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!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Toddler & Preschool Storytime: SHAPES!

We had fun with shapes today! Did you know that talking to your children about shapes now can help them learn to read later on? Shapes have different features, and so do letters. As you highlight the different features of shapes with your child, they become familiar with them. Later on, you can point out those shapes in letters, too. The letter "A" for example, looks a lot like a triangle. "O" and "C" have circles within their features. Have more fun with shapes to help your child build reading readiness skills later on in life!
We read these books about shapes today:
BLOCKS by Irene Dickson
Moving Blocks by Yusuke Yonezu
 Blocks was recommended on the Jbrary blog as the perfect toddler book. Learning shapes? Check! Learning how to share? Check! Two cute kids on the cover with big, clean illustrations inside? Check! I saw several knowing looks and heard a few giggles when we got to the what-happens-now-that-we-made-a-big-mess-cuz-we-couldn't-share? part ; ) But there is a happy ending, and it's done very matter of factly! Help your toddlers learn about shapes, colors, AND how to share with this simple, fun book.
 There are lots of great book about shapes, but I wanted to share our new board book, Moving Blocks in particular because it inspired our project for today. This book just shouts "craft time!" to me! I set about laying out the same shaped blocks that you see in the book onto card stock. Then I had some wonderful volunteers cut those shapes out! It's a step up from using actual building blocks as your little ones glue the pieces in place, but it's bright, fun, and creates an awesome way to talk with them about the hidden shapes all around us. 
 In fact, you can find shapes most anywhere, including in food! Here's a song to get your kids thinking about shapes in food:
Food Shapes! (Sing to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus)

A tortilla is a shape that’s round, round, round,

Round, round, round; round, round, round!

A tortilla is a shape that’s round, round, round,

 and it

Tastes so good! (rub tummy)

A watermelon slice is a triangle,

Triangle, triangle,

A watermelon slice is a triangle and it

Tastes so good!

A brownie has a shape that’s called a square,

Called a square, called a square!

A brownie has a shape that’s called a square, and it

Tastes so good!

OK, now I'm hungry! Anyone for some Mexican food? Yum!

I passed out some felt shapes that I intended the kids to use for some body movements to go with a couple of songs. However, they were so excited to have shapes made out of felt (because they know felt goes on the felt board! Of course it does!) that it took us a while! But most of us finally figured out how to use the shapes with our bodies, too ; )  Here's a song that you can use with your children to focus on shapes. And if you make a bunch of shapes together out of paper first, you can have a fun craft afterwards, too!
 Shape Fun!
Put your shape on your heart, on your heart!

Put your shape on your heart, on your heart!

Put your shape on your heart, what a lovely way to start!

Put your shape on your heart, on your heart!

Put your shape on your knee…

…You’ll both be filled with glee…

Put your shape on your toes…

…Now move it to your nose…

Put your shape on your head…

…..Then put it straight to bed…

Give your shape a big hug…

…..Make it snug as a bug in a rug…

And an example of what you can do with your cut out shapes:

That was our craft today. Let your imagination go wild! We'll do this craft again at Family Storytime this weekend - it was fun!

Next week at Toddler & Preschool Storytime we'll explore Feelings. You guys are never grumpy are you?? Well, in the book, Grumpy Pants, Penguin gets grumpy, and he'll show you the best thing to do to get rid of the grumpies ; )

I also want to share that on the weekend after next Toddler & Preschool Storytime  (Saturday, March 11th) we'll be having a special Family Storytime featuring the beloved Read-Along Songs duo, Cal Walker and John Simon! Family Reading Partnership is partnering with us to bring you an hour long Family Storytime full of songs, stories and FUN! We'll be meeting in the Borg Warner room at our usual Family Storytime hour of 11:00. I hope you can join us!

