Wednesday, October 20, 2010

storytime - just plain weird!

For my final storytime of 2010, I took all the weird books that I ran out of time for or did not fit into a theme and did them as one big old weird storytime! I think it went well. Here are the titles:

Barry, the Fish with Fingers by Sue Hendra - All the other fish are bored until Barry shows up with his amazing FINGERS! The kids seemed to enjoy this one, though now I wish I had played up the "what can you do with fingers?" page and had the kids do it with me. I'll remember that for next time.

Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty - Jeremy is a bit of a shut-in so one day he draws himself a companion - a big blue monster. Unfortunately, the monster is REALLY bossy! He demands that Jeremy draw all kinds of things to keep him amused. I gave the monster a kind of goofy voice so the kids wouldn't be too worried about him.

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems - oh you knew this was coming! I can't do a storytime without Mo! I brought my Leonardo puppet down to the storytime with me. He tried to scare everyone by popping out from behind the book every now and then. He also spazzed out any time he was spazzing in the book. They really liked that.

SONG: I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (with feltboard!) - used a recording that I think it Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul, and Mary) but I think I should have just acapella'd it.

I'd Really Like to Eat a Child by Donnio Sylviane - Achilles the Crocodile is fed bananas for breakfast every day but one morning he wakes up and tells his parents he wants to eat a child. They try to feed him other (non-living) things but Achilles insists. Eventually he encounters a child, but things don't go as planned. I think some of the kids thought this was hilarious while others were mortified.

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer - classic picture book time! Might as well go out with a guaranteed hit! As usual, the kids loved this one. By the end, I had them helping out by shouting out which animal the doctor would pull out of George next.

Craft: Silly Masks on paper plates.

Next up: Babies in Bloom!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

storytime - BFFs!

Kind of a random theme for today's storytime - Best Friends! Yes, it may have just been that I wanted to read Elephant & Piggie because I LOVE READING ELEPHANT & PIGGIE! You get to be so OVER the Top with them. But it wasn't all Mo!

Duck and Goose by Tad Hills - they may start out as strangers but after a harrowing few days together guarding an abandoned "egg", Duck and Goose end the story as buddies. The kids seemed really into this one but it is quite a long story which is why I started off with it. Should have created some better voices for Duck, Goose, and Blue Bird. Maybe next time.

Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories by Laura Vaccaro Seeger: Three short stories (really short, it's a picture book!) about Dog & Bear. But even though they are short, there is a lot of humor. Just make sure the kids can see the illustrations as a lot of the jokes are in the pictures.

Won't You Be My Hugaroo? by Joanne Ryder: Very sweet story about hugs! I prefaced the book by saying that some of the best things about friends is that you can get free hugs from them. Heard lots of "aawww" sounds like reading and I know some of the kids were getting hugs as I went through it.

My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems: One of my favorite Elephant & Piggie books. These are always a bit tricky to do because they are very small books. But I love to read them because Gerald (the elephant...get it, Elephant Gerald...just say it outloud) and Piggie (that's her name) are so EXPRESSIVE! I had the kids identify what Piggie dressed up as to cheer up Gerald so it there was a bit of interaction.

SONG TIME! John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt (his name is my name too, so we MUST be friends...I was surprised the kids did not know this one) and Knick-Knack Paddy Whack (which has very little to do with friends, but if an old man is playing Knick-Knack Paddy Whack on your toes, knees, 'hind etc., I should hope you are at least acquaintances!) I used the Disney Children's Favorite Songs Vol 1 & 2 for this...mostly because I realized I had the exact same album on cassette when I was a kid...

Can I Play Too? by Mo Willems: It's my storytime so I can read all the Mo Willems I want! Plus, I wanted to see how the kid's reacted when the snake crawled onto the page and asked to play. It went over well, but they were starting to get the wiggles so that means CRAFT TIME!

