Tompkins County Public Library

Welcome to Wild About Reading!

We LOVE chatting about books, authors, illustrators. Here you'll find some of the best books we're currently reading and what we've been sharing at our storytimes.

Tell us about the books you’re reading by writing a book review of your own at: We will post your review to this blog within the week.

Thanks for visiting and HAPPY READING!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Cassandra's Music Picks

We’re All Young Together
by Walter Martin
This is one of those  CDs that parents will likely love just as much (or even more ) than their kids!  Walter Martin (a member of the  indie band The Walkmen) has a wonderful sense of humor that really shines through the songs on this CD.  Some of the songs have a quieter, low key mood while others are great for dancing around the room.  You’ll find a sweet, simple love song, a song that celebrates and agonizes what it means to have a sibling, and more.  This is my favorite CD of the year so far!
A Little Love
by Renee & Jeremy
This CD is made up of covers from other musicians such as  REM, Monkees, Queen and Red Hot Chili Peppers which will make them recognizable to parents but they’re redone in a sweet and simple way with calming, lovely harmonies that will appeal to children.  A great way to please both parents and children and somehow they pull this off without being cloying.  It’s a delightful little album.
You Are My Sunshine
by Elizabeth Mitchell
Elizabeth Mitchell’ CDs are always a treat to listen to but this CD especially has some winners.  It tickles funnybones with a sweet versions of “Ladybug Picnic” and “Car Car”, reminds parents of our own childhoods with “3 Is the Magic Number” and includes a version of the song “Here Comes My Baby” that adults will love to sing along with. This collection of songs ranges from melancholy to pure joy that the whole family can enjoy.
I’m Me
by Charlie Hope
This is one of those children’s CDs that is easy to listen to again & again.  Charlie Hope’s sweet voice with upbeat songs that never sound cloying will entertain the whole family.   Some of the songs will be familiar, like “Mister Sun”, while others might become new favorites, like “Train Song”, a musically very interesting song.  Utterly delightful  and highly recommended. We’re looking forward to trying her other albums in my house.
This collection of songs, rhymes, stories and games is a lovely CD for the car or for home.  The repetitive nature and call and response style of many of the songs will quickly invite listeners of all ages to join along.  Several of the tracks may be familiar (like Hickory Dickory Dock & Sailor Went to Sea) while others not.  The simple songs are sung along with kazoos, mandolin, guitar and more with topics such as first and last names, counting,  the jobs people have, greetings and more.  Great for toddlers & up.

Toddler Storytime: Space

Tuesday's Toddler Storytime theme was Space! We read...

Countdown with Milo, by Mike Austin
Space Walk, by Salina Yoon
Robot Book, by Heather Brown

There are so many fun songs and rhymes to share with your toddler based on this theme. One of my favorites is this very simple song based on "Ring Around the Rosy":

Ring Around the Rocket Ship

Ring around the rocket ship (Make a big circle with your arms)
Try to grab a star! (Reach high and grab those stars!)
Star dust, star dust, (Wiggle fingers like sprinkling glitter)
Fall where you are! (All fall down)

Here's our felt board for the day:

You can sing this to the tune of 5 Little Ducks, or make up a tune like I did:

5 Little Stars

5 little stars went out one night,
Gold and silver, shiny and bright!
Out came the sun with morning's light,
One little star winked out of sight,
One winked out of sight!

[Continue: 4, 3, 2, 1]

To infinity and beyond! Go, toddlers, go!

Family Storytime: Shapes

We had more fun with our "Shapes" theme on Saturday at Family Storytime! We read...

Round is a Tortilla, by Roseanne Thong
Bear in a Square, by Stella Blackstone
The Happy Little Yellow Box, by David A. Carter

Here are some shapes poems to share with your little ones. I sang the poems to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell" but you can also chant them. Have your toddler "draw" the shape in the air as you sing it.

