Family Storytime: Building

For this storytime I figured we’d try to keep in line with our Summer Reading theme of Build a Better World and focus on all things building and construction.

Here’s what we did:

I always start with just about the same warm ups:

  • Song – Top of the Morning
    • This is a good song to warm up with because we stretch all the parts we will be using in storytime. Eyes, arms, legs, mouth, nose.
  • Rhyme – Say Hello
    • love this rhyme. Everyone claps along and at the end we say hello how ever I tell them to. Loud, soft, quick, slow.
  • Song – Tap Your Toes and Follow Me by Susan Salidor
    • This is just a easy song with simple movements to get us warmed up.
  • Movement Exercise – Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
    • Now that we are warmed up we get moving with this classic. Do it three times faster and faster each time.

From here we get into our theme.

  • ASL – Summer. Read. Build.
    • I like to teach my my kids a few American Sign Language signs at the start of every storytime. This helps foster communication and with a large deaf community in our town it’s a great tool to have.
  • Movement Exercise – Cranes61dm42gzvul-_sx484_bo1204203200_
    • We pretended we moved like cranes; reaching up high and low and all around. You can find the words at: Jen in the library.
  • Story – Rex Wrecks It! By Ben Clanton
    • Kids can always relate to building things and then knocking them down. I love this one because you know what’s coming and so do the kids.
  • Song -Shake my Sillies Out
    • By this time we were ready to get our wiggles out so I played this classic and we shook out all the sillies.
  • Rhyme w/ Prop – Five Little Nails
    • I made my own version from Mel’s Desk. This was such an easy and awesome prop!
      51hd0awvwbl-_sx430_bo1204203200_
  • Flannel Board – Construction Countdown by K.C. Olson
    • I actually created my own flannel board using the vehicles listed in the book. We counted 10 dump trucks, 9 cement mixers, etc. Counting is popular with this crew.
  • Game – Sleeping sleeping sleeping all the children were sleeping
    • This is a game my mom uses when she nannies. Basically, you put the kids to sleep:
      • Sleeping, sleeping all my friends were sleeping. And when they woke up they were… (name an animal to act out).
    • Don’t forget to turn them back to good boys and girls at the end!
  • Story – Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey 61tbwcfq1wl-_sy487_bo1204203200_Rinkey and Tom Lichtenheld
    • This is a longer one then I normally do but I cut down on how many vehicles we say goodnight to.
  • Movement w/ Scarves – Toss Your Scarves
    • Simple rhyme and lets us use our scarves more than once.
  • Song w/ Scarves – Let’s Go Fly A Kite (yes the Mary Poppins song 🙂
    • I pass out scarves and we pretend they are kites while we sing along.

Finally, I always end with the same three things:

  • Movement Exercise – If You’re Happy and You Know It
    • I tell the kids that I want to know how happy they are.
  • Rhyme – Say Goodbye
    • This is the same rhyme we started with, so the new guys are familiar with it by the end of storytime.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell my Friends by Music Together
    • I always put this one on as I go to open the door. Its a nice, slow, peaceful song to wind down on.

How’d it go: This one started off really great. We got a little fussy toward the end so I barely read any of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and pretty much went straight to the scarf song. With a big crew like this it is good to have lots of songs and movements ready just in case we can’t sit still.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Windwitch

Windwitch by Susan Dennard is the second book in The Witchlands series. This one picks up only a few days after book one. All of our main characters are separated and facing trials of their own.

Merrick’s ship exploded, causing his country to believe him dead; now Merrick is burned beyond recognition, hellbent on getting revenge. Vivan is trying to save her country from starvation while guarding the border and trying to claim her rightful crown.

Iseult is running from the cleaved and her nightmares while trying to track down her thread-sister and figure out what she really is. Aeduan failed to track down the person who stole his coins and when he takes on a new mission, he is surprised to find that the threads that bind work in mysterious ways.

When we left Safi, she had agreed to work for the Empress of Marstok to save the people she loves. Now she is separated from her thread-sister and at the mercy of assassins.

Who will find who? Who will survive? And how will the Witchlands survive the tumultuous political climate to come?

This book had an interesting narrative style. We basically get two and a half duel perspective narratives. Merrick and is his sister Vivan; Iseult and Aeduan; and Safi thrown in between. In each section, you are given just enough to pull you in, so you want to know what happens and then, poof, you are thrown into another narrative. This works and it doesn’t. It works because you are sucked in and want to know more and it doesn’t because with so many narratives it doesn’t feel like very much happens.

I was a bit more understand of this when I realized The Witchlands is an expected 5 book series. So Windwitch is really supposed to be a way to set the stage for what’s to come. Right now there are hints of the overarching theme/conflict/battle to come but we are still not exactly sure what that will be and what part our characters will play in it.

I said in my review of Truthwitch that the world building was a little lacking but that it didn’t really bother me because the book was so character driven. That opinion still holds for this one, except that I am really missing some of the driving details… the overarching conflict to come.

