Friday, December 2, 2016

Being Sick/Staying Well, Friday, December 2 @ 10:30

It's that time of the year!  Ask for a show of hands of who in the room has ever been sick -- I had one just out of recovery!

Hand sanitizer! Start by passing some around and talking about what hand sanitizer is and what germs are.  Tissues. A cookie. (To drop on the floor.)


Germs are Not for Sharing Board Book by Elizabeth Verdick. Demonstrate. Have the kids practice coughing into their arms.  We sang, "This is the Way We Wash Our Hands," right after.
Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson.  Shorten a bit. Bear has low grumpy voice, and chorus is, "And Bear FEELS SICK."
How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen. Kids chorused along very well, "No!" They had faith in those dinosaurs. I don't know why.
Barnyard Song by Rhonda Gowler Greene.  We had to sing Old MacDonald first to settle them into the farmyard mode.
Llama Llama Home With Mama by Anna Dewdney
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead.

I would have liked to have had a short, cheerful book that really was about being well -- four books about being sick was plenty.  But we ended with "If You're Happy"

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Food Storytime, Friday, May 27 @ 10:30


Pick a Puppet -- Any Puppet

I start off with my all time favorite turtle puppet and the Vachel Lindsay poem:
I have a little turtle, he lives in a box.
He swims in the puddles, he climbs on the rocks.
He snaps at the mosquitoes, he snaps at the fleas, he snaps at the minnows,
He snaps at me!
He caught the mosquitoes, he caught the fleas, he caught those minnows,
But he didn't catch me!
While I recite I circle the room and snap and nibble at the children by turns. Change words to do with another puppet.
  • Yummy YUCKY by Leslie Patricelli. Ask the kids to rub their tummies to the yummies. 
  • I Really Like Slop by Mo Willems, Elephant and Piggy.  This one is short and too too funny.
  • Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda.  The world's shortest retelling of the 3 little pigs. I used a blow dryer for the wolf's huff & puff to kick it up a notch and all my little two year olds stopped what they were doing and listened. Then at the end, when we find out they had blown out the candles on a birthday cake, we sang happy birthday.  Fun.
  • Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog or The Duckling Gets a Cookie by the great Mo Willems. I've perfected the Pigeon Yell: it's like a regular yell, with a scrunched up face and pulled out syllables, but almost at a whisper. Works better than the extra decibels. This wasn't an enormous hit this year with the young ones.  I think they just didn't quite get it.
  • The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson. This book reads like a wonderful poem about a happy farm in a dreamlike world. A really fun little readaloud, great rhyme, Naomi was very indignant about cows eating cookies. Didn't quite hold this group.
  • Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar by Margaret Wang. Great clapping song. I had the puppets for the book and read the short one first. Then I passed out the puppets and asked the kids to do it too.  Maybe this would have worked better if I'd gotten everyone into a circle, it was pretty random. But so cute when one little voice piped up, "Not me!" I started it at 5 instead of 10, and that worked OK.  But no one caught on to saying Not You -- a little rehearsal next time.
  • Betty Goes Bananas by Steve Antony. This short, expressive book is written about a gorilla who seems to be just about the same age as my storytime visitors, suffering the anguish of not being able to peel her own banana. Plus, banana is one of those words that's funny all by itself.
  • How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food by Yolen.
  • I'm a Hungry Dinosaur by Janeen Brian.  GREAT starter, very interactional. 
  • Gingerbread Boy Loose on the Firetruck, Murray
  • I Will Chop You by Jory John.  Interactional and funny.
  • Betty Goes Bananas by Steve Antony
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Scieszka. 
  • Watermelon Seed by Pizzoli (so cute!)
  • Everyone Loves BAcon by DiPucchio
  • Woodpecker Wants a Waffle by Breen
  • Stanley's Diner by Bee
  • Peanut Butter books by Terry Border
  • Everyone Loves Cupcake by Kelly DiPucchio.  Too funny!
  • Nanette's Baguette by MO WILLEMS

  • Down around the corner at the bakery shop
  • 5 Gingerbread Men
  • Peel Banana
  • Bread and Butter Hello Song
    Bread and butter, 
    Jelly and jam, 
    Let’s say hello 
    As quietly as we can. 
    Hello! (Say quietly)
    Bread and butter, 
    Jelly and jam, 
    Let’s say hello 
    As loudly
    As quickly
    As slowly
    As high
    As low as we can. 
Clapping Song
  • Mashed potatoes hot, mashed potatoes cold, mashed potatoes in the pot nine days old
  • Patty cake
  • Bread and butter, jelly & jam

M & M Game:

I made up cards with numbers 1-4 in the M & M colors, set out the dish of M & Ms, gave each child a cup, and started pulling numbers from my pack.  A 2 card meant they could pick 2 M & Ms.  I think next year I would slow it way down.  First I would spin for the numbers and then I would pick the colors. That would have given the 2 year olds a chance to catch up with the 3 year olds.


