LapSit Storytime- 2/13/17

It’s time for another LapSit Storytime! This time I picked two stories that have to do with love or friendships or hearts–just a mini plug for Valentines Day. I don’t normally get too crazy with themes for this age group.

Here’s a list of what we did:

  • Rhyme – Welcome, Welcome Everyone
    • This is to the tune of twinkle, twinkle little star and it is my way to welcome my crew to storytime.Welcome, welcome everyoneNow you’re here, we’ll have some fun!

      First we’ll clap our hands just so,

      Then we’ll bend and touch our toes.

      Welcome, welcome everyone

      Now you’re here, we’ll have some fun!

  • ASL – Hello Friends
    • I like to use sign language in my story time. We go over the signs for: Hello, Friends, Time and Say. Thanks to Jbrary for this one!
  • Movement Exercise – Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes
    • I like to get warmed up with this classic.
  • Song w/ Movements – Hands are for Clapping by Jim Gill
    • We follow along with the lyrics and do the movements.
  • Movement Exercise – Roll, Roll, Roll Your Hands
    • This is a song with easy movements that can help with dexterity.Roll, roll, roll your handsAs fast as fast can be

      Do it now, let me see. Do it now with me.

      (repeat with verses for clapping hands, tapping feet, and shaking legs)

  • Story – A Splendid Friend, Indeed! by Suzanne Bloom51wo-yn8bml-_sx388_bo1204203200_
    • This one is a lot of fun if you do the voices!
  • Bounce – This is the Way the Lady Rides
    • This is one of my most popular bounces. We get faster and faster with each verse.

This is the way the lady rides

Lady ride, lady rides.

This the way on her way to town. 

Repeat with Gentleman, Doctor and Cowboy.

  • Movement Rhyme – I’m a Little Tea Pot
    • This is a classic and if I have some bigger kids in the group they can do it themselves.
  • Song w/ Movements – The Wheels on the Bus
    • We use the version where the babies bounce not cry.
  • Bounce – Going Up and Down in an Elevator
    • Obviously we like our bounces. Baby goes up and down as you do the rhyme.

Going up and down in an elevator

Up and down in an elevator

Up and down in an elevator

First floor, second floor, third floor, Yay!

  • Story – My Heart is Like a Zoo by Micheal Hall 41-op1mqcll-_sx364_bo1204203200_
    • Our library doesn’t actually own a copy of this one, so I made my own storyboard with craft sticks.
  • Song w/ Scarves – Let’s Go Fly a Kite from Mary Poppins
    • I like to switch between a song with shakers and a song with scarves. This week we went with the scarves. They’re my personal favorite.
  • Movement Rhyme – Row, Row, Row Your Boat
    • We pick a nice slow rhyme so slow down with.
  • ASL – Goodbye Friends
    • We learn to say goodbye in ASL and use the same signs and song as our hello.
  • Song – Goodbye, So long, Farewell My Friends by Music Together
    • Just a slow, goodbye song I always put on as I open the doors to say goodbye.

How’d it go? This is always an easy group to please. We had a good turnout and even some new faces. All in all, a successful storytime!

That’s all for now!

-M-

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Cress

Cress by Marissa Meyer is the third book in the Lunar ChroniclesCinder and Thorn are still on the run but now they are joined by Wolf and Scarlet and together they hope to overthrow Queen Levana.

In looking for help, they stumble upon Cress, a Lunar shell with amazing technological abilities. Cress hates Levana and her Captain Sybil for locking her up and ripping her from her family. Cress has been held prisoner, alone, on a tiny satellite for more than seven years, her only company computers. She has been forced to spy on the Earthens and assist Queen Levana in all of her evil plots. But she has been feeding the queen bad information and secretly communicating with Cinder.

Now Cinder and her crew must rescue Cress and stop the royal wedding. But this rescue mission goes awry and Cinder and her crew are separated–one captured, one seriously injured and two presumed dead.

How will Cinder stop a war when she can’t even save her own people?

Man, these audiobooks get longer and longer. I definitely still enjoyed this one but it wasn’t quite as good as Scarlet. In this one, the main story-line–saving Kai, the world and stopping Levana–gets put on hold until about 3/4 of the way through while everything else sort of falls apart. We once again get diverging story-lines, occurring simultaneously, that will ultimately meet up in the end. This was fine, but I’d just gotten used to the crew being all together.

I really enjoy how each book focuses on a different love story. Wolf and Scarlet are probably still my favorite pairing but Thorn and Cress are super interesting characters and I sort of like how their relationship evolves throughout the book. But really, what are with all of the female characters in this book questioning their hearts and the hearts of others? I get that this type of thing helps to make relationships a bit more dynamic and interesting but I’d sort of like one straightforward relationship to tied me over.

We are also introduced to another layer or element of the story. Jason, a Lunar Guard who lives to serve his princess… not Cinder but Winter. What little we see of Winter in this book was great. I liked this glimpse into her crazy innocence. We also get another hint into Queen Levana’s backstory, but still not enough for me to really care about her one way or another.

