Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rhymes That Are New - Just For You!

One of the things I enjoy doing as a children's librarian is looking at the new books as they come in. It's always useful to know what's been added to the collection. Recently I found several that I would like to share with you.

Suse MacDonald has adapted Edward Lear's A Was Once an Apple Pie. One of the skills a child needs to develop before learning to read is "phonological awareness" which is the ability to hear distinct sounds within words. Reading or reciting rhymes to a young child will help that child understand that words are made up of separate sounds. This alphabet poem is full of wordplay such as

D was once a little dog,
doggy, moggy, oggy, noggy,
waggy, woggy, little dog!

MacDonald's delightful illustrations nicely complement the text.

Once I Ate a Pie is a book of poems about dogs written by Patricia MacLachlan (who won the Newbery Medal for Sarah Plain and Tall) and her daughter Emily MacLachlan Charest. This book will appeal to dog lovers of all ages for not only do the poems capture the essence of doggieness but the illustrations are outstanding. Various breeds of dogs are featured throughout the book. I loved this book and I have two cats!

No Boys Allowed: Poems about Brothers and Sisters is a collection compiled by John Micklos, Jr. The poems in this book feature a wide variety of sibling emotions. Parents will also appreciate these verses.

Two books that will appeal to older children are Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku by Paul B. Janeczko and Patrick Lewis and Tour America: A Journey Through Poems and Art by Diane Siebert. Wing Nuts is a humorous collection of poetry called senryu. Illustrator Stephen T. Johnson uses a variety of media to depict the famous American landmarks featured in Tour America (New Jersey, my home state, is represented by Lucy the Elephant).

April is National Poetry Month so celebrate it by browsing through your library's collection of poetry books. To get started go to 811 in the children's non-fiction section. Play rhymes and Mother Goose books can be found in 398.8.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Great Web Sites for Kids

While searching for information to post on this blog I rediscovered an old favorite. When the Internet was much younger and not yet a part of everyday life for many families, I often recommended ALSC's Great Web Sites for Kids. (ALSC is the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.) This list was originally created in 1997 (which is very long ago in "Internet years"). Many of the sites provide information for school assignments and others simply provide some online fun. They are divided into the following sections: animals, the arts, history & biography, literature & language, mathematics & computers, "reference desk," sciences, and social sciences. Kids can explore areas of interest such as dinosaurs or space or they can visit the Web Site of the Month.

This list is maintained and updated by the ALSC Great Web Sites Committee so not only are the sites worth visiting but the list is kept current. The appropriate age group or groups for each Web site is noted. For example, Cartoonster is appropriate for elementary and middle school age children and Storyline is appropriate for prekindergarten and elementary school age children. The list can be searched by intended audience as well as by keyword or URL so a parent can find all the Web sites suitable for each age group. Under "Selection Criteria" there is useful information for students and parents about evaluating Web sites. There is also a listing of "Sites for Parents, Caregivers, Teachers & Others."

Happy surfing!