A group of very talented kids and teens created bookmarks to promote our upcoming Summer Reading program. The teen theme this year is “Beneath the Surface” and the kids’ theme is “Dig into Reading.” See the 2013 winners, and be sure to pick up a bookmark when you visit the library!
Ah, the family trip to the zoo. Mom would throw together bologna sandwiches, pick up some store-brand soda and chips, toss them all into the cooler and load up the station wagon for the two-hour drive to the zoo. “I get the front!” “I get the back!” “I get the way-back!” I always got the ‘way-back’ and didn’t really have to call for it – no one else wanted to squeeze in between the cooler and the stroller back where you couldn’t roll down a window, but I knew that was the best place to be seen by the truck drivers and to get them to blast their horns by pumping my fist. “Honk! Honk!”
For us, “the Zoo” meant The St. Louis Zoo. We’d find a parking spot along a street in Forest Park and hike our way to the entrance. As soon as we walked past the vertical ZOO sign, we would get a balloon. I always thought it was extravagant to pay for a big balloon, especially when we scrimped on our lunch and such. I eventually learned the reasoning; the balloon was like a homing beacon that allowed the adults to spot us if we ventured too far away from the group. Brilliant!
The Zoo had a train…a bright red train. While seeing the animals was free, riding the train was not. We always begged and wheedled to get to ride the train. My savvy mother would hold her cards pretty close to her chest, saying, “Maybe if you’re good.” Years later I learned that she always planned on walking to the back of the Zoo and catching the train back to the entrance. “I didn’t want to walk all that way!” Tricky, tricky survival-mode mama. (The Zooline Railroad celebrates it’s 50th anniversary this year!)
We’re fortunate here in Columbia, having two zoos close enough for a day trip; The St. Louis Zoo, a leader in animal conservation and education, and the ever evolving Kansas City Zoo. Check out their websites, consider joining their Friends groups and get your plan on! Meanwhile, check out these zoo reads at DBRL: Continue reading
I love to sing. Not everyone loves it when I sing, but that’s okay. My son likes it when I perform the tune “Going on a Picnic” by Lynn Freeman Olson, which is known as a zipper song. What is a zipper song? I am glad you asked! A zipper song is any tune where you take out one word and “zip” another one in. This word-swapping is entertaining, the possibilities are endless and the fun can go on FOREVER. Give it a whirl:
Going on a picnic,
leaving right away.
If it doesn’t rain,
we’ll stay all day.
Did you bring the (sandwiches)?
Yes I brought the (sandwiches).
Ready for a picnic, here we go!
When singing this song, my family likes to keep listing all of the words we’ve added in the previous verses, trying to remember the order, going from the newest item to the oldest. What a workout for your brain! If you are not sure of the melody, stop by the library, and I will sing my off-key version. Or you can just check out Raffi’s performance of this song on “The Corner Grocery Store” CD.
Did you know that octopuses, or octopi (as I like to call them), have beaks? They are also very good at hiding. Sea stars don’t have eyes; they have eye spots. Where did I find these fascinating facts? I learned this information and much more from two nonfiction books on our new books shelf at the library. The Life Under the Sea series has six titles written by Cari Meister:
The colorful pictures and the easy-to-read text make it a snap for younger kiddos to learn facts about life in the ocean. The books even include a picture glossary at the end to explain more about what was just read. A simple table of contents and an index at the end of each book introduce kiddos to using these important parts of nonfiction books. Sea life not your thing? Try the Animals on the Farm series and see what you and your kids can learn! (We have a soft spot for the baby goats - so cute!)
Like many people these days, I’m always on the go, so I love DBRL’s collection of downloadable audiobooks, made available through a service called OverDrive. I simply download and transfer audiobooks to my iPhone (mp3 players and iPods will also play them) and listen to stories while I drive, walk the dog, wash the dishes, exercise, etc.
Many kids’ titles are available for download, both new books and classics. These are great for families to listen to during long car trips. Audiobooks can also be a good transitional tool for reluctant readers, either alone or with the print copy to follow along. Some books are even better to listen to, when the narrators do a good job of dramatizing the story.