Stories With Ms. Jenna

Storytimes, Programs, Booklists, and More!

Storytime: In the Ocean

Before heading to ALA Midwinter (which was absolutely wonderful), I had an evening family storytime. The theme was “In the Ocean!”

Book: Rub-a-Dub Sub by Linda Ashman


Song: “Octopus (Slippery Fish)” by Charlotte Diamond

Slippery fish, Slippery fish
Sliding through the water
Slippery fish, Slippery fish
Gulp, gulp, gulp

Oh, no! It’s been eaten by an…
Octopus, Octopus
Squiggling in the water
Octopus, Octopus
Gulp, gulp, gulp

Oh, no! It’s been eaten by a…
Tuna fish, Tuna fish
Flashing through the water
Tuna fish, Tuna fish
Gulp, Gulp, Gulp

Oh, no! It’s been eaten by a …
Great white shark, Great white shark
Lurking in the water
Great white shark, Great white shark
Gulp, gulp, gulp

Oh, no! It’s been eaten by a…
Humungous Whale, Humungous Whale
Spouting in the water
Humungous Whale, Humungous Whale

Book: Secret Seahorse by Stella Blackstone


Action Rhyme: “I’m a Little Octopus”

Arm #1 goes swish, swish, swish (swing arms back and forth)
Arm #2 helps me catch fish (wiggle hand back and forth)
Arm #3 pats my head (pat hand on head)
Arm #4 makes sure I’m fed (put hand to mouth)
Arm #5 swims me to shore (move arms in swimming motion)
Arm #6 touches the ocean floor (touch hand to floor)
Arm #7 can grab and tug (open and close hands)
But all eight arms give me a hug! (cross arms and hug yourself)

Book: The Deep Blue Sea: A Book of Colors by Audrey Wood


Song: “The Shark Song”

Oh there’s a shark
Do do do-do-do
A baby shark
He lives in the ocean
He eats fish
He’s got a fin
A dorsal fin
And that’s the end…

Mama shark, Daddy shark, Grandma shark, Giant shark

I learned this song from this fabulous video from OoeyGooeyLady:

Book: I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry


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Award Predictions

I am so very very excited that this year I will be attending ALA Midwinter, because this means I get to be in attendance when the Youth Media Awards are announced on Monday Jan. 27. Of the 2013 books I’ve read, here are my top picks for titles I think might snag an award:


Predicted Winner:


Journey by Aaron Becker

Predicted Honors:

mrtiger mrwuffles ifyouwant

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner
If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano, Erin E. Stead


Predicted Winner:


Doll Bones by Holly Black

Predicted Honors:

trueblue billymiller realboy

The True Blue Scouts of the Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu


Predicted Winner:

boxers saints

Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang

Predicted Honors:

midnight midwinterblood

The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

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Storytime: Bears

This week’s theme for evening family storytime was Bears! Mostly I chose this theme because I wanted a chance to use a new favorite picture book of mine, Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson. I had a small group again this week, but we all had a fun time. The kids especially enjoyed playing with the Goldilocks flannel pieces at the end of storytime!

Book: Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson


Fingerplay: “Two Little Black Bears”

Created by the awesome ladies of Jbrary:

Flannel Story: Goldilocks and the Three Bears


Book: Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough


Song: Freeze Dance by Greg & Steve “Kids In Motion

What does this song have to do with bears? Nothing… unless you say, “We’re going to pretend we’re in a forest with bears. When they aren’t around we can dance and sing… but when the music stops it means a bear is nearby, and we have to freeze so he doesn’t see us!”

Book: About a Bear by Holly Surplice


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Goldilocks and the Three Bears Flannel

My newest flannel story creation is for the story The Three Bears, aka Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I think most people say too hot- too cold- just right for the bowls of porridge, but I’ve heard various things for the chairs and beds. For the chairs I said rocks too fast- rocks too slow- just right (but she breaks it), and for the beds: too hard- too soft- just right (falls asleep). In the story, when she eats all of baby bear’s porridge, I turned the bowl upside down. When she breaks baby bear’s chair, I turned it on its side. As you can see in the picture, I color coated the bowls, chairs, and beds. Papa is green, Mama is purple, and Baby is blue.


