Category Archives: Story Time

Friday Favorite: Cuddlebug Parade album

Note: I received a promotional copy of this album for review.

Cuddlebug paradeIf you have a young child in your life, consider sharing Michal Peanut Karmi’s album “Cuddlebug Parade” with them.  All 18 songs are unique and range from silly to sweet to pure joy (“Pizzapants”,“Six Little Pickles”, and “Where’s Your Belly Button” are some of my favorites).

An L.A. based kid’s musician and entertainer, Peanut’s warm, gentle voice and exuberant personality combined with skillful ukulele playing make this album delightful. Some adults may find her voice a bit high-pitched but this is endearing not annoying for me. As a children’s librarian, I like the activity songs she includes like “Stompin’ at the Market” and “In the Pot” and may use those in a storytime program. The first half of “Where’s Your Belly Button” could be a great closing song for a Baby storytime program.

Peanut includes Spanish and Hebrew in some songs, adding to the distinct sound of the album. Little ones 4 and under will find themselves singing and clapping along- especially fans of Laurie Berkner, Elizabeth Mitchell and Frances England. I recommend this album for any preschool, library or home collection.

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Friday Favorite: Crocodile Tales

Kindhearted_CrocodileSolomon Crocodile

Two crocodile books came home from the library with us this week and I thought it’d be fun to feature them together. I must admit I favor the character of the Kindhearted Croc who wants to belong to a family so badly he does their dishes, folds their laundry, spreads jam on their toast, and tidies the toys. OH, and makes coffee for the parents. My kind of crocodile!

Solomon Crocodile, on the other hand, is a trouble-maker who has difficulty making a friend who will appreciate his, uh, charm. Both titles are clever, creative, funny stories with fantastic illustrations sure to capture the attention of your favorite preschooler.

The Kindhearted Crocodile by Lucia Panzieri, illustrated by Anton Gionata Ferrari

Solomon Crocodile by Catherine Rayner

Friday Favorite: Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas

Lullaby_ThomasI read Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy in a silly-themed story time this week and the kids looooved it- I have some very squirrely, outspoken boys in my preschool groups and even they were mesmerized. I read it in my best “country western” accent, and I wish I had remembered to wear a fake mustache and cowboy hat (next time…). I sang the opening lullaby, using a tune similar to the one in the book trailer. I invited the kids to sing along with me, once they’d heard it a couple times. This is one you could get props for, or act out with a storytelling partner. And if you played banjo or guitar (a skill I long to have), it would be fantastic to incorporate.

Other Jan Thomas titles include: What Will Fat Cat Sit On?, Rhyming Dust Bunnies, The Doghouse, A Birthday for Cow, Can You Make a Scary Face? and more. To learn more about Jan Thomas, here’s an author interview from “Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast” a wonderful book blog worth your time.

Jan Thomas books are hilarious, and I love their innate invitation to play and interact, whether it’s with an individual child or an entire audience. They are great titles with large appeal; quite likely to help your child develop print motivation (an interest in and enjoyment in books), one of the six early literacy skills children need to have before learning to read.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss: A look at Seussville.com

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I’ve always loved Dr. Seuss, for his rhymes and imaginative worlds, his silly vocabulary and his wonderfully creative characters. His books are a delight for people of all ages. In honor of his 110th birthday on March 2 and NEA’s Read Across America day, schools, libraries and bookstores all over the country are having events to celebrate (the library I work at, CMCL, is having a “Seven Days of Seuss Celebration!” all week- if you’re local, come check it out).

If you haven’t seen the Seussville website, it’s worth your time. This is the top resource for everything Seuss. The American Library Association has listed it as one of their “Great Websites for Kids” Packed with games and activities, it will get kids excited about books and reading. It’s also full of helpful resources for parents and educators. I love their list of “Tips for Reading with your Children“,  all the activities and craft ideas they have, and fun printables for kids! There are book and character guides, videos, author info, and more. If you’re an educator or librarian, don’t miss the great lesson plans to expand on your favorite Seuss titles. Here’s a description:

“Not only do Dr. Seuss’s imaginative stories make reading and learning fun, they also spark lively discussions about subjects as varied as conservation, racism, greed, perseverance, and self-discovery. These guides will help you think of fun and interesting ways for your students to learn about Dr. Seuss’s world and their own.”

One of our family’s favorite Seuss books lately is And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street but it’s really impossible to choose just one. I have fond memories of many Seuss stories from my own childhood and am thankful for all those weekly trips to the library and zillions of hours being read to. My top suggestion for raising a reader? Read! Have books everywhere (not only on bookshelves, but in the bathroom, car, playroom, office, etc.) and read to your kids every day. If you need more reading tips and suggestions, I highly recommend Jim Trelease’s The Read-Aloud Handbook.

Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss book, character, or resource? I’d love to hear from you!

Friday Favorite: Big Smelly Bear by Britta Teckentrup

Big Smelly Bear

Sometimes it takes a caring friend to deliver a hard-to-digest truth.  Sometimes to make things better we just need a warm bath and a friend to scratch that hard-to-reach itch.  Big Smelly Bear by German author Britta Teckentrup has quickly become a favorite in our house lately.  It stars a big brown bear- a big smelly brown bear- who has no interest in taking care of himself by brushing or bathing until he realizes it is keeping him from having any friends.

“Big Smelly Bear never brushed. Big Smelly Bear never took a bath. Big Smelly Bear was followed by a big smelly stink wherever he went. Flies buzzed all around him. But they were the only ones that ever came close.”

One day, he meets a Big Fluffy Bear who offers to scratch his itch if he takes a bath. They argue back and forth, but when Big Fluffy Bear finally shouts, “you stink!” Big Smelly Bear decides to give bathing a try.  On its surface, this picture book is simply a silly story about bathing. But it also features themes about friendship, stubbornness, caring for yourself, and being honest even when it’s hurtful.

Big Smelly Bear makes a fantastic read-aloud because of its large, colorful illustrations; its humor and fun.  It would fit well in a preschool story time about bears, bathtime, friendship, or silly stories.  The argument between bears invites an opportunity for audience participation.  In writing this post, I realized that I’m already familiar with Britta Teckentrup through her stories Animal 123 and Animal Spots and Stripes, as well as Grumpy Cat, Clumsy Duck and more. Hopefully you’ll fall in love with her books as much as I have!