Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Just in Time for Father’s Day

Today’s blog is the first post of one of my book reviews. From time to time, I will post not only a book review for a children’s book, but I will also add a fun, easy-to-complete activity that can be used as follow-up after reading the book. I will only review books that I can recommend. As tastes differ greatly regarding literature, only positive reviews will be posted. The intent of the reviews is a brief description and details that a parent might find interesting when selecting books to read to their children. A book that might become a favorite for a four-year-old will more than likely not appeal to an eight-year-old. One of my sons devoured practically every literature book he could get, while the other son studied and applied skills he found in how-to books. Each person, whether they are  a child or an adult, has different tastes in reading material.
Each book review will also include a book giveaway. The giveaway registration will last a week, with the drawing announced one day after the close of the registration. The books will arrive from Amazon and will be available ONLY to residents of the United States.
As this approach to my book reviews will more than likely evolve over the next several months, I welcome feedback and suggestions.
A delightful tale, tantalizing artwork, and lessons sprinkled throughout—they are the recipe for a summer-themed story children will ask to hear again and again.
It’s a Firefly Night, written by Dianne Ochiltree and illustrated by Betsy Snyder, is a must-read for children ages 3-6. The story flows through an exciting evening spent outdoors in the company of a little girl, her father, and many many fireflies. Told in rhyme, the pacing of this story matches the sudden burst of light a firefly emits on warm summer nights—quick, expressive, and oh-so-meaningful. Each page has only a few scattered words, encouraging children  to pause and study the highly textured illustrations.
As the evening fades, the little girl releases the fireflies from the jar—a reminder to all of us about the importance of  protecting nature. As Ochiltree writes, “I love catching fireflies, but they are not mine”.
As an added bonus, at the end of the story Ochiltree provides a page of firefly facts, beautifully showcased by Snyder’s artistic talent.

I highly recommend this story for the little ones in your life.
The Details:
Recommended ages: 3-6
Word count (excluding fact page) 177
Average words per two page spread: 16
Extra value: reinforces counting skills, treatment of nature, connection with a parent, additional facts

Activity: The Firefly Dance: Counting Fun


Ages: 3-6
Time to complete: 20-30 minutes, including reading the reviewed book

Materials: *This is a mommy-made craft

Copy of the book (It’s a Firefly Night)
Yellow Pom Poms, 5 for each child
Fabric or felt glue
Small plastic eyes (optional)
Dark blue or black construction paper
Circle punch (optional)
Post-It notes or yellow construction paper with repositionable adhesive



1. Prior to reading the book, create one option of the fireflies to use with the children.
            a. Print illustrations from the activity list that include all 5 pages.
            b. Create pom pom firefly finger puppets.
            c. Create 5 circles to use with title page printable (circles backed with repositionable adhesive).

2. Read and discuss the story, It’s a Firefly Night.
3. Read the poem to children, having them act out each verse, either by placing the circles onto the printable or by placing a firefly finger puppet on their fingers, one at a time. 

Fly Higher with the Fireflies:

The book and poem provide a great review for counting, shapes, and repetition. Older children may be able to repeat the poem with you. 

This book is available on

This giveaway will include a free copy of It’s a Firefly Night, as well as another surprise. The registration will last from the posting of this blog post until midnight, June 18, 2013. One winner will be randomly selected from all entries. The book will be shipped from Amazon within approximately 2 weeks following the close of the giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States with a United State’s mailing address. The winner’s name will be posted on the blog, unless the winner chooses not to have his/her name posted.

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