Monday, January 31, 2011

That Was So Much Fun!

I'm sure everyone who attended our Symphony Storytimes had just as much fun as I had. Gordon Rencher, percussionist with the Oregon Symphony, brought all sorts of drums, shakers, scrapers and noisemakers to entertain the kids, and did an excellent job at that!

We started off the program with Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, by Al Perkins. Gordon showed us the snare drum, how the coil under it produced the snare sound, and how using brushes instead of sticks changes the effect.

Then he moved to the congas for Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, by Eileen Christelow. We all got up to jump around along with the monkeys.

Gordon brought out the steel drum and showed us how it's made and played along with us while we did one of our favorite wiggle-busters "Clap Your Hands, Touch Your Toes." We did it faster and faster while he tried to keep up with us.

Finally, Gordon used the big bass drum to accompany Tanka Tanka Skunk!, by Steve Webb. We did this one faster and faster too, and it really got me riled up, trying to keep up with Gordon!

The kids all got to pound, hit, shake and scrape the percussion instruments to their hearts' content afterwards, and all thought the occasion was a great success.

Thank you to the Oregon Symphony!

Preschool Storytime (Tuesday)

On Tuesday we had storytime about "Snow." Too bad we didn't have any of the real stuff for illustration. We read:

The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats. Willie learns to make fun footprints in the snow, whack snow off branches, make snow angels, and that snowballs don't last when you keep them in your pockets at home.

The Biggest Best Snowman, by Margery Cuyler. Little Nell proves to BIG Mama and her BIG sisters that she can do BIG things!

A Hat For Minerva Louise, by Janet Morgan Stoeke. Our favorite small-brained hen looks for a hat, or two.

Snowmen At Night, by Caralyn Buehner. A fun take on why your snowman looks so lumpy and tired in the morning.

With the flannelboard, I asked the kids to tell me how to make a snowman. Then I used my snowman pieces to build a snowman exactly the way they told me to. The results were hilarious. They quickly learned to be very precise with their words, which was my goal all along.

We also sang "I'm A Little Snowman" to the tune of "I'm A Little Teapot."

Toddler Time

We did some real favorites this week - "Animal Action" with Greg & Steve, "Hot Potato," also known as the William Tell Overture, and some favorite books.

Spot Goes to the Park, by Eric Hill. I appreciate how much self-control it takes for these little ones to stay on their bottoms when that flap on the page is begging to be lifted!

Rosie's Walk, by Pat Hutchins. Doo-dee-doo-dee-doo, Rosie never sees the fox!

Baby Time

No Baby Time this week, as I was in Palm Springs coming down with a stomach virus! Today I'm just hoping I'll be ready for Tuesday's programs!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

That's REALLY Weird!

I just found my not-yet-released book on Amazon! That was a very weird moment, but quite exhilarating! I won't be released until July, but seeing my cover right there with the Amazon banner was so cool! It's on the and sites, but not I have no idea why. It's also on with a decent description of it. Amazon says it is #485,305 on the bestseller list, which amuses me since it hasn't sold any copies yet.

Since Scholastic hasn't told me about any of this, I wonder where else it's available for preorder?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Can We Do This Every Week, Please?

I really love musical illustrations for picture books! This week John Cox, french horn player with the Oregon Symphony, did a superb job honking, mooing, neighing and buzzing like a mosquito. It was unbelievable what he could get out of that horn (french horn, steer horn, and conch shell, actually)! He also did a wonderful demonstration of sound vibration with a long hose, attaching a simple funnel to one end, and his mouthpiece to the other. He even got music out of that!

The books we read were:

Honk! by Chris Demarest. This lift-the-flap book has a duckling greeting many farm animals.
Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell. John had a "voice," french horn, steer horn, or conch shell for each of the babies.
The Thing That Bothered Farmer Brown, by Teri Sloat. John got an amazing array of animal sounds from his horn. I especially liked the mosquito and horse.
Tacky the Penguin, by Helen Lester. I talked John into this one, and he thought it was pretty fun. It's one of my favorite read-alouds, and he did a good job with the pretty penguins.

I had my doubts that he'd be able to get all those preschoolers to make an actual sound on his horn, but he did it! Wonderful!

Tuesday Preschool Storytime

Our theme was "Monkeys," so we did the fingerplay "Five Little Monkeys Swinging In a Tree," and "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed." Lots of naughty monkeys!

