Thursday, December 8, 2011

Blueberry Bears

Storytime was a repeat of last year's bear storytime, so I don't have a lot new to write about. We read Blueberries for Sal, the classic by Robert McCloskey.  I love that book. Some of the kids enjoyed it, but it was too long for the younger ones.

Luckily, I got them back with Dinosaur vs. the Library, by Bob Shea. This new book was a hoot to share. Dinosaur roars at everything, everywhere he goes, and pretty soon he has all his friends (the cow, the chicks, the owl), and all the kids, roaring along with him. Dinosaur wins!

But then he goes to the library. Can he use his "library roar"?  Can he not roar at all during storytime? He can!  Library wins (and so does Dinosaur.)

We went on a "Bear Hunt," which was another good story activity for holding the attention of the younger set.

Our craft was a paper bag bear puppet with blueberries.

A paper bag puppet is nothing new, but I thought it was fun to give him some blueberries.

The library has lots of unsharpened pencils, and they make good small stamps. Use the eraser end to do your stamping. I had a couple different shades of washable blue ink stamp pads.

Most of the bears ended up with blueberries everywhere! Messy bears!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Let the Fall Leaves Fall!!

Here's a favorite little poem, by Clyde Watson:

Let the Fall Leaves Fall

Let the fall leaves fall
And the cold snow snow
And the rain rain rain ’till April:
Our coats are warm
And the pantry’s full
And there's cake upon the table.

So in honor of the fall leaves falling, we had a autumn=-themed storytime yesterday, at the library, and at Head Start, where I go once a month for four sessions.

We read Mouse's First Fall, by Lauren Thompson, Old Bear, by Kevin Henkes, and a brand-new book, Little Owl's Night, by Divya Srinivasan.

This book has a new twist on an old theme, the bedtime story. At the end of the book, after Little Owl has visited all his night-time friends, he goes home to Mama and falls asleep as she tells him how the night ends, as the sky turns "from black to blue, from blue to red, and from red to gold."

At the start of storytime we sang an owl song, to the tune of Skip to My Lou:

Owl in the treetop Whoo, whoo, whoo--
Owl in the treetop Whoo, whoo, whoo--
Owl in the treetop Whoo, whoo, whoo--
Who, who, who are you?

As I pointed to each child, he or she told us their names. It's a fun song to sing, and a good way to learn everyone's name.

For our craft we made acorn owls. These were a bit fiddly and tricky, but so cute.  

Materials needed:
Acorns (find an oak tree and pick them up)
small wiggly eyes
Yellow paper cut into tiny triangles, for beaks
Orange or brown felt, cut into small wings

Glue on the the features with glue stick or tacky glue. 

We made reversible playmats for our owls, out of blue card stock and black construction paper glued back to back, with branches cut from paper bags, green paper leaves, and glittery stars. Lots of gluing, but easy to put together.

Have a Happy Fall!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Apple-icious Storytime

It was all about apples today. Apples and the wind, since it is a windy day. We always sing (to the tune of Clementine):

What's the weather, what's the weather, what's the weather everyone?
Is it windy, is it cloudy, is there rain or is there sun?

Today the answer was definitely "windy." One of our books was One Windy Wednesday. Even though the theme was apples, I don't have a good apple book, so we also read Llama Llama Red Pajama. I told the story of The Little Round Red House. Even though this story does not have a book, or anything to go on the flannelboard, it held the children's attention very well. It's about a little boy whose mother sends him out to find "a little round, red house, with no windows and no doors, and a star in the middle."

You can read a version of this anonymous story here, although this is not exactly the way I tell it. But the ending is always the same. The answer is an apple, and the star can be seen when you cut an apple crossways, along its equator.

Here are some rhymes to go along with today's themes:

Wind (tune: Row Your Boat)

Wind, wind, blow the clouds
Fast across the sky.
Blow the branches back and forth,
In the trees so high.   (Stand and move your arms as you sing.)

Picking Up Apples (tune: Pawpaw Patch)

Where oh where is my friend Johnny?  (use the name of a child in the group)
Where oh where is my friend Johnny?
Where oh where is my friend Johnny?
Way down yonder by the apple tree.

Picking up apples, put 'em in your basket,  (bend and pick up imaginary "apple" and place in "basket.")
Picking up apples, put 'em in your basket,
Picking up apples, put 'em in your basket,
 Way down yonder by the apple tree.

