Friday, May 17, 2019

Fantastic Flowers by Susan Stockdale

A flower is a flower. Or is it? What do you see?

Thoughts: As with her other titles (Bring on the Birds and Spectacular Spots), Stockdale's nonfiction is perfect for sharing in storytime. I look forward to using Fantastic Flowers in spring and summer. The illustrations are bright and colorful. I love the photos at the end of the flowers.

Themes: Nonfiction, Flowers, Spring, Summer

(Peachtree, 2017.)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

There's a Monster in Your Book by Tom Fletcher

Is there a monster in your book? Get him out! Here's how...

Thoughts: A perfect interactive book for my monsters storytime. Kids love to get involved in the action. The ending is a surprises, but I like it. The illustrations are fun and colorful.

Themes: Interactive, Monsters

(Illustrated by Greg Abbott. Random House, 2017.)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Thank You, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony

Mr. Panda has gifts for all his friends. Lemur tags along as Mr. Panda hands them out and is quick to reminds the recipients that "it's the thought that counts." I hope Lemur remembers that when he opens his gift from Mr. Panda.

Thoughts: Another Mr. Panda book--love, love, love! Mr. Panda could be my spirit animal--cute and cuddly but curiously misanthropic (at least when it suits him). He and Lemur are the only two black and white animals in this book unlike the first two Mr. Panda books (Please, Mr. Panda and I'll Wait, Mr. Panda). The illustrations are bright. Mr. Panda's expressions are great.

I think Mr. Panda needs to meet Ryan T. Higgins's Bruce.

Themes: Black and White Animals, Manners, Gifts, Grumpy Bears

(Scholastic, 2017.)

Friday, May 10, 2019

In the Middle of Fall by Kevin Henkes

It's fall and right in the middle all the leaves fall.

Thoughts: A glorious celebration of fall. Why couldn't I have had this book the last time I did a fall themed storytime? Next year! The illustrations are colorful and distinct. I love the bold outlines.

Themes: Fall

(Illustrated by Laura Dronzek. Greenwillow, 2017.)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What Is Chasing Duck? by Jan Thomas

Something is chasing Duck. Before long he's involved his friends Sheep, Donkey, and Dog.

Thoughts: Not knowing what is chasing Duck until almost the end of the book is what makes this story work so well. What Is Chasing Duck? will be a great addition to any storytime. As always the illustrations are bright and colorful. I love the speech bubbles.

Themes: Author Storytime, Ducks, Animals

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.)

Monday, May 6, 2019

There's a Pest in the Garden! by Jan Thomas

Duck, Sheep, Dog, and Donkey are in despair. There's a pest in the garden and he's eating all the vegetables! What to do?

Thoughts: I love anything Jan Thomas writes. The first installment in her new easy reader series does no disappoint. The book is funny with bright, colorful illustrations and speech bubbles. I can't wait to share this book during storytime. This book would pair well with "A Gopher in the Garden" by Jack Prelutsky.

Themes: Gardens, Animals

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.)

Friday, May 3, 2019

A Loud Winter's Nap by Katy Hudson

Winter has come to the forest and for Tortoise that means it's nap time. He doesn't like winter so sleeping through it is best. But every time he settles down to nap, something or someone wakes him up.

Thoughts: Too funny! I almost feel sorry for Tortoise. A great winter read aloud and I was glad to see characters from Too Many Carrots return. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and interesting.

Themes: Winter, Turtles, Hibernation

(Capstone, 2017.)

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Curious Cares of Bears by Douglas Florian

Rhyming couplets explore bears' habits throughout the seasons (perhaps with a touch of whimsy).

Thoughts: Fun! Kids will pick up on the rhyming and like the whimsy. I look forward to sharing this book during my bears storytime. I love the different colors used on the bears.