We read:

Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina. I know I read it with the clarinetist last week, but you just can't do a monkey theme without it! Only a few children on Tuesday had heard Mark Dubac the previous week, but those that had did a good job making monkey sounds.
The Escape of Marvin the Ape, by Caralyn Buehner. Marvin blends in perfectly all over the city after he escapes the zoo. We found the police officers on every page who were looking for him.

I also told the story of the Monkey and the Crocodile on the flannelboard and drew pictures for Monkey Face, by Frank Asch.

Toddler Time

It's funny how groups of people take on their own personalities. Sometimes the Toddler Time group of parents sings and laughs and gets into the motions of the songs and rhymes. Sometimes I feel like I'm all by myself putting on a show as the kids just stare and the parents are silent and motionless.

Our books were:

The Seals on the Bus, by Lenny Hort. One day the whole room was singing, one day it was crickets.
Spot Goes to School, by Eric Hill. Lift-the-flap books are always a hit.

Baby Time

One mom was worried that her little guy always wanted to explore everything BUT the other babies and the toys. Not a problem. From his perspective, he probably thought the big room was more interesting than babies and balls and blocks that he's seen before. One purpose of Baby Time is to give children new experiences, and that's what he's getting!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sorry, I Lied

So, 10:15 on Tuesdays is not the least attended! We had a very big group yesterday. I guess there's just a big swing from week to week right now, which is fine. Come at whatever time suits you best!

Friday, January 14, 2011

This Week at the Library

Symphony Storytime

Thanks so much to Mark Dubac from the Oregon Symphony for bringing his wonderful clarinet to Storytime on Wednesday. I sure wish I could have every Storytime illustrated with music! He played along as I read Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina (whew!), Top Cat, by Lois Ehlert, and Come Along Daisy, by Jane Simmons. He showed us how he makes the notes go up and down on a clarinet, and how many parts there are to the instrument. Then every child got a chance to come up and try their hand - or lips - at making music with a clarinet. The looks on their faces were priceless when they got a big squawk!

Preschool Storytime

On Tuesday we had another new theme - "Bugs." We sang "Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee" and "Eensy Weensy Spider." We also looked at some amazing huge bugs in The Big Book of Bugs, by Theresa Greenaway. The picture books were

How Many Bugs in a Box, by David Carter. This book is always a huge hit, especially the "nine very long-necked bugs" page.
Ladybug Girl, by David Soman. I LOVE Ladybug Girl! It's always wonderful to have a strong female character, but I especially love the fact that she's so imaginative. There are now seven Ladybug Girl books!
Aaaarrgghh! Spider!, by Lydia Monks. This book brought lots of giggles over a spider trying to become a pet.
Can You Make a Scary Face?, by Jan Thomas. This was particularly fun when the bug character asked the kids to stand up, then sit down, then stand up again. Got lots of laughs.

Toddler Time

So now Tuesday at 10:15 is our least-attended Toddler Time. We used to regularly have 35 kids! Is there some event everyone's going to now, like a Mom's Club regular meeting?

We did "Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Firetruck" this week and lots of kids got into the imagination part of it. Several boys skipped the singing and just sprayed their fire hoses. Very cute!

Our books were:

Pots and Pans, by Patricia Hubbell. I know the baby makes a huge mess, but I really think getting out the pots and pans is a wonderful activity for toddlers! It's a regular science lesson!
Where's Spot?, by Eric Hill. Oh the suspense! Wish you could see their expressions.

Baby Time

I was very gratified to see two moms connect this week, exchanging names and information on their way out the door. I think they're going to be good friends. That's a goal for me for Baby Time - helping parents (dads come too) make connections and friendships to avoid the isolation that can come with having a baby.

We also said good-bye for now to a little guy whose mom is taking him to the "home country" for three months to show him off to the grandparents. He'll be so changed when he comes back!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Come Early, But Get a Ticket

Just want anyone coming to the Symphony Storytimes to know that because of the limited seating, the library is going to hand out tickets to the first 150 people as part of the "first come, first served" way of handling the crowd. I advise you to come at 12:30 so you won't get turned away disappointed.

See you there!

Friday, January 7, 2011

This Totally Awesome Week at the Library!

