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Always, Always Reading Books, Recipes, and Life Kitschy Witch The Herb Gardener

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Books About Native Americans for Children

 First Laugh Welcome, Baby! by Rose Ann Tahe and Nancy Bo Blood tells the story of a family who is anxiously waiting for their newborn baby's first laugh. A note in the back of the book talks about and explains The First Laugh Celebration, a Navajo tradition that is a child's first formal welcome into a family and clans. The celebration expresses the parents' hope that their child will always be friendly, kind, and caring. Throughout the book, the grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, brother, and sister all try to get the baby to laugh. 

When We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith illustrates in both pictures and text the importance of being kind. In this story, children help their family and neighbors, share with their friends, bring food to their Elders, and walk their dogs, along with other helpful and caring activities. The book has a very important message and the illustrations are beautiful.

Tired of hearing about the big, bad wolf? Then The Girl and Wolf by Katherena Vermette is for you. In this story, the young Native American girl wanders away from her mother when they are both picking berries. She gets lost and is scared. She is even more scared when a gray wolf approaches her. However, the wolf is a friend, not a foe. He helps her to find berries to eat and then he helps her to find her way home. The wolf encourages the girl to use her self reliance. When the girl says that she doesn't know what to do; the wolf replies, "Yes, you do. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes, then look. What do you see?"

We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp is a delightful board book for babies. The book describes the mother and father's longing for a child and their joy when their child comes into their lives. 

May We Have Enough to Share is another board book by Richard Van Camp. This book helps make the concept of sharing easy to understand. 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Mermaid's Sister

In The Mermaid's Sister by Carrie Anne Noble, Clara's sister, Maren, is slowly becoming a mermaid. At first, her fingers become webbed and pale green scales appear just below her wrist. As time passes, her legs fuse together and she spends all of her time in the bathtub. But then she starts to shrink. Every day she shrinks a bit more growing smaller and smaller. Clara and her friend O'Neill take Maren in their wagon and head toward Maren's home - the ocean, along with Osbert, their pet dragon. Then one night their caravan is engulfed in flames. Are the gypsies that rescue them friends or foes? Read The Mermaid's Sister by Carrie Anne Noble to find out.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Spring Story Time

The first book that I read for my Spring story time was Bloom Bloom by April Pulley Sayre. This delightful nonfiction book features photographs of a diverse range of flowers and habitats. Tulips, California poppies, Eastern redbuds, magnolias, and bluebonnets are just a few of the flowers that are featured. April Pulley Sayre does a wonderful job of both explaining and showing the growth process of plants and flowers in the spring. For example, "Leaves emerge. Stalks surge." Also, "Buds grow. Blossoms show." I'm so glad that there are more nonfiction picture books now that can be incorporated into story times. My audience was mostly babies, so I didn't have the opportunity to do a lot of interaction, but older children could be asked questions, such as, what color are the flowers? what kinds of flowers are these? where are they growing? can you see the caterpillar, and where is the bunny? There is a section at the back of the book that provides more information on the flowers that are featured. 

The second book that I read was When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes. I love all of Kevin Henkes' books and I absolutely adore Laura Dronzek's illustrations. This book takes the reader through the transitions of the seasons from winter to late spring. The illustrations are colorful and vibrant and there are possibilities for many interactive questions while you are reading the book to an audience. For example, how many birds, bunnies, umbrellas, kittens are there in the pictures? What colors are the flowers? What colors are the umbrellas? Why is there snow on the daffodils? When Spring has finally arrived, you're not done waiting because "Now, you have to wait for Summer." 

Alternate Books 
Books that I had, but did not read. 

my spring robin by Anne Rockwell features a girl who is looking for a robin who sang to her last summer. During her search, she sees a bee, a yellow forsythia bush, a magnolia tree, sprouting ferns, a toad, daffodils, violets, an an earthworm. Will she see her robin? 

