Thursday, March 31, 2011

This Week at the Library

It happened again! I had everyone seated in front of me at Toddler Time for a story. Two little girls were at the back of the bunch and obviously were favorite playmates. I had started the story when I looked over, and one girl was holding her fingers out to the other girl, informing her "It's a booger." While I tried desperately to concentrate on reading the story without cracking up, the girls had a lively discussion about whatever it was they were inspecting. I heard their moms gasp and snicker, then crawl over to attempt to get them to pay attention. Thankfully the story was short.

Preschool Storytime

We learned about "Transportation" this week, defined as the way you get from here to there. On the flannelboard, we sorted various vehicles into those that go on the road, on tracks, in the water or through the air. We sang "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Hurry Hurry Drive the Firetruck." I just realized I never put the words to the Firetruck song on the blog, so here it is:

Hurry Hurry Drive the Firetruck

Hurry hurry drive the firetruck.
Hurry hurry drive the firetruck.
Hurry hurry drive the firetruck.
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

(Follow the same pattern for the next verses.)

Hurry hurry turn the corner....
Hurry hurry find the fire....
Hurry hurry climb the ladder....
Hurry hurry spray the fire....
Slowly slowly drive the firetruck....

Incidentally, I was challenged by one brilliant boy on that song. He insisted that it should be "spray the water" instead of "spray the fire." Got a good point, there.

Our books were:

Minerva Louise and the Red Truck, by Janet Stoeke. The kids are falling in love with our favorite dumb cluck.
All Aboard the Dinotrain, by Deb Lund. I love the playful words like "dinopush" and "dinomight." Very fun.
Preschool to the Rescue, by Judy Sierra. Sound effects - slurp, plurp, flurp. All those vehicles stuck in the mucky mud!
William the Vehicle King, by Laura P. Newton. I hope the kids got the idea of creating worlds around the house with their vehicles and blocks and toys.

Toddler Time

Many of the toddlers are really getting the hang of how to ask for the noisemakers that we pull out each week. I know it's so exciting when I take the lid off the box of the bells, maracas, pompoms or whatever. They just want to run up and grab whatever they can, which is completely understandable for a two-year-old. Week after week I tell them, "Say 'pink please.'" Then I make sure to praise children loudly who say it properly. Sooner or later a child catches on. Just today a boy who has barely ever said a word gathered up his courage and said, "Gween pweese."

We read:

The Chick and the Duckling, by Mirra Ginsburg. They really got the hang of saying "Me too!" with me this time.
Spots, Feathers and Curly Tails, by Nancy Tafuri. I had a boy guess the bull today! Though maybe he had the book at home recently. He was pretty proud of himself.

Baby Time

We had a good demonstration of emerging shyness today. A little girl was here for the first time and had crawled to the middle of the floor. She looked over at me and I made eye-contact and smiled. She instantly started to cry. That type of thing happens more often than you'd think. I've learned with some super shy children that making eye-contact is just too threatening. Scientists have found that shyness is literally in the DNA, and a parent can't expect a child to "get over it." These little ones need understanding, support and to be taught compensation skills.

What an interesting world we have with so many personality styles! Aren't you glad we aren't all alike!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another Funny Story

This one didn't happen at Storytime, but I haven't been able to stop laughing about it all day since I heard it.

A friend of mine was taking care of her grandson (he must be about 4 or 5) when he said, "Grandma, I want to go to F***. (He spelled it out.)

Smart grandma that she is, she stayed composed and said, "Where do you want to go?"

"To F***."

"Oh? And how are you going to get there?"

"You're going to drive me."

"I am?"

"Yeah, Grandma. I want you to take me. Their chicken is really good!"