Shaving Cream & Corn Starch!
We made shaving cream and corn starch clay, and boy was it messy! I defied all warnings and spent a half hour cleaning up.  Which in the grand scheme of things isn't much, but I'm not sure if the moms were all that crazy about this.


I made a trial batch the night before, and as promised by The Imagination Tree, it was extremely easy and turned out perfectly. I brought in the dry ingredients premixed in a Tupperware so set up was very easy. Hot water from the cooler worked fine. While I let it cool off, I divided the playdough I brought in from home. We “baked” a pink cake (Milo forgot that he didn’t want pink and shouted “I love pink!”) and by great good fortune, I had exactly eight children, so we got to have a quick fraction lesson when I divided it up with a cake slice. They played with it while I kneaded the second batch, which was still nice and warm when I divided that too.

I used this recipe from The Imagination Tree, minus the glycerine. Great site; lots of comments from readers. I did not add fancy ingredients like unsweetened Koolaid and lavendar extracts. I’m saving that for the Master Chef Playdough Challenge. This is a site that doesn't require cream of tartar: How-to-Make-Playdough-Without-Cream-of-Tartar/

Fruit Loop Necklaces!

Why do I love making froot loop necklaces so much? 
Because they're tropically lovely AND so delicious?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Farm Animal Storytime, Friday, November 6 @ 10:30.

Moo by David Larochelle has exactly two words:  Moo and Baa.  Hilarious. It has to be good for kids to hear all the grownups enjoying a book with them.

Old MacDonald pop-up book by Cony & Smyth.  Starts the storytime off nicely, and the moms all join in nicely.

Song: Wheels on the (Farm) Bus

On the Farm by David Elliott is illustrated with wonderful woodcuts that immediately catch your eye and draw you in. The real miracle for me is that the book is composed of short poems written about each of the farm animals. Now I love readaloud books that jingle and rhyme, but I usually steer of true poetry for the kids. But these short, fun verses are an enrichment that evoke the animals brilliantly. A real addition to the language.

Tractor by Craig Brown is simple and beautifully written about farm machinery.

Mandy Archer's Driving Series has four books and the kids love them.  Action packed, these animal drivers are always there for every emergency. Just like we like to be. 

Next time: Gobble Gobble MOOO Tractor Book by Jez Alborough. Kinda perfect: farm animals imitating tractor noises.

For Older Children
  • Beatrice's Goat 
  • Click, Clack, Moo
  • Giggle, Giggle, Quack

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Halloween, Friday, October 38

We'll be trick 'r treating throughout the library this Friday, so wear your superduds or tails & horns! We'll supply the books, the songs, the treats & the treat bags. Halloween is that night of the year when we can be anything we can imagine. Halloween is that time when we can take our fears (of monsters, witches or bats) turn them inside out, wear them like a hat, and get rid of them for good.   I'll be wearing my witch hat. 

This year, I used the spinner and had the kids spin and then do the actions in each slot: howl like a werewolf, walk like a zombie, laugh like a witch (Finn was insulted when he got that one.) and then they got a piece of candy. They were pretty helpless about it.  I think it would be more fun as a group activity -- no candy though.  Spin it and have EVERYONE make sounds etc.  

We played Halloween music. They would have liked to dance if I had a better mix tape with more Purple People Eater and less organ music.


Pop-Up by David Carter

Great sound effects, simple text. I do skip a few pages.

Don't forget to use a tiny ridiculous voice for Bill.

As always when reading these, start slow and then read faster and faster to amaze your audience.  Special note: wobblin' works better with goblin than "started to spin".

Susan Hood's Just Say Boo does a nice job of walking kids through the Trick or Treat experience.  Audience participation:  Make sure they all say BOO with you, but get them ready for the Trick or Treat at the end.

