Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Greetings

I hope all my friends, family, and readers are having a wonderful holiday. I'm taking a brief blogging hiatus until after the first of the year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Wombat by Jackie French

A carrot loving wombat from Australia accidentally accompanies Santa on Christmas Eve.

What I thought: Diary of a Wombat was a huge hit with my story time kids (and me!). I'm glad to see another book about a favorite character. Wombat's perspective is great and so funny. Whatley's illustrations are nice--so realistic and good use of white space. My favorite illustrations are "strange creatures" and "so many carrots."

Story Time Themes: Christmas Around the World, Christmas

(Illus. Bruce Whatley. Clarion, 2012)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood

Christmas is a joyful time filled with love and laughter, but there are quiet moments, too. When the tree lights up for the first time, there's a hush in the room. Explore other quiet moment in this lovely tribute to the Christmas season.

What I thought: I'm a big fan of Underwood and Liwska's other collaborations The Quiet Book and The Loud Book. The Christmas Quiet Book is great. It reminds us that in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, there are quiet, peaceful times as well. Liwska's illustrations just get better and better. I love how she presents the animals. The soft colors she uses are just right to reflect the season. My favorite illustrations are lights on quiet and gingerbread quiet. I'm using The Christmas Quiet Book during my Christmas story time this week.

(Illus. Renata Liwska. Houghton Mifflin, 2012)

Friday, December 14, 2012

#FlannelFriday: Where's the Duck? Game - Winter Version

Back in September, I posted about my pumpkins which morphed into a Where's the Duck? Game inspired by Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas. The kids loved playing the game so much we never got to the "Five Little Pumpkins" rhyme.

Last week, I did a cookies themed story time and had crocheted cookies on my magnet board. One three year old enthusiastically shouted duck every time I removed a cookie. I decided it was time to bring the duck back.

I wanted to do a winter version of the game that I could use at Christmas story time and beyond. I decided to do an evergreen ( or Christmas) tree with snow on the branches. I used Microsoft Clipart for the tree pattern, but you could easily free hand it.

I did the snow in two steps because I wanted it to really look like snow. I drew the outline of the branches with white puff paint and then pulled the paint upward with a craft stick. I was definitely having a Bob Ross happy little tree moment.

 After that dried, I filled in all the areas with a lot more puff paint.

And here's the duck in case you missed my pumpkin post.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin, Jr.

Summary from Dust Jacket: Ten little caterpillars are on the move. Come on and join them....you might even meet a butterfly!

What I thought: This book is great. The text is simple yet appealing. The illustrations are great--such bold, bright colors and good use of white space. I'm becoming quite a fan of Lois Ehlert's style. I also like the labels in the plants and animals. This book will be enjoyed, but beyond that it will be a great way to teach preschool kids about nature. I can't decide on a favorite illustration, but I do admire all the purple flowers. I love the additional information at the end of the book about caterpillars.

Story Time Themes: Spring, Caterpillars, Butterflies

(Illus. Lois Ehlert. Beach Lane Books, 2011)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No Bears by Meg McKinlay

Summary from Dust Jacket: Ella wants to tell you a story — a story with absolutely no bears. You don’t need bears for a book. You need pretty things like fairies and princesses and castles and maybe funny things and exciting things. But you definitely do not need bears.

What I thought: No Bears is hilarious. Am I the only one who sees the bear lurking and helping things along?  I can hear my story time kids laughing now. The bear doesn't get recognition for saving the day, but I don't think I mind. I like the illustrations--soft colors and good use of white space. Pair with More Bears! by Kenn Nesbitt for a jolly story time.

Story Time Theme: Bears

(Illus. Leila Rudge. Candlewick, 2011)

Friday, December 7, 2012

#FlannelFriday: Five Little Dragons

Quite a few dragon picture books were published this year. They prompted me to do a dragons story time in November. My five little dragons set was inspired by Sarah at Read It Again and her post I Took My Dragon to the Library. I used an image from Microsoft clip art. My dragons are felt with puff paint details. You can read the rhyme I used here.

Here are all five dragons. The rhyme dictated the colors, but I like them.

Here's a close up of the blue dragon.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff

Baby Bear wakes up and explores the day’s colors.

What I thought: A gentle story. I love the bear’s exploration of nature. The illustrations are great. They remind me of old school woodblock prints but with more color. My favorite illustrations are red and orange. I’m glad I read the dust jacket. It’s nice to discover the inspiration behind a book.

Story Time Themes: Bears, Colors

(Beach Lane Books, 2012)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bring on the Birds by Susan Stockdale

Summary from Dust jacket via amazon.com: Birds come in all sorts of interesting shapes, sizes, and colors and many of them can do amazing things as well. Can you imagine...Dancing birds, Diving birds, Hanging birds, Hiding birds...They're all real!

What I thought: I think I’ve found another author/illustrator that I like as much as Cathryn & John Sill. The simple text and colorful illustration combine to entertain and educate children about birds. The afterward provides just enough information to whet the kids’ appetites for more bird books. It was hard to pick a favorite illustration, but I really like the fluffy crests.

Story Time Themes: Birds

(Peachtree, 2011)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage

Walrus has escaped from the zoo. Can you help the zookeeper find him?

What I thought: I love it! I can’t wait to use Where’s Walrus? for story time. I know the kids will love helping the zookeeper and telling the story. All the illustrations are great. I can’t pick a favorite. I like the lack of outlines.

Story Time Themes: Zoo, Wordless

(Scholastic, 2011)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wolf Won't Bite by Emily Gravett

The three circus pigs have one main attraction—a wild wolf. They love to boast that no matter what they do to him “Wolf won’t bite!” Or will he?
What I thought: Another hit from Gravett. I’ll be adding this title to my Three Little Pigs Book List. Wolf Won’t Bite is a fun book. I think my story time kids will be on the edges of their carpet squares to see if wolf will bite. The illustrations are great. I like that Gravett used a limited color palette. She also made good use of white space. My favorite illustrations are wolf in bow, knife throwing, and bite.
Story Time Themes: Three Little Pigs, Wolves, Circus

(Simon & Schuster, 2011)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Horsefly & Honeybee by Randy Cecil

Two insects who don't like to share become allies when their lives are threatened.

What I thought: A great story with lovely illustrations. I'll definitely be doing a bugs story time in the spring with Horsefly & Honeybee as a featured book. I love that the characters don't start out as friends. My favorite illustrations are drat and napping (last page).

Story Time Themes: Friendship, Bugs/Insects, Spring

(Henry Holt, 2012)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett

Chameleon is blue because he's lonely. He searches for friends to stop his loneliness.

What I thought: I don't know why I'm just now ordering this book, but I like it. I have a Gravett story time planned for the fall and want to have as many of her books on hand as possible. Her illustrations are great. My favorites are swirly, stripy, spotty, and colorful chameleons.

Story Time Themes: Colors, Chameleons, Emotions (pair with My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall)

(Simon & Schuster, 2010)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hide & Seek by Il Sung Na

It's game time in the jungle. Elephant is the seeker and the other animals are hiders. Can he find them all?

What I thought: I always order Na's books because I love not only the whimsical illustrations but the stories. Hide & Seek did not disappoint me. I know my story time kids will love looking for the chameleon on every page.

Story Time Themes: Games, Jungle Animals, Chameleons

(Knopf, 2012)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Did you know dragons love tacos? No? Well, they do and they also love parties. Why not host a taco party for dragons? Just remember...dragons HATE spicy salsa.

What I thought: Another dragon book...I've noticed quite a few of them in the past few months. I'm even doing a dragons story time this fall as a result of all the great books. Dragons Love Tacos is funny, but I think it might be too long for my preschoolers. I'll maybe use it with older kids. I like the illustrations. My favorite is the dragons breathing fire.

