Library Themed Storytime 8-15-18

Our last storytime of the session was on the Library.  I chose the books Lola at the Library by Anita McQuinn, and Maisy Goes to the Library by Lucy Cousins.

After opening with Alice the Camel, we talked about the things we did at the library, and sang the song my co-worker and I wrote: It’s Library Day.

 (tune: Farmer in the Dell)
C
It’s library day, it’s library day
F                                C
We’re excited to get to play
G7           C
It’s library day

Storytime is here, storytime is here
Friends have come from far and near
‘Cause storytime is here

We sing in storytime, we sing in storytime
We read our books and say a rhyme
We sing in storytime

We’re checking out a book, we’re checking out a book
I looked and looked and looked and now
We’re checking out a book

I’m reading with my friend, I’m reading with my friend
I wish it never had to end
I’m reading with my friend

I introduced my monster puppet, Grumpy, who likes the library because books are good with ketchup.  We talked about how to treat library books, and then Grumpy brought us the letter L and some L words.  We talked about the sound that L makes and I brought out my book Lola at the Library (listen to those Ls!)

After the book, I had the kids practice the first part of The Library Cheer, and then we did it together as a flannel.

Library Cheer

The Library Cheer by Brod Bagert
Books are good!
Books are great!
I want books!
I WILL NOT WAIT!
Bird books.
Bug books,
Bear books too.
Words and pictures through and through.

Books are good!
Books are great!
I want books!
I WILL NOT WAIT!
Books in color.
Black and white.
Skinny books.
Fat books.
Day and night.

Books are good!
Books are great!
I want books!
I WILL NOT WAIT!
Sad books,
Glad books,
Funny books too.
Books for me and books for you.

Books are good!
Books are great!
I want books!
I WILL NOT WAIT!
http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/old-book-clip-art-image-29832543
http://cliparts.co/clipart/2321228
http://www.clker.com/clipart-book-16.html
http://www.clker.com/clipart-book-4.html

Then we sang The More We Read Together
C             G7          C
The more we read together, together, together
G7          C
The more we read together, the happier we’ll be
G7          C
Read big books and small books
G7          C
Read short books and tall books
G7              C
Oh, the more we read together, the happier we’ll be!
Credit: Jbrary

Our next book was Maisy Goes to the Library, followed by the flannel Five Little Books.

Five Little Books
Five little books at the library
Five little books as great as can be
Along comes (name) with their library card
To take one home and read
Credit:  Storytime Katie

We finished up with a rousing chorus of If You’re Happy and You Know It.
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands…
Stomp your feet…
Read a book…
Look surprised…

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Book Review – Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty

Willa of the WoodWilla is a Faeren, one of the night-spirits who live in the Great Smokey Mountains.  She’s lost her parents and her twin sister, and her clan is dying out.  She’s been made into a jaetter, one who steals from the human day-folk, and her thefts go to please the god of her clan, the padaran.  But her grandmother taught her woodcraft, enough to know that none of this is right.  Her people are going against all of their traditions, hunting the beasts of the forest, starving and beating one another, and now capturing and imprisoning human children.

When Willa stands up for what is right, she loses her clan and her life is up for grabs.  She must somehow find a place to belong.  But even the place she finds is not right, damaged by the evil that is assaulting her clan.  Somehow Willa must find a way to cleanse the evil and restore the right, even at the cost of her own life.

This book is really dark.  There’s so much evil and unhappiness in it that I would hesitate to recommend it unless I really knew the child would like it.  It’s not a horror story, but it has that sort of darkness in it.  The end is full of goodness, with a message of love and family that transcends differences, but it takes a lot of time to get there.  There’s also a LOT of violence in it—people are abused, beaten and killed, animals are killed, trapped and injured, and there’s pretty graphic language used when trees are cut down by loggers.  In Willa’s mind, the trees are people, too, and the loggers are dismembering them, so the language is that of a torture chamber.

There were also some things that didn’t ring true to me, like the human, Nathaniel, taking Willa in without question (Really?  She has green skin, changes like a chameleon, talks to plants, and sleeps in a cocoon.  You don’t find that odd?  You hang her cocoon in your room?).  Or the fact that no one else in the clan ever questions the padaran’s actions.  Did all the Faeren involved really think that they could use cult initiation tactics to turn human children into Faeren clan members?  What kind of plan is this?

This is definitely a middle grade (or above) read.  As I said, I would really hesitate to recommend it.

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Vacation Storytime 8/8/18

This week’s storytime was about vacation.  The books I chose were Duck’s Vacation by Gilad Soffer and The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.

After our opening song, my buffalo puppet friend brought us the letter V, and some pictures of V things.  He also asked us to visit him on the plains, but most of us preferred the beach.  We sang Hot Summer.

