Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Children's Books for Rosh Hashanah

Tonight marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  I've been trying to incorporate more multi-cultural storytimes into my schedule.  Thankfully, I have a great resource in the Central New York community of The PJ Library.  Miss Alicia was our special guest at storytime today and she read a story about celebrating the world's birthday.  She showed the children three different types of shofars (a horn made from a ram).  The kids also sang a song about the three noises a shofar makes.  Finally, it was craft time!  Children made birthday cards to the world and made their own noisemaker to ring in the New Year (and generally just make lots of noise, because that's what kids do).

The book Alicia shared is The World's Birthday: a Rosh Hashanah Story by Barbara Diamond Goldin.  We don't own a copy of the book at my library, but it is available through our library system.

Summary: Daniel is determined to have a birthday party for the world to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

Here are some other children's books about Rosh Hashanah available at my library:

Sliding Into the New Year
by Dori Weinstein
Yaldah Publishing, 2011
Ages: 8-12
Thrill-loving fifth grade Ellie "YaYa" Silver has been waiting all summer to visit the brand new indoor water park in town.  She is ecstatic when her best friend, Megan, invites her to go - that is until her twin brother Joel "YoYo," points out that Megan is going on Rosh Hashanah.  Sure, Rosh Hashanah is a big deal, but so is Splash World!  What will Ellie do?

Talia and the Rude Vegetables
by Linda Elovitz Marshall
Kar-Ben Publishing, 2011
Ages: 5-9
City-girl Talia misunderstands her grandmother's request that she go to the garden for "root vegetables" but manages to find some she thinks are rude, as well as a good use for the rest she harvests.  Includes a recipe for Rude Vegetable Stew.

New Year at the Pier: a Rosh Hashanah Story
by April Halprin Wayland
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2009
Ages: 5-9
On Rosh Hashanah, Izzy and her family make lists of the wrongs they have committed over the past year, and after they have apologized, they throw pieces of bread into the water to "clean their hearts" in a ceremony called tashlich.

Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride
by Deborah Bodin Cohen
Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008
Ages: 5-9
Israel's first train chugs from Jaffa to Jerusalem on Rosh Hashanah.

Celebrate Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur
by Deborah Heiligman
National Geographic, 2007
Ages: 5-9
Explores the meaning of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and how they are celebrated around the world.

When the Chickens Went on Strike: a Rosh Hashanah Tale
by Erica Silverman
Dutton Children's Books, 2003
Ages: 5-9
A Jewish boy living in Russia learns a lesson from the village chickens at the time of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Sound the Shofar!: a Story for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
by Leslie Kimmelman
HarperCollins Publishers, 1998
Ages: 3-8
Uncle Jake gets to blow the shofar twice within ten days, as the family celebrates first Rosh Hashanah and then Yom Kippur.

On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
by Cathy Goldberg Fishman
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1997
Ages: 3-9
As she and her family celebrate these two Jewish holidays, a young girl contemplates their meaning in her life.

Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah
by Sylvia A. Rouss
Kar-Ben Publishing, 1996
Ages: 3-6
A young spider wants to join in as he watches a family prepare to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

Happy New Year, Beni
by Jane Breskin Zalben
Henry Holt, 1993
Ages: 3-9
After constantly fighting with his cousin Max during the celebration for Rosh Hashanah, Beni discovers that the new year is an opportunity to put his mistakes behind him and start over.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Written and illustrated by Brian Selznick.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2007.

The saying "so many books, so little title" aptly describes me and my reading habits.  Now, I'm an avid reader and I love to read, but I always feel like I will never get to read everything I'm "supposed" to.  As a children's librarian, this definitely applies.  Each month, as I catalog the new books, I think "I should read this," but I pass it along for a later date in time, as I already have a stack of books to read on my nightstand.  This applies to this book...I guess several years is later enough!  Winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal and a movie adaptation due in theaters this November, I thought I should finally read this book.

