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Feelings! Whoa whoa whoa…!

26 Feb

If you sang along while reading that title, you are my new best friend. If not, well, I still like you, but you need to brush up on your cheesy pop tunes of the 70s.

Perfecting a storytime about feelings (or, if you’re fancy, emotions) has been challenging for me. Often the books for kids about

The original Grumpy Bird. From http://cutengrumpy.blogspot.com/

feelings are rather didactic and not so much fun to read. Same with the songs/fingerplays I’ve found. But I’ve whipped one up that seems to be holding on to the kids’ attention, so I thought I would share.

One of my favorite puppets, Frankie the small gorilla, starts things off (mostly because his hands are so big and cover his face adequately). He greets everyone and then covers his eyes. I ask what wrong, and he tells us he’s “feeling sad.” He doesn’t have a reason – he’s just sad. So we decide to read him some stories to try and cheer him up.

  • Willems, Mo. My Friend is Sad. The perfect book to show off your melodrama skills – Gerald the elephant alternately sighs, cries, and is finally euphoric at seeing his friend who has tried so hard to cheer him up.
  • Chodos-Irvine, Margaret. Best Best Friends. Mary and Clare are best BEST friends, until jealous rears its ugly head and makes Clare say things she regrets. But friends can, and do, get mad at each other and still be friends in the end.
  • Activity: “Feelings Faces”. The kids and I make our best sad, mad, scared, surprised, confused, and happy faces.
  • Menchin, Scott. Taking a Bath With the Dog and Other Things that Make Me Happy. Sweet Pea doesn’t have her smile, so she goes asking various random people and animals what makes them happy. The kids helped me by identifying on each page (based on picture clues) what it was that made that person/creature happy. Afterwards, if the group was small enough and there was time, we each named on thing that made us happy. Surprisingly few of the kids mentioned princesses and superheroes, but more often said things like “being with my mom” or “playing with my brother.” Made me happy just hearing them!
  • Tankard, Jeremy. Grumpy Bird. Holy guacamole, I love this book. Bird is grumpy — too grumpy to fly — so decides to take a walk. His friends come along, and invariably change his mood.
  • Song: “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” I play this on the uke, and we get up and do the motions for various feelings:

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re sad and you know it, say boo hoo (we also wipe our eyes)
If you’re mad and you know it, stomp your feet
If you’re scared and you know it, hide your eyes

Because I like happy best of all, we end by reprising clapping our hands, and maybe jumping up high, and shouting hooray. Yay!

Other books I might use if there’s time or I want to switch things up:

  • Rayner, Catherine. Augustus and His Smile/Augusto y su sonrisa. Augustus tiger has lost his smile. So he sets off on an adventure to find it! The illustrations are GORGEOUS, and it’s available in Spanish too!
  • Hodgkinson, Leigh. Smile! Sunny, like Augustus, has also lost her smile and sets out to find it. She discovers it when she’s not looking for it, but playing a game with the dog.
  • Verroken, Sarah. Feeling Sad. I love the woodcut illustrations, but I don’t think the kids loved this quite as much as I would have liked. It’s pretty low-key. But you might have the right group for it.
  • Emberley, Ed. Glad Monster, Sad Monster. I really wanted to make a felt board of this, but my program copies were out and I never got one in fromt the library! Bummer. Next time.
  • Bang, Molly. When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry. A Caldecott Honor Book!
  • Smith, Linda. Mrs. Biddlebox. If only we could all bake our bad day into a cake. Marla Frazee’s illustrations are glorious.

Hope this storytime puts you in a good mood!

What Do Storybook Dinosaurs Have in Common?