(Illus. Daniel Salmieri. Dial, 2012.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Two Little Monkeys by Mem Fox

Two little monkeys are playing when something makes them hide in a tree. What are they hiding from?

What I thought: This is a fun book. The language is great. My story time kids always notice rhyming books. If I don't mention that a book rhymes before I start reading, at least one kid will say, "This book rhymes!" Not knowing what the monkeys are hiding from adds suspense to the story. I know my kids will enjoy guessing. I like the illustrations. The monkeys look just right...playful! My favorite illustrations are the leopard and the monkeys eating berries.

Story Time Themes: Monkeys, Jungle Animals, Rhyming Books

(Illus. Jill Barton. Beach Lane Books, 2012)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gem by Holly Hobbie

One winter, Holly Hobbie started to wonder about a toad her granddaughter once found in the garden. Her wondering led to this book. Readers will find out how the toad came to be in the garden in the first place.

What I thought: I always enjoy wordless picture books and Gem is a great one. I can predict the fun I'll have during story time with this book. I love to give the children an opportunity to tell me the story. The illustrations are fantastic. Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums. (Beatrix Potter gets the credit for my love of watercolor.) I love the soft vibrancy of the colors and the excellent use of white space. I also like hoe the illustrations all show some movement.

Story Time Themes: Wordless Books, Toads, Spring

(Little, Brown, & Company, 2012)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen

Will Scarlet is just another member of Robin Hood's band. Scarlet is good at stealing and fighting with knives. No one ever notices him and Scarlet likes it that way. If people look too closely, they might see what she's hiding. That's right. Will is a girl with unusual skills and a painful past she won't mention. Her life in Nottingham is predictable if not pleasant, but that all changes when Gisborne arrives. The thief taker is the one person Scarlet fears. Can she trust Robin and his band with her secrets?

What I thought: Wow! I can see why Scarlet was chosen as a 2012 Teens' Top Ten Nomination. The two items that struck me most...Will Scarlet is a girl and the language. This book begs to be read aloud. I also enjoyed that reader's are kept in the dark right along with Robin and his men about Scarlet's secrets. The ending was fantastic. I would love there to be a sequel. I checked out the author's website. Scarlet is a standalone novel, but she's not saying she'll never write a sequel. I think readers will want a sequel (I know I do) and they may even write their own. On a side note, I'm as equally fascinated with the Robin Hood legend as A. C. Gaughen.

(Walker and Company, 2012)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier

Dora Joyce is too observant and questioning to be a proper young lady. She also suspects the infamous detective Sherlock Holmes is her father. Her identity quest comes to a screeching halt when she finds out Holmes is dead. However, all is not lost. She meets Peter Cartwright, a budding detective, who will help her cousin and give Dora a chance to prove herself.

What I thought: An enjoyable book, but I wasn't drawn into Secret Letters as much as I was the Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer. Dora's interactions with Peter are the best bits of the book. I love how plucky she is. Dare I hope there might be another book? Give this to fans of historical mysteries (think the Mary Quinn series by Y. S. Lee).

(Hyperion, 2012)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

The only way for Althea Crawley to feed her family and maintain the family home is to marry well. Althea's very nature is against her. She's too unconventional and blunt speaking to hold a suitor's attraction. Could the new neighbor, Lord Boring, be her Prince Charming? Althea thinks so if only his bumbling cousin Mr. Fredericks wold keep out of the way.

What I thought: I liked Patrice Kindl's novel Goose Chase and I wasn't disappointed with her latest novel although it is very different from the former. Keeping the Castle was a fun read. Althea is a wonderful narrator. Her stepsisters were truly horrible. The story is a bit Cinderella-esque. I'm just glad Althea gets her happy ending (though not the one she envisioned). Give Keeping the Castle to fans of Jane Austen and Downton Abbey.

(Viking, 2012)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mirage by Kristi Cook

Sequel to Haven

Senior year at Winterhaven begins much more auspiciously for Violet than her junior year did. She has friends, a boyfriend, and is beginning to understand her gift. The only problem she and her vampire boyfriend Aidan face is the fact that she's a vampire slayer. Aidan continues to search for a cure for vampirism while Violet continues to develop her precognitive gift. Terrifying visions and supposed killer vampire only add to the tension.

What I thought: Another second book that I really liked! Maybe I'm losing my antipathy for sequels, Mirage had a lot going for it. Violet and Aidan's romance is only the start. New characters and problems keep the novel moving at a steady pace. It was interesting to find out more about Violet's slayer heritage. A definite surprise at the end--I so wasn't expecting that--and quite a cliffhanger ending.

According to Kristi Cook's website, the third and final book, Eternal, will be released Fall 2013.

(Simon Pulse, 2012)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Until I Die by Amy Plum

Revenants Trilogy #2

Vincent and Kate are very much in love. There's only one problem. Vincent's a revenant. He feels compelled to save people from death by dying himself. Each time he dies, he reverts to the age he was when he first became a revenant. Kate doesn't enjoy seeing her boyfriend die repeatedly. For her sake, he's promised not to die. Kate knows how hard it is for Vincent not to die so she begins to search for another solution to his mortality issue.

What I thought: Normally I'm not a fan of second books, but Until I Die surprised me. I stayed up way too late reading it and had to drag myself out of bed the next morning. Vincent maintains his aura of mystery despite the big reveal in Die for Me. I found it so poignant that both Vincent and Kate are searching for a cure for their predicament. Until I Die had quite a few surprises (character, plot, etc.) and ended with much suspense. I can't believe I have to wait until May 2013 for the last book. The Revenants Trilogy is at the top of my "So Better Than Twilight" list.

(Harper 2012)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I Know a Wee Piggy by Kim Norman

At the fair, a piglet has all sorts of fun adding different colors to his skin. Along the way, he causes havoc. Will his owner ever catch him?

What I thought: This is a fun book. I can't wait to use it for story time. I Know a Wee Piggy will be a great addition to my colors story time theme. I love Henry Cole's illustrations--such detail, bright colors, and good use of white space. I can't pick a favorite illustration. The repetition in the text is great...I can hear my kids repeating it with me.

Story Time Themes: Colors, Pigs, Fairs

(Illus. Henry Cole. Dial Books, 2012)

Friday, September 28, 2012

#FlannelFriday: Pumpkins

This week I read books by Jan Thomas during story time. I was looking for an activity to go after Pumpkin Trouble. I made 5 felt pumpkins intending to use them with counting rhymes. Then I decided to make a duck to hide under one of the pumpkins...a guessing game for the children. They loved it. They wanted me to hide the duck so many times that we never got to use the counting rhymes.

I used a coloring sheet I found online as a template for my pumpkins. The duck came from Microsoft Office clipart. I added the detail and outlines with puff paint.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What's Looking at You, Kid? by J. Patrick Lewis

An animal guessing game in a book!

What I thought: I love it! This will be a perfect book to use for my animal antics pajama party this fall. The text is simple and the illustrations are lovely. What's Looking at You, Kid? will pair well with Jack Prelutsky's If Not for the Cat.

Story Time Themes: Animals

(Illus. Renee Graef. Sleeping Bear Press, 2012)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Huff & Puff: Can You Blow Down the Houses of the Three Little Pigs? by Claudia Rueda

In an ingeniously simple retelling of "The Three Little Pigs," Claudia Rueda makes the story interactive for readers.

What I thought: I think Tullet's Press Here has started a trend. Interactive picture books are becoming quite prevalent. I really like her take on "The Three Little Pigs." I would have loved to have had this book when I did a fractured fairy tales program during the summer reading program this year. I'll be adding Huff & Puff to my "Three Little Pigs" book list. The illustrations are great. I love all the pen and ink detail. I can't pick a favorite. Two more things I love about this book: No wolf because the readers and listeners are the wolf and a surprise ending.

