Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Baby/Toddler Story Time, 5/31

We continue to hold story time in the meeting room while the painting is done. People are starting to really like it there, and it's becoming more and more difficult to tell them we have to go to back to normal soon! But we do have to, as we have taken over the adult area, and it's really inconvenient for the adult patrons. C'est la vie.

In any case, here is what we did this morning:

Opening Song: Hello, How Are You?

Book: One Pup's Up by Marsha Wilson Chall, illustrated by Henry Cole (2010)
This book counts puppies as they wake up, go through the events of their day - including eating, piddling, and playing - and then go to sleep again. The story ends as it begins, with one puppy waking up, creating that silly cyclical effect that makes kids laugh. Though not these kids. It was so hot today, all these little guys were grumpy and it was tough snapping them out of it.

Rhyme: Ten Little Doggies (from Canton Public Library)
Not much enthusiasm for this one, but I think that was a result of the heat.

Ten little doggies went out one day, (hold up ten fingers)
To dig in the dirt and play, play, play. (pretend to dig, slap knees on each 'play')
Five were spotted, and five were not, (hold up one hand, then the other)
and at dinnertime they ate a lot!(pretend to eat)

Flannel Board Song: How Much is that Doggie in the Window?
I was expecting that people would know this song, but I was surprised to see that most in attendance did not. But we forged ahead anyway, and by the end, most of the grown-ups had learned the tune, and the kids were barking right along with me. I like the idea of substituting other things for the window, even if people did seem confused as to why I would do that. (This will be my Flannel Friday for this week, hopefully!)

How much is that doggie in the [window]? (Bark twice)
The one with the waggily tail.
How much is that doggie in the [window]? (Bark twice)
I do hope that doggie's for sale!
(Repeat, substituting other things for window. We used basket and wagon.)

Song: One, Two I Love You (Numbers Are Our Friends)

Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambeault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert (1989)
It says a lot about my progress as a librarian that I actually read this in public. I have a weird phobia of saying silly words and phrases in front of people, and for the longest time, I avoided this book so I wouldn't have to say "Skit skat skoodle doot. Flip flop flee." But apparently I have changed, and everybody seemed to enjoy this one today, so it was worth it.

Song: ABCD Medley by The Laurie Berkner Band (from Whaddaya Think of That?)

Book: (session 1): Color Dance by Ann Jonas (1989)
Initially, I chose this book because I wanted something about colors, and I thought it was visually appealing. And the kids did think it was pretty, but the concept of mixing colors and creating new ones was way too complicated, and I felt myself losing them after the novelty of the pretty colors wore off. So I traded it in for the second session.

Book (session 2): Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle (1983)
This book needed no introduction, and apparently I didn't even need to read it, since all the nannies in the room basically took over and read it for me!

Flannel Board Song: Baa Baa Black Sheep
I got the idea for this from Mel's Desk, but instead of pop stick puppets, I just stuck the sheep on the felt board. We did black, green, blue, and red. During the second session, I kept forgetting what color I was on and singing black when I didn't mean to, which was a source of entertainment for some of the grown ups.

Baa baa [black] sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full
One for my master
and one for my dame
and one for the little [boy/girl] who lives down the lane
Baa baa [black] sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: Monkeys on the Bed

Song (session 2 only): There's a Little Wheel a-Turnin' in my Heart

Goodbye Song: Skinnamarink

Friday, May 27, 2011

Class Visit: Fifth Grade, 5/27

For the past couple of months, the 5th grade from the Catholic school next door to my library has been visiting every Friday for book talks, and to check out books. I normally don't mention them on this blog, since I typically don't read to them, but today, since it was their final visit of the school year, and we were discussing the summer theme, I actually read them a story.

I agonized over my choice, since I'm used to reading really short picture books to babies and toddlers. Finally, though, inspiration struck, and I chose a folk tale.

Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave retold by Marianna Mayer, illustrated by K.Y. Craft, is a tale from Russia about a beautiful young girl with a Cinderella-like life - ugly stepsisters, cruel stepmother, lots of chores. She's got something Cinderella never had, though - a tiny doll made by her mother, who is fully alive, and filled with positive, encouraging words. When she is sent by her stepmother to retrieve a light from the human-eating forest-dwelling witch Baba Yaga, it is her mother's love, channeled through the doll, that keeps her alive and brings her to an unexpectedly joyful life.

I figured anything creepy was perfect for fifth grade, and I was so right. Some of the kids had heard of Baba Yaga and already knew she was scary, and the illustrations in this book really showed off her terrifying features quite well. The kids kept getting out of their seats to spot the bones and skulls that make up Baba Yaga's house, and we all agreed that little doll would be an excellent helper around the house.
This class has been a real joy to work with, and the teacher is already planning ways for me to work with her class next year as well. I can't wait!

Baby Lap Time, 5/27

The one nice thing about our temporary story time location (the adult meeting room on the second floor) is that it has a lot of room for crawling. It was like a baby social today! Little ones crawled, danced, made friends and giggled their way through my 20-minute lap time.

Here is what we did:

Opening Song: Clap Along With Me

Book: A Good Day by Kevin Henkes (2007)
I read this book once before, at Baby/Toddler story time, and it was a huge hit, so I thought I'd try it again for babies. I'm not really used to the room we've been using this week, so my reading was slowed down a bit by my efforts to make sure all the little eyes in the room got to see the pictures, but the kids really enjoyed it. One baby in the front row, especially, thought it was quite funny, and laughed through the entire thing.

