Thursday, July 13, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 6/14/17

The story time I performed on June 14th was my last one for the foreseeable future! With baby #3 due to arrive in mid-October, I won't be available to volunteer at the church anymore, and with my oldest already starting to read, I'm going to be shifting gears away from public story time and more toward our own homeschool. Since I won't be blogging here much, if you are interested in the musings of a homeschooling Catholic mom,  you are welcome to follow me over at Read-at-Home Mom.

Book: All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
I would never read this to a large group, but for our small intimate setting, it was perfect. My three-year-old loves this book, and I think she enjoyed sharing it with her friends. I was impressed by how much captivated the toddlers were - quieter books do sometimes work with 18-month-olds.

Song: Sunny Day

Rhyme: Blue is the Lake

Book: Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney
The rhythm of this book, the popular subject matter, and the brightly colored illustrations make it ideal for story time. It went over really well.

Songs with Shakers:

Book: Butterfly Butterfly by Petr Horacek
The surprise pop-up at the end of this book is always a hit - especially with families who have never seen it before.

Song: Fly Like a Butterfly
I kept the Butterfly Butterfly book open to the last page and moved its wings a bit as we sang this song.

Song: Butterfly Gals

Book: Sleepy Oh So Sleepy by Denise Fleming

Song: Moon Moon Moon

Song: Mr. Sun

Song: Chickadee 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 6/7/17

Book: Some Birds by Matt Spink
I have to admit that I hated the preachy "birds should be free" message at the end of this book, but I also thought it would be a crowd pleaser and I was not wrong. I also liked the eye-catching artwork, even if Birds by Kevin Henkes is an overall better choice.

Song: The Little Bird
I did this song without the ukulele, and had the kids do very simple motions. I think I still prefer it with the uke, but it went fine.

Rhyme: Two Little Black Birds

Book: Flamingos Fly by Douglas Florian
I chose this board book because my group is small, the pictures were bright, and the text invites lots of movement. Unfortunately, the movement aspect didn't really catch on, except with my own kids.

Song: Way Up in the Sky

Song: Mr. Sun

Book: Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer
This is a story about a grumpy penguin who washes his grumpiness away in the bath. It was probably the most forgettable book of the session, and the least truly bird-related story.

Song: Head and Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Book: Quack and Count by Keith Baker
I lost a couple of the toddlers (including my own) during this book, but the preschool-age kids did seem to enjoy it.

Song: Five Little Ducks

Song: Chickadee

Friday, July 7, 2017

August Story Time Themes

These story times themes for August are a mixed bag of my favorites that didn't quite fit in other months.


Suggested Books:
  • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
  • Blackberry Ramble by Thacher Hurd 
  • Jamberry by Bruce Degen
  • The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood

Extension Activities


Suggested Books:
  • Hunwick's Egg by Mem Fox
  • Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • Can You Cuddle Like a Koala? by John Butler 
  • Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields
  • Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef by Marianne Berkes 

Extension Activities


Suggested Books:
  • The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds by Marisabina Russo
  • Feet Go to Sleep by Barbara Bottner 
  • Tiger Can't Sleep by S.J. Fore
  • Tell Me About Your Day Today by Mem Fox
  • Little Donkey Close Your Eyes by Margaret Wise Brown

Extension Activities
  • Goodnight
  • Monkeys on the Bed
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star


Suggested Books: 
  • All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon
  • Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen
  • Water in the Park by Emily Jenkins 
  • Better Not Get Wet, Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom
  • Row Row Row Your Boat by Iza Trapani

Extension Activities

Friday, June 2, 2017

July Story Time Themes

These story time themes for July involve the Fourth of July, community helpers, and going on vacation.