Story Time Themes: Fractured Fairy Tales, Interactive Books, The Three Little Pigs

(Abram's Appleseed, 2012)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chloe by Peter McCarty

Chloe has a large family--twenty brothers and sisters--but she's the only one who objects when Dad brings home a new TV. Watching TV is not family fun time. Chloe and her baby sister Bridget discover the joys of cardboard boxes and bubble wrap. They slowly convince their other brothers and sisters that playing and imagining is more fun than watching TV.

What I thought: I love how Chloe promotes imaginative play as a better family fun activity than watching TV. I love the illustrations--soft colors and quite inviting to the viewer. Bridget, of course, is my favorite bunny.

Click here to read my review of Henry in Love where Chloe first appeared as Henry's love interest.

Story Time Themes: Family, Imagination

(Balzer + Bray, 2012)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Duck Sock Hop by Jane Kohuth

The ducks gather for a weekly sock hop dance. They have so much fun they wear their socks out. But don't worry! They'll get new socks before the next sock hop comes.

What I thought: This is a fun book. I can't wait to use it in a story time. It's lively and the illustrations are perfect--bright colors, bold black lines, and good use of white space.

Story Time Themes: Ducks, Socks, Dancing

(Illus. Jane Porter. Dial Books, 2012)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop

Red Knit Cap Girl lives in a lovely enchanted forest. She has plenty of time to wonder about everything including the moon. She wants to reach the moon but doesn't know how. After a consultation with an owl, Red Knit Cap Girl and her animal friends plan a party for the moon.

What I thought: This book is definitely original. I wish I'd had it for the summer reading program. It would have fit in perfectly with my moon themed story time. The illustrations are wonderful. I love how the grain of the plywood comes through the paint. My favorite illustration is Red Knit Cap Girl and the moon (last page).

Story Time Themes: Moon, Parties

(Little, Brown, & Company, 2012)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Zorro Gets an Outfit by Carter Goodrich

You know how humans like to dress their pets up in clothes? Well, Zorro doesn't like his outfit. He feels embarrassed and the other dogs laugh at him. But then he meets Dash, another dog with an outfit. Could it be that outfits are actually cool?

What I thought: Poor Zorro! I'd never thought about how pets feel about being dressed up. I'm glad he met Dash and got over his embarrassment. See my review of Say Hello to Zorro! to read more about Zorro's adventures.

Story Time Themes: Dogs

(Simon & Schuster, 2012)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Don't Copy Me! by Jonathan Allen

Little Puffin just wants to go on a walk, but he has three shadows--the gull chicks who copy his every move. Will they ever listen when Little Puffin says, "Don't Copy Me!"?

What I thought: THis is the first book by Jonathan Allen I've read. I enjoyed it. It's just right for preschoolers. The illustrations are appealing with bold outlines, bright colors, and good use of white space.

Story Time Theme: Birds

(Boxer Books, 2012)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates

Dog of Dog Loves Books is back. He still loves books, but one day his aunt Dora sends him a present, a sketchbook. Dog soon discovers another love--drawing.

What I thought: Another hit from Louise Yates. Dog is still lovable. The adventures he takes with his new sketchbook are so imaginative. I think Dog Loves Drawing will encourage children to go on drawing adventures of their own. All the illustrations are great. I can't pick a favorite.

Story Time Themes: Dogs, Art

(Knopf, 2012)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Top 100 Chapter Books

As you know, Betsy Bird conducted another Chapter Book Poll this spring. I wanted to see how many of them I'd read.

Titles I've read are in bold.

#1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1952)
#2 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1962)
#3 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997)
#4 The Giver by Lois Lowry (1993)
#5 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950)
#6 Holes by Louis Sachar (1998)
#7 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (1967)
#8 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (1908)
#9 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (1978)
#10 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1977)
#11 When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (2009)
#12 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (1999)
#13 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (1997)
#14 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1938)
#15 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
#16 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (1975)

#17 Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (1964)
#18 The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (1964)
#19 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1932)
#20 Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (2000)
#21 The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (1961)
#22 The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973)
#23 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (1989)
#24 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary (1968)
#25 The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (1995)
#26 Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (1926)
#27 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1935)
#28 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (1995)
#29 The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall (2005)
#30 Matilda by Roald Dahl (1988)
#31 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
#32 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor (1976)
#33 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (1971)
#34 Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (1961)
#35 Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (1972)
#36 The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (1958)
#37 The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (2007)
#38 Frindle by Andrew Clements (1996)
#39 The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (2007)
#40 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (1990)
#41 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)
#42 Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright (1957)
#43 Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (1980)
#44 Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (2011)
#45 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (1960)
#46 The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (1990)
#47 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)
#48 The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (1999)
#49 My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (1948)
#50 Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (1989)
#51 The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, A Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo (2003)
#52 Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace (1940)
#53 The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2008)
#54 Half Magic by Edward Eager (1954)
#55 All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor (1951)
#56 A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1905)#57 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (1962)
#58 Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (1930)
#59 The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (2006)
#60 Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (1999)
#61 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)
#62 Clementine by Sara Pennypacker (2006)
#63 The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson (1978)
#64 The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois (1947)
#65 Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012)
#66 The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (2009)
#67 A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck (1998)
#68 The High King by Lloyd Alexander (1968)
#69 The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan (2006)
#70 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (1994)
#71 Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles (2005)
#72 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (2009)
#73 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (1972)
#74 Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (1970)
#75 The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright (1941)
#76 Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (2007)
#77 My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (1959)
#78 Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild (1936)
#79 The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1967)
#80 The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright (1942)
#81 The Witches by Roald Dahl (1983)
#82 The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden (1960)
#83 Ozma of Oz by Frank L. Baum (1907)
#84 The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1940)
#85 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (1997)
#86 Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (1911)
#87 The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (2010)
#88 The BFG by Roald Dahl (1982)
#89 The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary (1967)
#90 The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston (1954)
#91 Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (1950)
#92 Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen (2001)
#93 Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson (2001)
#94 Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary (1977)

#95 The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1943)
#96 The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (1954)
#97 The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton (1962)
#98 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (2000)
#99 The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (1942)
#100 Love That Dog by Sharon Creech (2001)

I've read 43 of the 100. That's not bad, but it's not great either. I might make a project out of reading the rest.

For more information on the Top 100 Chapter Books Poll, click here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top 100 Picture Books

As you know, Betsy Bird conducted another Picture Book Poll this spring. I wanted to see how many of them I'd read.

Titles I've read are in bold.

