Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #11

Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Diaz. Published 1994. Caldecott Medal 1995. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN: 9780152018849

A young boy witnesses a riot on the street outside of his Los Angeles apartment, which causes his family to examine its relationships with the neighbors and brings the residents of the apartment building together despite the tensions mounting in the city. David Diaz uses a lot of color to portray not just the racial identity of  each of the characters, but also the darkness of fear as the building residents evacuate their homes in the middle of the night due to fire. I love the way the borders of some of the illustrations suggest what happens in the text. My favorite is the spilled cereal on the border of the page where some rioters break into a store. I was around 12 or 13 when this book came out and I remember avoiding looking at it when my mom recommended it because I was worried it would upset me. Still, though, I do think it's appropriate for somewhat older children in late elementary school and even middle school who are prepared to discuss issues surrounding race and might need a jumping off point for doing so.

Blackout by John Rocco. Published 2011. Caldecott Honor 2012. Hyperion Books. ISBN: 9781423121909

This is one of my favorite books of 2011, and I was thrilled to see it honored for its excellent illustrations. In panels reminiscent of the graphic novel format, John Rocco tells the story of how a blackout in New York City brings one family together. There is some very simple text in the book, but much of the action is told through images, and the story is much richer for it. I love the use of color to bring the night to life, and also the way speech bubbles and other sound words are incorporated into the illustrations to give a strong sense of how the city might sound when there is no electricity. I reviewed Blackout earlier this year on my book blog.

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, illustrated by Beth Krommes. Published 2008. Caldecott Medal 2009. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN: 9780618862443

This book is based on cumulative rhymes such as "The Key to the Kingdom." The text itself doesn't introduce much of anything that hasn't been done before, but the illustrations, with their detailed cross-hatching and selective use of gold coloring really stand out. I love the way the gold endpapers set the reader up to look for that same color in the illustrations, thus drawing the eye to such objects as the sun, the book, the teddy bear, and the key. The child's bedroom reminds me a little bit of the room in Goodnight Moon, and the overall mood of the book is very relaxing, preparing the reader to drift right off to sleep when the book is done. I also really like the book within a book device, which I know appeals to a lot of kids.

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baby/Toddler Story Time, 2/28/12

It's so hard to be sick on story time day. And for me, with the way the weather has been this Winter, that's been happening more often than usual, and it's kind of messing with my momentum. Today, thanks to a very nice coworker, I only did one session so I didn't have to totally kill my voice, but even that was a challenge, and people were not at all sympathetic. In fact, the more I lost my voice, the louder they talked to be heard over me. But I stuck by my decision not to use recorded music, and I think, all things considered, it could have gone a lot worse.

I would like to know, though, what the magic trick is that will make adults sit quietly and listen to a picture book. Because really, it's not that hard, but none of them do it.

Anyway, here is this week's baby/toddler story time:

Opening Song: Hello, how are you?

Book: Shhhhh by Kevin Henkes (1989)
I love this book, but it didn't have its full effect because I couldn't read as loudly as I wanted. Making the shhh sound at the end of every page was fun, though. I know it's a cliche, but I like some librarian shushing action now and then.

Rhyme: Two Little Blackbirds (Soft and Loud edition)

Rhyme: Wiggle Fingers 

Book: I Can't Get My Turtle To Move by Elizabeth Lee O'Donnell, illustrated by Maxie Chambliss (1989)
My innocent children's librarian mind didn't realize it right away, but this book kind of makes it seem like the turtle might be dead. And once I realized that, I understood why the adults weren't so on board with it. (Also, I did not plan this at all, but apparently I read two books in a row published in 1989!)

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Song: Head and Shoulders

Song: The Wheels on the Bus
  • ...wheels...round and round
  • and shut
  • ...wipers...swish swish swish
  • ...driver...move on back
Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big

Book: Domino by Claire Masurel, illustrated by David Walker (2007)
This book is adorable, but it had too much of a plot for the kids to grasp it and too boring a plot for the adults to pay attention. Sad.

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It
  • ...clap your hands
  • ...pat your knees
  • ...beep your nose
  • ...tickle your tummy
  • ...shout hooray

Song: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Song: Where is Big Toe?

