Sunday, December 27, 2009

Daddy & Maddie: On a WINTRY NIGHT

"Daddy swirl your arms around, up and down and all around. Make an angel on the ground..."

This was her first time playing in the snow, and just the experience of walking and listening to the crunching sound was excitement in and of itself!

Making the snow angels was her favorite part, but they also constructed a family of 3 snowmen AND accomplished some shovelling! Busy, busy. Thanks for sharing, Mom.

All this daddy/daughter snow fun means one thing for me...time to read ON A WINTRY MORNING; Dori Chaconas makes midwestern winters so much warmer!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Her very first snowman!

On the morning of Megan's 20-month birthday, Daddy surprised her with this fine fellow that they decorated together with Mommy later that day; Dad is Canadian and must be used to creating gifts out of snow. They used prunes, tomatoes, pretzels, licorice...and a party hat, of course. How creative!

If you have any fun snow photos you'd like to share, please email them to me at, and I will post them for everyone's enjoyment and inspiration!

Monday, December 14, 2009


He liked his new hat and wore it even while he ate dinner.

During dessert, he thought of something. "What about our friends?" he asked. "Shouldn't we make hats for them, too? We could give them as Christmas presents!"

This holiday season, get lost in the illustrations of this warm, wonderful story of a mother and son rabbit who secretly measure and make hats for their animals friends. Each hat is cleverly crafted for the individual traits of each creature...

The goose's hat will have a long scarf that wraps around her neck. The horse's hat should be part blanket so he can sleep in the snow. And the dog's hat must have an extra-long tail that looks pretty when it blows in the wind.

After a very special presentation of the gifts in the town market, the first snowflake falls. Mother and son know they must return home before the blizzard. On the sled ride home, rabbit has a sudden realization...

"Oh, no!" he said. "Tomorrow is Christmas, and I forgot to make a present for you, Mother."

His mother squeezed him tight.

"Little Rabbit," she said, "being with you is the best gift of all."

What beautiful messages to share with your little one this holiday season... that giving IS better than receiving, that handmade presents really ARE extra special, and that time together truly IS the greatest gift.

Wishing everyone lots of snuggly reading and crafting time together this holiday season!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Animals in the Snow

"Do you think birds know when it's going to snow? I do."

So begins another colorful, nature-filled story by Milwaukee's own Lois Ehlert. Peanuts in the purse and raisins for eyes. With edible features and accessories, it's fun to watch how winter animals interact with this family of snowmen!

Join us this month for stories about ANIMALS IN THE SNOW...


Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
In the Snow: Who's Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George
The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming
Sailing Off to Sleep by Linda Ashman
Names for Snow by Judi K. Beach
Love Songs of the Little Bear by Margaret Wise Brown
OH! by Kevin Henkes
Snow by Manya Stojic
Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky
On a Wintry Morning by Dori Chaconas


A chubby little snowman had a carrot for a NOSE.
Along came a bunny and what do you SUPPOSE?
That hungry little bunny
was looking for his LUNCH.
So he grabbed that snowman's carrot nose,


Start way up high on your tip toes and end gracefully on the floor...

Snow is falling, snow is falling,
All around, all around.
Oh so very gently, oh so very gently,
To the ground, to the ground.

And by all means, if you make a snowman this winter, please include some treats for the creatures in your design!

Monday, November 23, 2009

If You Give a Pig a Pancake

With a bubblebath scene, a grand entrance from the top of a staircase for a tap dance, some furniture rearranging for a photo shoot, and the building and decorating of a TREE HOUSE - this one just may be my favorite!

We'll conclude our Laura Numeroff month by celebrating pigs and pancakes.



Two mother pigs lived in a PEN.
Each had four babies and that made TEN!

These four babies were as black as NIGHT.
These four babies were pink and WHITE.

But all eight babies loved to PLAY,
As they rolled and rolled in the mud all DAY.

At night with their mother they curled up in a HEAP,
And squealed and squealed until they went to SLEEP.



Mix a pancake, stir a pancake,
Poor it in a PAN.

Fry a pancake, flip a pancake,
Catch it if you CAN!

A great big thanks to Diana and Lauren for lending me their book this week. I'm off to purchase my own copy!

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake

...he'll ask for some sprinkles to go with it. When you give him the sprinkles, he might spill some on the floor.

After cleaning up his mess, this hard-to-stay-focused feline spends the remainder of the day sporting a pair of tropical swim trunks as he visits the beach, the gym, a merry-go-round, and the science museum; only to return home with an appetite for more cupcakes and sprinkles!

What fun we had last week sharing this book together and substituting the cat's actions into our repeat-after-me moose song from the previous week.

The cat! The cat!
Sprinkling the sprinkles...
Eating his cupcake...
Putting on his swim trunks...
Going to the beach...
Building some sandcastles...
Lifting some weights...
Doing karate kicks...
Where did he go?
Heeeeeeeee went to sleep!

At one point the cat becomes a captain and directs the little girl to row, so we sang...

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a DREAM!

Rock, rock, rock your boat gently side to side.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is such a RIDE!

Walk, walk, walk your feet gently through the sand.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily life is very GRAND!

Did anyone create their own verse?

I had a few other cat-related fingerplays that we never had time to share...


Five little cats all black and WHITE (show five fingers),
Sleeping soundly all through the NIGHT (close fist).


It's time for them to wake up NOW.
Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! MEOW!
(raise up each finger)

And finally, I love the simplicity of this one called SOFT CAT in which you make a fist with one hand and then pretend to pet it with the other hand.

Soft cat, warm cat,
Little ball of FUR.
Sleepy cat, pretty cat,
Purr, purr, purr.

Monday, November 9, 2009

If You Give a Moose a Muffin

This hungry traveler fixes loose buttons, makes sock puppets, paints scenery, and scares himself so much that he falls flat on the ground!

In Laura Numeroff's sequel to IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE, it's fun to see how a BIG animal visitor wreaks havoc!

We'll rhyme and fingerplay this old Boy Scout song originally titled "Da Moose," which I've reworked back into proper pronunciation as "The Moose." We'll also spare the little ones the final verse in which the moose dies! Done in call-and-response...

The Moose! The Moose!
The Moose! The Moose!
Swimming in the water.
Swimming in the water.
Eating his supper.
Eating his supper.
Where did he go?
Where did he go?
He went to SLEEP!
He Went to SLEEP!

We'll also sing The Muffin Man...

Oh do you know the muffin man,
the muffin man, the muffin man?
Oh do you know the muffin man
who lives on Drury Lane?

Oh, yes I know the muffin man,
the muffin man, the muffin man?
Oh, yes, I know the muffin man,
who lives on Drury Lane.

We all know the muffin man,
the muffin man, the muffin man.
We all know the muffin man
who lives on Drury Lane.

We'll also sing our counting song with everyday objects from the text: jars of jam, buttons, leaves, and socks.

Looking forward to more Laura Numeroff fun!

The Joy of Being Five

Once again First Stage Children's Theater brings literature to life!

Yes, Junie B. Jones is naughty and self-centered and lacking a verbal filter. She displays the kind of behaviors most of us are working hard to minimize in our own children. So why then is her character so important, important enough to be adapted into a play?

Dorothy Butler says in Babies Need Books: Sharing the Joy of Books with Children from Birth to Six,

"Parents and children who share books come to share the same frame of reference. Incidents in everyday life constantly remind one or the other - or both, simultaneously of a situation, a character, an action, from a jointly enjoyed book, with all the generation of warmth and well-being that is attendant upon such sharing."

For the over-four child (whom these books and this play are recommended), Junie provides a frame of reference with plenty of situations and "incidents from everyday life" that will lead to meaningful conversations with your school-aged child...the stress of having to produce something interesting for show-and-tell, how telling lies can backfire, why it is not okay to make people give you things in exchange for friendship, what feelings come with a having a new baby in the family, how the truth will set you free, etc.

In the director's notes, John Maclay explains, "With our production we have attempted to create a world - in true Junie fashion - that is at once fantastical and grounded in reality."

Everyday settings with a big dose of fabulous is exactly what you'll get - the scenery, the lighting, the costumes, the songs! And of course the school bus that MOVES! We felt as if we'd been transported right into the pages of the book. And how mesmerizing that the actors' movements and gestures made them look just like the Denise Brunkus illustrations.

And then there's those cool moments when Junie snaps her fingers...the lighting changes, other characters freeze, as she directly addresses that audience with her inner thoughts. My five year old was beyond fascinated with this concept and, as a result, now has a heightened awareness of her own internal dialogue! After seeing the play, one day after school she shared with me: "I was going to say something to someone but knew it wouldn't be nice, so I snapped my fingers and kept it in my head."

Between all the fun and high drama, there's also some really special moments between Junie and Grampa. Another "frame of reference" that illustrates how wonderful it is to have a grown-up in your corner to help you with your problems. They sing a song together that I admit made me cry.

As the director concludes in his notes, "Junie B. is not perfect. And neither are any of us. But with the care of our families and an honest attempt to do better, we can all hope to make better choices in life - while still retaining some of the joy of being five. May we all remember the Junie B. that we once were."

Thanks FIRST STAGE for another oustanding live theater experience with my child!

JUNIE B. JONES and a LITTLE MONKEY BUSINESS runs through November 14 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

Cooperative Children's Book Center

Tomorrow, for one day only, two librarians are coming from the Cooperative Children's Book Center in Madison to present "Great New Books for Children and Young Adults" in the FIREFLY room at the Wauwatosa Public Library.

Today while hunting down more Laura Numeroff books for the book box, Ann, the wonderful librarian from the children's department reminded me of their visit and assured me that ALL ARE WELCOME AND NO REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. There is a presentation at 1:30pm and again at 5:15.

The CCBC is a vital gathering place for books, ideas, and expertise of children's and young adult literature. The CCBC is a noncirculating examination study and research library for Wisconsin school and public librarians, teachers, early childhood care providers, university students, and others interested in children's and young adult literature. The CCBC is part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education.
- from the CCBC website

Let's check out what's new in children's literature with the visiting librarians!

Photo courtesy of Belle Vining, age 3. Thanks, Belle!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hungry Little Traveler

"If a hungry little traveler shows up at your house, you might want to give him a cookie. If you give him a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk. He'll want to look in a mirror to make sure he doesn't have a milk mustache, and then he'll ask for a pair of scissors to give himself a trim...The consequences of giving a cookie to this energetic mouse run the young host ragged, but young readers will come away smiling at the antics that tumble like dominoes through the pages of this delightful picture book." - from the jacket cover of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.

The moose and the muffin, the cat and the cupcake, the pig and the pancake... Whatever the combination of demanding animal and willing human host, Laura Numeroff certainly has the formula for fun! Her words just roll right off the tongue as Felicia Bond's illustrations bring the characters to life. It doesn't take long for little ones to memorize and anticipate the sequence of her stories.

So when I discovered that First Stage Children's Theater will be performing If You Give a Mouse a Cookie from November 7 through the 22, I knew it was time for a LAURA NUMEROFF MONTH!

We'll READ:

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
If You Give a Moose a Muffin
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake
If You Give a Pig a Pancake

We'll SING:

Since the characters tend to make messes, we'll sing some songs about cleaning up...

"This is the way we sweep the floor, sweep the floor, sweep the floor. This is the way we sweep the floor, all through the house..."

"Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere..."


This one ends with some tickling!
Round and round the garden goes the little MOUSE.
One step...two steps...into his little HOUSE.

Quiet Mouse
Once there lived a quiet mouse.
In a quiet little house.
When all was quiet as can be...
Out popped HE!

Monday, October 26, 2009


"Wait! Wait! Let me look at this child." A bat pushed through the crowd...sniffing Stellaluna's fur, she whispered, "You are Stellaluna. You are my baby." My favorite moment from Stellaluna by Janell Cannon.

Although this book is too lengthy for us to enjoy in our whole group setting, I'm glad to see that the little ones are enjoying picture-walking through Stellaluna. Such great illustrations of the beautiful animal that is the fruit bat!

Thanks to the Tervoorts for sharing this photo from storytime.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mothers and Pups

A mother bat carries her pup until it is too heavy to cling to her. Then she must leave it to roost in the "nursery colony" while she flies at night to find food.

"She places her baby in a cluster of other young bats, where it stays until she returns several hours later. When the mother comes back to the cave, she calls out to her youngster. Each bat has its own distinctive sound, and a mother bat is able to recognize her baby's cry even when there are hundreds of other bats nearby. When the mother bat gets close to her baby, she smells it carefully to make sure that it is hers. After letting her pup nurse, she cleans and grooms it."
-- From BAT by Caroline Arnold

This month we use our counting song as a way of exploring different places the bat pup would be roosting while mama is away.

One little, two little, three little bat pups...
roosting in a CAVE.
roosting in a BARN.
roosting in an ATTIC.

We also sing this song to Frere Jacques while pretending to be a zookeeper holding a bat (remember to emphasize to NEVER, EVER touch a real bat, that a zookeeper is specially trained for this!)...

Bats are sleeping.
Bats are sleeping,
Upside down.
Upside down.
Sleeping in the daytime.
Sleeping in the daytime.
Waiting for the nighttime.
Waiting for the nighttime.
To Fly Around.
To Fly Around.

As the world's ONLY flying mammal, bats are truly amazing, beautiful creatures!

Photo courtesy of David Wilbanks. Thanks, David!

Monday, October 5, 2009

NIGHT Fliers

Now she unhooks her toes and drops into black space.
With a sound like a tiny umbrella opening,she flaps her wings.
Bat is flying.

