Thursday, December 2, 2010

IMPORTANT Announcement!


Last week before closing, I announced that next month, we will transition from meeting EVERY week, to only meeting on the FIRST Tuesday of each month. This means we would've met next week, 12/7.

However, after everyone left last week, I was told that Cranky Al's is no longer able to host our meetings due to the size of the group and liability concerns. I thank them for the two years that they have hosted us and leave with many wonderful memories of our time there.

The way I see it, we've been homeless before and maybe new doors will open for us again in the future. I am certainly open to continuing to meet once a month if we are able to find a new space. Please contact me at with any suggestions.

Until we meet again...

Monday, November 22, 2010

You Read to Me, I'll Read to You

Thanks Dan, Dawn, Anna, Grandma Gigi and Cassandra for being a "voice" with me this month!

This unique book "in two voices" uses traditional reading techniques - rhyme, rhythm, and repetition - to invite young children to read along with an adult. Featuring childlike themes such as friendship, family, and pets, and full of clever wordplay and humor, this book is a unique celebration of the joys of reading together. --from the blurb

Yes, the joys of reading together!

I like puppies.
I like kittens.
I like gloves.
And I like mittens.
I like apples.
I like pears.
I like tigers.
I like BEARS.
I like to slide.
I like to swing.
We don't agree on anything!

How great it is when they discover...

There's something else I like a lot.
But if I like it, you will not.
There's something else that I like, too.
But you won't like it if I do.
Tell me yours and I'll tell mine.
I like reading. Reading's fine!
You like reading?
Yes, I do.
Why, reading was what I picked, too!
Well, then, at last
We both agree!
I'll read to you!
You'll read to me!

Monday, November 1, 2010

BEAR With Me

Dearest Storytimers,

My sincerest apology for missing last week!

I've never had to cancel the morning-of like that. When I called to let Susie know, she assured me that everyone would understand. Still, the thought of people getting the little ones ready and out the door for books and such and then me not being there! So sorry.

But, as I said to Audra when I ran into her today at the library, I know if there is ANY group of people that would understand me needing to be home with my child, it is all of you! Audra then conveyed that, although I was missed last week, everyone seemed content eating treats and being together, which of course makes me so happy to hear! So just a final thanks to everyone for BEARing with me on this.

Having said that... November is BEAR month! Inspired by my work at the zoo, I'm excited to share some fun bear facts with you.

So, as the seasons change and the earth slows down for winter, let's learn and read about the slumbering animal we know and love, the BEAR!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Storytime Cancelled Today, 10/26

My apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. We will be back up and running next week, 11/2. See you then...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tuesday Morning Summer Break!

We will be on summer break from Tuesday mornings for the months of July and August.

During this time, Nancy and I will be at the following free, local, Saturday events...

July 31 at 1:30 pm - Neighborhood Share Fair festival, Corner of 73rd & Center

August 7th at 10 am - Tosa Farmers Market, Little Red Store

September 4th at 10 am - Tosa Farmers Market, Little Red Store

October 2 at 10 am - Tosa Farmers Market, Little Red Store

I hope everyone has a wonderful summer, and we'll return to our regular Tuesday morning schedule on September 7th at 10 am at Cranky Al's. Hope to see you then...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tosa Farmers Market

Going to the market,
Leaving right away.
If it doesn't rain,
We'll stay all day...
-our adaptation of Raffi's "Going on a Picnic"

Join us this Saturday, June 5th at 10am in front of the Little Red Store for a Happy Hour for the whole family at the opening day of the Tosa Farmers Market! It was fun last year for the one day kickoff event, and it's sure to be a blast again this year! With 40+ vendors and a recently opened pedestrian bridge, come on down! The market runs every Saturday from 8am to noon, June through October. We will be there every first Saturday of the month (with no market on July 4th weekend) in front of the LRS at 10am. What will we doing? Reading, singing, and rhyming about GROWING of course! And if a train happens to go by, or even if one doesn't, there's sure to be a round of Little Red Caboose! Photo courtesy of Anne Ullsperger. Thanks, Anne!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Little Birds & Vigilant Sleep

Way up in the sky, the little birds fly.
Way down in the nest, the little birds rest.
With a wing on the left, and a wing on the right,
The little birds sleep all through the night.
Shhhhhh, they're sleeping ...
The bright sun comes up!
The dew goes away!
Good morning, good morning, the little birds say.

