Friday, August 18, 2017

Pet Storytime, Friday, August 25 @ 10:30

What Pet Should I Get by Dr. Seuss. Don't forget your basket of little pets. These two year olds were still very fascinated by the concrete objects.

PIRATE'S PERFECT PET by Beth Ferry.  Alas, I forgot to wear my pirate hat, but this was one still a big hit with the kids. Skip the note from Mom and get right into the action, the progression from farm to zoo to pet store.

HOW DO DINOSAURS CHOOSE THEIR PETS by Jane Yolen, who just can't miss with this series.


Dino Pets by Lynn Plourde. Lush illustrations, short rhyming verse.  Plunk down hard on the ending rhymes. But not such a hit. Maybe the timing.

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. But the kids were wandering by this time. Maybe stick to the 6 - 8 page rule.

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.

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.

Try:  USE: Is There a Dog in this book?  by Viviane Schwarz. I Love My Buzzard by Tres Seymour.  Ha ha. The Great Pet Sale by Mick Inkpen

The Teacher's Pet by Rissi.  Amazingly impractical teacher hatches out a rhino from a tadpole and the kids have a very hard time convincing him that the rhino just doesn't belong in the classroom.

For Older Kids:  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. Strictly No Elephants by Mantchev; SPARKY by Jenny Offill.


ANY songs about animals.

Pet rugs. Materials: Fun foam rectangles & fun foam stickers, markers, scissors.

I know, I know! Dopey but easy and fun.  And a great intro for the very young for fringeing the edges of the rug without the worry of 'cutting something out' correctly. Let the kids fringe the edges and stick on the embellishments. And I had enough goofy little stuffed animals to give them all a 'pet' for their rug.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Pig Storytime, Friday, August 18 @ 10:30


  • Happy Pig Day! by Mo Willems.  Everyone has to be introduced to Piggy from that great duo, Elephant and Piggy!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Story of Peppa Pig, see Peppa. Big emphasis on mud puddles.  Tied in nicely with our mud puddle song and craft.
  • Olivia and the Missing Toy by Ian Falconer.  
  • The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz. Very hip update. Maybe for older kids?
  • 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 storythours 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.
  • 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.  Busy Piggies by Schindler is what I chose for a younger crowd.

Old MacDonald with the old switcheroos.
The Wheels on the Bus with cows and pigs.

(as a clapping song, more of a rap than a song -- mod it up a little)
5 pigs (pause) so squeaky clean, (pause)
Cleanest pigs (pause) you’ve ever seen,
Till one fell (pause) with a great big THUD!
Landing in that ooshy gooshy MUD
now there are 4 pigs (go back to top)


These pigs were nice white  paper towel pigs I gave the kids. I showed them how to 'paint' with marker and water, and they had a good time doing that. I gave them (let them choose) a piece of construction paper to decorate as background. Fit in nicely with the 5 squeaky clean pig song.

Friday, July 28, 2017

DINOsaur Storyhour, August 4 at 10:00


Snappy Dinosaurs. Office lift-the-flap.  Fun intro, but this group could maybe have taken something a little more challenging.
Tyson the Terrible in storyhour reference. Our copy is much abused but I love the boom boom booming.
Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? by Julie Middleton. Dead pan funny. As the (pompous) dad leads the boy through the dino museum, the boy notices them coming to life -- but the father ignores them until they pass by T. Rex.  Great, great pix and a short witty text. Many complaints from the scientist in the audience.
Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman.  Forestall the remarks from the scientists in the audience about dinosaurs living with cavemen by reading the title of this funny book in a completely appalled voice.  Underpants?!!! Dinosaurs love.... UNDERPANTS?!!!
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School by Jane Yolen. Another nice one in the series.
    Note:  Usually I do a whole school theme, but this year with the early back to school start, the scheduling got away from me. So I'm definitely glad I picked this one book. But on a show of hands, not all the kids are starting to school anyway, so I'm just as glad not to have spent the whole storytime talking about going somewhere the homeschoolers and the very young won't go.
Too Many Dinosaurs by Mercer Mayer.  "Are there any dinosaurs at all in this book?" I ask.  "They're hiding in the bushes!" Oliver warned. 

William's Dinosaurs by Alan Baker. Trust Alan Baker to write a simple, beautiful story, thoughtful and imaginative, enjoyed by the older five year olds and the itchy two year olds as well.

I'm Bad! by Kate McMullan.  Can anything as big as an apatosaurus... get scared?
Dinosaurs in Disguise by Stephen Krensky. 
Next year:  Gorgonzola by Margie Palatini 
Dinosaurs Galore! by Giles Andreae, which I coupled with beautiful flannelboard dinosaurs. I read the rhyme and let children take turns putting up the dinosaurs.
Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields. (Big Book) I skipped a few pages, but this book pulled the young ones right out of their seats -- which may or may not have been a totally good thing.

Try:  Dear Tyrannosaurus Rex by Lisa McClatchy.


We are the Dinosaurs by Laurie Berkner.  I passed out our rhythm eggs and we marched around to the music.
Large & Small -- because dinosaurs are large and small! But I used the word "mammoth" for huge. 
Dino Ditty, Ditty Dum Ditty Do "sung to "Do wah Diddy Diddy" using T-Rex puppet
Here he comes, just a stomping with his feet,
Singing "Dino ditty, ditty dum ditty do."
Searching all around for something good to eat,
Singing "Dino ditty, ditty dum ditty do."
He's huge (he's huge). He's strong (he's strong).
He's huge, he's strong, won't be hungry very long.
Dino ditty, ditty dum ditty do...

The kids cut them out, and then painted them with poster paints mixed with flour, shown here. The idea is just to add enough texture to the paint to make it interesting. I showed the kids how to paint in swirls, like scales. I just gave them q-tips.

This year I had teen volunteers do the cutting, and I had t-rex as well. Each child did one steggie and one t-rex and then attached a craft stick to the back to make them into puppets. They were easier to carry that way and then they could fight with them too.

Last year, Our craft was painting cute stegosauruses with a texture paint. Recipe at Make and Take  Basically just mix a little flour in with the paint. I downloaded a stegosaurus template from and printed it out on the bottom half of a sheet of card stock. Then I folded the sheet over and cut it out, leaving it attached at the top fold so that I made a little stegosaurus critter that could stand up.  (I would have let older children cut their own out.) I showed the kids how defenseless these poor stegies were. No spikes. So they attached spikes to the tops of them with glue sticks, choosing their own colors, always an interesting process, and then they decorated their stegies. We don't know, stegies might have had purple flowers on their scales. Stamping them would have been fun too.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Dog Storytime, Friday, July 28 @ 10:30

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

  • The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems. Always a hit.
  • Oh No, George! by Chris HaughtonI am a major fan of Chris Haughton even though he's only written three 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. 
  • Is There a Dog In this Book? by Viviane Schwartz.  This is a very cute lapread, but I'm not all that sure about it for storytime. The lift the flaps might be a bit hard for a crowd to see. 
  • 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 bounce along. But the kids really don't seem to quite get the sarcasm of Ivan making his appearance.  Next year I might use my old favorite Widget
  • Dog's Colorful Days by Emma Dodd.  We had to read this because it was our craft! I could tell there was a five year old in the audience because she knew what all the plus 1s were,
No More Bows by Cotterill 
Dog Rules by Jef Czekaj.  Dogs raising a bird, pretty funny.
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.
Excellent Ed by McAnulty  v. funny
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.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. -- Groucho Marx  (See Bark, George!)

(this worked really well -- I was able to remember it, and the kids really liked the "It's over here" when I lunged at the audience.)
One, two, three
Doggie’s got a flea, doggie’s got a flea
And now it’s on me! 
One, two, three
Doggie’s got a flea, doggie’s got a flea
And now it’s on me! 
It’s on my nose, It’s on my toes,
It’s on my ear, It’s over here
It’s on my tum, It’s on my thumb
One, two, three
Doggie’s got a flea, doggie’s got a flea
And now it’s on me! 
One, two, three
Doggie’s got a flea, doggie’s got a flea
And now it’s on me!
Dog's Colorful Day:  We added dots to Dog with crayon.  Some just scribbled, but most, with prodding from moms, found nine colors and made their marks on their dogs. Then I gave them new blank dogs to just color in any way they wanted.

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 12, 2017

Friday, July 14 @ 10:30: Sun Storyhour, Moon Storyhour, Stars Storyhour.

The Mouse Who Ate the Moon by Petr Horacek.  Adorable. It's not often kids laugh out loud over a book.
We had an older group today, so instead of reading Roaring Rockets by Tony Mitton. (Watch the rhythm. It's not always there.) I picked If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty  j629.4 Space. The group was a bit older, and by skipping and summing up passages, I was able to get the great story of a real live trip to the moon across.  

