Family Storytime: A is for Apple

Hi Guys,

I feel like I haven’t done a family storytime in a while. Well this month, I decided to go with an Apple theme because it is that time of the year!

Here is what I have planned:

  • Wake Up Song – Top of the Morning
    • I really need to find a replacement for this one soon, but I just love how simple it is and it’s a good stretch before jumping into storytime.
  • Rhyme – Hello, Hello
    • This is going to be my new hello/goodbye rhyme. We are going to explore different languages by saying hello in different ways. I mixed a few different rhymes from other websites and got this one. I’m going to repeat the rhyme in ASL and then I am going to ask the audience what languages they speak and then do it a few more times in those.

Hello, hello, hello. It’s time to say “hello.”

Hello, today, to all my friends.

Hello, hello, hello.

)ASL, Hola, Bonjour, Ciao, Nǐ hǎo)

  • Movement Rhyme – Simon Says
    • Who doesn’t like a fun round of simon says!
  • ASL – Letter “A” / APPLE / RED
    • I always teach my group three new signs in American Sign Language that have to do with my theme. Check out Signing Savvy or Baby Sign Language to learn these signs.
  • White Board – Using our senses to describe an Apple
    • 51qgwkdsg2bl-_sy388_bo1204203200_I saw this one on someones post (sorry I forget where) but they drew an apple on a white board and then had the kids describe it using their different senses. I am going to give it a go because it sounds like a great STEM element.
  • Book – Apples and Pumpkins by Anne F. RockwellI’m not entirely sold on this one but it goes with my theme and I think, this time of year, the kids can relate.
  • Song – Shake My Sillies Out
    • I needed a song to break things up and couldn’t find an upbeat one about apples, so we are just going to shake our sillies out.
  • Fingerplay – 10 Red Apples 

10 red apples grow on a tree (hold up both hands, fingers spread wide)

5 for you, 5 for me (one hand forward, one hand towards yourself)

Let’s shake this tree, together–like so (wiggle in place)

And the 10 red apples will fall below. (drop your hands)

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10! (count your fingers)

  • Flannel – A-P-P-L-E IMG_0133
    • Bingo but with the word apple instead. Thanks internet!
  • Game – Sleeping, Sleeping All the Children Were Sleeping…
    • This is one my mom actually taught from when she was nannying. You put all the children to sleep and when they wake up they are… cats, lions, mice, butterflies. Just make sure you turn them back to kids before you finish.
    • We’ll see if we have time for this one.
  • Book – If You Plant a Seed by Kadir NelsonNot technically about apples but a lovely story and about seeds and planting, so it works.
  • Flannel – Five Little Apples511v106f2b0l-_sy498_bo1204203200_

Five little apples hanging in a tree,

Teasing Mr. Slinky Worm–“You can’t eat me!”

Along comes Mr. Slinky Worm as quiet as can be. . .

And . . . CRUNCH!-ed that apple right out of the tree!

(Continue until there are no more)

  • Shaker/Song – The Peppermint Twist by Joanie Bartels from Dancin’ MagicIMG_0161
    • Just a fun upbeat song to shake and dance to.
  • Rhyme – Goodbye, Goodbye
    • Basically the same as our hello rhyme but with the words “goodbye” instead.
  • Song – Clean It Up
    • Any good clean up song will work.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell by Music Together
    • I will always put this one on in the background as everyone leaves because I just love it!

How’d it go: This one went really well. We got all our STEM-iness out of the way in the beginning and no one seemed to groan when I asked about their senses. I did end up picking a different book for my first one because the one I got was too damaged. Other than that we were apple-riffic!

That’s all for now!




Vengeful by V.E. Schwab is the sequel to Vicious Schwab’s first adult novel.

EO’s or Extra Ordinary’s exist. They are people who have died or have had near death experiences but wake up different–powerful. EO’s like Sydney can raise the dead, like Eli can heal, like June can shapeshift, they can ruin, shield, destroy and save. And all of them are being hunted.

When Sydney raised Victor from the dead, he didn’t come back entirely himself. His powers are running hot and he is running out of time. Now Victor, Sydney, Mitch and Dol are looking for a cure while on the run from a secret sect of the government that wants to capture all EO’s.

What is to become of Victor? Will all the EO’s have to run forever? And what will happen when faces from the past, surface?

