Thursday, June 28, 2012

Star Cookies

"Star Cookies" is a story by William Wiesner that can be found in his book Moon Stories (c.1973). It is based on an old tale from India.  According to Wiesner's notes, Finland and Czechoslovakia also have versions of this story. In researching other moon stories, I came across another version called "The Sun, Wind and the Moon" in Moon Tales: Myths of the Moon from around the World by Rina Singh and Debbie Lish (1999). This is a longer version and I'm guessing that it is closer to the original tale. Wiesner has simplified the story making it more appealing to younger children. for this reason I will be using Wiesner's version of the story for Family Story Time. I am not aware of a picture book version of this story though I wouldn't be surprised if there were one. It certainly lends itself to that format.

The basic theme, thoughtlessness punished and thoughtfulness rewarded, can be found in many folktales. In Singh's version Sun, Wind and the Moon are the children of  Star Mother. Moon is bullied by her brothers. They attend the wedding of Thunder and Lightning where there is a great feast. Sun and Wind return with nothing for Star Mother. Sun is punished for thinking only of himself by having people avoid him in summer. Wind is punished for being rude by having people slam the door in his face in winter. Moon was rewarded by being loved by everyone all year round. In Wiesner's version Sun and Moon are the children of Mother Sky. They are invited to a picnic by Uncle North Wind who serves them delicious star cookies covered in golden icing. Sun gobbles them up while Moon is not only polite but saves half for Mother Sky. When Sun is scolded for being greedy, he says that he will only do what he wants do and so he is sent away to be on his own. When Moon presents Mother Sky with the cookies, Mother Sky decides that they are too pretty to eat and decorates her blue cloak with them instead. Moon is given the privelige of moving across the night sky to tend to the stars and is loved by all.

Storytelling Notes: I will be telling the Wiesner version in my own words. I made little bows to dress Sun and Moon up when they visit North Wind. I plan to have Sun have a bit of a temper tantrum before he goes off on his own. I will also be using a small bag to put the "cookies" in for Mother Sky. Also, it will be Aunt North Wind rather than Uncle North Wind because my drawing looks more like an aunt than an uncle.

Mother Sky, Sun and Moon

Sun and Moon Visiting Aunt North Wind

Moon with Stars in the Sky

Years ago I told this story for a bedtime program and I am looking forward to telling it again.

Andrea of Rovingfiddleheadkidlit is hosting this week's Flannel Friday Roundup. Information about Flannel Friday can be found here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Let the Craziness Begin!

Our summer reading program officially starts on Monday. Schools in New Jersey seem to get out much later than most of the country. I've been reading other librarians' blogs and it seems as if they are well into their summer reading programs and activities.

Registration for summer reading started this week and it's been very busy. I have a feeling that we will continue to be busy all summer. Over the years I have noticed that participation in library summer programs increases during difficult economic times. That will probably be the case this year. I've already overheard one mom mention that they wouldn't be going away this summer.

Fortunately we have a very generous Friends of the Library group so we will be able to offer some nice programs for families this year starting with our kick-off party Monday evening. Tickets went quickly. We hope to have the activities outside but if it rains we are limited to how many we can have in our meeting room. (We always give out free tickets to events that are being held in the meeting room.) Instead of a performer, this year we will be having a DJ. We will also have food and activities outside. (Cotton candy! Italian ice!)

I will be handling children's room desk duties while the rest of the staff works the party. They will have the help of teen/tween volunteers. Although I will busy with registrations, check-ins and readers' advisory questions, I will probably not be nearly as busy as everyone else. It's a crazy evening for us but our families love it.

Above is a photo of our bulletin board awaiting its stars. For the first check-in each child gets to put his/her name on a star which we will then staple onto the bulletin board. (To give an idea of the size of the board, the bed is about 5 feet long.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

When the Moon Fell From the Sky

This is board story for an upcoming family story time.  It is adapted from The Night the Moon Fell: A Mayan Myth Retold by Pat Mora. I selected this story because it takes place in the ocean which is an unusual setting for a story about the moon and stars. As with many folk tales, the book retelling is a bit long for my group. My shorter version can be found as a Google document here.

The "divided" Moon is based on clip art in Microsoft Publisher. I also found a similar one searching Google Images. The other figures are also based on images in Microsoft Publisher. I did draw my own coral and kelp (squiggles are easy). I used silver metallic marker for the fish scales. (I got a bit carried away making fish. You only have to make enough to go around the moon.) I also added some glitter glue to the moon.  I made one whole moon for the beginning of the story and one broken moon for the middle of the story. I made one half of the broken moon with scales glued on to piece with the half moon at the end of the story. Once the moon is back up in the sky scatter the fish around the board to represent the stars.


