Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Until next time!


Another brilliant year of reading, crafting, playing, chatting, spilling milk, demolishing biscuits, swapping tips, running, footballing, dancing, laughing, sharing, taking turns and all other manner of learning comes to an end with the final session of Baby Book Club.
This time, we took a stroll through Dublin with My Little Album of Dublin, and were delighted to spot things that we knew, like a Luas! a slide! a dog! a football! a scooter! and even… ourselves!
To celebrate the end of the year we danced, we got out the balloons and we had an official award-giving ceremony. 
A huge thank you to everyone who came a long over the weeks, to Liz and Jane for keeping the show on the road and to David for setting it up in the first place!
Until next time!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Party Time!

You are all warmly invited to come celebrate the launch of My Little Album of Dublin on May 21 in the glorious Hodges Figgis with my partner-in-art Tarsila Krüse and the gang from The O'Brien Press.
Come along, all are welcome!

A sigh... and a stretch... and a ya-a-a-awn: the magic of Chris Haughton

Chris Haughton worked his magic again in Baby Book Club this week. I like to start the year with the wonderful A Bit Lost as it's a book that commands little ones' attention the minute you say 'Uh oh...' Also, the owls lend themselves to some super crafting afterwards.
This year, we practically bookended our sessions with Chris: A Bit Lost at one end, Goodnight Everyone at the other. This time, everybody was taking part in the telling as the mice and deer and bears getting ready for sleep quickly had everyone yawning (in a good way!). So we sighed, we stretched and aaah-ya-a-a-awned, and felt much refreshed and zen afterwards.
The only thing left then was to make our won starry skies with freshly cut sheets of night and some snazzy shiny stickers. Equipped with pale crayons we added tails, clouds, lines, creating our own shooting stars, milky ways and constellations. Stellar work!
As promised, here are the links!

Some tips about reading at bedtime with kids aged 0-9.

"Pajama Time!" by The Laurie Berkner Band from Superhero Album
Yawning Man - For Insomniac Children 


Funniest and Cutest Animal Yawning Compilation 2017

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Avast! Ahoy! And all that jazz...



Coming right up to the end of this season of Baby Book Club, we are exploring books with that bit more text, that bit more elaborate rhyming. You will be glad to know (though not at all surprised) that our more senior* members, as they grow up and as they learn more, can absolutely take it.
It was a bit beyond our very new newcomers, but it looked like they enjoyed the atmosphere and got enough excitement to have a sound nap afterwards. Win win!
This week we looked at Rob Biddulph's Sunk, with its snappy, choppy, rhymy text and its very cool illustrations, where there's enough happening that you'd really want to go back and check out all the detail. We did a fair bit of (accurate) predicting and problem-solving and really enjoyed both the piratical theme and the double happy ending with its focus on friendship and the giant--ship-turned-playground dénouement.
We then embraced our inner piracy and got crafting our own treasure maps and customizing our hats. The little ones were delighted to have an occasion to use their pirate speak and we parted on some rousing cries of 'Me hearties!'
As promised, here are the links to the songs and videos.
*(aged at least 12 months!)


Peter Pan - 03 A Pirate's life 


Pirates of the Caribbean Orchestral Medley, He's a Pirate


Flannery Brothers Children's Music - "Pirate or Parrot?" 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

What luck!

What luck to have such a dedicated band of baby book clubbers! What luck to have such great books to choose from to entertain and delight!
We were a lucky bunch to read Lucky Lazlo by Steve Light this week and follow the antics of a cheeky and catastrophe-prone cat as they both make their way through a busy theatre. We enjoyed spotting the bright orange feline in a mostly black and white décor, informing whoever would listen that cats say meow, but also that cows say moo. We kept our eyes on the ruby red flower at all times and were delighted to see Lazlo, his sweetheart and the rose reunited at the end.
So of course, we just had to make our own flowers, crumpling up strips of crepe paper and gluing the little colourful balls on our templates. There is something about glue sticks that some of our members find deeply satisfying and today was no exception. The parents found the process of crumpling paper extremely therapeutic and soothing. Mindfulness has nothing on Baby Book Club!
If you fancy taking your little one to a play or a show, check out The Ark in Dublin, the Mill in Dundrum and the Civic in Tallaght! They often have programmes designed for very young spectators.
As always, here are the links to the songs and videos. 
Showtime!