I have to admit, this story probably deserves more than 3.5 stars but I just couldn’t get as sucked in as I feel like I should have because I could barely remember what happened in Vicious. This is totally my fault, I should have re-read the first book or at the very least searched for a good synopsis but I didn’t and so I didn’t have all the fun details that were probably in the first book and would have made this one that much more enjoyable. But I did enjoy the book, I just kept having those “oh yeaaa” moments, that sort of slowed my progress. This was also really, really hard to summarize, which again, tells you something.

I did really like the story behind this world. The idea that people who almost die might come back as something more then they were, isn’t a new concept but Schwab really writes it in a new way. And Victor is such an interesting character. He’s not a good guy but he’s not all bad either. I remember really liking him in the first book.

That’s really all I have for this one. A good read, but definitely read the two back to back–you won’t be sorry. This one gets 3.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!


Eye of the Storm

Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner is a juvenile fiction book for 4-6th graders.

In the near future, massive storms systems devastate the world. People no longer ride bikes, go for long walks or play outside. Every home has a storm shelter and a devastating tornado could hit at any second.

In this world of fear is a tiny community called Placid Meadows, built right in the heart of the tornado belt and yet no storms ever touch it. Jaden has been sent to spend the summer at Placid Meadows in order to attend the prestigious Eye of Tomorrow summer camp and to get reacquainted with her MIA father, the creator of the community and all Storm Safe technology.

Here, Jaden makes friends and learns more about her father’s work. But something isn’t right. Observant and quick-witted, Jaden can tell that things don’t add up. Why don’t tornadoes hit this sleepy community? She knows her father is hiding something but will Jaden be brave enough to uncover the secrets that might break her family forever?

This is actually the second book I picked for my STEM Book Club, which started in September. We will be discussing this one in October.  I will admit, perhaps this one is a little tough for fourth grades but I really enjoyed it and I can definitely see the kids getting into it.

The pace of the book was great. It was slower as we were gaining background and it picks up speed as the plot does. By the time our characters are running from storms you start to feel the excitement too. Messner does a great job of getting you to feel like the characters do, through her writing.

For this STEM club we have 10 discussion questions and then we are going to do a few experiments. We’ll see how it goes!

Discussion Questions:

1. What is this book about? What are the main themes?

2. What is Meteorology? A major part of the book was this idea of weather manipulation. What do you think about this?

3. This book takes place in 2050. What makes this book “futuristic?” Can you see us getting any of this technology in the next 30+ years?

4. Page 18 – Jaden’s dad would always say that, “pretty words never protected anybody from a storm.” What do you think about this? Let’s think of other situations where words might be stronger than actions…

5. What did you think about The Eye of Tomorrow? If you were put in charge of a science camp where kids try to solve the world’s biggest problems, what would you choose to work on?

6. On page 33 we learn that storms literally never hit Placid Meadows. Why did you think this was? When did you realize what was really going on?

7. Page 147 – “If you don’t look, it won’t hurt.” When Jaden and Risha get stuck in the storm, Jaden shuts her eyes tight. Is it easier to face something scary or hide? Why?

8. One of Jaden’s biggest internal conflicts in this book is deciding between family and doing the right thing. Why do you think this is so hard?

9. Page 219 – How did you feel when Alex and Jaden looked up and realized that the three storms were merging into one? Did the narrative get you excited, scared, etc.?

10. Did you think Jaden’s dad’s punishment was fair? Do you think Grandma Althea is alive?

For my experiments we are going to create our own mini tornadoes and do an electricity experiment.

Create Your Own Mini Tornado

Supplies: Glass Jar; Water; Dish Soap; Glitter; Food Coloring


  • Fill your glass jar about 2/3 with water.
  • Add in a drop of dish soap, a drop of food coloring and some glitter.
  • Tightly put the lid on your jar.
  • “Shake” your jar in a circular motion, you should begin to see a funnel form. The glitter, soap and dye are all meant to help you see the funnel as it forms.
  • Try out different methods. What happens when you swirl the water before flipping, etc.?


  • What do you see?
  • What is happening to create this vortex in the bottle?

The Science:

  • A vortex is a type of motion that causes liquids and gases to travel in spirals around a centerline. A vortex is created when a rotating liquid falls through an opening. Gravity is the force that pulls the liquid into the hole and a continuous vortex develops. If you swirl the water in the bottle while pouring it out, it causes a vortex to form. That vortex looks like a tornado in the bottle. The formation of the vortex makes it easier for air to come into the bottle and allows the water to pour out faster.
  • Look carefully and you’ll be able to see the hole in the middle of the vortex that allows the air to come up inside the bottle. If you don’t swirl the water and just allow it to flow out on its own, then the air and water have to essentially take turns passing through the mouth of the bottle, thus the glug-glug sound.

