Fireflies: September 2012         

Sep 29, 2012

A Personal Library Kit

What a great compliment to our month of celebrating books, libraries, and librarians!

I just discovered this library kit and couldn't resist sharing it with you.   If you have children who enjoy playing school or a child who loves pretending to be a librarian, then this personal library kit is a must. Actually it doesn't matter the age of the "child"...  I'm getting Mary Kline (our CLIP Reviews & Reflections writer) one for Christmas and I promise you, she will LOVE it!

Grandparents & Parents... if you have a children's home library set up in your home, design a check out system and watch your children delight in "checking out" their books with you.

You may also want to consider purchasing this kit for yourself, if you are a generous reader who is tired of losing books to forgetful though well-meaning friends.


Sep 28, 2012

CLIP Review: The Boy who was Raised by Librarians

Author: Carla Morris
Illustrator: Brad Sneed
Ages: 5-8

                   "A library is a wonderful place to be if a person is curious."

Melvin is curious.  Melvin loves libraries.  But most of all, Melvin loves the librarians.  No matter where his interests lie, they took an interest in it also.  That's how librarians are. They just can't help it. And that's why Melvin loves them.  Even when he bursts into the library with a Mason jar filled with bugs and in his excitement races towards them and T R I P S...  Within minutes, Marge, Betty and Leeola have retrieved, identified, classified and cataloged all 87 specimens of Melvins creepy crawlies!  Then they hand Melvin a copy of  A Field Guide to Insects. They just can't help it. That's just how librarians are.

The book takes you through Melvin's years of school and how Marge, Betty and Leeola quizzed him for his Spelling Bee, guided him in finding information for his Science Fair project, helped him price his baseball cards using the internet.  They couldn't help it. That's how librarians are.

Many years later another little boy comes into the library, carrying a container of bugs. He is greeted by the library's newest librarian - can you guess who? Yes, it's Melvin!

Sneed's illustrations of the librarians will capture your heart, but be prepared for the last picture. Melvin is the perfect librarian, he just can't help it. That's just how librarians are.


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Sep 27, 2012

CLIP Review: The Lonely Book

Author: Kate Bernheimer
Illustrator: Chris Sheban
Ages: 5-8

Wandering through a library is one of my favorite pastimes. It is also somewhat frustrating as I feel the need to read everything in sight while knowing it's simply impossible.  And then it happens - I come across the perfect book - the one that is just what I've been looking for. I clutch it tightly and sigh with deep satisfaction. That its cover is worn, a few pages torn, doesn't matter.

Which brings us to little Alice...
As her eyes fell upon the moss-green book, Alice barely noticed the faded cover. She was enchanted by the girl standing under the toadstool in the forest. Turning its pages, she sighed, knowing this was the book for which she had been searching.  Little did Alice know that the shabby little book had been longing to be read again; that because of its appearance it had not been checked out in years and had become lonely.  As Alice delighted in reading her new-found treasure, so the lonely book found joy in being rediscovered.  Alice read at night by the light of the moon, then slept with it under her pillow, the better to dream about it.  She shared her beloved book the next week at the library for the special Listening Room event. In her excitement she forgot the book, but upon returning to the library realized it was lost.  Now the loneliness was felt by both Alice and her precious book. 

How Alice and the lonely book are reunited is both magical and tender.  The last sentence of the book is, "And they lived happily ever after, of course."

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Sep 26, 2012

Thank you, Miss Librarian!

[Print Communications]

On Friday, Mary is reviewing a wonderful book entitled, The Boy who was Raised by Librarians by Carla Morris.  Since our theme this month is, "I Love Books", we thought this would be a wonderful time to say a big THANK YOU to your child's school and/or local librarian.  Everyone enjoys being appreciated, so why not say thank you to a librarian while teaching children the art of showing appreciation?