Our craft went along with the rhyme Five Red Apples.

Five red apples hanging on the tree,
The juiciest apples that you ever did see.
The wind came whistling through the town,
And one red apple came tumbling down.  
Four red apples . . .   etc.

5 apples cut out of a sheet of foam
5 magnets (I used round magnets with adhesive on one side that I bought at Walmart)
1 sheet of white card stock or paper.
1 tree trunk cut from a brown paper bag
1 tree top cut out of construction paper

The kids cut out their own tree tops and glued the trunk and leaves to the sheet of paper. Then they affixed the apples to the magnets. Tape the picture to your refrigerator or other metal appliance, and you are ready to sing and play.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More October Awesomeness

We did spiders last week at storytime, and mild-mannered Halloween stories this week. I think my favorite out of all the books we read is Ghosts in the House, by Kazuno Kohara.
A little girl, who is also a witch, moves into a haunted house. But ghosts don't bother her, because she knows what to do with ghosts. She catches them, puts them in the washing machine, airs them out to dry, and gives them new lives as curtains, table cloths, and bed sheets. The bright and easy-to-see illustrations in orange and black with an overlay of white make this a perfect book for sharing.
For our craft this week we played with pumpkin playdough. This is my standard playdough recipe, with added cinnamon and orange food coloring. Here's the recipe:

Homemade Playdough

2 cups water
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup salt
2 cups flour
few drops of food coloring

Mix all the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Add the food coloring to the water if you are making one color of playdough. If you want to make more than one color, mix in the food coloring after it is cooked, when you knead it. Heat ingredients on medium setting, stirring constantly. It will set up quickly. Playdough is done when it holds together and pulls away from the side of the pan. Turn it out on a plate or cutting board to cool. Knead when cool enough to handle, and have fun!

Last week we made spider webs.  This is an easy craft, but it gives the children a chance to wrap yarn, which is fun to do.

Paper plate
White yarn
foam or plastic spider
glitter glue (optional)

We used black paper plates, but you could use a plain white plate and let your child paint it black. (More activity!) Cut a 20 or so notches around the edge of the plate. Wind the yarn around and around the plate from notch to notch until it looks spider-webby enough. Glue a little spider in the middle, or let him hang from a dangling string of the yarn.

If you want to, you can add glitter along the yarn or on the spider for added Halloween sparkle.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Fun

Pumpkins are everywhere! I just read that the world's largest pumpkin---announced last Sunday---is an 1820.5 pound monster grown by Chris Stevens of Minnesota. Every year almost, someone manages to grow a more enormous pumpkin. I can't imagine how they do that.

The pumpkins at storytime were a more moderate size. In fact, the one I brought from my garden probably only weighs a pound and a half. It's a lovely deep shade of orange though---looks just like a pumpkin is supposed to look.

Which reminds me---is it funny that Americans use "punkin" as a term of endearment? My Russian daughter-in-law thinks so. The first time she heard me call the baby that, she was very surprised. "Pumpkin! Why are you calling her a pumpkin?" I think she thought it was weird. But in France don't they use "mon petit chou" (my little cabbage) as a baby name? Pumpkin, cabbage---does anyone call their little one "brussels sprout" or "zucchini"?  Why not?

It was all  about pumpkins at storytime today. We read It's Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall and Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper. On the board we had felt figures for the songs Did You Ever See a Pumpkin and Five Little Pumpkins.  

Here's how Did You Ever See a Pumpkin goes:

Did you ever see a pumpkin, a pumpkin, a pumpkin,
Did you ever see a pumpkin with no face at all?
With no eyes, and no nose, and no mouth and no teeth.
Did you ever see a pumpkin with no face at all?

So I made a jack-o-lantern,  jack-o-lantern, jack-o-lantern,
 So I made a jack-o-lantern and I gave him a face.
With two eyes, and one nose, and a big mouth with big teeth,
So I made a jack-o-lantern and I gave him a face.

To go along with this song I have a large felt pumpkin. It is made with a double layer of felt with a thin layer of batting in between. Then I stitched it vertically to create ribs.But it isn't necessary to get that fancy--any big felt or paper pumpkin shape will do. Cut-out eyes, nose and mouth are added as we sing.

Our craft was a laminated paper pumpkin that they can draw on using dry erase markers. I cut out the pumpkins and laminated most of them ahead of time, although if you were only making one, or a few, you could have your little assistant do some cutting and help you laminate.  

