Posts tagged ‘Picture Books’

World Penguin Day

April 25 marks World Penguin Day! Why, you ask, are penguins celebrated in April, when the weather is finally starting to cooperate (hopefully)? It’s because this day has been proven to coincide with the annual northern migration of penguins, as detailed on the Ian Somerhalder Foundation’s website.

I however continue to present my penguin themed story time in the winter, because two-year-old children have no sense of migration unless it’s the migration between my story time carpet to the toy area and back. Penguin Awareness Day is January 20th, and that’s when I choose to celebrate our fine flightless friend.

Penguin Cha-ChaTitle: Penguin Cha-Cha
Author/Illustrator: Kristi Valiant
ISBN: 9780375970726
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., c2013.

How have I gone so long without knowing about this darling book? Julia, perched atop of a tree branch in a flouncy green skirt, is watching the dance show at the Romping Chomping Park and Zoo, when she notices some interlopers on stage. It’s the penguins, pilfering the props and beating a hasty retreat back to their enclosure. Julia is intent on joining in the fun, but the penguins see through her disguise and ultimately that of her unlikely dance partner. Will the penguins allow her to join their party, or is she relegated to observer? The penguin exhibit isn’t really an enclosure with an ice bridge leading right out through the door, but I’m suspending belief on that and most of the exhibit designs. That’s part of the whimsy, as monkeys frolic in a banana themed structure and the giraffe and elephants are seen interacting with patrons. Also part of the whimsy is Julia’s electric tape and pillow costume fooling the zoo staff and her repeated interactions with the animals. Never mind that though, suspend away, because the illustrations work so well. Bright, bold, expressive, and full of movement, these penguins have personality, possibly influenced by the penguins in the Madagascar movies.

I Wish I Could Dance.jpgTitle: I Wish I Could … DANCE!
Author: Tiziana Bendall-Brunello
Illustrator: John Bendall-Brunello
ISBN: 9781609921071
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: QEB Publishing, Inc. 2011.

Penguin watches a dance at the zoo, where the monkeys swing dance (haha) and the flamingos dance ballet and the hippos line dance. Little Penguin can’t do any of those things right. His moves spark a movement though, and creates a new “break dancing” because it breaks all the rules. Penguin is reminiscent of Gerald in the Elephant and Piggie series Elephants Can’t Dance, with his sheer enthusiasm to try something new, but his complete disregard for accuracy in light of his utter joy is unique and a refreshing spin (couldn’t resist) on attempting to learn a new skill.

Flora and the PenguinTitle: Flora and the Penguin
Author/Illustrator: Molly Idle
ISBN: 9781452128917
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Chronicle Books LLC, c2014.

If you liked Flora and the Flamingo, you’ll enjoy this follow-up to one of a previous year’s Caldecott Honor Books. Flora, decked out in a blue snow suit with yellow accents in her shirt, hat, and the pom-poms on her ice skates, encounters a penguin whom she invites to dance. After several spins around the ice, the penguin disappears into the water to bring up a fish to present to Flora. Not as pleased with the gift as the penguin expected, his look of aghast as Flora flings it back into the frozen water is priceless. Flora than must set things right. This wordless book is designed beautifully, with a few simple flaps and one pull out page that works so well, it’s obvious Molly Idle, or someone on her team, knows what they are doing! Pay attention to the fish under the ice and the body language of the characters. A picture’s worth a thousand words, and in this case they tell so much more.

Flight School.jpgTitle: Flight School
Author/Illustrator: Lita Judge
ISBN: 9781442481770
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, c2014.

Who knew that beaks could be so expressive? Skepticism, frustration, and utter joy are all present in slight changes of the beak lines. Penguin has the soul of an eagle, but after enrolling in flight school all the other birds see is the body of a flightless penguin. He attaches feathers to his wings and jumps, but does not stay airborne. Flamingo helps him realize his dreams, but there’s one final scene where I’m sure Flamingo is questioning if that was really the best course of action. Penguin’s aviator-esque glasses defy gravity in their constant presence on his beak. The yellow sky and bright colors mean even when Penguin is disheartened, reader’s still see the light and the book’s cheerfulness is unaffected.