Song: One Little Finger

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #10

Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens. Published 1995. Caldecott Honor 1996. Harcourt Brace & Company. ISBN: 9780152928513

Tops and Bottoms is a trickster tale wherein a clever hare repeatedly tricks a lazy bear into giving him the edible parts of his vegetables, whether they be tops, bottoms, or middles. The orientation of the book is switched from portrait to landscape, so that each illustration effectively portrays a top and a bottom. It's a great treat for the reader to uncover subtle details like the hare's carrot shirt and the bear's honeybee tie, and to see the many little hares peeking out from behind piles of vegetables. Stevens uses the orientation of each page to provide a unique perspective. We look up on the porch where the bear sleeps from the point of view of the hares who deliver the vegetables to the bottom of the steps. She also draws the tops, bottoms, and middles in their correct place on the tall two-page spreads to reinforce the meanings of those words for the new reader. I love the accuracy of the details in the different vegetables, and the wonderful personalities infused into the bear and hare characters.

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney. Published 2009. Caldecott Medal 2010. Little, Brown. ISBN: 9780316071222

Jerry Pinkney's wordless retelling of this fable has never done much for me. I recognize Pinkney's signature style, and can certainly see the detail that went into getting the animals just right in each illustration. But I am not naturally drawn to animal books, and therefore just sort of breezed through this one. The one thing that did impress me, though, was how realistic the story becomes when the animals are shown in their natural habitat, making only their natural sounds with no human qualities or actions. I think it's easy to use talking animals to tell stories like this, but a greater challenge when the illustrator relies on the true behaviors of those animals to convey plot points instead.

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein. Published 2010. Caldecott Honor 2011. Candlewick. ISBN:978076364168951699

Papa wants to read Chicken a bedtime story, but she just can't stop interrupting. The illustrations convey the events of bedtime, as well as the events of the various fairy tales Papa and Chicken read together. Chicken's interruptions are also illustrated, as she bursts into the scene of each picture book, taking each of the classic characters by surprise. Best of all, Chicken writes her own story in the end, which Stein has illustrated with perfect child-like crayon drawings. So many different styles and so many details went into this book, it's amazing that one illustrator was able to do it all himself. I reviewed Interrupting Chicken last year on my book blog.

Time Flies by Eric Rohmann. Published 1994. Caldecott Honor 1995. Crown Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 9780517595985

This wordless picture book uses light, shadow, and perspective to portray visually the evolutionary relationship between dinosaurs and birds. The story follows a bird from a museum dinosaur exhibit, all the way back to the time of the dinosaurs and back again to the present day. I have never felt like I truly understand the nuances of what happens in this book, but it is very striking to look at, and I think kids who are interested in dinosaurs would love knowing that the birds we see everyday are their descendants. The book also does an excellent job of conveying that sense of wonder one gets from entering a museum's dinosaur exhibit.

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Can Read! Feast for Beginning Readers Round-Up, February 2012

Welcome to the I Can Read! Feast for Beginning Readers Round-Up for the month of February 2012. This monthly meme, created by Terry Doherty of The Family Bookshelf, celebrates easy readers and illustrated chapter books to encourage kids working to become successful readers. It's not too late to join in! If you have a link to share related to beginning readers, please comment below, and I'll add it to the round-up. (I'll accept links through Friday evening - after that, hang onto your posts for next month!)

On to the contributions...

JENNIFER of Jean Little Library shares the review of Zig and Wikki in the Cow she posted on a recent Non-Fiction Monday.

At Literatea, BETSY has reviews of No. 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke and On the Go with Mr. and Mrs. Green  by Keith Baker.

JESSICA highlights the following reviews from Vegbooks, "a resource for parents and teachers who want to support the vegetarian and vegan kids in their lives.":

At The Cath in the Hat, CATHERINE reviews Bad Kitty for President and Ivy and Bean: No News Is Good News.

ANDREA, who blogs at Roving Fiddlehead shares a link to her library's Staff Picks Blog, where she recently reviewed Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke.

Author KATIE DAVIS shares a video of her visit to Good Morning, Connecticut, where she explains the difference between easy readers and chapter books and booktalks Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg, Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke, and Clementine and the Family Meeting by Sara Pennypacker.

Finally, I'm KATIE, and here at Secrets & Sharing Soda, I'd like to share my lists of Five Characteristics of Great Easy Readers and Five Characteristics of Great Chapter Books, as well as my reviews of Say What? by Margaret Peterson Haddix and Team Spirit and The Trouble With Thor from the Marvel Superhero Squad series by Lucy Rosen.

