Tuesday, August 9, 2016

8th August International Cat Day

I haven't written about any form of Cat Day before because where do I start and finish when talking about children's books about cats, but today I had a thought. This week one of my Year 2 students was reading the picture book biography about Wanda Gag and that gave me reason to pull Millions of Cats  off the shelf to show her. What a good place to start a post about cat books!  This book was first published in 1928 and although illustrated in black and white, young students do still enjoy the repeating refrain and imagining that number of cats. Compare this with a very new 2016 cat' picture book, Brendan Wenzel's They All Saw a Cat which also has a repeating refrain, a clear, crisp cat, but looks very closely at perspective, point of view and subjectivity.

"The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears and paws ...and the child saw A CAT, and the dog saw A CAT, and the fox saw A CAT. Yes, they all saw the cat.' In simple, rhythmic prose and ingeniously stylised pictures, Brendan Wenzel takes young readers on a walk alongside a cat."

And in between these two there has been a myriad of cat books and series of books with a cat as the main character.

Some favourites:
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss
Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr
Diary of a Killer Cat by Anne Fine
Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin and James Dean
Squishy McFluff the Invisible Cat by Pip Jones
Ballet Cat by Bob Shea

And don't forget poetry!
The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear
Cats Sleep Anywhere  by Eleanor Farjeon
Macavity; Mr Mistoffelees; Skimbleshanks by T.S Eliot and Arthur Robins

Sunday, August 7, 2016

7th August Olympic Games and South America

Well the Games have started and the students at school have begun to get keener about borrowing books both about the games and individual sports. Year 2 are studying Greek Myths at the moment so they are busy making links between the Ancient Olympics and the Modern Olympics so I thought I'd make some links in the library for Kindergarten and Year 1 with Brazil so that even more resources had an airing.

What better place to start on Brazil and South America in general than to look at Laurie Krebs' amazing travelogue books. As she herself says, I wrote them because...

"In creating my picture books, I have combined my love of children's literature with my love of traveling to fascinating places. I hope through my series with Barefoot Books to introduce young readers to people and cultures that might be unfamiliar to them."  

I am going to start with We're Roaming in the Rainforest and a map of South America so that we can locate pertinent places.

Then we can read other books, from either Laurie Krebs or ones set in South America such as those on the Pinterest page.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

23rd July 1926

The 23rd July is Patricia Coombs' birthday and in an earlier blog on her birthday I was bemoaning the fact that her Dorrie stories were no longer in print, but now that she has turned 90 there are four titles back in print in lovely little hardbacks. The print is still small, the illustrations as they were in the originals but for my fussy readers they look new, the paper is white not yellowed and they feel good to hold. Now to try them out on a new audience. I wonder if the publishers will do any more titles?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

21st July National Lamington Day

The 21st July is  in Australia. We started term 3 on Monday with lamingtons for morning tea on our PD day. They were yummy and we all said what a good way to start the term. I also thought to myself, what a good way to start a term in the library where the theme Australia: Story Country was going to be at the forefront. The children know the story of Possum Magic so well that they are quick to tell you that Hush eats a  lamington to make himself visible again.
Lamington Day

In Hobart, late one night, in the kitchens of the casino, they saw a lamington on a plate. Hush closed her eyes and nibbled. Grandma Poss held her breath - and waited.
"It's worked! It's worked!" she cried. And she was right. Hush could be seen from head to tail. Grandma Poss hugged Hush, and they both danced "Here We Go Round the Lamington Plate" till early in the morning. 
So from that time onwards, Hush was visible. But once a year, on her birthday, she and Grandma Poss ate a Vegemite sandwich, a piece of pavlova and half a lamington, just to make sure that Hush stayed visible forever.
And she did.
Possum Magic, Mem Fo

 Just bought the 2015 edition of The Possum Magic Cookbook and it has a lamington recipe along with other Australian classics.

The Lamington Man  by Kel Richards is an Australian Gingerbread man story and while it is lightweight it would be fun to share with the story of Lord Lamington and how lamingtons came to be.

Yesterday with my Kindergarten classes we talked about things that were 'Australian', authors that were 'Australian' and places in Australia. We talked about where they went in Australia during the holidays and we located them on a large map of Australia that I have affixed to the floor in the library.  This proved to be a big success. The sign around the kangaroo's neck says 'Hop in and read!' The Kindergarten students did lots of hopping on the map as you can imagine.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

21st June World Giraffe Day

In the last few weeks I feel like quite a few new picture books about giraffes have come across my desk and I thought 'must do a giraffe display' and then lo and behold I find out from the radio that it is World Giraffe Day so now I have no excuse. I collected my favourites first... Shel Silverstein's A Giraffe and a Half, first published 50 years ago, then Roald Dahl's The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me.  Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae always makes me smile because I have fond memories of a preschool Christmas concert when the children performed this book.

My Year 1 Book Club group and I look at true animal stories and the children are always fascinated by the giraffe who walks to Paris and we now have four different versions of this story, each with its own distinctive illustrations. Now for the best of the new ones. I love Giraffe on a Bicycle by Julia Woolf. This debut book really made the children laugh. Can't wait for her next book. Another new one, Blue and Bertie by Kristyna Litten has a wonderful message about coping with change, inclusion and acceptance of difference, perfect for the age group I teach.

See all the library's giraffe books here.

21st June International Day of Yoga

Yoga is something I would like to be much better at. I love the stretching and exercise component but I am hopeless at the 'switching off' component. Schools are beginning to incorporate many of the good aspects of yoga into daily practice though, and I am asked by teachers and parents what book resources are in the library on yoga. Here is my pinterest page listing many of the books I have managed to collect. The teachers seem to like ones where the movements equate with animal shapes, like You Are a Lion by Taeeun Yoo and I Am Yoga by Susan Verde and Peter Reynolds is a particularly good introduction for any teacher or child wanting to learn what yoga is all about.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

19th June Are You Sitting Comfortably?

"Hello there! Are you sitting comfortably? Are you sure? Have you found the perfect snuggle-up-and-lose-yourself-in-a-book place? Somewhere comfy, NOT itchy-fuzzy? Somewhere quiet, NOT buzz-buzzy? You have? Great! Unfortunately the little chap in this book isn't having quite as much luck as you are ...Join one small book lover's search for the perfect place to sit (just for a bit!) in this beautifully illustrated and designed picture book by the talented Leigh Hodgkinson."

This is the blurb for this new book that we added to our library collection last week. We loved its quirkiness and illustrations and decided to make it the centrepiece for a display, first of all for books that feature chairs, but then better still to start a discussion with the children about where they most like to read. They drew themselves reading in their favourite places. We also read There's a Bear on My Chair, a really good read that is on the shortlist for the Kate Greenaway Medal.

See all the books in the library that made their way to the display: