Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
A place for poems, songs, rhymes and traditions from around the world for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy!
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Articles about 'Books & Stories'
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Eric Hill, author of the Spot the Dog children’s books, passed away this week at 86.  Hill created Spot for his young son in 1976.  In 1980, he created the first lift-the-flap book to ever exist called "Where’s Spot?".  He came up with the "lift-the-flap" design after he had seen it on advertising flyers.  What...
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Here’s a very little French tale called "Gâteau" by Jules Lemaître.  The story is about two kids trying to share cake.  It’s in French with an English translation and a French recording. MP3 of Gâteau On avait donné à deux enfants un gros gâteau et un petit, en leur disant: "Partagez !" Les deux enfants étaient une petite fille...
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Some English terms go back further than you’d think… -OMG The first recorded appearance of this breathless acronym for “Oh, my God!” comes, surprisingly, in a letter to Winston Churchill. (1917) -LITERALLY Word curmudgeons wince when “literally” is used figuratively. Examples of this inversion go back to 1769. Even Mark Twain did it. (1876) ...
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Once a few years ago I had a conversation with a friend from China about cooking in the U.S.  She found it amusing that most Americans cook with recipes… recipes that tell you exactly how to cook with precise measurements of ingredients.  She said that in China recipes were handed down within the family and...
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The Gettysburg Address is a speech by Abraham Lincoln delivered exactly 150 years ago from this day.  It’s one of the most well-known American speeches.  It was delivered during the Civil War, 4 1/2 months after the Union Army beat the Confederacy in the Battle of Gettysburg.  It was given during the dedication of the...
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Butterbeer is a non-alcoholic beverage people drink in the Harry Potter books and movies.  If you go to Universal Amusement Park in Florida, where they have several Harry Potter rides, you can drink Butterbeer.  Boy is it yummy! Of course Universal doesn’t give out the recipe.  However, people have made many attempts to recreate the taste...
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Michelle Obama hosted a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House this week.  The 54 kids invited were the winners of Epicurious’ Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.  The kids all created yummy recipes that were half vegetable or fruit, and affordable.  You can download the 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook online for free.
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Monique was here visiting from France for the past two weeks and we worked on creating Spanish and French versions of our books and apps. (They should be available soon.) Here’s a link to our current books and apps.
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Here’s a fun little skunk joke with a recording… MP3 of Two Little Skunks Two Little Skunks There were two little skunks Named "In" and "Out." One day In was out And Out was in. The mother skunk asked ...
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A Johnny-cake is a small flat cake (akin to a little pancake) made out of cornmeal, water and salt. They were widely eaten in the U.S. in the 19th century.  Johnny-cakes are called hoecakes in the South. The folk tale "Johnny-cake" is almost the same story as "The Gingerbread Man" except that a Johnny-cake is the...
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How the Finch Got Her Colors is a Flemish legend. Below you can listen to it in English and read along with the tale… MP3 of How The Finch Got Her Colors How The Finch Got Her Colors A Flemish Legend There was once a time when all the birds were gray and...
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Towards the end of WWI two cousins, young girls, took photos with fairies they said they had met.  Later they admitted they faked the photos.   Yet many people at the time believed they were real, including the author of the Sherlock Holmes stores, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! The fairies came to be called the "Cottingley Fairies". ...
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Gingerbread Houses are made at Christmastime in Germany, the US and other countries around the world. Gingerbread Houses are intricately linked to the Grimm fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel.  In the story, two children, Hansel and Gretel get lost in the woods.  They come upon a house made of gingerbread covered in frosting and candy. ...
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Here’s a fun illustration called "A Tour in the Toy Country" by British illustrator Randolph Caldecott (1846 – 1886).  Caldecott illustrated many books for children.
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Check out a list of 100 Best Chapter Books for Kids at Children’s Book Guide.  I see many of my family’s favorites there, such as: The Phantom Tollbooth The Graveyard Book From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler The Hobbit Happy Reading! Mama Lisa
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Dav Pilkey is the author of the Captain Underpants series… which gave both my son and daughter (and my husband) hours of pleasure.  In the video below, you can see him drawing Captain Underpants while explaining how reading gives you superpowers!
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Here’s a short animation about a boy who delivers coffee to all the animals in the World of Fairy Tales.  It’s narrated by the girl who delivers the sugar that goes with the coffee.  (In Hungarian with English subtitles.)  Really...
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You can now listen to 50 Grimm’s Fairy Tales in the original German on Librivox.  Grimm’s Fairy Tales are a collection of German folk tales. These recordings include the original versions of such stories as The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel and Rapunzel. These tales were originally published under the title, “Kinder- und Hausmärchen” (Children’s and Household...
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Where the Bee Sucks is from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.  In the play, it’s sung by the fairy spirit Ariel.  You can read this lovely song below and listen along to two different renditions of it – one recited, the other sung. Where The Bee Sucks (Shakespeare) Where the bee sucks, there suck I: In a cowslip’s bell...
Florence wrote asking for help finding a childhood story.  Here’s her letter: Hello Lisa, My Grandpa was Swedish and when I was growing up he and my Dad would tell us a story about Uncle Bobby and his two monkeys; Jim & Jockle (sp?). They were naughty little monkeys. That’s about all I can recall. I’ve have...
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