"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Food Storytime in the Park

Fun books about food:
  • Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming: bunnies want Mr. McGreely's garden veggies.
  • Monsters Don't Like Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks: or do they?
  • Senorita Gordita by Helen Ketteman: a southwestern version of The Gingerbread Man.
  • The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli: a crocodile swallows a watermelon seed and worries, will a watermelon grow inside him?
  • Rah, Rah, Radishes!: a Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre: hooray for tasty veggies!
  • Foxy and Egg by Alex T. Smith: Foxy invites Egg over for dinner, but she is hoping to make him her breakfast!
  • Snack Time for Confetti by Kali Stiles: Confetti is a hungry little bird who asks her animal friends for tips on what she should eat.
  • Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins: a bratty cake gets his comeuppance when he is stolen by a Giant Cyclops!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

IPad Storytime a.k.a Apps for Laps

Toca Band Dancing Clock

This month was the first time that my library branch offered IPad storytime to an audience of 3 to 6- year-olds and their grownups. We did two sessions two weeks apart. Here's what I showcased:

Session 1:

  • The Monster at the End of This Book ... Starring Grover! by Sesame Street, $4.99
Grover reads The Monster at the End of This Book,or you can read it yourself. The screen allows interaction, so kids can untie rope knots or knock down the wall that Grover builds. The group enjoyed it.

  • Toca Band by Toca Boca AB, Free
Put characters that make different sounds and do various actions onstage to make the band of your choice. Move them up higher on the stage and their routines become more complex with each level. There is a rapper, a whistler, some lady singers, various dancers, etc. This is my personal favorite, although it admittedly can become very annoying very fast. My favorite characters are scattered throughout this post. The 5-year-olds in the groups loved this app and played it most of the session!

Toca Band Cat


  • Endless Alphabet by Originator, Inc., $6.99
This is a fun app to learn the sounds that letters make and increase vocabulary and it features monsters! You choose a word that you'd like to learn, like "itchy" and the screen shows the word. Then the monsters run through, scattering the letters. Your job is to drag the letters where they belong and as you do, the letter you're touching makes its correct sound. When the word is reassembled, the monsters act it out, and the narrator defines the word. New words appear monthly.

Toca Band Frogs

Session 2:

Toca Band Piano Dancer

  • Go Away, Big Green Monster, No longer in ITunes :(
Just like the print book, Big Green Monster is described, and then you take him apart to make him disappear. Ed Emberley can read it, a child narrator can read it to you or you can read it yourself. You can touch the monster's eyes, nose, mouth etc. and they will react. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be available now.

  • Dr. Panda's Handyman by Dr. Panda Ltd, $2.99
I think that we have the free version of this, and it might be limited. In the one we own, kids can help repair and paint items in two rooms, for elephant and polar bear families. You can fix chairs and decide what color they should be, or put together a bunk bed, repair plumbing or knock down a door, replace it and paint it. It can even be polka dotted!

  • Finger Paint with Sounds by Inclusive Technology, Ltd, Free
As you choose colors and "paint" you make music or sound effects. Each color has a different type of music or noise. You can erase as you go or scrap the whole thing and start over. You can also save your favorites. This was the big hit for the 3 1/2-year-olds in the group.

Additionally, I told the adults about:

Felt Board by Software Smoothie, $2.99

This functions as a flannel board. You can choose your background, create characters and tell a story. There is lots of potential here. It is probably better for adults to direct the activity, because I think that it is a little harder to use than the other apps in this post. For example, when clothes are chosen for the characters, they don't just "hop" on. You have to line them up and put them on the body, so that, say, skin doesn't show beyond the edge of a sleeve. If your child isn't  frustrated by that, then let him or her go to it!

Toca Band Stomper says goodbye!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Aviary Wonders Inc. By Kate Samworth

Aviary Wonders Inc: Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual By Kate Samworth

Although this book is made in a 32 page picture book format, it is perfectly suitable for a 4th-5th grade audience. On the surface, it is a catalog for us to buy parts that when assembled, make our perfect bird, and that is amazing and fun. Beyond that, it invites us to consider a world without natural birds, one where they must be taught to sing, their beaks must be strapped on and where a clumsy human hand can create a bird with so much decoration that it cannot lift its head. These lovely creatures are made from silk and leather with the finest craftsmanship, but something essential is missing. The message is subtly presented and the reader will be lost in the beautiful artwork.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

El Deafo by Cece Bell

The first book that I read for Camp Read-a-Lot this year is El Deafo by Cece Bell. You are probably aware of this recent Newbery Honor winning graphic novel for kids. Based on Bell's childhood, Cece ( now an anthropomorphic bunny) deals with her sudden hearing loss at age four and learns to handle her large hearing aid, the sometimes weird attitudes of her classmates and neighborhood friends and her own feelings about her deafness.

This book is funny and sweet and true to childhood, capturing the things kids laugh at, the intensity of a first crush and the wish to have a best friend, even one that's too bossy. Through it, Cece learns how to stand up for herself, express her inner super hero and accept herself for who she is.

Learn more about Cece Bell and her books here: https://cecebell.wordpress.com/

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Camp Read-a-Lot 2015

I'm a counselor again for MELSA's Camp Read-a-Lot, this year to be held at Como Zoo! The featured author is J. Patrick Lewis. Camp will be Thursday, August 6. Find more details here: http://www.campreadalot.org/

I'm going to be discussing the Camper's Choice books with teachers that work with 4th and 5th graders. The reading list is:

2015 Camp Read-A-Lot: Grades 4&5 Reading List


Aviary Wonders, Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual: Renewing the World’s Bird Supply Since 2031 by Kate Samworth

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm  

Reign Rain by Ann M. Martin
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth (Scholastic, 2014). 9780545224963.

Camper’s Choice

Camper’s Choice by J. Patrick Lewis – choose any title by our keynote author to read and review.

Camper’s Choice – Any title of your choice (fiction or nonfiction) that meets the following criteria:

a. You have not read it before this summer

b. Original copyright is no older than 2012

c. Ideal for classroom use or free reading

d. Avoid highly popular titles, books recently made into movies, major award winners


El Deafo by Cece Bell
If…:A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers by David J. Smith

The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupery by Peter Sís

When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses by Rebecca L. Johnson  

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah Campbell

Twenty-Two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank by Paula Yoo

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Babytime Companion and toys!

Meet Nora, my new storytime puppet. I love her. If you are looking for a well made puppet, I recommend this. She is very soft and easy to manipulate. You can move her mouth and both front legs. I plan to dress her up in cat costumes and get her a name tag that says "Nora the Library Cat".

Nora is a Folkmanis puppet and I got her from Amazon:

This photo is from Amazon.com

I was worried from the Amazon photo that she might be scary, but as you can see from my photo, she is rather more goofy. I ordered Nora myself, because I want to keep her.

My library ordered me some nice new things also. I got them all from Lakeshore Learning.

Photo from Lakeshore Learning

Mix & Match Farm Animals ! These were well received as soon as the toddlers figured out that they came apart.

Photo from Lakeshore Learning

Colorpillar Sorting Mat ! With wooden blocks,rubber/plastic items and soft fuzzies to sort.

Photo from Lakeshore Learning

Baby Band Rhythm Set ! I have six other bells like the ones in this set, and they are great for little hands.

Photo from Lakeshore Learning

Activity Scarves ! Super for Peek-a-boo.

Finally, a wonderful colleague of ours gave us her Play Tunnel, similar to this red one:

Thanks, Kathy! The babies love it.

Altogether a swell haul.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Shoo Fly Storytime

    Shoo Fly Family Storytime:
Book Possibilities
  • I Spy Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold*
  • Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth, Illus. by Stephen Gammell*
  • The Fly Flew In by David Catrow
  • Horsefly and Honeybee by Randy Cecil
  • The Spider and the Fly by Tony DiTerlizzi
  • Soup for One by Ethan Long*
  • Tiny Little Fly by Michael Rosen, Illus. by Kevin Waldron*
  • A Fly Went By by Mike McClintock, Illus by Fritz Siebel
  • When the Fly Flew In... by Lisa Westberg Peters, Illus. by Brad Sneed
  • There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback*
  • Shoo Fly! by Iza Trapani
*Books I used this time

We started with Old Black Fly and I sang the beginning and ending verses to the tune of "Buffalo Gals" and after "Shoo fly, Shoo fly, Shoo" we all gave a big "Swat!" and clapped our hands together.

I used the CD/Book set of There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback along with our Library system's Alma's Design There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly puppet. This was a huge hit, as the kids loved feeding her the animals as they listened to the song.

We also swatted flies along with Hap Palmer's song "Flick a Fly" from his CD Walter the Waltzing Worm. Warning: that song is infectious!

There are some excellent ideas for Fly Storytime on Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends and Sunflower Storytime . Don't miss them!