Recommended Reading: Books in Motion

dietzelGlair300Books in Motion: Connecting Preschoolers with Books through Art, Games, Movement, Music, Playacting, and Props by Julie Dietzel-Glair.

(Chicago, IL: Neal-Schuman, 2013)  $55.00.  ISBN 978-1-55570-810-8.  Available at

Using a wide variety of clever activity, prop, and movement suggestions, Books in Motion offers practical suggestions for children’s librarians, teachers, and childcare providers to get kids moving during the reading of books, not just in between stories. Though this may seem a radical suggestion to some, incorporating games, scavenger hunts, and hands-on activities in the reading of stories addresses multiple intelligences and serves to engage children on many levels.

Dietzel-Glair reviews 500 picture books published since 2000, with each entry offering an annotation and detailed suggestions for activities to use while reading. The best word to describe the books chosen is “diversity” – both of well-known and lesser-known authors, and in the cultures and characters represented. Each chapter focuses on one of the categories mentioned in the subtitle, along with group management and logistical tips. Some of the suggestions derive directly from the text, such as the directions for acting out the actions of the frog in William Bee’s Beware of the Frog (Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2008), providing a good guide for storytime leaders who don’t naturally tend to movement in storytime. Many more of the suggestions, however, bring in unusual angles on the text, such as assigning motions to the refrain in Emily Gravett’s Orange Pear Apple Bear (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005), playing “Pass the Peanut” during Petr Horáček’s My Elephant (Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2009) by having the kids wear socks on the hands as “trunks” and pass a peanut around the circle, or using juggling scarves as superhero capes in Bob Graham’s Max (Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2000). Best of all, many of the creative suggestions can be adapted to other stories as well. Patterns for craft activities are included in the appendix, and books are accessible by author, title, and subject index. This is a great addition to your storytime resource shelf.

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