Reading with Little L: First Chapter Books

18 11 2015

Now that Little L is a little older and has started school, we’ve started adding some chapter books into our regular reading time. The first chapter book we read was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

wizard of oz baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum; illustrated by W.W. Denslow

This title worked well because he loves the movie and was already familiar with the characters and basic storyline.

Another book we read that’s been turned into a movie (which Little L actually hasn’t even seen yet) was The Iron Giant.


The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes; illustrated by Dirk Zimmer

The nice thing about this book is that is already broken into parts that are intended to be read over the course of five nights.

Each year my library hosts a reading festival for children, and this year one of the authors was Debbie Dadey, co-author of the Bailey School Kids series. Little L loves monsters and supernatural beings, so I knew this series would be a perfect fit for him. I got the first book in the series (Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots) for him, and he was able to meet Ms. Dadey and have her sign his book at the festival. After finishing the first one, we’ve continued to read other books in the series as well.


Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones; illustrated by John Gurney

We’re currently working our way through the classic Winnie-the-Pooh. Again, I think Little L likes this one because he’s already familiar with the characters and even some of the stories.


Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne; illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard

I love reading with Little L, and now that he’s a little older, it’s so nice to be able branch out into longer, more complex books. It’s also wonderful to talk with him about the stories and hear his perspective on them.

He’s starting to begin reading some on his own now, but I hope he’ll let me continue to read with him for a long time.



Storytime Share: Fall Leaves

9 11 2015

I don’t even know how many times I’ve done a fall-themed storytime. My estimate is around somewhere around 40. This month my fall storytime focused on leaves in particular. It was a hit with kids in the library and at preschools I visited.


Baby Loves Fall! by Karen Katz; illustrated by the author

A lift-the-flap book celebrating the joys of fall. Toddler


Fall Is Not Easy by Marty Kelley; illustrated by the author

Children will laugh as a tree explains why fall is its most difficult time of year. Preschool




The Leaves Fall Around by Steve Mack; illustrated by the author

An autumnal twist on the song “The Green Grass Grew All Around.” Preschool, Toddler


Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson; illustrated by Buket Erdogan

Mouse and Minka enjoy an abundance of leaves as they play outside in the fall. Preschool, Toddler


Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert; illustrated by the author

The narrator describes the growth of her favorite maple tree from its beginning as a seed.


“Autumn Leaves”

sung to: “London Bridge”

Autumn leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down

Autumn leaves are falling down all over town

The cold wind blows them all around…

They’re drifting gently to the ground…

“Leaves Are Falling Down”

variation of: “Rain Is Falling Down”

Leaves are falling down – crunch!

Leaves are falling down – crunch!

Whirling, twirling, whirling, twirling,

Leaves are falling down – crunch!

Note: Before we sing this one I talk to the kids about the sound that dried leaves make when we step on them.

“Put Your Leaf on Your…”

sung to: “Put Your Finger in the Air”

Put your leaf on your nose, on your nose

Put you leaf on your nose, on your nose

Put your leaf on your nose, on your nose, on your nose

Put your leaf on your nose, on your nose

Repeat with other body parts, ending with “Put your leaf in the air…”

Note: I give each child a paper leaf to use for this song.

Flannel: Leaf Matching Game

Each child receives a leaf in one of five different shapes – maple, oak, aspen, willow, and ginkgo. As I put one of the leaf shapes up on the board, the children with the matching leaves bring them up to the board as well. I usually do this activity before reading Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf and end with the maple leaf since that transitions well into the book.


Storytime Share: Apples

29 10 2015

The “Apple” theme is a popular one in the fall. Just try finding an apple book on the shelves this time of year. Last month I did several variations on this theme for groups at the library and in preschool settings.



Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington; illustrated by the author

Annie harvests her apples to make yummy treats and sell them at market. Preschool


Ducking for Apples by Lynne Berry; illustrated by Hiroe Nakata

Five little ducks set off on an adventure on their bikes to find apples. Preschool


Maisy’s First Colors by Lucy Cousins; illustrated by the author

Maisy and her friends eat colorful foods, including red apples. Toddler





One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert; illustrated by Karla Gudeon

The life cycle of an apple is traced, from fruit to seed to tree and back around again. Preschool


Ten Red Apples by Virginia Miller; illustrated by the author

Bartholomew Bear loves to play on the apple tree in his yard and count its apples. Note: I read this twice in a row with each group, reading the story the first time and counting the apples the second. Preschool, Toddler

Flannel/Song: “A-P-P-L-E” (Sung to “B-I-N-G-O”)

I put the felt letters on the board and pointed to them as we sang the chorus.

