Sunday, April 27, 2014



Manual de Casas Encantadas
Mónica Carretero
Señora Muac and her son are looking for a new home, a place with fresh air, preferably in the country, but everything they find is too expensive! Finally they come across a real estate agent that specializes in Haunted Houses. First, Señora Muac and her son (along with the reader) learn what a Haunted House is, exactly: a house with ghosts. Then the proprietor goes through common places to find spirits in a home, as well as the different types of spirits, such as shadows, bed sheet ghosts, and so on. There is a small game midway before the houses that are on the market are shown, where the goal is to find the number of ghosts in the room. Señora Muac and her son are shown several houses, and the last one proves to be perfect: by the sea, quiet, with two ghosts: a pirate and his mother. In the end, it was a great idea to buy a Haunted House, and much less expensive. The book ends with a maze game, spot-the-difference game, and word search. A very cute “manual” for Haunted Houses with nice information, fun, and games, as well as a very funny real estate agent!

Witches Handbook
Mónica Carretero
This handbook is also part of the MANUALES series by Mónica Carretero. My library has this as a print version (Witches Handbook) and electronic version (Manual de Brujas). For this one I am going to be looking at the print version, Witches Handbook. The book follows a young girl and boy as they visit their Aunt Amarga, who tells them she believes she is the last witch, and that the Witches Handbook, which holds a history of witches and secrets, will disappear once she does if she truly is the last witch. As Aunt Amarga reads the Witches Handbook to her niece and nephew, they (and we) learn what a witch is (although I wonder why the author chose to make them all bad), geography of witches, famous witches, a small history and game of the Middle Ages, transportation, animals, potions and spells, and celebrations. Many fairy tales are alluded to in the text, such as Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Sleeping Beauty, and the illustrations are just as nice as those in Manual de Casas Encantadas. This really does read like a Witches Handbook, and this book seems like one that would be found in a library like Hogwarts Library. Very detailed, fun, and recommended for those who love magic.

These manuals were so much fun, I may even purchase copies for my personal library in the future.

If you are searching for similar magic books for young readers, I recommend:

The Princess and the Pets
Angela Kanter
Ill. By Maddy McClellan

A young princess wishes to have a pet, but due to text messaging errors by her Fairy Godmother, the family gets something very unexpected.

Lulu Goes to Witch School
Jane O’Connor
Ill. By Bella Sinclair
Text © 1987, Illustrations ©2013

Lulu Witch starts learning new things at Witch School, but Sandy Witch does everything better than her! Will Lulu and Sandy ever be friends? This book has great detailed illustrations of jars with ingredients, spell books, drawings, and much more, including a Dracula cauldron lunch box!

Speaking of Manuals:

Manual de Fútbol
Helen Edom

Manual de Equitación
Helen Edom

Manual de Ballet
Helen Edom

All three of these manuals do a great job of teaching the reader how to perform the sport: football, riding, and ballet. Many times at the library a patron has asked for a basic guide to a sport, and these are perfect. Many times a guide will include pages full of famous players and the history of the sport, and while these do include a little of this at times, most of the book takes the reader through the rules and proper ways to play the sport, complete with illustrations and basic explanations!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

David books by David Shannon



No, David! And David va al colegio
David Shannon
English version of No, David! © 1998
English version of David Goes to School © 1999

These books are priceless! I love how you can read No, David! in both English and Spanish because David’s mother is almost always shouting “No, David” which can be read easily in both languages. The illustrations convey so much about David and what is going on because of him. Both books teach valuable lessons regarding behavior, and the Spanish versions of these two picture books are translated beautifully. Everything flows smoothly; I plan on reading David va al colegio for a bilingual story time in May, and I can’t wait to see the look on the faces of all the children! I’ll also be recommending these books to my fiancé, I’m sure he will love them as well.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Colores de la Vida

Colores de la Vida
Mexican Folk Art Colors in English and Spanish
Cynthia Weill
Folk Art by Artisans from Oaxaca

