Friday, August 26, 2016

ABC Storyhour, Friday, September 2 @ 10:30


  • ABC3D pop-up by Marion Bataille. We sang the ABC song first. Cute.
  • Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham.  Moose is understandably put out because he has to wait and wait and wait until it's his turn to be M is for Moose, and Moose is NOT a good waiter then when they get to M it's for Mouse! His outrage knows no bounds!
  • The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra. Another very funny hit from Judy Sierra. This is the only alphabet book I find to be readable. It doesn't just go A was once an Apple Pie, B blah blah blah.  Instead the naughty lower case letters are each misbehaving at bedtime, and the connection between letter and action isn't labored. A is wide awake, B won't take a bath, etc.  Pix are great too.
  • Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Woods.  The letters of the alphabet as the main characters in a tale full of drama and suspense.  After all the A is for Apple Pie stuff, who knew?
  • Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth.  Love this book.  I always have the kids do the Shoo Fly, Shoo Fly, Shoo!
  • Achoo! Bang! Crash! by MacDonald.  Nice to mix it up with a few letter noises.  


Bring the foam letters in and have the kids sit on a square. 


We strung foam letter beads from Oriental Trading on pipecleaners. Make a loop at the end for closure:

Alternately, have the kids make name plaques for themselves. Foam letters and a lot of sparkle. We tried doing their initials one year. That was a bit of a learning curve.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pet Storytime, Friday, August 26 @ 10:30

What Pet Should I Get by Dr. Seuss. Don't forget your basket of little pets. These two year olds were still very fascinated by the concrete objects.

PIRATE'S PERFECT PET by Beth Ferry.  Alas, I forget to wear my pirate hat, but this was one still a big hit with the kids. Skip the note from Mom and get right into the action, the progression from farm to zoo to pet store.

Dino Pets by Lynn Plourde.Lush illustrations, short rhyming verse.  Plunk down hard on the ending rhymes. But not such a hit. Maybe the timing.

If All the Animals Came Inside by Eric Pinder. GREAT INTERACTIONAL.  This books has a wonderful rhythm you can really pound out; get the moms to join in while you hit the beat. But the kids were wandering by this time. Maybe stick to the 6 - 8 page rule.

An Octopus Followed Me Home by Dan Yaccarino.  And that's a bad thing? Maybe to Dad.

My Rhinoceros by John Agee.  His new pet rhino is just as sluggish as he looks, so the boy's a bit disappointed. Until he discovers he can fly.

Didn't get to: Mammoth in the Fridge by Michael Escoffier. The parents a horrified to discover a whoolly mammoth in their firdge one morning.  They call the fire dept., but when the mammoth escapes and runs up a tree, they leave. Turns out their daughter is in cahoots with the beast.

Be certain to define "mammoth"; ask what they think of cover picture.

Try:  USE: Is There a Dog in this book?  by Viviane Schwarz. I Love My Buzzard by Tres Seymour.  Ha ha

For Older Kids:  Penguin by Polly Dunbar, This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers, Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown.  Excellent, funny books, but all a bit on the twisted side for the very, very young in this group. Strictly No Elephants by Mantchev; SPARKY by Jenny Offill.


ANY songs about animals.

Pet rugs. Materials: Fun foam rectangles & fun foam stickers, markers, scissors.

I know, I know! Dopey but easy and fun.  And a great intro for the very young for fringeing the edges of the rug without the worry of 'cutting something out' correctly. Let the kids fringe the edges and stick on the embellishments. And I had enough goofy little stuffed animals to give them all a 'pet' for their rug.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Pig Storytime, Friday, August 19 @ 10:30