- Bat Loves the Night by Nicola Davies

Then the owl pumped its great wings
and lifted off the branch like a shadow
without sound.

- Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

They're both nocturnal. One perches, while the other hangs. Both can fly, but only one has feathers. This month we celebrate these amazing creatures of the night!

We'll sing to I'm a Little Tea Pot...

I'm a little owl up in a tree.
Here are my big, round eyes that help me see.

I can turn my head like this and that.
I like to fly at night like a bat.

So,when the sky turns dark and the moon comes out,
I'll lift my wings and fly about.

Then, like owls with their special, scalloped wings, we'll try to mimic silent flight.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Twenty-Four FEET!

Up in the air feet
Over a chair feet
More and more feet
Twenty-four feet...

- Dr.Seuss, The Foot Book

It was fun counting 24 feet with you each week this month!

All the marching, stomping, tapping, jumping, balancing, tracing, turning...I will miss September!

Photo courtesy of Robyn Beckley Vining, Ticklebugs Photography. Don't miss more of her photos that she graciously allowed me to post in my gallery. Thanks, Robyn!

Little Red Caboose

How fun it was to gather in front of the Little Red Store to celebrate the return of the Tosa Farmers Market with all of you!

We read Market Days by local author Lois Ehlert. We sang "Going to the Market," our own version of Raffi's "Going on a Picnic". We enjoyed an energetic round of "Hokey Pokey," and practiced our counting with the "Here is a Beehive" finger play in honor of the honey vendor. There was a honey vendor, right?

And then, how exciting and dramatic when a train came through right in the middle of our HAPPY HOUR! Nancy was ready with Little Red Caboose! We formed a train of our own and chugged in circle as we sang this infectious song together.

What I liked the most was the opportunity to see many moms and dads together! I love Saturday gatherings, and I can't wait for next year's weekly market at this location, my new favorite spot in our village!

Monday, September 21, 2009

TOSA Farmers Market!

"Going to the market,
Leaving right away...
If it doesn't rain,
we'll stay all day!"

This Saturday, September 26th, down in the Village, below the Harmonee Bridge, in front of the Little Red Store, we'll be having a special storytime as part of the TOSA FARMERS MARKET Kick-off event!

This one day harvest festival will create awareness for the weekly market coming next year. There will be farm vendors and lots of friends and neighbors coming out to show their support for the long awaited market in our community!

The festivities run from 8am to noon, but join us at 10am in front of the store for what's sure to be a great time!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sweet FEET!

Maybe it's Robyn Beckley Vining's fun photos of our storytime feet... Maybe it's the afternoon I spent with Nancy singing the Hokey Pokey... "You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out..." Maybe it's related to my exhaustive search for the perfect pair of back-to-school shoes for my child! Whatever the reason, this month we're celebrating FEET!

We'll READ:

NEW SHOES, RED SHOES by Susan Rollings
READY, SET, SKIP! by Jane O'Connor
ONE, TWO, ONE PAIR! by Bruce McMillan
FEET by Dana Meachen Rau
JUMP! by Steve Lavis
A PAIR OF SOCKS by Stuart Murphy
HELLO SHOES! by Joan Blos
HOW DO I PUT IT ON? by Shigeo Watanabe
TINY TOES by Donna Jakob
I WENT WALKING by Sue Williams
BABY SHOES by Dashka Slater

We'll SING:

KNEES UP MOTHER BROWN (I know this is not specifically about feet, but we sure do a lot of foot stomping when we sing it!)

THE HOKEY POKEY (at least we had one week of this with Nancy!)



Two little feet go TAP, TAP, TAP!
Two little hands go CLAP, CLAP, CLAP!
A quick little leap up from the CHAIR...
Two little arms reach high in the AIR.
Two little feet go JUMP, JUMP, JUMP!
Two little hands go THUMP, THUMP, THUMP!
One little body turns round and ROUND...
One little child sits quietly DOWN.

I'm also working out the details for an interesting foot-related storytime visitor to close out the month! Stay tuned for details...

Monday, August 31, 2009


A great big thanks to Captain Aaron from the Milwaukee Fire Department, Company #8 for another fabulous storytime visit!

How many seconds did it take this time for him to get geared-up? I can't remember the exact number we counted to, but I do remember that he was REALLY fast! He read a Clifford book to an attentive group of children that had gathered up front to sit Indian-style on the floor (don't ever remember THAT happening before!). They were truly captivated. We practiced his fire safety rhyme, and learned a new fingerplay together:

This brave fireman is going to BED.
Down on the pillow he lays his HEAD.
Wraps himself in his blanket TIGHT,
And plans to sleep this way all NIGHT.
But the fire alarm rings! He opens his EYES!
Quickly he dresses and down the pole he SLIDES!
Now climb up on the firetruck, don't be SLOW!
Drive really fast...GO! GO! GO!

Also a great big thanks to MADDIE who gave us a perfect demonstration of the STOP! DROP! and ROLL! I will be sure to make sure we do a run-through of this from time to time - a fun, active way to practice fire safety.

I'm so glad we'll always have the photos to remember this morning, taken by Christine Schubert and posted in our storytime gallery...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back by Demand

We've had many requests for Captain Aaron to come back for a repeat performance during the summertime for the school-aged ones...

Remember "sounding" the fire alarm and counting to see how many seconds it took him to get geared-up? Remember the room full of bright, shiny fire helmets? He read to us. Gave us coloring books and taught us a rhyme.

Well, tomorrow, he's back just in time before school starts! Hope you can join us for what's sure to be a fun morning!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Goodnight Moon

How lulling it is to say
"goodnight" to ordinary objects! And no one says it quite like Margaret Wise Brown in her bedtime classic, Goodnight Moon.

The magic of the final page: the green and yellow striped curtains framing the moonlit sky, the glowing of the fire and the windows of the dollhouse.

Since most of us own a copy, and because Clement Hurd's illustrations can not be given proper attention with the size of our group (and because I think it would be really fun!), let's enjoy a collective reading of Goodnight Moon tomorrow morning to close-out our bedtime theme for this month*!

So, if you're able to come and you own a copy, bring it along! Share it with a little one in your lap, or gather in a group with others that don't have a book.

We'll read it, talk about the pictures, and finally fingerplay it out with the I AM THE MOON fingerplay from last week...

I am the moon,
Big and round and BRIGHT.
By the time you see my face,
day has turned to NIGHT.

