On Christmas Eve, does a dinosaur sleep? Does he go up to bed without making a peep?
Christmas is almost here, and Jane Yolen's favorite dinosaurs are up to no good. Are they sneaking a peek at the brightly wrapped gifts and picking off ornaments, angels and all? Do they eat the cookies left out for Saint Nick or lick all the candy canes?
It’s 1938. After the Night of Broken Glass, Oskar’s parents feel they must send him to America, so he can be safe. Traveling all alone, Oskar arrives in New York City on the seventh day of Hanukkah, which also happens to be Christmas Eve. He must walk a long way across the city to reach his Aunt Esther, hoping to reach her house before she lights the menorah at sunset.
Aunt Esther does not know he is coming, so he must navigate the cold streets by himself, over 100 blocks on the big street called Broadway. It is rather daunting for a small boy, but Oskar is comforted by his father’s last words to him: “Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings.”
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the ship, the pirates were planning a plundering trip.
Captain Bling and his ragtag crew are planning a plunder! They are plotting to steal festive Christmas treasure. But, the ship gets caught in a gale, and Captain Bling is forced to run the ship ashore . . . landing right outside Santa's front door.
Smell that fresh, piney scent! Will you take your tree home from the Christmas tree farm on top of a car or on a sled? Depends on how close you are! Don't forget to trim the trunk so it can fit in your living room or, wherever you would like to place it. Give it some water, and let it stand tall!
Making bread from flour, yeast, water/milk and whatever else goes into your recipe is one of the most satisfying things a person of any age can learn, and there are so many good lessons for homeschooling, too. There’s measuring, of course, but there are a lot of little things that baking reinforces. Patience: it takes time for a loaf of bread to rise. An eye for detail: how do you know when the bread is mixed enough? When it's done? Sharing: whether you’re sharing an Amish or sourdough starter or a complete loaf of bread, sharing can be the best part of baking.
Even with all those good lessons, author Elizabeth Harbison and illustrator John Harbison go it one better by including a cheerful history of bread making in their book, Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World. You’ll learn how people across the world and across time have made their bread. They might use different kinds of flour. They might not even use yeast. But it’s all bread, made to be enjoyed—and shared.