Tag Archives: storytime

Storytimes and more


Oy, I’m so delayed. I don’t know why. When I saw Mama Bear not too long ago, she told me how much she missed my blog (well, she said how much she missed the links, and I said, “Tough, those aren’t coming back“), but after Preschool storytime today, I realized that it’s time to update, no matter what.

My preschoolers are the bomb.com. They are so funny. I had a ball with them today, using two different books and some new surprises. The theme, essentially, is “Books that Shouldn’t Work, But Did.”


Read It, Don’t Eat It is a book about what not to do with (library) books, and I thought for sure that we’d get hung up on words like “deface” or “censor,” but the kids loved seeing what NOT to do with books, and assuring me that they didn’t leave their books out in the rain, or take them to the beach, or eat ice cream over them. That was fun. I told them how proud I was of them for knowing how to treat their books so well.

In my “Old McDonald” envelope of felt animals, the dinosaur has long been the most popular one. So he needed an equally oddball companion, I felt.

Enter this guy:


When we sang the song today, I pulled him out and when the preschoolers said it was an alien, I said, “No, come on, it must be a horse/cow/chicken, come on, look a little closer,” and naturally pretended to be surprised when I saw it, and we sang “With a ‘beep beep’ here and a ‘beep beep’ there” or whatever an alien says. You have to mix it up once in a while, or else the children will get bored, and you will be predictable. It’s boring already for the adults – who were on the phone even after my “no phones” spiel, so I can only do what I can.

The next book, Tap the Magic Tree, also shouldn’t have worked, because it’s full of directions about what to do on the page – tapping the tree, rubbing it, using your finger to draw a circle, but the kids weren’t fazed at all when I asked them to pretend the tree was in front of them and to put their fingers in the air.

In short, it was a terrific storytime.

I’ve done others between now and then, but there are two events worth mentioning that are Very. Big. Deals.

Number one! Beverly Cleary’s Hundredth Birthday! Hurrah! Now, it happened to land on a Tuesday, which wasn’t terrific programming-wise, but what can you do? I couldn’t bring myself to wait till the weekend (or do it the weekend before) in order to get higher attendance. It had to be done the day of, I stubbornly felt, but we had enthusiastic participants.

We made owls with paper bags, just like Ramona does (unhappily) in Ramona the Brave, in the chapter “Owl Trouble,” some with a guide, for our older friends:


and some as they’re described in the book, for our younger friends:


I had a little Ramona storytime as people got artsy, reading the students the relevant chapter, and also the part in Ramona the Pest in which Ramona scribbles in a library book and then goes to return it and gets a library card.

One of our other activities was writing to authors, as Leigh does in Dear Mr. Henshaw. We had a few little ones write letters, and they handed me the blank envelope and I addressed it to the authors’ publishers. I hope they get responses!

Alas, though, I really wanted to be able to have a special preschool storytime and show the old Ralph S. Mouse movies (young Fred Savage and Sara Gilbert alert!), but no takers. Sigh.

I was so happy to have this program. Why didn’t I get a birthday cake to sing to Mrs. Cleary in absentia? Sigh.

Exciting news number two! I went to my first conference two weeks ago! It was the Urban Librarians Conference in Brooklyn, and I loved meeting people and learning about programming for all ages. (Often I feel as if we neglect our very youngest patrons in my branch – we do storytime for them, but no program programs, so I have a great idea that’s been hugely popular in Brooklyn that I’m interested in replicating here.)

That’s the news! And I promise you, my dear chickadees, I’ll be a lot more up to speed in updating in the future. Really. That is a promise.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, there are lots, so buckle up.

I like boarding school books – blame Enid Blyton for this – so I read one that was prettily written but turned out to be kind of dumb. Right after that, I went on to one that was fabulous, about college, so I was a little shocked to go from meh to great.

Then, in the spirit of Bevery Cleary’s centennial, I borrowed Sister A’s copies of the memoirs A Girl From Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, which were just delightful and worth reading, to learn how an author gets her start, particularly 100 years ago.

In need of something quick, I reread My Friend Dahmer, which gets better and better each time I read it.