* Next week, August 25th, Captain Aaron is back with an encore firefighter storytime for the "bigger" kids before school starts!
** Photo by Liz Scopel. I love it, Liz!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sweet Dreams

Orangutans doze in a bed of leaves.
Lions sleep wherever they please.
Sharks rest with eyes open wide.
Black bears go into dens and hide.
-- Sweet Dreams: How Animals Sleep by Kimiko Kajikawa

I love the fun rhymes and great photography in this week's featured book, but it's all the interesting facts about how animals sleep that make this one of my favorite bedtime reads!
"A shark doesn't sleep like we do. It never closes its eyes to rest. Instead, it goes through resting cycles where it slows down its movements. The wide-eyed shark remains aware of sights, smells, and sounds, so it does not miss possible food, mates, or predators."
It's fun to pretend to be a sleeping shark with eyes open wide!
And did you know that horses don't dream??? "Because dreaming requires muscle movement...and a standing horse can't move its legs when it sleeps, it can't dream." Fascinating stuff.
So join us this week to learn more about animal sleeping habits!
We'll also practice how humans prepare for sleep with this bedtime fingerplay from last week...
Are you ready? It's time for BED.
Fluff up the pillows.
Lay down your HEAD.
Pull up the covers.
Tuck them in TIGHT!
Now close your eyes,
and sleep allllll NIGHT.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Whole Night Through

"The moon still beams its milky light
Where NO one's staying up tonight!
Now I know what we should do
Let's sleep and dream
the whole night through..."
-- by David Frampton
Summer is a busy season! With more daylight, more activities, more visitors, more travelling...the sleep schedule tends to fly out the window! If you're like me and your bedtime routine needs a little attention, join us this month to celebrate the snuggliest time of day...BEDTIME!
We'll READ:
The Whole Night Through by David Frampton
The Sleepy Book by Charlotte Zolotow
Goodnight Moon (of course!) by Margaret Wise Brown
To Sleep by James Sage
The Noisy Way to Bed by Ian Whybrow
Won't You Be My Kissaroo? by Joanne Ryder
Snug in Mama's Arms by Angela Shelf Medearis
Sweet Dreams by Kimiko Kajikawa
Star Baby by Margaret O'Hair
Time For Bed by Mem Fox
Birdsong Lullaby by Diane Stanley
This week our featured book will be The Whole Night Through, story & woodcuts by David Frampton. Yes, that's right, WOODCUTS! Each page in this book is made from 4 SEPARATE WOODCUTS! Here is what Frampton writes in the jacket notes below a photo of him with stacks of woodcuts...
"This is me with the wood that I carved to make the woodcuts for this book. What is a woodcut? It is a picture that is cut into a pice of wood, then covered with paint and squeezed against a piece of paper. Each picture in this book is made from four separate woodcuts, one for each color. Did you ever step in a puddle and then leave footprints as you walked along? Well, making woodcuts is a bit like that and just as much fun.
New Hampshire is where I have been living and working on woodcuts for the past twenty-five years. We (my wife and two children) love our small town with its quiet ways and friendly people. Our house is near the town center, where you will find one store, a firehouse, and the town library that used to be a one-room schoolhouse. To complete the picture, add a moose, a bear, and a million trees. I have been making woodcuts for children's books for many years, but this is the first one that I have written and illustrated. Our kids grew up without a television. No TV, but there were so many wonderful books. It was by reading to them night after night that I learned about the words and sounds and rhythms that kids love to hear. These are the sounds in my own stories."
And his words, sounds and rhythms are just right for our gathering - plenty of rhyming opportunities for crowd participation! If you're able to stay for book box time, be sure to take a closer look at his work!
I also love what he says about stepping through puddles and leaving footprints. Consider it a home extension activity to walk through puddles... And to do potato prints!
Sleepy songs and fingerplays to be announced...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Under the Big Tree

Ever wished for a little Tuesdays at Ten experience outdoors? On a summer Saturday morning? In the grass? Under the shade of a big tree?

Well this Saturday, August 1st, that's just what you'll get from 11:30-12:30 on the corner of 73th & Center!

Nancy & I have been invited to READ, SING, and "SHARE" at the Neighborhood Share Fair festival. We'll be leading a children's HAPPY HOUR! (the taking-the-show-on-the-road version of Tuesdays at Ten) and hanging out to enjoy the festivities ourselves. Local and FREE!

Looking forward to seeing those of you that can make it!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Vacation

Tuesdays at Ten will be on summer break for the month of July. We will return to business as usual on Tuesday, August 4th. In the meantime, enjoy whatever SUMMER brings your way: swimming pools, sandboxes, parks, playgrounds, the zoo, the beach...and BOOKS, of course!

Monday, June 29, 2009


"Now he wasn't hungry any more — and he wasn't a little caterpillar any more. He was a big, fat caterpillar."
--The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Last week, it really was all about the caterpillars! And talk about a HANDS-ON experience...

Heather's little green friends truly stole the show! Once she introduced them, there was no returning to "the originally scheduled program."

But that didn't matter, because instead what evolved was a sea of children gathered close, sharing in the experience of REAL LIVE CATERPILLARS! They watched them, pointed at them, touched them, even gently squeezed them a little (how can you not?!). A room full of wide eyes and anxious hands!

So although Heather never had a chance to read her book or share more information, everyone DID have a chance to witness first-hand just how beautiful and fascinating luna moth caterpillars are!

And what an interesting fact she shared that Eric Carle's caterpillar was actually modelled after the luna moth caterpillar!

It was fun learning and practicing with our bodies some of the differences between moths and butterflies that she taught us:

Moth antennae are fanned (open fingers), whereas butterfly antennae are clubbed (closed fists). When moths are resting, their wings are spread (arms out). Butterflies rest with their wings up and closed (elbows and hands together).

We learned a new song/fingerplay about caterpillars (to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle):

Little Arabella Miller (hands cupped together)
Found a wooly caterpillar. (open hands)
First it crawled upon her mother. (crawl fingers up arm)
Then upon her baby brother. (crawl up other arm)
All said, "Arabella Miller! (point finger)
Take away that caterpillar!!! (wave hands away)

A huge thanks to Heather and her caterpillars from the Blue Bungalow for the memorable morning they gave us!

And a big thanks to Robyn Beckley Vining of Ticklebugs Photography for capturing this photo from our very special time together!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Moths Are Beautiful

"Many people think moths are ugly pests. Not Luna moths. They are as colorful and amazing as the most beautiful butterflies."

So begins, Heather Zydek's informative and simply written book about luna moths, Moths Are Beautiful.

I'm excited to announce that Heather - a Wauwatosa resident, nature-lover, educator, urban environmentalist, and moth expert - will be joining us this week to share her knowledge and love of these exquisite creatures. She will read from her book, bring photos of moths, explain the differences between moths and butterflies, and will also have REAL LIVE caterpillars for us to view. She may even have a big, fat caterpillar that will rest on her hand while we touch it!

Of course it wouldn't be a storytime about caterpillars without a reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. If you own a copy, bring it along for your little one to read in your lap while I read aloud to the group. Always cool to be able to see the holes in the pages up close! And to point to all the crazy foods that the little guy eats before getting a tummy ache!

I'm especially excited about Heather's visit because this month is the one year anniversary of our first storytime. A year ago (give or take a week) we were at the Parkway reading...

