The Lemonman : A Picnic, A Toad and Swampwater Road by Natasha Ferrill

`When I received this book I was eager to read it to my son as I was struck by the colourful characters, the charm of The Lemonman and the idea that another author is focusing on healthy protagonists. Although I loved reading this story out loud to my son, for it’s rhythm and rhymes, the story line and patterns were too much for an exhausted two year old boy.

A perfect read for school aged children and their parents, it’s sing song quality will reverberate for days to come. I am still so very eager to continue on the journey through Applenook by way of Cherry Bay Street with Lemonman, Professor Celery and Miss Strawberry.

The intrigue I have is mainly do to the challenging but brilliant use of poetic story-telling by emerging fellow Canadian author, Ferrill. I know I’ll be reading this book for years to come, often enough for my son to tell it back to me I’m sure.

The Lemonman : A Picnic, A Toad and Swampwater Road introduces the series main characters as well as a Toad, a traveling salesman who has less of an honest outlook. While he swindles Lemonman intentionally and cruelly, the loveable characters have an opportunity to get Toad back or help him.

As good children’s books go this is a great one as it teaches a lesson without preaching and instead creates a world any young reader would love to be a part of.

Visit The Lemonman’s website today to get your copy!

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

BananaGirl at Parent Palooza!!

This weekend marks the event that all parents have been waiting for. A one stop place for anything parenting will be made available for one day only this coming Sunday – November 14, 2010.

From car seat clinics,  to My Gym, literacy advocates and more there will be plenty of people giving out free stuff and tons of advice.

I will be there with a special deal of "buy two Sending You Sammy’s and get a Brain Tales – Volume One for free!!!"

Make sure you’re there.

For further details please visit Outside the Crib .

Have a tremendous day!!

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

25 Ways To Get Your Child to Read

During the summer months especially, it’s often difficult to encourage children to read and to continue engaging them in activities that expand their mind. It’s often said that reading levels drop during these months as children are more concerned with watching television or connecting with friends than to read a book.

Sunny days are great for getting out and having fun but on rainy days it’s important to leave the tv turned off and participate in many other activities. Either alone or as a family.

I’m compiling a list for parents and guardians to use in order to pass on the love for learning all year long. If you have any suggestions or action plans you do at home please comment and share. I’ll be adding to this list as the days go on but here’s 25 ideas to get you started.

25 Ways to Get Your Child to Read

  1. Going on a trip? Have them read the license plates in front of them and make words from the letters in them.
  2. Have your son or daughter read the road signs while on your way to drop them off somewhere. Test their memory by asking which street name was their favourite or which sign they saw the most.
  3. Read in front of them. That’s right! Do something you love and instill the love of reading in them. It’s just that easy.
  4. Read to them. A great way to get your child to read is to start the story and alternate the pages you read and the ones they read. If they want to keep reading out loud to you – let them!
  5. Have them write a letter to a relative – close or far. This will get them to write back and receiving a letter in the mail is an awesome feeling that will encourage your child to read the letter immediately. And so the cycle begins…
  6. Start a book club. Invite your son and/or daughter’s friends over to choose a book and then invite them back to discuss it and choose another. If everyone is reading it’ll be the in thing.
  7. Get your child a library card. Free books are an amazing way to always have a new book on hand.
  8. Subscribe to a newspaper or online publication of your child’s choosing. This will give them a regular source of new material that interests them.
  9. Go to the zoo! That’s right, take them out for an afternoon at the local zoo. They always have write up’s on the animals so they can read and learn and have fun!
  10. Have them start a website. This will get them writing, reviewing and looking for new ideas on what to write about. It can be free and a fantastic way to get your child used to a computer.
  11. Get them an email address. This connects them with friends, family, and new pen pals and has them reading email after email and eager to do so.
  12. Weekly trips to the library and, if possible, walk as it gives you exercise and time to discuss the books you want or have.

    Keep reading… you never know what your reading will spark.

  13. Let them choose what they want to read. Comics, Manga, information books, technical books, non-fiction, fiction, Guinness Book of World Records – there are books for everyone.
  14. Rent a movie in another language and have them read the subtitles! This done several times can teach them a new language too.
  15. Play a board game and have them read the instructions out loud. Games with trivia questions are fantastic for this.
  16. Have them choose what the family watches on television after reading through the TV Guide.
  17. Subscribe to a magazine of their choosing. Every month when it comes in the mail give them a week or so to read it and then ask them questions about the articles.
  18. Bake! Have them read the recipe to you as you go along.
  19. Pair up. Children can always use another friend and if they meet once a week to read to each other that’s even better. Check with your library or school as I’m sure there’s someone looking for a friend in your daughter or son.
  20. Go for a walk in a natural setting. Have a notepad on hand and have your child draw or note a description of some interesting things they see. Then go to the library and find what these items are in an encyclopedia. Take this one step further and have them write a story containing some of these items.
  21. Write. When you write you often read your work over and over again. This also encourages your child to research or read stories or poems similar to what they are writing about.
  22. Encourage your kids to start a collection of jokes, comics, poems, etc. Put them in a journal, have them rewrite them or cut and paste them.
  23. Play a matching game with letters. Get the magnetic letters and play on the fridge!
  24. Have a weekly spelling bee. Have your child choose words for you and you for him/her. Depending on the age of your child you may want to encourage top marks with taking over their chores or doing something they love to do.
  25. Going to get groceries? Have your child write the list (with guidance) and then have them read it to you while helping you find the items.

So there you have it. My first installment of 25 ways to get your child to read. I know you have some yourself and I would love it if you shared them.

Thanks for reading!

Sarah Butland

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Parents Canada

Parents Canada has joined Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution in a big way. Ok, ok. Jamie started in Huntington, West Viriginia in North America (he actually started in his own home country of England in the very beginning) but that doesn’t mean Canadians can’t learn from this and take their own spin from it.

Parents Canada did just that. Every issue they are asking for your stories on how you’re starting your own Food Revolution whether it’s just in your own home or beyond. It starts somewhere and it’s vital it starts with you.

On page 74 of their printed magazine you can see my part in this revolution that will help children make the right decisions when it comes to food and activities.

Are you doing something to help the health of your family, community, country and/or beyond? Make sure you tell Parents Canada for your chance to help change the world.

And make sure you sign Jamie Oliver’s petition to show your support.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

Jamie Oliver’s One Cup Pancakes

Do you love pancakes? Make them for your parents this Saturday morning. It’s as easy as One and One – Cup that is.

Check out Jamie Oliver’s One Cup Pancakes and let me know what you think. I made them and LOVED them.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland