Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Miss Carol's Best Book Finds of 2014 - Picture Books

Every year at my library, I spend the last couple days of the year compiling my favorite book finds of the year.  They are not always new books.  Just books I discovered for the first time and really, really liked.

PICTURE BOOK DISCOVERIES FOR 2014:



Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, illustrated by Matthew Myers 
Alex, whose birthday it is, hijacks a story about Birthday Bunny on his special day and turns it into a battle between a super villain and his enemies in the forest--who, in the original story, are simply planning a surprise party.  

Catching Kisses by Amy Gibson, illustrated by Maria Van Lieshout 
A journey of the heart follows a handful of kisses as it travels throughout the United States from San Francisco and New Orleans to New York City.

Dino-Wrestling by Lisa Wheeler, illustrations by Barry Gott 
Meat-eating and vegetarian dinosaurs compete at the wrestling jamboree, demonstrating such styles as sumo, Greco-Roman, and lucha libre.



Elecopter by Michael Slack 
Fly along with Elecopter as she soars above the savannah, patrolling the skies with her fire-hose nose at the ready. The other animals are safe with Elecopter on the scene--Elecopter is a hero for all!

Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison 
Jane the dog doesn't have a unique talent in the circus like the rest of her family, until the ringmaster discovers what is truly special about her.

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle 
In this wordless book with interactive flaps, a friendship develops between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo, as they learn to dance together.




I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi 
When a bored girl meets a potato who finds children tedius, she tries to prove him wrong by demonstrating all of the things they can do, from turning cartwheels to using their imaginations.

Norman, Speak! by Caroline Adderson, illustrated by Qin Leng 
After a family adopts a dog from a local shelter, they cannot understand why he doesn't respond to commands, until a chance encounter in the dog park reveals that their new dog only understands Chinese.

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite by Nick Bromley and Nicola O’Byrne 
A crocodile falls into a quiet storybook and wreaks havoc on the characters, in a tale that invites youngsters to slam the book shut or find the courage to take a peek inside.




Planes Fly! by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Mick Wiggins 
Illustrations and easy-to-read rhyming text celebrate different kinds of planes, their instruments, what they carry, and what it is like to go for a flight.

Tulip Loves Rex by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Sarah Massini 
Loving to dance all of her life, a little girl wishes for a special friend and meets a dance-loving dog in the park who wears a sign around his neck revealing that he is unlike other dogs and needs a home.


Envy turns to admiration and finally to friendship for Goat and Unicorn.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

National Cookie Day

Officially, National Cookie Day falls on December 4.  (And that is the day my library held our National Cookie Day celebration.)  But I feel that this is a great program for the December holiday season.  A cookie celebration does not fall into any religious category.  Yet, baking cookies is a holiday tradition for many families, therefore it has a holiday vibe to it.  This is my second year throwing a cookie day party.  I find it to be an easy program to put together!  It makes for a fun, fantastic program for children of all ages.



Stories -- Start off with a couple of cookie stories.  This year we read two favorites:
Fortune Cookies by Albert Bitterman, illustrated by Chris Raschka (moving pieces)
The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins (Big Book)


Art Activity -- This year we had the children make and decorate paper fortune cookies.  We even had take out boxes to decorate and store the paper cookies in.  There were some very imaginative cookie designs.  Supplies needed: round lids (to trace circle shape), card stock paper, pens, crayons, scissors, glitter glue, bingo paint dabbers.  (Special note: While we put out glitter glue for this art activity, I think this project would be better without it because the glue took too long to dry.)


Cookie Activity -- What program about cookies is complete without cookies to eat and decorate?  We put out frosting and sprinkles.  Other than a few words about germs and safe handling of food, no other directions were needed.

Our little cookie monsters left on a happy sugar high!



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dinosaurs Storytime

Storytime for 1-1/2 to 3 year olds:
  • Opening - Skinnamarink, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum



  • Bridge - Open, Shut Them (fingerplay)
Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 

  • Flannelboard - Counting Dinosaurs (a color identification and counting rhyme I found on the internet a few years back)


  • Activity – Dinosaur, Dinosaur Turn Around (action rhyme I adapted from the familiar "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around" rhyme)
Dinosaur, dinosaur turn around
Dinosaur, dinosaur touch the ground
Dinosaur, dinosaur dance on your toes
Dinosaur, dinosaur touch your nose
Dinosaur, dinosaur reach up high
Dinosaur, dinosaur jump to the sky
Dinosaur, dinosaur stomp your feet
Dinosaur, dinosaur show your teeth
Dinosaur, dinosaur give a roar
Dinosaur, dinosaur find the floor

