Friday, September 21, 2012

Flannel Friday: Baseball

I really wanted to to incorporate some type of baseball related flannel board into the Fall Sports story time I did last week. But, I was at a loss for how exactly to accomplish this. But, while planning another story time session, I came across this post at Story Time Secrets about Squirrels.

Katie mentioned Melissa Depper's Down Around the Corner rhymes at Mel's Desk. Melissa mentions that one adaptation of the rhyme could be about baseball caps at a store. I took that idea and changed it around a little for my story time and ended up with:

Down around the corner at the sporting goods store
was a baseball hat and not one more
Along came someone with a nickel to pay
and they bought that hat and they took it away

Down around the corner at the sporting goods store
was a baseball mitt and not one more
Along came someone with a nickel to pay
and they bought that mitt and they took it away

Down around the corner at the sporting goods store
was a baseball bat and not one more
Along came someone with a nickel to pay
and they bought that bat and they took it away

Down around the corner at the sporting goods store
was a baseball and not one more
Along came someone with a nickel to pay
and they bought that baseball and they took it away

Down around the corner at the sporting goods store
was a baseball uniform and not one more
Along came someone with a nickel to pay
and they bought that uniform and they took it away.

To make the flannel board a little more interactive, I handed out the five "nickels" and used those story timers' names in the rhyme:

...Along came John with a nickel to pay...

Each child came up to the board and placed the nickel above the item they were purchasing. This was easily my favorite part of the Fall Sports story time. I'm hoping everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did!

(I just wanted to add that I found some great (free) clip art from Scholastic Printables that I was able to use as templates for the flannel pieces.)

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is being hosted at Rain Makes Applesauce.

Story Time: Fall Sports

We've started fall story times, even though it isn't officially fall until Saturday. I thought it would be fun to start fall story times with a sports theme. And after looking through all of the options for sports related picture books, that are available at my library, I settled on baseball and soccer.

Opening: Good morning song (Good morning _____, repeat 2 more times, How are you today?) We had some children who were new to story time, so it was nice to learn everyone's name and welcome them at the same time.

We have a relatively young story time crowd, so I try to do the same opening set of songs each time. Also, each child picks an animal puppet that they hold on to until we sing Old MacDonald, I've noticed that if I hold on to the animals, a lot of the children get distracted. So the opening set consists of:

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
Open Shut Them
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Old MacDonald Has A Farm

Book 1: Take Me Out To the Ball Game by Maryann Kovalski. We sang this one, well, all of the adults sang, but it was nice to hear all the voices.

Next I introduced This is Big, a rhyme that is new to me. It was a big hit during this story time, so I'm going to include it more often.

A big story time favorite is If You're Happy and You Know It, I try to change up the actions. This time we did - wave your arms, and touch your nose, in addition to the traditional actions.

This was an antsy group so we continued to sing:
I'm a Little Tea Pot
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Where is Thumbkin?
The Wheels on the Bus
Do You Know the Muffin Man?
ABC Song

Book 2 Froggy Plays Soccer by Jonathan London. This book was a little long, but I improvised as I went along. And the kids laughed each time I yelled for Froggy. 

Flannel Board:  I introduced a new flannel board rhyme: Down Around the Corner with baseball related items - a hat, mitt, bat, ball, and uniform. (This will be my Flannel Friday post later today.)

We sang a few more songs, including Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and Two Little Blackbirds

Book 3: Bats at the Ballgame by Brian Lies - I attempted a third book, but everyone was still very antsy, so a few pages in I put the book down and we sang more songs:

Row Row Row Your Boat
10 Little Fingers
Ring Around the Rosie
Hokey Pokey
Closing: Zoom Zoom Zoom

Zoom Zoom Zoom
We're going to the moon!
Zoom Zoom Zoom
We're going to the moon!
If you want to take a trip
Climb aboard my rocket ship!
Zoom Zoom Zoom
We're going to the moon! 
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 
5, 4, 3, 2, 1,
Blast off!
Source: taught to me by a co-worker

This story time turned into more of a musical story time than I anticipated. But, I've learned to keep a few extra songs at the ready just in case. I've started asking the adults and children for song requests too, towards the end. I've learned a couple of new songs this way. Sometimes I get asked to sing a song we've already sung, so we do an encore. 

