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Author Archive for Morgan Reeves



Storytime Recap: Animals Everywhere

by Morgan Reeves on May 13th, 2015

This was my first storytime back after attending the Kids First conference last week. I was happy to be able to share some of the early literacy information I had learned. In support of phonological awareness, hearing the sounds that make up words, we always start storytime with our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” Then I asked if anyone could guess what storytime would be about today. With all of the animal books on the display, the kids were able to answer with no problem. I let parents know that focusing on the beginning sounds of words is another way to support phonological awareness in children. Our first story Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff had plenty of Bs to hear as well as colors to name.

Next I told everyone we would follow bear over the mountain to see what we could see. Because we had a wiggly group today I had everyone do full body movements instead of the finger motions that often accompany the song.

The bear went over the mountain, (marching)
The bear went over the mountain, (marching)
The bear went over the mountain, (marching)
To see what he could see. (hand over eyes and look out)

And all that he could see, (hand over eyes and look out)
And all that he could see, (hand over eyes and look out)

Was the other side of the mountain, (bring hands together above head in triangle)
The other side of the mountain, (bring hands together above head in triangle)
The other side of the mountain, (bring hands together above head in triangle)
Was all that he could see. (hand over eyes and look out)

Then I told everyone we would go on a trip to the other side of the mountain and count animals by reading Over in the Jungle by Marianne Berkes. The rhyming words in this book are another great way to contribute to phonological awareness.

I had the parents and children sing “Hey Diddle Diddle” while I set up a felt game of matching animal halves.

Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed,
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Then I asked for volunteers to put the animals back together. The kids liked coming up and correctly matching the animal halves, but the also thought it was funny when I tried to match up the heads to the wrong tails. Then we did one of my favorite action rhymes.

Jump like a frog.
Stretch like a cat.
Hop like a bunny.
Flap like a bat.
Wiggle like a worm.
Slither like a snake.
Now be a wet dog,
and shake, shake, shake!

Finally we settled down for one final book. I chose an informational picture book, Born in the Wild by Lita Judge to share with the group. We skipped most of the text heavy pages but had some fun questions and answers about how the kids were like the pictured animals.

Then we finished up storytime with the Animal Crackers rhyme.

Oh, once I ate a lion,
Then a tall giraffe,
But when I ate the elephant
He really made me laugh.
Well you may think I’m silly
But I’ll tell you the truth,
They were animals crackers
And you can eat them too!

I told them all of these animals could be seen at the zoo, which was where our movie took place. We watched the animated storybook version of A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead. Everyone left with an elephant stamp on their hands.

 

Storytime Recap: Bridge to Reading

by Morgan Reeves on April 22nd, 2015

Today I was joined by our intern Amanda in showing off some of the Bridge to Reading award nominees. The Bridge to Reading award is designed to promote early literacy through quality read-aloud picture books. Engaging children in the voting process helps develop a lifelong love of reading. Even with a special storytime, we try to stay consistent and start with the same welcome song, “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” Then I started us off with our first book Baby Bear Counts One by Ashley Wolff. This is a story better for fall or the beginning of winter, but kids enjoy counting no matter what the season.

Afterwards, I asked what season comes after winter? Spring! Then we talked a little about how windy spring can be. So we became the wind by repeating the rhyme “Blow wind, blow.”

Blow wind, blow
And go, mill, go
That the miller may grind his corn
That the baker may take it
And into bread make it
And bring us a loaf in the morn.

Next it was Amanda’s turn to read Windblown by Édouard Manceau. This is a fun building narrative that follows scraps of paper as they are blown into different animal shapes by the wind. An imaginative tie-in craft for this book would be to cut the shapes out of paper and do as the book says at the end, see what you can make of them.

Then we livened things up by doing one of my favorite action rhymes about animal movements.

Jump like a frog.
Stretch like a cat.
Hop like a bunny.
Flap like a bat.
Wiggle like a worm.
Slither like a snake.
Now be a wet dog,
and shake, shake, shake!

With everyone done being dogs, it was time to for me to read a book about a dog, Digger Dog by William Bee. The kids all loved the surprising page layouts near the end that add to the anticipation of whether Digger Dog will ever dig deep enough to find his bone.