Thank you Cassandra and Alexander for sharing your bird song/fingerplay that Dad taught you!

I love how this song captures the magical moments of dawn and the important role that birds play in it. Cassandra mentions how much Alexander enjoys the anticipation in the song! Also a fun way to practice opposites: up/down, left/right, quiet/loud. This song also reminds me of an interesting bird fact I learned, that many birds use a form of sleep called "vigilant sleep" in which they have periods of rest with moments of "quick eye-opening peeks" to check for safety.

Then we talk about nests - how they come in different shapes and sizes (use your hand to make these shapes): some are like a little cup, some are like a bowl, some are flat like a plate, some are a mound, and others are a burrow. And some, like the albatross's nest, are simply a scratch on the ground (scrape foot on ground).

All this talk of birds coincides with some pretty interesting bird events in my life...

A mother mourning dove built her nest in my hanging Boston fern and laid two eggs! We've learned some pretty interesting mourning dove facts such as that the mourning dove is the Wisconsin State Symbol of Peace. And that the mother and father take turns keeping the eggs warm. The father usually has the morning shift and the mother takes over in the afternoons. They are dedicated parents and rarely leave the eggs unattended. We are excited when we see the ceremonial changing of the shifts. They have grown so accustom to us, I can even water my plant now without startling them. We will soon have squabs on our front porch!

Also, while we were gone camping a few weeks ago, there were reports of a wild turkey on our roof! The neighbor took a photo of it with its wings outstretched. Spring is a good time to see turkeys because it is mating season. I think it must've been eyeing our many ant hills for its morning "dusting."

And finally, while searching for the smallest eggs I could find in the aviary at the Milwaukee Zoo, I was handed a small, clear case with two tiny finch eggs no bigger than blueberries inside of it! The most beautiful and delicate little things I've ever seen.

The morning after a nice rain, we sit on the porch and watch the robins pluck their worms from our lawn. Exciting free entertainment right outside the door.

Kevin Henkes sure does have it right, BIRDS ARE EVERYWHERE!

photo credit

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


"If birds made marks with their tail feathers when they flew, think what the sky would look like...

Sometimes, in winter, a bird in a tree looks like one red leaf left over.

If there are lots of birds in one tree and they all fly away at the same time, it looks like the tree yelled, SURPRISE!"

- BIRDS by Kevin Henkes

Madison author, Henkes, collaborates with illustrator and mother of his children, Laura Dronzek, on this recently-published book that takes an interesting look at our fine feathered friends.

We may not be able to fly like most birds, but read this book to find out what we do share in common with BIRDS!

Join us this May as we read this and other books about birds...

by Frank Asch
WHOO GOES THERE? by Jennifer Ericsson
FEEDING THE GULLS by Deanna Calvert
DO LIKE A DUCK DOES! by Judy Hindley
OWL BABIES by Martin Waddell
ARE YOU MY MOTHER? by P.D. Eastman
WHAT'S INSIDE? by May Garelick

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

"When I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day."
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

I remember reading once that books can be like a good friend to a child. If so, this one was a friend to me. Even as an adult in the midst of a bad day I sometimes recite to myself, "I think I'll move to Australia." And as a parent now, I've relied on Alexander plenty of times to help soften the edges of my daughter's misfortunes. The more disappointing the misfortunes, the more dramatic the read aloud; and we both feel better for having read it. The power of literature!

So after countless readings for both of us, I can hardly wait to sit beside my child on Mother's Day and watch as First Stage Children's Theater brings it all to life for us!

Stay tuned for a review...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Above Us, in the Sky

The sun shines.
Rainbows shimmer.
Airplanes fly.
Rain drips.
Clouds float.
Snow falls.
The moon glows.

-from ABOVE US, IN THE SKY, part of the three never-before-published board book set, ALL AROUND US by Eric Carle

Inspired by the beauty and simplicity of this book, this month we look up to celebrate the SKY!

Other books we'll read:

LITTLE CLOUD by Eric Carle
BIRDS by Kevin Henkes
GOODNIGHT MOON by Margaret Wise Brown
LIKE A WINDY DAY by Frank Asch
UP! by Kristine O'Connell George
FLYING by Donald Crews
RAIN by Manya Stojic
A RAINBOW OF MY OWN by Don Freeman

Stars, birds, wind, and clouds... There's so much above us to read, sing, and rhyme about this April! Hope you can join us...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Flyer's Lullaby

This month we learned that a mother kangaroo is a FLYER. A father kangaroo is called a BOOMER. And a baby kangaroo is a JOEY, of course!

