Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads, Uncategorized

Guess the birdie! Who is Singing?

Who is Singing?, by Janet Halfmann/Illustrated by Chrissy Chabot, (July 2021, Pen It! Publications), $20.99, ISBN: 978-1954868373

Ages 2-6

Take a walk and listen on any given day, and you’ll hear a cacophony of birds: tweets, chirps, screeches, and coos abound; even city kids can hear a dove coo, a pigeon scold, and a blue jay (like the one who likes to argue with the squirrels, right outside my window). Who is Singing? is author Janet Halfmann’s tribute to some colorful, musical birds, all identifiable by their songs. Using each bird’s defining song, repetitive verse, and a noticeable characteristic for each bird, Janet Halfmann introduces readers to the gentle art of bird-watching and bird-listening, giving readers 11 fairly familiar birds to start out with. You’ll recognize pigeons, “begging for treats along a city sidewalk”; “bully loud and bold” blue jays screaming; cheery chick-a-dees, “dressed up for dinner in a black cap and bib”, and more. Ms. Halfmann encourages the birds to “take a bow”, making for a fun readaloud where you can invite your littles to take a bow – or let a bird puppet or flannel take their own bows when you announce them, too.

Chrissy Chabot’s illustrations are bright and lovely, photorealistic birds that will help readers more easily spot and identify them the next time they’re out and about. A lovely little story to read out loud, and works well with a lapsit. Print out some coloring pages and let the kiddos envision their own colorful birds and make some music of their own!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

You know you want to sing The Poop Song!

The Poop Song, by Eric Litwin/Illutarted by Claudia Boldt, (Apr. 2021, Chronicle Books), $15.99, ISBN: 9781452179506

Ages 2-6

The author who gave us Pete the Cat’s I Love My White Shoes has bestowed a new musical gift upon us: The Poop Song. Perfect for potty trainers and preschoolers who are still getting on a potty schedule, The Poop Song is all about…. well, pooping! The hilarious rhyming song applauds the pooping habits of animals: “Cats poop in their own little box. / Mountain goats poop as they climb over rocks. / Fishes poop as they swim in the sea. / Caterpillars poop at the top of a tree.” After a group of animals, Litwin reinforces that everybody’s pooping, and that big boys and big girls poop in the potty, hearing a “happy sound”: a flush! It’s a fun way to encourage kids to use the potty, with loads of laugh-out-loud moments. Colorful digital illustrations and bold fonts make this as much fun visually as it is to read aloud. Download an MP3 to sing along with the book or make up your own tune! The Poop Song has its own webpage where you can download the MP3 or watch the YouTube video, and download a potty chart to help your little poopers track their new potty habits. Absolute fun.

Posted in Fiction, Intermediate, Teen, Tween Reads

Holiday Book Hurrah!

I know it’s been a few days, but I’m back! I had a big birthday (as in number, not celebration), and took a few days for introspection and thinking of where the next half century will take me. It was nice, there’s been hot cocoa and homemade cookies, and now I’m ready to embrace the full-on holiday season, snowstorm warnings (for NYC) and all. So let’s celebrate all things bookish!

DC Christmas Carols: We Wish You a Harley Christmas, by Daniel Kibblesmith, (Oct. 2020, Chronicle Books), $14.95, ISBN: 9781797207957

Ages 10+

Perfect for comics and pop culture fans, this little book of Christmas carols all have a DC comics spin, taking favorite characters and creating songs to the tunes of popular holiday classics. There are 31 songs in here, with household names and deeper cuts, sure to make everyone laugh. “Batman Baby”, to the tune of “Santa Baby”, is Catwoman’s plea to Bats let her get away with some mischief just once: “Batman baby, just let me get away this one time / It’s fine / I won’t do it again / Batman baby, you don’t have to be such a Dark Knight”. There’s “I Saw Lois Kissing Superman” – well, you can guess that one – and “We Wish You a Harley Christmas”. Illustrated with full-color contemporary and vintage artwork, you’ll see DC’s finest hanging out with snowmen, hoisting sleighs aloft, exchanging gifts, and racing Santa Claus. Artists featured include Alex Ross, George Pérez, Sergio Aragonès, Tim Sale, and John Byrne. C’mon, go beyond “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells” and embrace the joy of “The Twelve Days of Villains”.