Watch Them Grow: Piglets by Colleen Sexton. Sometimes it's fun to start off a storytime with a little REALITY.  With no disrespect to Piggy and Olivia and Toot and Puddle, real pigs are kind of cool too.  Busy Piggies by Schindler is what I chose for a younger crowd but it wasn't a raging hit.
  • Happy Pig Day! by Mo Willems.  Everyone has to be introduced to Piggy from that great duo, Elephant and Piggy!
  • The Cow That Went Oink by Bernard Most.  Make sure you preview the cover:  See all these cows standing in a herd together. And this cow standing off to the bottom ALL ALONE? This favorite readaloud gives opportunity to laugh like a rooster (cock a doodle had) and a sheep (maaaa-ha-ha), etc.
  • This Little Piggy by Tim Harrington.  Charming new take on that ten toe chant we know so well.  The 1st piggies do the same old eating roast beef, etc.  But the 2nd set of little pieggies lead wildly exciting lives, dancing, flying planes, and more.  This makes the 1st set so jealous they break out of their ruts and have costume parties, chew gum, and just learn to enjoy life more.  The gentle humor with the surreal element yield up a big favorite. 
  •  Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer.  Of all the Olivia books, this is the most fun to read aloud as Olivia acts out being a lion tamer, trapeze artist, and clown. They were really wiggly for this one; next time skip the back story and just do the circus stuff.

  • The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz. Very hip update.
  • If You Give a Pig a Pancake.  I stop a couple of times in amazement throughout this book.  "Things are getting so complicated!" I say.  "This is the most complicated book I ever read!" Children in other storythours have lost interest in the this-happens-then-that-happens structure of these books, but a pause and a head scratching brings them back in.  Also excellent is stopping partway through and asking them to help retell what's happened so far. 
  • The Pigs' Picnic by Keiko Kasza.  This one's a bit like Frank Asch's Bread and Honey; the pig borrows lion's mane, zebra's stripes, etc. to impress his girlfriend.  And scares her.  
  • I Know a Wee Piggy by Kim Norman.  This is how I'd LIKE to do this book:  with a big pig cut out, which I would then swipe with color after color.  This goes to the familiar tune: I know an old lady who... but with colors instead of critters.

Old MacDonald with the old switcheroos.
The Wheels on the Bus with cows and pigs.

(as a clapping song, more of a rap than a song -- mod it up a little)
5 pigs so squeaky clean,
Cleanest pigs you’ve ever seen,
Till one fell into the mud,
He landed with a great big THUD!
now there are 4 pigs

so squeaky clean [oink]


These pigs were nice white  paper towel pigs I gave the kids. I showed them how to 'paint' with marker and water, and they had a good time doing that. I gave them (let them choose) a piece of construction paper to decorate as background. Fit in nicely with the 5 squeaky clean pig song.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Pre-K Robot Storytime, Friday, August 12 @ 10:30


There are two great reasons for doing a robot storytime. One is doing the robot voice, and the other is those great robot crafts. Seriously, we teach children how to baaa like a sheep -- the robot voice is much more fun. 

Robots, like Fancy Nancy, are known for their large vocabularies. Story? It's a book-with-many-pictures. Song? Musical-interlude. Kids? Small-humans. Parents? Large-humans. Dance? Wiggling-of-the-body.


  • R is for Robot: A Noisy Alphabet by Adam F. Watkins.  Great intro. A is for AHOOGAH, Z is for ZAP! Great for teaching sounds.
  • Rolie Polie Olie by William Joyce.  I'm not sure if Rolie Polie Olie is an alien or a robot, but he's awfully cute and leads a rich and varied life we all would like to emulate. Might need to shorten a bit, but I esp. like the daily routine in this book of a good little Rolie. 
  • If You're a Computer and You Know It by David Carter. Pretty great; a pop-up book AND a great theme song you can dance to. Doesn't get better than that.
  • Boy and Bot by Ame Dyckman.  What's the difference between a boy and his robot?
  • Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell.  This has two chapters, you might want to must pick one.  In the first they have to pick what to have on their pizza (veg for Rabbit, nuts and bolts for Robot), or Chapter Two, when they settle in to watch TV, only to discover that Rabbit has lost the remote.  This Robot says things like, I have some data that will interest you."
  • The Three Little Robots and the Big Bad AlienHow can you go wrong with these three adorable little aliens and that big bad robot who threatens to smash and crash them? There's even a little science thrown in, with the aliens traipsing around the solar system. Be great to do a clothesline, hanging the planets across the room and moving the little aliens from their home planet on Mercury.  Robot Roll Call
  • Swing Otto Swing by David Milgrim.  Short and sarcastic.
  • Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino.   Doug is a young robot who decides to unplug himself and go see the real world.  Beginning to see a theme?  This book succeeded with a crowd of three year olds who got the giggles.
  • Hello, Robots! by Bob Staake.  This would be a fun one to do by making flannelboard.  Four happy robots bustle about doing their own tasks until -- whoops! --  shower of water ruins their mechanics and they jumble their tasks.  Easy fix: they switch heads and all is well.
  • Robo-Sauce by Adam Rubin. Soooo strange. Book turns into a robot book.
  • Robot Zombie Frankenstein! by Annette Simon.  Robots + shapes = pretty good time.


