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!