We got our thumbs ready for the next book by reciting the action rhyme “Tommy Thumbs Up.”

Tommy thumbs up (both thumbs up)
Tommy thumbs down (both thumbs down)
Tommy thumbs dancing
all around the town (wiggle thumbs in big circles)
Dance them on your shoulders (wiggle thumbs to shoulders)
Dance them on your head (wiggle thumbs to head)
Dance them on your knees (wiggle thumbs to knees)
And tuck them into bed! (cover thumbs in your fists)

After that thumb workout, Amanda told everyone that we weren’t going to use our thumbs at all because the next book would be Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter. Larry the monster tells kids not to push the button, but it proves irresistible and leads to some colorful side effects for Larry.

This interactive book was a big hit, so we went into our song “If You’re Nutty and You Know It” with plenty of energy.

If you’re nutty and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re nutty and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re nutty and you know it, then you really ought to show it
If you’re nutty and you know it, clap your hands

If you’re nutty and you know it, stamp your feet
If you’re nutty and you know it, stamp your feet
If you’re nutty and you know it, then you really ought to show it
If you’re nutty and you know it, stamp your feet

If you’re nutty and you know it, shout “Hooray!”
If you’re nutty and you know it, shout “Hooray!”
If you’re nutty and you know it, then you really ought to show it
If you’re nutty and you know it, shout “Hooray!”

If you’re nutty and you know it, do all three
If you’re nutty and you know it, do all three
If you’re nutty and you know it, then you really ought to show it
If you’re nutty and you know it, do all three

After this nutty song, everyone was ready for me to read our last story The Nuts : Bedtime at the Nut House by Eric Litwin. Mama Nut just wants Hazel and Wally to go to sleep, but they ignore her and keep singing “We’re Nuts! We’re Nuts! We’re Nuts!” The kids had a blast singing along with them each time.

Finally, it was time to vote. We had bookmark ballots for the kids to mark their favorite story on and a box to collect them. Since it is Earth Day, everyone who voted got a Earth stamp. Then in honor of Earth Day we watched a short movie based on the book And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano.

Storytime Recap: Dinosaurs

by Morgan Reeves on April 8th, 2015

I was in the mood to introduce some dinosaurs with the recent news that Brontosaurus (formerly part of the Apatosaurus family) would officially be its own dinosaur again. I saw some new faces in the crowd this morning, but they learned quickly to sing along with our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello.” I could tell we had a talkative bunch today, so I began by asking, “Who likes dinosaurs?” Predictably everyone put their hand up and wanted to let me know which was their favorite dinosaur. After some sharing, I xplained that dinosaurs are extinct and what that means. Then we read Edwina : The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems.

Next I asked the kids what they would do if they had a dinosaur, which led to more sharing. Letting children share their thoughts and opinions in front of others helps boost their confidence. Then we listened to and sang along with Raffi’s “If I Had a Dinosaur

If I had a dinosaur,
Just think what we could do.
He could lift me off the floor
And take me to the zoo.

And if I had a dinosaur,
Just think what we could see.
We could look inside the clouds
Above my balcony.

And if I had a dinosaur,
Just think where we could go.
All the way to grandma’s house
To play her piano.

If you sing about dinosaurs, you must then dance like dinosaurs. Up next was the story Dancing with the Dinosaurs by Jane Clarke. As I read I asked the kids to imitate the dino dances they saw, which was a nice bit of movement for an energetic group.

To keep us in motion, we did an action rhyme about dinosaur movements. We did this twice so everyone had a chance to master the actions and participate.

Spread your arms, way out wide,
Fly like a Pteranodon, soar and glide.

Bend to the floor, head down low,
Move like Stegosaurus, long ago.

Reach up tall, try to be
As tall as Brontosaurus eating on a tree.

Using your claws, grumble and growl
Just like Tyrannosaurus on the prowl

Then I told everyone I had a new book to share with them about a hungry dinosaur looking for an egg, Rex Finds an Egg! Egg! Egg! by Steven Weinberg. A great way to finish storytime, this was a quick read with plenty of repetition and a funny twist at the end.