If You Were a Penguin.jpgTitle: If You Were a Penguin
Author/Illustrator: Wendell and Florence Minor
ISBN: 9780061130977
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, c2009.

The Minors make the task of  melding nonfiction and fiction look effortless in this must read book. Did you know there are 17 different kinds of penguins? Many are presented in these pages, in close-up, life-like drawings. The rhyming verse addresses the audience and informs them of little-known facts, like some penguins live underground. Be sure to peruse the last page where many (but unfortunately not all) species of penguin is identified. A must read that I’ve been including for years whenever I conduct a penguin themed program.

I Am Small.jpgTitle: I Am Small
Author/Illustrator: Emma Dodd
ISBN: 9780545353700
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., by arrangement with Templar Publishing, Surrey, United Kingdom, c2010.

A coworker clued me into this quieter tale about a tiny penguin who knows his place in the bigger world. Filled with beautiful, captivating illustrations, I’ve used this twice now and both story times the kids (well, most of them) were fascinated by the pictures. The unfortunate part is that the story starts and ends on the endpapers. This means the first and last pictures are obscured by the flaps, which in library books are taped down to avoid being lost. Blacks, grays, whites and blues are complemented with hints of silver, possibly inlaid into the page. The baby penguin is so adorable you can’t help but fall in love with him. If you’re penguin party is getting too raucous, calm them with this very soothing story.

Virgil and Owen.jpgTitle: Virgil and Owen
Author/Illustrator: Paulette Bogan
ISBN: 9781619633728
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, a registered trademark of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, c2015.

Some people get upset when penguins and polar bears are portrayed together in picture books, since polar bears and penguins live in different environments. According to Polar Bears International: “Although popular art and children’s books often show polar bears and penguins together, the two live at opposite poles. Polar bears live in the Arctic, a massive frozen sea surrounded by continents. Penguins live in Antarctica, an ice-covered continent surrounded by oceans.” But if librarians can read books about talking animals, giant red dogs, and other things that aren’t real, why can’t we suspend belief for just a moment and imagine that a polar bear and a penguin can be friends? Besides, no one seems to have a problem with the fact that seals have been known to eat penguins (and also apparently have sex with them my Google search results tell me… OH MY! Okay, back to the book, back to the book)

Bogan is simply suspending belief like those other authors, and she even somewhat explains the course of events if anyone bothered to look at the dedication page where we see a polar bear adrift on an ice flow heading straight for a penguin. It also explains the novelty of Owen’s existence, since penguins don’t normally come in contact with polar bears. Little details like Virgil dripping wet with snow on his face adds humor for observant readers, and it can serve as a discussion opportunity about sharing and friendship, especially after prompting children with questions like “Is Virgil happy in this picture?” Children recognize the fit Virgil pitches, even if the younger children may be unsure as to why.

The last three books listed I used for my penguin themed story time. I took an idea from Mel’s Desk and made a vertical story tube with seven different colored fish (from a less shocking Google search that directed me to ClipArt Panda) and paired it with a revised version of Marco the Polar Bear (I found it at Story Time Katie, who credits KidsSoup).Story Tube Fish.png

The reason it was revised was that the kids got so excited with the appearing fish that I cut the first verse and just repeated the second verse over and over, adding the color of the fish to the rhyme. To get rid of the fish, I saw Read Virginia had a great Feed the Penguin rhyme that I changed for different colors instead of numbers.

Feed the Penguin (adapted)
Penguin, penguin short and sweet
Would you like a fishy treat?
What color fish would you like
I think a ______ fish would taste just right!

That same website also gave me Five Royal Penguins, which I changed to little penguins, and the site adapted Five Little Monkeys (Jumping on the Bed) to Five Little Penguins. The different activities for each lyric were too much for my story time crew, so to get rid of the penguins that had accumulated we stuck with

Five little penguins playing in the snow.
One fell down and stubbed his/her toe
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said
“No more penguins playing on the snow.”