The next book was good, but slow-going, and having not had much success with Stacy Schiff’s other books, I’m pleased to have even finished this one. Naturally, once I did finish it, I immediately went to my bookshelf to pick up The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and much of it jumped to life where it hadn’t before.

(Again at home and in need of something quick, I was impatiently thinking about my upcoming college reunion, and picked up one of the worst books in the world, but at least it was slightly fulfilling.)

For my quick trip to Brooklyn, I read two books on Overdrive, which I enjoyed very much: The Hired Girl (Baltimore shoutout!), and, well, it can’t even be counted as a book, but the short story “The Grownup,” by Gillian Flynn. Perfectly creepy.

If you want to hear more from your favorite children’s book authors, this is the book you should be reading. I skipped back and forth through it, learning a lot about the authors’ and illustrators’ backgrounds.

At the conference, I picked up an advance reader’s copy of a book that could have been so much more than it was. With an extra 100 pages, it would have been much more fleshed out. I hope it’s the first in a series. The next book I read, though, was just what I needed in terms of story and character fulfillment, and I couldn’t put it down.

While I think the trope of “YA book in which a teenage girl in a dystopia becomes the voice of the rebellion” has been waaaaaayyyyyy played out, I read what, again, I hope would be the first in a series. It was deeper and better than I expected. 

Needing to hit non-fiction next, I’d heard good things about Sarah Hepola’s memoir Blackout, and it was funny and raw both. I was glad.





Babies, Babies, Everywhere


And I am very happy!

Last week I had the chance to hop to a branch library and help them out with three baby storytimes in a row: 10:30, 11:30, and 12:15. This was in a different neighborhood from us, and I was particularly interested in seeing what these storytimes would look like, specifically because all three were apparently full, and all had different personalities. It was true! I liked being a “guest storytimer” at this branch, and it was fun to meet a whole new section of babies.

Funnily enough, when I came back to my branch and did another baby storytime, I had a full house here too. Coincidence? You decide.


These two books have always been crowd-pleasers. One Hungry Baby is a traditional book for baby storytime, and has lots of opportunities for movement and baby cuddles. Do You Love Me is a sweet book – good for talking about noses – but is the kind of cutesy book a grownup might get for his/her boyfriend/girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. It also just happens to work well for baby storytime; all the better for me.

One of the perks in working at the main branch is that you never know what will be happening. For instance, I walked in this morning at 11 a.m. to start my shift, and there was the mayor, talking about tax season. Life is funny sometimes.

I want to show off two amazing bulletin boards my coworkers did outside our Teen Space. I wish I could take credit for these, but I can’t. The first is by Coworker L:


This second, by Coworker G:


(I had to cut out part because it had our library website in it.)

Great, right?

Yesterday we had an external group come in and show us how to make light-up LED valentines. I was thrilled I didn’t have to take the lead on this, because I’m not much of a science person – have I mentioned this before? – but they were easy to do, and we had a great turnout of tweens and teens.

Here’s the inside: you have the circuit wire all in place, with the lightbulb and the battery ready to go…


and then you fold over at the dotted line, and hey presto:


The circuit is complete and the bulb lights up.

Yay, science!


The top story: apparently, these things just happen.

A short but moving piece from My Birthday Twin.

I am ultra-excited to see this movie, so it being pushed back makes me irritated.

Beatrix Potter has a new story… with some, er, interesting (and familiar!) illustrations.

From Coworker J:

As someone who just saw Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (it was fun, go see it!), this is hilarious.

From Friend D:

For all Sherlockians, near and far.

Enough, enough, enough with To Kill a Mockingbirdplease.


How old libraries become new (or don’t)

An excellent question – why aren’t we reading natives?

Lionsgate, please do not mess these movies up! #JackandAnnie

“Books of Love” – Nigerian romances.

Haaaa, haa, that’s… that’s funny.

Impossible, unmappable – you can’t do this.

Libraries as social services.

“I felt like someone had stabbed me in the heart.”

Subscription libraries are not so much a thing of the past.

Oh, please, they’re not going anywhere.

How adaptations are adapted – this one, a story from The Martian.

Most librarians I know would probably like the flask best.

From Friend G:

Where the Wild Things Aren’t, indeed.

