Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cat in the Hat Party

The Cat in the Hat is 60 years young this year and we're celebrating with all things Seussical! Fans of all ages are welcome to join us for stories, crafts, and games galore.
Music playing as children arrive: album “Seussical”
Greeted the children dressed in a Cat in the Hat Costume (Black pants & shirt, famous hat, white bib & bowtie, black fake-fur tail)
As kids arriving: had a table with nametags for them to fill out (helps with crowd control) and a table with Ellison die-cut “Cat in the Hat” hats (red hats, long white cardstock for headbands, white strips for gluing on hats, scissors & gluesticks) so each could make own hat for the program. Then directed them to two other stations:
  • “Cat in the Hat” paper bag puppets
  • Seuss-inspired imaginary creatures – 2D or 3D (supplies: toilet paper rolls, pipe cleaners, feathers, pom poms, construction paper, googly eyes, glue sticks, scissors, hole punches, markers)
Around 7:15, called everyone into storywell
  • sang “On My Head I Have a Hat”
Song/Movement --  a rousing “Silly Hat” song (Source Unknown):
On my head I wear a hat,
It is such a silly hat,
That my head will wiggle,
Wiggle to and fro,
Where else should my silly hat go?
...continuing with audience suggestions...e.g. elbow, knee, foot, chin, tail, eyes, ear, hand, bottom,belly, nose (pinched nose to sound funny)...ending with
In my lap I have a hat,
It is such a quiet hat,
That my lap won't wiggle,
It just stays flat,
What do you all think of that! (everyone sits down, hat goes back on my head)

  • read “The Cat in the Hat”
  • drew for prizes
  • played “freeze dance” to Seussical album
  • played musical mats (like musical chairs with our alphabet mats) to Seussical album – as kids were eliminated, they were encouraged to go and try to balance a stack of paper plates and cups on their head (a la the “Cat” or a pom pom or plastic egg on a spoon a la “Horton Hears a Who”) then return to the craft tables to do any they hadn’t had time to do before the program.
This was a simplified version of the “Seussapalooza” program seen here: adapted to be used in the main children’s space because the program room was unavailable.
5/25/2017 BWL

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Carol as the “Cat in the Hat” with the cutest “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

School Age Program: Play with Poetry

This was a program to encourage kids to play with poetry then write some of their own.  (K-5 at Bridgewater, K-2 at Bedminster School)

Poetry Program – You’re a Poet though You May Not Know It  “Today we’re going to write some poems of our own -- but first we’re going to hear some poems to get our own creative ideas flowing and get some tips about poetry-writing…”

.2017: Order varied in some groups

  • Opened with Prelutsky’s “I Told the Wizard to His Face” from Monday’s Troll (skipped at Bedminster, book unavailable, instead opened with short poems “The Tickle Rhyme,” “Glowworm,” & “Bugs” (p.13-14) from Sunflakes)
  • Talked about different kinds of poetry – asked what made a poem (sometimes rhyme & rhythm, form, imaginative language).
  • Played “Yankee Doodle” rhyming game --  Newfangled Yankee Doodle Poems
  • Shared these tips from Jack Prelutsky Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry – anyone know of him (show his books) –keeps writing notebook (used page numbers below)

    Write about something that really happened (ok to exaggerate though!):
    Ø p.5 “I Wonder Why Dad is so Thoroughly Mad”
    Ø p.18 “My Mother’s Rules”
    Ø another poem about his mom’s rules: p.23 “Deep in Our Refrigerator”

    Brothers, Sisters, Pets, Friends and Toys make good subjects:
    Ø p.30 “My Baby Brother” (also “Brother” p. 65 in Sunflakes selected by Lilian Moore)
    Ø p.58 “Oh, Teddy Bear”
    Ø p.64 “My Brother Shaved His Teddy Bear”

    Poems don’t have to be long:
    Ø p.33 “Oysters”
    Ø (also “The Tickle Poem” p.14 in Sunflakes )

    Images can inspire poems:
    Ø p.65 “Spring Is” in Sunflakes selected by Lilian Moore)
    Ø p.43 “We’re Fearless Flying Hot Dogs”  (skipped some of these, no time)
    Ø p.39 “Forty Performing Bananas” (re-writing playing with language – read section),
    Ø p.53 “I’m Building a Bridge of Bananas”
    Ø p.74 “The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven”
  • Poems can inspire images:
    Ø Show Shape/Concrete Poems from Doodle Dandies (First Burst of Spring, Giraffe, Butterfly) by J. Patrick Lewis & A Poke in the Eye (p.2,3,17,20,21,27), by Paul B. Janeczko
  • Make up new verses to poem/song “Alligator Pie” from Dinosaur Dinner by Dennis Lee  (Judy Freeman put it to music -- feel free to give me a call if you want the tune), having kids select food, a rhyming consequence activity, a rhyming object and a non-rhyming related object, e.g.
  • Alligator CHEESE, Alligator CHEESE
    If I don’t get some, I guess I’m gonna SNEEZE.
    Take away my GARDEN, Take away my BEES,
    But don’t take away my Alligator CHEESE!

  • Shared two pet poems (p. 19 & 14)  from Who Swallowed Harold by Susan Pearson then read the mixed-up menagerie poems from Cock-a-Doodle Moooo! by Keith DuQuette and showed example of acrostic & blackout poems. 
  • Kids then created poems of their choice – combo animal poems, shape poems, blackout poems, alligator pie new verses, rhyming poems or acrostic poems. 
  • Surprise ending fun:
    from Lunch Money and Other Poems About School by Carol Diggory Shields
    p. 16 "School Daze Rap"
    p. 35 "Clock Watching"

    Hands on – Writing our Own Poems – Options:

    o Using what we just discussed, write a poem
    o If you need ideas, try: “I am” poem (handout below, more at:
    o Poetry Starter (source unknown): “Every day when I go out, I fill my shoes with sauerkraut…. (supply a page with these two lines as the starter )
    o Acrostic Poem (Handout below)
    o How to Write an "I Can't Write a Poem" Poem (Handout
    o Write a Structured Poem – ideas from the book “A Kick in the Head”

o Write a Shape Poem|

Image result for concrete poems bicycleThis and many more here:
o Write a Blackout Poem



Acrostic Poem  (I wrote these instructions out for the kids)
An Acrostic Poem is a poem that uses a name or a word to begin each line in a poem. Write your name or a word vertically down the left side of this sheet of paper. Begin each line of the poem with each letter of your name and write about yourself. After you are finished, decorate the page with your favorite things. (If you would like to get your poem back, please write your name & phone number on the back.)


4.2017 Bridgewater:



Additional Resources:  Jack Prelutsky and others  lots of poetry ideas based on HMH books Bruce Lansky’s poems, contests, ideas poems, contests, ideas + a rhyming dictionary place for kids to publish their own (jack prelutsky’s writer’s workshop)

Display books: Imagine a Day …Night… Place – Sarah Thomson & Rob Gonsalves,  A River of Words JB Williams, Sad Underwear Judith Viorst, lots of other poetry books… New  in 2016 Daniel Finds a Poem – Micha Archer


Monday, April 24, 2017

Marigolds with the Garden Club



The Bridgewater Garden Club's "Marigolds Around the Library" project is designed to introduce young children, between grades K-2, to seeding and how seeds become plants.  This project will have two sessions.  In this first session, young planters will gather at the library to listen to a short lesson on growing plants from seed, plant their cell packs, and receive instructions for caring for the seeds at home.  In the second session, to be held on May 31 at 4:30 pm, the young planters will bring their plants back to the library and plant them around the Bridgewater Library (mainly at the front entrance).

Music from Tom Chapin’s album This Pretty Planet playing as kids arrived. Early birds started work on Earth Day headbands and plant book – details below.


Read poem  “Spring Is” by Bobbi Katz from Sunflakes: Poems for Children.

Book: Flower Garden
by Eve Bunting – A young girl in the city makes a windowbox garden for her mother.

Flannel: Fran’s Flower, based on the book by Lisa Bruce (text here: – Fran tries to get her flower to grow by feeding it pizza and strawberry ice cream!

Book: Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm (572.46 BANG) -- this creative and memorable explanation of photosynthesis will stick with kids for a long time.
Sign Language Song: “Walk the World Now Children” from Tom Chapin’s Album Some Assembly Required. Find signs here:


Book: Beautiful Hands by Kathryn Otashi (gorgeous pictures made from handprints accompany great figurative ideas of what hands can do  (plant ideas, touch hearts, lift spirits, stretch imaginations, reach for love, peace, faith, truth, hope and dreams…)  (skipped, no time)

Closed with Louis Armstrong singing “What a Wonderful World” (track #1 on album The Best of Louis Armstrong, showing pages from book It’s a Wonderful World illustrated by Ashley Bryan – celebrating the wonderful world we live in and the plants, animals, and people of so many colors we share it with… (skipped book, no time, but played song as kids planted & did crafts)

Garden Club explained how plants grow…what needed (air, water, soil) and how to care for seedlings – (water from below gently so don’t disturb roots)

Planting table – making marigold six-packs, kids will plant at the library in 5 weeks

Craft tables: 

BWL 4.2017


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Heart of Art–Drawing Lessons with the BRRHS Art Honors Club


On January 30th, members of the Bridgewater HS Art Honor Society taught kids how to draw faces, on February 13th, they continued learning about how to draw the rest of a person. Lessons continued with “drawing animals” on April 17th.

Ashley, Alyssa, Halanna, and Vita demonstrated the step by step process of drawing a cat, a bunny, a peacock and a dinosaur -- rotating from table to table so each group got to learn how to draw all 4 animals. 

4.2017  Supplies: 4 white board easels with dry erase markers, 8x11 or 8x14 paper, pencils, erasers, colored pencils






Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Pre-School Storytime/Craft: Unusual Pets




Book: Bark, George by Jules Feiffer (George the dog meows, quacks, moos, etc. until a vet reaches down to extract the animals inside...surprise ending, George says, “Hello?”)

