Saturday, February 22, 2014

Book Review: When Lions Roar by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Chris Raschka

Book: When Lions Roar
Author: Robie H. Harris
Illustrator: Chris Raschka
Published: 2013
Source: Local Library

The world is scary. This is fact. There are things like lions and thunderstorms and angry parents. But the young protagonist knows that these things will pass, and he has a can’t-fail technique for making them go.

Harris’s text is simple and reassuring, and Raschka’s distinctive watercolor style takes you from the anxious times into peace and quiet. A beautiful new book from two titans of children’s literature.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Storytime Favorites: Water Table

Every so often we'll do a "Senses" storytime, which I always explain to parents is the start of preschool science. Science always starts with observation, after all, and preschoolers are constantly observing their world.

I think we all have fond memories of bathtub fun, or water tables at various preschools and daycares. But what if you don't have an actual water table at your library? I know I don't.

I improvised this for the very first time we ever did "Senses," and it was such a treat that we bring it back every time that theme returns. There are all sorts of STEM experiences in this simple activity. Buoyancy, the behavior of liquid, the holding capacity of a tiny Tupperware container . . . possible experiments are endless.

That's a Rubbermaid tub, about six inches deep, with a lid. The lid is awfully important, since we have everything set up in the storytime room beforehand, and kids are inevitably curious. The toys inside are simple things we found around the library. Foam numbers or letters will float, and also stick to the plastic sides. Tiny cups lead to floating and pouring and sinking and all manner of fun. Try out all sorts of things - we did!

I filled the tub about halfway and set it on a child-level table with a plastic table cloth underneath. You can get about four to six kids around a table, depending on how well they play with others. Then at the end of storytime, we removed the lids and let the kids get splashy.

When everyone was finally dragged away, we removed the toys, dumped the water, then put tub and toys out in the sun to dry. Our arid climate and the presence of a staff patio helped with this; everything was ready to be put away within an hour or two.

One caveat: it's a great summer activity, not so marvelous in February, as the kids will get water all down their fronts.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Book Review: Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein

Book: Dinosaur Kisses
Author: David Ezra Stein
Illustrator: David Ezra Stein
Published: 2013
Source: Local Library

A newborn dinosaur witnesses a kiss and wants to try it out. But she’s predisposed toward stomping and chomping, and the kisses don’t really go well. Actually, disaster is a more accurate description. Poor Dinah! Will she ever successfully kiss anybody?

Do you guys know how hard it is for me to find Valentine’s Day books that aren’t swimming in pink and twee adorableness? It’s hard, I tell you. Luckily, there’s a book like Dinosaur Kisses to fill the gap.

Even though the dry, funny text is a winner, the pictures really make this book. They’re simple and yet enormously expressive. At one point, Dinah goes back to her egg to think. The picture shows her plopped next to half of her eggshell, the other half perched on her head like a hat, a consternated expression on her face. It makes you laugh and feel for her at the same time.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

No Roundup This Month

It was such a light reading month for me that I don't really enough to round up. I'll combine January and February into one post next month.