See you next time!
Miss Kelly

Monday, February 27, 2017

February Staff Picks

Picture Books

E Cronin
Summary: "A brother and sister want to go to the playground with their grandfather but they can't leave until they find everything they need to take with them, in his colorful house. Help Granddad find all of his belongings in this search and find!"
Adelle's Thoughts: In this extraordinary seek and find book, the reader journeys from one beautifully illustrated page to another helping a delightfully eccentric Grandfather find his missing belongings. Grandfather's house is not only fantastically cluttered and muddled, but all of his belongings in each room are the same vibrant color, making this unique monochromatic challenge more difficult than one may originally imagine. The illustrations set this book apart from your typical run-of-the-mill seek and find. I declare a tie between this and Mr. Tweed's Good Deeds by Kim Stoten, another unique seek and find.

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell
E Cordell
Summary: "When a wolf cub and little girl are lost in a snowstorm they must find their way home."
Kelly's Thoughts: This is a beautiful new wordless picture book about the joy of caring. It is a book full of emotion, friendship and trust. This is a spot-on picture book for the times.

The Blobfish Book by Jessica Olien
E Olien
Summary: "did you know that the deepest parts of the ocean are over one mile deep -- too far down for any sunlight to reach? That's where Blobfish lives. But this book isn't about Blobfish... or is it?"
Cassie's Thoughts: This book is incredible at both sharing facts and making you laugh. I'd love to see more books like this published! Poor Blobfish is so wanting to be in the book and then when he is, he hears some bad news about himself. His friends reassure him in a beautiful way and somehow by the end, you know way more about sea creatures than you did before you read it. This is one we've read over and over at my house.

The Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies
E Davies
Summary: "When Noi's dad sails out on one last fishing trip before winter, Noi waits for him at home. But as the storm worsens and his dad does not return, Noi decides to go looking for his dad. But the storm is powerful and dangerous, and soon Noi, too, is stuck in the icy sea. When it seems that all hope is lost, a friend comes to help Noi and his father."
Kate's Thoughts: I loved this beautiful story of friendship and family. The illustrations are gorgeous. This is a perfect book for a cozy winter night spent reading, and, being a Cat Lady myself, I really loved finding Noi's six pet kitties!
Adelle's Thoughts: Noi, his tender fisherman father, six cats and the baby whale he once saved, all return in this moving sequel to The Storm Whale. The difference? The whale, along with his family, rescue Noi this time around. However, themes of loneliness, friendship and loving father/son relationships remain. Fans of The Storm Whale will not be disappointed.

Chapter Books

Diva and Flea by Mo Willems
J Willems
Summary: "In the bustling city of Paris, a small yet brave dog, Diva, and an adventurous cat named Flea become two unlikely friends."
Cassie's Thoughts: I picked this up since my 4-year-old LOVES Mo Willems and found this is a wonderful read-aloud chapter book. The story is heartwarming and silly with beautiful and unique illustrations. We felt transported into their world and fell in love with these two very different friends.

J Vivat
Summary: "Nervous about middle school because her family does not get her and her friends know exactly what they want to do, Abbie Wu searches for her own passion before discovering a knack for leadership when injustices in the cafeteria come to light."
Kate's Thoughts: At first, our quirky protagonist, Abbie, was so high-strung and anxious, I found myself feeling a little stressed just reading the book! As I continued reading, however, the humor in this story really put me at ease, and I quickly began to see Abbie take control of her life in "The Middles." Readers will appreciate the diverse cast of characters and I can see the funny illustrations pulling in fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Hand this tale of positive problem solving to any child struggling with nerves, or anyone who loves a good laugh!

Nest by Ester Ehrlich
J Ehrlich
Summary: "On Cape Cod in 1972, eleven-year-old Naomi, known as Chirp for her love of birds, gets help from neighbor Joey as she struggles to cope with her mother's multiple sclerosis and its effect on her father and sister."
Sarah's Thoughts: This is a sweet, but sad, coming-of-age story about Chirp. Throughout the heart-breaking story, Chirp's delightful personality keeps you rooting for her and her family. You will delight, along with Chirp, as she enjoys birding and nature, as well as her friendship with neighbor Joey. The characters in this novel are so well-written and quite complex that it was a joy to read, even when reading with tears in my eyes.