Overall, another entertaining listen, just maybe not as tight as the second book. This one gets three stars from me. On to Winter and it’s whopping 23+ hours of audio.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Truthwitch

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard is the first book in The Witchlands series. A fragile peace has held sway for the past twenty years, keeping warring nations at bay, but the peace treaty is nearing its end and tensions are on the rise.

Amidst these trying times two witches, Safiya and Iseult, have a pension for finding trouble. After stepping on the wrong toes they are being hunted by a powerful bloodwitch, but there is more at risk then their own lives. Safiya must escape at all cost and keep hidden her truthwitch powers, a rare ability many would kill for. Iseult is determined to protect her threadsister at all cost, even if it means ignoring the truth of her own powers.

The two witches run into an unlikely and reluctant ally in the form of Prince Merik, an airwitch. Safiya’s safety is tied to a trade agreement that may save Merik’s starving people. Together the three must make a dangerous journey all while being hunted by assassins, emperors and nations.

What will become of Safiya and Iseult if they are caught? Can Merik trust that Safiya won’t betray his people? And how are two girls to keep a war at bay and restore the well of this magical society?

I really got into this one. It wasn’t the best developed fantasy book I’ve ever read but it kept me interested. This is a fast-paced read, with a few adventurous twists and turns.

The world building was OK. I’m actually not as bothered as other that this world wasn’t fleshed out more because I think we will get a lot of the backstory in the sequels–probably too much if I am predicting correctly. I did really like this idea of elemental witches and that each nation has a different strength. I also like a good savior in my fantasies  and that in this one two foretold female witches (bet yea can’t guess who) are going to rebuild the Witchlands. Can’t beat a good prophecy. A lot of interesting elements here but there was just some world development missing.

I loved whenever Safiya and Iseult put there butt kicking threadsister powers to work. These two are vicious and literally unstoppable when they work together. It is like they go into this mechanical battle mode and nothing can get in their way. Dennard wrote these scenes so well too. Someone needs to film these battle scenes because these moments are action film ready in my opinion.

I am also intrigued by Iseult’s powers. I like that she can see the threads of peoples emotions, paralleled with her stony outward disposition. Iseult is a really interesting character, unlike Safiya, who is a fairly archetypal heroin. I want to see more of Iseult and the bloodwitch because I think there is a lot more than meets the eye going on there.

Overall, I like this book and I will definitely pick up the second once my TBR pile thins out. It gets a low 4 stars from me. An entertaining read, full of adventure.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Scarlet

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer is the second book in The Lunar Chronicles. We pick up with Cinder, trying her best to escape prison and stay as far away from the evil  Queen Levana as she can. She has been labeled a criminal and is wanted on and off Earth.

Meanwhile in France, Scarlet Benoit is desperate to find her missing grandmother. When a chance encounter puts Scarlet in the path of Wolf, a street fighter with secrets, she has no option but to place her trust in his nearly feral hands. The two are drawn closer together as they hunt down Scarlet’s grandmother.

When these two worlds collide, secrets unfold and this unlikely crew of allies must do what they can to bring down Queen Levana and in doing so, save Prince Kai and the world.

Will Scarlet find her grandmother? Can she trust Wolf to help her? Will Cinder be able to master her Lunar gift and will she commit to her destiny and reclaim the Lunar throne?

Oh man, this one was good. The whole thing was entertaining as hell. I just loved Scarlet and Wolf’s storyline. I loved both of their characters and the way their bond evolves. Scarlet is a strong, self sufficient female who wasn’t quite as annoying as I sometimes found Cinder to be in the first book. And Wolf, is he good, is he bad, will he ever stop moving–one thing we do know, he is adorable in a rugged bad-ass way. I just loved his territorial protectiveness of Scarlet.

All of the characters seemed to evolve and became more likeable in this book… except Kai, he was sort of miserable in this one and didn’t actually do much. Cinder gained a lot more personality and there is something charming about her fellow escapee, Thorne. I also enjoyed that we learn a little more about Lunar society and the way the world works in the series.

One thing I am missing from this book is a little backstory into Queen Levana. Why did she try to kill her niece and really, why is she so evil? We get a little hint toward the end of this book that answers are coming but without a little more depth, she doesn’t seem all that scary to me.

Overall, this was an entertaining read. Every time the chapters would switch between Cinder and Scarlet, I’d be like nooo go back and then I’d get sucked right into the current chapter… it was a vicious cycle. As an audiobook, this one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Caraval

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is the tale of two sisters escape into a legendary game full of adventure, intrigue and magic. Scarlett and Tella have never been off the small island they call home. They live in fear of their abusive father and long for an escape from his brutality and their small life.

For years, Scarlett has written to the infamous Legend in hopes of seeing his magical Caraval. Nearing the eve of an arranged marriage, Scarlett finally receives a reply and the sisters are invited to a special, invitation only, showing of the Caraval. Scarlett is hesitant but when Tella flees to Caraval, she has no choice but to follow and it is there that the game begins.

