Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Clean Up Time!

Many preschool teachers and childcare providers are familiar with this rhyme:

Clean-up, clean-up, Everybody get some toys.
Clean-up, clean-up
, All the little girls and boys.
Clean-up, clean-up,
Everybody do your share.
Clean-up, clean-up,
Everybody, everywhere.

Singing a song, playing clean-up games, and even reading stories can help encourage children when it comes time to cleanup:

The Big Tidy-Up by Norah Smaridge and illustrated by Les Gray (Golden Books, 2008 edition)

Jennifer's mom has refused to clean up Jennifer's room until after the holidays. With all of that freedom, Jennifer lets her room become wild with messes! Until one day Jennifer just can't handle her messy room any longer and prepares for The Big Tidy-Up.

Diggy Dan: a room cleaning adventure by Daniel and David Kamish (Random House, 2001)

Dan pretends that he is a variety of characters - an archaeologist, a pirate and others - in order to tackle his messy room. This will provide inspiration for different ways to tackle your messes at home!

Gray Rabbit's Odd One Out by Alan Baker (Kingfisher, 1995)

Gray Rabbit cleans his room and searches for his favorite book by sorting things into different groups. Another idea for making clean-up time more interesting and a learning opportunity at home.

Max Cleans Up by Rosemary Wells (Viking, 2000)

The always-lovable Max is back in this story about cleaning up. Max's older sister Ruby is determined to clean up and get the house back in order, but Max has other plans - to rescue his toys from Ruby!

Monster Mess! by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by S.D. Schindler (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2008)

A monster sneaks into a boy's room at night while he sleeps...and what does this monster do? Why, he cleans up the room of course!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What We're Reading: The Secret of Play

The Secret of Play: How to Raise Smart, Healthy, Caring Kids from Birth to Age 12 by Ann Pleshette Murphy (FAO Schwarz, 2008)

"Drawing on the latest research into brain development, social and emotional growth, and learning, a parenting expert and author of The 7 Stages of Motherhood explores the role and value of play at each stage of a child's development and offers suggestions on the best ideas, toys, and games for each age." (Syndetics, Inc.)

The Secret of Play: Ann Pleshette Murphy

Monday, January 26, 2009

Caldecott Award Winner Announced

The 2009 Caldecott Medal goes to...

“The House in the Night,” illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson, Houghton Mifflin Co.

Illustrations and easy-to-read text explore the light that makes a house in the night a home filled with light.

Caldecott Honor Books

“A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever” by Marla Frazee, Harcourt, Inc.

Friends James and Eamon enjoy a wonderful week at the home of Eamon's grandparents during summer vacation.

“How I Learned Geography” by Uri Shulevitz, Farrar Straus Giroux

As he spends hours studying his father's world map, a young boy escapes the hunger and misery of refugee life. Based on the author's childhood in Kazakhstan, where he lived as a Polish refugee during World War II.

“A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams,” illustrated by Melissa Sweet and written by Jen Bryant, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

"Founded in 1995 by Pamela Michael and Robert Hass, River of Words is dedicated to helping children find their place in the natural world. Featuring poems and works of art that emerged from River of Words' annual contests over the past twelve years, this anthology showcases the work of children seeking to explore, appreciate, and protect the watersheds in which they live. With poems such as "Sad Sun," "Seasons in Our Watershed," "History of a Cornfield," and "Swamp Shack," the collection includes diverse voices and several bilingual poems."--BOOK JACKET.

For more American Library Association Youth Award Winners, head to

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pick of the Week: Wonder Bear

Two kids, a packet of seeds, a night to dream and a bear with magical powers.
This is Tao Nyeu's first picture book and represents her M.F.A. thesis project. A mixture of psychedelic and Art Nouveau-style illustrations depict a wordless fantasy somewhat reminiscent of 1970s book and film illustration. With wordless books and a big imagination, a new adventure awaits "readers". Wordless books are also a neat way to explore your child's inherent creative side - and to tell your own story regardless of your ability and/or comfort level with traditional reading. The story's path and ending are up to you!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Storytime Plus - Don't Miss It!

Coming soon to the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library:

Storytime Plus

Continue the storytime fun and explore how you can enhance your little ones' readiness to learn by developing their early literacy (pre-reading) skills.

Each Storytime Plus will be tailored to that particular day's storytime age group. We will continue in the Storytime Room for 30-45 minutes. No registration is required.


