Arts + crafts with Ivy + Bean

Owen is a big Ivy + Bean fan

I’m a big fan of the Ivy + Bean series, so when the Ivy + Bean Button Factory (Chronicle, March) arrived in the office, it made its way to my desk (thanks, Katie!). For $12.99 you get enough materials to make fifteen buttons, featuring illustrations of Ivy and Bean by Sophie Blackall plus such quotable […]

Going for gold

Winning Team

Is it too early to get excited about the Summer Olympics? I’m not really a sports person, but I do get excited about my two favorite events: the 400 meter Drool-Over-Michael-Phelps relay and women’s gymnastics. I was eleven years old when the Magnificent 7 dominated the 1996 summer games—the perfect age to marvel over the […]

Have your cake and read it, too

The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case by Alexander McCall Smith

Prequels are trending, especially those that take readers back to the childhoods of established characters: Alice McKinley, the Baby-Sitters Club girls, Bartimaeus, even James Bond and Carrie Bradshaw. Now Alexander McCall Smith has jumped on the bandwagon (or should I say tiny white van?) with an early chapter book featuring a young and pre–traditionally built […]

Miss Agnes is back

Miss Agnes and the Ginger Tom by Kirkpatrick Hill

About eleven years ago, I fell in love with Miss Agnes. Kirkpatrick Hill’s The Year of Miss Agnes is one of my first-weeks-of-school read-aloud books. Miss Agnes’s loving but no-nonsense teaching methods inspire me every time I read it, which is just about every year. Now, more than a decade since that book was published, […]