Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Week at the Library

Merry Christmas to all! Or as an adorable two-year-old said to me, "Happy Halloween!" Enjoy a sweet time celebrating the birth of Jesus and giving good gifts to your loved ones.

We had smaller crowds this week, but a very fun time together.

Baby Time

A few babies who haven't been able to attend for a while got to come this week with parents who had a few days off of work. They grow so fast! Many were just figuring out how to crawl. It's fun to see all the different ways babies get from one place to another, army crawl, log roll, bottom scoot.

Preschool Storytime

At Toddler Time and Preschool Storytime I was so happy to see many of my old buddies who have left me (sob) for elementary school. I get all kinds of warm fuzzies when they come back during vacation to say hi.

Our theme this week was "Bedtime" and we had lots of very fun books.

Mortimer, by Robert Munsch. This is the third week in a row we've read one of his books. He's such a genius storyteller. Mortimer sings his song every time he's told to go to sleep:
Cling clang, rattle bing bang,
Gonna make my noise all day!
Cling clang, rattle bing bang,
Gonna make my noise all day!

My deepest apologies if you've had to listen to that when you put your own child to bed lately.

Bye-bye, Crib, by Alison McGhee. This book really got a lot of smiles and giggles.
The Bunnies Are Not In Their Beds, by Marisabino Russo. The children always get a kick out of the naughtiness of other children.
Little Hoot, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. I love this series about little ones whose parents make them do the opposite of what real parents ask, like staying up late, eating candy, and being messy.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, by Jane Yolen. Mark Teague's illustrations make this story the hit that it is. The color, the hugeness of the dinosaurs, the personality that comes through, it's absolute genius!

I told the story The Napping House, by Audrey Wood, on the flannelboard and asked the kids to say as much of it with me as they were able. I could tell many enjoyed the challenge.

Toddler Time

It was wonderful to see lots of dads come, either alone with their kids, or together with their wives, and also to see parents come when it's usually the nanny or babysitter. It was adorable, too, to hear the little ones say "Mewwy Chwisthmas" as best they could!

We read:

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, by Jane Yolen. I grabbed this one from Preschool Storytime, and it was such a hit I requested it for my Toddler Time shelf. Like I said above, the illustrations are amazing, so much so that one toddler found them a bit overwhelming and had to hide his eyes through most of it.
A Turtle in the Toilet, by Jonathan Emmett. They love the surprises in this pop-up book, and the humor of a turtle in the toilet or a skunk under the bed.

Next Week we have a regular schedule of Storytimes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Week at the Library

I love it when the toddlers run up to me to tell me something vitally important, and I work and work to understand what they're trying to say, and I get it! I feel rather proud of myself when I decipher toddler-speak.

Toddler Time

I reintroduced the song "I'm a Little Snowman" this week, and the kids laughed at "Woops! I'm a puddle."

We read:

Slop Goes the Soup: A Noisy Warthog Word Book, by Pamela Duncan Edwards. I wish I'd tried to teach the toddlers to say "onomatopoeia"! Slop, gurgle, swish, whoosh, clatter. Great words!
Go Away Big Green Monster!, by Ed Emberley. I did get them to say "Go away!" pretty loud.

Baby Time

I was so thrilled to have a baby walk his first three steps in a row to me! He had taken a step or two the week before, but this was three steps in a row for the first time - to me! I feel so privileged.

Our book this week was Mama Mama, by Jean Marzollo. Very sweet - with photographs of mama animals taking care of their babies.

Preschool Storytime

Our theme was "Weather" this week, so we had stories about mud, rainbows, sun and wind.

We started with one of my favorite authors, Robert Munsch. Mud Puddle is after Jule Ann, and she must find away to keep it from jumping on her head.

A Rainbow of My Own, by Don Freeman. Wouldn't it be fun to play with a rainbow?

In the Middle of the Puddle, by Mike Thaler. (A local author!) What's the next size up from a puddle? (A pool) A pond? (A lake)

I told the Aesop's Fable "The Sun and the Wind" with a stick puppet sun and wind. It was one child's favorite story of the day.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A New Theme

Maybe I should do a Storytime on it. The kids certainly seem to be interested in it. Every week several children spend a good portion of Storytime or Toddler Time occupied in that way. It's definitely universal. I love the picture in No, David! that always gets the laughs from the kids. It finally hit home last week when I was holding hands with a little guy, and he noticed his nose was running. I guess he didn't want to let go, so he just used the back of my hand to wipe his nose. Convenient. I'm just glad I keep hand sanitizer in the closet.

"Boogers." The kids would love it! Just think of the flannelboard stories! I'll get going on the props right away.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

This Week at the Library

I'm sitting cozy in a coffee shop, watching the rain come down and come down. I heard we're under a flood watch, so I'm curious what Stella Olsen Park will look like (water over the bridge probably) and the refuge (one huge lake I assume). I'm glad I don't live in a flood plain.

This week I was happy to be on a regular schedule, but heads up for next week. The library is opening late on Wednesday so the staff can go to a Christmas party. Everyone coming to the 11:30 Toddler Time will need to enter the building from the parking lot as the doors to the library on the street side will be locked.

Preschool Storytime

Our stories were all about "Clothing" this week. It seems appropriate in the winter when we all need to wear extra layers.

We read:

Thomas' Snowsuit, by Robert Munsch. The kids are thrilled by Thomas' "NNNOOO!" They love watching other people do the naughty things they aren't brave enough to try.
Whose Shoe?, by Margaret Miller. This fun guessing book always stumps the kids when they come to the picture of the wading boots.

I told the traditional story The Mitten with giant knitted mittens and wonderful little story prop animals to stuff inside.

On the flannelboard, I told the story Bit by Bit, by Steve Sanfield. I love the repetitive language in this story, and children love watching the long coat gradually turn into a jacket, then a vest, then a cap, then a pocket, and finally a button.

Sometimes parents have asked where I get the props for the stories I tell. The Washington County Library System provides all those for me, but if you're interested in getting them for your own classroom, library or school, Lakeshore Learning has a good supply ( and Kaplan Company has some as well (

Toddler Time

Oh, you parents are such good Hoky-Pokiers! I appreciate that you may feel a little silly the first time or two that you do that with your little ones, but what a gift you give them when you model a sense of play and group participation! I saw a perfect demonstration of the power of participating with your child this week. Two parents, new to Toddler Time, came in. One I think may be very uncomfortable sitting on the floor, and they both sat in the front row of chairs and sent their toddlers off to the blue rug. When we started, both children would run back and forth from the rug to their parents. They obviously were torn between keeping contact with their caregiver, and participating in the fun songs and rhymes. After the first song, I invited the parents to come sit in the circle, and to drag a chair over if that's needed. They did, and those two little ones were completely at ease and able to focus on the activities.

Our books this week were:

Opposites, by Robert Crowther. It's amazing how long these toddlers will sit and watch the pop-ups in this book. I had to leave out two or three fingerplays from our session to make room for the length of this book. They LOVE it.
Freight Train, by Donald Crews. This book is a Caldecott Medal honor book for good reason. It holds children's attention whether they're infants or preschoolers. I love looking at it!

Baby Time

I don't know why, but Baby Time is really growing. I'm thrilled at how the parents are making connections and forming friendships, among dads too!

The book we discovered this week was I Love Colors!, by Margaret Miller. Everyone seemed to think this was a great book for their babies. I noticed it held their attention for quite a while, too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

This Week at the Library

So nice to see the crowds back after the holidays and ice!

Preschool Storytime

Our theme was "Chickens" and I got to read a new story that is SO much fun!

Interrupting Chicken, by David Ezra Stein. Reading this story aloud really brings out the dramatic side in me (not that it's ever very far from the surface!). I love the Papa's voice, trying so hard to be patient. I love little Chicken's voice, saving the day, then so apologetic. I need this book on my shelf!
The Wolf's Chicken Stew, by Keiko Kasza. I love surprise endings, too, and the hundred little chick kisses are adorable.
Chicken Chickens, by Valeri Gorbachev. Children relate so well to being afraid of the playground equipment. Most kids think it looks pretty scary from the top of a slide the first time. I could tell by the children's faces that they were totally into this book.
Hungry Hen, by Richard Waring. Another great surprise ending!
Rosie's Walk, by Pat Hutchins. A classic! It's fun to spice it up with Rosie walking "doo-dee-doo-dee-doo."

I told the story of the Little Red Hen on the flannelboard.

Toddler Time

I had a mother express her concern that her son was too disruptive because he didn't want to participate in everything going on in the program. For children new to Toddler Time, especially those for whom this is a first group experience, participation is something they'll grow into. The room is new, the crowd is new, the pictures on the walls are new, the view out the windows is new, and hey! look at those blinds! What happens if I hide behind them? They need to satisfy their curiosity about the room before they can concentrate on what I'm asking them to do. Of course, you will keep guiding them back to the circle, and model participation in a positive way, but don't think you have to stay home!

Our books were:

The Very Hungry Spider, by Eric Carle. They love feeling the spider web on the page!
Peek-a-Moo!, by Marie Torres Cimarusti. They thought it was pretty hysterical to say "Peek-a-Oink!"

Baby Time

Lots of babies! It's so awesome to see the rug covered with babies, and see them watch each other, make eye-contact, reach out, and smile at each other. We liked the book this week too. I Kissed the Baby, by Mary Murphy.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Week at the Library

Another short week. I miss the babies on Thursdays!

Preschool Storytime

In honor of Thanksgiving, we had a "Families" theme. We read:

Coco Can't Wait, by Taro Gomi. In our grandmother story, Coco and Grandma can't wait to see each other, and work at cross-purposes until they finally meet in the middle.
Just Me and My Dad, by Mercer Mayer. Critter and his dad go on a hilarious camping trip.
Just Grandpa and Me, by Mercer Mayer. Sometimes I like for the kids to see two books in a series at Storytime. That way they see that books can have recurring characters, recurring themes, and even recurring spiders in the illustrations!
Sheila Rae, the Brave, by Kevin Henkes. I love the part where Sheila Rae snaps the twiggy fingers off. Snap! Snap! Snap! So deliciously brave!

I did a story on the flannelboard adapted from The Doorbell Rang, by Pat Hutchins. Two children get twelve cookies to divide between them. Other family members keep arriving, with whom the children share - siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins - until each person has just one cookie left. Then the door opens one more time. What to do? It's Grandma with a huge plate of cookies!

Toddler Time

Not as many kids this week with the ice and holiday both, but we still had a good time. We read:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. Such an amazing book! It manages to pack so much into a very small amount of text and illustration. The days of the week, counting to five, the names of a variety of food, and of course, the life cycle of a butterfly.
From Head to Toe, by Eric Carle. We get to move different parts of our body while we read this (and learn the names of some unusual animals).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so many things to be thankful for, this year and always. First of all, I have the BEST family in the world (sorry everyone else, mine wins!).

I'm thankful for my job as the Storylady. I often say I can't believe I get paid to read great books to children and jump around the room singing "Five Little Monkeys!"

I'm thankful for you parents who bring your wonderful children to Storytime. You pack up your toddlers in the car or stroller and come down to the library, even on nasty days, to sit uncomfortably on the floor for half an hour. You smile and do silly hand motions and cheer for your child's little accomplishments. You continue to bring your preschoolers to hear wonderful picture books that stimulate their imaginations and get them excited about learning to read. Your investment in them will have unimaginable returns.

I'm thankful for all the amazing little ones I get to see every week. I'm so blessed by the joy I see in their faces when they bound through the door, laugh at the funny books and concentrate so hard on moving their hands and fingers like I do.

God did a good job on your children. Thank you for bringing them to me!

Friday, November 19, 2010

This Week at the Library

I really missed the Thursday crowd, especially my weekly baby fix! Speaking of which:

Baby Time

We were reminded that babies most love to explore their world with their mouths. We have some blocks that squeak and blow a puff of air when you squeeze them. One little guy loves it when I hold it to his lips and blow the air right on his tongue. He gets a far off look of concentration and leans forward and sticks his tongue out so the block actually creates suction on his tongue. It's adorable.

We all loved the book this week: Eyes, Nose, Toes Peekaboo! by DK Publishing. Each page folds out to reveal a part of the body that was hidden on the previous page, with some kind of texture or shiny thing to touch.

Toddler Time

We have a new batch of toddlers on the very young end just starting with us. I want to encourage those parents not to think it's a problem if their child just wants to sit and watch. They're still learning and absorbing. You'll probably hear them singing snippets of the songs at home, or talking about what they saw and heard. They'll be jumping around sooner or later, all at their own pace.

Our books this week were:

Cat's Colors, by Jane Cabrera. A few of the kids really got into the suspense of trying to guess what Cat's favorite color was.
How Many Bugs in a Box?, by David Carter. I felt awful when I almost made a little guy cry at the end of this book. When I pretended that the saw-bugs on the last page were scary, most of the kids were laughing and begging me to open the door one more time. Another little boy in the front row was starting to get very red in the face, and wasn't smiling. I shut the book and told him, "It's just pretend." They all got up and he ran back to Mom and assured her of the same thing.

Preschool Storytime

One of my favorite themes this week - Naughtiness! We get to sing "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" and "Little Bunny Foo Foo." Here are the words to "Foo Foo."

Little Bunny Foo Foo hopping through the forest,
Scooping up the field mice and
Bopping them on the head.

Down came the good fairy, and she said
Little Bunny Foo Foo, I don't want to see you
Scooping up the field mice and
Bopping them on the head.

I'll give you three chances,
And if you don't behave
I'll turn you into a GOON!

The next day,
Repeat the song with the fairy giving him two chances, then one more chance, then:

Down came the good fairy, and she said
Little Bunny Foo Foo
I don't want to see you
Scooping up the field mice and
Bopping them on the head.

I gave you three chances
And you didn't behave.
Now you're a GOON! POOF!

The moral of the story is: Hare today, and goon tomorrow.

The books we read were:

Roger's Umbrella, by Daniel Pinkwater. Roger has a very naughty umbrella until some mysterious old ladies teach him how to talk to it. "Nuffle. Dwing. Hup!"
Dinofours: It's Time-Out Time, by Steve Metzger. This book may violate the rule in picture book writing that the adults aren't supposed to solve problems, but I swear every time I read this the kids get very still and focused. I think it's because they can both relate to little Brendan, and they're fascinated by naughtiness.
No, David!, by David Shannon. A certified crowd pleaser. Especially when David runs down the street naked.

I told the story The Cake that Mack Ate, by Rose Robart with the storyprops. I've never actually read the book that it comes from. I'll put that on my to-do list!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

This (Short) Week at the Library

I missed you all on Thursday. I hope not too many of you showed up to find the doors locked. I'm afraid I forgot to mention it last week.

Preschool Storytime

The theme was very easy to guess this week - pigs on every book cover. We read:

Crispin, the Pig Who Had it All, by Ted Dewan. Crispin has everything he could want, and breaks it all too. Santa gives him an empty box that contains the one thing he doesn't have. My Storytime friends were quite perceptive and knew that one thing was friends.
Piggies, by Audrey Wood. Don Wood did some captivating illustrations in this book.

I told the traditional story of the Three Little Pigs on the flannelboard. The kids helped me with the repetitive lines of the story "Little pig, little pig, let me come in." "Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin." Etc. Any time you can involve the child in the story, whether in this way, or by having the kids match their fingers to the illustrations in the Piggies book, you will increase their comprehension and interest in the book.

We followed up the traditional story by asking "What if the pigs were bad and the wolf was good?" Then we read The Three Horrid Little Pigs, by Liz Pichon. That was pretty fun.

Finally we finished with If You Give a Pig a Pancake, by Laura Numeroff. I have a recording of the book read by David Hyde Pierce (of "Frasier" fame). He does a fantastic job. The recording finishes with the song "Flipping the Flapjacks" and we flipped our hands back and forth like flapjacks. So much fun!

Toddler Time

The construction near the library has been a huge source of entertainment to these little ones. I raised the blinds so we could watch a dump truck being loaded. One boy who can probably only say about 25 words just had to keep saying "Dat twuck is COOL!"

Our books this week were:

Good Night Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown. Lots of kids told me they have this book, which is great. I had them say good night to the bears and mouse and mush, then we laughed at how silly it is to say good night to mush.
Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell. We also had fun saying "I sent him back!" on every page of this adorable book.

Baby Time

No Baby Time this week. The library was closed.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

This Week at the Library

Preschool Storytime

Humorous stories are always my favorite over those quiet, literary, beautiful books. Those certainly have their place, but for reading aloud to a crowd of preschoolers, funny always beats literary.

This week our theme was "Silly People," so I got to read some favorite stories.

Silly Sally, by Audrey Wood. The kids always like imagining walking backwards upside-down.
Stephanie's Ponytail, by Robert Munsch. The biggest laugh always comes with the line where three girls go into the boy's bathroom.
Imogene's Antlers, by David Small. It's funny how this book is starting to sound dated with references to a maid, a cook, and looking things up in the encyclopedia. But the children like the visual jokes.

On the flannelboard I told the story I Love You Stinkyface, by Lisa McCourt. "Stinkyface" is such a fun word.

I also used the big storyprop to tell the story "Parts" by Tedd Arnold. It's the parents in the audience that I usually hear the biggest "ewwww" from when I pull the booger out of the boy's nose.

Toddler Time

Just another reminder not to feel like your child has to be on his/her feet and doing everything I do to be participating. I hear over and over from parents that their child sits quietly in Mom or Dad's lap through the whole program, then goes home and chatters endlessly about the songs and rhymes, and loves to repeat what they heard at Toddler Time. It's all sinking in!

Our books were:

Machines at Work, by Byron Barton. A few children (yes, they were boys) got very excited with the picture of the bulldozer on the front.
Duckie's Rainbow, by Frances Barry. They were transfixed when I removed the rainbow page by page, then made it come back page by page.

Baby Time

Another new walker! It's so fantastic to see the week by week development of these babies. Another little boy has gotten to the point that I can see happy recognition in his face when we say the rhymes, do the songs and pull out the bubble machine.

What a Blast!

I enjoyed my time immensely at Young Willamette Writers last Tuesday. Thanks, Corey, for asking me to join you! Seven of my daughter's critique group buddies joined me at the meeting, and I thank them for being so willing to participate and get the energy going. I read three of my stories to them, and they furnished the endings in various ways: out loud, taking turns adding one sentence at a time, then on their own. Their stories were quite creative and hilarious with alien hamsters, lots of slime and screaming like a girl. I'm hoping some of them will be posted on the Young Willamette Writers website soon.

The evening renewed my confidence in my book, that it will be a good tool for teachers in the classroom, and that kids will have a great time with it. It's so hard to be patient!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Young Willamette Writers

The Willamette Writers is the largest writers' organization in Oregon, and one of the largest in the U.S. They also host the "Young Willamette Writers" for youth who are interested in writing. My daughter attends these monthly meetings with several of her friends from her critique group that she started at her school (Veritas School in Newberg).

I'm particularly excited about November's meeting this Tuesday, as I get to be the guest speaker. I'll be using my cliffhanger stories for some fun writing activities. After I read a story, we'll have a few kids tell the ending aloud. That's always what gets the kids in the mood to have their imaginations run wild (see "Alien Ants"). We'll write some story endings and share them with each other, and spend a few minutes talking about the benefits of critique groups for aspiring authors. I'm really looking forward to this!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This Week at the Library

Preschool Storytime

It was another one of those weeks where I had more books than I had time. Sometimes I wish Storytime could go for an hour. But I don't think I'd have an audience by the end of it.

Our theme was "Scary Things" this week in honor of Halloween. Some little ones are frightened by the images around them this time of year, so I thought some stories that reassure would be appropriate. We read:

Can't You Sleep Little Bear, by Martin Waddell. Little Bear (he's the little bear) is scared of the dark, and Big Bear (he's the big bear) can't figure out what to do about it, until he remembers the moon and the stars that light up the dark outside.
Scaredy Cat, by Joan Rankin. Scaredy Cat is scared of lots of things, until he plucks up his courage and swats that hairy spider.
Wemberly Worried, by Kevin Henkes. Wemberly worries and worries, especially about the first day of school. There she finds a friend who helps her forget (most of) her worries.
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. The kids got to be Wild Things and roar and gnash and roll and show all their scary parts.
Dinosaurs' Halloween, by Liza Donnelly. A little boy and his dog dress up as dinosaurs, then meet a real dinosaur who trick-or-treats with him. Some bullies try to take their candy, and the little dino calls for help from the big dinos, who chase away the bad boys.

Toddler Time

You all were great Hokey Pokey-ers this week! Our stories were:

Cookie's Week, by Cindy Ward. I always get a big laugh from the first page. "On Monday, Cookie fell in the toilet." One boy decided every page was just as funny, which was even funnier than the book!
My Car, by Byron Barton. The kids had fun saying "Hi Sam! Bye Sam!" and learning to say "pedestrian."

Baby Time

We had to say goodbye to a parent going back to work next week. No fair! We should all be allowed to take 18 years off to enjoy raising our kids. That would be okay, wouldn't it?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why Don't I Own This Book?

I discovered the book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg, long ago when I was teaching school. (If that author sounds familiar, he wrote The Polar Express, and Jumanji.) As it is one of my favorite books of all time, I'm wondering why on earth I don't own it. I think I'll fix that soon.

The premise of the book is that Harris Burdick, an author/illustrator, brought a portfolio of his work to a children's book publisher. He said he had fourteen stories, and brought one illustration from each to show the publisher. As said publisher was very interested, Mr. Burdick agreed to return the next day with the stories. He was never seen again. What follows in this picture book are the drawings "left behind" by Harris Burdick, each one with a title and caption. These illustrations are phenomenal, as befits a Caldecott winning artist. A full page drawing of something mysterious or fantastic draws you in, while the title and caption spark your curiousity and imagination. One of my favorites shows the inside of a towering gothic cathedral. A nun, sitting in a chair, floats high in the air above two priests' heads. The title reads "The Seven Chairs." The caption says, "The fifth one ended up in France." What's the story? How did that nun in the chair get there? What happened next?

I think this book was in the back of my mind when I started writing my own stories that will be in Cliffhanger Writing Prompts. I imagined a picture book where each page turn would show a new story with a full-color illustration. Well, that concept didn't fly, but stories that leave the reader to imagine what happens next did. I'm looking forward to teachers using my book in the classroom the same way I used The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. And that is very cool!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This Week at the Library

Another great week down, and I'm looking forward to "Scary Things" next week.

Preschool Storytime

This week was all about Turtles. We learned the difference between turtles and tortoises, and that real turtles can't take their shells off the way Franklin does. We looked at pictures of lots of different kinds of turtles, including that funny one that wiggles its tongue to attract fish. We did the turtle rhyme:

There Was a Little Turtle

There was a little turtle
Who lived in a box
It swam in the water
And it climbed on the rocks.

It snapped at a mosquito
It snapped at a flea
It snapped at a minnow
And it snapped at me.

It caught the mosquito
It caught the flea
It caught the minnow
But it didn't catch me.

We read:

Franklin in the Dark, by Paulette Bourgeois. Franklin asks friends for help when he's afraid to crawl in his shell. He finally gathers up his courage, crawls in, and turns on his nightlight.
Time to Sleep, by Denise Fleming. The forest animals relay the message that it's time to sleep for the winter, until ladybug wakes up bear to tell her "Time to sleep!"
Splash!, by Ann Jonas. This is a simple counting book, but can be a challenging math book when you ask the kids to figure out in their heads "How many are in my pond?"

I told the African folktale "Unwungelema" on the flannelboard. In a time of famine, all the animals want the fruit from a magic tree. The fruit will only fall if someone says the name of the tree, only no one can remember what its name is. Turtle saves the day when he journeys to the king, gets the name, and remembers it all the way home.

Toddler Time

I can't wait to be a grandmother. I just think two and three year olds are the cutest things on the planet. Yes, they hand me boogers, but it's quite innocent, so I think even that's kind of cute - as long as the parent is the one who actually deals with the booger.

Our stories this week were:

The Chick and the Duckling, by Mirra Ginsburg. Baby's first peer pressure book.
How Do I Put it On?, by Shigeo Watanabe. The Tuesday and Thursday crowd laughed and yelled "NO!" at this book. The Wednesday group was silently captivated. Not a sound.

Baby Time

Our group is growing. I think we had nine babies today. Their faces as they watched the bubbles were adorable. We had a new book today called Baby Cakes by Karma Wilson that everyone seemed to enjoy. It had a great rhythm to it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Please Vote for the Library Levy

Just wanted to say that I'd sure like it if the library levy passed. The last time it didn't pass we had a year or two of shortened library hours, and Storytime had to get moved around. We had fewer storytimes then, and I'm afraid if we cut back on hours this time, some storytimes might have to be cut.

The "new" levy just continues the old levy, with no increases in rates. It is only a replacement. Please vote yes!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This Week at the Library

This is the type of weather that is so beautiful outside, and gets so uncomfortable inside. Inside our "community room," that is. It's cool enough outside that the building's air conditioner doesn't come on. Yet those wonderful huge windows that face the morning sun make the room a greenhouse and it gets really warm sometimes. Dress in layers when you come!

Preschool Storytime

In preparation for Halloween, we had a "Monsters" theme. Some of these books are big favorites of mine.

There's a Nightmare in My Closet, by Mercer Mayer. The dreaded monster in the closet! Actually he's a big crybaby.
Go Away, Big Green Monster!, by Ed Emberly. Yay! Nobody cried when the kids screamed "Go away!" I think this book is very empowering.
The Very Worst Monster, by Pat Hutchins. It's kind of fun to think being really, really bad is good!

The fourth book I read was different on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday's book was:

Jeremy Draws a Monster, by Peter McCarty. Jeremy is the ultimate introvert, and when he draws a monster that comes to life and behaves badly, Jeremy ends up having to go outside and join the real world.

Wednesday's book was:

No Such Thing, by Jacki French Koller. I LOVE this book. Again, it's so empowering to a child to be able to prove he's right and the grownups are wrong. This book allows that in a humorous, respectful way, plus has the added benefit of showing that even if there is a monster under your bed, he's probably a playmate in the making.

We had a great time acting out the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. We learned how to tell/act out the story at home with the Horrible Mean Troll saying "Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?" and "I'm coming up to eat you!"

Toddler Time

Good singers on Thursday! I love it when parents really get into the songs and fingerplays. Our books this week were:

Spots, Feathers and Curly Tails, by Nancy Tafuri. The kids love this guessing-game book.
Dinosaur Roar, by Paul Stickland. This is a genius of a book, combining dinosaurs, fun pictures and opposites.

Baby Time

Today four of the five babies were there for the first time. Plus we had a dad! Lots of smiles and wide eyes at the bubbles.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This Week at the Library

I guess I was a failure this week. At the end of Preschool Storytime (which I thought had gone swimmingly), two boys were standing in front of me, waiting for their hand stamps. One boy said to the other, "I didn't like Storytime today." His friend said, "Yeah, I didn't either. It was boring." First boy said, "Yeah. It was boring." Sigh........

Preschool Storytime

So I'll be looking for some better books on elephants now. I thought they were pretty good, but maybe I spent a little too much time teaching them the difference between Asian elephants (small ears, heart shaped head) and African elephants (big ears, round heads).

Elmer, by David McKee. I love making the kids jump when Elmer says, "BOOOO!"
A Turtle in the Toilet, by Jonathan Emmett. Pop-up books are a hit every time.
Little Elephant, by Miela Ford. We talked about the difference between real and pretend in our books. The elephant in this book is real because the pictures are photographs of a real elephant.
Just a Little Bit, by Ann Tompert. This book is pretend because the elephant is wearing clothes and sitting on a swing. I like the gentle lesson this book teaches about the value of every effort, no matter how small. We also noticed the mistake in this book - the lion has a mane, but the text refers to it as "she."

We had fun with the song "Animal Action" from my Greg and Steve CD. You can find the full title in the labels to the right.

Toddler Time

I just love how joyful the children are! If only we could capture and hold on to that joy over simple things into adulthood. I sometimes tell my own children, "Never lose your sense of play."

We read:

Clip-Clop, by Nicola Smee. Books like this amaze me with their ability to create a story arc and suspense in about 500 words.
Pete's a Pizza, by William Steig. It's interesting how the two-year-olds can't quite figure out if Pete really was made into a pizza, and the three-year-olds totally get the joke.

Baby Time

Friendships formed and milestones celebrated. Need I say more?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

This Week at the Library

Yet another booger story. While I read a book this week, another sweet young thing was mining for gold and found a choice nugget. I saw her staring at it on the tip of her finger and was wondering if she was going to offer it to me. She had just started reaching toward me when the little girl next to her saw it and asked, "Is that yours?" Had to laugh again. Reading time was over and we jumped up and moved on to other things. Never saw what happened to the little prize.

Baby Time

We had a nice big group today. Two sisters who are married to identical twins came today with their babies. Does that mean their babies are genetically half siblings? Hmmmm. Got me curious.

It was great fun to have my niece join us with her new baby. We also had a dad come with his daughter. We're definitely not a "Mom and Baby" time, so be sure other dads know they're welcome!

Toddler Time

I hope you sing our songs and say our rhymes at home with your child sometimes. When your child memorizes these little bits it definitely promotes their reading readiness and helps their language development.

Our books were:

Three Little Kittens, by Lorianne Siomades. I was able to introduce rhyming words by having them repeat "kittens, mittens" a few times.
Fire Truck, by Peter Sis. I hope this book doesn't creep anyone out when Matt's body becomes a distorted, lopsided shape. Reminds me of Dr. Who for some reason. But the children had fun with the idea of a fire truck eating pancakes.

Preschool Storytime

The Farm was our theme this week, so of course we used the letter "f" to say our opening rhyme. I realize I've never posted the words to it, so here it is:

I wiggle my fingers.
I wiggle my toes.
I wiggle my shoulders.
I wiggle my nose.
Now no more wiggles are left in me,
And I will sit still,
As still as can be.

Our books were:

Book! Book! Book!, by Deborah Bruss. Of course, I love this one! Especially because it has an illustration of the Story Lady at Storytime!
The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle. Mr. Genius teaches how a spider spins a web and entertains with all the animal sounds.
Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep, by Teri Sloat. Here we learn about how a sheep's wool gets turned into sweaters, along with giggling at the naked sheep's tushy.
The Cow That Went Oink, by Bernard Most. This is a very hard book to read aloud, but it sure had the kids laughing.

The flannelboard story was "Tops and Bottoms" by Janet Stevens. This is a Caldecott Honor book, so be sure to check out the book version and enjoy the illustrations.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Pet Peeve

I'm a huge fan of alphabet books. My daughter learned all her letters by 17 months due to an alphabet book that just "clicked" with her. However, my huge pet peeve is alphabet books designed to be pretty, and not with the child's actual learning in mind. I get it that some of these books have a different educational goal in mind, like the ABC's of endangered species, but some products seem to be genuinely trying to teach the letters, yet don't seem to have the foggiest notion of phonics.

Letters have sounds. A few letters make more than one sound, but one sound is the most common. When learning to read, we don't start with exceptions, we start with the fundamentals. So WHY do some alphabet books use "chair" for "c" or "owl" for "o"?

Children learning their letters are very young. They have very little life experience. So WHY show a picture of jacks for the letter "j"? Why show them an infant for "i" when any child will call it a baby?

Almost all the letters make their sound when you say their names. "G" and "C" don't, and using the soft sounds in an alphabet book can confuse them with "j" and "s," so I would use their hard sounds. They are most common. Vowels I can accept either way. They say their own names, but the first words kids learn to read will use their short sounds - dog, cat, bed, etc.

WHY doesn't anyone ask ME before writing these books? If they had, here are my choices for each letter:

A - apple
B - ball
C - cat
D - dog
E - elephant
F - frog
G - grapes
H - horse
I - igloo
J - jack-in-the-box
K - king
L - lion
M - monkey
N - nest
O - octopus
P - pig
Q - queen
R - ring
S - Santa Claus
T - turtle
U - umbrella
V - volcano
W - wagon
X - x-ray
Z - zebra

OK, now I feel better.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This Week at the Library

Baby Time

We had such a pleasant time this week. The two older siblings played quietly or used their stuffed animal friends as their babies and did the rhymes alongside Mom. The real babies smiled and enjoyed the songs, books and bubbles. Stay and Play time was great as we discussed developmental milestones and movies.

Please spread the word to your friends to come and enjoy Baby Time. The window of time for these babies to participate is short - only about 9 months.

Toddler Time

I got handed a booger again this week. A little one was mining for gold during our book time, and when we all got up, she held out her finger. She said, "I have a booger." I said, "Go give it to your mom." She turned and headed back to mom and mom's friend. They only heard me tell her, "Give it to your mom," so they were wondering what she had for them. When she held out her finger, the look of shock on their faces was priceless! I cracked up.

The books we read this week were:

Daisy's Hide and Seek, by Jane Simmons. Oh the suspense! (Except for the kids on Thursday who were also here on Tuesday.)
It Looked Like Spilt Milk, by Charles Shaw. I got quite a few kids to say along with me, "But it WASN'T a mitten!"

Preschool Storytime

We had a good time reading about babies this week. Lots of humor and very giggly kids.

Baby Talk, by Fred Hiatt. This is the first time I've read this book at Storytime, and it was a huge hit! I've rarely had the kids laughing so hard I couldn't continue. They LOVED the ga ga goo goo stuff.
A Friend for Minerva Louise, by Janet Stoeke. Our favorite air head.
Pirate Don't Change Diapers, by Melinda Long. This was a first time for this book too. I read this only on Tuesday, and it seemed a little long and involved for their age. It would be great one-on-one at home.
Crispin and the 3 Little Piglets, by Ted Dewan. I love Crispin! This time, after he's surprised that his mom brings home all three of her babies, he learns to enjoy them after all.
Alligator Baby, by Robert Munsch. I love reading his books aloud. The silly characters and repeated lines make it so much fun. Grab a few of his books and go for it when you read to your kids at bedtime.

We did the fingerplay "5 Little Babies" which you can find in the labels on the right.

Monday, September 20, 2010

But WHY?

It's a cliche joke that our youngsters ask "Why? Why? Why?" until they drive us to distraction, but we also hear that it's important to answer kids' questions honestly. Then again, when they ask "Why is the sky blue?" is the correct answer an explanation about light refraction, or that God thinks it's a pretty color?

Actually, I want to talk about a different kind of "why?" My daughter asked me a little while ago what I think the most important parenting advice is. This wasn't a discussion about loving your kids, or supporting their dreams, it was more along the lines of day to day parenting. I told her I thought it was extremely important to help our children understand why they are told to behave in certain ways. I gave her the example of taking a young child out to a restaurant. We tell them to sit still, don't throw your food on the floor, be quiet. Those are all important things to teach them when eating in a restaurant. And, if we enforce it, they will learn to behave that way, probably because they know they'll get in trouble if they don't.

Yet, I think it's better to say, "You need to sit still because when you squirm around, it makes the people sitting with you uncomfortable, and we want them to enjoy eating with you." "Don't throw your food on the floor because then the poor restaurant workers have to clean up after you, and it isn't nice to make them have to do that." "Keep your voice quiet, because when you're loud, all the other people eating at this place are disturbed, and we want them to have a nice meal too." When that message is reinforced, your child will behave properly, not because he'll get in trouble if he doesn't, but because he's learned to be considerate of others.

Continue this into the teenage years, and instead of "Don't drink. Don't take drugs. Don't sleep around, or you'll get arrested or an STD or pregnant," you'll have a message of "What kind of person do you want to be? Look around you at the people who drink and take drugs. What does their future look like? What would it be like if you had a baby in high school or while you were preparing for your future at college?" Here's another powerful question - "Think about the kind of person you want to marry and be the father/mother of your children. Are you the kind of person he or she would pick?"

"Why?" can be a very powerful question.

Friday, September 17, 2010

This Week at the Library

We had a great week - lots of new kids, fun books and parents happy to participate. You're all fantastic Hokey-Pokiers. (Like that word!)

Preschool Storytime

The kids learned a new word this week (not Hokey-Pokier) - "Curiosity." I'm sure many of them had heard the word "curious," but no one volunteered a definition, so I told them it means that you really want to find something out, really want to know something. Each of the books I read either had them curious, or had our other idea of the week, a "surprise" in it.

Hi, Pizza Man!, by Virginia Walter. A child is waiting for a pizza delivery. What if it's not a pizza man? What if it's a pizza kitty? Or a pizza dinosaur?
How Many Bugs in a Box?, by David Carter. They weren't curious about how many bugs, just what kind of bugs. They especially love the very long necked bugs that fit in that thin, thin, box.
Special Delivery, by Brigitte Weninger. Oh, are they ever curious about what's in that box!
Is Your Mama a Llama?, by Deborah Guarino. They like figuring out the name of the animal by listening for the rhyme - feel/seal, that/cat.

I also used picture cards to tell the story "The Lion's Tail." Poor Lion can't find his tail. Where is it? He's sitting on it!

We used "peek-file" pictures. A tiny window is cut in a file folder with a picture behind it. The children have to guess what the animal is based on the little piece they see.

We sang "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee" because the bee surprises us when it stings.

Finally, I had a box with an object in it. I rattled it, shook it, slid the object around inside and generally tormented the kids while they tried to guess what it was. It was the stamp for stamping their hands.

Toddler Time

Some of you may wonder why I go to the trouble of letting the children ask for specific colors of pompoms or scarves or maracas when we come to that point in the program. There are several reasons. First, naming the colors is a good language learning time for them. Also, making their way to the front and asking for a baton is a good way for them to learn to manage in a group setting. But most importantly, to me, is learning manners. The more outgoing children usually start by saying (or shouting) "I want green! I want green!" or "PINK! PINK! PINK!" This doesn't offend me because I know it's a pretty natural way for them to try to get what they want. I also don't allow them to grab. With the little ones, I tell them "Say 'Green please.'" When they come up to me one week and say "Green, please," I comment on their nice words and give them the color they want. With older children, especially the older siblings, I tell them to say, "May I have pink, please?" And I let them know I notice when they say it on their own. It's a simple thing, but what a difference it makes to hear polite requests out of small children's mouths. It will serve them well in the future.

Our books this week were:

Come Along, Daisy!, by Jane Simmons. This is a great book for teaching little ones not to run off.
Lemons Are Not Red, by Laura Seeger. As it teaches colors, this book also entertains by showing blue grass and purple carrots.

Baby Time

I've had parents asking about what the upper age limit is for Baby Time. There is no age limit, just a developmental one. When your baby is walking and no longer interested in staying in your lap for the bouncy rhymes and fingerplays, then try Toddler Time. There may be a gap of a couple of months when Toddler Time is a little too intimidating, or your child just wants to run laps around the dais, but if he's willing to sit and watch, give it a try. He's learning, even if he's not "participating." I know the website and published library materials say 18 months, but I'm fine with you bringing your child earlier than that.

Friday, September 10, 2010

This Week at the Library

It was great to see so many new faces this week! Many new moms, grandparents and kids trying out Storytime. If you're visiting this blog for the first time, and you're new to our programming, check out the postings under the labels "What Moms Do," "Participation," and the post "Which Storytime Should I Come To?" under the label "Preschool Storytime."

Toddler Time

I wondered how busy the different sessions would be this week with school starting. Thursday was huge! I guess because some regular Tuesday folks were busy getting kids out the door so they bumped it to Thursday, but then again, there were lots of new faces. Welcome!

Our books this week were:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Bill Martin, Jr. They were really good at saying the repetitive lines!
No, David!, by David Shannon. Did you know this book is autobiographical? The author has a little snippet at the very beginning about that. Funny!

Baby Time

I saw two little babies "discover" each other for the first time. One just stared, rather transfixed. The other got so excited she flapped her arms and kicked her legs and squealed. They were so cute!

Preschool Storytime

We were all about "Bears" this week. We went on a "Bear Hunt" and traipsed through grass, mud, a river, a forest and a cave before spotting a bear. But WE WEREN'T AFRAID!

Our books were:

Where's My Teddy?, by Jez Alborough. I love the perfect poetry in this book. It flows so naturally and is so easy to read aloud. I've always admired that in children's books, and I wish I could do it!
Panda and Polar Bear, by Matthew J. Baek. This story has a very subtle lesson about insecurity at meeting new friends. Will he like me? Even when he finds out X or Y or Z about me?
Bear's Picture, by Daniel Pinkwater. I love this book because I imagine how frustrated children must be when adults can't figure out what the child's picture is OBVIOUSLY about. I also love the surprise ending.
Big Black Bear, by Wong Herbert Yee. I like the surprise ending here too, that "Big" black bear is really just a child bear misbehaving.

I told the story on the flannelboard of Kiss Good Night, by Amy Hest. Another bit of a surprise ending where the children have to figure out what the little bear is waiting for at bed time.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Back to School!

Just a quick note to say Happy Back to School! It's a big day for parents as well as kids, especially those parents who are sending their kids to Big School for the first time. I remember well the odd feeling of "Where's my daughter?! Oh yeah, at school." You wonder the whole time if your child is doing okay, having a good time, following the rules, making friends, etc., etc. How can they possibly exist without you there, watching and guiding? Take a deep breath, relax, let your child grow up. They can do it. Trust your good parenting, and greet them with a huge smile when they get home!

Friday, September 3, 2010

This Week at the Library

I realize I haven't been posting as much lately. My mind has been pretty occupied with getting my final manuscript to my editor. (It's so cool to be able to say that!) But it's almost finished, and the other weird feeling is knowing that for the first time in about three years, I won't be working on "And Then..." Well, actually I suppose in a few weeks time I'll get notes from the editor on all the changes I need to make, but that will be a whole new phase. I do have a couple of picture book ideas to work on, so on to the next big thing!

Baby Time

I tell the parents all the time that I'm really not just unimaginative when we do the same rhymes over and over. The repetition is for the sake of the babies. I'm already seeing recognition on the faces of those who have been coming regularly for several weeks. Big grins when we start a bouncy rhyme.

Toddler Time

Every once in a while the parents really get into singing along with songs like "Drive the Firetruck" or "Bounce Upon My Knees," and I just love it. It creates an amazing atmosphere of "Hey kids, we're all in this together with you!" And such good singers! It sounds like a choir!

Our books this week were:

No Biting, by Karen Katz. This author is a genius at baby books. This gets the non-violence message across in perfect toddler terms.

Eyes, Nose, Fingers and Toes, by Judy Hindley. The children were great at participating in this book. I always try to find a way to make books interactive with this age. It keeps them involved and interested.

Preschool Storytime

Our stories this week were about birthdays. I timed this theme so Storytime would land on my actual birthday this year. It was fun to tell the kids, "Guess what! Today is my real birthday!" Then a boy says, "How old are you?" When I told him I wasn't telling, another darling child said, "Sixty!" Sigh....

We got to read lots of short books:

When I Was Five, by Arthur Howard. A child's perspective on maturing.
Benny Bakes a Cake, by Eve Rice. I always feel so sorry for little Benny when his dog eats the birthday cake.
The Secret Birthday Message, by Eric Carle. What are those stories called? (Quick Google search.) A rebus! Yes, this story is told rebus-style, then uses shaped pages to unfold the mystery. Cool!
Happy Birthday, Mouse!, by Richard Fowler and David Wood. I think this counting story has a subtle message of being grateful for presents, even if you don't particular want or need them.
The Fairytale Cake, by Mark Sperring. This book manages to include a huge assortment of fairy tale, folk tale, and Mother Goose characters on the pages. More than I can identify!

I told the story of Little Gorilla, by Ruth Bornstein, on the flannelboard.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

This Week at the Library

Sigh.... I left town immediately after Baby Time last week to take Sara off to college for her third year at Whitworth University in Spokane. I'm sad to lose her joyful presence at home, but so happy for how well she's doing. So to all you moms out there, IT'S TRUE!! They're gone before you know it!

Preschool Storytime

I had so much fun with "Folktales" this week. I defined folktales for the kids as stories that have been around for a long time, that people used to tell each other, instead of read to each other. Later, people wrote them down and turned them into books, but we can still tell them however we want, as long as we keep certain parts in them. So I used an ingenious puppet-type doll for telling Little Red Riding Hood. By flipping and turning it, it becomes Red, the Wolf, and Grandma.

I'm afraid I don't really go for the super-sanitized versions of folktales these days. My Big Bad Wolf didn't get stuck in a closet til he apologized, and he didn't run away after coughing up Red and Grandma. The passing Woodcutter chopped him open and Red and Grandma jumped out, and that was the end of the wolf! Incidentally, one little girl immediately said after I finished, "That was a silly story!" She wasn't traumatized in the least, and actually, I think it's satisfying to the children that the wolf is gone. Red was protected by the grown-ups, and doesn't have to worry about that Bad Guy ever hurting her again.

I'm afraid the Gingerbread Man met his natural demise, too. I used that old-fashioned technology, the cassette tape, for us to listen to the story with a wonderful musical accompaniment. And yes, the fox ate the Gingerbread Man. (Nobody cried.)

I read Lazy Lion, by Mwenyi Hadithi. This is a traditional African folktale that explains why the lion has no house.

We sang "This Old Man" and had fun guessing the rhyming object that was going to go in the big puppet's pockets.

Finally, we acted out the story of the Three Little Pigs. This is always so much fun! Three children are the pigs, and one is the Big Bad Wolf. The rest of the children are divided into three groups to be the three houses. Each pig builds his/her house by joining the house-kids in a circle, and goes inside. The wolf comes, says his shtick (the part that has to be included in the folktale!) "Little Pig, Little Pig, let me come in!" The pig answers, "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!" "Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in!" And he blows, and the "house" falls down.

Here is where I must admit I've slightly sanitized the original, but lately it seems almost more traditional to have the pig run to his brother's house than to be eaten by the wolf.

