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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

jolly

Dear Santa,

I'm well aware of the fact that this is the time of year when you get inundated with letters from children the world over putting in requests for their hearts' desire. Dolls, ipods, dump trucks; you name it, they want it.

I've written you some lengthy letters in years past with some serious demands. I'm not doing that this year. Instead, I'm writing to say thank you. I don't know how you managed it, but without any word from me, you've taken care of every wish I could have had this year and then some. You somehow put me and the Czechoslovakian together, brought my brother home triumphantly from his mission, and now you've taken care of my immediate family as well. Santa, I'm good. I don't need anything else this Christmas. Just, maybe, to be able to drive safely to and from Detroit a couple more times this month to share in all the joy with those I love the most. Anything else would just be meaningless after the love and pure happiness you have filled my heart with.

Thank you, Santa, for your wonderful example and the best Christmas on record.

Merry Christmas!

engquist

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

whiskers on kittens

I don't think it's a mystery that I love working at the library, and moreover, that I love the children's section. And by "love" I mean it's an abnormal day to leave the library without at least one picture book tucked neatly under my arm.

Usually there are three or four.

This morning I got to participate in one of the aspects of the library I adore the most. Storytime! Lest ye be deterred, storytime is not just some miserly old woman sitting in front of a group of disgruntled toddlers reading them archaic stories. No! This is nearly an hour jam packed with books, fingerplays, songs, physical activities, and merriment, all orchestrated to help develop early literacy skills.

I was guest this week and worked with one of the usuals on the theme du jour. Guess what it was! No, really, guess!

Okay, fine, I'll tell you. It has to do with animals and going out and finding them..

That's right! SAFARI!

I came dressed up in my "safari explorer" gear, equipped with a safari hat and felt very Crocodile Dundee. We started off with the book Starry Safari, which I loved, but the monstrous group of five year-olds was far too active to sit through much more reading. So we went on a safari.

It. Was. Awesome!

The kids and I held our hands up to our eyes and yelled "Come with me! What animals will we see?" Then my lovely assistant would pop out of the coat closet carrying (and sometimes animating) a stuffed animal. The kids would all shout out what the animal was, we'd make an animal noise or movement that went along with it and then bring our hands up to our eyes again. I had to get inventive with some of the animals, but they were the most fun. For example...

the ostrich.

Does anyone know what an ostrich sounds like? I don't. All I know is that they're tall and have silly feathers. So what did we do? We raised both of our hands hiiiiiiiiigh in the air and wiggled.

It was an instant classic.

The fun only got better when we had a staff meeting immediately following storytime in which everyone was curious about the safari extravaganza. If you think a group of preschoolers raising their hands high in the air and wiggling is a hoot, wait until you see about ten middle-aged librarians.

Also an instant classic.

"Come with me! What animals will we see?"