I downloaded a picture of Elephant & Piggie from Elephant & Piggie Event Kit on Mo Willem's official website. I enlarged the images and then photocopies Gerald on a lavender paper and Piggie onto pink paper. I made an example with clothes colored onto them and stuck them on popscicle sticks. I told the kids that they should put them in their favorite outfits and think of a new story/adventure for them to go on! It actually went over really well!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Storytime - Food

Too Many Cooks by Nate Wragg & Margaret McNamara - picture book inspired by the Disney/Pixar animated film Ratatouille. Not many of the kids had seen the movie (I didn't really expect them to have seen it) but they all seemed to really enjoy the book. It's a large book with very cool illustrations and the rhyme makes it a quick and fun read.

On Top of Spaghetti by Paul Brett Johnson - Johnson's story about a small diner owner who decides he has to spice up his menu and creates the perfect meatball, but it gets away! Includes a story and the song lyrics too. By the time I was done reading this, the kids were ready to sing the song

Sesame Streets: Kid's Favorite Songs 2 - we used the Snuffulupogus version of On Top of Spaghetti. Since there aren't any actions to go with the song, I just held up the story book again and bounced along.

Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems - Because it's not storytime with Miss Sam without a Mo Willems book, this one snuck into the pile. I over-acted as much as I could and the kids seemed to be pretty amused (though one child was already in the middle of a meltdown so we were a bit distracted during this book).

Big Blue Bowl: Sign Language for Food - this one I just used the text of the book and read it while having the kids do the signs along with me (though I deleted the squash from the story since the book had them fingerspell...and these kids can't even spell anyway so that would have been a lost cause). I got SO MANY positive comments about this after storytime. I need to find more books in this series.

Too Pickley by Jean Reidy - I played up this one a lot, as we went through each of the food descriptions, and then made sure to emphasize how, in the end even though the kid was labeling everything - he still ate it all (at least, that's how I interpret the story).

Craft: paper plate pizzas! I talked to all the little chef's while they glued down their pasta sauce, cheese, pepperonis etc.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Storytime - FROGS!

Let me tell you, FROGS are the way to go with preschoolers. All the stories about frogs are silly and the frogs are always getting into trouble of some sort. Plus, jumping!

The Frog with the Big Mouth by Teresa Bateman, Illustrated by Will Terry
Kicked things off with this story, which is a little on the long side, but it has a very simple pattern as the frog jumps from place to place to brag about his big mouth. The kids identified the big cat at the end as a cheetah, but the book called him a jaguar (since we're in the Brazilian rainforest). I probably butchered the names of some of the other animals native to Brazilian jungles, but the kids didn't seem to notice...

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, Illustrated by Jon J. Muth
This was the first storytime I had used this book for. I think the older kids enjoyed it, but the the littler kids got bored pretty quickly. Halfway through I started to panic about the ending (since Frog does not appear after winter) but I just put the emphasis on Dog finding a new friend.

Jump! by Scott M. Fischer
By this time, the kids are getting pretty wiggly, so I tell them to stand up because I need their help with this book! I have them practice "JUMP!" on my cue and it goes well, so then I have them jump along with the story (which happens at every page turn). THEY LOVED IT! This might need to live on the storytime shelf.

Jumping & Counting (Jim Gill's Irrational Anthem and more Salutes to Nonsense)
My co-worker LOVES Jim Gill when it comes to storytimes. I asked her for some jumping songs and she handed me this CD. The only issue I had was that the little girl was SO much quieter and she counted REALLY SLOW so the kids were usually done the "Counting" portion of the song before she was. But they were totally into it, as there was a collective "AAAAAAAAWW!" when Jim tells them all to "sit down again" after counting to ten! LOL!

A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson; Illustrated by Joan Rankin
A bit more counting in this one as the Frog in the Bog on the Half Sunk Log stuffs her face with all the bugs. Got a few "eeeewww!"s from the kids as I read about the frog "slurping slugs".

