Sunday, 25 September 2011

Picture Books for Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2011 (part 1)

"Yo, ho, ho and a carton of cream!"

It is possibly my favourite quote from a children's picture book this year.  The book in question is Cats Ahoy! one of 6 books nominated for The Funniest book for Children Aged Six and Under in the Booktrust's Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2011.  This is the first post of 3 in which I review the nominated titles.

Cats Ahoy!
Cover image from GoodReads

Cats Ahoy! by Peter Bently (5 out of 5)
In a world where cats are pirates and fish their bounty, the cats have a whale of a time securing a prize catch under the leadership of the charismatic feline, Captain Alphonso.  The rhyming text is witty and will entertain adults as much as children (something I'm always looking for in a Storytime read-a-loud). This would be excellent reading choice as part of a pirate theme.

Bedtime for Monsters
Cover image from GoodReads

Bedtime for Monsters by Ed Vere [spoiler alert] (3 out of 5)

There is a familar feel about this storyline with the immanent arrival of monsters ready to eat you up, but finishing instead with a big kiss.  The images are great and the colours beautiful, but it's possibly not one for sensitive children. That said, it would be a good choice for a Halloween story time, beating ghouls, ghosts and exotic pumpkins (shame there aren't more books featuring the native *neep!).

The other nominees will be covered in the forthcoming weeks.
Limelight Larry by Larry Hodgkinson
First Week at Cow School by Andy Cutbill
A Place to Call Home by Alexis Deacon and
Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School by David Mackintosh.

*turnip/swede - Read about neeps in the Scots pages of Wikipedia (no, I didn't know they existed either).  If you can understand the article, perhaps you'd send me a translation! Also the potential for an international brassica-based diplomatic incident in the Guardian's food blog together with the ensuing debate.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Flannel Friday - Five Enormous Dinosaurs - One Flannel, Two Jobs!

Five Enormous Dinosaurs (squashed into a frame)
I have at least one storytime regular who is mad for dinosaurs and so, inspired by recent Flannel Friday posts, I decided to write a dinosaur storytime.  As I only do two public storytimes each month, I have a while to prepare, so thought I'd make the flannel this week to present the following week.

I loved Katie @ Sharing Soda's Five Enormous Dinosaurs, and almost decided to print off her lovely clip art.  However, having seen the Library Lady's Magnet Monday - Whooose Missing, I wanted to play her colour game too, and so needed some dinosaurs in plain colours.  I couldn't find any templates that were just right, so turned to a book (imagine)!  

I was enchanted by the techniques and results in the book It's Fun to draw Dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures by Mark Bergin. This book is part of the Scribblers Bright Start Right Start series and not the one aimed at older readers by the same author.  I don't normally include covers, but it might help you see why I think the book is so great!

It's fun to draw dinosaurs

I used some of the outlines to cut out my felts.  The illustrator outlines all of his dinosaurs in felt pen, so the outlines are really clear.  He also names and indexes all his dinosaurs, and I drew the following:

  • Ankylosaurus - green
  • Pteranodon - blue
  • Parasaurolophus - purple
  • Stegosaurus - yellow
  • Triceratops - red
Once I'd cut out the felts, I just added eyes and mouths or nostrils (guided by the illustrations). I don't have any puffy paint, so for the eyes I used a white opaque pen to do a big white dot, and then put a coloured dot with sharpie over the top (leaving some white exposed).  Not ideal, but you have to use what you have!

So now I have my flannels I'm going to incorporate BOTH Molly's song Five Enormous Dinosaurs AND Library Lady's Whose Missing game into my storytime!

Tracy is hosting this week's Flannel Friday roundup and there are past Flannel Friday images pinned at Pinterest - looking forward to seeing more of those great ideas.

Thanks guys!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Developing a new library session - Baby Rhymetimes - Fingers and Toes

Some of our visitors had been commenting for a while that they didn't bring their wee ones to storytimes because they thought they were a bit too young for the storytime group. I'd assured them that they were never too young to share stories and rhymes, but that I'd try and sort them out a session of their own; twice-monthly Baby Rhymetimes for babies 0 to 24 months are the result. As is often the case, none of the 'requesting' group came along (circumstances and timetables change so often at this stage of parenthood) and we welcomed a slew of new faces. Most of the children were between 10 weeks and 11 months.
Image by KittenBella

The content which follows is a combination of the first two baby rhymetimes. I don't intend to change the content of these sessions very much as repetition is so important for the little ones, I'll just change out the story, and just a few of the rhymes and songs.

