Storyhour Fridays @ 10:30, ages 2-5.
PLUS join us Friday afternoons. Dog Bookbuddies will join us Fridays @ 3:00. For early readers and dog lovers. So stop by after school on Friday to pick up your books and movies, read to a cute pooch, and build something with Legos or K'Nex.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

House Storytime, Friday, August 31

Puppet: Our turtle puppet came out of his house in his shell long enough to make the rounds:
There was a little, who lived in a box.
He swam in the puddles, he climbed on the rocks.
HE snapped at the mosquitoes, he snapped at the fleas.
He snapped a the minnows, he snapped at me!

He caught the mosquitoes, he caught the fleas,
He caught the minnows, but he didn't catch me!

There were some new little minnows in story hour today, Dylan and Bianca, today, and they liked being nibbled.
Guess What I Am by Anni Axworthy. This is a nice die-cut, but any book can be used as an intro to this storyhour that's interactional. "What has a lot of teeth and lives in the ocean?" "What's a bird that can't fly and lives at the South Pole?" 
The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers. Love this wonderful, wide-eyed book about a little boy who finds an airplane in the back of his closet. Perfect for storytime.
The Napping House by Audrey Woods. With the Big Book and a xylophone, I had the perfect combo.

I struck a different note for each character in the book. This really worked -- thanks for the loan of the xylophone, Dan, Barbara, and Danny!

Max Cleans Up by Rosemary Wells.  Would Max be good about cleaning up?  Oliver knew the answer to that! Not a chance. Max was a disaster!
Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara. Male sure you intro, using not the cover, but the first two pages.  Pause and ask the kids -- ghosts! Do you think the little girl should be scared? Let's see what she does!

Other Books:
If All the Animals Came Inside by Eric Pinder. With Marc Brown's bright, funny pictures and Eric Pinder's wonderfully silly versification, this is a great storytime readaloud. And who wouldn't love the premise? If all the animals came inside. The walls would temble. The closets would quake. Oh, what a terrible mess we would make! Next time, I think I'll try to get the kids to beat out the rhythm of that couplet in chorus.

Our craft was cards with a  Pop-Up House  designed by the great pop-up artist Robt Sabuda himself. There was some fine glue sticking and paper fringeing and drawing and stickering done.

Since Halloween is right around the corner, this year I'll alter the Pop-up House pattern by making the roof more slanty and therefore more haunted.  It would be a fun tie-in for Ghosts in the House; we can glue on tissue paper ghosts.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sun Storyhour, Moon Storyhour, Stars Storyhour, Friday, September 26 @ 10:30

The Sun, the Moon and the STARS!!!

What is more wonderful than the night when you hold your new baby in your arms to show her the night sky, and she points to the glowing crescent and says, "Moon! Moon!" 
I never was much on singing Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star at storytime, because I figured children heard it all the time anyway. I started a chorus of it one morning and a parent piped up, "At Bigger-and-Better Library, they ring a bell before they sing this." Next week, I brought in a rather nice chime I had and struck a single, beautiful note to begin the singing. My babies at this time had all learned to walk the week before and were having no parts of storytime. But when the clear, sweet sound rang through the room, they all literally stopped in their baby tracks and turned towards me as one, mesmerized. The moms and I began to sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, and the moment was magical.
Next year: Try This is a Moose by Richard Morris.  Soooo funny. Moose as astronaut.

Start your storytime off in a dark room. Then flick on the lights. "Oh, the sun is shining. It's day.  We'll talk about the stars and moon, but right now it's light outside."
This goofy little board book is a perfect start! I turn my chair backwards, climb in my rocket ship, put on my helmet, buckle up, start pushing buttons, and get ready to countdown for blastoff, right along with Milo and the kids.
The Plot:  Duck is trying to film a documentary about Moose -- leaf eating, forest dwelling moose. But Moose? Not so much.
He wants to be an astronaut.

As beautiful and charming as any Eric Carle book. Be warned though:  There is a mini version of this, so make sure you get the large one. And I reinforced all the fold out pages.
Song:  Big and Little (because of the moon changes)
Prop: Then I turned off the light and turned on my DISCO BALL.  Ooooh! We sang Twinkle Twinkle, and then read this:
This little boy wants a star for a friend, very badly.  He tries a lot of things, but in the end, as he walks on the beaches, he looks down and there, lying in the sand, is a starfish! Prop:  STARFISH!)
Other Titles:
Roaring Rockets by Mitton.  Plenty of action, but the rhyme is a real strain, and strangely, tougher concepts for the very young.
The Day Boy and the Night Girl, a Korean folk tale by Choi is fun to do as a puppet show, but you really need two people.

For Older Kids:
If You Decide To Go To The Moon
If You Decide To Go To The Moon
Baby Brains: The Smartest Baby in the Whole World.
Baby Brains: The Smartest Baby in the Whole World.
Check out Born Librarian's excellent line-up of books with a full discussion of how she uses them.
Moon Craft

Comes in very handy at Halloween!

