Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold written by Joyce Sidman is a lovely new picture book of poems suitable for grade K to grade 4. Although there are only a dozen poems included, they are very descriptive of animals surviving in the cold long winter. The author sometimes uses unfamiliar words in her poems but there is a brief glossary of 22 definitions in the back of the book that defines words children might not know. Some poems rhyme but most do not. Two of the poems are in a particular poetic form–a pantoun and a triolet–adding to the reader’s knowledge of the poetic structure used. Sidman has certainly done her research on each animal of the frozen North she writes about. She lives in Minnesota and has observed these creatures first hand; but the addition of a paragraph of information about each hardy animal living in the winter is something that will appeal to animal lovers, parents, and teachers who choose to share this book in the classroom. Some of the animals included are the tundra swan, a big brown moose, winter bees, a vole, and wolves. The aspect of this new volume of poetry that I particularly love are the beautiful illustrations by Rick Allen, another Minnesota native. He is a printmaker and has employed his considerable skills in printing from linoleum blocks and then adding color by hand. The prints were then digitally scanned, composed, and layered to create the artwork for the poems. Winter Bees is a book for those who love the natural world. And even though the poems depict winter scenes, the book ends with the coming of Spring. Hallelujah!
Designed to make storytimes accessible and enjoyable for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory disorders, or other special needs, the kits include books, props, music CDs, puppets, flannel boards, fidget toys, and information on presenting Sensory Storytimes.
Patrons can choose from Good Morning, Good Night; Teeth!; What’s the Weather?; and Pick a Pet,. Kids will enjoy getting a monkey all dressed for his day; brushing giant teeth; matching clothes to the weather; or voting on which pet to choose.
While the kits were created with a specific audience in mind, they are available for all patrons to check out. The Sensory Storytime Kits are shelved in the Storytime Kit collection in the Children’s Room.
For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.sens
New in the Children’s Room—Sensory Storytime Kits! These kits are now available to check out and are shelved in the Storytime Kit collection. Designed to make storytimes accessible and enjoyable for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory disorders, or other special needs, these kits include books, props, music cd’s, puppets, flannelboards, fidget toys, and information on presenting Sensory Storytimes. Though created with a specific audience in mind, all children will enjoy the interactive components of these kits. Choose from Good Morning, Good Night; Teeth!; What’s the Weather?; and Pick a Pet. Kids will enjoy getting a monkey all dressed for his day, brushing giant teeth, matching clothes to the weather, voting on which pet to get, playing with puppets, and more. If you’d like to share stories with high audience participation, you’ll want to check out the Sensory Storytime Kits. Many thanks to the Pilot Club of Iowa City, which provided grant funding for this project.
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.
Six little ducks that I once knew
Fat ones, skinny ones, cute ones too.
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.
Home from the river they would come.
Wibble wobble, wibble wobble, ho-hum-hum.
Six little ducks that I once knew
Fat ones, skinny ones, fair ones too.
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.
Soon it will be April and I’ll be pulling out my folder for my favorite rainy day stories in preparation for a library storytime or an outreach storytime at any one of a number of community preschools and day care sites. A new picture book is a perfect addition to toddler and preschool storytimes and for any parent whose child might be fearful of a thunderstorm. Blue on Blue is Dianne White’s first book. It is written in a rhyming text that is short and sweet. The book depicts a day that is bright and beautiful until a storm comes along with rain, thunder, and lightning. By late afternoon the little girl takes her umbrella outside and the sun peeks out from behind the rain clouds. The dogs go outside to play and the pigs roll happily in the mud. The mother and baby watch the sunset, the father washes the dogs in the trough, and finally it is time to go back inside for a bath and bedtime. How fortunate for a first-time author to be paired with the Caldecott Award winner illustrator, Beth Krommes. As in The House in the Night, Krommes employs the technique of scratchboard and watercolor to create realistic, detailed artwork that is within the realm of a young child’s understanding of the world. Each beautiful spread has familiar objects in each scene depicted. By the front door we see a red tricycle, a jump rope, an umbrella stand, a basket of laundry and a bag of clothespins, a ball, and a cat looking in while the puppy looks out. Those same objects are later seen in another image outside. The father tills the soil from a distance with the horses out in the field, and then drives the tractor into the barn and rounds up the horses while his daughter hides with her doggie under the covers upstairs in her bed. Turtles, ducks, flowers, lightning bugs, stars, and a toad are other things that will be fun for a small child to point out when the story is shared with an adult. What a happy combination of story and illustrations that mesh together beautifully. Enjoy!