From Friend R:

Everyone who is not a librarian is shocked by this. Librarians are like, eh. Don’t read while eating.

From Friend T:

Whit Stillman and Our Jane? This could be interesting.

From Mama Bear:

Bath is included, obviously. 

I do not have a reading problem! Psshht.

So many winners on this list. Particularly the last, which, as you know, is a favorite of Sister A and me.

From Sister A:

I love you, Baltimore!

30 years of solid historical fiction… and yeah, overpriced dolls.

“Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.”

Oy vey ismir. About time.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, everyone had been talking about this book, and while I liked it, I didn’t love it. Still, a good read.

Next, a book I must devote some words to: Look Who’s Back.  Yes, it’s a book about Hitler. Yes, it’s funny, but it’s also frighteningly written in Hitler’s “voice” – that is to say, the author has clearly studied Mein Kampf and the way Hitler speaks and writes. Do read it, and even watch it – Netflix is getting on that boat, too.

Finally, I read a historical novel that was sort of like The Crimson Petal and the White + Fight ClubIt got better as it went on.

Miscellany, 11.2.15


Here are a few things worth sharing:

Mama Bear was in Michael’s (the art supply store) today and saw this:

FullSizeRender (1)

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised – there’s Jane Austen everything!

Boss handed out books AND candy on Halloween, and she said most of the kids chose the books. How awesome is that?

Speaking of Halloween, I went in full Harry Potter mode.


(There is a scar, but you have to look hard to the right of my head to see it.) The wand is a long paintbrush, and that is indeed a Gryffindor badge on my robe, which is Sister A’s undergrad graduation robe. She is not getting it back.

I worked on Saturday, and we were just empty. I would have guessed that we’d have at least some patrons, and those in costume, but nope. I mean, we had some, but no one stayed for long and it wasn’t a thrilling day. We’d had our Halloween events the weekend before, so perhaps that was why.

One of our cutest little boys was absolutely captivated today by a flock of birds flying by the window. They kept going back and forth, back and forth, and his face lit up each time they went by. Such simple joy.

On the other hand of that child coin, we have a father who comes in with his child – she’s perhaps four – and he treats her with contempt and rides her so hard to learn. They were in the Early Literacy playroom today, where we have a play kitchen, foam blocks, and some toys, and he pulled her out after about five minutes because, as he said to her, “you play with too many toys.” SHE IS A YOUNG CHILD, my good sir. He sits and drills her at the computer over her letters, and I can see the frustration and nervousness in her body language.

(Most disturbingly – and this is a trigger warning here for possible abuse, so you may want to skip to the next paragraph – I’ve had to speak to him a few times about his language directed at her, and once had to ask him to leave because he struck her. He mouthed off to me  (“Are you telling me I can’t discipline my own child?”) and I responded with, “Sir, you can discipline your child at home as you see fit, but we do not permit violence in our libraries, so I’m afraid you need to leave.”)

For every lovely moment I have with some children, there’s another moment that is not so lovely.

We received our new goals for next year. At first none of them thrilled me, but as I look, I’m getting more interested. I want to do more social media outreach, and partner with some of our local groups, and observe some of the myriad programs and classes in other departments here in Main Branch. Maybe even my committee work will count. That’d be pretty excellent.

We are weeding our way through the collection. Now we’re up to languages.


What a great problem to have, huh?

From Friend D:

One of the more positive reviews of “Robert Galbraith”‘s new book.

Getting back what’s lost in the interwebs.

Two creative authors have a discussion.

“If a book transports me, I am content.”

A lifetime’s work….

This is news? Judy Blume taught me everything I needed to know, so more recent authors are filling her void.


Crazy, but brilliant.

Want to make books come alive? Try these.

I don’t know how I feel about this – accessibility is a fine thing, but those books on a bookshelf are so impressive.

It’s a worldwide phenomenon!

I love this dude!

From Friend L:

I got “lilac, fresh linens, and iced lemonade.” Can’t argue with that.”

Watch yer grammar, kids.

From Mama Bear:

If what’s in this letter is true, this is an example of how being pro-technology, among other problems, can ruin a library system.

