Posts Tagged archive-Books & Reading

Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein

Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein

Squirrels are all around our city this time of year, and you might have even heard one scold you from a tree! Ol’ Mama Squirrel tells the story of one very protective squirrel mama. She always makes sure her squirrel babies are safe from dangerous predators, though sometimes she gets carried away and scolds kites and airplanes. This funny story is wonderful to read aloud to preschoolers and early elementary students.

-Reviewed by Laura

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Click, Clack, Boo!

Doreen Cronin is a favorite author here in the children’s department, so we were all excited to get her new Halloween offering: Click, Clack, Boo!

Click, Clack, Boo! is the newest installment in Cronin’s books about Farmer Brown and his mischevious animals who are always making a fool of him. Farmer Brown is not a fan of Halloween, especially when he hears mysterious noises coming from the farm. What could be making all those noises? What could the animals be up to this time? Come find out at our Halloween storytimes – Oct. 31 at 11:00 and 5:00. We’ll also read Hallo-weiner by Dav Pilkey, and sing Halloween songs. After storytime, kids can trick or treat in the library.

If you aren’t yet familiar with Farmer Brown’s animals (and even if you are!), be sure to stop by the children’s room to check out our early literacy stations this month. You can make a pizza for the hens, wash the pigs with Farmer Brown’s bubble bath, and learn to use a rotary telephone! These activities are all based on Giggle, Giggle, Quack also by Doreen Cronin. The farm animals are also featured in Click, Clack, Moo, Dooby Dooby Moo, Click Clack Quackity-Quack, Click, Clack, Splish, Splash, Thump, Quack, Moo, and Duck for President.

 

 

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The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg

the strangerChris Van Allsburg has created a modern myth to explain how an “Indian Summer” often follows the first days of autumn.  Farmer Bailey runs into something on the road one late summer day.  He thinks it’s probably  a deer.  When the farmer investigates, he finds an injured man wearing leather overalls.  The Stranger is mute and has lost his memory in the accident.  The Baileys take him in while he recuperates.  But one summer’s day, the Stranger finds that his breath is cold, not warm.  He’s mesmerized by migrating geese and finds the color of green leaves unappealing.  Could the stranger really be Jack Frost?  The man soon departs the farm, leaving a message etched in the window’s frost.  And every year, autumn comes a week later to Farmer Bailey’s homestead. Van Allsburg’s illustrations are fascinating and eerie, with rich colors and ominous shadows. There’s a nostalgic feel to the illustrations,  as if the story is taking place in the forties. While younger children may not understand the idea of Jack Frost yet, it’s still a lovely family read-aloud for all ages.  Try leaving your own mysterious messages for your family when an early frost decorates your windows.

Recommended by Victoria

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Leaf Man

As Jennifer mentioned, Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert is a perennial favorite around here. It’s a short picture book illustrated with beautiful fall leaves put together to make shapes ranging from butterflies to apple trees. This book can be great inspiration for a fall nature-based art project as she suggested or it can be turned into a lesson in horticulture by identifying different species of leaves used in the book or from your own yard. The front and back pages of the book show a number of common leaves with their species listed to help get you started. Most of the species grow in Kansas, and it can be a lot of fun to learn about the trees we see every day. You can also throw in some early math ideas like sorting from smallest to largest, counting points on the leaves, or talking about the different shapes in leaves.

 

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Refreshing fall!

I love fall and the energy I feel when those first cool days quietly slip in after the heat of August.  A favorite book to use in the fall is Lois Ehlert’s Leaf Man because it leads so easily to fun crafts and activities.  Read Leaf Man, then take a nature walk.  Crunch through leaves, inspect the nuts, limbs, bugs, leaves and other debris on the ground, and collect some nice specimens (“treasures”) to take inside.  Create your own leaf person or a whole family of them.  Kids are fascinated by what you can create with a little glue, scissors and crayons. Show them how to make a leaf rubbing with the long edge of a crayon, or trace differently shaped leaves and cut them out.  Make collages with your treasures, or get a little more elaborate with projects like these listed on the momtastic website.  Nature activities help children embrace and process their awe of the world and their many questions about what they see happening around them.  Be prepared with a few nonfiction books to reference.  For preschoolers, the  “Let’s Read and Find Out Science” nonfiction series for young children provides excellent explanations at the right level, such as Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro and Sunshine Makes the Seasons by Franklyn Branley.

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My Weird School Series by Dan Gutman

What better way for your child to get ready for school than reading some fun books about the looney teachers in the My Weird School Series? This series is compiled of many short chapter books, perfect for beginning readers. My Weird School is so funny that even older children will love reading them! Who knows, maybe your child’s teacher will turn out to be as crazy as the teachers in these books!Dan Gutman has also written several spin-off series. They include My Weirder School, and My Weird School Daze.

