Friday, January 13, 2017

Pre-K Opposites Storytime, Friday, January 20 @ 10:30


  • Pop-Up Book: Animal Opposites by Horacek.  Gorgeousity.  Great attention getter.
  • Caldecott Winner and a true Gripping Tale: Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney. Although I admired the beautiful pictures in this book as much as anyone, I never thought I'd be using it for a storytime. But the very traditional tale worked out perfectly. Because it's a wordless book, it really lends itself to prediction -- prediction is all there is! What are those men unloading? A net! (A gasp goes up.) The kids ALL listened, even 20 month old Peter.
  • Fun Read: I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry. I love this cute, funny tale, and so did the kids. Very short, repetitive text as the squid cruises by all the smaller critters. The kids had a great time calling out the different sea creatures on each page -- shrimp, crab, etc. The poor bragging giant squid came to a bad end in the end -- in the belly of a giant whale.
  • Sophie's Big Bed by Tina Burke or My BIG Boy Bed by Bunting or Board Book Big Enough for a Bed, Board Book Jordan, starring Elmo.  The kids were impressed with their own maturity on this important issue, so I went ahead and read this book and it was well received. It helped that it was so short, too.
  • You are (Not) Small by Anna Kang. Geisel Award.  Strips big and little concept down to two bears arguing, a big one and a little one. To read:  I sat down and read up at the ceiling for the little bears and stood up and read down to the chair as a big one.
  • Pop-up: Big Frog Can't Fit In by Mo Willems. Poor Big Frog! He's too big to fit inside this book! Oh, look how sad that makes him! Luckily he has these nice little froggie friends who make the book (back cover) bigger, and now he fits! Sure, it's a dumb premise for a book, but the pop-ups are fantastic and it's great for big/little.
  • Actual Size by Steve Jenkins, 591.41 Jenkins.  I always use this beautifully illustrated Jenkins book which depicts the ACTUAL SIZE of a gorilla's hand (front cover) a Giant Squid's eye, etc. We interact with it; the kids take turns putting their hands on the gorilla's hand. I hold up the eyeball of the giant squid next to a parent's face, and they can see how much bigger the giant squid's eye is. I hold up the bear head on top of a child's shoulder, and the the crocodile, etc. Very fun. 
  • Big animals and little animals, which we sorted (sort of) into a big box and a little box.
  • Shaker eggs, played loud and soft.
  • Boxes in different sizes. Little bear in a little box.  BIG GIANT bear in a BIG GIANT box.
  • Babies and grownups!
Animal sorting.  Bring out two of animals, big and little, and have the kids match them up, turtle & turtle, snake & snake, etc.  Then have them put the big ones in the big box and the little ones in the little box.

To Frere Jacques:

This is big, this is little. I added this for sound:

This is quiet, this is quiet
This is loud, this is loud.
Quiet, hushed and whisper
Quiet, hushed and whisper
Loud roar SCREAM
Loud roar SCREAM

Bread and Butter, Jelly and Jam
This is little, this is big
Clap, clap clap your hands as slowly as you can
Motor Boat
See the Bunnies Sleeping
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Bread and Butter Hello Song
Bread and butter, 
Jelly and jam, 
Let’s say hello 
As quietly as we can. 
Hello! (Say quietly)
Bread and butter, 
Jelly and jam, 
Let’s say hello 
As loudly
As quickly
As slowly
As high
As low as we can. 

CRAFT: Painting with TP rolls and small square boxes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Penguin Storytime, Friday, January 13 @ 10:30

We started off by waddling like penguins and then belly diving (hand motion) at the beginning.  They really wanted to jump up and down though.

Note:  Penguins do a lot of talking in these books. Work out a penguin accent. 

Waddle! Waddle!  by James Poimos.  Plenty of action here. Waddle, slide, sing, and blow your horn.  The book has the concept of the penguin missing his new friend, which is really his own image reflected in the water.  I tried bringing out a small mirror, setting it on the ground, and having him see himself in that. I think I would have to use a bigger mirror, maybe set on the whiteboard, so that everyone in the audience could see the puppet recognizing himself in the mirror.  As it was, these little guys didn't get the concept, and you can just skip it entirely, because him going off with his two new friends is nice enough.
Penguin Problems by Jory John.  I love this funny book, but the concept of a dissatisfied penguin and a sagacious walrus when waaaaay over the kids' heads. Save for 3 - 4 year olds.
Little Penguin's Tale by Audrey Wood.  Don't forget your Grand Nanny Penguin walking stick.  This book BEGINS with Grand Nanny shushing her audience,  which makes this a perfect storytime book!Love the chorus of "Now everyone knows a little penguin can get..." (in trouble in some way.)  The eyes of the three year olds were firmly glued to me, and then relieved when I turned the page.  Lots of action what with gooney birds and all. 
Fun Read: The Pirate and the Penguin by Patricia Storms. A pirate AND a penguin in the same book? They switch places to change it up a bit. Who wouldn't? I was sloppy with my penguin vs. pirate accent.  

