Monday, December 31, 2018

I've Got Feet! Fantastical Feet of the Animal World by Julie Murphy

This book is all about 13 different animals and how that use their feet.

Thoughts: Informative and readable. I used this book with great success in a feet themed storytime. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and showcase the action of the different animals' feet. Pair with Dr. Seuss's The Foot Book and Who Has These Feet? by Laura Hulbert.

Themes: Nonfiction, Animals, Feet

Illustrated by Hannah Tolson. Amicus Ink, 2017.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Charlotte the Scientist Is Squished by Camille Andros

Charlotte loves being a scientist and using the scientific method. But her siblings never seem to leave her alone long enough for her experiments to work. Using her beloved scientific method, Charlotte experiments with several solutions.

Thoughts: Too funny. Kids with multiple younger siblings will really relate to Charlotte. This book also serves as a fun introduction to the scientific method. I remember it fondly from my high school science fair days. The illustrations are well defined and colorful.

Themes: Siblings, Rabbits, Elementary

Illustrated by Brianne Farley. Clarion, 2017.

Flannel Friday: Find the Lorax

This is a game of my own devising that I created for my Dr. Seuss events. I used The Lorax Doodle Book for patterns. I made 4 Truffula trees (tops & trunks are separate pieces) along with the Lorax, a Bar-ba-loot, a Humming-Fish, and a Swomee-Swan. Felt with puff paint details. After using the set I realized I either need smaller trees or a bigger flannel board.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Friday, December 21, 2018

Flannel Friday: Fox in Boxes

This is an inspired by Flannel Friday post. My inspiration was Nikki blogging at heytherelibrary. I borrowed the fox from my Conejito set and made the boxes. Kids always like looking for him.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

A mouse wants to create a wordless book. The only problem? His two friends can't stop talking!

Thoughts: Hilarious! I was laughing out loud as I read this book. It was even funnier when I read it to kids at local elementary schools. The mice were funny in their first appearance in Hotel Bruce, but the hilarity in Be Quiet! is off the charts. The illustrations are great--bright colors and good outlines. The speech bubbles demand you read this book aloud even if only to yourself.

Themes: Mice, Funny Books, Elementary

Disney Hyperion, 2017

Monday, December 17, 2018

Go Sleep in Your Own Bed! by Candace Fleming

It's time to go to sleep, but when pig goes to his sty he finds someone else in his bed. "Go sleep in your own own bed!" And so the story goes on.

Thoughts: Fun, fun, fun. I love the animal sounds and the onomatopoeia as the animals go to their beds. This book will be a wonderful addition to my farm storytime. The illustrations are great. I love the outlines especially. They really make the colors pop.

Themes: Farm, Night, Animals Sounds

Illustrated by Lori Nichols, Schwartz & Wade, 2017.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Flannel Friday: What's Under the Rock?

AKA Find the Duck

I whipped up this set of eight rocks for my rocks storytime this past summer. My kids are getting too smart for such games so I hide something under each rock, but we're looking for the duck. All the animals/creatures, I borrowed from other felt sets. My pattern was a clipart image from Clker.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Good for Nothing Button by Charise Mericle Harper (& Mo Willems)

Yellow Bird has a button that does nothing, but when he shows it to Blue Bird and Red Bird, everyone is in for a treat.

Thoughts: A fun book. I would love to act this out. It would make an excellent reader's theater piece for my elementary school outreach. It reminds me so much of the Elephant & Piggie books. Isn't that strange? The beginning and end by Elephant & Piggie were perfect. I'm so glad they are still making guest appearances.

Themes: Birds, Emotions, Elementary

Elephant & Piggie Like Reading Book #3. Hyperion, 2017

Monday, December 10, 2018

A Perfect Day by Lane Smith

It's a perfect day for cat, dog, chickadee, and squirrel until Bear came.

Thoughts: A deceptively simple book with a good dose of humor. The illustrations are lovely. I like all the texture. Would pair well with A Good Day by Kevin Henkes.

Themes: Backyard, Animals, Bears

Roaring Brook Press, 2017

Friday, December 7, 2018

Flannel Friday: Pizza

I decided to do a pizza storytime last fall and needed something for my flannel board. Pinterest has lots of ideas. I think I mostly used this template. We decorated the pizza, but I also liked to make a pizza face. First and Second graders got a kick out of this, too.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Can I Tell You a Secret? by Anna Kang

A little frog named Monty has a secret. He's decided to tell YOU so you can give him some advice.

