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I had a blast at the SLV Fiber Festival this past weekend in Monte Vista, Colorado. I had storytimes with kids, demo’ed cat’s cradle string games, and sold the best and most fun kid’s books related to sheep, llamas, yarn–)and one chicken book ’cause it’s my favorite).

If you’re in the San Luis Valley and are interested in purchasing some books before I ship them back, shoot me an email at babette(dot)reeves(at) You know you’ve got birthdays, holidays, baby showers, and other special occasions coming up! And there’s nothing better than a book! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a list of what’s still available:

  • Feeding the Sheep–a little girl follows her mother’s activities through the year, learning along the way where her warm and lovingly made sweater came from.
  • Sheep in a Jeep (book & CD)–silly sheep try to drive a jeep, great rhymes and pictures, good for reading aloud or for beginning readers.
  • Where is Green Sheep–a Mem Fox classic with more silly sheep doing silly things (skiing down a sliding board?!), available in board book bilingual version.
  • Extra Yarn–brand new story about a magical yarn box and a girl who transforms her grey world with it, I think we’ve got a classic in the making with this one.


  • Tillie Lays an Egg–I am ga-ga over this book, Tillie lays her eggs all over and kids get to hunt for it in the photos created with retro farmhouse collectibles.
  • The Shepherd’s Trail–a cultural treasure, fabulous photos and just enough text to capture the dying art of the shepherd with the sheep in the back country, a real treasure. Only one copy left!
  • The Surprise–gives me giggles to even think about it and elicits an “awwww” every time at the ending, and don’t you want to see a sheep on a bathroom scale, with a blow dryer, and on a motor scooter?


  • The Dogs of Bedlam Farm–I generally despise children’s books written by adult authors (because they are usually just dreadful) but Jon Katz pulls this one off with just the right combo of photos and text to introduce children to Katz’ four farm dogs and their individual personalities and jobs.
  • The Littlest Llama–an overlooked gem, the littlest llama in an Andean herd can find no one to play with, wanders off, escapes trouble only to hurry home and discover she’s not the littlest any longer, bonus points for being told in well-structured rhyme.


  • Llama Llama Red Pajama–first in the series of Llama Llama books, if you don’t have this one yet for your little one, you need it (especially for bedtime “llama dramas” at your house).

If your budget necessitates getting these at the “big A,” I understand. Getting books to your kids is the most important factor.

But for now, you can get them from me with no shipping and only a dollar or two more. (And you’ll be supporting a local business with this mission).

Read on,



You’re invited to a Book Look–anyone, everyone, the more the merrier! I will be highlighting books that are great for grandparents to give for birthdays, holidays, or any day you want to make a kid feel special. Forgo the toys that will break or get forgotten. Get a book for a gift that lasts a lifetime.

So join us this Thursday, June 28, at 5:30 p.m. at my house. Don’t know where that is? Email me at babette(dot)reeves(at) for address and directions. No RSVP needed and come as you are. This is informal, fun, and I’ll do all the work for you. There are few things I love better than helping find the right book for a kid!

(And if you really, really, really can’t come, you can order online. Email if you have any questions.)

See you then,


All kinds of lists for father’s day books are cropping up (what a wonder, since tomorrow’s the day!). Someone else’s list always makes you think of what your list would be. Most of my favorites are not about the big day but they are about dads, typical and atypical, and their relationships with their children. And there’s no sap here.

Here are my nominees, in no particular order:

