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)