Reading with Little L: Independent Reads

1 03 2018

As Little L has started reading more on his own, he has discovered several series that have appealed to him. Once he finds a series he really likes, he plows through every book in the series!

Like many readers moving into chapter books, one of his first series was Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne.


He has also loved the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis, which he found in his classroom library.


I read The Wizard of Oz to him a while ago, and when I brought the graphic novels adapted by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young home, he zipped through both sets of them in no time.


His love of Captain Underpants led him to the Dog Man graphic novels, and he’s anxiously awaiting the next book in that series.


He’s a huge fan of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. (Fun fact: a few years ago he saw the first movie on TV and called it “Diarrhea from a Wimpy Kid.” It’s a joke that won’t go away in our house!)


And last but not least, like his father, he loves everything Star Wars, and was so happy to find the Jedi Academy series.


Reading with Little C: Three-Year-Old Reads

1 03 2018

It’s been a little while since I posted any “Reading with” entries. Little C just celebrated his fourth birthday, so I thought it would be a great time to look back over some of his favorite books from the last year. He has enjoyed many of the same books his older brother did at his age, but his favorite would have to be this one:

Mommy? by Maurice Sendak; illustrated by Arthur Yorinks; pop-ups by Matthew Reinhart

This fun pop-up book is one that he still asks for regularly at bedtime. Thankfully the monsters included in the book – Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, a mummy, etc. – don’t give him any nightmares! He thinks this book is hilarious, and it has been sturdy enough to stand up to multiple viewings by both boys.

He’s also discovered a few new favorite characters – David from David Shannon’s “No, David” series and Bear and Hare from Emily Gravett’s series.

And of course, he loves to read books about his other favorite characters, too, even Captain Underpants (thanks to his brother’s chapter books and the animated film). Superheroes and Disney friends are still most popular with him.



Storytime Share: RED

27 02 2018

Continuing my color series for this session of outreach storytimes, the color for February has been red.




Chugga Chugga Choo Choo by Emma Garcia; illustrated by the author

As a little red train chugs down the tracks, it picks up noisy birds along the way. Toddler, Preschool


Red Red Red by Valeri Gorbachev; illustrated by the author

When Turtle rushes by them on his way to see something “red, red, red,” all of his curious neighbors follow along to see the surprise he is looking for. Preschool, Early Elementary


Red Sled by Lita Judge; illustrated by the author

When a bear discovers a young child’s red sled, he and his fellow animal friends go on a moonlit ride together. Toddler, Preschool


Baby Loves Winter by Karen Katz; illustrated by the author

Baby explores the world on a snowy day. Baby, Toddler


And Red Galoshes: A Story about a Rainy Day by Glenda Millard; illustrated by Jonathan Bentley

A girl and boy go on a rainy adventure with red galoshes in tow. Preschool


Pip and Posy: The Big Balloon by Axel Scheffler; illustrated by the author

When Pip accidentally loses his new red balloon, his best friend Posy knows just how to cheer him up again. Toddler, Preschool


Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger; illustrated by the author

This is not your typical color book, but that’s what makes it so fun! Preschool


“Choo Choo” (video by Betty from Musser Library Lapsit)

“Twinkle Twinkle”

“Rain Is Falling Down” (video by YAACSweb) and “Snow Is Falling Down”


“Balloon” (from Sunflower Storytime blog)

This fingerplay was a big hit with the kids!

Storytime Share: BLUE

29 01 2018

As I began planning my outreach storytimes for the beginning part of this year, I was feeling a little bored with my usual themes. So I decided that each month I will focus on a different color, wrapping things up in May with a rainbow theme. The first color up in the rotation is blue.



Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? by Eve Bunting; illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier

Duck goes on a hunt for his missing new blue socks enlisting many of his fellow animal friends along the way in this rhyming picture book. Toddler; Preschool


White Snow, Blue Feather by Julie Downing; illustrated by the author

While out exploring the woods on a snowy day, a young boy finds a blue feather that he gives to his mother at the end of his adventures. Preschool


Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman; illustrated by the author

A little chicken just wants to help an artist finish a painting, but she makes a mess when she spills the blue paint all over herself and the other barnyard animals in the artwork. Preschool


Blue Penguin by Petr Horácek; illustrated by the author

When the other penguins reject a little blue penguin because he doesn’t look like them, he finds a way to make friends while still being true to himself. Preschool; Early Elementary


Sam’s Winter Hat by Albert Lamb; illustrated by David McPhail

Sam’s friends and family are always there to lend a hand when he is a bit forgetful about keeping up with his coat, gloves, and hat. Preschool


Will You Wear a Blue Hat?  by Rookie Toddler

Toddlers can work on learning their colors through this musical, interactive board book. Infant; Toddler


“B-L-U-E Spells Blue”

“The Chickens in the Coop”

sung to: “The Wheels on the Bus:

The hens in the coop go, “Bawk, bawk, bawk”…

The rooster in the coop goes, “Cock-a-doodle-doo”…

The chicks in the coop go, “Peep, peep, peep…

All day long.


“Sock Matching Game” flannelboard


Storytime Share: Being Thankful

30 11 2017

For my November storytimes I didn’t necessarily want to do a Thanksgiving-themed storytime. I’ve done them in the past, but wanted to go in a different direction this year. Some years rather than read all about turkeys I’ve done food-themed storytimes, which works well. This year I decided to do my storytimes around the idea of being thankful.



Thank You for Me! by Marion Dane Bauer; illustrated by Kristina Stephenson

Children are thankful for all the things from nose to toes that make them special. Toddler; Preschool


Bear Says Thank You by Michael Dahl; illustrated by Oriol Vidal

Little Bear shows young listeners the importance of saying, “Thank you.” Toddler; Preschool


Thank You Bear by Greg Foley; illustrated by the author

When Bear finds a small box, he can’t wait to show it to his friend Mouse, but he starts to have doubts when other animals don’t think the box is as special as he does. Toddler; Preschool


Ten Thank-You Letters by Daniel Kirk; illustrated by the author

When he sees Pig writing a thank-you letter to his grandmother, Rabbit is inspired to write a series of letters of his own. Preschool


The Thankful Book by Todd Parr; illustrated by the author

This bright, happy book reminds readers to be thankful everyday for all the people and things around us. Toddler; Preschool


Feeling Thankful by Shelley Rotner and Sheila Kelly, Ed.D.; photographs by Shelley Rotner

A listing of reasons to be thankful accompanied by photos of joyful children. Preschool


Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson; illustrated by Jane Chapman

Bear’s plan to have a feast for his friends is thwarted by an empty cupboard, so he is thankful when his friends bring food for a gathering to him. Preschool


“I’m Thankful”

sung to: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”

I am thankful for my friends

And my family

I’m thankful for the food I eat

I’m happy to be me.


“If You’re Thankful and You Know It”

sung to: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”

Sing verses as usual substituting “thankful” for “happy” adding this last verse:

If you’re thankful and you know it, say “Thank you”


Storytime Share: Pumpkins

26 10 2017

Rather than do an all-out Halloween storytime for my outreaches this month, I chose to do a pumpkin theme. In addition to a variety of pumpkin stories that I’ve done in the past, I was able to find a couple new pumpkin activities to do to make the storytime fresh for myself.



Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch by Alyssa Satin Capucilli; illustrated by Pat Schories

Biscuit the puppy takes a trip to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin and finds some friends there, too. Baby, Toddler


Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills; illustrated by the author

Friends Duck and Goose search high and low for a pumpkin until a helpful friend suggests the right place to look. Baby, Toddler


How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? by Wendell Minor; illustrated by the author

Imagine just how big a pumpkin could grow – as big as a building or even the Grand Canyon! Preschool; Early Elementary


Pick a Pumpkin, Mrs. Millie!  by Judy Cox; illustrated by Joe Mathieu

On a class trip to the pumpkin patch, silly Mrs. Millie keeps mixing up her words – “big” becomes “pig” and “wagon” becomes “dragon” and so on in this humorous tale. Preschool, Early Elementary


Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch by Mary Peterson and Jennifer Rofé; illustrated by Mary Peterson

Two little pigs run amok all over the farm until the big bull chases them back to the pumpkin patch. Toddler, Preschool