Create Your Own Lightning

Supplies: fluorescent light bulb; rubber balloon


  • Turn all of the lights off in the room. (The darker the better!)
  • Rub the balloon on your hair for several seconds.
  • Then hold the statically charged balloon near the glass end of the light bulb.
  • Without touching the bulb, swish the balloon (the end your rubbed your hair with) just over the end of the bulb. This should illuminate the bulb.
  • Repeat the demonstration as many times as desired.


  • What is happening? What is making the bulb light up?
  • Having trouble? Maybe the room isn’t dark enough. Maybe your hair is too dirty. You can try rubbing the balloon on a wool blanket instead of your hair. Troubleshooting is part of science!

The Science:

  • When you rub the balloon on your hair, the balloon builds up an electrical charge (static electricity). Touching the charged balloon to the end of the fluorescent light bulb causes the electrical charge to jump from the balloon to the bulb. This is what illuminates the light bulb.
  • Lightning is an electrical discharge within a thunderstorm. As the storm develops, the clouds become charged with electricity. Scientists are still not sure exactly what causes this, but they do know that when the voltage becomes high enough for the electricity to leap across the air from one place to another, lightning flashes! Lightning can spark within a cloud, from one cloud to another, from a cloud to the ground, or from the ground to a cloud.

How’d it all go: This was a much more successful STEM activity then the last one. Everyone thought the lightbulb experiment was neat and we had a pretty good discussion. I think I need to do a little get-to-know you activity next time because it took awhile for the kids to warm up to each other. Other than that, a success.

That’s all for now!


The Whistling Season

The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig is an adult, historical fiction novel that takes place in the Midwest around the 1900’s.

“Can’t cook but doesn’t bite.” Begins the newspaper ad for an expert housekeeper, with “sound morals, exceptional disposition.” Drawing the attention of a widower and his three boys, so begins the story of a housekeeper and her brother and their journey into the lives of a family that will never be the same.

One-room school houses, dry land farming, comets, bullies, boxing and betting, along with all the ins-and-outs of western living can be found in this gem of a book.

This is probably my third time reading The Whistling Season. I am just so in love with the language and setting Doig manages to snag his readers with. The writing, although not for everyone, is almost fluid and magical in its intricacies of language. For some people this is intimidating and hard to get into, but give it a try because it really is an excellent example of how a simple plot can just blow you away with the written word.

Doig is a master of description. Most of his books, if not all, take place in the Midwest and boy can he just paint a picture for you. For a girl whose never been west of Pennsylvania, I can almost see the setting. This is also a great little book because I think it is about a subject in history that there isn’t much written on, so it was neat to step inside that one-room school house, out on the plains.

I picked this one for my community book club when no one was jumping up to make a suggestion. And for a book that “wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea,” it was probably the longest we have every actually stayed on topic and discussed the book. So that in itself tells you something.

If you haven’t read Ivan Doig, give him a try. He writes, not overly serious books that are so lovingly written and perfectly described. This one will always get 5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!


Baby Storytime: 10/15/18

Here is what we did for this weeks baby storytime:

Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up feet and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up and wiggle in the morning.
Also: hands, ears, knees, fingers, hips, etc.

  • ASL – The More We Get Together61x2btpbpkll-_sx496_bo1204203200_
    • We first teach the kids the signs for: More, Together, Happy & Friends. Then incorporate the signs as we sing the song. Check out Signing Savvy or Baby Sign Language to learn these signs.
  • Song – Skidermarink by Six Little Ducks
    • Just a classic movement song to get us going.
  • Board Book – Big Chickie, Little Chickie by Janee TraslerI pass out board books to each of the families to help promote one-on-one reading. This is a new one for our library and it’s great for working in opposites. The cover is also squishy, which we love.
  • Rhyme – The Itsy Bitsy Spider
    • I haven’t done this one in forever and babies love it!
  • Prop – Five Little Nailsfinishednailsdown-300x243
    • Take a look at my post on this one. So easy to make. I think I am going to do something similar with five little pumpkins soon.
  • Song/Scarves – Flitter Flutter by Johnette Downing
    • Scarves aren’t my favorite but I know they are great for the little ones. Here we pretend to be birds and butterflies.
  • Book – Mouse’s First Fall by Laura Thompson61c5jvpfqdl-_sx497_bo1204203200_
    • A little long for the babies but I have different color leaves to show and identify as we go.
  • Lift – Going Up and Down in an Elevator

Going up and down in an elevator. Up and down in an elevator. Up and down in an elevator. 1st floor. 2nd floor. 3rd floor. DOWN!

