Saturday, 31 March 2012

Favourite Read Alouds: Dooby, Dooby, Moo

1234 More Storytimes has been featuring a Favorite Storytime book of the week for a while, and Kay over at Storytime ABCs recently asked the Flannel Friday crowd to suggest titles of recommended storytime books to help her in the task of Taming the Infamous To-Be-Read Pile.

I'd also like to introduce you to some of my favourite books to read aloud over the coming weeks.

My most recent discovery has been:
Dooby Dooby Moo by Doreen Cronin

Dooby Dooby Moo

Reading this book out loud is more a performance than a story! I'm not a good singer*, but I really couldn't stop myself with this book!  It was impossible for me NOT to sing the singing parts! Crooning "Dooby, dooby, moo ..." and "Fa la, la, la, la ..." to the tune of Strangers in the Night in an imitation of Sinatra's scat improvisation is the order of the day.

The story is simply that the farm animals want to win a trampoline at the county fair. So behind the farmer's back the cows, sheep, and pigs practise their entries for the talent show. When the show starts, the animals receive mixed reviews and duck feels obliged to step forward and strut his stuff with a rendition of Born to be Wild.

My storytime kids loved it, and they couldn't resist joining in the the animal's version of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, "Dooby, dooby, dooby, moo...", though they (and I) found baa-ing to Home on the Range a little more challenging. Hysterics ensued when the the animals later sing along on their prize trampoline with the all the accompanying BOINGS!

We laughed and had lots of fun with this book, and I hope you do too.  Just make sure to have the tunes in mind before you start!

I've found it to be most popular with groups of 3 to 4 year olds, but it would also work for older, younger or mixed groups.

* I don't see this as a problem. In fact, I'd say it is a positive advantage. Many carers also don't have great singing voices, but it's important for their child's early literacy that they establish attunement with their baby, and singing is a very effective and fun way to do it. Modelling this behaviour in storytimes helps carers see ways that they can do it themselves.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Flannel Friday: Mr Shark

When you need a shark, fast!

Clip art + double-sided tape + disposable glove!

Five little fishes in the sea

Five little fishes swimming in the sea,
Teasing Mr. Shark,
You can't catch me, you can't catch me.
Well along came Mr. Shark as quiet as can be,
And he snapped a fish right out of the sea!

This was recently featured by Abby the Librarian in her Fish Storytime. There are versions a plently (derived from 5 Little Monkeys swinging in a tree) on the internet. I got the words from the BLAST Early Learning Series at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. This series has lots of other great programming ideas too.

The fish template came from a set of pretty sea decorations with a big fish template. The shark was made on open source 3D modelling software called Seamless3d by Thyme (I wish I had the time and talent).

I had enough fish for everyone, so the after the shark caught the ones on the board he was after all the fish!

Today’s Flannel Friday host is Cate at Storytiming. You can also find past and future roundups at So Tomorrow. For a visual round-up of all postings, check out Flannel Friday on Pinterest.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Flannel Friday: Oh the flannels I'll make!

You know how excited kids get undoing their Christmas presents? Well, that was me yesterday!

Way back when I first participated in Flannel Friday, I posted in My First Flannel that a partnership worker had offered to buy me/the library a flannel board. Well, yesterday it arrived in all it's blue felt, red pocketed, smooth rubberwood loveliness!

I know my reaction is over the top, but we're part of a larger LIS and buying all happens centrally. I don't get to unpack and check over new 'stuff' as a rule. So, be pleased for me, I have such plans!

Feel free to comment your favourite flannel - extra inspiration is always welcome.

Oh, the flannels I'll make!

The Flannel Friday Roundup this week is hosted from Canada by Angela at Valley Storytime and links to past and future roundups can be found at Anne's blog at SoTomorrow. Images of Flannel Friday posts are displayed on Flannel Friday Pinterest.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Storytime Skills: I'm Reflecting!

I'm very excited to be starting what will hopefully be a series of reflective posts on my storytime skills. That sounds very introspective (and, in all honesty, it is), but I do have my reasons.

Image by Svornik at Open Clip Art Library

You might already be aware that I have two blogs, this one for storytimes, and Library Quine for my personal continuing professional development (CPD). Once again, I am torn as to where to publish these musings, and rather than push you all to unsubscribing from this blog, I've decided to post them over at Library Quine. Please visit me there occasionally, I continue to value your thoughts and comments, in fact I thrive on them!

I'd especially like to thank Mel over at Mel's Desk for her thought-provoking posts on the Essential Elements of Storytime. Her timing is perfect!