Feb. 4th Infant Storytime Topic: Book sharing

March 5th Preschool Storytime Topic: Playing with words and sounds

April 7th Toddler Storytime Topic: Dialogic reading: how we read

May 8th Wobbler Storytime Topic: Book sharing

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pick of the Week: Your Own Big Bed

Your Own Big Bed by Rita M. Bergstein, illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung (Viking, 2008)

In this sweet picture book, a small boy learns about different animals and how they grow - right along with the story of his own birth and growth. As he gets bigger, he is ready to trade his crib for his very own big bed. This is a very gentle and comforting look at getting bigger and transitioning into a new bed. Recommended for anyone with a child getting ready to make that big childhood transition from crib to bed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Video Early Literacy Tips

It's never too early (or too late) to introduce a child to the wonderful world of books. Some people might ask, "Why share a book with a child that can't even talk? And what does it look like when you do?" Check out the videos on the Birth to Six site from Hennepin County Library here for information on the importance of sharing books with babies and toddlers. These terrific videos were produced as part of the Read to Me Program - an intergenerational reading program.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pick of the Week: Port Side Pirates

Port Side Pirates! by Oscar Seaworthy, illustrated by Debbie Harter (Barefoot Books, 2007)

This is a rollicking good time of a picture book! As far as young children are concerned, there's never enough pirate books, right? This one is a fun addition and especially good for the younger set. Join the pirate ship crew as they set sail and search for treasure. There's the typical drama that ensues - man overboard and wild storms at sea...But, aye, it's a very fun time! The best way to share this book is to pair it with the catchy singalong CD that comes with the book. Featured in the endnotes are a visual diagram labeling the different parts of a ship and interesting facts about famous pirates in history.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dinnertime: video post from Half Full blog

I recently shared a note about the Greater Good Science Center's Half Full blog. It just so happens that one of their video conversations discusses the issue of family mealtime. Take a look. Do you agree? Maybe it will inspire some conversations in your household.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Picky, Picky: Food Challenges

Maybe your family has escaped the issue of raising picky eaters. Count yourself lucky! For others, balancing a happy dinnertime and balanced nutrition for their little ones can be a challenge. If one of your New Year's resolutions happens to relate to improving mealtime and your child's diet, check out this resource by Zero to Three: "It's Too Mushy! It's Too Spicy! The Peas Are Touching the Chicken! (Or, How to Handle Your Picky Eater" (

Here are two picture books about picky eaters:
Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat, illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey (Four Winds Press, 1980)

This one has been loved by children and families for nearly three decades and has been a Reading Rainbow selection. A very picky eater, Gregory the goat refuses the usual goat diet staples of shoes and tin cans in favor of fruits, vegetables, eggs, and orange juice.

Eat Your Peas by Kes Gray, illustrated by Nick Sharratt (Dorling Kindersley, 2000)

"Just how much does Mom want Daisy to eat her peas? What is it worth to her? Well, she'll give Daisy a dish of ice cream and a new bike and a baby elephant and then she'll even sweeten the offer and buy Daisy her own chocolate factory. Will Daisy take the bribe and eat her peas? Or will she turn the tables on Mom? A familiar battle of wills escalates into a hilarious standoff in this bright, cheerful book, full of charming graphic illustrations. The characters and situation are familiar and funny... and anyone who has ever forced down one more brussel sprout in order to earn dessert will find the resolution true to life. Eat Your Peas is the perfect dinnertime companion!" (summary from Syndetics, Inc.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Giving the Gift of a Book

Obviously, as a children's librarian, I'm a huge fan of giving books to children for gifts - holiday gifts, birthday gifts, and just-because gifts. Relatives and friends often know to expect a book when it comes to gift-giving from me. For inspiration on book giving ideas, check out this post on the Mother Reader blog. I love how she pairs a book and a gift that goes so perfectly with it! I've also found similar ideas in Esme Raji Codell's book How to Get Your Child to Love Reading. Enjoy!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pick of the Week: Three Little Kittens

Normally, I've chosen to highlight a new picture book for the Pick of the Week book. But this week I wanted to draw attention to one of my favorite authors/illustrators for toddlers and younger preschoolers, Lorianne Siomades. Introducing nursery rhymes and Mother Goose books are a fantastic way to help build a child's phonological awareness - or the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. Not only that, sharing nursery rhymes develops a child's connection to his or her cultural history, language and oral tradition. (The library's collection contains books with traditional rhymes in a variety of languages and traditions.) In Lorianne Siomades' Three Little Kittens, children are introduced to the traditional story with large, bright, and colorful illustrations. It's also a great introduction to beginning narrative skills. It's not-too-long of a story - and has a short plot with just the right amount of tension for little ones. This is a good choice for sharing either one-on-one or in a group setting. Additionally, Lorianne Siomades' The Itsy-Bitsy Spider is my favorite book to introduce the popular children's rhyme with babies, toddlers and the younger preschool set. Again, Lorianne Siomades' large, simple and colorful illustrations work well with this younger audience and the rhyme is always a childhood favorite!