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds
J Reynolds
Summary: "When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires -- literally."
Kelly's Thoughts: This is an interesting and moving story about two boys, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, who were sent to live with their grandparents in rural Virginia while their arguing parents take a vacation in an attempt to figure out their marriage, which has been on shaky ground for a while. The characters are funny, flawed, caring, human and very believable, very real. It is largely a story about family ties, family secrets and courage.

YA Books

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
YA McLemore (also available as an eBook on Overdrive)
Summary: "To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of of Miel's wrists, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel's skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they're willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up."
Regina's Thoughts: Magical realism is not usually my jam but the world that McLemore created was fascinating and immersive. Inspired by parts of the author's own life, this rich novel will transport the reader to a timeless small town where your heart breaks for the characters.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
YA Garber (also available as an eBook on Overdrive)
Summary: "Believing that she will never be allowed to participate in the annual Caraval performance when her ruthless father arranges her marriage, Scarlett receives the invitation she has always dreamed of before her sister, Tella, is kidnapped by the show's mastermind organizer."
Regina's Thoughts: If you loved The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, you'll love Caraval. The island, live-action game is a character in itself, the language is sumptuous and detailed, the magic is neither too subtle or too over-the-top, and, best of all, the twists and turns will keep you guessing until the last page. Highly recommended.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Family Storytime: Baby Animals!

Family Storytime is back again - yay! We had a 2 week hiatus while the new carpets were being installed, but now we're ready...for baby animals! There are so many fun books about them :) Here's what we read today:

Off We Go! by Jane Yolen; Ills. by Laurel Molk
My Big Brother by Valorie Fisher
Peek-a-boo: a Look and Learn book by National Geographic Kids

Off We Go by Jane Yolen is one of my very favorite books. I'm not a grandmother (yet ; ) but the lyrical text of Jane Yolen, combined with the precious illustrations by Laurel Molk of baby animals celebrating their visits to "grandma's" houses everywhere, capture some of life's sweetest and simplest joys - heading out to visit someone you love. I like to encourage people to take these books that I read at storytime home so you can see their beauty and charm up close! 

We also read My Big Brother by Valorie Fisher, which absolutely floored me the first time I read it. She captures the beautiful relationship possible between siblings with such unique and inspiring perspective! If you don't believe this perspective is realistic, I can say one of the reasons I love the book so much is how accurately it mirrored the most wonderful aspects of siblings that I witnessed myself with my own children. Of course they weren't perfect, but they had a mutual admiration society between them that I think sometimes parents can fail to observe and cultivate. If you'd like to learn more about that potential, take My Big Brother home and share it with your sibling children. Sometimes kids will see what grownups miss - that 'sibling' and 'rivalry' don't necessarily always go hand in hand :0)

AND I squeezed in National Geographic Kids' Peek-a-boo! (Probably shouldn't have, but ; ) we all came back together with Old MacDonald, so it was OK!) I love this board book series by the National Geographic crew. Perfect for toddlers up to preschool with it's [always] wonderful photography and engaging way of imparting facts. I LOVE FACTS! Science rules!

Let's celebrate baby animals with Old MacDonald!

Old MacDonald had a Baby Farm!
Old MacDonald Had a Baby Farm
Ee-i, ee-i, O!
And on that farm she had a lamb!
Ee-i, ee-i, O!
With a Baa-baa here.etc.

And on that farm she had a chickPeep! Peep!
A pigletoink - oink!
A puppyArf! Arf!!
A kittenMew, mew!

Maybe your big animals can help the baby animals at your house with these fun moves, shared by Jbrary here:

Well Hello Everybody     (Sing to the tune of  Buffalo Gals)
Well hello everybody!
Can you touch your nose?
Touch your nose~
Touch your nose~
Well hello everybody! Can you touch your nose?
Touch -- your -- nose!
Can your pat your head?
Can you rub your tummy?
Can you clap your hands?
Tap your feet?
Touch your toes?
Sit right down? YAY!

