STARS with Dogs, Daisies, and Brownies

A dear friend and Brownie mother, Sarah K., told me about a program offered at The Glen Carbon Centennial Library where children are given the opportunity to read aloud to therapy dogs, Socrates and Shoto.  Taking this idea and running with it, my co-leader Sarah B. and I offered it as a field trip option for both our Daisy and Brownie troops, 48 and 611 respectively. 

Although occurring at 6 p.m. on a school night (my squirts who have a love of sleep like their momma are snoozing by 7:30 p.m. most nights), the response in numbers from both troops was ideal.

Magi Henderson, the Youth Services Director extraordinaire, had books set out from which the readers could choose or readers were allowed to roam the shelves and select a book (or books) of their own choosing.

Due to the large number of participants, Shoto and Socrates were placed in separate areas so that the children could gravitate between the two.

At 6:30, Fun Patches were distributed and our circle hug was completed.  This allowed some Daisies and Brownies to stay until the departure of the dogs at 7 p.m. while others could peruse the library or be on their way.

If your squirt or your troop is interested in reading to Shoto and Socrates, check the calendar and register (cost is FREE)- next visit is October 14, 2013.

Library Love

Okay, I’m spoiled with an extraordinary local library, Glen Carbon Centennial Library.  Even Bill Gates agrees awarding my hometown library the Best Small Library in America Award in 2010, so I’m not kidding when I write I’m spoiled.  Yet, I always like to seek out libraries in a town or city I may be visiting to observe their local offerings.
Today, I was able to mark Bethalto Public Library off of my list of library adventures.  My oldest squirt had a birthday party to attend at the local bowling alley, so my youngest squirt and myself decided to use this time wisely at the public library in Bethalto, IL. 

Up the stairs and immediately to the left we discovered the children’s section filled with stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes for which visiting squirts may play and read with.  A vast offering of videos, picture books, children’s magazines, and leftover storytime crafts were available for use.  What sealed the deal for my daughter, though, was the just-her-size shopping cart which we were able to fill to the brim with not only her selections, but also mine (yes, I am finally out of my reading slump with Beth M. Howard’s Making Piece: A Memoir of Loss, Love and Pie). 

So, be sure and check out your local library.  You can’t beat free reads, and if you’re in the Illinois Heartland System as both Glen Carbon Centennial and Bethalto Public Libraries are, you may check books out and return them at either location.  No fines for me!

Tatty Ratty "Baby" Book Club

     By being participants in the 2011 International Postcard Exchange, our United Kingdom pen pals, Sam, Rebekah, Jeremy, George, and Daniel recommended the picture book Tatty Ratty by Helen Cooper to us.  So, we immediately placed our order online and anxiously awaited an e-mail from our local library, Glen Carbon Centennial Library, stating our book was in.
     The image of a bunny eating a doughnut while taking a ride in the evening sky piqued our interest.  What follows is an imaginative tale of the whereabouts of a lost bunny enhanced by the reference of familiar characters from other children’s storybooks.  Thus, not only is a new tale being told, but the backstories of other famous literary figures are introduced within Tatty Ratty.  As a parent, I found the story useful as parenting advice if ever in the unfortunate predicament of a child missing a favorite toy.  As a teacher, I appreciated the introduction of allusions in this literary work.
     As a means of experiencing Tatty Ratty, the squirts dug into their own collection of stuffed animals and found their own “Tatty Ratty.”  Opting to create an adventure exclusive to our Tatty Ratty, we took turns placing Tatty Ratty in various circumstances throughout the house and then using our imaginations to explain how she arrived at each location.

Tatty Ratty taking a joy ride on the Plasma Car.

Working off some of that porridge on the treadmill.

Cleaning up after a full day’s worth of adventure.

Fresh from our Farm to Table field trips, we made a trip to the local produce stand, Norma’s Produce and Greenhouses, and selected items which a bunny would most likely enjoy.  Returning home with our bounty in tow, the squirts cleaned their (few) selected vegetables and (numerous) fruits and prepared them with minimal assistance (“I can do it!” was heard often during preparation) into a child-friendly salad.

Helen Cooper