  • Closing - Tambourines using the music "I Really Love to Dance" from Buzz Buzz by Laurie Berkner

  • Art Experience – Paint a dinosaur with paintbrushes and tempera paint

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Space Storytime

Storytime for 1-1/2 to 3 year olds:
  • Opening - Skinnamarink, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum


  • Stand-up Activity – Stars Around the Rocketship (to the tune of "Ring Around the Rosie" written by Carol Hopkins)
Spinning around the rocket ship
Dancing little stars
Jumping, jumping
The stars fall down

  • Bridge - Open, Shut Them (fingerplay)
Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 

  • Flannelboard - Four Little Stars (a counting down rhyme I found on the internet a few years back)


  • Activity – Five Little Astronauts (fingerplay I adapted from one called "Five Little Aliens")
(Hold up fingers of one hand)
One, two, three, four, five
Five little astronauts standing in a row
They nod their heads to the children just so
They run to the left
They run to the right
They stand and stretch in the bright starlight

  • Closing - Tambourines using the music "I Really Love to Dance" from Buzz Buzz by Laurie Berkner

  • Art Experience – White chalk coloring on black construction paper

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief


After a visit from author Wendelin Van Draanen, my library did a series of after school programs each based roughly around one of her books.  This program came from the first book in her Sammy Keyes series.  In the book, Sammy gets in trouble with a thief while watching him through her grandmother's binoculars.  So we decided to do something with binoculars.

We started off with a relay race.  We laid out 3 zigzag race lines on the floor with masking tape before the program started.  The children (from 3rd through 6th grades) then formed up into 3 teams.  The teams had to race up and down the lines while looking through the binoculars backwards.  Believe it or not, it is actually rather hard to follow a thin line on the floor with the binoculars backwards.  The children had fun with this.  Our winning team (made up of all 3rd graders) had so much fun they did it twice.

Next, we had the children partner up and gave these smaller teams a scavenger hunt sheet to complete.  My library is lucky to have a park right outside the meeting room doors.  Each of our five scavenger hunt items could be seen with binoculars while standing outside the meeting room.  There were two look for something and then make a rubbing (with a crayon).  There were two fill in the blank items based off signs in the park.  Then there was a piece of art to search out and then count the number of windows on this artwork.  This scavenger hunt tended to be a bit difficult.  But the various partners had difficulties with different items on the sheet, so there was not one item that was extremely hard.

The hardest part of preparing for this program was actually finding enough binoculars to use.  Me and my coworker borrowed and brought binoculars from home.  It is amazing how few people we asked had working binoculars.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shredderman: Secret Identity

After a visit from author Wendelin Van Draanen, my library did a series of after school programs each based roughly around one of her books.  This program came from the first book in her Shredderman series.  In the book, the main character creates a webpage with his superhero-type alter ego flying across the screen.  So we decided to introduce children to some basic animation using Scratch, a graphical computer programming language.

Scratch is a free computer language created by MIT.  Go to http://scratch.mit.edu.  It is done on your internet browser so no downloading is needed.  You must create an account in order to save your work, but you can get started without an account.

After going over the four areas of the Scratch interface, I handed out a step by step lesson for the children to follow at their own speed.  I used a lesson I found (and slightly altered) at Edutopia.

Of the 42 students (from grades 3 through 6), about half of them followed the lesson.  For the most part, this half had no clue how to do any programming.  The other half pretty much did their own thing.  This second half broke into two camps.  We had some who used Scratch before. We also had some who were just investigating the various commands and backgrounds and sprites available to them.

I had a lot of fun with this program.  I must admit, before it started I was terribly nervous.  I had just learned some basics about Scratch before agreeing to do this program.  I still only know the basics and that was evident while working with some of the children.  Now I need to figure out what I will do for the next Scratch class in the Spring.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Halloween Storytime

Storytime for 1-1/2 to 3 year olds:
(Oops!  I forgot to post this one back in October.  Enjoy this flashback.)
  • Opening - Skinnamarink, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum


  • Stand-up Activity – Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern (action rhyme written by Carol Hopkins)
Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern turn around.
Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern roll on the ground.
Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern dance on your toes.
Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern light up your nose.
Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern reach up high.
Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern jump to the sky.
Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern smile with heat.
Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern find your seat.