America and Independence Day

Recommended Books:
  • The Star-Spangled Banner by Peter Spier
  • Wow! America! by Robert Neubecker 
  • Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger
  • Take Me Out to the Ballgame by Maryann Kovalski
  • The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
  • Red, White and Boom! by Lee Wardlaw

Extension Activities:

Community Helpers

Recommended Books: 
  • This is the Firefighter by Laura Godwin
  • Stanley the Mailman by William Bee 
  • Career Day by Anne Rockwell 
  • Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do by Kathryn Heling 
  • Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
  • Kitten Red Yellow Blue by Peter Catalanotto

Extension Activities


Suggested Books: 
  • Sail Away by Donald Crews
  • The Bridge Is Up by Babs Bell
  • The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant 
  • A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee
  • In the Driver's Seat by Max Haynes

Extension Activities:

Monday, May 22, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 5/17/17 (Garden Theme)

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
This book was long, but the audience was attentive. It probably helped that they seemed to know Eric Carle's style.

Song: One Seed

Book: The Rose in My Garden by Arnold Lobel, illustrated by Anita Lobel
I hesitated to use this book because it's long and the pictures are hard to see but I wanted to try it anyway. To keep the kids engaged, I had the whole room buzz every time I mentioned the bee. I would probably not use it again without turning it into a flannel board or something more easily seen from a distance, but I was pleased with how well it went over, all things considered.

Song: Head and Shoulders

Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Song: Mr. Sun

Book: My Garden by Kevin Henkes
I think this was the favorite of the session. The chocolate bunnies are always a hit!

Song with Ukulele: My May Garden
In addition to the verses shown in the link, I also added one of my own: Bees in the flowers, buzz buzz buzz... I played the ukulele and let the group make up their own motions, and they did better than if they had been following me!

Book: Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
This was a new-to-me book and I liked the way the story connected to the Mary Mary Quite Contrary nursery rhyme. I think it might have gone over better as the opening book to the session, but I would definitely use it again.

Songs with Shaker Eggs: 

Song: Chickadee

Friday, May 19, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 5/10/17

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Splash Splash by Jeff Sheppard, illustrated by Dennis Panek
I bought this book specifically for my story time stash, but this group didn't take to it. I wanted them to echo the animals' sounds, but ended up not even asking them to do so because they seemed so quiet and reserved. I did, however, get the parents (and my own kids) to dutifully make all the animal sounds on the last page.

Rhyme: Blue is the Lake

Book: Blue on Blue by Dianne White, illustrated by Beth Krommes
I think the parents like this one. It was harder to tell about the kids.

Song: I Like to Feel the Raindrops Fall

Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Song: Head and Shoulders

Book: This is the Sunflower by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Donald Crews
I have never had great luck with this book at story time, but it went over better at this session than any other time I have read it.

Song: Mr. Sun

Songs with Shaker Eggs:

Book: Mother Mother I Want Another by Maria Polushkin Robbins, illustrated by Diane Dawson
We own the original version of this, and the illustrations are really too small for story time. The punchline also went right over the head of all the kids - and most of the adults, too. If I were ever to use it again, I'd probably get the newer edition from the library even though I am typically against re-illustrating old books.

Song: Chickadee

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 5/3/17 (Bunnies Theme)

Due to a family emergency, I ended up cancelling story time for the entire month of April, including the Wednesdays before and after Easter. I had planned to do a bunny theme then, but decided that since none of these books explicitly referenced Easter, I'd read them in May instead.  I didn't have the chance to write up this session until 2 weeks later, so I don't have a lot of commentary. I noted what I could remember.

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Garth Williams

Rhyme: Homes
I changed this rhyme so that the line about the bunny came first.

Rhyme: Here is a Bunny

Book: Rabbits and Raindrops by Jim Arnosky

Song: Mr. Sun

Book: Moonlight by Helen V. Griffith, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
My three-year-old named this as her favorite of the session. But I got the impression she was the only one who liked it!

Song: Moon Moon Moon

Book: The Bunnies are Not in Their Beds by Marisabina Russo
This was probably too long to read at the end, but there was one child slightly older than all the others (a sibling of a toddler) who came in late, and I think this was the only book grabbed his attention so I was glad he was there to hear it. My own daughter also retold the book to me later at home.

