Thursday, June 22, 2017

In the Waves

In the Waves by Lennon and Maisy Stella is a great summer story time book! The story starts with two excited young girls getting ready to go to the beach. They've got everything that they need: flip-flops, hats, sunblock, even their boogie-oogie boogie board! The story follows their adventure "in the waves, in the water" where they offer a shark peanut butter and jelly and scuba dive. Or do they? At the end, we realize that they have been in their bathtub the entire time. They just have a very vivid imagination!

You can go to YouTube to listen to In the Waves. If you decide to sing instead of read this story, there is a soundtrack. Or you can always do both!

Another fun activity to do with a small group or one on one is to count how many times the crab appears in the book. Just fyi, the appears fourteen times in the book.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Faithful by Alice Hoffman is one of the most beautiful, exquisite, and thought provoking books that I have ever read. I don't know if I'll be able to write a review that will do justice to it, but I'll try my best.

Our main character, Shelby, is in a car accident with her best friend, Helene. Helene enters into a coma and she doesn't come out. Shelby blames herself for the accident, which leads to her nervous breakdown, and a short stay in the psychiatric hospital. When she finally comes home, she shaves her head bald, retreats to her parents' basement, skips her deadline to apply to school, and smokes pot with Ben, a boy that she knew in high school but didn't usually hang out with or particularly like.

Time passes. Ben and Shelby become a couple and move to New York. Ben is going to pharmacy school and Shelby gets a job at a pet store. In spite of herself, Shelby becomes involved in life again. She becomes friends with a coworker, Maravelle, and this friendship changes the course of her life. She rescues (or steals depending upon your point of view) two dogs from homeless people who are simply using them as props to gain more money when they beg. She also rescues (or steals) a dog that has been chained up and doesn't have any food or water. She even rescues (or steals) a cat.

Shelby's love for animals saves her just as much as she has saved them. She decides to become a vet and is accepted into vet school.

Alice Hoffman explores the complicated nature of relationships and why we are or aren't faithful through the characters in the story. Shelby's relationships with Ben, Harper, and James all illustrate this. Her mother's complicated relationship with her father, especially as she is dying of cancer, illustrates this as well.

Alice Hoffman manages to portray deep and profound truths in the minutiae of everyday life.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Story Time Books for Building a Better World!

Tomorrow is our summer reading kickoff day! If you're looking for good story time books that tie in with the build a better world theme, look no further! I read these books in a story time today and I'm looking forward to reading them again tomorrow!

Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus is a fun and interactive book that shows the entire building process from beginning to end. The children had a lot of fun guessing what the builders were building and they were delighted and amazed to realize that the builders built an entire city!

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld illustrates what a crane truck, cement mixer, dump truck, bulldozer, and excavator do during a construction job. Then, each weary vehicle gets ready to go to bed and go to sleep after a long day's work. This book features a delightful rhyme and lovely illustrations that were rendered in Neocolor wax oil pastels.

Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton is one of my favorite story time books! As Rex's friends, Gizmo, Sprinkles, and Wild build absolutely amazing things: an out-of-this-world rocket, a magical heart, and a wooden wonder of wowdom, Rex wrecks it! Can Rex learn to play with his friends and build something absolutely amazing with them?

Bang! Boom! Roar! A Busy Crew of Dinosaurs by Nate Evans and Stephanie Gwyn Brown is a wonderful alphabet book! The children loved the story of the dinosaurs as builders and enjoyed guessing what they were building. What did they build? A play ground! We spent some time at the end of the story identifying everything that was on the play ground.

Arches to Zigzags: An Architecture ABC is a nonfiction alphabetical book that introduces the children to various aspects of architecture, such as balconies, eaves, finials, hinges, joists, and keystones. It's an informational and entertaining book with beautiful photographs.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan Shea is both an excellent story time book and a good book to help children with early literacy skills. This a fun and interactive story that helps to explain the concepts of inanimate and animate to children in a very easy and simple way. For example, one of the questions in the book is, "If a duckling grows and becomes a duck, can a car grow and become a truck?" Children have a lot of fun guessing the answers to these questions. I've read this book in a PreK story time and a preschool story time and the children absolutely loved it! Also, this story helps to build the child's vocabulary with words that they might not previously know, such as duckling, rust, kid (baby goat), owelet, and joey. Why is it important for children to hear a wide range of vocabulary and to expose them to many words? Children need to know the meaning of words to understand what they are reading.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tap the Magic Tree

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson is a wonderful interactive book for story time. This book can be used for counting, identifying colors, and helping to get the wiggles out! You and the children start by tapping the magic tree. Throughout the story, children can tap, rub, touch each bud, jiggle, wiggle, blow, shake, and pat! The story follows a tree throughout the course of the seasons. Leaves, buds, flowers, and apples can be counted. When the tree goes through fall, the leaves change to yellow, orange, and red - a great way to identify and practice colors! The story ends with a bluebird hatching from the nest in the tree.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Deep Blue Sea

The Deep Blue Sea: a book of colors by Audrey Wood: this book is a wonderful way to introduce you child to colors! As you read with your child, ask your child to tell you the colors of the sea, rock, tree, nut, parrot, butterfly, and cloud. Have your child tell you the colors of the rainbow at the end of the book! This book features a lot of repetition which is good for the brain; connections in the brain are made when activities are repeated with the child. Another good book for colors is The Flower Garden by Eve Bunting.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Eye Guess: A Foldout Guessing Game

An excellent book for preschool story time! This book is a foldout guessing game where you read a brief description of what the animal is and the children see a partial picture of the animal. After the children guess, you fold out the picture so that the children can see the entire animal. The animals are as follows: a duck, a turtle, a frog, a raccoon, a bobcat, a mouse, an owl, and a wolf. The children had correct guesses for most of the animals, except the raccoon, bobcat, and wolf.