…storytime, books, and ideas

Archive for April, 2012

New books for storytime

Here are a few new books that have caught my attention:

Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid – Reid’s signature clay artwork honors the beauty of a tree in this simple sing-songy verse. After reading this story, many children are going to want to draw, paint, or sculpt their own trees. Why not add writing into the mix, and have them write a word that describes their tree? If they cannot yet write, ask them for a word (vocabulary!) and write it on their artwork for them.

In the Sea by David Elliott – This is a book of tiny poems all about things in the sea. You could read the whole thing, or just pick your favs, but it would make a very nice addition to a beach or ocean themed storytime. With the rhymes and alliteration in the poems, you’ll be adding some phonemic awareness into the mix as well.

Moonlight by Helen V. Griffith – Bunny goes into his rabbit hole to sleep, and the moon comes out like butter and spreads over everything. The artwork is lovely, and the repeated idea of the moon spread like butter is reinforcing vocabulary. Great add to bedtime –or moontime—storytimes.

Silly Goose’s Big Story by Keiko Kasza – Silly Goose tells great stories, but when the animals play, Goose always gets to be the hero. Wolf takes care of that, but Goose’s storytelling skills save the day—as do Goose’s pals. A great story of friendship, and the power of storytelling. Tell a story after this, and get the kids to help you tell it! And don’t miss The Wolf’s Chicken Stew by the same author. You can’t help but love a story with baby chicks and cookies.

Otto the Book Bear by Kate Cleminson –Bear jumps out of his book and gets stuck out in the world, but the library saves him. Librarians will sigh at the sentiment in this book, and kids will enjoy the plot twist at the end. A nice little story that could be a starting point for some other bear tales.

One Special Day by Lola M. Schaefer – This is a special book for big brothers and sisters. Simple similes and fun cartoon-like drawings compare a boy to jungle animals, until he becomes a big brother, when he becomes quiet and gentle. Children can help tell the story through the pictures, which are large enough for storytime sharing. Extend the story by asking children to name animals that are quiet and gentle, like the big brother.

Books without words?

I just love wordless books. And usually, when I tell people about them, and show them how much fun they are, they begin to love them, too. But I do have to “sell ” these books, as many parents or teachers will pick them up and think, “Well, there are no words in this book. How am I going to read that to my child?” Here’s how!

An easy exercise in a parent group is to get people into pairs, and hand out one wordless book to each pair. Tell them that they are going to read to each other– one starts, and halfway through, the other will take over and read. Then say, “GO!” and see what happens. Often you will hear silence at the beginning, and then, as they start to realize that they are now the storytellers, they get into the spirit. Children have no problem with this, being born storytellers. Wordless books are a great way to get children practising those early literacy concepts of talking and telling stories. They are using their imaginations and having an art experience as well. There are many uses for these books, so I am singing their praises today!

Here are a few of my favourites:

A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka. Not only did it win the Caldecott Medal in 2012, it is a fun story featuring a playful little dog. Open it up and start telling the story of what happens when your favourite toy is lost.

Another Caldecott winner is Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse. This familiar story is beautifully created in watercolor and sunshine. The Weston Woods film of the book is brilliant, too, with music that sets the tone of the story.

David Wiesner’s Flotsam was also noticed by the Caldecott committee, and for good reason. This amazing book tells the story of a camera found on a beach in gorgeous paintings that you can look at over and over. Robot Dreams by Sara Varon will enchant older readers with this story of a rusty robot.

For even more wordless books, try this link to our Wordless Books booklist. Enjoy the art and the story that you and your child tell together. Pick out a few of these and have your child “read” to you!

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