#1 Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963)
#2 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1979)
#3 Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (2003)
#4 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947)
#5 The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (1962)
#6 Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (1941)
#7 Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems (2004)
#8 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz (1972)
#9 Bark, George by Jules Feiffer (1999)
#10 The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, illustrated by Mike Smollin (1971)
#11 Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (1996)
#12 Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (1960)
#13 Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (1982)
#14 Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (1947)
#15 Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel (1970)
#16 Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (1955)
#17 The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson (1936)
#18 A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (2010)
#19 The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (1902)
#20 Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean (2010)
#21 Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag (1928)
#22 Corduroy by Donald Freeman (1976)
#23 Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert (1989)
#24 Tuesday by David Wiesner (1991)
#25 Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (2004)
#26 We Are in a Book by Mo Willems (2010)
#27 Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban (1964)
#28 Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman (1961)
#29 Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry Allard, illustrated by James Marshall (1977)
#30 Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (1987)
#31 Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey (1948)
#32 The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton (1942)
#33 The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (1971)
#34 Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola (1975)
#35 The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith (1989)
#36 The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (1957)
#37 The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (2009)
#38 Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.,
illustrated by Eric Carle (1967)
#39 Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin (2000)
#40 Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann (1994)
#41 Curious George by H.A. Rey (1941)
#42 Freight Train by Donald Crews (1978)
#43 Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, ill. by Margaret Bloy Graham (1956)
#44 The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood (1984)
#45 Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman (1960)
#46 Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say (1993)
#47 Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (1939)
#48 George and Martha by James Marshall (1972)
#49 Press Here by Herve Tullet (2011)
#50 The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg (1984)
#51 The Library by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small (1995)
#52 Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth (2005)
#53 Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco (1998)
#54 Olivia by Ian Falconer (2000)
#55 Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (1969)
#56 The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (1985)
#57 Doctor De Soto by William Steig (1982)
#58 Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt (2006)
#59 Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann (1995)
#60 There Is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems (2007)
#61 How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (1957)
#62 Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley (1992)
#63 The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss (1961)
#64 King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood (1985)
#65 The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2006)
#66 Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (1991)
#67 Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Garth Williams (1960)
#68 The Three Pigs by David Wiesner (2001)
#69 Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton (1995)
#70 Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas (2009)
#71 Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (1993)
#72 But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton (1982)
#73 May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, illustrated by Beni Montresor (1964)
#74 I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (2011)
#75 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett (1978)
#76 Eloise by Kay Thompson (1955)
#77 Flotsam by David Wiesner (2006)
#78 Zoom at Sea by Tim Wynne-Jones, illustrated by Eric Beddows (1993)
#79 Pierre by Maurice Sendak (1962)
#80 Madeline’s Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans (1953)
#81 Fortunately by Remy Charlip (1964)
#82 A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton (2008)
#83 Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman (2002)
#84 Not a Box by Antoinette Portis (2006)
#85 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (1964)
#86 The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch (1980)
#87 My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza (2005)
#88 No, David! by David Shannon (1998)
#89 Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel, ill. by Blair Lent (1968)
#91 The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith (1992)
#90 Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller (2003)
#92 The Gardener by Sarah Steward, illustrated by David Small (1997)
#93 Traction Man is Here! by Mini Grey (2005)
#94 The Mitten by Jan Brett (1989)
#95 The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (2007)
#96 Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber (1972)
#97 Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek (2004)
#98 Duck On a Bike by David Shannon (2002)
#99 The Maggie B by Irene Haas (1975)
#100 The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson (1945)

I've read 43 of the 100. That's not bad, but it's not great either. I might make a project out of reading the rest.

For more information on the Top 100 Picture Books Poll, click here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

#FlannelFriday: "Goodnight Mummy" by Roger Stevens

I first used the poem "Goodnight Mummy" by Roger Stevens (from Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems collected by Jane Yolen & Andrew Fusek Peters) in February during the first Stuffed Animal Sleepover I ever hosted. I didn't get the response I expected from a poem I really liked.

As I was planning my Bedtime Preschool Story Time, I wanted a new flannel board story to use. I was inspired to turn "Goodnight Mummy" into an interactive flannel board set.

This is the most ambitious flannel project I've undertaken to date. There are 24 individual pieces to this set. I mostly used clipart for patterns with the occasional coloring sheet thrown in. All the pieces are somewhere between 2 and 3 inches. I outlined and added details to all the pieces with puff paint. I'm very pleased with how everything turned out.

Here's how I use this set during story time: I read the poem (which I now have memorized!) and place the pieces on my flannel board. Then I ask the children if they want to help me read it again. I give each child at least one piece to put on the board. After all the pieces are in place again, I read through the poem again with the children helping me. "Goodnight Mummy" reminds me of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y. S. Lee

The Agency #3

Mary Quinn's latest assignment for the Agency is rather dull even if it did land her in Buckingham Palace. There's a thief at work within the palace, but with the moratorium on servants' gossip, there have been few leads in the case. James comes back into Mary's life as does another person from her past. The dull, mundane assignment quickly escalates into the most exciting of her career.

What I thought: When I first read The Traitor in the Tunnel, I was under the impression that it was the last book in the series. I have since learned that there will be another book. I couldn't be more pleased, but the following review was written in the frame of mind that it was the last book.

What a book! Mary and James fairly make the pages sizzle and unlike the last book in many trilogies, The Traitor in the Tunnel ties up all loose ends and leaves you feeling good about where the characters are. I think I might commemorate the end of the series by re-reading the whole of it.

I'm looking forward to the 4th book. According to GoodReads, the title is Rivals in the City, but there's no publication date listed. I'm hoping 2013.

(Candlewick, 2012)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler

Like all good fairy tales, this one begins with a stepmother and a curse. The new queen wants her future children to inherit the throne not one of her five stepsons. She turns them into swans and it's up their younger sister Meriel to rescue them.

What I thought: This is a fairy tale I'm less familiar with, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Meriel is a strong character. I don't know which would be worse--stinging nettles or not speaking. Her friendship with Riona and Liam is nice. Middle Grade retellings are starting to grow on me. I liked Princess of the Wild Swans almost as much as The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell. I can't wait to see what Zahler writes next.

(Harper, 2012)

Friday, August 10, 2012

SRP Week 8 Reflection

The end of summer reading has finally arrived. This was a slower week. I only visited 3 of my 4 branches and the day camps all stopped coming last week. I presented 9 programs with an attendance of 123.

All events this week were a bit hectic as I was presenting the programs AND handing out certificates and drawing for prizes. I'm seriously considering not doing a story time or event during the last week and just handing the certificates and prizes next week.

The kids really enjoyed the craft that went along with the Fractured Fairy Tales School Age Event. This is the second time I've used the Three Little Pigs as a theme.

Teen Game Night went well. The teens decided to play Name 5 and then Spoons. One of the teens introduced us to the game of Spoons months ago. Everyone likes it. I think it can even be a bit addictive.

I think all the children enjoyed the reading portion of the program. We had 147 children (birth-age 12) sign up. We had 14 teens sign up. However, only 45.5% of the children completed their logs. 35.7% of the teens completed their logs. Next year, I'm hoping the school visits & registration times during May will see an increase in both sign ups and completion.

In 8 weeks, I presented 115 programs with an attendance of 1,985. I was more prepared this year (my 2nd) than I was last year. Pinterest played quite a role in helping me plan summer reading. It was especially helpful for finding crafts and activities. Here's a link to my Summer Reading Program 2012 board.

For next year, I want to plan earlier and be ready to go. As soon as I receive the manual, I'm going to start planning. I'm also going to dedicate the whole of May to outreach visits to the schools. I'm hoping to increase our community involvement. I'm also going to schedule afternoon/evening and Saturday time for SRP registration. Parents will receive event schedules and a FAQ sheet about the reading portion of the program. They'll receive their logs on the 1st day of the program.

I think I've already said that I plan to separate the day camps from the community programs. At one branch, I also plan to add a second story time session. The attendance was great, but I think it would work better with 2 smaller sessions.

If the weather cooperates and school ends when it's projected to, I plan to start my 2013 summer reading program the first week of June and wrap it up by the end of July.

Well, that ends my Summer Reading Reflections for this year. I hope you've enjoyed them.

#FlannelFriday: Blue Ted Said

I was excited when I saw Library Quine's Red Ted Said flannel board set. She linked back to Sarah at Reading Rabbit who posted her version the week before and also to the free patterns at Making Learning Fun.

I liked the changes Library Quine made to the rhyme. I adapted it a little further because I didn't make a red teddy bear.

I used this felt set during my 2nd Stuffed Animal Sleepover of the Summer Reading Program. I may also use it during my last 2 preschool story times (Bedtime and Pajamas).

You may not notice, but the green bear looks like he had the measles. His face messed up, so I just turned him over. I encountered a slight problem (the paint came through), but I thought he was still salvageable.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Animal Masqurade by Marianne Dubuc

A masquerade ball for the animals...what will they go dressed as? They choose a surprising array of disguises.