Finally, at the brick house, when the wolf is supposed to climb on the roof, I pick the child up and drop him or her down into the house where, yes, the pigs have a pot of boiling water ready, clap the lid on, and that's the end of the wolf. Everyone is safe to live happily ever after! In one tiny bit of sanitizing, I left out the part in Joseph Jacob's original version where the pig eats the wolf for supper.

Toddler Time

Our groups are growing again! I'm curious how many will be attending when school starts again. Still lots of room at 9:30 on Tuesdays!

A cute story - one little boy saw me putting stuff away in the closet and asked if I "go in there." I'm pretty sure he thought that's where I live!

We read:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Bill Martin, Jr. They did really well saying their part with me!
Two Bear Cubs, by Ann Jonas. Finding Mother Bear on each page was fun.

Baby Time

We do a hello song that includes clapping while we count to eight. Even though we know babies have no comprehension of what counting is, and can't participate, hearing those numbers repeated throughout their infancy does make a difference. They're learning, absorbing, and noticing patterns. When their language skills catch up, they'll learn to count just that much faster.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

This Week at the Library

First, I have to tell you about another adorable book I ran across. The Tushy Book, by Fran Manushkin. "Life is comfy, you will find, when you have your own behind. Sitting down would NOT be cushy, if you didn't have your tushy!" Irresistable!

Preschool Storytime

This was Beach/Ocean week, so we got to look at some beautiful seashells and practice sharing and trading.

We read:

Sam's Snack, by David Pelham. This "book" is a wonderful pop-up contraption that resembles a lunchbox that opens, with each page inside showing a portion of Sam's lunch sabotaged with some awful stuff found on the beach. This book isn't available at the library, and on Amazon it's priced at a ridiculous $49.99 new. (You can also buy a used one for $112.86 if you really want to.)

Sand Cake, by Frank Asch. I read this one only on Wednesday. Baby Bear has to figure out how to eat the sand cake Papa Bear fixed for him.

How Will We Get to the Beach?, by Brigitte Luciani. This is a fun guessing book, where the children have to figure out what object is missing on each page.

Lottie's New Beach Towel, by Petra Mathers. This one I read only on Tuesday. Lottie's new beach towel comes in handy as something to keep her feet cool, a sail, and a bridal veil.

I told the story of "Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister, on the flannel board.

Toddler Time

It's funny how different groups of children have different "personalities." Some groups are boisterous, some are quiet, some have lots of interaction with me, some don't want to make eye contact. That's what keeps my job interesting!

This week we read:

Rosie's Walk, by Pat Hutchins. Talk about personalities! The kids this week were squealing over Rosie not seeing the fox that was after her.
The Seals on the Bus, by Lenny Hort. Each of the four groups was different in how they interacted with this book. One did the animal noises at the top of their lungs, while another let me do all the work. Funny!

Baby Time

I've heard comments occasionally that indicate some moms think they have to wait until their babies are six months old or so to bring them to Baby Time. You absolutely don't have to wait that long. I'd say as soon as they can hold their heads up, they can enjoy the songs, rhymes and interaction. Language learning begins in the womb (they can learn music!), so don't wait to get started!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This Week at the Library

Another funny story:

A girl today was leaving Toddler Time when she stopped and said to me, "Next time when I come to Storytime, can you not stamp hands and give M&M's?" Absolutely adorable! I told her that I'll bet she would love that, but it just wouldn't work out for the other kids. Her mom told her that Storytime isn't the same as XYZ where she gets M&M's afterward. So I'm competing with a place that gives out M&M's? I'll never come out ahead!

Preschool Storytime

This week we were all about noise, and we sure had fun making lots of it! I read:

Quiet, Wyatt!, by Bill Maynard. Poor Wyatt keeps getting shushed, but when he saves a puppy from certain doom, everyone looks at him with a little more respect.
Mortimer, by Robert Munsch. Exceptionally silly, of course! If your child is trying to remember how Mortimer's song goes, it's: Cling clang, rattle bing bang, gonna make my noise all day! (twice)

I told the old folktale "The Brementown Musicians" and we all made lots of loud animal noises. I also told the story Too Much Noise, from the book by Ann McGovern. Again, lots of loud animal noises! Kids don't often get to make as much noise as they want, so I like to give them the opportunity every once in a while.

Toddler Time

This has been an odd summer for attendance. 9:30 Tuesday we had three kids. 10:15 Tuesday, about 25. 11:30 Wednesday maybe 10 kids, 10:15 Thursday probably 20. But large group or small, we have a good time. We pulled out "Here is the Beehive" for the first time in a while and got lots of smiles. We read the books

Pots and Pans, by Patricia Hubbell. As I told the parents, it's a great activity to let your toddler make a drum set out of pots, lids and spoons. There's really a lot of learning that goes into that kind of experimentation.
Spot Bakes a Cake, by Eric Hill. We had some good interaction talking about the pictures - Look at all those chocolate bars! Does that cake look good? Why are there dog bones on the cake?

Baby Time

Lots of older siblings today, but I think it went fine, if a little busy. We have stuffed animals and a basket of blocks and balls just for them so parents can have the opportunity to enjoy a baby activity like they did with their firstborn.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fun Stuff!

I haven't posted in a bit. Lots of stuff going on around here. I'm just about ready to spray paint those leaves around my house that are threatening to turn yellow! I'm certainly not ready for fall!

I was thrilled to get to see the cover of my book. My editor emailed me what the illustrator has come up with - I'm not sure if it's the final version or if there still might be changes, but it was very cool to see that red Scholastic banner across the top and my name at the bottom. They've titled it "Cliffhanger Writing Prompts," which I first thought sounded kind of dull, but after talking to my editor, she convinced me that a teacher picking up my book in the store needs to instantly know what the book is about. "And Then..." wouldn't convey the information quickly enough. Yeah, yeah, Scholastic has done this a bazillion times and they know what they're doing.

Saturday I got to try out my stories on a public audience, as opposed to a captive group of kids in a classroom. I was at the Relay for Life at Sherwood High School and I managed to attract a dozen or so kids to come listen to some stories and venture up on stage to tell the audience how the stories turned out. I loved the aliens from the moon who were afraid of pickles! President Obama had all the farmers in America grow pickles and scared them away. (How do they come up with these ideas?)

Sunday my 14-year-old and I went to the Willamette Writers Conference. We got to go to several workshops, get our manuscripts critiqued, and my daughter got to meet with a publisher and pitch her book (mostly for practice, but still awesome!). She's on the third draft of an 83,000 word novel (approx. 275 pages). I'm proud of her!

Now I just have to wait patiently for a YEAR for my book to be in the stores!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

This Week at the Library

Good to see more of my old friends back this week, and lots of new ones too! Kids must be getting bored at home and parents are out looking for activities again. We had a good time together!

Preschool Storytime

We were all about ducks this week. We did "Animal Action" and moved like ducks, among other things. And I did the flannelboard story "Duckling Tries His Voice" and we laughed at the idea of duckling trying to sound like a cat or a cow and saying "Mee-ack!" and "Moo-ack!"

We read:

Duckat, by Gaelyn Gordon. Mabel finds a duck at her doorstep that says "Meow" and acts like a cat until it has to get down from a lamppost.
Do Like a Duck Does, by Judy Hindley. The fox tries to do like a duck does, but finally has to give up when he can't swim.
Duck On a Bike, by David Shannon. I read this on Wednesday. A duck rides a bike on a farm, and all the other animals think it's pretty weird, until they get the chance to ride bikes too.
Quacky Duck, by Paul Rogers. Quacky Duck quacks when she's happy, and is happy when she quacks. She meets a handsome drake and they live quackily ever after.
Mucky Duck!, by Sally Grindley. Mucky Duck is clean - sometimes. He just has too much fun to stay that way.

Toddler Time

Great to see so many new faces! Anyone new to Toddler Time and new to this blog, please read my posts about expectations and participation. Basically, if you participate, your child will too, but maybe not right away. You're the best encouragement.

We read:
Spot Goes to School, by Eric Hill. Spot LOVES his new school.
Barnyard Banter, by Denise Fleming. The barnyard animals make their noises in their respective homes, but where's goose?

Baby Time

We had three month old infants, and a few about to turn one, so the variety was so much fun. Isn't it amazing what a huge difference a few months make! Grasping, sitting up, crawling, walking. I love watching it!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Something to Do Inside On a Hot Day

I taught kindergarten for three years, and a big part of math and science at that level is "sorting and classifying." It's just a fancy term for separating a group of objects into likenesses and differences - like sorting stuffed animals into dogs, bears, cats, etc. We had a tub of what's called "pattern blocks," colored wooden or plastic triangles, rectangles, squares, etc., and the kids would sort them by color, or by shape, or by three sides, four sides, and six sides. Children in the early childhood years love sorting and classifying.

You can create opportunities for your kids to practice this at home quite easily. Tons of stuff around your house can be sorted. Stuffed animals, as I mentioned. How about a box of pasta that's lots of different shapes mixed together? Or you can save bread wrapper tags - those plastic things that hold the wrapper closed - till you have a good collection. They can be sorted by color, shape of the hole, types of corners. Got a junk drawer? (Who doesn't?) How about all those pens and pencils? They can be sorted into pens and pencils, including mechanical pencils, or ones that write and those that don't, or by color of ink, erasers that work and don't. (Got an idea of what my junk drawer looks like?) I also have a pile of rubber bands that I've collected from the mail and the produce department at the grocery store. There are lots of ways to sort them - size, color, width. Sometimes at the craft store, you can buy a bag of buttons. Those are really fun to sort - by number of holes, color, size, smooth or textured, round or not.

