Monthly Archives: September 2015

Storytime: Popcorn


popcorn asch popcorn moran

Popcorn by Frank Asch
Popcorn by Alex Moran

“I’m a Little Popcorn” (from Sturgis Kids)
I’m a little popcorn (sit on floor in a ball with arms around knees)
Shaking to and fro (rock back and forth)
When the oven gets hot enough (uncurl slowly)
Pop! I go! (jump up)

“Popcorn in the Popper” (from Sturgis Kids)
*I did this as spoken rhyme, not a song
Popcorn in the popper
Pop, pop, pop, pop (Jump up and down)
Popcorn in the popper.
Butter in a dish
Butter in a dish
Melt, melt, melt, melt (sink to floor)
Butter in the dish.

Scarf Song
“Popcorn Kernels” (from Jbrary)
(Tune: “Frere Jacques”)
Popcorn Kernels (wave scarves overhead)
Popcorn Kernels
In the pot (make their scarves ‘disappear’ by bunching them up in their fists)
In the pot
Shake them shake them shake them (shake)
Shake them shake them shake them
’til they POP (Toss scarves up into the air)
’til they POP

Parachute Play – I blew up several white and several yellow balloons and put them in the parachute We tried to see how quickly we could “pop” the balloons out of the parachute.

Storytime: Bears


bears barner orange bear

Bears! Bears! Bears! by Bob Barner
Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett (a must read for the toddler crowd)


“Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear”
(a combination from Perry Public Library and Miss Meg’s Storytime)
Teddy bear, teddy bear turn around
Teddy bear, teddy bear touch the ground
Teddy bear, teddy bear reach up high
Teddy bear, teddy bear touch the sky
Teddy bear, teddy bear show your shoe
Teddy bear, teddy bear I love you
Teddy bear, teddy bear touch your knees
Teddy bear, teddy bear sit down please

Egg Shaker Songs

“Can You Shake Your Egg With Me?” (from Hartford County Public Library)
(Tune: “London Bridge is Falling Down”)
Can you shake your egg with me?
Shake your egg along with me
It’s as easy as can be
Now put it on your tummy! (head, knee, ear, etc…)

“Cinnamon Bear” (from Preschool Education)
Cinnamon, cinnamon, cinnamon bear
Sitting on the kitchen chair
Cinnamon sugar in the shaker
Shake it, shake it, shake it like a baker
Sprinkle it on buttered toast
It’s a treat you’ll love the most
Cinnamon, cinnamon, cinnamon bear
Do you think that we may share?


Fork Bears (from Crafty Morning) – I cut white construction paper in half and drew a circle on each piece so the children would have a guide for the bear’s face when painting in the fuzz. Once they were finished, they glued on ears and a nose, and used a paintbrush to add eyes.

bear 2

bear 1

Storytime: Get Moving

This was a fun first Toddler Time session (I am only doing Toddler Time this year). The children loved acting out the book Stretch, and parachutes are going to need to be added to my regular rotation.


wokka stretch

How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle
Stretch by Doreen Cronin (she has some other books that would be fun to use)

“Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”

“We Can!” (from Perry Public Library)
We can jump jump jump
We can hop hop hop
We can clap clap clap
We can stop stop stop
We can nod our heads for yes
We can shake our heads for no
We can bend our knees a little bit
And we can sit down slow

Parachute Play – We sang two songs and chanted one rhyme while playing with the parachute.

“The Parachute Goes Up” (from Storytime All-Stars)
(Tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”)
The parachute goes up
The parachute goes down
The parachute goes up and up and then it goes back down
(sing several times)

“If You’re Happy and You Know It” (from Storytime All-Stars)
Verses: lift it high, drop it low, shake it fast, shake it slow, hide underneath

“When the Parachute Goes Up” (from Storytime Source Page)
(Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)
**I chanted this, but singing would probably work better.
When the parachute goes up, stomp your feet
When the parachute goes up, stomp your feet
When the parachute goes high, and lifts up toward the sky
When the parachute goes up, stomp your feet
Verses: bend your knees, shake your head, shout hooray

Sophia’s August Books

This August I read five fiction books and a slew of graphic novels – a list of which can be found in a separate post.  One of the books, Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory, was highly entertaining and I insisted Emma read it as well.  Our joint review will be coming soon!