"In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf..."

Hope you can join us!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Island in the Sun

"On an island in the SUN,
We'll be playing and having FUN..."

FUN in the SUN! I love that these words rhyme. And what great images you conjure up just by saying them: the beach, the park, a grassy meadow, flying a kite, or maybe just frolicking about with cute animals!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Shine, Sun!

Make flowers grow.
Make birds sing.
Make butterflies dance.
Shine on me, sun.
Make me dance too.
-- Shine, Sun! by Carol Greene

Here's a book I've read a gazillion times and still LOVE through every single reading! Also provides a great explanation for why we slather them with sunscreen this time of year.

Ahhh...this time of year. Bright, happy sunshine! Let's celebrate!

This month we'll...


Shine, Sun! by Carol Greene
One Light, One Sun by Raffi
My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson
Greetings, Sun by Phillis and David Gershator
Sunny Day by Claire Henley
What the Sun Sees by Nancy Tafuri
A Sunny Day by Lola M Schaefer
Under The Sun by Ellen Kandoian
An Island in the Sun by Stella Blackstone


An opportunity to sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider! "Out came the sun and dried up all the rain..." Song and fingerplay - I love it! And of course...


She'll teach us the words and the sign for "sun" to this song - perfect to sing on a cloudy June day...

Oh Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun,
Please shine down on ME.
Oh Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun,
Hiding behind a TREE.

All of us are asking you,
To please come out so we can play with you.
Oh Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun,
Please shine down on me!


Zoe and I made this one up as a way of combatting the - some days mundane, other days frustrating - task of sunscreen application:

One, Two, Three, Four....

Five, Six, Seven, Eight...
Rub it in, THIS IS GREAT!

Sun dots on the cheeks, don't forget your NOSE...
Rub it in! Rub it in! Cover all the skin that SHOWS!

Your ears. Your forehead. And don't forget to CHECK...
That all the skin is covered, even on your NECK!

Okay, I reallllly need to get a day job! :)


Thanks Sarah for the great, LAMINATED visual aids (available every week in the book box)!


Get ready for our counting song by brainstorming with your child, "What fun sun things can we count???"

To a month of celebrating the star that is the center of our solar system!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Year With Susan & Nile

They've been coming since the beginning of time, and this week will be their final storytime. They're moving to Chicago.

I know our friendship will continue, but can't deny the sadness I feel when I think of not having them regularly at storytime. Looking out into the audience and seeing their faces always gave me extra motivation!

I first met Susan & Nile last June when storytime began at the Parkway. This was back in the day when our group was small enough that each week we would go around the room and introduce ourselves. From our first meeting, I fell in love with them!

Anyone who knows this pair can confirm how Susan (on her own) lights up the room with her beaming smile and warm personality, but with Mr. Blue-Eyes in tow, you can't help but feel happier around them!

Because they lived a few blocks away from the cafe (and attended every possible story hour within a 10 mile radius!), they would stroller it to Tuesdays at Ten regularly. On the way, Susan would try to keep Nile awake so that he'd catch his morning nap on the return trip home. I can only imagine what techniques she must have used; Susan is the Mary Poppins of mothers, truly!

She always has a song up her sleeve, or a bottle of bubbles, or a Ziploc full of finger puppets, or a random rubber farm animal, or an assortment of tiny carpet swatches to entertain Nile (and any other children in their presence). She had us over for a playdate once in which we roasted marshmallows in her fireplace and made S'mores. She doesn't let below-zero weather (that's caused school closings) prevent her from bundling Nile up for a trip to the library. Midwestern can-do spirit! She's showed up at my house equipped with a tent, big wands of bubbles and a refill of bubble fluid (in case anyone spilled). She makes and distributes May Day baskets! Susan - always prepared and always ready to have fun.

And then there's Nile! He's social and curious, sometimes intently focused, other days playful and carefree. As long as he wasn't too busy investigating his mother's ears or practicing his fine motor skills with a fork, he'd greet me each time with a smile and a hug.

My favorite memory of him is one winter morning we shared when he sat on my lap for a full hour while I chatted with Susan. Granted this was before he began walking, but nonetheless, not one wiggle or moment of discontent - just a nice, warm bundle of baby happily hanging out for a SOLID HOUR!

What a year with Susan & Nile. We've been so fortunate to have them as regulars and as friends. Some lucky story hour in the Chicago metropolitan area stands to inherit two exceptional human beings.

So best of luck, Susan & Nile, as you begin a new chapter in your lives. I look forward to the next time we are together again!

Reminds me of the Jim Gill song we used to sing...

"We clap our hands when we get together.
Clap our hands to celebrate!
We clap our hands when we get together.
My friends and I can hardly waaaaaaaaaait!"

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Happier We'll Be

The lighting may not be perfect, the foreground is a little cluttered, the view of one subject's face is obstructed; but regardless, this is one of my favorite shots because of it what it symbolizes about storytime - people coming together for the shared experience!

For those of you that missed the Michael J. Fox ABC Special mentioned at last week's storytime, it was all about optimism and happiness. During one segment Fox travelled to Bhutan, a small country in the foothills of the Himalayas where the government monitors the happiness of its citizens. There was an underlying theme here about the correlation between happiness and having strong connections with people - family, neighborhood, community. The importance of having "shared experience!"

It made me think about storytime, and how I always feel especially happy on Tuesdays. Starting my day off with whatever unique mix of people may have come together on that particular morning -- regulars, newcomers, stay-at-home parents, working parents with the day off, grandparents, neighbors, out-of-town visiting relatives, preschool playmates, meet-up groups, a first-time parent with a newborn -- every Tuesday is brand new and special!

If you're there, it means your morning went well enough, no one was sick, your schedule was open, and ultimately you had the desire to come and be TOGETHER! I believe you show up not just for the books or songs, but for the connection we share. "The more we get together, the happier we'll be..." really does say it all.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Transport Me!

"And an ocean tumbled by with
a private boat for Max
and he sailed off through night and day
and in and out of weeks
and almost over a year
to where the wild things are." -- Maurice Sendak

My time with Jeremy Jacobs and his voyage at sea, reminded me of Max's voyage, which made me remember that it was time for me to book our yearly passage across Lake Michigan by high-speed ferry!

Since this big event happens only once a year, each time we board feels like a new experience for my daughter. Boarding a ferry as a 2-year-old can be very different than boarding a ferry at 5! Some years excited, some years trepidatious; either way it's great to prepare for travel through reading!

So, with the upcoming travel season upon us, let's explore all the ways we get from HERE to THERE! Planes, trains, automobiles...and BOATS, of course! This month we'll...


