Storyhour Fridays @ 10:30, ages 2-5.
PLUS starting August 22, Dog Bookbuddies will join us Fridays @ 3:00. For ages 3-7 (kids, not dogs). 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, September 12, 2014

Alligator Storytime, Friday, September 19 @ 10:30

Alligators pop up in so many children's stories because they are TERRIFYINGLY LARGE REPTILES. I live in Florida, and my storytime kids take alligators very seriously. They're constantly turning up in our swimming pools and roadside ditches, so my three year old kids are not a bit surprised that they're always chasing all those big mouthed frogs, teasing monkeys, pirates, and pretty much anything that hangs out at a water hole. They can look mighty cheerful, with their big toothy grins, but SNAP!! Look out!

On  a personal note, I would like to thank all the Crocodylia in the state of Florida. They are the only species standing -- or crawling -- between us and an invasion of pythons who have already eaten everything else that walks and crawls in the Everglades. The pythons are only having trouble swallowing the eight foot gators & crocs whole.

Out of Print Favorites

Get 'em from the library

There’s an Alligator Under My Bed is hard to get, so pick it up at the library or listen Mercer Mayer himself read it online at

Alligator Puppets

Yes, I really did have little boys running around the room attacking each other with their new alligator puppets. Note the added detail: it’s a rare diamondback alligator w/a slasher tail and a particularly savage set of purple teeth. Teen volunteers cut out the shape from a roll of paper. The original is on page 77 of Creative Crafts for Kids by Gill Dickinson. It’s a book I periodically swipe from circulation and keep behind my desk because it has so many great ideas.



"5 little monkeys swinging from the tree, teasing MR. CROCODILE etc."
"Alligator Pie"

I thought Alligator Pie was a traditional clapping song

It was a poem written by Dennis Lee in 1974!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Train Storytime, Friday, September 12 @ 10:30

Storytime Lineup

Intro: Clickety Clack. Change "black train" to "black engine" Prop: bubblewrap to stomp on. (black engine, red caboose, cars)
Gripping Tale:  I'm Fast. Lots of info here.
Introduce but don't read: Blue Train, Green Train, Thomas the Tank Engine 
Pop-Up: Usborne Big Book of Trains
Down by the Station: by Will Hillenbrand
Just the Facts: Steam Train, Dream Train.  Use the clothespin train w. the story to talk about the different kinds of cars:  hoppers, box cars, etc. 
Little Engine that Could board book. Train conga line.

Why do kids love Thomas books? Beats me, I'm not a fan. 
I always pick a short early reader, because the original longer 
ones are just too long for storytime. You can't do a train 
storytime without a bow to Thomas. Another fun way to
incorporate the books is to introduce the characters and 
their colors.
Clickety Clack (Picture Puffins)

Clickety Clack by Robert Spence, Amy Spence

This rhymy readaloud reads like a train ride. Start off slow and steady, and gradually, as talking yaks and ducks go quack, pick up the speed and the sound level until by the time those mice light their fireworks, you're really zooming! Your voice rising and speeding up is enough to fascinate even the babies, but it never hurts to stomp on some bubble wrap for those fireworks.

The Little Engine That Could
this lens' photo
Why do kids who are hauled around all day in the carseat of SUVs find trains so fascinating? 

Usually I don't read abridged books in storytimes, but this cult classic is the perfect length. The moms chorus in on the "I think I can, I Think I can, I THINK I can," and by the time that little engine makes it over the hill, storytime is riding along with him. It's a wonderful moment. We read this at the end, and then we made ourselves into a train: I was the engine and they were the cars.  I handed them each a Donald Crews cut out to hold, but I think they would have liked headbands at first.  They were a little leery at the beginning, but by playtime they were all chugging around together.

How to Train a Train

How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton

I'm happy to say that my little wiseacres got the humor in this funny book about "How to Train a Train" -- as if they were new pet puppies. "Make the call of the wild train: Chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga" and offer it coal."
Freight Train by Donald Crews, downloaded from

I downloaded 2 copies so they just sit on the clothesline. Didn’t read the book, just talked about the colors of the cars and counted them.
Trains (Mighty Machines QEB)

Trains: The REAL story!

