Professor Owl’s Book Corner ~ December 2014 Newsletter

Banner Dec

Welcome to the New Professor Owl’s Book Corner

In every month’s issue we will share with you

the wonderful world of books!


The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

~~ Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”


December is Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month

By Sylvia McGrath


Children Should Spend the Holidays with Friends and Family, Not in the Emergency Room

Holiday shopping season is already in full swing for shoppers and retailers who are eager to begin purchasing everything on their lists; however, when it comes to toys and gifts, lowest sale price may not be the safest for children.

In its most recent report The United States Product Safety Report on Toys estimated that hospital emergency rooms treated 256,780 Toy related injuries in 2013 throughout the United States.

Additionally, the CPSC found that 43% of the estimated 256,780 ER-treated injuries occurred to the head and face area. Lacerations, abrasions and contusions made up most of these injuries.

Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest eye health and safety organization, has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month. The group encourages everyone to make conscientious purchasing decisions based on what is best for each individual child.

There has also been a lot of attention around lead levels in children’s toys lately, but have you ever thought about toys as a possible cause of eye injuries? According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, each holiday season thousands of children end up in emergency rooms because of eye-related injuries caused by unsafe toys. Here is how you can create a safer play environment all year long.

Tips on How to Purchase Safe Toys and Gifts for Kids

With so many toys filling up store shelves and the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, it may be a lot to have to think about toy safety as well; but it does not have to be that difficult.

“The key to ensuring a toy is safe is to buy something that is age-appropriate as labelled on the product,” says Joey Rathwell, a spokesperson for Health Canada. “A toy that is appropriate for a six-year-old may not necessarily be safe for a toddler.”

Mr. Rathwell, suggests that teaching older children to keep their games and toys out of the reach of younger children can help avoid all sorts of injuries, including eye injuries.

The following may assist parents and caregivers:

  • Do not give  toys with arrows, bullets and missiles. Projectile toys can cause damage if they hit the eye, no matter how soft they are.
  • Discard or repair old or damaged toys. Loose parts and broken pieces are dangerous.
  • Have their child wash their hands after playing with slimy gel and gooey plastic toys. The chemical residue can easily get into a child’s eyes and cause irritation.
  • Avoid buying toys with sharp points or edges.

Nothing Substitutes for Supervision

Even if your child is mature enough to play with a specific toy, parents and caregivers should still keep a watchful eye. Children’s injuries often occur when there is no adult around.

It is also an excellent idea to read warnings and other safety messages on toy packaging together with your child before play. Teaching your child how to play safely can help prevent unnecessary eye injuries.

Toy Regulation in Canada

In Canada, toy safety is regulated by the “Hazardous Products Act” and the “Hazardous Products (Toys) Regulations.”

Health Canada works with manufacturers to ensure they observe these regulations. It also carries out toy testing and research. Any toy that does not meet the required regulations is removed from the market.

Health Canada officers regularly check toys for compliance, unsafe toys sometimes find their way into your home. “Some toys that are no longer considered safe may still be in people’s homes – they may be older toys, borrowed from a friend or handed down from an older child, or purchased at a garage sale. For this reason, parents and caregivers should check toys often and immediately report any safety concerns to the Consumer Product Safety Office.”

In the event that a toy is unsafe, Health Canada will work with the manufacturer to recall the product and have it removed from the market, and advise consumers of how to return or dispose of the product.

You can view Canadian Toy Council on its website.

Visit CNIB’s website for more information on eye safety.

For more information about toy safety, or if you think you have a toy that could be dangerous, contact Health Canada.

“In the excitement of the season, sometimes we may forget that not every gift is appropriate for every child,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “By taking a few, easy safety precautions, we can keep the holidays happy for everyone!