Miss Sarah taught us "kangaroo" in Spanish, EL CANGURO. And that MI CANGURO means "my kangaroo." In February she taught us, "I love you." TE AMO. So that became The Flyer's Lullaby, (to the tune of Oh My Darlin' Clementine)...

Mi canguro, mi canguro, mi canguuuro, te amo.
Te amo, mi canguro.
Mi canguro, te amo.

And our I'm a Kangaroo Mum song, to I'm a Little Teapot...

I'm a kangaroo mum, long tail and FLAP.
Here is my joey and here is where he'll NAP.
When he gets really sleepy, he'll crawl inSIDE.
What a great place to nap and RIDE.

What a fun month it's been!

Photo credit

Monday, March 1, 2010


"Seals have pups
Pigs have piglets
Deer have fawns
Eagles have eaglets"

With a simple rhyming text and vibrant illustrations, KANGAROOS HAVE JOEYS is the perfect introduction for children to animals and their offspring. Zimbabwean artist Philippa-Alys Browne has created a stunning series of full-page images, each with a border design that reflects one of the cultures to which the animal belongs. For parents and older children, the book also features fact-filled notes on the lifestyle and breeding patterns of each animal.

- KANGAROOS HAVE JOEYS by Philippa-Alys Browne, blurb (just learned this term today from Evelyn the Tosa librarian)

Spring is around the corner and soon nature will be teeming with new life! This month we'll read, sing, and rhyme about ANIMAL BABIES. Can't wait to share some interesting animal baby facts I've learned from this book.

A big thanks to the Milwaukee Zoological Society Education Department for the use of their copy of KANGAROOS HAVE JOEYS this month!

Monday, February 1, 2010


"Everybody likes a good cuddle...
Monkeys cuddle gently
and turtles cuddle slowly.
Ducks cuddle with their beaks
and elephants cuddle with their trunks."

- THE CUDDLE BOOK by Guido Van Genechten

Join us this month as celebrate the joy of cuddling!

We'll read:

THE CUDDLE BOOK by Guido Van Genechten
A NAP IN A LAP by Sarah Wilson
KISS KISS! by Margaret Wild
MY BEAUTIFUL CHILD by Lisa Desimini & Matt Mahurin
ONLY YOU by Robin Cruise

Nothing says "come cuddle" like a warm, wonderful book. Hope you can join us in February...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Who is the beast?
Who can it be?
I see no beast,
I just see me.

- WHO IS THE BEAST? by Kevin Baker

The lush illustrations, the tiger's ever-changing facial expressions, and the beautiful message of finding similarities in those who seem different...I adore every inch of this book!

What fun we had this month reading it as a way of bringing in the Chinese New Year of the Tiger! We anticipated the rhyming words, we counted paws, and we learned the sign for tiger!

And a great big thank you to my book holders who helped me manage the big book version (available for check-out at the Tosa Library!).

Monday, January 4, 2010

A YEAR Goes Round

"The days go dancing, one by one. When seven pass, a week is done...

The moon comes up, the sun goes down, and month by month a year goes round."

- from Month By Month a Year Goes Round by Carol Diggory Shields

It's hard to believe that we're at the top of another new year together. Looking back at photos such as this one from last January, it is exciting to see how much the little ones have grown!

This month we'll celebrate the passage of time by reading, rhyming, and singing about the days of the week and the months of the year.


Month By Month A Year Goes Round by Carol Diggory Shields
In the Town All Year 'Round by Rotraut Susanne Berner
A Year in the Country by Douglas Florian
A Kitten's Year by Nancy Rainies Day
Calendarbears: A Book of Months by Kathleen Hague
Today is Monday by Eric Carle
Turnover Tuesday by Phyllis Root
One Windy Wednesday by Phyllis Root
Every Friday by Dan Yaccarino
Friday My Radio Flyer Flew by Zachary Pullen
Molly's Seasons by Ellen Kandoian

And in honor of the Chinese "Year of the Tiger"...

Who Is the Beast? by Keith Baker (big book version!)

Looking forward to another year of reading, rhyming, and singing with you!