Monday, April 18, 2011

Storytime 4/12/11.

Slightly belated, but here it is. Thankfully a fair amount of the three and four set showed up, so it wasn't all babies. Hurray!

The GruffaloThe Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (illustrator)
(Puffin, 4+)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How had I missed The Gruffalo? I think maybe it was just one of those things that got a little over-hyped for me, but we'd just got it back in stock at work, so I picked it up for storytime. And it's brilliant.

A little mouse walking through the woods keeps running into different predators (fox, owl, snake) all of whom he scares away with threats of the fictional Gruffalo (whose favorite food is the animal in question). It's an unpleasant surprise when he runs into the Gruffalo who turns out to be real and exactly as he described, except his favorite food is mouse. However, the little mouse handles himself with aplomb, convincing the Gruffalo that he's the baddest cat in the woods by having him follow along to see the predators run away from him. And of course, the mouse's favorite food is Gruffalo.

Smart and funny, it's a brilliant read aloud because the rhyme scheme is so good and natural. It has a nice repetition without getting boring and there's still some room for interaction with the kids over it. I can't recommend it highly enough for storytime.

Break for ABC's. And kids actually sang along. Huzzah!

I Am Invited to a Party! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)I Am Invited to a Party! by Mo Willems
(Hyperion Book CH, 4-8)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I honestly think this is my favorite Elephant & Piggie book (which is saying a lot). It's certainly the one I recommend the most, although that's partially cause it's the one we always have in stock.

Piggie gets invited to a party and she's never been to one before. Thankfully, Gerald knows parties. But what if it's a costume party? Or a pool party? Or a fancy pool costume party? THEY MUST BE READY!

Cute, fun and witty. Also, Elephant & Piggie books are my favorite recommendation for early readers. The text is simple and often repetitive, but the plot will still keep them engaged. I mean, it keeps me engaged.

Slipped some Itsy Bitsy Spider in here. One boy was particularly excited about it.

Llama Llama Mad at MamaLlama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney
(Viking Juvenile, 3+)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SO cute. Mama drags Llama Llama to run errands at the Shop-O-Rama, when all he really wants to do is play. As we can imagine, this does not make Llama Llama a happy camper. But my favorite thing about this book (aside from the amazing rhyming scheme) is how Mama Llama handles his inevitable tantrum. Llama Llama throws a fit (and a good portion of the shopping cart) but Mama just coolly calms him down by saying how she doesn't like shopping either but she's just happy to spend time with him. How ridiculously sweet is that? And b) can all parents learn to function this way? I have worked in retail for much too long and have seen far too many parents throwing a bigger fit than their children or treating them abominably. Mama Llama wins at life.

I also like it better than Llama Llama Red Pajama, which mostly just sees Baby Llama being whiny and Mama being busy. The shopping experience was just a little more relatable as to why he was so unhappy. This book also gets props for being my favorite counter-recommendation to the creepiness that is Mad at Mommy.

Also really cute? The teenaged girl who was forcing her mom to sit through her reading it today. The mom then tells me her daughters are fifteen and sixteen and love to buy picture books. Clearly girls after my own heart.

And in the in between we did the Hokey Pokey. The best part? The four Asian moms who would chime in "Hokey Pokey!" in between the verses.

OtisOtis by Loren Long
(Philomel, 3-5)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh, I want to love Otis. The illustrations are the most super gorgeous and Otis and his little calf are too cute, but it's just kind of boring. That might be a little harsher than I mean, but there's too much text for not enough plot. And frankly, that "puff puff puttedy-chuff" business was just hard to read. It might work better in a single child bedtime story situation, but unfortunately for storytime, it just fell a bit flat. It does nicely fall in the vein of Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel, but it's trying a little too hard. A little bit.

Definitely this would rank as one of my favorite storytimes. Otis is going to lose out in the future, but the other three I would pick up again anytime.

1 comment:

  1. OH MY GOD THAT'S MY FAVORITE ELEPHANT AND PIGGIE BOOK TOO!! But we NEVER have it in stock, it makes my life miserable. Also, I am totally down for your storytime choices! I may have to do The Gruffalo this week, if we have it. The theme is "books I feel like reading," hahaha.
    I like Otis, never read it out loud and yeah the puff chuff stuff is annoying, but that calf is really cute and it's a nice little underdog wins the day kinda story.