Sunday, 30 September 2012

British Books Challenge (September's picture books)

I've read some cracking British picture books this month. The ones I've mentioned here would make great read alouds at storytime.

I love stories with strong female characters, but I find there just aren't enough of them. This first book is certainly one that demonstrates that young princesses don't have to conform to their traditional stereotype.

The worst princessThe Worst Princess by Anna Kemp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A excellent updated fairy tale. Decked out in canvas high-tops, this strong-willed young princess wants excitement and adventure and is disappointed by the role her 'Prince Charming' expects her to play. To combat the boredom she experiences at his court, she hatches a plot with the winsome dragon and proves once and for all that she is the worst princess (and so what)! The rhyming text is amusing and full of little asides designed to make the adults and older children in your audience snigger!
Shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2012.

In the UK we celebrate Older Person's Week in the first week of October. This book is the perfect choice for my Multi-Generational Storytime to be held next week. Unfortunately there is no cover picture on Goodreads, but I think this charming video of the author, Judith Kerr (of Mog fame), will more than make up for it. These grannies certainly don't conform to their stereotypes either!

The Great Granny Gang by Judith Kerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun story about capable and courageous grannies who thwart the thieving 'hoodies'. I'm not totally happy with the demonising of hoodie wearers (thinking of those extra shy children who like to hide within their clothing). However, the grandmas are amazing; they have unexpected skills, talents and strengths, not least their ability to work together, and their capacity for eating cake!

Finally a book about our more typical younger visitors.

What Shall We Do With The Boo Hoo Baby?What Shall We Do With The Boo Hoo Baby? by Cressida Cowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Various animals try to calm the baby in nice repetitive text. There is lots of opportunity for a young audience to join in with their animal noises. The animals try a number of activities; feeding, bathing and playing to quieten the baby. All work for a time, but then the "Boo-hoo-hoo" starts again. Thankfully they eventually they find the solution.
This would have been a 5 out of 5 if I hadn't found the layout of the text a little confusing at times, and would prefer a version in one language just so the text is easier to read.

View all my Goodreads reviews

Read more British book reviews on the British Books Challenge blog.

Boggiesta - blog housekeeping time

Well, Bloggiesta is back again with Bloggiesta Ole! The Fall 2012 edition is happening from September 28th through to the 30th - and time is swiftly running out.

Bloggiesta is a 3-day blog-a-thon where participants endeavour to complete as many things on their to-do lists as they can. You can learn all about it from Suey at It’s All About Books and sign up to participate at Danielle's  There's a Book blog.

In Suey's words

"Bloggiesta is your chance to:
  • spiff up your blog
  • try something new on your blog, fix something, add something or delete something
  • catch up on reviews, Google Reader, email, or anything else that's out of control
  • work and party together with other bloggers
  • learn new things from blogging experts
  • join several mini challenges and win prizes [mini challenges are now closed] 
  • have fun for three days blogging and connecting with your blogging friends!"

To join in all you need to do is write a post about Bloggiesta and include your to-do list and link up your post.

As I've only one day in which to do it my to-do list is going to be pretty short.

  • Update the reading challenges page on my blog
  • Add an September update to the Award-Winning Books Challenge The September challenge was taken off line early, so waited until Monday to add an update to the October update.
  • Prepare an October update for the same Posted an October update, but as an alternative to, rather than in addition to, a September update.
  • Add a September update for the British Books Challenge 2012
  • Prepare an October update for the above. It is prepared - an update on butterfly books - but I'm having second thoughts about the value of spending time on the updates for this challenge.
  • Write up and schedule at least one of my outstanding draft posts on my Loons and Quines storytimes blog and one on my CPD blog, Library Quine FAIL!
  • and finally comment on the progress and success of at least two other Bloggiesta participants via #bloggiesta. Left comments at  Lit and Life and Jenny Elise.

Update: I made a major mistake with this Bloggiesta by not signing up for it a lot sooner. When I checked out the instructions over one week before the start, I found that all the mini-challenges were closed. I'll set a calendar notification to check up on this 8 weeks and 4 weeks before the start of the challenge next time (March 29th - 31st 2013 for the main challenge).
N.B. The Bloggiesta Challenge now has a dedicated site at

Once completed I intend to take a Flannel Friday sabbatical for a few weeks and dedicate some time to writing up my CILIP Chartership Portfolio after a year of working on various professional development challenges. Then towards the end of the month I'll be taking what I hope will be the trip of a lifetime to Vietnam and Cambodia. Wish me luck!


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Flannel Friday - Hand Washing

I love the new directions into which partnership working can take lead you. This week I've had the opportunity to work with a nurse to introduce pre-school children to proper hand washing.

Thanks to some crowd-sourcing with my Flannel Friday Facebook friends and some shared resources I've come up with what I hope will a fun yet educational Storytime.

I'm including the story of Mrs Wishy Washy and, if I have the courage, will dress as the determined lady herself. Thanks to previous posts and ideas from Storytime Katie and Storytime ABC's, and the templates from Making Learning Fun, I made this reversible flannel board set from laminated paper and card.

Mrs Wishy Washy - templates from Making Learning Fun
I also wanted a flannel board prop with an action poem or song to help demonstrate the hand washing process, and with a little help from my friends this is what I came up with. The hand is from Open Clip Art Library, and the germs were cut freehand and dotted with various colours of puffy paint (then reverse printed onto another 'germ' of similar shape).
All the little germs, dirty and mean,
Hiding on your palms, (point to where they're hiding)
Where they cannot be seen.
Wash them, (rub hands together)
Scrub them, (rub knuckles together)
Rinse them away. (whisk hands across each other)
Then we'll have clean hands, (hold hands out palm up)
Hip, hip, hooray! (jazz hands!)
... Hiding between your fingers,
... Hiding behind your hands,
... Hiding on your thumbs,
... Hiding under nails,
... Hiding on your wrists,
There are a few too many germs on the hand in the photo, but you no doubt get the idea.
Try as I might I couldn't come up with a line that would scan to say 'on the backs of your hands', except 'behind your hands' - perhaps you can?

