Reading with Little L: Three-Year-Old Reads

1 12 2013

Ugh!  It’s been almost an entire year since I last blogged.  Which means I have a whole year’s worth of reading with Little L to cover.  Right now this blog is sort of just for me anyway, and I’d like to have somewhere to keep a record of our reading together.  So, here we go!

I’ve been trying to introduce Little L to some classic characters, and so far he’s chosen a few favorites:


Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans; ill. by the author


Frances by Russell Hoban; ill. by Lillian Hoban

max ruby

Max & Ruby by Rosemary Wells; ill. by the author

Some newer characters he’s really enjoyed:

pip posy

Pip and Posy by Axel Scheffler; ill. by the author

little rabbit

Little Rabbit by Harry Horse; ill. by the author

gaspard lisa

Gaspard and Lisa by Anne Gutman; ill. by Georg Hallensleben

betty bunny

Betty Bunny by Michael B. Kaplan; ill. by Stephane Jorisch

He’s also been very into fairy tales this year, particularly princess stories.  We really liked this collection:


Yummy by Lucy Cousins

I also loved introducing him to one of my favorite illustrators, Trina Schart Hyman, though her books may be a little dark for some three-year-olds.  Not Little L, who’s been a little obsessed with Michael Jackson’s Thriller video of late.


Rapunzel  by Barbara Rogasky; ill. by Trina Schart Hyman

sleeping beauty

The Sleeping Beauty by Trina Schart Hyman; ill. by the author

snow white

Snow White by Paul Heins; ill. by Trina Schart Hyman

little red riding hood

Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman; ill. by the author

We also have a set of adaptations of some of the Disney princess movies which have gotten a work out lately.

Little L also liked a trio of books which I worked into a “Clothing” storytime at the library:


Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback; ill. by the author

extra yarn

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett; ill. by Jon Klassen


Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters by K.G. Campbell; ill. by the author

A couple other newer titles we’ve read many times because we both love them:

creepy carrots

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds; ill. by Peter Brown

open this little book

Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier; ill. by Suzy Lee

Even though it’s December now, we’re still stuck on a couple of Halloween titles, too:

little old lady

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams; ill. by Megan Lloyd

witch's kitchen

What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen? by Nick Sharratt; ill. by the author

Little L is now old enough to be trusted with pop-up books.  Some of his favorites from our collection are:


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

wizard of oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum; adapted, illustrated and pop-ups by Robert Sabuda

And last, but not least, because we will have another little guy in a few months, we’ve read this one a lot:

there's going to be a baby

There’s Going to Be a Baby by John Burningham; ill. by Helen Oxenbury

It’s a long list, but I’m sure that’s not even half of what we’ve read this year.  Can’t believe Little L will be four years old soon!


2012 Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

25 01 2013

Whew!  I did it – 200 books (actually 201) read in 2012.  I had a lot of fun reading all those books, too.  I’m not sure I would have made it if it hadn’t been for some work projects, like the Magic Tree House Party and creating book lists for a local parenting publication (which I still need to post about sometime).  It also helped that I loosened up my parameters a bit, allowing myself to count graphic novels and audiobooks.  I am quite proud of my accomplishment.  It was nice to have a goal to challenge myself over the year, and even better to have achieved that goal.

But… I’m not going to do a challenge per se for 2013.  Instead, I’d really like to tackle my To Be Read list this year.  In particular, I’d like to wrap up some series I’ve been working on for a while now and get to work on some longer books and series I might have been avoiding in my quest to read more books last year (example: Game of Thrones, which I am halfway through and loving).  I also want to make more of a concerted effort to read any Newbery or Newbery Honor titles I haven’t read yet, beginning with 2012 and working my way back.  I think starting at the beginning and working my way forward might drag me down (no offense to the earlier winners and honorees).

So, here’s to another great year of reading!

December 2012 Reading Theme Wrap-Up

3 01 2013

For December my reading goal was to catch up on some of the “best” books of the year.  I turned to all those handy-dandy lists put together by journals, newspapers, librarians, etc., to come up with some titles.  I was not disappointed with any of the suggestions.

I finally had the chance to read J.K. Rowling’s first adult title, The Casual Vacancy, and even though I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was such a departure from the Harry Potter series, I was pleasantly surprised.  As I was reading it I could see it becoming a great television miniseries, because she did such a thorough job of creating a whole community full of interesting characters, and it would be fun to see them all on screen.  And sure enough, the BBC has now announced that they will be adapting it.  I’m looking forward to it!