I try to walk the line of being prepared for story time and being flexible and ready for the unexpected. This time around I wasn't quite prepared for the antsy-ness, but I hope that everyone ended up enjoying themselves.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blog Tour: Character Interview - T.J. from Ten

1. Hi T.J.! Thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions. So, were you ever a fan of scary movies? If yes, are you still?

Some of my best dates have been at scary movies.  It's always nice to have a cute girl cuddling up to you when she's cowering in fear from the ax-wielding maniac on screen.  I don't really care either way about the stories, but I'm a fan, if you know what I mean.

2. Tell me a little more about your love of boats; Do you have a favorite type boat/ship?

Shhh.  Dude.  No one's supposed to do know that!  People are going to think I'm some kind of nerd.  (But have you ever seen Paul Allen's yacht Octopus?  Holy crap, that thing is SWEET!)

3. Oops, sorry about that. But, if you could captain a ship to anywhere around the globe, where would you sail to? 

I'd go somewhere warm and quiet, like Mallorca or Antibes, with someone very special and just hide from the rest of the world.

4. Now, let’s shift gears a little. Are you excited about playing college football?

Yes and no.  Don't get me wrong.  I love playing football.  And I love that it allows me to do things like go to a top tier university on a full ride scholarship.  But I don't view it as my lifetime goal to play in the NFL.  I'll give the sport my all while I'm in college, and then if I'm good enough and a team wants me?  So be it.

5. If an NFL team did want you, which team would you love to play for after college?

The Seattle Seahawks, of course!  HOME TOWN BOYS!

6. As a librarian I have to ask, what was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?

I read TheUnbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera last month and really loved it. 

7. If you were stranded on a desert island what four items would you hope to find with you?

The usual: something to build shelter, something to be able to hunt or fish with, something to hold water.  And maybe a beautiful smiling face to share it all with.

8. Still on the desert island: What person (either dead or alive) would you want to be stuck with?

I think that's one secret I'll keep to myself.  ;)

For more information about the TEN Blog Tour visit Me, My Shelf and I

Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown.  Her YA horror POSSESS debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011.  Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – will be released September 18, 2012, and her third novel 3:59, sci fi horror pitched as The Parent Trap meets Event Horizon, is scheduled for Fall 2013.

 Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk.  Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as "Monday."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blog Tour - Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Ten Cover

Publisher: Balzer + Bray (an imprint of HarperCollins)
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Review based on ARC 

And their doom comes swiftly.

 It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, both of which involve Kamiak High’s most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher.

 But what starts out as a fun-filled weekend turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

 Suddenly, people are dying and the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Usually I don’t search out scary books to read. I’m normally a wimp when it comes to the scary - whether in print or movie form. But, sometimes books come along that surprise me and even begin to sway me towards a genre I wouldn’t normally read. Well, last year one of those surprising books was Possess, which had a great balance of scary and not so scary. And to be honest, the scary has been growing on me, a little. So once I heard about TEN, I knew that it would find its way onto my 2012 To-be-Read list.

Despite my (shrinking) aversion to scary stories, I love a good twisty, turn-y mystery, especially one that keeps you on your toes and guessing until the end. Gretchen McNeil deftly combines mystery with smallish touches of horror in TEN, to create a just right blend of genres that kept me hooked from the first page.

 One of my all time favorite mysteries is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. After reading the synopsis, my first thought was that it sounded similar but with teens and a modern setting. And while Ms. McNeil pays homage to Agatha Christie, TEN is thoroughly her own creation. Details about Henry Island, White Rock House, the DVD with its creepy and menacing message, the raging storm and the killer’s eerie method of communication all add to the reading experience.

Upon finding a DVD labeled “Don’t Watch Me,” Minnie says, “This is how horror movies start.”  (ARC, pg 58) A few times, I did want to warn the characters to remember Minnie’s mention of horror movies, in a you might want to think about your next move type of way. But, Minnie’s statement could also be about the book too, because several of the scenes were very vivid and began thinking about how they would look on a screen.