Disagree; libraries aren’t that bad off. (Boy, Mama Bear’s links are depressing right now, huh?)

Everything seems so much more right when LeVar Burton is involved.

“Shades of Harper Lee,” wrote Mama Bear in her email, but this seems to be vetted by the author, which brings me great excitement!

In What’s Annabelle Reading: I felt very special reading Bill Bryson’s newest book, which a) I bought in Cardiff, and b) none of you people can even read yet, because it’s not available in the U.S. till 2016! So ha ha to you.

Pajama Storytime, Monday, September 28, and Preschool Storytime, Wednesday, September 30


The wind has changed, and if you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you know what that means.


Mary Poppins has opened her umbrella, hopped over the fence of our branch at 17 Cherry Tree Lane, and flown off to her next post in the system to help the children there with her fabulous storytimes.

We shall miss her very much.

So this means that we’re all back to doing more storytimes, which: hurrah for me, because I love them, but also: boo, because I learned so much from watching Mary Poppins at work.

I love my Pajama Storytimes. There have been three, and the turnouts have been poor. The first week, I had five, the second week it rained and we had city-wide transit problems, so I had a big goose egg, and this week I had five, but a completely different five than the first week. What does that mean? I don’t know. But I love PJ storytime and am hoping we’ll keep moving forward with it despite the low turnout.

Today I had another small turnout for my preschool storytime – and not all of them preschoolers – and used three new books! I don’t think I’ve done that since my first storytime, at which all the books were obviously new! I went with a theme of costumes and disguises (didja know that Halloween is coming up????????), and all three books were winners with my tiny crowd.


I should mention that Where’s Walrus is a wordless book, so it worked really well to have a small crowd and ask them questions about the characters and the story. It was adorable.

(My dream storytime would be a packed house, where every child in the audience is of the advertised age, all the adults are on the floor with electronic devices stowed away, and everyone’s participating.)

Last week, on September 23, was my two-year anniversary. How it slipped my mind, I have no idea. This past year went so quickly; it’s crazy. Of greatest note throughout this past year – and forgive my old lady brain if I’ve mentioned it – is that I’m now the most senior librarian in the department. Hard to believe, right? While Coworker J has been around longer than I (and secretly I look to her, as my senior librarian, for all information I lack), I have the most seniority in terms of degrees, as she only just got her degree in May.

This all means that when Boss isn’t around, is off, is sick, is in a meeting, I’m in charge. She announced it at a staff meeting, and while part of me was proud, the other half was expecting everyone to start laughing, but they all turned to look at me with something akin to…. well, it could have been respect. I don’t know. Even my eyelids were blushing, so I couldn’t properly tell.

It’s a little intimidating.

Last week Boss had a rough cold that kept her out all week, and all of a sudden, people were coming to me with problems about the playroom, questions about shelving and weeding, a full cart of newly inventoried DVDs, and holes in the staffing schedule. I wearily texted Daddio one day at 3:30, saying, “Guess who’s just now sitting down to eat her lunch?”

But it felt good. I felt useful. And I liked knowing that I could do it without going to Boss for her approval, and knowing this is all good practice for someday heading up the managerial ladder. (Sooner rather than later, I hope.)


Top link: It’s been 20 years (!) since the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice adaptation.

Unfortunately, we will probably always need Banned Books Week.

I’m going home to Bath precisely to lose my shit in Austenland. Isn’t that the point?

Some of these are good, but others are marks of genius.

The song drives me crazy, but the idea is a great one.

From Coworker J:

A lovely interview between authors/illustrators Philip and Erin Stead.

From Friend D:

People who meet me and learn I’m a librarian invariably ask me one question first: “But aren’t books going to be obsolete?” Sometimes I’m able to refrain from rolling my eyes, but my answer is always the same: no. In my system alone, our circulation numbers have risen in the past two years. We’re about to get a huge shipment of board books and easy readers to our department in the next few weeks to replace the ones that are so loved (read: borrowed so often) that they’re falling apart. So one can take from this: books are in no danger of going anywhere. Yes, people are reading e-books, too, but the printed word is under no threat from the digital word.

Perhaps this article serves as a coda to the previous link?