Song: Little Bunny

Song: Chickadee

Friday, May 5, 2017

June Story Time Themes

My favorite story time themes for June are all about welcoming warm weather, being outside, and of course, summer reading.

The Beach

Suggested Books:

  • All You Need for a Beach by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
  • To the Beach by Thomas Docherty
  • Senses at the Seashore by Shelley Rotner 
  • At the Beach by Anne Rockwell 

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:

  • What the Sun Sees / What the Moon Sees by Nancy Tafuri
  • One Light, One Sun by Raffi
  • The Sun is My Favorite Star by Frank Asch
  • This is the Sunflower by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Donald Crews

Extension Activities:

Playing Outside

Suggested Books:

  • All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee
  • Into the Outdoors by Susan Gal
  • Play With Me by Marie Hall Ets
  • Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:

  • 1, 2, 3, to the Zoo by Eric Carle
  • Bruno Munari's Zoo by Bruno Munari
  • The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na
  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell 
  • My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall

Extension Activities:

(Summer) Reading

Suggested Books:
  • We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems
  • Book! by Kristine O'Connell George, illustrated by Maggie Smith 
  • The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore
  • I Like Books by Anthony Browne 
  • Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Extension Activities: 

Friday, April 7, 2017

May Story Time Themes

My go-to themes for May are connected to spring, growing, flowers, gardens, and Mother's Day.


Suggested Books:
  • How to Grow a Friend by Sara Gillingham
  • Alison's Zinnia by Anita Lobel
  • The Rose in My Garden by Anita Lobel 
  • Fantastic Flowers by Susan Stockdale
  • This is the Sunflower by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Donald Crews

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:
  • Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild by Mem Fox, illustrated by Marla Frazee
  • Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by  Barbara Lavallee
  • Mother, Mother, I Want Another by Maria Polushkin Robbins, illustrated by Jon Goodell
  • My Mom by Anthony Browne
  • The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Tomie de Paola
  • This Quiet Lady by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Anita Lobel


Suggested Books: 
  • Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar by Clare Jarrett 
  • Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming 
  • Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! by Bob Barner 
  • Butterfly Butterfly by Petr Horacek
  • The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
  • I Love Bugs! by Philemon Sturges 
  • Yoo-Hoo Ladybug by Mem Fox, illustrated by Laura Ljungkvist


Suggested Books:
  • A Garden of Opposites by Nancy Davis 
  • In the Garden: Who's Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George 
  • Inch By Inch by David Mallett, illustrated by Ora Eitan 
  • My Garden by Kevin Henkes 
  • Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott 
  • Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
  • Whose Garden Is It? by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Jane Dyer 

Extension Activities:

Fruits & Veggies

Suggested Books:
  • The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson
  • Jamberry by Bruce Degen
  • The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood
  • The Pea Patch Jig by Thacher Hurd
  • Rah Rah Radishes by April Pulley Sayre 
  • Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens

Extension Activities:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 3/29/17 (Friends Theme)

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, illustrated by Beni Montresor
This is the first time in my long history of using this book at story time that it was a total flop. The audience was a bit young - average of 2 today, probably - but even the kids who were the right age just didn't seem to "get" the book. So disappointing.

Song with Ukulele: The More We Get Together
We sang the original version of the song, and then changed the word "get" to action words like clap, stomp, roll, and read. The group knew the song, and I think the novelty of the ukulele was appealing even though most of the kids didn't want to do the motions.

Book: My Friends by Taro Gomi
This book was the best of the session. It's very straightforward which seemed to resonate with the younger ones.

Song with Ukulele: Johnny Has One Friend
This is an Ella Jenkins song I've been singing with my kids. Even though it doesn't have much of an ending, the group liked it.

Rhyme: Dance Your Fingers
I used this rhyme to make up for the fact that Johnny Has One Friend has no real ending. The kids loved it!

