Tuesday, August 25, 2015

July Round-Up

Image from MemFox.com
Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox, Illustrated by Patricia Mullins
Simon & Schuster, 1987
Hattie the hen is quite a bit more observant than the other animals on the farm. As she sees more and more of a stalking fox she tries to alert her friends who all pish-posh her warnings. The color and texture are important elements of the mixed media illustrations. Facial expressions and body language help to propel the plot forward. The repetitive text builds the suspense of the story making this a great choice for a preschool storytime focused on narrative skills.

Image from Candlewick.com
Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor, Illustrated by Jean Jullien
Candlewick, 2014
Hoot Owl is hungry and ready for a midnight snack! He uses many disguises, but his attempts at capturing a tasty lunch are failures. What’s a master of disguise to do?
The bold black outlines and saturated colors of the illustrations make it easy to share with a preschool storytime crowd. The humorous narrative, all from Hoot Owl’s perspective, is fast paced. Kids will enjoy Hoot Owl’s repeated refrain, “I am Hoot Owl. I am hungry. And here I come!", as well as the pizza-fueled ending.

Image from JaneenBrian.com
I’m a Dirty Dinosaur by Janeen Brian, Illustrated by Ann James
Kane Miller, 2014
The rhyming text of this lively story is wonderful to chant or sing for a toddler storytime. The text includes great action words to keep a young audience engaged and the delightfully mud-splashed illustrations pop against the white background. This fun story, which can be sung to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”, fits nicely for a dinosaur or opposites themed storytime.

Image from KevinHenkes.com
Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow Books, 2011
Little white rabbit hopped along through grass and trees, past silent rocks and fluttering butterflies. While he hopped he imagined what it might be like to be grass and trees, rocks and butterflies. The simple and quiet text pairs beautifully with the glowing pastel palette. Use this book for a toddler storytime and have the kids pretend along with little white rabbit. Follow up with a rabbit song/rhyme. My current fav is Sleeping Bunnies.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

June Round-Up

Image from IndieBound.com
Anton Can Do Magic by Ole Konnecke
Gecko Press, 2011
Anton has a magic hat that can make things disappear! Anton can’t wait to show his friend Luke. But what will Anton do when he makes Luke disappear? Originally published in Germany, this story uses third person narration to let readers in on the joke about Anton’s hat and it’s magical abilities. The cartoonish illustrations use a limited palette to create simple, but hilariously effective scenes and character interactions. This is a wonderful book to share one-on-one or with a group of preschool or lower elementary school kids.

Image from MichaelHallStudio.com
Perfect Square by Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2011
The perfect square was perfectly happy having four sides and four corners. But that all changes on Monday when it’s sliced into strips and poked full of holes. It’s not a perfect square anymore, but it is a very wonderful water fountain. Each day brings a new change for the square, it’s torn or snipped, shattered or crumpled, but no matter way the square always finds a way to make itself into something new. The super short text and large torn paper illustrations are well-suited for preschool storytime crowds. The kindergarteners I read with loved the final pages that show how all the square’s incarnations are connected.

Image from LindseyYankey.com
Sun and Moon by Lindsey Yankey
Simply Read Books, 2015
The moon thought that if he could have just one day as the sun that he would see so many wonderful things. The sun agreed to trade night for day, but only if the moon met two conditions. First, the swap would last forever, not just a day. Second, the moon would need to spend a night looking at the details of earth very carefully. The delicate mixed media illustrations utilize textures and patterns to create a soft, almost glowing, atmosphere. The fable-like text is concise, yet evocative and well-suited to reading aloud at bedtime.

Image from HarperCollins.com
Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman & David Clemesha, Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
HarperCollins, 1999
Mr. Gilly is a trashman and everyday he cleans up Trashy Town. At the school, the pizza parlor, the park, and even the fire station, he empties the trash cans into his truck, “Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the Trashy Town!” The repetitive text moves the story along at a nice clip and is easy to read on the page. Yaccarino’s cartoonish illustrations feature bold shapes and bright shapes, making this a great fit for a toddler storytime.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Program-a-Looza at ALA Annual 2015

This past weekend at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in San Francisco the first Program-a-Looza sessions were held. This open share session, brainchild of Danielle Jones, Kahla Gubanich, Mary Pearl, and yours truly, focused on cheap, easy children’s programming for public libraries. Inspired by grassroots sessions, such as Guerrilla Storytime and YA Smackdown, Program-a-Looza was created as a way for children’s library staff to take home tangible programming ideas, tips, and resources.

We held two sessions and participants were encouraged to brainstorm and bring their personal strengths and experiences to the table. First, each person shared a favorite easy to replicate program. Next, we picked a programming topic and spent 2 minutes brainstorming ideas using pens and sticky notes.

Wondering what we talked about? Check out the session notes.