Broken Moon

Moon in the Ocean


Moon Put Back Together

Moon Carrying Fish to the Sky

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Sarah of Read It Again! Information about Flannel Friday including the schedule of future round-ups and links to the previous ones can be found at the Flannel Friday website.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Aliens at Bedtime

This summer I will be doing a Pajama Story Time. Bedtime will be the focus of this program. I thought it would be fun to add some aliens to the mix so I wrote the following with colorful alien props in mind. I made my aliens out of card stock. Flannel board figures would also work. Finger puppets would work for a small group. Stick puppets would work for a larger group.

Aliens at Bedtime
(Written by L. Meuse, 6/8/12 - Notes from the Story Room blog)

It was late last night when I went to bed.
I fell asleep as soon as my pillow met my head.
All was well until there was a loud beep,
Which woke me up from a very sound sleep.
I sat up in bed and rubbed my eyes,
Then blinked in wonder and surprise,
For standing there as clear as could be,
Were three strange creatures smiling at me.
"Gleep," said the first who was purple and blue.
"Hello," I replied, "How do you do?"
"Meep," said the second who was yellow and red.
"How nice to meet you," I answered, getting out of my bed.
"Dreep," said the third who was orange and green.
"How may I help you?" I asked the only aliens I've ever seen.
"Gleep, meep, dreep.  Dreep, meep, gleep," was all they would say.
I answered, "I hope you are here for a nice long stay."
But sadly their visit did not last long at all,
For as I put on my slippers, they ran down the hall.
And out the front door without saying a word.
"Gleep! Meep! Dreep!" I called but I don't think they heard.
When I reached the front door, a silver ship was flying high,
And soon disappeared into the dark night sky.
So I returned to my bed and soon was asleep,
Dreaming of creatures that went gleep, meep and dreep.


Paper lunch bags glued to the back make great stands

The bags fold flat for easy storage

This week's Flannel Friday round-up is hosted by Katie of Recipe for Reading. Information about Flannel Friday can be found on the Flannel Friday website.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Evening Family Story Time #7

Family Story Time - Flowers
Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Attendance - 11 (5 children, 6 adults)

Books:  The Empty Pot by Demi
             Fran's Flower by Lisa Bruce

Board Stories:  "The Celebration" from Teeny-Tiny Folktales by Jean Warren
                       "Kip's Flowers"

Board Game:  "A Daisy for Maisy"

Crafts:  Spring Flowers Mobile and Paper Plate Flower Wreath - both are from DLTK's Crafts for Kids.

Spring Flowers Mobile

Paper Plate Flower Wreath

Notes:  The group was small due to not having an April program and changing the day.  A meeting room was not available on a Monday so the program was held on a Wednesday.  One thing I did learn from this is that Monday is the preferred night so I will try to keep Family Story Time on Monday evenings when they resume in the fall.  Attendance also drops in the spring when children start their outdoor sports activities.  Since I knew the group was going to be small, I chose more complicated crafts than I usually do.  The mobile was the favorite and I could have skipped the wreath.  The group also enjoyed the stories.  The game was a big hit.  I had a hard time fooling this group.  The older children were very good at guessing.  I did manage to fool them once by putting the flower under the same object twice. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Make a Squawking Chicken

It's been a busy week so I haven't had time to come up with an original idea for this week's Flannel Friday round-up.  Since most public librarians are getting ready for summer programs including craft programs, I decided to write about one of the most popular crafts that I have done over the years.

This little guy is over 10 years old.  (He was missing his eyes, beak and some of his "feathers" when I brought him out of storage. I added the missing pieces so he would look nice for his photo shoot.)

It is a squawking chicken that I first used in a summer craft program.  I purchased the supplies from S&S Worldwide.  (I was the only youth services person in my former library for years and I found that their group packs were great time savers and cost effective when it came to summer craft programs when I would have an average attendance of 40 children.)  It was not difficult to make and the children loved it because it made noise.  I kept the sample because I knew I would use it again.  A few years later I used it as a craft for a family story time program.  It was an even bigger hit because the parents got to play with it too.  This time around I purchased the supplies separately since the group was much smaller. 

Poke a hole in center of the bottom of a plastic cup.  I did this ahead of time.  Cut a piece of string around 20 inches.  Tie a small piece of sponge on one end of the string and push the other end through the hole.  Tie a knot on top to secure the string.  Cover the knot by gluing on a red felt or paper "comb."  Glue yellow tissue paper around the outside of the cup.  Glue on eyes and a beak.  Dampen the sponge and wrap it around the top of the string.  Pull it in short jerks to make the chicken squawk.  If you search for "squawking chicken craft" online you will find more detailed instructions such as these

If you haven't tried this craft yet, I recommend that you do.  It will appeal to all ages.  Even younger children can make one with grown-up help. 

I think that I will have to come up with a chicken story that will enable me to use the squawking chicken as a storytelling prop for family story time.  Then everyone can make their own to bring home.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-up is hosted by Lisa of Libraryland.  Information about Flannel Friday including the schedule of future round-ups and links to the previous ones can be found at the Flannel Friday website.