Next Year: Ghosts in the House.  Try making the ghosts w. rubber bands and gauze and then just snipping them and hanging them on puppet theater as curtains.


Pumpkin fists: Make tight fists in the air and wave them around.
Ghost hands: Wave hands around, flutter fingers, and go Boo!
Spiders: Tap fingers along the floor, table, and innocent bystanders.
Witches: Rub your hands together and cackle.
Monsters: Claws and roar.
Dracula: Good EVEning.
Black cat: Raised shoulders and HISS.
Werewolf: Elbows at side, left head, and howl.
Owl: Whoooo
Bat: EEEEK and swoop.


I do this with 5 pumpkins on the ledge of my puppet theater, and roll them off at the end.
Five little pumpkins sitting on the gate.
The first one said, "Oh, my it's getting late.
The second one said, "There are witches in the air."
The third one said, "But we don't care!"
The fourth one said, "Let's run and run and run."
The fifth one said, "We are ready for some fun!"
Then OOOhh OOOhh went the wind
And out went the lights
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

  • Trick or treat through the library. Have a snack. Take a lot of pictures!
  • Dance to Dem Bones w. CD by Bob Barner
  • Freeze tag to the Monster Mash, only kids should try to "freeze" into scary faces.
  • Play Halloween Bingo
  • Once upon a time a tiny witch was walking on the beach when it began to rain very hard, and lightning too.  “I don’t want to get struck by lightning,” she thought. “Where can I go?”

    Just then a big piece of orange paper blew across the sand.  “I’ll make myself a house out of this,” she said. Folding it in half, she took out the scissors she always had, and said, “I’ll start with the roof.  I like triangles, they remind me of my hat, so I’ll cut some of those.” NOT AT THE FOLD LINE.  So she cut triangles off either end.

    “But I’ll need a door to GET INTO my house. I’ll want my cape to get through, so I’ll cut a cape shape, and she did.  She went in but came out right away. 

    “It’s so dark!” I need a window!” So she cut that.

    Just then a little ghost came flying along the beach toward her. He was crying and he almost bumped into her. “What’s the matter, little ghost?” “I’m afraid of the lightning, and I might melt in the rain!”

    “Well, come stay in my house with me,” said the witch.  “I’ll even make you your own door.” So she cut a little door, just for him. And she went into her door, and he went into his, and this is what the house looked like inside. 


    The Little Orange House Free Printable
    Once upon a time a very small witch was walking in the woods. The cold wind was blowing the dry leaves all around her. The little witch was frantically searching for a house for the winter. She could not find one. Suddenly a piece of orange paper blown by the wind landed at her feet. (make the paper fly through the air to your feet as you are telling the story).
    She picked it up. The little witch looked closely at the paper and then she said, “I shall make myself a house from this piece of orange paper.” She folded the paper in half (fold the paper) and took her scissors (she always has a pair in her pocket) and cut off the two corners to make a roof (cut the two corners at the top of the paper.. not at the fold line).
    “This will do just fine” she said as she looked at her new house. “But I will need a door.” She always wears pointed hats so she cut a special door that looked just like this (a few inches in – cut a rectangle with a half triangle at the top for the hat).
    The little witch walked through the door and into the little orange house. It was very dark inside. She quickly hurried back out. “I will need to make windows to let in the light,” said the little witch. She cut a front and a back window that looked just like this (cut a rectangle in the middle of the paper)
    Oh, it was a fine looking house. Her very own little house with a roof, a door, and windows was all finished. But just as the little witch started to go inside for the winter, she saw a tiny ghost floating down the windswept path. As the tiny ghost came to a stop near the little house, the little witch saw that she was crying.
    “Why are you crying?” asked the little witch.
    The tiny ghost stopped crying and answered. “It is cold and windy. It is getting dark. And I have no place to spend the winter.”
    “You may spend the winter with me in my new house,” said the kind little witch.
    “Oh thank you,” said the happy tiny ghost as she peeked through the window. “This is a very nice house.”
    “First”, said the little witch, “I will need to make you a little door of your very own. She took her scissors again and began to cut. She cut a very tiny door. It looked like this. (cut the tiny door as a triangle shape in the fold between the other door and window).
    The two happy new friends went inside. The tiny ghost went in the very little door. The little witch went through her own special door. All winter long they lived happily together inside the little orange house.
    If you want to see the inside of their house, unfold the paper.
    Because everyone cuts each part a little different, it’s so fun at the end of the story to see how everyone’s pumpkins turned out!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Monster Storytime, Friday, October 21 @ 10:30