Disney's "Pinocchio" - An Actor's Life for Me


The Muppet Show theme song – It’s time to play the music!


Children's Theatre Company: Alice in Wonderland (1982)


Daft Punk - Get Lucky (Official Audio) ft. Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

We're going to catch a big one!

We went on a bear hunt in Baby Book Club this week! We were not scared. Not one little bit. At all. But we were awfully glad to be back home under the covers and we agreed we would never go again.
That said, that lonely bear looking at the sea at the very end got us thinking that maybe he had just been trying to make friends. He only went about it the wrong way…
We stopped our theorising just short of wondering whether maybe going on a HUNT wasn't a very nice idea in the first place, but that might be for next time!
After that, we had our own adventure: an obstacle course in the hall where the bear was chasing us. We ran, we jumped, we tumbled, we hopped and that was only the grown-ups! I'm fully expecting everyone to have a lovely quiet time after this…
As promised, here are the links to the songs and videos. What a beautiful day! :)


Michael Rosen performs We're Going on a Bear Hunt


The Bare Necessities (from The Jungle Book)

Toddler Completes Obstacle Course

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

And it's a gooooooooaaaal!

We had a very sporty session at Baby Book Club, flexing a number physical and metaphorical muscles… We read the Noisy Football Match by Sam Taplin and Lee Wildish and enjoyed using our footy vocabulary to comment on the action: a kick! a goal! a win! We loved pressing those trickier-than-they-look buttons to make the ref blow his whistle and the crowd roar. (We would have liked to see girls on the teams, but for now you'll have to look for them in the books I suggested on the sheet) (go Maisy Mouse!) (or you might check these football books for kids of all ages) 
Next, for a special treat, we went in a very orderly fashion into the hall, like a team entering the pitch. The wide open space was all ours and we made the best of it. We ran, we kicked, we passed, we dribbled, we scored. We played about 4 matches simultaneously and the parent-goalies did an excellent job too. Some of us developed a nice pass-and-shot combo, so there was even the beginnings of an element of collaboration there. 

As promised, here are the links to the songs and videos, all about the beautiful game…

Sports Balls Song for Kids by Pancake Manor

Shakira - Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) (The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Song)

The opening of classic kids animé Captain Tsubasa, in Japanese! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Press this!


We had a bit of a magic session this week in Baby Book Club, thanks to Hervé Tullet's Press Here. His are books that typically look weird and confusing to grown-ups but that little ones just get and can't get enough of. Press Here worked like a charm with everybody this morning as the kids pressed, rubbed, shook, upended and generally manhandled the book and stuff happened! They stroke a yellow dot on the page and suddenly, on the next one, it had turned red! They tapped another and, tada, there were now 5 dots where there had only been one! Absolute magic!
They loved manipulating the pages, interacting physically with the pictures and being, it seemed, in charge of the magic.
We clapped, we danced, we squealed with delight. This is not a quiet book.
Inspired by Tullet's dots and colourful alignements, we made our own bright arrangements of (square) 'buttons'. You will agree that the results of our artistic efforts are worth displaying on any wall.
It was brilliant to see everyone get so into the book and then so stuck in the craft. There was a lot of fine motor skills practise with gluing, picking up and placing the squares along the guidelines; there was a lot of personal creativity as each artist had to decide which coloured button to add next; there was even some social skills on display as we took turns with the glue sticks. And the silence! the concentration!
A huge well done to all!
If you don't know Hervé Tullet's books, seek them out! If you do, why not read them again and try making your own colourful masterpiece. It's very pretty and very therapeutic!
As promised, here are the links to the songs and videos.



PRESS HERE by Hervé Tullet made out of playdo!  


The Dot Song LIVE - Emily Arrow & Peter H. Reynolds 

Lunch Money "I Want to Push Buttons" 

Buttons In the Wind 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Up, up and away!