What I thought: This is a fun book! I may use it for a party themed story time or around Halloween for a costumes themed story time. The animals' disguises are hilarious. The illustrations are nice. I think they're done with colored pencils which is one of my favorite mediums. I like this French import, and I think my story time kids will as well.

Story Time Themes: Party, Costumes, Animal Antics

(Kids Can Press, 2012)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One Special Day by Lola M. Schaefer

Summary from amazon.com: Does having a new brother or sister make you into MORE than you already are? Spencer is about to find out. He’s as strong as a bear, as funny as a monkey, and as wild as a tiger. But on one special day, everything changes. Now Spencer is strong, funny, wild, brave, free... and gentle, too.

What I thought: One Special Day is a sweet, wonderful story. I love the simplicity of the text. The illustrations are gorgeous. It was hard to pick a favorite as I like them all, but I suppose if I had to pick I'd pick the family picnic with all the animals looking on. I need to do a siblings story time. This book would be perfect.

(Illus. Jessica Meserve. Disney Hyperion, 2012)

Monday, August 6, 2012

SRP Week 7 Reflection

Only 1 more week to go! This week, I presented 16 programs with an attendance of 182.

The bedtime preschool story time went well. Interrupting Chicken is one of my favorite books to read aloud. My felt version of the poem "Goodnight Mummy" by Roger Stevens (from Switching on the Moon...will be my #FlannelFriday post on August 17) was a big hit with the kids. I couldn't find a coloring sheet to go with the bedtime theme so I made my own. I typed the words "My Quilt" and added a 4 column by 5 row table in a word document. The kids can then use the sheet to color and design their own quilts.

It was hard to find books that were scary, but not too scary for the Shivery Bedtime Stories school age event. The Book that Eats People came the closest, but I still wasn't happy with the books or the kids' reactions. The craft was a hit. It's been a long time since I made coffee filter ghosts.

I was very excited about the Tween Night Themed Paper Crafts events. I used Pinterest heavily to find ideas for the event. The only money I had to invest was on some scrapbook paper. Everything else, I either had at the library or I could bring from home. It wasn't a hard event to prepare for. I just had to gather the supplies and make copies of the patterns and instructions. The day dawned bright, the event was a bust. No one showed up. It was the tax free weekend in my state. I suppose everyone was too busy with school shopping to come to the library. Never fear! I'll use the ideas here and there, so it won't be a total waste.

The Teen After Hours Party was a rousing success. We had 8 teens attend and I think a good time was had by all. I didn't have a set agenda in mind. I let the teens vote on the movie and game. I then asked them what they wanted to do first. Eat, of course. I had leftover supplies from the Edible Crafts event at another branch, so we also made owl cupcakes and Oreo bats while we snacked. Playing Name 5 on teams was fun. Some of the questions we couldn't answer, but we had fun. The top 3 movie choices were The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Inkheart, and Prince Caspian. We made popcorn and also enjoyed the snacks from the start of the event. At the end of the night, I pressed Fall schedules into all their hands. I'm hoping our fall teen events do as well as the After Hours Party did.

The last Stuffed Animal Sleepover was a slight disappointment. I only had 1 little boy show up. Nevertheless, I did story time and took pictures afterward. Here's a link to the pictures.

Next week will be hectic because reading logs are due. I have certificates and gift certificates to hand out as well as drawing for the prizes in each age group. I can't say I'm sorry for Summer Reading to be ending. I'm ready for a break!

Friday, August 3, 2012

#FlannelFriday: The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle

I first encountered The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle when I used it to kick off a series of color themed preschool story times back in the winter and spring.

Not long after that, I saw the felt set Miss Mary from Miss Mary Liberry created. She mentioned the free patterns came from Storytime Magic.

When I was planning my Dreams and Wishes preschool story time for this year's Summer Reading Program, The Mixed-Up Chameleon seemed like the perfect book to adapt into a flannel board story.

If I had to make this set again, I would only use puff paint for details, not outlines. Does anyone else have a problem with the puff paint getting stuck to the other pieces?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland

This bear loves to hug. He'll hug anything, but his favorite thing to hug is trees. When he finds a man with an ax in the forest, he doesn't feel very hugging.

What I thought: I loved Big Bear Hug! I can't wait to pair it with Hugless Douglas. The story is sweet and the illustrations are nice. I find it interesting that the human is the only figure that has outlines. My favorite illustrations are hugging rabbit, hugging moose, and hugging the tree (last page).

Story Time Themes: Hugging, Arbor Day, Trees

(Kids Can Press, 2012)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

SRP Week 6 Reflection

Another busy week this week, but there are only 2 more weeks of the Summer Reading Program left. This week I presented 13 programs with an attendance of 245.

I was very pleased with how my Dreams & Wishes preschool story time went. I didn't change anything as the week progressed. (I did shorten it sometimes to just the flannel story and the last book if time was short.) The kids loved my flannel version of The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle. They laughed and laughed as he made his wishes. Old Bear by Kevin Henkes is a beautiful book. I can't wait to use it again. I think I might have an all Henkes story time in the spring.

The Dreamers & Doers school age event went well, but it was rather short. I only read 1 book, the kids all told what they wanted to be when they grow up, and then we did the drawing activity. I enjoyed learning more about Jane Goodall.

I used the same agenda for my 3rd Stuffed Animal Sleepover as I did for the 2nd. It worked great, but seemed a little short. I may add another book or activity to bump it up to a full 30 minutes. This sleepover may end up having the highest attendance. Eight kids brought animals to the sleepover. Here's a link to the pictures.

Only 2 more weeks to go! The summer has flown by and I'm honestly ready for a little break. Next week is going to be busy with the usual preschool story times and school age events as well as a Stuffed Animal Sleepover (the last of the summer), a teen event, and a tween event. The Summer Reading Program ends next week at one of my branches because the children will be back in school the week after.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The House of 12 Bunnies by Caroline Stills & Sarcia Stills-Blott

It's almost bedtime, but Sophia has misplaced something. She searches the whole house. Each room has lots of stuff as 12 bunnies live there. Will Sophia find what she's looking for before bedtime?

What I thought: Such a cute book. I like the story. I think children will enjoy finding all the things named on each page. I might read this book twice during story time--once all the way through and a second time pausing for my story time kids to locate the items. I loved finding out what Sophia was looking for, but I won't give it away here. The illustrations are cute. I like the soft lines and pastel colors. I love how they all show action and movement. My favorite is where they're all in bed. When I first read The House of 12 Bunnies, I thought it would be perfect for my Stuffed Animal Sleepover during the Summer Reading Program. I've used it once thus far and it seemed to flop. I think I'll try it again this week.

(Illus. Judith Rossell. Holiday House, 2012)

Friday, July 27, 2012

#FlannelFriday: DINGO

I made this set to go along with a song I found in the PUBYAC archives to fit in with my Australia program.

While, I was cutting out letters, I went ahead and cut out a B so I can also use this set for "BINGO." I used clipart for the letters and a coloring sheet for the hand print.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Can I Bring Woolly to the Library, Ms. Reeder? by Louise Grambling

A little boy does his best to persuade the librarian to let him bring his woolly mammoth to the library.

What I thought: This book is so funny! I can't wait to use it when I have students from elementary schools visit the library. I know they'll enjoy it. The ending was perfect. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and appealing. My favorites are Woolly in bunny slippers and Woolly in the reading corner.

(Illus. Judy Love. Charlesbridge, 2012)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems

Pigeon wants to know just who is that duckling and why does she get what she asks for? What's so special about being a duckling? Pigeon asks for lots of things and the answer is always no. Life just isn't fair!

What I thought: The duckling is cute, but Pigeon is still the star of this book. His outrage at the duckling's success in obtaining a cookie when she asked for it is hilarious. The illustrations are fabulous as usual. I can't pick a favorite. I'm looking forward to using this book in the fall when I host an Elephant & Piggie Party (And Pigeon, Too!)