If possible, I love this book even more than Count Me In. The layout and color scheme of this book is perfect. If a page is dedicated to pink/rosa, the work of art and the background are both shades of pink, but it is never too much pink. The different shades work well together. The borders match with the letters used to spell the colors, and there is so much detail in the works of art, that once you are done reading the colors, you will want to stare at the folk art all day. These are pieces of art I would love to have in my own home, or at least to hang prints of. I also love that the folk art pieces are animals, and I love the inclusion of gold and silver as well as a beautiful multi-colored set of pigs. This book is a treasure: a clear, crisp way of learning the colors in English and Spanish, and a gift for our eyes as we look upon all of the fine works of art made by artists in Oaxaca.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fabergé Eggs

If you are searching for an activity for April, why not go with Fabergé Eggs? I had been wanting to do a fabergé egg craft for some time; when I visited a nursing home, I took some large oversize books about the eggs and the jewelry created by the House of Fabergé, and I thought, why not have a craft for kids during April, when it's egg season?

For those of you in the Houston area, if you have a chance please visit the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where the McFerrin Collection is currently on display. There are two fabergé eggs in this collection, and as a big admirer of Peter Fabergé, I was ecstatic that they allowed photography!

The Fabergé website has a beautiful gallery of the eggs, and the Examiner has a good article that touches on the history of the eggs. I also made sure to mention to the kids that a man recently purchased one of the eggs thought to be lost at a sale, and was trying to sell it for about $500 (to be melted down into gold). No one was offering him any money, and a Google search soon led him to the discovery that it was a very valuable ($33 million dollar) Fabergé egg.

One of the handouts I had available was a Martha Stewart Crystal Egg Geode handout; I'd wanted to do this with the kids also, but it takes about two days with drying time, so it was not possible. But I made sure the handouts were available so they could try it at home. A very beautiful and scientific craft! Additionally, the Houston Museum of Natural Science has a really awesome Fabergé egg craft on their Beyond Bones blog, which gave me the idea to use tiny dinosaurs as a special surprise to go inside of the egg.

For our eggs we used: plastic Easter eggs, pipe cleaners, self-adhesive jewels, and tiny dinosaurs. I had some foam eggs and tissue paper as back up in case we ran out of plastic eggs.

The dinosaurs went inside the eggs, which were decorated with the self-adhesive jewels. Kids then made an egg stand out of pipe cleaners, and they could choose from two designs which I found at the Egg Pedestal  and a smaller stand that also has instructions on creating a Fabergé Egg.

These are the foam eggs with tissue, above the Martha Stewart Crystal Egg Geodes handouts. There was a really big turnout for this craft, probably the biggest I've had. I talked a little bit about the history behind the eggs, and used the book Masterpieces from the House of Faberge because it has beautiful, large photographs of many of the eggs.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Craft Site:

I was trying to think of a theme to go with for May outreach story times, and I decided to go with farms/farm animals, and to do dinosaurs in June. I was looking for a nice craft to go with the theme but having a difficult time finding something that could just be cut out. Most of the things I was finding required paper plates, a lot of gluing, etc.

I stumbled upon the website Kizclub and I love it! I have bookmarked it and will be going back to it often. It has really great crafts; I immediately went to the animal crafts and found some amazing farm animal finger puppets that were just what I wanted (in black and white as well as color).

Everything is so well organized and there are so many resources: crafts, flash cards, items dealing with nursery rhymes, booklets, and a huge database of props that go with specific stories. I even found props for Bark, George!, one of my favorite books to use for both English and Spanish story times. Definitely one of the most well-organized and creative websites I've visited, with easy navigation and adorable crafts and learning materials.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Arroz con Leche

Arroz con Leche: un poema para cocinar / Rice Pudding: a cooking poem
Jorge Argueta
Fernando Vilela

Just as with Tamalitos, Jorge Argueta takes us through the steps of cooking a traditional dish in English and Spanish. These books almost make one want to dance. Everything about the illustrations exudes joy and happiness. What I love most about these books is that the instructions are so easy to follow; you can create these delicious dishes in your own home in no time. Arroz con leche is one of my most favorite things to eat in the world, this book has reminded me that I have not had it in a long time. I better get cooking!