  • Pink Me Up by Charise Harper: I have two boys, both almost grown, so I can be a bit “challenged” when it comes to “girl books.” I also want to do right by girls and not feed them any more stereotypes and junky expectations than can be helped. So Pink Me Up delights me. It’s about a little girl (bunny) and how her dad steps in to make her “pink day” possible. I like that she likes pink “just because.” I like that dad wears pink “just because” and to make her happy. And I like that’s it’s funny without making fun. Some books I like because of the way they portray the parents. This is one of those.
  • Just Like Daddy by Frank Asch: A little bear compares himself with his dad and the things he can do “just like daddy.” It’s got a cute twist ending, though, that even the youngest ones can get. Asch always does a great job with simple but telling pictures and just enough words to tell a good story. His books hold the interest of the youngest, beginning to handle full stories set, as well as their older siblings. His simplicity is deceptive.
  • Tractor Day by Candice Ransom: Short rhyming verse for each double page spreads shows a young daughter and dad taking the tractor out for the first time in the spring.
  • Every Friday by Dan Yaccarino: Boy and his dad have their special routine “every Friday.” Illustrations are retro with a bright but subdued set of colors. It’s a story of the kind of moments that form lasting relationships and memories and make a kid feel loved and special.
  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen: The night, the snow, and the owls take center stage in this quiet, mesmerizing story told from a young child’s perspective. But none of it would be possible without dad.
  • So Much by Trish Cooke: So much fun! Everyone comes in the big, big family and everyone’s made a fuss over in the nicest ways including the baby and his dad.
  • My Father is Taller than a Tree by Joseph Bruchac: Quiet, pastel drawings reflect what dad’s are like to their children.
  • Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson: Dad may be in prison but he’s still someone’s dad. Straight forward depiction of a prison visitation day–and the excitement felt by someone coming to visit.
  • My Dad and Me by Alyssa Capucilli: Board book showing children and fathers spending time together.
  • Molly and Her Dad by Jan Ormerod: Exuberant illustrations by Ormerod match an exuberant father-daughter relationship.
  • A Place to Grow by Soyung Pak: An immigrant father shares the importance of freedom with his daughter while they garden. Truly lovely.
  • Pretend by Jennifer Plecas: Ah, dad’s a little imagination challenged but not for long!
  • A Father Like That by Charlotte Zolotow: Classic Zolotow tackles a difficult issue with her usual quiet care. What’s a father to a child who’s never had one present in his or her life? I imagine this book being a balm to kids who feel left out on Father’s Day.

And finally, for my two favorite novel fathers: Read A Wrinkle in Time and A Day No Pigs Would Die.

What are your favorite kid books about fathers?

Happy Father’s Day,


Bears, horses, and sausages! Oh my! But it’s what I’ve been doing in storytime the last few weeks, and it’s immensely satisfying to see how much the kids enjoy this mix.

After our opening song, I read The Three Bears. I prefer the Barton version. It’s simply told and the pictures are clear and colorful. The Three Bears is a magical story. I’ve never had a group of kids (from toddlers up through age eight) that weren’t just enthralled with it.

I then tell them we are all going to tell the story again, a different way! That’s when we do the fingerplay, The Three Bears (click here). Because The Three Bears relies so much on sequence, it’s a great story for reinforcing narrative skills. So the second time through the fingerplay, I reinforce it even more by letting the kids “remember” what comes next (bowls, chairs, beds, and bears).

Next book up–Bear Wants More by Wilson followed by more food: Ten Fat Sausages (click here). Bear Wants More is in rhyme so it builds phonological awareness as does Sausages with its rhythm and alliteration. I do it as a chant with the kids clapping on the beat. I hold up my handy-dandy flannel board stand-in (a whiteboard with pieces stuck on with double-sided tape) during the chant.

On it is a frying pan, complements of free clip art, and ten sausages, also from clip art. I print the pictures off, trim them to shape, and add the tape to their backs. The sausages won’t all actually fit in the pan so I fan them across the space above the pan in two groups of five.

We clap, we chant, and on POP, I remove one sausage and on BAM, I remove another. Then I pause and count the sausages and we start again till we get to zero sausages. I always do it a second time (sometimes a third, the kids love it) and when I place the sausages back on the board, I also count aloud.

Finally, I tell the kids I’ve got one more puzzle for them (because the sausages have been a puzzle; you can just see their little wheels a-turnin’ during it). Then we read Are You A Horse by Rash. I try to get straight through this one the first time without too many questions so they can get as much of the flow as possible. And I always quietly hold the last page up for many, many seconds until someone finally gets it and the giggles begin.

It’s not your traditional springtime storytime (except for Bear Wants More) but the kids enjoy it sooooo much.

Hope you do too!


OK, so mostly this blog is about little kids. But I am a librarian for babies up through young college aged folks. And I love reading YA (when I have the time) especially nowadays when I think some of the best ficiton writing for anyone is coming out of the YA camp.

So “life” and teaching in the last weeks, things were too crazy for me to get my top ten list into Persnickety Snark’s polling for the top 100 YA novels. But I did make a list and here it is. It’sย  in no particular order (ranking things I love drives me nuts and I don’t need that right now).