  • Little Monsters by Jan Pienkowski. Such a fun pop-up. Were they really so scared? They did a good job pretending!
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley. I used a different goofy voice as I turned each page, and it made this great book even greater (esp. since most of them had heard it before.) At the end, Ronan was great about echoing. Every time I said "Go away," I made a shooing motion, and Ronan repeated after me.
  • Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems. Be sure to read the last page all in one breath.
  • Ticklemonster by Edouard Manceau
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  I forgot to get the props from PPLC. Maybe they would have helped. The kids were extremely familiar with the book, but I hate to skip it. A few children's parents hadn't rediscovered it yet. Maybe I should just read a preview of it next year. Or better yet, ASK the kids to PREDICT what happens next!
  • Monsters Dance bb by Hodgman.  We needed the exercise.
  • Quit Calling Me a Monster by Jory John.  
  • There Was an Old Monster by Rebecca Emberley.
  • Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty. Take your time with setting this one up by asking questions. "(Jeremy) had his very own room. He never left. HE NEVER WENT OUTSIDE. Wow, what kind of kid is this Jeremy? No wonder something strange is about to happen to him!
  • Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligot.  I talked a little about who had a haircut, and then began reading this short but v. interesting tale about a boy who sneaks back to open his dad's barber shop every full moon, to give all the monsters haircuts.  They liked it more than I thought they would!

Monster Pokey
 You put your horns in, you put your horns out,
You put your horns in and you shake them all about.
You do the monster pokey and you turn yourself around,
  that’s what it’s all about.
You put your fangs in…
You put your claws in…
You put your tail in…
Horns and Fangs
Sung to: "Head and Shoulders"
Horns and wings & fangs and claws,
fangs and claws.
Horns and wings & fangs and claws.
Eyes and ears and tail and paws.

 If You’re a Monster
Sung to: " If you're happy and you know it"
If you're a monster and you know it show your claws
If you're a monster and you know it show your claws.
If you're a monster and you know then don’t be afraid to show it.
If you're a monster and you know it show your claws.
...gnash your teeth
...stomp your feet
...growl out loud

 5 little monsters
5 little monsters sleeping in my bed
1 crawled out from under my spread
I called to Mama and Mama said
"No more monsters sleeping in your bed"

no little monsters sleeping in my bed
none crawling out from under my spread
I called to Mama and Mama said
"There are no more monsters, now go to bed!"

Craft: Shape Monsters: A Big Favorite
  1. Punch out eyeballs, cut out noses and horns. I pre-attached googley eyes for this very young crowd.
  2. Pre-fold printer paper lengthwise.
  3. Lay down a lot of newspaper.
  4. Demonstrate: Use the world SPLOTCH as you squirt out the paint. "Just a SPLOTCH of paint. As long as it takes to say SPLOTCH." I splotched on about five or six splotches AND THEN THE MAGIC!  Open to reveal the monster, and show how you'll glue on eyes and noses etc.

We made scary shape monsters, and they were different as snowflakes! I talked about how many ears, eyes, etc. they had, and how many they might want to put on their monsters. 
Materials: Shapes cut randomly out of a scrap box of paper, using mostly Halloween colors. Orange stickers I glued googly eyes too. Googly eyes can be awfully fiddly.

Dom's looks like a Big Orange Monster!

Brody is going to let his dad take his monster to work.

Sarah's looks a bit like a mermaid monster.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Clothing Storytime, Friday, October 14 @ 10:30

Really YOUNG group this year, so we started with this book with a great twist on getting dressed. At the end, I take the book around to 'get' the little kids, and then slam it shut -- Go away wolf!  (Guiettier board book)

May be my favorite new storytime readaloud. Big dopey Polar Bear can't find his underwear and little mouse tries to help. Very engaging -- as in it engaged the listeners and they shouted out guesses about who was lurking behind each die cut.
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by the immortal Eric Litwin.  Of course White Shoes would be just as great.  Any excuse to read Pete the Cat.