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun

Songs with Ukulele and Shaker Eggs: 

  • Stop and Go
    This is another Ella Jenkins song. Instead of the motions she uses (walk, skate, etc.) I sang about shaking eggs, and then shaking them high, low, fast, and slow. The slow verse was too hard to sing and I got completely tongue-tied, but the parents and kids all loved this, and I want to use it again. 
  • Can You Shake Your Egg With Me?
    This is the shaker song this group likes the most. We did it the normal way, I just played the ukulele instead of shaking an egg and pointed to the body parts between verses. 

Book: Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike, illustrated by Patrice Barton
This group got really restless once the shaker eggs were put away, and they barely paid attention to this book. I kept on with some of the rest of my plan, but I probably could have ended story time here.

Rhyme: This is Big Big Big

Song: Put Your Hands Up High
I threw this in because the group was so restless and I thought it might calm them down for the last book.

Book: A Year with Friends by John Seven, illustrated by Jana Christy
Thankfully, this was a very short book because everyone's attention span was pretty much spent by this point and only my own kids were listening.

Ukulele Medley: ABCs/ Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/ Baa Baa Black Sheep

Goodbye Song: Chickadee

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 3/22/17 (Berries Theme)

This session was very well-attended: fourteen kids and nine adults, including me and the girls. I think this is the biggest audience we have had since the second week.

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
This might be the longest book I've ever read to this group. One boy identified it as a favorite, and I think the older end of the group (ages 3 to 3 1/2) appreciated having a story with a bit more plot than usual. The toddlers were not too restless, except for my own who spent half the story trying to climb into my lap.

Rhyme: Two Little Brown Bears
I rewrote Two Little Black Birds to suit the theme of the book. This group really likes very simple fingerplays, so it worked great.

Rhyme: Blue is the Lake

Book: Jamberry by Bruce Degen
This book was a favorite of a few of the kids, including my toddler. I have never really used it in story time very much, but it's growing on me. The group was the most attentive for this book.

Song: Head and Shoulders Baby

Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Book: The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
I didn't get much of a reaction at all to this book, so I decided not to push for a fourth book, especially since Blackberry Ramble was pretty long.

Song: Mr. Sun

Songs with Shaker Eggs:
Song: Chickadee

Monday, March 27, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 3/8/17 (Up, Up and Away Theme)

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: The Grumpalump by Sarah Hayes, illustrated by Barbara Firth
I traditionally have the kids perform hand motions to accompany this book, but this group is young (lots of toddlers) so I read it without the interactive elements and it worked just as well.

Song: Way Up in the Sky

Book: Molly Who Flew Away by Valeri Gorbachev
This book is a little bit longer than I realized, but most of the kids were into it.

Rhyme: Five Balloons in the Sky
I've seen others do this as a flannel board, but I made it into a fingerplay.

Book: Higher Higher by Leslie Patricelli
This was the hit of the session. A couple of moms took down the title to find it for their kids.

Song: Here We Go Up Up Up 

Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Song: Mr. Sun

Book: Hello, Airplane by Bill Cotter
The illustrations really make this book, and there were a few kids who really reacted to them.

Song: I'm an Airplane
I find it impossible to get audiences to sing in a call and response format, so this song was a bit awkward, but the really little ones were able to do the motions, so that was a plus.

Book: I Want to be An Astronaut by Byron Barton
This group is not that big on nonfiction, but they did like this book.

Song: Moon Moon Moon 

Shaker Egg Songs:

  • Egg Shakers Up  
  • Can You Shake Your Egg With Me?
  • Chickadee
    I tried to put the shaker eggs at the end of the session to avoid having to collect them mid-session, so we just held onto them for the goodbye song. I didn't like doing this song with the shakers, however, and won't do it that way again. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Build a Better World: Middle Grade Book List for the 2017 Summer Reading Program

These books for upper elementary and middle school readers all relate to themes of Architecture, Building, and Construction which are the focus of this year's Build a Better World summer reading program.

My Life in Dioramas by Tara Altebrando
Kate Marino loves her family home, Big Red, and she can't bear the thought of it being sold. As her parents show the house to potential buyers, Kate works to scare them away with a series of pranks.