Hugo Cabret is twelve years old and lives in the walls of a Paris train station.  Orphaned and abandoned by his alcoholic uncle, he repairs clocks and steals in order to survive and remain undiscovered.  While attempting to steal a toy, he gets caught by the owner and suddenly his world and the secrets he's trying to protect become exposed.  His life becomes intersected with Papa Georges (the shop keeper) and his goddaughter Isabelle.  Hugo has a notebook from his father that describes how to fix an automaton that his father rescued from a museum before his death.  Hugo is convinced that if he can get the machine to work, it will solve all of his problems.  Unbeknownst to Hugo, Papa Georges also has a secret that is linked to the machine.  How does the notebook, a drawing, a key and a message all connect?  You'll have to read the story to find out!

Please don't let the length of this book put you off from reading it!  I finished this book in a day.  About 300 of its 500 pages are illustrations . The text and the story itself is not complicated or hard to read, so this is a great choice for children ages 7 and up.  The illustrations are done in pencil and are exquisitely detailed.  What I love about illustrations is their part in storytelling and I poured over each one absorbing them as much as the words on the pages.  I am eager to see how they interpret the illustrations into the movie adaptation, since they are such a large part of this novel.

Now that's I've got this checked off my list, what to read next?  Hmmm....perhaps Brian Selznick's new novel Wonderstruck?  I think so.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Toddler Storytime: Zany Zoo Animals!

In my experience, nothing grabs the attention of toddlers like animals!  With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to focus on zoo animals.  Plus, I have a lot of animal puppets that I haven't used in a while, so it was a perfect theme!

OPENING SONG:  "We're All Here for Storytime"
(sung to the tune of "London Bridges")

We're all here for storytime,
Storytime, storytime.  (Children slap thighs to the beat.)
We're all here for storytime,
Let's get ready.
Can you turn your ears up high,  (Turn earlobe upward.)
Ears up high, ears up high?
Can you turn your ears up high
So you can hear?  (Point to children, then ears.)
Can you turn your mouth down low,  (Pretend to button lips.)
Mouth down low, mouth down low?
Can you turn your mouth down low?
Now let's read!  (Fold hands in lap.)

Source:  Simply Super Storytimes: Programming Ideas for Ages 3-6 by Marie Castellano. UpstartBooks, 2003.

FINGERPLAY:  Open Them, Shut Them
(begin by holding up ten fingers)

Open them, shut them,  (Open and close fists.)
Open them, shut them,  (Open and close again.)
Give them a little clap.  (Clap hands.)
Open them, shut them,
Open them, shut them,
Put them in your lap.  (Fold hands together and place in lap.)
Creep them, creep them,  (Creep fingers up to your mouth.)
Creep them, creep them,
Right up to your chin,
Open up your mouth,
But don't put them in!  (Shake head.)
Open them, shut them,
Open them, shut them,
Give them a little clap.
Open them, shut them,
Open them, shut them,
And put them in your lap.  (Place hands in lap.)

FINGERPLAY:  The Brown Kangaroo
I used a kangaroo puppet to demonstrate this rhyme, but fingers work well, too!

The brown kangaroo is very funny,
She leaps and runs and hops like a bunny.  (Hold two fingers up; hop like bunny.)
And on her stomach is a pocket so wide,  (Place other hand on stomach.)
Her baby can jump in and go for a ride.  (First hand jumps into pocket.)

Source:  I'm a Little Teapot!  Presenting Preschool Storytime by Jane Cobb.  Black Sheep Press, 1996.

BOOKThe Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort; illustrated by G. Brian Karas.
This book is a hoot to read - er, sing - aloud!  A take on the song "The Wheels on the Bus," I encouraged all the adults to sing along.  I asked the kids if they knew what each animal was and what kind of noise it made.  The toddlers loved it!

SONG:  "Shake My Sillies Out"  (From the album More Singable Songs by Raffi.)
At this point, the toddlers are wiggly and I get them up on their feet to move around.  This song is one of my favorites and I handed out shaker eggs to everyone to make even more noise!  This is a storytime staple of mine.

FELT BOARD RHYME:  Five Elephants in the Bathtub
Artfelt makes a beautiful finger puppet set for this rhyme, and I purchased it for my library.  Again, fingers work great for this one!

One elephant in a bathtub going for a swim.  (Hold up one finger.)
Knock, knock - splash, splash - come on in!
(Clap twice with "knock, knock;" slap thighs twice with "splash, splash;" motion with both hands to "come on in.")
Two elephants....etc.
Three elephants...etc.
Four elephants...etc.
Five elephants in a bathtub going for a swim.
Knock, knock - splash, splash - it all fell in!  (Knock elephants and tub off the board.)

