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, July 24, 2015

Dog Storytime, Friday, July 31 @ 10:30

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

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


Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. -- Groucho Marx

The New Yorker has given children's literature some of its greatest writers: William Steig, creator Shrek as well as the classic Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Ian Falconer, creator of Olivia, and Jules Feiffer, who will be remembered forever if just for this silly book about a dog who won't bark. George moos and meows, but his mother has to take him to the vet for help.

One of my storytime moms pointed out to me the benefits of reading even simple little children's books like this. "We don't have a dog," she said. "He had no idea what a vet was, a special animal doctor. He was fascinated."

Two adorable pet therapy dogs visit my library every month for the children to read with them. (Yes, and they always seem to pick Go, Dogs, Go!) I love having animal visitors at storytime, and the kids do too.

  • I'm the Best by Lucy Cousins. The nice little moral wrapped up in Cousins' bright and cheerful illustrations was jussst right with this crowd.
  • 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.
  • Oh No, George! by Chris HaughtonI am a major fan of Chris Haughton even though he's only written two books. I love the bright primaries of his illustrations and the hapless expressions of his characters. You can pause and just look out at the kids and say, Oh, no, George! and they know just what's going to happen to that chocolate cake on the counter.
  • Ivan the Terrier by Peter CatalanottoSuch a great readaloud! As 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.
  • The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems I
  • Ivan the Terrier by Peter Catalanotto. 

The squares are jewelry boxes and the circle are TP rolls. 
So beautiful!
Do you see how carefully Olivia put her circles in her squares?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mouse Storytime? Mice Storytime? Friday, July 23 @ 10:30

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!

Whose Mouse Are You? by Robert Kraus. Great pictures, charming, simple 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.
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.
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. 

Special songs:
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 (only I had  young white cat)
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. 

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.

Easiest mouse ever! Cut a mouse shape out of paper towel, fold in half, glue, hole punch one end, add tail, add eyes, and voila! a mouse. But then the fun continues... We made rainbow mice.
Oliver adds a dot of water to the marker on his mouse and watches the color explode.
Bella shows off her fancy mouse puppets. They have a great deal of personality indeed.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday, July 17 @ 10:30: Sun Storyhour, Moon Storyhour, Stars Storyhour.

Intro: Countdown with Milo. This goofy little board book is a perfect start! I turn my chair backwards, climb in my rocket ship, put on my helmet, buckle up, start pushing buttons, and get ready to countdown for blastoff, right along with Milo and the kids.

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson. New. This is like a Tap! The Magic Tree sort of book.  A lovely book.

Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by the great Eric Carle. I made sure I had on hand the 9780887080265 copy, with its beautiful big pull out pages. "So when you make a wish on a star tonight, take a look at the moon and see if it's big or little.
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers.  So nice that I just happened to have a starfish (rubber) on hand for the ending. I know they liked this simple but appealing tale of a boy trying to catch a star. I heard one child say, "That was a good story."
Goodnight, Moon. Read with a flashlight shining on the little mouse, etc., and the lights off.  "I have that book," said Carson. "That's a nice book.
Star Wars Colors. We read this as an intro to the craft, which was light sabers and balloons.  I had them leftover, it was a rainy day, so we did them.  It was something different, and the kids loved playing with them.


  • Moon, Moon, Moon by Laurie Berkner.  Great tutorial on her DVD.
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom. 
  • Motor Boat, Motor Boat -- there's a rocket ship in "How to Catch a Star," even if it's just a paper one.
  • I told them about the magic in seeing a star, and taught them the words to "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight." You get a wish, just like blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. (Good calmer too.)
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Of course.

Story: I had the Big Book for Goodnight Moon, and read it together with the moms. It was a wonderful, sweet ending to the storyhour. "I have that book," said Carson. "That's a nice book."

Maybe next year: Another day in the Milky Way by David Milgrim. How I love this weird & quirky book! But I just ran out of time. Maybe for dreaming?

         Does it get better than tissue paper scraps and glitter glue?  "Go ahead and make it all bumpy" I said. "Because the moon has craters." They left dangling their crescent moons from strings, just in time for Halloween.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jungle Storytime, Friday, August 3 at 10:30

Opening Puppet Poem: 

There was a monkey
Who lived in a tree
He was very furry
As furry could be.
He gobbled bananas
He gobbled up bugs
But he was a lovin’ monkey
And liked to give hugs!
He hugged all the babies.
He hugged all their moms.
Then he squeaked “eee eee eee eee.”
And ran back up the trees!

  • Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae. 
  • Oh, No! by Denise Fleming
  • The Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman OR 
  • Jungle Drums by Graeme Base. I USED my jungle drum, and shortened a couple of pages. 
  • Tiny Little Fly by Michael Rosen
  • Giraffes Can't Dance 
  • Ananse's Feast by Tololwa M. Mollel. 
  • 5 Little Monkeys teasing Mr. Crocodile, of course
  • Down in the Jungle (with the drum, so you can't go wrong)
  • The Wheels on the Bus goes through the jungle -- and the animals are all on board.

Game: Lion Says

Here's a variation on Simon Says: Give commands to your kids. They ARE supposed to do what the lion tells them, and they AREN'T supposed to do what the monkey says. Then start having them jump up and down, roar, make scary faces, run in place, wave their hands in the air, touch the ground, etc.

Painting "Jungle colors and patterns". We squiggled a few lines on the paper with markers and then filled in the different areas with paints, experimenting with colors and different kinds of brushes.

Jungle Beads  Animal Boogie

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Body Storyhour, Friday July 3 @ 10:30

Intro: Pete the Cat and the 4 Groovy Buttons
Physical: Molly at the Dentist by Angie Sage. Molly the Monster has two teeth now so her mother takes her to the dentist so he can look at her teeth.  This short, bright lift-the-flap is a perfect intro to a dentist's visit. And it turned out that everyone in the room had teeth -- even Nicholas, nine months old, had just gotten one that week!
Gripping Tale: I Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont. Bright pictures, funny rhymic text with predictable rhymes -- this book was a great opening number!  The newcomers were immediately enthralled.
Science & Math: Whose Nose is This? by Randolph. 
Wiggling: From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. OR Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin -- try doing it Simon Says OR Bounce by Doreen Cronin.


This is the Way We Wash Our Face
Clapping: Mother Mother I Feel Sick, Send for the Doctor Quick Quick Quick by Remy Charlip.  I asked them to clap while I read the words of this jump rope song in book form. I noticed out of the corner of my ear that the clapping diminished three quarters into the book, so maybe I'll shorten it a little next year, but it was fun.

Dr. Knickerbocker, Knickerbocker, No. 9. (and other favorites). This was the first time we sang this sang together, and it was a bit of a challenge but I like it so much -- the numbers go up instead of down!  There are so many countdown songs; five little pumpkins, five little snowmen, that I'm happy to do one that counts up for a change. Sorry I couldn't find a published copy of it available, but if you want to see what it's supposed to sound like, check out the Wiggles' version here: 

Mi Cuerpo Hace Musica
performed by the great Eric Litwin himself!

Craft:  Fourth of July.  Painting with the tines of forks to get that sparkly effect.

Stamp pads
Fingerprint art.  Remind the kids:  Use a different finger for each color! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Beach and Sea Storytime, Friday, June 26 @ 10:30


Try:  Penguin on Vacation
  • Silly Faces. See Me...In the Ocean.  
  • Ziggy Piggy and the Three Little Pigs by Frank Asch.  
  • The Pop-Up Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae. 
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell!  by Lucille Colandro. 
  • Asiago by Adam McHeffey. Don't use next year.  
  • 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle
    Penguin on Vacation
    Harry at the Sea by Gene Zion


    The Waves on the Sea (To The Wheels on the Bus)

    The waves on the sea go up and down, up and down, up and down, the waves on the sea go up and down all day long.
    The shark in the sea goes snap snap snap...
    The fish in the sea go swish swish swish...
    The boats in the sea go toot toot toot....
    The gulls on the sea go swoop swoop swoop....
    The babies on the sea go splash splash splash...
    The divers on the sea dive deep deep down...
    Four Little Fishes

    1 little, 2 little, 3 little fishies, 4 little, 5 little, 6 little fishies, 7 little, 8 little, 9 little fishies, ten little fish swimming in the big blue sea. 9 little, 8 little, 7 little fishies, 6 little, 5 little, 4 little fishies, 3 little, 2 little, 1 little fishies, all the fishies swimming back to the sea. Watch out for the sharks!
  • Song Link

    Sailing Out to Sea on My One Little Sailboat
    Story Time Secrets by Katie Fitzgerald. Here we link to a lovely little song about sailing, including the fingerplay, perfect for two and three year olds. Here's a link to a template for five little sailboats. (I just printed out on 5 different colors of paper.)


