Storyhour Fridays @ 10:30, ages 2-5.
PLUS join us Friday afternoons. Dog Bookbuddies will join us Fridays @ 3:00. For early readers and dog lovers. So stop by after school on Friday to pick up your books and movies, read to a cute pooch, and build something with Legos or K'Nex.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Parties, Friday, December 26 @ 10:30

Birthday Party! Beach Party! New Year's Party! Earth Day Party! Tea Party!

Cake! Games! Songs! Fireworks!  It's always the right time to throw a dance party, or a cupcake party, or a rainy day party, and here are some great books to go with the theme. Have you been doing the Beach Theme to death? Do a Beach Party Theme and throw in extra songs and a game!

Don't usually serve food at your library? A party is a chance to make an exception. Looking for a good reason to play The Jackson Five's ABCs and dance? Do it!

It's a party! Come dressed for your party in your most outrageous outfit, whatever suits your Fancy Nancy. Glinda the Good Witch evening gown? Tux? Wedding dress? Halloween costume? Don't forget the noisemakers and confetti!

2014 Lineup:
Intro: I am Invited to a Party by Mo Willems
Gripping Tale: Let's Have a Tree Party! by Thomas
Good story:  Clifford's Birthday Party
Fun ending:  Is Everyone ready for some fun? by Jan Thomas

Bug on a Bike by Chris Monroe.  Just the sight of this bug riding along on his bike makes me happy.  He collects a crowd: clams in their boats and the three billy goats, the flying red bird, the thundering herd... And where do you think Bug on a Bike is taking them?

Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra
The Big Bad Wolf has never been invited to a party before. He doesn't know what to do or how to act. No one's ever invited him to a party before, and he doesn't know what to do or expect. When I read this book, I like to insert an envelope in the pages and take it out and show it to the children. An invitation. This is how a party begins. Someone invites you to a party. And then what? What do you do? How do you act? His crocodile friend gives him some good tips, "Sip your tea and never slurp", etc., which you can sing to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Let's Have a Tree Party! by David Martin
This one touches on all the features of a fun party -- Simon Says, pizza & ice cream, music and counting. This book IS a party.

A Piece of Cake by LeUyen Pham

TSSS® Stage Lighting ~ Save $$$ Promotion for Xmas ~ Disco DJ Party Lighting ~ LED RGB Crystal RAINBOW COLOR Effect light ~ Happy Birthday Home Party

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, always a favorite!


Hats, of course!

Crowns, cones, or CDs? (Yes, CD hats! I saw these at an art festival.You’ll need four feet of tulle, knotted in the middle. Feed the two ends through the CD, shiny side up. Don’t pull tightly: you’ll want to feed the ends of the pipe cleaner stems through the knot. Add a few more shorter lengths of tulle to hide the pipecleaner ends and give pouf. Add stickers. Add glitter. Add beads. The crazier the better!) Tip: If you do decide to make party hat cones, do yourself a favor and buy the cones at the dollar store. Making them just isn’t worth it. Let the kids decorate, decorate, decorate.

More Resources

Throwing a Great Party
Jane McManus' resources for throwing a great par

Snow and Snowmen, Friday, January 2 @ 10:30

When the Weather Outside Is Frightful...

Even though my library is a block from the Gulf of Mexico and many of my three year olds have never seen the snow, I have plenty of great snow tales for them. "For playing in, it's a lot like sand, or even mud! You build with it." We talk a little about who has and hasn't seen snow and the animals who live in snow.

Bear Snores On: I had a mouse, rabbit, a porcupine, a crow, and of course a giant bear. So I read the book and presented the characters as I read, trying to remember to look politely at the puppet when the puppet talks. I tried to get the kids to snore the bear snore, but only Olivia snorted along with me. That Olivia.

2015 Line-up

  • Intro: Wild Tracks by Jim Arnosky (j591.479). I made white felt pawprints from this book and scattered them over the rug for the kids to find when they came in to storytime.  Exciting!
  • Gripping Tale: Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton.  A perfectly told classic about a powerful snow shovel that saves a city from a blanket of snow. What could be better? After this, we sang Motor Boat and added Steam Shovel, Steam Shovel, push that snow BACK!
  • Snow by Uri Shulevitz. I drew a simple cityscape in pencil on a big piece of gray paper. During storytime I went over it with a thick black marker. The kids were amazed at my (non) existent talent and settled to watch. Then I used my extremely large Oriental trading snowflake to stamp first one, then two, then three snowflakes on the page, reading the simple words of Shulevitz' story as I went along. A hit!
  • That's Not My Snowman by Fiona Watt.  These books are hard to use in big groups, but I wanted to introduce the snowman for the craft later. And it wasn't that big a group.
  • Caldecott Winner: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Before I begin reading this, I tell the children how quiet snow is. The beach is noisy --the sound of waves and seagulls. But snow shushes. then I read in my quietest voice. I love this book because it describes snow play so vividly, but is still so quiet.
  • Hello, Snow! by Hope Vestergaard. 