Get it? Since you aren't hearing it spelled out, I'll point out that KFC and F*** have only one letter difference between them. Apparently this little guy has a big brother, who plays with other older boys, who must think it's really cool to spell those words in front of small children. Just goes to show - THEY'RE LISTENING!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

To the Steuben County Library Folks

I have a stat counter on my blog, and I notice that every once in a while a library in the Steuben County system in New York takes a look at several pages of my blog. It looks like we have a lot in common, so if any of you storytime folks would like to email me, I think we could brainstorm a lot together! (I even have family that lived in Cooperstown for several years.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Belated Week at the Library

So sorry I'm so late posting about last week's Storytimes. My girls were getting home from a road trip to California (they're 21 and 15), their first ever, and I was preoccupied with them traveling safely through torrential rain, wind and snow advisories over the Siskiyous. But now they're home safe and sound, and I can breathe easier! They had a wonderful time together and got to see a lot of Los Gatos, my hometown.

Preschool Storytime

We were all about Rotten Days this week. I told the kids about the time I managed, in one day, to go to the wrong location for a special-event Storytime, then lock my keys in the car at the library, and followed that up with a fender bender in a parking lot. They seemed rather unimpressed. Maybe their parents understood a little better.

No, David!, by David Shannon. Did you know this book is autobiographical? Poor David has a truly rotten day getting in trouble in just about every way you can imagine. But Mom still loves him!

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst. Alexander and David could be brothers.

Keep Your Mouth Closed, Dear, by Aliki. Poor Charles swallows just about everything. That makes for a pretty bad day!

Too Much Noise!, by Ann McGovern. This is the story I did on the flannelboard. Peter thinks his advice from the wise man is all wrong, but it turns out just right.

Toddler Time

I got to use the bubble machine since the groups were fairly small due to Spring Break. If we have a big crowd and I bring out the bubble machine, invariably the kids collide and someone ends up crying.

I was asked by a new mom what the rules were and if the children have to stay on the parent's lap. Heavens no! I can't imagine trying to keep all those little ones in laps for half an hour. This is supposed to be fun, not torture!

Our books were:

I Love Bugs! by Philemon Sturges. We got to learn the names of several bugs with this book.

Well, I guess I'm having a Senior Moment. For the life of me, I can't remember the second book we read. I'm at home, so I can't look it up, and it's been three days, so I just can't recall which book it was. I'll fill it in when/if I think of it!

Baby Time

We have such a fun group of parents and babies! We also had a pretty big group of older siblings along this week because of Spring Break. They played very nicely in the back with blocks, balls, puppets, stuffed animals, books. It was very sweet!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wearin' O the Green at the Library!

St. Patrick's Day was very cute on Thursday. Even the babies were into it!

Preschool Storytime

In honor of the holiday, our theme was "Green Things." We had fun playing along with the "Colors" song on "Wee Sing Games" and Raffi's "Five Green and Speckled Frogs."

Our books were:

The Aminal, by Lorna Balian. This book has the same theme as The Snarlyhissopus, which the kids love, and which teaches a gentle lesson.

Picky Mrs. Pickle, by Christine M. Schneider. Green dresses, green shoes, and pickle perfume make for a very narrow-minded Mrs. Pickle. Her niece takes care of that with a challenge and a taunt. Eggplant Ripple ice cream does the trick. I love the illustration of Mrs. Pickle vacuuming her lawn and the pickle flavored milk.

Scarlette Beane, by Karen Wallace. Scarlette grows a vegetable castle! Very cool!

Anna and the Little Green Dragon, by Klaus Baumgart. The kids loved it when the dragon sprayed cocoa all over Anna's face. They really weren't sure if she would do the same thing back to the dragon.

Toddler Time

We've had lots of newcomers lately, and it's always apparent how these children's personalities shine through at such a young age. There's the child who cries every time the room gets active and/or noisy, the child who has absolutely no desire to leave Mom's lap, and the child who gets right up in front of me and tries everything I suggest. I just hope parents don't decide one style is preferable over the others. The parent of the fearless child may envy the parent of the cautious child at a park when that fearless child flings himself off the top of the monkey bars. And vice versa may occur when the parent of the cautious child is trying to get him to try something new that he knows the child will love. There are pros and cons either way. It's our job to give our children security and teach them wisdom. Yes, you can climb the monkey bars. No, you shouldn't fling yourself into space from the top of them.