First, teach your children the motivation behind a "thank you".  Help them understand why writing a thank-you note is important and also make sure they know what you thank the person(s) for:  an action or a specific gift.   In this case, we are simply saying thank you for choosing great books for our library and/or story time etc.   As parents we need to seek out opportunities to say "thank you" and model an attitude of thanksgiving for our children.

Next, select a unique way to say thanks. Make sure the note is in their own words, no matter how limited. A thank-you card should include specifically why this person is appreciated.

Below is a link to creating a stapleless book from  Perhaps a thank-you book would be the perfect way to show appreciation to your school and/or local librarian.

Don't miss our book review on Friday!


Sep 24, 2012

Best Apps: Wild About Books

From iTunes:
The award-winning picture book roars to interactive life as your kids tilt, swipe, and tap their way through this rollicking rhymed story that’s filled with a safari of surprises.  Whether you’re making monkeys flip, beach balls bounce, animals stampede, or bears burp, you and your kids are sure to laugh, learn, and get wild about books.  This new offering from Random House Children’s Books, the trusted publisher of beloved children’s classics, is the perfect app for story time or anytime.

- Explore 16 animated and interactive scenes 
- Tilt the iPad to explore the unique 3-D environment 
- Tap and swipe animals and other illustrations throughout the story to bring them to life.  
- Use the intuitive navigation wheel to easily revisit your favorite pages.

-Watch and listen as words are highlighted while the story is read aloud. 
-Turn off the narration and read at your own pace.

I love the look and design of this app.   However, I wish that you could swipe to turn pages. You have to tap on arrows at the bottom left and right to move through the story.  Also, the price point is a bit high - $4.99 at the time of this post.  If you don't mind paying the cost of this app (still less than the price of the book, if that helps.), it will be a delightful addition to your app library.

View this video by Random House to experience
Wild About Books, the app.

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Sep 21, 2012

CLIP Review: Wild About Books

Author: Judy Sierra
Illustrator: Marc Brown
Ages: 4-8

                    It all started the summer of 2002,
                    When the Springfield librarian, Molly McGrew,
                    By mistake drove her bookmobile into the zoo.

In this rollicking rhyme, the birds and beasts of the zoo  are introduced to this strange new something called reading.  Molly McGrew does her best to match each animal with its personal request: giraffes reading basketball books, pandas demanding books in Chinese, otters wanting waterproof books, hyenas howling over joke books. The excitement grows to such a degree that the porcupines begin writing books with their very own quills, Tasmanian devils give up fighting for writing, and the hippo's memoir is given the Zoolitzer Prize!  Marc Brown's detailed, fanciful illustrations will keep you busy looking and laughing at the wonderful animal antics.

This book makes for the perfect read-aloud that both child and parent will enjoy!

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Sep 19, 2012

Masterpiece Response - Lion and the Mouse

In our last post we talked about "The Peaceable Kingdom" painting by Edward Hicks.  What a joy to live in peace with our brothers and sisters!  As an art teacher at Circle Christian School for Monday's and Tuesday's PreK-4th grade Explorations classes, I was excited to share the art Masterpiece, Peaceable Kingdom by Hicks and Jerry Pinkney's picture book, The Lion and the Mouse with the students. 
The Lion and the Mouse
by Jerry Pinkney
To connect the topic of being peacemakers and servant leaders, we drew and painted a lion and a mouse and talked about how Mr. Lion showed kindness to others.  The students had to share their watercolors and look for ways to show kindness to others in the classroom and at home.  They loved playing "Follow the Leader" as I drew on the board step by step and they followed along.  

Many of the Kinders were even able to follow along and had so much fun painting with the watercolors.  You can see for yourself how lovely their paintings turned out!

The students "love tanks" were filled up and it really seems to show in their artwork as well.  I am so proud of them!  They gave it their best effort, shared their supplies, and found ways to be kind to their classmates.  Equipped with peacemaking strategies, they went home with smiles and some very beautiful artwork as well!  May we continue a "Peaceable Kingdom"in our homes as we seek first to understand and then to be understood and put an extra dose of love in everything we do.