My Weird SchoolReviewed by Brian

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Tips for new kindergarteners and their parents

A few tips from Parents’ Press about those exciting,  but stressful first few weeks of school:

“Entering kindergarten is a big step, and children know it.  Even children who have attended preschool sense that starting “real school” is not only important, but also different from their past learning experiences.  Children who have not attended preschool face their first separation from home and family, an adjustment to a whole new world without on-the-spot parental support.

Some children are eager to get on with it, while others find the occasion overwhelming to the point of tears.  All children, however, are a little nervous.  Parents’ support and understanding of the magnitude of this milestone in their children’s lives can go a long way toward making the first year of school a positive experience.  According to child development experts, parents play an important role in shaping a child’s attitude toward school now and in the years to come.  A balance of enthusiasm and matter-of-fact acceptance is your goal.

Children are filled with questions about school. Answer all your child’s questions honestly and in as much detail as possible.  Sharing details can curb a child’s anxiety and help him or her cope with the stress.

If possible, visit the school with your child before opening day.  Some schools offer an orientation session for new students.  Meet your child’s teacher if possible, and walk through the school hallways.  Show your child the lunchroom, the principal’s office, and of course, the bathrooms.  If you can’t visit while the building is open, at leasat walk around the school and let your child investigate the playground.  Share your own memories of kindergarten. If your child will go to an after-school program (even if just across the school yard), walk over the route ahead of time, and visit if possible.

Start the “school day” routine about a week before classes begin, with early bedtime, awakening, dressing, and breakfast.

Remember that entering kindergarten is stressful.  Plan extra quiet time and rest for the first month; keep family activities simple and familiar.  Try not to begin other new activities and classes during this time.  More free play time at home helps to balance the more structured environment at school.

Review the kindergarten day’s schedule with your child.  Make sure your child knows where to meet you after school, or how to go to his after-school program.  Make sure your child understands basic traffic safety rules and follows them.

Make it a point to get to know your child’s teacher and the school.  Ask about current and upcoming activities, and plan to attend parent-teacher conferences.  Volunteer to help in the classroom and get involved with the parent-teacher organization; if you can’t get away from work, ask about other ways you can help.

When the time comes to say “goodbye” for the first time, go!  Give a final hug or kiss, a reminder that you will be back by a certain time, and a firm goodbye.  Some children do cry and cling when it comes time for a parent to leave, but it seldom helps to stretch out the goodbyes.”  For a humorous take on the first day of kindergarten, check out Mrs. Beekman Go Home by Anne  Redisch Stampler.

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Kindergarten, Here We Come!

This year, our oldest child will be starting kindergarten. He is excited and also nervous. With so many unknowns in the future, books about going to kindergarten can be a great comfort.  Ms. Victoria will be leadingIs Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? cover image our annual Kindergarten Storytimes next week on Aug. 8 at 10:00 and Aug. 10 at 11:00.  This is a perfect opportunity for families with a new kindergartner to have a fun experience hearing some lighthearted picture books, incMonstergarten cover imageluding Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick, and participating with music and games.  After the storytime, two presenters from the Ft. Riley Parent to Parent organization will present a short workshop for parents with great tips and advice about your child starting school.  The children can make an apple craft that they can use later to record their thoughts about their first day at school.  There are lots of other great picture books on the topic. Some new releases this year include Monstergarten by Daniel Mahoney and The Best Thing about Kindergarten by Jennifer Lloyd.

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Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children Nature- Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

This book is grLast Child in the woodseat for teachers and parents who have children of all ages. This book stresses the importance of nature and how it can be incorporated in the classroom. This book gives great, inovative ideas that will make learning fun for everyone! I found this book in my Foundations of Education Class at KSU and it opened my eyes  to the importance of nature in the classroom. In my opinion this book is a must!

Reviewed by Brian

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Let’s Play Outside!

My children seem to be born with a desire to be outside. My three year old son much prefers to play outside over any indoor activity, no matter how enticing. My daughter is 15 months old and just learned to sign “outside,” and boy was she pleased with herself. Twenty times a day I’ll find her standing by the door signing to go outside. I’m sure they are not alone in her desire to be outside rain or shine, day or night. As more and more children (and adults) pass their days inside, more and more experts are showing us just how important it is for little kids (and not-so-little-kids) to be outside exploring, experimenting, and engaging their environment.

The library has several books for parents and educators about how to help children engage in the natural environment and how to enhance playscapes to include more natural aspects. Many of these ideas are meant for daycares or preschools, but many can be applied in your own backyard. So take my kids’ advice and go play outside!

A Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature Through the Seasons by Rick Van Noy

Nurture Through Nature: Working with Children Under 3 in Outdoor Environments by Claire Warden

The Potential of a Puddle: Creating Vision and Values for Outdoor Learning by Claire Warden

Natural Playscapes: Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul by Rusty Keeler

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

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