Our books were:

Fire Truck, by Peter Sis. Even the little ones got the humor when I asked them if fire trucks can eat pancakes.
Pete's a Pizza, by William Steig. I feel SO bad that I forgot to read this book on Wednesday! If I ever obviously leave something out of the program, please don't hesitate to ask me!

Baby Time

Lots of newcomers here, too. I stopped for a moment during playtime and just looked at the carpet covered with babies crawling, chewing, exploring, interacting. Those times are golden for our little ones, and I love watching the moms getting to know each other, too. I hear them trade phone numbers, make plans to go to the park. New moms can feel alone sometimes, so I'm glad they have this opportunity to reach out.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The King and I

I tried for a while to come up with a title for this post, and I figured this one would pique your interest.

The interest in the movie "The King's Speech" has brought up a lot of memories and emotions for me. I grew up as a stutterer. It amazes me, and I can only attribute it to God's grace, that my chosen profession is exactly what caused me the most pain as a child: reading aloud and talking in front of groups of people. That pain has kept me from talking about, even thinking about, those memories of excruciating humiliation until just the last few years.

My stuttering began about the time it does for most children, around age five. My parents took me to psychologists and speech therapists to no avail. Around my middle school years it began to release its hold on me, due perhaps to an effective school speech therapist, perhaps to growing out of it. (Though I know that doesn't happen for many stutterers.) By the end of high school, it was mostly gone. However, as I read in a wonderful article by David Mitchell in Prospect Magazine, we stutterers are like alcoholics who no longer drink. We are stutterers who do not currently stutter.

Thinking about this, talking about it, even writing about it now makes my heart pound. That fear will always be present. The success of "The King's Speech" has made it a topic in the community, so I thought I'd give another face to the cast of those who have this "disability." I actually haven't seen the movie, and I'm still not sure whether I can bring myself to sit through it. I have to say that since the topic has been more on my mind, I've felt that catch in my throat more times in the last months than I have in years.

I'm working on writing a picture book in the hopes that children can say "Yeah, it's like that," to parents and teachers, and find some validation and hope. I suppose if it gets published I'll do a lot more talking about it, but if it doesn't, I'll probably be just as happy pushing it all back out of my conscious thoughts. In my story, the main character finds a friend in someone who sees past her problem. Parents, please teach your children to do the same, to see a child who stutters as just another child in need of a friend.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This Week at the Library

Baby Time

We've had quite a few new baby faces lately. And many of the "regulars" are definitely brightening up when we do the lap-bouncy rhymes. Once they have come enough times to start recognizing the rhymes and songs, they anticipate getting whooshed in the air and tickled on the tummy, and they love it.

Today we read the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Bill Martin Jr. It's a perfect book for growing with a baby. At first they are taken in by the large, simple and bright pictures and the rhythmic language. As they get older, they start to anticipate the repetitive phrases. Then they identify the frog, cat, and dog and learn to say their names. Next they learn the color names and can say "blue horse" and "yellow duck." Finally, they are extremely proud of themselves when they can say before you turn the page, "I see a white dog looking at me." This book is pure genius!

Toddler Time

Well, we did "Animal Action" today and nobody cried, and the boy I traumatized last time seemed to enjoy himself. Whew!

I tried a new book today, and it held their attention well. The Thursday group is generally older than the other two, and they mostly were able to guess what came on the next page. The book is First the Egg, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. This is a Caldecott and Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor winner. "First the egg," says the first page, with an egg shaped hole in the page. "Then the chicken," says the next page, where the hole reveals the chicken. I'm interested to see how many children will be able to guess successfully next time I present this book. Many were able to finish "First the caterpillar," with "then the butterfly."

Our other book was Clip, Clop, by Nicola Smee. This book does an amazing job of telling an exciting story in very few words.

