Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What We're Reading

Once again, the boys and I have worked into our busy summer schedule (hee hee hee) story hour at the library on Tuesday mornings. A few things have changed since last summer, when we went to the library for everything but the actual story hour. Drew couldn't handle going into the little room with all the other kids by himself, and because I didn't feel like I could go in there with Reed and not cause a commotion, we ended up skipping the stories and doing the craft and checking out new books for home, instead.

So, what's different? Reed's older now, and a *bit* more maintainable in quiet settings, so all three of us are able to hear Miss Nona read the stories. They are meeting in a larger room this summer, which makes it a bit less noticeable when kids get rowdy. And there's more room for parents, so it's a lot more comfortable all around. On the down side, they no longer do crafts. Each week has a theme, and Miss Nona reads appropriate thematic books, and then there used to be an appropriate thematic craft to go along with it. Not anymore. Now there's just crayons and super old coloring books. We have plenty of that at home, and thankfully, the library does still have a plethora of books, so we're golden there.

When it comes to picking out books, Reed just pulls off the shelf what he can see (which means just about everything) and says, "dis one?" Drew has some weird thing about Winnie the Pooh, and must pick out a different Pooh book each week. The kicker? He never really wants to read them once we get them home. Weird. I don't even wanna know. I, on the other hand, have a totally logical and grown-up approach to choosing books: I judge them by their covers. Yup, sure do! I like newer illustrations, with bright covers, and cute characters. If the cover mets my very strict and adult-like specifications, I'll then flip through it and make sure it isn't too wordy. Yep. I just said that. Can't have those books being too long now, trust me!

We usually check out anywhere from five to ten new books each week. Among those, there are some duds. BUT there is usually one, if not two, that totally measure up to their covers. We've had a few in the last month that I highly recommend. (Descriptions summarized from Amazon's editorial reviews. I'm just not that swanky with words.)

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll

Meet Ethan, a little boy who can't fall asleep at night without his favorite monster, Gabe, under his bed. When Gabe leaves Ethan a note that he's gone fishing, Ethan knocks on the floor to summon a series of substitute ghoulies. But with each monster comes a variety of shortcomings that just won't do for Ethan. Will Ethan ever fall asleep without Gabe? What if Gabe never comes back? You'll have to read this incredibly endearing and lively take on an old childhood myth! {Oh, and the illustrations! Just look at that cover!}

The Chicken of the Family by Mary Amato

Henrietta's two older sisters love to tease her. When they try to convince her that she's actually a chicken instead of a little girl, it's pretty hard to believe at first. But the evidence is all there: her legs are kind of yellow, and her toes are kind of long. The feathers she finds beside her bed the next morning settle it, and Henrietta heads off to the farm to find her real family. The chickens welcome her with open wings, and this lovably gullible heroine's joyful acceptance of who she really is will have readers squawking with laughter. {Two reasons why I absolutely loved this book: 1) I'm pretty dang good at the older sisters' snobby/teasing/valley-girl-esque voices; and 2) the little sister gets 'em in the end. :) }

Brewster the Rooster by Devin Scillian

What has gotten into Brewster the rooster? The Macintosh family can't understand why their barnyard pet is crowing at the darnedest things. He crows at very odd times: when Topper is throwing a baseball, when Zeb is standing on a ladder, when Grandma is flipping hotcakes, and when Magnolia is watering her flowers. Into Doc Sawyer Brewster goes, but it's little Julie that knows what Brewster's problem is! {The story is cute, and it rhymes so it's fun to read. The illustrations are bright and cheery, and the line about Magnolia's yellow dress is quite funny.}

Honorable Mentions:

The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson

Why does the cow love cookies? The answer makes a warm, funny, rhythmic, repetitive story, as it tells the tale of what the other farm animals love to eat. "But the cow loves cookies!" Why? You'll find out at the end, when the cow and the farmer sit down to share a sweet snack. {Another rhyming story, which are fun to read, but my favorite part was that both boys caught on to the repetition and were soon anticipating every time it read "But the cow loves cookies!" saying it along with me. Cute, cute story.}

A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson

A simple story about a frog on a log in the middle of the bog, as he snacks on the surrounding insect delicacies, each time growing bigger and bigger. As the greedy frog's belly grows, the illustrations show us a hilarious view of the claustrophobic quarters within. All's well for the frog, until...he realizes that the log he's perched upon isn't a log at all! {This is definitely Drew's addition to our "favorites" list. We read this one everyday (sometimes twice) as he bounced along with the rhyme of the story. The illustrations aren't as striking as what I usually like, but the inside view of the frog's belly is pretty fun. And this was another one that Reed was able to finish some of the repetitive phrases throughout the book.}

I also wanted to share these with you:

It was one small project that I worked on while the boys were in Minnesota two weeks ago. I've been wanting to make bags for the boys to use for their library books for quite some time, but it took a while to find inspiration online. But then I found this picture and pattern HERE, and fell in love! I didn't care to make the actual bag, but instead wanted to embellish bags that I could just buy on the cheap at Hobby Lobby. I ended up being able to adapt the pattern so I could do just that. I bought canvas bags, stitched on the letters using fusible interfacing, sewed on the pocket at the top for library cards, and replaced the canvas handles with bright orange cotton belting. In the end, it took less time and a lot less money (less than $2 each) than making the entire bag from scratch. I'm really happy with them. Like little-school-girl happy. It's a bit embarrassing. The boys dig 'em. And they make going to the library waaaay more exciting. :)

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

  1. Bridgette HorkeyJuly 13, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    We love going to the library too!! Colton and I just went today and signed him up for the Summer Reading Program!

    I love your book bags. I'm not crafty at all. Would you be willing to make Colton one and ship it to me? I'd definitely pay you for your time and supplies! We just have a Walgreens tote bag and it's not very sturdy.