The main character in Ten Seeds by Ruth Brown plants ten sunflower seeds. However the seeds become victims of insects, animals, and even a ball! Eventually one sunflower blooms and flourishes and at the end of the book the boy has ten seeds. This would be a good book for a counting story time as well. It would also make a great flannel board; I just haven't had a chance to make one yet. 

In Mouse's First Spring by Lauren Thompson, Mouse and Momma explore a day in spring together. They see a butterfly, a snail, a bird, a frog, a worm, and a flower. 

Hello Spring! by Shelley Rotner is another delightful nonfiction book about spring with photographs. The book both tells and shows flowers that bloom, animals that wake up from hibernation, animals that you can see during the spring, and even explains briefly how fruits and seeds can grow into new plants and trees through the process of pollination. There's also a brief glossary at the back of the book. 

In Hooray for Hoppy! by Tim Hopgood, Hoppy is a young rabbit who can't wait for spring to arrive! How will he know when spring is here? By using his five senses of course! When Hoppy hears birds singing, smells flowers, sees lambs, tastes fresh green grass, and feels the warm ground he knows that spring is here. 

In Shake a Leg, Egg! by Kurt Cyrus a mother goose and her goslings watch the last egg waiting for it to hatch. When will it hatch? The mother goose tells the egg, "Buds are bursting open. Sprouts are breaking through. Eggs are hatching everywhere. You can do it too!" Finally, at the end of the story, the egg hatches and a young gosling is ready to meet the world. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Koala Story Time!

Today we had a family story time about koalas! It was a lot of fun! Meet our two friendly koalas who introduced our first book, Koala Lou by Mem Fox. 

Koala Lou is a heartwarming story about a sweet and lovable koala whose mother tells her that she loves her most of all - a hundred times a day at least! That is at least until all of Koala Lou's brothers and sisters come along. Koala Lou's mother still loves her, but she stops telling Koala Lou how much she loves her. Sad and disappointed, Koala Lou decides to train for the Bush Olympics. If she wins the gum tree climbing event, her mother will tell her how much she loves her again! Well, Koala Lou loses the event, but her mother takes her in her arms and tells her, "Koala Lou, I DO love you! I always have, and I always will."

Everything by Emma Dodd: this is another charming book about a mother who loves her baby. What does she love about her baby? Her eyes, her nose, her laughter, her hugs, her kisses, her sweet face, why she just loves everything about her! 

Alternate Books 
I didn't get a chance to read these books, but these are still some great books to pick!

Climb, Koala! by Jennifer Szymanski tells the readers what a day in the life of a koala is like. 

Don't Call Me Bear! by Aaron Blabey: Why are koalas sometimes called koala bears when they are marsupials? Warren, a koala from Australia, will be happy to tell you why! 

I Don't Like Koala by Sean Ferrell: Koala is terrible! Koala follows Adam everywhere even when Adam puts Koala away in a lot of different places. Koala is "always there. In his bed. On his pillow. Closer than close." But is Koala there to protect him from "a MORE terrible terrible?" 

Finding Home by Sandra Markle is too long to use for story time, but tells the story of a mother and baby koala who must find a new home after surviving a bushfire. This story is based on the real-life story of a koala nicknamed Cinders that survived two bushfires. Considering recent events in Australia, this is a very timely and informative book. 

Jimmy the Joey: The True Story of an Amazing Koala Rescue by Deborah Lee Rose and Susan Kelly: Once again, this is too long to use for a story time, but an excellent reference book! This book tells the true story of Jimmy who was rescued after his mother was hit by a car. 

If you're interested in helping the koalas in Australia because of all of the horrible bushfires that have been happening, please consider donating to the following organizations: 

WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue  This organizations helps all Australian wildlife, not just koalas. 

Animal Rescue Craft Guild  You don't have money to donate? Make items for the animals instead! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Fairy Tale, Medieval, and Rhyme Story Time

So, this was originally intended to be a preschool fairy tale story time, but my audience was mostly toddlers under two, so I modified the format. I've included the other books that I pulled and a brief blurb about each.