(Hyperion, 2012)

Monday, July 23, 2012

SRP Week 5 Reflection

Only 3 more weeks left of the Summer Reading Program...seems like it's flown by. This week, I presented 14 programs with an attendance of 278.

Here are links to my program plans for this week:

The preschool story times all went smoothly this week. Into the Outdoors by Susan Gal was my favorite book of the 3 I read. I wish I had had time to create a felt set to go with the Campfire Pokey Song. I saw Storytime Katie's and loved it, but I didn't have time to make it. Maybe after Summer Reading is over. I used Raffi's "Shake My Sillies Out" for the first time ever this week. Needless to say, I had the song stuck in my head all week. It got a good reaction from the kids. Some did complain that it was too short.

The lesson I learned this week was to estimate better the number of materials needed. On Monday, when a coworker and I were putting together the edible campfire kits, I had to run out to get more tootsie rolls and candy corn. The kids loved making an edible craft, but it was a fight to keep them from eating the ingredients before the fires were finished. I really liked the "I'm packing my backpack" activity I found in Upstart's Read S'more Books Activity Guide.

The Edible Crafts Event for teens went smoothly, but again we had a low turnout. By the end of the event we were all chocolated out.

For my second Stuffed Animal Sleepover, I picked new books and made a new flannel board set (coming soon on Friday, August 10). I only had 3 kids show up, but we had a good time. Here's a link to the pictures. I plan to use the same agenda for my 3rd Stuffed Animal Sleepover next week. I'm hoping for more kids to test it on.

This was also the week that parents turned in the first Rubber Ducky Club sheets to receive a rubber ducky for their babies. The majority did turn in their first sheets. The babies liked the rubber ducks. I think I'll definitely be doing this again next year.

I can't believe there are only 3 more weeks of Summer Reading left. The coming week will be as busy as this one with the usual mix of preschool story times, school age events, and the 3rd Stuffed Animal Sleepover.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The 3 Little Dassies by Jan Brett

The 3 little dassies (Mimbi, Pimbi, and Timbi) leave home in search of a new home--cooler, less crowded, and safe from eagles. They think they have found it at the foot of a mountain. Mimbi builds a house of grass. Pimbi builds one of driftwood. Timbi builds her house out of stones. Will their houses keep them safe from the eagle at the top of the mountain?

What I thought: A delightful version of "The Three Little Pigs." I wish I had had this book last summer when Africa was my story time theme. The illustrations are colorful and classic Jan Brett. I'm growing quite fond of her foreshadowing (or "meanwhile") borders. The illustrations are so detailed. I went back to look again them again after I'd read the story. My favorite illustrations are Timbi looking out of her house and the last page. One of the best things about The 3 Little Dassies is that it's short enough to share with preschoolers. Maybe I should plan folktales story time for the fall.

Story Time Themes: Folktales, African Animals, the 3 Little Pigs

(G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2010)

Monday, July 16, 2012

SRP Week 4 Reflection

This week was a bit busier than the last. I presented 14 programs with an attendance of 284.

The Stars Preschool Story Times went quite well. I initially had 3 books planned, but ended up only using 2: Stars by Mary Lyn Ray and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. I remember when I first read Stars back in the spring that I didn't like it. After reading it 5 times during the week, I really liked it. I even had one mom ask me if she could check it out. Jerry Pinkney's illustrations of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star were fabulous. I liked the wordless bits best. The kids wanted to sing the song, but we couldn't get the pacing right.

The inspiration for my Good Morning Here, Good Night There School Age Event came from the California Library Association's Summer Reading Workshop (click on Children's SRPs 2012 handout.doc). The original program used Turkey as the country. The problem I had was that Turkey is not enough ahead of North Carolina. Using The World Clock, I isolated those countries that were at least 12 hours ahead of North Carolina. I decided to go with Australia. Last summer, during the One World, Many Stories Summer Reading Program, I also did an Australia program. This time around, it was easier to plan because I has already planned a program like it before. I made a new felt board set for the occasion (coming Friday) to go with a song I found in the PUBYAC Archives ("DINGO"). I loved using Over in Australia: Amazing Animals Down Under by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Jill Dubin. It worked well even with the older kids because they enjoyed locating the hidden animals. The origami koala was wonderfully easy. I made copies of the instructions, but I liked to walk the kids through the craft. I made 4 koalas in the course of the week.

The Jeopardy Night Edition for Teens was another program I borrowed from the California Library Association's Summer Reading Workshop (click on Teen SRPs 2012 Ideas.docx). I used the questions they provided. All I had to do was make the board and provide prizes. Six teens showed up and they played on 2 teams of 3. Our teen events are advertised for ages 11-17. The average age of the teens that attended this program was 11.8 years old. If I would have known that, I would have changed some of the questions. They all blanked on the Vampires in Literature category. The Shadow Animals category was hilarious. I should have practiced beforehand.

Seven tweens attended the Fairy Tale Movie Theater. The first thing they did was vote on their top 3 movie choices. The top 4 choice were The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Sleeping Beauty, and Mulan. Interestingly, Cinderella didn't receive any votes. Then began the first set of technical problems: no sound. After fiddling for about 25 minutes, the branch manager and I got it working. About 30 minutes later, the 2nd problem began. The Princess and the Frog was the library's copy. It had been well loved and started to skip. I had cleaned the DVD before we started. I restarted it a couple of times, but finally had to give up and go with their second choice, Tangled. These difficulties made the event run a little late, but a good time was had by all. Of course, I also had a display of fairy tale retellings and pointed the tweens in the direction of the 398.2s.

I can't believe the Summer Reading Program is half over. Next week will likely be as busy as this one was. As usual, I'll have preschool story times, school age events, a teen event, and the 2nd stuffed animal sleepover.

Friday, July 13, 2012

#FlannelFriday: Star Light, Star Bright

This is the second star themed felt set I made for my Dream Big Summer Reading Program. "Star Light, Star Bright" is one of those rhymes I've always known and I thought it would be a good one to use with a flannel board. I used clipart and autoshapes for patterns and then outlined the figures and added the words with puff paint.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Otto the Book Bear by Kate Cleminson

Otto is a book bear. Normally, you'd find him in the pages of his book. But when you're not looking, he steps out and goes exploring. Left behind in a move, Otto searches and searches until he finds a home that's just right for him--the library.

What I thought: Otto the Book Bear is a cute book. I find it very imaginative as it sort of build on the mythology of Winnie-the-Pooh where Christopher Robin's stuffed animals live and play in the Hundred Acre Wood. I love the nod to libraries. I'm using Otto the Book Bear during the Stuffed Animal Sleepovers I'm hosting as part of the Summer Reading Program. The illustrations are lovely. They remind me of Kady MacDonald's from the Bear and Mouse books. My favorites are leaving the page and another book bear.

Story Time Themes: Books, Bears, Libraries

(Disney Hyperion, 2012)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Naamah and the Ark at Night by Susan Campbell Batoletti

Naamah is Noah's wife. Each night on the ark, she sings to the animals and lulls them to sleep.

What I thought: A lovely story with beautiful illustrations. I'd never given Noah's wife much thought, but I'm glad Bartoletti did. The story she created is lyrical. I love the illustrations. Cut paper collage is becoming one of my favorite illustration techniques. My favorite illustrations from the book are lions & tigers and moon & stars.

(Illus. Holly Meade. Candlewick, 2012)

Monday, July 9, 2012

SRP Week 3 Reflection

As I predicted, this week was slower because 3 of the 4 day camps were on vacation and I had no programs on July 4th. I presented 15 programs with an attendance of 198.