Throughout the course of the year, I’ve definitely been reading some excellent children’s fiction titles, but I still had some gaps to fill in.  From various lists I found available, I chose to tackle these, many of which have been coming up in Newbery discussions: Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead, The Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker, The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer, and Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood.  I also fit in a couple of nonfiction children’s titles – Bomb by Steve Sheinkin and Island by Jason Chin – both of which achieved the combination of being both informative and entertaining.  I also highly recommend the two children’s graphic novels I read – The Secret of the Stone Frog by David Nytra and Cardboard by Doug TenNapel.

I was probably most impressed by the two teen novels I had the chance to read last month: Every Day by David Levithan and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.  Every Day starts with such a unique concept – the narrator is a soul that “takes over” a different body each day – and tells such a lovely story about what it means to love and be alive.  Code Name Verity is a fantastic historical fiction novel set in Europe during World War II that explores the themes of friendship, loyalty, bravery, and truth.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one, if not both, of these titles on the Printz list this year.

What a great month and year of reading I’ve had!

Books of the Month: December 2012

3 01 2013

Books I read the last month of 2012:

  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
  • The Truth about Style by Stacy London
  • Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
  • The Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker
  • The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
  • Every Day by David Levithan
  • The Secret of the Stone Frog by David Nytra
  • Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
  • Tricky Coyote Tales by Chris Schweitzer
  • Can You Survive Storm Chasing? by Elizabeth Raum
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • Make Good Choices by Heather Schwartz
  • The Moon over High Street by Natalie Babbitt
  • Bomb by Steve Sheinkin
  • Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre
  • Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin
  • Cardboard by Doug TenNapel

Storytime Share: Magic Tree House Party

27 12 2012

This year marked the twentieth anniversary of Mary Pope Osborne’s  first Magic Tree House book, Dinosaurs Before Dark.  To celebrate the anniversary, we had a Magic Tree House party here in the Children’s Room.

I set up stations around the room where kids took part in activities related to nine of the forty-eight (and counting!) titles in the series.  I tried to have a variety of activities available and included a snack as well.    Pulling everything together (and reading as many of the books as I could) took some time, but the party itself was relatively easy to set up and manage.  I provided checklists at the door so everyone would be sure to visit each station.

Some books lent themselves more readily to activities than others.  I will admit the connection between some of these activities and their books is sort of a stretch.  Another way I simplified things was drawing from items we already had available from previous Children’s Room programs.

Here are the items I put on the checklist, with the related activities.

#1 Dinosaurs Before Dark

On their first adventure, Jack and Annie go back in time and see several types of dinosaurs.

How many dinosaurs can you identify?

I created cards using this pattern I found at the Dino Dan website.  I put the picture of a dinosaur on one side of the card with its name printed on the back.

#3 Mummies in the Morning

In this book, Jack and Annie travel to Ancient Egypt and learn about writing called hieroglyphics.

Write your name using hieroglyphics.

I used a worksheet I found on the Great Scott Graphics website.

#8 Midnight on the Moon

Jack and Annie travel to the moon in this space adventure.

How many moon rocks can you toss into the craters on the moon?

I created a ball tossing game I found in a children’s activity book in our collection.  I took a large piece of cardboard and cut it into a circle.  Then I attached five or six cups (with the bottoms cut out) randomly around the board bottom-side up.  I covered the whole thing with a piece of gray fabric we had in our craft supplies using spray adhesive, cutting out holes over each of the cup openings.  Then the kids threw balls into the  holes.

#10 Ghost Town at Sundown

This book takes place in a Wild West ghost town.

Pretend to be a cowboy or cowgirl and try to toss a ring around a cactus.

This was one of the activities that was a bit of a stretch.  Cactuses weren’t really an integral part of this book, but we had a cardboard cactus ring toss game we’d used in a program before, so I just went with it.

#12 Polar Bears Past Bedtime

In this Arctic adventure, Jack and Annie try on polar bear masks worn by the native Arctic people.

Make your own polar bear mask.

I found this great craft idea on the I Heart Crafty Things blog.

#19 Tigers at Twilight

This adventure in India begins with an excerpt from William Blake’s poem “The Tyger”.

Write your own animal poem.

I placed an illustrated copy of The Tyger at the station and provided lined paper and pencils for the kids to write their own poetry.

#28 High Tide in Hawaii

Jack and Annie make new friends and taste some new things at a luau when they visit Hawaii.

Drink some pineapple punch.

I found a recipe for pineapple punch online, and we played hula music at this station as well.

#39 Dark Day in the Deep Sea

Jack and Annie try to save an octopus from a net in this adventure.

Catch as many fish as you can without trapping an octopus in your net!

I used water tables, nets, and foam fish that we use for summer programs.

#47 Abe Lincoln at Last

Jack and Annie go back in time to meet President Abraham Lincoln.

Taste one of the President’s favorite snacks. 

At the time, this was the most recent Magic Tree House title published, so I wanted to include it, but I had to stretch a bit to come up with something to go with it.    According to a few sources, one of the president’s favorite snacks was gingerbread.  Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to find gingerbread in the summer, so we had ginger snaps instead.