A Kitten Called Holly (Jasmine Green Rescues), by Helen Peters/Illustrated by Ellie Snowdon, (Sept. 2020, Walker Books), $6.99, ISBN: 9781536215724

Ages 7-10

The newest in the Jasmine Green Rescues series is all about Holly, a kitten Jasmine and her best friend, Tom, rescue when they discover that the newborn kitten’s been abandoned when the mother cat was moving her litter! Jasmine and Tom help nurse the kitten to health as her mother explains the difference between feral and tame cats, and why feral cats don’t always make great pets, but when Jasmine asks to keep Holly, Dr. Singh puts her foot down: Jasmine already has a pet pig, a pet dog, and a pet duck; she intends to put Holly up for adoption as soon as she’s old enough! But what about Jasmine’s best friend, Tom, who loves Holly just as much as Jasmine does? Can he convince his mother to open her heart and home to a pet?

The Jasmine Green stories are gentle, with stories that will endear themselves to animal fiction fans. Jasmine and Tom’s genuine love for animals and the knowledge imparted by Jasmine’s veterinarian mother brings together fiction and straight talk for readers. Black and white illustrations throughout add to the story pacing and feel, and Helen Peters’ writing is so warm-hearted, every story ends up being a feel-good story about animals and fur-ever homes. A nice winter read, A Kitten Called Holly is best paired with a cat (real or plush) and a cup of hot chocolate.

Posted in Infant/Baby, programs, Storytime, Storytime

Storytime: What Baby Can Do

This was a storytime I tried out with my Corona infants a little over a year ago. It’s meant to be a lapsit for babies about 6-10 months, but toddlers had fun with this one, too. I tried to keep a good mix popular songs and fingerplays, with some books that encouraged parents to be interactive with the little ones.

Books read:

katz   katz_2   counting-kisses

Opening Song: Hello, My Friends! (to the tune of “A Hunting We Will Go“)

Hello, my friends, hello!
Hello, my friends, hello!
Hello, my friends, hello, my friends,
Hello, my friends, hello!

Story: Wiggle Your Toes, by Karen Katz

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

And eyes, and ears, and mouth,
And nose.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes.

(When I’m doing this with preschoolers, I’ll have the kids do it faster, and again superfast. They love it!)

Fingerplay: This Little Piggie
This little piggie went to market,
This little piggie stayed home,
This little piggie had roast beef,
And this little piggie had none.
But THIS little piggie went WEE, WEE, WEE, all the way home!

Story: Peek-A-Baby, by Karen Katz

Rhyme: One Hand, Two Hands
One hand can wave, (wave)
One hand can tap, (tap your knee with your hand)
But they each need a friend
If they want to clap! (clap hands together!)
Thanks to Perry Public Library for this one!

Rhyme: We Can! (great for toddlers, but easily adapted for babies)
We can jump, jump, jump, (bounce baby on your lap!)
We can hop, hop, hop, (bounce baby!)
We can clap, clap, clap, (clap baby’s hands!)
We can stop, stop, stop. (hold baby’s hands in a stopping motion)
We can nod our heads for yes, (nod)
We can shake our heads for no, (shake your head)
We bend our knees a little bit, (gently bend baby’s knees)
And we can sit down slow.
Thanks to Perry Public Library for this one!

Rhyme: My Hands (copy the actions)
My hands upon my head I place,
Upon my shoulders, on my face,
On my hops, and by my side,
Now behind me they will hide,
I can raise them way up high,
And make my fingers fly, fly, fly,
Now they are in front of me,
I will clap them, 1, 2, 3!
Thanks to Perry Public Library for this one!

