It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? was initiated by Sheila at Book Journey, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus – perfect for a children’s librarian like me. This weekly roundup is a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share recommended (or not so recommended….) titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.


I’m back from Tokyo and ready to get back to blogging!!


Title: Pepper & Poe
Author/Illustrator: Frann Preston-Gannon
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Publisher’s Summary: Maurice Sendak Fellowship Award Winner Frann Preston-Gannon makes her US picture book debut with this hilarious yet touching story about two soon-to-be sibling cats, Pepper & Poe. Pepper is an old cat. He’s set in his ways, and used to his normal routine in the house that he rules–or thinks he rules, anyway! Yup, he’s got everything down to a science, including how to manipulate the house dog. That is until a new kitty named Poe comes along and starts messing up everything! Can Poe get Pepper to accept him as part of the family? This hilarious story reinvents the age-old new sibling topic with a furry twist, taking an emotionally heavy subject and masking it with humor–all while reinforcing the days of the week!

My Two Cents: There’s nothing particularly special about the storyline of Pepper & Poe. Older animal/child meets younger animal/child. Initially, there is tension. There is frustration. There is even animosity. Eventually, though, there is understanding. Pretty standard “dealing with a new sibling is hard” stuff. Still, what makes Pepper & Poe so much fun is its delightful twist ending, in which the two cats are suddenly united by a common goal, one that will ring particularly true to cat lovers. Preston-Gannon’s simple text is complemented by her unique illustrative style, putting a refreshing spin on a familiar story.

Title: Such a Little Mouse
Author: Alice Schertle / Illustrator: Stephanie Yue
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Publisher’s Summary: Explore the world of such a little mouse–from the bestselling author of LITTLE BLUE TRUCK! With Alice Schertle’s sweet descriptive language and touching illustrations from Stephanie Yue, a little mouse interacts with the world around him. Every season of the year, “such a little mouse” pops out of his hole and goes out to explore the wider world.

My Two Cents: This is a wonderfully sweet book about the simple pleasures of life and the beauty that can be found all around us in the natural world. Nothing really happens in this book – the little mouse goes about his every day life in the forest, changing his routine in harmony with the changing seasons. But it’s this simplicity that creates such a gentle, reassuring story, which serves as a refreshing alternative to some of the more frenetic, hyper-energetic comedic picture books on the market. Such a Little Mouse,  with its calm tone and warm illustrations, would likely make for a lovely bed time story.

Title: One Spotted Giraffe
Author/Illustrator: Petr Horacek
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: 2012
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Publisher’s Summary: Count from one spotted giraffe to ten darting fish in this perky pop-up book from renowned illustrator Petr Horácek. Very young children can identify animals, count them, and discover numerals in this stand-out selection. Spreads filled with realistic depictions of colorful creatures — everything from pandas to lemurs — entice readers to count the animals, then flip the flap to reveal a corresponding pop-up numeral. And then the surprise: the numeral looks just like the animal — fur, spots, stripes, and all! Toddlers and preschoolers will delight in this bold, innovative concept book, a fantastic tool for making numbers noticeable for little learners

My Two Cents: I just had to include this stunning animal counting book after I shared it to a rapt audience at baby time this week. All little eyes were absolutely glued to the huge, brilliantly-coloured animal illustrations, and lifting each flap to reveal an animal-shaped pop-up letter brought coos of excitement and delight. I like that Horacek has included some more unusual animals in the counting book, which makes a nice departure from the typical cows and dogs and other animals featured in most kids’ counting books. The intended audience on the back of the book is “age 3 and up”, but I would definitely suggest giving this one a try at your next baby time.

So, what have you been reading this week?


Baby Story Time – July 15, 2015

Baby time at a new-to-me branch this morning!

A bit of an interesting experience – story time took place in the children’s area, rather than in a meeting room, meaning that the entire branch was treated to my rousing rendition of The Wheels on the Bus….