Didn't get to this year: 

Good Read: Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers. "Once there was a boy" --'like you, Carson, or Milo, or Alex," I begin, rounding up their wandering attention with eye contact, "who found a penguin at his door."  Oliver Jeffers' tale of the journey of this kind hearted boy and the penguin he is trying to help was so engrossing that there was actual silence in the room while everyone listened.
Personal Favorite: Penguin's Big Adventure by Yoon. Simple text, simple story. 
If You Were a Penguin by Wendell and Florence Minor.  A bright and cheerful little penguin reminds kids what they would be up to if they were penguins.
Busy Penguins by John Schindel.  OK, not a lot of science, but this was a mostly twos crowd.

Flight School by Lita Judge.  Should a penguin enroll in flight school? Good question.


I asked all my little penguins to stand up and go over their penguin anatomy before we chanted this.

Head & flippers, tails & feet, tails & feet.
Head & flippers, tails & feet, tails & feet.
Eyes & ears & mouth & beak.
Head & flippers, tails & feet, tails & feet.

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 penguin,
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.

I don't usually do TP roll crafts, but penguins just LOOK like TP rolls, don't they? Vocab:  cylinder. Directions  Everyone was AOK with this craft.

The coolest yet. We painted with bubblewrap-paper towel roll paintbrushes. Over crayon resist. The results were fantastico.

Penguin joke:  Two penguins were standing on an iceberg. One of them said to the other, "You look like you're wearing a tuxedo." The other one answered, "What makes you think I'm not?"

Friday, December 23, 2016

Snow and Snowmen, Friday, January 6 @ 10:30

When the Weather Outside Is Frightful...

Even though my library is a block from the Gulf of Mexico and many of my three year olds have never seen the snow, I have plenty of great snow tales for them. "For playing in, it's a lot like sand, or even mud! You build with it." We talk a little about who has and hasn't seen snow and the animals who live in snow.

Bear Snores On: I brought in the giant bear and laid him across three chairs, explaining that it was winter and he was fast asleep.  He looked pretty comical. I had a mouse, rabbit, a raccoon, a skunk, and a crow, so I read the book and presented the characters as I read. They looked pretty funny as I plumped them on the giant sleeping bear.
  • Intro: Wild Tracks by Jim Arnosky (j591.479). I made white felt pawprints from this book and scattered them over the rug for the kids to find when they came in to storytime.  Next year I might make extras of the big ones.
  • That's Not My Snowman by Fiona Watt.  These books are hard to use in big groups, but I wanted to introduce the snowman for the craft later. And it wasn't that big a group.  
  • Snow by Magic  . Such a wiggly group, I wanted to start simple. Used a lot of puppets. Emphasis point:  rabbits change color in the winter. What if we did? What if our hair and eyes and skin turned bright white?
  • Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton.  A perfectly told classic about a powerful snow shovel that saves a city from a blanket of snow. What could be better? After this, we sang Motor Boat and added Steam Shovel, Steam Shovel, push that snow BACK!
  • Snow by Uri Shulevitz. Intro point:  What color is the city on the first page? Blue, green? It's gray. And what color is it on the last page? This year I gathered up all the big white pom poms and just threw them out at the crowd towards the end of the story.  It was a nice surprise.Last year:I drew a simple cityscape in pencil on a big piece of gray paper. During storytime I went over it with a thick black marker. The kids were amazed at my (non) existent talent and settled to watch. Then I used my extremely large Oriental trading snowflake to stamp first one, then two, then three snowflakes on the page, reading the simple words of Shulevitz' story as I went along. A hit!
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Before I begin reading this, I tell the children how quiet snow is. The beach is noisy --the sound of waves and seagulls. But snow shushes. then I read in my quietest voice. I brought in a baggie of cornstarch to show them the sound of snow crunching. It exploded all over me.  They really loved that, and then they exploded, but it was very snow-like. Didn't read it all -- kids so wiggly.
  • Curious George in the Snow by Rey.  Curious George monkeys around with a lot of cool stuff like sleds/rocket ships, ziplines, etc.

