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Gingerbread Men, Friends, & Pirates

What a fun Storytime we had reading about gingerbread people this day after Christmas! First we read Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett, about a Gingerbread Baby who rides a chicken to a bakery to make some new friends. Then we read The Gingerbread Boy by Richard Egielski, the classic tale but set in a city - so the Gingerbread Boy runs away from people like construction workers! Finally, we read The Gingerbread Pirates, about the Christmas Eve adventures of Captain Cookie and his crew.
For a craft, we cut gingerbread boy shapes from brown paper, then decorated them with yarn, sequins, pompoms, crayons and other embellishments. 
Later we danced to this song, running in place when we heard "Run, run as fast as you can, you can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man!" Listen - and dance along!

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Happy Christmas!


Track Santa's progress as he travels the globe on Christmas Eve! 


Merry Christmas from The Gordon-Nash Library!

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Some Christmas Mice

Today we heard four stories about mice at Christmastime. We began with If You Take A Mouse to the Movies, a funny story about a mouse who moves from one activity to another, and another, and another! Together at Christmas is a story of ten little mice, out in the cold at Christmastime, and an important lesson they learn about friendship. The Gingerbread Mouse was about a mouse who finds a new home in the house of some neighbors. And The Tale of the Christmas Mouse is about a helpful little critter who makes Santa's job a little easier.

Here's our craft - Christmas mice! As you can see, there was a lot of choice involved regarding mice features. But all have a candy cane tail! We also made pipe cleaner candy canes - just in case the real candy cane somehow got eaten!
We sang "Where is Santa" to the tune of "Are You Sleeping?":
Where is Santa? Where is Santa? (hands behind back)
Here I am! Here I am! (arms out in front making a belly shape!)
Merry, Merry Christmas!
Merry, Merry, Christmas! (keep arms up through the rest of the song!)
Ho - Ho - Ho!, Ho - Ho - Ho!
And we sang "Jingle Bells" - with jingle bells! Click below to listen!
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"Secret" Santa!

Santa Claus has been portrayed in many Christmas books and has been drawn by many artists. Can you tell which children's book illustrators drew these jolly old St. Nicks? Click on the picture to make it bigger if necessary. Leave your answers in the comment section by clicking on this post's speech bubble!



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The Night Before Christmas

When you visit us, be sure to take a look at the display cases at the back of the library. Featured this month are many different copies of The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. Each copy displayed is illustrated by a different artist. This collection has been almost forty years in the making and is offered to us this month by a special patron. Ho-ho-ho! Check it out!
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Almost Christmas!

Despite today's cold temperatures, our story time was full of warmth and Christmas cheer! We read four books about Christmas, including Duck & Goose Time for Christmas (with a tactile cover!), and a lift-the-flap book about Corduroy's Christmas. After our craft, we read Bear Stays Up for Christmas and Where is Christmas, Jesse Bear? Both books dealt a lot with preparations for getting ready for Christmas. And both books showed Santa!

We transformed plain white cardboard stocking shapes into unique and special ornaments for our Christmas trees. Stockings were decorated with crayons, Christmas stickers, sequins, and pompoms. Names were attached at the top, written on each child's favorite color of paper. We had lots of extra stickers, so children took them home!


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Author & Illustrator: Jan Brett

Have you ever noticed how many books by author and illustrator Jan Brett have winter time for a setting? Jan Brett must love winter! She has also illustrated many books with a Christmas theme. Here are the ones we have in the Children's Room:
  • Christmas trolls
  • Home for Christmas
  • The twelve days of Christmas
  • Who's that knocking on Christmas Eve?
  • The wild Christmas reindeer
  • The mitten : a Ukrainian folktale
Jan Brett also has a fabulous website, here. Click on Hedgie's Holiday Workbench for lots and lots of Christmas activities you can do at home!

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Christmas Bears

NHCS StoryCrafters heard the story of Bear's First Christmas, the rhyming tale of a bear who helps out some animal friends and experiences the joy of Christmas...
Out of doors, the beasts stared as the last embers fell,
They thought and they thought, but they still couldn't tell
What the meaning could be of the music, the lights,
And the gladness inside on this darkest of nights,
But sparks deep inside them gave off that same glow
As they made their way back through the drifts of deep snow.

After the story, we made another kind of bear - an ornament for our trees at home! Children made a bear's face and ears from paper and glued on a cotton snout and googly eyes. A white cup served as the bear's body. Inside the cup, we suspended a tiny bell on a ribbon, so the ornament jingles when it moves! A polar bear for Christmas!

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Christmas Trees

Only two more NHCS StoryCrafters sessions until the holidays and vacation! Today we read Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry, a story of a Christmas tree that kept getting trimmed because it was a little too tall for the space it was in. It's fun to watch the way the little trimmed part gets smaller and smaller as it is passed to one family after another! This book is one of my holiday favorites!