If you enjoyed participating in the I Can Read Feast this month, please consider hosting in the future! Information is available on this page at The Family Bookshelf.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Baby Lap Time, 2/22/12 and 2/23/12

Today marks the end of Baby Lap Time for the Winter. Here's what we did during our final session.

Opening Song: Say Hello

Rhyme: Cheek Chin

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big

Bounce: All the Little Babies

Book: A Good Day by Kevin Henkes (2007)
This is more of a story than I might usually read to babies, but they loved the animal illustrations. 

Song with Puppet:  How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

Rhymes and Songs with Shaker Eggs: 
  • Jack and Jill
  • Humpty Dumpty
  • Shake My Sillies Out
  • London Bridge
Song: Tony Chestnut

Song: Head and Shoulders
Book: Blue Sea by Robert Kalan, illustrated by Donald Crews (1979)
Despite the illustrations and minimal text, this book doesn't work with babies.

Song: Row Your Boat

Bounce: Mother and Father and Uncle John 

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It

  • ...clap your hands
  • ...beep your nose
  • ...tickle your tummy
  • ...shout hooray
Song: Where is Big Toe? 

Song: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
I skipped this song today, because I have a sore throat, but we sang it yesterday - mostly because one of the moms told me her son had started doing the motions at home.

Goodbye Song: Open, Shut Them Goodbye Song

8 Novels About Kids On Their Own

Losing Joe's Place (Point)Losing Joe's Place
by Gordon Korman
Jason moves into his brother Joe's apartment in Toronto for the summer, along with two friends. The freedom is great at first, but as the summer goes on, it becomes harder and harder to avoid losing the apartment.
The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, #1)The Boxcar Children
by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Orphans Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny set up home in a boxcar, trying to avoid being sent to live with Grandfather Alden, whom they have never met.
Swallows and Amazons (Swallows and Amazons, #1)Swallows and Amazons
by Arthur Ransome
John, Susan, Titty, and Roger Walker spend their summer on Wild Cat Island, their home away from home in the Lake District of North West England, hiding from natives and battling with pirates Nancy and Peggy Blackett.
The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues, #1)Maze of Bones
by Rick Riordan
When their grandmother dies, Amy and Dan Cahill discover they are part of a huge and powerful network of Cahills. Now they must compete with other members of the family to track down 39 clues that will lead them to the power and fortune their grandmother left behind.
The Saturdays (The Melendy Quartet)The Saturdays
by Elizabeth Enright
The four Melendy children pool their allowances so that each sibling might have on Saturday on his or her own in New York City. 
Homecoming (Tillerman Cycle, #1)Homecoming
by Cynthia Rylant
After their mother abandons them in a grocery store parking lot, Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy Tillerman travel alone on the road to their aunt's house.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. FrankweilerFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
by E.L. Konigsburg
Claudia Kincaid and her little brother Jamie run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they become wrapped in a mystery surrounding a beautiful statue.
Bud, Not BuddyBud, Not Buddy
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Convinced that concert flyers kept by his mother, advertising performances by Herman E. Calloway and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression!!!!!! are clues that will lead him to his true father, Bud sets out for Grand Rapids, looking for home and family.

Gettin' Crafty Post #16: Printable Friendship Wristbands

I have had a very busy Winter season, so on the days that I do crafts - Monday and Thursday - I have been keeping things very simple. I was so glad to  find this fun printable from I knew friendship bracelets were popular with girls in the middle grades but did not expect the number of nine- and ten-year-old girls who got into this craft!

I. Supplies
II. Prep
There was no prep beyond printing out the templates, but if I did this craft again, I think I might like to make my own templates to suit a particular occasion, such as National Library Week, or National Poetry Month, or to allow the kids more room to write their own messages. I also think they'd work well as an activity for a summer program I'm planning for beginning readers, which is focused on the alphabet. 

III. Process
I didn't get to see too many of the final products, but the participants were mostly girls, and they did a lot of giggling and chatting while they colored. Some smaller kids did the project, too, but it was the biggest hit with the 8-10 year old set.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #9

Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. Published 2009. Caldecott Honor 2010. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN: 9780547014944

This poetic celebration of colors takes us through each season of the year, showing us where to find each color at various times. The poetry is very strong and salient to begin with, but the folkart-esque illustrations are what makes the collection extraordinary. Kids must love hunting for the red bird, dog, and crown on each page and the incorporation of different words and textures into the illustrations makes them a feast for the senses. This might not be a great book for teaching colors the first time around, but it would be perfect for teaching color from an artistic point of view, for elementary school aged children.