There are many, many more penguin books out there, the flightless fowl being a favorite of more than a few folks. What’s your favorite?

Building Our House

 

Each month for a previous job, I wrote a maximum 150 word review of a new book that came into the library during the month. I’ve expanded that idea to the blog in a feature I’m calling To the Point Tuesdays. If you want to play along, just post a link in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. This one (along with some others) never made it into the blog, so forgive me while I play catch-up.

Building Our House.jpgBuilding Our House
Author/Illustrator: Jonathan Bean
ISBN: 9780374380236
Pages: 48 pages
Publisher/Date: Farrar Straus Giroux, c2013

Based on his parent’s experience building their house, Jonathan Bean brings to life the entire construction process. Starting with a blank unbroken field, the family toils and perseveres. Through rain, wind, and snow, they lay the foundation, raise the frame, and add the roof, windows, siding, and insulation, until they can finally move in. Lots of muted colors lend an understated tone, and the illustrations and story combine to bring a warm feeling to your heart. Look for the tiny details (such as a pregnant cat and kids playing with the wheelbarrow) as this family makes a house a home.

Fraidyzoo

Each month for a previous job, I wrote a maximum 150 word review of a new book that came into the library during the month. I’ve expanded that idea to the blog in a feature I’m calling To the Point Tuesdays. If you want to play along, just post a link in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. This one (along with some others) never made it into the blog, so forgive me while I play catch-up.

Fraidyzoo.jpgTitle: Fraidyzoo
Author/Illustrator: Thyra Heder
ISBN: 9781419707766
Pages: 48 Pages
Publisher/Date: Harry N. Abrams, c2013

Although Little T’s excitable older sister is ready to go to the zoo, Little T is not. Remembering she was scared by something there but not remembering what, her family tries to help her identify what frightened her the last time. How do they do this? By designing two dozen different and elaborate animals out of cardboard, recyclable goods, and household items, of course! Read the book once for the story and the surprise ending, then go through the book again to truly appreciate Thyra Heder’s creations, which could serve as inspiration for your own “staycation” to the zoo.

How to Train a Train

Each month for a previous job, I wrote a maximum 150 word review of a new book that came into the library during the month. I’ve expanded that idea to the blog in a feature I’m calling To the Point Tuesdays. If you want to play along, just post a link in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. This one (along with some others) never made it into the blog, so forgive me while I play catch-up.

How to Train a Train.jpgTitle: How to Train a Train
Author: Jason Carter Eaton
Illustrator: John Rocco
ISBN: 9780763663070
Pages: 48 pages
Publisher/Date: Candlewick Press, c2013.

Illustrator John Rocco earned a Caldecott Honor in 2012 for his book Blackout. His detailed pictures shine as he complements Jason Carter Eaton’s instructions on how to catch and train your very own locomotive. Treating the subject like a pet’s guide, readers are informed that “A warm bath can help calm a nervous train… and few trains can resist a good read-aloud.” Featuring all sorts of trains with expressive eyes and mouths made out of the existing train features (think the headlights in the movie Cars), this book is begging to be shared with young and old train enthusiasts.

Toys Story Time

I did some out of the box story time program planning this week on the theme of toys. I thought it was thematic without being specific to a holiday, and it can be a good opportunity to talk with children about sharing, losing, or forgoing toys they have outgrown as times for new toys approach, like birthdays or the holidays. Many thanks to Story Time Katie for a starting point.

We danced to Toy Boat by Jim Gill from his Irrational Anthem CD and found our missing teddy bear hiding under different colored circles. Use this song (you can play it twice it’s so short and encourage the kids to sing along the second time through) as a dance break and a transition after reading Train. (“We talked about trains, cars, planes and diggers, now we’re going to sing a song about a boat.”)