Here's our craft - a Christmas tree, of course! Children traced and cut two congruent triangles, then cut slit in each - one from the top point to the middle of the triangle, the other from the center of the baseline to the middle of the triangle. Triangles were then slid together to form a three dimensional "tree", able to stand on its own. Next came the "trimmings" - sequins, buttons, and sparkly gems. No two trees were alike in size or shape - and all were beautiful!

A Good Read: Twelve Kinds of Ice

Early this cold and frosty morning, by the side of the road, I noticed "stream ice", the fourth kind of ice written about in Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed. This book tells the story of a country family who watches and waits for perfect winter ice so they can skate. They know the stages of ice formation and can tell what kind of ice they're seeing: first ice, field ice, garden ice, black ice - and seven more! What they do with "perfect ice" is amazing and sounds like so much fun!

This sixty-four page book is tiny and thin and fits nicely in the hands. The illustrations are pen and ink with lots of detail. And the writing is beautiful to read.
The third ice was the ice that would not break....My sister and I heard it coming the night before. We lay in our beds, listening to the cold cracking of the maple limbs in the yard. We had seen it coming in the close, round moon. We felt it coming through the windows onto our quilts. We had gone to sleep talking about the ice that would not break, because it was the ice that would bring us what we were waiting for...
If you're a hockey or figure skater, this book is a must for you. If you just like to be outdoors in winter, you'll love this quick read. And if you're the sort who stays inside in winter, this is a toasty book to curl up with on a cold winter's evening. It's available in the Juvenile section in the Children's Room, up by the videos.


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's a short video of someone reading from the funny Eve Bunting book, A Turkey for Thanksgiving. Mrs. Moose really wants a turkey for Thanksgiving so Mr. Moose, with the help of some friends, sets out to find her one! 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! 
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More Turkey!

At today's NHCS StoryCrafters hour, we read one of my favorite holiday books - Thankgiving at the Tappletons. It tells the story of a big family whose Turkey Day goes terribly wrong, until they remember a special reason to celebrate. Can you guess what it is?

Our final fall craft was a turkey, of course! He's made from a paper towel tube with paper face and wings. His feathers in the back are made with a sheet of white paper, colorfully striped, then accordion folded, folded in half, and stuck in the center. Fan out the paper and he looks a bit like a tom turkey - with a tail of full feathers!
Take out the paper, replace it with a napkin, and there's a turkey napkin holder for your Thanksgiving table!


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A Good Read: Balloons Over Broadway

Thanksgiving morning always finds me sitting on the couch with family, having pumpkin muffins for breakfast and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. We love the bands and the floats and we can't wait to see Santa arrive on his sleigh at the end. And, of course, we are always in awe of the huge floating balloons!

Balloons Over Broadway: the true story of the puppeteer of Macy's Parade is by Melissa Sweet, a children's author from Maine. It tells the story of Tony Sarg, the man who invented the first balloon animals for the Macy's parade. Tony loved to build contraptions and make machines. When he was six, he figured out a way to feed his chickens in their coop by pulling a rope in his bedroom!  The book tells about the challenges Tony faced as he tried to make the parade balloons bigger and better every year. When he had a problem, he tried creative ways to figure them out! Tony was a great problem-solver!

I love Melissa Sweet's illustrations. First, she paints backgrounds, then the main part of the picture. After that, she adds fancy letters or cuttings from books and magazines. There's so much to look at on each page!

If you enjoy the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as much as I do, and you're looking for a fascinating Thanksgiving book, Balloons Over Broadway may be the book for you! It's available here, in the Children's Room at the Gordon-Nash Library!
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Turkey Time!

It's very close to Thanksgiving - time for us to read about turkeys! The books we read today in story time were funny - Run, Turkey, Run by Diane Mayr, about a turkey trying to escape a farmer, and This is the Turkey by Abby Levine, the story of a family whose roasted turkey meets with a soggy disaster. We also read about being thankful in Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland and Thanksgiving Mice by Bethany Roberts.

Of course, we made a turkey for our craft! Paper feathers shaped like diamonds were glued around a turkey body and then topped with soft, fluffy multicolored feathers. Googley eyes, a beak, and a wattle (or a snood) made the turkey look great! Look!


Here's our song for you to sing at home, too - (to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It!") Don't forget to clap your hands - it's the best part!
Hello, Mr. Turkey, how are you? (clap, clap!)
Hello, Mr. Turkey, how are you? (clap, clap!)
With a gobble, gobble, gobble, and a wobble, wobble, wobble
Hello, Mr. Turkey how are you? (clap, clap!)
And when it was time to leave, we adapted the song and sang "Good-bye, Mr. Turkey, see you soon!" 