Can you think of any other things to do before you finish the song??

Well, it's good to be back, and I hope to see lots of friends next week when we will be exploring SHAPES! I'll have a fun project for you, too :)
See you next time,
Miss Kelly

Friday, February 24, 2017

Baby Storytime

It was so good to be all back together again this morning after our renovation!

First we shared our welcome songs and then we read....

Hugs and Kisses by Judi Abbot

We then we sang this sweet song.  The babies smiled so big on the lifting verse at the end!

Love Somebody Yes I Do
from Jbrary
Tune: Skip to My Lou

Love somebody yes I do
Love somebody yes I do
Love somebody yes I do
That someone is you. .

Jiggle like jelly yes I will
jiggle like jelly yes I will
Jiggle like jelly yes I will
'Cause I can't sit still.

Climb a ladder, oh so high
Climb a ladder oh so high
Climb a ladder oh so high
'Til I touch the sky.

...and then we shared this sweet rhyme:

Baby, Baby Dumpling also from Jbrary

Baby, baby dumpling,
Put him in the pot
Sugar him and butter him
And eat him while he's hot!

Next we read....

Does Mouse Squeak Alone? by Anita Bijsterbosch

...and some puppet friends joined us for Raffi's "Down on Grandpa’s Farm"

At our last baby storytime, we learned the sign for mom and this week we learned dad after reading the book about animals and their families.

Last we read...

Sweet Snouts by Liesbet Slegers

....and shared these two favorite rhymes of mine:

Hop Your Bunny from Miss Katie's Storytime Wiki

Hop your bunny up
Hop your bunny down
Hop your bunny to the side
Hop him all around!
Hop him on your shoulder,
Hop him on your head,
Hop him on your tummy,
And then put him to bed!

Hurry Scurry Little Mouse
from Mel’s Desk

Early Literacy Tip

When you read from books with big, clear pictures, you can point to the picture and show your baby the real thing. For example, point to a picture of a cat, and your cat!

We finished up with shakers and goodbye songs and rhymes.  See you again next week!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Toddler & Preschool Storytime: Baby Animals!

Who doesn't like baby animals?? Something to note is that we are ALL baby animals at some point in our lives :) And weren't we all a bunch of cuties? Here's what we read today:
Hello Baby! by Mem Fox; Ills. by Steve Jenkins
Bedtime in the Jungle by John Butler

Hellllooooo, Baby! (That's what I hear in my head whenever I see this book ; ) It's a wonderful, simple book for young people about baby animals. Act out the expressions and motions and sounds that these animals make as you read the book together. We had fun doing just that at storytime today!
Bedtime in the Jungle is classic John Butler - the art: so sweet and beautiful; the words: cozy, bedtime poetry, based on the traditional song "Over in the Meadow." I tend to do only half of a book with that song, because it seems like singing about all 10 animals is just a bit too long for the toddlers. So take this beautiful book home some time, and read/sing the whole thing together!

Early literacy tip: Did you know that singing to and with your little one is good for their readiness to talk and read? Singing slows down and breaks up the syllables of the words making them more accessible phonetically. (Translate: easier to comprehend and remember!) Sing, sing, sing! And remember, you don't need a great voice for your children to enjoy singing. They'll get the benefit of singing even if you're not a professional. I know this from personal experience ; )

Let's sing a perfect song for our own, human baby animals - Peek-a-Boo! (Sing to the tune of Frere Jacques)

Peek-a-boo! Peek-a-boo!
I see you I see you!
I see baby’s nose!
I see baby’s toes!
Peek-a-boo! I see you!

Get your fingers out and let's count turtles!

Five Baby Turtles

1 baby turtle alone and new

Finds a friend and then there are two.

2 baby turtles crawl down to the sea

They find another & then there are three.

3 three baby turtles crawl along the shore

They find another & then there are four.

4 baby turtles go for a dive

Up swims another & then there are five!