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It (a cappella sing-along because Miss Katie forgot her CD!)

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you're happy and you know it, and you really want to show it, 
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands

(We continued with beep your nose, tap your knees, and shout hooray. I would stomp with toddlers, but we didn't have a lot of walkers today, so we skipped it.)

Rhyme: Open, Shut Them

Book: Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margo Apple
This is such a clever book. I've known about it for a long time, but I don't think I'd ever actually read it - and the ending made me laugh out loud. Few authors can make rhyming text using the same sound over and over so creative, let alone funny. My audience was not as into it, mainly because our crawlers were all sprawled in the middle of the room by this point, checking each other out. But that was part of the fun, and I'm sure they still heard me, even if they were absorbed in other things.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: Bumpin' Up and Down in my Little Red Wagon
Apologies to Raffi, but I'm kind of proud of my version of this. 

Song: Did You Ever See? (to the tune of Did You Ever See a Lassie / The More We Get Together)
I wasn't going to do this one again this week, and then I remembered how much they loved the puppets, and decided to do it again. That was a smart decision - this was a huge hit, and I have wonderful ladybug, bumblebee, and butterfly puppets that babies just love to look at.

Book: My First Nursery Rhymes illustrated by Bruce Whatley (1999)

I have been experimenting with different ways to incorporate nursery rhymes into this story time, and it's just not working. The ones that have hand motions work really well, but the flannel board was too awkward, and this book was too... boring, I guess? The adults were lost in their own conversations, and I ended up skipping the middle 50% of the book.

Song: ABCD Medley by The Laurie Berkner Band (from Whaddaya Think of That?)
This is a nice collection of songs - the ABC's, then Twinkle Twinkle,  then Row your Boat, and  then Frere Jacques. It's the perfect mid-story time break, and a great opportunity for dancing, as one big sister did, or crawling around the room and making new friends.

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song: This Old Man
There are pretty nice arrangements of favorite songs on this 3-disc collection, but it is published by a Christian organization, so you have  to be a little bit careful and really listen to the end of the every song before using it at story time. This Old Man doesn't have any religious verses, but many of the other non-religious songs add in verses about God. Which is great for Sunday School/CCD teachers, but can be touchy for the public library! Also, this song moves too quickly for me to do the hand motions. (But the hand motions, which I got from here, are perfect.)

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

At the end, one mom stopped me and said that she and her son really like my energy! I am not known, outside of story time, as being all that exciting, but apparently, my onstage persona is appealing. Now if only I could get better at bantering with my audience... I mostly don't say anything, or even know what to say, and sometimes that is awkward.

Flannel Friday: Seven Continents on our Globe

This week's Flannel Friday is a work in progress. I'm slowly pulling together the songs and rhymes I will incorporate into my summer story times, and as much as possible, I'm trying to adhere to the One World, Many Stories theme.

This song, "Seven Continents on our Globe" was inspired by a similar song I saw on proteacher.net. It's sung to the tune of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," but my lyrics are as follows:

We've got seven continents on our globe.
We've got seven continents on our globe.
We've got seven continents on our globe,
Seven continents on our globe.

[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. 

Repeat 6 more times - or just stick with one continent, if you're organizing a story time around that part of the world.

I haven't printed them up yet, but the clip art I plan to use when this is finally done is from phillipmartin.com, Here are the links:

North America
South America

There is also a map though I'm not sure I am going to use it. We'll see. I'll be doing this mainly for kids under 5, so I don't want to overwhelm them!

Don't forget to check out everyone else's Flannel Friday - our host this week is Reading Chick!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

6 Alphabet Picture Books

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
    by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert
    The letters of the alphabet come to life and race each other to the top of the coconut tree.
  • A Was Once An Apple Pie
    by Edward Lear, illustrated by Suse MacDonald
    Each letter is presented with a verse from a silly rhyme that plays with sound and language.
  • Animalia
    by Graeme Base
    Each page features a sentence where every word begins with the same letter of the alphabet. Beautiful illustrations portray what the sentences describe.
  • LMNO Peas
    by Keith Baker
    Tiny peas who live and work inside the alphabet list the many jobs they do, including acrobat, volunteer, and plumber.
  • Alphabet Under Construction
    by Denise Fleming
    2006 | 32 pages | Picture Book
    A list of construction-related words - one for each letter of the alphabet. 
  • Alfred's Alphabet Walk
    by Victoria Chess
    1979 | 32 pages | Picture Book
    This is a childhood favorite of mine. I remember loving the glossy pages in my Weekly Reader Club edition. Alfred learns his alphabet through meetings with different animals.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Baby/Toddler Story Time, 5/24

Story time continues to be displaced as our room is repainted. The meeting room is nice in terms of having space to run around in, but it will be nice to be back in our own little corner on the first floor next week.

Opening Song: Hello, How Are You?

Book: What Do Wheels Do All Day? by April Jones Prince, illustrated by Giles Laroche (2006)
This book shows us the many functions of wheels - from pedaling, racing, towing to whirring, whizzing, and spinning. My favorite page is the ferris wheel near the end of the book.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: Bumpin' Up and Down in My Little Red Wagon (adapted from Raffi's version)

Book (session 1): Stella, Princess of the Sky by Marie-Louise Gay (2004)
This book was a lot shorter in my memory than it was in actuality. It has some really cute brother/sister exchanges and philosophical comments from a child's perspective, but it would have been better suited to a preschool group. I didn't repeat it for the second session.  