Antsy Does Time by Shusterman

The Outsiders by Hinton

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Mortal Engines by Reeves (the whole series! although the first part of two really drags, you’ve been warned)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee

The Once and Future King by White

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Peck

The Crucible by Miller (I know it’s a book–but it’s soooo right for YA)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Atwood

And number 11 I throw in for good measure unofficially. I truly love this book. I’m terribly interested to see if it ever gets the readership it deserves (from guys and girls)–and what its staying power will be over time.

Crazy Beautiful by Baratz-Logsted

I have this horror of posting and then remembering all kinds of terrific books I’ve forgotten to include! But if that happens, I may do list #2. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy Reading,


You’ve probably already seen the final countdown, (my life has been really crazy as far as trying to get this posted), but this is primarily a shopping list, not an announcement list. ๐Ÿ™‚ So happy shopping!

25. Little Women by Alcott

24. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by Rowling

23. Little House in the Big Woods by Wilder

22. The Tale of Despereaux by DiCamillo

21. The Lightning Thief by Riordan

20. Tuck Everlasting by Babbitt

19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Dahl

18. Matilda by Dahl

17. Maniac Magee by Spinelli

16. Harriet the Spy by Fitzhugh

15. Because of Winn-Dixie by DiCamillo

14. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by Rowling

13. Bridge to Terabithia by Paterson

12. The Hobbit by Tolkien

11. The Westing Game by Raskin

10. The Phantom Tollbooth by Juster

9. Anne of Green Gables by Montgomery

8. The Secret Garden by Burnett

7. The Giver by Lowry

6. Holes by Sachar

5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by Konigsburg

4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Lewis

3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by Rowling (yeah, the first one)

2. A Wrinkle in Time by L’Engle

1. Charlotte’s Web by White

Thanks to Bird for putting together such a terrifically fun project! And Happy Reading!


And here’s the other parts of the lists:




One hundred books makes for a really long list! ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s the next twenty-five. And on the Fuse #8 blog, the countdown has made it to #13; click here to see more. But now, back to the “shopping list!”

50. Island of the Blue Dolphins by O’Dell

49. Frindle by Clements

48. The Penderwicks by Birdsall

47. Bud, Not Buddy by Curtis

46. Where the Red Fern Grows by Rawls

45. The Golden Compass by Pullman

44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Blume

43. Ramona the Pest by Cleary

42. Little House on the Prairie by Wilder

41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Speare

40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Baum

39. When You Reach Me by Stead

38. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by Rowling

37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Taylor

36. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Blume

35. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fired by Rowling

34. The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Curtis

33. James and the Giant Peach by Dahl

32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by O’Brien

31. Half Magic by Eager

30. Winnie-the-Pooh by Milne

29. The Dark is Rising by Cooper

28. A Little Princess by Burnett

27. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Carroll

26. Hatchet by Paulsen

That’s all for now. I’ll add #1-25 after she finishes her countdown. And then I’ll tell you my favorites for the whole 100. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Link to #100-76

Link to #75-51

Link to #50-26

Stay tuned,


Thomas Cahill has a marvelous piece in the NYTimes today about the Irish and how they saved Western Civilization after the fall of Rome. How did an obscure, ragtag bunch of folks in the early days of the Dark Ages manageย  such a feat? They copied books.

What’s an added bonus in his article is his mention of their sense of play in the midst of all the seriousness of the world dissolving around them and the rest of Europe. And of course, it being St. Patrick’s Day, Patrick gets his fair share of credit as well.

I wish Cahill had mentioned another saint, though, one equally as important to the preservation of books and thereby civilization. That is St. Columba. I learned about him through a fascinating children’s book, Across a Dark and Wild Sea by Don Brown.

As a boy St. Columba was known as Columcille, and he was son of a king. But the church taught him reading and writing, and he was forever hooked–to the point that he copied a book rather illegally and thereby started a war. Yes, a war over a book. (Boys eat this up, let me tell you!)

Devastated afterward by what his actions had wrought, he exiled himself to an island off the coast–and thus was born the religious community of Iona.

