Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Can You Help?

I just read about a library in Vermont that lost their entire children's section to Hurricane Irene. Every picture book was destroyed, except for five on a high shelf waiting to be shelved, and those that were checked out to homes. This blog tells how you can help them. Please read it and see what you can do. Thank you!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This Week at the Library

It was horribly hot in the Community Room today. I did my best to get air moving in there, but it didn't do much good. Maybe we can teach our children about the greenhouse effect using the room as an object lesson.

Preschool Storytime

"Cats" was our theme this week. We did the "Three Little Kittens" rhyme, and chased bubbles. Our stories were:

That Cat Can't Stay, by Thad Kresnesky. Dad absolutely will not let the stray cat stay. But it's raining outside? Well....

The Cat Barked?, by Lydia Monks. The cat wishes to be a dog, but after the owner tells him how special he is, the dog wishes to be a cat.

Millions of Cats, by Wanda G'ag. This book has been around since 1928. That's what I call a classic!

On the magnetic board, I told the story The Fat Cat: a Danish Folktale, by Jack Kent. This hilarious book is out of print. $20.85 on Amazon. The children LOVE watching the cat get fatter and fatter as he eats all the townspeople.

Toddler Time

With the light summer crowds, I was able to pull out the bubble machine and let the kids chase them around for a while. No collisions or tears!

We read:

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

Three Little Kittens, by Lorianne Siomades. There are so many versions of this rhyme, but I like the simple illustrations in this one. I usually adapt the words to how I learned it, and that's fine. You are always free to do that when you read to your child too - until he learns to read and starts correcting you!

Baby Time

Only two babies this week, but they had a good time doing Looby Loo and "Icky Bicky Soda Cracker!" I pulled out a big stack of all different board books from the bins, and we looked through them hunting for that treasure. Sign language books seem to be a big thing lately.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Seeing It From Their Perspective

Lately I've told some stories about the funny things kids say to me at Storytime. I got another one last week that I promised to tell you about, even though it's slightly, um, indelicate. But to me that's the whole point - when we look at it from the child's perspective, it's perfectly innocent and honest.

Here's the story - At Toddler Time I had called the kids up for a story. They all sat (on their bottoms, feet in front of them) and I introduced Come Along Daisy. I pointed to Daisy Duck and Mama Duck and told them what "Come along" meant. The little girl in front of me blurted out, "Do you poop in the toilet?"

Several things ran through my mind. Do I answer her? Will the other kids want to participate in the conversation? If I don't answer her, will she repeat the question louder until I do answer? Since no other kids seemed to have heard her, I decided not to answer, and fortunately she didn't persist.

This got me thinking about "impertinent questions." Between her and the boy a couple of weeks ago who asked what I smell like, I've thought about a child's perspective, and how at that age they really have no concept of a rude question. They honestly want to know. The girl is probably in the midst of potty training, and her mom tells her all the time, "Everybody poops in the toilet! Your parents do, your friends do, the clerk at the grocery store does!" So she looked at me and wondered, "Does Miss Teresa too?" And she asked.

No need to be offended or reprimand her. I know her mom didn't hear her, but if she did, Mom could just say, "That sort of thing is private, and we just talk about it in the family." We get upset when they do something they know they aren't supposed to do, and that isn't the case in these situations. The hardest part for me is not cracking up!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This Week at the Library

I have another funny story to tell, but it's going to wait for a later post. I've had to think about it for a while, since it borders on the inappropriate, but I think the value of the lesson is worth it. Got you curious? Good! Because that's what preschool storytime was all about this week.

Preschool Storytime

"Curiosity and surprises." We had some very entertaining books this week:

Hi, Pizza Man!, by Virginia Walter. This got a lot of kids giggling. "Hi, Pizza Cow!"

Max and Ruby's First Greek Myth, by Rosemary Wells. Ruby introduces us to an updated version of "Pandora's Box."

How Many Bugs in a Box?, by David Carter. We have a ton of fun pretending the saw bugs are trying to get out.

Special Delivery, by Brigitte Weninger. A lot of younger ones struggle a little with understanding that the illustrations  show what the mom is imagining. But they're still definitely curious about what's inside the box!

Find a Face, by Francois Robert. It's fun to find faces in everyday objects.

I finished storytime by showing them my own box with a mystery object inside. I slid it around and rattled it while they guessed what was making the noise. Some older children could logically figure out that it was my stamp. Others had some pretty wild ideas!

