Friday, September 27, 2013

The Emily Sonnets: The Life of Emily Dickinson by Jane Yolen

A glimpse into Emily Dickinson's life via sixteen sonnets.

What I thought: How appropriate to write a biography of Emily Dickinson in poems. All the poems were insightful, giving glimpses into the famous poet's life. I've long been a fan of Emily Dickinson and her poetry. One day, I hope to read every poem she ever wrote. My favorite poems in this collection are "Emily's Dog," "Our Fairy Aunt," and "Emily After." Kelley's illustrations are dark in hue and yet set just the right tone--fitting for the time period. My favorite illustrations are the dog, bookish frigate, and fairy aunt. The notes section was interesting and left me wanting to know even more about Emily Dickinson.

(Illus. Gary Kelley. Creative Editions, 2012)

#FlannelFriday: Traffic Light Prop

I was inspired to make this prop by Andrea of RovingFiddlehead KidLit. I used it for my cars preschool story time with the rhyme she suggests. I need some more practice on changing the colors smoothly.

Angela has the round up this week.

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Our Flannel Friday Fairy Godmother is Mollie (@molliekay)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Teen Event: Origami & Duct Tape Creations

In the aftermath of Summer Reading, I decided to go with a simple teen event in September. I've done a duct tape event before in March 2012 and we did origami as part of a Japanese Culture Night in July 2011.

I provided snacks. Food is always important in teen programs. Then I set out the supplies along with books and instructions and let the teens create. Supplies included duct tape, sharpies, rulers, scissors, origami paper, and pencils (for stem of rose).

I had these books available for ideas: Got Tape? Roll Out the Fun with Duct Tape! By Ellie Schiedermayer, The Duct Tape Book: 25 Projects to Make with Duct Tape by Jolie Dobson,  and The Kids’ Guide to Duct Tape Projects by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt. I also found some ideas on the Duck Brand website (flower ring, woven coaster, rose, ninja star).  

The origami instructions came from Origami Club (goldfish, fox, dog, bear/polar bear) and Origami Fun (pelican, triangle box, drinking cup, horse, puffy bunny, jumping frog, twirling bird).

This event was well attended. 12 teens plus me and an intern. That's 5 more teens than our average attendance. We had some interesting and fun creations.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

I can't believe it's been five years since I started this blog. Back in 2008, I was in my second year of graduate school and taking a children's and YA programming class. One of the assignments was booktalks. A blog seemed like a good place to deposit them and thus What Is Bridget Reading? was born.

A lot has changed since the beginning. I post more reviews now than booktalks. I contribute quite often to Flannel Friday. I've even started blogging about my programs. I guess the greatest thing I've gained from blogging is a personal learning network. I'm a solo youth services librarian in rural North Carolina. Being able to connect with other librarians online has been such a blessing. I find ideas for felt sets, programs, and storytimes.

I can't imagine where the next five years will take this blog, but I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Goldilocks & Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson

A bear lost in the city wanders into a stranger's apartment, but is the blond lady really a stranger?

What I thought: Loved it! I didn't expect the ending. This was a great addition to my fairy tales storytime in February. All the illustrations are great. The bear is my favorite.

Storytime Themes: Fairy Tales, Bears

(Nosy Crow, 2011)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Poetry & Me: Being Selected as a Cybils Poetry Judge

Monday was a very exciting day for me. The official announcement about Cybils judges posted. I am very pleased and proud to be named as a round one judge for the poetry category. I've been watching the Cybils from the sidelines for several years. This year I thought why not? The worst that could happen would be I don't get selected. But I did and I'm so excited about this opportunity to work with fabulous people, read great poetry books, and promote poetry in general.

I started writing poetry when I was about 12 and continued on through high school. I had a great freshman English teacher who made us write poetry and stories. He introduced me to acrostic poems and haiku. My favorite poets in high school were Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Edgar Lee Masters.

In college, I majored in English Literature and as such read a lot of poetry. It wasn't until I took a children's literature course that I discovered the joys of poetry written for children. One of my favorite poems from that class was "Click Beetle" by Mary Ann Hoberman.

In graduate school, I continued to enjoy children's poetry and also discovered verse novels (or novels in verse). Love that Dog and Out of the Dust are still my favorites in that format.