The Bridge is Up! by Babs Bell
Away We Go! by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Emma's Vacation by David McPhail
Two Little Trains by Margaret Wise Brown
Night Train by Caroline Stutson
The Bus For Us by Suzanne Bloom
The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort
First Flight by David McPhail
Boats Afloat by Shelley Rotner


I'M A LITTLE AIRPLANE to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot
I’m a little airplane... I can fly! (arms shoulder height)
Here are my instruments - low and high. (turn dials)
When I get all revved up, (spin arm in front like a propeller)
Watch me fly... (both arms up again)
Off the runway to the sky! (up on tip toes)

This is a choo-choo train, (bend arms at elbows)
Puffing down the track. (rotate forearms in rhythm)
Now it's going forward, (slowly walk forward)
Now it's going back. (slowly walk back)
Now the bell is ringing, (pretend to pull cord with closed fist)
Now the whistle blows. (hold fist near mouth and blow "toot, toot")
What a lot of noise it makes, (cover ears with hands)
Everywhere it goes! (stretch out arms)


Row, row, row your boat gently down the STREAM.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily...Life is but a DREAM.
Drive, drive, drive your car gently down the STREET.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily...Life is such a TREAT.
Fly, fly, fly your plane way up in the AIR.
Merrily, merrily merrily merrily... Life without a CARE.

Finally, how excited I am to announce the debut of OUR VERY OWN RESIDENT MUSICIAN! Once I learned that this storytime regular sings, plays guitar, and is studying music education; it wasn't long before I convinced her to share her music with us. I requested one of my favorite songs from childhood and coincidentally it fits the travel theme perfectly. So get ready for some call-and-response fun! This month (Phin's nap schedule permitting) Nancy will lead us in song...


O the world is big,
And the world is SMALL.
So there's lots of room
For the short and the TALL.

O the world is far,
And the world is WIDE.
But there's many different ways
To see the other SIDE.

You can travel on a BOAT.
You can travel on a PLANE.
You can travel in a DANCE.
You can travel in a GAME.

You can travel on a BUS.
You can travel on a TRAIN.
You can travel in a SONG.
You can travel in a NAME.

Can you and your little one think of any OTHER interesting ways to be transported???

Looking forward to MAY'S ADVENTURES IN TRAVEL!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pirates & Positive Behavior

Pirates never wear sunblock, nor do they brush their teeth, or ever use manners. They don't have to listen to their mothers telling them to clean their rooms. They don't have to bathe or do homework. And when they're hungry they just say, "HAND OVER THE MEAT!"

Braid Beard, the captain of the pirate ship in First Stage Children's Theater's production of How I Became a Pirate, was explaining all of this to Jeremy Jacobs, the young boy who had suddenly been transported from everyday life to the deck of a ship filled with lively pirates.

As I sat with my daughter in the darkness of the audience on this rainy Sunday afternoon of live theater; I was laughing with the rest of them on the outside, but biting my lip on the inside. How would this affect the rules of decency and manners that I had been working so hard to impart on my daughter since toddlerhood?

"And pirates NEVER say PLEASE or THANK YOU!" Braid Beard emphasized. My heart sort of skipped a beat here as I looked down at my daughter's wide-eyed, 5-year-old face.

Nothing like high-quality children's theater to transport you... The lights! The set! The costumes! The actors! These crazy characters, the pirates, with their different way of talking and their don't-have-to-answer-to-authority ways. She was completely taken!

I imagined the days ahead - of her testing the boundaries and using the pirates as justification for anarchy! But alas, the plot twist that turns things in my favor is that, all the excitement and novelty of freedom and adventure fade as Jeremy Jacobs begins to miss home (ala Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are) - his own bed, reading books, goodnight kisses from Mom and Dad.

"Can someone tuck me in?" Jeremy Jacobs asks the pirates with a longing in his voice. The pirates are unable to fulfill his request but do sing a wistful song with him about missing home. Touched by the message of It's Good to Be Home and the thought of no love at bedtime, my daughter is transformed again and reaches out to hold my hand for the duration of the song.

It's worth mentioning here how fabulous the music is! Some of the actors are also well-known local musicians (from bands such as Frogwater and Random Maxx) playing guitars, keyboard, drum, flute and violin. Is there a CD soundtrack available? I'd love to know, because I'm ready to buy it!

John Maclay, the director, writes in his director's notes...

How I Became a Pirate was one of the first books that I read to my son and it has become a staple in our reading list. As we now bring the story to life for your enjoyment I hope that, upon leaving the theater, the tunes stay with you and you remember a few good laughs.

Mission accomplished, John!

But by far, the greatest, lasting benefit of spending an afternoon with the pirates at First Stage, is that my daughter and I now have a new inside running joke that promotes positive behavior:

"I'm going to go live with the pirates!" she'll say to me when she's disappointed because I tell her she SHOULD or CAN'T do something.

Then I'll respond, "THAT'S RIGHT! I'm going to send you off to go live with the pirates if you don't do what I say!" Very tongue-in-cheek, and then we both laugh and the struggle of the moment is dispelled. Lesson learned: living with all the benefits and comforts of home means following rules, remembering our manners, and listening to our parents. What a perfect learning moment How I Became a Pirate has given us!

So although the pirates wouldn't approve of my manners in saying this...

THANKS First Stage Children's Theater!

And a huge THANKS to Nancy (of "Nancy & Phinlee" - storytime regulars and mateys of mine) for the gift of the tickets! Nancy's husband, Jared, is Production Manager for First Stage. How lucky we are that they recently relocated here to Milwaukee from Manhattan!

How I Became a Pirate is a world premiere, original musical adapted by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman from Melinda Long's book by the same title. The production runs through May 17 and is recommended for ages 3 and older.

Also, check out the First Stage website for more information on the 2009-2010 season with more upcoming productions that are adaptations based on some fabulous books including:

Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
If You Give A Mouse a Cookie
If You Take a Mouse to School

THEATER BASED ON BOOKS! It just doesn't get any more exciting than that...ARRRRRRGH!!! (Couldn't resist...that darned pirate-speak is beyond addictive!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Big Red Barn

"By the big red barn
in the great green field,
There was a pink pig
Who was learning to squeal."

So begins Margaret Wise Brown's Big Red Barn. Talk about music to the ears - I love this book! My cousin gave me the small board book version when my daughter was born, and I've read it a million times.

Brown's poetic words combined with Felicia Bond's sweet illustrations perfectly capture the simple bliss of farm life from sun-up to sun-down: the baby pig squealing towards the rising sun, a tomcat jumping out of the barn window, puppies "all round and warm," horses stomping in "the sweet warm hay," animals nestled together (even a piglet curled up with a foal) sleeping "all night long," the reflection of the moon in a pail of water...makes you want to pack up and move out to the country!

With this month's theme, I've been so excited to share it with you; but have had to wait patiently for the big book version to come down the inter-library pipeline.

It has arrived, and tomorrow we'll read it!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fire & Smoke

"Fire and smoke go HIGH...
Kids get LOW!
Run for the door...
GO! GO! GO!"

He even writes his own fire safety rhymes!

A great big firehouse, "THANKS!" to Captain Aaron for a wonderful morning of entertaining and educating the children!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Down on the Farm

"THE BARN...often had a sort of peaceful smell - as though nothing bad could happen ever again in the world."
-- from Charlotte's Web

With my daughter's recent obsession with horses, and my involvement with the Tosa Farmers Market group , a monthly theme about farm life seemed like a natural choice! For the month of April we'll...


Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
Farmer Will by Jane Cowen-Fletcher
Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails by Nancy Tafuri
Early Morning in the Barn by Nancy Tafuri
Down on the Farm by Merrily Kutner
There's a Cow in the Cabbage Patch by Clare Beaton
Wake Up, Farm! by Alvin Tresselt


I went to visit a farm one day.
I saw a pig along the way,
And what do you think I heard it say?

(Repeat with horse, cow, duck, sheep, etc.)

"Mary Had a Little Lamb"

"Old MacDonald Had a Farm"

...And lots of fun animals to sing about in our counting song!



Here is the barn (form a roof shape with hands)
Where I like to GO. (walk in place)
It’s as tall as a tree (point up overhead)
And cozy, you KNOW! (hug body with arms)

Here is the barn (form a roof shape with hands)
I’ll go there with YOU (walk in place)
To pet a sweet ____ (pretend to pet)
And cuddle it TOO! (pretend to hug)


Here is the beehive... (Hold up right hand with fingers curled under)
But where are the bees? (hold other hand, palm up)
They’re hidden away where nobody sees. (shake your head)
Here they come buzzing out of the hive...1,2,3,4,5! (Raise thumb and fingers one at a time)


Five little farmers get up early each day...(yawn and stretch)
For there is work to be done and no time to play! (shake head)
The first little farmer goes to milk the cow. (make milking motion)
The second little farmer gets ready to plow. (pretend to drive)
The third little farmer feeds the hens and chicks. (pretend to scatter corn)The fourth little farmer has gates to fix. (make hammering motions)
The fifth little farmer sells vegetables in town. (fan hand out in front)
Five busy little farmers work 'til the sun goes down.... (yawn, stretch, sleep)

Looking forward to hearing everyone's animal sounds!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Calling All Fans of Firefighters!

"The firefighter is a person in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood...

Oh, the firefighter is a person in your neighborhood, a person that you meet each day!"

-- Sesame Street

This Tuesday you'll get to meet firefighter, Captain Aaron, from Engine Company 8 of the Milwaukee Fire Department! Here he is (on our far right, photo courtesy of MFD website) with his teammates who this February...

"...participated in the American Lung Association’s Climb Wisconsin. The firefighters, who placed fourth in the competition among other city firefighters, wore full turnout gear while climbing their way up the U.S. Bank Building’s 47 stories, 94 flights of stairs, and 1,034 steps. The MFD firefighters were the only firefighters in the Climb Wisconsin Firefighter’s Challenge to make the climb on air—wearing full masks and breathing from their SCBAs." -- from the MFD website (Yes, I googled him, and I'm sure we'll find out tomorrow what a "SCBA" is!)

Captain Aaron will come to storytime dressed in his gear. By referencing a few pages from a giant Curious George book, he'll show/teach us about the equipment a firefighter uses. He has books about firefighting to share in our book box, and firefighter hats and coloring books for the children to take home. It should be a fun and informative time for little ones and grown-ups alike. Hope you can join us!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Leprechauns & Broccoli Brooms

From our St.Patrick's Day morning together, as promised...

SONGS we sang:

HI! HO! ST.PATRICK'S DAY! (The Farmer In The Dell)
The shamrock is green, the shamrock is green...
Hi, Ho! St.Patrick's Day! The shamrock is green!

...Or whatever other creative phrases you can come up with to substitute into this verse! The rainbow's in the sky...The leprechaun is small...The pot is full of gold...You caught the leprechaun...And now the gold is yours...

The leprechauns are marching!
They're marching down the HALL.
They're marching on the ceiling.
They're marching on the WALL.

Now they're marching two by two,
And now it's four by FOUR.
What? You say you can not see them?
Look out! Here come some MORE!

FINGER PLAYS we learned:

Do your ears point up? (tug on top of ears)
Do you have a lot of luck? (cross fingers on both hands)
For gold, do you dig? (pretend to be digging)
Can you dance the Irish jig? (dance)
If you answered YES, (nod head)
You're a leprechaun I guess! (hold hands out, palms up)

A leprechaun is small & green. (hold hand down low to floor)
He hides where he can not be seen. (cover eyes with hands)
But if you catch one on this day, (pretend to catch)
He must give his gold away! (pretend to throw gold up in air)

This week while focusing on the color GREEN, we talked about loving our green veggies. Here are some ideas I had to share - my daughter not only eats these, but requests them!

Steam broccoli. Have your child help you sprinkle parmesan cheese on an empty plate. Make a big deal that the "floor is messy and needs to be swept!" Model for your little one the use of the broccoli spear to sweep up the parmesan cheese. Finally, "eat the broom!" Be silly and have fun with it. Create a purposeful mood, "Oh NOOOO! The floor is soooo MESSY! Who is going to clean that up???"

The Japanese word for soybean. Can be found in the frozen food section of both Sendik's and Outpost. Be sure to buy the ones that are still in the shell. Steam those babies up, then deshell and eat. Sometimes we like to hold them up to the light to see the dark shadow of the beans inside the shell. We count the bumps and sort them into piles according to how many beans in each. Fine motor skills fun and a great source of protein!

You won't believe how great these are! Wash and chop kale. Be sure to devein the tough center stalk. Toss with olive oil and a little salt or parmesan cheese. Spread onto a cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 7 minutes. Turn them and then roast for 7 more minutes. Eat them like chips or crumble over mac and cheese. Good on top of soup too. Enjoy the nutty taste and the crispy, melt-in-your-mouth texture!

If you have any green vegetable ideas that go over well at your house, do share!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Rainbow Connection

"Someday we'll find it,
The rainbow connection...
The lovers, the dreamers and me."
-- Paul Williams

Droplets of water and sunlight come together to give us the amazing gift of rainbows! So for the month of March, and during these dreary days of recession, let us celebrate the natural phenomenon that is legend to lead us to prosperity!

We'll explore the colors of the rainbow through:


Duckie's Rainbow by Frances Barry
The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
White is For Blueberry by George Shannon
A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni


I'm a Great Big Rainbow (sung to I'm a Little Teapot)

I'm a great, big rainbow in the sky...
See my pretty colors way up high!

Red, orange, and yellow, green and blue...
Now watch what rain and sun make me do!

When it starts to rain and the sun comes out...
Watch my colors all come out!


