Cars and Trucks and Machines, oh my!

Emma Garcia has two great picture books for babies and toddlers who like cars and trucks.  Illustrations are large so both books are good for story times.  Toot Toot Beep Beep is all about cars, car noises and colors. Children will enjoy joining in with the actions in Tip Tip Dig Dig as trucks and earth-moving machines clean up a big mess. Also, Shari Halpern’s bright illustrations and Philemon Sturges’ simple text in I Love Trucks keep preschool children’s attention as a wide variety of trucks are introduced.   

–Beth Scandrett-Leatherman


How to Train Your Dragon

In the land of Berk, everyone trained to be able to slay dragons; however, Hiccup is more a brainy than a fighter when it comes to dragons. He is the son of Stoick the Vast, a small Viking leader. Stoick is very disappointed in Hiccup’s appearance and his skill to fight dragons. While Stoick and his Viking fellows set sail to find the dragons’ nest and destroy it, Gobber stays behind to train the teenagers, included Hiccup, to fight with dragons. Before the training, Hiccup encounter with an injured Night Fury. The encounter leads Hiccup to become friend with the Night Fury, and this gives him an advantage for the training. In the enclose instructions ring, the teens come face-to-face with variety of fire breathing dragons ready to eat the them. After an intensive training, the teens ready to show off their new talents to the entire town. Stoick was disappointed when he knows his son is a friend of the dragon. At last, everyone in town except and learn Hiccup’s way to make friends with the dragons. Dragons and Vikings live happily ever after. This is a movie with a moral behind it. We must see things from other’s point of views and except others’ differences in order to create a greatest harmony.

–Adeline Chow

Chicks. And Pugs.

Inspired by Jennifer Sattler’s new-ish book, Chick ‘n’ Pug, I recently did a storytime about chicks and pugs. In Sattler’s book, a plucky chick is inspired by an adventurous pug in a story, yet the pug he meets in real life is slightly underwhelming. The nameless chick must make his own adventure.  In Dan Yaccarino’s Unlovable, it is a pug named Alfred that looks for adventure, finding it in a neighbour named Rex. Alfred, ashamed of his pugliness, tells Rex he is instead a Golden Retriever. Will Rex still like Alfred when the deception is revealed? And Jane Clarke’s Stuck in the Mud rounds things out, with a tiny chick ostensibly mired in the muck. Various barnyard animals, and even the farmer, attempt to rescue her to no avail.


Try these stories which work well together on the theme of being gratefulness/ungrateful. I used them with 3rd-5th grade international students. Shadow Dance by Donna Perrone and Tololwa Mollel tells of girl who assists a stranded crocodile, only to be tricked and captured. (I simplified the book by skipping the pages about the interaction with the tree and the cow.) Then “read” Jerry Pinkney’s award winning The Lion and the Mouse, letting volunteers describe what’s happening on each page. The illustrations are fabulous. You can follow it with a readers’ theater script of the story taken from Suzanne Barchers’ book, Readers’ Theater for Beginning Readers.

–Beth Scandrett-Leatherman

Ramona and Beezus

Ramona is a young school with a big imagination. When her dad lost his job. Ramona has many plans to save her home, but everyone is occupied with their worries. Dad is learning how to run the family and Ramona’s sister and mom have to make major adjustments to their live styles. With no one to talk to, Ramona goes to her Aunt Bea, but she is busy as well. Bea’s ex-boyfriend and Hobart are fighting to get Bea back. The movie can get you laugh and cry at the same time. It’s a heartwarming and affectionate movie.

–Adeline Chow

Lunar New Year Picture Books

The Lunar New Year is right around the corner on February 2, 2011, so here are some books and songs to celebrate the event! Not all the books are just about the Lunar New Year. Some celebrate Chinese culture or Korean food, so your child can learn about a variety of different cultures.

“Bringing In the New Year” by Grace Lin
“Round is a Mooncake” by Roseanne Thong
“Red is a Dragon” by Roseanne Thong
“Dragon Dancing” by Carole Lexa Schaefer
“D is for Dragon Dance” by Ying Compestine
“Ten M ice for Tet” by Pegi Deitz Shea
“Happy Belly, Happy Smile” by Rachel Isadora
“Bee-bim Bop” by Linda Sue Park

Five Red Dragons
Five red dragons making such a roar.
One danced away and then there were four.
Four red dragons dancing around a tree.
One danced away and then there were three.
Three red dragons dancing around you.
One danced away and then there were two.
Two red dragons dancing in the sun.
One danced away and then there was one.
One red dragon having lots of fun
She danced away and then there were none.

Dragon, Dragon

(to the tune of:  Twinkle, twinkle little star)
Dragon, dragon, dance around.
Dragon, dragon, touch the ground.
Dragon, dragon, shake your head.
Dragon, dragon, tongue so red.
Dragon, dragon, stamp your feet.
Dragon, dragon, coming down the street!
(match actions to words while singing)

Here Come the New Years Animals

(to the tune of: Old MacDonald Had a Farm)
New Years animals marching ‘round, E-I-E-I-O
And one of the animals is a Rat, E-I-E-I-O
With a squeak, squeak here, and a squeak, squeak there,
Here a squeak, there a squeak, everywhere a squeak, squeak.
New Years animals marching ‘round, E-I-E-I-O.
Additional Verses:
Year of the…
Cow/Ox – moo, moo
Tiger – grr, grrr
Rabbit – sniff, sniff
Dragon – roar, roar
Snake – hiss, hiss
Horse – neigh, neigh
Sheep – baa, baa
Monkey – who, whoo
Rooster/Chicken – cock-a-doodle doo
Dog – woof, woof
Pig – oink, oink

Eliza Pope

Despicable Me

Gru, an evil genius, who dreams of become the greatest thief in the world. Gru has his heart on the moon since he was a little boy. Gru needs a shrink-ray to steal the moon off from the sky. The super-nerd, Vector, snatches the shrink-ray off from Gru’s hand as soon as the machine is built. Gru knows Vector loves sweet, so Gru adopted three cookie-selling orphans Margo, Agnes, Edit, and cookie robots to help him take the shrink-ray back from Vector. When Gru tries to carry his big plan, something strange happens, Gru discovered that his can be a good father. He cares about the orphans. What should Gru do, moon mission or his adopted children? This is a funny movie you will not want to miss.

–Adeline Chow