IMWAYR – October 31, 2016

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Cute Happy Halloween Sign | yvednvrdnscom

Last week I did a Top Ten Tuesday post all about some of my favourite Halloween picture books, so do check that out for some spooktacular seasonal books!

Today I’ve got another set of new-to-me picture books that I’ve been sharing with my toddlers and preschoolers and absolutely loving, as well as a couple of historical fiction novels I’ve devoured. Enjoy!

Dancing Feet

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I love picture books with bouncing, rhythmic texts that get kids bouncing and bopping along, and Dancing Feet is a a perfect example of this kind of fun, energetic book. Lindsey Craig’s rollicking text is sure to get kids tapping and clapping, and it features super fun sound words like “stompity” and “creepity”. Marc Brown’s paper collage illustrations are lively and unique, and really complement the silly text. Lots and lots of storytime fun, perfect for toddlers.

Rhyming Dust Bunnies

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Oh Jan Thomas, what can’t you do? Thomas is a master of doing a lot with a little – the text in this hilarious picture book is extremely limited, yet it’s sure to get kids roaring with laughter once they realise what’s going on. The eye-catching illustrations feature bold lines and vivid, primary colours, perfect for sharing with a large audience. Another fun, fun, fun storybook. Honestly, if my dust bunnies were this cute I might never pick up the vacuum!

Dinosaur Kisses

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Dinosaurs! I just can’t get enough dinosaurs. Dinosaurs!!

While there’s a time and a place for sweet and syrupy picture books, don’t be fooled by the name, because this delightful book is absolutely not syrupy….it is absolutely hilarious, however, and kids will delight in the noisy and destructive antics of this very well-meaning but a bit overenthusiastic little dinosaurs. Who doesn’t like a bit of slapstick destruction now and then, right? So much fun, and still very sweet in its own silly way.

I’m My Own Dog

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A very independent dog decides to adopt a human pet. He takes him for walks, teaches him how to play fetch, and bemoans having to clean up after him (when he spills his ice cream!), but in the end, that’s what being a pet owner is all about! This is a very sweet story that will delight little readers, and the illustrations have a childlike quality about them that’s very endearing. Sweet, simple text and a fun twist on the story of a person and their pet. And I’ve just realised I’ve featured two picture books by David Ezra Stein this week, completely inadvertently. What can I say, he makes great books!

Three Sisters, Three Queens

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I tend to go through reading phases where I binge read specific genres. For the past few weeks I’ve been devouring historical fiction. Philippa Gregory is one of my old standbys – I sometimes take issue with her historical interpretations, but I can’t deny that her books are reliably entertaining! One of the chief complaints I have with most of her books is that they take place over long stretches of time, which means the story typically jumps across decades – we spend a few pages in one year, and then we’re transported forward a year or two to another event. It does make for a bit of a jerky read, and you don’t really get a chance to settle in to any setting, or explore any characters. The forward movement is unrelenting, so you’d better just hold on and go with the flow!

This is the story of three women whose lives were defined by their connection to Henry VIII – Katherine of Aragon (his first wife), and his sisters Mary and Margaret. While Katherine has often been written about, Mary and Margaret are less well known, and it’s interesting to see the events of the era through their eyes.

Reading about English history is always a bit strange for me – as a first-generation Canadian with English roots, it’s a bit jarring to think that this is technically my history, too. I don’t feel English in any way, and I certainly wouldn’t call myself an English-Canadian or anything like that (I’m Canadian through and through, even if I’m first-generation!), but the fact remains that my ancestors lived through all of the English historical events I read about in textbooks and novels. How very strange!

Ashes of London

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Like I said, I read thematically.

Set during the Great Fire of London in 1666, this murder mystery was a bit of a disappointment. It’s not a bad novel, but it’s not what I was expecting at all. The fire in fact is a very minor character in the story, which was a bit of a letdown, considering how transformative the fire was in the history of London. I did appreciate the fact that the two main characters, a young man and a young woman, didn’t end up falling in love – it was a refreshing change. I did find the story’s alternate perspectives a bit jarring, though – the male character’s story is told in the first person, while the female character’s story is told in the third person, which to be honest kind of annoyed me, as it felt as though the male character was given more agency than the female character. As other reviewers have said, some of the female character’s actions felt out of place, and her reactions felt strange and unnatural, but she was still a fierce female, and I did appreciate that. I finished this one, which says something considering how many books I DNF, but it definitely wasn’t one of my favourites.

Hope you all have a safe and spooky Halloween, and have a great week! November, here we come!

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Family Story Time – July 24, 2015

As I mentioned in a previous post, the heavens finally opened this week, and there was much rejoicing.

Who would’ve thought that Vancouverites would be happy about rain?! Obviously we had to include a few rain-celebrating songs this week.

Hello Song: Hello, Friends!

Book 1: Farmyard Beat / Lindsey Craig

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Songs:

  • I wake up my hands with a shake, shake, shake
  • Come under my umbrella
  • Open/shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Dear Zoo / Rod Campbell

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Action songs:

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom
  • If you’re happy and you know
  • Rain is falling down / Jump in the puddles
  • The elevator song

Soothing song:  Mmm-ahh went the little green frog

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!

Baby Story Time – July 24, 2015

To be honest, I can’t exactly remember what we did this week….I normally plan my programs in advance, but the summer has just thrown me for a loop. So…I’m fairly sure we did something along these lines….

Hello Song: Hello, Friends!

Tickles/Songs:

  • Here are baby’s fingers
  • Slowly slowly
  • Head and shoulders
  • Roly poly
  • Come under my umbrella

Book 1: Cat the Cat, Who is That? / Mo Willems

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Bounces:

  • A bouncing we will go
  • Gregory Giggs
  • London Bridge is falling down

Book Two: Farmyard Beat / Lindsey Craig

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Movement Songs:

  • Dancing with bears
  • Mamma’s little baby loves dancing
  • Zoom zoom
  • Elevator song

Soothing songs:

  • Rain is falling down

Goodbye song: Goodbye friends!

I like Farmyard Beat, but I definitely make a few changes when I use it in story times. Adapting picture books is something I talk about a lot in my programs. To make things a bit more consistent I replace all of the different noises in the story with animal sounds, and I shorten the story a bit by changing the ending.

I encourage caregivers to view picture books as interactive objects that can be adapted to meet different moods/needs. Most picture books can be made appropriate for any audience with a bit of creative interpretation. Caregivers can even forgo the printed text all together and make up their own stories using the pictures – this is a really fun activity to do with children, as kids can be insanely creatively!