Toddler, Outdoor, and Family Fun Storytimes


I’m so sorry, my chickadees. I’ve fallen down on the job. It’s been a few days since I should have posted, so I have lots of links for you, too, and many books that I’ve read, including a new personal project to share!

My Wednesday storytime was with the toddlers, and I’ve started using some music CDs to accent my storytimes. I’ve been singing up to now, but is that something that everyone wants to hear? No. Besides, there’s a lot of great children’s music out there waiting to be discovered.


My new book this time was This Little Chick, which is a terrific animal sounds book for all ages. I love discovering new books, but then I think to myself, “Why have I not discovered this before??” I found CDs with Raffi’s “Shake My Sillies Out,” and have used that in this storytime and my outdoor storytime, along with Sharon, Lois, and Bram’s “Skinamarink.” Both songs were under a minute, so we did them twice. Again, with the young ones, REPETITION. REPETITION. It bears repeating: REPETITION.

This was my first outdoor storytime of the year on Thursday, and Coworker L, who did it last week, helpfully let me know that it skewed young. Last year, it skewed young to toddlers, but this year, it skewed young to one-year-olds. WOW. At the last minute before I left, I thought to bring along Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, and I’m glad I did, because I was just filled with babies, ones, and a few twos and threes.

So I did a lot more songs than I had planned, and the only books of the ones below that I actually read was Suse MacDonald’s AlphabaticsI was planning to have the kids identify the pictures, but the teachers did, and then I asked the kids about the pictures – “Oh, look, a hat! Do we see anyone here wearing a hat right now? Yes! Let’s point to them!” (etc.)


For my Saturday Family Fun Time, sometimes I have trouble coming up with themes, so I look at that day in history. You may remember that I did that with Marie Antoinette and the teens once. So I went to Wikipedia don’t judge me and learned that May 16, 1929 was the first Academy Awards.

“Aha!” thought yours truly, the genius.

So yesterday, I had a private Family Fun Time with College Friend D and his hilariously adorable three-year-old J, and we watched the 1952 Academy Award nominee short Madeline and then read Madeline’s Rescuethen read Gerald McBoing-Boing (which I had never heard of before starting my planning, but, oddly, Mama Bear and Daddio had), and watched Gerald McBoing-Boing on Planet Moo, an Academy Award short nominated in 1956. Finally, we watched the 1984 nominee cartoon Dr. DeSoto and then read The Amazing Bone.

But remember that there are no geniuses like three-year-olds, who come out with the best ideas.

At the beginning of Family Fun Time, I shared some fun facts about the early Academy Awards (tickets to the first ceremony were $5, compared to the oddly reasonable $69 today, and the first one lasted 15 minutes; this year’s ran at what, three hours plus?).

Then I asked if anyone knew why the Academy Awards were also called The Oscars.

J instantly replied, “Because they’re trashy!”

Can’t argue with that logic, can you?


Well, okay then.


A Q&A with Anthony Doerr, the author of the Pulitzer-winning All the Light We Cannot See. 

You should have seen me with my paintbrush on Harry Potter Day at work last year, really trying to cast spells with that thing.

Ayn Rand’s Babysitters Club. Heh.

So many embarrassingly-new names to me.

French Milk was charming! Lucy Knisley is one to watch, and so are these other women. Graphic novel memoirs are a great place to start if you’re interested in the genre but a little hesitant about starting.

From College Friend J:

He and I were in the college Writing Center together, and boy, did we know On Writing Well backwards and forward.

From Friend D:

Who wouldn’t, seeing this?

Sharing books with my mother is a wonderful memory (all below aside.)

From Mama Bear:

A rave review for Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. 

A fascinating column about Daphne du Maurier.

Numbers 15 and 16 really hit home.


Sister A and I are chronic re-readers. For this author, not so much.

Charlotte Lucas, which is a little humiliating, but okay.

From Sister A:

Shout-out to The Amazing Bone!

In What’s Annabelle Reading, after finishing “Mammy Sucks” (not the official name of the book), I picked up Far from the Madding Crowd, because I realized I’d never read it. I LOVED it. And now it’s a new movie with Carey Mulligan. I can’t wait to see it.

Then finally, I got a copy of Ms. Marvel: No Normal, which is one of the first new graphic novels I’ve ever read. We need new women superheroes. We need new teenage women superheroes. We need new diverse teenage women superheroes. We need new Muslim teenage women superheroes. I’m so happy this graphic novel came along.

When Sister A was visiting, I grabbed a copy of The Partly Cloudy Patriot to read from our local Little Free Library, which is always fun to visit. You never know what you’ll find. Sarah Vowell is snarky and clever.

So, with my first of two new projects, falling under the category of “Books That Didn’t Take When I Was a Kid,” I’m re/reading the Little House series, in order. I’ve already made it through Little House in the Big Woods, the first, which is the only one I remember, and I remember it clearly from multiple childhood rereadings. Mama Bear and I had the whole set and we were planning to read them aloud before bedtime. I don’t remember why we didn’t continue, but I sense it’s because we got to Little House on the Prairie and I strongly objected; on this reread I realized 8-year-old Annabelle would have definitely found it boring. Who cares how Pa built a door? Even 35-year-old Annabelle skimmed that part pretty quickly.

The whole part about the Native Americans living nearby was cool, except I felt squicky with the repeated “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” mantra from one of the Ingalls’ neighbors. Despite the blatant racism (y’know, aside from that), it’s charming, although the little girls are too well-behaved to be believed.

While I was waiting for the next few books in the series to come in, I pulled out The Fault in Our Stars, by my birthday twin, and damn near started crying on my commute yesterday. Although I did see a teenage girl with an “Okay? Okay.” shirt and we shared a nice moment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s