PreK Bits - "V"+ valuable = VALENTINE

Ms. Rachel and Ms. Sara began storytime with "the HELLO song" and then led the audience through an activity called “I’m Making a Blanket For Baby”.
This activity pairs songs we know ... with picture-squares we know ... and we create a "singing" quilt.
YOU’RE ALL MY FAVORITES Mama and Papa Bear declare. Baby bears worry, "We can't ALL be the best."
WHERE SHALL WE GO? by Nanadini Nayar.
Sameer is out of school for the week and packing his vacation bag. Mama guesses where they are going based on the clues going into the bag.

Time to give each other a "hugga hugga hug ... A hug and a squee-ee-eeze" and try some more valuable valentine titles:
GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU? by Sam McBratney
A YOU’RE ADORABLE ... a classic alphabet "love" song, as sung on the CD SMORGASBOARD by Sharon, Lois and Bram
A BEDTIME FOR BEAR by Bonny Becker
HUG MACHINE by Scott Campbell
VALENTINE BEARS by Eve Bunting
LOVE MONSTER by Rachel Bright
TAKING CARE OF MAMA RABBIT by Anita Lobel.

"Write On!" - Let's Get Started!

Thinking about entering this year’s “Write On!” Short Story Contest for 3rd-5th grade, but not sure where to start? What are short stories supposed to be about, anyway?
Good news! That's the fun part about writing - YOU get to decide. It can be scary, funny, silly, or sad. All you need is an idea! Now... where can you find one of those?!

These short story collections should get you thinking:
Ribbiting Tales: Original Stories About Frogs
Sports Shorts: An Anthology of Short Stories
Breaking the Spell: Tales of Enchantment

For some spooky ideas, try:
That’s Ghosts for You: 13 Scary Stories
Beware! : R.L. Stine Picks His Favorite Scary Stories

To find out more about the "Write On!" Short Story Contest, check out the contest home page!

Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse

In Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse, a very curious mouse wakes up one day, only to discover that all of the other mice have disappeared. The reason? The invention of the mechanical mouse trap! Our little mouse friend knows he must reach his friends and family in America, but with hungry cats guarding the ships at the harbor and owls following him each night, the little mouse knows his journey will not be easy. Late one night, the little mouse spies bats flying in the distance, and (in a stroke of pure mousy genius) realizes that he must fly to America. The mouse will build his own little wings for the long journey overseas. Although difficult at first, our furry protagonist constructs his very own pair of wings, and sets off across the Atlantic.

This story hinges on it's beautiful and breathtaking illustrations, and readers will connect easily to the mouse at the center of this inspiring story. The mechanical aspects of this book greatly reminded me of the illustrations and overall feel of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Other great mouse stories with similar themes include Mousenet, Young Fredle, and Ratatouille.

Cozy Books for Winter

Are you feeling done with winter even though winter isn’t done with you? I can relate! Luckily, we’ve got some great kids books to make the winter more cozy and fun. My favorite new addition to this group is Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold, by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen. This book is a true gem. Each page combines poems about life during the winter, gorgeous illustrations, and a sidebar explaining the facts behind the poem. For a lovely mix of art and science, you can’t get much better than this book!

If you’re going stir crazy and need some fun activities, check out Fun and Festive Winter Crafts, which will teach you how to make a number of seasonal crafts and offers information on the science of winter. Creating Winter Crafts will also help drive away boredom.

Finally, if you want a hilarious and sweet winter classic, try the great picture book Tacky the Penguin, by Helen Lester. And for older readers, check out my personal winter favorite, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic The Long Winter. I guarantee you that this book will make you feel better about our winters!

Grab some hot chocolate and cozy up with one of these books! Spring will be here before we know it. Hopefully.

PreK Bits - "U" is for Underneath

UNDER is the word of the day in Ms. Rachel's Storytime.

TOPS And BOTTOMS is a folktale about Rabbit and Bear's new partnership enterprise. All profit gets split 50/50.
Ms. Sara sang "Inch By Inch" aka "The Garden Song", one version can be found on the folk song CD PICKIN' And GRINNIN'.
INCH By INCH is the lyrics in picture book format by David Mallet.
"Ten In The Bed" was sung with props, as done on SING IT! SAY IT! STAMP IT! SWAY IT vol. 3, a CD recording by Peter T. Allard... And the one underneath did yell and shout "Please remember to tie a knot in your pajamas!"
WE'RE GOING On A BEAR HUNT repeats "Over" and "Under" action in the story.