You may wonder why I've bothered to post this at all. Well, one thing I've discovered thus far in my evaluative journey is that if I publicly announce that I will do something, I'm far more likey to follow through. Wish me luck!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Flannel Friday: It's all in the lamination

When I'm in a hurry, my best friends are clip art, velco dots and the laminator!

I found myself in need of a fast storytime this week, and just about all the books I wanted to read aloud were out on loan.

I plumped for an easy dogs theme, but my group had seen Dog's Colourful Day once too often!

The rhyme I used was shamelessly borrowed from Librarian Lisa's Storytimes,  Storytime Katie as well as Fun Baby Games Online, and a few more. 

As ever, I changed the wording a little, to match my phrasing ability (just not sure why it's not quite the same as everyone else's).

Five Little Puppies
Five little puppies were playing in the sun.
One saw a rabbit, and he began to run.
One saw a butterfly, and he began to race.
One saw a cat, and he began to chase.
One tried to catch his tail,
So he went round and round.
And one was so quiet ...
... that he never made a sound!

I love the versatility of the laminator and it's ability to become (virtually) invisible. I used this characteristic to make pairs to match the rhyme to make it super easy to put on the flannel board. I used simple black icons for the 'minor' characters.

These all came from Open Clip Art which is open source (ever cautious about copyright violation).

Rabbit Silhouette by kuba - Black Silhouette of the rabbit.Cat silhouette by liftarn - Silhouette of a cat.


The Flannel Friday Roundup this week is hosted by Linda at Notes From The Storyroom and links to past and future roundups can be found at Anne's blog at SoTomorrow. Images of Flannel Friday posts are displayed on Flannel Friday Pinterest.


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Reviews: Award Winning Books in March

This month's award-winning books start off with some Red House Book Award winners.
The Red House Book Award is a national UK award whose nominations and voting are made exclusively by children. There are three categories:
  • Books for Younger Children,
  • Books for Younger Readers, and
  • Books for Older Readers.
The book with the most votes overall becomes the Red House Book Award Winner.
The award is owned and co-ordinated by the Federation of Children's Book Groups. At the time of writing they hold a Twitter chat on Sunday evenings between 8 and 9 p.m. (UK time), using the hashtag #fedbkgrp.

The first two books were both winners in the Books for Younger Children category.

What!ca icon What! [Alternative title: What! Cried Granny] by Kate Lum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Patrick, like many other little boys, gives lots of excuses as to why he can't yet go to bed. Granny has a solution to each problem, but making all the things that Patrick needs for a comfortable night's sleep takes a lot of time and effort. As a read aloud there is lots of repetition and opportunity for participation. It is a funny book, and would be great for a group of mixed ages and genders. It would fit a sleep, bedtime or pyjama party theme.

Winner of the Red House Children's Book Award for Younger Readers in 1999.

en, england, english, great britain icon Scruffy Bear and the Six White Mice by Chris Wormell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a lovely story, and well told. The pictures complement the action perfectly, with sympathy and clarity. When out walking one day, Scruffy Bear happens upon a group of six white mice in need of help. They fear they will be eaten by owls, or foxes, or snakes and don't know what to do. Scruffy Bear helps them out when they eventually meet up with all the things they are scared of and outwits each adversary. I'll say no more, except to say that all turns out well for the mice. I can't wait to read this book aloud to all my young groups, I feel sure they'll love it!

Chris Wormell is an English print-maker as well as an author and illustrator.

Red House Children's Book Award Winner for Younger Readers 2012.

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Reviews: British Books for March

This month brings a rare old mixture of books.

I'm starting off with another YA Title that I really enjoyed.

This is Not Forgivenessen, england, english, great britain icon This is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is NOT Witch Child! This is not even an historical novel; it is most definitely set in the here and now, but is equally as unsettling. Written from the point of view of Jamie, a love lorn teen, it touches on such themes as dysfunctional families, violence, post traumatic stress, suicide, and sibling rivalry. Yet
Celia Rees pulls it all together to make a gripping tale of young lives lead dangerously. This may be too controversial for some readers, so watch who you recommend it to!
Readers who loved John Green's Looking for Alaska will probably like this one too, although this is a little more 'raw'.

In the interests of disclosure I should declare that:
  • I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (as the result of being an early reviewer on the British Books Reading Challenge and 
  • Witch Child is possibly my favourite YA novel, ever!

Witch Child (Witch Child, #1)

Now ... back to more familiar territory; picture books.  Here are some that I've discovered this month.