Thoughts: A fun book. I love when books make the reader part of the story. This will be a great addition to my frogs storytime in the spring. Lovely illustrations. I like the black outlines and soft watercolors.

Themes: Frogs, Interactive

Illustrated by Christopher Weyant. Harper, 2016.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Feathers & Hair: What Animals Wear by Jennifer Ward

The title is a wonderful, succinct description of this book.

Thoughts: A great nonfiction book for the youngest kids. The illustrations are fabulous--so big, bold, and colorful. (cut paper collage?) I can't wait to use this book in storytime & outreach.

Themes: Animals, Nonfiction, Elementary

Illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong. Beach Lane Books, 2017.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Flannel Friday: Xylophones

I got this idea from Katie at Storytime Secrets. I used a Clker clipart image to make my xylophones. I used  Katie's rhyme. I used these during my musical instruments storytime this summer. We did the rhyme, but we also counted xylophones, named the colors and counted the bars.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Bear Who Wasn't There by LeUyen Pham

I think the title is the best description of this book.

Thoughts: A hilarious book! It's a great book to share with elementary students. They find the giraffe and the bear puns the funniest. This book pairs well with More Bears by Kenn Nesbitt. I love that the reader, the author, and all the characters are involved in the action.

Themes: Bears, Interactive, Elementary

Roaring Brook Press, 2016

Monday, November 26, 2018

I Don't Want to Be Big by Dev Petty

The little frog from I Don't Want to Be a Frog is back. This time he objects to being big. Arguments ensure between him and his dad.

Thoughts: It's always nice to see favorite characters return although I think the first book was funnier. Still, it's a great book for kids who are struggling with the idea of growing up.

Themes: Frogs, Growing Up

Illustrated by Mike Boldt. Doubleday, 2016.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Flannel Friday: Monsters Redux

I have my crocheted monsters, but I wanted a felt set. I used Erin's pattern over at Falling Flannel Boards. I made two sets, one big and one little. The little set will fit on my small flannel board and is perfect to take with me when I'm doing outreach storytimes.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

I'll Wait, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony

Mr. Panda is back and he's cooking up a surprise. None of the animals are willing to wait except Penguin.

Thoughts: Mr. Panda is so grumpy and yet so lovable and funny. I love him! The illustrations are deceptively simple as is the text. I liked the inclusion of more black and white animals.

Themes: Black & White, Baking, Cooking, Patience, Pandas, Penguins

Scholastic, 2016

Monday, November 19, 2018

We Found a Hat by John Klassen

Two turtles. One hat. A problem.

Thoughts: The third installment of Klassen's hat books did not disappoint. It was less gruesome that the previous two. I like how friendship overcomes wanting.

Themes: Turtles, Hats, Elementary

Candlewick, 2016

Friday, November 16, 2018

Flannel Friday: Rockets

I was inspired by various other Flannel Friday posts including Storytime Katie. I used this clipart image as my template. These will come in especially handy during summer 2019 when the CSLP theme is "A Universe of Stories." They were surprisingly easy to make even though you have to cut 6 pieces for each rocket.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Maybe Mother Goose by Esme Raji Codell

You might think you know your Mother Goose rhymes, but have you ever considered aliens, a giraffe, or a wedding cake? No? You're in for a treat.

Thoughts: Nursery rhymes with a twist--yes, please! I love that these simple questions added to the original rhymes encourage children to use their imaginations. Chavarri's illustrations are magical.

Themes: Nursery Rhymes, Imagination

Illustrated by Elsa Chavarri. Aladdin, 2016.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Where, Oh Where, Is Rosie's Chick? by Pat Hutchins

Remember Rosie from Rosie's Walk? Well, she made it safely home and now she's a mom. Rosie has a chick...that is if she can ever find her.

Thoughts: Rosie's Walk is one of my favorite books to use for storytime. Not many words, but I embellish it with questions and sound effects. The sequel is lovely. Rosie is just as feather brained as before. Nice to see the fox had a baby as well. (I always assumed the fox was a's you what I know.) I love Pat's illustrations--so bright, colorful, and detailed.

