Tag Archives: children’s librarian

Art Afternoons: Beth Krommes Scratch Art

2015-10-06 [Art Afternoons - Beth Krommes Scratch Art]

What I Did:

Oops, I did this program several months ago and forgot to blog about it. Anyway, I love Beth Krommes gorgeous picture books, especially Swirl by Swirl  – I just adore the idea of highlighting something so common and yet overlooked in the natural world. When I first thought of using her as inspiration for an Art Afternoons program, I thought her work was done with prints – perhaps woodcut? Nope, she uses scratchboard, which is a super fun thing to experiment with! So that’s what we did, too!

What I Bought:

$4 for 100 scratch art sticks
$4 for 50 Artist Trading Card sized scratchboards
$18 for 40 8.5″x11″ scratchboards

$26 total for a program with a registration cap of 30

How It Went:

This was a fun Art Afternoons, but we definitely had some challenges. The scratchboard sticks didn’t really do a very good job of scratching off the scratchboard. I ended up pulling lots of random stuff from our craft closet – pipe cleaners, jewelry tools, sewing needles, and other scratchy stuff. I let the kids pick their tools.

It also doesn’t take very long to scratch art, so we put out watercolors for the kids to optionally paint their works afterward. This creates a really cool effect.

If you try scratch art at your library, make sure to talk warn your program attendees that they only get one large paper and one small paper (or however much you opt to give them) to use. Lots of kids are used to diving right in and then asking for another paper, which definitely works for some media, but not scratchboards.

This was also a relatively expensive program. Not breaking the bank, exactly, but definitely required more specialized stuff than I would prefer.

 

 

Toddler Time: Birds

There are a lot of great books about birds, so I thought I’d do a toddler time about them! That’s all I’ve got for an intro today, folks!

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Nursery Rhyme: Baa Baa Black Sheep

Nursery Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Book: Birds by Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek

This is a really great book! It has brief enough text to make it a great Toddler Time contender, and Laura Dronzek’s illustrations are both evocative and realistic. It’s strange, though – while reading it, I am always expecting it to be a rhyming book, but it’s not. So that always messes with my reading rhythm. But that’s no fault of the book! It’s just due to some strange quirk in my brain. What I also really like about this book is that it plays around with the idea of birds a little – they can be any size or shape or color, so what makes them all birds?

Song: Storytime Cube

Book: Little Green by Keith Baker 

This is another beautiful book! The illustrations are just so gorgeous and have so much depth. I also like the idea of watching an emerald hummingbird flitting around the garden. In reality, though, I think this book plus Birds was too much description and too little plot. The toddlers were getting pretty wiggly at this point.

Activity: Parachute Play

Now that my regulars have all gotten used to the parachute, it contains only delight, and no fear. I’ve found the winning recipe for us is toddlers underneath (or on the side if they don’t want to go in), and parents on the edge. It’s also a great way to get the parents to participate – you can’t just sit there because I’m going to put a parachute on your head if you don’t move!

Book: The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett

What a great book! Even though the birds may or may not have gotten chomped at the end, my toddlers LOVED this book. I can’t imagine the challenge of telling a story in so few words, but Emily Gravett knocks it out of the park again. Also, it’s a fun opportunity to talk about how not just birds come out of eggs!

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

This storytime was EXTREMELY wiggly. I don’t know if it was the weather, or the stories I picked, or the fact that we had a bigger group, but this wasn’t a particularly engaging storytime for them, I don’t think. Ah well, you can’t win ’em all!

Toddler Time: Emma Dodd

I thought it would be a nice change of pace to do a Toddler Time that a theme based on animals or whatever, but instead do an author. I talked a little about what an author was at the beginning of Toddler Time, and why I like Emma Dodd in particular (’cause she’s awesome!) I would like to think that by talking about things like authorship, I’m encouraging parents to talk to their toddlers about all kinds of different topics – even hard ones! I also just like exposing my parents to different authors – I know how hard it is to find good books, and knowing a few authors can be a good way for parents to feel like they have a handle on it.

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Nursery Rhyme: Baa Baa Black Sheep

Nursery Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Book: Dog’s Noisy Day by Emma Dodd

I love the dog books soooo much. They’re just fun to read aloud, and I find that the bold illustrations are popular with toddlers. Anyway, this book is awesome. You definitely want to read it to some kids!

Song: Storytime Cube

Book: I Love Bugs by Emma Dodd

One thing I really enjoy about this book is that it’s not about your typical lovable puppies or kittens or whatever. Nope, it’s unapologetic about creepy crawly bugs! Also the illustrations are adorable.