Five Green and Speckled Frogs by Priscilla Burris

So, this was a bit embarrassing -- I had never heard this song before. Heather sang it for me really quick the day before and I thought I remembered the melody, but from the "wtf?" looks I got from the kids, I realized I was WAY off. Whoops! Sorry kids! They endured though.

And I rewarded them with a craft!!! Making their own frog puppet!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

random babble about eBooks

We had an assignment for work to read articles about eBooks, eReaders, and their growing popularity then post about it. Well, as usual, my long-winded self went on too long so I had to edit my official reply down to a few short paragraphs. But I'm going to post all my thoughts here, if only for my own amusement:

I was a Page back when we had our first “eReaders” – which were so bulky and unmanageable, it was no surprise they died out pretty quickly (plus, I think they only ever had the Dictionary, Alice in Wonderland, and a random James Patterson book loaded on them). So, needless to say, I am very skeptical when it comes to this new crop of eReaders.

My biggest issue right now is that the Kindle, Sony eReader, Nook etc. are all Uni-taskers – all they do is download reading material. If I ever felt the need to purchase something that allowed me to read eBooks on-the-go, I would mostly likely opt for an iPad or less expensive PC tablet so that I can do more than just read. Because, let’s face it, these devices appeal to people who travel a lot and does that person really want to pack an eReader AND a laptop, or just take a single device that does it all? I agree with the ‘Race to the Bottom’ article from Crunch Gear – these devices have a finite lifespan because computers themselves are getting smaller, lighter, and cheaper and as more companies put out eBook programs, allowing you to read on your computer or phone. I think eBooks are here to stay, but I think the readers themselves will disappear as soon as Windows launches whatever their answer to the iPad will be.

I think it is great that the library provides eBooks and eAudiobooks – patrons are asking for them and want them. The biggest drawback is the librarians’ ability to help patrons with these formats, which we’ve really never had to do before. No one ever asks “well, how does this book work?” or “how do I get this CD into my player?”. But now the phone rings and patrons want to know how to transfer the PDF file to their Kindle – and the librarian has to do one of the hardest things for a librarian to do (at least for me) : tell them they can’t. I HATE that. With any other request, I will FIND materials for them, but when it comes to these devices, until the DRM war ends, I have to tell patrons “Sorry, you can’t do that” and it bugs me.

I know this is not Overdrives’ fault – it is Amazon trying to wage a war with the rest of the eBook world. They want the Kindle to be the iPod of books and they will not release the .AMZ format to the public until they have cemented that position. It’s a sound marketing strategy (that’s $100 for the reader and another $10 for the book) but like so many DRM-related issue, it’s the consumer that suffers the most. I think with library patrons, the eReaders that can handle Adobe Reader files will win the day, but the early adopters that jumped on the Kindle bandwagon will be stuck buying books until Amazon gives up the .AMZ file battle.

But this seems to be a constant theme right now. Movie studios are attempting to bring down Netflix because they think people are not buying enough DVDs because they can rent them (they don’t realize that number of crap movies they put out every year is really what’s slowing down sales). Video Game companies are fighting with Gamestop and other retailers that sell used items because they say it is hurting their revenue (again, they should stop making crap games and charging $60-$70 for them). And ePublishers are putting different DRMs on far too many books and they say it’s to keep the titles from being pirated (but really it’s to make people buy their specific eReader) and consumers are getting frustrated.

As the NPR article pointed out, people feel that digital editions should cost less because there is no physical item being created and publishers are freaking out because they want that money from the initial release. But why are publishers acting shocked and apauled by this? Were they not paying attention when iTunes released downloadable music? Did they not watch as people went from paying .99 cents per song to $1.99 with very little fuss? It’s not too big of a stretch to see people paying less for the book now and then raising the price back up after you’ve lured enough people into the eBook market.