The book combines fact, some of the legends associated with Columba, watercolor illustrations that stir up the windswept coasts of Ireland, a calligraphic guide to the Uncial alphabet from Columba’s time, and a bibliography. There’s even a diagram of a coracle (no, I’m not going to tell you; you have to read the books! ;-))

As you can tell, it’s one of my favorites.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day,


With no further adue, here’s the next batch!

75. Love That Dog by Creech

74. The Borrowers by Norton

73. My Side of the Mountain by George

72. My Father’s Dragon by Gannett

71. An Unfortunate Series of Events: The Bad Beginning by Snicket

70. Betsy-Tacy by Lovelace

69. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Stewart

68. Walk Two Moons by Creech

67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Colville

66. Henry Huggins by Cleary

65. Ballet Shoes by Streatfeild

64. A Long Way from Chicago by Peck

63. Gone-Away Lake by Enright

62. The Secret of the Old Clock by Keene

61. Stargirl by Spinelli

60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

59. Inkheart by Funke

58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Aiken

57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Cleary

56. Number the Stars by Lowry

55. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Paterson

54. The BFG by Dahl

53. The Wind in the Willows by Grahame

52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Selznick

51. The Saturdays by Enright

I almost entirely cannot quibble with the selections–although I’d love to dicker on a few of the rankings. What a list though!

Read on!


I’m loving reading Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 Top 100 Children’s Novels. And the collection of covers after each review is fabulous.

But I also want to just see a list of them. The better to go shopping with, my dears. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So if you are feeling somewhat frustrated with being list-less, here they are by nothing but title and author! (I’ll post twenty-five at a time and she is posting from number 100 down to number one.)

100. The Egypt Game by Snyder

99. The Indian in the Cupboard by Banks

98. Children of Green Knowe by Boston

97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by DiCamillo

96. The Witches by Dahl

95. Pippi Longstocking by Lindgren

94. Swallows and Amazons by Ransome

93. Caddie Woodlawn by Brink

92. Ella Enchanted by Levine

91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Sachar

90. Sarah, Plain and Tall by MacLachlan

89. Ramona and Her Father by Cleary

88. The High King by Alexander

87. The View from Saturday by Konigsburg

86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by Rowling

85. On the Banks of Plum Creek by Wilder

84. The Little White Horse by Goudge

83. The Thief by Turner

82. The Book of Three by Alexander

81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Lin

80. The Graveyard Book by Gaiman

79. All of a Kind Family by Taylor

78. Johnny Tremain by Forbes

77. The City of Ember by DuPrau

76. Out of the Dust by Hesse

Ok, maybe I was skimming my reader too fast. But when I first saw this headline, Great ‘Read-Alouds’ for the New York Times, I thought it was for a kids’ book list.

I’ve never seen a read-aloud list for newspaper articles! What a fabulous idea! Children will hear a different style of writing and a different “grammar” beyond a story grammar. No one has ever said that when we read aloud to children, we need to read children’s picture books. But how often do we assume that’s what “read-aloud” means?

I spend a fair amount of time encouraging parents to continue reading aloud to their children beyond the preschool years and beyond the years when the child can read on his or her own. Now I have another angle to encourage!

Bear in mind, any reading aloud, as long as the child enjoys the time together, is good reading aloud. The material really doesn’t matter (my mother once read a dictionary aloud to my oldest when he was a baby; he was entranced! :-))

So find a book–or better still, change the pace and find a Times article and read on,


If you’re happy and you know it–speak your first word in Toddler Time! Oh my, what a moment! We were all singing and had reached the “Hooray!” point–when out of the blue, a just barely walking kiddo said, “Hap-py!”ย  I’m not making this up. ๐Ÿ™‚

We read Choo Choo Clickety-Clack by Mayo and we all got louder and louder and louder. So many great sounds to make in that book! So good for phonological awareness! So fun!

And Ring Around the Rosies was a winner as well. Lots and lots of giggles. And when the little boy with some social struggles grabbed his dad’s hand to join in–well, we did it again! We do Rosies with two verses (scroll down the column on the left to listen) and today there were children anticipating what comes next! Another name for “what comes next” is anticipation, which leads to making predictions and later reading comprehension, and sequencing, which leads to understanding how letters go together to make words (and that was the early literacy TIP for the day).

Betcha didn’t know you could have all that in twenty minutes of fingerplays and singing and a dash of reading!

Nothing but awesomeness!


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Contact Info for Babette

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

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