All posts by ranea

About ranea

This is just my private journal for personal pictures and moments in life.

New Picture Books!

  1. Chicken in Space, by Adam Lehrhaupt: This is a silly story that encourages imagination and fortitude. Zoey the chicken never gives up on adventure, and her best friend Sam the pig is always by her side. I would recommend this to a child who enjoys the silliness  Mo Willems often brings to the table combined with the more adventurous side of Oliver Jeffers.
  2. I Love Cake, by Tammi Sauer: This book has wonderful messages all around about friendship, sharing, making amends and forgiveness. This book is also hilarious, and it would make an excellent read aloud for a 3-5 year old storytime.
  3. Samson in the Snow, by Philip C. Stead: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I will read any picture Philip C. Stead writes. I’ve yet to be disappointed. He makes wonderful books with lovely stories. Samson in the Snow is about stepping outside of ones comfort zone and learning to make new friends. It’s a touching story with beautiful illustrations to match.
  4. This Book Just Ate My Dog!, by Richard Byrne: This book is so funny! This interactive story would be a wonderful read aloud for a 3-5 year old storytime. I think the parents would get a kick out of it too!
  5. We Found a Hat, by Jon Klassen: I can’t tell you how excited I was when this book came out! Jon Klassen is another author/Illustrator that has yet to disappoint. Anything he does, I will take a look at, whether he’s writing, illustrating or both. We Found a Hat is the third in his Hat Trilogy, the follow up to I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat. All three are brilliant and hilarious!

That’s all for now. As usual, happy reading!


Book Babies: Fall

Fall is my favorite time of the year, so I particularly enjoy planning for book babies during this time. There are so many fun things to share: pumpkins, colorful leaves, apples, cozy sweaters… I could go on and on. I also have a chance each fall to get out my favorite owl finger puppets!

Books We Read:

  1. Wonderfall, by Michael Hall: This book has a lot of words for a 0-2 crowd, but you do not have to read every single page. You can pick and choose your favorite little autumn poems to share.
  2. Hocus Pocus It’s Fall!, by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Songs We Sang:

  1. Clap and Sing Hello
  2. Up, Down, Turn Around
  3. Wiggle Song,
  4. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  5. Leaves are Falling Down
  6. The Leaves on the Trees
  7. Hoot, Hoot, Went the Little Brown Owl
  8. Five Little Riders
  9. Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  10. When Cows Get Up in the Morning
  11. Bubble, Bubble, Pop!
  12. Bubbles in the Air

Puppets and Felt Board Activities:



When Cows Get Up in the Morning: I like to do this puppet activity just about any time of the year, but it works really well for fall when you use farm animals. I brought out my cows, horses, pigs, etc. for this fun fingerplay/song. The link to the Jbrary video is in the list of songs above.





Five Little Leaves:fullsizerender14

Five little leaves
Flying by my door
One blew away,
And then there were four.

Four little leaves
Falling down on me.
One blew away,
And then there were three.

Three little leaves
Falling down on you.
One blew away,
And then there were two.

Two little leaves
Having lots of fun.
One blew away,
And then there were one.

One brown little leaf,
Sitting in the sun,
It blew away,
And then there were none

Five Little Owls:


Five little owls,
On a branch by the shore,
A squirrel scampered by,
And then there were four.

Four little owls,
Perched high up in a tree,
The wind shook one off,
And then there were three.

Three little owls,
With nothing fun to do,
One got very bored,
And then there were two.

Two little owls,
Just having some fun,
A bear came along,
And then there was one.

One little owl,
Winked at the setting sun,
Flew into the forest,
And then there were none.


Book Babies: At the Zoo

I love using the lift-the-flap board book, Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell in my Book Babies program. It’s perfect for ages 0-2. Plus I recently made a Dear Zoo set of flannel pieces, and once they were finished, I was compelled to go with a Zoo Animals theme. Babies love animal sounds! You could also use a lot of these tools for a Summer themed storytime.

