Keep Calm, Here Come the Concepts
by Kymberlee Powe
As winter comes to a close and some parents begin to prepare for the end of the school year, there are those with younger children preparing to send their soon-to-be-kindergartners off to school in the fall. While thoughts between the former parents and teachers turn to classroom sizes, curriculum and academic programs, the latter parents and librarians begin to get students ready for school.
Parents want to make sure that their children are prepared for the educational journey before them. Some of the first things we want children to know about are books with topics that fall into the “concepts” category, including letters, numbers, shapes, colors and opposites. Luckily, the library has a large selection of these types of books, allowing us to teach children in fun and interesting ways.
Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham takes an interesting approach to the alphabet. The book integrates the alphabet with various animals. Throughout the story, Zebra is reading and pairing the letters of the alphabet with animals. The book becomes interesting when we see that Moose begins to appear on various pages, eagerly awaiting his turn in the alphabet line. When Zebra reaches the letter “M,” he names a different animal. Throughout the rest of the book, Moose interferes in outrage. The book is funny and different as Moose proceeds to declare that every letter must now stand for Moose, since he was slighted at the letter that was rightfully his. While this book is great for reading to a story time group, it is incredibly interactive and perfect for parents and children to read before bed.
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a classic, and yet under-rated book, about colors. This story does more than teach children individual colors; it teaches them that you can combine two colors to make a brand new one. The book begins with three mice who are all white until they discover three jars of paint. They climb in, and the fun begins. The mice evaluate their own new shades as well as the new colors they create when they mix them together, teaching children new facts about coloring that they may not have known before.
Hippopposites by Janik Coat is a fun, interactive book about opposites. This book not only provides children with common antonyms such as big/small, in/out, up/down, it also includes words such as clear/blurry, and positive/negative. This book provides parents with an opportunity to teach children about new types of opposites, in addition to words that may be new to their vocabulary. The book itself is physically interesting. On two opposing pages there is a clear piece of plastic. The plastic, normally with a simple image on it, is what truly shows the opposing pictures on either side of the page. Kids will love turning that page back forth, solidifying two opposing words and meanings into their minds.
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt is a beautifully and interestingly written book about crayons that each write a letter stating why they quit. Each crayon that comes in Duncan’s box has written a letter to him stating that they are fed up. Blue is always being used to color oceans and skies, and pink and beige are hardly used at all, and are incredibly frustrated. This book teaches children not only colors, but how to handle their toys and materials. Similar to the Toy Story movies, the crayons are alive with thoughts and feelings. Some are being over used, but others are being ignored, teaching children to pay more attention to the less obvious things around them.
Finally, my personal favorite book is Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin. The Pete the Cat books have various conceptual topics in them. Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons teaches kids counting skills, especially since they are counting backwards, and Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes takes us through common colors. What I love best about Pete is that not only does he teach children educational concepts, he also teaches them about having a positive attitude. Pete shows children that even though things go wrong, they don’t have to get upset, it’s not the end of the world “keep moving along, singing your song” (Pete the Cat).
Events at the Easton Public Library
The Easton Public Library offers various year-round activities. The library features a baby/toddler music class for children ages 6-36 months every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:15 p.m., the library has a story time that follows a weekly theme and incorporates a fun craft for preschool-age children.
Fridays the library offers a class called Toddler Time at 10:30 a.m. In this interactive program, children can practice their sorting and matching skills, while learning about colors and numbers.
In March, the library plans to begin classes for children who haven’t begun to walk yet. The class will incorporate stories, lap plays, finger rhymes and more.
The Easton Public Library is located at 691 Morehouse Road in Easton. For more information, call 203-261-0134, email email@example.com or visit eastonlibrary.org.
Kymberlee Powe is the Children’s and Teen Librarian at the Easton Public Library.