Thursday, 18 October 2012

Flannel Friday - Hand-held Flannel Board

May I introduce my latest innovation - a hand-held flannel board! It has a retractable handle on the back to make it easy to bring flannels up close to storytime participants. I've found it to be perfect for small groups of storytimers (I use it for my Baby Rhymetimes).

Our Baby Rhymetime groups are quite small (they vary from 6 to 24 participants), and we all sit on doughnut cushions on the floor around a colourful play mat. I've found my flannel board to be too high when placed on a table, and too likely to be pulled over when placed on the floor.  My solution is this round, hand-held version which I mentioned briefly in my Five Fancy Goldfish post.

Five Fancy goldfish

... and I've have also used it with finger puppets and these sets of "Five Little ..." things.

It was very simple to make, although the innards look a bit 'Heath Robinson' or (my favourite new word) stringpunk! It cost almost nothing to make, consisting of:

  • 2  polystyrene/syrofoam pizza packaging discs (about 12" across) - or a circle of stiff cardboard
  • Sheet of thick polystyrene/styofoam (mine was reused packaging) 0.5" - 1.5" thick
  • Handle and wrapping off a shampoo duo pack
  • Flannel
  • Hot glue gun
  • Duct (Duck) tape.

Materials for a hand-held flannel board

I've made a slide show (below) so you can see how easy it was to make. Unfortunately the slide show needs Flash Player, so doesn't display on iPads etc.
It looks a little skewed to the side in my preview, but can be seen better if you open it up in a new window.

This is how I store all the little pieces ...

Storing finger puppets

Leave if a comment if you need any further information.

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 Molly's fabulous blog - What Happens In Storytime.

Monday, 15 October 2012

American children's authors popular in the UK

Which American children's authors ARE popular in the UK? That was a (paraphrased) question posed by Anne from SoTomorrow in response to my comment on Goodreads that Dr Seuss was not as popular in the UK as the US.

US/UK flag by klainen - English language flag.

On this point I was aware that my own views are probably not indicative of folks in the UK generally as I've probably spent too long immersed in all the great US books recommended by my fellow Flannel Friday-ers and because of the six years I lived in the USA (years when my children were reading children's books for school and leisure).  I thought a more objective answer might be found in the recognised published statistics.

PLR (Public Lending Right) lists are published annually in the UK and show which authors and books were the most popular in UK public libraries. The following list shows the most borrowed children's authors in the UK in 2011 taken from a sample of UK libraries.

1. Daisy Meadows
2. Jacqueline Wilson
3. Francesca Simon
4. Julia Donaldson
5. Mick Inkpen
6. Adam Blade
7. Terry Deary
8. Fiona Watt
9. Roald Dahl
10. Lauren Child 

11. Ian Whybrow
12. Enid Blyton
13. Lucy Cousins
14. Janet & Allan Ahlberg
15. Eric Hill
16. Tony Ross
17. Michael Morpurgo
18. Jeanne Willis
19. Vivian French
20. Jeremy Strong

To my knowledge (and surprise) not one of those authors is from the USA. A closer examination of the titles borrowed does throw up some US authors; Maurice Sendak with Where the Wild things Are, Stephenie Meyer with Breaking Dawn, and Jeff Kinney Diary of a Wimpy Kid:The Last Straw, and Louisa May Alcott with Little Women appears in the children's classics list.



Book recommendations, book reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

I suspect that looking at the earlier archived lists will bring up some Eric Carle titles, and surely E.B. White's Charlotte's Web must feature? Once the latest author list is published it will no doubt include Suzanne Collins.

As to what MY personal Children's list would include, that is a whole other post!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Library Display for Early Years

I've been wanting to introduce a storytime-centred display into the library for some time. However, with no blank wall space, finding a location for said display was going to be a challenge.

I really wanted a visual way to:
  • increase the language-richness of the early years area (see post on 'Supporting Early Literacy Environments in the Library' course)
  • introduce a conversation prompt for storytime attendees, and
  • promote our rhymetime & storytime programmes.