I used a flannel board, but I told parents they could do the same thing with pots, boxes, or pillow cases. I adapted the rhyme from several different sources, including what I could remember from a rhyme involving a mouse and houses from a previous job. The rhyme transitioned nicely after reading Where’s My Teddy?

Little Bear, Little Bear
Where is Little Bear?
Could he be hiding under
the blue circle there?

We did this one three times, with bear hiding under a green, and then a red circle. For the third time, I put the bear under a purple triangle, and then put the green circle on top of that. Both the parents and the kids were surprised when there was a triangle instead of a bear! I’ll have to remember to do that again.

Where's My Teddy.jpgTitle: Where’s My Teddy?
Author/Illustrator: Jez Alborough
ISBN: 9781413173420
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Candlewick Press, c1992. (first published in Great Britain by Walker Books Ltd)

I can’t believe I’ve never featured this book on my blog in the time I’ve been blogging. A staple for usually bear themed story times, I held off on using it until my toy theme idea sprang up. Eddie has lost a teddy named Freddie, it just so happens in the same forest where a bear has lost his teddy. They find first the other’s bear, and then there is a terror filled exchange where both Eddie and real bear run back to their beds, snuggling their appropriately sized teddy bears. Parents and kids alike love the surprise of the overstuffed bear, which they do not see coming until Eddie stumbles upon it. Be forewarned, when first introduced you may have to walk around so children can find tiny Freddie in the over-sized bear’s arms.

Train!.jpgTitle: Train
Author/Illustrator: Judi Abbot
ISBN: 9781589251632
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Tiger Tales, c2014 (originally published in Great Britain by Little Tiger Press)

This was a fabulously adorable story all around. The pictures were bright  and easily distinguishable. Elephants expressions could have been a little clearer, but it was quite obvious his single-mindedness towards his favorite toy. Some kids were thrown by the tunnel scene, I think because they forgot the characters were on a moving train for the whole story. It solidifies sharing without actually using the word, and broadening your mind to new experiences. Plus the two page spread where the animals are finally getting along is just fun to read.

Mine!.jpgTitle: Mine!
Author: Shutta Crum
Illustrator: Patrice Barton
ISBN: 9780375867118
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

This one I don’t think went over so well. They sat and they listened as I tried to narrate this nearly wordless picture book about a set of toddlers and a dog learning how to share, but  The pictures were too soft and pastel and insubstantial and I think everyone was just a little lost by the plot, as in so what that the dog and babies were playing with toys and romping in the water bowl. I don’t think it was the favorite of the night.

Knuffle Bunny Too.jpgTitle: Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity
Author/Illustrator: Mo Willems
ISBN: 9781423102991
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Disney Hyperion, c2007.

You’ve previously seen the first and third books in the series mentioned in this blog, but all three of them have been used repeatedly by me for story times. I think the kids were sitting too far back to really notice the slight differences between the Knuffle Bunnies that Trixie and Sonja bring to show and tell. I have had previous success with kids noticing before the narrative tells them that something has happened and the bunnies have been switched, which didn’t happen this time around. The older kids usually enjoy this one more than the younger kids.

Stay tuned for more toy books! A separate post will have other books considered but not used, mostly due to either time constraints or because of the length of the book.

 

Visitors Story Time

After losing my flash drive which had all of my past story times on it, I’ve realized that I need a better method of maintaining my digital files. Plus, after stealing utilizing other people’s brilliance in story time materials, it’s only fair to share and share alike. So without further ado, here’s my most recent story time about visitors. Are there other books that I’m forgetting that would work with this theme?

Songs:
Over the River and Through the Woods
We’re On Our Way to Grandpa’s Farm (with Puppets!)
Oh Susanna!

*Introduce Signs: Visitors and Family

Say Hello.jpgBook: Say Hello!
Author/Illustrator: Rachel Isadora
ISBN: 9780399252303
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, c2010.
This is a great introduction to the concept of other languages. The little girl is traveling to visit her grandmother, and says hello to a multicultural (if slightly stereotypical) cast of people in over a half dozen languages, which are later identified on the last page of the book. I had a little bit of trouble with the Arabic greeting simply because it’s the longest and I probably should have practiced a little more, but otherwise most are familiar greetings (Buenos Dias, Bonjour, Jambo, Konichiwa, etc.). Some of your patrons might recognize languages they speak at home.