Got the idea? Give it a try! I promise once your kids catch on, they'll love it!

Friday, July 23, 2010

This Week at the Library

I feel like I've been able to learn a few more kids' names lately, which really makes me happy. I have one of those brains that has a very hard time with that. Some kids' names stick, but some just don't. There are a few kids who have come faithfully for over a year, and I know I've been told their names probably several times, yet for the life of me I just can't hold on to those names. I hate that! And I almost never get to learn the moms' names. Right now, I'm remembering that someone introduced herself by name, but is that name coming back to me? Sigh....

Baby Time

We did several "bounce on the knees" rhymes this week, and one little girl just thought that was the most fun ever. Every time Mom started bouncing, she got the biggest grin on her face! Quite adorable. I love watching these little ones grow. One mom comes with three kids - a four year old, two year old and baby. I think she was pregnant when she brought the oldest to Toddler Time, so I've seen two babies born and make their way through our programs, learning to walk, talk, do "The Eentsy Weentsy Spider" and listen to stories. I still think I have the best job in the world.

Toddler Time

One benefit this summer of having small groups is that when I pull out the maracas or pompoms, the kids get two to shake around!

This week we read:

Where's Spot?, by Eric Hill. Oh the suspense! They squeal and clap when we finally find Spot on the last page.
Here Come Poppy and Max, by Lindsy Gardiner. This is another book where we get to stand up and jump around while we read it, which makes it all the more fun.

Preschool Storytime

We were all about Cats this week. I got to tell one of my favorite stories with the magnetic board, The Fat Cat, by Jack Kent. The kids go absolutely crazy when I put up each progressively enormous cat on the board. The book is out of print, but you can find used copies on Amazon (and pay up to $79.95 too!).

Wish Come True Cat, by Ragnhild Scamell. A little girl wishes for a cute cuddly kitten, but gets a scruffy tom cat. Turns out he's just perfect.
Katie Loves the Kittens, by John Himmelman. Katie the dog loves the kittens so much she chases them and scares them. Then she feels horribly guilty when she eats their food. But when she's finally quiet, they make friends. Very cute illustrations.
The Cat Barked?, by Lydia Monks. A cat wishes he were a dog, til he finds out dogs have to do un-cat like things, and that cats have a pretty good life after all. Now the dog wishes he were a cat!
Four Fierce Kittens, by Joyce Dunbar. The adorable tiny kittens try to be scary and fierce, but end up being scared by the farm animals instead. Finally they scare a puppy and are quite proud of themselves. This is really fun to read aloud - using big and scary body language, but only saying a tiny kitten "mew".

The two fingerplays we did were "My Kitty," and "Three Little Kittens."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Join Me at the Relay For Life

Sherwood's American Cancer Society's Relay for Life is August 7-8 at the Sherwood High School football field. This year I'll be on the Main Stage from 2:00-2:45. I'll be sharing stories from my upcoming book And Then...Cliffhanger Stories to Ignite the Imagination. We'll do what I'm calling "Interactive Storytelling" with kids and families who are hanging around the field supporting walkers and waiting for their turn. I think it will be a ton of fun, and even more fun if lots of you show up! I'll bring some kids up on stage to help me finish a couple of my stories, and give people in the audience opportunities to use their imaginations too. I've done this lots of times with kids in classrooms and we've laughed ourselves silly, however this is the first time I've done it with a public audience. I'm a little nervous about it, so friendly faces will be appreciated!

You can find out more about the Relay for Life and sign up to walk or donate here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

This Week at the Library

Hope you all have enjoyed the Robin Hood Festival. I was at the parade this morning and saw bunches of my little friends. It all makes me so happy to live in a small town!

Preschool Storytime

This week was "Song and Dance" week, so we did lots of singing and dancing. Besides the "Freeze Game" and "Colors" songs, we read:

Dance Away, by George Shannon. We all got to do Rabbit's dance with him as he and his friends escaped the fox.
Three Cheers for Tacky, by Helen Lester. I just love Tacky! This time he and his buddies were trying to win the Cheer contest.
Giraffes Can't Dance, by Giles Andreae. Poor Giraffe is laughed at when he tries to dance, until he listens to the right music.

Toddler Time

My goodness, where is everyone? Our groups have gone from 30-40 kids to 8-10! If you've ever stayed away because of the crowds, come this summer!

We read:

Go Away, Big Green Monster, by Ed Emberley. Even a few kids can make a big noise yelling "Go away!"
A Turtle in the Toilet, by Jonathan Emmett. This is a great combination of fun pop-up and silly ideas, like a closet of crocodiles or a skunk under the bed. It always gets good laughs.

Baby Time

We said good-bye to our little twins moving away, but said hello to a couple of new friends. Big grins on adorable little faces!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

LAST Week at the Library

Sorry! I'm late posting about last week's Storytimes. Can I blame it on the weather? Sure, why not!

Preschool Storytime

We learned about Eric Carle last week. He's a perfect author to introduce the idea to kids that certain authors have certain types of books. His books have similar colors, identifiable styles of illustrations, even the same sun shows up in almost every book. His books all teach the children something, and his "Very" books, as I like to call them, each have something unusual about them, like holes in the pages, texture you can feel, lights or sound, as well as a sentence that can be repeated. Most of his books have beautiful end pages too. There are so many wonderful titles to choose from, but the ones I picked were:

'>The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which most of the children were familiar with. "But he was still hungry!" In this book we learn the days of the week, counting to five, and that a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.
'>The Very Busy Spider, which gives us the opportunity to make lots of farm animal noises and repeat "The spider didn't answer. She was very busy spinning her web." We learn the names and sounds of farm animals, and how a spider spins a web. Plus we get to feel the web on each page.
'>From Head to Toe. Here we learn the names of cool animals, and we get to name and move our body parts like them. Our repeating sentence is "I can do it."
'>Rooster's Off to See the World. This one again shows counting up to five, and then back down again. It also teaches a simple lesson of planning ahead!
'>The Mixed Up Chameleon. Chameleon thinks he's not as cool as the animals at the zoo. He wishes he could be like them, but finds when his wish comes true that he's all mixed up and can't eat his dinner. I asked the kids "What did this book teach you?" One girl answered, "That you should be the way you are." Perfect!

Toddler Time

Wow! Small groups lately! Maybe you've been afraid it would be too hot in the Community Room, but actually, when it's hot enough outside for the building's air conditioning to come on it's quite pleasant inside. The problem is when it's cool outside, but sunny. Then it's a greenhouse.

Our books were:

Opposites, by Robert Crowther. I love this book! The moving parts are fascinating, and it manages to hold the kids' attention an amazingly long time.
Slop Goes the Soup, by Pamela Duncan Edwards. Let's see if we can get the kids to say "onomatopoeia." Slop, whoosh, clatter, rattle, swish. Great words!

Baby Time

Our next to the last time with a pair of adorable twin boys who are moving away! And again we're finding connections between relatives and friends. We had fun with finger puppets, a lift-the-flap book, bubbles, Looby Loo, and toys. Bring your friends!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Those Shoes

I ran across this picture book at the library this week. Those Shoes, by Maribeth Boelts is a wonderful, multiple award-winning book put out by Candlewick Press, a publisher that consistently produces thought-provoking, meaningful books for children.

While Amazon says it's for ages 4-8, I would definitely place it in the elementary-age category. It's one of those that you hope you can get your fourth and fifth grader to read, if they're willing to be seen reading a picture book.

Jeremy is a boy who has noticed that everyone is wearing a particular brand of shoe, but his mother tells him they only have money for needs, not wants. When his shoes fall apart, he is forced to wear embarrassing shoes, and is even more determined to get a pair of those shoes. He finds a too-small pair at a thrift store, and soon discovers the discomfort isn't worth it. He also discovers a classmate with worn out shoes and feet that would fit Jeremy's fancy shoes just fine. While it's hard, he finds giving his shoes to the other boy brings a better kind of joy than fitting in with the crowd. The author brings the lesson home masterfully, without preaching or condescending.

An excellent book for every school-age child, whether fitting in is an issue or not.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wanna Be A Scientist? Stick This in Your Mouth.

Sometimes people wonder why babies always put things in their mouths. That's actually the best way for them to learn about the world around them. Your tongue and lips are the most sensitive parts of your body, far more so than your fingers. Try an experiment. Take an everyday object, maybe a pencil, and feel it very carefully with your fingers. Now feel it with your mouth (don't worry, it won't make you sick). Your lips and tongue can feel where the wood and lead meet, the ridges on the metal band next to the eraser, the difference in texture between the raw wood, painted wood and rubber tip. You can smell it and taste it too, even taste the different parts of the pencil. Look how much more information your senses got! Think how much more a baby learns about his environment when they feel, smell, and taste their world this way! All those distinctions are the building blocks of scientific thinking. So as long as it's safe, don't discourage your baby from exploring his environment instinctively.