Color Soup! (we'll substitute different fruits and colors in this verse)

Take some cherries, put them in a pot. (pretend to put something in a pot)
Stir them up, stir them up, stir them up a lot! (use both hands for stirring motion)
Pour it out. Now, what will it be? (pretend to pour and then shoulder shrug)
The prettiest RED - you ever did see! (point to something red)

Because we'll be identifying colors in this fingerplay, be inspired to dress colorfully this month! Matching rules don't apply.

Also, if you have any fun rainbow art ideas from home, please feel free to bring and share!

Finally, sorry to disappoint any Kermit fans out there, but Jason Mraz's is my recent version of choice...

To a color-filled month!

PLEASE NOTE: On our final Tuesday in March, in lieu of our regular format, we will have a special storytime visitor!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Raffi and My Inner Child

One of my favorite things about being a parent, is the opportunity it provides me to reconnect with childhood. Raffi is a constant source of entertainment for my inner child!

A children's singer and activist, his voice is like honey and instantly makes me feel five again. What a bonus that my daughter is equally as entranced by him! She likes to listen to him in the car on the way to preschool; and on more than one occasion, after drop-off, I find myself alone in the car continuing to listen and sing-along with him. I have a Raffi station! I find Baby Beluga running through my head in the check-out line at Sendik's..."Baby beluga in the deep blue sea...swim so wild and you swim so free..." At the dinner table, we often sing a round of Thanks A Lot, substituting our own words and experiences from the day. He's been the soundtrack to some of the most playful and sweet moments I've shared with my child.

And how lucky am I that I get to sing The More We Get Together every week with you?! Or that Knees Up Mother Brown has been so well received with with the little ones?!

So it's always surprising to me how many parents have said, "Who???" when I ask if they know of him. I recall one conversation when Bonnie thought I was talking about Ravi Shankar, the Indian sitarist. How funny! And then, last week after storytime, neither Jessica nor Susan had heard of him. Therefore, it is my intention that no one goes without a personal invitation into the RAFFI INNER CIRCLE of PARENTHOOD...

On the left, you'll find RAFFI in concert. This is a series of consecutive youtube clips from his Young Children's Concert from the 70s. Watch them (the shots of the children in the audience are so great!), or just shrink the clips down and enjoy listening, singing, and dancing to the music with your child. Either way, be sure not to miss "Thanks A Lot," my absolute favorite!

I hope your inner child enjoys him as much as I do!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Only You

"When sunlight shimmers, warm and gold...
I love your hand in mine, to hold."

That beautiful line from this month's Only You by Robin Cruise reminds me of this photo from the Parkway storytime days. How lucky I was to capture this special, candid moment between them. Little Ari's hand in Lola's as they share a book together - priceless.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Love and Friendship

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." - Unknown

This February, we'll celebrate LOVE and FRIENDSHIP! What an exciting theme for our group considering there always seems to be so much of both in the room every Tuesday morning!

We'll read...

Will You Be My Friend? by Nancy Tafuri
Only You by Robin Cruise
Somethings Go Together by Charlotte Zolotow
My Bear and Me by Barbara Maitland
Mommy Loves Her Baby/Daddy Loves His Baby by Tara Jaye Morrow
What Grandmas Do Best/What Grandpas Do Best by Laura Numeroff
I Love You As Much by Laura Krauss Melmed
Animal Daddies and My Daddy by Barbara Shook Hazen
Corduroy by Don Freeman
I Like Me! by Nancy Carlson

We'll sing...

Besides our counting song, we'll have fun substituting different names of our friends in this song. Does anyone else remember this fun one from childhood?

"Move Over and Make Room"
Move over and make room for ____,
He/She doesn't take very much space,
Since ____ is one of our very best friends
We surely can find him/her a place!

Our February Fingerplay...
"Heart Shape" (more of a whole-body slow stretch than a fingerplay)
My hands are on my heart. This is where I'll start...
Up and out...around and down.
Now make the point right on the ground!
Now bring them back out...up and in.
Back on my heart, right under my chin!

We'll also learn/practice how to say "I love you" in sign language.

Finally, we'll have plenty of books for you and your child to choose from for one-on-one reading after our whole-group session.

Looking forward to warming up in February with everyone!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Paige's Wintry Morning

Paige and Noel enjoyed a winter hike together at Lapham Peak (part of the Kettle Moraine State Forest out towards Delafield). She's walking now, so it won't be long before Dad has her on cross-country skis!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jelly Bean Eyes

Look who's enjoying inside snow play! Kay emailed me this photo of Peyton and his mini snowman! Jelly beans for eyes, push-pin buttons, that a Mr. Potato Head hat??? Great ideas! With our latest mini snowman, we used whole cloves to make a mouth and toothpicked-raisins for eyes. If you have any interesting snow play photos or ideas to add to the mini snowman concept, be sure to email me!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Inside Snow Play

With more snow on its way, I wanted to share a fun activity my daughter and I have enjoyed since she was a wee babe...

Playing outside in the snow is ideal. However, there are those days when you may not have the time or energy for the big bundle-up. So, bring the snow INSIDE! Fill a large shallow container with snow, gather some cups and spoons; and allow your little one to scoop, fill, and dump. Babies will enjoy the simple activity of touching and squishing the snow. A great sensory experience for all ages, and a wonderful way to reinforce the concept of MELTING! Susan and Nile tried it, and give it their endorsement!

As an extension of this, bring in a fresh batch of snow and quickly form it into a mini snowman. Put the snowman in the freezer while you find fun things from inside to decorate him: scraps of felt or material to make a scarf, cut the toe part off of an old colorful sock for a hat, ball-up small pieces of aluminum foil for eyes, widdle a tiny piece of carrot for its nose. Place him outside on a windowsill or in a window box where it will be easy for you and your little one to view him from inside.

Then cuddle up and read a great snowman book such as Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. What a magical, imaginary explanation for why snowmen look different the following morning! Be sure to check on your mini snowman daily to see how he has changed. Something about the small size and close proximity make for a much more intimate child/snowman relationship than the traditional version!

Enjoy the snow!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Winter Warm-Up!

Rage against what is potentially the bleakest month of the year by joining us for some rhythm, rhyme, and repetition. All through January we'll celebrate the joy of winter by...

On a Wintry Morning by Dori Chaconas
The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming
When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan

Our counting song, "Ten snowflakes floating to the ground...icicles melting in the sun... snowballs flying through the air..."
For some active fun, get ready to march and bounce to "Knees Up Mother Brown!"

FINGER PLAYING: In honor of snowmen everywhere...
"Three Balls"
Here's a ball, (make ball with thumb and index finger)
And here's a ball. (make ball with arms stretched out in front and fingertips touching)
A great big ball, I see! (put arms up and touch fingers over head)
Shall we count them?
Are you ready?
One, Two, Three! (make all three balls in succession)

Finally, available after our group session, we'll have plenty of winter themed books for you to read with your child including, one of my favorites from childhood, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

Looking forward to seeing everyone!