Themes: Seasons, Bears, Rhyming

(Illustrated by Sonia Sanchez. Little Bee Books, 2017.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Black Belt Bunny by Jacky Davis

Black Belt Bunny has all the usual skills which he puts to use in a new way--making a salad!

Thoughts: The intrusive narrator is fun. Black Belt Bunny is just the kind of book I like to share. The whole salad thing was a surprise and I think kids will like it., The illustrations are colorful and engaging.

Themes: Rabbits, Ninjas, Vegetables

(Illustrated by Jay Fleck. Dial, 2017.)

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney

Three goats, a bridge, and a troll. Where will this story take us?

Thoughts: Pinkey's retelling of a classic fairy tale is spot on--well written and with enough energy to engage even my youngest listeners in storytime. I look forward to adding The Three Billy Goats Gruff to my fairy tale rotation. The artist's note was thoughtful and provided some great teaching ideas. The watercolor illustrations are detailed and interesting.

Themes: Goats, Fairy Tales/Folk Tales, Elementary

(Little, Brown, & Co, 2017)

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Wishing Foxes by Margaret Read MacDonald with Jen & Nat Whitman

Two sisters--one kind, one unkind--one rewarded and one punished by the wishing foxes.

Thoughts: I love to find new-to-me Appalachian fairy tales. I am familiar with tales of this type (Toads & Diamonds is a more well known version), but the mountain flavor of The Wishing Foxes is a treat. I can't wait to share with students the next time fairy tales is my elementary outreach theme. The cut paper illustrations are vibrant and colorful. My favorite illustrations are of the foxes.

Themes: Fairy Tales/Folk Tales, Elementary

(Illustrated by Kitty Harvill. Plum Street, 2017.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Plume by Isabelle Simler

Plume is an almost wordless counting book that chronicles the adventures of a cat that likes to collect feathers.

(Birds Included: goose, peacock, seagull, ibis, nuthatch, guinea fowl, owl, stork, eagle, blackbird, kingfisher, jay, parrot finch, pigeon, turkey, swallow, chickadee, duck, and even more birds represented by the feathers on the end papers.)

Thoughts: Plume is a beautiful book and quite different from the usual counting books. My favorite illustrations are owl, kingfisher, and duck. This book is a great addition to my birds storytime theme. Plume offers many ways to engage readers--count the feathers, find the cat, etc.

Themes: Birds, Counting/Numbers, Cats

(Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2017.)

Monday, April 15, 2019

Do You Believe in Unicorns? by Bethanie Deeney Murguia

It's just a horse in a hat. Or is it?

Thoughts: Too funny! I love the ambiguity because of course unicorns are wonderful, but they don't really exist. It's fun to think they do. This book will be an excellent addition to my unicorn storytime. The illustrations are nice--soft colors and bold black outlines.

Themes: Unicorns, Imagination

(Review copy provided by publisher. Candlewick, 2018.)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise by David Ezra Stein

Sequel to Interrupting Chicken

That little red interrupting chicken is back along with her long-suffering papa. This time her interruptions include elephants. Haven't you heard of the elephant of surprise?

Thoughts: Too funny! I'd forgotten how much I liked the little red chicken. I am now planning to share both books with first and second graders in May. Funny book are always a hit with those grades. I love that the little red chicken is impossible to convince that she misheard her teacher. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and fun.

Themes: Interruptions, Chickens, Fairy Tales, Elementary

(Review copy provided by publisher. Candlewick, 2018.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

Alma has six names. She's convinced that's too many and her name never fits. Her dad tells her where each of the names comes from so she can decide if they fit.

Thoughts: A charming story and a simple introduction to family history. Alma is an endearing character both in words and illustrations. I love the limited color palette and how Alma pops with her pink striped pants. My siblings and I were always told about the origins of our names and at least part of them were from our family tree so Alma's story brings back memories for me. I love how the note from Juana ends: "What is the story of your name? What story would you like to tell?"