  • Bounce – This is the way the lady rides
    • My babies and caregivers love this one. We bounce faster and faster with each verse.

This is the way the lady rides. Lady rides, lady rides. This is the way the lady rides. So early in the morning.

This is the way the gentleman rides, gentleman rides, gentleman rides. This is the way the gentleman rides. So early in the morning.

This is the way the doctor rides. Doctor rides, doctor rides. This is the way the doctor rides. So early in the morning.

This is the way the cowboy rides. Cowboy rides, cowboy rides. This is the way the cowboy rides. So early in the morning. 

  • Song/Shakers – Chugga-Lugga-Choo-Choo by Johnette Downing
    • Shakers kind of sound like mini trains, so that is what we are pretending to be!
  • Song/Bubbles – Bubbles by Parachute Express
    • I love the bubble maker for the babies. Bubbles help babies because the same eye muscles the use to track the bubbles as they move, are the same muscles they will later use for reading.
  • ASL – The More We Get Together
    • I like to end with the same sign language song we used in the beginning.
  • Song – Clean It Up
    • Any good clean up song will work.
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell by Music Together
    • I will always put this one on in the background as everyone leaves because I just love it!

How’d it go: This one went really well. A good crowd and I just loved how everyone read along with me when we did our board book! Finally, starting to get back into a groove with this one–getting my regulars and a smattering of new guys each week.

That’s all for now!


Apple Flannels

Hi Guys,

Man it’s been awhile since I’ve created a new flannel, soooo I made two new apple ones!


The first is an apple version of the BINGO song.

I know a fruit that’s good to eat and apple is it’s name-o.

A-P-P-L-E, A-P-P-L-E, A-P-P-L-E

And apple is it’s name-o.

You could do this without the flannels but it’s totally more fun this way.


The second flannel goes with the rhyme, Five Little Apples:

5 little apples hanging in a tree,
Teasing Mr. Slinky worm,
“You can’t eat me, no you can’t eat me!”
Along came Mr. Slinky worm,
As quiet as can be…
and SNAP! he bites that apple right out of the tree!
(Remove one of the apples from the felt board
Continue counting down until all the apples get eaten)

No little apples hanging in the tree,
Teasing Mr. Slinky Worm
“You can’t eat me, no you can’t eat me!”
Along comes Mr. Slinky Worm as full as can be
from eating all those apples right out of the tree!

Create your tree and your apples and then you could either use your finger as the worm or you can create a pipe cleaner worm on a chopstick.

These weren’t too hard to make and will make a nice addition to a fall or harvest themed storytime!

That’s all for now!


The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kirsten White is a young adult retelling of the classic Frankenstein told from the perspective of Elizabeth Frankenstein, an orphan taken in by the Frankenstein’s as a young girl.

Elizabeth Lavenza was an abused orphan until she was taken in by the Frankenstein family as a companion for their strange, all-but genius, son Victor. In Victor, Elizabeth finds a safe haven and salvation from lonely hunger of her childhood and she will do anything to stay in his good graces. Soon the two are inseparable. Elizabeth teaches Victor to control his emotions and in return he keeps her safe.

That is until his studies takes him away from her. Left without news for months, Elizabeth is determined to track down her Victor. But what she finds is depravity, death and mystery. Elizabeth must use all her wits to protect Victor from societies wrath but who is she really protecting and at what cost?

I really enjoyed this one. White really knows how to spin a tale and I love it! It’s been a long, long time since I’ve read Frankenstein but this was definitely a new take on the story. One of the things I really liked was that I thought the story was heading in one direction and about two-thirds of the way through, it went a completely different way than I was thinking and it was better for it.

Elizabeth and “evil” Victor really make this story. Elizabeth’s mind, her ability to adapt to any situation, makes her such an interesting character and although there is supposed to be this sort of discovery of her true self, I felt that she was extremely self-aware. And the moment when Victor drops all of his carefully learned pretenses, he just became this dark sociopath and the story itself got darker for it.

I really enjoyed this retelling. Keep ’em coming White! This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!