A book on the New Shelf that caught my eye is entitled Smick! and written by the author of many ridiculously funny picture books like Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, Diary of a Worm, and Giggle, Giggle, Quack. This one is very short with only a couple of words per page that often rhyme. There is a dog named “Smick” who plays with a stick and cavorts with a chick. The illustrator is Juana Medina, a Colombia native and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She now lives and works in Washington, D.C., and teaches at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. Her spare artwork is done in mixed media. The dog is drawn in what looks like black crayon; the stick looks like a photograph; and the chick appears like a red and yellow photo of a flower petal with black crayon features. This simple story and pictures is a delightful picture book that has already proven to be a hit in storytime. All the white space on the pages combined with the artwork demonstrates that less is definitely more. Check out Cronin’s newest offering and sit back and enjoy all the laughs with the toddler and preschool set.
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.
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.
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.”
My oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
Mister bluebird on my shoulder
It’s the truth
Everything is satisfactual
After storytime we watched All the World, an animated film based on the book by Liz Garton Scanlon.
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.
In the past I’ve enjoyed David Elliott’s books of short poems for young children (On the Farm, In the Wild, and In the Sea) illustrated by Holly Meade. In his newest book, On the Wing, his poems are illustrated by first-time picture book artist, Becca Stadtlander. Here, the 16 poems included are all about different kinds of birds such as the bald eagle, the hummingbird, the Caribbean flamingo, the Australian pelican, and the great horned owl. In free verse the avian-inspired poems are short and sweet and meant to be read aloud. Take the concise poem entitled, “The Puffin.” “The puffin/is unique–especially/it’s beak.” Or how about “The Macaw” verse: “The Macaw/Who spilled the paint?” I can just hear kids laughing at that one when they see the colorful gouache illustration of this particular bird. All of the pictures are a double-spread design and the print is large for young readers to read on their own. The artwork for the cardinal poem and the Japanese cranes poem are particularly lovely. Introducing preschoolers and primary grade children to brief poems helps them with language development and sparks their imagination. Books like On the Wing make a perfect introduction to poetry beyond nursery rhymes. Check out all of David Elliott’s neat picture books of verse and have fun sharing them with little ones. You can find this book on the New Book shelves in the Children’s Room of the Iowa City Public Library.
I got some big hugging energy this week at my outreach visits. I was greeted with hugs–lots of hugs! Those cute little hug machines! This is a picture book with some big hugging energy. I’d say it’s perfect for any time of the year, and double the fun around Valentine’s Day.
Hug Machine by Scott Campbell is about a little boy who is very good at hugging: “No one can resist my unbelievable hugging. I’m the Hug Machine!” He hugs people to calm them down and cheer them up. His hugs make the biggest feel small and smallest feel big. He even takes on extra special challenges like hugging a spiky porcupine and the too-big whale who says, “Surely I am too big for you to hug,” to which Hug Machine says, “Of course not! Not for the Hug Machine!” After a brief fueling of pizza, the hug machine is at it again and ready for more hugging action.
By the end of the day the boy is exhausted from all of the hugging, and can hug no more. But, he does have hugs for a special person in his life…Mom. It turns out Hug Machine is always open for business.
I love the illustrations in this book. They are gentle and sweet. I’ll bet after you read this book before bedtime your little ones will walk around with arms stretched out saying, “I’m the Hug Machine!”