(Let each child name his/her favorite summertime activity to sing in the song)
Sung to: “Farmer in the Dell”
C
In the summer it is hot
C
In the summer it is hot
F                         C
Oh, when it’s hot, I _______ a lot
G7                                                C
In the summer when it’s hot.
Credit: http://www.preschooleducation.com/ssummer.shtml

Then we did a flannel called Summer Sun, and read Duck’s Vacation.  The kids thought it was pretty funny, and I love it’s The Monster at the End of this Book vibe.  The flannel Five Pretty Sandcastles was next.  I had the kids practice whooshing their arms from one side to the other to help me out.

Five pretty sandcastles standing on the shore,
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there were four.
Four pretty sandcastles standing by the sea,
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there were three.
Three pretty sandcastles standing by the ocean blue,
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there were two.
Two pretty sandcastles standing in the sun
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there was one.
One pretty sandcastle just out of reach,
The tide came in (whoosh!) but it stayed on the beach!
Credit: https://storytimekatie.com/2015/03/27/flannel-friday-five-pretty-sandcastles/

Then we did all the motions to Laurie Berkner’s song Drive My Car, because we often drive when we go on vacation!

My next book was The Watermelon Seed.  This one lends itself to a dramatic reading, and we always enjoy it.

Next, we did the flannel and song If You’re Going to the Pool.
Sung to: If You’re Happy and You Know It
C                           G7
If you’re going to the pool, wear your suit
C
If you’re going to the pool, wear your suit
F                           C
If you’re going to the pool, then a suit will keep you cool
G7                    C
If you’re going to the pool, wear a suit

Additional verses: hat, flip flops, sunglasses

We finished with a rousing game of Beach Ball Hideout, which I made up for the occasion.
Look and see!  Look and see!
Can you find the ball for me?
Is it under the (color) towel?

Beach Ball Hideout

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Book Review – City of Islands by Kali Wallace

City of IslandsOrphaned Mara is making ends meet by diving for the Lady of Tides.  When she finds an extraordinary cache of magical bones, the Lady sends her on a dangerous quest to find out where the bones came from.  Along the way, Mara will learn to access the magic inside of her, and put her friends in mortal danger.  But she might also find a way to restore the city to its former glory.

Hurray for diverse books!  Wallace has crafted a fantastic fantasy with a cast of dark skinned people, and their skin tone is nothing more than a part of their description—it doesn’t define or limit them.  That’s one big advantage of building a new world, the people can look like anything, and it isn’t remarkable (except to us, who don’t see it nearly enough).  And Wallace has imagined a really wonderful new-to-us world of islands crafted by magic, which are slowing declining while the people who inhabit them grasp for any little bit of magic left over from the founders who built them.

Mara is smart and courageous, and has had to work very hard to keep herself alive.  But she doesn’t spend much time feeling sorry for herself, and is always trying to look out for her friends.  Wallace left the ending just untidy enough for me to expect a sequel without leaving me unsatisfied.  This is a good one to give to your fantasy lovers in grades 3-5.

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Ocean Storytime 8/1/18

This week’s storytime was about the ocean.  The books I chose were I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry, Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins, and Poor Little Guy by Elanna Allen.

After opening with this sessions’ Alice the Camel, I introduced my oyster puppet.  I sang the song Hello, Mr. Oyster to him.

(tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)
Hello, Mr. Oyster, how are you?
Hello, Mr. Oyster, how are you?
How’s it going in your shell,
Are you doing really swell?
Hello, Mr. Oyster, how are you?

Hello, Mr. Oyster, what’s the word?
Hello, Mr. Oyster, what’s the word?
I don’t really mean to pry,
But I have to wonder why,
You always stay inside the way you do.
by Susan Paprocki

Then, he brought us the letter O, and I put up purchased flannels of sea creatures and had the kids tell me what they were.  The last one was a humpbacked whale, and I asked the kids if it was the biggest thing in the ocean.  They agreed that it was.  I said I had a book that disagreed with them!  I pulled out I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean, and had the kids questioning themselves until the end.  No, whales ARE the biggest thing in the ocean!

Then I pulled out my ukulele and we sang This Is the Way We Go to the Beach while the kids did the motions.

(tune: The Mulberry Bush)
C
This is the way we got to the beach,
G7
Go to the beach, go to the beach.
C
this is the way we got to the beach
G7                      C
On a summer day.
(Swim in the water, dig in the sand, build a sand castle…)

I had the kids tell me anything else that they did at the beach that they would like to sing about, and they did tell me some things.

The kids and I practiced snapping our arms like shark’s jaws, and then we did the flannel Five Little Fishies.

Five little fishes swimming in the sea,
Teasing Mr. Shark “You can’t catch me!”
Along came Mr. Shark, as quiet as can be…
and SNAPPED that fish right out of the sea!

4, 3, 2, 1…

No little fishes swimming in the sea,
Teasing Mr. Shark “You can’t catch me!”
Along came Mr. Shark, as full as can be
He ate all the fishes swimming in the sea!

I read Hooray for Fish! And then we did the flannel Five Sharks in a Bathtub.

