Sunday, July 29, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #36

Mr. T.W. Anthony Woo by Marie Hall Ets. Published 1951. Caldecott Honor 1952. Viking Children's Books. ISBN: 9780670493487

This is a lengthy picture book about a shoemaker, his dog, his cat, his sister, and his secret pet mouse, whom his sister finds disgusting. (The mouse is the character for whom the book is named.) I couldn’t really connect with this one, and I found the black and white illustrations sort of monotonous. The one great thing I did notice was the onomatopoeia the author uses for the sound of the shoemaker working - “A-clink, a-clank, a whungk whangk.” If the book were just a bit more story-time friendly, I can imagine a room full of kids would have a lot of fun reciting that little refrain.

Barkis by Clare Turlay Newberry. Published 1938. Caldecott Honor 1939. Smithmark Publishers. ISBN: 9780765190567

This book sort of put me over the edge when it comes to Clare Turlay Newberry. Despite her engaging text, she manages to paint the least interesting parts of her story into each and every illustration. Sure, it’s impressive that she can paint such a realistic and cute little dog, but what child wants to see the same dog in ten different poses when he could be looking at scenes of the dog’s master fighting with his sister, or of any of the other interesting moments of the story? I don’t think of this book as a picture book, and I’m confused as to why such repetitive and sparse illustrations were repeatedly given awards!

The Two Reds by William Lipkind. Published 1950. Caldecott Honor 1951. Harcourt. ISBN: 9780152921279

The Two Reds is an eye catching book, thanks to its red, yellow, and black color palette and the various perspectives included in the illustrations. The story is iffy, though, thanks to the “signal senders,” who dress in headdresses and pretend to be Indians , and because the sudden friendship between the boy named Red and the cat named Red makes very little sense.Unlike some of the earlier books, though, the text in this one is actually incorporated in and around the illustrations, which gives it a more contemporary feel than a lot of the other books I’ve been reading lately.

Puss in Boots by Fred Marcellino. Published 1990. Caldecott Honor 1991. Farrar Straus & Giroux. ISBN: 9780374361600

What a pleasant surprise this book was! I am not crazy about fairy tales, and I seemed to remember reading this during childhood and having a hard understanding the story, but this is a great story! I love the size and color of the text, as well as the gorgeous illustrations, and I love the way the illustrator draws the eyes of the ogre, and keeps them the same even when the ogre becomes a giant. Puss and his master have sort of a Jeeves and Wooster dynamic, where Puss looks after the master’s interests when even the master doesn’t realize he needs looking after. I really enjoyed that relationship, and I finished the book with a smile on my face.

Once a Mouse... by Marcia Brown. Published 1961. Caldecott Medal 1962. Atheneum. ISBN: 9780684126623

It’s hard to believe this book is really illustrated with woodcuts. The drawings look almost like they were stenciled onto the page! I like that the story is framed by the hermit thinking about big and little, but that the author never comes right out to tell us the message of the story. This opens up opportunities for discussion between a child and the adult reading the book, but also gives us a pretty big hint toward the story’s theme. I think my favorite image is the close-up of the hermit banishing the tiger back to the forest to turn back into a mouse. It’s one of the simplest images in the entire book, but also the most powerful and emotional.

See other Caldecott Challenge participants' blogs on the challenge page at LibLaura5. Follow my challenge

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Baby/Toddler Lap Time (White Theme), 7/27/12

I continued my color-themed series yesterday with a story time all about the color white.

Opening Song (with ukulele): Hello, how are you? 

Rhyme: Blue is the Lake
Book: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (1962)
This book is too long for toddlers. I didn't think so, but I was wrong.

Song (with stick puppets): Dance Like Snowflakes 
I didn't look up the words prior to story time so I changed the last "in the air" to "everywhere." It worked just as well. 