We had a ball(oon) in Baby Book Club today reading Mick Inkpen's The Blue Balloon. There was suspense and emotions aplenty while we feared the eponymous balloon might pop when the characters squeezed and squashed and crushed it. There was wonder and delight when the heroes took off and landed in foreign lands.
And then there was laughter when we took out our own balloons and made all sorts of ridiculous noises with them, emptied them out in our faces, punched them, kicked them, shook them and played conkers with them. It was a brilliant moment of experimentation and play which hopefully continued later on at home...

As always, here are the links to the songs and videos!


I Love Balloons! The Raytones! Sing-along video! 


Watch Jeff Koons talking about 'Balloon Dog (Orange)' 

Watch 50K balloons being released over Brazil to mark end of 2018

Friday, March 8, 2019

World Book Day with the Littlies!

What a bookish week it's been! Between Baby Book Club and class visits in Clondalkin Library it was all about the books!
With the babas, we read Stephanie Blake's cheeky Poo Bum and delighted in saying "poo poo" like our bold bunny hero. We then got on to the business of making our very own books, using pictures from magazines and old printouts.
Some of the kids chose to include images of things liked (rockets and diggers featured a lot) while others went looking for themselves and their relatives in the pile of pictures on offer.
Some of them even added some writing and illustrations of their own, showing daddy at work and baby playing and… mammy chatting. (Mammy disagreed).
As promised, here are the links!

The Library Song, a fun kids’ song from New Zealand

Lil B Dub / The Rapping Bookworm, a thing of silliness! 

Martians Discover a Book, classic Sesame Street madness

Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Parody: Unread Book (you’ll never look at your librarian in the same way!)

The Mount Desert Island High School version of Meghan Trainor's "All About The Bass/Books"

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Shake it, shake it, baby!


We had an action-packed morning today in Baby Book Club! We read Shake the Tree by Silvia Borando, Chiara Vignocchi and Paolo Chiarinotti and got shaking, shaking to the left, shaking, shaking, shaking to the right. The babies got the idea very quickly and started shaking their teddy, ball, hands, etc, without being asked to. We roared with bear and bravely faced the possibility of being gobbled up. All was well in the end.
We then fixed a badly shaken tree by looking for leaves, animals and conkers to stick back on. This was also quite a brave thing to do as we had to rummage through a deep box where anything might have been lurking. But some babies were very practical and decided the sensible thing to do was to upend said box and spill everything out. So it was done.
We ended the session making it rain conkers: pop them in a paper cup, shake it, hold it high… and rain it down! Endless fun!
The tidying was a very collective affair today as well, because once the box was full again, it meant you could just…  empty it out once more.
See you all next week for our World Book Day special! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Love is in the air

A Valentine's special today at Baby Book Club, with a lively bunch of kids who decided to geographically spread the love in every corner of the library, rather than keep it confined to our circle of bean bags…
Still, we spread our arms and hopped and jumped like Little  Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare, and there was some lovely inter-baby cuddles.
Our craft this week involved fine-motor skills and one of our favourite things: gluing! The room got very quiet again as we plastered our paper with stickpritt, considered where to place heart shapes of various colours and sizes, and carefully peeled star stickers off our sheets.
The result was a brilliant bunch of bunnies (sorry, hares) to say 'I love you' this Valentine's season.

As promised, here are the links to the songs and videos!


Barney! (I had to, really)


All You Need is Love by the Beatles

Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder

Beautiful Boy by John Lennon

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ciné Book Club... And... Action!

We've embarked on a new adventure, in the comfort of our own home, over the last little while. Who knows how long it will last, but for the moment the participants are keen and hungry for more.
We have set up our own Ciné Book Club, which means that we read books and then watch the movie/cartoon adaptation and we compare.
We started off with two albums of Tintin, as the 7-year-old is obsessed with Captain Haddock (saying she can see something of herself in the hot-tempered, linguistically inventive old sea-farer would be perhaps a bit unfair; perhaps not). We read together (me doing the reading) and separately (the 7yo reading the pictures, the 10yo reading everything) The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure, both in French, as Ciné Book Club is a secret, cunning ploy to inject more French into our daily lives.
After watching the now-classic cartoons (in French, then), we had a chat about what was the same and what was different. The first episode was deemed very faithful to the original, with no glaring omissions. Red Rackham's Treasure, however, had skipped some apparently capital bits, in particular the scene where the fake descendants of the infamous pirate crowd Captain Haddock's doorstep and the scene ends in glorious slapstick mayhem involving the Thom(p)sons and a lot of swearing. Greatly missed by our young club members!
Another difference, in both cartoons, was that Snowy didn't speak! But we agreed that we could understand what the dog 'said' thanks to his movements and various doggy sounds.
We then talked about voices and music, and what they added, if anything. They loved the series' opening credits, although the 10yo found the images moving inside the comic panels a bit dizzying. It didn't help that they showed Tintin jumping off a high-speed train… But they enjoyed recognising bits from other books (they have read a few at this stage) and were keen to find out more about what wasn't familiar.