As part of a children's literature class in college I had to visit an elementary school class. Names was the topic I chose. I read My Great-Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston and made the students bookmarks with the meanings of their names on them. Alma would be another great book to use for such a project.

Themes: Names, Family History, Dads

(Review copy provided by publisher. Candlewick, 2018.)

Monday, April 8, 2019

Seeing Into Tomorrow by Richard Wright

2018 Cybils Poetry Nominee

12 haiku capture moments in a boy's life.

Thoughts: Haiku is one of my favorite forms of poetry. Seeing Into Tomorrow is visually stunning and I love the haiku. I think they capture perfectly what a child would wonder about. The information about haiku, the biography of Richard Wright, and the invitation to write your own haiku is useful for readers who want to know more and want to write haiku. Seeing Into Tomorrow, like a few other haiku collections for children, would be a great introduction to haiku as a poetic form. My favorite poems are "So insistently" and "The clouds are smiling."

(Biography and Illustrations by Nina Crews. Millbrook Press, 2018)

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Tiptoeing Tiger by Philippa Leathers

Little Tiger wants to be like all the other tigers--"sleek, silent, and totally terrifying"--but his big brother is certain he's too small to scare anyone.

Thoughts: A fun book! I can see my storytime kids guessing which animal Little Tiger will try to scare next. The illustrations are soft and detailed. I like that the ultimate result of Little Tiger's experiment is that he gains confidence in himself.

Themes: Tigers; Little; Sibling; Lions, Tigers, & Bears

(Review copy provided by publisher. Candlewick, 2018.)

Flannel Friday: Dragon Finger Puppets

I made these dragon finger puppets to liven up my fairy tales storytime. I used a free pattern from crafty mom of girls and adapted the blackbird rhymes from Plano Public Library.

Important Links:
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Flannel Friday Tumblr
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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

World Make Way: New poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins

2018 Cybils Poetry Nominee

I think the title says it all.

Thoughts: This is a brilliant concept. World Make Way is a great way to introduce readers to art and poetry as well as inspiring them to try their hands at writing art inspired poetry. My favorite poems are "Paint Me" by Marilyn Singer, "Cat Watching a Spider" by Julie Fogliano, "Night-Shining White" by Elaine Magliaro, and "My Dog and I" by Ann Whitford Paul. This would be a great basis for a writing exercise or program for older elementary, middle school, and high school students. Coffee table art books would be a good source of art to inspire poetry. I look forward to using art inspired poetry as one of my poetry prompts as I celebrate National Poetry Month.

(Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2018)

Monday, April 1, 2019

In the Past by David Elliott

2018 Cybils Poetry Finalist

Explore prehistoric creatures with poems and facts.

Thoughts: Anything remotely related to dinosaurs will be a hit with most kids. These poems are short and humorous...sometimes tongue-in-cheek or even a little sarcastic. I would definitely share these poems with first and second graders when I visit elementary schools. Trueman's illustrations are life like and interesting. My one complaint is that I would have liked the facts at the end of the book on the pages with the poems. I think that would make for easier understanding. My favorite poems are "Eurypterus," "Dilophosaurus," "Tyrannosaurus Rex," and "Smilodon."

(Illustrated by Matthew Trueman. Candlewick, 2018.)

Friday, March 29, 2019

Flannel Friday: Build a Castle

This is an inspired by Flannel Friday idea. I found the idea on Miss Meg's Storytime and then tracked the idea to Falling Flannelboards and then to Mel's Desk.

This was a great idea to freshen up my fairy tales storytime and to use with bigger groups.

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Max and Bird by Ed Vere

Cats chase and sometimes eat birds. It's a fact. When Max meets Bird he plans to chase and maybe eat him. Bird has other plans. He suggests they be friends. Max agrees to be Bird's friend and help him learn to fly. Then they'll revisit the question of chasing and eating.

