Thursday, May 24, 2007

Books that do double-duty: Der Marienkäfer

This adorable Marienkäfer book has arrived, just in time for spring and a little nature study. My little M, age 3, is constantly on the lookout for tiny bugs, ants, spiders and the like, and this book has been an instant hit. He loves the brightly colored illustrations and the flaps, especially the one with the large flower whose petals open to reveal the different stages in the lifecycle of the ladybug.

I love the wealth of detail that M and also my 7 year old enjoy. This series is written for kids ages 2 and up but I really think kids as old as 7 can easily enjoy and benefit from reading it. It's useful for me as well to brush up on some of the nature vocabulary in German. It does feel strange to call a ladybug a "he", though. Make sure you have a bug jar and a magnifying glass handy so you can run outside on a ladybug hunt when you're done reading!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Music with a Message

You've probably heard me say it before - we love Rolf Zuckowski. His music is happy, fun, and is a sure fix for grumpy kids (and moms). We hadn't added to our Rolf collection recently but when the Top 100 collection came out, I decided to give it a try. Boy, am I glad I did!

You see, not only are the songs upbeat and great for singing along, but most of them have a message, either for kids or parents or sometimes both. I wrote about the song, Wie schön dass Du geboren bist, a while back. It still brings tears to my eyes. I could hardly listen to the first CD of this new set without getting teary-eyed. There is Du schaffst es schon, an inspiring story about perserverence. Ohne Dich, which is a real tear-jerker ("Ohne Dich wäre ich im Leben nicht mal halb so viel gelacht...") - so true. So wie Du bist is such a great reminder to treasure our kids for themselves and not compare them to others. Lucky for my kids, they enjoy the music without getting bogged down with the deeper message like their mom.

There are also plenty of important messages for kids. Mein Platz im Auto ist hinten is a great reminder about seatbelts. Frühstuck für Mama is a nice plug for forgiveness. Als ich ein Baby war has been nice for M, who at 3 years old, is feeling a little small these days compared to his big brother who can seemingly do everything.
Als ich ein Baby war, war ich noch klien,
das soll bei Babys ja so üblich sein.
Ich hatte nur drei Haare auf dem Kopf
und rutschte durch die Wohnung auf dem Topf.
Aber jetzt bin ich groß, sehr mich mal an!
Ihr werdet staunen, was ich alles kann...

I could go on and on. Go take a listen for yourself! Even if you already have a few Rolf CDs, this one is such a great value with 100 songs for under $60, I do think it's worth it. The CDs come in a box with lyrics to all 100 songs - very useful for us non-native speakers who want to sing along.

We are pretty busy around here with our business, homeschooling 3 kids, and special needs. Sometimes I forget my priorities and get bogged down in the day-to-day details. Rolf's music brings me back to earth. Rolf continually inspires me to be a better parent and a better person. I hope you enjoy him too!
Rolfs Top 100 from Alphabet Garten