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee. Published 2009. Caldecott Honor 2010. Beach Lane Books. ISBN: 9781416985808

This might be my favorite picture of all time. It's certainly my favorite of the last ten years. I love Frazee's use of color and light to portray day and night, fair and foul weather, clouds, sunsets, stars, and the warmth of family. Each page offers a whole landscape to explore, filled with people engaged in all sorts of activities. The book is an illustrated poem, but also the ongoing story of each person drawn into the illustrations, as well as the story of every person in the world. My absolute favorite scene in the book is the two-page spread for the words, "All the world is cold and hot," where we look in on the bright interior lights of the cafe as the rain clears up and puddles form on the patio table outside. There is a universal feeling of calm and coziness suggested by this illustration that simply can't be put into words. Frazee's illustrations are filled with perfect specific details that set her work apart from most other illustrators.

1 is One by Tasha Tudor. Published 1956. Caldecott Honor 1957. Simon & Schuster. ISBN: 9780689828430

I have always known of Tasha Tudor, but I think this might be the first book of hers I actually sat down to read. The concept is simple - 1 is One is a counting book, and each page depicts a number and a scene associated with that number. The spreads alternate between color and black and white, which I found distracting, even though I think that is a function of when the book was published rather than an artistic decision. The naturalistic scenes and sweet-looking children in fancy dresses and suits make this the kind of book adults love, but I can see contemporary kids finding it boring. I also don't think it's necessarily a very effective counting book. The objects to be counted aren't easily picked out of every illustration, and the book as a whole doesn't really read as a cohesive unit. Still, though, the illustrations are beautiful, especially the thirteen candles on the birthday cake, whose light seems to dance right off the page. I borrowed this book from my library, but it can also be viewed online here.

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

Baby/Toddler Story Time, 2/21/12

I've been building up to this for months, but finally, this morning I actually had the courage to forgo recorded music and do all my own singing at my most crowded story time of the week. I wasn't sure what would happen, honestly, or if people would go for it,  but at the end of the day, after three amazing sessions during which hardly anyone chatted with their neighbors, texted, or just simply ignored me, I have to say it was the best decision I've ever made.

Recorded music, for my groups, has always been the signal for the adults to stop paying attention and start just hanging out. Somehow, by eliminating the sound that drowns out their talking, I got them to stop talking at all. I will continue to promote the recordings from which I take my songs, and I'm sure I'll still throw in the occasional recorded song, but I'd really like that to become the exception rather than the rule. And since my library is not ordering anymore music, it seems like a good time to focus more on the music we can provide on our own. It's a lot easier to provide the words and tune for families to take home with them than to track down the one or two copies of a CD we have left. This also makes a good segue into when I will eventually bring my ukulele to story time - hopefully this summer.

So... here is my very first a cappella Baby/Toddler Story Time:

Opening Song: Hello, how are you?

Book: Hello, Goodbye by David Lloyd, illustrated by Louise Voce (1998)
I wanted to read some new books this week - and by new, it turns out, I meant old. This 1998 title is a simple story of a single tree, whose inhabitants and visitors say hello, and then goodbye when it starts to rain. I got everyone involved by having them buzz like bees and chirp like birds, and by the end of the story, each group was so into it, they were saying hello and goodbye unprompted.

Rhyme: Wiggle Fingers

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big

Book: Hoot, Howl, Hiss by Michelle Koch (1991)
This was a great animal sounds book. The animals are divided into categories according to habitat, and all of them have some sound associated with them. I don't really have a monkey noise that I use, but the adults did their own for me, and when it came to whistling like a marmot, we just tried to whistle. The ending was kind of abrupt and strange, but it didn't matter. This book got tons of participation and tons of applause.

Song: Shake My Sillies Out 

Song: I'm a Little Teapot

Flannel Board Song: Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Book: Knick Knack Paddy Whack by Steve Songs, illustrated by Christiane Engel (2009)
It killed my voice to sing this much three sessions in a row, but this book demands to be sung! It got a little old around the number five - there's only so many times an old man should play knick knack, honestly! - but the kids seemed to like the novelty of singing instead of reading a book.