The Pumpkin Patch by Cliff Griswold

Readers follow a young girl as she visits the pumpkin patch with her family to select the perfect pumpkin. Toddler, Preschool


Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

Starting with one seed, young Jamie grows a pumpkin, then after carving it into a jack-o-lantern he starts all over again with a handful of seeds. Toddler, Preschool


Ten Orange Pumpkins: A Counting Book by Stephen Savage

Count down from ten to one as Halloween friends such as a mummy, witch, and ghost, select their pumpkins. Toddler, Preschool


“Ten Little Pumpkins”

sung to: “Ten Little Indians”

One little, two little, three little pumpkins

Four little, five little, six little pumpkins

Seven little, eight little, nine little pumpkins

Ten little pumpkins in the pumpkin patch

Sing again counting backwards from ten to one


“Pumpkin, Pumpkin”

Pumpkin, pumpkin, sitting on the wall (make hand into a fist and prop on opposite arm)

Pumpkin, pumpkin, tip and fall (make “pumpkin” wobble and fall off “wall”)

Pumpkin, pumpkin, rolling down the street (make rolling motion with arms)

Pumpkin, pumpkin, good to eat (or trick or treat)!

Flannel story: “Orange Pumpkin, Orange Pumpkin” from First Grade a la Carte blog

Activity: “Old McRainbow’s Pumpkin Farm” from Fun with Friends at Storytime blog

Storytime Share: Bears

19 12 2016

As many times as I have done bear-themed storytimes over the years, I can’t believe I haven’t posted about one before. Well, here goes…

This month my outreach storytimes have been filled with bear stories, songs, and activities.



Bear & Hare: Snow! by Emily Gravett; illustrated by the author

Friends Bear and Hare spend the day playing in the snow – making snowballs, sledding, and building snow animals. Toddler, Preschool


Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson; illustrated by Jane Chapman

Bear and his animal friends explore the forest, taking in all the bright colors they see around them. Toddler, Preschool


Bear’s Big Breakfast by Lynn Rowe Reed; illustrated by Brett Helquist

When Bear wakes up hungry, he goes in search of a food that starts with the letter “b”. Toddler, Preschool, Early Elementary


A Bedtime for Bear by Bonny Becker; illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

Bear must have absolute quiet at bedtime, so he is a little reluctant when his friend Mouse sleeps over – until a strange noise makes him glad to have some company after all. Preschool, Early Elementary


More Bears! by Kenn Nesbitt; illustrated by Troy Cummings

As an author creates his story, he is encouraged by the voices of young readers to include “more bears” until the book is overrun with the furry animals. Preschool, Early Elementary

Note: This book lends itself well to interactive reading. As I read this book, I held up a sign with a picture of a bear on it every time I got to a place with “More Bears!” in the text. The kids really enjoyed shouting along every time I held up the sign.


Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by K.G. Campbell

A real bear takes the place of a stuffed teddy bear at a little girl’s tea party, but will he be able to follow her rules in order to have some cookies? Preschool, Early Elementary


“The Bear Went over the Mountain” traditional

“Down by the Bay” traditional (I held up illustrations of the rhymes as I sang the song)


“Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear” traditional

Activity: “Book Bear” flannel game

This flannel story is similar to the “Little Mouse” flannel that can be found in multiple resources.  In that flannel, you hide a mouse behind houses of various colors and have the children guess where the mouse is hiding.  In this version, I hide a bear, which I call “Book Bear”, behind one of eight book-shaped flannel pieces and have the children find him.  We’re fortunate enough to have a die cut machine at my library, so I used our book shape die cut to make eight book pieces, each a different color.

Before I begin the flannel with the children I explain to them how it works, hiding the bear behind one of the books as I talk.  Then I place the books on the flannel one at a time, being careful not to let them see which one has the bear behind it.  After the books are all on the board, I go through the colors with the kids and then let them start guessing.  With each guess, I point to the particular book, and ask them, “Is Book Bear behind the (insert color) book?”  Then we chant together, “Book Bear, Book Bear, are you under there?”  Then I pull the book off to reveal either a blank space or Book Bear.  I usually try to finagle the game so that Book Bear is under the last book I remove.  This flannel story (and its many variations) is ALWAYS a hit, and kids of all ages love it.