The first book that I read was The Three Bears by Byron Barton. This retelling of The Three Bears features bright vivid pictures. I particularly enjoyed looking at the expressions on Goldilocks' face. The text is short, succinct, and easy for young children to understand. 

The next book that I read was Hickory Dickory Dog by Allison Murray. I read this book after saying the Hickory Dickory Dock rhyme and using a flannel board to illustrate it. I absolutely love this book and it was the book that was just right for my audience's attention span! Zack and his dog, Rufus, are best friends. When Zack goes to school, Rufus does not want to be left behind! A clever rhyme tells the events of Zack and Rufus's day. Rufus sneaks into the school yard, "helps" the children during art class, eats the leftovers at lunch, and jumps into a pile of leaves when the children are working in their garden. At the end of the day, Zack and Rufus go home and Zack gives Rufus a bath. The book closes with a picture of Zack and Rufus sleeping in bed together. 

Alternate books that I did not read: 

Anansi The Spider by Gerald McDermott is a tale of the Ashanti of West Africa in the country of Ghana. Anansi is a folk-hero to the Ashanti. In this tale, Ashanti gets swallowed by a fish and a falcon swoops down from the sky and grabs him. Thanks to the joint efforts of his six sons, Anansi comes home safely. Anansi finds a great globe of light in the forest, but is not sure which of his sons to give it to. He asks Nyame, the god of all things, to hold the beautiful globe while he decides. Anansi and his sons argue about his decision all night, so Nyame takes the beautiful white light up into the sky. 
You can see the beautiful white light every evening; it is the moon! 

Over at the Castle by Boni Ashburn is a delightful book that can be sung to the tune of "Over in the Meadow". In this story, everybody in the castle, such as the lords, the servants, the cooks, the knights, the jesters and the prisoner have jobs to do. But what job do the dragons have? At first, it seems that all the do is laze about. However, at the end of the story, they breathe out flames to go along with the fireworks over the castle. 

How can you not love a little roly poly pony with big eyes who farts? You can't help yourself; you end up loving this pony! In The Princess and The Pony by Kate Beaton, the warrior princess wants a big and strong warhorse. Instead she gets ...... the pony. When the day of the great battle comes, the princess tells the pony, "Just ..... do your best". When Otto the Awful heads toward the princess, he stops in this tracks and pets the pony. Warrior after warrior pauses to admire the pony. Everyone votes the princess and the pony the most valuable warriors of the day. 

Falling for Rapunzel by Lydia Monks puts a twist on the familiar Rapunzel story. When the prince comes to rescue Rapunzel, Rapunzel keeps mishearing what the prince is asking for. For example, when he asks for her to throw down her hair, she throws down her underwear. Rapunzel throws down her dirty socks, not her curly locks. She throws down a cantaloupe instead of a rope. Instead of the prince getting twine, she throws down her swine. Finally, the prince asks for her braid and she throws down her maid! The prince and the maid fall in love and ride off together on his horse. 

Waking Beauty which is also by Leah Wilcox provides quite the twist on the story of Sleeping Beauty! The prince does everything but kiss her. He jumps on her bed, throws water at her, and even shoots her out of a cannon! When he finally does listen to the fairies and kiss her, he's very surprised by what happens next! 

In The Foggy Foggy Forest by Nick Sharatt, children can guess who the shadows are. Some interesting characters in the forest are a unicorn playing a horn, an ogre doing yoga, Cinderella and Snow White in a water-pistol fight, and Little Red Riding Hood in her ice cream truck. 

In this fun farmhouse version of The House That Jack Built, The House That Zack Built by Alison Murray, tells how a buzzing fly stalked by a kitten wrecks havoc all throughout the farm. Zack cleans the dog, collects more cream from Daisy, herds the lambs back into their pen, and rescues the cat from the tree. Then he shoos the fly away and together, the cat, the dog, and Zack sit down and admire the house he built from blocks. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Nursery Rhymes Story Times!

Today's preschool story time featured nursery rhymes! 

