Goodnight Safari

December 3, 2016 by

Many parents wonder whether sharing stories with their children on tablets or other devices counts as story time or screen time.  Digital books are a great way to provide access to books, especially on the go.  No matter what type of book you use, your story times should include imagination, curiosity, and conversation.  If you choose digital picture books, make sure that the actual story doesn’t get lost in all of the animations and activities included in the app.  Apps like Goodnight Safari provide an interactive reading experience while still maintaining elements of a “traditional” reading experience.

Goodnight Safari by Polk Street Press LLC

Ages:  4+ (made for ages 5 and under)

Requires:  iOS 4.3 or later

Compatibility:  iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch


Goodnight Safari is an interactive e-book that lets you read alone or with a narrator.  You’re at the center of the story as you help the animals get ready for bed.  The story takes place in the African savanna, and includes well known animals like zebras, but also lesser known animals like leopard tortoises.  Simple vocabulary and intuitive interactions help children follow the plot.  The main menu allows you to choose “Read to Me” or “Read Alone,” as well as “Pick a Page” to go to a favorite scene in the story.  The sound can be on or off in the app.  Additional activities are also available for a fee; a previous for each is available from the menu prior to purchase.  Activities include color identification, counting, and matching.

In “Read to Me” mode, a narrator reads the words on each page.  The words spoken are highlighted as they are read so that you can easily follow along.  In “Read Alone” mode, you can read the text yourself, at whatever speed you choose.  In each of the seven interactive scenes, you can help the animals prepare for bedtime following instructions given in the text.  Young children can simply follow the directions for each scene.  Older children can more fully explore each scene, touching different elements to see how the story interacts.  If you take too long, a graphic appears on the screen to highlight where you should touch to move the story along.  An arrow at the end of each scene advances to the next “page” in the story.

Elizabeth Stilwell has some great tips for sharing digital books with your children here.  Start by reading this story together without narration.  You can share the story like you would a physical book – pausing, asking questions, using silly voices, or even making up your own story.  You’ll also move through the book at your own pace, and you can return to pages as often as you like.

For more app recommendations and examples, be sure to join us for App Time at 11:15 on Tuesday mornings at Haggard Library or at 11:00 on Wednesday mornings at Davis Library.  Our storytimes will take a brief break for the holiday season starting December 12, but be sure to check out our full calendar online or in our Engage brochure to see more upcoming programs.  Happy reading!

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Baby Sign Language – Tree

December 2, 2016 by

Babies develop motor skills before they develop the ability to speak. Teaching your baby sign language opens the door to communication, leading to more fun and less frustration!

Please join us for:

Babes in Arms – rhymes, music, movement, and sign language for children aged 0-9 months.

Rhyme Time – songs, nursery rhymes, books, and sign language for children aged 0-24 months.

See you in storytime!

  • As a reminder–December 11th is the end of our current storytime session. All storytimes will resume the week of January 9th.
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Penguin Problems

November 30, 2016 by

penguin-problemsPenguin Problems
By Jory John
Illustrated by Lane Smith

Penguins. Cute and Cuddly. They waddle, they can’t fly, the all look alike. What could be better? To this little penguin, everything. I mean he waddles and looks silly when he does. He wants to fly, but he can’t. They all look alike and he looks like everyone else, repetitive but true. This penguin has problems, lots of them. In a very humorous tale, see the side of penguin life that is hard, really hard. Until a very nice walrus give him a little perspective. The mountains, the ocean, family and friends. All things the penguin can appreciate. But it is still cold and dark way too early.

By Ashley (Davis Library)

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The Forbidden Library

November 24, 2016 by

forbidden-libraryThe Forbidden Library

By Django Wexler

When I stumbled upon this book and saw the title, I had to read the cover summary:

“Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That–along with everything else–changed after she met her first fairy hovering in the kitchen, threatening her father. The next day her father left, never to return.

Poor Alice dutifully goes off to live with an uncle she’s never heard of: a mysterious old man with an impossibly massive library full of books she’s forbidden to read. But when she runs into a talking cat who sneaks her inside and an arrogant boy who dares her to open a book, it’s hard to resist. The moment she reads the first line Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, with only one way out.

It seems Uncle Geryon is much more than he claimed to be. Good thing Alice is too, because she’ll need all her courage and wits to face the challenges to come.”

What library person could walk away from a story about magical books that LITERALLY take you to other worlds?  And talking cats are icing on the cake!  I really enjoyed Wexler’s unique book-based magical system.  “Readers” are the wielders of magic, seeking bits and pieces of magical fragments within their huge collection of books.  They then combined the found fragments to create magical books that can contain portals to other worlds and prisons for holding powerful magical creatures.

Alice is a smart, crafty girl who overcomes the many obstacles in her way by thinking outside the box.  There is a bit of mystery and intrigue as Alice comes to learn that people’s intentions are not always clear and most things are never simply black and white.  A few pictures are sprinkled throughout the book to help illustrate the unusual places and creatures Alice encounters during her adventure.

This book is part of a series which has two more books, The Mad Apprentice and the Palace of Glass, and a fourth expected sometime next year.

the-mad-apprentice the-palace-of-glass

I would recommend this middle grade novel for readers who enjoy magic, fantastical creatures, and strong female characters.

Reviewed by: Meredith (Harrington Library)

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There’s a Cat in Our Class!

November 23, 2016 by

There’s a Cat in Our Class!

A Tale About Getting Along

By: Jeanie Franz Ransom

Miss Biscuit’s classroom of dogs is about to get a new student.  This student is very different from the others, however.  She is a CAT!  How will the dogs react to someone so unlike them joining their class?