Flannelboard song

We sang This is Little, This is Big. Then we picked up some pretend snow, made pretend snowballs and threw them at the black board! First we made a little one, then a medium size mama one, and then a big daddy. At each pitch, I lined up a circle. After three we had made the snowman. "One Little Snowflake" song with templates:

At the beginning of this lesson, I was careful to show the kids how to paint a circle: Just go round and round and round.

1. Paint a snowman on a piece of blue or black paper with white paint. Make a huge circle, a big circle, and a small circle. Use round motions.
2. In a small plastic cup, mix up some shaving cream (shake first!) and some glue. Go over the snowman with this fluffy mess.
3. Add some black eyes (I used black fun foam punched out with hole punch), a carrot nose, (fun foam sliver) and some red buttons (pom poms). A red yarn scarf. Black hat. Maybe add some snow dots. Maybe a snow bank for him to stand on.
4. Sprinkle with salt to give a little added sparkle. Or sparkles if you dare.

How to Be a Puppeteer in 2 Minutes

I love this “How to Be a Puppeteer in 2 Minutes” because that’s how long my attention span is. Stuff like: The PUPPET is supposed to make eye contact with the audience. YOU’re supposed to make eye contact with the PUPPET.

Look how Heidi's Christmas lights turned out! Very pretty, huh?  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Storytime

The Storytime Before Christmas

This poem is a bit much for very young ones at storytime, but this is a gorgeous pop-up,  so arresting I like to save it for the end. There's no need to finish every book we open, after all. We can just give tastes, previews, of some of our favorites. Moore's classic shows up in so many off shoots (Simpsons? Rugrats?) that it's nice to let kids know that it can be found in a book.

I thought pre-k would be way too sophisticated for this short tale.  Wrong! At the end of the story, Max is surrounded by presents, so I segued directly into my skit about the surprise box. "What's this?" and I opened the square green box, pulled out the cylinder, and took out balloons.  I thought pre-k would be way too sophisticated for the gimmick of balloons flying off into the air as I blew them up and let them go.  Wrong!  
Gripping Tale:
Told the story of Mrs. Claus delivering the last lost package for Boo Boo McBlue instead.  It incorporates Motor Boat, Motor Boat, so I had the kids do it with me and it was a big hit on a very wiggly day.
I really really love John Burningham's tales, but I have to admit that this story does need a little bit of a boost when I read it. I put the emphasis on all the vehicles that Santa is having to use to get the job done and all the accidents, the "whoopsies" poor Santa sustains.

Trust Jon Agee to find a fresh new twist for the Santa story! Just what was Santa like when he was a kid? Did he like to slide down chimneys (yes!) Make friends with reindeer (yes!) Hit it off with elves (yes!) This is such a cute, fun book, with Agee's bright illustrations. Haven't actually used in storytime though.
By Ian Falconer. Does Olivia really help with Christmas? Not really.
Cut and Tell:
Children are mesmerized when you start cutting up your props!



Use up your scraps of green and red, even old wrapping papers, for this craft. The directions are simple: Tell the children to pick out ten strips of paper and line them up big to little. They may need to cut some a bit to get the right sizes. Fringeing and fancy scissors are fun to work with too. Let them finish this part of the project before you give them the glue sticks to glue the strips down into the shape of a Christmas tree. For older children, just give them long strips and let them figure out the sizes to cut! This is a really simple but fun project.

*5 little gingie men lying on the tray, one jumped up and ran away. Calling catch me catch me, catch me if you can! You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!
*5 little stars were hanging up. 1 fell off and it crashed POP! (squeeze bubble wrap). Mama called Santa and he went OFF! "No more stars should fall kerplop!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Animals, Friday, December 12 @ 10:30