For more fun stories of "Under" things, try the following titles:
TEN In The BED by Judy Cabrera.
UNDER MY HOOD I HAVE A HAT by Karla Kuskin.
UNDER The GROUND by Anna Milbourne.
MUSHROOM IN The RAIN by Mirra Ginsburg.
DIG. WAIT. LISTEN. A DESERT TOAD'S TALE by April Pulley Sayre.

Let the "Write On!" Contest Begin!

All third, fourth, and fifth grade writers may now submit their stories to the third annual "Write On!" Short Story Contest! Just type up your story and either send it to youngwrite@aadl.org or bring it to the Youth Desk at the Downtown Branch! Story submissions will be accepted 2/9-2/27. Check out the guidelines and contest website for more information!

If writing a story straight from your head seems tough, try out a couple of these goofy story-starters to get your ideas flowing!

The only thing worse than stepping in grape jelly is...
This morning I woke up and thought, "Aw pickles."
Dragons don't make very good pets...
When I walked into science class today, I didn't expect...
Something sounded like two million cats practicing karate...

Happy writing!

Is Your Teacher A Monster?

Peter Brown, author and illustrator of the popular and fabulous picture book Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, brings us a new bit of fun in My Teacher is a Monster. In this picture book Bobby has a big problem at school. Her name was Ms. Kirby. She was the meanest teacher who stomped and roared and did not allow paper airplanes in class. She was a monster. But then one day something happens and Bobby sees her in a whole new light.

The book is delighfully illustrated in true Brown fashion, and would be a fun read whether your teacher roars or not.

Homeschool Help: A Body of Knoweldge

For most homeschooling families, library visits are a regular part of the routine.
But are you aware of some of our other resources to encourage learning in your homeschool?

Our Science Tools are great for supplementing curriculum or focusing on a particular science topic. We have models of different human anatomy components.

What is in our heads? The MRI Head, Brain, and Sinuses can give your students hands on answers! How do the sound get from the Ear to the brain? How are our Teeth attached into our mouths?

How are the chambers of the heart connected? How does the blood get from our lungs to our heart?
Check out our Lungs and Heart.

Is the foot bone really connected to the leg bone? The Skeleton will show you from head to toe!

Many of our "parts of the body" Science Tools models are painted by artists and are signed by the artist!
Included with each model are resource books relating to the subject as well as a guide to the model parts with the scientific name for each part. The models are appropriate for many ages and grade levels.

So the gathering of the materials is done! Just check out the model, take it home and have fun learning together.

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space

Looking for a cool new non-fiction book with a twist? Look no further: Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space has just arrived! Join Professor Astro (a very smart kitty!) as he leads readers through our galaxy and beyond, stopping along the way to explain and explore our solar system. Have you ever wondered how a rocket works? Or maybe you've always wanted to know how to find your favorite constellation in the night sky? Professor Astro is here to help!

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space is overflowing with cool information, and covers varied space topics such as the life cycle of stars, the Apollo missions, the International Space Station, how modern space suits work, constellations, telescopes, and many more cool space topics. Much of the information is delivered through funky and retro illustrations. This is the kind of book you can spend hours with, pouring over the small details. This book was created by Dr. Dominic Wallman (who holds a PhD in Quantum Physics) and award-winning illustrator and comic book creator Ben Newman, making it both scientifically accurate as well as very visually appealing. This is a great book for all ages, and comes highly recommended!

Interested in learning even more about space? Try out the DK Guide to Space or The Story of Astronomy and Space for more information.

Art Table: Shapescapes!

At the art table in the downtown youth department we're featuring playable art! This time it's Shapescapes. Shapescapes are amazing, colorful and sturdy shapes that are interlocking. They can be put together in a myriad of ways to form a variety of neat sculptures! Children will enjoy putting them together, taking them apart, and creating something all new with the same pieces. Check it out and start shapescaping!

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