Little Elliot Big Family.jpgTitle: Little Elliot Big Family
Author/Illustrator: Mike Curato
ISBN: 9780805098266
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Henry Holt and Company, LLC. c2015.

I stole this book of my processor’s cart when I saw that it had arrived. Mike Curato’s beautiful illustrations return, this time with pint-sized details. Elephant’s friend Mouse leaves for a pig family reunion, leaving Elephant to spend the day by himself contemplating his lack of family, when Mouse returns for him. Don’t miss the title page, where you see mice setting up for a family reunion with seats made out of spools and toy blocks and bottle caps serving as plates. Elephant’s independence makes you think he’s an adult, but he’s just a baby as portrayed by his reaching on tiptoes and stretching his trunk up to buy a movie ticket from the classically stylized ticket booth. The movie poster is so artistic Curato even included shading that suggests the reflective glass that encases it. Elephant’s solitude is emphasized by the scenes, such as the two page spread where he is in the theater, with the lettering on one side and there’s Elephant all by himself on the adjoining page. Wonderful subtle nods to multiple cultures, with an African American man playing in the park with his children and Hebrew writing on the Delicatessen sign are a delight to discover. The theme of having a home to go to and a family, even if they aren’t related by blood, is perfect for this holiday season as people visit one another.

Ribbit.jpgTitle: Ribbit
Author: Rodrigo Folgueira
Illustrator: Poly Bernatene
ISBN: 9780307981462
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House Inc., c2012.

A not-so-subtle story of the pursuit of friendship still has it’s humorous moments, and the illustrations are animated enough to engage an audience. Pig suddenly appears in the frog pond, happily Ribbit-ing away. Not knowing what to do, but jumping (pardon the pun) to the conclusion that there must be a reason, they set out to ask the beetle. When they return and find Pig no longer present, the beetle points out the obvious “Maybe he just wanted to make new friends”. All the animals get together by the end of the book in an unlikely location.

*I’ve wanted to incorporate signs into my story time for a very long time, and I finally decided to stop waiting until the right time and just start. There’s a great website lifeprint.com that allows for searching for a specific word and also gives not only an image but a short video of the word being signed in American Sign Language. A great place to start. I printed flash cards from Babysignlanguage.com and propped them up for parents to see when I instructed them on the sign.

Pirate’s Lullaby

Each month for a previous job, I wrote a maximum 150 word review of a new book that came into the library during the month. I’ve expanded that idea to the blog in a feature I’m calling To the Point Tuesdays. If you want to play along, just post a link in the comments and I’ll add them to the post.

Pirate's LullabyTitle: Pirate’s Lullaby
Author: Marcie Wessels
Illustrator: Tim Bowers
ISBN: 9780375973529
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Doubleday Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, c2015.

”Yo, ho, ho! Me lad, heave ho! It’s time to go to bed,”
Papa Pirate told his first mate, not-so-sleepy Ned.
“But me mates are weighin’ anchor, sailin’ for the Seven Seas!
Can’t I play a little longer? Ten more minutes, please?”

Author Marcie Wessels weaves a surprising amount of pirate lingo into this story of a boy named Ned and his father getting ready for bedtime. With lines ranging from thirteen to fifteen syllables, a sing-song cadence quickly develops and only gets stronger as the story progresses. The rosy-cheeked rascal pulls all the stops with a search for teddy, a drink, and a story are all implored upon by the fast fading Papa pirate, until at last one of them is asleep (hint, it’s not little Ned). Enjoy the equally delightful aquatic themed details in the drawings, like the octopus sippy cup, the peg-legged and eye-patched stuffed animal, and the titles of the books on the bookshelf. You might have your own mutiny on your hands as pint-sized pirates request a second retelling.

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