Book (session 2): The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, illustrated by Beth Krommes (2008)
A simple litany of things found in a house at night - a key, a light, a bed, and a book. I especially like the contrast between the blacks and grays of the night and the bright golden yellow of the moon and stars. This book has the perfect number of words for this age group. 

Song: Moon Moon Moon

Song: ABCD Medley
Book: Rain by Robert Kalan, illustrated by Donald Crews (1978)
We had some rain this morning, and I had already planned to sing Laurie Berkner's Boots song, so I thought it was a good opportunity to read a rain story as well. Donald Crews's illustrations are always very appealing for my toddlers, and today was no exception. The concrete poetry is also neat - I pointed out in the first session that the rain actually spells out the word rain, and in the second session, a little girl actually pointed it out for me! (She attended both sessions, but that was still pretty good.)

Song: Boots
This is our new favorite! The twos and threes especially love to stomp. 

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song: Monkeys on the Bed

Goodbye Song: Skinnamarink

Monday, May 23, 2011

Family Story Time, 5/23

This week, facilities is repainting our story time room to make it more child-friendly, based on suggestions and requests from the community, so story time is being temporarily relocated to our second floor meeting room, up in the adult department. For me, this means negotiating chairs and tables that I typically don't use, and running back and forth between the two floors reminding people that we have moved for a few days. (A sign right in front of the door was not enough - I had to get the word of mouth going.)

It also means we didn't have a lot of traffic moving in and out of the room, and more importantly, our usual school-aged party crashers didn't come to find us! (The story time is open to them, but the group I have in mind tends to misbehave and try my patience.) So, here is what we did.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus
Whenever I feel nervous, I start with this song, because it's four minutes long, and everyone knows it so well. By the time it's over, I'm usually ready to tackle the rest of the session. Today, I did it mostly to kill time so people could find the room we were in.

Book: I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child (2000)
I've never really gotten into the Charlie and Lola phenomenon, but I know they're popular, and I was looking specifically for a book that would be recognized and enjoyed by a variety of ages. As it turned out, this week's audience was mainly toddlers, with a couple of fours and fives, and this book was just the ticket! In this adventure, Charlie tricks Lola into eating her veggies by pretending they are magical concoctions from other worlds.

Song: Monkeys on the Bed

Flannel Board Rhyme: Elephants in the Bathtub
I originally saw this rhyme at SurLaLune Storytime, then adapted it for the flannel board using clip art. I used this elephant and this bathtub.

Flannel Board Song: The Farmer in the Dell
I used felt pieces from kizclub.com and sang these verses:

The farmer in the dell, 
The farmer in the dell,
heigh-ho, the derry oh, 
the farmer in the dell.

The farmer takes a wife...
The wife takes a child...
The child takes a nurse...
The nurse takes a dog...
The dog takes a cat...
The cat takes the rat...
The rat takes the cheese...
The cheese stands alone...

This song prompted one preschool boy to ask me, "Why does the cheese stand alone?" Why, indeed.

Book: What's Going On In There? by Geoffrey Grahn
This book is very visual, which was tough for today, since folks refused to sit on the floor and sat way far away from me just so they could have chairs. But each page shows a shadow on an apartment window. It looks like people are doing everyday, ordinary things, but  upon closer inspection, they're actually building dinosaurs, launching space ships, and making arctic expeditions. It's a bit longer than I would have liked, but it kept everyone's attention through the ending.

Song: Moon Moon Moon by the Laurie Berkner Band (from Victor Vito)
I am trying not to play all Laurie Berkner all the time, but I had to include at least one. And this was a big hit. Two little boys - probably the oldest of the bunch - decided the music sounded like ballet and they turned pirouettes throughout the whole second verse, which was very funny.

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (from Where is Thumbkin?)
I played this specifically for the aforementioned ballerinos - and it worked like a charm. This version repeats the entire song four times, and by the end, they were worn out and ready to hear one more book. 

Book: The Boy Who Cried Wolf by B.G. Hennessey, illustrated by Boris Kulikov
This is a really upbeat and contemporary-sounding version of this book with great dialogue and sound effects. The wolves look scary on only one page, and they don't actually eat the sheep, they just scare them up a tree. The moral isn't explicitly stated, which I actually didn't mind, because it lets kids draw their own conclusions and makes it seem more like a story and less like a lesson. I also love the illustrations - they are really vibrant and interesting to look at. 

Song: Where is Thumbkin?

Song: Skinnamarink

Friday, May 20, 2011

Baby Lap Time, 5/20

Baby Lap Time is catching on with the babies, finally. A great audience today, and I think the average age was about eight months, instead of the usual 18 months. Hooray!

Opening Song: Clap Along With Me

Book: Let's Say Hi to Friends Who Fly! by Mo Willems (2010)
Simple books like this are perfect for babies. Animals, animal sounds, onomatopoeia, and bright, easy to see illustrations. I know they're intended for beginning readers, but I love them for my babies and toddlers. In this one, I especially enjoy the cheerful and positive tone Cat the Cat uses to encourage her flying friends. There is something really satisfying about saying, "Go, bee the bee!"

Song: Did You Ever See? (to the tune of Did You Ever See a Lassie? / The More We Get Together)
I originally found this idea on Mel's Desk, and then adapted it to suit my flying animal puppets. I have a bat, a bee, a ladybug, an owl, and a butterfly.