Fingerplay/Rhyme: “Way Up High in the Apple Tree”

Song: “Ten Little Apples in the Apple Tree” (Sung to “Ten Little Indians”)


Reading with Little C: Baby Books

8 01 2015

Little C made his appearance at the end of February. As the second child he probably doesn’t get as much one-on-one book sharing time as his older brother did as a baby. He’s usually with us when I read to Little L at night, so he’s experiencing the language and artwork in his own way though. When we do get the chance to read to him on his own, there are some titles that he seems to especially enjoy (in addition to many of the same books we read to Little L as a baby – see here and here).

These mostly black-and-white board books by Peter Linenthal:

look animals

Look at the Animals! by Peter Linenthal; illustrated by the author


look look

Look Look! by Peter Linenthal; illustrated by the author

These board books from Caroline Jayne Church based on the classic songs:

twinkle twinkle

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star adapted and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church

you sunshine

You Are My Sunshine by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell; adapted and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church

And we received this great title as a gift, and it’s been one of Little C’s favorites from the beginning:

i kissed baby

I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy; illustrated by the author

I’m looking forward to see what Little C chooses as he gets older and what his individual tastes will be in contrast to his brother’s favorite titles.

Reading with Little L: Four-Year-Old Reads

7 01 2015

Since it’s almost Little L’s birthday again, here’s a quick (and I know, incomplete) round up of his favorite titles this past year.

Little L has been obsessed with princesses, especially the Disney ones, for quite a while now. So we have a big collection of Disney princess books that are on constant rotation. His very favorites have been Sleeping Beauty and Frozen. He especially loves this Little Golden version of the latter:



Frozen by Victoria Saxon; illustrated by Grace Lee, Massimiliano Narcisso, and Andrea Cagol

We also read from the many other Little Golden books that we own, especially these titles:

poky little puppy

The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey; illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren

shy little kitten

The Shy Little Kitten by Cathleen Schurr; illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren

house had enough

The House That Had Enough by P.E. King; illustrated by John O’Brien

This last title was a gift from my grandmother when I was young. It’s about a little girl who doesn’t clean up her belongings until all of her possessions and even the house itself run away. My grandmother bought individual copies for my sister and me. She even crossed out the name of the main character throughout the book and wrote in our names. This was a not at all subtle message that we needed to do a better job cleaning our rooms!

In addition to the Disney film collection, Little L also loves The Wizard of Oz. So, for our first venture into reading a chapter book together, I decided to go with this one, reading a chapter every night. Since he already knew the basic story and was familiar with the characters I think it was an easier transition than choosing a book that would have been completely new to him. It also led to some good discussions about how the movie is different from the book.

wizard of oz baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum; illustrated by W. W. Denslow

We also have a cool Scanimation version of the book that he saw at a book store and just had to have:

wizard oz scanimation

The Wizard of Oz adapted by Rufus Butler Seder

Another movie adaptation Little L really liked was Jumanji, and subsequently we did multiple readings of the wonderful book.


Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg; illustrated by the author

Probably his very favorite book this year has been The Foggy Foggy Forest. He quickly memorized it and now says that he can “read” it. It’s been very nice on evenings  that I’ve been tired (which is most evenings now that Little C is around, too) to let him “read” it to me. He also “reads” the Frozen book to us.

foggy forest

The Foggy Foggy Forest by Nick Sharratt; illustrated by the author

Speaking of reading, I’m really looking forward to the time when Little L begins reading (without quotes) on his own. He’s doing a great job with letter sounds and some word recognition, so I think it will happen pretty soon. Very exciting for this librarian mommy!

Speaking of letting Little L read to me, we also took a foray into wordless books. He especially enjoyed these:


Chalk by Bill Thomson

flora flamingo

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle


Journey by Aaron Becker

We also read nonfiction books when Little L became interested in certain subjects. Earlier this year there was a book about houses he wanted me to read to him over and over. Unfortunately it was a beginning reader title which meant it wasn’t exactly a stimulating read for me. That’s not to say this isn’t a fine title for someone just learning to read though!

where we live

Where We Live by Brenda Stones and Thea Feldman

Lately Little L’s been very interested in the human body and just last week he declared this title his favorite book after just one reading:

drop blood

A Drop of Blood by Paul Showers; illustrated by Edward Miller

This probably has something to do with the vampire theme as much as the subject matter. As a balance to his love of princesses, Little L is also very into zombies, monsters, vampires, and ghosts.

We had to read this book every night for at least a good month:

frankenstein sandwich

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex; illustrated by the author

Thank goodness it’s a really great, hilarious book that stands up to repeated readings!

And last but not least, the book that made Little L laugh so hard I wasn’t sure he was breathing for a second:

book no pictures

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak




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!