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
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