Want to know more?

Find out about Flannel Friday on the dedicated website. Features include past roundups, host schedule and how to participate.

Scan images of Flannel Friday posts on Pinterest.

Search for flannels and storytime ideas at Mel's Desk.

Discuss storytimes and flannel boards on the Flannel Friday Facebook Page.

This week's Flannel Friday Roundup can be found at Storytime Katie's fabulous blog .



Friday, 14 September 2012

Flannel Friday - Five Fancy Goldfish (Flannel three ways)

I was SO inspired by Lisa of Libraryland's Goldfish stick puppets last week, I found myself making goldfish. Initially, I wasn't sure if I'd be using them on the flannel board, so the three big fish are also double thickness (with a gap at the base) and can double up as finger puppets, or with a lolly stick and a Velcro dot can become stick puppets too.

I plan to use the flannel pieces at a multi-generational baby rhymetime celebrating (UK) Older People's week coming up soon (Older People's week celebrates the contribution of older people in my locality and will take place from 1st- 7th October 2012). I'll also be wearing another cap that week and will be helping older foks get online at a drop-in internet cafe held in our library.

Five Fancy Goldfish

I adapted the rhyme from one I found at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. 

Let’s Buy a Goldfish

Five fancy goldfish at the pet store,
I’ll buy one for my mummy, and now there are FOUR.

Four fancy goldfish looking at me,
I’ll get one for my daddy, and now there are THREE.

Three fancy gold fish in a fishbowl they outgrew,
I’ll get one for my grandma, and that leaves TWO.

Two fancy goldfish, scales shining in the sun,
I want one for my grandpa, and now there is just ONE.

One fancy goldfish swimming all alone,
I’ll take this one home with me, and now there are NONE!

You'll find the link to the fish pattern over on Lisa's blog. The bowl was adapted from the Five Little Goldfish Math Story Mat over at Scholastic. Their bowl was a little asymmetric for my tastes, so I re-drew a slightly rounder and more symmetrical one. It's drawn onto thin quilting batting with turquoise Sharpie. The fish stick to it a treat!

Five Fancy Goldfish on handheld Flannel Board

May I introduce my NEW handheld flannel board?  Perfect for small group storytelling and Baby Rhymetimes. I'll tell you more about it in a future post!

Want to know more?

Find out about Flannel Friday on the dedicated website. Features include past roundups, host schedule and how to participate.

Scan images of Flannel Friday posts on Pinterest.

Search for flannels and storytime ideas at Mel's Desk.

Discuss storytimes and flannel boards on the Flannel Friday Facebook Page.

This week's fabulous Flannel Friday Roundup can be found at Kay's Storytime ABC's.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Flannel Friday Roundup - 7th September 2012

Flannel Friday is a weekly online event for library storytime activity ideas, including flannel board activities, stories, songs and rhymes. Here are the flannel/felt creations, for this week, from this fantastic international group. This time around we even have some brilliant bi-lingual offerings for you.


Lisa (Libraryland) is our first poster this week with some lovely flannel fish stick puppets to use with Laurie Berkner’s Goldfish Song. I’ll certainly be asking her for the pattern!

Katie (Storytime Katie) has some cute little owl finger puppets which she uses with a variation on the rhyme “Two Little Blackbirds”. 

Sarah (Read, Sarah, Read) shows how she retells the classic book Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell - in 3D with soft toys, puppets, and a great looking box.  

Sarah (Read It Again) introduces us to her new puppet dragon, Sparky, and makes dragons the stars of a retelling of Eric Kimmel’s book I Took My Frog to the Library. 

Katie (Storytime Secrets) demonstrates how to bring some Math into storytime, by showing how the cookies can be shared, from the book The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins.

Katie (Es Divertido Hablar Dos Idiomas) shares her bi-lingual flannel version of Are You My Mother?/ ¿Eres tu mi mamá? by P.D. Eastman together with printable PDF patterns.
As a bonus we have a SECOND flannel from Katie. It's a Mexican folktale called La Hormiguita / The Little Ant and Katie tells us that it is an easy story to use to incorporate some Spanish words into your storytime, even if you don't speak Spanish! Again she’s included a PDF template.

Lucy (In The Children’s Room) shows us her take on Fall is Not Easy by Marty Kelly. I hear what you’re saying about wheel-inventing – I think most of us have been there! 

Linda (Notes From the Story Room) has an original cut and tell story this week with the Mess Monster – her storytimers will never dare leave their rooms in a mess again!
Monica (Ram Sam Storytime) combines a flannel and a mouse puppet to tell the story in the book Lunch by Denise Fleming.

Danielle (A Bad Case of Books) shares her flannel poem, with an autumnal feel, with Five Little Leaves.

Tracey (1234 Storytimes) shows us her fun flannel based on the book Chameleon’s Colors by Chisato Tashiro.
What a great selection! Thank you for all your contributions.
If I've missed anyone, please let me know by commenting on this post.

Want to know more?

Find out about Flannel Friday on the dedicated website. Features include past roundups, host schedule and how to participate.

Scan images of Flannel Friday posts on Pinterest.

Search for flannels and storytime ideas at Mel's Desk.

Discuss storytimes and flannel boards on the Flannel Friday Facebook Page.

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