Here's the link to the children's Thanksgiving song I mentioned. The tune is really catchy, especially the chorus! Check back next week for a special Thanksgiving link!
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A Den for Bear

Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky was the book we read at NHCS StoryCrafters this week. It tells the story of a bear coming back each fall to the same area to find a den in which to hibernate. 

Our craft challenge this week was to engineer a paper bag into a paper den for a paper bear! Bears were colored and cut while crafters thought about ways to make their lunch bags den-like. Some bags were cut, others were folded, still others were crumpled, and there were some creative uses of autumn-colored scraps! All came out different! And everyone agreed - this week's craft was a hit!

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Hibernation, Time To Go To Sleep


Hibernation, time for hibernation, 
Hibernation, time to go to sleep!
This was the refrain coming from the children's room at the end of this week's story time. We began the hour by reading three books about animals getting ready for winter. Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky has a realistic-looking bear we followed as he settled down for the winter. Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming had animals reminding each other that it was time to hibernate. And Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows showed hibernating animals boarding a train in their pajamas - even the snakes!
We had another paper bag craft this week. This time, a cut out was made in the bottom of the bag that was then decorated with autumn scraps of paper, yarn, and other "found" materials. The top of the bag was folded down and, after coloring our paper bear, we placed him inside his paper "den" to hibernate. We did not glue him in, just in case some other items or toys from home might like to try hibernating, too! Can you see the bear inside? Doesn't he look cozy?
Finally, here's our song: Hibernation (to the tune of "Alouette")

(The chorus) 
Hibernation, time for hibernation...
Hibernation, time to go to sleep!

In the winter, where's the bear?
Sleeping in its log or lair.
Where's the bear? Log or lair. Oh!
(chorus) 

In the winter, where's the frog?
Sleeping by a pond or log.
Where's the frog? Pond or log.
Where's the bear? Log or lair. Oh!
(chorus) 

In the winter, where's the snake?
In the mud beneath beneath the lake.
Where's the snake? In the lake.
Where's the frog? Pond or log.
Where's the bear? Log or lair. Oh!
(chorus) 


In the winter, where’s the bat?
In a cave is where it’s at.
Where’s the bat? A cave it’s at.
Where's the snake? In the lake.
Where's the frog? Pond or log.
Where's the bear? Log or lair. Oh!
(chorus) 
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Harvest Time!

Strega Nona's Harvest was the read-aloud this week for NHCS StoryCrafters. This Tomie Depaola book depicts how to grow vegetables from seed and the importance of crop rotation, compost and manure, and, most importantly, orderly rows. Big Anthony did not plant a neat garden; his results were what made the story so funny!

Our craft looked like Indian corn! Colored paper "kernels" were carefully glued in vertical rows all around a section of paper towel tube. Strips of brown paper towel were stuffed into the top. Later at home, it can be replaced with a napkin - to make a Thanksgiving napkin holder!
 We also read the story of The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz. Oh gosh, it was so funny to find out why the "pumpkin" looked the way he did!

Squirrels

Here are our books for today's Story Hour about squirrels. Nuts to You has fantastic illustrations by Lois Ehlert. The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri tells why Squirrel could not play and visit with his friends - because he was too busy getting ready for winter!

Our craft was a paper bag squirrel puppet, holding an acorn. There was lots of opportunity for individual expression with this craft, especially the tail. Some had square ends, some were rounded, some had bushy fringe - but all were curled up behind the squirrel!


Here's one of the fingerplays we practiced:
Four busy squirrels (hold up four fingers)
scamper all around (wiggle fingers).
One finds a nut (hold up one finger)
to bury underground (pretend to dig).
One chews an acorn (pretend to chew)
and doesn’t make a sound (hold finger in front of lips).

One goes to sleep (pretend to sleep)
high in a leafy nest (point upward).
One climbs a tree (pretend to climb tree)
that’s what it likes best (nod head).

Whoosh goes the wind (wave arms)
the leaves swirl round and round (turn around).
Four busy squirrels (hold up four fingers)
scamper through the forest ground (wiggle fingers).
See his acorn?
Getting a hand stamp from Michelle
one of our youngest patrons

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NHCS Pajama Story Time

I was invited to be a reader at last night's New Hampton Community School PJ event! Children came to the school in their pajamas (and so did I!), had a snack, and were treated to several stories read by volunteer community members. I read Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, a story of small fox's attempts to stop a tree from losing its leaves in autumn.

Fifth graders plan Pajamas Story Time as a community service, collecting new children's pajamas which are then matched with a new book from Pond and Peak Reading Council. Books and pajamas are given to children at group homes and shelters throughout the state. The Gordon-Nash Library is proud to be a part of this worthwhile event!


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