The real question is how flustered we, as librarians, should be over this whole thing. eBooks are popular but the patrons percentage that is using them can’t compare to people who are using the library for physical books, newspapers, magazines, databases etc.. As the Mobile Opportunity blog post pointed out, only 2% of book buyers have these devices and these book buyers clearly have some disposable income or they would never have dropped the money for the device in the first place. And I still deal with patrons on a daily basis that are shocked we have computers in the building and DVDs to borrow! We are stereotyped as the quiet place for children, students, and seniors. Perhaps this is our chance to get our names in the papers again and use this new format to promote libraries as keeping up with the times (something we know we do but that people in our service areas might not be aware of) and full of new technology that appeals to more than the elementary school set.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Storytime - Silly Dinosaur Stories

I think the crowd I had for this storytime was a bit too young for the books I started out with. But I also had 30+ kids so the age range might have just been too big to keep everyone focused. Had a lot of wanderers circling the room. But they all seemed happy at the end so all's well that ends well, right?

Brontorina by James Howe; illustrated by Randy Cecil
Brontorina knows one thing for sure - she wants to be a dancer! So she goes to Madame Lucille's Dance Academy in the hopes of being trained to be a ballerina. The little girls were interested because she was a ballerina, I think the boys were unsure if it was okay to like that or not.

Edwina, the Dinosaur that didn't know she was Extinct by Mo Willems
Everyone in town loves Edwina, the local dinosaur - everyone except Reginald Von Hoobie Doobie, who KNOWS that Dinosaurs are extinct! Reginald tries to tell the world that Edwina should not exist, but no one will listen...well, almost no one. I think the parents might have enjoyed this one more than the kids. Probably too long for the younger ones that trickled in about halfway through this book.

Hokey Pokeysaurus (CD: Most Amazing Dinosaur Songs)
I wish I had printed out the words to this because I had only listened to it a couple times and I wasn't sure what dino-parts they were putting in and putting out during each verse. We winged it though, went pretty well.

Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman
Why did the dinosaurs disappear? This book has an unusual theory: their downfall was an unhealthy obsession with underpants! Two of the kids had read this story already and liked it, it's a really quick read and I think even the younger ones enjoyed this silly story.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight by Jane Yolen
Read about dinosaurs getting ready for bed - do they throw tantrums or heave a sigh? Or do they just give mom and dad a kiss and get under the covers...a lot of the kids were familiar with this book.

Going on a Dinosaur Hunt (Activity)
The kids were getting pretty restless and the room was just getting louder, so I decided I would give this a try. I did it as spazzy as I could and it got a lot of the wanderers attention. But in the end, it wasn't enough to bring them back to the stories so I let them do their craft.

Craft: Dinosaur stick puppet (cut-out of a long necked dinosaur, round stickers, crayons and a popsicle stick)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Storytime - At the Zoo

Class Two at the Zoo by Julia Jarman
A co-worker had recommended this title to me when I said I was doing a zoo theme. Class Two goes on a field trip and while they teacher and students are looking at the animals in the zoo, the anaconda sneaks out and eats them one by one - until Molly notices and manages to rescue her friends.

Perhaps my narration was too ominous in the beginning because the little girl in front of me seemed VERY concerned about the well-being of class two.

Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch
I love Robert Munsch. Like Mo Willems, I look for any excuse to get one of his books into my storytimes. I love the zany humor, and even though the books tend to be long by picture book standards, there is a lot of repetition that the kids can pick up on.

In this book, Kristen's parents got lost on the way to the hospital and her mother gives birth in the zoo. But when they return home, they bring back different zoo animal babies instead of her new brother.

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

This was my first time using this book in a storytime but it will not be the last! It's the perfect book for when you need the kids to stand up and get their wiggles out. Everyone participated, even the grown-ups.

On each page is an Eric Carle illustration of some animal and a human mimicking their actions - from the monkey waving his arms to a crocodile wiggling his hips. The kids LOVED this.

5 Little Monkeys Flannel Board & Sing-along

I was happy to see that everyone knew this song by heart. I used a flannel board version we had in the closet and as each monkey fell off the bed, I put them upside down at the bottom of the board.