Themes: Chickens, Foxes

Simon & Schuster, 2015

Friday, November 9, 2018

Flannel Friday: Turtles

I made these turtles to add an extra element to my turtle storytime. I used a free clipart image to make them. I really had fun with their shells. It was a great chance to use some glittery puff paint. I use these with various Five Little... rhymes.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat (& Mo Willems)

Elephant & Piggie may not have any new books, but that won't stop them from introducing readers to books they like.

In The Cookie Fiasco, Hippo, Croc, and the squirrels have a problem. There are four of them and only three cookies. What will they do?

Thoughts: Love, love, love! The concept of these books is fabulous. Dan Santat does not disappoint. The characters he introduces are funny and endearing. I love that he uses speech bubbles just like the original Elephant & Piggie books. Hippo is my favorite character. Note to self: keep cookies away from nervous hippos.

Themes: Easy Readers, Cookies, Friendship

An Elephant & Piggie Like Reading Book. Hyperion, 2016.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Not Quite Black & White by Jonathan Ying

Black and white animals with colorful additions make this story.

Thoughts: Where was this book when I did my first black and white animals storytime a few years ago? I love the addition of colors to each animal and especially the unusual colors (lavender, aqua, & maroon). I also like how the color scheme of each page perfectly reflects the colors mentioned.

Themes: Animals, Black & White, Colors

Illustrated by Victoria Ying. Harper Collins, 2016

Friday, November 2, 2018

Flannel Friday: Ninjas

I was inspired by Erin at Falling Flannelboards to make these ninjas. Luckily I was able to find the clipart image she used through Clker. Wiggle eyes, but no puff paint.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Is That Wise Pig? by Jan Thomas

Mouse, Cow, and Pig are all making soup. It's going well until Pig wants to add some unusual ingredients to the pot.

Thoughts: Too fun! This will be a great addition to my soup storytime. It would also pair well with 10 Hungry Rabbits by Anita Lobel and Ten Hungry Pigs by Derek Anderson. 

Themes: Pigs, Soup, Vegetables, Cooking

Beach Lane Books, 2016

Monday, October 29, 2018

Warning! Do Not Touch! by Tim Warnes

Mole and his friend the lumpy bumpy thing find first a rabbit and then a hat. THe hat comes with its own label (Warning! Do Not Touch!) and soon they have 100 rabbits running riot. Quick thinking gets rid of the rabbits. Then the lumpy bumpy thing finds a  stick (wand) with its own label. But that's another story.

Thoughts: This is a fun story. Mole's labels are interesting and helpful for kids learning to read. I can't wait to use this book in storytime.

Themes: Friendship, Moles, Alligators, Rabbits, Magic, Mishaps

Tiger Tales, 2016

Friday, October 26, 2018

Flannel Friday: Shark Finger Puppets

I was inspired by several Flannel Friday posts (Storytime Katie, Sunflower Storytime, and Adventures in Storytime) to make these shark finger puppets. The pattern is from Repeat Crafter Me. Sharks are always fun and these puppets really added something special to my shark storytime.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Under a Pig Tree: A History of the Noble Fruit, a Mixed-Up Book by Margie Palatini

Pig or fig? That is the question.

Thoughts: Hilarious! The intrusive author is great and just adds to the hilarity. I love sharing this book with 1st and 2nd grade students when I read at my local elementary schools.

Themes: Pigs, Elementary

Illustrated by Chuck Groenink. Abrams, 2015

Monday, October 22, 2018

Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat by Deborah Underwood

The cat who wants to replace the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus is back. His target this time is the tooth fairy.

Thoughts: Cat is such a hilarious character. For someone (a cat) who doesn't talk, he expresses himself well and with pizzazz. The illustrations are soft colored with great use of white space.

Themes: Cats, Teeth

Illustrated by Claudia Rueda. Dial, 2015.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Flannel Friday: Find the Owl

I borrowed this idea from Emily over at Literary Hoots. For this set I made the trees, but borrowed the owls from my set of felt owls. I found a template for the trunk and free-handed the leaves. My kids can spot the bulge of something underneath so I put an owl in each tree and we look for a specific one.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Where's Walrus and Penguin? by Stephen Savage

Walrus from Where's Walrus has a new friend Penguin. They decide to make a break from the zoo. As before, they lead the zookeeper on a merry chase.

