Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Magic Storytime


Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola. Strega Nona is a traditional Italian tale written by that traditional old Italian himself, Tomie de Paola. It's about the magic cauldron only the local witch knew how to use wisely. Disaster occurs when she leaves the small town to manage on its own. Disaster and way too much spaghetti. My black cauldron is in the backroom. Practice your fake Italian accent, and don't forget to throw those three magic kisses!


A wizard husband and a wizard wife are sitting in their wizard living room with their wizard baby. "It's your turn to change the baby," Wizard Dad says. "True," says the wife, "But it's your turn to put out the cat." and Pouf! the baby turns to a cat. "Yes, but it's your turn to walk the dog," said Wizard Dad. Soooo funny, but between you and me? I'm not sure the kids quite get this.

The Magic Hat



Welllll, you could go ahead and make magic wands, but if you're dealing with the 2 to 5 year old set, be warned: this age bracket is creative enough to immediately begin bopping each other on the head with that foam star you've stapled to the end of that dowel road.

Try doing a "magical" art project instead, like crayon resist. Or some of the others below. I once did a "Magic" storyhour based around Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and gave out "magic" pebbles at the end. "Would you care for a magic pebble?" I asked solemnly. And they all happily took pebbles home as their party favors. Kids soooo love rocks.

The Harry Potter magic wand is really just a stick, but there again, you come across the difficulty of arming a bunch of three year olds with sticks.
Wizard or Witch's Hat
There's a nice bit of scissor work with this, and if you used foam instead of construction paper, these hats would be around for a lot of play.

Video Module

Friday, November 3, 2017

Color Storytime, Friday, November 10 @ 10:30


 Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. It took me a few pages to pick up on the right rhythm for this: Page One: Read with astonishment: Lemons are not red. And then point out that this is a MAGIC color book and something is going to happen to that lemon when you turn the page. Turn the die cut and -- the lemon is yellow! The apple is red! Next page: Here is some blue grass. Wait a minute! Is the grass blue? Turn page. The grass is GREEN. The sky is blue. The kids really enjoyed getting involved.
Pete the Cat and His White Shoes by Eric Litwin. Everyone's favorite cat in everyone's favorite story!

Little White Fish by Guido van Genechten.  Great storytime book, the kids really liked calling out the names of the colors and the critters.

Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood. Owl stays up into the day to see --- COLORS! and WOW is what he has to say. If you have ANY talent with the paint brush at all, paint along while you talk.

Vincent Paints His House by Tedd Arnold.  Amazing -- a readable book about Vincent van Gogh painting! Vincent had a French accent -- I don't know what the Dutch accent might sound like.

Butterfly by Petr Horacek.  Such a young crowd, I picked short ones.

Duckie's Rainbow by Frances Barry. They were very appreciative of the beeeautiful rainbow.

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont. I paused at the end of each couplet of this funny rhyming readaloud, I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by ever humorous Karen Beaumont for the children to guess the finishing rhyme: "So I take some red and I paint my...HEAD"  They weren't very good at guessing last year.  I'm going to try painting on a figure on the paper this time.

One by Kathryn Otoshi. How do you stop bullying? You just do.  A simple, perfect book.

My Blue Is Happy by Jessica Young. This wonderful book is a great link between colors and the emotions we have feel. It's as wide open as the sea, leaving lots of room for discussion. For example, her friend loves pink -- makes her think of tutus and ballet. But it makes her think of itching mosquito bites! A great chance for interaction.

  • Five green and speckled frogs. Have a beautiful new set.
  • Different colored matchbox cars. Line them up on the edge of your table and start singing this chant: Down around the corner at the used car lot, there were ? used cars, all waiting to be bought.  Along came ?, all alone, he picked out the red one and he drove home.
  • Bumping up and down in my little red wagon. I had the wagon filled up with the big pom poms, and when it went zooming uphill, I tilted them out all over the floor.  After we sang the song, I asked the kids to "Put the BLUE one in the yellow pail, put the GREEN one in the yellow pail" and that worked out OK in a crazy kind of way.
  • "Red, red, pat your head/ Blue, blue, touch your shoe/Yellow, yellow, wiggle like Jello/ Purple, purple, make a circle/ Green, green, wave and be seen/ Black, black, "Quack, quack, quack/ Pink, pink, give me a wink/ White, white, stomp with all your might/ Brown, brown, spin and sight down."  Everybody just did all of it no matter what they were wearing!
  • Using the flannel traffic light, we did: 
"Green says, “Go!” (march quickly)
Go go go! 3x more
Yellow says, “Slow...” (march slowly)
Slow slow slow... 3x more
And red says, “Stop!” (stop and freeze)
Go go go! 3x more
Slow slow slow... 3x more And STOP!  but we didn't really count we just did it and mixed things up.
  • Using the scarves, to The Wheels on the Bus, we did:
The fish in the sea go swish, swish, swish (wave scarves side to side)
Dolphins in the sea swim round and round (scarves in circle)
Sharks in the sea go snap snap snap (back & forth quickly -- Max lookd ferocious)
Waves on the sea go up and down (waves up and down)
The swimmer on the sea floats so gently, so gently, so gently, the swimmer on the sea floats so gently (scarf on face, arms stretched out.) 


Brown Rabbit's Shape Book by Alan Baker makes for a great storytime opener.  I have a box wrapped in bright green paper with a big bow on it, and a brown rabbit puppet.  Brown Rabbit opens the box and, just as the book says, finds four colored balloons.  I blow them up and release them by turns to go whizzing over the heads of the audience. VERY good. 
Disco Ball.