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January Reviews, Part 1

One of my goals this year is to write more book reviews. My plan right now is to do round up posts twice a month of short reviews of my most recently read books published in 2014. Synopses clipped from goodreads descriptions.


And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard (1/28/14)

andwestay“When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.”

This book is gorgeously written, especially because of the infused poetry. It is also very heavy and filled with issues begging to be discussed. Emily Beam is a character that I found myself caring about very much. Because this book is written in third person with literary pose and mature themes, it’s best for upper teens who enjoy strong, moving novels and have the patience to savor each word.

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi (1/28/14)

intothestill“Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world. In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.”

Fans of this series will be very satisfied with this conclusion. Like the first two books, it is action-packed and a whirlwind of emotions. Where Rossi excels above other books in the genre, is her portrayal of relationships. She has created a great romance, but also realistic parent/child relationships and moving friendships. My favorite relationship is the friendship between Aria and Roar. How refreshing to have a friendship between a male and female that never veers near love-triangle territory!

Cress by Marissa Meyer (2/4/14)

cress“In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.”

With this book, this has become one of my all-time favorite teen series. Each book is better than the last, and Cress has left me very anxious for the final book, Winter, coming in 2015. Cress is a Rapunzel-inspired character, but she hasn’t just been sitting idly in her tower- er, satellite. She has spent her time becoming a hacker, and in this book uses those skills to aid our ragtag team in the battle against Queen Levana. I enjoyed every second spent reading this book. Love the action, love the characters.

Middle Grade

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee (1/28/14)

ophelia“Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn’t believe in anything that can’t be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia’s help.”

I thought The Midnight Dress by Foxlee was one of the most beautifully written books of 2013, so I was excited to see what she would bring to the middle grade set. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy does not disappoint. Once again, the writing is spectacular. The museum setting aids the eerie tone, and the countdown clock moves everything along at a frantic pace. The scientific-minded heroine, Ophelia, is very endearing and worth rooting for. This book will be enjoyed by a wide audience, especially those who like fairy tales or a touch of magic.

Picture Book

Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson (1/7/14)

babybear“From Kadir Nelson, winner of the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Awards, comes a transcendent picture book in the tradition of Margaret Wise Brown about a lost little bear searching for home. This simple story works on so many levels: as the tale of a bear who finds his way home with the help of his animal friends; as a reassuring way to show children how to comfort themselves and find their way in everyday life; and on a more philosophical level, as a method of teaching readers that by listening to your heart and trusting yourself, you will always find a true home within yourself–and that even when it feels like you are alone, you never really are.”

It’s hard to read this and not feel completely emotionally connected to Baby Bear. In large part, this is due to the gorgeous illustrations (Baby Bear’s eyes!! So full of emotion), but also because despite his fear, he remains unfailingly polite. Some may find this book a little saccharine, and it definitely is very sweet, but I did not find it to be overly so. Is it too early to call it a Caldecott contender?

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Storytime: Royalty

I had a few weeks break from my Evening Family Storytime around the holidays, but now we’re back into the swing of things! I had a pretty small turnout last night (still too cold perhaps), but we still had a ton of fun with this Royalty themed storytime.

Book: King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently


Movement Rhyme: “Dragon Dragon”

Dragon dragon turn around.
Dragon dragon touch the ground.
Dragon dragon fly up high.
Dragon dragon float in the sky.
Dragon dragon shake your tail.
Dragon dragon move slow like a snail.
Dragon dragon give a roar.
Dragon dragon sit back down on the floor.

Flannel Story: The Greatest of All

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Movement Rhyme: “Castle Capers”

I am the king of running,
I run and run and run.
My subjects all run with me,
And we have so much fun!
I am the prince of turning,
I turn and turn and turn.
My subjects all turn with me
It’s an easy thing to learn!
I am the princess of dancing,
I dance and dance and dance
My subjects all dance with me
And dance when they get the chance!
I am the Queen of jumping,
I jump and jump and jump.
My subjects all jump with me
And sit down with a bump.

Book: Lovabye Dragon by Barbara Joosse


Movement Rhyme: “Little Dragon”

Little Dragon counts to three,
Little Dragon bends one knee.
Little Dragon touches his toes,
Little Dragon touches his nose.
Little Dragon makes a funny face,
Little Dragon runs in place.
Little Dragon lays on the floor,
Little Dragon starts to snore.

Book: King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood


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