Storytime Share: Moon & Stars

21 12 2012

This past summer, I once again took my show on the road for children of various ages throughout the county.  I based my storytimes on the Collaborative Summer Library Program‘s 2012 theme “Dream Big – Read!”  Each of my storytimes this summer had to do with nighttime: Owls, Moon & Stars, and Bedtime.

Here’s an overview of the materials I used for the Moon & Stars storytime:


Happy Birthday, Moon by Frank Asch; illustrated by the author

After discovering they share a birthday, Bear finds a way to give the moon the perfect gift.  Preschool

I Want to Be an Astronaut by Byron Barton; illustrated by the author

A great introduction to the everyday activities of an astronaut in space. Preschool

The Story of the Milky Way by Joseph Bruchac and Gayle Ross; illustrated by Virginia A. Stroud

This Cherokee legend tells the origin tale of the band of stars known as the Milky Way. Early Elementary; Older Elementary

The Night Rainbow by Barbara Juster Esbensen; illustrated by Helen K. Davie

This poem shares many of the legends and tales told around the world about the beautiful phenomenon known as the Northern Lights. Older Elementary

Night Lights by Susan Gal; illustrated by the author

A child encounters many different types of lights while going about her evening routine.  Toddler; Preschool

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes; illustrated by the author

Little Kitten mistakes the moon and its reflection for a big bowl of milk.  Preschool

How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers; illustrated by the author

In an effort to befriend a star, a young boy searches for ways to get close to one, and through an unexpected twist, is rewarded in the end. Preschool, Early Elementary

The Little Moon Princess by Y.J. Lee; illustrated by the author

With the help of a friendly sparrow, a young princess living in the sky who is afraid of the dark, finds a way to light up the night sky.  Early Elementary, Older Elementary

Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott; illustrated by the author

A traditional Ashanti tale about Anansi the spider, who asks Nyame, the God of All Things, to help him determine how to reward his many sons who have worked together to save his life.  Early Elementary,  Older Elementary

What the Sun Sees/What the Moon Sees by Nancy Tafuri; illustrated by the author

This book, which the reader flips over halfway through to complete the story, takes the audience from morning to night.  Toddler, Preschool


“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (simply sung aloud as a group)

“Star Tonight” by Dog on Fleas (Beautiful World)

“Constellation Conga” by Recess Monkey (The Final Funktier)

“Moon Jump” by Aaron Nigel Smith (Let’s Pretend)

Other Activities:

” Hey Diddle Diddle” (recited as a group with props – could be done as a flannel as well)

Storytime Share: Bedtime

21 12 2012

This past summer, I once again took my show on the road for children of various ages throughout the county.  I based my storytimes on the Collaborative Summer Library Program‘s 2012 theme “Dream Big – Read!”  Each of my storytimes this summer had to do with nighttime: Owls, Moon & Stars, and Bedtime.

Here’s an overview of the materials I used for the Bedtime storytime:


Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed retold by Eileen Christelow; illustrated by the author

Great version of the perennial classic rhyme about naughty monkeys falling off the bed. Toddler, Preschool

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney; illustrated by the author

Little Llama experiences typical feelings of worry at bedtime, but his llama mama is always there to comfort him.  Toddler, Preschool

Cowlick! by Christin Ditchfield; illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Fun, rhyming story about the way cowlicks come about during the night.  Preschool

Good Night, Tiptoe! by Polly Dunbar; illustrated by the author

Tilly goes about her usual bedtime routine of putting all her animal friends to bed, but rabbit Tiptoe just isn’t ready for bed yet.  Toddler, Preschool

Flora’s Blanket by Debi Gliori; illustrated by the author

When bedtime rolls around, Flora is unable to settle down until her missing blanket can be found.  Preschool

What! Cried Granny by Kate Lum; illustrated by Adrian Johnson

Poor granny tries her hardest to provide Patrick with all the comforts of bedtime when he comes to her house for his first sleepover, from a teddy bear to the bed itself, all of which she makes by hand!  Preschool, Early Elementary

Too Much Noise by Ann McGovern; illustrated by Simms Taback

When Peter has trouble sleeping, the village wise man advises him to add more and more noisy items to the house, until Peter finally understands the true meaning of peace and quiet.  Preschool, Early Elementary


“Wimoweh” by Laurie Berkner (Whaddaya Think of That?)

“Five Little Monkeys” by Hap Palmer (So Big)

“Rock-a-Bye Your Bear” by The Wiggles (Hot Potatoes!: The Best of the Wiggles)

Other Activities:

“Ten in the Bed” (this traditional rhyme/song can either be acted out by the kids or done as a flannel)