Preschool Storytime

We had a huge laugh trying to do our wiggle rhyme with the first sound in the word "owl." Every week we say our wiggle rhyme (see the label below), and then say it again with every word starting with the first letter of our theme word, like "h" for "hippos." This week our theme was "owls." It's very hard to start all the words with a vowel sound. "I ow-iggle my ow-ingers. I ow-iggle my ow-oes." We had some huge fits of giggles over that!

Our books were:

Look Whooo's Counting, by Suse Macdonald. While there's not a lot of exciting text in this book, everyone enjoyed looking for the numbers in the animal's bodies and seeing the numbers in the owl's wings.

Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell. I used a finger puppet to be "Bill" this time and it was a hit. "I want my mommy!"

Lazy Ozzie, by Michael Coleman. This is a fun story just reading it straight, but the real fun is going back and finding Mama Owl on each page "Where's Waldo"-style.

We learned about real owls with a Zoobook on the subject.

I told the story Good Night Owl, by Pat Hutchins, on the flannelboard. The kids had fun with "Owl tried to sleep!"

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Scared Another One

A few weeks ago, we were moving along with "Animal Action" from Greg and Steve, pretending to be horses, birds, frogs, etc. We came to the "move like a lion" part and got down on all fours, prowling and roaring. I think it's fun to add a little excitement by picking out a little friend who comes often and is very comfortable with me, then saying "I'm going to eat you!" I very gently pounce on him/her and say "Yum yum!" This time I guess I chose the wrong little boy. He ran to his mom's lap and hid his face. Mom smiled and let me know she wasn't mad. Whew!

A couple of weeks later we started "Animal Action" again. The same little boy ran up to me and said quite urgently, "Please don't eat me!" I assured him I wouldn't. Sigh....

Thursday, March 3, 2011

This Week at the Library

Preschool Storytime

Each week we say our "get ready" rhyme, "I wiggle my fingers, I wiggle my toes...." Then we talk about what our stories are going to be about. Whatever the theme is, we figure out what letter and sound that word starts with - "Monkeys, M, mmm, Bedtime, B, bbbb." Last week was "Hats," and this week was "Hippos." So the kids had lots of practice saying our rhyme with the "H" sound at the beginning of every word, "I higgle my hingers, I higgle my hose." They laugh every time at how silly they sound, and at the accidental words they make - "higgle my HOSE!" They may think they're just being silly, but lots of learning is going on!

So for our "hippos" theme, we read:

Snarlyhissopus, by Alan MacDonald. We practiced saying "hippopotamus" and had a little trouble, so they loved listening to the other animals trying to remember how to say it, and coming up with crazy words.

What Can a Hippopotamus Be?, by Mike Thaler. He's a local, home-grown author. Did you know that? He read from his new "Black Lagoon" book at MudPuddles a few years ago. In this book, the kids love learning that when a word gets bigger on a page, that you're supposed to say it louder.

Owen and Mzee, by Isabella Hatkoff. A true story of a friendship between a tortoise and a hippo. Amazing!

Never Babysit the Hippopotamuses, by Doug Johnson. I have an ancient cassette tape of a wonderful reading of this book.

George and Martha, One Fine Day, by James Marshall. I read only three of the stories, and managed to "scare the pants off" the kids with a big BOO!

Toddler Time

It's wonderful to watch the children progress from sitting in Mom's lap observing, to being able to sing the songs and do the motions all by themselves. And it's really huge when, like today, we do "If You're Happy and You Know It" and they can do all three motions at the end. Big smiles all around!

We read:

Daisy's Hide and Seek, by Jane Simmons. Oh the suspense! Where can Pip be?!

Three Little Kittens, by Lorianne Siomades. We got to learn about rhyming words by listening to "kittens/mittens" and how they sound the same.

Baby Time

We got lots of smiles today with our "Bounce Upon My Knees" song. The babies who come regularly are more and more full of smiles. I think they'll easily transition to Toddler Time when they're done with Baby Time. No need to wait til they're 18 months, since they're already comfortable with the surroundings and many of the songs and rhymes.