I love me some cat GIFs, but they’re not… art. Are they? 

“A Brotherly Bailout” – one of the things the Hardy Boys… er, Men, might have to deal with today.

If you’ve never read Dashiell Hammett… why not?

Literary tourism can be a double-edged sword.

Books are meant to be loved, but you just have to be careful who you let love them.

Dissention within the canon as to the fate of Lavender Brown.

From Friend E:

Who doesn’t love a good pun? These are quite clever.

From Friend T:

FIRST: Many many mazels to Friend T, who has birthed a being! Welcome to the world, Baby L!

Second: Christmas dinner at Hogwarts. Oh my yes.

From Mama Bear:

Raging liberal that I am, and a supporter of women’s health, as any woman should be, I’m thrilled to announce that Lemony Snicket donated $1m to Planned Parenthood.

A shocking article about the state of the Library of Congress. Innovation is central to the leadership of the next director’s tenure.

A shoutout to Goucher College and one of its Austen profs! (Also, Our Jane is not a “tourist trap.” The world’s second largest ball of mud is a tourist trap. Got it?)

Another shoutout to Goucher’s Juliette Wells. Again, this year is the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Emma in the U.S. That’s a big deal for Janeites. (Personally, I think Persuasion is Our Jane’s greatest achievement, but whatever.)

OH YES. (I’d sign up, but I know most of them, I think…)

Yay for funny ladies! (If you didn’t read Dear Committee Members, do!)

“I think books can open one’s eyes to what else is in the world, but it’s also nice if one can see oneself.”

Hilariously brilliant.

Being a Tumbleweed is now on my to-do list.

All of these bookmarks are clever – of course, anything’s better than dog-earing pages.

Mallory Ortberg is some kind of god, I think. Her humor comes too easily.

Short answer: yes, they can. Longer answer, obviously, yes, they can. But let’s get lots of international people on it.

Updating the classics of yesteryear for today’s little bastards is something of which one should be wary. Particularly one of my top three favorites: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I naturally wanted to read Nick Hornby’s latest, Funny Girl, because I’ve loved everything I’ve read of his. But in this one, I was really disappointed. Maybe it was me, maybe it was the book, but it didn’t grab me like his other works. I was thisclose to not finishing it – and even now I’m not sure why I spent the time.

But next…but next! Finally!!! Lair of Dreams – the new Libba Bray! The sequel to The Diviners! And it was (in protagonist Evie O’Neill’s words) posi-tute-ly the berries. It was even better than The Diviners. Original and fun, and, as Sister A and I discovered, it contained a neat little Easter egg for one of her other books. Also perfectly set up for a trilogy. I squeed, and emailed her, and she had squeed over it too. Shared sister squeeing across the miles – it doesn’t get any better than that.

Picnic Family Fun Time, Saturday, August 29


I love my special one-off topic special storytimes. They sprout either one of two ways: either I’m perusing our collection, and I come upon a great book and think, “Hey, this would make a great storytime,” or I find a craft or activity I love, and think, “I’d love to do this with a bunch of “one-year-olds/toddlers/preschoolers/kindergarteners,” etc.

This past Saturday I had a picnic storytime. The problem was that the weather was great; so nice, in fact, that it would have been perfect for a real picnic. How was I going to get people into the library for a fake picnic?

Facebook! Hooray for social media!

Normally, I advertise my – and my coworkers’ – programs on some local listservs, and on Facebook, and given that I know some friends with little ones, I really guilt them into  encourage them to come to programs I think they might like. And the picnic one.. well, it had food. That’s a home run right there.


I had a bag full of goodies, plus my camping blankets, freshly washed.


Then, I sorted the goodies – popcorn, raisins, and candy corn – into Dixie cups (portion control is the name of the game), and kept them hidden throughout the storytime.

I’d really liked the books I’d chosen. They ended up working well, for all of the attendees, and turned out to be good participatory books as well.


What great fun! After stories were read and songs were sung, I pulled out the food, and everyone enjoyed having a (library-approved, no-mess) snack.

Shoeless and snacking? Heavenly.