As a youth services librarian, I love reading, reviewing, and recommending children's poetry to my patrons. In addition, I use poetry in my preschool storytimes and my outreach visits to local schools (especially during National Poetry Month). I've had special poetry storytimes and programs for all ages. I've even turned quite a few nursery rhymes and poems (many by Jack Prelutsky...I guess he lends himself to flannel boards well) into felt sets for my flannel board.

As a Round One judge, I look forward to doing what I always do (reading, reviewing, and recommending children's poetry) but with the end result having a larger impact on other librarians, bloggers, poets, and readers.

Nominations open October 1st. Please nominate your favorite poetry book of 2013! And don't forget about the other Cybils categories: Book Apps, Easy Readers/Short Chapter Books, Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction, Young Adult Speculative Fiction, Fiction Picture Books, Graphics, Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Nonfiction, Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction, Young Adult Fiction.

Visit the Cybils website for more information.

#FlannelFriday: Fall Set

I used the patterns Melissa Depper so kindly provided on her blog here. As you can see, the set includes a sunflower, pumpkin, leaf, apple, and 5 acorns. I look forward to using this set throughout the fall. I love all the suggestions Mel had for how to use the set. I plan to make a squirrel and maybe another leaf and a gourd so the kids can help the squirrel find the acorns.

Sarah has the round up this week.

Important Links:
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Our Flannel Friday Fairy Godmother is Mollie (@molliekay)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl

A chance encounter with a charismatic young man who prefers not to reveal his name is a change of pace from the usual for teenage Emily Dickinson. Aghast when "Mr. Nobody" is found dead in the pond, Emily works to discover his identity--she owes him that much. What she finds is something much more sinister...a murder.

What I thought: Fantastic book! Of course the author invented Emily Dickinson's encounter with Mr. Nobody, but her portrayal of the famous poet is quite accurate. I loved the mystery element. The author's note and further reading section left me wanting to know more about Emily Dickinson. I like Michaela MacColl's style (blending historical fact into an engaging story) and look forward to reading her other books.

(Chronicle, 2013)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Am So Handsome by Mario Ramos

An incorrigible wolf knows he's handsome, but that doesn't stop him from asking everyone he meets if he's handsome. He gets the answer he expects until he meets a dragon.

What I thought: This book is hilarious! And I ordered it just in time to use for my fairy tales storytime in February. This will also be a great addition to my big bad wolf theme. Vain he may be but handsome and appealing.

Storytime Themes: Fairy Tales, Big Bad Wolf

(Gecko Press, 2012)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Flannel Friday Round Up for September 13, 2013

We had a lot of great contributions this week with special emphasis on book adaptations and fall themed sets.

Christine of Felt Board Ideas has turned The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister into a felt set complete with removable scales.

Andrea of Librarian Vs. Storytime brings us another book adaptation. This time it's Harold and the Purple Crayon in the form of a tube story.

Kathryn from Fun with Friends at Storytime brings us not one but two posts this week on monsters. The first she calls Monster Mash. The sequel she calls More Monster Mash. Kathryn shares a plethora of fantastic ideas to add to your monster themed storytime.

Lisa of Libraryland shares a teddy bear puppet and rhyme this week. Bears are one of my favorite storytime themes but especially for fall.

SLC Book Boy shares a prop story adaptation for Flora's Flower by Lisa Bruce.

Lisa of Thrive After Three has made a felt set based on The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri.

Miss Sue of Let the Wild Rumpus Start brings us Apples, Apples, and More Apples just in time for fall.

Miss Tara of Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends shares Five Brave Firefighters.

Jenna of Storytime with Miss Jenna brings us a felt set for the Russian folktale The Enormous Turnip. I could have used this set this past summer!

Shawn of Read, Rhyme, Sing shares The Lonely Bus Driver. This would be a great set to pair with Gus, the Dinosaur Bus and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.

This week, I'm sharing a couple of different felt sets I used in my Pete the Cat themed storytimes.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog
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Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the hashtag #FlannelFriday.
Our Flannel Friday Fairy Godmother is Mollie (@molliekay)
Next week's host is Sarah.