Story: Counting Kisses, by Karen Katz (I encourage my parents to kiss along with the story, with adorable results and giggling babies)

Song: Hokey Pokey (again, great for toddlers, easily adaptable for babies by having caregivers sit in a circle and raise each body part for baby)
You put your right hand in,
You put your right hand out,
You put your right hand in,
And you shake it all about,
You do the hokey pokey
and you turn yourself around
That what it’s all about!

2) left hand
3) right foot
4) left foot
5) head
6) tush
7) whole self

Closing Song: Goodbye, My Friends! (same tune as the Hello song)

Goodbye, my friends, goodbye!
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye!
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye, my friends,
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye!


Posted in Animal Fiction, Early Reader, Fiction, Humor, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

The Zoo’s about to cut FOOTLOOSE!

footloose_1Footloose, by Kenny Loggins/Illustrated by Tim Bowers, (Oct. 2016, MoonDance Press), $17.95, ISBN: 9781633221185

Recommended for ages 2-6

Where are my fellow ’80s children at? Kenny Loggins, who basically soundtracked the ’80s, has given new life to Footloose – a song that I will still unabashedly jump off and dance to whenever I hear it (usually to my eldest teen’s mortal terror) – for the little ones! He was inspired to rewrite the song into a fun story for his grandchildren; what we get is a fun rhyming story about what goes down after a zoo closes to the public for the evening.

First things first: Yes, I absolutely did find a karoake version of Footloose on YouTube and played it while I sang this book. In the privacy of my bedroom, sure, but I did it and it was fabulous! The song and story line up nicely, and if that’s your kind of thing, and you have an audience that may be receptive to it, print out a set of the lyrics for the parents and go for it.

This is a fun story for kids about party animals getting down after dark, with Zookeeper Big Jack witness to the whole business. There’s rhyming, there are great illustrations of animals swinging from trees, dancing a tango, and turning it loose – Footloose!



footloose_4For me, this is a no-brainer add to my shelves – my storytimes include a lot of movement, my little ones love animal books, and I can easily read this, Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe, Lindsay Craig’s Dancing Feet, and Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance to get the kids up, moving, and laughing. If you have animal picture book fans, it’s a great addition to your collections. If you like to sing and dance with your little ones, be it in your own living room or the storytime area in  your library, add this one. And if you want that karaoke link, here’s the backing track (just the music), and here’s one with the lyrics, in case you want to track how your reading goes compared to the pace of the song.

Posted in Animal Fiction, Preschool Reads

We all have our own song – A Song for Papa Crow

song for papa crowA Song for Papa Crow, by Marit Menzin (Schiffer Publishing, 2012). $16.99 ISBN: 978-0764341311

Recommended for ages 4-8

A young crow sings his happy song wherever he goes, but the birds around him – Goldfinches, Flycatchers, and Cardinals, to name a few – can’t bear to hear Little Crow’s caw. Papa Crow tells his son that he always knows where to find him when he follows his song, but Little Crow wants to sing like the other birds. When he sees The Amazing Mockingbird sing, and finds out the bird’s secret, he wants to change his song – but learns that singing your own song is the best song of all.

This is a sweet story about individuality, by collage artist Marit Menzin. She uses mixed media collage to great effect to illustrate her story, making this a gorgeous book to use in a storytime. The textures make the birds and scenery come alive, and her font – a decorative font, black in color – allows for a reader to weave the story to an audience that can sit and listen to the tale. I would read this book to an older group, maybe 4-6, that can sit quietly and enjoy the story.

This book invites a fun workshop for any librarian/parent/educator who has the space – make your own birds with collage materials! The book also includes a list of the birds referenced in the book, with some information on each. For a simpler storytime activity, there are bird printables all over the Internet.

A Song for Papa Crow received a Mom’s Choice Award Gold Honor in 2012. The author’s website offers a look at some more of her beautiful collage work.