I’m giving this one 3.5 stars because I really enjoy the dynamic between Iseult and Aeduan. Their storylines are so complex and their characters are just a little dark and twisty and I like it.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Uprooted

Hi Guys,

Uprooted by Naomi Novik is one of my newer favorite fantasy standalone novels. I’ve read it once and listened to it on audio. This week, I was between audiobooks and didn’t want to start another when I have several on hold at the library, so of course I went back to a favorite.

Uprooted is a fantasy novel with witches, wizards, courts and villages, spells and magic and evil corruption. Agnieszka knows she will never be taken because everyone knows the Dragon only takes the most special girls and Angieszka is a smudged, wild, plain girl while Kasia is talented in every way.

Once every ten years the Dragon, a powerful sorcerer and lord of the Valley, leaves his high tower to choose a seventeen year old village girl to serve in his castle. In return, the Dragon protects his people from the Woods. The Woods surrounding the valley are corrupt and all sorts of terrible and strange creatures live within. Every year the Wood takes more and more of the valley and all anyone can do is hold back the storm–the Wood cannot be beaten.

Angieszka fears for her friend Kasia as the choosing approaches, but she should fear for herself. For something powerful lies within Angieszka, which might just make her the most special of them all.

What will Angieszka do when she is chosen? Will she allow fear to manage her or will she find the strength within to fight the coming storm?

The narration of Uprooted is so interesting. The narrator has a Russian accent, but you get the feeling that the book is written out of time and place. The first time I listened to this book, I started out being a little skeptical of the accent but now I can’t imagine the audiobook without it.

There is just so much depth to this book and things are tied together so well, that you don’t even notice until the end or on a second read through. So much happens in this 430+ page book and yet it doesn’t feel too long and there really weren’t any parts that bored me.

The magic in this book is unique; the spells, the way it is used, is done in a way I haven’t seen before. I also love how Angieszka’s powers go against what is known and believed. Her powers seem to stem from the Wood and she doesn’t go against her nature even to meet with the approval of her teacher and the King’s court. I also love how she embraces the dishevelment and no one can make her be anything other than herself.

This book is just special. It is unique. A story that I’ve never heard of before and one that was very hard for me to put down, even when it was over. On a third read, this one still gets 5 stars from me!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Build A Better World

Hi Guys,

Finally got a new display for you all. We’ve been short staffed lately and with school visits, I haven’t gotten a chance to make many new ones. But Summer Read and Learn is coming up so it was time to get one done.

Our theme this year is Build a Better World, so of course I went with a lego themed display!

20170526_120334

20170526_120434

Came out pretty good actually. Wasn’t so sure about the scale but not bad.

20170526_115711

Enjoy! That’s all for now!

-M-

PAX

Pax by Sara Pennypacker is a juvenile fiction book and a nominee for the 2017-2018 Maryland Black-Eyed Susan award.

Pax was taken in a just a baby fox by a human boy and his father. For seven years Pax and Peter were inseparable but the war in encroaching and Peter’s father enlists, forcing Peter to move in with his grandfather, where there is no room for a fox. Forced to separate, Peter leaves his fox deep in the woods where he hopes he will be safe. Almost instantly Peter regrets this decision and so begins a 300 mile trek into a war torn wilderness.

Pax is the story of two journey’s: Peter’s journey, alone to retrieve his friend and fulfill a duty all his own; and Pax’s journey to survive a world he has never known, to do more than survive… to thrive.

Being pregnant, I can’t seem to keep my eyes open at night lately but I really want to get through some of these BES’s, so I went to my trusty audiobook. This will actually be a good one to play in the car for your kids; the story has a good flow and the voices are quite captivating.

As much as many of my librarian friends really like this one, it faded for me a little about midway. A great story but a few too many branches in my opinion. This isn’t just Pax and Peter’s journey, it’s the father’s, Vola’s, Runt’s, etc. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but the middle lagged for me and I was craving some more details about the setting and a bit more background.

I also felt there wasn’t much resolution in the end. Peter and Pax’s journey ends but what about everyone else. Yes, Peter and Pax both grow throughout this book and we see how they’ve grown apart but still maintain their deep forged connection, but I still missed the rest of Peter’s story. There was so much build up about Peter’s family life that I felt a little cheated with what we get in the end.

I did love Pax’s narrative. Very believable that a fox was telling this tale. We get his scents and his worldview and the writing even felt almost animalistic in its telling.

Overall, this was a really good story and one I think the kids will like. It may open the door to conversations about nature, war, family relations and finding oneself and growing up. This is definitely a coming of age novel and reminded me a little (very little) of Call of the Wild.

This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Womb: A Novel in Utero

I was given a copy of this book for an honest review*Please note I very rarely review unsolicited manuscripts*

Womb: A Novel in Utero by Eric D. Goodman is an adult fiction book told from the perspective of an unborn child. Penny wasn’t ready to be a mother. Her life wasn’t where she expected it to be and the circumstances of her pregnancy were also unplanned and completely unexpected. Ignoring the life growing inside her and terrified of confessing the truth of her pregnancy to her husband Jack, Penny’s guilt and anxiety writhe inside her as does the fetus within.