We had our first Symphony Storytime on Wednesday and I absolutely loved it! Can I use a few more exclamation marks?!!!! Ken Finch, cello player for the Oregon Symphony, joined us and wowed us with his superb playing and "soundtrack" skills. He demonstrated for the children how low and how high a cello can play, and showed us his bow, taking the end off so the horse hairs went slack and looked just like a horse's tail. He played an amazing piece written by a Portland composer (didn't get the name) in which he strummed his cello almost like a guitar.

I read Berlioz the Bear, by Jan Brett, and Ken made wonderful buzzing noises, tuning noises, and hurry-hurry noises before finishing with "The Danube Waltz" and "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee."

Next I read Rain Talk, by Mary Serfozo. Ken made lots of rain noises by bowing in different places, tapping his fingers on the body, and plucking the strings.

Finally I read Mole Music, by David McPhail. This was the most wonderful piece of all. Ken illustrated the book perfectly with his music, starting with the screeching sound of a beginning violin student, progressing through scales and simple songs, to soaring melodies, ending with "Ode to Joy," and Brahm's lullaby.

Every child who wished it got a chance to make music on a violin or viola, and there were a lot! We had to turn a few people away, so if you're planning on coming this Wednesday, get there early for a ticket.

I can't wait for our clarinetist!

Preschool Storytime

On Tuesday we had our regular Storytime, and this week was a first for a "Wolves" theme. We read:

The Lamb Who Came For Dinner, by Steve Smallman. The hungry wolf wants to eat the lamb, but falls in love with the poor little thing instead.
The Wolf Who Cried Boy, by Bob Hartman. Mmmm, Three Pig Stew and Granny Smith Pie. But the little wolf would rather have Boychops.
Suddenly!, by Colin McNaughton. The wolf is always just about to pounce, but Preston lucks out every time.

We did the story "Let's Play in the Forest" on the flannelboard, and the kids had fun with the chant.

Toddler Time

I'm very pleased to see how many of the little ones are learning to ask politely for the color noisemaker they want. I try to make a big deal out of it. It's such a valuable thing to learn.

I read:

Good Morning, Sam, by Marie-Louise Gay. I think many of the children can relate to trying to get dressed by themselves and having a bit of a hard time.
Eyes, Nose, Fingers and Toes, by Judy Hindley. They really got into doing the movements with me this time.

Baby Time

We have one little girl almost ready to graduate to Toddler Time. How does that happen so fast? But we still have a big contingent of 6-8 month olds, so they'll be around for a while. Some crawl, some scoot, some log-roll. It's fun to see the different ways they've figured out how to get from point A to point B.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday. I did!

Not quite as many little ones at Storytimes this week, but that's understandable. I'm really, REALLY looking forward to the Symphony Storytimes on Wednesdays at 1:00 in January. I'm just hoping the crowds aren't unreasonable, and no one gets turned away.

Preschool Storytime

Our theme was "Stones and Rocks" this week, and I got to tell one of my all-time favorites on the flannelboard - Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock, by Eric Kimmel (the Portland State professor I took a storytelling class from way back when). The kids loved saying "KPOM!" and falling over on the rug.

I also told the flannelboard story "The Stone in the Road." I don't have the author - sorry!

I told the Aesop's Fable "The Crow and the Jug," and the children were fascinated with me dropping rocks into the "jug" of water and watching the water rise. Besides the moral "Where there's a will, there's a way," they learned a little science lesson too.

I only read two books (just one on Wednesday), Lizard's Home, by George Shannon, where lizard outsmarts the naughty snake, and A Rumbly, Tumbly, Glittery, Gritty Place, by Mary Lyn Ray.

Toddler Time

We did "Whoops, Johnny" this week, and while it seems like a pointless little rhyme, when you ask your child to do it on your hand, you'll see what a challenge it is. The eye-hand coordination required is not easy for toddlers. Give your child opportunities to work on it with you. You'll probably need to guide their hands at the beginning as they try to touch their index fingers to the tips of your fingers.

Our books were:

Barnyard Banter, by Denise Fleming. Lots of fun animal noises!

Here Come Poppy and Max, by Lindsey Gardiner. Moving like the animals in the book is fun, and then guessing what the animal coats are on the endpapers is entertaining too!

Baby Time

Oh, how our babies grow and change so fast! Just think what 2011 will bring to those little ones! Crawling, walking, talking, graduating to Toddler Time! I love looking at some of the toddlers and remembering them when they came to Baby Time. Now they're singing, dancing and talking to me! I love it!