We started with a favourite ...

Hello Song

Hello, how are you?
Hello, how are you?
Hello, how are you?
How are you today?

Hello {child's name}, how are you?
Hello {child's name}, how are you?
Hello {child's name}, how are you?
How are you today?
[moving around the group we soon got to know all the children's names]

In the second session I brought out the coloured scarves and we played peek-a-boo first and then played with the scarves with these songs and rhymes ...

Where is?

Where is {child's name}?, Where is {child's name},
There {s}he is! There {s}he is!
We're so glad to see you, we're so glad to see you,
Peek-a-boo! Peek-a-boo!

One Bright scarf
[adapted from 10 Little Fingers at Storytime Rocks]

One bright scarf waiting for the wind to blow (hold in hand)
Wiggle it high (wiggle scarf above head)
Wiggle it low (wiggle scarf by knees)
Shake it fast (wiggle scarf quickly)
Shake it slow (wiggle scarf slowly)
Put it behind your back

Where did it go? (bring out empty hands)

Then we had a selection of fingerplays (and toeplays too) ...

Round and round the Garden

Roon Aboot
[Scots Rhyme from Katie's Coo]

Roon aboot, roon aboot,
Catch a wee moose.
Up a bit, up a bit,
In his wee hoose.
[finishing up mussing little one's hair]

This little piggie went to market

Ten Little Toesies
[adapted from 10 little Indians]

One little, two little, three little toesies,
Four little, five little, six little toesies,
Seven little, eight little, nine little toesies,
Ten little tickley toes!
[then back again]

[ .. in preparation for a story  ...]

The Wiggle Song

I wiggle my fingers,
I wiggle my toes,
I wiggle my ears and I wiggle my nose,
Now that the wiggles are all out of me,
Let's cuddle up and have a sto-ry.
[just a small variation in the last line there!]

STORY: Ten little fingers and ten little toes, Mem Fox
[this book was spot on - the right length, good repetition, nice rhythm & lots of pics of multicultural babies]

One, two, three, four, five

One, two, three, four, five,
Once I caught a fish alive,
Six, seven, eight, nine ten,

Head, shoulders, knees and toes
[sitting down]

The more we get together
[rocking back and forth, either on lap or in arms]

... and finally ...
Twinkle, twinkle, little star

The twenty minutes flew by and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  Some of the babies responded well to rhythms, so next time we'll incorporate our home-made shakers [more about them in a later post]. 

Friday, 9 September 2011

Flannel Friday - My First Flannel (or Dog's Colourful Day)

I think almost everyone who contributes to Flannel Friday has made a version of Dog's Colorful Day*, and here is mine.  It was the first flannel I ever made and I used it in a colour themed storytime. 

Following the links posted on Nikarella's Blog, I downloaded the pattern from Making Learning Fun.  Then I printed it on to card, transferred the dog to cream-coloured felt, drew the outline (inner line) freehand with black pen, just cut out the dots direct from the card and stuck Velcro dots on the reverse - job done!

Two good things came from this flannel board:

  • Firstly, the kids loved the interactivity - we had just a small group, few enough that the kids could have one dot each.  They each came up to the front and added thier dot when I read the page featuring their colour.  Later they also had a lovely time playing with the whole thing when storytime had finished.

  • Secondly, I showed the flannel to someone who was in a position to request funds for early years literacy projects, and she agreed to put in a request to purchase a flannel board easel for the library's exclusive use (for the time-being I am using either a piece of display board, or my homemade felt covered art canvas).  Yeah for Partnership working!

You can see more cool versions at:
So Tomorrow
What is Bridget Reading?
Storytime Katie
Awesome Storytime

There is an other version of the pattern (which is more like the dog in the book) in the book Storytime Magic and at the weblink for the book's patterns.  I have bought this book since and love just about everything in it!

