Thursday, August 16, 2012

Welcome Back From All Your Friends!

I have to admit it - I have always loved stuffed animals.  Even now, if I see a really adorable stuffie I might stop to check it out.  It's usually the expression that's the clincher, but sometimes it's the color or the material.   Normally I can resist, except if it happens to be book related.  If the stuffed figure is a book character, I simply can't help myself.  Resistance is futile at that point.

I have been a librarian for many years, so it should be no surprise that I have quite a sizable collection by now.  A favorite thing I love to do at this time of year is to set them all on display in our huge case to welcome back the 400+ children that will stream through those doors in less than a week.  This display is so much fun!  Children and parents love it, spending a long time checking it out.  They recognize many but also discover a few stories they aren't familiar with.  It's a visual literacy of the soft kind!

Here are pictures from last year.  The challenge this year will be how to squeeze in a few more characters.  A trip to Livres Babar on Greene Avenue in Montreal this summer yielded a large Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson) and a small Wodney Wat (Helen Lester).  I will start work on it tomorrow.  I can't wait to get out all those old friends.  Bring on the stuffies!

Please don't let the pigeon drive that bus!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Strange Thing Happened While Reading a Book!

Yesterday something very odd happened.  While waiting for my son to finish playing in a golf tournament in Middlebury, I sat in the shade with a box of new library books to read.  It was a very hot day, and the air shimmered in the heat.  Everything was very still.  I started reading the book pictured on the left: Chipmunk's Hole by Dee Phillips, Bearport, c2012.  What a wonderful nonfiction book this is!  I was soon engrossed.  I can't wait to show it to my students and teachers as a great example of nonfiction elements.  Not only does it have a Table of Contents, loads of great photos, labels, maps, fact windows, words in bold, and a glossary, but the text is so appropriate for the children in my school.

The strange part is coming up...  As I was reading along, enjoying the pictures and information, I became aware of a rustling sound in the leaves near where I was sitting.  I glanced down and lo and behold there was a chipmunk looking up at me.  Did it just wink at me?  She? He? paused for a moment before scampering away and popping into a small opening.  I didn't have time to take a picture of the chipmunk, but I did get one of the hole. 


 Just like in the book!
 How cool is that?

Here's another hole I found.
Could it be another entrance?

Reading this book brings to mind another wonderful book about chipmunks: Chipmunk Song.   Joanne Ryder first published this book in 1987 by Dutton Children's Books with illustrations by Lynne Cherry, and it belongs in every child's repertoire.  It is a delightful, fantastical exploration by a young boy in a chipmunk's burrow.  Not to be missed!
The next book in my box to read is a picture book entitled King Arthur's Very Great Grandson, by Kenneth Kraegel, Candlewick Press, c2012.  I am almost afraid to open it.  What might scurry by while I am reading it???