Substitute Groundhog


Maybe Groundhog Day isn’t up there with Christmas and Easter and the Fourth of July, but when February rolls around and it seems like winter will never end, I think celebrating any holiday is a great idea!  Pat Miller’s Substitute Groundhog is a terrific book to read on Groundhog Day or it could even be a great launch for some animal studies!

It’s the day before Groundhog Day, and Groundhog is sick!  He decides the best plan is to find a substitute, but not just any volunteer will do.  The substitute groundhog must meet certain requirements in order to get the job.  Animal after animal auditions, but none of them can do the job right.  Finally, Armadillo saves the day–and takes Groundhog on a vacation!  The bright, cheery illustrations add fun to the book as you look each applicant over and try to decide if they look like they could fill Groundhog’s shoes.  With some of the animals, it’s clear just by looking at them that they aren’t suited for the position!

Substitute Groundhog would make a good read aloud for the day, but if you want to take it even further, there are FREE lapbooks at Homeschool Share for almost all of the animals in the book:

And at the end of the book, Armadillo takes Groundhog off to Texas, so this would be a great lead in to a unit study with Armadillo Rodeo!

Happy Groundhog Day–and may your winter be short this year!

America’s White Table

A Book Worth Reading: America's White Table

 I love it when I find new-to-me books on Homeschool Share—especially when they have an entire unit study to go along with them!  This Veterans Day you should really look into America’s White Table to share with your children about honoring those who have given their lives for our freedoms.

Margot Theis Raven tells the story of the MIA/POW Remembrance or Missing Man Table.  Started by a group of fighter pilots during the Vietnam War, the Remembrance Table is set in honor of those service members who are missing in action or prisoners of war.  Each item on the table has a certain meaning, such as salt for the tears of those waiting for a loved one to return or a white candle for peace.

Along with the tradition of the table, Raven tells the story of the three girls who are setting the table as they learn about their Uncle John’s time as a prisoner of war during Vietnam.  The story is not based on any one specific person, a decision the author made to “allow [the story] to represent every branch of the military, and be a universal sign of brotherhood for all MIAs and POWs.”

The girls in story that are learning about the tradition of the Remembrance Table are elementary school-aged, but because this is not a practice known to most people, I think it would still be an appropriate book for older kids, too, and obviously older children are going to understand the significance of the sacrifice more deeply than younger kids.  This is still a good book to read to your younger ones, too, though, as it is a good way to discuss some pretty big concepts.

America’s White Table would be a wonderful addition to your studies about Veterans Day or war, whether you are looking for a full unit study or just a read aloud to share.  It is one of those great books that teaches facts and touches hearts.

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau


All over the world, millions of people visit lakes and oceans to don their scuba gear and explore the amazing underwater world.  We take the ability to do this for granted today, but not all of us know about the man whose experiments made this possible, Jacques Cousteau.

Manfish:  A Story of Jacques Cousteau, by Jennifer Berne, tells about Cousteau’s childhood in France, where he loved everything about the water.  He longed to be able to stay underwater for long periods of time and even did his own experiments as a child to see if this was possible.  The young Cousteau was interested in creating all kinds of things, from machinery to movies, and he traveled the world learning all he could.

When he was a young man, a friend gave Jacques some goggles and for the first time, he was able to see underwater clearly.  He was so enthralled with what he saw that he began working on a way to stay underwater longer and to go deeper, too.  He eventually came up with the aqualung, a way to breathe underwater.  From then on he was exploring the oceans and all of the amazing creatures in them.  He used his knowledge of film to share what he learned with the world.

While Berne’s words create a lovely story, Eric Puybaret’s pictures truly steal this book.  The soft, cool colors carry you deep under the water’s surface to see what Coustaeu saw.  Puybaret’s paintings were done on linen and it gives the pictures an old-fashioned feel, which complements the time period well.  The pictures are simple and simply beautiful!

Manfish would be a terrific book to go with an ocean study or to learn about a fascinating man who did so much to help us discover the world under the surface of the seas.

Cook with Books: A Rainbow of My Own

Read More

Cook with Books: A Rainbow of My Own (Homeschool Share Blog)

Spring has sprung and hopefully with it will come lovely showers and lots of rainbows!

This month we have a fun snack to go along with A Rainbow of My Own, by Don Freeman.  In this story, a boy sees a rainbow and tries to find where it ends, but when he gets there, it’s gone.  He imagines all the things he could do with a rainbow of his very own!

A Rainbow of My OwnFor this story we made Rainbow Jello!  This recipe is so simple to make, but it does take a little time.  It is always a huge hit at parties and family reunions and my kids love it!

JelloTo make Rainbow Jello you need jello in every color and either sour cream or cool whip.  I’ve used both and it doesn’t seem to make much difference in the taste whichever one you use.

stirYou will mix each color of jello with boiling water.

mixedThe you’ll take part of the jello and mix in the sour cream or cool whip.  If you let the sour cream set out a little and warm up it will mix in better and you won’t have little white spots.  I used a whisk to make sure it was well mixed!

pourYou’ll chill each layer–for me, one of the hardest parts is trying to make enough space in the fridge for the dish!  Once a layer is set, you pour on a new one.

rainbow jelloIsn’t this a beautiful snack?!

Here’s the full recipe:


  • small boxes of jello in each color
  • 24 oz. container of sour cream (or you can use cool whip)
  • water


  1. Spray your dishes with baking spray.  With this recipe I was able to make an 8 x 8 pan and two small dessert dishes like the one pictured above.
  2. Start with purple and stir the package of jello into one cup of boiling water.
  3. Take 2/3 cup of the purple jello mixture and pour it into your dish.  Set it in your fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes to get firm.
  4. Add enough sour cream to the remaining purple jello to make 2/3 cup and mix it together well.
  5. Once the first purple layer is firm, pour the second layer on top.  I have found that if the jello you’re pouring is still warm it’s best to pour it into a spoon and let it run down on top of the firm layer gently or you may get a hole in your layers in the pan!
  6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 with the remaining colors of jello.

Cook with Books Pinterest Board