Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Library Gingerbread Man

While we usually like to read true-to-life stories, we love all versions of The Gingerbread Man . I was excited to see this new tale at the library yesterday. Last evening I read it to four of the grandchildren (ages 8, almost 7, 5, and 3). They LOVED it and so did I.

The gingerbread man in this story lives at number 398.2 on the library shelves. He escapes and is chased by the librarian and characters from other books he passes. He shouts his traditional rhyme as he runs from each of them. Charles was thrilled to see Amelia Earhart as he read about her only last week. Wesley just finished reading Abe Lincoln's Hat so he liked that Abraham Lincoln was pictured. And interestingly, so was Harriet Tubman, who we read a biography about only a few weeks ago.

A variety of sections of the library are represented and their "addresses" are listed. It gave us a chance to discuss the call numbers of the library and how they help us, just like our address, to find a particular book we want. This book would be a great lead-in to a unit on the library.

After reading the story, we discussed the ways this book was similar to the many other Gingerbread Man stories we have read. We also talked about the differences.

I stopped a couple pages from the end and told the children we would finish the book the next evening. YIKES! What a reaction! "NO! NO!" " Finish it NOW!" were the shouts I heard. I laughed and finished the book. Of course, I wanted to know how it ended too. But I was tempted to stop and let the children take some time to write how they thought the story might end. But we were reading this just before bedtime so it was not a good option. So when you get this darling book, consider reading it earlier in the day and including this idea for a creative writing exercise. By the way, we DID like the ending and it was not what we expected.

The illustrations by Colleen M. Madden are large and colorful and delighted the children. Thanks to Dotti Enderle for a wonderful story of a favorite of ours.

For those in the Janesville, Wisconsin area we found the book at Hedberg Library. Of course, we plan to keep it for awhile yet, but you can put it on hold.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison

Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin, is still FREE. I went there as a child and now enjoy going with my grandchildren. Yesterday we had a fun outing.

 My two youngest children, along with their children. Here is Jacob, Wesley, Charles, Douglas, Cortney holding Diana, Aaron, and Kyle. They are watching the polar bear sleep. The boys watched for a few minutes and were ready to move on to more exciting things. But Diana really seemed in awe of the bear.
 Diana, 3, and her mom, Cortney.
The zoo has several of these fun picture taking spots and all the children wanted their picture taken. It started with Jacob (Kyle's oldest son).


           Douglas is 8 years old                Charles is almost 7                                              
                                                                          Wesley is 5                                Diana is 3

Aaron, not quite 3, didn't want his picture with the polar bear but he loved helping his daddy pull the wagon.

  The children loved watching the otters. They were so busy. This one would swim quickly up to the wall and do a backward flip. He did this over and over. The children laughed and laughed at his antics.

Charles, our truest animal lover, got up close to the fish.

We loved watching the exotic birds. It was fun to search the trees and find them. The boys loved to watch them fly free and were so cautious as they opened the doors to not let any fly out.

 Aaron will turn 3 in May and Diana turned 3 in January. They are the best of buddies. I pray these cousins always stay as close as they are now.
 Another chance for some fun pictures.

While they are watching the seals, I enjoy watching them.

The King of Beasts was enjoying his "throne" and watching the world go by. He even seemed "royal" when he walked around as though he owned the place.

 I had so much fun watching the children watch the orangutans.

My son Kyle is 6' 1" and has large hands, but they shrink in comparison to the orangutan's.

 Whenever we go to the zoo, we always pose the children on the stone lion. It started when Douglas was less than a year old (we posed him with his cousin Tyler who was 3 at the time.) The line-up: Douglas, Charles, Jacob, Wesley, Diana, and Aaron - with Kyle in the background.
 Kyle and his boys Jacob and Aaron.

Cortney's foursome: Douglas, Charles, Wesley, and Diana.

 Mother and daughter hand-in-hand.

 The stone tortoise was fun to climb on.

 The polar bear was now awake and much more fun to watch. The kids kept hoping he would jump into his pool, but he just kept pacing.

Diana and Aaron working together.

 I think I was the only one that really watched the buffalo. They are such magnificent creatures. I get thinking of long ago days as I watched them. Years ago I saw a small herd in the Black Hills. I can't imagine what it was like to see a prairie filled with buffalo.

 Everyone else was having so much fun watching the prairie dogs. They were captivated with a pair that were seeming to argue. One had dug a hole and the other seemed to think it didn't belong there and was trying to fill it in. I got a cute video of them carrying on and the children laughed all over again as we watched it at home.

 Wesley saw me watching him as he laughed at the prairie dogs.

 These two are so precious to watch.

When Grandma is the one with the camera, she has to think to get a picture now and then. But here I am with the grandchildren. It was such a special day at the zoo.