Friday, February 24, 2012

Not Quite Flannel Friday: Karma Karma Chameleon

This was my first attempt at a folder story.

I love Leo Lionni's A Color of His Own and used to get really good reactions when I did it at story time. Our library's only copy though is a board book and not suitable for sharing with bigger groups.

It's a pretty standard folder story. The only thing extra I did was cover the outside of the folder and the bottom of the first few pages inside with black construction paper. That way the second chameleon can stay hidden until it's time for the first one to meet him.

"Everything has a color of its own. Except
When they're standing on
lemons, they're yellow..."

"...In heather, they're purple. And standing on
a striped tiger's tail, they're striped. Just like the tiger."

Here's our hero, standing in the spring's
green grass, meeting the older and wiser
chameleon who is standing in pink flowers
for the purpose of my folder.

And they lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Theme Thursday: Colors

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to do more themed story times and parents have started asking for more make and take crafts. It's a lot of extra work to come up with and prep a craft that works for birth-4 for every story time, but I'm pretty sure I can manage one a week.

And that's how Thursdays have turned into Theme Thursday here at the library.

I made a list of everything I thought I could possibly plan a story time around and am going to work my way through it over the next 21 weeks-- that's how many themes I came up with, although I'll probably try to space out "bears" and "teddy bears."

After a Valentine's Day Extravaganza two weeks ago we continued our new routine last Thursday with a story time about colors.
Color Story Time

Song: Good Morning Dear Earth
Flannel: Alphabet Soup "COLOR"
Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

Flannel: Mary Wore Her Read Dress
Rhyme: Big, Big, Big
Song: Color Dance Song
Song: Heads, Shoulder, Knees and Toes
Flannel: Rainbow Poem
Song: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Book: Color Dance by Ann Jonas
Song: Turn Around by Hap Palmer from Getting to Know Myself

Make and Take Craft

The dancer's in Color Dance use gauzy sheets to demonstrate color mixing and making new colors out of primary colors. For our make and take craft we made our own Color Dances.

-Color Dance Frames (prepped before hand, white computer or construction paper with a colorful construction paper "frame")
-Colorful tissue paper cut into different shapes
-Glue Sticks

After story time I let the kids go and anyone who wanted joined us at a table where I spread out tissue paper shapes all over the table and handed each child their own color dance frame and enough glue sticks to share. Some kids drew with crayons and then glued down paper on top, others just got really into layering the tissue paper.

Prep took about a 20 minutes before story time began and the craft ranged from 5 to 15 minutes depending on when the kids got bored.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Flannel Friday: Rainy Days

Winter has been super disappointing.

I don't know about wherever y'all live, but here it has snowed exactly once this winter and it was gone by the next morning. Almost all my story time regulars have never actually seen snow and the ones who have are too young to remember it from last year. Stories about snowmen and snowball fights, about winter being the warmest season, they all go straight over their heads. Winter has not lived up to my story time expectations and I am very, VERY, disappointed in it.

What is has been doing is raining. A lot.

Here are the 5 Little Raindrops. I wanted them all to have different expressions and different color boots to increase the number of things we can talk about every time they go up on the board. What I ended up with are two not-so-happy raindrops, three overly excited ones and some poor photography that doesn't do the vibrancy of the colors any justice.

And these are the two poems I've been using with my raindrop buddies. Other suggestions are super welcome. We've been getting a lot of use out of these guys so far.

Counting Up:
One little raindrop in the dark, dark sky
Two little raindrops watch the clouds roll by
Three little raindrops go splat, splat, SPLAT
Four little raindrops, we'll need boots for that!
Five little raindrops and still no sun?
That's too much for us, we'd better... RUN!

Counting Down:
Five little raindrops above the forest floor,
One fell away and then there were four.
Four little raindrops hanging from a tree,
One dripped down and then there were three.
Three little raindrops without a thing to do,
One went SPLAT and then there were two.
Two little raindrops waiting on the sun ,
One hit the ground and then there was one.
One lonely raindrop was just about done,
He fell down and then there were none.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Disenchantments, Nina LeCour

The Teaser: Colby and Bev are best friends with a plan. After graduation they'll put off college and travel around Europe together. And if Colby has his way, somewhere in some hostel, Bev will realize that she feels the same way he does: decidedly more than friendly. Before they can leave for Europe though, they're headed out for a 10 day tour with Bev's band. The worst wannabe riot grrrrrrl band in the history of history. As the tour winds its way out of San Francisco, through Northern California and into Oregon both Colby and Bev have to face the hard fact that what's best for them might not be the same thing anymore.

What Stood Out: I loved every single character in this book. I loved Colby's dad and his Uncle Pete. I loved Jasper, Sophie, even the guy with the PBR at the first show they played. And I loved Alexa and Meg most of all. Every single person who dropped into the story, even for 3 seconds, was a fully realized person with a back story and their own motives. Just like Bev's mini-world of sculptures, I bet Nina LaCour has an entire journal filled with stories about even the most minor faces who populate her world. The people of The Disenchantments are truly truly amazing.