Did you ever see a [bat], a [bat], a [bat]?
Did you ever see a [bat] fly this way and that?
Fly this way and that way and this way and that way.
Did you ever see a [bat] fly this way and that?

I love introducing new songs that use familiar tunes because the parents and nannies learn them so quickly, and are much less reluctant to sing along. This was a great sing-along, and the babies loved watching the puppets move back and forth in the air.

Flannel Board Rhyme:  Five Little Birds
The link is to my Flannel Friday post, complete with photos!

Book: Meeow and the Pots and Pans by Sebastien Braun (2010)
This book is similar in many ways to the Cat the Cat series. The cat's name is Meeow, the sheep is named Baa, the cow is named Moo, etc. etc. Each animal chooses a pot and a utensil - what are they for? To join a marching band! Very simple story, neat vocabulary words like colander, and painted illustrations that look like a child may have done them (in a good way.)

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song: Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Song: Oleanna by The Laurie Berkner Band (from Victor Vito)
This song has a simple refrain, and a ton of nursery rhymes. I thought it would be easy to incorporate a flannel board into this, so I got some nursery rhyme sets from DLTK and covered them with contact paper and everything, only to have fumble about with them like I'd never seen a flannel board before! So I'm still debating how best to handle this next time. I think practicing the timing might be all it takes. I hope so, because it's such a lovely song.

But here are the rhymes included in the song, with links to the flannel board cut-outs:

Song: The Itsy Bitsy Spider (a cappella sing-along)

Song: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (a cappella sing-along)

Book: Round Balls, Round Balls (board book) by Begin Smart Books (2010)
I love the way the babies' eyes just follow a book like this. The round shapes and bold colors just pull them right in. There's not much substance from an adult standpoint, but lots of good stuff for introducing little ones to words and sounds. It's also got a fuzzy front cover, which is fun if you're reading this one on one.

Rhyme: Elephants in the Bathtub
I originally saw this rhyme at SurLaLune Storytime, then adapted it for the flannel board using clip art. I used this elephant and this bathtub.

One elephant in the bathtub going for a swim.
Knock, Knock, (Clap twice)
Splash, Splash, (Slap knees twice)
Come on in! (Motion with both hands to come in)

Two elephants...
Three elephants...
Four elephants...

Five elephants elephants in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock,
Splash, Splash,
They all fell in!

I ended every single rhyme and song I did today - at both story times - with the sentence, "And that's the end." I need to work on that.

Song: Monkeys on the Bed
I really don't recommend this for a baby story time. It's just not very baby-friendly, and it's loud and there's a joke at the end (Mommy jumps on the bed!) that only preschoolers really appreciate, but I had an adult tell me that the little boy she was with - he was around 10 months old or so - was making monkey sounds in anticipation of hearing it. So... I played it. And I've got to say, he had the time of his life, so it was worth it.

Song: Where is Thumbkin?

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

Tales for Twos and Threes, 5/20

Opening Song: If You're Happy and You Know It

Book: Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (published 2004, 2005 Caldecott Medal)
I was supposed to have a bedtime story time on Wednesday night, but no one showed. So I was left with moon songs and no reason to sing them! I fixed that by reading this book, which was the definite favorite of this session, and which has such lovely, simple moon illustrations. (I especially love those endpapers!) Several kids were excited to see this one, and shouted out that they had it at home.

Song: Moon Moon Moon by The Laurie Berkner Band (from Victor Vito)
I am developing an obsession with Laurie Berkner's music, and I've been dying for something new in my repertoire, so I gave this one a shot. It's a little slow to get started, which is good, usually, for my baby/toddler bunch, but these kids got lost in the spaces between verses. It does have some nice hand gestures, though, provided by Laurie Berkner herself in the liner notes,  and it's a really pretty a cappella arrangement with beautiful harmonies. It would do better at bedtime, but I loved it anyway.

Flannel Board Song: Aikendrum by Raffi (from Singable Songs for the Very Young)
I loved this song when I was a kid, but I couldn't tell if these kids liked it or not. Playing upon a ladle is not an easy concept, apparently, and no matter how I try to explain it, even the parents look at me like I'm a bit touched in the head sometimes. But I like making his silly face with my flannel board pieces.

Book: Tony Baloney by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (January 2011)
This book arrived brand new at our library this week, and I fell immediately in love. I'm probably going to review it on my book blog eventually, but I'll just briefly say it's a silly story about a middle child forced to live with a bossy older sister and "exasperating" babies. His stuffed animal serves as his therapist and best friend, and though Tony doesn't like trouble, it often comes to find him anyway. It's absolutely adorable, and though there were some babies in the crowd who fussed through it, the preschool audience was glued to the book the entire time.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: Shake My Sillies Out

Book: Ollie the Stomper by Olivier Dunrea (2003)
I admit that I chose this book solely because it had boots in it. I wanted to do Laurie Berkner's awesome dancing song about boots, and wanted a book to go with it. But it is a funny little tale about three goslings - Gossie and Gertie, who have boots, and Ollie, who does not. Gossie and Gertie each give one boot to Ollie, and when he tires of them, all three ditch the boots and go for a swim. And who wouldn't want to be called a stomper?

