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Archive for December, 2011

Flannel Friday: homage

I needed a quick, Christmas-y flannel, so I turned to the fabulous Flannel Friday Holiday Extravaganza. There were so many choices, but only  a few fell under my need for quick and easy, using very few materials. I settled on “Five Little Christmas Trees”, originally posted on What Happens in Storytime. This one really fit the bill– I only needed 3 squares of green felt, scissors, glue, and glitter. I cut the trees out without a pattern, as I wanted them to each look different. I think the whole thing took maybe half an hour. So, if you need a quick flannel story for a Christmas event, try this one! Visit the original post for the rhyme that goes with this easy flannelboard!

Felt trees with glitter

This just in– shared this with a large group of kids waiting for Santa to arrive, and they loved it. The “chop!” gives a loud, fun, active thing for kids to do, and boys especially enjoyed this part. Two thumbs, way up, for this simple, yet effective rhyme.

Books for the season

Time for a few of my favourite Christmas books, including some new ones from this year.  AVRL owns all these books, but at this time of year, don’t be surprised if they are all checked out. Here they are:

The Money We’ll Save by Brock Cole: Ma sends Pa to the store for eggs and flour, and returns home with a turkey poult that they can raise for Christmas dinner. “Think of the money we’ll save!” he says. Anyone who has raised chickens or turkeys knows where this is going. And since this family lives in a crowded city tenement, the story gets wild quickly. The children name the turkey Alfred, and when they realized that Pa intends to eat their friend, well, they have to come up with another solution, and a fine one it is. I love Brock Cole’s sensibilities, and this book does justice to his others, such as Buttons, Larky Mavis, and Good Enough to Eat.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg: If you’ve only seen the movie, you are certainly missing out on a Christmas classic. In this book, a boy is awakened by a train, and he is commanded to come aboard. He sleepily boards the train—the Polar Express – which is headed for the North Pole to see Santa give the First Gift of Christmas. The writing is brilliant, and the illustrations won Van Allsburg a coveted Caldecott award. This touching story of a bell that rings for those who believe is one that I read every year. Often, I read it several times.

Melrose and Croc: a Christmas to Remember by Emma Chichester Clark. I have to first admit to having a soft spot for books that have crocodilian characters. That said, this story of a little crocodile (clad in his jaunty red scarf and carrying his small suitcase) who goes to the big city for Christmas, and Melrose, a dog who is decorating his apartment in same big city (which looks an awful lot like NYC), just makes me smile. Both Melrose and Croc realize that Christmas would be so much nicer if there were someone to share it with, and then BOOM! they run into each other (literally) on the ice rink. I love the old-fashioned looking illustrations and the thick, creamy paper in this book, and the glittery snow on the cover is a nice touch.

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Laurel Long. I am recommending this one mainly for the illustrations. It is truly a lovely book, the perfect thing to pore over under the lights of the tree, or by the fire on a cold winter’s night. The paintings are lush and remind me of Renaissance artists.

Silver Packages  by Cynthia Rylant. Another confession:   I cannot read this one without tissues at hand. It must be that the story resonates with my Kentucky upbringing, and makes me sentimental at this time of year.  Silver Packages tells of the Christmas Train that rolls through small town Appalachia, and gifts wrapped in silver paper are thrown off to eager children. There’s a real Santa Train, and it is still running through Tennessee and Kentucky.  This story can also be found in the book Children of Christmas : stories for the season, and makes a fine read-aloud, even if you’ve never been to Kentucky.

New books for storytimes

Here are some new books that have crossed my path recently (all available from AVRL):

Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum –by Lisa Wheeler.  Rhymes, and a fun, bouncy text with lots of animals getting stuck in gum.   Practise this one before you turn it loose on storytime, because it is certainly a tongue twister.

The Gingerbread Man loose in the School – by Laura Murray.  A funny rhyming story in which a gingerbread man gets left behind by the class that made him. Might work nicely with a Gingerbread Houses craft.

Cows to the Rescue — by John Himmelman .  It’s off to the county fair, and Farmer Greenstalk needs some help. Cows to the Rescue! Cows get the farmer and his crew out of several jams. Have all the kids MOO on the “Cows to the Rescue” pages for great rowdy fun (do a few practise MOOS first). Of course, you have to shout out “Cows to the Rescue!” in your best Superhero voice.

Ernest the Moose Who Doesn’t Fit – by Catherine Rayner.   Ernest is too big for the book, but his clever friend chipmunk finds a way to fix that. With a fold-out page that shows the solution, this is a great story about cooperation and friendship. Would make a nice companion to Mo Willems’ pop-up, Big Frog can’t fit in.

Bear on Chairs – by Shirley Parenteau.  Plenty of rhymes in this story of finding a way to share. Line up some small kid chairs and put as many bears as you can get (or have) on the chairs to extend this story.

Who Has These Feet?  By Laura Hulbert – add a bit of science to storytime. Lots of funky animal feet and a one-sentence explanation of why the animal has that kind of feet. Pair with Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin, Shoe-la-la! By Karen Beaumont, and  One foot two feet : an exceptional counting book  by Peter Maloney for a foot-filled storytime!

Thesaurus Rex by Laya Steinberg – Most of your preschoolers are not going to have a clue what a thesaurus is, but their parents will get the joke and they will learn some new vocabulary in this rollicking rhyme about a little dinosaur who has a descriptive kind of day. Brightly colored and good for sharing.

999 Tadpoles by Ken Kimura – Some exciting moments and a scary adventure for this large frog family, but all ends well as a result of teamwork. The illustrations are really fun, and I could see a frog craft easily extending this.

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