Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sound and Music Storytime, Friday, October 2 @ 10:30

Music belongs at every storytime but this storytime is all music and soundj!

Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin is such a happy book. Each time you pause and ask the kids, "And was Pete sad?" you can count on a chorus back: "Goodness no!"

Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle. The noises of city traffic combine with great jingly rhyming text.

Gobble Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book by Jez Alborough.  What could be better than a book which combines farm animal sounds with farm machine sounds? It's the perfect marriage.  

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow. 

The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort.  A very witty take off on a song we sing A LOT. 

After Goggle Gobble Mooooo segue into Old MacDonald with a bagful of farm animal puppets.  But mix in a few wrong ones -- like dinosaurs just for a reaction.

Pass out shaker eggs for them to sing Shake Your Sillies out.

Friday, September 11, 2015

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.

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.

Demonstration: I had a small gator puppet, so I talked about how big they can get, 14'. I had a tape measure and meant to mark out that length on the floor with tape, but I should have rehearsed -- had a volunteer in the audience hold one end!

Puppet Poem:
Puppet Poem: There was a little gator, he lived in the swamp.

                        He liked to go swimming, he like to go CHOMP 
                        (chomp everyone's noses)
                        He snapped at a bird, "How absurd," said the bird.
                        He snapped at a fish, "You wish!" said the fish.
                        He snapped at me!  "Oh, that's no way to be!"

  • Wide Mouthed Frog.
  • Snip Snap, What's That by Mara Bergman. Lower your voice to bring the kids and read those terrifying words: "When the alligator came creeping ... creeping ... creeping up the stairs...were the children scared? (Turn page.) YOU BET THEY WERE! And then the next, as the kids are chased through the house by the until the brilliant end..This book is all action, drama, and great pictures. Storytime perfection.
  • The Three Little Gators by Helen Ketteman. The classic retold with three tender young gators and a big bad Swamp Boar. The rhyme is right on target, it's nice to include a story where the gators have to worry about their survival, and storytime kids just can't seem to resist a little bigness and badness.
  • The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett. Duck finds a beeeyoutiful egg. All the other birds make fun of him in fun die cut pages until Duck's big, odd egg hatches, and then out guessed it.
  • I'd Really Like to Eat a Child by Sylviane Donnio. Just look at that ferocious gator. This little dude turns up his nose at all his parent's cooking, even chocolate cake. He's determined to eat a child. But how big are baby gators, after all?
  • Hello! Is This Grandma by Ian Whybrow. This one's a lift the flap AND it has farm animals mooing and quacking in it AND a hungry gator at the end as well! I know at this point I'm supposed to say the kids loved it, but heck, I loved it! Nothing's easier than selling kids on books that you yourself enjoy and want to read again.

  • 5 little monkeys swinging from the tree, teasing MR. CROCODILE etc.
  • Row, row, row your boat (if you see a crocodile, don't forget to SCREAM!)
  • Alligator, alligator, alligator pie./If I don't get some, I think I'm gonna cry/You can take away the sun/you can take away the sky/but please don't take away my alligator pie.  -- Dennis Lee.
  • The Lady With the Alligator Purse, board book by Westcott. 

I dumped some pom poms behind a masking tape line on one side of the room and told the kids it was their job to save their eggs from the birds and the other alligators that wanted to eat them by taking them to the safe nest on the other side of the room, on the other side of another masking tape line.  I gave them dinosaur grabbers from Oriental Trading (leftovers), and considering they were all three years, they did pretty well.  I would have assigned numbers and colors to older alligator children; just working the grabbers was challenge enough this morning.

Last year, I made an Alligator template following this example on pinterest. I asked a kindly volunteer to cut out a few for my very young craftsperson, but I was happy that most kids tackled the cutting job, nice straight lines.  I made the cut for the jaw bigger and taped white paper to the inside of the gator, then gave the kids some patterned craft scissors to cut toothy grins, and they drew on the eyeballs.  The gators were done, so I passed out the textured paint, made with one part salt, one part flour, and one part liquid.  The original recipe called for using water and food coloring, but I used liquid tempera and water.  You have  to adjust it a little to get the right texture.  The salt makes it dry nicely, and the flour makes it textured.  
Cute, huh? Will I make them again?  Kinda labor intensive, and a little too product not process.

Or: 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.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Clothing Storytime, Friday, October 16 @ 10:30

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.

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.

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.

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.

Other good books:
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.)

Trains Storytime, Friday, September 11 @ 10:30



  • Thomas the Tank Engine.  I introduce this most famous of trains using the beginner book Blue Train, Green Train, but I don't actually read it.
  • Down by the Station. I love the Will Hillenbrand version about different zoo animals, but if your copy is torn to shreds, the way mine is, Jennifer Riggs Vetter has a very fun version out about different vehicles:  "Down by the bus station, airport, etc.
  • I'm Fast by Kate & Jim McMullan.  Even more fun than their I Stink. This is the story of a race between a train and a red sports car.  Avoids the boredom (excuse me, Donald Crews) of the average train tale.
  • Clickety Clack by Robert and 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. This book is always a major performance piece. I made a stick of fireworks for the mice out of twisted bubble wrap and a little red at the tip.  I twisted it for a really big pop.
  • How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton. (Check wiggle index first -- this requires a bit of a sense of humor, 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. I hung up the train on a clothesline and we talked about the type of cars.
  • Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker.   Short and sweet.
  • The Little Engine That Could by Piper. Every year I read the board book, and it's a wonderful thing to hear the moms chime into the chorus:  I think I can, I think I can.

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.

JLIB sing The Little Red Train Goes Down the Track


We assembled tains out of squares and punched out circles, then decorated with crayons and also some princess and book character stickers I had.

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. 


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.

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!