Posts tagged ‘library’

May 26, 2011

Kids pressing your buttons? Have them PRESS HERE instead.

So there we are, at the library.  My son, who is 3, already likes to wave goodbye to me at the metaphorical corner.  We enter the puppet theatre and he runs to the front row, squeezing between the kids so that he’s in the front and center, leaving his mom and baby brother to find room in the back.  The wave, actually, is as metaphorical as the corner: Once inside the theatre, he never looks back at us.

Nashville Library storytime is the best kids activity I’ve ever been to, and, as my husband and I discuss where to move, tops the list of “pros” that Nashville has to offer.  (Not that there aren’t other good “pros”; just that it’s that good).

Anyway, I’ve been introduced to a lot of great books at storytime, and this is one of them.  It’s interactive reading at its best!

Title: Press Here
Author/Illustrator: Hervé Tullet
Genre: Picture Book
Age: 0 – 7

Summary and Review:

In Press Here, you are supposed to do just that.  Press the yellow dot on the front of the book and find out what happens.  Turn the pages, and something DOES happen!  Another dot!  And then more!  And sometimes they change colors! Shake the book and turn the page—and the dots are suddenly all over the book, not in a neat and tidy row.  Turn the book to its side, then turn the page again.  The dots all fall to the bottom!

This book will make you and your toddler or preschooler laugh.  It will make them interact with their reading.  Play with your books!  It’s the new way to honor them!

February 1, 2011

The day my son fell in love with a book (and the night)

The free puppet shows at the Nashville Public Library might be the highlight of my week.  I LOVE them!  Generally, we go almost every Tuesday morning.  I ask my son each week if he wants to go, but that’s more of a formality–it’s always met with an enthusiastic “YES!” followed by excited discussion about which of the puppets will be there that day.

“Wishing Chair Productions”, three brilliant people who put on the shows, are all heroes of mine.  There’s none of the high-pitched, over-excited, shout-in-your-face, super-smiley over-acting that keeps me away from many a kids’ activity and class.  They juggle, they sing, they puppet (is that a verb?), they improvise, they act, and they read stories with a wonderful combination of wit, humor, and understated happiness.  And they even throw many a sarcastic comment at each other, as if trying the other’s patience, things that go over the heads of the toddlers perhaps, but land with smiles on the faces of the adults who accompany every week.

And I’d like to say that their repeated routines–such as JJ the Lamb playing peek-a-boo with Library Pete–are hysterically funny from my son’s point of view–and believe me they are.  But really, I’m the one laughing the loudest.  Every time.  Basically, I just love it.

Today at the puppet show was a particularly special day.  In the middle of the show, when they finished one of the books, my son jumps up from my lap and starts to say “Mommy!  Mommy!” rather loudly.  This was unlike him, and I wasn’t sure what he meant.  We are in the middle of a never-ending potty-training process and I thought at first he had peed on the floor…or worse.  But he settled down to watch the rest of the show and it was only afterwards that I realized what he was asking.  He had loved the book so incredibly much that he wanted to go check it out IMMEDIATELY.  In fact, we have only been home from the show about an hour and we’ve already read it twice.  (It would have been more but it was nap time.)

Title: Good Night, Mr. Night
Author/Illustrator: Dan Yaccarino
Genre: Picture Book
Age: 0 – 7

Summary and Review:

Mr. Night is a quiet man made of the dark and the stars, with moons for his eyes.  He quiets the animals, closes the flowers, and helps the young boy narrator close his eyes and go to sleep.  In the morning, Mr. Night falls asleep on the other side of a far hill as the sun rises and the boy whispers “Good Night, Mr. Night.”  Something about the book grabbed my son’s attention in such a magnetizing way.  It’s really fun to see that happen–the powerful connection between literature and humanity, even the smaller forms of humanity.

Follow up with the kids:

There are SO many fun things you could do.   Here are a few ideas:

1) Read the book at bedtime, and look out the window.  Ask your son if he sees Mr. Night.  Who helps your son close his eyes?

2) Have a preschooler draw pictures of what they think Mr. Night should be doing, in addition to the things he does in the book.

3) Write your own book from the point of view of Mr. or Ms. Sun.  Ask your child to think of what the sun does, and write your child’s ideas down.  You can write them in the same format as the book, with each phrase on a new sheet of paper.  Then give your child the paper to illustrate.

If you also enjoy this book, or have other ideas, please tell me about them by commenting on this entry!  Enjoy reading!

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October 28, 2010

Leave the windows open for the bats

This was a Halloween present, and rightfully so, as the characters are bats, who are unfortunately mostly appreciated by the general populice only around the end of October as only as decorative designs. (Although, I think their rep is growing as people hang more bat houses to get rid of mosquitoes.)

But I love a book that uses a usually overlooked animal as its hero.  And Bats at the Library does just that.

Title: Bats at the Library
Author/Illustrator: Brian Lies
: Picture Book
Age: 0 – 7

Summary and Review:

It’s nighttime, and the bats have eaten and played.  They find they are, well, slightly bored.  But then a rumor spreads–a window has been left open at the library, so the fun is just about to begin!  There is storytime, shaddow puppets with the overhead projector, water play in the drinking fountain, illicit use of the copy machine, and imaginations running wild when the bats enter the magical world of storybooks.  It’s just about the best time at the library anyone could imagine, and the illustrations that accompany the story are fun and gorgeous–and, because this is a nocturnal story, darker and different from other picture book you may be more used to reading.

Brian Lies has a newer book out, too, Bats at the Ballgame, which you can preview here, and which I cannot wait to buy, as it has always been a goal of mine (and my toddler’s) to own every baseball book possible, and it is a newer goal of mine to own more of Brian Lies’s Bat books!  (There’s another one I haven’t seen about the beach as well.)

Possible conversations to have with your kids:

Well, for starters, you might have to explain what an overhead projector is.  Even to the older ones.  Maybe especially to the older ones–younger ones are used to technology they haven’t seen before.


The is a great book for learning how to notice detail in the illustrations.  What are the bats doing in each of the pictures?  Why do they hang upside down?  Why are the pictures so dark?  What kinds of books are the bats reading?  What kinds of games are the playing?  Ask your child to get involved with the pictures–not to merely glance at them, but to truly appreciate them and learn to be observant.  That’s the first thing their first science teacher is going to teach them, and it’s an important skill whether they grow up to be an ecologist, a photojournalist, or just an empathetic human being.  So teach them to really look, to watch, to make observations about the pictures and let you know what they are learning.


Ask them what they might do at the library if they were there all night long with no adults.  Or maybe ask them what they would do at the library if they were five inches tall.  Encourage your kids to think outside the comfort zone of normal ideas and really engage their imaginative muscle.  Like observation skills, the imagination is really good for future schooling, too.  And for being empathetic.  And painting.  And, unfortunately, probably useful in today’s journalism culture as well.