One shark in a bathtub, going for a swim
Knock, knock, splash, splash, come on in!
…2, 3, 4
Five sharks in a bathtub, going for a swim
Knock, knock, splash, splash, they all fell in! (sweep flannels off of board)
I had everyone stand back up, and played the uke while the kids did the motions to The Waves in the Ocean.

(Tune: The Wheels on the Bus)
C
The waves in the ocean go up and down,
G7
Up and down, up and down.
C
The waves in the ocean go up and down,
G7          C
all day long!

The fish in the ocean go swim, swim, swim…
The lobsters in the ocean go snap, snap, snap…
The clams in the ocean go open and shut…
The jellyfish in the ocean go wibble, wobble, wibble
The crabs in the ocean crawl back and forth…
The dolphins in the ocean go splish, splash, splish…

I explained to the kids that the next book didn’t have many words, so they were going to have to watch carefully to see the story.  Then I read Poor Little Guy.  Everyone loves the surprise ending.

I finished up by having everyone sit in a circle and then gave them two beach balls for Beach Ball Hot Potato.  Basically, they had to stay criss-cross applesauce, and couldn’t hold the balls because they were hot, hot, hot!  I encouraged them to keep them on the ground, but didn’t get bent if they made it into the air.  They quickly discovered that the balls ended up going behind their heads if they were up in the air, and that wasn’t any fun.  It would have been better with more balls.

Immediately after the regular storytime, I had a daycare come in for the same storytime, making my voice toast!

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Book Review – Cave of Bones by Anne Hillerman

Cave of BonesBy Awnali Mills

When Bernadette Manuelito reluctantly agrees to talk to a group of juvenile delinquent girls, she doesn’t expect it to end in a missing person case.  One of the camp counselors has gone missing in the desert, an ancient burial is found, and grave goods are turning up on the market.  Will she be able to find the missing man and find out who is robbing graves?  In the meantime, her husband Chee is trying to help her sister in another town, and find another missing man as a favor for a rookie cop.  Will he figure out what’s going on before his sister-in-law gets hurt?

I literally grew up reading Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee novels about Navajo Indian policemen.  The first I read was in a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book, and after that I read every single book of his I could find.  I was greatly saddened when he died, but excited when his daughter, Anne, took over the characters and continued to write.  And I love that she’s made Manuelito her main character.

But I have become increasingly discontented with the quality of the books.  I still love the characters and the setting, but Hillerman’s newest book, Cave of Bones, was a big disappointment.  The plot lines were terribly convoluted and many things didn’t make a bit of sense.  (SPOILER ALERT) Bernie is going to climb into a cave and not smell the dead body, even though the smell has already been described?  She wouldn’t recognize the smell?  People are going to shoot at each other for no particular reason?  Bad guys are going to hassle the cops, but they’re really good guys who are just gentle, misunderstood men who need to be given a chance?  You have to let the air out of a cop’s tires to get him to talk to you when he’s been badgering you to talk to him?  And that’s just the beginning of the list.

By the end, it felt like Hillerman was just obsessed with red herrings, and really wasn’t sure who her bad guys were until the end.  It seemed like she wanted to keep her options open until the end of the book, leaving all the other characters with questionable, nonsensical actions.  Sometimes her timelines didn’t make sense, either, and that always throws me.  At the end of the book, I set it down and thought, “Really?  That’s it?  Wow.  She needs a better editor.”

Although it saddens me to let this series go, I think I’ll have to.

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The Great American Read Part Deux

Lonesome DoveBy Awnali Mills

So, I just spent a short lifetime reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry for our Great American Read competition at the library.  Holy Cow.  I remembered shelving this book, but didn’t remember it being so freaking long.  GREAT BIG BOOK itty bitty writing.  Yikes!  But, I’m not afraid of long books, no siree, so I started it.

And read

And read

And read

And then I started asking around.  “Does anything ever actually HAPPEN in this book?” I wailed to the lunch room crowd.  Evil chuckles abounded, mixed with a few sympathetic looks.  “Keep reading,” I was told, “It gets better.”

FINALLY, a cattle drive started, and things went along pretty well after that.  Still, it took an age.  I got more grey hair.  Wrinkles formed.  And eventually the book petered out to a (rather unsatisfying) end.

Now people are asking me if I liked the book, and I’m not sure how to answer them.  Can it be a good book if you didn’t particularly enjoy it?  It was beautiful and ugly, and poetic and dirty.  I hated the way women were portrayed as property, and only existing for the use of men.  Women were completely objectified, and I don’t know if this is an accurate reflection of the thinking of the time, or simply how McMurtry thinks.  Either way, it really irritated me.

And not only that, it felt like reading a Western roadtrip version of Downton Abbey–people kept dying that I liked.  I hate when that happens.

I watched a video of the women of Lonesome Dove (the miniseries), and they adored the book, so maybe I’ve got it all wrong.  It also made it in into the top 100 best books for the Great American Read.  But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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