Shape Poems

A square is like a box!
A square is like a box!
It has four sides; they're all the same,
A square is like a box!

A triangle has three sides!
A triangle has three sides!
Up the mountain, down and back,
A triangle has three sides!

A circle's like a ball!
A circle's like a ball!
Round and round it never stops,
A circle's like a ball!

A rectangle has four sides!
A rectangle has four sides!
Two are short and two are long,
A rectangle has four sides!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Babies, Books & Bounce

We read...

Horns to Toes and In Between by Sandra Boynton

Early Literacy Tip: Mix up storytime with books you can sing! Listening to music and singing helps babies develop an internal rhythm, which will later help them prepare for the cadence of reading.

Highlighted song:

I love this fun and simple song. Help your baby with the motions as you sing.

The I Can Song (Melody: Wheels on the Bus)

I can make my hands go
Clap, clap, clap,
Clap, clap, clap
Clap, clap, clap.
I can make my hands go
Clap, clap, clap.
They're a part of me.

I can make my feet go
Tap, tap, tap...

I can make my legs go
Hop, hop, hop...

Next we read...

Clip-Clop! by Nicola Smee

Early Literacy Tip: Bounce to the rhythm of books and songs! Bouncing to the beat will help children feel the rhythm of language with their whole bodies.

Highlighted rhyme:

Bounce You Here

I bounce you here, I bounce you there,
I bounce you, bounce you everywhere!
I hug you here, I hug you there,
I hug you, hug you everywhere!
I tickle you here, I tickle you there,
I tickle you, tickle you everywhere!

(Credit: King County Library System)

Last we read...

Roar, Roar, Baby! by Karen Katz

Early Literacy Tip: Make reading fun by choosing interactive books! Positive experiences with reading will encourage children to come back for more.

After this last story, we took out our new parachute for a few songs. The babies were mesmerized!

Highlighted song:

Colors Over You

Red and green and yellow and blue,
These are the colors over you.
Red like an apple and green like a tree,
Yellow like the sun and blue like the sea.
Red and green and yellow and blue,
These are the colors over you!

Here's a video of this song from Jbrary.

See you next time!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Dance Party Storytime!

This week we hosted our first ever Dance Party Storytime! We took lots of inspiration from some of our favorite library blogs (Jbrary, of course, plus Storytime Katie) as well as our fantastic children's CD collection right here at TCPL. It was so much fun to dance, run, shimmy and shake! And we learned a lot for our next Dance Party.

Here's what we read:

But first we warmed up with a few rhymes...

I'm in the Mood for Singing by Raffi

I'm in the mood for singing, hey, how about you?
I'm in the mood for singing, hey, how about you?

I'm in the mood for singing, singing along with you!
Hey, hey, what do you say?
I'm in the mood for that today.
Hey, hey, what do you say?
I'm in the mood for that!

(Continue: clapping, stomping...)

Bend and Stretch

Bend and stretch, reach for the stars.
There goes Jupiter, here comes Mars!
Bend and stretch, reach for the sky!
Stand on tippy-toes, oh-so-high!

Thumbs Up (Call & Response)

Thumbs up!
Arms out!
Feet apart!
Knees bent!
Bottoms out!
Head tilt!
Tongue out!

(Credit: Miss Meg's Storytime)

Our first book was one of our new favorites, I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield Morrison. This book has an irresistible beat! We all snapped, bopped and clapped along to this story, then it was time for a few songs:

"Run Baby Run" by Caspar Babypants off More Please
"I Really Love to Dance" by The Laurie Berkner Band off Buzz Buzz

Next we took a dance break and read Dancing Feet by Lindsay Craig. Kids had fun guessing which animals would come next, and it was good to sit down and catch our breath. But soon it was time to get up and dance again!

Our next song was "Ziggy Says" by Ziggy Marley off Family Time. Then we broke out our new parachute! We played "Ring Around the Rosie" by Caspar Babypants (off Sing Along!) and "Popcorn Calling Me" by The Laurie Berkner Band (off Buzz Buzz).