As part of the game, Tella has been kidnapped and Scarlett is pulled into a world that is more than it seems. Lines are blurred and danger lurks around every corner. Scarlett must rely upon a handsome stranger, Julian, to help her save her sister and win the game. But Julian’s secrets may be even worse then those of the Caraval and it’s mysterious game-master.

Will Scarlett be swept away or will she fight for a life that is hers?

I was so excited for this one. I loved Night Circus and many people were comparing Caraval to it. There is just something so mysterious about a circus/carnival, it can be the perfect avenue for a fantasy novel.

The world building here was interesting. I’m not sure if Garber was purposely vague in her description of Legend’s island in order to increase the mystery, but I wished I could see more of it. You get enough to spur your imagination but not quite enough to be fully sucked in by its wonder. Still, Caraval is a world I wanted to explore and a mystery I wanted to uncover.

Scarlett can see and taste her emotions. This was actually pretty neat and made for some interesting metaphors. In fact this whole book was filled with metaphorical language, almost too much. But it did help lend a little magic to the narrative. The language won’t work for everyone, but I didn’t mind it.

One thing this book does excel at is keeping you guessing. You’re never really sure what is real and what is an act; who you can trust and who you should run from. One minute I was positive Julian was in on it and the next I wasn’t so sure. I didn’t see anything coming and that’s not a bad thing.

As much as I enjoyed many of the elements of this book, the last 40-50 pages killed it for me. The epilogue was awesome but the ending felt rushed and Scarlett fell flat. Scarlett who grew so much throughout the book, loses her jenesequa, that something she had been gaining throughout her trials. Throughout the book, Scarlett gains courage and insight into her own heart; she becomes an independent person who can think for herself. I know I almost never include spoilers but I can’t review this one without so…

**SPOILER ALERT**

Scarlett is even strong after Julian and Tella die. She separates herself from her father and tries to make her own magic. Then Tella shows up, alive, and Scarlett finds out that her sister and Legend planned everything. No one is dead, everything Scarlett has gone through was a lie, orchestrated not only by Legend but by her own sister and she just rolls over! She just accepts it and once again allows someone else to lead her life. This frustrated the hell out of me and bumped this down a whole star. I don’t know why this hasn’t bothered anyone else.

**END SPOILER**

Ultimately, I enjoyed the world of Caraval and I wish I could have explored it more. This one gets three stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

 

Cinder

Cinder by Marissa Meyer is so much more than a reimagining of your classic Cinderella. Cinder is a sixteen-year-old mechanic, a cyborg, outcast and the bane of her stepmother’s existence. Cinder became a cyborg when she was eleven-years-old and remembers nothing of her childhood.

All Cinder wants is to be free–free to make her own decisions and to live her own life. Instead she is stuck providing for a family who barely tolerates her. Her job as a mechanic throws her in the path of the prince of New Beijing, Prince Kai. She is tasked with fixing his android, Nancy, but she finds that the android is anything but ordinary.

Interrupting this task, Cinder’s sister, Peony, comes down with a terrible plague with a 100% mortality rate. At this news, Cinder’s stepmother offers Cinder up as a lab rat in the hopes of finding a cure–an appointment that always ends in death. But the scientists soon find out that Cinder is more than meets the eye.

Will Cinder succumb to the plague? Will Peony survive? Will whatever Prince Kai is hiding be enough to halt an inevitable Lunar invasion? And where does Cinder come into all of this?

I’m not going to lie, I was super skeptical going into this one. @sophiethestark convinced me to give it a go–you can check out her review here. Still, because I was skeptical, I decided to checkout the audiobook and I’m glad I did. I’d heard mixed reviews about this first book in the series and I wonder if I might have felt the same way if I read the book. Regardless, the audiobook was definitely the way to go for me.

Cinder is a YA reimagining of Cinderella in the loosest sense of the term. This story takes place in the future among cyborgs and spaceships; there are androids and a race of people who live on the moon. The story itself starts out pretty slow, with not a lot of meat but soon the plot evolves and the pace picks up.

I feel like this is a book that is meant to set the stage for more. There isn’t a lot to it but you can tell there is a lot to come; hints toward future story arcs and bits and pieces for you to tuck away for later.

I keep thinking of what else I should say about this book but if I am being honest, not much comes to mind. Don’t get be wrong, it was an entertaining listen. I finished the audio book in just a few days, which means I listened to it in the car, while cooking, getting dress, you get the picture. I’d say check out @sophiethestark’s review if you want a review of the written book as for the audio, it was very well done and kept my interest all the way through.

This one gets 3.5 stars from me. A fun, entertaining read that you can easily get sucked in to.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Whoooo Loves Books!

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Whoooo loves books? I do! Fun, easy display for our children’s bulletin board. I swear it looks better in person! Gotta get some better lighting for these displays.

-M-