Thursday, July 28, 2016

5 Books About Starting Kindergarten

This summer is flying by and I have officially enrolled my little girl for kindergarten. I honestly can't believe it and I KNOW that I will cry when I drop her off. She, however, is super excited for it and asks everyday if she gets to go soon. We have started a countdown and have checked out tons of library books about kindergarten so I thought I'd share some of our favorites. If you have a little one getting ready for this big milestone, they will love these books!


The Night Before Kindergarten
by Natasha Wing

'Twas the night before kindergarten,
and as they prepared,

kids were excited,
and a little bit scared.


This fun book reads like the familiar Night Before Christmas tale and doesn't shy away from the fact that starting kindergarten can make kids nervous. But as the kids start their day, they realize that school isn't scary at all and in a twist, it's the parents who are sad while the kids have fun. Grace thinks the ending of this book is hilarious and tells me that I will be the one crying while she goes to school. She is probably right!



The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School
by Deborah Diesen

The Pout-Pout Fish is currently one of our favorite literary characters and we have almost all of the series. Pout-Pout Fish gets lost on his first day of school and doubts his abilities quickly when he realizes he can't do everything the older kids do. His pout turns upside down when he finds his teacher and his class and he learns that if he listens and tries, he can do it!

Fact one: You are smart.
Fact two: You can get it.
Fact three: You belong. 
So Four: Don't forget it!



Dad's First Day
by Mike Wohnoutka

While most books about kindergarten focus on the child's fears, this book turns it around as Oliver's dad realizes he ISN'T READY for kindergarten! Oliver and his dad have a great summer together and his dad is hesitant about the start of the school year. He finds every way to avoid taking Oliver to school, complaining that his stomach hurts, hiding, and then driving extra slow but in end Oliver gets him to go take him to kindergarten. Throughout the day, Oliver's dad struggles with the transition and rushes back to get him early. But he sees that kindergarten isn't nearly as bad as he thought and discovers that Oliver is happy in school! This is a fun twist on the normal kindergarten story and the pictures are amazing!



Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes
by James Dean and Eric Litwin

Pete the Cat is rocking again in this catchy addition to the always popular Pete the Cat series. If you are not familiar with this cat already, you should be. Pete's groovin' tunes are easy for kids to remember and he is always a hit in our house. In this book, Pete gives us a tour of the school, including the lunch room and cafeteria, helping familiarize kindergartens with where they will spend their time on school days.

Make sure to visit the Pete the Cat website for tons of fun Pete the Cat videos that feature the songs from the books!


Books about homeschool kindergarten

Charlie Goes to School
by Ree Drummond

I have loved the Pioneer Woman's blog for a long time but hadn't picked up any of her children's books based on their dog Charlie until recently and now I'm addicted to these fun tales! This book is unusual in that it features homeschooling so for all of you starting kindergarten at home this year, make sure to get this book. After watching the children start their school, Charlie plans a school for the other ranch animals but things don't quite go like he wants. Will his friends learn anything? This book is a delight for all animal lovers!




Curious George Back to School DVD

I know this isn't a book but I had to include it because Grace is obsessed with it. Curious George has always been a favorite in our house and Grace randomly grabbed this DVD at the library one day. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it contained not only some of our favorite Curious George episodes about school, it included scenes of preschoolers visiting a kindergarten classroom and showing what they learned. It's helped give Grace a visual of what kindergarten will be like. We have watched it way too many times!









I hope these books help your kindergartner feel ready for this huge milestone!  If time could just slow down, I'd be thrilled but the days are quickly passing and the first day of school will be here before we know it......

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets Review: A New Family Favorite

Disclaimer: We received press passes to attend an early screening of this film. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% honest and my own.


We have been looking forward to seeing The Secret Life of Pets for weeks. The kids begged to watch the previews over and over and we couldn't wait to see the screening this past Tuesday. We have two dogs, Doc and Buddy and I'm pretty sure they get into all sorts of trouble during the day when we're gone. This movie definitely made me even more curious about their daytime antics because the animals in this movie have some exceptional lives and hilarious escapades.

I was honestly worried that the previews would give away all of the funny parts of this movie, but wow was I wrong. All four of us were laughing constantly and any animal lover is absolutely going to love it. The main character, Max is instantly likable and his friends, including Gidget, a poofy white Pomeranian that Grace fell in love with, Mel, a hyperactive pug, Chloe, a tell it like it is cat, Buddy, the adorable dachshund with some pretty useful skills, and Sweet Pea, a bird with attitude, make the perfect supporting cast. It's amazing how quickly you can see the personalities of each of the animals and I loved the quick montages they showed a preview into each animal's home life.


Max's world is turned upside down when his owner Katie adopts a giant brown mutt, Duke, from the pound. The two clearly do not get along and things get rough when they are forced to find their way home from across New York City.  Gidget and her friends go on a rescue mission to bring Max home and they meet all sorts of crazy characters along the way. Max and Duke get involved with a crazed group of "flushed pets" led by Snowball, played by Kevin Hart, who is not a bunny to mess with! Hart's vengeful bunny makes a cute villain without being too scary for the kids. The movie is very family friendly and would be great for kids of all ages.

It is obvious that the animators of this film spent lots of time observing their subjects because their movements were extremely realistic. Also, the animation of New York City is beautiful and the city truly feels like a character all by itself. This film is sure to make you smile and we will definitely be adding it to our DVD collection. It is in theaters today, July 8th so see it with your family this weekend!

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