Our narrator feels every bump in the road, every twist and turn. He can feel his mother’s emotions and intuit the world around her. Memories are passed between mother and son and access to the collective unconsciousness allows our narrator to ruminate about life and all it’s hurdles.

Will Jack and Penny be able to overcome their differences and embrace an unexpected future? And what can a fetus do when it’s very existence is threatened?

This is the second book I’ve read by Goodman,  Tracks: A Novel in Stories being the first. Goodman has a knack for pace and writing that is readable and relatable. His books are a breeze to get through and something about the writing just sucks you in.

When I first picked up Womb, I was a bit skeptical because where can a story go when it’s narrator is literally in a void–unable to communicate, let alone act upon the world it inhabits. But the way Goodman sets up our narrator, he can do just that. Yes, he is an outside observer but sometimes those are the best narrators. Through the baby’s eyes we get to see an everyday couple go through ups and downs.

I just happen to be pregnant while reading this book, which I think gave me a whole different perspective on it. I know how my baby is growing and what is happening, so it was interesting to see the narrator grow in these same stages throughout. It also makes you think about the bond a mother and child form, even before the baby is born.

I will say, that I was more wrapped into the story itself rather than the narrators musings about life. At times our fetus was a little too philosophical for me, which was a little hard to believe. Don’t get me wrong, some very poignant thoughts and ideas but from the perspective of a fetus is was sometimes hard to get my head around.

Overall, this was a quick read with a unique narration that kept me interested throughout. This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Family Storytime: Birthdays

Hi Guys. My family storytime this week just happened to fall on my birthday, so I decided what better then to have a birthday theme storytime!

I always start with the same warm ups:

  • Song – Top of the Morning
    • This is a good song to warm up with because we stretch all the parts we will be using in storytime. Eyes, arms, legs, mouth, nose.
  • Rhyme – Say Hello
    • love this rhyme. Everyone claps along and at the end we say hello how ever I tell them to. Loud, soft, quick, slow.
  • Movement Exercise – Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
    • We do this three times, faster and FASTER each time.
  • Song – Hokey Pokey
    • Once we were warmed up we did a little hokey pokey to shake things up.

From here we get into our theme.

  • ASL – Happy Birthday
    • I like to teach my my kids a few American Sign Language signs at the start of every storytime. This helps foster communication and with a large deaf community in our town it’s a great tool to have.
  • Flip Chart – Happy Birthday to You
    • This is sung to the tune of twinkle, twinkle little star.

Happy Birthday, it’s your day.51e9i59kinl-_sx456_bo1204203200_

Hope it’s great in every way. 

We are here to celebrate

Because we thing that you are GREAT!

Happy Birthday, it’s your day.

Hope it’s great in every way. 

  • Story w/ Props – It’s My Birthday by Helen Oxenbury
    • My colleague had this one all ready for me. She had all the ingredients, a paper oven and I pulled all of my puppet friends to help me bake the cake.
  • Song – Happy Birthday
    • This is a great dancing birthday song. My colleague gave it to me from a CD of hers but I have no idea what it actually is. It goes something like “Happy Birthday, hap happy birthday. It’s your birthday…”
  • Movement Exercise – Make a Wish

Big Chocolate cake (Make big bowl with your arms)5151ugpa-tl-_sx444_bo1204203200_

Dish of ice cream (Make a cup out of your hands)

Ten candles (Wiggle your fingers)

Make a wish and blow them out! (Blow on each of your hands and make a fist to show the candles are out)

  • Flannel Board – Ten Little CandlesI used candles we already had made and got the words from here. I used the flannel instead of my fingers but it would have worked just as well.
  • Song -Shake my Sillies Out
    • By this time we were ready to get our wiggles out so I played this classic and we shook out all the sillies.
  • Story w/ Magnets – Wibbly Pig Opens His Presents by Inkpen
    • Another one from my colleague. She had magnets of all the presents ready and laminated wrapping paper to put over them. It was like a big reveal. I even used a “Wibbly” pig puppet.
  • Song w/ Shakers – Can’t Stop the Feeling! Trolls Soundtrack I passed out shakers and we danced our fanny’s off to this song. Not a normal storytime song BUT we loved it and so did the adults.81acafb99pl-_sx425_

Finally, I always end with the same three things:

  • Movement Exercise – If You’re Happy and You Know It
    • I tell the kids that I want to know how happy they are.
  • Rhyme – Say Goodbye
    • This is the same rhyme we started with, so the new guys are familiar with it by the end of storytime.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell my Friends by Music Together
    • I always put this one on as I go to open the door. Its a nice, slow, peaceful song to wind down on.

How’d it go: Now that we are reaching our summer months, we have to do our storytimes in a little bit smaller of a room. So we can get a little crowded with our 75-100+ people. I was totally prepared to put up a “we’re full” sign but fortunately, our crowd was about the top of what I could handle in this room.

Overall, it went really well. Everyone wished me a happy birthday and I even successfully used my puppets, which can be dicey depending on the day. I was super thankful to have my colleagues help with getting this one ready. We’ve been busy scheduling and doing summer reading visits that I kind of had to throw this one together at the last moment. But teamwork prevailed and we made it through!

That’s all for now!

-M-