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!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Family Storytime: Bears, Bears, Bears!

Today was BEAR day for Family Storytime! There are many, many wonderful books about bears - here are the books we read today:

If You Were a Panda Bear by Wendell and Florence Minor
What the Grizzly Knows by David Elliott; Ills. by Max Grafe
Thank You Bear by Greg Foley

What a beautiful and informative book If You Were a Panda Bear is! It's one of those great books that includes more facts about the subject in the back of the book for curious minds, as well as websites where kids can go to learn more if they're so inclined.

What the Grizzly Knows is a wonderful journey into the imagination of a little boy.It's definitely a page-turner, especially for slightly older kids.

Thank You Bear was voted in for today's read. If you haven't read Greg Foley's Bear and Mouse books, you're in for a sweet surprise :) Always gentle, "deceptively simple," he captures the innocence of youngsters in the most heartwarming way.

Here's a counting rhyme for bear lovers: 

Five Little Polar Bears
5 Five little polar bears, playing near the shore
One tumbled in, then there were four!
4 Four little polar bears swimming in the sea,
One chased a seal, then there were three!
3 Three little polar bears in the sea so blue
One snagged an iceberg, then there were two.
2 Two little polar bears under the artic sun
One went to take a nap and that left one.
1 One little polar bear swimming all alone
He heard his mama call so he went home!

                Bye, polar bears!

Please see Toddler Storytime: Bears, Bears, Bears for more
 books, songs and fingerplays about bears!

The last Family Storytime for this semester is on December 12th. We'll have a special storytime with some puppets, snacks and crafts, AND we'll celebrate the beginning of our Winter Reading Challenge! Come on in and find out what's happening this winter at TCPL!

See you next time!
Miss Kelly

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Toddler Storytime: Food and Feeling Thankful

We had fun today reading more books about food and sharing our own puppet theater version of the Cajun Cornbread Boy again with the toddlers! Here's what we read:

Who's Hungry? by Dean Hacohen; Ills. by Sherry Scharschmidt
Maisy Makes Gingerbread by Lucy Cousins
The Cajun Cornbread Boy by Dianne de Las Casas; Ills. by Marita Gentry

I ADORE Who's Hungry? It's a perfect Toddler Storytime book as it is simple, charming, sweet and we learn about what foods different animals eat :) What could be better? And Maisy is always up to something fun, with Lucy Cousin's simple and bright illustrations highlighting the everyday pleasures of life.

Once again, we shared The Cajun Cornbread Boy in puppet theater format- such a wonderful example of how blending cultures, in the hands of a fine author and illustrator duo, de Las Casas and Gentry, can make a really fun story. And especially nice for toddlers -- the food gets away :)

I'd like to highlight one of the different fingerplays about food that we used with the toddlers today:

Bananas Unite!
We peel bananas - peel, peel bananas!
We chop bananas - chop, chop bananas!
We mash bananas - mash, mash bananas!
We eat bananas - eat, eat bananas!
Goooooo bananas!

See how to chant it here with Jbrary! Thanks so much for sharing this one with us, Jbrary! We love it!

I also want to share this wonderful rhyme from Melissa at Mel's Desk - Five Little Kernels.  It's another super, favorite with our early literacy advocates here at TCPL! Thanks to Storytime Katie for passing it on! I added a little twist: When you say "All of a sudden, one went POP!" have your little ones clap their hands on the word "POP!" The overall effect is like they are the ones making the popcorn kernels pop. It's big fun :)

Five Little Kernels
5 Five little kernels sizzling in the pot
All of a sudden, one went POP!
4 Four little kernels sizzling in the pot...
3 Three...
2 Two....
1 One....(until all the kernels have popped!  SOOOOO cute!)

Here are some photos of two of our little patrons trying out the felt board after program:

Nice job, guys!!
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
See you next time,
Miss Kelly
Oh, P.S.! There are only 2 more Toddler Storytimes left for this semester, but we'll start up again at the beginning of February! We'll have lots of fun in the meantime with our Winter Reading Challenge, and plenty of other great activities to keep everyone busy at your library :)

Family Storytime: Food and Feeling Thankful!

