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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Russell Freedman Quote

"You don't simplify, you distill." Russell Freedman on how he makes his writing appropriate for children. See the interview of Freedman and James Cross Giblin at this article Rock Stars of the I.N.K. Variety by Linda Salzman. What a brilliant quote. I've had difficulty putting my finger on the exact term I think of when I think of good children's books, and I always knew "simplified" wasn't quite it. The best children's books aren't simple-- they are simply composed of only the most relevant parts. For example, I would hardly call Christopher Paul Curtis's new novel Elijah of Buxton, "simple". It's brilliant and sophisticated and completely accessible, but certainly not "simple".

Storytime: Hats

Stories for the older kids (grades K-2).

Sherman Crunchley
Sherman Crunchley
by Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans and pictures by Tim Bowers

Caps for Sale- A Tale of a Peddler, a Monkey and Their Monkey Business
Caps For Sale
by Esphyr Slobodkina

Aunt Lucy Went to Buy a Hat
Aunt Lucy Went to Buy A Hat
by Alice Low and pictures by Laura Huliska-Beith

The Magic Hat
The Magic Hat
by Mem Fox and pictures by Tricia Tusa

I wasn't too big a fan of Sherman Crunchley, but I wanted to do a storytime with The Magic Hat and Caps for Sale. I might have mentioned this before but I love asking the kids to be my monkeys in Caps for Sale. There is nothing like a classroom full of kids enthusiastically playing along-- and the "tsk, tsk, tsk" sounds great from so many little mouths. Any book recommendations for replacing Sherman the next time I do this storytime?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Storytime: Spring, Mud, and Chicks

A muddy, cold, early spring storytime for preschool (with some chicks thrown in for good measure).

by Mary Lyn Ray and pictures by Lauren Stringer

One Duck Stuck
by Phyllis Root and pictures by Jane Chapman

Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck
by Carol Westberg Peters and pictures by Sam Williams

I'm Dirty!
by Kate McMullan and pictures by Jim McMullan

Whose Chick Are You?
by Nancy Tafuri

Chicky Chicky Chook Chook
by Cathy MacLennan

And Songs...

Six Little Ducks

Six little ducks that I once knew;
(Hold up 6 fingers)
Fat ones, skinny ones, fair ones, too.

But the one little duck with the feather on his back.
(Hold up 1 finger)
He led the others with a quack, quack, quack.
(With every "quack", make a duck by touching your thumb to your fingers like you
have mittens on and you're trying to grab something)
Quack, quack, quack. Quack, quack, quack.
He led the others with a quack, quack, quack.

Down to the river they would go.
Wibble, wobble, wibble, wobble, to and fro.
(Place hands together palm to palm, and sway them)

But the one little duck with the feather on his back.
He led the others with a quack, quack, quack.
Quack, quack, quack. Quack, quack, quack.
He led the others with a quack, quack, quack.

Here Is a Bunny

Here is a bunny with ears so funny
(make bunny ears with one hand, by sticking up pointer and second finger)
And here is his hole in the ground
(in opposite hand touch pointer finger to thumb to make a hole, 
and twist your wrist so the hole faces up)
When a noise he hears, he pricks up his ears
(make those bunny ears nice and tall)
And jumps into his hole in the ground
(have your bunny ear fingers pretend to jump into your hole fingers)

Some Itsy Bitsy Spider always works well for your April showers, too!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Celebrate National Library Week

The only true equalisers in the world are books; the only treasure-house open to all comers is a library; the only wealth which will not decay is knowledge; the only jewel which you can carry beyond the grave is wisdom. - J.A. Langford Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest. - Ladybird Johnson The dissemination of knowledge is one of the cornerstones of civilization. - John F. Budd I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. - Jorge Luis Borges You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. - Ray Bradbury When I discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every day. - Jean Fritz Fun Fact: There are more public libraries than McDonald's in the U.S.-- a total of 16,220, including branches. From Quotables Facts About America's Libraries See more videos, here!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Only 110?

110 Best Books: The Perfect Library This article from the Telegraph "From classics and sci-fi to poetry, biographies and books that changed the world… we present the ultimate reading list." I beg to differ. Children's books listed were Swallows and Amazons; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Lord of the Rings; His Dark Materials; Babar; The Railway Children; Winnie-the-Pooh; Harry Potter; The Wind in the Willows; and Treasure Island. Where is The Cat in the Hat? Or Where the Wild Things Are? Or, because it's chapter book biased, how about The Giver, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, etc., etc., etc.? And lo and behold, I'm not the only one. The article has hundreds of comments-- people all listing their favorite books, the books that were most meaningful in their lives, as missing. Quite simply, I think no list as small as 110 can be a "perfect library". Which is a good thing, because I would feel sorry for the kid stuck reading only Babar repeatedly until he miraculously understands Winnie-the-Pooh.