This sweet, funny and timely book offers a child-friendly excursion into the important issue of diversity. The story imparts the value of learning about, accepting and celebrating each other’s differences.

Bryan Langdo’s illustrations are lovely and expressive and allow for discussion about Samantha and the dogs’ feelings throughout the story.

This book is timely and relevant for children and parents alike.  At the end of the story is a Note to Readers by Gayle E. Pitman, PhD., which gives suggestions on ways to have meaningful conversations with your child about this difficult topic.

Happy reading!

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Miles is a Mighty Brothersaurus

November 22, 2016 by

brotherMiles is a Mighty Brothersaurus

By Samantha Kurtzman-Counter and Abbie Schiller

If you have more than one child, you know that sometimes kids can compare themselves to their siblings. Maybe one is great at math, or sports, or science, but their younger (or older) sibling feels like they can’t be as impressive or successful. This Miles book addresses that problem and more. Miles is a middle child who loves dinosaurs. His older brother is great at baseball, winning trophy after trophy, while his younger brother is a gymnast. It leaves Miles feeling like he’s not any good at anything. With a little help from his loving grandpa, Miles learns that he has good qualities that are just as important as being good at sports.

If you struggle with a child that is going through something like this, then Miles can help them see it’s important to be yourself. This book is part of a bigger collection that focuses on “Helping Parents Raise Good People”. I expect to see more from this series in the future, but now you can find When Miles Got Mad and Miles is the Boss of His Body on the shelves at our library. Both discuss topics that can sometimes be difficult to approach, giving you a starting point for helping your child face problems.

Recommended for ages 4-7.

Nicki P.

Schimelpfenig Library

Here are the other books in this award-winning series (click image to go to catalog):



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Everyone Loves Cupcake

November 18, 2016 by

Product DetailsEveryone Loves Cupcake

By:  Kelly DiPucchio


This hilarious follow-up to Ms. DiPucchio’s EVERYONE LOVES BACON is even funnier than the first story.  Cupcake dresses to impress.  Her smile is brilliant.  Her wave is flawless.  She even wears a tiara.  Cupcake alienates all of the other desserts in her quest to be perfect.  Then she crumbles and decides to show her true colors which endears her to everyone again.  The illustrations are almost as perfect as cupcake.  This is a very SWEET story!

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Kid Picks

November 13, 2016 by

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President Squid

November 11, 2016 by

Image result for president squid President Squid

By Aaron Reynolds

Illustrated by Sara Varon

We have a new president. Half of the grown-ups around are now ready to wait 4 years for a new one. The other half are excited to see what wonderful things their choice will make as the leader of our country. The kids of the US are wondering what is takes to be a president. In the book President Squid, he looks at what qualities he has that will make him the “greatest president ever” and the first giant squid president. President Squid tells you the important qualities a president should have. They should wear a tie, have the biggest house ever, be famous, do all the talking and be the BIG BOSS. As you go through the story you (and President Squid, too!) find out if he knows the right traits and if he is really ready to be president. With fun illustrations and lots of personality, this is a must read fun book.

Review by Ashley, Davis Library



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ABC Workbook

November 5, 2016 by

Did you know that writing starts with the same simple grasping motion you use to hold a spoon?  If your little one is grasping spoons, toys, and other objects, it’s not too early to introduce early writing concepts.  Writing is so important to your little one’s brain, even when it is just scribbles.  Scribbles on paper help your child understand that the words we see on paper represent things we can see, touch, and understand in real life.  This is the first step to reading!  Plus, all that grasping and moving helps fine motor skills, which your little one will need when they learn how to form letters.  Writing takes a lot of time and practice, but with the ABC Workbook app, you can take writing on the go wherever you are!

My First Speller Workbook Reading & Tracing A to Z by Andrea Perin

Ages:  4+

Requires:  iOS 6.0 or later

Compatibility:  iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

ABC Workbook is a letter tracing app that helps get your child ready to write.  Practice writing uppercase and lowercase letters with guided activities.  The free version of this app includes tracing all 26 letters of the alphabet in both forms, and you can also unlock additional games for a fee.  Work through each lesson in alphabet order, or skip to specific letters by tapping them on each side of the screen.  The app includes four different lessons.

For Lessons 1 and 2, each letter includes a word that starts with that letter (spoken in the app and shown on the screen with a picture) and a video of someone writing the letter.  You can write the letters by following the lines.  Each line has an arrow to show which direction to write.  As you follow the lines, you collect little flowers.  Once you’ve written each letter, you’ll see a comparison between what the letter looks like and what you wrote.  Each letter is widely outlined to provide an additional guide for shape.  Lesson 1 covers uppercase letters, and Lesson 2 covers lowercase letters.

For Lessons 3 and 4, the focus is on the progression of writing letters independently.  After the introduction to each letter, you’ll get to write it three times.  The first time uses the same method as above:  directional arrows to guide writing while you collect flowers.  The second time is a little harder; it includes flowers for you to collect, but no arrows to show how you should write the letter.  The third time, you’ll use dotted-line tracing while collecting the flowers.  This try is the closest to writing the letter independently, and it doesn’t include as much leeway as the previous two tries, since it doesn’t have the wide outline of the letter shape.  At the end, you’ll see all three letters side-by-side to see your writing progression.  Lesson 3 covers uppercase letters, and Lesson 4 covers lowercase letters.

You can start out using this app with your fingers.  To build hand muscles, add an additional challenge of writing letters with a stylus.  Ready to take your writing off the screen?  You can practice writing letters outside with chalk, or inside with crayons.

For more app recommendations and examples, be sure to join us for App Time at 11:15 on Tuesday mornings at Haggard Library or at 11 AM on Wednesday mornings at Davis Library.  Check out our full calendar online to see more upcoming programs!


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