What a fun day! It's always a good thing to take time to be thankful, and for me, being a Doolittle, it's always a good time to talk about food!! We did three books about food today, one of which, Cajun Cornbread Boy, was transformed into a simple puppet show. Here's the line up:

The Beastly Feast by Bruce Goldstone; Ills. by Blair Lent
Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda (an office ref book)
The Cajun Cornbread Boy [spiced up] by Dianne de Las Casas; Ills. by Marita Gentry

If your child likes rhyming words, The Beastly Feast is for you. It's a great, older book that rhymes in so many different ways - forwards, backwards, up, down, and all around! Cookie Count is just a delight for the senses - it has some really delicious looking pop-ups - just the thing to get you in the holiday spirit! And the Cajun Cornbread Boy is one of my all time favorite books for using puppets. (I think it may become a perennial holiday puppet show!) It's so much fun to take a traditional favorite, like the gingerbread man, and get another culture's twist on the tale :)

Hmmm - with all this talk about food - here's a song to get those little ones in line at the dinner table :)

(Sing to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Chewing quietly, chewing quietly,
Do not slurp! Do not slurp!
Always say excuse me. Always say excuse me.
When we burp! When we burp!
(We always sing this with a smile - it takes a while to learn your manners!)

Let's make some Gingerbread together!

Stir a Bowl of Gingerbread
Stir a bowl of gingerbread (Pretend you have a big bowl tucked in your arm and a spoon in your hand and stir!)
Smooth and spicy brown.
Roll it with a rolling pin (Roll it out!)
Up and down!
With a cookie cutter (Pretend to cut out some shapes.)
Make some little men.
Put them in the oven until
Half past ten! (Slide them in the oven and tap your wrist to show you're watching the time.)


Let's end this post with our Thankfulness poem. There are so many wonderful cultures in our world! Some families pray, some don't, and sometimes, families who don't use prayer would like a way to teach their children about being thankful without using any religious overtones. This is a perfect poem for that. You may sing it to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle" if you like :)

Let's Be Thankful
Let's be thankful for this day
For our friends and for our play.
Let's be thankful, let's be glad
For the food and things we have.
Let's give thanks for you and me
And our homes and families!

I'm thankful for all of you,
and wish you all a happy Thanksgiving!
See you next time!
Miss Kelly

P.S. Only 3 more Family Storytimes to go before we break for the rest of
 December and January :( But we'll be back at the beginning of February, and in the meantime will have our Winter Reading Challenge and many other fun activities to keep you busy at the library!:) Yay!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Baby Storytime

It was another sweet day at baby storytime.  After our opening songs and rhymes, we read...

Red Car, Blue Car by Jonathan Litton

...and shared this fingerplay:

This Little Train from Mel's Desk

This little train ran up the track
(Trail fingers up baby’s arm from fingers to shoulder)
It went Choo Choo!
(Tap baby’s nose)
And then it ran back.
(Trail fingers back down baby’s arm)

The other little train ran up the track
It went Choo Choo!
And then it ran back.
(repeat motions on baby's other arm)

Next we read...

Grandma’s Nursery Rhymes: Old MacDonald

...and some puppet friends came to join us for more singing of "Old MacDonald"

Early Literacy Tip:

Games like peek-a-boo help your baby learn object permanence, or, that objects they cannot see are still there. This is an important step in a child’s cognitive development!

Next we read...

Peek-A-Who? by Nina Laden

..and some animal puppets came to play peek-a-book with us.

For one of our scarf songs, we continued the peek-a-boo theme with this little song from Storytime Katie:


Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo
I see you! I see you!
I see your button nose and your tiny toes
Peek-a-boo! I see you!

Next week is the Thanksgiving holiday so we won't have baby storytime next Friday.  Hope to see you all on Friday, December 4th!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Toddler Storytime: Bears, Bears, Bears!