I ordered The Crab With the Golden Claws (in French) from the library straight away.
With this inspiration in stock, we moved on to the 'making' stage of our club (let's be honest, I'm making this up as we go along; there's no such things as actual 'stages'!). I had a vague idea that I would ask them to imagine their own treasure to place in Rackham's chest. They could draw it or make a list. Once the pencils were out, however, each went their own separate but parallel ways. We ended up with one treasure chest, a number of Tintins, Haddocks and Snowys, on their own or in situ, drawn from the books or from memory.
The short of it is, we had a ball! We'll see what we give the Ciné Book Club treatment to next. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Follow the Leader

A VERY high-energy Baby Book Club session today! We were reading a French book (those babies are pretty amazing, oui?) about a blue bear who just stands on the page, looking straight at the reader and inviting them to 'do like me': open your eyes, touch your nose, stick your tongue out…
The babies were very happy to follow the bear's lead and improvise in all sorts of directions, especially when it came to blowing kisses and making silly sounds with our puffed up cheeks. (Extra brownie points to the grown-ups who bravely joined in!)
The book ends with a big flap that needs lifting, and behind the flap… a mirror! Each little one was delighted to see that they too were included in the book. That's not something you see every day!

We continued on with our own game of Follow the Leader, jumping up and down, bending over and, following one of the babies' example, falling flat on our faces (on a bean bag!).
We added a few charades to the mix and things got even livelier. All the while, the youngest members of the audience were plied with mirrors and spent some fascinating minutes looking at the smiling kid in front of them.

As promised, here are the links to the songs and videos!
Funny Babies Doing Exercises Compilation: 

Charades | Kids Play | HiHo Kids: 


"Babies Discovering Mirrors for the First Time Compilation" || CFS:


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Baby Book Club: Yummy Yucky!


 Welcome Baby Book Clubbers from far and near! This week, we read Leslie Patricelli's Yummy Yucky and had a ball. I rank Leslie's books very highly in my personal library of awesomeness and Yummy Yucky is an enduring favourite both at home and baby book clubs. The pictures are both funny and very relatable, and they are terrific conversation starters: about food, about taste, about likes and dislikes, about trying out new things… and avoiding other kinds of experiments (dog poo anyone?).
We had a lively reading, followed by a root around a bag full of pretend food and our activity for the day. The kids were given various pictures and had to decide whether they were of 'yummy' or 'yucky' things. There were no set answers, so everyone was free to decide they didn't like bananas… or loved bugs! To finish off, we took out some supermarket catalogues and let the babies look for more things to include in their chart. Again, plenty of interesting conversations arose and some kids discovered the inimitable joy of cutting with scissors.

Well done and thanks all!
As promised, here are the links to the songs and videos:

I Like Pie, I Like Cake by the Four Clefs: 


Food, Glorious Food - Oliver! By the Young People's Theater:


Laura Linney - Please can I keep it? 


The animated version of the Ravenous Beast


Check out this video about the Edible Book Festival:


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Looking back

What a pleasure it was to be Writer in Residence for Meath County Libraries with Creative Ireland!
The proof is in the vid!

Well done and a massive thank you to all who took part in the Poetry Treasure Hunts, Book Club sessions, creative writing workshops and especially to the two classes who made my Mondays such fun out in Dunsany and Enfield. You rock!
Librarians, teachers and other helpers, a big 'merci' too. This was a team effort and so worth it!
Until next time…
:)