Tag Archives: picture books

Toto the Tornado Kitten!


This little girl read the book beforehand and was SO excited to meet Toto! She brought him some food to donate to the local pet shelter.

For those of you who are not familiar with the story, Toto was found in a tree as a newborn kitten after surviving a tornado that swept through Western MA about 2 years ago. A paramedic and his wife found the kitten and saved him. They wrote a book and do story time programs around MA to raise money for local pet shelters. All proceeds from book sales are donated.


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April 17, 2013 · 9:36 pm

Groundhog Day & Valentine’s Day Displays

Curtesy of Miss Melinda in the Children’s Room…… I knew there was a reason I HAD to buy the groundhog puppet! How cute is that?

IMG_0003                     IMG_0002

Also Miss Melinda’s creation 🙂


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Filed under Children's, Holidays, Library, Library Displays, Picture Books

Apple Tree Christmas

(Reposted from Guinea Pig Writers)

When I decorate my house for any holdiday, I love to display my holiday-themed picture books. Most of these are books I had when I was younger and simply could not part with when I moved into my own house. One of my favorites is Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble.

Katrina, her younger sister Josie, and their mother and father live in the end of a cozy old barn, with their animals living underneath. Near the barn is an old apple tree, where the family picks apples to make pies, cider and apple fritters, and they choose the most beautiful apples to decorate their Christmas tree. The girls spend many hours playing in the old tree, Josie on her swing made from the grape vines that grow around the tree, and Katrina in her “studio” – a branch where she draws her pictures. A fierce winter blizzard rages for three days, while the family and animals are snug in the warm barn. They make it through the storm, but the old apple tree does not and to Katrina, it just does not feel like Christmas anymore. But Christmas Day brings surprises for both Josie and Katrina, as they realize their beloved tree is not gone after all. And it finally feels like Christmas to Katrina.

I love this book because it makes me feel all warm and cozy. The watercolor illustrations are lovely. The story takes place in the year 1881 and has that simple, old-fashioned feel, but not so much that children can’t relate to it. I was an artist growing up, so I could relate to Katrina’s sadness at losing her art studio. I was also a big fan of Little House in the Big Woods – it was the only book I had from the Little House series and so far I have still not read the rest! But Apple Tree Christmas has that same “Laura Ingalls” quality that I love to this day.

Happy Holidays!!!

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Filed under Authors, Book Reviews, Children's, Picture Books

Fall Story Times – Week 6

Week 6 – Teddy Bear/Bear Story Time

I am going to attempt to post more about my story time programs than just the craft. So here it goes….

I try to begin by saying hello, asking if there are any newbies and, if so, introduce myself and talk a little about what we do in story time. I will also talk about any special programs coming up that pertain to the 3 – 5 age group. I might take attendance, but usually there are people who walk in late, so I tend to just count people while we do the craft at the end. I also might begin with asking the kids about the theme, so I might ask them about bears, what they sound like, where they live, if they are nice, who has teddy bears at home, etc. This takes up some time because we usually get totally side-tracked with comments like “I have a teddy bear!” “I want to be a dinosaur!”  “I have a cat!” “My cat got hit by a car!” and so on.

I usually start with a song or rhyme, lately we’ve been singing Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi. They are starting to remember the song, and they love to get up and move around and get their “sillies” out before reading.

For the Teddy Bear/Bear theme, I pulled out 4 books to read: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., Big Smelly Bear by Britta Teckentrup, Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson (LOVE Karma Wilson!), and The Bear Came Over to My House by Rick Walton. I ended up reading the first 3 books for both the Monday and Wednesday sessions, which is pretty good, since we don’t often get through 3 books! I also used my velcro story board characters for Brown Bear, which is fun because the kids get to be involved in the story by putting up a character on the board when it comes up in the story.

Story Characters from Lakeshore Learning


I had 2 songs/rhymes picked out to use: The Bear Went Over the Mountain and Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear. I didn’t end up using either since they were able to sit through the 3 books.

