phd mama

from diapers to deconstruction


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Here Be Dragons

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Both of my children adore stories about mythical creatures; it’s part of their inheritance, right along with their dimples. Few such beasts are as impressive and breathtaking as dragons, and the list here showcases those creatures’ cunning as well as their sillier sides. These stories cross cultures to show different perspectives on dragons, who don’t always breathe fire and sometimes intertwine with saints’ tales. I will note that, despite my four-year-old’s love of dragons, I put few films on this list because of the intense images that so many of those movies contain. We stuck mostly to text, instead, where we relied on our imaginations, aided by timeless tales and exquisite illustrations, to bring these beasts to life.

  1. Day of the Dragon King by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca
  2. Dragon of the Red Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca
  3. The Dragons Are Singing Tonight by Jack Prelutsky and Peter Sis
  4. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri
  5. The Dragon Snatcher by M. P. Robertson
  6. The Egg by M. P. Robertson
  7. Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light
  8. How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head by Bill Peet
  9. Watch How to Train Your Dragon
  10. Hush, Little Dragon by Boni Ashburn and Kelly Murphy
  11. Jin Jin the Dragon by Grace Chang and Chong Chang
  12. King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bentley and Helen Oxenbury
  13. The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola
  14. Me and My Dragon by David Biedrzycki
  15. Merlin and the Dragons by Jane Yolen and Li Ming
  16. No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons) by Jean Pendziwol and Martine Gourbault
  17. Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el and Tim Bowers
  18. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko
  19. The Popcorn Dragon by Jane Thayer and Lisa McGue
  20. Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges and Trina Schart Hyman
  21. The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash and Lynn Munsinger
  22. There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent
  23. Waking Dragons by Jane Yolen and Derek Anderson
  24. Where’s the Dragon? by Richard Hook and Jason Hook


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The Bees’ Reads

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While a severe bee allergy in our family prevented us from visiting a hive, we wanted to learn more about these amazing pollinators. From the sources below, we learned about their jobs and habits, as well as how their roles change throughout their lives. We studied bees dancing and took more notice of these essential creatures as they fly across our yard and garden. With National Pollinator Week approaching, I’m grateful for the knowledge we’ve gained about bees, the important role they play in our ecosystem, and the chance to spread the word!

  1. Are You a Bee? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries
  2. Bee Dance by Rick Churstowski
  3. Bee & Me by Elle J. McGuiness and Heather Brown
  4. Bees! By Elizabeth Winchester
  5. The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco
  6. Watch The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot about That: Things with Wings
  7. Watch Insect by DK Eyewitness
  8. Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber and Brian Velock
  9. The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons
  10. In the Trees, Honey Bees by Lori Mortensen and Cris Arbo
  11. The Life and Times of the Honeybee by Charles Micucci
  12. The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen
  13. National Geographic’s Little Kids First Big Book of Bugs by Catherine D. Hughes
  14. Investigate Pollinator Partnership
  15. Investigate Pollinators from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  16. Show Me the Honey By Tish Rabe and Christopher Moroney
  17. These Bees Count! by Alison Formento and Sarah Snow
  18. What If There Were No Bees? A Book About the Grassland Ecosystem by Suzanne Slade and Carol Schwartz

 


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Plant Reads, No Green Thumb Required

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By now the bunnies have eaten most of our kale; clearly, we do not have a rabbit-proof fence. But even the process of failing to garden teaches us a lot about gardening. In addition to reading and watching the items on this list, we’ve spent a lot of time in the dirt, befriending the worms and dropping in seeds with a hope and a prayer. It’s clear to my children that my father has a green thumb and I do not, yet we’re persevering with patience. We made terrariums to observe the water cycle and started some of our seedlings safely indoors. These resources helped us appreciate the process of gardening and understand the earth as the source of our food. And, hey, there’s still hope for the squash….

  1. The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
  2. Watch DK Eyewitness Plant
  3. From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
  4. How a Seed Grows by Helene Jordan and Loretta Krupinski
  5. Jack and the Beanstalk by Paul Galdone
  6. The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book about How Living Things Grow by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen
  7. Oh Say Can You Seed? All About Flowering Plants by Bonnie Worth and Aristides Ruiz
  8. The Plant Hunters by Anita Silvey
  9. Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
  10. A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long
  11. Seed to Plant by Kristin Baird Rattini
  12. Watch Dinosaur Train’s Tiny’s Garden
  13. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
  14. Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal


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A Sap for a Story

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After years of trying to coordinate a trip to one of our local maple syrup houses, my family finally made it this year to an event for NY’s Maple Weekend. I expected an afternoon of tromping through snow and tapping trees, but our experience was much sleeker and more sophisticated than that (you can read about that visit here). We decided to extend our field trip with large bottles of maple syrup and lots of library books about the history and process of sugaring. This list reflects the old-fashioned methods I’d imagined as well as more modern processes, and, of course, some stories that are just about sticky fun. These books aren’t quite as delicious as syrup-soaked pancakes, but they’re all good reads.

  1. From Maple Tree to Syrup by Melanie Mitchell
  2. At Grandpa’s Sugar Bush by Margaret Carney and Janet Wilson
  3. If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond
  4. Maple Moon by Connie Brummel Crook
  5. The Maple Syrup Book by Marilyn Linton
  6. Maple Syrup Season by Ann Purmell
  7. From Maple Trees to Maple Syrup by Kristin Thoennes Keller
  8. The Missing Maple Syrup Sap Mystery: Or, How Maple Syrup Is Made by Gail Gibbons
  9. Sugar on Snow by Nan Parson Rossiter
  10. Sugar Snow by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Doris Ettlinger
  11. Sugarbush Spring by Marsha Wilson Chall and Jim Daly
  12. Sugaring by Jessie Haas
  13. The Sugaring-Off Party by Jonathan London and Gilles Pelletier
  14. Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky and Chrisopher Knight
  15. A Tree for All Seasons by Robin Bernard