Fort by Cynthia DeFelice
Eleven-year-old friends Wyatt and Augie are thrilled when they are given permission to build and sleep out in their very own fort, but they don't count on being discovered by Gerard, a teenager in the neighborhood with special needs, or becoming his defenders against some serious bullies.

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
After Dutch schoolgirl Lina writes an essay about the lack of storks in the fishing village of Shora, her teacher challenges her and her five classmates to find a way to bring the storks back to their community.

Ramshackle Roost by Jane Flory
The Stuart family relocate to a tumbledown shack after a falling out with their landlords during a 1920s summer.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Castle Glower, which has a mind of its own and changes its own layout periodically, is the setting for a tale of political intrigue starring Celie, the youngest daughter of King Glower the 79th, who must help her brother Rolf prove that their parents and older brother have not been killed and and drive off the usurpers who would try to steal the throne.

The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton
Mysterious happenings ensue when Thomas Small, his parents, and his infant siblings move from North Carolina to Ohio to live in a house which was part of the Underground Railroad and belonged to an abolitionist named Dies Drear.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Afflicted by a curse that drives her from her family, Sophie finds herself seeking shelter in the mysterious moving castle of the dreaded Howl, who has a reputation for harming young girls.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford
During his Christmas vacation, Milo and his family expect their inn, Greenglass House, to be vacant, so they are shocked when, one after another, guests keep arriving. Amidst the crowd, Milo links up with the cook's daughter, Meddy, who teaches him to play a roleplaying game that allows them to spy on the suspicious behavior of the guests, all of whom have ulterior motives.

The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
During a holiday from school, three siblings stumble upon a castle, and a young girl who claims to be a princess. When the princess accidentally turns invisible, an adventure begins.

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Deja, a ten-year-old homeless girl, learns for the first time about what happened in New York City on September 11, 2001 and how her father was affected.

Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder
Henry and Emma, Roy and Susan discover a magic wall and use it to satisfy some of their wishes.

Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre
When Louise “Lou” Mayhew learns that her historic house is in danger of being condemned, she starts looking for ways to save it and learns there might be buried treasure somewhere on the property.

Building Blocks by Cynthia Voigt
Brann, who has trouble understanding his father, gains some insight into the way his father was raised when he travels back in time via his father's childhood set of building blocks.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Build a Better World: Chapter Book List for the 2017 Summer Reading Program

This list of chapter books connects with this summer's Build a Better World reading program, which focuses on Architecture, Building, and Construction.

Sprout Street Neighbors: Five Stories by Anna Alter
Stories about the different animals who live as neighbors in an apartment building at 24 Sprout Street.

Enchanted Palace by Rosie Banks
When best friends Ellie, Summer, and Jasmin find a magic box they are swept away to an enchanted castle where King Merry's 1000th birthday party is about to be ruined by a thunderbolt from Queen Malice.

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson, illustrated by Garth Williams
A struggling mother and three children befriend an elderly homeless man named Armand, and they make their home together under a Paris bridge.

Orphelines in the Enchanted Castle by Natalie Savage Carlson, illustrated by Adriana Saviozzi
When imaginative French orphans move into their new home, they become convinced it is an enchanted castle.

The School is Alive by Jack Chabert, illustrated by Sam Ricks
This first book in the Eerie Elementary series introduces a sentient school building against which Sam must fight to protect his friends.

Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library by Eth Clifford
In a snowstorm, two sisters are accidentally trapped in a library overnight.

Welcome to Silver Street Farm by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Katharine McEwen
A group of animal-loving friends work to turn an abandoned railway station into a working farm.

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
When Mercy Watson, a pig, snuggles up with her owners, the Watsons, the bed surprisingly crashes through the floor. Mercy must quickly notify the police and bring them over for a rescue.

The Lucky Wheel by Grace Gilmore, illustrated by Petra Brown
In this historical fiction story, Maple Ridge needs a new school house, and Logan wants to help by restoring and selling an old wagon wheel, even though no one believes he can take on such a task.