If You're a ROBOT and You Know It by David A. Carter.  Only the best!


Used some geometric shapes plus stickers and googly eyes to create robots out of construction paper.

An old CD case and a few nuts and bolts becomes a robot — and you can open him up and tinker with him too. Pretty cool, huh?

We did this today. I set out empty CD cases, sheets of paper to cut inside, squares for heads, strips for arms and legs, tinfoil for whatever, an assortment of nuts, bolts, washers, brads and buttons, round stickers, paper reinforcers, and pipecleaners. I loved what the kids came up with. Some folded the paper strips to make arms. Others added tinfoil hands. All the heads turned out a bit different. One little girl added a heart to hers and soon they were all making hearts out of tinfoil, pipecleaners, and bunches of buttons. One little girl even added the head of a robot inside the CD tummy of her robot — a pregnant mommy robot!

Next time I’ll be sure to set out double sided tape or glue dots to attach the buttons and washers.

Just Dance Kids 2 - The Robot Song (Wii Rip)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

School Storytime, Friday, August 5 @ 10:30

Note to self: Check to see the week before how many pre-k graduates are in y our group. I asked at the beginning of storytime and there was only one!  So I quickly changed over to dinosaurs because doing a storytime about school would have been just plain silly.


  • Pete the Cat, Rockin' in my School Shoes.  Esp. good because Pete the Cat explains where he is as he finds himself in his strange new surroundings -- the playground, the cafeteria, the school library.
  • How Do Dinosaurs Go to School.  Always a favorite series.
  • Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney.  Try to head off those scared and sad feelings at the pass by -- talking about them ahead of time.  Llama Llama misses her mama, but mama comes back.
  • I'm Your Bus by Marilyn Singer
  • Monsters Love School by Mike austin.  These lovable monsters ask the perennial question: Why do we have to go to school? We already can count and we know our ABCs.  And the answer is given! We go to sing! To learn history! To make friends! I might cut a few pages next year, but this was a big hit -- MONSTER SCHOOL had a good ring to it, and Milo thought the monster's mistakes -- ABG -- were hilarious.
  • Maybe next year:
  • Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt. He's not going to kindergarten -- he's launching into outer space.
  • Dinosaur vs. School.  Dinosaur is definitely not enrolling in college.  He's happy once he gets to school though, and finds it's all glue and googly eyes, just his speed.


ABC song
Wheels on the Bus
This is the way we wash our face (have to get ready for school!)


  • Teach about "criss cross applesauce" and eyes and ears here, please!
  • Try teaching this: When they're being very noisy, clap once, and they are to clap back. Then I clap twice, and the kids clap twice.  That should get everyone quiet; if not, clap three times. Positive discipline blog 
  • Try teaching this:  To gather attention before beginning a new story, say to your group, "If you like chocolate, put your hand on your head. If you like pizza, rub your tummy! If you like mashed potatoes, wiggle your arms. 
  • After storytime, have them practice getting in a line.  Then have them count - 1, 2, 3, and divide them up into "centers". Have them each go to a different "center" for an activity: building, art, games or snack. This year we did a Duplo building corner w/cars, and a tablecloth city; an art table with shaving cream and food colors swirled together with coffee stirrers, a big hit; and a game with grapes, roll the dice and you can have that number of grapes, not such a big hit. I even had a red die and a green die for the red and green grapes.

Dog Storytime, Friday, July 29 @ 10:30

Hark, hark the dogs will bark at Gulf Beaches storyhour this Friday!  

Play: The big and little Scoobies put in an appearance and then we sang our Big and Little song.