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It
  • ...clap your hands
  • ...pat your knees
  • ...stomp your feet
  • ...beep your nose
  • ...tickle your tummy
  • ...shout hooray!

Song: The Wheels on the Bus
  • and shut
  • ...wipers...swish swish swish
  • ...driver...move on back
  • ...horn...beep beep beep
  • ...babies...waa waa waa
  • ...grown-ups...shh shh shh
 Song: Chickadee
I said last week that the calypso beat was essential for this song, but this group did very well without the recording. I think it's all in how well I sell them on it. It also helped that most of the caregivers were regulars and could sing all the words from memory.

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Can Read Feast for Beginning Readers, February 2012

Welcome to the I Can Read! Feast for Beginning Readers for the month of February 2012. This monthly meme, created by Terry Doherty of The Family Bookshelf, celebrates easy readers and illustrated chapter books to encourage kids working to become successful readers.

All this week, I'll be collecting your reviews and other posts related to books for beginning readers. Please comment to this post with a link to your contribution, or send me an email at On Friday, I will post a round-up of everything you submit.

Don't have time to write something new? No problem! Anything posted in the last year - since February 2011 - is eligible. Need more information on easy readers and chapter books? Visit Terry's informative post here. Hosts are needed for the rest of the year! Click here to sign up as a host for any month, March through December. 

I look forward to reading and sharing your submissions!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Caldecott Challenge Post #8

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Published 1963. Caldecott Medal 1964. HarperCollins. ISBN: 9780060254926

This classic is one I remember from my own childhood as well as a story time favorite. It's brilliant for so many reasons - the wolf suit, the wild rumpus, the fact that Max's dinner is still hot when he returns to his room. It represents complete picture book perfection. I'm disappointed that it was made into a movie, because I know there are kids who will see the movie and maybe never get to experience the book on its own. That's a shame, because all the CGI in the world can't compete with those wonderful two-page spreads showing the wild things dancing under the moon and swinging from tree branch to tree branch.

Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak. Published 1981. Caldecott Honor 1982. HarperCollins. ISBN: 9780064431859

Unlike Wild Things, this Sendak book truly is terrifying. I could never have handled reading this when I was a child, and even now the grey goblin baby made of ice is enough to make me turn on every light in the house on my way to bed. The grotesque images throughout the story - especially Ida's big, hobbit-like feet - are enough to turn my stomach, and even though the ending is happy, I still felt unsettled after closing the book. I understand that Sendak is a genius. I just don't like this book.

Umbrella by Taro Yashima. Published 1958. Caldecott Honor 1959. Viking Juvenile. ISBN: 9780670738588

This book relates a story about the author's daughter, Momo, when she was three years old and received her first umbrella. The text is somewhat disjointed, and the ending in particular felt tacked on rather than emotionally satisfying. The illustrations are at times blindingly bright, with lots of fluorescent pinks and yellows, and though Momo looks fairly cute on the front cover, the inside illustrations portray her as mostly faceless, which I found very distracting. I love the scene where the rain washes away the chalk drawings from the sidewalk and the wonderfully detailed end papers, but many other pages seemed sloppy and random by comparison. 

Drummer Hoff by Barbara Emberley, illustrated by Ed Emberley. Published 1967. Caldecott Medal 1968. Simon & Schuster. ISBN: 9780671662493
I'm a fan of cumulative rhymes, so this book appeals to me quite a bit. The concept of military men building and firing a cannon is very likely to appeal to preschool boys. The bold illustrations, childlike depictions of the soldiers' faces, and the green grass and flowers lining the bottom margin of the page keep things light and focused on the fun of  the story rather than the destructive power of weapons, which makes it appropriate for the youngest children. The final two pages of the book - the explosion, and then the animals, grass, and flowers overrunning the cannon - are my favorites.

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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hail to the Chief: A Presidents Day After School Story Time, 2/16/12

My new approach to after school programs is receiving very interesting reactions from our after school crowd. For one thing, it's attracting not only the original group of kids who have attended afternoon programs since we opened last year, but a whole new set of kids who have never come to programs before. On the other hand, though, people - especially parents - seem puzzled by the fact that I let the kids color and work on crafts while I read. I think most of them feel better once they see it in action, but still, I feel awkward a lot of the time, and I'm working on ways to make that less obvious.