Little Beauty by Anthony Browne
I found this book by chance just searching the library catalog for zoo stories. It's a sweet little picture book about a lonely gorilla who asks the zoo keepers for a friend. They give him a little kitten named Beauty. It's another book that looks too long for storytime but when you open it up there are plenty of textless pages so it wasn't an issue. The kids seemed to enjoy it.

Old MacDonald's Zoo
I just made this up on the spot after going through our storytime closet and finding as many stuffed animals as possible. I put them in a box so the kids couldn't see what I would pull out, then sang the song and told them the sounds I needed. We had a monkey (oooh! oooh!), a crocodile (SNAP! SNAP!), polar bear (Growl! Growl! [snagged this idea from Peek-A-Zoo book), parrot (squwauk! squwauk!), and, of course, a lion (roar roar!)

My Heart is like a Zoo by Michael Hall
This is a relatively new book but the cover caught my eye. I pointed out to the kids before I started reading that all of the images in the book were created using heart-shapes. It gave them something to look for since this book is a bit more low-key, more of a poem than a story, talking about different animals and emotions.

Craft: Monkey Mask

We had some leftover monkey faces in the storytime closet. I had the kids color them and then asked them to bring them to me when they were done and I would attach a popscicle stick to the back and turn it into a mask. This was great because 1) I was able to guard the tape, and 2) I got to see all their handy work and congratulate them on a job well done. Made for some adorable moments.

My favorite moment was the little girl who I had freaked out during the first story. She came up to get her stick and was really quiet and shy. I taped the stick to the back and handed the mask to her saying "make sure it works for me". She put the mask up to her face and went "OOOH! OOH! OOH!" like a little monkey! So adorable! haha.

Now to figure out what I'm going to do for my September run!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

let's talk about Summer Reading

Dear Parents,

I think it is GREAT that you want to encourage your children to read over the summer! It is vital that all children keep those reading skills sharp while they are not in school. Thank you for coming to the library and signing up for the Summer Reading Club, a program that is designed to get kids excited about reading and reward them for picking up a book during their vacation.

Also, I understand that you might not feel very "up" on Children and Teen literature, which is why you show up at the Information Desk asking if there is a summer reading list - you want to find quality books for your children. That is great.

But a word of caution - these lists are distributed to EVERY CHILD in the ENTIRE COUNTY! Yes, we buy additional copies of each of these titles, but we can never buy enough that every child can take home the exact books on that list. Plus, the parents that were in right after school let out (as in, 5 minutes after) have ransacked the shelves and have taken one copy of each book, so now we have next to nothing and, rest assured, the books WILL be kept for their full three week checkout period, if not more (we'll talk about post-summer fines in another post).

So, I beg of you, LOOSEN UP! If Timmy is making a face because the only books left for his grade level are Caddie Woodlawn and a picture book about Leonardo Da Vinci, PLEASE let the librarians find him something else to read! Nothing will stamp the love of reading out of little Molly's heart and soul as much as you forcing her to read something she has no interest in.

The librarians are there to help. Please, come up to the info desk and ask for assistance. We read these books. We read book reviews. We at least flip through the books when they arrive at the branch. We know books. Part of our job is to get your child the book that will appeal to them the most - to make them enjoy reading.

And, also, it's summer time, let them read summer books. I don't expect you to take Tolstoy to the beach, why do you insist that your child take a "classic" or a book that feels more like homework than a leisure read. Don't wrinkle your nose when they ask for 'Captain Underpants' or sigh heavily that they could be reading something "on a higher level" when they pick up the Weird School series for a laugh. It's JUNE!

And to all of you parents that EMBRACE just letting your children read - THANK YOU! To those of you glued to your School Reading Lists, please drop those pieces of colored paper and leave them on the floor. Unless the child is required to read a specific title because of an assignment, let their summer vacation be full of FUN books. And YOU should check out some books too and set an example.

Yours Sincerely,
Miss Sam, the Librarian