In the meantime, here are my thoughts on the other books I finished this month:

23281610Re Janeby Patricia Park

I ended up appreciating this retelling of Jane Eyre more than I expected to, considering the source material isn’t one of my favorites (although I don’t dislike it). She managed to capture and, in some instances, enhance the better parts of the original story. I especially liked the ending – it was more realistic and satisfying than Bronte’s. Also, it was awesome to read about South Korean culture, and I enjoyed the comparison of social norms in Korea itself versus the immigrant population in New York City.

Two Across, by Jeff Bartsch


This book was mostly fantastic. It celebrated words and wordplay and spelling and language in so many ways. The two main characters are very intelligent and their relationship is sweet without being saccharine.  They can also be very annoying, but…teenagers.  That ending though.  The plot operates on a particular level of fantasy – like a mildly madcap Cary Grant/Katherine Hepburn feature – until literally the last page, when the author dishes out a walloping great fistful of realism.    The book was generally whimsical and improbable up to that point, skimming over the few heavier moments without much reflection.  Rather than make it more poignant and emotional, the conclusion forced me completely out of the story and left me cold.

The Roomby Jonas Karlsson


I love unreliable narrators, especially when their thought processes veer off into a bizarre version of reality. This book has exactly that kind of narrator.  He is strange, smug, and so sure that it’s the rest of the world that’s crazy, not him.  The story is surreal and filled with the sort of absurdist humor that seems to lend itself so well to office settings.  It’s pleasantly reminiscent of Office Space and both the UK and US versions of The Office without feeling like a derivative retread.  If only we could put Bjorn in a conference room with David Brent, Dwight Schrute, and Milton Waddams…

The Haunted Looking Glassedited by Edward Gorey


I grew up with a copy of this book on my mother’s bookshelf, but never worked up the courage to read it. After being exposed to Scary Stories to Read in the Dark and its sequels, I never quite trusted horror as a genre and Edward Gorey’s creepy illustrations in this anthology were almost as affecting as Stephen Gammell’s charming visuals from the aforementioned bastions of trauma. As an adult, I’ve become less reticent about reading horror, and it was exciting to finally read this book. There are a handful of standout stories, but most of them would probably have been more effective during their original time period. However, all of them are well-written and contain plenty of spooky and suspenseful moments.

Arty Party (Library Event)

The final program I did this  summer was an Arty Party for children ages 2-6. Over 20 kids attended, which for my library is outside the norm. We usually have between 5-10 children attending storytimes and other programs (except the ZooMobile, then it’s a guaranteed full house).

Because all of my summer programming was science-oriented, I wanted to do something art-oriented. I like fun, I like mess, and art is a good way to do both. I like activities that have no right or wrong way to do them. A child could do an activity completely different from the instructions and still create something amazing.

Our community room is somewhat small, so I was only able to squeeze five stations in. Even that was somewhat crowded because of the number of people attending.

All of these activities  can be done inexpensively (the name of the game for a tightly budgeted non-profit library).

arty 3

A messy display of art projects.

The Stations:

  1. Watercolors & Oil
  2. Paper Collage
  3. Shaving Cream Marbleized Paper
  4. Masking Tape Resist
  5. Spin Art

1. Watercolors & Oil (from Babble Dabble Do) – Rereading the directions, I realize I did this art project differently. It would have been easier for the kids if we did it the BDD way. For my way, the children used pipettes to squeeze liquid watercolor, water, and oil onto a plate. They then dipped a piece of sulphite paper into the mixture. The results were interesting, and no one realized that I gave the wrong instructions.

arty 4

2. Paper Collage – For this station, I pulled out all of the random bits of construction paper that has been cut up over the past several years, foam stickers, and placed them on a table with scissors (fancy and regular), glue, and uncut construction paper to be used as the base.

arty 2

3. Shaving Cream Marbleized Paper (from Happy Hooligans) – This was a popular, and messy, table. For the prints, I cut water color paper into approximately 4×6 in pieces. I also used regular-sized heavy duty paper plates for the shaving cream instead of larger trays. We were able to get two decent prints per shaving cream/watercolor mixture.

arty 5

4. Masking Tape Resist (from Happy Hooligans) – Paper, tape, and watercolors are all that is needed for this project. It seemed like the least popular station, but I could be wrong about that assumption given that a lot of my attention was devoted to helping with the two über-messy activities.