Song: Boots by The Laurie Berkner Band (from Victor Vito)
Oh, how I love this song. And so did a lot of the little girls in my audience today. They were bopping around in their imaginary black boots, brown boots, frog boots, dancing boots,  and rain boots. I made some felt board boots to go over each one before we started, but managed to forget dancing boots, so we ended up doing a hokey-pokey like dance for that verse. I think I might try this again with fours and fives this summer, because it's so much fun.

Song: Turn Around by Hap Palmer (from Getting to Know Myself)
I always do this one when I have a lot of three year olds. They are good at following directions, and they like stomping loudly and softly. 

Song: Skinnamarink

Thursday, May 19, 2011

7 Books About Nonconformists for Tweens & Teens

  • Oggie Cooder
    by Sarah Weeks
    (Middle Grade)
    Oggie Cooder is a world-champion charver - that is, someone who carves cheese by chewing. His classmates think his talent is weird, until a TV show comes to town looking to spotlight people with strange abilities.
  • Weetzie Bat
    by Francesca Lia Block
    (Young Adult)
    I can't even begin to summarize this book. It's very sophisticated - definitely for older teens - and almost surreal. 
  • Stargirl
    by Jerry Spinelli
    (Middle Grade)
    Stargirl, the new girl in school, is shunned for being different, but refuses to give in to classmate Leo's urgings that she should be more normal.
  • Anything But Typical
    by Nora Raleigh Baskin
    (Middle Grade)
    Twelve-year-old Jason has autism, and he worries that when he meets his online friend PhoenixBird in person, she won't be interested in him anymore. 
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
    by E. Lockhart
    (Young Adult)
    No longer wishing to be seen as her father's Bunny Rabbit, Frankie takes on sexism in her boarding high school. 
  • How to Say Goodbye in Robot
    by Natalie Standiford
    (Young Adult)
    A non-romantic love story between two outsiders, one of whom has always been destined to leave someday. 
  • Tales of the Madman Underground
    by John Barnes
    (Young Adult)
    Six days in the lives of Karl Shoemaker and the other offbeat teens in his school-mandated therapy group. My absolute favorite YA book in recent memory.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Baby/Toddler Story Time, 5/17

The theme of this morning's story time was Miss Katie Has Laryngitis! Literally. I can't speak more than a sentence without going completely mute. So this was a true exercise in resourcefulness, and I really owe a huge debt of gratitude to some of my regular story time goers who jumped right in and kept the singing going, even without a leader.

Because I couldn't speak, I chose three audiobooks, and played the CDs while turning the pages. I don't recommend doing story time like that if you don't have to, but it did work like a charm for me in a pinch.

Song: Shake My Silles Out

Book: Clifford the Small Red Puppy by Norman Bridwell (read by Stephanie D'Abruzzo)
This book tells the story of how Emily Elizabeth came to find Clifford, and how he grew from the runt of his litter to the size of a house in only a few days! The kids loved this book. We've never read any Clifford books, since they're a bit lengthy, and I always opt for shorter, more audience-oriented books. But this was a good opportunity to try something new, and it was a definite hit.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: Monkeys on the Bed

Book: Fire Truck by Ivan Ulz, illustrated by Jill Dubin
This book was on our audiobook shelf, but it's not truly an audiobook. Rather, the CD includes three songs, and when you play the track for this book, it starts right in with the music and doesn't give the title, author, or anything. Still, the catchy refrain of "Fire truck, fire truck, I want to ride in a fire truck" and the deep-voiced, gritty singing that went with it had many of the kids absolutely fixated on this book. I'm not crazy about the Fisher-Price Little People illustrations - they're not very exciting, and they all look the same, but we might do that song again when I get my voice back.

Song: Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Song: Where is Thumbkin?

Book: We All Sing With the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller and Sheppard M. Greene, illustrated by Paul Meisel
I played this CD with this book for my very first family story time back in January, and everyone loved it then. It was less well-received today, but I love the song, and I have been planning to use it for my summer story times, since it fits so well with the One World, Many Stories theme. The song is an old one from Sesame Street (see it on YouTube here), but this book has an updated version, which is even better than the original.

Song: There's a Little Wheel a-Turnin' in My Heart

Song: One, Two, I Love You (Numbers Are Our Friends)

Goodbye Song: Skinnamarink

The biggest challenge of doing story time like this, with laryngitis, is that when adults carry on their own conversations or little ones climb all over everything, you don't have the voice to say no to them. I had a note on the white board about my lost voice and many people were sympathetic and wonderful, but the few who saw it as an opportunity to disregard manners did make it frustrating. Still, though, I have a really understanding and wonderful core group of people in my weekly audience, and I was thankful for them today!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

7 Kids' Books About Being Sick

  • How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?
    by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
    (Picture Book)
    Good and bad sickbed behavior is demonstrated by dinosaurs who stand in for children in various situations.
  • A Bad Case of Stripes
    by David Shannon
    (Picture Book)
    Camilla learns to accept her strange condition which causes her skin to break out in various patterns.
  • You Can't Eat Your Chicken Pox, Amber Brown!
    by Paula Danziger
    (Chapter Book)
    Amber's European vacation is ruined when she discovers the itchy spots on her skin aren't mosquito bites after all. 
  • Mr. Putter and Tabby Catch the Cold
    by Cynthia Rylant & Arthur Howard
    (Easy Reader)
    Mr. Putter isn't feeling well, but Mrs. Teaberry and her dog Zeke are on hand to help him get better.
  • Happy New Year, Mallory
    by Laurie Friedman
    (Chapter Book)
    Mallory has big plans for celebrating the New Year, but they're ruined by a trip to the hospital.
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee
    by Philip Stead & Erin Stead
    (Picture Book)
    When he falls ill, zookeeper Amos McGee takes a day off from caring for the zoo animals, only to have them turn around and care for him. 
  • Jenny's in the Hospital
    by Seymour Reit & Nina Barbaresi
    (Picture Book)
    This was a favorite book of mine and my sister's as kids. Jenny falls and breaks her arm and must go to the hospital to have it put in a cast. The best part was a big spread in the center of the book showing the layout of the entire hospital building. This book is now out of print.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baby/Toddler Story Time, 5/10

