App Time Session 14: Otter on His Own and MarcoPolo Ocean

April 18, 2015 by

otterThe first app we used this week in App Time was Otter on His Own from Oceanhouse Media’s Smithsonian Collection. It is available through iTunes and Google Play for $2.99.

This app is based on a book by the same name, but the illustrations have been updated and allow for some interaction. It would make a great addition to digital libraries for kids ages 4-10, especially as it has plenty of non-fiction educational content. The book follows a young otter pup as he grows up and goes from depending entirely on his mom to being able to go off on his own. In this digital version, kids can read on their own, listen to the story with highlighted narration, and tap on different items they see on the screen to find out what they are, which is great for vocabulary development.

otter 3

 

 

 

We then looked at the activity app MarcoPolo Ocean, which is available through iTunes for $2.99ocean

MarcoPolo Ocean is a great way to continue your exploration into the sea. This app has five puzzles kids can do in addition to the free play aspect of diving deep into the depths of the ocean. They can assemble a coral reef, herring, orca, boat or submarine. As they build, the narrator will give them facts about some of the parts. They can then add animals to their ocean and interact with them during the open-ended play. You can also check out the Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer app, which has a simpler version of ocean exploration, but is free.

ocean 2

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Fish in a Tree

April 17, 2015 by

Fish in a treeFish in a Tree

By: Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Sixth-grader Ally Nickerson has passed through seven schools in seven years and has hidden a deep, dark secret at each one. She can’t read and to cover up the shame she feels, she acts out and winds up in the principal’s office at each school. However, at Ally’s current school a long-term substitute, Mr. Daniels, sees through Ally’s charade. He tells Ally that he suspects she has dyslexia and provides tools to help Ally overcome her learning disability. Ally is also dealing with a father who is deployed in the Middle East and she struggles to make friends at her new school. The supporting cast of quirky characters who are dealing with their own problems round out the story and add interest beyond the focus on dyslexia. This is a touching story that pays tribute to teachers that go the extra mile for their students. Fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder may enjoy this title.

Fish in a Tree is Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s second middle-grade novel. Her first novel, One for the Murphys was published in 2012. Hunt is an expert at exploring themes of family and friendship. I hope she continues to write middle-grade books because I plan to read everything she writes.

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Hey Duck and Just a Duck!

April 16, 2015 by

I couldn’t resist writing about these two books written and illustrated by Carin Bramsen,  Hey Duck and Just a Duck! The  illustrations are large and  beautiful and so realistic you just want to reach out and touch each fuzzy animal.  Speaking of animals we meet duck and cat.  Duck is an extremely friendly fellow and he is sure he has found a new friend, another duck.  He keeps asking the duck why is tail is so long?  Why doesn’t he like to swim in water?  Why doesn’t he quack?  You might be able to guess that his new friend is a cat.  Cat gets quite annoyed at this pesky duck but eventually responds to duck, “My sense of ME has gone AMUCK!” and begins to quack just like duck.  They form a bond through this adventure and their friendship is sealed.

 

Just a Duck? the sequel begins with duck deciding to become a cat.  Even though both cat and duck realize he looks nothing like a cat, duck is sure he can grow into a cat. Duck tries to walk like a cat, meow like a cat and act like a cat so you can imagine how silly this  duck is portrayed.  With considerable regret, duck has to come to the realization that he is just a duck!.

I enjoyed reading both of these books and the interactions between the duck and cat were both hilarious and enjoyable to read about.  These are great books for for our youngsters to enjoy with their parents or in a group setting.  These two books just bring a smile to your face.

Beverly (Davis)
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Show Me Happy

April 15, 2015 by

Show Me Happy by Kathryn Madeline Allen; photographs by Eric Futran

Using rhyming text and photographs, Show Me Happy highlights feelings and other simple concepts that are important to children in their daily lives. Allen and Futran’s second book is no less wonderful than the first, A Kiss Means I Love You. I have a weakness for children’s books using photographs and this one reflects joyous, diverse children.

 

 

Day%20of%20Child%20Spring%202015%20Banner

 

 

And speaking of diversity, join us at Harrington Library this Saturday, April 15, for El dia de los ninos/Day of the Child. This is a free family opportunity featuring Solina Marquis, bilingual storyteller at 2pm, Mexico 2000 Ballet Folklorico at 3pm and crafts at 3pm.

We hope to make you happy!

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Roller Girl

April 13, 2015 by

roller girlRoller Girl

by Victoria Jamieson

Astrid’s mother loves to take Astrid and her best friend, Nicole, to museums, poetry readings, and even the opera. The girls couldn’t care less about these cultural evenings. Until, one night, Astrid’s mother surprises them by taking them to a roller derby. Astrid falls in love with the excitement, the boldness, and the culture of roller girls. She’s shocked when Nicole doesn’t want to sign up for the roller derby with her. Can Astrid survive the summer without her best friend? Will they still be the same once middle school starts?

Jamieson tells a great story about growing up. Change is hard to deal with sometimes, especially when you aren’t ready for it. However, Astrid learns how to stay true to herself and to her friends as she’s confronted with huge changes. This story is great for fans of Raina Telgemeier, Cece Bell’s El Deafo, and Zita the Spacegirl. Or, if you haven’t read those titles either, give them a try! They won’t disappoint!