Give your child a dry erase marker and they can make jack-o-lantern faces over and over. Just wipe and draw again. I really like the idea of a reusable pumpkin face. Just be sure to not use a permanent marker, unless you want it to be permanent.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Monsters, Monsters, Everywhere!

It's time to get into the Halloween-y themes, starting off with . . .  monsters!  There are several good picture books that involve monsters . . . ones that are not too scary.

One of the best picture books ever written is Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. I love reading this book aloud; it has a wonderful rhythmic text and fantastic pictures that have not aged in 40 years. (Unlike the reader.)

A new favorite is Mo Willem's Leonardo the Terrible Monster. Leonardo is indeed terrible . . . at being a monster and scaring anybody. He gives it his best shot, and finds that there is a better way to get attention.

Everybody likes Ed Emberley's Go Away, Big Green Monster.  Troubled by monsters with long blue-green noses and scraggly purple hair? Let the author show you how to get rid of that monster one feature at a time, till it is all gone. A very satisfying interactive read-aloud.                                                                                                                                                      
If you still need help getting rid of those pesky monsters, try this song (sung to the tune of Did You Ever See a Lassie?):

If you ever see a monster, a monster, a monster,
If you ever see a monster, Then here’s what you do:
Make this face and that face and this face and that face,
If you ever see a monster---be sure to shout Boo!

The kids had fun singing this song and making crazy faces. 
Next week:  Pumpkins!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Storytime is Back!

After taking off a week to go see grandkids in Wisconsin, I am back in the library, and storytime is back on schedule. Here are the kids I went to see---Katya (8) and Jeff (5). It was a fun-filled week of birthdays parties, skateboarding, soccer, eating lunch in the cafeteria, back-to-school night, and reading bedtime stories, but alas, I had to come home.

Today was a day for reading fun stories like Worms for Lunch? by Leonid Gore, Today is Monday, by Eric Carle, and Not a Box, by Antoinette Portis. We also sang the Days of the Week Song, to the tune of Clementine:

There are seven days, there are seven days,
There are seven days in a week.
There are seven days, there are seven days,
There are seven days in a week.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday,
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

Pretty basic, eh? If you need a little help with this, you can look at this Preschool Corner version.

There are a couple other days of the week songs, such as this one (British) and this one (to the tune of The Addams Family.)  No shortage of ways to sing your way from Sunday to Saturday.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Take Me Into the Land of Books!

It was all about the library at library storytime yesterday. I especially wanted to do a storytime on the library theme, because in addition to my in-house storytime, I did four storytimes at Head Start yesterday.

I go to Head Start once a month to present storytimes for the kids. Our Head Start program here in Orland has four sessions, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. But the kids must be wondering, "Who is this lady who comes in, shows us books and sings songs, and then disappears until we've forgotten about her again?"

Well, it's Miss Nancy from the Library. What's a library?  I recognized a few of the kids, but most of them never come to the library, so they don't know about it. I'm hoping that my visits, plus handouts I give them to take home, will spark an interest in their families.

We read two books: Lola at the Library and Book! Book! Book!  Since Lola learns Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at the library, we did that for a fingerplay, and we sang The Wheels on the Bus.  I tried to teach them part of the Library Cheer. That was a little tricky for them, but I soon had them responding on "LIBRARY--CARD! LIBRARY--CARD!" Below is the whole cheer, and here is a link to the inimitable Margaret Miles leading the cheer at a conference of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries.

L-I-B-R-A-R-Y Cheer
by Garrison Keillor

Gimme an L
Gimme an I

What’s that’s spell?  LIBRARY!
What’s that’s spell?  LIBRARY!
One more time!  LIBRARY!

I said L-I-B-R-A-R-Y you say L-I-B-R-A-R-Y
I said L-I-B-R-A-R-Y  you say L-I-B-R-A-R-Y

Where do you go for poetry? You say L-I-B-R-A-R-Y
Where do you go for history? You say L-I-B-R-A-R-Y
Where do you go if you're old and shy?  L-I-B-R-A-R-Y
Where do you go to learn how to fly?  L-I-B-R-A-R-Y

I say LIBRARY you say CARD
I got one and it wasn’t too hard

Great big building how sweet it looks
So take me in to the land of books
To the L-I-B-R-A-R-Y  L-I-B-R-A-R-Y

It's been in your town for a hundred years.
So let's give the library three big cheers:

For a craft we made magic water bottles. It's easy, and you can see all the instructions right here.