In other news,


I do love summer reading. It’s an amazing opportunity to get our kids to read, and our youngest ones (from birth up, even), to practice early literacy skills. But damn, it’s a lot of work. So for that reason alone, I’m glad it’s over.

On the “game boards” we used this year, kids have the opportunity to tell us why they love summer reading, and we’ll publish those answers on our website. This answer is far and away the best one I saw. I could have written it when I was a child (this is just as s/he wrote it):

  I love Summer Reading! It helps you calm yourself down when you are hyper 

and excited! The characters talk to you every time you read. They become 

friends with you and teach you a lesson. In non-fiction you get to know 

what’s happening in your world and around you! Then you will have fun by reading 

more and getting to know more. Also summer is the best time of the season to read but

I go with more winter by sitting by the fireplace getting warm.

That kid deserves a prize.

Two Sundays ago, Coworker J and I spent hours on the floor of the early literacy room, organizing the board books, weeding them (many of them had actual bite marks on them, which: yuck), and setting aside duplicates to redistribute to other branches, because we really only need three copies, not 10, of Growing Vegetable Soup.

After all that, here’s a picture of the beautiful shelves. Not that they stayed beautiful for long, but I felt the need to document our hard work:


Hey, I’m a librarian, not Ansel Adams. Give me a break.

Now, some links for you, my chickadees:

At the top: A fall preview. Get out your TBR list and a pen and get ready.

Didja see JKR’s Twitter on September 1, the day the Hogwarts Express leaves from Kings Cross. And guess who’s on it this year?? Then, of course, there’s the Sorting

As Sister A said, “I’m just here for the Matthew Lewis.”

Mindy Kaling is deliciously overeducated. (See my note on Malory Towers below.)

A seriously useful guide.

Laugh all you want, but I would not be surprised if some of these came out someday. First-world, modern-age problems.

Combining two things I love: books and Doctor Who.

From Coworker J:

A little film about author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers, who, in addition to being rather talented, is also easy on the eyes. My goodness.

From Coworker T:

One of the requests I get all. the. time. is for princess books, so much so that I made up a list of princess books and authors to give to kids and their parents who request them. Luckily, most of these great choices are on it. (The Paper Bag Princess is a classic, and rightfully so.)

From Friend D:

Just the title of this is great. (And I’m Miss Havisham, obviously.)

How do they stay in business? I am fascinated.


From Mama Bear:

Don’t expect the backstory of life on “Sesame Street” with this book. It’s a look at a side of Sonia Manzano – you know her better as Maria – you might not know.

Bill Bryson is one of the few authors I will read if you gave me a new book of his and I didn’t even know what it was about. I will buy his books the day they come out, topic unknown, etc. If he wrote on the history of mousepads, I would read it. I can’t wait to see A Walk in the Woods. Here he is in the New York Times.

From Sister A:

R. L. Stine! A nice guy who writes scary-ass books.

It is one of the rare books that Sister A, Mama Bear, and I all agree we want to read, stat.

It’s hard to believe that this modern classic of a graphic novel has been around almost five years!

You should know that Sister A and I have a weird obsession with, well, many things, but in this case with classic British boarding school books. Preferably Enid Blyton ones, like the St. Clare’s or Malory Towers books. We read those books over and over and over again when we were young, thanks to a cousin from Bermuda who introduced us to them. So when Sister A sent me this, we both got really excited. (Our whole family maintains that Enid Blyton is the reason that Sister A went to boarding school – she doesn’t disagree.)

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I’m so excited about the sequel to The Diviners coming out – we’re expecting it at our library any minute now, where is it?? – that I had to read it again to get ready. I’d forgotten how much fun it is, and how many little historical tidbits are in it. I love Libba Bray.

Next, I’ve finally gotten around to reading a children’s graphic novel that looked promising, a la Raina Telgemeier, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s Cece Bell’s memoir El Deafoand it’s not only entertaining and informative on its own merits, but also meaningful for anyone, child or adult, who feels or is different and is yearning to fit in.

Finally, I re-read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, which, you may remember, I really loved, to get ready to read the sequel (!!), The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, which I didn’t like as much as the first one. Such is life.