Bears, bears, everything bears! There's just something about November that makes me think of bears!
Here's what we read today:

My Favorite Bear by Andrea Gabriel
The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Raynor
Forever by Emma Dodd

There are so many great bear books for take-home! Let's talk about these three: My Favorite Bear is a great book for showing your toddlers that there are many differrent kinds of bears in the world, and you can share some of the bears' varied habitats, which are lovingly illustrated. The Bear Who Shared is a very sweet and engaging story about - you guessed it - sharing. It offers a page-turning look at how and why sharing is a wonderful thing, with illustrations that really charm. Forever is a lovely book about the bond between adults and their young'uns :) The illustrations are simple and engaging, with silvery parts that your toddler may want to touch - let them!

Here's an easy bear rhyme that you may already know, that you can use to illustrate different types of bears:

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around!
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground!
Teddy bear, teddy bear, tie your shoe!
Teddy bear, teddy bear, I LOVE you!
Now substitute other types of bears:
Polar bear, polar bear....
Panda bear, panda bear...

Can you think of any other kinds of bears?

Bear In a Cave is a fingerplay I found in the book, Too Many Rabbits and Other Fingerplays About Animals, Nature, Weather, and the Universe. This has been a go-to book for me ever since I started doing storytimes six years ago. Check out the book from the library to see how to do the fingerplay to this lovely rhyme:

Bear In a Cave
Here is a cave, inside is a bear.
Now he comes out to get some fresh air.
He stays out all summer in sunshine and heat.
He hunts in the forest for berries to eat.
When snow starts to fall
He hurries inside his warm little cave and there he will hide.
When Spring comes again,
The snow melts away
And out comes the bear ready to play.

Check out some bear books from your library soon!
See you next time,
Miss Kelly

Family Storytime: Let's Count!

More counting!! There a lots of wonderful counting books, and I got to share four more that I really love today:

We All Went On Safari: A Counting Journey Through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs; Ills. by Julia Cairns
Let's Count Goats by Mem Fox; Ills. by Jan Thomas
Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker
Ten In the Bed by Jane Cabrera

After reading We All Went On Safari, I thought it would be fitting to have a counting rhyme about elephants! However, one of our young patron's was a little alarmed by it :) I only mention this because I want to share the phenomenon of Mozart. "What? Mozart?" you ask? It's true! Just like one crying child can set off another (who may have been on the edge :) which is what happened today in storytime!) so the tune "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" can soothe ragged souls. "Twinkle" helped our little guests calm down, and you can use this in many situations with a good degree of success. Baby hates to get her diaper changed? Try this, to the tune of "Twinkle" with your most soothing voice:

Now it's time for diaper change,
Oh I know it can feel strange!
But we will be done real soon,
Then we'll fly and touch the moon! (I'm serious, it doesn't really matter what words you use, just keep softly singing! Maybe stretch baby's arms gently to the moon :) make up your own silly rhymes...)
When your child is a little older, you can change the words to suit the situation, (Hate getting into that snowsuit? Oh, yeah!) or just sing the original words. It almost always works :) There's just something about singing....

But now, if your child is ready to play BIG time :) here is Five Enormous Elephants:

Five Enormous Elephants
5 Five enormous elephants standing in a row
Five long trunks, waving to and fro!
"Goodbye!" said an elephant, "It's time for me to go!"
That left four enormous elephants standing in a row.

Keep going until all the enormous elephants are gone!

Let's not forget Five Green and Speckled Frogs!

Five Green and Speckled Frogs
Five green and speckled frogs
Sat on a speckled log
Eating the most delicious bugs (Yum, yum!!)
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Now there are four green speckled frogs!
Four green and speckled frogs.....(You get the idea!)
Three green and speckled frogs.....
Two...(keep going until...)
One green and speckled frog
Sat on a speckled log
Eating the most delicious bugs (Yum, yum!!)
She jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Now there are NO green speckled frogs!

Lots of counting this week - so much fun :)
See you next time!
Miss Kelly

Monday, November 16, 2015

Cassandra's Picks

  Bizzy Bear! Let's Get To Work! by Benji Davies
E Davies (board book)

This is a great book for very young kids who love diggers.  This board book has very sturdy moveable parts so children can move the digger scoops and such. It’s very short but a lot of fun! Check out the other Bizzy Bear books too!