Song: Head and Shoulders, Baby

Rhyme: Hop Your Bunnies
This worked so well for settling the kids at the main library the other day, I gave it another try. It didn't have quite the same calming effect, but the kids did enjoy doing it. 

Book: Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes (2011)

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It

Book: It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw (1988)
I was shocked at how much everyone - adults and kids - paid attention to this book. It's so simple and yet, they were nearly silent and clapped loudly at the ending. 

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song (with ukulele and flannel board): Mary Had a Little Lamb
At the last minute, I decided I wanted to use the new set of sheep I made for Baa Baa Black Sheep, so I adapted the words of this song as follows:

Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb
Mary had a little lamb
His fleece was... 

...white as snow
...red as a rose
...green as grass
...blue as the sea
...black as night

Book: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes (2010) by Eric Litwin and James Dean
I have read this book several times to this group, and finally, they have started saying "Goodness no!" along with me. 


Song: One Little Finger 

Songs (with ukulele): ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle
Next time, I'll include Baa Baa Black Sheep in this medley too.

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

Moon-Themed "On the Road" Story Time #3, 7/26/12

This "on the road" story time differed greatly from the others for a few reasons. The children's librarian at the branch was unexpectedly not there, so when I arrived, I was asked to start right away (20 minutes early), and to repeat my story time for an additional group afterward. I had also prepared for a preschool audience, but saw many little ones during the first session for whom many of my books were too complex and long. Here's what I came up for that first session, and then for the second one, which skewed slightly older and included one group that had already sat through session one.

Session One 

Opening Song (with ukulele): Hello, how are you?

Book: What's Up? by Mick Manning, illustrated by Brita Granstrom (1997)
This is actually a science book for beginning readers, but without all the captions and sidebars, the text is perfectly appropriate for a younger audience. I wished for some more feedback from the kids each time the text posed a question, but even without a  response, the kids seemed to be engaged.

Song: Moon Moon Moon

Book: Higher, Higher by Leslie Patricelli (2009)
I didn't bring this book with me, but managed to grab it from the shelf just before story time started. I could have gone without it, as it turns out, but I panicked when I saw babies! 

Song: Here We Go Up, Up, Up

Song (with flannel board and ukulele): Aikendrum
The kids thought the broccoli was a tree, which was something I hadn't really anticipated, but they seemed to like the song. 

Book: Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (2004)
This was too long for a third book.  The kids were not interested. I actually think they didn't understand that the moon looked like milk to the kitten.

Song (with paper stars): Stars Shining Bright

Song (with ukulele): Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Song (with flannel board): Five Astronauts Went Up in Space 

Song: Tommy Thumb
I did this song because it takes a long time to sing all six verses, and I couldn't see the clock. I wanted to make sure I wasn't cutting myself too short! (I wasn't. I could have stopped way before this.)

Song: Chickadee 

Goodbye Song:
We Wave Goodbye Like This


Session Two
 
Opening Song (with ukulele): Hello, how are you?

Book: What's Up? by Mick Manning, illustrated by Brita Granstrom (1997)

Song: Moon Moon Moon

Book: The Moon Might Be Milk by Lisa Shulman, illustrated by Lee Hillenbrand (2007)
I was hesitant about reading this book because it is so long, but overall, it went over well. This is one I want to keep in mind for the future, especially as we start trying to do more "story breaks" rather than full-fledged story times, after school this Fall.


Song (with flannel board and ukulele): Aikendrum

Song: Here We Go Up, Up, Up

Book: Regards to the Man in the Moon by Ezra Jack Keats (1981)
This book is different, and that's what I like about it. I think I could have introduced it better, but I don't know if that would have helped the kids click with it or not. I might try it again to see what improvements I can make because I think the concept of flying to the moon with your imagination is great!

Song (with flannel board): Five Astronauts Went Up in Space

Song (with paper stars): Stars Shining Bright
By the end of the second story time, finally, the kids came out of their shells and practically shouted the name of each color. I actually had to start turning the star around and only revealing the color when I was ready to be assailed by shouts. 
 
Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

Because of the chaos with the librarian not being there, I skipped the craft. I don't think either group was expecting a craft because they didn't say a thing about it.

Moon-Themed "On the Road" Story Time #2, 7/25/12

This week, my travels brought me to the main branch of my library system for story time. I had a wonderful time, and so did the kids!

Opening Song (with ukulele): Hello, how are you?


Book: The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Tracey Pearson Campbell (2006)
This group was pretty big, and the kids were interested in this book, but so talkative they wanted to tell me something about every page. I was thankful that the book was so short, or we might never have made it to the end!

Song: Moon Moon Moon 

Song (with flannel board and ukulele): Aikendrum
This was my best performance of Aikendrum so far. The more times I tell and sing his story, the more comfortable I become, and the more willing to take chances and be a bit more interactive. I asked the kids to clap as I played and - bingo! at least one daycare group did it! It's way more fun to play when people are enjoying it with me.

Song: Here We Go Up, Up, Up


Book: Higher, Higher by Leslie Patricelli (2009)
I couldn't get the group to join in on the refrain so this book was the weakest link this time around.

Song: Five Little Martians
I forgot to start with five martians, and started with just one. So we ended up singing the song counting up  to five, which basically ruins the whole concept. But I'm the only one who noticed, so I guess it's okay.


Five little martians
Five little martians
Five little martians
Beep! Beep! Beep!
One little martian
went home to bed
Now that martian's
fast asleep!



Rhyme: Hop Your Bunnies
I haven't had great luck with this next book as a  read-aloud, and I was losing the kids' attention by this point, so I threw this rhyme in here to get them excited about the  rabbit character. It mostly worked.


Book: Moonlight by Helen V. Griffith (2012)
I tried not to linger over the pages too much, as we were getting restless. I'm not going to use this  book for story time anymore, except maybe for the smaller pajama story time.

Song (with paper stars): Stars Shining Bright
This song is always a success, but this group really made me love it even more. I didn't have velcro on the stars, so I just held them up with my hand, reaching way up with each one as I sang about the star shining above the tree. There was one preschool class who called out the colors in a lovely little chorus which made the song so much fun for all of us.

Song: Head and Shoulders, Baby
I threw in the additional "do the twist" verse, and I saw at least one teacher get really excited about it and start rocking out right in her seat. (Why she was sitting, I don't know, but the kids did stand up.)


Book: I Want to be an Astronaut by Byron Barton (1988)
This one surprised me by going over really well for the first time this summer. I don't think I read it differently; it might just be the dynamic of this particular crowd that made it work.

Song (with flannel board): Five Astronauts Went Up in Space 
Since the kids loved calling out their colors for the star song, I incorporated the colors of  the astronauts into this one as well. Every time I put up a new one, we called out the color, and when we put them away, we reviewed the colors and said goodbye to each astronaut.

Song (with ukulele): Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
This is the first story time group ever where the kids actually sang the words along with me. I loved it!

Song: Chickadee

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

I had a coloring sheet and stickers available at the end of story time. More on that after all the "on the road" story times are finished (early next week.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Flannel Friday: An International Story Time for Ages 3-6

The story time plan that follows was an attempt at using my flannel board to provide structure and context for preschoolers and early elementary school kids to learn a little bit about different cultures. I shared this story time on Tuesday of this week, at Circle Time, a special program my library is running this summer for ages 3 to 6.

Below, I provide songs and lyrics, the basic gist of what I said to transition from activity to activity, book titles, and images of my flannel board pieces. The continent clip art came from Philip Martin Clip Art, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. The images of the children from different countries come from Can You Say Peace? by Karen Katz. The languages the children "speak" also come from that same book.


SING
(Tune: Skip to My Lou)

Hello, how are you?
Hello, how are you?
Hello, how are you?
How are you today?

