Monday, April 9, 2012

Catching up with Story Time Mondays

I drove up to Pennsylvania to pick up Paul this afternoon. It was generally bright and sunny but the wind was so gusty that my car would sometimes sway from the blast. The blustery wind reminded me of some of the stories I've read for Story Time Mondays these past few weeks.

Curious George Flies a Kite is one of my favorite Curious George stories, since it includes so many spring-time elements of interest to little children: a mother bunny and her babies, fishing, biking, and, of course, kite flying. George is always so curious and always gets into trouble, making for a lively and fun story.

We've had The Story of Kites by Ying Chang Compestine in our library ever since I started working there, but I'd never look closely at it until this year. It's quite a good story about how kites were created as a device to scare birds out of the rice fields in China. My students followed it with interest; if I'd had time, we would have made small kites out of paper and chopsticks as the "afterword" suggested.

My mother-in-law's birthday happened to fall this year on a Monday, so in her memory I read a Winnie-the-Pooh story, In Which Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets Stuck in a Tight Place. Suzanne loved Winnie-the-Pooh and we frequently gave her birthday cards and such with Winnie motifs.

I introduced this classic story by showing illustrations of the Pooh characters as created by Disney Studios and comparing them to the original images by A. A. Milne, so the children understood that there was a book and characters well before there was a movie. I wondered if my modern students would enjoy the language of this old version (first published in 1926) and I was concerned about the sparseness of pictures. I shortened the story somewhat and made the most of the several pictures that were published in the original story, and was pleased that the children seemed to enjoy the reading.

When I say "children" I mean the older children, the ones aged four to six. For the three-year-olds I usually choose a simpler book to read, such as Waddle, Waddle, Quack, Quack Quack by Barbara Anne Skalak. This rhyming story about a little duckling who gets lost from his mother cleverly combines sweetness (cute eggs cracking, cute ducks waddling) with an exciting tension (duckling gets separated from Mom, storm strikes, duckling deals with the storm) and a happy ending (Mom finds duckling). It was the perfect spring story for the youngest of my audience.

But there was one book that I read to all ages and that everyone loved --even the library aide and myself, after hearing it six times in one day. Mary Jane Auch's The Easter Egg Farm is the interesting and funny story of Pauline, a chicken who lays eggs the color and design of whatever she happens to be looking at when she's laying. She is chosen to lay all the eggs for the town's Easter egg hunt, but then they all start to hatch. Brightly colored and designed chicks pop up all over the place despite efforts of Mrs. Pennywort, Pauline's owner, to stick them back in their shells. Mrs. Pennywort decides to give the chicks to the Easter egg hunt in lieu of the promised eggs, much to Pauline's distress. Pauline wants to be a mother; what's a chicken to do? It's a cute and engaging story, and we all enjoyed it!

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