On the Construction Site by Carron Brown
E Brown
This unique book is wonderful for children who love diggers and finding hidden treasures!  Shine a light through the pages and discover what lies under the ground and deep in the construction site.  Super cool!

Poppleton series by Cynthia Rylant
J 428.6 Rylant

These sweet, light, simple and silly stories are a great resource for beginning readers or as read-alouds for younger children. 

Birchbark House by
Louise Erdrich
E Erdrich

This is a  stunning read.  Erdrich portrays the life of a Native American family and their beautiful connection to nature so well along with the joy and pain of a young girl growing up. Parents should be advised that there is a death in the family in this story.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Baby Storytime

It was a chilly, gray and windy morning but we were all smiling at baby storytime!

First we read...

Baby Talk by Stella Blackstone

Early Literacy Tip

Babies enjoy books with photographs. Try making your own book using family photos

We shared this song which goes to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat":

Read, Read, Read from Storytime Katie

Read, read, read a book,
Travel anywhere,
Worldwide, you decide,
A book will take you there.

Read, read, read a book,
Beginning to the end,
What a way to spend the day,
A book’s a special friend!

Next we read...

Peek-A-Boo Farm by Joyce Wan

...and shared this fingerplay from Storytime Katie

Two Mother Pigs

Two mother pigs lived in a pen
Each had four babies, and that made ten
These four babies were black as night
These four babies were black and white
But all eight babies loved to play
And they rolled and rolled in the mud all day

Last we read...

Maisy’s Train by Lucy Cousins

..and we sang my favorite train song, "Down By the Station"

Down by the station early in the morning
See the little pufferbellies all in a row
See the engine driver pull his little lever
Puff Puff Toot Toot! Off we go!

Today was so much fun!  Looking forward to seeing everyone next week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Toddler Storytime: Let's Count!

Let's Count, toddlers! I saw old friends and new today at Toddler Storytime, and we all did a LOT of counting :) There are so many fun counting books - too many to list! But here are the books we read today:
One, Two, Cockatoo! by Sarah Garson
One Blue Fish by Charles Reasoner
One Pup's Up by Marsha Wilson Chall; Ills by Henry Cole

Like I said, so many good books, and as the saying goes - so little time! But I love these three for toddlers especially, because, 1. Who can resist those adorable cockatoos? 2. One Blue Fish is just about the perfect counting book for early literacy: You have word recognition on one page, number recognition on the opposite page, color recognition and simple, bright illustrations all rolled into one book! I'm not sure you could find a better beginning counting book. If you and your toddler sit down with this book, encourage them to trace the big, bold numbers with their fingers as you speak the corresponding word. And 3. Puppies! Need I say more?

We did a lot of songs and fingerplays today, too. Here's a perfect one for toddlers:

Ten Little Fingers
I have ten little fingers,
And they all belong to me! (Hold fingers up & wave them!)
I can make them do things,
Would you like to see?
I can shut them up tight (Do the motions for this and all the rest of the verses)
Or open them wide.
I can put them all together
Or make them all hide!
I can make them jump high
Or make them go low.
I can fold them quietly....(Fold hands in lap)
...and hold them all just so. 

And for puppy lovers:

Five Little Puppies
(Use fingers for puppies; turn down fingers one at a time for each verse,
starting with the pinky and ending with the thumb.)
Five little puppies were playing in the sun.
This one saw a rabbit and he began to run!
This one saw a butterfly and he began to race.
This one saw a cat and he began to chase!
This one tried to catch his tail
and he went round and round!
This one was so quiet he never made a sound. (This would be the thumb - turn it down onto your fist as if laying down for sleep :)

There are literally hundreds of counting songs for toddlers - and on up to preschool and early elementary - I use them a lot in our storytimes. Come on in to hear some more! Or if you can't come in (Hi, overseas friends, and friends who have moved!! We miss you!) share some in the comment space below!

See you next time!
Miss Kelly 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Baby Storytime

We had a lovely storytime today!