I also use Dini Dinosaur for bath storytime, but I don't think it would hurt kids to hear such a funny little book twice in one year.  Dini is a very young dinosaur -- he gets very dirty playing and when his mom tells him to get ready for the bath, he keeps getting in without taking his clothes off.  Kind of like Froggy Gets Dressed only backwards.Mem Fox's Magic Hat blows into town, landing on villagers' heads and turning them into different animals....  

More ludicrous clothing ideas from Judi Barrett.  A classic.  You can always shorten by a few pages if the kids start to get twitchy. This year I named a boy and asked if he would lend his t-shirt to a porcupine, keeping it personal.

Why do kids love these dorky books about the passionate adoration that monsters, aliens, and dinosaurs feel for underclothing?  I don't know, but author Claire Freedman is on to something with them.

I love Carter Goodrich's slyly humorous series about Zorro and his buddy, so perfectly doggy.  In this, Zorro suffers the burden of an "outfit" his owner thinks looks "so cute" on him.  All the other dogs and cats make fun of him -- until he meets another dog wearing an outfit.

I love all the books I read at storytime or I wouldn't read them, but this one really is esp. for me.

Other good books:

Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won
Which Hat is That? by Anna Hines
Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathon London good flannel or metalboard
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (cut and tell, on Kizclub)
The Pirate and the Penguin by Patricia Storms. (The storyline hinges on the fact that no one can tell the penguin and the pirate apart when the penguin wears the pirate hat and the pirate wears the penguin's sweater.)
Curious George Goes to a Costume Party by Rey.  The usual shenanigans.

Down by the Bay

Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Underwear Gone

I love it! A flannelboard of underwear in assorted colors, sung to the tune of Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Cat Storyhour

What a great session we had! I got out my face paint set from Klutz and did about a half dozen children in only about five minutes.  

The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend. I love to read books in bad foreign accents.

Boris and the Wrong Shadow by Leigh Hodginkson.

  • Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj. Very interactive. I put on my cat makeup, so thata I looked like a cat so the cats in the book would tell us their secrets.  (No one else would let me make them up.) But they all purred, and stretched, etc., so it was a good opener. 
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin.  No book better.
  • Cat Up a Tree by John and Ann Hassett. All the moms were giggling at this charmer.  Great formula: the number of cats increase on each page, and on each page concerned Nana Quimby calls a different institution for help, always unsuccessfully.  I did the city officials in pompous, officious voices. I didn't count the ever increasing cats because the group was a bit young. A surprise hit.
  • There Are Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwarz. This book deserves to be read slowly. It's very interactional because the cats ask a lot of questions as you turn the pages, and the die cuts make for very nice surprises. I had a ball of yarn when I used props for the younger crew, and EVERYBODY wanted a piece of it. Bring a couple next time so the kids can do group play with them. Very big bulky yarn.
  • The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend. I love reading this book and doing bad foreign accents, but I don't know if the kids quite get this tale.

Have You Seen My Cat?  by Eric Carle.  I acted it out with puppets.


This is the way we like to purr, like to purr, like to purr

This is the way we like to purr so early in the morning.

This is the way we wash our paws...

This is the way we play with a ball...

This is the way we hiss at dogs...

This is the way we like to purr, like to purr, like to purr

This is the way we like to purr so early in the morning.

The Old Grey 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 (children rest their heads on hands)

The little mice are resting in the house

The old gray cat comes creeping, creeping, creeping (cat begins to creep)

The old gray cat comes creeping in the house

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

The little mice go scampering in the house 

And when the bus went for its usual circuit, there was a cat and a dog on it inside of a baby and a mom. 


Stolen from Literary Hoots  This one turned out to be a real crowd-pleaser and it was really easy for me to prep, so win-win. I did do a bit of instruction for the kids before starting so that they knew what to do with their plain pieces of black construction paper (I did no pre-cutting). Basically, you just fold in half and cut out the letter "C". Use one cut-out piece for the head and the other piece you cut one more "C" to make a tail

We made a messier and more fun version of these by using our oil pastels to color them.  Some very intensely orange, red and yellow cats were created.

 These fingerpuppets are made of rolled crepe paper for the body (Hello Kitty, of course), and dried baby wipes (they dried out sometime in the last three years) for the others.  This gave them a little flexibility. I downloaded some famous heads, we taped them at the top with double sided tape, and I cut up a leftover Fancy Nancy boa for some very effective fur.

Next year try Drat that fat Cat! by Pat Thomson