Thoughts: Max is a fun character. I enjoyed him in Max at Night. The addition of Bird to his story is a good one. Their exploration of friendship and attempts at flying are too funny. Max and Bird will make a great addition to my friendship storytime.

Themes: Cats, Birds, Friendship, Flying (Pair with Flight School)

(Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2016/2017[US].)

Monday, March 25, 2019

Morris Mole by Dan Yaccarino

When the Mole Brothers run out of food, the littlest mole, Morris, knows he can help, but but his brothers won't listen. The world above ground is a marvelous place. Morris sees wonderful things and meets nice people.

Thoughts: A lovely story about how being the smallest or different doesn't mean that you can't do great things. I love the black background used in the illustrations and the bright colors. Morris is quite dapper with his fedora and umbrella.

Themes: Moles, Underground, Siblings

(Harper, 2017.)

Friday, March 22, 2019

Bulldozer Helps Out by Candace Fleming

The bigger trucks and machines are busy at the construction site. Bulldozer wants to help, but they all think he's too little.

Thoughts: A good solid book. The ending was unexpected. The text was much simpler than Bulldozer's Big Day. I love the illustrations. The bold black lines are great.

Themes: Construction, Cats

(Illustrated by Eric Rohmann. Atheneum, 2017.)

Flannel Friday: Blackbird Finger Puppets

I made these finger puppets to use during my numbers storytime. I used the free patterns and rhymes from Plano Public Library.

Important Links:
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Flannel Friday Tumblr
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Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Monster's New Undies by Samantha Berger

Monster needs new underwear, but he's sure he won't like them as well as the pair he wore out.

Thoughts: Too funny! Monsters and underwear are two great themes. Together they just might be storytime gold. The illustrations are bright and colorful with a limited palette. I can't wait to use Monster's New Undies in storytime.

Themes: Monsters, Underwear

(Illustrated by Tad Carpenter. Orchard, 2017.)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Bookjoy, Wordjoy by Pat Mora

2018 Cybils Poetry Nominee

This collection is a celebration of the joy books and words can bring to life.

Thoughts: I love the ideas behind this book--to encourage kids to love reading and writing. Mora's Welcome and Note to Educators & Families both entice kids to try their hands at writing. My favorite poems are "Books and Me," "Library Magic," and "Writing Secrets." "Writing Secrets" especially is an invitation for readers to create their words and find joy in the creation. Colon's illustrations are joyful.

(Illustrated by Raul Colon. Lee & Low, 2018.)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Friends and Foes: Poems About Us All by Douglas Florian

2018 Cybils Poetry Nominee

25 poems explore the art of being friends and/or enemies.

Thoughts: This collection is so evocative for me. It brings back memories of childhood friendships and rivalries. Of course I'm an adult, but if the poems can bring those memories to my mind then I believe this book will ring true for the children who read it. Interactions or experiences cannot be simply good or bad. They are a mixture. Florian shows that fact with his poems. My favorite poems are "What Friends Are For," "You Don't," "We Used to Be Friends," "Moved," "Jealous," and "Friendship Is a Flower." As always I like Florian's illustrations because they remind me of what a kid would draw and ergo make the book visually appealing to children.

(Beach Lane Books, 2018.)

Flannel Friday: Penguins

For my penguin storytime in January, I realized I didn't have anything for my flannel board. So I made a set of five penguins along with 2 finger puppets. I used a free clipart image for the penguins and a free pattern from Repeat Crafter Me for the finger puppets.

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

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Bunch of Punctuation selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

2018 Cybils Poetry Nominee

14 poems provide an introduction to punctuation.

Thoughts: A fun collection that kids interested in writing will pick up as well as teachers teaching punctuation. The poems are fun and witty. The illustrations are interesting. My favorite poems are "Comma" by Lee Bennett Hopkins, "!!!!!!!!--Superhero Kaboom--!!!!!!!!" by Julie Larios, "Question Mark" by Prince Redcloud, and "Lines Written for You to Think About" by Lee Bennett Hopkins. I love how "Lines..." functions as an invitation to write poetry and explore punctuation.