With storytime at an end, we watched a movie and found out what happened on the day When Dinosaurs Came with Everything based on the book by Elise Broach.

Finally, everyone got a stamp of a Brontosaurus on the way out.

Chinese Book Donation

by Morgan Reeves on April 3rd, 2015

 

Morgan Chinese Books (2)

Would you like to read books to your children in Chinese? Are you learning to read simplified Chinese? The Iowa City Public Library has what you need. Recently the library received a donation of new Chinese books to our children’s collection. The Iowa Chinese Reading Club generously donated the 171 books in February. Most of the books are now available to check out from the children’s room.

Look for the call number j495.1 in the jNonfiction section. All of our materials in Chinese for children are shelved here, including movies and music.

chinese shelf

Maybe you’ll find a translated copy of one of my favorite stories Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. Follow Gerald the giraffe as he overcomes the ridicule of the other animals and finds his own beat.

chinese giraffes can't dance

The last few books are awaiting catalog translation help, but should be available soon. A big thank you to our friends from the Iowa Chinese Reading Club!

Storytime Recap: Welcome Spring

by Morgan Reeves on March 25th, 2015

Spring is officially here, and today at Preschool Storytime we did our best to welcome all things spring. To start we talked about how you can tell spring is here with the changes in the weather. Which conveniently led into our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello” in which we do many things, no matter what the weather. To introduce our first story, I talked about how friends stay friends even when the weather changes and they live far apart. Then we settled down to read Forever Friends by Carin Berger, which follows the friendship of a bird and a bunny through a year.

Next we did an action rhyme “Wind, Oh Wind.” Since I forgot my scarves we improvised and blew kids away instead, which turned out to be just as fun.

Wind, oh wind, oh wind I say. (Wave hands forward in a pushing motion)
What are you blowing away today? (Shrug shoulders and raise hands in question)
Kids, oh kids, oh kids I say, (Point to each other)
I am blowing the kids away. (Hop backwards  as if being blown away)

We followed another rabbit through the changing seasons in Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by Il Sung Na. This time the rabbit visited all of his friends to see where they go and what they do during winter before returning in the spring.

Next up I asked what animals might they see on a creek or pond in spring. I gave a hint: they quack. The answer was, of course, ducks. I sang “Six Little Ducks” and asked the kids to join in and flap their arms on each quack, quack, quack. Everyone was singing by the end of the song.

ducks

Six little ducks that I once knew
Fat ones, skinny ones, cute ones too.

Chorus:
But the one little duck with the feather in his hat
He led the others with his quack, quack, quack.
Quack, quack, quack-quack, quack, quack
He led the others with his quack, quack, quack.

Down to the river they would go.
Wibble wobble, wibble wobble to and fro.
Chorus

Home from the river they would come.
Wibble wobble, wibble wobble, ho-hum-hum.
Chorus

Six little ducks that I once knew
Fat ones, skinny ones, fair ones too.
Chorus

With such enthusiastic singers, we moved right on to another song, “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.”

It’s raining, it’s pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed and he bumped his head
And couldn’t get up in the morning

I told everyone that next we would rest our voices and read a book based on a song. Tweedle Dee Dee by Charlotte Voake replaces the green grass from “And The Green Grass Grew All Around” with green leaves all around as the story progresses each page towards eggs hatching in a nest. I like to read cumulative stories like this, as it helps kids learn the concept of sequential order.

For our last action rhyme we stayed with the rain and nature theme and recited “Rain on the green grass”

Rain on the green grass, (Wiggle fingers, bringing fingers all the way to ground.)
Rain on the trees, (Wiggle fingers to shoulders, then sweep hands around to form treetop.)
Rain on the housetop, (Wiggle fingers to top of head, then form triangle over head.)
But not on me! (Make large “x” with right index finger; point to self.)

We ended storyime with a sweet story about a girl caring for her flower, Ava’s Poppy by Marcus Pfister.

After storytime we watched In the Small, Small Pond, an animated film based on the book by Denise Fleming.

Storytime Recap: Good Morning!

by Morgan Reeves on March 11th, 2015

Today’s Preschool Storytime was all about saying good morning to a beautiful day. To start, we talked about the sun coming up and how the weather is warm enough that we don’t need our coats anymore. Then we sang our welcome song “Clap Everybody and Say Hello” from the CD Sally Go Round the Sun by Kathy Reid-Naiman. Then we talked about how it is sometimes hard to wake up in the morning and sang “Brother John.”

