Friday, May 27, 2011

This Week at the Library

We were all excited to see little back legs growing on the tadpoles this week. One little guy had particularly long legs, so maybe by next week he'll have front legs, too. Or are they called arms?

Preschool Storytime

I got to wear my cow costume this week. The kids are so funny when they touch my udder (!) and I jump and squeal. They're so surprised as they try to figure out if I'm kidding or not. One little boy asked, "Are you wearing clothes too?" That got a laugh from the parents.

Our books were:

Daisy the Firecow, by Viki Woodworth. Daisy proves her worth as the fire station mascot by saving a calf from a burning barn.

Too Many Pears, by Jackie French. I told the kids my story of getting sick on Whoppers, and I have a feeling they'll be reminding me of it for quite a while, like they remind me of my fender bender when I had a "bad day."

Belinda, by Pamela Allen. Poor Farmer Brown has to dress up like his wife before Belinda will let him milk her.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, by Doreen Cronin. This book is a bit of a stretch for a group of three year olds, but the five and six-year-olds got a laugh. "Neutral party," "ultimatum" and even electric blankets need a little explaining.

Toddler Time

I talked a little this week about how parents are their children's first role models. Toddler Time is most likely your child's first experience in a group setting. Your child looks to you for guidance on how to act in a group. And of course, we know that they learn more from what you do than what you say, so seeing you participate enthusiastically sends a huge message to them. "Oh! I should pay attention and do what Miss Teresa is doing. Mom/Dad/Grandma/Caregiver is smiling and having a good time. This must be fun!"

Our books were:

The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle. They did pretty well at repeating, "She was very busy spinning her web."

Freight Train, by Donald Crews. This book is so visually appealing, it always holds their attention.

Baby Time

I want to compliment the older siblings who come on a regular basis. They've been so well-behaved and pleasant. I enjoy getting to hold them on my lap for "Bumpin' Up And Down" or hearing them sing out on "The More We Get Together." They play with a basket of blocks and balls, or bounce their "baby" on their laps like Mommy. They try very hard to follow the rule of staying off the blue carpet. Good job!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interview for the Gazette

I had a nice talk with Ray Pitz at the Gazette today. We talked for quite a while about Cliffhanger Writing Prompts, how the book came to be, how I run my presentations, and my time as the Storylady. The article will be out in the July edition. Thanks, Ray!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Week at the Sunny Library

I get so excited when the sun finally comes out and it warms up, especially when it's so belated. It's hard to believe it's the middle of May. I feel like spring just got started and it should be the middle of April! But the tadpoles are getting big and fat, so I guess summer is closer than I realize.

Baby Time

Well, Toddler Time had fewer people than usual, so I assumed the same would be true for Baby Time, but we had the biggest one ever! 24 babies! They were 12 weeks to 15 months old, plus assorted older siblings. It was great to hear the choir of adult voices, even if we were saying "pizza pickle pumpernickle" and other nonsense.

Toddler Time

If only we could harness the enthusiasm that these little ones exude when they show up to "sing and dance." Just think how our jobs, housework, yardwork and parenting would go if we arrived the excitement of "I'M HERE! I'M HERE!" and huge smiles on our faces. The world would definitely be a better place.
We pulled out "A Little Seed" in honor of spring. Our books were:

From Head to Toe, by Eric Carle. I have these kids so trained to sit on their bottoms that they actually have trouble going ahead and getting up on their knees to do the motions in the book. Such good children!

Peek-a-Moo!. by Marie Torres Cimarusti. They really cracked up at "peek-a-quack!"

Preschool Storytime

We were all about "Growing Up" this week. We started with:

Pig Pig Grows Up, by David McPhail. The children just couldn't understand why Pig Pig wanted to stay a baby, but they really laughed when Mom got in the stroller and Pig Pig pushed her home.

Parts, by Tedd Arnold. I think this book is hysterical, but the kids' faces are always very serious when I read it. Maybe because they've had the same thoughts, "What's happening to me?"

Tell Me What It's Like to Be Big, by Joyce Dunbar. This book is very relatable, I think. It's frustrating not to be big enough to do things, yet a little scary to think of what is expected of you when you get big.

See How I Grow, by Angela Wilkes. This is a cool book where the kids get to watch a baby grow from six weeks to 18 months.

Friday, May 13, 2011

This Week at the Library

Every week I have my books for Preschool Storytime displayed on the top of the, um, the, wall? railing? dais? Anyway, they're displayed, and when the children arrive they look them over and try to figure out what the theme is. Sometimes, like this week, it's easy. There's a frog on every cover. Other weeks it's more obscure, like when the theme is "Naughtiness." Often, though, I'm amazed at the inference skill some kids show when they are able to figure out "Transportation" or "Colors."

Preschool Storytime

The tadpoles are growing rapidly! They're pretty fat now, and hopefully they'll have legs coming in next week.