However, we did go on a BEAR HUNT! They loved doing this and doing all the hand motions and sound effects. Plus, it’s always to pretend you’re in a dark cave with a bear. I love Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, but doing the Bear Hunt (chant? it’s not really a song…) is totally fun. There are a lot of different variations of this and most are online somewhere. I think I’ve actually changed my version to make it work better for my group. (At some point, I  will post it, but it’s on my work computer at the moment.)

The craft was decorating construction paper teddy bears. I had my library page pre-cut the teddy bears and then I put out different craft items to glue on or color with. It’s simple and the kids love it. The parents love it too. They came out really cute 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Children's, Crafts, Library, Picture Books, Story Time

Fall Story Times

I had intended to post about my 3-5 story time programs each week, but that didn’t happen. And now it is already November. Crazy.

I snooped around the blogosphere and found some very helpful Librarian blogs. One of my favorites is Abby the Librarian. She has some great ideas for story times – rhymes, movement activities, and books. Another thing I’ve started doing are felt boards, which the kids really like. The only problem is that I find myself making them the night before, or sometimes not at all because I just don’t have the time. Also, I’ve been planning story times with only a few days to spare, if that.

I have some pictures of the crafts we did (most are my samples) and at some point later I will add links to my plans. Not that it always goes as planned, mind you, but I do my best to stick with it. Our story times are all drop-in and I never know who we’ll have or how many younger siblings will be in tow. I usually have extra books just in case some don’t work out. Here are the themes I did in the last 2 months:

Week 1 was about Fall. We read some fall-themed books and the craft was tissue paper leaves. This is one of the easiest crafts you can make and works well for a drop-in crowd. My staff pre-cut different leaf shapes and cut strips of red, yellow and orange tissue paper. It’s a great craft that kids can mostly do themselves – all they have to do is crumple up the tissue paper and glue it on the leaf. They also glued the leaf to a piece of blue construction paper (leaves flying through the air!)

Week 2 was Numbers & Counting. We read Chicka, Chicka 1 2 3 by Bill Martin Jr. and a few other counting books. The kids really loved this book and stayed with it. I like to get them involved by having them say the repeated lines with me or asking them to spot things in the picture. For the craft, I had pre-cut tree trunks and then had the parents trace the kids’ hands on green paper and then fold and cut to make four all together for the leaves. It amazed me at how many parents didn’t know about the fold-and-cut trick! Then the kids put green, yellow and red circle stickers (the kind you’d use for yard sale price tags) and drew on numbers. I also had a few foam numbers with sticky backs that I passed out to put on. I found this craft idea on A Mommy’s Adventures – a really cute blog with some great craft ideas.

Week 3 was Colors. I read a few books about colors, such as Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox. The craft was a creative one, no sample to follow. I have 4 tables in the story time room and I set up each table with craft supplies of the same color. There was a green, red, blue and white table. This is a great way to use up random craft supplies hanging around. The colors I chose depended on what we had in stock. We had lots of white cotton balls, q-tips and coffee filters! The kids moved from table to table and created pictures using only the items on the table. Some did all four, while others only did one or two. These pictures were made by the kids.

Week 4 was about Cookies. This is one of my fall-back themes and I didn’t have time to really plan anything so we read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff, plus a couple other cookie books. The craft was to create their own construction paper cookies. They cut out cookie shapes, some big and some small. I had a bunch of scrap paper so they could cut sprinkles or chocolate chips. We talked about different kinds of cookies that they liked when we sat on the floor earlier and I walked around and talked to them about it again to give them ideas.

Week 5 was Halloween! We did some fun Halloween books, ending with my favorite, In a Dark, Dark Wood by David Carter, which ends with a ghost that pops out of the book – the kids LOVE it. I went with another easy craft, but dressed it up a little. The original is the paper plate ghost with streamers. So I planned a ghost, a pumpkin and a black cat. I cut out shapes for the faces and put them out for the kids to glue on. However, the staff member who plans the table crafts (we have a table with a drop-in craft for kids to do in the Children’s Room and it changes each week) also planned the paper plate ghost with streamers. So, I cut the ghost option and just had the pumpkin and black cat. Obviously we need to coordinate our crafts better!

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Filed under Authors, Children's, Crafts, Library, Picture Books, Story Time