What Didn't Work: Maybe because every single character was so awesome, it really stood out (in the bad way) that Colby and Bev are the most boring leads ever. I wanted her to suck it up and I wanted him to stop beingsuch a pushover more times than I could count so that we could get back to Miranda the Van and the crowd reactions to the terrible shows.

Anything Extra Special?: Too many to count. Seriously, it's the little things with this book. But let's start with these.

Road Trip

Who hasn't wanted to jump in an old VW van with 3 of their best friends and travel along some of the prettiest country in America? Road trip books are always on my favorite read lists because they usually spawn great music playlists and heightened tension from being in such a small space for so long. The Disenchantments is no exception, one of my newest, dearest wishes is for LaCour to release all 12 of Meg's playlists. Rock on great American tradition, rock on.


Sleater-Kinney is Bev's favorite band and they sort of serve as a stand-in for all riot grrrl groups in the story. Sleater Kinney will forever hold a place in my heart for getting me through high school in one piece (maybe I am more like Bev than I want to admit) and my crush on Carrie Brownstein is unparallelled. Especially after her stint on NPR's All Songs Considered podcasts.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If a book has even a passing interest in graffiti, I will gobble it up. While all four leads in The Disenchantments went to an arts based high school, Colby is the only one who focused on traditional two dimensional drawing and painting. Graffiti became an interest of his after doing a school project and the story keeps circling back to his maybe there, hidden desire to try it out for himself.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Flannel Friday: Rainbow Poem

I was having trouble finding a flannel board poem that I liked for an upcoming story time about colors, so I wrote my own. That's right. I wrote it. It's not the best, the cadence is still a little off, but as someone who has long been in awe of the librarianswho write their own material I'm pretty pleased with myself.

Rainbow Poem

Red is the color of this balloon,
of firetrucks, apples and the roses in June

Orange is an orange with which nothing rhymes
But if you take a bite, it'll be divine

Yellow comes next, it's found in the sun
In buttercups and night lights when the day is done

Green is the color of the grass in the spring
4 leaf clovers,and a big emerald ring

Blue is for water-- that's oceans, lakes and rivers
It's also the color for cold when you shiver

Purple is for royalty like kings, queens and princes
And for grapes in a bowl, mmmmm mmmmm delicious!

These are the colors found high and found low
Put them together and you've got a rainbow.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Graffiti Moon, Cath Crowley

I don't know how to start this review, there are so many things I want to say about Graffiti Moon. I guess I'll start with this: Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

The Deal: Lucy and Ed had one horrible date, years ago. He may or may not have grabbed her ass, she may or may not have broken his nose, they may or may not have ever spoken again. There is absolutely no way, ever, that she would agree to hang out with him ever again. Except maybe if her best friend has a crush on his best friend and if the boys promise that they know, and can find, the elusive graffiti artist Shadow that Lucy is obsessed with. Luckily for us, both of those things are true and we get to follow along as Ed leads Lucy through Shadow's favorite spots and they figure out together why their fateful date went so wrong and what has happened to each of them in the in-between time.

What Worked: This is easily the least realistic, realistic novel I've ever read and it's such a tribute to Cath Crowley that I didn't figure that out until I sat down to write about the book. It's that good, the world-building just sweeps you in and you forget to question the likelyhood of a high school girl wrangling a glass-blowing apprenticeship or a high school dropout name dropping Mark Rothko. I also loved that I wasn't quite sure who Ed would end up with by the end of the book. Of course everything in me that's ever read YA before told me he'd end up with Lucy, but the case for his recently ex-girlfriend is pretty strong too and I spent a good chunk of the book in actual suspense over his eventual choice.

What Didn't Work: Even with all the awesome world-building and suspension of disbelief, Crowley's descriptions of Shadow's work took me right out of the story. She set him up as a straight painter, an artist who makes "pieces" using only spray paint and walls. The pieces she describes though are very clearly the type of thing that would normally be done as wheat pastes or stencils; complicated and detailed pieces that are mostly constructed off-site and then applied to the wall in question. For more information on the different types graffiti art, see these videos featuring a totally bomb-ass girl that I used to babysit for. We did these educational videos as part of an assignment I did in library school about graffiti and the intersection with teen culture. As you can see, this is a topic that interests me a whole lot.

Anything Extra Special?: I'm so glad you asked. As mentioned above, anything dealing with graffiti is probably going to get a thumbs up from me.

But I am also an Australiaphile (which is apparently a real thing) and this book's setting as well as all the talk about Australia's educational system were super interesting to me.

The other really truly awesome thing about this book is what I call the "Hocus Pocus Effect." Y'all remember the movie Hocus Pocus right? I can wait if you need to go out and re watch it really quickly. Anyway, all the action in Hocus Pocus takes place in one day, and mainly over the course of one night. This time limit, artificial or not, serves to ramp up the drama with each little action taking on greater significance because it limits other possible decisions. Graffiti Moon takes place all in one night, from the end of the last day of school through the very beginning of dawn the next morning. So much happens in this short little time, and you're not sure what will happen after the book is closed, but this one chapter in the characters' lives is so perfect and neatly wrapped up that it almost doesn't matter.

Would I Read It Again?: Again and again and again