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Posts tagged ‘christmas’

The Night Before Christmas StoryWalk

???????????????????????????????When I read THIS POST about creating a Halloween StoryWalk, I was enchanted.  I loved the idea of an indoor StoryWalk with craft activities and using felt boards. Brilliant. And a day later, one of our branch library staff called and asked for help putting together something for the Town Christmas party. Last year they had over 100 kids in a very tiny library, and the celebration was moving to a bigger location this year. So I immediately thought, why not do a Christmas book? That was before the whole Holiday Ban-Wagon kerfuffle exploded. I had already started cutting apart the books for our StoryWalk by the time that conversation flooded the scene. I don’t want to dwell on that — but I must say, writing this post has taken me a while because I sure don’t want to be yelled at for creating a Christmas StoryWalk. So I am going to just focus on how I did it and how we’ve used it.

Back to the StoryWalk! In case you don’t know the origins of this fabulous idea, please go to THIS LINK to find oust walk 5t. We decided this time to do the “buy two copies and cut the book apart” method. Mainly because we did not have time to request permission to photocopy, and we wanted to use Barbara Reid’s lovely version with those darling clay Santa Mice. So, I got two copies, and started cutting the book apart. Let me tell you– this is a bit unnerving. I wanted to make sure the pages still looked nice, so I used a sharp blade I borrowed from the folks who do our mending. Once I had the first book cut apart, I realized I needed to figure out where the pages would go. I took pictures of each spread of the book I had not yet cut, to use as a guide. It took a bit of fiddling around with glue and posterboard, but I finally got it all together.

I put post-it notes on the pages so I knew which activities went with which pages, and did lots ost walk 2f doust walk3ble-checking before I put the boards into the laminator. I had already cut apart 2 books, I didn’t want to have to sacrifice another! Finally, pages, posterboard, and activities came together for a really fun StoryWalk! We had activities such as Create a mouse to take along, hang a stocking on the wall, dress Santa on the felt board, count the felt reindeer, dash away to the next sign, and jiggle like a bowl of jelly. We’ve used it several times and it has been a lot of fun!

So on to how we used it: this has been a perfect fit for limicebrary outreach events. As I said, we created it originally for a town event– we’ve used it for a recreation party and even a combo indoor-outdoor StoryWalk event with the library and a local craft store.  It is a way for the library to be noticed at a bigger event and to take the “holiday” event outside the walls of the library. And such a classic story, kids love hearing it and parents, too. If you’ve never made a StoryWalk, I can tell you — this is a fairly easy way to do it, and it truly is a whole lot of fun!


Books for the season

 ‘Tis the season, and so I will share some of my favourite books for Christmas and winter holidays.  We’ve gotten some new ones in, and there are some old favourites as well. They will likely be all checked out by now, but I’m sharing them nevertheless!

Ella Bella Ballerina and the Nutcracker by James Mayhew

Ella Bella’s ballet class is having a party, and when Ella Bella goes off to fetch the music box, she meets Clara under the tree and toddles off to Nutcracker land. This is a very simple retelling of the classic story, just right for prepping a youngster for their first experience with The Nutcracker.

Dinosaur vs. Santa by Bob Shea  aa dino santa

Feisty little Dinosaur is trying very hard to be good so that Santa will come visit him. If you have your own little dinosaur, this is a fun one to share. Slight on story, it still has a certain charm. Look for other “Dinosaur Versus” books if you enjoy this one.

How do Dinosaurs say Happy Chanukah? By Jane Yolen

If you are familiar with the other “How do Dinosaurs” books, this one will be no surprise. Dinosaurs enjoy dreidels,  candles in the menorah, and of course, love and joy. A sweet addition to the series just in time for the holidays.

Melrose and Croc : a Christmas to remember by Emma Chichester Clark

It may be because I am a sucker for a book with a crocodile in it, but I just adore this book. Melrose the dog and Croc are lonely in the big city at Christmas time. Just when they give up hope of having a happy Christmas, they bump into each other. The rest is history, my friends.

Silver packages : an Appalachian Christmas story by Cynthia Rylant

This is one from the vaaa silverults. An oldie, but always brings a tear to this Kentucky girl’s heart. Christmas Train comes each year to give gifts to children in the mountains, and one boy finds a way to give back.  For older listeners, and even adults.

 The Steamroller: a fantasy by Margaret Wise Brown

Another oldie, but what a book! Daisy’s parents do not give her dolls or books or clothes. No. They give her a steamroller for Christmas. And it squashes people flat. A truly bizarre little gem from the mother of Goodnight Moon.


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.

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