We read...

Where Is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz

...and we wiggled and clapped along to this song from Mel's Desk.

Where Is Big Toe?

Where is big toe? Where is big toe?
Here I am! Here I am!
Wiggle, wiggle, big toe.
Wiggle, wiggle, big toe.
My big toe, my big toe.

Where is elbow... bendy, bendy elbow
Where are two eyes... winky, blinky two eyes
Where are two hands... happy, clappy two hands

Next we read...

I Like it When... by Mary Murphy

...and bounced to this rhyme:

Toast in the Toaster

I'm toast in the toaster (Bounce)
I'm getting very hot!
Tick, tock, tick, tock (Rock side to side)
Up I pop! (Riase baby or arms)

Last we read...

Circles by Yusuke Yonezu

Early Literacy Tip: Learning about shapes and their differences is the first step in being able to recognize the different letters that make up words!

Last we took out our shakers for a few songs. Here's one we learned from Jbrary.

Everyone Can Shake

Everyone can shake, shake, shake
Everyone can shake, shake, shake
Everyone can shake, shake, shake
And now we're at a stop!

Everyone can tap, tap, tap...

Everyone can wave, wave, wave...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Toddler Storytime: Fall friends

Happy Fall, everybody! I like to do a Fall Friends theme to help keep us all out of doors and thinking about nature for as long as possible before Winter comes! Today was a super warm day, so I almost felt silly reading Winter Lullaby, but everyone knows these last, gorgeous days of Fall - also known as Indian Summer - are fleeting.
The books:

Winter Lullaby by Barbara Seuling; Ills. by Greg Newbold
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell; Ills. by Patrick Benson
In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming

The grownups who came today did a simply wonderful job of participating and encouraging the kids to participate! I got some worried comments from a caregiver about a child or two who seemed very busy :) Don't worry if your little one wants to scoot around and check stuff out during program - it's natural! Toddlers learn social skills in varying time frames! A toddler who constantly runs around this week, may surprise you by completely settling down for program a few weeks from now. Conversely, a small child who always sits still and seems very shy and clingy, will one day start "shaking their sillies out" along with the others. It's all good! We do the best we can to keep the program going, so if your child starts to grab my stuff, you can gently come and get them, and help me let them know they can check it all out after program is over :)

I Went Walking is a song I've adapted from Sue William's I Went Walking - a picture book - perfect for toddlers. The tune is Frere Jacques, and can easily be adapted to other animal themes. Here's my version for today:

I Went Walking
I went walking (repeat each line!)
What did I see?
I saw a squirrel
Climbing a tree!

I saw geese flying -- high above me.

I saw a skunk -- digging through leaves!

I saw a mouse -- hunting for seeds.

I saw a brown bear -- eating berries!

Can you think of any other animals you see in the fall? Maybe make up a rhyme about them?

We also did one of my favorite "Down Around the Corner" felt boards:

Squirrel Treats!
Down around the corner by the big oak tree,
Sat three little acorns looking so yummy!
Along came a squirrel with a big bushy tail,
He took one acorn and ran off down the trail!
Continue with two acorns, then one, then:
Down around the corner by the big oak tree,
There were no little acorns left to see!
Along came a squirrel with a big bushy tail,
He said, "Rats! No more acorns!"
And ran off down the trail!
          Bye squirrel!

Today we made little baby owls with real sheep's wool that we bought from Alysa, at Home Green Home. I'm so sorry I didn't have my camera today, because the projects were soooo cute! Nice work, toddlers! But I do have a picture of the sheep that the wool came from - Alysa gave me this link:!/zoom/mainPage/image1drq

Thanks, Alysa! And thank you, sheep!
We really had fun with this project :) Baaaaaaaa.....

