Friday, December 30, 2011

Story Time Greatest Hits 2011

According to my shelves on Goodreads, I have read 332 different titles at story time this year. I don't know off the top of my head how many sessions that covers, since I don't have my stats in front of me, but that is an awful lot of books! And believe it or not, out of all those books, I have managed to select a top ten list of favorites for the year. These books represent my 2011 Greatest Hits - they're the tried and true titles that never let me down that will become part of my regular story time rotation in the years ahead.

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry,
and The Big Hungry Bear (1984)
by Audrey and Don Wood
Read at Baby/Toddler Story Time on 3/15/11.
This book is just as much fun to read aloud now as it was to hear my mother read it as a child. The tone of the story is perfectly suited to really hamming it up and getting into character.

We Are in a Book! (2010)
by Mo Willems
Read at a class visit on 6/2/11
A true crowd pleaser for all ages, We Are in a Book breaks the fourth wall and highlights in a very funny way the best aspects of Gerald's and Piggie's personalities.

The Foggy, Foggy Forest (2008)
by Nick Sharratt
Read at Preschool Story Time on 11/7/11.
The illustrations in this book are gorgeous, and the feel of the paper very appealing to young kids. Preschoolers love to guess at what each shadow represents and are surprisingly good at guessing even the most difficult ones!


The Babies on the Bus (2011)
by Karen Katz
Read at Baby/Toddler Story Time on 8/16/11, 8/23/11 & 12/6/11.
Read at Baby Lap Time on 8/19/11, 10/19/11 & 10/20/11.
This song has been a story time favorite for my groups since I started here, and this book makes it go down easier (for me) than the long-winded recording we have. Karen Katz is one of the best illustrators for babies and toddlers, and the fresh take on the song keeps everyone engaged, even those (like me) who are sick of it.

A Good Day (2007)
by Kevin Henkes
Read at Baby/Toddler Story Time on 2/22/11 & 10/4/11.
Read at Baby Lap Time on 5/27/11.
This is such a feel-good story, and the simplicity of the text and boldness of the illustrations are just perfect for babies and toddlers. I think of it mainly as a Spring book, but also included it in the Fall because of the squirrel.

Big Fat Hen (1994)
by Keith Baker
Read at Baby Lap Time on 4/8/11, 9/28/11, and 9/29/11.
Keith Baker's huge illustrations make this a perfect book for babies. They are drawn to the thick, bold lines, and since their parents know the nursery rhyme (One Two, Buckle My Shoe) it often becomes an interactive experience for everyone.

Baby Faces (1998)
by Margaret Miller
Read at Baby Lap Time on 7/29/11.
Who can resist these adorable baby faces? Not any of my lap time babies, that's for sure! This will make a re-appearance at lap time in just a couple of weeks!

Princess Hyacinth, the Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated (2009)
by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Lane Smith
Read during a class visit on 2/12/11.
Read at family story time on 3/14/11.
I am not a princess girl, or even a fairy tale girl, but I adore this book. I like  the spunky tone of voice, the fact that the happily ever after ending isn't saccharine-sweet, and most of all, I love the universal appeal of the story. Boys and girls of all ages love this story.

Bark, George (1999)
by Jules Feiffer
Read at Tales for Twos and Threes on 1/26/11 & 8/26/11.
I think of this book as my secret weapon. When I feel story time getting out of control, or when a crowd is larger than usual, or when I'm just feeling cranky, this is the book that snaps me out of it. No matter how times I read it, it still gets laughs, and it incorporates all the animal sounds that kids love to make.

Monkey and Me (2007)
by Emily Gravett
Read at Baby Lap Time on 4/8/11.
Read at Baby/Toddler Story Time on 8/16/11 & 12/6/11.
This book takes the number one spot because it's not just perfect for story time, it's also a perfect picture book. The text is basic and repetitive - a girl and her monkey go to see various animals - but each illustration hints at what's to come on the following page, which is a wonderful visual way to help kids follow the action. I love seeing the girl pretending to be a penguin, an elephant, and of course, a monkey! The element of surprise also makes this book really exciting for toddlers,who love the anticipation before finding out which animal the girl and monkey went to see next. Bad grammar aside (it should be Monkey and I), I still love this book and plan to share it many more times in 2012.

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