Books We Read:

  1. The Opposite Zoo, by Il Sung Na
  2. Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell

Songs We Sang:

  1. Clap and Sing Hello
  2. When Zoo Animals Wake Up in the Morning (I used a tune I learned from Jbrary, but used my zoo animal puppets. They said hello with Grrs and Roars and Chomps!)
  3. Wiggle Song
  4. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  5. The Funky Spunky Monkey
  6. Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  7. The Animals at the Zoo (to the tune of Wheels on the Bus)
  8. Put Your Hands Up High
  9. Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
  10. Jungle Song (to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)
  11. Bubble, Bubble, Pop!
  12. Bubbles in the Air

Puppet Activities: I also made a few zoo animals finger puppets, and I used them for two songs: When Zoo Animals Wake Up in the Morning and the Jungle Song. The Jungle Song has quite a few verses, so I chose two of my favorites, and used the puppets that coincided with said verses. You could also use them for The Animals at the Zoo, if you are so inclined.

Flannel Activity: As I mentioned earlier, I made a set of flannel pieces (pictured above) to go with the Dear Zoo book. It was a hit!

This theme was tons of fun to plan and implement! I hope it gives you a few ideas for activities you can do at your next Zoo storytime!

Happy Reading!

New Picture Books!

It has been and incredibly busy summer! Time has flown, and I’ve neglected the blog for too long. So I thought it was about time for another picture books post. I read a fairly large stack each week, and I always come away with a few new favorites.img_1893

So here are a few favorites from the stacks of books I’ve read in recent weeks. I hope you will take the time to read and enjoy them, and maybe even share them at your storytimes or with your patrons.

  1. What a Beautiful Morning, by Arthur A. Levine: When a young boy’s grandpa begins to act unlike his usual, cheerful self, the boy has to learn how to cope with the change. This is a very touching picture book about a grandparent struggling with Alzheimer’s and the potential effects it could have on a grandchild. I would recommend it to any family facing a similar struggle.
  2. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, by Michelle Cuevas: I picked up this book because it was illustrated by Erin E. Stead. I love her illustrations, and I tend to enjoy the projects she is involved in. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles is about loneliness and seeking out a place to belong, as well as people to belong with. It’s lovely. Please read it.
  3. The Journey, by Francesca Sanna: This beautiful book captures the journey many refugees take when fleeing their home to find a safer place to live. The most moving aspect of the story is that it’s told from the perspective of a child.
  4. The Branch, by Mireille Messier: I enjoyed this book immensely. I love the idea of taking something old and broken and making it new again. It’s an important lesson for children to learn and for adults to relearn. When living in a throw-away society, it’s nice to see a story about restoration.
  5. A Child of Books, by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston: “I am a child of books. I come from the world of stories,” is the opening line to the new book from Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston. It’s a wonderful story about the way in which books inspire us and spark our imaginations. It’s about holding onto a little bit of your childhood curiosity and sense of adventure.

That’s all for now. Happy reading!


Book Babies: In the Garden

My Book Babies theme for the month of June is In the Garden. This week, we focused on Berries. This was a fun storytime! Jamberry, in particular, is always one of my favorite books to read for the 0-2 age range. The rhyming, rhythm and colorful illustrations keep the babies engaged and interested.

The books we read this week:

  1. Jamberry, by Bruce Degen
  2. The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear, by Don and Audrey Wood

The songs we sang this week:

  1. We Clap and Sing Hello
  2. Up, Down, Turn Around
  3. Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  4. Picked a Strawberry
  5. Little Raindrops Falling Down
  6. Itsy, Bitsy Spider
  7. Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  8. Put Your Hands Up High
  9. The Elevator Song
  10. This is the Way We Clap Our Hands
  11. Bubble, Bubble, Pop!
  12. Bubbles in the Air

Puppet Activity:

Five Little Teddies

Five Little Teddies:

Five little teddies sitting on a wall, five little teddies sitting on a wall,

and if one little teddy should have to fall, there’d be four little teddies

sitting on the wall…

For this puppet activity, I used this video as my inspiration: Three Brown Teddies. I made the finger puppets out of felt and embroidery floss. I did a Google search for a teddy bear template and used the one I liked the best. I wanted to use my bear puppets because both berry books included a bear character.