Flannelboard song
We sang This is Little, This is Big. Then we picked up some pretend snow, made pretend snowballs and threw them at the black board! First we made a little one, then a medium size mama one, and then a big daddy. At each pitch, I lined up a circle. After three we had made the snowman. "One Little Snowflake" song with templates:

At the beginning of this lesson, I was careful to show the kids how to paint a circle: Just go round and round and round. I had them paint invisible circles in the air, small, medium, big. (Ran out of white paint -- used chalk and it did just as well!)

1. Paint a snowman on a piece of blue or black paper with white paint. Make a huge circle, a big circle, and a small circle. Use round motions.
2. Add shaving cream (shake first!) and some glue to their plastic cups. Go over the snowman with this fluffy mess.
3. Add some black eyes (I used black fun foam punched out with hole punch), a carrot nose, (sliver) and some red buttons (pom poms). A red crepe paper scarf. Maybe add some snow dots. Maybe a snow bank for him to stand on.
4. Sprinkle with salt to give a little added sparkle. Or sparkles if you dare.
This craft would make a very nice cutting exercise. 

Paper Snowflakes

Help!  Someone has rewritten our copy of FROZEN and put in some of the wrong words!  "The rulers of Arendelle, the king and queen, were kind. Their young daughters, Elsa and Artichoke, were the joy of their lives." That just doesn't sound right!  I need some of you to come in and help sort this out!
(The kids were mostly twos. I was glad that Naomi was there -- she got all my  jokes and laughed a great deal at the idea of Elsa and Princess Artichoke building a policeman.  But I had to cut it short.)
How to Be a Puppeteer in 2 Minutes

I love this “How to Be a Puppeteer in 2 Minutes” because that’s how long my attention span is. Stuff like: The PUPPET is supposed to make eye contact with the audience. YOU’re supposed to make eye contact with the PUPPET.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Holiday Storytime, Friday, December 23 @ 10:30


I thought pre-k would be way too sophisticated for this short tale.  Wrong! At the end of the story, Max is surrounded by presents, so I segued directly into my skit about the surprise box. The running joke in this book is that Max asks way too many questions, so do a good little Max voice and really pull out those Whyyyyys and Wheeeens. But spit out Ruby's and Santa's Because.

"What's this?" I open my square green box, pulled out the cylinder, and take out the balloons.  I thought pre-k would be way too sophisticated for the gimmick of balloons flying off into the air as I blew them up and let them go. Wrong! 

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell by Colandro.  This book makes almost no sense at all.  At the end of it, the old lady whistles and apparently all her accumulated consumptions become Santa's sleigh. Unfortunately, I can't whistle well at all, so in future I'll fall back on my brothers' neighborhood Tarzan call, cause with no whistle, this book just doesn't work.
How do dinosaurs say happy Chanukah?Great intro Chanukah book! Short but tells it all!
    Big Hungry Bear by Wood.  Perfect for a young bunch.

Does Olivia help with Christmas? Not really.
Mrs. Claus' Journey:
Santa was exhausted from his long night delivering toys.  "Whew, I can't wait for bedtime." He was soon snoring. But Mrs. Claus found a package at the bottom of Santa's sack, addressed to 'BooBoo').

"Here is a present for Boo Boo McBluie!  Oh, no! Did Santa FORGET to deliver to Boo?  I'll have to take it there myself."

So Mrs. Claus put on her Santa hat and went to the barn.  There she found all the reindeers fast asleep.

"The reindeer are all tired and sleepy.  I'll have to take the pick-up truck."
(Have audience join in.)

Pick up truck, pick up truck, go so slow.
Pick up truck, pick up truck, go so fast. 
Pick up truck, pick up truck, STEP ON THE GAS!

Mrs. Claus zoomed along until she reached a big lake.  "This lake is wide and wet. I'll have to take a MOTOR BOAT!"

Motor boat, motor boat, go so slow.
Motor boat, motor boat, go so fast.
Motor boat, motor boat, STEP ON THE GAS!

Mrs. Claus zoomed across the lake until she reached the other side, where she found a giant snowdrift, a pile of snow bigger than a house.  

"This snowdrift is deep and cold. I'll have to take a SNOWMOBILE!"

Snowmobile, snowmobile go so slow.
Snowmobile, snowmobile go so fast. 
Snowmobile, snowmobile, STEP ON THE GAS!

Mrs. Claus zoomed over the snowdrift, but just on the other side was a huge mountain!  