Some Dogs Doen, england, english, great britain icon Some Dogs Do by Jez Alborough
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*** This is my favourite picture book read this month. ***

I read it as part of my Dogs Toddler Storytime and to one of the visiting Nursery classes. It is a fun rhyming story of a young dog who flies to school. When he arrives at school and tells all his friends nobody believes him. He finds this both frustrating and upsetting, and I may have laid that on a little too strong because I saw a few eyes widen and get a little teary! However, it all gets a lot happier once he gets home and his dad believes him. That's because ... well, you'll have to read the book to find out why!
It's a great opportunity to discuss what is real and what is not, and to talk about imagination and the power of positive thinking.

Red Car, Red Busen, england, english, great britain icon Red Car, Red Bus by Susan Steggall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With minimal text, this book traces the journey of a red bus, with changing scenery, and a growing convoy of other vehicles (cars, vans and lorries of various colours, and another bus). The pictures also depict pedestrians and a bus stop. There is plenty to discuss, but I unfortunately missed the little boy's loss of his teddy (mentioned by other reviewers) and I need to go back and look at it again. The pictures are clear and make great use of primary colours. This book would work for a colours, traffic or vehicles storytime, particularly if you wanted to model a discussion about pictures.

scotland icon Iris and Isaac. Catherine Rayner by Catherine Rayner
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
A nice story about Polar bears and friendship.

Mr Gumpy's Motor Car: Book and CDen, england, english, great britain icon Mr Gumpy's Motor Car: Book and CD by John Burningham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another nice story about an outing in Mr Gumpy's overcrowded car. Mr Gumpy allows an assortment of animals to accompany him on a car ride in the country. When it starts to rain and the car gets stuck in the mud all the passengers have an excuse for not getting out to push. Eventually when they all have to help and no one seems to mind. The illustrations are beautiful with retro appeal as are all John Burningham's books.
However, I much prefer the boat journey described in Mr Gumpy's Outing.

Tigeren, england, english, great britain icon Tiger by Nick Butterworth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tiger is a kitten, not a tiger, but he'd like to be one! In this amusing tale he pretends to be a tiger. The illustrations are adorable.

Nick Butterworth is a British author-illustrator of children's books best known for his "Percy the Park Keeper" picture books.

On a the theme I Tigers, I recently re-read The Tiger Who Came to Tea. I'd forgotten what a great read aloud it is!

The Tiger Who Came to Teaen, england, english, great britain icon The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A story about a tiger's teatime visit with a little girl and her mummy. The tiger's insatiable appetite leaves the family with no food or drink.  The family situation is a little dated, but the story is still a fabulous one.
We read the 40th anniversary edition which included tactile tiger stripes! The reading lead on to a great discussion as to who each child would like to have around for tea.
Judith Kerr is a German-born British author and illustrator who created the Mog series and the autobiographical novel When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit about her childhood experiences in the Second World War.

What Colour Are Your Knickersen, england, english, great britain icon What Colour Are Your Knickers by Sam Lloyd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the UK this book has the alternative title: What Colour Are Your Knickers? US: What Color is Your Underwear?
This short lift the flap book doesn't have much text, and doesn't tell much of a story, but is a lot of fun none the less. Questions are posed about the colour of each animal's underwear, then lifting the flap provides a rhyming answer. 'What colour are your knickers Horse Ned? They're red! Other animals featured are a turtle, a crocodile, a spider, a cow, a sheet and an elephant.

Panda's New Toy: A Panda and Gander Story (Read Me)Panda's New Toy: A Panda and Gander Story by Joyce Dunbar
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A familiar sounding tale to many parents; Panda has a new toy and won't share with his friend Gander. Gander gets impatient and goes off to play with something else, which Panda then wants to play with (of course). The friends finally resolve the problem. This book is one of a series of four Panda and Goose books. The author Joyce Dunbar suffers from a hearing impairment and has written many books which are sympathetic to the woes of small children. She is the mother of award-winning author, Polly Dunbar.

Rabbit Earsen, england, english, great britain icon Rabbit Ears by Amber Stewart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A nice story about Hopscotch the rabbit who DOESN'T like to have his ears washed. Hopscotch's mum uses all sorts of enticements to get him to comply. It brings in issues of negotiation, refusal to comply, growing up, becoming independent and sleeping over.
There are some lovely touches to the illustrations, including Hopscotch wearing oven gloves on his ears to hide them at bath time. He also makes a cat disguise with a paper bag which would made a nice extension activity.

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