By Laura Bird Miller, fine artist and art instructor, Circle Christian School


Sep 17, 2012

September Masterpiece: Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks

Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks, oil 1833

Election year, 2012.

Peaceable Kingdom, 1833. 

Art can convey emotion, tell stories, and teach.  This is a great masterpiece to open communication with our little ones about America's providential history and even the topic of Biblical peacemaking.   

Notice the contrast between the children petting the wild animals in the foreground and in the background William Penn is making a treaty with the Indians.  Striking contrast, yet, childlike in its feeling. 

This is a beautiful painting based on the Bible verse: "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them."  Isaiah 11:6

Hicks painted at least 60 versions of this painting from Isaiah 11:6.  He was mostly self-taught and studied the Bible along with his art.  

Perhaps you wish to use this wonderful masterpiece to introduce your young student(s) to the history of America during the colonial times, or at least to William Penn, the Quaker who founded Pennsylvania and treated the Indians fairly and kindly.  It would also be a great painting to help students understand the heart of peace and the concept of Biblical peacemaking or resolving conflict through the 4 G's:  Glorify God, Get the log out of your own eye, Gently restore, and Go and be reconciled.   

Edward Hicks was also a Quaker who lived in Pennsylvania.  He was originally a coach maker but became an artist and an art teacher later in his life and lived to be 69 years old.

1.  What does "peace" mean to them?     

2.  Why did the artist paint the children petting the animals?       

3.  Why do you think the artist painted the people in the background (Indians and the colonists) making an agreement in the background?

4.  How can they be a "peacemaker" in the classroom or in their home?  What should they do if someone hurts their feelings?

It is never too early to help our students not only experience great art but also learn about America's providential history and/or Biblical peacemaking where they seek first to understand and then to be understood.  What a beautiful painting to introduce this topic to them and to share ways they might think of to help bring peace to their world and God's kingdom on earth!

 by Laura Bird Miller, fine artist and art instructor Circle Christian School


Sep 14, 2012

CLIP Review: Library Lion

Author: Michelle Knudsen
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Ages: 4-7

Everyone knows the two main rules in the library: one must be quiet and no running!  But when a lion walks into the library one day, no one is quite sure what to do.  Even Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, is unaware of any rules about lions in the library.  Lion is warned in a very stern voice that if he does not roar, he may be allowed to attend story hour. All the children are delighted! The next day Lion returns early and begins to find all sorts of useful tasks to  help around the library. He dusts the encyclopedias with his furry tail and lets small children ride on his back to reach books on high shelves. 
 But one day something happens that causes Lion to not only race through the library, but also roar the loudest roar of his life. He is sent from the library in shame. Could there ever be a reason, a very good reason for roaring in the library? Lion broke the rules when his friend was in need, helping in the only way he knew how.  Would he ever be allowed back for storytime with the children?

This book makes a delightful read-aloud and the illustrations will, in the words of the illustrator, "remind you of those simple days when a visit to the library was as exciting as a trip to the  zoo, only better!"

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Sep 12, 2012

Moments: Could you bless your sister?

I have friends who have seven kids.  They live on a sprawling five acres in  a farm style, two-story home that’s painted country blue. And yes, it does have a wrap around porch and a red barn out back.  My boys love to visit them because they are a great family and because they have motorcycles, a trampoline, air soft guns, zip lines and more.  

I remember my husband and I sitting at the kitchen table one night after dinner; talking with our friends. Every few minutes one of their younger kids would come in and ask their father a question.  He would answer and we would pick up our conversation.  After a few times he asked one of his older kids who was walking by, “Could you bless your sister and help her with what she’s trying to do?”  

