Books We Love: If I Had a Gryphon

"If I Had a Gryphon" book coverOne new book that has recently caught my eye is “If I Had a Gryphon,” written by Vikki Vansickle and illustrated by Cale Atkinson. After reading just a few pages, I was already in love with both the text and the illustrations.

If I Had a Gryphon” is a story about a girl who wants an exciting pet instead of a boring old hamster, but taking care of magical beasts proves to be more challenging than she originally thought. The book is full of little bits of whimsy; for example, the title pages share that, “The artwork in this book was rendered in Photoshop, fairy dust and phoenix ash.” The illustrations are eye-catching and highly detailed, telling their own stories. This, combined with the humorous text that rhymes without being too obvious, makes the story a joy to read. I’m already on the hunt for a way to use this in a story time, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this team produces another book for me to love.

Fidget Boxes

Photograph of a fidget boxDoes your child need a little extra help focusing during story times or other children’s programs? We’ve got you covered! We’re proud to be introducing the Fidget Box–now available at all three branches and on Bookmobile, Jr. What is a fidget you ask? A fidget is a small tool (disguised as a toy) that kids can hold, squeeze and, well, fidget with, all the while helping them concentrate. Fiddling with a fidget is a great and quiet way to channel energy that might otherwise disrupt others. Our fidget boxes contain toys, I mean tools, to tantalize the senses, including a small weighted lap blanket, a Koosh ball, Tangles and more!

What about fidgeting when you aren’t at the library? Try Silly Putty, Play-Doh or stress balls. You can also try making your own fidgets. Cut up a pool noodle to make a stress ball. Wrap a pipe cleaner around a pencil or take out the middle man and wrap it around your finger, as seen here. And don’t worry grownups, you can fidget too–keep one of these by your desk and just see how productive you can be. Happy fidgeting!

Winner of the 2015 Missouri Building Block Award – Naked!

"Naked!" book cover

The children across Missouri have spoken, and the winner of the 2015 Missouri Building Block Award goes to “Naked!,” written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

Over 20,000 preschoolers and kindergartners participated, choosing “Naked!” as their favorite. “Naked” had almost twice as many votes as the second place finisher “Digger Dog.” Continue reading

2015 Missouri Building Block: I’m My Own Dog

 I'm My Own Dog book cover

Attention dog lovers!  The tough little bulldog in David Ezra Stein’s “I’m My Own Dog” will grab your heart, and its inner monologue will tickle your funny bone. This pooch is quite content to curl up at its own feet and fetch its own slippers, until that tricky itch that can’t be reached sneaks up. Then the bulldog finds a human to train. You’ve got it:  “I’m My Own Dog” comically turns traditional pet and human roles on their heads.

Once you’ve read this book several times and your kiddos have named the dog and learned half the sassy dog’s lines, you may be ready to branch out. We would suggest you try the activities on Candlewick Press’ Publisher site or The Missouri Building Block Award activity sheet. Continue reading

Scheduling Your Story Times

Kids enjoying story timeMany patrons small and tall enjoy our story times. We have story times for different age groups, and we try to keep our story times on a fairly regular schedule (only occasionally interrupting for a special program such as a visiting performer or annual Summer Reading-themed programs or wrap-up). All three branches have their own story times divided by age.

Columbia just made some small changes to its regular line-up to give flexibility to parents with babies. In addition to having Baby, Oh, Baby on Mondays at 10:30, parents can now bring their little ones to Thursday Baby, Oh, Baby at 9:30.  See below for the regular schedule, and click this flyer to see all the specific Columbia story times for September through November. Continue reading