Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekly Story Time Wrap-Up Volume 1

Since I am doing the Read To Me Picture Book Challenge hosted by There's a Book, and since my new branch library is now open, and I'm conducting weekly story time programs again, I've decided to do a (hopefully) weekly post highlighting what I read at my story time and how it is received by my audience.

Here is this past week, 1/24 through 1/27, in review:

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut by Dr. Seuss
Wild About Books by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Marc Brown

I read these two books to a group of preschoolers, most of whom I think were around four years old. The Seuss I had planned to read and practiced, but Wild About Books was one I had to pull at a moment's notice, and it turned out to be a bit too much for the group. I realized this when the book referenced Harry Potter, and a child actually had to ask me who that was. Oh boy.

I'm Not Cute! by Jonathan Allen
Five Little Monkeys Bake a Birthday Cake by Eileen Christelow
Freight Train by Donald Crews (Big Book)
If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond

These four books were read at my first Baby/Toddler session on Tuesday morning, which really winds up being a catch-all session for kids from birth to 3. Freight Train was a big hit, as always, but the Five Little Monkeys book was way too long, and I'm Not Cute made the nannies and parents laugh, but not so much the kids. It probably didn't help that my voice sort of gave out in the middle of it.

I was also kind of disappointed in the Five Little Monkeys book. I guess I'd never read one in that series before, but I was expecting the writing to be a lot more smooth than it was. It made a nice segue in the kids' beloved Five Little Monkeys song, but I wouldn't read it in a story time again.

If You Give a Pig a Pancake was a good one, but still a bit long for this group. It's a good standby, though, and a parent-pleaser.

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann
I Love Animals by Flora McDonnell
Jamberry by Bruce Degen

These are the books I read to my second Tuesday morning session, which was also intended for babies and toddlers, and which was insanely crowded and rowdy. None of the books was a hit. Jamberry seemed to be a favorite of a few families, but the big book was unwieldy, and I had trouble holding it up, even with help from a mom. And I had a brain fart and forgot that My Friend Rabbit is partly wordless, and got to those wordless pages without a plan for getting through them. Some people said they liked the book because it was "different," but who knows if that was a compliment.

I will say, though, that I Love Animals, though not brilliant, definitely got the crowd going with some nice animals sounds, which basically saved me from going insane. It's a book I can really only describe as cute, but it worked for me in a pinch.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague
We All Sing with the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller and Sheppard M. Greene, illustrated by Paul Meisel

The staff person scheduled to do our Friday story time was sick, so I was unexpectedly on again, and we had a nice, intimate crowd for story time. Due to our recent weather conditions, The Snowy Day seemed appropriate, and, since it is the book I read in the interview to get this job, and one I have read many times before, I knew I'd be good with that one. Bark, George was also a big hit, and one of the kids checked out Dinosaurs, and We All Sing with the Same Voice, because her mother said she loved them.

I was particularly impressed by the recording that accompanies We All Sing with the Same Voice. It's a Sesame Street song (hear the original on YouTube, here), but the recording that goes with this book is an updated, modern version, with much more exciting rhythms and a less whiny and high-pitched singing voice. I played the recording instead of reading the book, and the parents sang along, which was lovely. I'd do it again. And I will, when the child who took the book home eventually brings it back.

So that was this week. Though I am posting this later tonight, my plan is to make this post on Saturday mornings from now on.
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