5. Spin Art (from Babble Dabble Do) – I have done this at both a previous storytime and at my daughter’s 5th birthday party. It has proven to keep kids occupied until they run out of paint in the bottles.

arty 1

2015 Graphic Novels / Manga (First Half)

While my book reading more than doubled, my graphic reading was almost non-existent. This was due in part to the fact that I was not glued to the computer reading manga scanilations. To only marginally compensate for that, I’ve included the three webcomics I read.

2014 Graphic Novels/Manga (First Half)
2015 Books (First Half)

Graphic Novel Favorites

rat queens rat queens 2 beauty hubert

*Rat Queens vol 1-2 – Rat Queens will forever be a favorite of mine. It is unapologetically snarky and crass and awesome. Volume 1 introduces the ladies in all their glory, and volume 2 starts poking at backstories. Both volumes are individual adventures, but each one ends with the set up.
*BeautyA nice adult fairy tale that shows how debased man can be. It is bitter and bloody and shows that wishes are a nasty double-edged sword that punish as least as much as they reward.

Graphic Novels
Oddly Normal vol 1-2
Ms. Marvel vol 1
Over the Wall
Miss Don’t Touch Me
Girl Genius
(an ongoing webcomic)
Love Not Found
(an ongoing webcomic)

Manga Favorites

say i love you skip beat 1

*Say I Love You vol 1-7 – A nice love story where the male MC isn’t a complete jerk. Both characters are sweet and endearing. It’s a nice change from a lot of other romance manga.
*Skip Beat! vol 1-24 – I would have never picked up this series if it wasn’t for the comments on my April Books post. I love Kyoko’s mix of grudge, revenge, pessimism, optimism, and naiveté.

A Bride’s Story vol 1-7
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle vol 1-3
xxxHolic vol 1-3
Girls of the Wild’s (an ongoing webcomic)

Summer Science: Rockets & My Choice

Rockets and My Choice were the two final summer science programs I ran for school age children.  The rocket launcher was incredibly easy to build. It was a huge hit at both the library and when I went camping with another family. I am going to use it with my Girl Scouts at some point this year – probably at our fall camp out.

I use used the Paper Stomp Rocket tutorial from Instructables. It cost less than $15 for materials (including the pvc glue), and took about 15 minutes to build. I used an electric saw as opposed to a hand saw, so that probably helped keep the building time down. When prepping the pvc pieces used as a forming tubes, only wrap one layer of tape around the tube. Any more than that, and the rockets will be too loose. I also didn’t glue the bottle cap into the bushing/coupling (the library’s hot glue gun didn’t work). It turned out not to be a problem. In order to keep the bottle set in the bushing/coupling, I placed a small rock under it. Worked like a champ. It is important to have a TON of 2 liter bottles. One, even two, are not enough as they get mangled fairly quickly.

My Choice
I did three  activities for the final program:

  1. Film canister rockets
  2. Heat sensitive color changing slime
  3.  (I cannot remember for the life of me, nor can my director remember for the life of her.)

1. Film Canister Rockets – This idea came from a Girl Scout badge I did with my troop. It is very simple, inexpensive, and a lot of fun. Someday I would like to do the rockets as night, turning them into tracers with glowstick goop. Canisters can be purchased on Amazon. The only other two things you need are Alka-Seltzer tablets and a little bit of water. Put half a tablet in the canister, add about a tablespoon of water, pop the lid on, set it on the ground lid down, and get away. Some blow quickly, and others take a minute or two. The canisters can shoot over 15 feet into the air, so they are an outside-only activity.

2. Heat Sensitive Color Changing Slime  (from Left Brain Craft Brain) – A twist on the basic slime recipe, but oh so fun. I bought red and green thermochromic powder from Glomania. We did several color combinations:

yellow liquid watercolor + red powder (the yellow stays fairly true)
blue liquid watercolor + green powderyellow liquid watercolor + green powder (the yellow ends up being more of a snot green)
blue liquid watercolor + red powder

slime 2 slime 1