Preschool, Wednesday, June 24, and Babies, Friday, June 26


Two fabulous storytimes, right across the board. I don’t know if that’s luck (probably) or good planning (at this point, with almost two years under my belt as a librarian, possibly), but I had a super group of visiting students who were just delightful. I practically begged them to come back again – the kids participated, the adults were attentive and interested – what a treat!


We had a lot of fun with You’re Finally Here! (though it took them a minute or two to get into it), but they loved If I had a Dragon and The Monkey Goes Bananas, especially since the last book was so participatory: what was the monkey doing? How was he trying to get the bananas? Why did this attempt work or not? They had great ideas!

I had about six or seven adult/baby “couples” on Friday, some younger infants, some older babies, and they were such good participants, as usual. For some reason, I was just a fountain of literacy tips, and it was a nice conversation to have with the adults.

Also, I’ve learned that I don’t need to focus so much on books with the babies – that sounds wrong to my librarian ears – but that songs will do, as will bounces and rhythm movements. For instance, I just learned “Pizza, Pickle, Pumpernickel” and used it on Friday with them. As you can see, it’s so short that it can be done twice, easily, which is good: the first time, we (the adults) are still learning it, and the second time we know it better and have more confidence with things like poking noses and tickling.

One of the great things about working in the library is learning about books I may not have heard of. I almost fell out of my chair the other day hearing about a series by Jo Nesbo. (Yes, the Scandinavian mystery/thriller writer Jo Nesbo.) But guess what? She also writes about farts. Specificially, a children’s chapter book called Dr. Proctor’s Fart Powder and its sequels, Bubble in the Bathtub, Who Cut the Cheese, and The Magical Fruit.

I love farts. But more importantly, so do kids.

In other news, there are going to be some personnel changes at my branch – some staffers coming and going, and a leadership change, too. Those kinds of things are hard to get used to, but the good news is that Interim Boss (who’s been here for, what, two months? Three months?) is now becoming just Boss, and continuity is always good. So I’m pleased about that. She has good ideas, and I’m looking forward to working more with her.


In the top spot: When you write crappy books that glorifiy an abusive and controlling relationship, and then you invite people to participate in your Twitter AMA, it’s not going to go well.

This isn’t technically book-based, but given that “If You’re Happy and You Know It” is one of my storytime standards, I just had to share this one.

The first of two links today about the importance of grammar. Thanks, Buzzfeed.

So pretty! (Though I’d naturally be like, “Dammit, I’m assigned to Breaking Dawn this year?”)

To learn more about the darker humor of Uncle Shelby, I highly recommend this snarky piece..

From Friend D:

Let me tell you something about the Morgan Library – they have the BEST exhibits anywhere. Go if you can. Mama Bear and I once went to see Our Jane’s letters. In the flesh. Amazing.

Great news for the New York Public Library system!

You think you know Nancy Drew. You do not know Nancy Drew.

A great investment for libraries (assuming it doesn’t get broken or stepped on…)

From Friend L:

Millicent Spinmander and I invented a spell in Slytherin with my cat.

From Friend P:

Yes. Yes it can. 

From Mama Bear:


The anatomy of a grammar nerd. Boy, do I tag all the bases or what? Librarian, single, female, college-educated…?

Congratulations to every challenged/banned book out there, whether or not you’re tallied appropriately by the ALA.

From Sister A:

Art from the sequel to one of the oddest, but funniest picture books in recent years.

Another Birthday Twin movie will hit the silver screen.

Getcher tickets now!

In What’s Annabelle Reading, man, I have just busted through a whole variety of books lately, so here we go. I like creepy books that aren’t outright scary (I do love scary books, but I also like just plain creepy ones), but I thought Andrew Pyper’s The Damned was pretty solid. Then it was over to a middle grade chapter book (that means not a super-easy children’s book, but not a YA book – let’s call it “tween”) that I thought was excellently done. Then it was over to YA for a disturbing book that I breezed through, Stained (I don’t know why I read what I read, don’t judge me).