There was no theme this week, and I did the exact same thing for both sessions. (The second session just had one extra song, because I can't tell time, apparently.)

Opening song: Hello, How Are You?
(This week's actions were clapping hands, tapping knees, and touching nose.)

Book: Mr Gumpy's Motor Car by John Burningham (1976)
This is a really simple book, but such a great one. Mr. Gumpy goes for a drive, and all the kids and animals want to come. When it rains, though, they don't want to help push  the car out of the mud. The illustrations evoke a strong sense of summer warmth, and the ending, where everyone returns home with the promise to go for another drive another day is comforting and happy. Also, it has a car, which I suspect is what turned so many little boys onto it this morning.

Flannel Board Song: Five in the Truck
This song fit really well with the Mr. Gumpy book - they're both about being squished in a crowded vehicle! I originally found this song here, but decided to adapt it for the flannel board. I borrowed the hens from Mel's Desk and printed out a clip art truck from Google images.

Book: Police Officers on Patrol by Kersten Hamilton, illustrated by R.W. Alley (2009)
I really love this book. The story begins on the end papers, with four people in streetclothes walking toward the police station. It turns out that they are the police officers, and each one has a specialty. The book has a few nice refrains ("Uniform! Badge! Radio! Officer responding. Go, Mike, go!" and "Situation? Under control. When people need help, we rock and roll!") making it really pleasing to the ear and wonderful to read aloud to babies and toddlers. But there is a lot happening in the illustrations, too, that doesn't show up in the text, so older kids can find a lot to talk about in one-on-one readings with their favorite grown-ups. This is definitely a new favorite!

Flannel Board Song: Who Are the People in your Neighborhood?
I have been wanting to sing this at this story time for months, and finally, it all came together. I used clip art people, and quickly pointed out some of their features - tools and hard hat for the construction worker, mail bag and letters for the mail carrier, and a book for the librarian! Then we sang a simple verse ("The mail carrier is a person in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, etc. etc.") about each one. The adults all knew this one, so it was an automatic hit, and we'll be doing it again soon.

Song: Shake My Sillies Out 
This is the perfect song for a quick break between stories because it lasts just a minute, and it gets all that extra energy out.

Song: I'm a Little Teapot
I swore I wasn't doing this song this week, and planned to do Hap Palmer's Turn Around instead, but then I ended up with a large number of babies, and thought this was a song that everyone could take part in. And I saw some kids who normally just stand and watch me actually making handles and spouts!

Book: Red Wagon by Renata Liwska (2011)
This book is a tough read-aloud for little ones because the illustrations portray so much more than the text. A simple walk to the market and back becomes an imaginative adventure when Lucy the fox takes along her new wagon. I tried to comment on the illustrations when I could, but they were mostly too detailed to see from a distance. The book is wonderful, though - it's by the illustrator of The Quiet Book and The Loud Book, and the warm, inviting illustrations really drew me in.

Song: Bumpin' Up And Down in My Little Red Wagon
This is a Raffi song, but I couldn't find or think up hand motions for his original verses, so I quickly wrote some of my own.

Bumpin' up and down in my little red wagon
Bumpin' up and down in my little red wagon
Bumpin' up and down in my little red wagon
Won't you be my darling?
(Bump up and down)

The wheels turn around on my little red wagon
The wheels turn around on my little red wagon
The wheels turn around on my little red wagon
Won't you be my darling? 
(Turn your hands)

I'm waving to my friends in my little red wagon
I'm waving to my friends in my little red wagon
I'm waving to my friends in my little red wagon
Won't you be my darling?

Flannel Board Song: The Farmer in the Dell
I gave up on using a recording and put my own voice to the test. Thankfully, many adults in the audience knew the song and helped me out. I used the same kizclub.com felt pieces I made for yesterday's story time. There are a lot of variations of this song, but these are the verses I used:

The farmer in the dell, 
The farmer in the dell,
heigh-ho, the derry oh, 
the farmer in the dell.

The farmer takes a wife...
The wife takes a child...
The child takes a nurse...
The nurse takes a dog...
The dog takes a cat...
The cat takes the rat...
The rat takes the cheese...
The cheese stands alone...

Song: Monkeys on the Bed

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: There's a Little Wheel a-Turnin' in my Heart
A special bonus for session two because I had no idea what time I'd actually started by our wacky, slow clock, and I thought I was running short! This song is the one the parents love the most. I highly, highly recommend it, especially for winding down at the end of the story time. 

Goodbye Song: Skinnamarink

Monday, May 9, 2011

Family Story Time, 5/9

Opening Song: I'm in the Mood by Raffi (from Rise and Shine)

I don't know what I was thinking. This song is long and unwieldy and a terrible opener! This group has a really broad age range - I had babies, and I had first graders today - and this song was not what we needed to set the tone. Sadly, I think the whole thing just unraveled from there. I honestly don't know what to do with a group like this, but I need to figure it out, because it's really growing!

