Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Flannel Friday: Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

Fall is the perfect time for an owl-themed storytime. For me, that means busting out one of my perennial storytime favorites, Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. But I wanted to go beyond reading the book this time, so I decided to try and make a flannel out of it. Here's how it turned out:

Not too bad, right?

First, I made the Sarah, Bill, and Percy owl. To do that, I created a template that you can find here.

Then I cut out the shapes in white felt and made the beaks and feet out of tan felt. Here's an owl put together:

I also knew that I wanted the owls to be fluffy just like the book illustrations, so I took cotton balls, pulled them apart, and then glued it down on top of the felt. Then I glued on the googly eyes and beak. Lastly, I took a q-tip with some black acrylic paint and lightly went over the cotton to create a feather pattern. For Sarah, I had some leftover false eyelashes from my wedding day that I just trimmed down and glued on. Needless to say, this is optional!

Percy and Sarah

For the tree, I just free-hand cut out the trunk, branches, and leaves. Then I used the black acrylic paint again to create texture.

For the Mommy Owl, I use one of our Folkmanis Owl Puppets

I hide her somewhere by my chair and at the part of the story where she's supposed to appear, I have the children close their eyes and wish for her to come home just like Sarah, Percy, and Bill do in the story. Then I bring Mommy Owl out and have the kids open their eyes!

Lisa at Libraryland is hosting this week's Flannel Friday. You can find the round-up over on her blog! For more information on Flannel Friday, check out their websiteFacebook group, or Pinterest page.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Anime Club: Cat Ear Headbands

For our October Anime Club meeting, I wanted to keep our activities sort of Halloween-y. So we put on some Ghost Hunt and I showed the teens how to make cat ear headbands. Some also came in their favorite cosplay so I awarded the top 2 with boxes of Pocky. I found a good tutorial for headbands here.

Here's what you need:

  • Craft felt (in lots of different colors - glitter felt is a bonus!)
  • Aleene's Tacky Glue
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Headbands (I buy them in bulk from Amazon)
  • Ribbon* 
  • Bells*
  • Lace*
  • Thread*
  • Sewing needles*
* = optional

I also made a cat ear template that I found here and modified. I cut out several copies onto yellow cardstock.

The teens came up with some pretty neat designs! Here's my not-as-great example:

I also set out some Asian candy for them to try. We had everything from Hi-Chews to scorched rice candy. Surprisingly, some of them liked the scorched rice! I also had lemonade and cookies so they wouldn't go hungry if they didn't want the candy. 

Pizza and Pages: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Septys

Type of Book: Historical Fiction

Plot Summary:
On one June night in 1941, 15 year-old Lina's life is changed forever. Soviet NKVD officers ransack her home and force Lina and her family into a train car bound for Siberia. Along with many other Lithuanian families, Lina's must learn to survive in prison camps under the harshest of conditions. This is based on true events that occurred during Stalin's reign of terror.

Average Teen Rating: 7.2
My teens loved this one. A lot of them found it to be "depressing" but "very well-written". This book generated a lot of good discussion. I highly recommend it!

Discussion Questions:

1. A lot of people are aware of the Holocaust, but not as many are aware of the mass deportations in 1941. Were you? If so, did the book teach you anything new? If not, were you surprised to learn about it?

2. Have you read other novels that dealt with mass killing before, such as the Holocaust? How did it compare with this one?

3. When the NKVD comes to take Lina and her family away, her mother miraculously remains calm. Do you think this helped the rest of the family?

4. When Jonas observes his mother smashing all of the crystal as asks why, she replies that it's because she loves them so much. Is this a rebellion? Is her reaction appropriate or strange?

5. Do you think the author was good at describing the conditions that Lina and her family lived in (the train, the camp, etc.)? How did it make you feel?

6. Do you think you would have survived?

7. The Bald Man isn't painted as a very sympathetic character throughout most of the novel. What do you think his purpose in the story was?

8. Why do you think Lina, Jonas, and Andreas ultimately survived? What character traits did they have that helped them? Who did you relate to the most?

9. Do you think the people that signed the documents that charged them with counterrevolutionary activities against the Soviet Union were wrong? Weak? Could you see yourself or your family doing the same?

10. Lina's outlet for dealing with her situation is drawing. Do you have a similar outlet? If so, what is it?

11. What was your reaction to finding out that Lina's extended family was safe in Germany at the cost of Lina's family's freedom? Do you think Lina was justified in her reaction?

12. What are the "shades of gray" in the story?

I borrowed/tweaked some of the discussion questions from here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Storytime - Mice


Little Mouse and the Big Cupcake by Thomas Taylor - This is a fun story about a mouse who has a cupcake that's too big for him to carry home. So he enlisted the help of his animal friends! I make this one interactive by having the kids rub their tummies and saying, "Yum yum YUMMY!" on the pages where the animals take a bite of the cupcake. This one also makes a great flannel story.

Mouse Mess by Linnea Riley - This is a cute story about a mouse who wakes up after everyone else goes to bed and decides that he needs a snack. But he makes a big mess in the process! It's short, which is great for toddler attention spans and has a nice reading cadence.

Other Books to Use:
Lunch by Denise Fleming
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
Seven Little Mice Go to School by Haruo Yamashita
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming
Hide and Squeak by Heather Frederick
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood


Hickory Dickory Dock

Hickory dickory dock (rock side to side)
The mouse rain up the clock (tickle up one arm)
The clock struck one (clap once)
The mouse ran down (tickle down other arm)
Hickory dickory dock! (rock side to side)

...The clock struck two (clap twice), The mouse said, "Peek-a-boo!" (play peek-a-boo)
...The clock struck three (clap three times), The mouse said, "Whee!" (wave hands in the air)
...The clock struck four (clap four times), There is no more (shrug shoulders and hold out hands)

If You're a Mouse and You Know It...

(Tune: If You're Happy and You Know It...)

If you're a mouse and you know it, clap your paws (clap hands)
If you're a mouse and you know it, clap your paws (clap hands)
If you're a mouse and you know it, then your face will really show it
If you're a mouse and you know it, clap your paws (clap hands)

...eat some cheese
...shake your tail
...give a squeak

Friday, October 3, 2014

Storytime - Music


The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort - I love, love. love using this one in storytime because: a.) the tune ("The Wheels on the Bus") is familiar to practically everyone, b.) it's super duper silly, and c.) the entire book just screams for interaction! It's always a hit.
If You're Happy and You Know It! by Jane Cabrera - Jane Cabrera's books are wonderful to use in toddler storytime especially because the pictures are big and bright. This is another song that my toddlers love to do. I did paper clip some of the pages together to shorten the song, which seemed to help keep their attention.


Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees, and toes (point to body parts)
Knees and toes
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes
Knees and toes
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes
Knees and toes!

This one is fun to start out with slowly and then go faster and faster!

Milkshake Song

(From the CD "Songs for Wiggleworms")

For this one, I pass out shaky eggs and we shake along to the music. I use this as part of my baby storytime routine and the toddlers love it too!