  • Intro: Santa Duck by David Milgrim was a big favorite for starters. His books are all writtten with a funny, light touch, but since the Jingle Quack was a hit with Olivia and the requests from the different farm animals was funny for all of us.
  • Gripping Tale:  I tell the short version of Christmas Trolls that I learned from a Golden Book many years ago.  It was based on Peer Gynt and the Trolls. I take out the confusing details and violence, but it's a wonderful story:  The trolls saying "Nice pussy cat, nice pussy cat," to the polar bear, and then he attacks and sends them scurrying!  I even have a nice new polar bear puppet! I had the kids compare their paws to the paw on If I Were a Polar Bear to get across how big a polar bear is.
  • Didn't do this year:
  • If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff. I did this with the xylophone. Every time the mouse demanded something new, I hit a higher note. Sort of giving the stairsteps book a boost.
  • Santa's Moose by Syd Hoff.
  • What If? by Else Holmelund Minarik, verrrry short book about two bad cats.
  • Santa Mouse by Michael Brown. 
  • A Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel
  • 5 little gingie men
  • Santa on His Sleigh (to the Wheels on the Bus)
Santa on the sleigh says "Ho, ho, ho! (Ho Ho Ho in a deep voice)
The reindeer on the sleigh fly way up high (move hands upward in diagonal direction)
The snow on the sleigh falls gently down... (flutter fingers and move downwoard)
The bells on the sleigh go ring, ring ring (pass out bells to ring)
                                                Courtesy Cindy Burchell, Wells County Public Library

  • Jingle Bells.  We used all the musical instruments.

2014: Coffee Filter Snowflakes
Materials: Coffee filters, markers, water & paintbrushes
Tips: A volunteer prefolded the filters. I did A LOT of demonstration of the cutting, cutting and opening it up, cutting and opening it up, etc., and encouraged them to do that too.  I showed the marker and "just a drop of water" --- watch the paper SUCK up that water trick.  But I didn't pass out the water and markers till after the cutting was well into progress.
Note: The one above was done mostly by a mum!


If you happen to be two years old, pipe cleaners are the best stringing material for a number of reasons. They're fuzzy, they come in bright colors, and they're easy to hold in your fat little fingers.

This is supposed to be a wreath, but I noticed most of the kids were wearing them home.

Story hour was for a very young bunch of wigglers today. I was balancing between some kids less than two, some wiggley twos, and Olivia.  So I didn't get to Santa's New Jet by Biedrzycki or Where Does Joe Go by Pearson.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Storytime CANCELLED, Friday, December 5

Waaaah!  Ms. T has to go to a meeting AGAIN and doesn't get to read books, do crafts or see you today!  Waaah!  

BUT DON'T DESPAIR!  I'm leaving you some very fun crafts to do and I think it's time for a Dance Party. The Christmas decorations are up and all the Christmas books are on display -- but they're going fast, so come in and get yours!

We'll be making SANTA BEARDS!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Storytime Cancelled, Friday, November 28

Gulf Beaches Library will be closed Thursday and Friday, reopening Saturday. 
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

You know what I'm grateful for:  
All the children who visit my library every year.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pre-K Bed & Bath Storytime, Friday, November 21 @ 10:30

What separates the grownups from the babies?
They don't want to shut their eyes and we look for any excuse.

Hundreds of children's books have been written with the idea of lulling the child to sleep, of persuading him by the end of the story that the day is over. But let's start our storytime off with something more fun.

Bath Book: Dini Dinosaur by Karen Beaumont.  Although Beaumont's easy rhymes are as perfect as always, and Dini is pretty cute, this one is a bit on the sugary side.  So remember: these are dinosaurs, and do the Scrub-A-Dub-Dub in your deepest basso profundo

Getting Ready for Bed: There's a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer. Night time fears? We've all got them.

Getting Ready for Bed:  Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! Also, Pigeon Needs a Bath ("I Do Not!") by Mo Willems

Nobody fights harder than the pigeon.

  • Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion. It's always nice to pull out a book and here the moms say, "Oh, I love this one!"

  • Book of Sleep, Lights Out, Nights Out by Boniface, and Sweet Dreams by Kajikawai are all nice books about how animals sleep & nocturnal animals.
  • The Napping House by the great Audrey and Don Wood can be a perfect performance piece. I get out a xylophone, and as each new napper is introduced -- granny, boy, dog, cat, flea, etc, -- I hit a new note, until we reach the exciting climax and I sweep a glissando.


  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (again, use xylophone)
  • Starlight, Starbright
  • 5 Bears in the bed, and the little one said, "Roll over, roll over."
  • 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed.
  • Hop Little Bunnies

Craft Project: 

  • Thanksgiving Banners with foam stickers.
Maybe next year:
  • Lavender Aromatherapy for Bedtime  Mix up an inexpensive batch of bath salts with the kids, divide them up into baggies (funnels are the fun part) and send it home with them. Only don't call it bath salts. Maybe Tatooine sand? Bath Salts Recipe from Garden Therapy

Don't forget to wear your bathrobe and sock monkey slippers to storytime! Librarian Donna Holmen invites all her little patrons to wear PJs, and ends by giving them little flashlights and turning off the light so they can sing Twinkle Twinkle.