Activity: Parachute Play

We threw some balls on top of the parachute and let the kids bounce them around today. The parachute continues to amaze and entertain, and I am continually relieved that I don’t have to come up with cutesy songs every week. Win – win – win.

Book: Forever by Emma Dodd

This is an incredibly sweet book about parental love. It’s a little on the small side for sharing, but if you use a document projector than that won’t matter (I don’t have any understanding of this sorcery, but I’ve heard of it in story and song). There are a lot of silvery highlights in the pages, which makes it seem kind of magical.

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

Emma Dodd is a really excellent toddler author – one of the best. You can tell that she writes her books with an ear toward how they will sound when they’re read aloud. That makes a big difference! It’s also incredibly difficult to find books that are short enough for toddlers to sit through. Anyhoo, this was a fun storytime – I definitely feel encouraged to do more storytimes based on authors and illustrators!

Toddler Time: Colors!

In our Winter programming session, my Toddler Times moved through tons of color themes. I thought a nice theme to wrap it all up would be just a storytime about colors! So here we go!

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Nursery Rhyme: Baa Baa Black Sheep

Nursery Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Book: Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin

I LOVE this book! I really like how excited the monsters are, and I think it’s a fun way to deal with the whole color mixing trope. I also really enjoy the scribble-y illustrations, and I think it would offer such a fun way to talk to preschoolers about color mixing and have them make their own color monsters! It would definitely be a great addition to your storytime shelf!

Game: Little Bird

Book: Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Horacek

This book is so versatile I find myself grabbing for it a lot. Colors? Bugs? Gardens? Spring? This book has got it all covered. The text is short enough that it is easy to read for toddlers, but the colorful illustrations keep the interest of preschoolers, too. Plus, who doesn’t love a giant pop-out butterfly?!?

Song: Storytime Cube

Book: Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

I’ve used this book so many times before that it’s like an old friend. I even have a really excellent flannelboard for it! We  have a big book version, which I find to be a really fun change for my toddlers. Since I usually have a small crowd, I only break out the big books occasionally, and the wonder on their faces that a BOOK could be that BIG is pretty wonderful. Anyway, Mouse Paint. Pretty much a classic. Adorable, great color mixing and interactive elements, and the simple illustrations never look dated.

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

I probably could have called this storytime “books Ms Ariel just really, really likes”, because that’s what I ended up reading across the board! Which, you know, should probably always be the case! I know that kids and parents can definitely see the difference between a reading that’s enthusiastic and a reading that’s just kinda meh. Note to future self: only pick books to read that you love!

Toddler Time: Black and White

I thought that after doing so many books about things that were colorful, we should give black and white things a chance to shine. This was a surprisingly easy toddler time to grab books for, once I started thinking outside the color box!

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Nursery Rhyme: Baa Baa Black Sheep

Nursery Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Book: Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews

This book is definitely a classic! Some parts of it seem a little dated (I don’t think anyone under the age of five knows what a rotary phone looks like), but I really love how much it plays with the same shapes and emphasizes imagination.

Game: Little Bird

Book: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Yet another animal, animal book. A solid entry into the well-loved series, emphasizing sounds instead of sights. The drawings are characteristic of Carle – beautiful and expressive while still retaining their almost primitive simplicity (don’t I totally sound like I know what I’m talking about? Spoiler alert: I don’t at all!)

Song: Storytime Cube

Book: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean

Pete the Cat, loving his shoes and knowing that no matter what you step in, you just gotta keep going along and singing your song. I mean, this book is so popular at storytimes for a reason: it’s fun to sing with, it’s simple enough to read. I love it, although I think it’s strange that after his shoes turn red, he steps in blueberries and they turn blue instead of purple. Color mixing, people. COLOR MIXING.

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

I really liked all these books, and I think they balanced each other in terms of length, plot, and interest level. I did this toddler time in the children’s area, instead of the meeting room, because my library hosts early voting and we got booted. It’s always a challenge for kids to focus when there are so many books around and a brand new environment, but these books kept their attention strikingly well. I’m almost sad to see our color series come to an end. Next week, we tackle all the colors together and color mixing!

Toddler Time: Pink

Things that are pink include…pigs! Flamingos! Flowers! So this is what we did a storytime about.

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Nursery Rhyme: Baa Baa Black Sheep

Nursery Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Book: Cornelius P Mudd, Are You Ready for School by Barney Saltzberg

Like the other Cornelius P Mudd, Are You Ready for Bed?, this book was enjoyed much more by older kids than the toddlers. I think the silly humor works well with kids who understand the contrast between what you’re reading and what the picture shows. It’s short enough, though, that toddlers don’t get particularly wiggly during it, so I keep using it!

