You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2009.

Here’s a collection of songs, rhymes, and fingerplays for the holidays coming up; click here to listen and for directions. (You’ll have to scroll towards the bottom).

The “Holiday” podcast includes “The Lights on the Tree” (to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus”) and “Ring the Bells.”

You’ll also find on the podcast page a set of rhymes and fingerplays having to do with Santa: “Eight Little Reindeer,” “There’s a Little Elf,” and “Here is the Chimney.”

I’ll add the words later this week under the Rhymes & Fingerplays header in the left column. And I’ll do my best to add some for other winter holidays as the month goes on.

Have fun!


OK, at some point on Thanksgiving Day, someone’s going to get tired of football and pull out their laptop with the famous words, “Let me show you this!”

And the YouTube swapping will begin!

So that you don’t have to lie awake the next two nights, wondering what you will show, here’s my gift to you:

Muppets do Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

What a world we live in! I laugh more now as an adult than I ever did as a child–and I love sharing those laughs with you!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving,


If you want to do more than the simple paper chain for counting down the days to your holiday, check out The Crafty Crow.

Not only are these countdowners spiffy and lovely to look at, but they also look like a lot of fun to make with older kids.

Have fun!


It’s time to ask this tough question of your caregiver: How much time is the TV on while my child is with you?

A study in the journal Pediatrics reports that children may be spending as much as one-third of their waking hours in front of a TV each day. Read more here.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no tv time for children under two and only one to two hours a day of the good stuff for older children.

There are at least two problems with TV viewing in young children:

First, for every minute they sit in front of the tv, they lose a minute of active learning somewhere else. They are not playing with blocks or digging in the sandbox or banging the pots and pans. They are not crawling, pushing, pulling, climbing, looking, talking, pretending. They are losing precious minutes of active learning.

Second, children’s brains are growing in number of neurons and in number of connections made between them at the fastest rate they will ever grow. We simply do not know at this point what effect electronic devices have on how the brain is wired. My gut tells me, though, that high flicker rate screens are not good for the electrical circuitry of the growing brain. Until we do know, erring on the side of caution and allowing children the chance to play in the ways their brains are already programmed to play seems the best course.

Finally, we do know that watching tv and just having the tv on both delay language development in children. And language development is the strongest predictor of how a child will do in school later.

It’s easy for them. It’s easy for you. But turn it off. Insist that your child’s caregivers turn it off. Raising children is not easy but we need to give them our best, even when it is harder.

You can do it!


These are older posts, but if you haven’t seen them before, you may find them helpful.

The first looks at a really simple way to avoid the “gimmes” in your children. Click here.

Next is a way to count down the days until a holiday. It’s easy enough for the youngest but fun enough for most elementary aged kids. Click here.

Finally, if you are thinking of donating books this season, please read these suggestions. Click here.

I will be posting some new holiday items, but I’m just back from conference, and of course, Turkey Day is near–so it may be as late as next week. 😉 In the meantime, enjoy family, friends, even yourself!

With gratitude!


Want to share with parents and caregiver adults what encourages early literacy? Don’t quite know what to say?

The American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library website has taken all the work and worry out of the process for you!

Research based tips with scripts have been written for all six early literacy skill areas. They are available on the website free for your use. Stories, rhymes, and songs are suggested and tips are organized by age groups as well (babies to 2 year olds, two’s and three’s, four’s and five’s).

As with all teaching helps, you do not have to feel locked in by the script. Try it in your own words. Adapt it to your audience. And keep your eyes open for when “teachable TIP moments” happen–and point them out! They are some of the most exciting (oh, this stuff really happens! it really works!).

Now the bad news. I find them incredibly difficult to find on the website. So here are the links to take you there. 🙂

What can I say? tips (all ages)

Early Talkers tips (birth to 2)

Talkers tips (2 to 3)

Pre-readers tips (4 to 5)

Happy Tipping!





If you look at the headers at the top of the page under Sunglass Gal or scroll down the left-hand column, you’ll see a new header for Storybox Special.