Last but not least it was time for the all-important COOL DOWN. Boy did we need it! We read Breath by Scott Magoon and asked our storytime-goers to take a deep, slow breath everytime we read the word "breathe."

SO MUCH FUN! Here are a couple pictures of everyone moving and grooving...

Animal Sleepover Storytime

Last Tuesday we hosted one of our very favorite programs: Animal Sleepover Storytime! Pajama-clad children brought their favorite stuffed companions for bedtime stories, songs and a craft. After storytime, the animals spent the night in the library having lots of fun!

We read...

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems
Lucy Can't Sleep by Amy Schwartz
Sleepyheads by Sandra J. Howatt

Highlighted songs & rhymes:

We got in a good stretch before bedtime with these simple rhymes.

Finger Dance

Dance your fingers up, dance your fingers down
Dance your fingers to the side, and dance them all around!
Dance them on your shoulders, dance them on your head,
Dance them on your tummy, and put them all to bed!

(Credit: King County Library)

Next we made big moons with our arms and sang one of our favorite Laurie Berkner songs:

Moon Moon Moon

Moon, moon, moon, shining bright
Moon, moon, moon, my night light.
Moon, moon, moon, I can see,
Moon, moon, moon, you're taking care of me.

Here's a video of the Laurie Berkner Band performing "Moon, Moon, Moon."

Last but not least we tucked our animal friends into bed while singing one last lullaby, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," and worked on our moon craft.

Soon our young friends departed, the Library closed... and our animal guests roamed the stacks playing, reading and running amuck! The next morning, the children returned to pick up their stuffies and a postcard of their late-night hijinks. So much fun! Here are two of the postcards:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Toddler Storytime: Shapes

Our theme on Tuesday was Shapes - and our toddlers really "got into shapes" with the fun songs we learned today. (Sorry, I couldn't resist! :)

We read...

Go, Shapes, Go! by Denise Fleming
Busy Fingers: Shapes illustrated by Claire Chrystall

The Happy Yellow Box: A Pop-Up Book of Opposites, by David A. Carter

For both the songs, we used felt shapes which I passed out to the kids in advance. You can always use felt, or some other heavy material, or paper if you'd like to try these songs at home. Here are two fun songs I adapted from poems or songs I found online:

Shapes Shake (sing to the tune of The Hokey Pokey)

You put your circle in
You put your circle out
You put your circle in and you shake it all about
You wave it in the air and then
You touch it to your toes
That's how the shape shake goes!

Try it with any other shapes you can think of!

Do You Know What Shape This Is?

Do you know what shape this is,
Shape this is?
Shape this is?
Do you know what shape this is and
Do you have one too?

If you do then give it a shake,
Give it a shake,
Give it a shake!
If you do then give it a shake and
Shout "hooray for [circles]!"

...or whatever shape you are holding! Then raise your shape and really shout it! Jbrary has a fun version online that you can watch here. I used a different tune, but this one works well, too!

We also made shapes collages, based on the shapes we saw in Go, Shapes, Go! by Denise Fleming. Here are a few examples. Have fun with shapes!


Family Storytime: Valentine's Day

On Saturday we celebrated Valentine's Day with lots of books, songs and poems about love! I promised the big guys present that I wouldn't get too mushy, and they seemed to like How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen with Mark Teague's wonderful illustrations!

We read...

All the Seasons of the Year by Deborah Lee Rose
How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen
Love Bugs by David A. Carter

We also learned some fun and easy math with a "Down Around the Corner: Valentines" magnet board. I first heard of the "Down Around the Corner" idea from an early literacy blog, but can't remember who came up with the original idea. If anyone knows, please respond - I'd love to give them credit! I've used this idea with many variations; it's a fun way to introduce simple math concepts to young children.