We sang "Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee" and I introduced a new song:

Little Cabin in the Woods
Little cabin in the woods. (Draw a square)
Little man by the window stood. (Make goggles with your fingers)
Saw a rabbit hopping by. (Hold up two fingers and hop them past you)
Knocking at the door. (Knock in the air)
Help me! Help me! Help me! It said. (Wave hands up and down)
Before the hunter shoots me dead. (Point "gun" with hands)
Little rabbit come inside. (Wave "come here")
Safely to abide. (Stroke the two-finger "rabbit")

Each time we sing it through, we delete one line of singing and do just the hand motion, going faster and faster with each repetition. Finally we're zooming through the song with just hand motions, accompanied by lots of giggles!

Toddler Time

When we do "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain" there is an add-on series of motions at the end of each verse - "Toot, toot! Woah back! Hi there!..." Some of the older brothers and sisters like to try to do it with me as it's too hard for the little ones. One little boy has been coming to the programs since he was six or seven months old, and started toddler time at just over one year. Now he just turned three, and I noticed he almost had the motions down. I was amazed! They are such sponges for learning!

Baby Time

Several Newberg moms attended today. I guess Newberg suspends their programming in August. We got to talking about the Moms Club. I think Newberg could easily have a successful chapter if someone wants to get it started. Who's willing?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This Week at the Library

First of all, THANK YOU to the Maid Marians who came to Toddler Time and Preschool Storytime on Wednesday: Sophia, Paige, Noel, Belle, and Rachel. The toddlers were fascinated by the girls in their sashes and headdresses, and the Maid Marians did a super job of diving in to the songs and fingerplays. They did a wonderful job telling the stories at Preschool Storytime and leading the songs, too. The children responded very well to them. I hope they come back next year!

Second, I had a wonderful time at Learning Palace at Cascade Station as a part of their "Back to School Blast." I had a table with Scholastic and got to talk to teachers about my book "Cliffhanger Writing Prompts." I handed out lots of business cards to those interested in having me visit their classrooms. If you know of a teacher who might like me to lead a fun creative writing presentation, pass my name along.

Baby Time
We had "only" six babies today. Several of our regulars have graduated to Toddler Time and we miss them. I think this is prime vacation week, too. We didn't even have any big brothers or sisters building block towers on the side. But, a mom came with twins, so I got to have a real baby in my lap!

Toddler Time
The competition was fierce today for sitting in my lap and holding my hand. Sometimes I have to let one child hold my hand while another holds my finger. I'm always relieved when this is acceptable.

We read:

No, David!, by David Shannon. Did you know this book is autobiographical? He tells about it just inside the cover page. Quite a few kids knew this book and were eager to tell me all about it every time I turned the page.

First the Egg, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Most of the two-year-olds can't guess the "answers," but the three's can.

Preschool Storytime
On Tuesday we had a "Summertime" theme. I read:

Sand Cake, by Frank Asch. Baby Bear has to figure out how to eat a cake his dad made out of sand.

Rain Talk, by Mary Serfozo. We had fun making "bup, bup, bup," and "ploomp, ploomp, ploomp," noises.

Froggy Learns to Swim, by Jonathan London. We practiced "chicken, airplane, soldier," and "bubble, bubble, toot, toot!"

Sunflower House, by Eve Bunting. I've always wanted to do this! Plant a circle of sunflower seeds, and let it grow into a house that kids can play in.

When the Maid Marians came, they brought their own favorite picture books to share. They were:

Balloonia, by Audrey Wood. Where does your balloon go when it floats away? This book can save your child some tears when it happens to him/her.

Piglet and Mama, by Margaret Wild. Nobody but Mama will do for little piglet.

It Looked Like Spilt Milk, by Charles Shaw. Rachel used the flannelboard for this story, which makes it extra fun.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff. We had the big book for this, which is great since in the regular book, the pictures are so small.

The girls led everyone in "The Beaver Song" and "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." Thanks again!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Maid Marians Next Wednesday

Just want you all to know we'll have the Sherwood Maid Marians as guests at the Wednesday Toddler Time and Preschool Storytime. I hope you can come say hi!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

This Week at the Library

A great funny story this week! A couple of weeks ago I told you about the little boy who thought it was so funny when he touched my feet. This week he did it again - touched my feet and turned to the boy next to him giggling. Then he looked at me and said, "I wonder what you smell like?"