#Flannel Friday: Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat is a great character and I'm so glad I included a Pete the Cat themed storytime in my fall schedule. I did a couple of things to extend the stories via the flannel board. The first was a felt version of Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. I got the patterns for Pete, the shoes, strawberries, oranges, lemons, grapes, mud, water (not pictured), and blueberries from Make Learning Fun. I decided I wanted a few more colors so I used clipart from Microsoft Office to make a watermelon and avocado. I free cut the cement and used a clipart image I found online to make the black beans.
After reading the book, we use the felt set. I ask the kids to identify the objects around Pete and then their colors. After we do that, I ask them what they'd like Pete to step in. When they tell me, I change his shoes. I then ask if Pete cried when he stepped in the whatever. They answer no and I ask what he did. They respond he kept on singing.
After reading Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, we play a "where are the buttons game". I was inspired by Tracey's post on 1234 More Storytimes.
I used this image from for the cats. Kathryn's post of Ten Kitty Cats on her blog Fun with Friends at Storytime inspired the use of the cats. I made 20 in various colors. I call these guys Pete's Posse. Behind 4 of them, there's a flannel button hidden. The kids pick a cat, identify the color, and then look for a button. Lots of fun was had by all at storytime this week!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Clementine & the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker

Clementine #6

Spring has come to Boston and Clementine couldn't be more excited. Her apple tree has sprouted, a new baby is on the way, and her class is going on a field trip. But Clementine worries about the fourth graders' no eating sounds rule. She's also not sure if she likes the new girl Olive.

What I thought: Another delightful installment in the Clementine series. I like her almost as much as Ramona. Sara Pennypacker perfectly captures Clementine's age and the worries that go along with it. Things I want to do after reading this book: read May Way for Ducklings and draw a bird. (Draw a Bird Day--what a great holiday!) I look forward to the next adventure which I'm sure will detail the birth of the new baby and Clementine's vegetarianism.

(Illus. Marlee Frazee. Disney Hyperion, 2013)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Loathe You by David Slonim

Little Monster and Big Monster discuss how much they loathe one another. Remember, if you're a monster loathing is loving.

What I thought: A cute book. Love the story and the illustration. I like the colors--a bit brighter than pastel. Good lines and excellent use of white space. I can't wait to add this title to my monsters storytime later on this fall.

Storytime Theme: Monsters

(Aladdin, 2013)

Friday, September 6, 2013

#FlannelFriday: Five Little Monkeys & Mr. Alligator

This week my storytime theme was jungle animals. As always, I take a look around online to see what other great librarians have done. I found Meg's post on her blog Miss Meg's Storytime that included the rhyme "Teasing Mr. Alligator." I thought it would be a fantastic addition to my storytime.

I used a coloring page to create my tree. The monkey pattern came from a Microsoft Clipart image. Puff paint details as usual. I borrowed the alligator from my Five Frogs on a Log set.

Here's a close up of the monkeys.

And now I have a bonus for you. I found a cute fingerplay in Perry Public Library's Jungle Storytime Theme called "Three Monkeys." The gist of it is three monkeys are eating bananas--one with a frown, one with a smile, and one with banana on his chin. I made 3 slightly larger monkeys to use as visuals for this fingerplay.

Katie has the round up this week.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Poison by Bridget Zinn

Kyra is on the run. She tried and failed to kill the princess who is also her best friend and cousin. With the dubious help of a piglet and the charismatic Fred, Kyra aims to get it right this time.

What I thought: Interesting from beginning to end with many plot twists and turns. It's easy to get into. Poison is both a fantasy and a mystery. The books contains humor to keep it from being too dark. I like Bridget Zinn almost as much as Patricia C. Wrede. I didn't even guess at all the revelations toward the end. That's a mark of good writing--don't be predictable. I was very sad to discover that Bridget Zinn has passed away and Poison is her only novel. Well worth reading.

(Hyperion, 2013)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Perfect Hug by Joanna Walsh

One little panda bear searches for the perfect hug. There are a lot of hugs in the world. Will he find the one he's looking for?

What I thought: This book clinches it. Next Valentine's Day, I'm doing a Hugs storytime and pairing The Perfect Hug with Hugless Douglas by David Melling. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and appealing. I know kids will enjoy identifying all the animals. My favorite illustration is the monkeys.

Storytime Themes: Hugs, Valentine's Day, Animals

(Illus. Judi Abbot. Simon & Schuster, 2011)