Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Reading with Little Miss Muffet: April 2015

New Book Behavior

  • Distractions. One of the things librarians know best about toddlers is that their attention spans are very, very short. Up until now, Little Miss Muffet has been fairly content to sit for a whole book almost any time, but as she becomes more interested in exploring the rest of the world, her patience for books is beginning to dwindle. I have been prepared for this, having done so many toddler story times, so I'm being careful not to let it discourage me from continuing to read with her. Sometimes I find myself finishing a book while she runs a lap around the living room or wanders off to check on a stuffed animal. Other times, we abandon a book mid-story because Miss Muffet decides she would rather climb the stairs or dig through the kitchen garbage, or do dangerous somersaults, than sit and listen. It's definitely easier to read to a child who will sit in one place and listen, but it's also fun to see her developing other skills, and I know it won't be long before she comes back around to being able to sit still again. 

Current Favorites

  • Things That Are Small
    I received a batch of review copies (all board books) from Little Bee Books recently, and I will be doing a review of them in a few weeks, but until then, I just want to mention this tiny little book that came as part of this set. Miss Muffet absolutely loves that the book fits so perfectly into her little hands, and she has been carrying it all around the house with her - sometimes even to bed! It is a very simple board book, with just one word and one image on each page, but she asks to have it read over and over again, and she especially loves trying to say the word "fish" and identifying the ball and bug. 
  • Stanley the Builder, Stanley's Garage, and Stanley the Farmer by William Bee
    I originally learned about these books from Jennifer's reviews at Jean Little Library, and they have turned out to be some of Miss Muffet's favorites. We own a copy of Stanley the Farmer (which was sent to me by the publisher - review coming soon!) and have had both Stanley's Garage and Stanley the Builder out of the library. Miss Muffet loves to wave to Stanley at the beginning and end of each story, and she is just fascinated by the names of the different machines and tools he uses. We have already asked Grandma for a copy of Stanley's Diner (due out in September) for Miss Muffet's birthday this Fall. 
  • From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
    This is one of my favorite books to perform, and Miss Muffet is happy to let me make a fool of myself acting out all the animals' movements. Her favorites - and the ones she will actually imitate herself - are the buffalo, who raises his shoulders, and the gorilla who thumps his chest. I especially like this book as an alternative to the many, many toddler books out there about making animal sounds. And it helps a lot that Miss Muffet thinks it is funny - few things are cuter than a toddler belly laugh. 

One Tip from Mom 

  • Read poetry! I have had poetry on the brain this month, because it was National Poetry Month and I have been sharing poems on my Facebook page. But even when it's not April, poetry is a great way to share language with kids who have very short attention spans. Generally, poems are pretty short, so your toddler only has to listen for a brief moment, and they often use rhymes, vocabulary, and interesting sentence structures that kids don't usually hear in everyday conversation or regular prose. My go-to poetry books for the one-year-old crowd are Here's a Little Poem, Read-Aloud Rhymes for the  Very Young, and Good For You: Toddler Rhymes for Toddler Times. I also make it a point to recite nursery rhymes throughout the day and to memorize a few poems to break out whenever there is a free, quiet moment. 

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