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems. Always a hit.
Oh No, George! by Chris HaughtonI am a major fan of Chris Haughton even though he's only written two books. I invited the kids to chorus in on the "Oh No, George!" and the involvement really pretty them in.  Then we did "Well done, George!" with upraised power fist.
I'm the Best by Lucy Cousins. The nice little moral wrapped up in Cousins' bright and cheerful illustrations has worked in earlier years but not this one.
Ivan the Terrier by Peter CatalanottoAs I turned each page to a familiar new story, 3 bears, 3 little pigs, etc., the children waited for Ivan to put in his appearance. Pictures and text bounced along perfectly together. Didn't work this year.
Dog's Colorful Days by Emma Dodd.  We had to read this because it was our craft! I could tell there was a five year old in the audience because she knew what all the plus 1s were,
Widget by Lyn Rossiter McFarlandMy little fuzzy stuffed white dog sends this sweet little tale right over the top. It's a perfect storyhour book. It has barking dogs, meowing kittens and a very, very nice story about a little dog who finds a home.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. -- Groucho Marx  (See Bark, George!)


Bella & Rico appear every Friday from 2:30 - 3:30, our pet therapy dogs. 
They loooove all the books on this list.

Dog's Colorful Day:  We'll add our own dots to poor Dog

Oh I wanna be a dog, I wanna wag my tail
Chase cars knock over garbage cans
Bit the lady that brings me the mail
Oh I wanna be a dog
I wanna dig big holes
I wanna chase French poodles and basset hounds
and look for telephone poles
Oh I wanna have dog breath
I wanna learn to growl
Scratch fleas and ticks, and run after sticks
The moon's gonna make me howl

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mouse Storytime? Mice Storytime? Friday, July 22 @ 10:30

Cover image for Whose mouse are you?Cover image for Mouse count    Cover image for Seven blind mice Cover image for Mice

Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh. I had an enormous snake puppet from PPLC, 10 little mice (actually only 9 because I lost one but who's counting?) a jar, and a stone I quickly harvested from the library landscaping. Remembering all I had learned from magicians visiting this summer, I palmed the mice and pulled them out from behind folks' ears. Wonderful story!

Mouse, Look Out!  by Judy Waite. The children loved joining in on the chorus, "MOUSE, LOOK OUT! THERE'S A CAT ABOUT." Choral reads are always fun.
Whose Mouse Are You? by Robert Kraus. Great pictures, charming, simple story.
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young. This very simply told tale is relative high concept, so I warned the children ahead of time that there was a trick in the story. Luckily this did intrigue the four-year-olds and they really enjoyed this beautifully illustrated tale.
Mice by Fyleman. Love Lois Ehlert's pictures. Love the mice. Love the cat.
Mouse Shapes by Walsh.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Numeroff.  (PPLC flannelboard) This would be a fun one to do with a xylophone. Start by playing a simple  note, and as the requests pile up, change to chords. 

Three Nice Mice: 
3 nice mice, 3 nice mice
See how nice they are, see how nice they are.

They're always polite when they nibble their cheese.

They never forget to say "thank you" and "please"

They cover their noses whenever they sneeze.
They're 3 nice mice, 3 nice mice.

The Old Gray Cat (with TWENTY kids, I couldn't do this as a fun chase song so I skipped it.)
The old gray cat is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping,

The old gray cat is sleeping in the house.

The little mice are dancing, dancing, dancing (children dance)

The little mice are dancing in the house.

The little mice are nibbling, nibbling, nibbling (children nibble)

The little mice are nibbling in the house.

The little mice are resting, resting, resting,

The little mice are resting in the house.

The old gray cat comes creeping, creeping, creeping,

The old gray cat comes creeping in the the house.

The little mice go scampering, scampering, scampering (children run in place)

The little mice go scampering in the house.

The old gray gray cat is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping,

The old gray cat is sleeping in the house. 

Row, Row, Row, Your Boat 
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
If you see a crocodile,
Don’t forget to scream.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the Nile,
If you see a camel,
Don’t forget to smile.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the river,
If you see a polar bear,
Don’t forget to shiver.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently to the shore,
If you see a lion there,
Don’t forget to roar!

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the creek,
If you see a little mouse,
Don’t forget to squeak.

This year I am going to do half/circle potato printing:  stamp the half circle and add the whiskers, ears and eyeballs to make a little mouse.