BOOKFrom Head to Toe by Eric Carle
This book encourages toddlers to move their bodies just like the zoo animals!  Eric Carle is always a winner at storytime and the simple text and bright illustrations make this a great choice for toddlers.

FINGERPLAY:  Mr. Crocodile and the Five Little Monkeys
I have a glove puppet set for this rhyme that I purchased from Lakeshore Learning (see, I told you I have a lot of animal puppets).

Five little monkeys swinging in a tree.
(Hold up five fingers and swing hand back and forth.)
Teasing Mr. Crocodile, "You can't catch me!  You can't catch me!"
(Hold up an index finger and point left several times.)
Along comes Mr. Crocodile, as quiet as can be and he...
(Use two hands with palms together to clap shut like a crocodile's mouth.)
SNAPPED that monkey right out of the tree!
Four, three, two, one, etc.
No more monkeys swinging in the tree,
Only Mr. Crocodile  (Rub your "full" tummy.)
Happy as can be!

BOOKPolar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr.; illustrated by Eric Carle
This is another winner for toddlers!  Rhyming, repetitive text makes this a perfect read aloud.  And, the bright, big illustrations make pointing out animals and making their noise easy and fun.  I have storytelling kit that goes with this book and I gave out an animal to each toddler to put on the board when I called out its name.  Um, it didn't go so well.  Listening and taking turns is still a new concept for toddlers.  But, the mass chaos that ensued was fun-"ish"!

FINGERPLAY:  An Elephant

An elephant goes like this and that.  (Pat knees.)
He's terrible big,  (Hands up high.)
And he's terrible fat.  (Hands out wide.)
He has no fingers  (Wiggle fingers.)
And he has no toes,  (Touch toes.)
But goodness gracious, what a nose!  (Make curling movement away from nose.)

Source:  I'm a Little Teapot!  Presenting Preschool Storytimes by Jane Cobb.  Black Sheep Press, 1996.

CLOSING SONG:  "Where is Thumbkin?"

Where is thumbkin?
Where is thumbkin?
(Have both hands behind your back; bring one hand out at a time showing only your thumb.)
Here I am!
Here I am!
Did you like our stories?  (Have one thumb talk to the other.)
Yes, I liked our stories!
Time to go,  (Place one hand behind your back.)
Hide away.  (Place the other hand behind your back.)
Where are all of you?
Where are all of you?
Here we are!  (Show one hand.)
Here we are!  (Show other hand.)
Can you wave goodbye now?  (Wave hand.)
Yes, we'll wave goodbye now.  (Wave hand.)
Bye, bye, bye.
Bye, bye, bye.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DVD Review: The Gruffalo

Directed by Jakob Schuh & Max Lang.
Featuring the voices of Helena Bonham Carter, Rob Brydon, Robbie Coltrane, James Corden, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson.
Distributed by NCircle Entertainment, 2009.

What would happen if something you invented was real? That's what happens in this delightful film based on the picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Two squirrels beg their mother to tell them a story about monsters, so their mother begins her tale with "a mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood..." Mouse is looking for a nut, but along the way he comes face to face with fox, owl and snake - they are hungry and they want to eat mouse for lunch! Mouse is a smart one and he scares each animal away by inventing a terrible monster, a Gruffalo. But, what happens when mouse encounters his creation?? Will he outwit him too?

This film is a joy to watch! The animation is delightful - the animals are realistically portrayed but with a softness that matches the original illustrations in the book. Despite the threat of being eaten for lunch, this is a gentle story that is perfect for preschoolers and older children. I can't wait to share this in storytime! If you are looking for a book-based movie, I highly recommend this - also check out the book and discuss the differences and similiaries between the two formats. Happy viewing!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Preschool Storytime: Apples and Pumpkins

Last week marked the beginning of storytimes for the Fall! After taking a four week hiatus after the summer, I was ready to get back into the swing of things. A change of season was just the thing, so last week's theme was apples and pumpkins - my two favorite Fall foods!