Game: Little Bird

Book: Sylvie by Jennifer Sattler

This book is so cute! Sylvie the flamingo is tired of eating shrimp and being pink, so she eats all kinds of other things with hilarious results. It’s a very silly book, but also not weighed down by an excess of words, making it a great readaloud for the toddler set. A rarity, too, in that it’s short enough to read aloud to 2 year olds and still has a defined plot.

Song: Storytime Cube

Book: Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert

Ah, Lois Ehlert books, so delightful, so engaging, so beautiful. This one isn’t about something that’s only pink, but there are plenty of pink flowers on the cover. So I figure it was close enough for this storytime.

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

This was a solid, but un-outstanding storytime. My toddler time stamp was too light to show up on their sweet little hands, so that was a bummer. Pink is my favorite color, so I shoehorned it in with the more basic colors, but there wasn’t as much pink-love as I thought there would be.

Story Time: Yellow

I do what we advertise as preschool storytime right after I do toddler time. We promote it as a storytime for kids 3-5, but in reality we get anyone from babies to 6 year old siblings. Sometimes I do the same books for storytime and toddler time, and just ask the older kids more questions and talk about the illustrations more. Sometimes, like with yellow, there are books that are too long for the toddlers to sit through, so I end up doing significantly different things. Here’s what I did for yellow.

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Nursery Rhyme: Baa Baa Black Sheep

Nursery Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Book: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld

I mean, if you can’t see how charming this book is from the cover, I just don’t know what to tell you. Look how cute! This book’s illustrations are just outstanding, and the rhyming text is fun to read. Totally a winner for preschool kids, and that’s all I have to say about that.

Game: Little Bird

 

Book: Little Quack by Lauren Thompson and Derek Anderson

This book is filled with vibrant illustrations that really do jump off the page! They’re very saturated with color, and Derek Anderson does a great job of giving all the duckies excellent expression. The plot, of a little duck who’s too scared to jump in to the water until all his siblings have done it, is super relatable, especially for kids who are starting preschool or regular school for the first time. Nobody had trouble listening to this book – the wiggles were banished!

Song: Storytime Cube

Book: Lemons Are NOT Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I used this book for toddlers and preschoolers, and the preschoolers were definitely in to shouting out what color the shape should be. The silver moon tripped them up (we had a lot of white and grey guesses), but that just means we had an excellent opportunity to talk about silver. Can you say vocabulary building?

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

This was a fun storytime! We got to read a lot of different books that were a little too long for the toddler set, and my preschoolers were up to the challenge! They were great listeners, and were intrigued by the plot of Little Quack. I would definitely use any of these books again!

Toddler Time: Yellow

Yellow was a much easier storytime than previous colors, because there are so many child-friendly things that start with yellow – from construction equipment to ducks.

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Nursery Rhyme: Baa Baa Black Sheep

Nursery Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Book: Who Made This Cake? by Chihiro Nakagawa and Jinji Koyose

I grabbed this book as soon as I realized that Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site was too long for my toddlers, and it’s totally amazing! I hadn’t heard of it before my catalog search, but I’m so glad I pulled it off the shelf! I’m not sure if the illustrations are so unique because the book was originally published in Japan, or if the illustrator just has a definite style, but they really make the book shine. They’re so lively, especially given that they’re made of thin lines and what seems to be watercolors. Plus, the idea of a construction equipment being used to build a giant cake was just too great for these toddlers to handle.

Game: Little Bird

Our nests are looking a little tattered, but I know our game board will hold on for a few more storytimes!

Book: Wee Little Chick by Lauren Thompson and John Butler

A sweet little book about a tiny chick, accompanied by exceptionally gentle illustrations. Baby chicks are always popular with my toddlers, probably because they’re so stinkin’ cute! This book was fast to read, with simple text, which is perfect for my wiggle toddlers.

Song: Storytime Cube

Book: Lemons Are NOT Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I love this book! Each page features a cut out of a familiar shape, with the wrong color peeking through from the next page. As you flip the page, the cut out is magically turned to the correct color! Whenever I read this book to babies or toddlers, I use it as an opportunity to talk about how important it is for parents to talk to their little ones and ask them questions, even if they don’t answer back. This book is excellent for anyone from babies to elementary schoolers!

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

This was a great toddler time! Partially because I pulled out the longer books to use exclusively with my older toddlers, and partially because yellow has so many cool things to read about!

Toddler Time: Blue

Quick, think of some blue things! Blue…berries? Blue…bells? Blue…skies? I mean there’s just not that many things that are blue that are also featured in toddler books! Except, very strangely, birds. Lots of birds who are also blue. So, I have begun to think of this as my blue birds (not bluebirds. Those are different!) toddler and storytime. Here we go!