Sign Language Song:
“Hear the Little Doggie” from
Pick Me Up, Fun Songs for Learning Signs  and/or Flannel/Song: “BINGO” (identify letters -- clap for each removed letter -- great for pre-reading listening skills)

Flannel: Any Kind of Dog (based on the book by Lynn Reiser) -- script below

Song: “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?



Book: RRRALPH by Lois Ehlert (A kid learns that his dog has an impressive vocabulary!)  -- can booktalk Martha Speaks series.



Singable Book: Do Your Ears Hang Low?  by Jenny Cooper (with grey pantihose “ears”)



Book: This ORQ. (he cave boy) by David Elliot (boy’s pet mammoth is not well-accepted by his cave-mom – until he saves him from a saber tooth tiger!)

Craft – Paper bag dog puppets.
Could also make your own “pet” using toilet paper tubes, googly eyes, pipe cleaners and scrap paper or 2D/3D animals in the style of Lois Ehlert’s Ralph with recycled materials




4.17 Branchburg – note: was told theme was “pets” but arrived to find dog craft planned and very young crowd so adjusted accordingly.


Any Kind of Dog
(based on the book by Lynn Reiser)

Richard wanted a dog -- any kind of dog -- but his mom said a dog was too much trouble,

So she gave him a caterpillar.
The caterpillar was very nice.  

It looked a little like a dog (Lhasa Apso), but it was not a dog.

Richard wanted a dog -- any kind of dog -- but his mom said a dog was too much trouble,

So she gave him a mouse.

The mouse  was very nice.  

It looked a little like a dog (Chihuahua), but it was not a dog.

Continue with:
Baby Alligator…. Dachshund
Lamb… Bedlington Terrier

Pony… Great Dane

Lion… Chow Chow
Bear… Newfoundland

All of the animals were very nice, but Richard still wanted a dog.

And, finally, his mother gave him a dog.

The dog was very nice.

It looked exactly like a dog.

The dog was a lot of trouble.

But it was worth it!


Additional title possibilities:


Book: Clara and Asha by Eric Rohman (A giant fish makes a delightful friend/pet)  (skipped BGL)

Song: “Make New Friends But Keep the Old”   (skipped BGL)

Optional DVD: Angus Lost (Phoenix Films) - wordless live action. (or Angus & the Ducks)

How to Train a Train
by Jason Carter Eaton
A Pet for Fly Guy
by Tedd Arnold (Fly Guy longs to have a pet of his very own. What will he choose? The story reaches a delightfully odd conclusion that makes total sense)
Don’t Take Your Snake for a Stroll
by Karin Ireland
Teacher’s Pets
by Dayle Ann Dodds
Hiding Hoover
by Elise Broach
The Birthday Fish
by Dan Yaccarino
Not Norman: A Goldfish Story
by Kelly Bennett
Hunky Dory Ate It by Katie Evans (great to use with flannel: The Cake that Mack Ate)
It’s a Secret – Burningham (JFreeman)
Pet for Petunia -  Schmid (girl wants a skunk)

Martha – Spirin

"Mrs. Arthur Armrooster Arbuster Getz"
Mrs. Arthur Armbrooster Arbuster Getz
Had a very strange habit of wearing her pets!
Around her waist was a garter snake
And in her pockets mice
About her neck was a quick brown fox
And on her shoulder, a gerbil eating rice
Upon her shoe was a cockatoo
Upon her head a hen
And by her side a pig would hide
And they were all the best of friends!

Friday, March 10, 2017

School Age Storytime “Mothers of Invention”


A K-3 storytime emphasizing pioneering women inventors and the challenges they faced. Opened with a discussion of the phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention”


In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps it Up by Monica Kulling – the story of the 19th century “Lady Edison” (also discussed NJ’s own Thomas Edison) Knight, eventual holder of twenty patents, fought discrimination and proved that she was just as intelligent an inventor as a man.

Action: Hi, My Name is Joe & I Work in a Button Factory – Left/Right reminders, get the wiggles out!


One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay & The Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul – showed the pictures and summarized this true story of a woman who had the idea of turning the mountains of discarded plastic bags plaguing her village into crocheted purses.


Imaginative Inventions by Charise Mericle Harper (poems about inventions – shared the Frisbee poem – another example of reuse, though eventually became plastic!)


Ada’s Ideas by Fiona Robinson – showed the pictures and summarized the story of the world’s first computer programmer.

Additional wonderful books featuring the women profiled above – great for “compare & contrast”:



Spic-And-Span! Lillian Gilbreth’s Wonder Kitchen by Monica Kulling --the story of the world's first female industrial engineer & efficiency expert and the first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering.



Closed with two books celebrating imagination, creativity & girl power (with a nod back to the paper bag we started with):

If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen – a kid imagines a truly spectacular house (I encouraged kids to design their own imaginative rooms) -- and The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch – a princess outsmarts the dragon holding her fiance prisoner then decides the shallow prince is not worth marrying.

Another wonderful empowered princess –Princess Atalanta from “Free To Be You and Me” – check  out the Youtube video HERE.

If you want to get your kids involved in inventing & constructing, you might want to do a “Cardboard Challenge” inspired by Caine’s Arcade – details at:, and 2017:

Bedm 3/2017

For more women’s history programs, check out:

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