The logical choice was a bulletin board type display which, because of lack of wall space, would have to be suspended from the ceiling above a slatted bay end panel.

I opted for a 'Reading Tree' with the tree top painted on poster board, lightweight and easy to hang, with a trunk extending down the centre of the end panel (minimizing the loss of book display space). I made it double-sided - one side for our public programmes, and one side for visiting nursery classes.

It would be great to decorate the tree according to the seasons and the themes of our storytime programmes, sometimes using examples of our craft activities, but otherwise using a picture to match the theme. Next week our baby storytime will feature owls, so this owl will be our first visitor.  Of course it will look so much better with some made by the children. 

Every item will be clearly labelled, and a header added to the top. I'm still undecided as to whether to mount each item on an image of an open book, or not - what do you think?  As ever, your suggestions are very welcome!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Baby Rhymetime at Halloween

I was going to skip Halloween for our Baby Rhymetimers as they are so young (most are under one year).  However, because the little ones so love peek-a-boo games, I thought they'd probably enjoy some Woo-ooh and BOO! and adapted this action rhyme to use along with a couple of ghost finger puppets.

Two Little Ghosties

Two Little Ghosties

Two little ghosties (hold up 1 finger on each hand)

Looking at you (point)

One named Woo  (put right hand on child's left shoulder)

And one named Boo (put left hand on child's right shoulder)

Fly away Woo (fly right hand behind back)

Fly away Boo (fly left hand behind back)

Come back Woo-ooh (bring right hand back)

Come back.....BOO!!!!! (Bring left hand back, and only say loud enough to startle if you think your little one will enjoy it)

I can't take all the credit. That goes to Peggy Drake who contributed the unadulterated version of this rhyme to a Halloween post at The Perpetual Preschool entitled Two Little Ghosts back in 1998.

Oh, I almost forgot. The template for the ghost finger puppets comes from Crack of Dawn Crafts blog.  She has hundreds of adorable designs for finger puppets - ninjas, gingerbread people, germs - all brilliant!

Update: The finger puppets and rhyme were very popular at Baby Rhymetime - lots of smiles and chuckles! This is a rhyme I definitely recommend!

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 Miss Mary Liberry's fabulous blog .


Monday, 1 October 2012

Award Winning Books – pets and friendship

Often pets and toys are used to help children learn about the way in which friendships work. Here are some books which do just that.

Wanted: The Perfect PetWanted: The Perfect Pet by Fiona Roberton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A humorous tale of longing and friendship. One the one hand, Henry wants a dog more than anything in the world; on the other, duck needs a friend. Duck sees Henry's advert for a pet in the paper and decides that this is his opportunity to get a friend. He tries, with hilarious outcomes, to be the perfect pet that Henry longs for. I won't spoil the ending, but just say that both learn a great deal about compromise and friendship before the book ends. I adored this book, loved the ways in which duck tries to make himself more acceptable to the boy with egg box, old socks and string. This book provides scope for some great extension activities - I loved it!
IRA (International Reading Assn.) Children's and Young Adults' Book Award winner - Primary Fiction category

Not Norman: A Goldfish StoryNot Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun tale about a boy who is given a fish for his birthday when what he really wants is a cat or a dog. He sets about talking up his fish so that he can offload his fish on someone else. The plan fails and the two share a number of experiences that bring boy and fish together. Eventually the boy gets the opportunity to swop his fish, but will he? The illustrations are simple and humorous and enhance the story.
Booktrust Book of the Month for August 2005 (UK)
Texas Institute of Letters Friends of the Austin Public Library’s Best Children’s Book for 2005.
CBC (Children's Book Council) Children's Choice
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 2006 Gold Medal
A FamilyFun Magazine Best Children’s Book for 2005

Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken IdentityKnuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Trixie now goes to school and one day takes Knuffle Bunny too. Things don't quite go as expected when another child has a similar bunny. A nice tale of jealousy and friendship. Not as charming (for me) as the first book, but still worth sharing as a read aloud as well as a one-to-one.
Awards: Caldecott Honor 2008

View all my Goodreads reviews
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