And tell me, did you try the pencil experiment?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

This Week at the Stinky Library

That was my big smile this week. A little boy wasn't real thrilled to be at Toddler Time. He hid in the chairs, and while we sang, he interjected his opinion, so it came out as:

Head, shoulders, knees and toes...STINKY!
Head, shoulders, knees and toes...STINKY!
Eyes and ears and STINKY! mouth and nose...STINKY!
Head, shoulders, knees and toes. STINKY!

He joined us eventually.

Preschool Storytime

We had stories about mice this week. Of course, we had to start with the beloved classic.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff. We even had the little mouse himself visit. He had a hard time sharing his cookie with me.
Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse, by Lindsay Barrett George. The interesting part of this book is following the inside and outside mice on facing pages.
Mouse Count, by Ellen Stoll Walsh. Ten mice, little, warm and tasty!
Mabela the Clever, by Margaret Read MacDonald. To be clever, look around you, listen, pay attention to what you are saying, and move FAST! Of course, it's also fun to shout Fo FENG!

I told the story "The Turnip" on the flannel board. No one could pull the giant turnip out of the ground until the little mouse helped. A good lesson for our little children.

Toddler Time

I pulled out "Skidamarink-a-dink-a-dink" again. Don't know why that disappeared for a while. If there's ever a rhyme or song I haven't done for a while, or that's your child's favorite, recommend it to me!

We read two all-time favorites this week.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. I used my giant version of this book. The kids are getting pretty good at saying "But he was still hungry" with me.
Freight Train, by Donald Crews. A Caldecott winner for a good reason.

Baby Time

We did "Once There Was a King" with the babies today and they smiled. I had another mom say she wished she had known about Baby Time sooner, since her baby is already almost a year old. Please spread the word!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

This Week at the Library

Yes, the tadpoles stayed home this week. They're really hard to transport in the car, and I had a lot of running around to do before heading to the library, so I left them at home. They don't have legs yet anyway. Actually, I'm a little worried about them. It seems like every day there are fewer and fewer, but the strange thing is, I never see any dead ones. They just disappear. Hopefully a few will make it to froggy-hood.

Preschool Storytime

This week the theme was "Cows." We got to make lots of farm animal noises along the way.

We read:

Too Many Pears, by Jackie French. Belinda just loves pears, so to get her to stop eating so many, they let her eat all she wants. Now she likes apples.
Daisy the Firecow, by Viki Woodworth. Hey, Daisy has black spots, so why can't an adventure loving cow be the fire station mascot?
Does a Cow Say Boo?, by Judy Hindley. This is where we got to make lots of noises!
Herd of Cows! Flock of Sheep!, by Rick Walton. Oh, the drama! How will the animals save the farmer from floating over the waterfall?!

I did a very simple flannelboard story called "Hungry Farm Animals."

Toddler Time

I introduced a new little song to the kids that you adults may have learned when you were at summer camp. I don't know what it's supposed to be called, so I'll just call it "Once There Was a King".

Oh once there was a king.
He had ten thousand men.
He marched them up the hill
And he marched them down again.
And when you're up you're up.
And when you're down you're down.
And when you're in between
You're neither up now down.

With the preschoolers, I also did it the fun way where you do movements opposite to the words. So when you sing "up," you squat down, and when you sing "down," you stand up.

The books I read were:

How Many Bugs in a Box, by David Carter. The kids LOVE this one!
Peek-a-Moo!, by Marie Cimarusti. It's not easy to say "Peek-a-Cocka-Doodle-Doo!"

Baby Time

The bubble machine is humming along again and it's so much fun to see the babies who have been coming for a while get so excited when the bubbles start flying. They wave their arms, kick their feet and bounce on their bottoms with huge smiles on their faces. I love it!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Why Do You Sing So Slow?

You might have noticed that when I sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," or "If You're Happy and You Know It," I sing it way slower than you normally would. That's on purpose! Our little ones are trying to learn the sequence of the song and match their movements to the words. It's a pretty complicated task for them. Their brains aren't as fully wired as yours, so remembering the words and movements together happens a little more slowly. We want them to feel successful in their attempts, so it's important to slow down and give them a chance to do the movements along with me. Imagine joining a Zumba or Jazzercise class where you're expected to sing the songs too - in a foreign language! You'd probably want them to slow down! It's kinda like that for our toddlers. We'll cut them some slack.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Exciting News!

I've received an offer from Scholastic Professional for my book And Then...Cliffhanger Stories to Ignite the Imagination. I don't have many details yet, but I'm excited that my dream is becoming a reality!

On August 7 I'll be at the Relay for Life at Sherwood High where I'll share some of these stories with the audience and we'll do some storytelling together!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This Week at the Library

(Insert complaint about the weather here.)

Now that we have that taken care of, we can get back to business.

Preschool Storytime

"Bathtime" was our theme this week. We read:

Huggly Takes a Bath, by Tedd Arnold. This author is such a master! Huggly is the monster under the bed, and he explores the bathroom looking for snacks (toothpaste, soap) and plays in the slime pit (the bathtub) with the magic slime (bubble bath, shampoo, etc.). Very cute.
Bubble Bath Pirates, byJarrett Krosoczka. Two boys play pirates while Mom gives them a bath. The favorite part is where the boy runs off and leaves his towel in Mom's hands.
Dad's Car Wash, by Harry A. Sutherland. A boy and his dad pretend he's a car in a car wash while he takes a bath.
I Don't Want to Take a Bath!, by Julie Sykes. Little Tiger plays with all his friends and gets dirtier and dirtier, but refuses to take a bath.

I told the story "The Bath" on the flannelboard and we played a guessing game with the pieces. The kids closed their eyes while I removed a piece, then they tried to guess what was missing. Lots of fun!

Toddler Time

Well, since I had the bubble machine out for the preschoolers, I thought I'd give it a try with the toddlers. I had replaced the batteries so it made TONS of bubbles, and I figured if I spread the kids out and made lots of bubbles all over the space, it would be okay. It was fine on Tuesday, but Wednesday's group was huge, kids collided, tears were shed, and I don't think I'll do that again with a group so big. Too bad.

We read a couple of Eric Carle favorites - The Very Busy Spider, and From Head to Toe. I love books that get the kids up and moving. And I love how most of Eric Carle's books use a repeated sentence for the kids to master. "She was very busy spinning her web." "I can do it!" They really love it.

Baby Time

It's so much fun to see babies interact with each other. They're always fascinated. Even though they don't appear to be playing with each other, time spent with other babies is very important to their social development.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer at Storytime

This summer I'll be keeping the regular schedule of Storytime, Toddler Time and Baby Time. I know that many of you have school age kids and you'd like to bring them along so your little one can keep coming to the program.

At Preschool Storytime, I love having the school age kids come. It's the only time I get to see some of my old friends who have "graduated." There's plenty of room for everyone.

At Toddler Time, space becomes an issue. As usual, four and five-year-olds can sit by the adults and do all the activities the toddlers do, just staying on the outside of the circle. I'm asking that six-year-olds and up to sit in the chairs and read a book, or sit at the side tables and draw or color, so we can keep room in the circle for parents and toddlers.

Baby Time isn't a problem for older kids. There's room for them to sit with Mom or play with the "Big Kid Blocks," or hang out in the chairs.

So please keep coming even though your older kids are home, just plan ahead so it stays comfortable for our little ones.

Friday, June 11, 2010

This Week at the Library

Like my new look? Blogger came out with some new stuff and I got really excited when I saw this new background. Wish I could figure out a way to put my favorite titles on those books!

Preschool Storytime

Our theme was "Dragons" this week. I had fun with the storyprop for Purple Hair? I Don't Care by Diane Young. I love the message (that probably only the parents get) of loving your baby no matter how he/she comes out.

We also read:

There's No Such Thing as a Dragon, by Jack Kent. Another great message for the adults, that ignoring an issue only makes it grow, but kids think this story is pretty funny.
The Best Pet of All, by David LaRochelle. A boy convinces his mom that a dog is the best pet by having a misbehaving dragon move in for a while.
The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch. I love the twist on the "prince rescues the princess from the dragon" story. Here, the princess rescues the prince, who tells her to go away and come back when she's cleaned up. She calls him a bum, and they don't get married after all. Pretty funny!
The Dragon's Cold, by John Talbot. I like the way the children are brave, resourceful and compassionate in this story. And they even convince the adults that there's nothing to be afraid of!

I showed the kids the pictures in a book called Where Did All the Dragons Go?, by Fay Robinson. The pictures are incredible, but the story is a little too slow for Storytime.

Toddler Time

Once again, I recommend coming at 9:30 on Tuesdays instead of 10:15. We had about a dozen kids at 9:30 last week, and over 40 at 10:15. Wednesday at 11:30 is the next smallest, so that's a good option too.

The stories were:

Cat's Colors, by Jane Cabrera. Oh the suspense!! Which color is Cat's favorite?
Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell. This book is so fun! Pop-ups are always a hit, but I love the repeating phrase "I sent him back!" The little ones who can barely say three words together are encouraged to try such a simple sentence. I see the looks of satisfied accomplishment when they figure it out. It's also cute to see how emphatic they are.

Baby Time

Keep recommending Baby Time to your friends with babies! There's plenty of room. It's kind of funny how one week we'll have to scoot to make room for everyone, then the next week we only have three! I guess it's the nature of having a baby - you never know how your day is going to go.