One of  the goals of this program, believe it or not, is to focus more on books and less on "fluff." Rhymes and songs have their place in story times for very small kids, but for older kids, I've noticed they start distracting them from the focus of story time, which is, in a word, reading. So instead of drawing out the afternoon by starting the craft at 3 and then trying to do a thirty minute story time at 4, I've combined them, and as future weeks progress, I hope to link the crafts more and more closely to the books, and to literacy in general.

Here's what the program looked like this week:

The Craft: Lincoln Penny Pendants 
I. Supplies
  • Star template
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Glue
  • Hole Punch
  • Yarn
  • Pennies

II. Prep

The only preparation I did ahead of time, aside from dividing the supplies amongst four tables, was to cut lengths of yarn so the kids could just grab one in their selected color and attach it to their necklaces. I also created an example pendant, pictured below, to give the kids an idea of how to put them together.

III. Process

Most of the kids - except one family whose mother insisted upon it - did not layer their stars, but just used one and stuck a penny on the center of it. The library only has one hole punch, so making sure everyone got the chance to punch a hole was a bit of a tedious task, to the point that next time, I might go back to punching holes ahead of time. Even though I didn't really plan on latecomers, some kids also came in just  for the craft after the stories were over, and the last child didn't finish until right before we closed at 5:30.

The Read-Alouds: Books About Presidents

Book 1: Duck for President by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin (2004)
Farmer Brown's duck decides to run for president of the farm, and from there launches an unexpectedly successful political career. Though this is not nearly as great as Click, Clack, Moo, and some jokes went over the kids' heads, they still really liked it. I actually wish I'd read a second funny one to keep the laughter going after this.

Book 2: George Washington's Birthday: A Mostly True Story by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Barry Blitt (2012)
This is not a great read-aloud, and really only a useful book for kids who have already learned about the life of George Washington. Events that happens on his fictitious seventh birthday hint at and parallel events in his real life. The kids seemed to like it, but I know they didn't really "get" it. It also confused the heck out of a mom who was actually quizzing her kids on what they learned at story time. (Oy.)

The Book Display: More Presidential Books

For the first time ever, I displayed books in a story time that I wasn't going to read, and kids actually looked at them. A brother and sister spent almost half an hour with a chart of U.S. Presidents, just figuring out who was dead and still alive. Their favorite discovery was that Adams and Jefferson died the same year and were in  fact friends. Talking to them about that chart, which was in the back of Hanoch Piven's What Presidents Are Made Of, was the highlight of my entire afternoon.

Here's the full list of what was on display: 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Baby Lap Time, 2/15/12 & 2/16/12

Opening Song: Say Hello

Rhyme: Cheek Chin

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big

Rhyme: Two Little Penguins
I am trying to vary the activities I do at lap time so that there are more props. For this rhyme, I used two of my flannel board penguins as stick puppets.

Bounce: Mother and Father and Uncle John
It took a long time for my Fall group to at all warm up to this bounce, but both Winter groups get a kick out of it. I've noticed some of the nannies doing it with their charges 

Book: All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri (2012)
This book is a new favorite for me. We read it at Baby/Toddler story time on Valentine's Day, and then repeated it at both lap time sessions even though Valentine's day is over. I would consider flannelizing this as well, especially because it focuses so heavily on mothers in the end, and it would be nice to be able to switch that up, especially when I am in a room with a bunch of stay at home dads.

Flannel Board: I Have Five Kisses
I adapted this after Valentine's Day so it can be used year-round.  I also simplified it for the babies.

Song: Tony Chestnut

Song: Head and Shoulders

Songs and Rhymes with Shaker Eggs: 
  • Jack and Jill
  • Little Miss Muffet
  • London Bridge
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Book: Hello, Baby by Mem Fox, illustrated by Steve Jenkins (2009)
A baby started crying partway through this book, and one of the adults commented that I was scaring him with the illustrations in this book. I was kind of offended, to be honest, since I think it was totally unrelated to the book, but that's the way it goes.

Song: I'm a Little Monkey
I did this with one puppet on Wednesday, then realized we have two monkey puppets and did it with two on Thursday. It wasn't a huge hit, because it was new, but I think I'll repeat it next week, and probably again this Spring. 

Bounce: All the Little Babies
I needed a new bounce, so I pulled together lines from different versions of this song. It's to the tune of Shortnin' Bread, and it seemed like it was a pretty big hit.  These babies love leaning to the left and right, so there were lots of giggles.