  • Bridge - Open, Shut Them (fingerplay)
Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 

  • Flannelboard - Three Little Pumpkins (Not sure where I picked up this rhyme a long time ago.  I love using it.)
Three little pumpkins, sitting very still
In a pumpkin patch on a great big hill
The first one said, "I'm very green,"
(show green side)
"But I'll be orange on Halloween."
(show orange side)
The second one said, "Oh me, oh my,"
(show orange pumpkin side)
"Today I'll be a pumpkin pie."
(show pumpkin pie side)
The third one said, "I'm on my way,"
(show pumpkin side)
To be a Jack-O-Lantern today."
(show face side)


  • Activity – Pumpkins Over There (action rhyme written by Carol Hopkins)
Pumpkins small
(make small pumpkin with hands)
Pumpkins tall
(hands up high)
Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere
(spin around)
Pumpkins fat
(hands make fat pumpkin)
And pumpkins thin
(hands together almost touching)
Pumpkins, pumpkins over there!
(point across the room)

  • Closing - Tambourines using the music "I Really Love to Dance" fromBuzz Buzz by Laurie Berkner

  • Art Experience – Glitter glue designs on a pumpkin drawing

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Read for the Record with Bunny Cakes

On October 21, my library participated in Jumpstart's 2014 Read for the Record nation-wide campaign to set a new world record for the greatest number of people reading the same book on the same day.


The book of choice this year was Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells.  A perfect choice for an audience of 3 to 7 year olds.  After the reading, we put out some activities to extend the fun.

Writing activity - We put butcher paper up on one wall with the words "Shopping List" at the top.  We invited the children to add to Ruby's shopping list by writing or drawing or gluing pictures cut out of magazines.

Art activity - We made simple bunny ear headbands that the children decorated with color pens and stickers.

Math activity - Max dumped all of the birthday candles, silver stars, hearts, and roses into one box.  We asked the children to sort these decorating supplies into their marked bowls.  (We actually used beads for the stars, hearts, and roses because they can be used again for a future program.)

Gross motor activity - Toss "Red Hot Marshmallow Squirters" (bean bags) into a stand up drawing of Max's cake (we cut holes into the cake drawing).

This program turned into a fun celebration of two well known characters, Max and Ruby!



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Turkey Day Preschool Storytime

Storytime for 3 to 5 year olds.


  • Literacy activity - Create simple patterns using foam shapes handed out to the children (yellow hexagons, orange squares, and red trapezoids)

 

  • Activity - Turkey's Tail (action rhyme I found in a Mailbox magazine many years ago)
  • Closing - Bubbles to the song "This Little Light of Mine" from Rise and Shine by Raffi
  • Art experience - Glue and cut pattern worksheet

Monday, November 24, 2014

Community Workers

Storytime for 1-1/2 to 3 year olds:
  • Opening - Skinnamarink, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum


I am a policeman, with my star
I help people near and far
If you have a problem, call on me
And I will be there 1, 2, 3

  • Bridge - Open, Shut Them (fingerplay)
Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 

Community workers work far and near
This person helps people get well
Can you guess this job here?

...keeps the city safe
...delivers letters
...makes tasty meals
...keeps your pets healthy



  • Closing - Tambourines using the music "I Really Love to Dance" from Buzz Buzz by Laurie Berkner

  • Art Experience – Glue metallic-like wrapping paper ribbon to a drawing of a police badge

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Storytime

Storytime for 1-1/2 to 3 year olds:
  • Opening - Skinnamarink, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum




  • Bridge - Open, Shut Them (fingerplay)
Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 



  • Activity – I'm a Little Turkey (action song to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot" found in The Mailbox Preschool magazine, Oct./Nov. 1999, page 37)

  • Closing - Tambourines using the music "I Really Love to Dance" from Buzz Buzz by Laurie Berkner

  • Art Experience – Glue feathers to a turkey drawing

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lego My Library - Keeping Friends

A fun Lego building block storytime intended for children 4 to 9 years old.


Book: Being Frank by Donna W. Earnhardt, illustrated by Andrea Castellani

Lego challenge: Build something Mr. Pckles could use to sell his pickle relish

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friendship Storytime

Storytime for 1-1/2 to 3 year olds:
  • Opening - Skinnamarink, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum



  • Bridge - Open, Shut Them (fingerplay)
Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 




  • Closing - Tambourines using the music "I Really Love to Dance" fromBuzz Buzz by Laurie Berkner

  • Art Experience – Use color pens on paper towel tube friendship bracelets