The best book I read throughout this cluster was the first in a YA trilogy, The Vault of Dreamers, about a reality show in an arts high school where the teens are mined for dreams. I can’t wait to see the next two. Finally, I loved loved loved my first foray into Laura Lippman’s mysteries. This one, By a Spider’s Thread, was out of the series sequence, but it’s just so much fun to read about my hometown and recognize landmarks from my childhood. She even mentioned the street where I grew up! Multiple times! Hey there, Baltimore!

Toddler Storytime, Thursday, June 11


I’m starting to love my toddlers more and more. They used to be a difficult middle-age-group for me. Their books weren’t as clear-cut obvious as those for the babies or preschoolers; they were the wiggliest of all my storytime groups; I never felt 100% comfortable with them as I did with the other groups.

But I think that’s changed. They’re still the wiggliest, but in the way, that’s good. It’s taught me to be flexible. If they get a little wiggly, we can do a song that helps them get their wiggles out, like “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” Raffi’s “Shake My Sillies Out,” or just get up and do some arm and leg shaking, or jumping jacks, or something silly. If they get a lot wiggly, and the Storytime Titanic starts sinking, then I know that it’s time to end a bit early, and that’s okay.

My Thursday storytime went beautifully. Being a little silly with this group works really well. (With preschoolers, I do try to be more serious, because the older preschoolers are going to Kindergarten – very much so, sometimes; they’re so old! – and they need to be able to sit still.) So this session’s book selections were solid choices.


As it happened, most of them knew We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, though this was my first time with it. So they were happy to help me make the movements and the noises and get faster once we “saw” the bear. We sang/read Five Little Monkeys and the big book of Freight Train, which we didn’t get to last time.

What’s funny, and worth noting, is that they were getting a little wiggly by the end, when I was reading Freight Train, but I wanted to try something that had worked in the past when I was a camp counselor with teenagers. If you’re ever in a room with a bunch of loud teens, the quieter you speak when trying to get their attention, the quicker they will get quiet in their curiosity to hear what you say.

I knew it worked with teens, but I wondered if it worked with toddlers, so I decided to try it. I read Freight Train steadily and in the same volume I had with my other books, and would you believe it, I’d say about 75% of them quieted down and paid attention! Whaaaa?! Some of them were even reading along with me.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. It was great.

In other news, I need a break. I often feel like I’m turning into a fractious toddler. I get cranky in the middle of the day, knowing I need a nap or some food. I don’t want to listen to what people are saying. I want to go home. I want to go home NOWWWW. Or a nap. Maybe because it’s summer, maybe because public schools close on Friday (Beyonce help us all), maybe because it’s unrelentingly hot and humid, maybe because I need a vacation.


In the top spot: Oregon reigns supreme.

It’s about time to hear a new voice.

Ugh, just…. no. NO.

A few misfires, but some other excellent recommendations.

Oh, man, do I just love The Bad Seed

From Friend D:

Queen Victoria took a stab at a children’s book (well, way before she was Queen).

#14: Annabelle has just never liked this book.

From Friend P:

James McBride has a few things to say about To Kill a Mockingbird.

From Mama Bear:

Thank goodness for fine caps!

“Shawl insufficiency”

Sounds like a good time in my hometown


True – traditionally it’s a Mommy job, amirite?

This whole story is weird, but how dare they drag Madeline into it?

I am a logolept.

Probably another bad idea in a series of bad ideas?

Mostly agreed, except for Alexander and…. 

For obvious reasons, and we salute you.

From Sister A:

Jeez, where don’t I read? Where do you read?

Quite Brit-centric, Mama Bear and I agreed, but, well, can’t complain. (Where’s Charlotte A. Cavatica, ahem ahem??)

The new Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling cover!

“Hello, I’m an illustrator, I know this sounds weird, but could I draw your child and not tell you what it’s for?”

In What’s Annabelle Reading, The long experiment of rereading The Little House on the Prairie series is finally over. They were fine, but I can clearly see why 8-year-old me wouldn’t have enjoyed them. The last few books, with teenage Laura having friends, going to parties, etc., I enjoyed much more than flipping pages through descriptions of Pa building a door. Ugh.

In other news, I also read Emily Gould’s Friendshipwhich was meh, since I didn’t particularly care about either protagonist in said friendship, and The Hangman’s Daughter, which was a nice little historical mystery from Germany.