Here are the links to my program plans for this week:

The preschool story times (all four of them) went well. I struggled a little with book selections. I used When Moon Fell Down by Linda Smith with my first group and it fell flat. It may have something to do with the large attendance (I've had 57, 41, & 47 including adults). I'm actually considering having 2 story time sessions at that branch next year capping attendance at 25-30 kids per session. The next time, I tried The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson. It did a little better, but didn't get the reaction or attention I hoped for. I finally used Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes to start the story time. It worked well with the kids enthralled by the story and laughing at the kitten's antics. The second book I used was Moonlight by Helen V. Griffith. It's a new book (published 2012) and I love it. The kids didn't really like the butter imagery, but they did like naming and counting the animals on each page. The transition to dancing wasn't planned but worked so well with the rabbit dancing at the end of the story. My felt version of "Hey Diddle Diddle" worked well. The majority of the kids knew the rhyme and enjoyed repeating it as I pointed to the figures.

I was quite pleased with how the school age event turned out. Aliens Are Coming was a great read-aloud for elementary age kids. Both the craft (make your own alien) and the game (planetary tag) were hits. I hope the other programs for this age goes as smoothly.

This was also the week that I present the first of 4 Stuffed Animal Sleepovers. The attendance wasn't great, but I think the kids enjoyed it. As you can see from my program plan, I had a hard time deciding on which books to read. Before it's all over, I'm sure I'll change it again and again. I first tried this event in February and liked how it turned out. Also, if you're interested, here's a link to the photos from the 1st Summer Reading Program Stuffed Animal Sleepover.

The fourth week will be busy much like the 1st and 2nd weeks with community groups, 3 day camp groups, and a  tween event.

Friday, July 6, 2012

#FlannelFriday: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

I needed a felt set (or 2) to go along with my Stars preschool story time during the Dream Big Summer Reading Program. The most obvious song/story/rhyme to turn into a felt set was "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." I used clipart and autoshapes for patterns and outlined each figure with puff paint. I'll be using this set with the first verse of the song.  Next week, look for my felt version of "Star Light, Star Bright."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How to Be Friends with a Dragon by Valeri Gorbachev

Simon loves dragons so much that he'd like to make friends. Luckily, Simon's sister Emma knows all the dragon befriending rules.

What I thought: Another good dragon picture book. In the fall, I'll pair How to Be Friends with a Dragon with Dave and Violet and Me and My Dragon for a great preschool story time. The illustrations are nice. I like all the colors. My favorites are dragon sleeping and saying good night.

Story Time Themes: Dragons, Friendship

(Albert Whitman, 2012)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo

One simple question--Can I have a penguin?--starts an adventure of unimagined proportions for young Elliot and his new friend Magellan.

What I thought: This is a great book. Elliot is an unusual child (serious and as you know, very proper) and that made his desire for a penguin all the more hilarious. I loved the twist at the end. Throughout the book, you're holding your breath waiting for his dad to find out. I was surprised at his reaction. This will be a grand addition to my penguin story time. Elliot and Magellan's adventure reminded me of the film adaptation of Mr. Popper's Penguins. The illustrations were great. I love the limited color palette. My favorites are Elliot and Magellan skating and the last page (Dad with Captain Cook).

Story Time Themes: Penguins, Friendship

(Illus. David Small. Dial, 2012)

Monday, July 2, 2012

SRP Week 2 Reflection

Week 2 of the Summer Reading Program went a lot smoother than Week 1. I was less tired and enjoyed the time I spent with the kids. During the second week, I presented 18 programs with a total attendance of 317. The attendance was a little lower this week, but one of my day camps from the schools couldn't come because of a field trip.

In my head, I'm already thinking ahead to next year. One of my four libraries already has separate programs for the community and the day camps. At the other three, the community and day camps are combined. Next year, I'm separating all the programs and changing some times. One of my preschool story times is experiencing very low attendance because of the time. The time was set to accommodate the day camp groups that come after it. This is my second year of summer reading. I'm more prepared this year than I was last. Next year, I hope to be completely prepared before the program starts.

All of the preschool story times went well. Bandits by Johanna Wright didn't end up being a great read-aloud, but I'd like to try it again during the fall or spring with smaller audiences.

The school age event was fun. Overall, I think the kids enjoyed the craft. It was easy to do and I had 100 kits made up before hand and only ran out at the very end. My favorite read-alouds were Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and Gooseberry Park. The Night Fairy seemed a little too long (2 chapters) and to really make Poppy work, I should have practiced beforehand.

The Luau Movie Night would have been more fun if we'd had better attendance. Only two teens showed up and we ended up playing Spoons instead of watching a movie. On a side note: I've fell in love with the Gidget movies. I think I've watched them 3 times each already.

The Nocturnal Animals Fest for tweens turned out well, but I would have liked a better attendance. Three girls came and we had a lot of fun. My favorite parts were the Animal Tracks Match Up and making the owl cupcakes.

The upcoming third week will be slower because 3 of the 4 days camps will be on vacation and one day is a national holiday. I think I'll welcome a break.

Friday, June 29, 2012

#FlannelFriday: Five Little Bats

This week, I was looking for a simple flannel set to use during my nocturnal animals story time. My books were about honey badgers and raccoons, so I wanted another nighttime animal. A quick search of Pinterest led me to the bats that Miss Meghan from Busy Crafting Mommy made. I liked hers and they looked simple enough to make.

I was able to locate a coloring sheet similar to the one she used. (I love that you can just type in "bat coloring page" to Google Image Search and find what you're looking for.) I cut my bats from black belt and outlined them with silver puff paint. I don't think it's my best work with puff paint, but they'll do. I've got a couple of rhymes found on various story time sites to use with them.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ballerina Swan by Allegra Kent

Sophie is a swan who wants to dance. A young ballet instructor gives her a chance. Sophie turns out to be quite good at ballet and gets the prize role in a recital.

What I thought: Such a sweet book. Sophie is a lovable character. The illustrations are nice. My favorite is Sophie practicing her moves. Hand this to the young dancers at your library. Ballerina Swan would pair well with Brontorina by James Howe, The Jellybeans and the Big Dance by Laura Numeroff, and Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet by Jane O'Connor. I will definitely be adding this to my display at Fancy Nancy Parties.

(Illus. Emily Arnold McCully. Holiday House, 2012)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More by I. C. Springman

Magpies like to collect things. This magpie gets more and more until it's just too much. With the help of some mice friends, the magpie purges his collection and is left with just enough stuff.

What I thought: First, I love the sparse text. It gives you time to peruse the illustrations. I can't wait to use this in story time. I know my kids will like to identify all the magpie's stuff and count the nests. The illustrations are lovely. I could look at them again and again. My favorites are something, enough! and Yes, enough.

(Illus. Brian Lies. Houghton Mifflin, 2012)

Monday, June 25, 2012

SRP Week 1 Reflection

I survived! The first week of the Summer Reading Program at my four libraries wasn't too horrible. I was just really tired by the end of the week. I presented 17 programs with an attendance of 358. The programs were mostly preschool story times and school age events. I also had 1 teen event this week. My system uses the Collaborative Summer Library Program's theme. As you know, the children's theme this year is "Dream Big--Read!" and the teen theme is "Own the Night."

Everything went smoothly with preschool story time. I was overwhelmed at one library with 36 kids (ages 0-5) and 21 adults in 1 story time. That's 16 more than my biggest attendance last year. I'll be more prepared this week for the large attendance.

Day camps from the local schools bring groups to the library for the Summer Reading Program Events. Last year was the first time I'd dealt with such groups. I'm pleased to say that this year is off to a rousing start. When I have an hour with the kids, I try to read from a chapter book, discuss the topic (in a nonfiction sort of way), have a craft for the kids to do, and a game for them to play. When I only have 30 minutes, we do the reading, discussion, and game. I send them home with a coloring or drawing sheet. At three of my libraries, the damp camp groups are combined with the community. Next year, I plan to separate this groups. I think the day camp kids overwhelm the community kids. In separating the groups next year, I hope to see better attendance from the community.