As you sell an item, in this case a valentine, take it off the felt board or magnet board and replace it with some play money. Ask the kids how many of each are left as you go along, and add them up -- it always equals 5! Here's our Valentine's poem:

Down Around the Corner: Valentines

Down around the corner at the dollar store,
There were five pretty valentines, and not one more!
Along came someone with a dollar to pay,
They bought a pretty valentine and took it away!

Down around the corner at the dollar store,
There were four little valentines, and not one more...

[Continue: three, two, one...]

Keep going until all the valentines are sold and only five "dollars" take their place. I've used this concept with squirrels and acorns ("Down around the corner by the big oak tree, there were five little acorns looking so yummy..."), jars of jelly at the Farmer's Market, puppies, kittens... the possibilities are endless!

Enjoy these pictures of some Family Storytime friends making their own valentines!

With love,


Friday, February 13, 2015

Babies, Books & Bounce

We read...

Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis

Early Literacy Tip: "Phonological awareness" is the ability to hear the smaller sounds that make up words. Learning about everyday sounds (like to ones trains make!) and repeating them together is a good way to build phonological awareness.

Highlighted song:

Here's a great song about trains. You can help your baby roll her hands while you sing this song, or simply bounce along to the melody!

Little Red Train

There's a little red train going down the track
Look at those wheels go clickety clack!
And the train wheels are rolling,
Rolling, rolling, rolling,
And the trains wheels are rolling,
Rolling right along!

(Credit: Jbrary)

Next we read...

Baby Danced the Polka by Karen Beaumont. I love the rhythm of this rhyming story, and the surprise animals under the flaps!

Early Literacy Tip: You don't need to read every word in a book, or even every page! Tailor the story to what your baby will enjoy.

Highlighted song:

Roll Your Hands (Melody: Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

Roll, roll, roll your hands,
As fast as fast can be!
Roll them now, let me see,
Roll them now with me!
Clap, clap, clap your hands,
As loud as loud can be!
Clap them now, let me see,
Clap them now with me!
Tap, tap, tap your feet,
As soft as soft can be!
Tap them now, let me see,
Tap them now with me!
Shake, shake, shake your feet,
As quick as quick can be!
Shake them now, let me see,
Shake them now with me!

Last we read...

Kitty's Cuddles by Jane Cabrera

Early Literacy Tip: When you snuggle and read with your child, she begins to associate language with positive emotions. Children with positive language experiences are often more motivated to learn to read!

Highlighted shaker song:

Here's yet another great little diddy that we learned from Jbrary!

Dancing Shakers

Egg shakers up
Egg shakers down
Egg shakers dancing all around the town!
Dance them on your shoulders
Dance them on your head
Dance them on your knees and put them all to bed!

(Credit: Jbrary)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Toddler Storytime: Silly Animals

Our theme on Tuesday was Silly Animals! We got pretty silly! We read...

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
Clarabella's Teeth, by An Vrombaut
Simms Taback's Safari Animals, by Simms Taback

Here is my favorite silly animal song which is perfect for when your toddler needs to let off a little steam. Sit cross-legged behind your toddler and make rowing motions. When it's time for the animal to hop in the boat, toss a stuffed toy in your child's lap, or just make up the silliest animals you can think of and pretend. (And don't forget to scream - Aaaaaaah!)

The Row Boat/Scream Song

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream!

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
If a crocodile jumps in the boat
Don't forget to scream!

We used frog, snake and crocodile, but I've been known to include aliens, octopuses and dinosaurs too! Use whatever stuffed animal tickles your toddler's funny bone!

Here are some pictures of our toddler friends checking out some silly animals at playtime!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Family Storytime: Welcome Friends!

Our theme on Saturday was Welcome Friends! It's so good to be back! We read...

Say Hello to Zorro by Carter Goodrich
The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
A Turtle in the Toilet by Jonathan Emmett

We read some funny books about friendship, including Say Hello to Zorro by Carter Goodrich. It's about Mister Bud, a dog who really has it made until, that is, a new friend arrives in the form of Zorro. Will Mister Bud and Zorro figure out how to be friends? If you missed storytime, read the book and find out! 