I began my introduction to this book with the disclaimer, "Although most of you haven't ridden on a train," when Carson interrupted me. "We've been on trains at Disneyworld." These boys take their trains seriously, and they thoroughly enjoyed each example in this big and beautiful book.
Down by the Station

Down by the Station

Love the sounds this noisy train and its components make. I do this one as a clothesline story and add the animals to the cars as I go.

Roller Coaster

Trains Most Kids DO Ride On

Trains don't just take you from one place to another -- they can take you in circles too!
Fun books, but they aren't about REAL trains
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo

From the master who gave us Miss Spider.

The Goodnight Train

The Goodnight Train

Sleepy but sweet.

Steam Train, Dream Train

Steam Train, Dream Train

With just enough words and great illustrations, this one is a charming readaloud.

Dinosaur Train

Dinosaur Train

A little boy climbs out of his night time bed to go climb the dinosaur train!

The wheels on the train go round and round, etc.
·                      The conductor on the train says, “All aboard! All aboard! Etc.
·                      The clowns on the train laugh, “Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha. Etc.
·                      The lions on the train roar, “RoooOAAR, RoooOAAR, Etc.
·                      The elephants like to stomp around, stomp around, Etc.
·                      The seals on the train go clap, clap, clap, clap, clap clap, Etc.
·                      The acrobats swing through the air, through the air, etc.
·                      The emcee on the train wants to take a bow, take a bow, etc.
·                      The audience on the train shouts YAAAAY!  YAAAAAY! Etc.
The wheels on the train go round and round, round and round, Etc.


I cut out some black train engines and popped out some wheels using my punch. My volunteer sliced out some rectangles for the cars, and the kids got to pick their colors and put everything together. Oddly enough, I did pop out some striped and pattern wheels; Milo picked all those out. They wrote their names on the cars. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pet Storytime, Friday, August 29

Oh, we love our pets! So we'll also love a storytime about pets -- but these aren't regular pets.  These are bizarre pets, like rhinoceri and octopi oh my oh my.  

Storytime Lineup:
Intro:  An Octopus Followed Me Home
Gripping Tale:  My Rhinoceros
Interaction: If All the Animals Came Inside
Fun: A Mammoth in the Fridge

The simple bold outlines of Agee's artwork in My Rhinoceros and the problem his hero faces (his new pet rhino doesn't do anything) and the robbers the rhino befuddles (turns out he can fly) make for a great readaloud story and a perfect opener. This book has gotten a little criticism for being too babyishly unbelievable. Unbelievable? In my experience three year olds have a very tenuous grip on reality. (Conversation with grandson: He: "I don't like rats." Me: "They do cause diseases." He: "But they are very good chefs.") This book about a flying rhino would be right up their alley.

I like to ask the kids to raise their hand if they have a cat. Then raise their other hand if they have a dog. And if they have a fish or a turtle... They love to tell me their names.

For Older Kids

Pet rugs

I gave out fun foam cut into different shapes from different colors, some foam stickers left over from other projects, markers, and scissors. We made pet rugs, for beanie babies or whatever. The children were very young, so this was a good starter lesson in coloring, cutting the fringe on the rugs, and picking apart the sticker backings, a small motor exercise. Plus they got a big kick out of it.

I should have reviewed the scissors secret with them before we started: “Thumbs up, open and shut, that’s how you cut.”

I went to visit the pet shop one day
I saw a dog along the way!
He wagged his tail and wanted to play!
Woof woof woof, woof woof woof.

I went to visit the pet shop one day
I saw a cat along the way!
She purred and purred and wanted to play!
Purr purr purr, purr purr purr

I went to visit the pet shop one day
I saw a bird along the way!
She flapped her wings to fly away!

Cheep cheep cheep, cheep cheep cheep


ANY animal song goes here! BINGO is good -- the moms join in.
Dogs, cats, snakes, monkeys and even a frog were all reading on the Wheels on the Bus with