I’ve received a wonderful early Christmas gift this year — two new regular storytimes to conduct. Both interested in the season’s books — and do I have Christmas books to share!
The only downside — and I can live with it — is that it’s via the technologies with which we see people these days. I’m so grateful for the Zooms, the FaceTimes, the Facebook Lives…it’s the only way to safely see folks and it makes things like storytime possible. It’s nothing like gathering in person. Still—storytime! I love it however it comes. And to go through our Christmas books again is sheer joy. My kids are old enough that we haven’t done marathon Christmas storytimes around here in awhile. My heart is filled with gladness to pull them off the shelf again.
Secret upside: One of the technologies does not coöperate on my computer and so requires that I film via phone, and for one reason or another (I’ve given up trying to understand it), I can’t do it in a way that lets me see if I’m holding the book straight and out of the glare of the light. I require assistance. Fortunately, I have generous and willing camera folk in my house. Last week, it was Darling Daughter, home from college, who filmed. And since she was on the other side of the camera, it was like reading her some of her old favorites. I saw her smile a couple of times as we read. Another layer of storytime fun for me. (It’s all about me!)
This week I’m reading Shall I Knit You a Hat? A Christmas Yarn by Kate Klise, illustrated by her sister, M. Sarah Klise. (If you have four minutes, this little video about how they started making books together is super sweet and sisterly and Christmasy.
Shall I Knit You a Hat? is a story about knitting. Rabbits knitting. And I know that sounds too odd to be good, but I promise you, it makes such a sweet story. A blizzard is coming in on Christmas Eve and the forcast says it won’t stop until the snow reaches the tallest tips of Little Rabbit’s ears. (Little Rabbit has very long ears.) So Mother Rabbit, as knitter everywhere do, channels all her worry into a sweet little long-eared hat for her Little Rabbit. In turn, Little Rabbit’s generous heart leads them to make hats for all their friends. Surreptitiously, they measure their friends and design hats with their particular needs, personal style, and special considerations taken into account. For instance, the deer’s hat must show off his lovely antlers.
It is so stinkin’ cute! And I’ve never read this book to a kid or group of kids who did not love it. Sometimes we try our hand at designing hats for other animals — very creative activity.
I’ll be watching this week’s storytime audiences because the last time I read it to a group of kids they pointed out two things I had not noticed. 1) Little Rabbit created the gift tags for the boxes containing the extraordinary hats he designed. They are simple paintings of the animal receiving the hat — kids notice this kind of detail. The tags look just like what they would paint. 2) When the animal friends first receive the hats — hats that are pretty eclectically designed — they look less than thrilled. It’s not until the snow falls that they fully appreciate the care and love that has gone into the designs of their individual hats.
This is the work of a marvelous writer-illustrator partnership — the story is shared in words and pictures. Sometimes the adult readers miss it, but kids notice.
So, fa-la-la-la-la! I’m off to read to screens full of kids. Hoping my daughter will film again this week. She loved this book when she was little.