The third person narration from Meg’s point of view really helped to keep up the suspense. And I like how she was kept away from the action several times, so that the reader experienced the fallout with her. Though in the second half of the book, there were some pieces of information I felt Meg received too late, that if they had come earlier in the book, they would have made more of an impact to the story. This is where the length of the book plays a factor; the just less than 300 page length did not feel sufficient. It left me with some questions, the most persistent was how the killer could organize the entire weekend and all the different pieces that had to be put into place to make it work out the they wanted it to. But, maybe the reader isn’t meant to know that. Not knowing the answer didn’t really impact my enjoyment of the book, but I can see how some readers may find not having the answer a bit troublesome.

Overall, TEN did keep me reading. I found Meg to be an interesting choice for the point of view character, with her writer’s observations, and the third person narration did help to move the story along at a good pace. I ended up liking the more gruesome scenes more than I thought I would. I found red herrings and twists fun in that they did keep me guessing as to the killer’s identity and they led to a conclusion that had a few unexpected bits. To me, those are the best type of conclusions.

Fans of thrillers and those who enjoy a good (twisty) mystery will enjoy TEN. And of course, if you liked Possess, you should pick up this book too. 

You can find out more about The TEN Blog Tour by visiting Me, My Shelf and I

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flannel Friday - Ahhh Chooo!

This is my first week participating in Flannel Friday. I've only been flanneling (is that a word?) or sharing flannel board stories/activities during story time for a few months. The flannel sets have been well received so far and I'm hoping to continue sharing at least one during each story time.

The flannel board set I'm sharing today came to being because I was looking for something silly for next week's story times. It is the last week before Summer Reading starts for us and I wanted something low key and fun. I spotted  5 Pretty Flowers in Finger Tales by Joan Hilyer Phelps and thought it was a perfect fit.

5 Pretty Flowers 

5 pretty flowers

In the meadow grew.
"Hmm," I said.
"I bet they smell pretty too!"
I bent down to sniff,
But they tickled my nose!
Ah-choo! Oh no! (with playful exaggeration)
Away 1 flower blows

Continue with 4, 3, 2, 1...

I'm hoping the children think this is as fun as I do! I'm also planning on bringing a box of tissues, just in case our pretend sneezing turns into the real thing!

Finger Tales also includes a pattern for a sneezing elephant that I might include the next time I share 5 Pretty Flowers. It is awfully cute, but I ran out of gray felt.

This week's Flannel Friday Roundup is being hosted by Sarah at Read It Again!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Top 10s List with Hilary Weisman Graham

Top Ten Places To Take a Road Trip To

Glacier National Park, Montana

1.      The National Parks of Utah, Montana, Idaho, & New Mexico (A trip I just so happen to be taking with my family this summer. Yay!)

2.      Cotsa del Sol (the southern coast of Spain) through Lagos, Portugal (I did this trip with my sister and a friend when I was 19.)

3.      Burning Man – an eclectic arts festival in the Black Rock Desert, NV. (A mind-blowing celebration of creativity and freedom of expression.  I’ve been three times & I want to go back.)

4.      Route One in California (Drive the coastline from San Francisco to Los Angeles at least once in your life.  Gorgoeus!)

5.      The Amalfi Coast, Italy.  (My husband and I did this stunning drive when we’d only been dating a year.  Very romantic.)

6.      Cross Country—coast to coast.  I never quite did this trip, but I did once travel from Boston, MA to Juarez, Mexico with four of my girlfriends while shooting a movie along the way.

7.      The Scottish countryside.  My husband and I spent many days of our honeymoon rambling through the rolling hills on tiny, one-lane roads.

Sapporo during the Snow Festival

8.      Sapporo, Japan.  Japan’s more of a train-taking culture, and though I’ve been there twice, I’ve never been to the island of Sapporo and really want to go.

9.      Australia – anywhere.  I’d love to rent an RV & just send two months exploring.

10.  Hawaii – a friend who lives in Maui just started a company where you can rent fully-tricked out, wifi-enabled vintage VW vans (just like the Pea-Pod in REUNITED!) and tool around the island.  I’ve never been to Hawaii and I totally want to go do this.

