Jane Marino’s book is definitely one of the better storytime books I have read. I like it particularly because her focus is on the age group that attends my storytimes on Mondays and Fridays, the 0 to 24 months. Marino offers a lot of good advice for librarians just starting out with baby storytime programming. Since I have been doing storytimes since May 2011, I felt more assured with the songs and activities I have incorporated into my routine as age appropriate.
Marino separates the babies into 2 different groups; Prewalkers and Walkers. Prewalkers are “babies who are not yet walking confidently on their own. So a prewalker can be anywhere in age from newborn to twelve or thirteen months of age” while Walkers are “babies who are walking confidently on their own. They no longer have to think about the mechanics of walking.” This is an important distinction because Marino have different programs plans for Prewalkers and Walkers. From my own experience, these two groups have to be dealt with differently. What works best for the younger kids, doesn’t work best for the older ones. Since my storytimes are a grab-bag of ages between infants and toddlers, I try to keep a mixed routine of claps, rhymes, and physical activities. If anything, I don’t do enough bounces because most of the kids fall into the Walker group and are too old for bouncing.
Marino takes us through the initial steps of implementing a baby program at the library; everything from ordering the appropriate books & magazines, designating a storytime space, and have patrons register for the event. She then discusses in detail the wants and needs of Prewalkers, and walkers, including 5 ready-to-use routines (with book title). She ends the book with a number of rhymes, claps and bounces that are more appropriate for parents to do at home. This portion I really like, because its easier to wade through all the rhymes to find ones perfect for different events.
I was hoping to get a little more information about how songs and rhymes and enrich literacy, ie, what do the children learn from repetitive singing, how does their brain compute the songs and physical activities. I want to know better why these tools are important, not just that they are important and should be used.
Overall, this is a great resource for librarians on the verge of starting a baby lapsit/storytime program.