Wednesday, July 20, 2011

La Belle France

Bonjour! Today we visited France, home of some of children's literature's best-loved characters, like Babar the elephant and Madeline. France is also the country that gave us Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, and many other favorite fairy tales, including Puss in Boots.

I didn't read Madeline, since it is rather a long book, but I did read Fred Marcellino's version of Puss in Boots. This book has one of my all-time favorite covers. No text on the front cover, just a close-up of that confident, unflappable cat, stylishly dressed as an 17th-century French gentleman. He could be one of the Three Musketeers.

We also read Fancy Nancy, which is hardly a French book, but she does like to use French words, because, as she says, "Everything in French sounds fancy." So she throws in a few French words, like merci, parfait, and chauffeur. 

We threw a little French into our songs too. "If you're happy and you know it, frappe des mains!" (clap your hands.)  We sang Frere Jacques and danced to a recording of Sur le pont d'Avignon. (Those are the only two French songs I know, thanks to high school French class.)

We also sang (to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star):

Strawberries, peaches, watermelon too
Good for me and good for you.
They are yummy, they are sweet,
They are such a tasty treat.
Strawberries, peaches, watermelon too
Good for me and good for you.

I have felt pictures of the fruit to put up on the flannelboard. If you also have some felt apples, bananas, or other fruit, you can change the words around and sing about any combination of yummy fruit.

For our craft, we got fancy. I found a pack of "collage cards" from Oriental Trading Co. in the cupboard. These are sticky on one side---though, unfortunately, not sticky enough, because some of the stuff fell off in the process. But it was easy! I gave the children a variety of items to stick on their cards---foam letters and insects, iridescent butterflies and hearts, sequins and feathers. After they had thoroughly decorated the cards, we dusted them with glitter for a fancy glittery one-of-a-kind thingamabob.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Safari to Africa

The vast continent of Africa was today's storytime destination. The lion puppet taught the the kids to say "Hello" in Swahili---Jambo! We sang an Ella Jenkins' song: "Jambo, jambo sanna, jambo."

We read (and sang) If You're Happy by Jane Cabrera, which has lots of African animals in it clapping, roaring, nodding, and going "Kiss, kiss!" We also read Awful Aardvark by Mwalimu, about a snoring aardvark who gets routed by a mongoose, monkeys, a lion, a rhino, and a bunch of termites. We had a flannelboard story about Crocodile and Hen, and why Hen calls crocodile "brother."

At the end we said "Kwaheri!"  Goodbye!

For a craft we made masks. Feathers, pipe cleaners, beads, stickers, foam features---lots of ways to decorate a mask.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Off to India!

This week we visited India, land of saris, turbans, elephants, monkey, and tigers. I wish I had more souvenirs from India (I've never been there) but I draped some lovely sari cloth around, and let the girls try on some beauiful scarves.

I told (without a book) the old story of The Cat and the Parrot, sometimes known as Slip! Slop! Gobble! It's basically the same story as the Danish tale of the Fat Cat, and children always enjoy a story about a greedy glutton who eats and eats until someone has to cut a hole in him to let out all his victims.

Our books were The Monkey and the Crocodile, by Paul Galdone, and Seven Blind Mice, by Ed Young. It's amazing how long  The Monkey and the Crocodile has been around. I used that book when I was a librarian in Kern County 35 years ago. Our copy here at the Orland Library is still in good shape, and the story is a natural for storytime.

We made finger puppet elephants for a craft. I got the idea from Enchanted Learning, but made a couple modifications. I enlarged the elephant pattern slightly, and separated the head from the body, so that the kids had two pieces to put together.You can use the template at Enchanted Learning, but adapt it as you see fit.

 Fasten the head and body together with a paper fastener. Add stick-on eyes, draw a mouth, and decorate your elephant if you like. (I showed the children a picture of a live elephant who had painted designs on its body.)  I gave the children the head and body pre-cut, with the hole for the trunk already cut out, but you may wish to let the kids do their own cutting.

Dance, elephant, dance!

A Visit to Korea

Last week we "visited" Korea, and I am finally getting around to blogging about the program. I have to thank my son Jim and his wonderful wife Minsun for their help---couldn't have done it without them.

My library has next to no books in the way of Korean folktales (other than Shirley Climo's The Korean Cinderella) or picture books (other then Dear Juno). Both of these are fine books, but not exactly what I was looking for. The Butte County Library has a series of Korean folktales, and I used one of those. The title of the book is The Son of the Cinnamon Tree, but each volume contains two stories, and I used the second one: The Donkey's Egg. Did you know that if you keep a watermelon warm for a month, it will hatch a donkey? You're right, it won't, but the silly farmer in the story doesn't know that.

My son's family also loaned me several easy books with Korean text. I "read" the kids the peekaboo one with the animals from the Asian zodiac, and the one about the mice trying out different vegetables, and saying "Ho! Ho! Spicy!" when they try the garlic and onions.

Jim taught me the following Korean children's song. You can hear it in Korean here:

Mr. Fox

Mister Fox, Mister Fox, What do you do?
I am asleep – O Sleepyhead!

Mister Fox, Mister Fox, What do you do?
I’m washing my face – Oh Handsome guy!

Mister Fox, Mister Fox, What do you do?
I’m eating my lunch.
What do you eat?
Frogs for lunch.
Dead or alive?

I practiced this song a lot, then couldn't remember the tune when it came time to sing it! Sigh . . .

No Korean storytime is complete without a story about a tiger, so I told them a story from A Tiger by the Tail, by Lindy Soon Curry. The story is about a flute player who is treed by a group of tigers. He plays a cheerful tune on his flute, the tigers dance until they fall down exhausted, and the musician escapes.

For our Korean craft we made Sam Taeguk fans. The Sam Taeguk is a popular symbol in Korean, and I happened to have a Sam Taeguk fan to show the kids. The colors symbolize heaven (blue), earth (red), and people (yellow).

I took the idea for the fan from this blog. They have a template for a blank fan, which you may or may not be able to see. It didn't always work for me. I reproduced two blank fans side by side so that the children could color both then fold it in half. After they cut out the fan, they inserted a large craft stick with plenty of glue on it, and then glued the two sides together (staples help too).

It actually makes a nice little fan that works. And who doesn't need a fan in this weather?