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It
  • ...clap your hands
  • ...beep your nose
  • ...tickle your tummy
  • ...shout hooray

Song: Where is Big Toe?

Goodbye Song: Open, Shut Them Goodbye Song

Pre-K Class Visit, 2/16/12

Yesterday (Thursday) was an all-day marathon for me. The day started at 10:00 with yoga story time, where I read stories, and an instructor from the nearby yoga studio performed the corresponding yoga movements. It was a wonderful program, but since it was mostly her content and not mine, I've opted not to write about it in any more detail on my blog. Hopefully, since it looks like this will be an ongoing program for our library, I will be able to write more generally about the benefits of collaborating with a yoga studio in the future. But for now, I'm moving right on to my second story time of the day, a class visit from the Pre-K kids at the Catholic school next door!

I love this group, because they're great listeners, and they love stories. This morning, we shared some of my favorite books, a rhyme, and a few songs.

Hello Song: Hello, how are you?

Book: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin (2000)
This book is so much fun. The kids picked right up on the "click clack moo" refrain and chanted it with me each time. The ending was a huge hit, especially since most of  them had never read the book before.

Rhyme: Blue is the Lake

Book: Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (1947)
The kids were completely and utterly silent the entire time I read this book, to the point that I wondered if it was lost on them, but when I finished a little boy's whole face lit up, and he said, "That was so funny!" I love seeing kids react to classic books for the first time.

Song: Rum Sum Sum

Book: Birds by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek (2009)
I read this book because I can't wait for Spring. I'm sure this will turn up again throughout the Spring. 

Song: Chickadee (a cappella)

Book: Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley (1993)
It's fun reading this book with big kids who can repeat phrases after me and help me send the monster away!

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This

The marathon continued after this story time with Baby Lap Time and an After School Story Time for Presidents' Day. Stay tuned for posts about those, coming up next...

Flannel Friday Round Up, 2/17/12

Welcome to this week's
Flannel Friday Round-Up!

Listed below are all of the contributions I have received so far via Twitter, email, and Facebook. If you've tried to send me your post and it's not here, please comment to let me know, or try sending it again. If you're still working on your post - fear not! I can still make edits throughout this evening to accommodate last-minute additions.

On to the flannel boards...(Latest additions are at the top of the list.) 

CATE shows off her puppet, Gertie, and her bandaids at Storytiming. 

KARI ANN at My Storytime Life shares the sheep she made for her Mother Goose on the Loose program. 

MARY (@daisycakes) at Miss Mary Liberry shares a set of Feelings Faces including happy, sad, surprised, and confused. 

TRACEY (@tcy28) from 1234 More Storytimes has an adorable set of Valentine's Day finger puppets to use with 5 Little Valentines.

MADIGAN (@madiganreads) from Madigan Reads has a flannel board for When Animals Get Up in the Morning

JANE joins Flannel Friday for the first time, with a Flannel Friday inspired set of bandaids at Piper Loves the Library.

SHAWN at Read, Rhyme, Sing shares her version of Five in the Bed made with "a receiving blanket, a few straight pins, and some laminated bears." 

MOLLIE (@molliekay) at What Happens in Storytime shares two great ideas about hats - My Hat It Has Three Corners, and Milo's Hat.

SARAH (@sarah_e_hay) has adapted Leslie Patricelli's board book, Binky, into a flannel board story about a baby prince and his teddy bear over at Read It Again.

At Notes from the Story Room, LINDA (@LMeuse) shares a folktale called The Month Brothers, for which she has created a colorful and detailed cast of flannel characters. 

KATIE (@katietweetsya) of Storytime Katie has a great idea for integrating letter knowledge into story time - letter puzzles! 

KAY (@storytimefun) shares her ideas for a family story time all about penguins at Storytime ABC's.

At So Tomorrow, ANNE (@sotomorrow) provides us with a flannel board adaptation of a favorite childhood song, Alice the Camel. 

LUCY (@LucyMaudM) is celebrating lots of Winter rain with Five Little Raindrops at In the Children's Room.

Inspired by a past Flannel Friday post, ANGELA (@annavalley) presents her set of vehicles - suitable for learning about colors as well as transportation - over at Valley Storytime. 