Make a Rainbow Magic Trick

Make a Rainbow Magic Trick

Props: Cauldron, plastic fruit, rainbow picture, magic wand
Take an apple, put it in the pot.
Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot.
Shake it up now, what color do you see?
The prettiest RED that ever could be.
Repeat for: an orange, a lemon, a pear (I used a "sour apple"), some grapes.
Red and orange, yellow and green, blue and purple colors all are seen!
Put them together, what will it be?
(Hit cauldron with magic wand.)
The prettiest RAINBOW you ever did see!
Pull out rainbow picture.

A Clown Magic Coloring Book by Haines' House of Cards, Inc., with the pages that go from blank to colored as you fan them. Put your finger on the 1 and fan; you should get blank pages. What good is a blank white book? Put your finger on the 2 and fan the pags. You should get black & white? Well, that's getting better, but still, where are the colors? Try a few magic words! Put your finger on the 3 and fan. You should get the full color.


Got out the oil pastels, gave them big sheets of white paper, and just let them scribble beeeyoutiful colors on their pages.  Sprayed afterward with hair spray so it wouldn't go everywhere.

Cellophane collage
Hah! I just set the craft tables with white paper and put the cellophane shapes in the middle. (Thanks, Monica, for getting out all those yellow circles.) "Figure it out!" while I went to search for disappearing glue sticks. That gave them enough time to experiment for a bit.
Matisse Suncatchers

Tissue paper squares/scraps plus sequinsfeathersstring on contact paper to create collages. This technique is nice because the objects are repositionable. The kids fool around with their creations more than if they’re intent on gluing.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Farm Animal Storytime, Friday, November 3 @ 10:30.



  • Old MacDonald pop-up book in Children's Storytime Reference.
  • Moo by David LaRochelle has exactly two words -- but what great two words! 
  • Old Mikamba Had a Farm by Rachel Isadora is about a game preserve in Africa. I love teaching the idea of farms being something besides acreage in the US. Besides, its nice to read a book for this storyhour theme that isn't all mooing and quacking -- lots of lions roaring!
  • Stanley the Farmer by Bee. It was fun explaining to the kids what manure was.
  • Dinosaur Farm by Frann Preston-Gannon.  There was manure in this one too.
Going to Sleep on the Farm  by Lewison I picked this out because it's very short but has a little nice information about how animals sleep -- standing up, lying down, cuddling like piggies, etc.  The kids had kind of lost it by this time, however.
Horseplay! by Karma Wilson.  What are those horses doing all night? Not sleeping, that's for sure!
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
We made fingerprint leaves on a tree template. If I had been brave enough, I might have had them plant seeds. But I wasn't.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Halloween, Friday, October 27

We'll be trick 'r treating throughout the library, so wear your superduds or tails & horns! We'll supply the books, the songs, the treats & the treat bags.  I'll be wearing my witch hat. 

Last 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. It was so much fun we'll probably do it again.

I always admire the costumes first.


Pop-Up by David Carter

"I think I'll start with a really SCARY book."

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

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.

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".

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.


  • We used the spinner to pick our scary creatures to act out. I carried the spinner around so each child had a turn. (The werewolf is my favorite, which is lucky because he came up three times.)

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.
Vampire: Good EVEning.
Black cat: Raised shoulders and HISS.
Werewolf: Elbows at side, left head, and howl.
Owl: Whoooo
Bat: EEEEK and swoop.

  • Witch's house cut 'n' tell below.  Practice this on scrap paper!  I did it wrong at first, but luckily had a backup.


  • Wheels on the Halloween Bus
  • Mrs. Witchie had a farm (halloween animals in bag)
  • 5 Little Pumpkins (I do this with 5 pumpkins on the ledge of my puppet theater, and roll them off at the end. The drama is appreciated.)

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! 
  • Play Halloween Bingo.  I was surprised at how well the kids did. (Their parents stood by their shoulders and helped at the beginning.) But even the twos were able to match the Halloween characters to their shapes.  It helps if you start with the easier ones, like the spiders and the monsters. NOTE: The Halloween Bingo game is stored with all the other bingo games I've made up in a black notebook by the front desk.
  • Dance to Dem Bones w. CD by Bob Barner
  • Freeze tag to the Monster Mash, only kids should try to "freeze" into scary faces.
  • 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!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Library closed Friday, September 7 & 8

You know how busy Ms. Travis always is during tornadoes and hurricanes!  We're not sure if we're going to open Monday, so keep your books and your powder dry, and stay safe!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Trains Storytime, Friday, September 8 @ 10:30



  • Freight Train by Donald Crews. As I turned the pages of the book, I held up each car STARTING WITH THE CABOOSE NOT THE ENGINE, asking the kids what color they were.  They loved starting off the storytime as guest experts. I hung up the train on a clothesline and we talked about the type of cars. And as I hung them up, I talked a little bit about what each car might carry. Tank Car: lemonade; hopper car: Legos (dump them right out the bottom) Cattle car: cows; gondola car: bananas; box car: boxes of books or birthday presents.
  • 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.
  • 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. Use a lot.
  • 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.  Maybe not a really big hit.
  • Ride, Fly Guy, Ride by Tedd Arnold. Fly Guy comes to the rescue with this verrrry funny and outrageous tale of a ride every two-year-old would like to take. Fly Guy's voice: low nasal. Buzz's: surprised boy soprano
  • 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.
  • Crossing by Booth.  REally gorgeous book
  • 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."
  • Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker.   Short and sweet.
  • Window Music by Anastasia Suen. Short, nice

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

Craft:    Train.  Materials: Rectangles 2" x 3", squares 2" x 2" (railway cares come in different shapes!) Thin washy tape, black dots, markers for detail, and glue sticks.  

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