"This mountain is rocky and enormous. I'll have to take a HELICOPTER!”

Helicopter, helicopter, go so slow.
Helicopter, helicopter, go so fast.
Helicopter, helicopter, STEP ON THE GAS!

Mrs. Claus flew to the top of the mountain. Scientists there were studying outer space. "But Boo Boo McBluie isn't here," a scientist tells her. "He's flown to the moon!"

"No wonder poor Santa didn't deliver!" said Mrs. Claus. "I'll have to take a rocket ship!"

Rocket ship, rocket ship, go so slow.
Rocket ship, rocket ship, go so fast.
Rocket ship, rocket ship, STEP ON THE GAS!

Boo Boo McBluie loved his present. (Picture of an astronaut opening a teddy bear.)   (by Travis Ann Sherman)

Dream Snow by Eric Carle. I tried doing this using puppets for all the animals in the book and laying them out together, then covering them with snow.  Have to remember to put the animals in a covered box and then lay the snow (I used gauze and that worked great) over the box and then over my head, as the farmer.  Maybe next time I should also wear a straw hat as the farmer.  

5 Gingerbread Men
Jingle Bells
 Jingle bells, jingle bells
 Jingle all the way
 Oh, what fun it is to ride
 In a one horse open sleigh
 Hey, jingle bells, jingle bells
 Jingle all the way
 Oh, what fun it is to ride
 In a one horse open sleigh
Santa on the Sleigh (to the Wheels on the Bus)
 Santa on the sleigh says Ho Ho Ho (deep voice)
 The Toys on the sleigh say "Let's have fun!" throw hands in the air.
 The reindeer on the sleigh fly way up high. (move hands upward in  diagonal direction.)
 The snow on the sleigh falls gently down... (flutter fingers downward)
 The Bells on the sleigh go ring, ring, ring.

Cut and Tell:
Children are mesmerized when you start cutting up your props! But I use four triangles and lay one on top of another, removing them as I tell the story.

The Storytime Before Christmas

This poem is a bit much for very young ones at storytime, but this is a gorgeous pop-up,  so arresting I like to save it for the end. There's no need to finish every book we open, after all. We can just give tastes, previews, of some of our favorites. Moore's classic shows up in so many off shoots (Simpsons? Rugrats?) that it's nice to let kids know that it can be found in a book.
I used this very beautiful pop-up book very briefly. We had a small audience, and I started with the two J's, Juliet and Joseph. J was for Joy! How wonderful! B for Ben was for Bell!  etc.  We didn't read the whole book, just the initial letters.
I really really love John Burningham's tales, but I have to admit that this story does need a little bit of a boost when I read it. I put the emphasis on all the vehicles that Santa is having to use to get the job done and all the accidents, the "whoopsies" poor Santa sustains.

Trust Jon Agee to find a fresh new twist for the Santa story! Just what was Santa like when he was a kid? Did he like to slide down chimneys (yes!) Make friends with reindeer (yes!) Hit it off with elves (yes!) This is such a cute, fun book, with Agee's bright illustrations. Haven't actually used in storytime though.
2016.  We did the triangle trees and the kids really like them. We also did triangle Star of Davids.  They all knew what a triangle was, and showing them how to make a star and a tree from them was fun.  We used sequins and gems to decorate instead of sprinkles, much tidier. I showed them how to fringe the edges of their trees for a nice fluffy effect, and of course some of them just cut theirs to bits, but it's all about process.
Use up your scraps of green and red, even old wrapping papers, for this craft. The directions are simple: Tell the children to pick out ten strips of paper and line them up big to little. They may need to cut some a bit to get the right sizes. Fringeing and fancy scissors are fun to work with too. Let them finish this part of the project before you give them the glue sticks to glue the strips down into the shape of a Christmas tree. For older children, just give them long strips and let them figure out the sizes to cut! This is a really simple but fun project.

Or: Amazing fact: Not every two year old likes getting paint on their fingers. I brought four colors, had the kids hold up their four fingers, and told them to use a different finger for each color.  That went pretty well.  But still, some of them wanted brushes.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Toys and Games Storytime, Friday, December 16 @ 10:30


Prop: Pom pom. Couldn't find the pom pom at the last minute and the kids loved the make believe pitch even more.

Prop: Wrapped box with a Santa hat inside.  Take it out, put it on, and ask, "Who wears this hat?" Talk about Santa and giving presents and then read this. 

Remember the song is Jingle QUACK, Jingle QUACK.