Prevent Blindness America suggests:

  • Make recommendations to family members and friends about gifts that you feel are appropriate for your child. Be thorough about inspecting these gifts before allowing your child to play with them.
  • Inspect all toys before purchasing.  Check toys that your child has received as gifts to make sure they are appropriate for your child’s age and developmental level.
  • For younger children, avoid play sets with small magnets and make sure batteries are safe within the toy. If magnets or batteries are ingested, serious injuries and/or death can occur.
  • Gifts of sports equipment should not be used unless the appropriate protective gear (such as a basketball along with eye goggles or a face guard with a new batting helmet for baseball or softball) is worn.
  • Any toy that is marked “supervision required” must always be used in the presence of an adult. Keep toys meant for older children away from younger ones.
  • Always save the warranties and directions for every toy. If possible, include a gift receipt. Repair or throw away damaged toys.
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.
  • Inspect toys for sturdiness. Your child’s toys should be durable, with no sharp edges or points. The toys should also withstand impact. Dispose of plastic wrapping material immediately on toys as they may have sharp edges.
  • Do not give toys with small parts to young children. Young children tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the part of a toy can fit in a toilet paper roll, the toy is not appropriate for children under the age of three.

For more information on safe toys and gifts for children as well as general children’s eye health topics, please contact

Prevent Blindness America by calling (800) 331-2020 or visit


Classic Books

Every month download to your I-pad, Reader or Computer “A Classic Book” ~ Completely FREE!

Christmas stories

by Charles Dickens.

Published 1910 by McLoughlin in [New York?] . Written in English.

 Christmas Stories by Charles Dickensfinal


Many of us are familiar with Charles Dickens Book “Christmas Carol,” this month we will learn about some other Christmas Stories he has written.

 Table of Contents

The cricket on the hearth.  The seven poor travellers.

Edition Notes

Other TitlesCricket on the hearth., Seven poor travellers.


Library of Congress PR4557 .A1 1910x
The Physical Object
Number of pages 143

ID Numbers

Open Library OL24197445M
Internet Archive christmascricket00dick
OCLC/WorldCat 5011611

Charles Dickens

About the author

Charles John Huffam Dickens (/ˈɑrlz ˈdɪkɪnz/; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s most well-known fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period.[1] During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented popularity, and by the twentieth century he was widely seen as a literary genius by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular.[2][3]

Born in Portsmouth, England, Dickens was forced to leave school to work in a factory when his father was thrown into debtors’ prison. Although he had little formal education, his early impoverishment drove him to succeed. Over his career he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children’s rights, education, and other social reforms.

Dickens sprang to fame with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication.[4][5] The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience’s reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback.[5] For example, when his wife’s chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens went on to improve the character with positive features.[6] His plots were carefully constructed, and Dickens often wove in elements from topical events into his narratives.[7] Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha’pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers.[8]

Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age.[9] His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Set in London and Paris, his 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, is the best selling novel of all time.[10] His creative genius has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton—for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. On the other hand Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism. The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters.[11]

 Also available at and


The Expatriates: Book One: Song of the Sending 


Corinne O’Flynn

 Age Level: 12 – 18 | Grade Level: 5 – 12
They told him his world was destroyed.
And they were the last to escape.
They thought he was safe.
They were wrong.
Jim Wales can communicate with animals, but that’s not why he lives with a traveling carnival. Turns out his family’s been hiding him there since he was little, since someone started hunting all the scholars. Jim is a scholar—someone who can manipulate energy using magic—and he has no idea.When a message arrives from Jim’s father—who supposedly died twelve years ago—Jim’s whereabouts are discovered, their carnival is attacked, and his mother is kidnapped. On the run with a strange glass map and a single coin, Jim finds himself racing to reclaim the father he thought he’d lost, plotting to save his mother, and discovering the truth about who he is.But going home isn’t the same as being safe, and trust is everything.

What readers are saying:


“Told in a beautiful, flowing style full of colorful images and adrenaline-pumping action.”

 “Pop some popcorn, sit back … and enjoy the thrill ride, right up to the end, which leaves you begging for more.”

 “Captures your attention from the start and then guides you through a roller coaster of adventure, drama, mystery, magic and young love.”