OPENING SONG: "We're All Here for Storytime"
(sung to the tune of "London Bridges")

We're all here for storytime,
Storytime, storytime. (Children slap thighs to the beat.)
We're all here for storytime,
Let's get ready.
Can you turn your ears up high, (Turn earlobe upward.)
Ears up high, ears up high?
Can you turn your ears up high,
So you can hear?
Can you turn your mouth down low, (Pretend to button lips.)
Mouth down low, mouth down low?
Can you turn your mouth down low?
Now let's read!

(Source: Simply Super Storytimes: Programming Ideas for Ages 3-6 by Marie Castellano. UpstartBooks, 2003.)

ACTION RHYME: I Have Ten Little Fingers

I have ten little fingers,
And they all belong to me. (Hold up both hands)
I can make them do things,
Would you like to see? (Wiggle fingers)
I can shut them up tight, (Make a fist)
I can open them wide, (Spread fingers out)
I can lock them together, (Clasp hands together)
I can make them all hide. (Put hands behind back)
I can dance my fingers way up high, (Raise hands over head)
I can dance my fingers way down low, (Lower hands to the ground)
I can fold my fingers together and put them just so. (Fold hands in lap)

BOOK: Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins
This counting story about farm animals each taking an apple off the farmer's apple tree was a big hit! The children loved making the different animal noises, and the rhyming, repetitious text was a perfect read aloud.

When cleaning out the craft closet, I came across these big apples cut out of felt. I made leaves for each apple and -PRESTO- an instant felt board rhyme!

Five little apples, I wish there were more,
I (or the name of a child) just picked one,
And now there are four.
Four little apples hanging on a tree,
I (or the name of a child) just picked one,
And now there are three.
Three little apples, only a few,
I (or the name of a child) just picked one,
And now there are two.
Two little apples hanging in the sun,
I (or the name of a child) just picked one,
And now there is one.
One little apple, pick it and run,
I (or the name of a child) just did that,
And now there are none!

BOOK: Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington
This simple story about Jamie and his pumpkin seed was great for storytime! Children enjoyed watching the different growth stages of the pumpkin (and pointing out the animals on each page).

I traditionally use this rhyme in my Halloween storytime, but it's perfect for a pumpkin themed storytime!

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, "My it's getting late!"
The second one said, "There's a chill in the air!"
The third one said, "But we don't care!"
The fourth one said, "I'm ready for some fun!"
The fifth one said, "Let's run, run, run!"
Then oooooo went the wind and out (clap hands) went the lights,
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

ACTION SONG: "Pumpkin, Pumpkin"
(sung to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star")

Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground (crouch down)
How'd you get so big and round? (stretch arms out wide and make a circle)
Planted as a seed so small (pretend to hold a seed)
Now you are a great big ball! (make a huge circle with arms)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground
How'd you get so big and round?

(Source: DLTK website)

BOOK: Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington
This is a great story for toddlers and preschoolers. Simple text and cute illustrations make this a fun fall read - and a trip to the apple orchard will be in your future!

FINGERPLAY: Way Up High in the Apple Tree
This is one of my favorite rhymes from my childhood, and I enjoy sharing it with the toddlers and preschoolers.

Way up high in the apple tree, (stretch arms above head)
Two little apples smiled at me. (hold up two fingers and make smile face)
I shook that tree as hard as I could, (pretend to shake tree)
Down came the apples, (wiggle hands down)
Mmmm....they were good! (rub stomach)

CLOSING SONG: "Where is Thumbkin?"
Where is thumbkin, where is thumbkin?
Here I am! Here I am!
Did you like our stories? Yes, I liked our stories! (have thumbs "talk" to each other)
Time to go, hide away. (hide thumbs behind your back)
Where are all of you? Where are all of you?
Here we are! Here we are! (bring one hand out from behind your back at a time)
Can you wave goodbye now? Yes, I'll wave goodbye now! (wave hands)
Bye, bye, bye! Bye, bye, bye!

(Source: Simply Super Storytimes: Programming Ideas for Ages 3-6 by Marie Castellano. UpstartBooks, 2003.)

CRAFT: Apple Tree (from All Kids Network)
So simple! I have TONS of toilet paper rolls and was looking for a craft in which to offload some of my stash. Voila - apple tree! To eliminate the mess, I pre-cut the tree shape out of green construction paper, instead of having them paint the paper green. The kids had a blast!