The phrasing of his questions struck me.  “Could you bless your sister?”  I loved that it wasn’t, “Could you do me a favor?”, or “Can you do your sister a favor?”.  In that simple question he was giving his child a tangible example of what it means to choose to be a blessing.  He honored the older child with the choice and provided for the need of the younger.

May we look for opportunities to teach our kids to be a blessing to each other.  

Romans 12:13
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.


Sep 10, 2012

Best Apps: PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit

PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit is one of the best children's book adaptations I've seen. The reading interactive elements are stellar -- but what makes the app really stand out is its detailed use of sound and movement with the pop-up elements. Every image is filled with several interactive elements that will enthrall children and adults. Flick the leaves falling from trees in the artwork and they'll come floating out into the book. Touch Peter or his siblings and they'll giggle with delight. The narration and music, meanwhile, are soothing and bring Beatrix Potter's classic tale to life. It takes the children's book app to a new level -- and is worth every penny of its higher-than-other-book-apps price tag.  But don't just take my word for it - watch the following video from Loud Crow Interactive, the designers of this fine app.

Note:  It does take up more memory than many interactive children's apps.

CLICK HERE for the app's website

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Sep 7, 2012

CLIP Review: That Book Woman

Author:  Heather Henson
Illustrations:  David Small
Ages 4-8
With books so readily available at any store our children enter, they may be fascinated by this look back into American history, when books were delivered to country folk on horseback! No matter the weather: that Book Woman came in rain, in fog, why, "sakes alive - here she be, wrapped head to toe", making a tap, tap, tap on the window to deliver books in the snow! This was the era of the Pack Horse Librarians, who helped untold numbers of families in the Appalachian Mountains receive books.  Cal, however, does not want to sit still reading what he calls "chicken scratch." It's fine if his sister is the readin' type, but he'd rather be working with his Pap out with the sheep in the mountains. He thinks that Book Woman is just plain foolish to keep bringing books all the way out there - or is she? After several months he begins to think that it isn't foolish at all, but brave to do what she does, especially in all kinds of weather. He begins to yearn to know what all that "chicken scratch" might mean.  The gift Cal gives to the Book Woman at the end of the story may surprise truly is a gift from the heart.  

Hear That Book Woman read aloud.  Click HERE.

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Sep 5, 2012

Poem: A Book by Emily Dickinson

A Book
by Emily Dickinson

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul! 

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Sep 3, 2012

September Reflections: I Love Books!

I love books! What a delight it is to find an unfamiliar bookstore and have the time to browse for awhile.  On several occasions I've been fortunate to come across a treasured book from my childhood or one that just "speaks to me" as only a book-lover can understand.  My earliest recollection of enjoying books was as a  pre-schooler, in my pj's with my sisters, sitting on our bed while mama read from Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories or Famous Fairy Tales.  With visions of "The Elves and the Shoemaker" or "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" in our minds, my sisters and I always had plenty to whisper about after the lights were turned off. 

In third grade I was given the greatest gift - my own library card.  While my friends asked for tassels on their bike's handlebars, I only wanted a basket so I could carry books. I thought the librarian had the best job in the world - being able to flip through all the cards, stamping due dates on every one's books, reading when no one was at her desk... I envied her life more than I could say.  At home I read to anyone who would listen; this usually being a combination of my stuffed animals and dolls.  When my sisters complained that I was making too much noise, I climbed up into the tree house, put down blankets and pillows, got a few snacks and spent the afternoon.

Do you want to make a hum-drum afternoon more exciting? Head to the library! Tired of bedtime being a battle of the wills? Start a little earlier, curl up with one of the fascinating finds you checked out at the library and curl up on your child's bed with him/her.  Tucking them in is far easier when they've listened to "Once upon a time in a land far away...".

This month we're reviewing books about books! And libraries! What happens when a bookmobile goes to the zoo? And have you ever wondered what all those books in the library feel like that don't get checked out? Get your library card and before you know it, you'll be reading "happily ever after"!
Mary Byrne Kline

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