We plan to hold more Program-a-Looza sessions at ALA Midwinter 2016 in Boston. Stay tuned for more info on dates/times

Thursday, June 11, 2015

May Round-Up

Image from RandomHouse.com
The Bus is for Us! by Michael Rosen, Illustrated by Gillian Tyler
Candlewick, 2015

The rhyming text of this book celebrates modes of transportation with the bus always coming out as number one. You could ride a bike, train, or plane. You could wish for a ride on a fish, take a trip on a ship, or even ride in a sleigh. “But the best is the bus. The bus is for us.” The soft watercolor illustrations feature a multicultural cast of kids as they imagine all the wonderful ways to travel. Short sentences and a large font make this a great choice for a toddler or preschool storytime. Try adding movements for each of mode of transportation and encourage your audience to shout, "The bus is for us!"

Image from HarperCollinsChildrens.com
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
HarperCollins, 2006

You might think that the rabbit in this book is just playing with a box, but the rabbit would be quick to remind you, “It’s not a box!” You might see the rabbit sitting in, standing on, or even wearing a box. But as you turn the pages you’ll find the rabbit is using its imagination to be sitting in a race car, standing on a mountain, and being a robot. The oft-repeated, “It’s not a box!” makes this a wonderful story for a preschool storytime or for independent readers in need of repetition. The thick lines of the illustrations stand out against the white background, while the brief text is set off by colorful backgrounds.

Image from LiszeBechtold.com
Sally and the Purple Socks by Lisze Bechtold
Philomel Books, 2008

Sally is very excited when her new purple socks arrive in the mail, but less excited when she learns that they have a tendency to change sizes! Good thing Sally is so practical. She uses the socks as hats, scarves, curtains, blankets, rugs, even a circus tent. The soft and warm illustrations were created with brushed ink line on top of gouache paint for a friendly, cartoonish atmosphere. The ever-changing socks make this book great for a preschool storytime focusing on narrative skills. The simple text balances narration and dialogue, making for a great read aloud. As the socks grow, Sally uses different words to describe the socks, “soft” “warm” “luxurious.” Take time before/during/after to talk about what each word means. What synonyms can the kids think of?

Image from GroundwoodBooks.com
Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson, Illustrated by Sydney Smith
Groundwood Books, 2015

A little red-hooded girl goes on a walk around the city with her very distracted father. He misses the details, but the little girl notices the flowers in the sidewalk cracks and vacant lots. She also sees people and animals that could use a little joy in the form of an urban flower. This wordless book has a quiet atmosphere, encouraging readers to look closer at the details of the illustrations. The pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations (with digital editing) play with shadows and light with well-placed splashes of color. This book is ideal for one-on-one reading that leaves plenty of time to discuss the action, objects, and people in the pictures.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

April Round-Up

Image from Ruzzier.com
Bear and Bee by Sergio Ruzzier
Disney/Hyperion, 2013
Bear is looking for some honey, but he’s terribly afraid of bees. Bees are monsters with claws and fangs. Worst of all they never share. So what will Bear do when he meets Bee? The illustrations, created with pen and ink and colored digitally, are whimsical and otherworldly. The text, just a sentence or two per page, is mostly dialogue. Many words are repeated throughout, making this a wonderful book for a beginning reader.

Image from ChronicleBooks.com
Chronicle Books, 2013
Falump, beep, and grrrakka along with machines at a construction site in this energetic and noisy board book. Colorful diggers created with mixed media share the extra long pages with the rhythmic and bold all-caps text. Set off against a crisp white background, the illustrations make create use of texture and thick, glossy black lines. If you like this one, check out Trains Go, Boats Go, Planes Go, and Trucks Go, all by Steve Light.

Image from SLJ.com
Mr. Squirrel and the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser
NorthSouth, 2015
Originally published in Germany, this is the story of Mr. Squirrel who wakes up one morning because the moon has fallen onto his tree. Mr. Squirrel is afraid. What if someone finds the moon, looking suspiciously like a wheel of cheese, in his tree and thinks he’s the thief! He’ll be sent to prison. This sets off a chain of hilarious events involving a prickly hedgehog, an angry billy goat, buzzing bees, and a gaggle of mice. The illustrations, which look to be color pencil, utilize color to highlight the action against the colorless backgrounds. Frequent flashes to Mr. Squirrel’s imaginings of life in jail are juxtaposed with the simple text.

Image from YuyiMorales.com
Nino Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
Roaring Brook Press, 2013
Here he is! The one, the only, the fantastic, the spectacular, Nino! He’s a pint-sized Lucha Libra champion ready to take on any and all contenders! Cabeza Olmeca, La Llorona, El Chamuco--None of them stand a chance. But what’s a wrestler to do when faced with the most horrid competitor of all, Las Hermanitas (his baby sisters)? The bright and cartoonish illustrations are a perfect match for the larger-than-life narration. Sprinkled liberally with Spanish words, use this multicultural story for your next preschool or early elementary read aloud. Check out the wrestler stats (and pronunciation guide) on the endpapers.