The Dragonsitter's Castle by Josh Lacey, illustrated by Garry Parsons
Uncle Morton always seems to be leaving his dragon with Eddie. In this third book of the series, Eddie is forced to take the dragon with him on vacation to the castle his father is renovating.

Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan
Jake and his grandfather, Billy have a special friendship. When Jake learns that Billy will soon die, he decides to grant him one last wish and rebuild the sod house where Billy grew up.

Home Sweet Horror by James Preller, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
When Liam Finn and his family relocate to a fixer-upper in upstate New York, Liam senses that something is very wrong. After a game of Bloody Mary takes a terrifying turn, only the spirit of Liam's late mother can save the family.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Build a Better World: Easy Reader List for the 2017 Summer Reading Program

These books for beginning readers have been selected for their suitability to this summer's Build a Better World theme, which focuses on Architecture, Building, and Construction.

The Inside Story: Log Cabin by Dana Meachen Rau
Simple text shows how log cabins are built.

Dig Scoop Ka-boom! by Joan Holub, illustrated by David Gordon
A group of diggers seem towork the day away, but they turn out to be toys in a sandbox.

Mega Machines by Deborah Lock
A DK reader including photos of big construction vehicles on the job.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Paint the Porch by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard
Mr. Putter is painting his front porch when a squirrel scampers through his paint, making a mess.

Henry and Mudge and the Tall Tree House by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Carolyn Bracken
When Henry gets a new tree house, he worries about whether Mudge will be able to come inside.

National Geographic Readers: Skyscrapers by Libby Romero
A brightly colored level 3 nonfiction reader with facts about the world's most interesting skyscrapers.

Fly Guy Presents Castles by Tedd Arnold
Factual information about castles is presented by beloved easy reader character Fly Guy.

Amazing Buildings by Katie Hayden
A level 2 DK reader that shows off different types of buildings from around the world.

Homes Around the World by Max Moore
A level 1 DK reader showing how and where people live in different parts of the world.

First Shapes in Buildings by Penny Ann Lane
A simple text illustrated with photographs of buildings that teaches kids the words for different shapes.

A Day in the Life of a Builder by Linda Hayward
This level 1 DK reader follows a construction worker through a day of work.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Build a Better World: Picture Book List for the 2017 Summer Reading Program

This year's CSLP summer reading theme is Build a Better World, with a focus on Architecture, Building, and Construction. These appealing picture books all tell stories related to these topics.

Building a House by Byron Barton
A construction crew builds a house and prepares it for a family to move in.

Building Our House by Jonathan Bean
A boy narrates the details of the process he and his family undertake to build their new house.

Tinyville Town Gets to Work! by Brian Biggs
Community leaders work together to replace a bridge that causes traffic jams.

Stanley the Builder by William Bee
Hamster Stanley builds a brand-new house for Myrtle the mouse with the help of some other rodent friends.

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
A humble country home survives the changes brought about by an increase in industry.

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Mike Mulligan and his supposedly outdated steam shovel, Mary Anne, prove their worth by digging a basement in just one day. 

Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus
This book shows how bricks are laid and what types of buildings are made from them, while also reinforcing some counting concepts.

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming
Each letter is given a tool-based spin in this alphabet book.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
A picture book biography remembering Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between the twin towers several decades prior to their destruction on September 11, 2001.

Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia
An onomatopoetic celebration of the work done by construction vehicles.

Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House by Libby Gleeson, illustrated by Freya Blackwood
When Clancy moves to his new home, he misses his old neighborhood terribly, but when he meets Millie, she helps make the transition more comfortable.

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Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale
A collection of concrete poetry about building.

The Construction Crew by Lynn Meltzer, illustrated by Carrie Eko-Burgess
This colorfully illustrated rhyming book introduces the people and machines who work to build new homes.

Hush Little Digger by Ellen Olson-Brown, illustrated by Lee White
A piggyback song based on Hush Little Baby for construction-loving kids to sing at bedtime.

Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres, illustrated by Christian Slade
This book shows how diggers get ready for bed in routines that mirror kids' regular nighttime tasks.