Corinne Headshot

About Corinne

Corinne O’Flynn is a native New Yorker who now lives in Colorado and wouldn’t trade life in the Rockies for anything. She loves writing flash and experimenting with short fiction. Her novel, THE EXPATRIATES (Oct. 2014) is a YA fantasy adventure with magic and creatures and lots of creepy stuff. She is a scone aficionado, has an entire section of her kitchen devoted to tea, and is always on the lookout for the elusive Peanut Chews candy. When she isn’t writing or hanging with her family, Corinne works as the executive director of a nonprofit. She is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The Expatriates is available on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble. She blogs about her adventures at









Writing Prompt

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
~John Bunyan

Imagine you are walking down the street and find a hundred dollar bill with a note stating there is a spell attached to it.  The spell states you are not allowed to keep the money or spend it on yourself, if you did you would be plagued by bad luck. The notes suggests you donate it to a person in need or charity. Who would you give it to? How would you want them to spend it? Get creative, write and most of all…have fun! 🙂

POBC Picks

Booksy: learn to read platform

This month Professor Owl picks an app to help your child learn to read! 🙂


Via GooglePlay

Booksy is a learning-to-read platform for young kids (4-9). It’s designed from the ground up to help young children, K through 2nd grade, practice and develop their reading skills.*** FEATURED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: LEARN TO READ WITH TABLETS ARTICLE!***This edition comes with 3 FREE Books. Books are only in ENGLISH. (A few Spanish books are available and Portuguese is coming).Think of Booksy as training wheels for books. It gives kids independence and security while providing help and support. Watch them glow with pride as they are able to read by themselves and gain independence.
Booksy is at its heart a library of age appropriate level-readers. We believe kids WANT to read when to give them fascinating and interesting books. That is why we partnered with experts to create books on topics kids will love. They will not only dive into reading, but with our nonfiction series also learn. Many books are written by experts and PhDs. Beautiful full-color images and illustrations.

Common Core aligned! Books on science topics, social science, math and everyday activities.
But BOOKSY is so much more. It has amazing features that make learning to read simple and fun. And, it includes powerful tools for parents and teachers to track kids’ progress.

Booksy requires Android 3.0 or higher. For full functionality, it requires a microphone.
It’s a TABLET ONLY APP. It has been optimized for most 7 and 10 inch tablets including Nexus 7 and 10.

Booksy features:
• Kids can tap on ANY word to have it read out loud. Not just the whole page, but the words they find difficulty.
• Quizzes help cement reading comprehension.
• Up to 10 users can be tracked in this editions
• Record reading sessions and track their progress without looking over their shoulder (RECORDING WILL ONLY WORK ON DEVICES THAT SUPPORT THIS FEATURE)
• Adults/Teachers can track kids’ progress in the Parental Dashboard
• Awesome content: level-readers on science topics—not just of literacy, but of science literacy!
• Motivation engine! Stars, awards and trophies keep kids engaged and coming back for more. Kids get:
⁃ Stars for every book they finish
⁃ Stars for every quiz where they get all the answers right


LEVEL 0 (50-150 words, repetitive structures and words for kids who are just starting to read)
✓ Fruits
✓ Puppies!
✓ Hummingbirds!
✓ Snakes!
✓ The american Flag
✓ Hello Bunny!
✓ Pocket Animals
✓ Animal Colors
✓ Counting Robots
✓ All kinds of Fun: The Mc Penguin Brothers
✓ Mr. Talbot’s vacation
✓ Animal Orchestra
✓ The Four Seasons!
✓ Days of the Week
✓ Field trip!
✓ School is Fun!
✓ Tommy’s Day

LEVEL 1 (150-300 words, simplified structures, for readers who are beginning to venture into reading on their own)
✓ Humpback Whales!
✓ Dinosaurs!
✓ Volcanos!
✓ Exploring Mars!
✓ Chimpanzees!
✓ Emperor Penguins!
✓ Insects!
✓ Solar System!
✓ Elephants!
✓ In a Jam!
✓ Bacteria
✓ Plants
✓ The Ojibwe
✓ The President of the United Stated
✓ Ponies
✓ Caterpillar to Butterfly
✓ Rhymes & Poems 1
✓ The Ugly Duckling
✓ The Tortoise & the Hare
✓ The Ant & the Grasshopper
✓ Jack & the Beanstalk
✓ Little Red Riding Hood
✓ Water!
✓ The Moon

LEVEL 2 (300-500 words)
✓ Dolphins!
✓ Global Warming
✓ Chocolate!
✓ Flowers!
✓ George Washington & the revolutionary war
✓ Thomas Jefferson & the Declaration of Independence
✓ The pilgrims & the First Thanksgiving
✓ The Beaty & the Beast
✓ Pinocchio


Learning Fun. Fun Learning.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s