I'm fine; I hope you are, too.
I'm fine; I hope you are, too.
I'm fine; I hope you are, too.
I hope you're fine today.

I'm clapping my hands; you do it too!
I'm clapping my hands; you do it too!
I'm clapping my hands; you do it too!
Clap your hands with me!

[Repeat verse twice more, using different actions. Repeat chorus.]

Place on flannel board: Seven Continents

SING
(Tune: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands)
There are seven continents on our globe
There are seven continents on our globe
There are seven continents on our globe
Seven continents on our globe.

Place on flannel board: North America 

SING
North America is a continent on our globe
North America is a continent on our globe
North America is a continent on our globe
A continent on our globe 

Place on flannel board: "Emily" 

Emily is from the same country we live in. The United States of... [have kids fill in "America"]. In America, we speak English, so when Emily says hello, she says, "Hello!" 

Place on flannel board: "Carlos" 

Carlos is from Mexico. He speaks Spanish, so when he wants to say hello, he says "Hola!" Say "Hola, Carlos!" [Wait for kids to repeat.] 

Another country in North America, right on the edge between North and South America is Panama. Let's sing a song for Panama before we leave!





SING
I have an old auntie
My Tia Monica
And when we go out dancing
They all say ooh la la!
Here my [hands] are dancing.
My [hands] are dancing here.
Here my [hands] are dancing.
My [hands] are dancing here. 

What else can we dance with? [My group suggested feet, knees, head, and arms. We also clapped when we sang the chorus and put our hands up in the air for "ooh la la."]

Place on flannel board: South America

SING
South America is a continent on our globe
South America is a continent on our globe
South America is a continent on our globe
A continent on our globe 

Place on flannel board: "Alona"

Alona is from Bolivia. She speaks a language called Aymara. When she wants to say hello, she says, kamisaraki. [Ask kids to try saying kamisaraki.]

Alona is from Bolivia, but our story is from Colombia.

 
READ
Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter (2010)


Place on flannel board: Antarctica

SING
Antarctica is a continent on our globe
Antarctica is a continent on our globe
Antarctica is a continent on our globe
A continent on our globe  

I don't have any friends for you to meet in Antarctica because hardly anyone lives there all year round. Some scientists live there to work on research, but no one has a permanent address there. But... penguins do live in Antarctica! 

Place on flannel board: Penguins

CHANT
(from CanTeach)
Five little penguins swam the ocean floor,
One saw a whale, then there were four.
Four little penguins spun around, whee-ee!
One spun off, then there were three!
Three little penguins, with nothing to do,
One went fishing, then there were two.
Two little penguins, having lots of fun,
One fell of, then there was one.
One little penguin, when the day was done,
Went home to sleep, then there were none.


Place on flannel board: Africa

SING
 
Africa is a continent on our globe
Africa is a continent on our globe

Africa is a continent on our globe
A continent on our globe 

Place on flannel board: "Sadiki"

Sadiki is from Ghana. When he says hello, he uses the word "ete-sen." [Ask kids to repeat.]

Now let's read a story that takes place in another country in Africa: Kenya.


READ
Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain
by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal (1981)

 
Place on flannel board: Europe

SING
Europe is a continent on our globe

Europe is a continent on our globe
Europe is a continent on our globe
A continent on our globe 

Place on flannel board: "Claire"

Claire is from France, so when she says hello, she says bonjour.

Place on flannel board: "Stefan"

Stefan is from Russia. He says privyet.

Our story comes from Claire's country, France. 

READ
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (1939)

Place on flannel board: Asia

SING
Asia is a continent on our globe
Asia is a continent on our globe
Asia is a continent on our globe
A continent on our globe

Place on flannel board: "May" and "Kenji"

May is from China. She says ni hao. Kenji is from Japan, and he says Konichiwa.

Now we're going to sing a song from Kenji's country of Japan.




