Friday, March 30, 2007

Picture Books - Dr. Duck

Is there a doctor in the house? A reading doctor perhaps? Well, if there is I’m wondering is it normal for a wee one of just 25 months to want so many books read before nap and bedtime? Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact she wants to hear and look at so many books, but it is hard to cut it off. However, I have been successful in reducing the books to four at naptime and six at bedtime. Of course, this doesn’t include the numerous ones throughout the day. Occasionally, I have even suggested she watch a show, yes, I said show on television even to take a break from reading. (PBS here in town have some really good shows that are great for wee ones.)

One of her many favorite books lately is that of Dr. Duck by H. M. Ehrlich and illustrated by Laura Rader 2000 - This is a must read every night for the wee one. We meet Dr. Duck as he starts his morning neighborhood rounds in his big red van. Through Dr. Duck we meet all kinds of animals and what is ailing them. As Dr. Duck wraps up his day, it is soon him that falls ill. The animals rally round and help nurse Dr. Duck to health again. Unfortunately, our wee one gets upset when one of the animal cries out, “don’t die Dr. Duck”. I have learned to skip that sentence and it doesn’t interfere at all with the rhythmic text.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Picture Books - Going to the Zoo

Ah, don’t you just love spring weather, we are taking walks, visiting local sites, and trying to take it all in. With usually having mild winters these past few years, the late nastiness of this past February made for a bit cranky cooped up feeling in many around the area. I think it gave us a bit more appreciation for the newly greening grass, daffodils blooming, and fresh spring air.

Today, we dropped by our local zoo and visited with a number of animals. The wee one even got to pick up a few new books (as if we needed anymore). One of the books we found I couldn’t pass up as it was based on the “Going to the zoo” song. It was overpriced and a tad beat up, but it was so worth it to see her face when we “sang” the book. It is great to find books to connect with a memory.

If you like the song or just want to recreate a fun zoo memory try this book out. Going to the Zoo by Tom Paxton and illustrated by Karen Lee Schmidt 1996. The illustrations do great justice to the song/text and the ending is so cute.

The elephants say Hi and come visit!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Picture Books - Kiss, Kiss!

Kiss, Kiss! by Margaret Wild and illustrated by Bridget Strevens-Marzo 2004

Although this book has been around awhile, it sure makes for a fun one on one lap book. The text invites the reader to make a number of entertaining sounds while following Baby Hippo through his morning adventures. While Baby Hippo is out and about following a dragonfly, he notices that the other little ones in the neighborhood are kissing their mamas good-bye. It is then he suddenly remembers what he forgot to do before leaving in such a hurry earlier that morning. The reader has a great opportunity to add a whimsical sense of urgency to Baby Hippo’s quick return to the waterhole in search of his mama. It is an enjoyable book to cuddle up with to your special little one and share funny kisses. Prefect for babies through pre-K, plus the illustrations are really cute, bright, and eye catching. It is just the right length for little ones, plus not too bad for the ever re-read syndrome of this age.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Where has the time gone?

Ah, it is time to change the clocks once again. Being a native of the Hoosier state I grew up in a “state” of confusion. When I was a wee one myself we paid homage to the time honored activity of springing ahead and falling behind at the government-approved times. Then for some miraculous reason the Hoosier state decided to wise up like a few others and stop the madness. But, to my chagrin the current governor decided to be like all the other states again so as to improve the state’s business economy and image. Hum, I never really did buy into that. I did think yes it would be easier for folks to remember what time it was here if we all did the same thing everyone else did. However, as a free thinking being and one that tries to see logic and practicality of actions, I still think this whole time shifting thing is for the birds, especially when trying to accommodate wee ones schedules and explaining the whole meaning behind it (no matter what Mr. Benjamin Franklin thought).

Have you ever tried to find a children’s book on the subject of daylight saving? Oh, there are a number of “science” books that explain the general reasons, but I tend to disagree with most of the so-called statistics they back up their information with. I do agree with trying to conserve energy, so why not just stick to one time that fits the best. Instead, now we have from March until November on one time then for a measly 4 months we are on another time. Time change interrupts so many activities, but for some reason the vast majority have been brainwashed into seeing the “right” in doing it. When working at the elementary school the kids had great questions as to why time changed. However, not being a believer in the “system” I really had a hard time explaining the benefits when they were trying to stay awake to listen. Yes, it is great to have more daylight at night. So, why not stick with the spring “time” all the time? Daylight saving comes up in a number of children’s literature and I have even seen it used as a pivot point. In a recent acclaimed children’s book about Ben Franklin they credit him with this fascinating idea. I say yeah he had some good ideas, but he also had some duds too, and I would put this in with them.