Song: The Wheels on the Bus 

Book: Being Friends by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by Joy Allen (2002)

I may have read this book to guilt some little girls into being nicer to another girl in the front row, who is at least two years younger than they are, and whom they were berating for no reason I could understand. It's also a really positive story about friendship between opposites.

Song: Monkeys on the Bed

Book: Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (2006)

The bright colors in this book really captivate toddlers and preschoolers, and I saw a lot of fingers pointing at the book as I read.

Book: The Red Lemon by Bob Staake (2006)

My cleverness in pairing these two books was appreciated by exactly no one. I'm going to try it again with the fours and fives over the summer. But this is the story of how a rejected red lemon became the starting point for a red lemon revolution on a little island. I thought it was sweet, but I really couldn't read how the kids liked it.

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Song: Turn Around

Thank God for Hap Palmer. I rely on this song in situations of great chaos and stress, and it works like a charm every time!

Song with Flannel Board: The Farmer in the Dell (from Best of Children's Favorites: Pooh's Top 40)

The only version I had of this was sung by Disney's Goofy in a key my voice can't reach, so that was fun. My kizclub.com felt board pieces are cute, but alas, this song did not go over well. I'll do it a cappella next time (tomorrow, most likely.)

Book: Snail Trail by Ruth Brown (2000)

I did not need to read another book, but I panicked when I had a room full of blank faces looking at me, so I grabbed the first available thing. This is actually not a great read-aloud - it moves at a snail's pace and not much happens. Nice illustrations, though!

Goodbye Song: Skinnamarink

Friday, May 6, 2011

Baby Lap Time, 5/6

I have stopped doing themes altogether, I hope. Instead, I'm kind of dividing the story time into three little segments in my mind. Today, the first segment was about mice and counting, the second about mothers and Mother's Day, and the third, nature and animals. This isn't something I announced to the audience or anything, but it really helps me structure the session if I can pair each book with a song and/or rhyme.

Opening Song: Clap Along With Me
This is my official opening song for baby laptime now. It feels good to have a regular starting point!

Book: One Gray Mouse by Katherine Burton and Kim Fernandes (1995)
This book doesn't have much in the way of plot, and it's not even an especially useful counting book, but it has an interesting illustration style - the images are made with modeling compound, which give them a 3-D look, and the colors are bright and engaging for baby's eyes. There is also a lot of cute silliness in this book, especially on the page where pink pigs try on yellow wigs.

Flannel Board Song: Hickory, Dickory Dock (found here)
The flannel board component wound up being just for show, and I forgot to take it down, so it also became a distraction for the babies who could walk/crawl! Whoops!

Hickory, dickory dock (clap hands to the beat)
The mouse went up the clock. (run fingers up arm)
The clock struck one! (clap once)
The mouse ran down. (run fingers back down arm)
Hickory dickory dock. (clap hands to the beat)

Hickory, dickory dock (clap hands to the beat)
The mouse went up the clock. (run fingers up arm)
The clock struck two! (clap twice)
The mouse said, "Boo!" (cup hands around mouth)
Hickory dickory dock. (clap hands to the beat)

Hickory, dickory dock (clap hands to the beat)
The mouse went up the clock. (run fingers up arm)
The clock struck three! (clap three times)
The mouse said, "Weeee!" (run fingers down arm)
Hickory dickory dock. (clap hands to the beat)

Song: One, Two I Love You (Numbers Are Our Friends)
We had a lot of new faces this morning, so we did this song twice. I always do it twice when we have new folks because it's a story time staple, and a song that can be learned very easily after just a listen or two.

 Book: What Mommies Do Best/What Daddies Do Best by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger (1998)
We only read the mom side of this book, but I felt ridiculous reading it to babies. Their mothers don't help them ride bikes, or teach them to bake, and they won't for years! Still, I wanted a book about mothers, and this is what I came up with. I'll probably use the flip side of the book again next month for Father's Day. (And kudos to this book for showing Mom and Dad in the exact same roles - no gender bias here!)

Flannel Board Rhyme: Five Little Flowers (Mother's Day edition)
I originally got this rhyme from Mel's Desk, but have since butchered it so many times, it's become its own unique creation. The last verse is one I wrote to suit my Mother's Day purposes.

Five little flowers
Growing in the sun
I came along 
and I picked one!

Four little flowers
Growing in the sun
I came along 
and I picked one!

Three little flowers
Growing in the sun
I came along 
and I picked one!

Two little flowers
Growing in the sun
I came along 
and I picked one!

One little flower
Growing in the sun
I came along 
and I picked one!

Five little flowers
make a nice bouquet.
I'll give it to my mother
because it's Mother's Day!

Song: Monkeys on the Bed
Our version of this song features an extra verse at the end where Mommy jumps on the bed, and the child has to call the doctor. I would normally not do this with babies, but it fit with Mother's Day, so I made an exception.

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Book: In the Tall, Tall, Grass by Denise Fleming (1995)
Denise Fleming books can sometimes be on the longer side, but this one is perfect for babies. The illustrations are large and colorful, and the different onomatopoetic rhyming words are a lot of fun to say. The babies were big fans of  the frogs, in particular.

Rhyme: Hop Your Bunny

Hop your bunny up (hold up two fingers and lift hand)
Hop your bunny down (bring two fingers down toward floor)
Hop your bunny to the side (bring fingers out to the right)
Hop him all around! (move fingers around in a circle)
Hop him on your shoulder,
hop him on your head, 
hop him on your tummy,
and then put him to bed! (hide bunny behind you)
(Repeat with two bunnies)

Song: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (a cappella sing-along with hand motions)

Twinkle twinkle little star (open and close hands to mimic twinkling)
How I wonder what you are (point to temple)
Up above the world so high (point to ceiling)
Like a diamond in the sky (make a diamond with thumbs and index fingers)
Twinkle twinkle little star (open and close hands to mimic twinkling)
How I wonder what you are (point to temple)

Song: Itsy Bitsy Spider (a cappella sing-along with hand motions)

Song: The Wheels on the Bus
This version is so long, but it was the only one I had. I need to track down a shorter 90-second version or something.

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

Flannel Friday: Five Little Birds

Here is my second Flannel Friday contribution! (Please excuse my terrible photography - I only had my phone, and I was in a rush.)

I found this rhyme at preschoolrainbow.org, and used the following clip art to make the flannelboard pieces: bird, door, tree, sun.

Five little birds
flying around my door
The blue one flew away,
and then there were four.

Four little birds
sitting in a tree.
The yellow one flew away,
and then there were three.

Three little birds
didn't know what to do.
The red one flew away,
and then there were two.

Two little birds
sitting in the sun.
The brown one flew away,
and then there was one.

One little bird
sitting all alone.
She flew away,
and then there were none.

But later on that very same day...
Five little birds came back to play!

Visit Mel's Desk for more Flannel Friday fun!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

6 Kids' Books About Moms

  • Mommy Hugs
    (Board Book)
    by Karen Katz
    A colorful picture book (also available as a board book) that counts all the different types of hugs mommies give throughout the day.  
  • Runaway Bunny (Picture Book)
    by Margaret Wise Brown, pictures by Clement Hurd
    A young rabbit talks about ways he might try to run from his mother, but she assures him that she will always find a way to be near him. 
  • Little Bear
    (Easy Reader)
    by Else Holmelund Minarik, illustrated by Maurice Sendak
    In four different episodes, Little Bear's mother shows her love for her son by clothing him when he's cold, baking him a birthday cake, sharing in his imaginings about space, and putting him to bed. 
  • Ramona and her Mother
    (Middle Grade)
    by Beverly Cleary
    Ramona worries that some of her behavior makes her unlovable and fears that her mother, who has recently gone back to work, doesn't like her as much as her sister Beezus.  
  • The Wedding Planner's Daughter
    (Middle Grade)
    by Coleen Murtagh Paratore
    Willa Havisham wants her mother, Stella, who is a wedding planner, to fall in love and settle down, but her efforts don't go exactly as planned. 
  • We Help Mommy
    (Picture Book)
    by Jean Cushman, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
    Two children help their mother with various household tasks. This was my sister's favorite book when she was little, and I can still recite the first lines: We help Mommy every day. We help her in the morning as soon as we get up. We take off our pajamas.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Baby/Toddler Story Time, 5/3

There was no theme this week, and I did the exact same thing for both sessions.

Opening song: Hello, How Are You?
(This week's actions were clapping hands, waving arms, and tapping knees.)

Book: Bark, George by Jules Feiffer (1999)
This book is always an audience favorite. I especially love it when I have folks in the audience who have never heard it before, because it gets really good laughs. George keeps trying to bark, but different animal sounds come out. His mother takes him to the vet, who pulls out all of the animals from the depths of George, only to have him swallow something else unexpected on the way home. 

Song: I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
(Using flannelboard cut outs from kizclub.com.)

Book: My Mom by Anthony Browne (2005)
I had to at least acknowledge Mother's Day, so I read this book, about a mom who is "really, REALLY nice" as well as a juggler, dancer, possible astronaut, and excellent cook. I love the way Anthony Browne's illustrations alternate between reality and imagination. I love that Mom's lips aren't there at all until she puts on lipstick, and the page where Mom is portrayed as a butterfly is beautiful and perfect. One of the better Mother's Day titles out there, in my opinion, and one that can be read all year round. Also, it wins for having an amazing cover.

Song: Love Grows (a cappella sing-along)
I learned this song from my mom, who sings it with her pee wee campers in the summer. I'll have to track down the tune!

Love grows
One by one
Two by two 
And four by four 
(hold up the corresponding numbers of fingers)

Love grows 
around like a circle
and comes back knocking
at your front door. 
(draw a circle in the air, then pretend to knock)

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Flannel Board Rhyme: Five Little Birds (borrowed and slightly adapted from preschoolrainbow.org)

Book: Mommy, Where Are You? by Leonid Gore (2009)
This lift the flap book shows Ozzy the mouse hunting high and low for his mother. After coming upon many, many animals that are not his mother, there is finally a happy reunion, after which they share a cheese breakfast. Nothing new here, really - it's basically a shorter version of Are You My Mother? but it's still a nice book for this age group. The adults didn't have the attention span for a third book in either session, unfortunately. I might have to start cutting it down to two and really stretching those.

Song: Monkeys on the Bed

Song: Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Song: There's a Little Wheel a-Turnin' in my Heart

Goodbye Song: Skinnamarink
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