I had fun with the teen event. It required very little planning and prep on my part because I found in on the California Library Association's Summer Reading Page. It was presented at their SRP workshop. The original program plan had 8 different activities. I had 3 teens show up, but they could only stay for an hour (play practice) so I modified and we did 5 of the 8 activities. The wild animal vaccination challenge required the use of dart guns. I'll never purchase them at Dollar Tree again. They were defective. The teens ended up just throwing the darts at the animals.

This year, I'm doing something familiar to me, but something that hasn't been done in my system for a long time. For each age group, I have set a small reading goal. When they meet their goal at the end of the program, they get a certificate and are entered in a grand prize drawing. For the 0-2 age, I'm trying out the Rubber Ducky Club that I heard about from Marge Loch-Wouters on her blog Tiny Tips for Library Fun. Kids also receive a small prize at the end of each program they attend.

This next week will be as busy as the last. I have 18 programs. Again, it's mostly preschool story times and school age events. I also have a teen program and a tween program this week.

Friday, June 22, 2012

#FlannelFriday: Five Little Owls

Katie from Story Time Katie first alerted me to a template for felt owls. I have crocheted owl magnets (use a modified pattern I found online) that I have been using for story time, but these felt owls were so cute I knew I wanted to make them. Using Katie's link I went to Leah at Sunflower Storytime and used her template to make my owls. I think I might make another set in the future using either earth tones or more natural colors. I have several "Five Little Owls" rhymes that I used with these during this week's owl story time (my first week of summer reading...only 7 more to go!)

As an added bonus to this post, here's a picture of my crocheted owl magnets:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy & Randall Wright

Skilley is the perfect cat to be mouser at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. He's a cat with a secret. When Pip (a Cheshire Cheese mouse) discovers his secret, the unlikely allies become friends. They work together to save first the British Empire and then the mice from Skilley's nemesis Pinch.

What I thought: This was a delightful book. I wasn't sure about reading it, but once I got started I was hooked. The setting and characters are unique. I liked the cameo appearances by famous authors. Incidentally, A Tale of Two Cities is my least favorite book by Dickens. I was forced to read it as a high school sophomore. My favorite scene was Too welcoming Skilley to the inn. The Cheshire Cheese Cat could be one of my favorite animal fantasies. It's right up there with Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

(Illus. Barry Moser. Peachtree, 2011)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine

Summary from Amazon.com: Inspired by William Carlos Williams’s famous poem ”This Is Just to Say,” Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine delivers a wickedly funny collection of her own false apology poems, imagining how tricksters really feel about the mischief they make. Matthew Cordell’s clever and playful line art lightheartedly captures the spirit of the poetry. This is the perfect book for anyone who’s ever apologized . . . and not really meant it.

What I thought: I remember studying William Carlos Williams' poetry in college. The red wheelbarrow poem stood out more to me than the apology poem, but I like what Levine has done with it. The sprinkling of fairy tale characters was nice. I might even try writing one of my own. My favorite poems are Sleeping Beauty, Jack's cow, Rapunzel, and the Princess and the pea. I'm making a copy of the authors introduction and try my hand at false apology poem soon. It might be fun to be wicked...on paper at least!

(Illus. Matthew Cordell. Harper, 2012)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

About Habitats: Oceans by Cathryn Sill

A simple, informative introduction to oceans for children (and adults).

What I thought: This is the first book in the About Habitats series I've read, but I've read several of the About...series by Cathyrn and John Sill. Oceans is just great. What I like most is that it's simple enought to share with preschoolers, but the afterward provides adiitional information that will appeal to older children. John's illustrations are so beautiful. My favorites are the blackwing flying fish, green sea turtle, and leafy sea dragon.

(Illus. John Sill. Peachtree, 2012)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Here Come the Girl Scouts by Shana Corey

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, Shana Corey introduces us to its founder, Juliette Gordon Low. She had gumption!

What I thought: This book made me want to join the Girls Scouts even though I'm much too old. I've always been fascinated by the organization. It was nice to learn more. When I was 14, I visited the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace. This book made that past experience even more real for me. Hadley Hooper's illustrations are lovely. The colors are great and I love the bold black lines. If I ever have a daughter, I want her to be a Girl Scout.

(Illus. Hadley Hooper. Scholastic, 2012)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hans My Hedgehog retold by Kate Coombs

Born to parents who desperately wanted a child, Hans is half hedgehog and half boy. He plays the fiddle, rides a rooster and keeps a herd of pigs. His differences drive him to live alone in the forest. Promises from kings mean brides for Hans, but can they free him from his hedgehog self?

What I thought: I'd never heard of this tale. I keep resolving at intervals to read all of Grimm's Fairy Tales, but I never quite manage it and "Hans My Hedgehog" is towards the end. I liked this retelling, especially Kate's word choice. This would be a lovely story to read aloud. It reminded me of the story of Beauty and the Beast. As first, I didn't care for the illustrations, but then they grew on me. The colors are quite striking. The author's note was nice. Kate is upfront about the changes she's made to the story. As always, I read the original tale. I agree with the changes she made.

(Illus. John Nickle. Atheneum, 2012)

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Brief Hiatus...

You may have noticed I haven't posted a review in the past week. I'm taking a brief break from book blogging to catch up on my reading and work on my program plans for summer reading. But I'll be back in a few weeks with reviews and some #FlannelFriday posts.

Until then, happy reading to all my readers!

Friday, May 4, 2012

I've Lost My Hippopotamus by Jack Prelutsky

Animals abound in this new collection from the 1st Children's Poet Laureate. Some are real. You might even have seen them in a zoo. Others live in the poet's imagination like the crabacus and the boomerangutan.

What I thought: I'm never disappointed in Prelutsky's poetry. It's funny. At times, it's downright absurd. That's why it works...it's fun! Kids (and adults) don't want to read dull poetry. The illustrations are great. Black line drawings can pack quite a punch. The made-up animals reminded me of Prelutsky's other collection Scranimals. My favorite poems are "Shopping at the Dragon Store," "I Planted a Whistle," "The Hopalotamus," "I Laugh at My Hyena," "The Elegant Bowtiger," and "It's Noisy in My Garden."

(Illus. Jackie Urbanovic. Greenwillow, 2012)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost

Photographs by Rick Lieder.

Frost's lyrical poem celebrates nature--what you'll see if you just "step gently out." Lieder's photographs complement it perfectly.

What I thought: Oh, how I wish I had had this book for my Bugs Family Story Time in March. It's lovely. The line breaks/page breaks are perfectly situated for reflecting and pondering before you turn the page. Lieder's photos are extraordinary. My favorites are the cricket, the moth, and the firefly. Step Gently Out is an unexpected gem!

(Candlewick, 2012)

Monday, April 30, 2012

In the Sea by David Elliott

In his latest poetry collection, David Elliott leaves the wild and farms behind and dives into the deep. His poetry and Holly Meade's woodblock print illustrations celebrate life beneath the waves.

What I thought: Another hit from Elliott and Meade! I've grown so fond of their poetry collections, I ordered a copy of In the Sea for all my library branches. This is poetry for young children at its best. My favorite poems are "The Sea Horse," "The Starfish," and "The Puffer Fish." Holly's woodblock prints are great. I love the bold black lines and the colors are perfect. My favorite illustrations are the starfish, coral, anemone, and clown fish. I can't wait to use In the Sea during story time.

My reviews of Elliott and Meade's Other Collections:
On the Farm
In the Wild

(Illus. Holly Meade. Candlewick, 2012)