspired you to write this book?

One morning, my son had to bring pumpkin muffins to school for a cooking class. As we were waiting for the school bus, our dog was very actively sniffing around the muffins, and I said, offhandedly, "you might need to teach your dog to bake." A minute passed and then I said, "A smarter writer would have a whole series right there--Teach Your Dog To Bake. Teach Your Cat to Surf. Teach Your Buffalo to Play Drums." Later that morning, while walking the dog, I wrote most of Teach Your Buffalo to Play Drums in my head.

When my agent sold that book to HarperCollins, they offered a two-book deal. My editor knew I was working on a book called Is Your Yeti Ready for Kindergarten? We agreed to try to turn that one into a buffalo/kindergarten book instead.


2. What feelings and emotions did you have when your children headed off to kindergarten? How did you deal with them?

My sisters had children before I did. I remember a day when we were all in a hotel room somewhere, hurrying off to somewhere. As the last of us was about to leave the room, we realized we had forgotten to take my sister's baby. We had forgotten the baby! That's how I felt when my children left for kindergarten-- this sense that something was terribly wrong, that we were about to go somewhere without our constant companion. It was a very panicky feeling.

Time took care of that pretty quickly. My children loved going to school. And I found many ways to fill my time.


3. What made you pick a buffalo...why not a giraffe?

Good question. I have no idea. But seeing the buffalo that Daniel drew makes me know that it was the right choice. I will admit that for about a day, I changed the buffalo to a humpbacked ox.


4. How long did it take you to write the book?

Hardly any time at all. Editing, on the other hand, took a long time. My editor and I worked very hard to find the right balance between sweet encouragement and snarky humor.


5. Lots of people dream of writing a children's book. Is there any advice you would give to them?

How much time do you have?
I thought this would be easy. And sometimes writing children's books is easy. Getting them published rarely is. The best advice, which I never wanted to listen to in the beginning, is to read a ton of NEW children's books. We're all pretty well versed in the books we grew up with, but it's important to maintain a sense of what publishers are putting out NOW. Once or twice each year, I visit local bookstores and read through the new picture books. I don't actively process the information, but on some subconscious level, I get a sense of things.

It's also worthwhile to find other writers or readers who are good readers of your work. I have a handful of people whose opinions matter to me a great deal. They help me revise and reshape my work before I submit it. It can take a while to figure out who's a good reader for you and who isn't, but for some writers (I am one), it's of great value.


6. What is your silliest or favorite kindergarten memory?

I have very fond memories of the kitchen area in my kindergarten classroom. I remember nervously inviting the young and beautiful Miss Katinas, a first-year teacher, to attend my dance recital. She, in turn, invited me to attend her wedding at the United Nations.



You can get a copy of your own by leaving a comment telling me something you are looking forward to about the school year beginning, how you get ready for the routine shift, or share a favorite kindergarten memory or children's book.

The winner will be chosen on Sunday, August 15th.  

The winner will also get their name submitted with mine to win this opportunity....The winning team (blogger and blogger contest winner) each get to choose a personalized pose for the buffalo which Daniel will illustrate and then print onto a book bag for each.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

CSN Giveaway - this giveaway is complete

CSN Stores is once again offering up a $50 gift card to use at one of their 200 online stores. Go here to check out the many ways you could splurge on yourself or someone you love...or me :)




To enter to win share 3 things on your summer to do list for the month of July...






Here are a few items on my July list:





Sandy toes on the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. 





Strawberry picking.





Visiting my grandpa and other relatives at a Sunday picnic.





Smore's over a fire in our backyard.





Late night game of Hearts against my brother-in-law Andy.





More time at the pool.





More time at the beach.





Making Vanilla Rainbow pudding pops with the boys.













A winner will be selected next Wednesday, July 8th. I will offer one other chance to win in the next week!



So share 3 things you are hoping to do, accomplish, relish, challenge yourself with...this second month of summer! 



Look What's Happening Tomorrow

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from cookware to cribs to specific needs such as dining room sets and shoes.  I have been given the opportunity to give away another $50 gift card to one of their 200 online stores.  This opportunity start tomorrow.  So today I thought I would share a few items I would buy for myself, friends, or family, if I had an extra $50 laying around.




For my nephew Eli...I would buy him one of these classic riding vehicles.  It keeps boys busy for hours!



















For Henry... I would buy him this bike.  A neighbor boy has been zipping around on one of these at the age of 2-3 and now he is riding a two wheel bike without training wheels!  Amazing.


















For my mom friends...I have one of these bags and I love it.  It slides over your shoulder and lays across your back and leaves you with two hands for holding and two arms to reach and grab little ones running in all directions.









For my niece Morgan...these shoes squeak with each step she takes.  How cute...and maybe a little annoying after a while for mom and dad :)





















For myself....I have always wanted one of these...not sure why. 











There are so many options and you could actually spend hours searching through their online stores.  Start dreaming...and tomorrow stop by to enter for your chance to win a $50 gift card to CSN Stores more than 200 online sites.  Coming tomorrow!