2015 Missouri Building Block: Down By the Barn

Down By the Barn bookIn “Down by the Barn” by Will Hillenbrand, a dog happily drives a clunky blue tractor around a farm. Hitched to the tractor are two wagons, which the dog uses to collect a scarecrow and an array of baby farm animals. When the wagons are packed full of critters, the dog makes a stop at a school bus full of excited children. The story ends on a sweet note, with the scarecrow reading a book aloud, sharing a story with all of the children and animals.

The text is simple and contains repetitive phrases (Puff puff, clank, clank, moo, moo, and OFF WE GO!), adding new sounds to the end of each phrase as baby animals hop into the wagon. “Down By the Barn” is bursting with cheery art and onomatopoeic text that begs to be orated by all, making it a wonderful read aloud.

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Get in the Groove for Summer Reading

girl singing on headphonesAre you just about to burst with anticipation for the start of Summer Reading? We are too!!! Your friendly children’s librarians can’t wait to show off our superhero costumes, recommend our favorite hero and villain stories and, of course, sign up as many people for Summer Reading as possible!!!

One of those extra special heroic virtues is required at a time like this: patience. Like so many great heroes, we need patience to grow strong…and the proper theme song to pump us up! Check out some of these superhero songs and get in the groove for Summer Reading 2015!

Top Superhero Songs

“Superheroes” by The Script
Album – No Sound without Silence (CD)

“Ordinary” by Train
Album – Alive at Last (CD)

“Run Boy Run” by Woodkid
Album – The Golden Age (Hoopla, CD)
Divergent Soundtrack (Hoopla, CD) Continue reading

“But I’m Not Tired!”

boy asleep with bookThe bedtime story already has been deeply planted in the early literacy landscape, the collective nostalgia and routines for tricking little ones into falling asleep. We have heard the benefits of reading to your baby bumpkins and terrible twosers daily touted near and far, but does the time of day a child is read to actually make any difference?

The answer is, um…well, probably. Maybe. Depends?

While there is some research on that question, obviously everyone is different. Personally, I am a big fan of the bedtime story, so what follows will be my case for the institution.

For one thing, your children are put to bed every day, so there’s a built-in “reminder” that allows reading to easily become part of a routine that’s already necessary. Plus, “bedtime story” rolls off the tongue a lot easier than, say, “after-school snack story.” If you have a snugglebunny or two who land closer to the reluctant side of the sleeper spectrum, sometimes a calming routine can help. According to chair of the Early Childhood Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Peter Gorski, M.D., the most cognitive benefits from reading are reaped when the child’s experience with books is enjoyable and associated with love, safety and comfort. Well, what is more loving and comfy than being tucked in, surrounded by a beloved stuffed animal or two, while mom and/or dad tell you a story? Letting your nugget choose the story they want to hear can be both a bedtime selling point and encourages a positive association with being read to. Continue reading

Going on a Picnic

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:

Picnic by chatirygirl via Flickr

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.

Rhyme Time: Mother Gooney Bird

Are the kids bouncing off of the walls?  Try to tire them out with this active song.

Mother Gooney Bird

(Tune: Father Abraham)

Mother Gooney Bird had seven chicks.
Seven chicks had Mother Gooney Bird.
And they couldn’t fly,
And they couldn’t swim,
They could only go like this:
Right wing (Right arm bent in “wing” position, flaps up and down.)

Repeat, this time add:
Left wing (Left arm goes along with right wing.)

Keep repeating; add one body part each time: Continue reading