The only thing I might change the next time is the way I glue the lid on. I used tacky glue, and that turned the water a little cloudy. Some kind of clear glue would work better. You can also add some oil to the water and it will look like bubbles.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Storytime in the News!

The Orland Press-Register highlighted storytime at the Orland Library in last Saturday's newspaper. Read all about it! Reporter Rick Longley came out and joined us at storytime, taking photos and talking to parents.

It must have been a slow news week, because the paper had room to publish 4 photos. Here at the library we really appreciate all the great publicity we get from the Orland Press-Register.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Invasion of the Pod People?

Found this strange growth in the garden. It's gigantic. It looks like it's about to split open and some slimy creepy THING come slithering out. What is it?

It's a Casaba melon, and this is my best year yet growing Casabas. This one is a typical specimen. It weighs about 20 pounds. Casabas are huge football-shaped melons from Turkey, first grown in California (and maybe the United States) right here in Chico by John Bidwell. I got the seeds last year from Seedsavers Exchange, and this year planted seeds that I saved from last year.

They are absolutely delicious. Out-of-this-world wonderful. The flesh is pretty much the same as a cantaloupe, but better than any cantaloupe I've ever had---creamy, sweet, yummy, and highly aromatic.

For some reason, there is another melon that goes by the name casaba, which is more like a honeydew, and not as sweet as a Bidwell Casaba.  As far as I know, this is the real deal, just like General Bidwell used to grow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We're Hopping at the Library!

I didn't really have a theme for today's storytime, but we had a hopping good time, reading Who Hops? and If You're Hoppy and You Know It. Both these books have big, bright, lively illustrations and fun texts that pull the kids in. Both of them were fun to read. "If you're growly and you know it you're a dog, or a bear, or a tummy over there . . ."

As long as we were reading about hopping, we got up and did some hopping of our own, hopping along to the rhyme "I Saw a Little Rabbit Come Hop, Hop, Hop."

I saw a little rabbit come hop, hop, hop.
I saw his long ears go flop, flop, flop.
I saw his little eyes go blink, blink, blink.
I saw his little nose go twink, twink, twink.
I said, "Mr, Rabbit, won't you stay, stay, stay?'
He looked at me, and then he hopped away!

We also sang "Shake My Sillies" and "Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me." The flannelboard story was "The Hat" from Days with Frog and Toad, in which Frog gives Toad a hat for his birthday. The hat is too big and falls over Toad's eyes, but Frog solves the problem by telling Toad to go to sleep thinking big thoughts, while he secretly shrinks the hat. Toad is delighted, thinking that his big thoughts have made his head grow larger to fit the hat.

For a craft we decorated old CDs. I know two things to do with otherwise useless CDs, like the ones you used to get from AOL, or the ones from outdated software. One thing you can do is hang them in your fruit trees to scare the birds away from your ripe cherries or plums. The other thing you can do is make decorations with them. 

If you have enough of them, glue two CDs together so that you have two shiny sides instead of just one. Then glue on anything shiny or pretty---stickers, jewels, stars, foam shapes---whatever you like. String a ribbon through the hole and voila!---pretty, shiny doohickey.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Garden Glory

Our storytime kids like peaches, plums, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and green beans. Bunrab loves them all too. Today we talked about gardens and all the yummy things that come out of them.

We read Up, Down, and Around, by Katherine Ayres, and Growing Colors, by Bruce McMillan.  We sang Going on a Picnic and 10 Little Bunnies.  And we spent a lot of time talking about fruits and vegetables.

For our craft we made zucchini prints. I have a lot of over-sized zucchini anyway, so I cut them into pieces about 3 or 4 inches long, and then cut out the end into shapes like stars, hearts, flowers and moons. Zucchini is very soft, so it is easier to cut than potatoes. 
The kids pressed their stamps into paint-soaked sponges, and then onto the paper. To make a paint sponge for stamping, moisten a clean sponge. Put it in a plastic container, one with a tight fitting lid.  On top of the sponge pour 2 tablespoons of washable paint, and 1 tablespoon of white glue. Mix it around with a plastic spoon. Add more paint and glue in the same proportions if you think you need more.

The zucchini can't be reused, but the paint sponge can. Just put the lid on and store it in the refrigerator.

Enjoy your garden, and this great summer weather we are having!