Hilary Weisman Graham is an award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter, and novelist.  She lives in rural New Hampshire with her husband and son, roughly thirty minutes away from the nearest grocery store. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Library Chick Storytime

Incubating eggs has become an annual spring tradition at our library. Two years ago, a local preschool class raised money, after incubating eggs themselves and having fun with the project, so that other children could incubate eggs as well. We were the lucky recipients of their generosity and thus our springtime ritual began. 

a few hours old

This year we incubated 10 eggs and 9 of them hatched! Five of them hatched overnight and were waiting in the incubator all fluffy and adorable when we came in. The other four hatched throughout the day and we even got to witness most of the hatchings. We were quite surprised with the 90% success rate, but happy that we had so many chicks for our patrons to visit. The chicks lived in the children’s reference office for a week after they hatched, by the end they were getting too big for the small space and were brought to a local farm to live an organic, free range life.

helping out at the reference desk

It was a great experience all around, even if days 20 and 21 of incubation were nerve wracking with too high humidity and even higher temperatures. And, I have to admit that we did spoil our chicks, all named after book characters, by hand feeding them, letting them run around the office, and having them hang out at the reference desk.

The focus of last week was our chick themed storytimes. We held three of them; two for the toddler and preschool set and one for all ages (which ended up being our smallest session of the week).


On Wednesday morning we read:

MinervaLouise by Janet Morgan Stoeke
TillieLays an Egg by Terry Golson
An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long

And we sang songs like:

I’m a little chicken (to the tune of I’m a Little Teapot) - lyrics are about halfway down the page
If you’re a chicken and you know it... (Just like, "If you're happy and you know It!"
The Chicken Pokey

As well as favorites like, Old MacDonald, Wheels on the Bus, and Zoom Zoom Zoom.
I also brought out the flannel board, I’ve just recently gotten into flannel boarding and I try to do at least one flannel story or poem during my storytime sessions.

Staying with the bird theme, we sang Five Little Ducks Went Out to Play using flannel pieces and then "Ten Fluffy Chickens," which I found on Mel’s Desk in one of her Flannel Friday posts, where she had a link to Storytime Katie’s felt version. Too adorable! And relatively easy to make, once I figured out how to make the baby chicks.

To be honest the kids were more excited for the chicks, which were brought out after the "Good Morning Song," than for the songs or the books. The songs were more successful than the books by far and the highlight was getting to pet one of the chicks.

Looking back, I can see a few things that could have been changed. But, since this was a “special” storytime, we had a lot of first timers and also a lot of teeny tinies (the under 12 months set). Not everyone was familiar with our storytime expectations and we in turn had to be flexible. It didn’t help that we had scheduled Kindergarten visits for the same day. We didn’t have the eggs yet when the dates were picked for the visits, so we couldn’t anticipate which day the eggs would hatch or when we would be having chick storytimes. But, it was a bit overwhelming. The day ended up going fine, but I will strive to be more careful next year when scheduling class visits.

It seemed like everyone had fun and that was really the most important part.

On Wednesday afternoon we had our smallest turnout with only 2 kids and 2 parents. This was the all ages storytime and we really thought more people would come. It was also the session when the reporter for the local Patch news site decided to visit. And while we were happy that the chicks were newsworthy, we wished he stopped by the morning session when there were 20 excited storytimers with their parents/caregivers.

We did a repeat of
Tillie Lays an Egg and Minerva Louise
And we added Chicks Run Wild by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, which has a great rhyme and was perfect for a tandem reading; the other children's librarian is so much better at voices than I am, so it was fun to have her read the mama chicken's lines.

Thursday morning brought the last of our chick themed storytimes and since we didn’t know how many kids from Wednesday would come back (a lot of our regulars normally come to both Wednesday and Thursday sessions) we pulled:

A Friend for Minerva Louise by Janet Morgan Stoeke
Chicks Run Wild by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Hurry!Hurry! by Eve Bunting
Stuck in the Mud by Jane Clarke

We also put up a display of other chick/chicken related books for patrons to check out.

