Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Storytime Briefly 2015

My parents' children--all eight of us--were born in different months, so when I was growing up, we each claimed our birthday month as our own.  And because I still feel a little like March is my month, I decided to share my favorite things.  I introduced the month by sharing
  • My Favorite Things by Oscar Hammerstein, music by Richard Rodgers, illustrated by James Warhola.
Then each week we talked about some of my favorite authors and illustrators, past and present.

My favorite poems to memorize when I was a kid were Shel Silverstein's.  Memorizing fourteen lines of light verse was a whole lot easier than memorizing William Shakespeare.  For storytime, we read/recited the following:

  • "Kidnapped!" by Shel Silverstein, from A Light in the Attic;
  • "Skin Stealer" by Shel Silverstein, from A Light in the Attic;
  • "Crocodile's Toothache" by Shel Silverstein from Where the Sidewalk Ends; and
  • "Sick" by Shel Silverstein, from Where the Sidewalk Ends.
Just as I was wrapping things up and heading out the door, I got a request to read "Boa Constrictor." Unfortunately, we were out of time--I'll have to find a way to incorporate that into an upcoming storytime.

When I was a second grader, my favorite book to take on road trips was an Encyclopedia Brown book.  Any Encyclopedia Brown book.  The episodic chapters make the books easy to set down and pick up again when your family makes frequent stops as mine did.  I introduced the students to Encyclopedia Brown, talked about what encyclopedias are, and read
  • "The Case of the Silver Fruit Bowl" from Encyclopedia Brown Keeps the Peace by Donald J. Sobol.
Before reading the solution at the back of the book, I asked the students if they thought they could solve the case.  They are pretty observant third graders and had some great ideas.

We looked at Erin Stead's beautiful illustrations and discussed woodcuts, linocuts, and the process for making prints.  We read
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead;
  • And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead; and
  • If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Jon Agee's new book, It's Only Stanley, came out just in time to be included in my month of favorite things.  We talked about humor and read
  • It's Only Stanley by Jon Agee;
  • Little Santa by Jon Agee; and
  • Milo's Hat Trick by Jon Agee.
And I'll ask again what I always ask when I talk about Milo's Hat Trick: Why is this fantastic book out of print?  Bring it back.  Please.

Monday, March 2, 2015

tara recommends The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach

"By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich.  But you may not know how it happened."  Does this grab your attention?  If these opening lines haven't hooked you, the rest of The Bear Ate Your Sandwich certainly will.

"It all started with the bear."  Elaborate details take you on a bear's journey out of the forest, via a berry truck, into the city, and ultimately to an abandoned, delicious sandwich on a park bench.  During the exciting adventure, funny details delight as the bear explores the city and this new "forest" becomes his playground.  Readers should find particular amusement in the "trees," "bark," and especially the squishy "mud" that is actually wet cement.

Soft, gently blurred illustrations created with acrylic paint and pencil lend an abstract feel while showcasing a distinct personality to a very real, curious bear.  The playful artwork happily displays the bear frolicking in the park, bathing in a fountain, and splashing in puddles, right next to curious, yet oddly unconcerned, children.

The story is funny and charming with bright, happy pictures, but the unexpected Klassen-like twist at the end is what makes this book special.  If you haven't read this one already, be sure to pick up a copy and enjoy.

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
by Julia Sarcone-Roach
published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
January 2015