Ooooh, this craft was easy and fun -- for me!  Glue sticks, colored sand, and pretty sea foam creatures with some floaty cellophane seaweed. It was an intense artistic interlude, as you can see by everyone laboring above, and the results were excellent.

Today's Cuteness Award goes to...

Friday, June 12, 2015

Princess Storyhour & Superhero Storyhour, Friday, June 19 @ 10:30


  • SuperHero ABC 
    BIG pictures and great powers (Eagle Man, Goo Girl, Huge Man) make this a great ABC book. Plus we could sing the ABCs and hold up our letters as we go. This year, I just went through it with the kids in the crowd and read out the pages of the superheroes whose names begin with their initial.  But I don't want to miss Volcano Man, who vomits on bad guys.

  • Part-time Princess by Deborah Underwood.  This part-time princess is GIRL BY DAY, PRINCESS BY NIGHT!  Just a "regular girl" during the day -- spelling tests, broken crayons -- at night she becomes a princess, dons a sparkling crown, drives off in a coach and deals with dragons, saving the kingdom.  A big AT LAST, for this book. 
  • Mixed Up Fairy Tales by Hilary Robinson. For a young group, pick one story from this book and tell it. THEN use this book as a review of the story. But this year the group was older, and they really appreciated the humor of: And then Goldilocks ate RED RIDING HOOD'S GRANDMOTHER?! We did a couple.
  • Didn't Get to in 2015: Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox.  I love Wilcox's very funny fractured fairy tales, but puns are a little difficult for this age group. Next time, shorten a bit for storyhour. But the kids were fascinated by the pictures. Remember to introduce the term "maid" when looking at the picture since it's so key to the tale.
  • Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O'Malley.  It was with a little nervousness that I picked up this one. It was towards the end of storyhour, when the wiggle level is usually higher. But this book's weird dichotomy between ultra girly Princess Tenderheart and the ultra guy Cool Motorcycle Dude, including a horrible green ogre and some innocent ponies, really hit the spot with this crew and the moms and I loved it too because it is such a totally ridiculous story. Parts of this book make no sense at all, volcanoes exploding suddenly, invisible cloaks being made, but the kids listened to it all without question and loved it.
  • The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp. The princess is waiting in the tower for her prince. "I've read the books, I know the score. I've grown my braids down to the floor."  But when her prince shows up, he's a twit.  What's a girl to do? Go off with the dragon!
  • Growing Up Super.  Young superdude Max has a hard time growing up. His parents and grandparents are pressuring him to fly, and he's just not feeling it.  Until one night he sees a baby bird falling out of its nest, and those superhero juices start kicking in just in time... The kids were fascinated.
Song: First we did Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes. Then I told them to put on their superhero costumes, the crowns on their heads, the capes on their shoulders, their swords at their swords and the boots on their feet, and we sang:
Crowns & capes & swords & boots, swords & boots.
Crowns & capes & swords & boots, swords & boots.
Eyes & ears & mouth & nose, crowns & capes & swords & boots,
swords & boots.  Fun!

Book: Superheroes by Maxwell Eaton II. That roundheaded kid Max and his goofy pig friend Pinky are sooo funny, but maybe this book would be a better readaloud at home, where the pictures could be enjoyed more, than in storyhour.

Song: And of course we sang a lot of other favorites.

Craft: Father's Day Wine Glasses. These could be filled with CANDY, I said.

We did wine glasses, and they turned out randomly scribbly and amusing.  Really, scribble art looks very happy and terrific on a wineglass!

I splurged and bought $1 wineglasses from the dollar store, although Jane told me later that she has a huge stash from garage sales.  I put masking tape around the lip, plastic tablecloths on the tables, and gave firm instructions about sharpies.  "They're like magic markers BUT THEY NEVER WASH OUT.  NEVER!" I had printed out # 1 DAD in an interesting font.  The moms taped these to the inside and outlined them around their kids scribbles.  This really was a lovely project.  

Craft: Materials: a roll of wallpaper, stick on jewels & flowers from Oriental Trading, some aluminum foil and a whole lot of double sided tape. I recommend trying your crown on with some tape and then stapling. 
And didn't they turn out beautiful!
Isn't Victoria beautiful!
Royal friends.

I think Sebastian's crown just suits him.
Oliver, you look great!