The Flannel Friday roundup is a Mel's Desk this week!
*If you are wondering about the spelling, the library didn't own a copy of this book, so I bought a super cheap one from an online book retailers (a UK printing, so it was Dog's Colourful Day).

Friday, 2 September 2011

Fire engine storytime (and fire trucks too)!

Were you ever holding storytime when the fire bell sounded?

It happened at our storytime last week, and although it was a scheduled fire evacuation practice, storytime should have just/almost have finished when the alarm was scheduled.  We did have some notice, not enough to re-schedule, but sufficient to change the theme to fire engines.  We started off very promptly and set off at a clip, after giving them fair warning of what was to happen.

Song: Hello, How are you? (now my favourite opening song)

Rhyme: 5 Little Fire Engines (adapted from So Tomorrow's 5 Little Fire Trucks)

1 fire engine [thumb up]

2 fire engines [index finger up]

3 fire engines [middle finger up]

4 [ring finger up]

5 fire engines all in a row [pinkie finger up]

Back to the fire station they all go! [Thumb into palm with fingers folded over the thumb].

Action Song: Hurry, Hurry Drive the Fire Truck (a Barney favourite from Kiddles suggested by Storytime Katie)
Hurry, hurry, drive the fire truck, [pretend to steer]
Hurry, hurry, drive the fire truck,
Hurry, hurry, drive the fire truck,
Ding, ding, ding, ding!
 ... turn the corner [lean to the right & then to the left]
... Climb the ladder [pretend to climb ladder]
... spray the water [pretend to spray hose]
Slowly, slowly, back to the station [pretend to steer slowly].

Song: If you want to read a book, clap your hands (do this every time)

Action Rhyme: I Wiggle my fingers (do this one everytime too)

Story: Meeow and the big box, Sabastien Braun
Cute black cat makes his own fire engine from a cardboard box and household items. This went down well and was borrowed after, so yeah!

I cleared the library, saw them out of the building, apologised to the participants.  They all went home (so I thought) and Staff and diehard customers walked to the rallying point.  After the 'all clear' we returned to the library. All the storytime mums were waiting for us - they hadn't changed their books!  They were eager to do some more, so we continued ...

Song: The Wheels on the bus

Story: The journey home from Grandpa's, Jemima Lumley
A story/song about a variety of vehicles seen on the journey to Grandpa's house, including a fire engine. We didn't sing it, I was still in shock from seeing them all again so soon!  I wasn't happy with all the repititon (the more the merrier usually), so I skipped quite a few of the lines. It would have been much better to sing it (note to self).

Action Rhyme: Fireman, Fireman Turn Around (adaptation of Teddybear, teddybear)

Fireman, fireman, turn around

Fireman, fireman, touch the ground

Fireman, fireman, show your big work boot [no scanning here!]

Fireman, fireman, that will do

Fireman, fireman, climb the stair

Fireman, fireman,  jump in the air

Fireman, fireman, turn out the light

Fireman, fireman, say good night.

Closing Song: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (as per usual)

Extra song we didn't do (the age make-up of the group was too young, and we had to drop something).  Actually this would make a good flannel, but I didn't have enough red felt.

Five Little Firemen (From Early Years Experience)
Five little firemen standing in a row,
1 2 3 4 5 lets go.
Jump on the engine with a SHOUT,
As quick as a wink the fire is out.

Four little firemen standing in a row,
1 2 3 4 shhh lets go.
Jump on the engine with a Shout
As quick as a wink the fire is out.

Three little firemen standing in a row,
1 2 3 shhh shhh lets go.
Jump on the engine with a Shout
As quick as a wink the fire is out.

Two little firemen standing in a row,
1 2 shhh shhh shhh lets go.
Jump on the engine with a Shout
As quick as a wink the fire is out.

One little firemen standing in a row,
1 shhh shhh shhh shhh lets go.
Jump on the engine with a Shout
As quick as a wink the fire is out.

I used some of the items for my Rising 3's group later in the week, and we read the books: Touch and feel fire engine, and The journey home from Grandpa's. They really enjoyed the Hurry, Hurry song, although none of them (nor the teachers) were familiar with it previously.

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