Old MacDonald Had a Woodshop by Lisa Shulman, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Another piggyback song, this time about a sheep whose handy farm friends help build a special surprise.

Block City by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Daniel Kirk
An illustrated version of a well-loved poem of childhood.

I Love Tools by Philemon Sturges
A boldly illustrated introduction to the different types of tools used by builders.

Construction by Sally Sutton
Simple text describes the construction of a building which turns out to be a public library.

This is Our House by Hyewon Yum
A little girl reflects on all the history reflected in her family home.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 3/1/17 (Looking at Animals Theme)

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Monkey See, Look at Me by Lorena Siminovich
This is the second time I have read this book to this audience, but there were a few different families in attendance this time, so it was new for at least half the room. There was one toddler boy in particular who got really into it and gleefully called out the names of all the animals.

Rhyme: Five Little Monkeys

Book: Mama, Look! by Patricia Murphy, illustrated by David Diaz 
This is a brand-new book, and I love the pictures. It worked really well as a one-on-one read at home, but somehow it seemed to lose momentum in story time, especially toward the end. I would want to try it again before saying it's not a story time book, but for this group, it just didn't work.

Song: Butterfly Gals 
This song always goes over so well. It seemed to be an even bigger hit this time than usual.

Rhyme: See See See
This was a repeat from last week, and the kids did better with it this time around.

Song: Mr. Sun

Song: Put Your Hands Up High
I threw this song in mostly for my own kids, who both love to sing it at home. It was a particular hit with the new families for whom the "punchline" was new. 

Song: Head and Shoulders

Book: What’s Looking at You, Kid? by J. Patrick Lewis and Renee Graef
I think this book was a little bit too similar to Mama, Look! and maybe a bit too long to be the final book. It went okay, but I felt like I needed to talk a lot about each page to create a sense of enthusiasm.

Songs with Shaker Eggs:
The original version of this song is transportation-themed, but I wrote my own verses to help it match the "looking at animals" theme. These are the four verses I used: 
  • bluebird… tweet tweet tweet
  • yellow duck… quack quack quack
  • green frog… ribbit ribbit ribbit
  • red snake… hiss hiss hiss

Song: These Are My Glasses

Song: Chickadee

Friday, March 3, 2017

April Story Time Themes

In April, I like to do story times about rain, chickens, birds, bunnies, libraries, and jazz.

Rain (April Showers) 

Suggested Books:
  • Rain by Robert Kalan and Donald Crews
  • Rain Dance by Kathi Appelt 
  • Rain by Manya Stojic 
  • Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle and G. Brian Karas 
  • Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema and Beatriz Vidal 

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:
  • Chicken Big by Keith Graves
  • Minerva Louise by Janet Stoeke
  • Bob by Tracey Campbell Pearson 
  • Hurry! Hurry! by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Jeff Mack 
  • Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker 

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:
  • Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown and Garth Williams
  • Moonlight by Helen V. Griffith, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
  • What Does Bunny See?: A Book of Colors and Flowers by Linda Sue Park
  • The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd 
  • Brown Rabbit in the City by Natalie Russell

Extension Activities:

 Jazz Appreciation Month

Suggested Books:
  • This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt, illustrated by R.G. Roth
  • Ben's Trumpet by Rachel Isadora 
  • A-Tisket A-Tasket by Ella Fitzgerald and Ora Eitan
  • Jazzmatazz by Stephanie Calmenson, illustrated by Bruce Degen
  • Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler and R. Gregory Christie 

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:
  • Birds by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
  • Birdsongs by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Steve Jenkins 
  • Mockingbird by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Paul Howard
  • Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Dylan Metrano
  • A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead

Extension Activities: 

National Library Week (April 9 -15, 2017)

Suggested Books:

  • I Took My Frog to the Library by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Blanche Sims 
  • Otto the Book Bear by Katie Cleminson
  • D.W.'s Library Card by Marc Brown 
  • Quiet! There's a Canary in the Library by Don Freeman
  • Bats at the Library by Brian Lies 

Extension Activities:
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