(Illustrated by Serge Bloch. Wordsong, 2018.)

Monday, March 11, 2019

With My Hands: Poems About Making Things by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

2018 Cybils Poetry Nominee 

26 poems explore all types of making from a child's point of view. 

Thoughts: I love this collection because I am a maker and it evokes wonderful memories from my elementary school art class.  Making is big right now with the makerspace movement in libraries and schools. This collection is timely. My favorite poems are "Card," "Tie-Dye Shirt," "Collage," "Fort," "Origami," and "Snowflakes." They bring back memories for me. For example, I am a card maker, but I remember cutting out holiday clipart from the local newspaper and gluing them on notebook paper to make cards as a child. 

I hope readers will find poems that resonate with them, but also poems that make them want to try a new kind of making. I want to give this collection to my elementary school art teacher and every crafty kid I know. I see myself using poems from this collection as intros to making programs. The illustrations are colorful yet soft and not overly stylized. They remind me of things a kid would actually create.

(Illustrated by Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson. Clarion, 2018. )

Friday, March 8, 2019

H Is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku Poems from A to Z by Sydell Rosendberg

2018 Cybils Poetry Finalist

Twenty six haiku capture moments in the city from A to Z.

Thoughts: Haiku has been one of my favorite forms of poetry since I was introduced to it as a high school freshman. In a college Japanese history class, I gave a presentation on haiku. As Rosenberg states in her note"What is haiku?", haiku cannot be gimmicked or shammed. Often writers strict adherence to the 5-7-5 rule results in stilted lines. Thankfully, Rosenberg avoids this. The twenty six haiku in this collection are authentic and fresh. Even though I know they were written some years ago, they have a timelessness. They could have been written yesterday or today. The poems are playful and visceral. The illustrations perfectly complement the poems. H Is for Haiku is a fun collection I think children will enjoy. My favorite poems are "first library card," "holding umbrella," and "lake water melting."  This collection makes me want to write haiku again.

Illustrated by Sawson Chalabi. Penny Candy Books, 2018.

Flannel Friday: Moose

I made these moose back in the fall for my moose storytime.

For the bigger moose, I used a pattern from Make Learning Fun (Rainbow Shape Animals).

For the smaller moose and the muffins, I used clipart. I already had 1 small moose and 1 muffin in my If You Give a... set. I made 4 more muffins and 2 more small moose.

I found rhymes and activities for my moose and muffins at The Door 2 Door Librarian, Make Learning Fun, and One Little Librarian.

Important Links:
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Flannel Friday Tumblr
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Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Friday, January 11, 2019

Flannel Friday: Mr. Panda & Donuts

I made this set to go along with my Steve Antony storytime in the fall. I used this free template from A Cup of Thuy  to make the donuts. I made 12 little donuts and 5 big donuts. I used an illustration from Thank You, Mr. Panda to make the felt Mr. Panda. No puff paint on the donuts and just a little puff paint on Mr. Panda for his eyeballs.

I used this set with Carrrie's rhyme, but I ad-libbed some at the end. "Bridget picked the pink one." Oh, that's a good one. It's chocolate with raspberry. She took it home and she ate it all up."

I asked the kids what they had to say to get a donut from Mr. Panda...please and thank you. We also counted the donuts and talked about flavors.

Important Links:
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Flannel Friday Tumblr
Flannel Friday Pinterest
Flannel Friday Facebook Group

Friday, January 4, 2019

Flannel Friday: Polar Bears

I wanted something to use on the flannel board for my polar bear storytime. Using clipart, felt, puff paint, yarn, and a little crocheting, I created 2 sets of five polar bears. To add a little science to storytime, I created front and back polar bear paws. I tried to make them as accurate as possible. The inspiration for the paws came from Jacki over at Storytime Hooligans.

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