Next we sang My Dog Rags. Make sure to flip flop your ears, wig wag your bum, and zig zag your way through this good old song about "man's best friend."

My Dog Rags

I've got a dog - his name is Rags,
He eats so much his tummy sags!
His ears flip-flop and his tail wig-wags,
And when he walks he goes zig-zag!

He goes: flip-flop, wig-wag, zig-zag,
He goes: flip-flop, wig-wag, zig-zag,
He goes: flip-flop, wig-wag, zig-zag

I love Rags and he loves me!

My dog Rags, he loves to play,
He rolls around in the mud all day.
And when I whistle, he doesn't obey!
He always runs the other way!

He goes: flip-flop, wig-wag, zig-zag
He goes: flip-flop, wig-wag, zig-zag
He goes: flip-flop, wig-wag, zig-zag

I love Rags and he loves me!

We also added to our Storytime Friendship Flower. Come on in and see how it has grown!

Babies, Books & Bounce

We read...

Monkey See, Look at Me! by Lorena Siminovich

Early Literacy Tip: Children learn by doing! Choose books you can act out to help baby learn the meaning of the words (they're also just plain fun).

Highlighted song:

Finger Dance

Dance your fingers up,
Dance your fingers down!
Dance your fingers to the side and,
Dance them all around!
Dance them on your shoulders!
Dance them on your head!
Dance them on your tummy!
And put them all to bed!

(Credit: King County Library System)

Next we read...

Mommy Loves Her Baby/Daddy Loves His Baby by Tara Jaye Morrow

Early Literacy Tip: It's never too early to read to your baby! Early language skills, the foundation for reading ability and school readiness, are based primarily on language exposure. (From Reach Out and Read)

Highlighted song:

We used puppets for this next song: a cat, a pig, a cow, and a bear!

The Kitties on the Bus

The kitties on the bus go
Meow, meow, meow
Meow, meow, meow
Meow, meow, meow
The kitties on the bus go
Meow, meow, meow,
All through the town!

[Continue with other animals]

Last we read...

Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora

Early Literacy Tip: Games like peek-a-boo help your baby learn object permanence, or, that objects they cannot see are still there.

Highlighted song:

Last but not least we broke out our colorful scarves and waved them around for a few songs. Here's a fun and familiar song...

We Wave Our Scarves

We wave our scarves together,
We wave our scarves together,
We wave our scarves together...
Because it's fun to do!
Because it's fun to do!
Because it's fun to do!
We wave our scarves together...
Because it's fun to do!

[Continue: throw our scarves, twirl our scarves...]

Toddler Storytime: Friends

Our theme for the first Toddler Storytime of the session was Friends. We read...

Hooray for Hat by Brian Won
Kitty's Cuddles by Jane Cabrera
Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas

Hooray for Hat is a great book to share with your toddler to show how friends can care for each other and think about each other's feelings. Plus you get to sing the Silly Hat Song afterwards if you like! Here it is, performed by our wonderful friends at Jbrary in Canada, if you don't already know it!

Silly Hat Song (Melody: This Old Man)

On my head I wear a hat - it is such a silly hat!
That my head wiggle waggles to and fro,
Where else can my silly hat go?


On my elbow I wear my hat - it is such a silly hat!
That my elbow wiggle waggles to and fro,
Where else can my silly hat go?

On my hands I wear my hat - it is such a quiet hat...
That my hands don't wiggle now (they just go clap!)
Then I fold them in my lap.

Thanks to Dana and Lindsey at Jbrary for recording and sharing so many great toddler songs with us all!

Here is a picture of our Storytime Friendship Flower. We started off with a lot of names on those petals - some new friends, some old friends! At Family Storytime we will add some more! Let's see how many friend petals we can get on this friendship blossom.