Posts tagged ‘Unpaged’

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?

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.

 

Squirrel Power

Squirrel Power -- Squirrel Girl 1-4.jpgTitle: Squirrel Power
Series: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (#1-4)
Author: Ryan North
Illustrator: Erica Henderson
ISBN: 9780785197027
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Marvel Worldwide Inc, a subsidiary of Marvel Entertainment, LLC, c2015.

Doreen Green is Squirrel Girl, a minor Marvel character introduced in Marvel Super-Heroes #8 back in 1990 approaching Iron-Man as a possible sidekick. Now reappearing in her own comic, Doreen is off to college. Attempting to keep her identity a secret is going to be harder then she thought, since in just the first four issues compiled in this volume she fights off three different sets of street gangs/thug/bank robbers, Kraven the Hunter, Whiplash, and Galactus, all before the end of the first day of classes.

“Fights off” is used loosely though, as two out of the three named bad guys are talked down, which frustrates me personally as implying that a woman as strong as Squirrel can’t take down bad guys and that all women are good for is talking. However, it does prove that fighting isn’t the only solution to the problem and that a superhero with non-traditional powers can be victorious in battle, no matter how unconventional the battle. Many letters to the editor mention reading them to their younger children as young as four years old, and I think it’s great that there is a comic book out there that doesn’t sexualize women and allows a little fun to enter the story line. I also think it’s horrible that every time we run across a comic that does this we have to mention it and field questions and comments like this, when we don’t have to do the same about rippling biceps and spandex for the guys’ costumes.

The original appearance of Squirrel Girl is included in the back bonus material, and I’m personally happy they got rid of the crazy eye-liner marks, although she is very obviously and conspicuously the same person in disguise, just minus the tail which she somehow manages to tuck into her pants without anyone realizing they are padded. Does she ever get to wear a swim suit? Her awkwardness around people is painful, making me wonder how she has ever kept her secret identity a secret. It’s not my favorite comic, but I can see the appeal. I personally loved the fact that she steals Tony Stark’s Ironman armor right from under him, and her use of squirrel abilities and accessories is neatly wrapped into the plot (crushed acorns, walking on electric lines, and super strength and speed). Talking about the highlights to a friend, we were laughing at the feasibility and fantastical nature of the more memorable plot points. Obviously one you need to share to fully enjoy.

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.

My Leaf Book

My Leaf BookTitle: My Leaf Book
Author/Illustrator: Monica Wellington
ISBN: 9780803741416
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Dial Books for Young Readers, published by the Penguin Group, LLC., c2015

So many trees, so many leaves.
When the trees change colors, autumn is here,
and I go to the park to see
how many different leaves I can find.

A young girl visits an arboretum with her dog over the course of several days collects leaves and creates an informational book. Wellington specifies in an author’s note that the pictures were made with collages and did not use a computer, which makes the detailed, boldly colored and textured pictures all the more interesting. It’s almost unbelievable how much time that must have taken her to accomplish, which proves how involved artists are with their work. She reveals her methods at the end, so kids can try making leaf prints and rubbings for their own book. Each leaf is identified and has an accompanying fact or two, with the leaf shape accompanying the name so when multiples appear on a page there is no confusion which is which. A little long for toddler story time, but share with preschoolers or older children. When used in a story time, I cut up this leaf bingo sheet from the blog Relentlessly Fun Deceptively Educational (LOTS of great stuff to be found there!) and distributed so parents had a quick and convenient reference guide and could go home and identify their own trees. Keep this on your list of fall books and recommend to patrons.

nonfiction mondayThis review is posted in honor of Nonfiction Monday. Take a look at what everyone else is reading in nonfiction this week.

Max and the Tag-Along Moon

Max and the Tag-Along MoonTitle: Max and the Tag-along Moon
Author/Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
ISBN: 9780399233425
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Philomel Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, c2013.

”That ol’ moon will always shine for you . . . on and on!”

On his drive home from visiting his grandfather, Max focuses on his grandfather’s promise and watches the moon follow him home. But when the moon disappears from sight behind some clouds, is this proof that his grandfather was wrong? While the plot can be found in numerous other stories, this version is filled with soothing hues, a comforting message, and a sweet and simple story about feeling a loved one’s presence even when they aren’t present. The close ups of Max and his grandfather are the most notable of Cooper’s paintings, and he has a solid understanding of poses, postures, and facial expressions, especially when Max’s eyes are drooped in disappointment, and then spring open wide when the moon appears again and floods his room with light.

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