Flannel Board Activity:

Five Red Strawberries

Five Red Strawberries:

Five red strawberries, sweet to the core.
Bear came and ate one and then there were four.

Four red strawberries, growing near a tree.
Bear came and ate one and then there were three.

Three red strawberries, for you and you and you.
Bear came and ate one and then there were two.

Two red strawberries, sitting in the sun.
Bear came and ate one and then there was one.

One red strawberry, left all alone.
Bear came and ate it and then there were none.

I was inspired by Storytime Katie’s Flannel Friday post. You can find it here: Flannel Friday, Strawberries! I made my strawberries out of construction paper, and covered them with contact paper, then glued pieces of felt to the back, so they would stick to the flannel board.

And, of course, we ended with bubbles. Gotta have the bubbles!


The War that Saved My Life

The War that Saved My Life_Cover ArtThe Rebecca Caudill Nominee list for 2017 was recently released, and I have been reading my way through it. If you’re not an Illinois teacher or librarian, you’re probably wondering what the Rebecca Caudill list is. You can find more information at the Rebecca Caudill website: Rebecca Caudill Award

I get so excited when this list is released because I know it will be filled with juvenile fiction (and nonfiction) treasures! Several of my favorite books to recommend to children and families are from past Caudill lists. There can only be one winner each year, but every book is worth reading, regardless of which one comes out on top.

The first nominee I decided to read this year was The War that Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. It takes place during WWII and tells the story of a ten-year-old girl who is born with a physical disability that keeps her from walking. She is mistreated by her mother on a daily basis, so when she learns that children are being sent away from London to live with families in the country, she decides she will do whatever it takes to get herself and her little brother away from their mother and away from the bombs. This was a captivating story about courage and second chances. It teaches that we can change our circumstances, if we’re willing to work hard and persevere.

I would recommend this book to children ages 9-12 who have an interest in history or historical fiction. Parents at the library often ask for good read aloud books, and I think this would make an excellent recommendation in that regard as well.

I sincerely hope you have a chance to read this one. It was a wonderful book!

Spring Storytime: Book Babies

For the month of May, I’ve chosen the theme of Spring for my Monday morning Book Babies storytime. For Book Babies, I usually only read two to three books. The program mainly consists of songs, finger plays, and flannel stories. I have to give another shout out to Jbrary for their wonderful storytime planning sheet. You can find it here: Toddler Storytime Planning Sheet. I use this tool every week. It helps me organize my thoughts, and the sheets are also nice to have on file, so I can revisit previous weeks without reinventing the wheel.

The books I chose for this coming Monday are as follows:

  1. Mouse’s First Spring, by Laura Thompson
  2. Baby Bear Sees Blue, by Ashley Wolff
  3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin

These are the songs we will sing:

  1. We Clap and Sing Hello
  2. The Wiggle Song
  3. This is the Way We Clap Our Hands
  4. Little Raindrops Falling Down
  5. The Arms Go Up and Down
  6. I’m a Little Teapot
  7. The Wheels on the Bus
  8. Old MacDonald
  9. We Wiggle and Wiggle and Stop
  10. Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
  11. Bubble, Bubble, Pop!
  12. There Are Bubbles in the Air

The last two songs we sing each week are typically bubble related because we always conclude with bubble time. Babies love bubbles! It’s a wonderful element to incorporate into a baby storytime. And again, thanks Jbrary for your amazing YouTube channel! You are my heroes.

I’ll also be using my ducks story tube to help tell the story of The Five Little Ducks, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear will be told as a flannel board story.image

Just for Fun: Using Brown Bear, Brown Bear for my flannel story this week brought to mind a silly comic I stumbled across on Storytime Underground a couple of weeks ago:CDJ6WjkWYAEa5Gf

Enjoy the laugh, and enjoy your week, fellow storytimers!