Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Meet Miss Melodee at Sherman Oaks Branch Library

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
My Cost: FREE!

14245 Moorpark Street

An added bonus of all these cheap outings is that the kids get nice and tired! Alex took a super long nap this morning, and Vivi went to bed before 8:00 tonight! Gotta love that! So since we were all tired, we only took a very short outing today. We went to the Sherman Oaks Branch Library at 4:00 pm to see Miss Melodee. I learned about this activity using two of the sites I have linked under "Find Places to Go": FreeThingsToDoInLA, and Ready. Set. Grow! Family Events.

Meet Miss Melodee!

The Meet Miss Melodee! activity was described on the library website as follows: "Miss Melodee is a fairy princess and loves to dance and sing. Join us in welcoming her to the library for the first time." I wasn't sure what to expect, and I had never been to that branch of the library before, so I figured we'd be surprised! (Turns out I would have had a better idea of the activity if I would have read about it on here.)

We were a little late (maybe 10 minutes,) and I was afraid there would be no room for us, but the activity was held in the library meeting room, so there was actually plenty of room (which is great, because I roll with a pretty big double stroller!) It turns out Miss Melodee is a singing dance instructor who runs her own dance studio in Tarzana. You can check out the website at She read from her own original children's book - "Adventures with Miss Melodee and Friends: Dancing In The Rain." It is illustrated with Miss Melodee's photo superimposed over drawings, and the "Friends" are different dance shoes like a tap shoe and hip hop shoes. At different points in the story Miss Melodee would have all the children stand up and try the dance styles of the different dance shoes. She sang original songs whose lyrics would lead the children through the choreography in a fun, non-technical way. For example, she described classic ballet postures using the description of "having tea" at the ballet barre. I was quite impressed at the amount of preparation she put into designing these teaching aids!

She had several props for kids to try (silk flowers, handkerchiefs and pompoms,) and she brought her own sound system, (the conveniently portable Fender PA - musicians will know the one - and a headset mic,) to amplify her presentation, so all the kids could hear and participate. A man (her husband?) emceed the activity, and played all the backing tracks to her songs. I also thought the best part of the presentation was that he knew all the choreography and danced along! He wasn't as technically proficient as Miss Melodee, but he sure was fun to watch! I wonder if he teaches at the studio... There were also two older dance students in leotards on either side of Miss Melodee demonstrating the choreography along with her. There were large standing posters of Miss Melodee on either side of the "stage", and she had a sheaf of postcards available, so she did a great job of promoting her brand. Luckily, Vivi isn't old enough to beg me to enroll her in Miss Melodee's studio, ha ha! (Although there are classes for kids as young as 18 months, so it might be worth looking into.)

Here are my pictures of the afternoon:

A page from "Adventures with Miss Melodee and Friends" and some of her props.
Vivi watching Miss Melodee read.
Vivi was interested, but obviously didn't understand a lot of what was going on, lol!
Kids and Miss Melodee's helpers dancing with pompoms.

Where's Vivi? Standing in front of the Miss Melodee poster looking uncertain.

Sherman Oaks Branch Library

After Miss Melodee, we went to the library section of the building to survey the children's area. So far, my favorite is the Lake View Terrace Branch (see my August 8th blog post), but I wanted to see how Sherman Oaks compared. In a nutshell, it's just okay. There are plenty of books, a long cushioned bench, and two kids sized tables with chairs, but I've seen several other libraries in the area with a lot more in the way of fun accessories like rugs, stuffed animals, and activity cubes. So I wouldn't go out of my way just to visit this library, although they did have a pretty full schedule of volunteer story readers.

I did like this sign - very cute!

Vivi perched on the end of the bench rifling through books.

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