Friday, August 28, 2015

ABC Storyhour, Friday, September 4 @ 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.

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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Pet Storytime, Friday, August 28 @ 10:30

 A new Dr. Seuss to start off with! This one's short and sweet.

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 and oh my oh my. 
Intro Game:  Ask kids to raise their hands if they have a dog, cat, etc.  Ask their names. They'll love to talk about them!

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.

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.

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.

Dino Pets by Lynn Plourde.Lush illustrations, short rhyming verse.  Plunk down hard on the ending rhymes.

Some I'm not picking:  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.

ANY songs about animals.


Pet rugs:

I know, I know! Dopey but easy and fun.  Use up what craft materials you have left for this: fun foam and fun foam stickers, scrapbook paper and washi tape, construction paper and markers.  But let the kids fringe the edges and stick on the embellishments.  It's a great intro to cutting.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Pig Storytime, Friday, August 21 @ 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.  Simple nonfiction with beautiful photos and short text give us a nice dive into that storytime mud.
  • The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz. Very hip update.
  • 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.  
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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 storythous 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. 
  • Happy Pig Day! by Mo Willems.  Everyone has to be introduced to Piggy from that great duo, Elephant and Piggy!

Old MacDonald with the old switcheroos.

Craft: Rainsticks: poster mailers with a twist of tinfoil inside, lentils and beans (Thanks, Amanda!), and the duck tape sealing the end only got picked off once, so that's a bonafide success!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

School Storytime, Friday, August 14 @ 10:30

Boo hoo hoo, we're so going to miss all our highly advanced preschoolers who have joined us this summer when they go back to school this fall.  To get everyone in the mood, we'll read all our favorite school books today, and Pete the Cat stars in one of our all time favorites.  Naturally.


  • 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 ndw 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; a spell your name with pipecleaner corner; and a game with grapes, roll the dice and you can have that number of grapes. I even had a red die and a green die for the red and green grapes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Boat Storytime, Friday, August 7 @ 10:30

This storytime is dedicated to my fabulous summer intern, Amanda, whose idea it was and who loves the book, I'm Mighty! and knows how to fold origami boats.


  • I'm MIGHTY! by Kate and Jim McMullan. Tugboats actually power those enormous ships into port.  Get it? VERY small boats moving VERY large ships?  Now why would this be a hit with the pre-ks?
  • Class Three at Sea by Julia Jarman.  Very lighthearted tale of a school outing interrupted by an encounter with unfriendly pirates.  The ending says it all:  "So if ever your class goes to sea, remember what happened to Class Three.  And if pirates board, don't make a fuss... just make friends with an octopus!" A bit forced.
  • Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham.  One of those just-one-more-is-too-much books.  I have all the characters for a magnet board and a paper boat to put them in.
  • Sheep on a Ship by Nancy Shaw.  Tongue twister silliness, short and sweet.
  • The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen.  Truly charming tale in rhyme of circus animals shipwrecked on an island off Maine, where the inhabitants turn out to be friendlier than expected.
Motor Boat (of course)
Row Row Row Your Boat (if you see a crocodile, don't forget to SCREAM)


Amanda was kind enough to make a dozen of these. The kids colored them in with crayon, and by snipping through the middle triangle in the center, we slipped through a straw/mast. It doesn't need really to be stapled in place, but we did, and added a triangle sail and a little flag of crepe paper for fun. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Dog Storytime, Friday, July 31 @ 10:30

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

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

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

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.

  • The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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?

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

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.