Thoughts: I love interactive picture books, especially ones that have the readers looking for something. I can't wait to this book in storytime.

Themes: Interactive, Wordless, Zoo

Scholastic, 2015

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Life Size Pac-Man for Teens

In 2016, I started seeing some posts about Life Size Pac-Man on some librarian groups on Facebook. I'm always up for a new life size game idea and this one looked easy to do. I did a little more research via those Facebook groups and Pinterest and then planned my first Life Size Pac-Man Event.

I originally used Mega Blocks for both the Pac-Dots and the power pellets. I decided they didn't work well and have since used cut up pool noodles for Pac-Dots and Mega Blocks for the power pellets only. Game play varies every time I host it. Given the size of the room I use, we only have three ghosts instead of four. As we play, the first ghost becomes Pac-Man after the first player dies and so on.

Sources of Inspiration:
Casey at Teen Services Underground Blog
The Jolly Rogers Young Women Blog
Youth Group Collective
The Meta Picture
If You Loved...
Kim Edsell on the Storytime Underground Facebook Group
Tales from the Nerdy
Teen Services Underground Facebook Group

Monday, October 15, 2018

8: An Animal Alphabet by Elisha Cooper

I believe the title says it all--an animal alphabet with a twist...look for the eight on each page.

Thoughts: Love, love, love this book. It works on so many levels. I'm adding it to my alphabet storytime. The illustrations are great. It was hard to pick a favorite. The "Did You Know?" section at the end is fabulous.

Themes: Alphabet, Animals, Numbers

Orchard Books, 2015

Friday, October 12, 2018

Flannel Friday: One Little Owl

I totally borrowed this idea from Tara over at Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends. To make the tree big enough, I had to visit a fabric store and buy felt by the yard. I glued two pieeces together to mke it less flimsy. I borrowed the owls from my set of felt owls. I made the squirrels and crows special. I don't really sing the song so much as I recite it.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Teen Craft Programs

My teens enjoy crafts, but  lot of the ideas I find seem to appeal more to girls than guys. Duct tape and origami are two of my favorite crafty things to do with teens. Easy set up and lots of fun. Here are a few craft programs I've held in the last two years.

Upcycled Crafts 
Decorative Jars (clean/empty glass jars, scrapbook paper, scissors, brushes, Mod Podge, ribbon, hot glue gun)
Etched CD Wall Art (old CDs, black craft paint, brushes, pencils, needles/paperclips)
Dog Toys & T-Shirt Tote Bags (old t-shirts, scissors)

Duct Tape Creations
Sources: Duct Tape Mania by Amanda Formaro; Got Tape? Roll Out the Fun with Duct Tape by Ellie Schidermayer; Tape It & Make More: 101 More Duct Tape Activities by Richela Fabian Morgan; The Duct Tape Book: 25 Projects to Make with Duct Tape by Jolie Dobson; and Duct Tape Animals by Carolyn Bernhardt

I pulled some easy project ideas from a couple of the books and had the rest on display for inspiration.

Projects: coasters, wallet, friendship bracelet, light switch cover, flowers, and bookmarks.

Supplies: duct tape, scissors, rulers, light switch covers, un-sharpened pencils, headbands, embroidery floss, Vaseline (to remove stickiness from scissors) and paper towels.

Summer Craft Night
Button Bracelets (buttons, embroidery floss, scissors)
Origami (origami paper & patterns from Origami Fun)
Cup & Ball Toys (small paper cups, masking tape, string/yarn)
Dancing Button String (big buttons, string)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss

Dog, cat, bird, rabbit, fish--what pet should they get?

Thoughts: A fun, energetic jaunt to the pet store. But the question is what pet did they get? The story doesn't say and the illustration only shows eyes. I love the open-ended ending. This book would make a great art and/or writing project after reading.

Themes: Pets

Random House, 2015

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Teen Chocolate Wars/Games

I was inspired by Kelly Jensen at Field Acquisitions (here & here), Ms. Kelly at the Library, and Jenni.

I've done this event three times.

