Expect the Unexpected

These books engage listeners with silly questions and even sillier answers. Not only are they hysterical, but they are also an exercise in creative thinking. They make great read-alouds for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders.

Apples and Oranges: Going Bananas with Pairs Sara Pinto

I love this book because it challenges readers to find commonalities in seemingly dissimilar objects, and then surprises with wacky answers that are completely true, yet impossible to guess.

Guess Again! Mac Barnett

This book presents a series of quatrain poems. The last word in each poem, which listeners must guess using visual and aural clues, is revealed with a turn of the page. However, as this book shows, things aren’t always what they seem.

Things That Are Most in the World Judi Barrett

This imaginative book presents creative and silly superlatives. For example, “The wiggliest thing in the world is a snake on ice skates”. As a reader, it is fun to ask listeners what they think is the “most” in the world before revealing the pictures in the book.

–Brian Novak


Black History Month Favourites

As Eliza mentioned earlier this month, there are tons of great books on the African-American experience at your local library branch. Here are a few of mine to finish out your month.

Jabberwocky by Christopher Myers is a dynamic visual reimagining of the classic Carroll poem, loved by every class I shared it with this month.

Jazz is a marvelous collection of poems, from Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by his son Christopher,  that works for all ages.  The two also collaborated on Blues Journey if you’re looking to set a different mood.

Angela Johnson’s Windflyers is an engaging tale of a boy and his grandfather, a former Tuskegee Airman. Ms Johnson has a number of other books, for a wide age range, including A Sweet Smell of Roses which touches on the marches in the Civil Rights Era.

Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Zora Neale Hurston all have tales for children in addition to the grown-up novels you may be more familiar with. Ask your librarian for more recommendations!

New Books about Spring

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb by M. Bauer

Describes in verse the lion that is March weather, which finally gives way to the lamb of spring.



Spring is Here by W. Hillenbrand

Excited that spring has finally arrived, Mole tries–unsuccessfully–to wake up Bear, but then he comes up with the perfect plan.  A fun story to teach children about hibernation!


Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by N. McClure

As spring slowly turns to summer, a little boy builds a fort and plants a garden in impatient anticipation.


Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by I. Na

While other animals migrate, hibernate, or stay busy all winter, a little white rabbit watches.

Bubblin’ Fun

Make bath time more fun with books and songs! “Kid Tea” by Elizabeth Ficocelli is a tale about kids that just keep getting dirty, each time a different color than before. “King Bidgood ‘s in the Bathtub” by Audrey Wood is a classic story of a king that won’t get out of the bathtub for anything! Not lunch, not fishing, and not dancing!  In “Bubble Bath Pirates” by Jarrett Krosoczka, Pirate Mommy’s little pirates embark on a high seas adventure in the tub.

And here are some songs to sing while getting as clean as a whistle.

Bubble Song

(To tune of “10 Little Indians)

One little, two little, three little bubbles
Four little, Five little, Six little bubbles
Seven little, Eight little, Nine little bubbles
Ten little bubbles go pop, pop, pop, pop, pop
Pop those, pop those, pop those bubbles
Pop those, pop those, pop those bubbles
Pop those, pop those, pop those bubbles
Ten little bubbles go pop, pop, pop, pop, pop

Bubbles All Around

(Sung to: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)

Bubbles floating all around (pretend to catch bubbles)
Bubbles fat and bubbles round (make a circle with arms)
Bubbles on my toes and nose (point to toes and then to nose)
Blow a bubble, up it goes! (pretend to blow bubble and point up)
Bubbles floating all around. (pretend to catch bubbles)
B..u..b. .b..l..e..s f..a..l..l. .i..n..g to…the…ground. (sing slowly while sinking to ground)

G’night, Sleep tight

Is your favourite bundle of energy having trouble settling in for the night? You may want to try one of these classics. Share the ways different animals hug their mothers in Snuggle Wuggle by Jonathan London. Answer the question, “Is a bunny’s bedtime just like yours?” in Bedtime Bunnies by Wendy Watson. Mortimer has a song in his heart that he must share, even though the consequences get a bit extreme.  Mortimer, Be Quiet! by Robert Munsch is a fun look at bedtime gone wrong.

–Jane Lambert

Valentine Flower Pots

Your child can make a lovely gift for Valentine’s Day with a few simple materials. If you’ve a few old wool sweaters and a couple of wire hangers laying around, you’re half-way to having these lovely Felt Flowers from alphamom.com.  With some paper, peat pots, and pipe cleaners you’ll be on your way to Pot-o-Hearts from craftelf.com.

–Adeline Chow

I Heart Books (& Songs!)

These are some of my favorite Valentine’s Day books and songs for pre-schoolers. I am especially fond of “My Heart is Like a Zoo” by Michael Hall, because it does double duty of helping kids learn some exotic animals and emotions, plus it is just plain cute.

“My Heart is Like a Zoo” by Michael Hall

“Mouse’s First Valentine” by Lauren Thompson

“Froggy’s First Kiss” by Jonathan London

I’m a Valentine for you

To the Tune of: “She’ll be coming round the mountain”

I’m a teeny tiny valentine for you, (Use a tiny, squeaky voice)
I’m a teeny tiny valentine for you,
I’m a teeny tiny valentine,
I’m always your, will you be mine?
I’m a teeny tiny valentine for you.
I’m a medium-sized valentine for you, (use medium voice)
I’m a medium-sized valentine for you,
I’m a medium-sized valentine,
I’m not too big and that’s just fine
I’m a medium-sized valentine for you.
I’m a great big valentine for you. (use loud voice)
I’m a great big valentine for you.
I’m a great big valentine,
And I will love you all the time.
I’m a great big valentine for you.


To the Tune of BINGO

To show you like your special friend,
Just give them each a heart,
H. E. A. R. T, H. E. A. R. T, H. E. A. R. T,
Each heart says I like you.

How Many Valentines?

Have 10 hearts in red, orange, yellow, green, purple, and blue. Have the children count them at the end of the song.

Valentines, valentines, how many do I see?
Valentines, valentines, count them with me.
I have red ones, orange ones, yellow ones, too.
I have green ones, purple ones, and some that are blue.
Valentines, valentines, how many do I see?
Count them with me! 1-2-3-4-5…..

Eliza Pope