Tuesday, July 26, 2011

To Market, To Market...Farmer's Market Fun for School Age

All across the country farmer's markets are becoming an increasingly popular and important part of our summertime recreation and traditions.  My family and I look forward to visiting our market every week.  We prepare and eat the vegetables that we bought, and talk about what we'll find the coming week.

My 4 year old has begun to ask questions about what our favorite farmers do during the week.  I imagine she's not the only curious city kid.  So thank you, thank you, thank you Nicki McClure and Abrams Books for publishing such a beautifully written, beautifully illustrated, and beautifully timed book as "To Market, To Market."

It may be too long to read cover to cover during a program (especially for young audiences), but this is nonetheless an excellent programming book and a great one to share with readers of all ages.  (Don't skip a book because it's too long!  Just be okay with skipping around in the book!)  My daughter and I read about the apple farmer taking care of his trees and picking the fruit...just like our farmer Frank does!  We read about the bakers...yum...and talked about the goats we just saw at a farm.  Read parts, paraphrase parts, and enjoy each and every one of the cut paper illustrations!

PROGRAM for school-age or family

Market Day by Carol Foskett Cordson 
Market Day    A Garden for Pig

ORA Garden for Pig by Kathryn K. Thurman 

Picture Walking and talking about non-fiction material like Farmer's Market: Families Working Together by Marcie R Rendon and Cheryl Walsh Belville is a great addition.
Farmer's Market: Families Working Together (Carolrhoda Photo Books)

Group Activity:  Who stole the apple from the farmer's truck?  Pass an apple around the group.  Whoever has the apple gets to reply to the group's chant.

Who stole the apple from the farmer's truck? (name) did! 
Who me?  
Yes you!
Not me!
Then Who?

Craft Activity:  While you may want to use Ehlert's book as inspiration and create paper collages, we were inspired by Martha Stewart and used wine corks as stamps to make tomatoes, carrots, oranges, apple and peach trees.
Our own tomatoes made with cork stamp and paint and Martha's example

Friday, July 22, 2011

In the Forest: A short and sweet story time for baby or todder

Here is a little story time to share with your outdoors-baby or toddler...


Who's in the Forest
by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by Jill McDonald...a pretty peek-a-boo book from Barefoot Book
 In My Tree by Sara Gillingham and Lorena Sominovich...One of Chronicle Books new series of peek-a-boo board books.  They're beautifully illustrated with colorful collages and a felt animal finger puppet to thrill the little one.  They have huge visual appeal...everyone seems to love them.  They are short and sweet, and a perfect "cuddle" book.
In My Tree

 Two Bear CubsTwo Bear Cubs by Ann Jonas

Two Bear Cubs

 Finger Play:

(slowly walk fingers up baby's leg)
Slowly, slowly, very slowly crawls a little snail.
Slowly, slowly, very slowly up the forest trail.
(quickly run fingers up baby and around belly)
Quickly, quickly, very quickly flies a little bee.
Quickly, quickly, very quickly looking for his tree.

Finger Play:

Here is the beehive (hold up fist)
But where are all the bees?
They must be hiding.
Let's watch them fly away. 
(Hold up fingers as you count)
Buzzzzz!!!!! (fly wiggly fingers around baby)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First Post: Ant and Grasshopper, an artfully told tale

I have debated for weeks about how I would begin this blog: what theme, what books, what program. When I read Luli Gray's "Ant and Grasshopper" I was so pleasantly surprised by the book, that I knew I had finally found my first post.

Newly released in 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, "Ant and Grasshopper" is a picture book for ages 4-8 written by Luli Gray and illustrated by Giuliano Ferri.

I was expecting an awkwardly told fable (because fables usually do seem awkwardly told), Luli's story about a numerically-inclined ant and a singing grasshopper who learn to appreciate each others' talents is pitch-perfect. Gray's story is elegantly told. I loved how this book sounded out loud. The characters, plot, and timing are perfect for young children. My 4 year-old barely uttered a peep. Ferri's illustrations, with their old-world details and blue/amber hues, are soulful. They really add a seriousness to this insect drama.

Suggested Program (4-6 ages)

Ant and Grasshopper by Luli Gray, illustrated by Giuliano Ferri

Counting and Marching Song:
1,2,3,4 I made a batch of hot potatoes, dropped them on the floor

5,6,7,8 I smashed 'm into mashed potatoes, plopped them on a plate

9,10,11,12 The children ate 'm up, and now they want french fries!
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 FRENCH FRIES! (jump up and wiggle "french fry" fingers)

I Saw an Ant on the Railroad TrackI Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track by Joshua Prince, illustrated by Macky Pamintuan

(Builds narrative skills and creative thinking)

What adventure will ant and grasshopper or ant and the railroad man have next? Young children can draw a series of pictures to illustrate their "sequel" and then narrate the adventure aloud.