Our books were:

Tale of a Tadpole, by Barbara Ann Porte. Francine raises Fred from a tadpole to a (surprise!) toad.

Hoptoad, by Jane Yolen. Some of the children honestly thought the poor toad was going to get run over.

Red-eyed Tree Frog, by Joy Cowley. We talked about the difference between pretend illustrations drawn by an artist, and real illustrations that are photos taken by a camera. This book has wonderful photography.

Jump, Frog, Jump!, by Robert Kalan. They liked shouting to the frog.

The Wide-Mouthed Frog, by Keith Faulkner. This is a very fun pop-up book. I use it to help the children learn to tell their own stories since this one is so simple and repetitive. The frog always says, with a huge mouth, "I'm a wide-mouthed frog, and I eat flies. What do you eat?" He asks the bird, then the mouse, then the alligator. The bird says, "I eat wiggly worms and slugs." The mouse says, "I eat crunchy seeds and juicy berries." The alligator says, "I eat delicious wide-mouthed frogs." The frog says, with a tiny mouth, "Oh, you don't see many of those around here, do you?"

I told the story Froggy Gets Dressed, by Jonathan London, on the flannelboard.

Toddler Time

One of the ways I get the toddlers to cooperate at sitting with their feet in front of them to listen to a story is through natural consequences. Sometimes they really would rather be up on the their knees. I ask them to sit properly, and they basically refuse. So I put the book down on my lap and say, "I can't read the story until you sit with your feet in front of you." Boom! Those feet pop out faster than anything. No "bad boy/girl," no threats, no arguing, just the simple fact - the story won't start until you sit right. Works like a charm.

We read:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. Many of the children knew this book, but making munching noises and repeating "But he was still hungry!" make it fun. It's also a great book for practicing counting to five.

How Many Bugs in a Box? by David A. Carter. I love pretending to be scared of the saw bugs at the end. No one seemed to get upset this time. Whew! Just lots of laughs and "Do it again!"

Baby Time

We had a young crowd this week. Lots of 3-5 month olds, even a 7 weeker! Two sisters-in-law came for the first time with their babies born 6 days apart. What a wonderful time those cousins will have growing up, and how fun for the sisters!

Several babies have learned what a great drum our toybox is when it's turned upside down. It also slides across the carpet easily, so it's fun to push. Who needs expensive toys?!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This Week at the Library

Today at Toddler Time I had finished reading a book about colors and quizzed the children about the names of colors. The end paper had geometric designs in each color, so I pointed to the yellow one and asked, "What color is this?" A tiny little girl (I later found out she's 17 months) immediately piped up, "Yellow!" I was impressed! She's so little and knows her colors instantly! She even beat out the three-year-olds! I pointed to the green shape. "What's this color?" "Yellow!" the little tyke says. (There are giggles from the moms.) I point to the blue one, "What color is this?" "Yellow!" Ah, now we get it. And so it went, "Yellow! Yellow! Yellow!" Very cute.

Preschool Storytime

The tadpoles have arrived! It's amazing how fast they grow. I'd say they've doubled in size in just a week. I'll bring them every week until they've matured. Then they go back to the pond. I think there are about a dozen in the tank. If anyone wants to take a couple home to watch them grow up, just bring a container and some pond water, and you can have them. For food, I just pull out some weeds from the pond and supplement with torn spinach leaves. They actually like the spinach better than the pond plants. Next week our theme will be "Frogs" and they'll learn more about them.

This week, in honor of Mother's Day, all of our stories were about mothers. We read:

Just for You, by Mercer Mayer. Little Critter tries to do nice things for his mom, but something always seems to go wrong.

A Mother for Choco, by Keiko Kasza. "Adoption," when someone decides to be your mom.

Is Your Mama a Llama?, by Deborah Guarino. We listened for clues through rhyme.

Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch. Sniff, sniff, sigh.

Only My Mom and Me, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. We practiced naming the seasons while we read this one.

We sang "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee" since it tells about Mommy being proud of me.

Toddler Time

The toddlers enjoyed looking at the tadpoles too, but at that age I'm not sure if the tank and the plants aren't just as interesting as the little fishies.

This week our stories were:

Cat's Colors, by Jane Cabrera. A good Mother's Day book since Cat's favorite is orange, the color of his mother.

Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell. This is the pop-up version, which makes it so much fun.

Baby Time

I found a new rhyme that we tried out this week. It goes like this:

Two little eyes to look around.
Two little ears to hear a sound.
One little nose to smell what's sweet.
And one little mouth that likes to eat.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Tip For You

The Oregonian featured an article on a stay-at-home dad who is really into creating toys and fun stuff for his kids. I love his attitude that toys should be open-ended and played with in more ways than one. You can read the article here, and/or visit his blog at The beautiful thing about his creations is that they are all simple things that you and your kids can make at home - clothespin fairies, cereal box guitars. You know, the type that, when you see them, you think "Why didn't I come up with that!" He also has a facebook page where everyone can share ideas. Check it out!