I said, "I don't think I really smell like anything."


"Well, I don't wear perfume."

"Can I smell you?"

At this point I just got curious. "How would you do that?"

"I'd smell you right here." He pointed to the center of his chest.

"Uh, I don't think that would really be polite. But you asked first, so that was really good!"

I was absolutely delighted with that little exchange. I love how honest and straightforward children can be. He just said what he was thinking, simply and to the point.

I kept thinking about why we wondered what I smelled like. Did you have a grandmother or aunt who always wore a particular scent? Or maybe two grandmothers and an uncle who each had their own special smell? His special people probably hug him and he takes a big whiff of Grandma smell, or Uncle Ray smell. Maybe this little boy has a strong association of scents to people and he just wanted to know if I had a special smell, too. Nothing wrong with wondering!

Preschool Storytime

We did a lot of quacking this week! Ducks! We read:

Quacky Duck, by Paul Rogers. I love the beginning, "Once upon a pond," and the ending, "And they all lived quackily ever after."

Farmer Duck, by Martin Waddell. I'm still figuring out the best way to read this aloud. It's actually kind of tricky.

Duckat, by Gaelyn Gordon. The kids got to learn the meaning of "odd."

Duck on a Bike, by David Shannon. There's a page towards the end with no text that just shows the farm animals staring at the bikes with big eyes. It was a good challenge to the children when I asked them what the animals were thinking.

I told the story on the flannelboard, "Little Duckling Tries His Voice." He tries to sound like a cow, "Mooo-ack," and a bird, "Twee-ack," and just isn't successful.

Toddler Time

What a crowd we had today! Lots of new faces, too, which often happens as we get closer to fall. And maybe we've had enough warm days in a row that people are looking for something other than the park to do.

Our books were:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr. Sometimes it's hard to find the difference between a dog voice and a frog voice.

Here Are My Hands, also by Bill Martin Jr. All the groups did really well showing me their various body parts.

Baby Time

I told the parents again today that Baby Time is for babies up till the age that they don't want to be there any more. Two babies graduated this week! It was extremely clear that they had no interest in what was going on. However, they are very interested in Toddler Time. There's so much action and noise and kids to watch! Even when they can't physically do what the others are doing, they get a kick out of watching, and the language, rhythms and patterns are sinking in.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Last Week at the Library

Yes, I'm late posting about last week's Storytimes. But a huge THANK YOU to all who came to my book launch party. It was great to see kids reading my stories and enjoying the little activities and handouts that went with them. Now, too, I have some fun props for classroom visits!

After the party, I was busy getting my daughter ready to go away to camp for two weeks, then driving to visit friends in Washington on the way to the camp. I find I always miss my children most the first 24 hours they're gone.

This Friday I'll be at Learning Palace at Cascade Station for their "Back-to-School Blast." Not that I'm ready to think about back-to-school yet (It's just August 1!) but I guess they are.

Preschool Storytime

Our stories were all about "Noise" last week. I must say my voice gets a little extra tired when that's the theme! But reading the stories is very fun.

Mortimer, by Robert Munsch. Sorry if you had kids at bedtime singing, "Cling clang, rattle bing bang, gonna make my noise all day!!"

Quiet, Wyatt!, by Bill Maynard. Poor Wyatt. Everyone sushes him and thinks he's too little to do big kid things, until he speaks up to rescue a puppy.

Whistle for Willie, by Ezra Jack Keats. Willie tries and tries to learn to whistle so he can call his dog.

I did the flannelboard story Too Much Noise, by Ann McGovern.

We also practiced being noisy and silent with the maracas while we played "The Freeze Game" on the Greg and Steve CD.

Toddler Time

I saw a great demonstration of the importance of parent participation. There was a new child in the group who was outgoing enough to stand in the center of the group while I was doing one of the fingerplays, but he would watch me, turn to look at mom, watch me, turn to look at mom, back and forth. He obviously was trying to figure out what he should be doing at that moment and was looking at mom for cues. You are your child's first and most important role model!

Our stories were:

No Biting, by Karen Katz. The children enjoy the guessing-game part of this book.

Rosie's Walk, by Pat Hutchins. They think it's pretty funny that Rosie never sees the fox.

Baby Time

Bubble time seems to be the favorite for the babies (and their big brothers and sisters, too). I just love their awe-struck faces as the bubbles float down. Many squeal and bounce up and down in excitement. Very cute!