Very simple: print out some crescent moons on white or yellow cardstocks. Give kids some tissue paper pieces and a mess of glue. Remind them that the surface can be all bumpy, because the moon’s surface is full of craters. A little glitter, and everyone goes home happy.


Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (of course)
Zoom, zoom, we're going to the moon

I always end, "Make a wish on the first star you see tonight. Go outside, look up in the dark, and say, 'Starlight, starbright, first star I see tonight, wish I may, wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.'" I'll even take them outside and have them practice.
Laurie Berkner's Moon Moon Moon

Friday, September 12, 2014

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, so my three year old kids are not a bit surprised that they're always chasing all those big mouthed frogs, teasing monkeys, pirates, and pretty much anything that hangs out at a water hole. They can look mighty cheerful, with their big toothy grins, but SNAP!! Look out!

Everyone loved this classic.

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.
Storytime lineup 2014:

Snip, Snap! What's That?  I might switch this with There's an Alligator Under My Bed.  They really loved that.
The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett.  Liked. (And then we sang the Big and Little Song)
There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer
The Three Little Gators -- didn't get to, a  very squirmy bunch with lots of baby siblings.
Hello? Is this Grandma? by Ian Whybrow.  I think next year I'd rather use "I'd Rather Eat a Child by Dominic, so fun.

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: 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!"

Snip Snap!: What's That?

So much bounce and snap
 Just the best kind of readaloud! 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

Most cheerful crocodiles around.

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

Believe me, there IS a crocodile in this book

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

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? (Tiger Tales)

Lift the flap cuteness

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.

Longer Stories for Older Children
Alligator Crafts

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?

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.


"5 little monkeys swinging from the tree, teasing MR. CROCODILE etc."
"Alligator Pie"
Row, row, row your boat (if you see a crocodile, don't forget to SCREAM!)

I thought Alligator Pie was a traditional clapping song

It was a poem written by Dennis Lee in 1974!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Train Storytime, Friday, September 12 @ 10:30

Storytime Lineup

Intro: Clickety Clack. Change "black train" to "black engine" Prop: bubblewrap to stomp on. (black engine, red caboose, cars)
Gripping Tale:  I'm Fast. Lots of info here.
Introduce but don't read: Blue Train, Green Train, Thomas the Tank Engine 
Pop-Up: Usborne Big Book of Trains
Down by the Station: by Will Hillenbrand
Just the Facts: Steam Train, Dream Train.  Use the clothespin train w. the story to talk about the different kinds of cars:  hoppers, box cars, etc. 
Little Engine that Could board book. Train conga line.

Why do kids love Thomas books? Beats me, I'm not a fan. 
I always pick a short early reader, because the original longer 
ones are just too long for storytime. You can't do a train 
storytime without a bow to Thomas. Another fun way to
incorporate the books is to introduce the characters and 
their colors.
Clickety Clack (Picture Puffins)

Clickety Clack by Robert Spence, 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, but it never hurts to stomp on some bubble wrap for those fireworks.

The Little Engine That Could
this lens' photo
Why do kids who are hauled around all day in the carseat of SUVs find trains so fascinating? 

Usually I don't read abridged books in storytimes, but this cult classic is the perfect length. The moms chorus in on the "I think I can, I Think I can, I THINK I can," and by the time that little engine makes it over the hill, storytime is riding along with him. It's a wonderful moment. We read this at the end, and then we made ourselves into a train: I was the engine and they were the cars.  I handed them each a Donald Crews cut out to hold, but I think they would have liked headbands at first.  They were a little leery at the beginning, but by playtime they were all chugging around together.

How to Train a Train

How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton

I'm happy to say that my little wiseacres got the humor in this funny book 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, downloaded from

I downloaded 2 copies so they just sit on the clothesline. Didn’t read the book, just talked about the colors of the cars and counted them.
Trains (Mighty Machines QEB)

Trains: The REAL story!

I began my introduction to this book with the disclaimer, "Although most of you haven't ridden on a train," when Carson interrupted me. "We've been on trains at Disneyworld." These boys take their trains seriously, and they thoroughly enjoyed each example in this big and beautiful book.
Down by the Station

Down by the Station

Love the sounds this noisy train and its components make. I do this one as a clothesline story and add the animals to the cars as I go.

Roller Coaster

Trains Most Kids DO Ride On

Trains don't just take you from one place to another -- they can take you in circles too!
Fun books, but they aren't about REAL trains
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo

From the master who gave us Miss Spider.

The Goodnight Train

The Goodnight Train

Sleepy but sweet.

Steam Train, Dream Train

Steam Train, Dream Train

With just enough words and great illustrations, this one is a charming readaloud.

Dinosaur Train

Dinosaur Train

A little boy climbs out of his night time bed to go climb the dinosaur train!

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.


I cut out some black train engines and popped out some wheels using my punch. My volunteer sliced out some rectangles for the cars, and the kids got to pick their colors and put everything together. Oddly enough, I did pop out some striped and pattern wheels; Milo picked all those out. They wrote their names on the cars.