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."
Cloudland by John Burningham. Isn't playing and living in the clouds everyone's fantasy? It should be.
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.
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. I didn't read it this year but I wore the t-shirt and held up the book. Everyone had memories!
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.
Ten Twinkly Stars by Julian
Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson. New. This is like a Tap! The Magic Tree sort of book.  A lovely book.


  • 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."
Play: Disco light.

         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.

Stars today

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Jungle Storytime, Friday, July 7 at 10:30

  • Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae. 
  • One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Bernstrom. Just a bit long, but the older kids here today really liked it -- maybe as a good starter, and its sing-song quality really appealed.  Don't hesitate to pause and ask how much longer this can go on and point out how fat the snake is getting -- DOES he have room for more?
  • Oh, No! by Denise Fleming
  • Tiny Little Fly by Michael Rosen. Love making that buzzing sound. Tried to get the kids to buzz in chorus.
  • You Are a Lion by Yoon.  Very fun.
  • Gingerbread Man Loose at the Zoo by Laura Murray. Boy, do we love that Gingerbread Man.
  • Animal Boogie by Debbie Harter
  • 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. 
  • Giraffes Can't Dance Andreae
  • 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. snake, monkey, gorilla, tiger, squawking parrot, snapping crocodile
  • Row, Row, Row, Your Boat 
    Gently down the stream
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
    Life is but a dream

    Row, row, row your boat,
    Gently down the stream,
    If you see a crocodile,
    Don’t forget to scream.

    Row, row, row your boat,
    Gently down the Nile,
    If you see a camel,
    Don’t forget to smile.

    Row, row, row your boat,
    Gently down the river,
    If you see a polar bear,
    Don’t forget to shiver.

    Row, row, row your boat,
    Gently to the shore,
    If you see a lion there,
    Don’t forget to roar!

    Row, row, row your boat,
    Gently down the creek,
    If you see a little mouse,
    Don’t forget to squeak.

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. I'VE TRIED DOING JUST LION and then NOT LION, but this age group really needs that introductory monkey -- maybe even Naughty Monkey vs. Lord Lion. Silly Simon Says activities

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
Materials: 72" long piece of thin, strong string, floss threaders from the drugstore, beads.

  1. String on large eyed needle  and double back. Even up the ends of the two threads and tie a small bead there to hold the end about 3" from end, so there will be room to tie final knot.
  2. The child can then thread on the beads of their choice. 
  3. When they finish, thread the needle back through the end bead and tie in a knot.  
  4. If desired, glue threads together with Elmers, just to give a finished look.  Animal Boogie

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bodies Storyhour, Friday June 30 @ 10:30

Human Body j 612 Colombo
How to make a flannel body

Pete the Cat and the 4 Groovy Buttons

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!

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.

Urgency Emergency:  Itsy Bitsy Spider.  I just love this new, wry series, and it's a good intro to ER visits as well as being very funny.

You Are a Lion! by Taeeun Yoo.  This was the surprise hit of the day. The kids LOVED doing the yoga poses and ending with the animal noises.  They were all familiar with yoga and really stretched themselves.  Great addition to storytime.
Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus.  Such a nice, important book.
Me and My Cat by Kitamura.  I thought this might be too high level for the group, but we had a lot of 3s, and they liked it almost as much as I did.
Hands are Not for Hitting by Martin Agassi. Read with a great deal of authority. Seriousness. The moms will thank you.
Eye Guess  E 590 by Phyllis Tildes. OK question and answer guessing book. Or Whose Nose is This? by Randolph.
Potty Time by Guido van Genechten. Alternate title: Where's the Poop by Julia Markes, and Everybody Poops by Tari Gomi.  I just love this silly, funny book which shows creatures like giraffes and ants improbably trying to find the right potty seat.

New: Bob not Bob by Scanlon.  Kid is so sick that when he calls for "Mom" it sounds like "Bob" and his slobbery dog comes running.  Good one for performance, doing the nasal voice.


This is the Way We Wash Our Face
We will stomp, we'll stomp around around the room, we are monsters and that's what we do.
Eeny meeny miny mo, show me how your hands go
Head and shoulders

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: 

Here's Flip Flap Jack.

Dr. Jean's Tooty Ta

Simon Says!


Fourth of July.  Gel pens on black paper highlighted with a lot of glitter and sequins.  You gotta live once.

Monster Bodies. Use up your scrap construction paper, etc. Set out a jumble of geometric shapes, tell the kids that monsters don't have the same kind of bodies as you do -- they can have three heads, one eye, lots of eyes, etc., and let them make a monster.

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