And finally, a new song for the wiggles in all of us by John Scott:

My Thumbs are Starting to Wiggle

(Tune: For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow)                   Credit  storytimer named John Scott  via Jbrary  

My thumbs are starting to wiggle
My thumbs are starting to wiggle
My thumbs are starting to wiggle….
And now so are my hands!

My hands are starting to wiggle….
And now so are my arms!!
My toes are starting to wiggle(stop any time after here ; )

And now so are my feet! (You can also invite kids to suggest body parts…)

End with:
My body’s starting to wiggle
My body’s starting to wiggle
My body’s starting to wiggle
And now I must sit down!! Phew!

Thank you so much for coming to our special storytime in the Borg Warner room today! We just had our carpet replaced in the Thaler Howell room Sunday and it's still pretty stinky! We'll give it a whirl next Tuesday, though, and I hope to see you then!
Miss Kelly

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Toddler & Preschool Storytime: Welcome Back! and What's in Space?

What's in space? The sun and the moon, of course! And planets and comets and sometimes rockets and aliens and.....hey!? Aliens?? Yup, we saw some today! They were in a book :) Can you guess which one? (*I'll tell you later in this post!)
Here's what we read:
Roaring Rockets by Tony Mitton; Ills. by Ant Parker
Journey to the Moon an Office Ref Pop-up book

RRRRRRoaring RRRRockets! Alliteration: A great way to introduce letters to your young ones! Pointing to and sounding out letters as you read books to your child is a great way to create letter recognition - one of the stepping stones for getting ready to read :) Also, while reading Roaring Rockets, kids can let their imaginations go wild, while learning some basic space travel facts! And Tony Mitton and Ant Parker have a fun, cartoon-y style that kids can relate to.

Journey to the Moon is a Pop-Up book that utilizes letter and number recognition in another great way: 5 4 3 2 1 When you see numbers and letters like this: ZOOOOOM it is another perfect time to touch them and exaggerate the sounds they represent. (* Also, there are aliens in this book!)

How might we get to to the moon? By Zoom, Zoom, Zooming! We sang this favorite today:

 Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We're going to the moon!
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We're going very soon!
If you want to take a trip,
Climb aboard my rocketship!
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We're going to the moon! (Countdown!)
10-- 9-- 8-- 7-- 6-- 5-- 4-- 3-- 2-- 1! Blast off!!!!
Zoom, zoom, zoom we're going to the moon! (Repeat as often as necessary!)

We also learned how to say "sun" and "moon" in ASL and used the signs for this song:
 Sun and Moon (Sing to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)
The sun is in the sky
The sun is in the sky
Hot and bright it gives us light
The sun is in the sky!

The moon is in the sky
The moon is in the sky
Round and round the earth it goes
The moon is in the sky!
There are so many fun songs and rhymes about things in space! Let's do another one that we can use our fingers to count with:

Stars on High
1 one, 2 two – stars on high,
3 three, 4 four – in the sky,
5 five, 6 six – burning bright,
7 seven, 8 eight – in the night,
9 nine, 10 Ten – I declare,   
Too many stars to count up there!
Good job! I saw a lot of finger counting today at storytime! We also made our very own solar systems for our project today. They were all so beautiful! They made me want to go exploring in space :)

NOTE: Don't forget that next week, while the library is under renovation, (February 10 - 19) we will have a special, traveling storytime in Center Ithaca! Get ready for the best Valentine's Day ever, (and keep fingers crossed against winter storms!)  We'll read mushy books about kisses and love and have a simple Valentine's Craft, (the green letters are a hint about what the craft will be...something that hops.....; ) so come on out and meet your friends and have fun this Valentine's Day at 11:00 in Center Ithaca. We'll be stationed near Alphabet Soup :)

Stock up on those books now, and we hope to see you back at the library for Toddler & Preschool Storytime on the 21st! We will meet in the Borg Warner Room for this one, because the carpet in the Thaler/Howell Room will be so new - we want to make sure any "off-gassing" is done and over with before we bring storytime back there :) By the way, if you have any questions about the renovations, please don't hesitate to ask :)

See you next time,
Miss Kelly