25 Jan

I was reading dinosaur stories to my preschoolers yesterday, and I noticed a common theme between three books we read. I wonder if you can figure out what it is? One of the teachers got it. The books were:

  • Waddell, Martin. The Super Hungry Dinosaur.  I love this book – especially for Hal’s bravery when defending his family and how he makes the dinosaur apologize.
  • Yolen, Jane. How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food.  All these dino books are favorites of the kids. Even if they won’t admit that YES, sometimes, they DO bubble their milk. But NEVER stick beans up their noses.
  • Shea, Bob. Dinosaur vs. Bedtime. ROOAAARR! Dinosaur wins! Except when it comes to bedtime. Bedtime ALWAYS wins.

Have you figured out what these books have in common? I mean, besides DINOSAURS, obviously. It is…..

Spaghetti. Yes, spaghetti. In The Super Hungry Dinosaur, after Hal makes the dino apologize and clean up, he declares he’s still hungry. So Hal’s mom makes him a Super Hungry Dinosaur Dinner, which happens to be spaghetti and meatballs. In How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food we are asked if a dino would “flip his spaghetti high into the air?” And finally, in Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, the dino goes up against a bowl of spaghetti. Who will win? Dinosaur, OF COURSE.

*SLURP*

Caldecott Challenge Book Review: Nothing At All by Wanda Gág

3 Jan

“He was not very tall
Nor yet very small;
He looked like nothing,
Like nothing at all.”

Nothing-at-all is perfectly contented to be invisible as long as he can do all of the same things his visible brothers can do. Until, one day, the brothers are adopted by a boy and a girl, who don’t take Nothing-at-all because they cannot see him. Nothing-at-all follows but soon loses them. A friendly Jackdaw, whose task it is to “carry home everything I see,” has helpfully found a Book of Magic which contains a spell to make something that is Nothingy into Somethingy. Needless to say, it works, and Nothing-at-all is able to rejoin his brothers.

Wanda Gag’s illustrations have an undulating quality. The soft pastels (?) seem to move. I loved this book – and if it weren’t so long I would surely share it with the preschoolers! They’d have such fun with the “I’m busy/Getting dizzy” part!

Nothing At All won the Caldecott Honor in 1942.

The Caldecott Challenge 2012: Nerdcott!

2 Jan

The end of last week I saw some kids’ librarian folks on twitter talking about “#nerdcott” and decided to check it out. I followed the twitter trail to this post by LibLaura5, describing a challenge she was setting to read ALL of the Caldecott winners (not just the medalists, but honors too!). Well, I love a good (do-able) challenge, so I decided that I’m in! I’m pretty knowledgeable about winners and honors from the last 15-or-so years (or at least the last 12 years that I’ve been working as a librarian), but the early years? Not so much. Did you know that the Caldecott Medal was first awarded in 1938? And that there are over 300 Caldecott medalists and honor books?

I’d better get crackin’. The best thing about Laura’s challenge is that THERE ARE NO RULES. You don’t have to read the books in any particular order (which is good because some of them we have in the library, and some I will have to request from other libraries or ILL). You don’t have to set a time limit, if you don’t want to. So, my personal goal is to simply READ THEM ALL. Preferrably this year.

I’ve already started from the bottom up; again, not in order, but that’s how I’m keeping track: I’m ordering the books from the earlier years first and reading them as they come in. I read Andy and the Lion and Barkis this morning, and have Wee Gillis, Abraham Lincoln, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves on my desk. I probably won’t review all of them here as I really only like to write reviews of books that a) I love and b) feel inspired to write about.

Wanna challenge yourself? Get the full list of Caldecott Medal and Honor books. If you have a blog and want to indicate your participation, Laura has made an icon available.  And remember, if you tweet, don’t forget to add the hashtag #nerdcott so we can all enjoy each other’s company!

 

 

Trailer Tuesday: E-mergency! by Tom Lichtenheld & Ezra Fields-Meyer

8 Nov

Oh no! The letter E has fallen down the stairs and is injured! E will have to be replaced by O in every word until he recovers! I can’t wait to see this title from the author/illustrator of Cloudette and What Are You So Grumpy About? It could prove to be very silly and wonderful! Imagine: elevator becomes olovator; eggs become oggs!