See you next time!
Miss Kelly

Family Storytime: Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! It's fun when storytimes land right on the holiday AND the library is open:) Not everyone celebrates Halloween, of course, but if you do, we had some great books, songs and fingerplays for the occasion that you might look into next year! I always try to keep it light hearted and fun for the littlest ones among us :) and have some non-Halloween fare on offer as well. Here's what we read:

One Dark Night by Lisa Wheeler; Ills. by Ivan Bates
Moonlight the Halloween Cat by Cynthia Rylant;Ills. by Melissa Sweet
Ghosts In the House by Kazuno Kohara
Seven Orange Pumpkins: a Counting Book by Stephen Savage

The book rundown: One Dark Night is an example of a story that's not based on the holiday, but is a fun, suspenseful tale of three great friends on a quest on a dark night. All's well that ends well! Phew!

Moonlight the Halloween Cat is the sweetest and most peaceful Halloween book I know of, (thanks to Cynthia Rylant, a wonderful author who always manages to convey "the enchantment and beauty to be found in every-day life.") It epitomizes how I personally feel about Halloween night, and, since I really like Halloween, I shared it with my kids when they were very young.

When Ghosts in the House came out, I was immediately taken with the gorgeous orange and black woodcut illustrations, (with the translucent, tissue - like look of the ghosts overlaying the colors) and the really clever story line which empowers children to see fun and games in what might otherwise be treated as a very scary situation!

Finally, our brand new, Seven Orange Pumpkins is just a simple, Halloween treasure - just the right amount of humor and Halloween style.

Here's a good, old song to accompany Ghosts In the House:

Three Little Witches
One little, two little, three little witches (Raise three fingers)
Fly over corn stalks, fly over ditches (Fly fingers up and over imaginary stalks, and swoop down over ditches)
Glide down moonbeams without any hitches (Slide them down a moon beam from on high!)
Hey, Ho, Halloween night! (Palms out to the sides, palms in, palms out, then clap!)

We also did Nocturnal Animals, an adaptation of a song by Nancy Stewart. Listen to her original version here. It's a song about several of our animals friends that are active at night. Did you know that "nocturnal" means active at night?

Nocturnal Animals
On a moonlit night when the stars are out
There are nocturnal animals all about.
"Hoo, hoo, hoo," what do I see?
A wise old owl looking at me!
On a moonlit night when the stars are out
There are nocturnal animals all about.
"Peek, peek, peek," what do I see?
A raccoon robber looking at me!
On a moonlit night when the stars are out
There are nocturnal animals all about.
"Eee, eee, eee," what do I see?
A little black bat just looking at me!
On a moonlit night when the stars are out
There are nocturnal animals all about.
"Meow, meow, meow," what do I see?
A curious kitten looking at me!
On a moonlit night when the stars are out
There are nocturnal animals all about.
"Sqeak, squeak, squeak," what do I see?
A little brown mousie looking at me!

Here's to nocturnal animals, Fall and Halloween!

See you next time!
Miss Kelly

Monday, November 2, 2015

Baby Storytime

We had another fun day at baby storytime!

We read...

Where Is Maisy? by Lucy Cousins

..and we found our hiding fingers with this song from Storytime Katie:

Where is Thumbkin?

Where is thumbkin?
Where is thumbkin?
Here I am! Here I am!
How are you today, sir? Very well, I thank you!
Run away, run away!

repeat with pinkie, pointer, etc.

Next we read....

Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera

...and shared this little rhyme from Sunflower Storytime:

Five Little Boats

The first little boat went chug, chug, chug.
The second little boat went tug, tug, tug.
The third little boat went row, row, row.
The fourth little boat went oh sooo slooooow.
Here comes the sailboat, watch it go!

A whale puppet and his friends came to visit us for "Did You Ever See A...?" with a water theme.

Early Literacy Tip

In order to start learning how books work, babies need to be able to play with them.

Last we read..

Snug by Carol Thompson

And parents and babies snuggled up with this rhyme from the Verona Public Library Storytime page.

Up, Up, Up

Up up up in the sky like this
(lift baby in the air, facing you)
Down down down for a great big kiss
(lower baby down again and give a kiss)
Up like this
(lift up)
Down for a kiss 
(lower down)
You’re my special baby!

I'll be out next week and my wonderful co-worker, Kate, will be filling in for me.  I'll miss seeing you all!  Have a great week!