Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sing to Your Baby

A tweet from @abbylibrarian alerted me to this unspeakably adorable video of YA author John Green singing to his four-ish-month-old. (Though I must say, for a kid I'm convinced was born in January, that one certainly has plentiful hair.)

Besides being cute and hilarious, it brings up one of my favorite pre-literacy tips, and that's singing to your baby.

There are oodles of kiddie CDs, and they're marvelous. Ella Jenkins and Hap Palmer and my own personal childhood favorite, Raffi. It's all out there. But when you sing to, or with, your children, it's a million miles removed from simply popping in a CD. It's all the fun and benefit of music, plus opportunities to cuddle and be silly and get face time, and teach them by example that music is not only something you consume, it's something you produce and take joy in. Letting them make their own music later with rattles, drums, and, yes, singing, has a host of benefits, some of which are mentioned in this article: 5 Scientific Ways That Music Benefits Infants and Toddlers.

How does this all tie into literacy? Words are literacy. Letting children hear words, how they match up with other words, how a melody breaks them down into syllables, makes them familiar to a baby brain that will soon start assembling its own toolbox of speech.. From "Hush Little Baby" to "Hey Jude," songs also tend to use wider vocabulary than regular speech, exposing your baby to even more words.

Listen, you may not know all the lyrics, and you may not have a concert-ready voice. You may not even be karaoke-ready. But to your little one, you're Mommy or Daddy, and that's a bigger superstar than Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. You might even give Elmo a run for his money.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Book Review: Chicken Butt! by Erica S. Perl, illustrated by Henry Cole

Book: Chicken Butt!
Author: Erica S. Perl
Illustrator: Henry Cole
Published: 2009
Source: Local Library

You remember that playground classic: "Guess what? Chicken butt!" Erica Perl and Henry Cole capture both the hilarity of this nonsensical joke and all its iterations for the child protagonist. Equally hilarious, especially for adults reading, is the exasperation of the very patient parent who has to listen to all those different chicken body parts, but finally forbids any further recitation. Of course, you know kids. They'll find a way around it.

You guys, I can't wait to read this one aloud. But it's got to be the right class--ideally, a crew of first-graders, who will start giggling by the first joke and be rolling on the floor by the chicken eyebrow. There may be some wetted pants at the end.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Links! Getcher Hot Links!

Oh look! Links! Here, pretend it's a real blog post.
  • Okay, Under the Green Willow actually posted this on April Fool's Day, and I usually toss links that I've saved that long. But my sick and twisted sense of humor meant I just had to share: Under the Gruesome Willow. Every day of the year is the right one to ruin cherished picture-book memories. (Although to speak as a YA blogger for just a weensy second here, Criss-Cross and Zombies might have actually improved that book.)
  •  Susan Kusel, mommy and blogger and librarian and all-around-awesome gal, answers FAQs about Baby Storytimes over at Booklights. Being in the library world, I forget that this is a new and befuddling concept to many parents of babies. If you have a gummy drooler at your knees, ask your local library what they've got for them.
  • Abby (the) Librarian posted on almost the same day about the books she likes to read in Baby Storytime. Great booklist for board-book-seekers.
That's it for today!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I'm just going to be totally honest and admit that I have added Matt Phelan to my (rather large) stable of obsessions. Ever since reading The Very Hairy Bear a few years back, (so long ago the review is located at my other blog) I've been enchanted with his dreamy, wispy artwork. I was at work today and saw a book with his distinctive illustration. Snatched it up and read it right there.

If you love his art too, check out these links:

Matt Phelan's Page at Writer's House

Matt Phelan's Webpage - with added value blog!

Who are you an artistic fangirl/boy for?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Reading Roundup April 2010

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 21
Early Readers: 1

Library: all

Writing: Chicken Butt! by Erica S. Perl, illustrated by Henry Cole
Do I really have to summarize this one? I regressed to about the age of seven when reading. Review forthcoming.
Illustration: Just in Case by Yuyi Morales
SeƱor Calavera is back, with all the lush, warm colors and traditional motifs from Mexican art. If it wouldn't be thoroughly against copyright, I'd muralize every wall of my library with Morales' art.
Overall: Without You by Sarah Weeks and Suzanne Duranceau
Nontraditional family roles for the win! Although since this is the way these penguins have operated since time immemorial, I don't know that it's that nontraditional . . . but say that to the people who freak out over the gay penguins.

Because I Want To Awards
That One Page Just Made Me Crack Up: Little Panda by Renata Liwska
Dude Seriously Needs Some Anti-Anxiety Meds: Scaredy Squirrel At Night by Melanie Watts
Such a Familiar Scenario: Harry Hungry! by Steven Salerno