Monday, September 29, 2008

Orange Pear Apple Bear

Here is a perfect book for Maya right now. She loves fruit, but hasn't learned any of their names. She's working on banana and peach. But she is making progress on being able to call her stuffed bear by name.

Orange Pear Apple Bear, by Emily Gravett, is sort of an art book that cleverly manipulates those four words to create a lot of meaning.

The images are arranged in different orders, and the colors of the objects are fluid. This makes it possible to create pages such as "Orange pear/Apple bear".

Finally the bear eats the fruit one by one. "Orange, bear" then "Pear, bear" and "Apple, bear".
"There." (Okay, there are five words)

This is a great book for building vocabulary and practicing rhythm, rhyme, and changing your voice to change meaning. Be creative.

Early Literacy Tip of the Day

Speaking of food. The summer reading program theme around here was What's Cooking at the Library. The Saint Paul libraries created a reading wheel with some great ideas for how to incorporate literacy into grocery shopping, cooking, etc.

Here are a couple:

Make a shopping list together and cross out the names of grocery products as you put them in your cart.

Play I Spy - What do you see that starts with B? Banana, bread.

Count grocery items together as you add them to your cart.

Eat smart! Healthy food can increase a child's brain development and intelligence.

It's a nice well-rounded (remember it's a wheel) guide. I wish I had an online version to tell you about, but start with these. I bet you can come up with some more ideas of your own.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Well, I think we now have another genuine favorite. Maya is getting to the other end of her stage where she cannot sit still long enough to read even the shortest book through. There are a few that really hold her interest, like All About Ama (see below) or a new pop-up of The Wide-Mouth Frog.

But Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, is the grand champion. Maya pulled this book off the bed and asked me to read it for her (Patty says she did the same with her the other day). So we read it. Then we read it again. And again. And again. Four times in all. I tried other books a couple of times. But we kept coming back to this one.

And something I noticed was that she seemed to be really concentrating on the illustrations. The spreads are indeed lovely, and the babies (Maya says, "Baby" when she brings us the book) are pudgy and cute.

The text is very sweet and engaging.

There was one little baby
who was born far away.
And another who was born
on the very next day.
And both of these babies,
as everyone knows,
had ten little fingers
and ten little toes.

The formula repeats itself several times introducing more babies two at a time. With each new pair, all of the previous babies look on as they show their digits.

The final baby is special. This baby is your own. And besides ten fingers and ten toes, this baby gets "three little kisses on the tip of its nose."

I think Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is growing on me, too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Cuddle Book

Maya added "achoo" to her vocabulary today. Grandpa sneezed twice and scared her. So he and Nana made a game of it, so that now whenever anyone sneezes, Maya say, "Atoo." Cute, huh?

Here's a cute book I've got to get back to the library tout suite because it's overdue. The Cuddle Book, by Guido van Genechten, is petite and adorable. The text describes how different animals cuddle.

Monkeys cuddle gently
and turtles cuddle slowly.

And in an homage to carrying your baby:

For kangaroos,
cuddling is easy
(because they are always so close)...

But it's not always easy:

...porcupines have to cuddle very carefully!

Have fun asking questions about why do you think that is. What do you know about crabs that makes cuddling so hard?

BTW, everybody say congratulations to Nicole, who is doing her first paid storytime tomorrow. Good luck.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ducks Don't Wear Socks

And somebody please tell Maya they also do not wear shoes.

The other day we were at the zoo watching the multitude of ducks in the duck pond. An older girl was talking to Maya when I heard her say, "Uh oh, there goes her shoe." I looked down to see Maya's kitty-cat Bobux floating in front of some mallards (Believe it or not, they didn't try to eat it).

We found a zoo keeper nearby who very kindly put on waders and went to retrieve Maya's shoe. As he plodded through the water all of the ducks took to flight and the kids began squealing. I thought, "Oh boy, aren't we making a scene." Luckily they were squeals of delight. After giving us back our lost kitty, the zookeeper shooed a few more ducks around because he liked the reaction he was getting.

The duck in Ducks Don't Wear Socks, by John Nedwidek and illustrated by Lee White, would have jumped at the opportunity to try on something new. Emily, a very serious girl, keeps running into Duck, who is always wearing something new-socks, a tie, or underwear. When Emily informs Duck that "...ducks don't wear ties", Duck always has reason. "Cold feet." "Big meeting!" "Pants on the line!"

Slowly, Emily's shell begins to crack. First she cracks a smile, then laughs to herself in bed, and finally goes all in and walks out of the house wearing something that even shocks Duck.