LISA of Libraryland has flannelized Eric Carle's latest picture book, The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse in her first-ever Flannel Friday contribution. Welcome, Lisa! (And great job!) 

MELISSA shares a flannel board story entitled Grandmother’s Aprons: A Quilt Story at Tickle the Clouds.

At Fussy Hen at the Library, SUSANNE includes two flannel board ideas as part of a write-up about her Coyote and Cowboys story time. 

DANIELLE (@ABadCaseofBooks) at A Bad Case of Books has created a flannel version of Shigeo Watanabe's Where's My Daddy.

In a belated Valentine's Day post, KATIE (@recipe4reading) at Recipe for Reading  shares her interpretation of a rhyme I wrote with Seven Valentine's Day Kisses. 

MEGHAN (@librarymeghan) also has a last-minute holiday post for Groundhog Day at Busy Crafting Mommy, which includes 5 Little Groundhogs and a shadow matching set. 

NICOLE (@nikarella) gets ready for St. Patrick's Day with Five Green Shamrocks at Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime.

Finally, I'm KATIE, and I'm also looking ahead to Spring story times with a set of birds and a rhyme from Highlights High Five magazine.

Are you a Flannel Friday fan? Connect with us on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Also be sure to check out Mel's Desk, the blog of our Flannel Friday founder, MELISSA, as well as the hosting schedule and archive at ANNE's blog, So Tomorrow.

Flannel Friday: Color Rhymes (with Birds)

My Flannel Friday contribution for this week has a very Spring theme - birds!

A couple of months ago, some parents donated their entire collection of Highlights High Five magazines to my children's room. Since we don't have a lot of shelf space for magazines, and we don't subscribe to Highlights High Five, I opted to use them for their rhymes and activities rather than make them available to the public. Many things in those issues lend themselves well to flannel boards, and I have no doubt there will be other High Five inspired posts in the coming weeks and months. But this one was so perfect, I actually cut up the magazine pages to make the flannel board pieces.

The rhyme is called Color Rhymes, and in the May 2009 issue of High Five, it is written as a guessing game, where the colors are left blank for the kids to fill in.(You can hear the audio version of the rhyme on the digital edition of the magazine here.)

Here's what the pieces look like. (The art is by Judith Moffatt and Bill Hoffman).

And this is the rhyme that accompanies them:

Robin has a very dark head,
but the feathers on his breast are red.

Goldfinch is a happy fellow.
On his breast, he's sunny yellow.

Sparrows hops around the town
in his suit of gray and brown.

Noisy Jay looks fresh and new
as if he'd just been painted blue.

Pigeon is a handsome sight
in blue and gray and sparkling white

Text by Marilyn Kratz

This rhyme would pair well with any of the following books/activities:

I am this week's Flannel Friday host. Click here to read the round-up!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

7 Break-Up Books for Teens

The Breakup BibleThe Breakup Bible
by Melissa Kantor
High school newspaper staffer Jen gets dumped by her editor, then becomes obsessed with getting him back. It's only with the assistance of a self-help book given to her by her grandmother that Jen is eventually able to move on.
Getting Over Garrett DelaneyGetting Over Garrett Delaney
by Abby McDonald
After realizing her affections are not returned, Sadie enlists the help of her fellow baristas in getting over Garrett Delaney once and for all.
French Ducks In VeniceFrench Ducks in Venice
by Garret Freymann-Weyr
Seamstress Polina Panova grieves the loss of her handsome boyfriend Sebastian with the help of two ducks in this modern-day fairy tale.
An Abundance of KatherinesAn Abundance of Katherines
by John Green
Colin Singleton has been dumped by nineteen girls named Katherine. Using math, he tries to predict the outcome of future relationships, the formula for which he tries to prove on a road trip with his best friend, Hassan.
The Secret Life of Prince CharmingThe Secret Life of Prince Charming
by Deb Caletti
All the women in Quinn's life have been hurt by men. Is she destined to resent them forever, or are there still some prince charmings out there?
Breaking Up (Fashion High Graphic Novel)Breaking Up
by Aimee Friedman
Falling in love isn't as easy as Chloe expected in this Fashion High graphic novel.
How I Broke Up With ErnieHow I Broke Up With Ernie
by R.L. Stine
I read this book in middle school when RLStine was popular. I was afraid of his scary books, but this fluffy story about a girl who tries desperately to dump her annoying boyfriend became a favorite of mine.
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