I started off by having the children sing along to Old MacDonald Had a Farm. I had a flannel board displayed for this song and would point to the animals, for example ... a cow, pig, or horse and wait for the children to identify the animal. Then we would continue singing the song.

Then, I read, well actually sang Old MacDonald Had a Boat by Steve Goetz. It's a humorous take on the original Old MacDonald Had a Farm. In this book, Old MacDonald has everything that he needs to build a boat: a truck to haul the supplies, a saw, a hammer, a torch, a sander, and a bucket of paint. At the end of the story, he has finished building his boat and he and his wife use the boat to go water skiing! I thought that the children would like this more than they did; they didn't seem to really get into it. However, not all of the children were preschoolers; some of them were babies and toddlers. So maybe this book would work well with an older audience?

Then we sang The Itsy-Bitsy Spider and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. We also did Roll, Roll Sugar Babies and sang Skinny Marinky Dinky Dink.

The second and last book that I read was Teddy Bear; Teddy Bear (a classic action rhyme illustrated by Michael Hague). First I read the book and then the children and I acted out all of the movements in the rhyme together.

I finished story time with a Baa Baa Black Sheep flannelboard. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Baby and Toddler Story Time Featuring the Moon!

The first book that I read was Rabbit Moon by Jean Kim. This is a delightful story that is actually based on Korean folklore. The author's note states that when Koreans look at the full moon they see the outline of a rabbit standing next to a mortar pounding rice into rice cakes. When you look up at the sky and see the rabbit in the moon, you make a wish. 

Jean Kim wondered what the rabbit would wish for and that is the basis of this story. The rabbit turns wishes into stars. However, the rabbit wishes for adventure and friends. He uses a star to parachute down to earth and meets animals who become his friends. Together, they bicycle, read, drift on their boat, and swim. They also gaze at the stars in the sky until one day - there are no more stars! Rabbit knows what needs to be done. He repairs his star, flies to the moon, and continues to turn wishes into stars. One day, his friends wish to see him and Rabbit and his friends smile at each other through a telescope.   .

I put together a flannel board which features five different colored moons and had the children guess which one the rabbit was behind. The rabbit was behind the blue moon! 

The second and last story that I read was Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes. This story tells the tale of an adorable kitten trying to catch the moon because she thinks it's a bowl of milk in the sky! She tumbles down the stairs, climbs up a tree, and jumps into the pond, but she can't get the bowl of milk in the sky! Fortunately, when she gets home, a bowl of milk out on the porch is just waiting for her and she laps it up quickly. 

Here's a list of other books about the moon:

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin: Little Star's Mama bakes a mooncake for her to celebrate the Mid Autumn Moon Festival which is Grace Lin's favorite Asian holiday. Her Mama tells Little Star to wait until the holiday to eat it. Little Star nibbles at the mooncake night after night and during this process her mooncake shows the different phases of the moon. 

The Moon Was the Best by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated through Tana Hoban's photographs tells the story of a mother's trip to Paris as she describes the sights of Paris to her little girl. The girl asks her mother "What was the best?" Her mother replies, "Oh, the moon was the best because it was the same moon shining on you, so I knew we weren't far apart at all". 

In City Moon by Rachael Cole and Blanca Gomez, a little boy and his mother walk through the city to see the moon in different places. This book has bright big beautiful illustrations and would be good for a story time. 

Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper: After Max has to say goodbye to Grandpa, Grandpa reminds him that the moon at Grandpa's house is the same moon that will follow Max on Max's ride back to his home. Max watches the moon on his journey to home. 

The Mouse Who Ate the Moon: A Peek-Through Story Book by Petr Horacek: In this story, a mouse mistakes a banana for the moon and eats it. Heartbroken, the mouse tells his friends that he has eaten the moon! His friends reassure him that he hasn't and the mouse is relieved and happy to see the moon in the sky that night! 

Any of the books in Frank Asch's Moon Bear series! 

Let's Explore the Moon by Walt K. Moon: This book is a nonfiction book about the moon for toddlers and preschoolers.