All info and articles about Storybox will located here for your convenience. 🙂

The best part (I hope) is that I have posted the book lists for each box. They aren’t fancy looking, but each book is categorized by the early literacy skill that it encourages. There are also books to help children with development growth points (like potty training, new sibling) as well as bilingual books, seasonal books, and books to support the child care providers.

There are eight boxes now with more on the way so check back over the months for new ones (or subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed or email notification at the top of the page).

And as always, if you’d like more info on Storybox Special, feel free to contact me.

Happy Travels,


Baby Gym is a fairly new series of board books for babies and toddlers that I touch & ticklestumbled across recently. There are four books in the series and come in about an 8×8 size.

My favorite is Touch & Tickle. Each double page spread is a rhyme, and four of the five rhymes are new ones to me. Illustrations are bright and colorful, and the babies all look like they are having fun with their grown-up. Families are multicultural, there’s one parent in a wheelchair, and one child is wearing a hearing aid.

The best part though? The words are followed by directions for actions–and the actions are based on baby massage! What a marvelous idea!

Others in the series includes Wiggle & Move, Calm & Soothe, and Bounce & Jiggle. (They also have movements with their rhymes but the movements are not specifically massage based.)

Have lovely time with your little one!


Someone called me on it. “So what are the other great non-fiction books you referred to here?”swords

Well, here they are, in no particular order:

  • Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and illustrated by Axel Scheffler: Nice, kid friendly version of the poems that inspired the musical “Cats.” I’d forgotten how well these read aloud!
  • Blackbeard the Pirate King by J. Patrick Lewis: Each double page spread includes a poem about an event in the life of Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard. It’s the pictures, though, that make the book, ranging from one of the first pictures of Blackbeard in 1730 through the Wyeths up to 2008 illustrations. Lots of pirate fun!
  • Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter: Bass Reeves just barely won over this one. I treasure books like this for two reasons. one, they give glimpses of how hard life can be and how resilient humans can be, even when they are children. And two, I hope they poke kids and adults alike out of their complacency about the value of education. It’s not all about “getting a good job.”
  • Swords by Ben Boos: Gorgeously detailed illustrations are the highlight of this chronological, around the world story of the sword. Boys will wear this one out!

That’s all for now!


Cool month! All my contenders are in non-fiction! Not sure how that bass reeveshappened but it’s delightful. Real world meets great writing and illustrations.

The Winner is–Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheux Nelson and illustrations by R. Gregory Christie. I almost passed on this purchase as I had just added Gary Paulsen’s The Legend of Bass Reeves.

What was remarkable about Bass Reeves? Start with his life as a runaway slave and move forward for seventy years. Can’t say more without spoiling the story! 😉

The best compliment I can give a biography is that it makes me wish I had known the person. After reading Nelson and Christie’s book, I’d love to meet Marshall Reeves.

The biography is picture book format and deceptively simple without being simplistic. If you stop and imagine yourself writing it, you begin to realize how much research went into her telling. The illustrations are a perfect match.

A middle grader not ready for Paulsen’s longer version would find Nelson’s manageable and older preschoolers who are into cowboys or bad guys in the Wild West would enjoy it as a read-aloud.

Added (double) bonus? I can consider it written by a local author as Nelson lives in Northern New Mexico (and we’re in Southern Colorado). And Christie is African-American. I refuse to buy books just for those factors but I am proud to add this one to our collection on both counts.



With finger rhymes, I always ask the kids, “Did you bring your fingers today?” They love to wiggle them so I can see them.turkey

Then I say, “OK, now they are–TURKEYS!” (Or leaves, or pumpkins or whatever they case may be).

Click here to listen. Click here for the words.

Gobble, gobble!


tip pencilWhen a baby’s eyes get big, they try to move arms & legs, and wiggle or bounce, it means they are interested in what you’re doing. If they are interested, then they are learning.  So whatever it is,  keep it up!

I saw this in action at Toddler Time this past week. Watch and you’ll see it too!

(And when baby”s movements become squirmy, distracted, or of the turning away variety, it means they have had enough and it’s time to move on to something else.)

Have fun!


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Contact Info for Babette

email babette(dot)reeves(at)gmail(dot)com
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73 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101

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