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping
Brother John, Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing
Morning bells are ringing
Ding, dang, dong
Ding, dang, dong

Next we talked about waking up after a dream and trying to remember what happened. Which led nicely into reading Hank Has a Dream by Rebecca Dudley.

With everyone awake, we did a finger-play song with “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” I like to sub in the words “great big hairy” on the second time through for a funny ending.

The itsy bitsy spider (finger to thumb climb)
Climbed up the waterspout (finger to thumb climb)
Down came the rain (wiggle fingers downward)
And washed the spider out (wipe motion with hands across body)
Out came the sun (use arms to make circle above head)
And dried up all the rain (open arms to sides)
And the itsy bitsy spider (finger to thumb climb)
Climbed up the spout again (finger to thumb climb)

Next to celebrate the change to warmer weather we read Wake Up, It’s Spring by Lisa Campbell Ernst.

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$T2eC16R,!)kE9s4Z+lP9BRVSRCOCCg~~_35.JPG?set_id=89040003C1

After reading about all the animals waking up, we did an action rhyme that follows the movements of different animals.

Can you hop like a rabbit?
Can you jump like a frog?
Can you waddle like a duck?
Can you run like a dog?
Can you fly like a bird?
Can you swim like a fish?
And then can you be
As still as this?

When everyone was still, I told them I needed help from a friend for the next book. My friend  was a stuffed animal rabbit that I put on my head in order to be just like the boy in A Boy and His Bunny by Sean Bryan.

https://thepookapicks.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/bunnybryan.jpg?w=351&h=355

After this sweet but silly story, we talked about how sometimes your day may not start out great, but if you don’t give up it can still be a good day. Our last story was A Good Day by Kevin Henkes.

We finished off the main part of storytime with singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Zip-A-Dee-A

My oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Zip-A-Dee-A

Mister bluebird on my shoulder
It’s the truth
It’s actual
Everything is satisfactual

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Zip-A-Dee-A
Wonderful feeling
Wonderful day

After storytime we watched All the World, an animated film based on the book by Liz Garton Scanlon.

http://d28hgpri8am2if.cloudfront.net/book_images/cvr9781416985808_9781416985808_hr.jpg

Accio J.K. Rowling: Video Volunteers Needed

by Morgan Reeves on March 5th, 2015
Accio J.K. Rowling: Video Volunteers Needed Cover Image

Do you love the magic and mystery of Harry Potter? Did you find something to think about in The Casual Vacancy? Have you found a new detective sleuth along with in Cormoran Strike? Would you like to help bring J.K. Rowling in Iowa City next year? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, stop by the library’s letter writing display this Thursday, the 5th, between 11:30am and 1pm or next Monday, the 9th, between 11am and 12:30pm to tell her about it.  We will be videotaping the thoughts of library patrons and staff in order to put together a video letter asking Ms. Rowling to visit Iowa City next year. Please come by and share your thoughts and enthusiasm!

Bonus: If all the excitement has piqued your interest in Rowling, why not learn more about you favorite author from one of our biographies about her life. Our newest title for children is Who is J. K. Rowling? by Pam Pollack and Meg Belviso.

Pennyroyal Academy by M. A. Larson

by Morgan Reeves on February 20th, 2015
Pennyroyal Academy by M. A. Larson Cover Image