Reviewed by Kate (Haggard)

 

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Early Literacy Tip of the Week

April 13, 2015 by

Acting out a favorite story with a child is a fun way to reinforce the story and develop your child’s narrative skills. Playing helps your child get ready to read!

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App Time Session 13: Hello, Baby Animals and Lazoo Squiggles

April 11, 2015 by

 

baby animalsThis week in App Time we looked at Hello, Baby Animals developed by Shortstack. It is available through iTunes for $2.99.

I love that the interaction in this app is simple and relates directly to  the text. Kids can learn the baby animal names for different animals. I even learned how to pronounce foal (a baby horse) correctly. Hint: it rhymes with rock’n’roll! You can turn narration on or off. If you choose to turn narration on, you have the choice to hear an adult’s voice or child’s voice. I like having the child’s voice as the narrator. It might inspire your kid to read along! I thought it was so cool, how the words appear as they are read. This is a different form of highlighted narration, which boosts word recognition and raises print awareness.

Our activity app was Lazoo Squiggles by Lazoo. It is available through iTunes for free.lazoo squiggles

 Haggard Library has had this app on our App Time iPads and the iPads available near the Children’s Info desk. I’ve seen lots of kids enjoying this doodle app and decided to highlight this app for a demonstration. Doodling is so much fun, but it’s also a great way to build fine motor skills. Even kids who can’t hold a crayon yet can get ready to write simply by making some squiggles. Foster human relationships by asking your child questions as they build a scene. It can be as simple as “Where did the car go?” or you can challenge them to think “Why did the flowers grow when it rained?” These questions will help build narrative skills.

App Time is funded by the Texas State Archives and Library Commission (TSLAC) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services(IMLS). Come to Haggard Fridays at 11am and join us for App Time. See you there!

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I Can Make a Truck

April 10, 2015 by

maketruckI Can Make a Truck

By: Joanna Issa

This book is part of the What Can I Make Today? series created specifically with first-time crafters in mind. For this book, a child learns what is needed to make a functioning paper truck, with corresponding images of materials. Each section goes step-by-step in making a truck including images. The instructions and information are written in a large font. Some words are in bold, indicating that they can be referenced in the picture glossary in the back of the book. These bold words express important vocabulary when it comes to trucks, such as axle or ramp. Some sections will have a bold red square with a note inside: “ask for adult help.”

This book provides an opportunity for younger elementary children to learn about working with step-by-step instructions. The project is suited to be completed side-by-side with an adult. Once you have finished, what else can you make?

Click on this link to see the companion books in the series!

Recommended for younger elementary school-aged children.

Reviewed by: Diana (Harrington Library)

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Goatilocks and the Three Bears

April 9, 2015 by

goatilocksGoatilocks and the Three Bears by Erica S. Perl

A fractured version of Goldilocks featuring a “kid,” a young goat, as the main character. The goat is as audacious as Goldilocks but with a goat-like twist: she eats everything! How can she make it up to the bears? There’s a surprising and satisfying answer to round out the story. The comical, cartoon-style illustrations add to the humor in this pleasing fractured fairy tale.goatilocks 2

So what is a fractured fairy tale? Take a regular fairy tale, then change the gender(s) of some of the characters, mix up the setting, add a little humor, and you have a new version of an old favorite.

These titles are often great for reading aloud with children who know the traditional tale well and can enjoy the humor of a different version. We have a list of them here.

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Finding Serendipity

April 8, 2015 by

 

Finding Serendipity

By Angelica Banks

Tuesday McGillicuddy has a famous mother but she can’t tell you anything about her.  The reason being that her mother is the author of one of the most popular adventure series in the world!  She is so famous that she has to dress in disguise and pretend to be a completely different person when she’s out doing book signings or speaking in schools as the author Serendipity Smith.

Tuesday loves her mother deeply but she doesn’t love all of the time she spends writing her novels – locked away from her family for days on end. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Tuesday is happy that her mother is about to finish writing her last book in the Vivian Small adventure series.  This means a family trip where Tuesday will be able to spend weeks on a remote island somewhere with her mother and father, all the while enjoying their undivided attention.

But now something terrible has happened!  Her mother has apparently vanished through the open studio window while writing the final pages of Vivienne Small and the Final Battle!  The only clue left behind in her writer’s studio is a silver box containing a shimmering silver thread that spells “The End” and floats above the keyboard of her typewriter.  Hoping her mother will reappear, Tuesday starts a story of her own on the same typewriter. And now, her own adventure begins as she sets off to find her mother who is seemingly lost in her story somewhere.

I thoroughly enjoyed this magical and imaginative tale filled with twists and turns that introduce readers to a mystical land where authors find inspiration for their characters and stories.  A land where their characters become real and can live out the lives created for them.  And maybe, just maybe, live lives of their own after the author has left the story.

I highly recommend Finding Serendipity for children grades 4 through 6.  It would also be tremendous as a read-aloud!

Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)

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