Eek! Squeak! A Mouse Storytime

7 Nov

There are certain animals that really lend themselves to picture book stories. Have you noticed? Ducks, mice, and sheep seem to appear an awful lot. Cats, too. Camels? Not so much.

So given the wealth of books available for me to choose from, I decided to do a mouse-themed storytime. The fact that I already had 2 flannelboards all ready to go didn’t hurt either…

Mouse storytime started with Herbert, my dapperly dressed puppet. He explains that he always dresses his best when he’s going to meet new people. We also talk about the shape of his button (cheese/triangle), and what he’s got in his pocket (a clock). Then, as Herbert checks his watch and says it’s time for stories, we get started!

  • One is a Feast for a Mouse by Judy Cox. A Thanksgiving story – Mouse creeps out of his hidey spot after dinner is done and finds one pea, small and toothsome. One is a feast for a mouse, but when he sees the rest of the leftovers, he gets a little greedy.
  • Hide and Squeak by Heather Vogel Frederick. A newer book, in which little mouse hides from his dad at bedtime. Nice repeated phrases and big illustrations!
  • Flannelboard: Little Mouse, Little Mouse. We hide a little mouse behind a house and try to guess which colored house he’s behind: “Little mouse, little mouse, are you in the red house?” If there are lots of kids in the group, and we don’t have time to let everyone guess, we use my color spinner to choose the colors. Everyone LOVES this one and there are repeated requests to “do it again!” If we find the mouse too quickly, we always DO.
  • Mouse Count or Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. Again, more classics. And I have the following…
  • Flannelboard: Mouse Count. So yeah, makes more sense if we read the book first.
  • Miss You Mouse by Greg Foley. Mouse finds a note from his friend bear, saying “I miss you, Mouse.” Mouse then sets off to find Bear, with something very important to tell him. We lift flaps to find other animals, but bear is a little elusive.
More mouse books:
  • Little Bitty Mousie by Jim Aylesworth. An alphabet book, with absolutely lovely illustrations of little bitty, in her pretty blue dress.
  • The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood. A classic! The kids love it, and so do I.
  • Mouse Was Mad by Jackie Urban. Mouse is hopping mad, but Rabbit criticizes the way he hops, which makes Mouse stomping mad. But Bear is better at stomping, and so on… until Mouse finds something he can do best of all.
  • Molly Who Flew Away by Valeri Gorbachev. Molly and her friends visit the fair, and Molly has a little pocket money to use to buy treats for her friends. She decides on balloons, but you know what happens when a mouse takes too many…
Here’s fingerplay rhyme I included on the parent handout I give to my schools:
“Five Little Mice” (play on your 5 fingers)
5 little mice on the pantry floor,
This little mouse peeked behind the door,
This little mouse nibbled at the cake,
This little mouse not a sound did make.
This little mouse heard the kitten sneeze.
“Ah choo!” sneezed the kitten,
And “squeak” they all cried,
And they found a hole and ran inside.

Ahoy, Mateys! In Honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day

19 Sep

I bring you…. Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Bubble Bath Pirates. And now, I want some ice cre- er, TREASURE!

Oink, Baa, Tweet, Moo! Animal Sounds Storytime

23 Aug

Animal sounds is one of my go-to storytime themes. SO MANY GREAT BOOKS, so much room for fun. I’m starting this school year off in a noisy way, and here’s what I’m planning:

My lovely duck puppet helps me start things off. She’s fluffy and expressive and vehemently quacks her displeasure when we talk about things we DON’T do with our books, like eat them, stand on them, color in them, or cut them – because I always do a little “book care” session at the beginning of the new storytime year.

  • McPhail, David. Duck on a Bike/Pato va en bici. Just right. We especially enjoy trying to find out where mouse is riding in the end – was there a bike his size?
  • Feiffer, Jules. Bark, George. I have recited this story, without the book, to a carful of adults and they LOVED it. It’s a new classic – so simple a story, yet comically genius.
  • Song: “When Ducks Get Up in the Morning” by Nancy Stewart. I pull various animal finger puppets out of a bag and we sing verses with each of them (including a triceratops, of course).
  • Davis, Katie. Who Hoots? I like this one because it’s got more than just the usual duck, cat, dog, cow, etc.
  • Flannelboard: Animal Sounds
  • Butler, Jon. Can You Growl Like a Bear? Again, more unusual animals. Like a snuffling panda! I don’t REALLY know what that sounds like, but I think I’ve come up with a good approximation.
Other books I might use:
What are your favorite animal sounds books? Please share! Mooooooooo!!!!

Story Stretcher: In Front of My House by Marianne Dubuc

21 Aug

Some books really lend themselves to discussion. They make storytimes REALLY conversational and fun. Marianne Dubuc’s In Front of My House might not make the best storytime story (the book is kinda small so wouldn’t work for big crowds) but reading it one-on-one could prompt some fun storytelling, or, if you’ve got a class of kindergarteners or 1st graders, lead to a great writing exercise.

The story begins with: “On a little hill, behind a brown fence, under a big oak tree, [and on the opposite page] is…” The next page follows with a noun: “my house.” Opposite that is another prepositional phrase: “In front of my house….” and we have to turn the page to see what’s in front. The book continues in this way, with noun on the left and prepositional phrase on the right, as the story gets more and more outrageous, and princesses, vampires, an orangutan, and outer space come in to play (not at all in a scary way).*

Can you see the possibilities? It would be great fun to create your own story using In Front of My House as a model. Kids could write and illustrate their own stories, or you could take turns creating the story out loud.  Mine would go something like this:

On a mountain, by a lake, there is….a cabin

In front of the cabin…a garden

In the garden….some flowers.

On the flowers….a bee.

Near the bee…a window.

In the window…a face.

On the face…a smile.

Hmmm…I’ll have to think about the rest of it.

 

*One picture is of a hunter with a gun. He’s not doing anything with it, or aiming it, just holding it. It’s not mentioned in the story. But some schools have rules about guns, so I thought I would give a heads’ up.

Pete the Cat Visits the Library!

15 Aug

A few months ago, Pete the Cat visited my library. Of course, I decided to document his visit, as he’s such a celebrity around here. I think he had fun, but you be the judge.

He started by checking out the picture book collection. of course, his story was checked out:

He did find another book about cats he thought he’d like to read, though (the lovely blue cover caught his eye): Vivianne Schwarz’s There Are No Cats In This Book.

No cats IN the book, but one cat ON it! Ba-dum-dum!

 

He went to check it out but had a little trouble with the self-check; luckily a friendly staff person was ready to help:

No, Pete, I don't think that's where the RFID tag is.

Next, he went to try out the internet. Those cordless mice are tricky!

Especially when you don't have clicking fingers

Needless to say, he went right to his favorite website:

It's PetetheCat.com!

He also checked out StoryBlocks, and learned a few new songs:

It was time for me to head off to a preschool for storytime, so Pete decided he wanted to go along and be the special guest star:

Pete ALWAYS wears his seat belt

Here he’s relaxing in the book bag, waiting for his surprise appearance!

When he got back to the library he was a bit hungry, so he checked out what was in the vending machine (sadly, no goldfish crackers, but there was a can of tuna salad):

Luckily, someone had left a bag of chocolate truffles unattended:

After renewing his strength with a snack, he ran into a few friends:

Frog and Toad:

(Pete can't remember which one's Frog and which one's Toad)

Tacky the Penguin:

Lookin' good there, Tacky!

And Splat the Cat:

And he made some new friends!:

Pete phone home?

He did a little more exploring around the work rooms of the library, and was almost shipped to another branch when he fell into a delivery tub! Better be more careful, Pete!:

What a busy day! Pete had such fun at the library, but it was time to head home. But not before one last look at the books!

Err...one last pose on the books?

Thanks for stopping by, Pete! We enjoyed having you! You were rockin’ (in your school shoes)!

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