Today, I listened to some brainwashing bureaucratic talk up all the benefits of moving the spring change to March and how everyone will be safer (children on a darken bus stop through out most of the school year, hum) and more energy will be conserved (lights on in the schools in the dark morning hours, hum). What he didn’t say is what his data was based on. Then the reporter being on the quick side put forth that a study is being mandated to begin in November to see if this change really does benefit us at all seeing how the last bit of data used for this current change was compiled in the 70’s. Well, if it were the 70’s again those driving SUV’s would be waiting in long lines at the gas pumps and paying more than what we pay now. And, maybe we would really be taking energy savings more seriously as many did then. But, really folks this daylight saving time has been going on so long now, I think the “do it because we always have” factor is the driving force.

Maybe what I really need in order to accept this twice a year silliness is a good children’s book that will explain it to me in a logical manner. If that were so, I might be able to with a clear conscience and believability explain it my child and other kids.
As a side note, Canada made the recent March change as well because of the states, but the European Union did not. Hummmm! For some quick information go to Time zone change.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Library "Service"?

Oh woe is me. My inner selfish beast has surfaced over this weekend during a trip to the library. Over the years I have come to have a love hate relationship with our library system. It is very large with more than 20 branch locations. As a little girl and again as a teen (working as a page) I spent many hours in the library. However, I was always intimidated by the arrangement and service. Back in the day there was usually just one librarian on duty and one check out clerk. Now days the branches are very large (and more used) and usually have two or three librarians and a dozen or more clerks. In the olden days we didn’t have “children’s” librarians and to use the reference desk you had to be accompanied by an adult to ask a question or at least that was the implied message sent to the young ones. But, in the late 80’s and through the 90’s the library was very focused on customer service and programs and the library was an easy place to visit and find materials.

As I visited our library yesterday I discovered they have yet again cut back on services, librarian qualifications (a whole posting in itself), and hours. I was “informed” as I entered the queue to check out my books that there were other self check stations opened. I wasn’t sure what the smart mouthed young adult meant, but ignored her sarcasm and waited until the familiar clerk was available. It was then that another person behind the desk “informed” me that all the libraries are now self-check out and they no longer do it for you. Mind you there are no posted signs or instructions nor had I seen any previous notices about this change. I proceeded to the opened window area to be greeted by a monitor and scanner. Being familiar with grocery store checkouts I had a reasonable idea as to how it worked. As I started to scan a few books wouldn’t enter. I was then informed I must have too many books already checked out. Interesting as this was the first visit in a while and we have no library books currently checked out. After some verbal debate and card confirmation I asked them to see if the books were on hold and that is why they couldn’t be checked out. Nope, they don’t know why they wouldn’t scan so just go ahead and take them with out checking them out. I thanked the clerk, but declined, as I didn’t want to be responsible for books that aren’t in my name. The clerk was very adamant that I take the book so I did.

The real sad part of this whole exchange was the lack of help those asking for received and the layout didn’t looks as if young ones could reach the scanners. (This then brought up questions about elderly that are computer phobic and those that are new to libraries like our immigrant population.) There were a number of people asking for help with the scanners or just trying to locate books. But, the smart mouthed young adult was more than rude to so many insisting she was not allowed out behind the counter and that those asking should see the librarian. These librarians being only two that day were already swamped helping others. As a side note checking out the books could have been a breeze, but then you have to add a print out receipt to each book’s pocket to keep the security from buzzing on the way out. If you have a lot of books it can be a hassle, plus where are those cards they used to use that would make it so much quicker?

So, in addition to not only having to locate your own "hold" materials sitting out for anyone to select from, but you have to check your own books out, and the collections held at each library now change as they no longer send other branch books back to the original collection. So, if the computer says the book is in the branch’s collection that will not always be the case. I totally understand the need to cut back on expenses, but it seems the system did a quick jerk the band-aid off change without informing their public. I am looking at this new change from a customer side and selfish at that. If I were the library I could see some justification in the changes, but I am not working for them at reduced again wages like their grumbling staff is.

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