Moments ago I finished reading Pennyroyal Academy by M. A. Larson. I’ve been reading it on the bus, before bed, while I cook, and even on my walk home. It has been my constant companion since I first became enthralled by the girl with no name and her encounter with a witch and enchanted forest. After running into Remington, a knight-to-be, she soon finds her way to Pennyroyal Academy, where Princesses of the Shield are trained to fight witches. Here anyone can become a princess, if only they train hard enough and learn well enough. Given a diagnosis of suffering from a memory curse, the girl is also give a name, Cadet Eleven or Evie for short. With only a dragon scale and clothes of cobwebs as hints to her past, she feels a bit out of place. However, she soon befriends other outcast girls, though she does have trouble with a sour princess-in-training, aptly named Malora. Learning the history of princesses, navigating warrior training with a Fairy Drillsergeant, and even sewing lessons with the master tailor troll  offer challenges Evie must find the strength to overcome. Twists and turns throughout the story left me guessing (and sometimes peeking to the last chapter). By discovering the truth of her memories and family, Evie is finally free to be herself. A slight undercurrent of romance between Evie and Remington satisfies without overpowering the main story of a girl deciding for herself who she is and what she wants to be. Cheeky nods to classic fairy tales round out this world of witches, princesses, dragons and knights. Pick up this story of self-discovery and adventure for a dose of princess power.

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Levy

by Morgan Reeves on November 29th, 2014
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Levy Cover Image

Two dads, four boys, one dog, one cat, and one invisible cheetah. The Family Fletcher is preparing for a new school year, the first school year where all four of the very different boys will be in school. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Levy follows this unique, and at the same time totally normal, family throughout the year as they deal with their individual problems. Twelve year-old Sam is a soccer player, a cool kid looked up to as the example for his younger brothers. Can he transfer his talent for storytelling into a part in the school play, and more importantly still be cool? 10 year-old Jax thinks Sam is the coolest, and wants to be accepted as part of the same crowd, now that he’s in the same school building. But with a changing friendship and a school project hanging over his head, Jax might end up more behind than ever.  Eli, also 10 (but a couple of months younger), is starting a new, expensive, academically minded school, trading familiar faces for scholarly challenges. When his new school turns out to be less amazing than he had hoped, he struggles with the his ability to admit he made a mistake. Six year-old Froggie (not Jeremiah) is excited to start kindergarten with Flare, his invisible cheetah. His biggest problems are asking for kittens, turtles and convincing his family that his new friend Ladybug is real girl.

Even with all of their individual issues to work through, the whole family comes together for the biggest Halloween party ever, camping trips, and convincing their grumpy neighbor Mr. Nelson that they mean no harm. With loving support from both Papa and Dad (who have some misadventures of their own), the Fletchers work together to overcome all obstacles that come their way. This is a fun romp that just happens to have a diverse family at the heart of it.

Mister Max by Cynthia Voigt

by Morgan Reeves on October 30th, 2014
Mister Max by Cynthia Voigt Cover Image

Not since first picking up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone have I read a book that started off full of so much life and mystery. But this is just how Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt begins. As dramatic as any play, the scene is set when a letter arrives inviting Max Starling’s actor parents to visit the Maharajah of Kashmir. His parents say Max will be coming too, but when the steamship leaves, Max is left behind. Determined to be independent until his parents return, he decides to find a job. But jobs for twelve year old boys don’t pay very well, so Max uses his experience of growing up in the theater to disguise himself and act older. To his surprise, he discovers he has a talent for solving problems for other people. He is not quite a detective and not quite a life coach, but something in between, a Solutioneer, as he calls himself. Cases start rolling in, a lost dog, a lost Baron, even a lost spoon, Max finds the solution to them all. This wonderful beginning of a trilogy weaves tricky problems and spirited characters into the the overarching story of what has happened to his parents.  A story that leaves readers both satisfied with Max’s solutions and eager to find out more about Mister Max, Solutioneer.

http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1389591922l/17471117.jpgMister Max: The Book of Secrets is the recently released second title in the trilogy, which follows Max on his most important case yet. The problems are bigger and more complex, but Max is sure he can handle them. Fires have been springing up in small businesses, but no one will talk to the police, and with a visit from the Royal family approaching, the Mayor is desperate stop the fires without a fuss. Enter Mister Max and his ability to get people talking without knowing who they are really talking to. But with the appearance of an old schoolmate, for the first time he must deal with the possibility of being recognized, which could ruin Max’s independent lifestyle. Help is provided in the form of his librarian Grammie; his tutor Ari; and the sometimes irritating, very talkative Pia, who insists she is his assistant. All the while Max continues to receive troubling hints on the whereabouts of his parents. A great follow-up to the first, this story manages to leave some solutions open-ended while setting up the last book and what readers will hope to be Max’s reunion with his parents.




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