The branch is also without air con at the moment, which made for a very glowing story time…I had meant to do more lifting/movement songs, but because of the intense heat I decided to keep things a bit more mellow.

I like to stick with the standards when doing a drop in program, simply because I can’t anticipate what material my audience will be familiar with.

Different branches of course have different demographics, and it’s fascinating to observe the families that attend programs in different neighborhoods. My local branch story times welcome a lot of newcomers and non-parental caregivers (typically grandparents, nannies and daycare workers). Today’s story time audience was almost entirely mothers, the majority of whom were native English speakers (we also had a lot of tattoos – this is a very cool neighborhood!)

Here’s what we did:

Hello Song: Hello, Friends!


  • Two little eyes
  • The moon is round
  • Head and shoulders
  • Roly poly

Book 1: Animal Opposites / Petr Horacek



  • A bouncing we will go
  • A hippopotamus got on a city bus
  • Bumping up and down on my little red wagon

Book Two: Giant Pop Out Pets


Movement Songs:

  • Dancing with bears
  • London Bridge
  • Zoom zoom
  • Elevator song

Soothing songs:

  • The wheels on the bus
  • Orca whale
  • You are my sunshine

Goodbye song: Goodbye friends!

Baby Story Time – May 8, 2015

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends!

Touching Rhymes/Tickles

  • Slowly, slowly
  • Round and round the garden
  • Wake up feet

Book 1: Animal Opposites / Petr Horacek



  • Giddyup horsey
  • I wish I were a little bar of soap
  • The hostile baby rocking song
  • A hippopotamus got on a city bus

Book Two: I Spy Pets / Edward Gibbs

i spy

Movement Songs

  • What shall we do with lazy Katie?
  • London bridge is falling down
  • Zoom zoom
  • The elevator song

Soothing Songs

  • Twinkle twinkle
  • Orca whale
  • Yo Te Amo

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends

Baby Story Time – October 24, 2014

Every Friday morning we host a baby time, for little ones from 0-18 months of age and their caregivers. It’s a free, drop-in program, and the group size can really fluctuate. Because I’m pretty new to baby times, I’ve been following a template passed down to me by another VPL children’s librarian. Her template looks like this:

Welcome Song

4 – 5 finger plays / touching rhymes / tickles / wake-up songs

Book 1

4 – 5 lap bounces / songs

Book 2

3 – 4 dancing / movement  / lifting songs

Goodbye Song

As usual, I don’t always stick 100% to the outline, but as a newbie it’s been helpful to have this framework to lean on while I figure out what works for me and for my audience. As someone who loves to sing (even when I forget the tunes..), I include lots and lots of songs in all my story times. Babies love it when their caregivers sing, and they aren’t critics! I also like to make a little hand-out with all the words to the songs – another tip I learned from that librarian (who also happens to be one of the geniuses behind Jbrary). We have a lot of newcomer families in our neighborhood, so it’s nice to be able to give them something they can refer to at home.

Here’s what we sang and read today!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Songs / Tickles

  • Wake Up, Feet
  • Head and Shoulders
  • Baby Put Your Pants On
  • Roly Poly

Book 1: One Gorgeous Baby / Martine Oborne


Lap bounces

  • You Be the Ice Cream
  • Tick Tock Tick Tock (I’m a Little Cuckoo Clock)
  • Pop Pop Popcorn
  • Toast in the Toaster
  • Bumping Up and Down in My Little Red Wagon

Book 2: Animal Opposites / Petr Horacek


Movement Songs

  • My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean
  • Mama’s Little Baby Loves Dancing
  • Zoom Zoom
  • Elevator Song

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends

Animal Opposites was a major league hit. I skipped over a few pages just to shorten it a bit, but the older babies were mesmerized by the pop up pages. I also like using songs that have the same tune, like Baby Put Your Pants On and Mama’s Little Baby Loves Dancing – it’s reassuring to caregivers to know that they can reuse tunes in different ways and get more mileage out of them!