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Nursery Rhyme: Baa Baa Black Sheep

Nursery Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Opening Fingerplay: Dance Your Fingers Up

Book: Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman

Gah, this is a stinkin’ beautiful book. The illustrations are just this weirdly perfect combination of delicate and vibrant? I think it’s the contrast between the fairly traditionally drawn animals and the splashes of blue paint on the pages.  Anyhow, this is a really excellent and silly book. My preschoolers enjoyed it a lot more than my toddlers. Or maybe they were just more demonstrative! Anyway, the concept in this book is so fun, and I think if you really wanted to, you could build a whole art lesson about mistakes in art and how they’re part of the process. If you do crafts after storytime, I think putting out watercolors would be a really fun way to tie the activity directly back to the book.

Game: Little Bird

Having the same bones for storytime every week (openers, book, little bird game, book, storytime cube, shakers, rumpumpum, closing song, playtime) has definitely made a difference in the attention spans of my group. I mean, that sounds so strange, but I think toddlers and preschoolers, who live in a world of structure, appreciate knowing what’s coming next! Also, ps, it makes planning more fun for me.

Book: Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?  by Eve Bunting and Sergio Ruzzier

This book has the most delightful Seuess-esque rhyming in it! It is a super fun book to read aloud, because the rhymes are so pitch-perfect, and the story is so endearing. The illustrations compliment the text perfectly without overwhelming it, making this one of my favorite picture books for storytime of the past few years. It’s also an excellent opportunity to talk to parents about why rhyming is so good for early literacy. Here’s an article that talks mostly about nursery rhymes, but if you’re feeling like you don’t know why on earth you’re constantly reading rhyming text, it’s definitely worth checking out: Rhymers Are Readers: The Importance of Nursery Rhymes.

Song: Storytime Cube

We’re just rolling along. Nothing to see here.

Book: Blue Goose by Nancy Tafuri

Do I even need to talk about how awesome Nancy Tafuri books are for storytimes? This book is just so stinking charming, and it fits in not just the basic colors, but some nice color mixing, too. I almost wished it had saved it for my upcoming storytime about ALL the colors, but that’s just because it was so cute. This is a really delightful book – it lives on my storytime shelf so I can use it all the time.

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

This was a fun storytime! All these books were very accessible and they were fun to read aloud! Plus, I think all the toddlers are really getting a hold on taking turns. They get SO excited when I flip over the poster board and the see the nests!

Toddler Time: Orange

Haha, remember how I used to post the same day as the storytimes in question? Welp, this post is from mid-January, so take THAT timeliness! It turns out being down a reference staff member really does have an impact on my more fringe professional development activities, like blogging. But hope springs eternal, so I write you this post from the reference desk. Let’s see how it goes…

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Nursery Rhyme: Baa Baa Black Sheep

Nursery Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Opening Fingerplay: Dance Your Fingers Up

Book: Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

I think this book might be one of those that I really do love, but just doesn’t fit with my storytime style! I ended up presenting a version of this storytime to five different groups, ranging from babies to preschoolers. This book was definitely more of a win with the babies, because it’s short and easy to get through quickly if they’re wiggly. For older kids, though, this book just didn’t click. I love the illustrations – they’re very gentle.

Game: Little Bird

We’re still working on taking turns, but I’m consistently surprised by how fast my toddlers learn! They all really enjoy this game.

Book: Where is Tippy Toes by Betsy Lewin

This is a really cute picture book. The art style is very bright, and the lines are very clean. The rhyming text is short (which means it’s pretty easy to read out loud!), and there are fold outs on most pages. I am not 100% sure that the toddlers understood the plot of the story, but they all liked finding Tippy Toes on the page.

Song: Storytime Cube

We rolled the storytime cube! Fun was had by all! A lot of kids do NOT want to do I’m a Little Teapot, apparently. Who knew?

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Book: Fix It, Sam by Lori Ries

Talk about a book with an abstract plot! This book is pretty much about a slightly jerky baby who keeps messing things up and then gets his older brother to fix it. It’s a fun plot, and I think older kids enjoyed it. The youngest patrons, though, just didn’t really understand what was happening, and the funny ending went over their heads. Anyway, the pencil drawings are expressive and fun, and it’s surprisingly hard to find books about orange things, so Sam’s orange hair had to do!

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

An excellent storytime, despite my slightly too abstract book choices. Orange was a harder color to theme than I had first thought. Orange you glad I didn’t try to force in some tenuously connected songs?