This was the craziest of all the storytimes! We had some very enthusiastic children who wanted to dance and sing (which is normally awesome, but not when there are four little chicks running around!). The chicks were also at their most intrepid.

We had outlined a small square using colored tape, which was supposed to be the chicks’ space. During the first two storytimes the chicks sort of huddled together and cheeped, walked around a little, but mostly stayed in the square. On Thursday, they started walking all around the program space! It became more a matter of chick control than actual storytime. There were a couple of close calls – the chicks almost being stepped on and one of the chicks attempting to run behind one of the benches.

We ended up reading only A Friend for Minerva Louise and Chicks Run Wild, and sang some of the chicken related songs. We walked around with the chicks and then ended storytime. 

The chicks went to the farm on Thursday afternoon and while the children's room is much quieter without them, they are very missed.

This is the craziness that was Library Chick Storytime! 

Does anyone have any storytime tips they would like to share or a chick/chicken related picture book they think would make a good addition to a storytime? I would love to read them!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Long Time Coming...

Hi! It's been way too long!

Okay, that's not the best way to start...but I've been at a loss on how to start this post since... January.

So here it is...It's been over five months since anything has been posted on this blog. I did need a break from blogging (for a few different reasons), but that break has gone on for too long.

I miss it. I miss talking about books with people who understand about getting so thoroughly wrapped up in characters and in worlds that it's hard to come back to reality. I miss sharing my feelings about books, covers, characters; sharing reactions to bookish news; and even sharing library goings on. I miss hearing about what other blogger, librarians and readers are reading, what they're loving or hating, what they're passionate about or excited to read next.

You might be saying, "But, you're a librarian! You get to talk about books everyday." True, part of every day does involve discussing books and making recommendations, but it's not quite the same thing as blogging. In my non-Internet life, I don't have as many people who get why I love books so much. Some of my friends are readers, but not in quite the same way. You know what I'm talking about: They don't understand about loving an author's writing so much that you research and find all of their published books or the delicious feeling of finding out a favorite author has a new book coming out or loving a book so much that you want every person you encounter to read it and love it as much as you do.

I also needed for The Serpentine Library to evolve and I wasn't sure how to accomplish that. I still really enjoy reading YA. There are an absurd amount of YA book piles on my office floor. I also read lots of picture books for work, especially when planning story times, and I try to read Middle Grades and early chapter books too, so that I can make better recommendations to library patrons. Plus, I also enjoy the occasional adult fiction or romance book. So, I feel that this site needs to be a better reflection of my reading life.

What does that mean?

First, while there will be YA book reviews or discussions, YA won't be the sole focus. I'm going to try to post a mix of YA, MG and picture book reviews, with occasional looks at early readers and chapter books.

Second, there will be more posts about what I'm involved in at the library. Going forward, I'm envisioning that The Serpentine Library will be more of an extension of my work as a librarian. Now, I don't mean that blogging will be work (not that it doesn't take a lot of hard work to keep a blog running), but that it will be a more organic result of things that I'm already doing for my job. Really, all that means is that there will be posts about story times, podcast interviews, and the occasional Flannel Friday post mixed in with reviews.

Thirdly, I don't think that I'll be posting every day of the week. To start, two or three posts a week will be the norm. We're gearing up for Summer Reading and I know that it will take up the majority of my energy over the next two and half months. But, I need to start blogging again and two to three posts a week will be a good, manageable starting off point.

Next, I'm going to be better about being interactive by responding to comments and reading and commenting on other blogs. This will be the hardest to keep up with, but I'm committed to being an active member of the blogging community.

Finally, I'm going to try not to focus on the numbers part of blogging so much. I'm thinking of removing the Google Friend Connect widget from the sidebar. It's something I've been thinking about, but am not quite sure about. Any thoughts?

Everything gets started tomorrow with a post about our "Library Chick" themed story times. There will be pictures and some talk about what happened when the chicks got to visit the program room and participated in story time. It was slightly crazy, but a lot of fun!

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. And, now can I just say how good it feels to be back in my own book blogging space!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...