SING
Ooki Na Kuri No Ki No Shita De (Under the Big Chestnut Tree) by Elizabeth Mitchell

Place on flannel board: Australia

I bet you know this one - the country where the kangaroos live!

SING
Australia is a continent on our globe
Australia is a continent on our globe
Australia is a continent on our globe
A continent on our globe

Place on flannel board: "Lynette"

Lynette is from Australia. She speaks English, but like a lot of people in Australia, sometimes she says "g'day." 

Let's read a story about Australia. Do you know kind of animal this is? Let's see if we can find out.


READ
Hunwick's Egg by Mem Fox, illustrated by Pamela Lofts (2005)


READ
We All Sing With the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller and Sheppard M. Greene, illustrated by Paul Meisel (2000)

SING

(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)

We wave goodbye like this
We wave goodbye like this
We clap our hands for all our friends
We wave goodbye like this

ACTIVITY
As a take-home activity, I provided each child with a "write and draw" sheet.


Click here to download.

This week's Flannel Friday host is Amanda from Toddler Tales. I'm glad to be participating this week, and can't wait to see what everyone else posts!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I'm With the Band: 6 Books for Tweens & Teens

 

Ten Miles Past NormalTen Miles Past Normal
Frances O'Roark Dowell
Embracing the fact she will never be normal, Janie joins a jam band, develops a crush on a boy named Monster and gets involved with a group of local activists.  
This LullabyThis Lullaby
by Sarah Dessen
Remy doesn't believe in dating - and she definitely doesn't date musicians - but when she meets Dexter, she finds that she might need to rethink these rules.
My Misadventures as a Teenage Rock StarMy Misadventures as a Teenage Rock Star
by Joyce Raskin
Fourteen-year-old Alex learns to play bass from her older brother and quickly rises to unexpected fame. 
Notes from an Accidental Band GeekNotes from an Accidental Band Geek 
by Erin Dionne
In order to qualify for a competitive summer music program, Elsie, a french horn player, must join the marching band where she is forced to play the mellophone.

How To Rock Braces and GlassesHow to Rock Braces and Glasses
by Meg Haston
When her new braces and glasses threaten her popularity, Kacey Simon starts hanging out with Skinny Jeans, a boy with his own band. 
Hopeless Savages Volume 1Hopeless Savages
by Jen Van Meter and Christine Norrie
A graphic novel about the misadventures of the children of aging 1970s punk rockers.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #35

Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi. Published 1949. Caldecott Medal 1950. Atheneum Books. ISBN: 9780684188317

This is another book where the illustrations really got my attention and the text really did not. The subject matter - the swallows’ yearly return to Capistrano - interested me somewhat because my dad used to talk about that when I was a kid, but the story didn’t really stick with me. What I did like was the artist’s use of bright springtime colors and the fact that the music for the songs Juan and the other kids sing is included right in the book. I also think it’s important to have books like this, that teach children about other cultures and the feasts and events that are significant to those cultures. This book isn’t especially dated and could still be relevant today.

Pedro the Angel of Olvera Street by Leo Politi. Published 1946. Caldecott Honor 1947. ISBN: 9780684160030

I didn’t realize this would be a Christmas book, but it actually tells about the Mexican tradition of La Posada, which is a Christmas procession through the streets. Pedro, who has a beautiful singing voice, is asked to lead the procession as an angel, and the reader follows him through the celebration, experiencing the procession and the breaking of the pinata right by his side. The story could have used more of a plot, but it does make a nice lesson on a celebration American kids might not know about. The illustration of the fallen pinata surrounded by treats is the best one in the book.

Forest Pool by Laura Adams Armer. Published 1938. Caldecott Honor 1939. Longman Green.

This story is set in Mexico, and the artist’s style clearly reflects that culture. Unfortunately, the story itself is slow-moving and the illustrations all begin to look the same after a while. By the end of the book, I had the impression that this was a story that happened to have some illustrations in it rather than a true picture book where text and pictures work together.

