Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Program (Child/Tween) - The Daring Club for Girls (Pirates)

Some time last year I was Googling ideas for library programs and came across a library that offered a program called "The Daring Club for Girls". Not much information was given on their website specifically about this program other than that it was a club based on the book The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea Buchanan. I borrowed almost - if not all - the books in the series via ILL, and found them so useful that I wound up buying three of them. This summer I did a 5-week program with each one being inspired by a theme in the books. The program was advertised for ages 6-12 and encouraged daring boys to join us as well.

Week 3 - Pirates

Program Put Simply:

1. Play:
~ Land and Sea

2. Make:
~ DYO Swords
~ CYO Treasure Chest

3. Watch:
~ Treasure Planet

4. Other:
~ Interview a Pirate

Detailed Program:
This program also took longer than I expected. I bought a pirate hat from Party City and dressed up in a coat and boots (I tried for an eye patch but I just couldn't get it to look right) to try to look as piratey as I could for my "interview" (an explanation of how the pirate interview work can be found on this page). I was pleasantly surprised with how entertained the kids seemed to be by this activity. Afterwards, the kids got to design their own sword from Oriental Trading as well as their own treasure chest (basically these except they were all white) - looking back on it I probably should have got them some dollar store trinkets to use as "treasure". Once a majority of the kids were done with the crafts, we played a couple games of Land and Sea while we waited for everyone else to finish. I first heard about Land and Sea when I was volunteering at church, when all of the kids thought I was the crazy one for having never heard of the game; however, since then I have yet to find any children who know what the game is. The "official" rules to the game can be found here, however I changed them a bit. I started out by making a large square out of masking tape on the floor. Inside the square was "land", outside the square was "sea". When everyone left seemed to have the concept perfected I added "sland", where one of their feet needed to be on the inside and one on the outside of the square. After a couple of games we ended the program by watching a scene from Treasure Planet.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Review (Book) - Just Right for Christmas by Birdie Black

"When the king comes upon a bolt of beautiful red cloth, he knows that it's just right to make a beautiful cloak for the princess. After the sewing maids finish their work, the scraps are set out and quickly picked up by the kitchen maid, who will put them to good use. So begins a chain of trickle-down crafting and gift giving until even the tiniest mouse has something warm and cozy - something just right for Christmas." (inside jacket cover)

I had high hopes for this book judging by the cute illustration on the cover, but alas, Bertie Badger and his story only appear on six of the book's 26 pages. I became wary as soon as I opened the cover of the book and noticed the background of the endpapers/pages/leaves (whatever you want to call them) were  horribly pixelated.

While the story is nice, when I look for a Christmas book, I look for a book about Christmas. There definitely wasn't anything as offensive as the story of Jesus's birth in this book, but even the jolly old elf himself (aka Santa) didn't make an appearance. The only thing "Christmassy" about this book is the giving of gifts and the word "Christmassy" in regards to a piece of soft red cloth. This story could have just as easily applied to Hanukkah, birthdays, or really any day of the year that you just feel like being nice and giving a homemade gift to a friend. While it has good morals, this will not be a book I buy for my future children (and would not be inclined to suggest for a library collection either, as I simply didn't find anything special about it). There are plenty of other books that teach the same good values while actually being "Christmassy".

Amazon recommends this book for ages 3 and up. This is a fine age range, as approximately half of most pages contain the repeating phrase ""Oooh!" he/she said. "That cloth is so red and soft and Christmassy! It would be just right to...""

My rating:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review (Book) - Clorinda Plays Baseball by Robert Kinerk

"Clorinda is a cow with big dreams and loving friends. With her friends Hop and Len, she practices from dawn till dusk in the hope that her day in the big leagues may come. Then Clorinda meets Deke, who also loves the game, and Clorinda finds that her calling is to make Deke a star. It isn't long before Deke signs with Bosstown, with Clorinda as his number-one fan. Hip-hip-hooray!
But when Deke gets to Bosstown, he can't find his spark without Coach Clorinda at his side. By the fastest way possible, the team sends for Clorinda. But the question remains, will Clorinda ever get to play?" (inside jacket cover)

Well, with an introduction like that, not much is left to be said about the book! Steven Kellogg's illustrations are a bit...softer (??? after taking two youth literature classes, you'd think I'd know by now how to better describe illustrations) than most of my preferred children's books, but they are still beautiful to look at. Robert Kinerk has written the accompanying story that that rhymes beautifully, though he does use a couple
 rather advanced words such as "deftly". I'm sad that Clorinda's dream of playing professional baseball was so short lived, but alas, such is life.

This book is meant for slightly older children, or just expect younger children to ask questions about the story and vocabulary. There are some great underlying themes throughout the book, including building up others and not being prejudiced towards anyone because of their "species...gender, or race" (p.28). Overall, this is a book I would enjoy trying to read with my own [hypothetical] children, even though I personally find baseball one of the most boring sports in existence. 

Amazon recommends this book for ages 4 and up.

My rating:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review (Book) - Little Dog Lost by Monica Carnesi

"On a cold winter day, a curious dog wanders onto a frozen river. Suddenly, the ice starts breaking up, and soon the dog is adrift and traveling - the unwilling passenger on a fast-moving sheet of ice.
The dramatic rescue of this little lost dog, who traveled seventy-five miles in two days, is a true story that will warm readers' hearts." (inside jacket cover)

This book will be appealing to young children even without knowing the history of Baltic, the Polish pooch found in 2010 on an ice floe in the Baltic Sea; though, if you're interested, the note from the author in the back of the book is a one page history of Baltic's travels and rescue.

According to the copyright page, "the art was done in watercolor, pen and ink on Fabriano hot-pressed paper". The text in the book is minimal - really no more than 2 lines per page, with predominantly simple words (other than the proper nouns like the name of the river Baltic got lost on - the Vistula) that can also be used for reader response.

Amazon recommends this book for ages 3 and up, but I think this could be a cute addition to any puppy storytime starting at 2 years old, so long as you don't have children who would get over emotional about a dog being lost and alone.

My rating:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Review (Book) - The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle

"When a pirate family, the Jolley-Rogers, move to Dull-on-Sea, rumors of their shocking behavior starts spreading through the neighborhood. But, with few other children to play with, Matilda is thrilled to meet the fascinating new family next door!" (inside jacket cover)

I LOVE THIS BOOK! While I enjoyed The Pirate Cruncher (Duddle's first picture book) more, I would still be quick to try to use this book in a pirate storytime for older kids. 

The illustrations are gorgeous; even my artist husband was captivated by the pictures in these books, and enough so that he has actually read both of Duddle's books to me (I love getting storytimes for myself)! The story is a cute one about overcoming stereotypes and treating others the way you want to be treated (even if they don't treat you that way), accompanied by gorgeous digital media illustrations and set in the fun font styles of Aunt Mildred and Tree Persimmon. Some of the words used are a bit more nonsensical (as in the style of Dr. Seuss), but most of the words are understandable, though might need a bit of defining for younger audiences. I successfully used The Pirate Cruncher a couple of summers ago with a camp group of children 5-11 years old, and this book is on about the same level. 

I'm hoping that the "Starring : The Jolly Rogers" means that Duddle plans on writing and illustrating many more of these books!

Amazon recommends this book for ages 3 and up, but I think the book might be a bit long for a 3-year-old, with some of the words being too complex.

My rating:
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are the sole views of the writer (me), and do not reflect the views and/or policies of PBCLS or any other organization.

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