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Happy Book Birthday to Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons!

1 May

I am in possession of a copy of this book RIGHT NOW and I can’t TELL you how excited I am. It’s wonderful! A good match for the first book. And the colors are bright and glorious. Plus there’s a very catchy chant:

I do NOT apologize for getting that stuck in your head. “My buttons, my buttons…”

Cars and Trucks and Things that Lazy Horses Like: A Transportation Storytime

23 Apr

Vroooom! Transportation is always a good preschool theme. Boys of course will get into it, but girls will enjoy hearing these stories too. My lazy horse puppet, Henry, introduces the storytime (I was trying to think of a puppet to go with the theme, and lit upon Henry: he’s an unusual horse in that he prefers riding in cars to running).

  • Lord, Cynthia. Hot Rod Hamster. Hamster wants to enter a hot rod race, so he visits the junkyard where the bulldog owner helps him build a custom ride. The refrain “which would you choose?” lets kids weigh in.
  • McMullan, Kate. I’m Fast! The newest in this series features a train squaring off against a car in a race to Chicago. Who will get there first? Lots of great noises to make, like the train’s steady “chookachookachookachooka” sound.
  • Flannelboard: “There Was a Young Woman Who Rode in a Car.” 
  • Durango, Julia. Go-Go Gorillas. When Big Daddy Gorilla, the King, orders everyone to the Gorilla Villa for an announcement, each gorilla uses a different mode of transportation to get there. Includes the fun refrain “Go go gorillas gotta go gorillas go!”
  • Flannelboard: “Where Does This Go?”
  • Song: “The Wheels on the Bus.” A classic good time. And for you ukulele newbies, it only uses 2 chords! A great song to start out with – very easy to play. And the kids love it! You can mix it up by suggesting silly things on the bus, like dinosaurs. Roar! Here’s Eric Litwin/Pete the Cat’s version:

Other stories I love:

  • Docherty, Thomas. To The Beach. Short, but with illustrations that give great clues about what’s coming next!
  • Burningham, John. Mr. Gumpy’s Outing. For the longest time my brain insterted an “r” in the title and I read this as Mr. Grumpy. But no, MR. GUMPY takes two children and a bunch of animals out on his boat, with conditions: they are not to chase, kick, tease, etc. Of course, they do everything he asked them not to do, and the boat tips over.  A great story for introducing and talking about new vocabulary like squabble, trample, and bleat (not to be confused with bleed).
  • Mayo, Margaret. Choo Choo Clickety-Clack! Lots of different kinds of transportation represented.
  • Stanley, Mandy. Lettice the Flying Rabbit Lettice dreams of flying. And one day, when she finds a toy plane, she gets her chance!
  • Zane, Alexander. The Wheels on the Race Car. If we don’t sing the song, I like to sing this story.
  • Stein, Peter. Cars Galore. So. Many. Cars.!
  • Lewis, Kevin. My Truck Is Stuck! The driver needs help when his truck’s tire gets stuck in a hole. Little does he know, though, that something is happening to his load.
  • Schertle, Alice. Little Blue Truck. Little Blue Truck helps, even the big, noisy, rude truck.

What are your favorite transportation-themed stories? Ready…set….GO!

Trailer Tuesday: The Pigeon Gets a Cookie by Mo Willems

3 Apr

Not much more needs to be said other than: THERE’S A NEW PIGEON BOOK AND IT’S OUT TODAY!!! Pigeons worldwide comment:

(Thanks, Mr. Schu, for pointing out the video!)

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!

 

 

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