What We Did in Storytime: Unicorns!

We’re taking August off from storytimes so as one last hurrah we did a unicorn theme. There are some really cute, readable unicorn books out there! We talked about the letter U and other things that start with that letter. Here’s what else we did…..

Theme:   Unicorns!                 Ages: 0-6               Early Literacy Focus: Letter Knowledge

Books

My favorite of the bunch. Hilarious and very readable.

 

Songs & Rhymes

Finger Poppin-Georgiana Stewart

Shake Your Sillies Out-The Wiggles

One and Two-Ella Jenkins

If You’re Happy and You Know It

5 Little Unicorns- adapted an idea I found here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activities

We made unicorns based on this craft I saw on Pinterest. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few parents freaked out about the mess of glitter. But you can’t do a unicorn storytime and not have glitter! Unicorns = glitter! I ain’t afraid of a mess!

Where are They Now? When Your Favorite Picture Books Go Out of Print

Earlier this summer, as I was putting together a summer/beach-themed booklist for my library’s website I thought of one of my all-time favorite beach picture books, How Will We Get to the Beach?. It’s apparently, out of print because my library no longer owns it and isn’t able to get a copy. Ugh. Why do good books have to go out of print?! With sweet illustrations and a story that invited kids to guess what was missing, it was a great, no fail read aloud. Read on for a few of my other favorites that sadly, are no longer available. If any of you have any of these books, I’d love to know!

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When I found out this one was out of print I was saddened. I was bummed. This was basically a permanent fixture in my read aloud rotation because it was so fun to read, audiences loved it and it always, ALWAYS worked! Always! I read it to everybody! Now I’ve got a whole new class of storytimers that will not know it. In the ‘something gets eaten’ genre this book is second only to…..

Without a doubt the best title in the ‘something gets eaten’ niche which is my favorite of picture book niches. My favorite memory of this book happened a few years ago with a kindergarten class that was pretty evenly split between boys and girls. As I neared the end I asked them if they wanted me to keep reading or stop where I was. “Keep reading!” they said. When I finished the boys’ response was, “Cool!” All the girls had a look of horror mixed with disgust. I read it in a storytime and even parents were shocked. One said to me, “I hadn’t taught my daughter about the circle of life yet!” You’re welcome. I love when people have a strong reaction to a book. I recently had to withdraw the last copy in the library system due to damage. I couldn’t bear to part with it. It now lives in our storytime collection.

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A story about a cute, little alligator who wakes up one day feeling bitey. Hey, who hasn’t? Oh, just me? Anyway, he goes around biting things until he learns his lesson. I’ve gotten over the fact that this book is unavailable but I still sometimes feel bitey.

 

Do you have any favorites that are out of print?

What We Do in Storytime

I started this blog partly as a way to keep track of the storytimes I did and to share what I’d learned in almost 15 years of doing storytimes. It’s hard to get good photos of a storytime in action with littles moving all about! Anywho, enjoy these random shots from my most recent storytimes along with the answers to a couple of FAQs.

How do you setup storytime?

Like this. All the books that I might read. Our Ipad with my storytime playlist and a Beats Pill. Storytime stickers. Bins with scarves, ribbons and shaker eggs. My song cube. And a couple of props. Everything I need is in reach. I don’t have problems with anyone removing things from my table. Once in awhile kids want to get the Ipad or the buckets so I sit them at the back out of reach.

What do you in storytime?

STEM activities like fizzy concoctions.

Art/messy play like painting with shaving cream.

Sensory play.

Large motor play.

I have never seen kids working as hard at play as I did with this sensory table setup. Cardboard boxes I cut up and tubes crisscrossing through them. Kids surrounded this the entire time. Heads down, scooping, digging, pouring, figuring out what was happening to the beans they poured down a tube, catching the beans as they spilled out. The kids played easily with each other, sharing cups and space. I could’ve used a bigger table!

 

What do you do in storytime?

 

Until next time…….

Olivia the Spy, a Review

Olivia’s back! I have always loved Olivia. From her very first misadventure…..

 

 

 

 

 

to that time she lost her toy…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

and especially as a princess……

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I have loved this character. I relate to her. Curious, mischievous, snarky, the girl’s got moxie! Where so many other books show girls as sweet and demure or shy, Olivia has always stood out as a strong, dramatic character with attitude. She marches to her own beat and she doesn’t care how loud it is! Fortunately, thanks to the push for diverse books, more titles are being published that show strong female characters. Falconer, however, was doing that with Olivia long before it was trendy or PC to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olivia is true to form here and this may be one of the best in the series yet. She inadvertently overhears her mom talking about her which leads to Olivia devising grand schemes, blowing things out of proportion and being in the wrong place at the right time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I appreciate the hilarious illustrations. There’s something about the way she’s drawn as a pig that doesn’t look like any other pig out there that’s just….funny. I also love the way Falconer introduces kids to new and complex words like investigateinstitution and misinformation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bathroom at the ballet? Wait for it. It’s good.

But if you’re an Olivia fan, you KNOW that!

Share your favorite book with a strong female character in the comments!

Until next time….

 

 

Flying Eye Books, a Review

I have much love for picture books. But after years of being immersed in picture books I’m pretty picky. From story to typography, everything has to be ‘on fleek’ as the kids say (Are they still saying it? Since adults are, probably not.)  I can spot a stinker a range a way but every now and then I’m blown away by someone who gets it right. Flying Eye Books gets it right. every. time.

These were just a few titles my library had on the shelf. Don’t they have the most interesting covers? All the covers are eye-catching, colorful and visually pleasing.  The layout, color, font, orientation and binding hit all the right notes. Book covers should say, “Pick me up!” and theirs most definitely do.

     

       

Even their endpapers are beautiful.

From “Imelda and the Goblin King” by Briony May Smith

 

 

 

 

 

From “Neffy and the Feathered Dinosaurs” by Joe Lillington

 

 

 

While the books vary in approach, they’re all stunning examples of each illustrator’s style and the impact illustrations can have in storytelling. No missed opportunities here in capturing the tone of each story. In Marcel, the collage illustrations are funky and urban perfectly fitting for a book about a dog in New York City. The Journey tells the story of a mother and her two children who are refugees in search of a new home after fleeing their war-torn homeland. That’s a hard story to tell children. Much of the story takes place at night so most of the pages have a black background giving the reader the sense of darkness. While the text tells the children’s point of view, it is the illustrations shown from the mother’s point of view that give you the real story. The Journey is, in my opinion, one of the better picture books on this topic. I love the retro look in How Many Legs. And that double page spread in Boo! just begs for audience participation. What kid wouldn’t want to yell out, “Boo!” when he sees that?

Check out and drool over the rest of their titles here. Are there publishers you love? Share them in the comments.

Happy reading!