See other Caldecott Challenge participants' blogs on the challenge page at LibLaura5. Follow my challenge progress here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Baby/Toddler Story Time (Red Theme), 7/24/12

I made the decision a few weeks ago to stop worrying about the summer theme when I got sick of my Dream Big, Read stuff. That time has come. For the next few weeks of story time, I'll be doing different color themes, as a way of showcasing some of my "greatest hits." Today's color was red.

Things started out strong, and then just... I don't even know. This cloudy, humid weather has got to go!

Opening Song (with ukulele): Hello, how are you? 

Rhyme: Blue is the Lake 

After this rhyme, I asked the kids to think about the red apple for a minute. Then I opened the cover of Lemons Are Not Red and showed them all the red things on the front endpaper.

Book: Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (2004)
Sharing this book has proven somewhat difficult in the past, so this time, I held up the book and said, "Look! A red lemon! Wait a second... Lemons are not red!" Then I turned the page to reveal that lemons are yellow, but apples are red. Talking through the first page like this made reading the story more of a conversation, and by the end, I had all of the adults helping me out with the text and pointing out the silly "mistakes."

Instead of clapping after the book, I guided us right to the last page, where the end papers have more red items. I named each one, saving the red wagon for last. Then I said, "Hey, I know a red wagon song!" And I picked up the ukulele.

Song (with ukulele): Bumpin' Up and Down in My Little Red Wagon 
We sang each verse twice, and everyone actually did the motions even though I was playing and not modeling for them.  I made sure I sang "The wheels turn around..." as the last verse so I could segue right into my next book, about something else with wheels that is also red. 

Book: Fire Truck by Peter Sis (1998)
I guess this is probably where I started to lose them, but the book itself seemed to get them back on track. Then I followed it up with a great action song.

Song: Hurry, Hurry Drive the Firetruck
This was more fun than I ever expected. I'm going to use it more often.

Song: Head and Shoulders, Baby
This is where story time took a turn for the worst. They did great with this song, but I could not get anyone's attention back for the next book.

Book: Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Felicia Bond (1985)
I skipped almost the entire book. It was just a disaster. So afterward, I announced we would just be singing for the rest of the time.

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It
Thankfully, singing this seemed to get us back on track. Though I didn't dare try another book, I did manage to keep their attention almost to the 20-minute mark.

Song: Here We Go Up, Up, Up 

Rhyme: Ladybug, Ladybug (from Yorba Linda Public Library)
This was great. Some of the three year olds thought it was hilarious when I put the ladybug on my own head.

Song: Four Red Cherries
During this song, a little girl in the front asked me to play my "guitar." I'm concerned that the ukulele is now becoming a distraction.

Song: ABCs
We clapped along as we sang. That seemed to work well. I could have played the ukulele, but I just wanted to be done.

Song: Chickadee 

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This 

Baby/Toddler Lap Time (Music Theme), 7/20/12

I lost my notes from Friday, but this is close to what I think I did. 

Opening Song: Hello, how are you? 

Song with Puppet: Sing a Song of Sunshine 

Book: Sing a Song of People by Lois Lenski, illustrated by Giles Laroche (1965)

Song: Sunny Day 

Book: Little Pig Joins the Band by David Hyde Costello (2011)

Song with Flannel Board and ukulele: Aikendrum
This was a huge hit. They had a much easier time recognizing the pieces in my new flannel set, than in the old, and they even clapped and sang along!

Song: Head and Shoulders, Baby

Song: Here We Go Up, Up, Up


Book: Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb by Al Perkins (1969)
I got the adults to repeat some of the silly sound words with me, but even with their help, this book wasn't much of a success. I probably should have read it closer to the beginning of the session.

Song: Five Little Monkeys 

Song: One Little Finger 


Book: Knick Knack Paddy Whack by Steve Songs, illustrated by Christiane Engel (2009)

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This
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