Tuesday, March 20, 2012


 The weather has been spectacular here in Pittsburgh--I mean, 70s-and-sunny spectacular--and it has been impossible to sit inside and type.  It is time for a sunshine and flowers storytime!

I have been waiting for a year to use Susan Marie Swanson's book, To Be Like the Sun.  This is the story of a sunflower, from seed to golden blossom, and while it doesn't offer any surprises, it is a well-told story.  Perfect for toddlers or preschoolers, it will hold the attention of any elementary school audience or family group.  Parents are guarnteed to appreciate the beautiful illustrations by Margaret Chodos-Irvine.  I get exuberant about Chodos-Irvine's illustration--downright giddy!  Her work is nostalgic, but still modern and fresh.  She creates richly colored and textured prints that make every book she illustrates positively pop.

Happily, Chodos-Irvine has another project underway.  Check out 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast to read more about her newest book!

I really like the idea of pairing this story of a growing flower with Susan Shea's (author) and Tom Slaughter's (illustrator) Do You Know Which One Will Grow.  While Swanson's book is quietly told and will lull your group into a meditative hush, this story will wake everyone right up.  This question and answer book with it's folding pages, inviting children to guess and/or use their rhyming-skills, and Slaughter's brightly-collaged pictures will make for a lively program indeed.


Paper Plate Sun Flowers
Paper plates, yellow paint, brushes, glue, sunflower seeds, green paper
Have the children paint their paper plates yellow to make 'flowers'. When plate is dry put glue on plate and glue sunflower seeds on the middle of their plates. Attach them to green paper stems to create a sunflower garden.

Magic Bean
At the bottom of a white piece of paper - glue on a lima bean. Then ask children to draw what they would like to grow from the bean. It is a great project to use the imagination!

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