The first time we did the following: chocolate pictionary, M&M's sorting, identify the chocolate, whopper races, and Hershey Kiss races.

The second time, I added a chocolate memory game (thanks, Pinterest!) and chocolate tasting, but dropped identify the chocolate.

The third time I added a chocolate toss and a M&M relay.

The Whopper race is the most fun and I'm always looking for new games to add.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Prince of a Frog by Jackie Urbanovic

Hopper is a frog who doesn't fit in so he must be a prince. His search for a princess leads to a friend and the knowledge that he is just perfect the way he is.

Thoughts: Prince of a Frog is such a fun book. I can't wait to add it to my frog storytime. It will go fabulously with I Don't Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and energetic.

Themes: Frogs, Friendship

Orchard, 2015

Friday, October 5, 2018

Flannel Friday: Spiders

When I was making the spiderweb for my elephants, I decided to make a set of spiders to go with the web. I used a clipart image for my pattern. Puff paint details & wiggle eyes. I use this set with the rhyme "Five Little Spiders Jumping on the Web."

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Teen Minute to Win It

I was originally inspired by Anne at So Tomorrow to host this event for my teens. You can find her posts here, here, here, and here. Jenni and Elizabeth have also posted about Minute To Win It programs.

I've hosted this event three times since 2014 with minor alterations each time.

The first time, I had the following challenges set up for my teens: Back Flip, Stack Attack, Don't Blow the Joker, A Bit Dicey, Floatacious, and Noodling Around.

The second time I replaced Noodling  Around with Baby Blockin'.

The third time, I did Back Flip, Stack Attack, A Bit Dicey, Stack It Up, Scoop It Up, Defy Gravity, Penny Hose, This Blows, Spoon Frog, and Tasty Bracelet. All the new challenges I added I found via Google and Pinterest.

Following Anne's lead I made signs for each challenge. This last time, I added the challenge directions to them.

My favorite challenge is A Bit Dicey.

This program is always fun and I usually add it to my schedule every couple of years.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Those Pesky Rabbits by Ciara Flood

A solitary bear gains some very friendly neighbors. Those pesky rabbits won't leave him alone. But maybe Bear just needs some lessons on how to be a friend.

Thoughts: I love this book! The story is great. The contrast between the grumpy bear and the friendly rabbits is hilarious. It reminds me of Bear and Mouse in Bonny Becker's books. The illustrations are lovely--detailed and such personality in the characters.

Themes: Friendship, Bears, Rabbits

Little Bee, 2015

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Snow Play

I was inspired by Laura's Snowmen for Everyone program and Pinterest.

Snow Play was my first storytime + sensory/play dough activities event.

In 2017, I read Pip and Squeak by Ian Schoenherr and Red Sled by Lita Judge. In 2018, I read Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman and Bears in the Snow by Shirley Parenteau. On the flannel board, we had Let's Make a Snowman.

Play with farm animals, dinosaurs, and flat marbles in snow dough

Make snowmen with play dough, buttons, and craft sticks

Ice skate indoors with wax paper on carpet

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Sky Is Falling! by Mark Teague

You know the story. Acorn. Chicken Little. Panic. What you might not remember is the dancing. Chickens, squirrel, rabbit, cat, pigs, goats, and ducks. Even the fox is dancing. His sneaky plan is thwarted by a

Thoughts: Such a fun take on a classic story. The dancing is a great addition and so is outsmarting the fox by chance. The illustrations are great. Soft colored and detailed. I especially like the different chicken breeds.

Themes: Dancing, Farm, Foxes

Orchard, 2015

Friday, September 28, 2018

Flannel Friday: Foxes

I used Sunflower Storytime's template to make my foxes. I'm very pleased with how they turned out and my storytime kids loved them.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog/Website
Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Clifford the Big Red Dog Birthday Party

February is the perfect time to host a birthday party for Clifford the Big Red Dog.

We started with the craft: Clifford Ears and coloring Clifford. I also had the kids put their name on a tag for a game.

After crafting, I read the first story from Norman Bridwell's Clifford Collection: The Original Six Stories and then let the kids pick one more story from the book. On the flannel board, I had Clifford, Clifford, where's your bone?

We played three games: Pin the Tag on Clifford, Clifford Hot Dog, and Clifford Paws.