Remember, this is about a lot T-R-U-C-K, not truck.  Spell it out and milk it for all the anguish. Good thing four-year-old Ronan was there -- he knew what T-R-U-C-K spelled.

An exciting excursion to the laundromat turns to tragedy when Trixie realizes that Knuffle Bunny has been left behind -- and in a washing machine. 

Trixie "can't even speak word".  Ask the kids if they can speak words yet.  Say Mommy with them, and Daddy.  Then try Knuffle Bunny.  What IS a knuffle bunny? Maybe a soft bunny, like this one.  And pass around a soft bunny. This book was a bigger hit than I expected.  Don't skip!

We love our dogs but...when we come down in the morning and discover htey have chewed the eyeballs out of our bears, our shocked horror knows no bounds.  So it has always been with me, and I'm happy Ian Falconer finally gives voice to this kind of grief.  Olivia misses her toy, only to find out the worst... but in the end, she still loves the toy and dog which, for Olivia, is truly generous.

Songs: Pass out the shake jingle bells
5 Gingerbread Men
Ring the Bells


  • Lion Game good DURING storytime.   Lions growl. Have them growl. And lions sleep --  for 20 hours a day!  Have them sleep, and then go around the room waking them up.
  • Wheelbarrowing 
  • Have a wrapped box, take the lid off, and ask what's inside.  One by one, describe the toy (this is round and bounces), and have them guess:  ball, rattle or shaker, toy car, building blocks, teddy bear, puzzle.
  • Statues. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pre-K Bed & Bath Storytime, Friday, December 9 @ 10:30

What separates the grownups from the babies?
They don't want to shut their eyes and we look for any excuse.

Hundreds of children's books have been written with the idea of lulling the child to sleep, of persuading him by the end of the story that the day is over. But let's start our storytime off with something more fun.

Eric Litwin does it again, giving us a bedtime book in perfect sing song rhyme about those nuts who don't want to go to bed. When children come back later and ask for a book, you know it's great!

Getting Ready for Bed: There's a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer. Night time fears? We've all got them.

Getting Ready for Bed:  Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! Also, Pigeon Needs a Bath ("I Do Not!") by Mo Willems

Nobody fights harder than the pigeon.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night by Jane Yolen. Always fun. Young group, so this really worked.
  • Book of Sleep, Lights Out, Nights Out by Boniface, and Sweet Dreams by Kajikawai are all nice books about how animals sleep & nocturnal animals. I used Sweet Dreams today, and it really worked for this young group.
  • The Napping House by the great Audrey and Don Wood can be a perfect performance piece. I get out a xylophone, and as each new napper is introduced -- granny, boy, dog, cat, flea, etc, -- I hit a new note, until we reach the exciting climax and I sweep a glissando.  Big Book.
  • Bedtime for Peppa by Winthrop. What can I say? Peppa takes her pants off just like anybody else, one leg at a time, except I guess Dini Dinosaur. And then she brushes her teeth, has a story, etc.
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion. It's always nice to pull out a book and hear the moms say, "Oh, I love this one!"
Maybe: Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton
Definitely:  What! Cried Granny (An Almost Bedtime Story) by Kate Lum.  Patrick is at Granny's for his sleepover and a lot of things go wrong.  Something tells me Patrick has a speech impediment -- can't say r -- and Granny speaks in a very deep operatic voice.  Can't wait.
Definitely: Everybody Sleeps (But not FRED) by Josh Schneider. A Geisel Award Winning writer. 
Definitely:  Thank you, Octopus by Darren Farrell. (Octopus puts egg salad in bathtub, etc.) 
The Full Moon at the Napping House by Audrey Wood.
Goodnight Already! by Jory John.  So reminds me of my daughter and her sons. (She's the bear -- they're the ducks.)
Pirates in Pajamas by CAroline Crowe
SHHH! I'm Sleeping  Board Book Monfreid. I love this book but the pictures are too intricate for storytime.


  • The Nuts: Going to Bed by Eric Litwin
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (use percussion chime)
  • Starlight, Starbright
  • 5 Bears in the bed, and the little one said, "Roll over, roll over."
  • 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed.
  • Hop Little Bunnies

Five elephants in the bathtub.
  • Sleep masks!

Lavender Aromatherapy for Bedtime  Mix up an inexpensive batch of bath salts with the kids, divide them up into baggies (funnels are the fun part) and send it home with them. Only don't call it bath salts. Maybe Tatooine sand? Bath Salts Recipe from Garden Therapy

Don't forget to wear your bathrobe and sock monkey slippers to storytime!