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.
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.
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 bounced along perfectly together. Didn't work this year.
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

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!)

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'll add our own dots to poor Dog

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! 


Friday, June 23, 2017

Beach and Sea Storytime, Friday, June 26 @ 10:30

  • Silly Faces. See Me...In the Ocean.
  • Larry Gets Lost Under the Sea  by Eric Ode. Shortened a tiny bit, but it was a surprise big hit.
  • Ocean Picture Pops. office.
  • Don't Splash the Sasquatch by Kent Redeker.   I'm pretty sure the lifeguard is Hispanic.  
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell!  by Lucille Colandro. They always love it when you read the chorus as fast as you can.
  • Penguin on Vacation by Salina Yoon.  Maybe not all that crazy about it.
  • Ziggy Piggy and the Three Little Pigs by Frank Asch OR 3 Squids.
  • The Pop-Up Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae. 
  • If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON'T by Elise Parsley
  • Sea & Rex by Molly Idle Cute trip to the beach with dino pal.
  • Asiago at the beach
  • Hush Little Beachcomber Moritz
  • Be Glad Your Dad is Not an Octopus by Logelin. The VPKs loved this book, but this group was a bit young. And there's not much about octopi in it really.

10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle

Harry at the Sea by Gene Zion
Mr. Gumpy's Outing


The Waves on the Sea (To The Wheels on the Bus)  Even more fun when I remember to give the kids the color scarves and they can swoosh around to the song. 

The waves on the sea go up and down, up and down, up and down, the waves on the sea go up and down all day long.
The shark in the sea goes snap snap snap...
The fish in the sea go swish swish swish...
The boats in the sea go toot toot toot....
The gulls on the sea go swoop swoop swoop....
The babies on the sea go splash splash splash...
The divers on the sea dive deep deep down...
Four Little Fishes

1 little, 2 little, 3 little fishies, 4 little, 5 little, 6 little fishies, 7 little, 8 little, 9 little fishies, ten little fish swimming in the big blue sea. 9 little, 8 little, 7 little fishies, 6 little, 5 little, 4 little fishies, 3 little, 2 little, 1 little fishies, all the fishies swimming back to the sea. Watch out for the sharks
  • Over on the beach in the sand and the sun
  • Lived a big mama turtle and her little turtle one
    Dig said the mama
    I dig, said the one
    And they swam all day in the sand and the sun.
    Over on the beach where the waves lap so blue
    Lived a mama seagull and her seagulls two
    Squawk! Said the mama
    We squawk! Said the two
    And they squawked all day where the waves lap so blue.
    Over on the beach near the tall palm tree
    Lived a little sandcrab
    And her baby sandcrabs three
    Crawl! Said the sandcrab! We crawl said the three
    And they crawled all day by the tall palm tree.
    Over on the beach on the sand by the shore
    Lived a mama pelican
    And her pelicans four
    Swoop! Said the mama. We swoop! said the four.
    And they swooped all day on the sand by the shore.
    Over in the water where the dolphins like to dive
    Lived a big mama fish and her baby fish five.
    Swim! Said the mama.

    We swim! Said the five. So they swam all day where the dolphins like to dive.
  • Song Link

    Sailing Out to Sea on My One Little Sailboat
    Story Time Secrets by Katie Fitzgerald. Here we link to a lovely little song about sailing, including the fingerplay, perfect for two and three year olds. Here's a link to a template for five little sailboats. (I just printed out on 5 different colors of paper.) Very nice but not that popular.

    2016:  We just did fish pictures (I showed them how to do a fish) with lots of seaweed in scribbled crayon, then I showed them how to do watercolor resist on top.

Ooooh, this craft was easy and fun -- for me!  Glue sticks, colored sand, and pretty sea foam creatures with some floaty cellophane seaweed. It was an intense artistic interlude, as you can see by everyone laboring above, and the results were excellent.

Today's Cuteness Award goes to...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Frog Storyhour, Turtle Storyhour & Snake Storyhour, Friday, June 16 @ 10:30 am

  • Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner.  Great opener & great readaloud! Carson fell over backwards! Try to gurgle the r in "frog" and don't forget to pinch up your mouth at the end for the alligator encounter. 
  • I Don't Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty. Little Froggie is complaining bitterly to Froggie Dad about being a wet, slimy creature instead of an owl, say, or maybe a pig.  Until they bump into a wolf....
  • Ribbit by Folgueira,. 
  • 99 Tadpoles by Ken Kimura.  It gripped us!
  • They were a bit wiggly today, so I told them the story of the Turtle Who Flew below
  • Big Frog Can't Fit In by Mo Willems. The sheer engineering genius of this book makes up for its underwhelming story. Try pushing the sad big frog/good friends angle.
  • Little Quack's New Friend by Lauren Thompson
I held up two turtle puppets and showed them the cracks on their backs.

"This is the story of why turtles have cracks on their backs.  The birds and the turtles all lived along the shores of a great river.  The turtle was very smart.  He noticed that the birds could eat all the little fish and bugs on one side of the river, and then fly to the other side in just seconds and eat some more, while the poor turtles had to swim and swim and swim. The more he watched those birds fly, the more he wished he too could go up high. 

Finally he crawled up to a flock of them and said, "Please-birds-I've-been-watching-you-and-I-really-really-want-to-fly-up-high-like-you-I-really-really-do-it-looks-so-amazing-and-fun-and-easy-please-please-birds-won't-you-take me-up-too?"

"How could we do that?  We are birds. We have wings. You are a turtle with short stumpy legs."

"Oh-I-have-that-all-figured-out-all-figured-out-I-have-a-plan-a-brilliant-plan-I-will-find-a-stick-a-stick-on-the-ground-and-I-will-bite-on-to-it-with-my-powerful-jaws-with-my-powerful-jaws-then-one-of-you-birds-will-get-on-one-side-and-one-on-the-other-and-lift-me-up-lift-me-up-high-in-the-sky-and-I-will be-up-in-the-sky-oh-this-is-a-great-plan.

"An interesting plan, turtle. But there is one problem with it."


"Turtle, it wouldn't work.  Because you couldn't give your big mouth shut long enough."


"Well, we were going across the river anyway, so pick out your stick."  Turtle found his stick, and bit down with his jaws, which weren't all that powerful.  One bird got on one side of him and one on the other, they picked up the stick with their claws, and took off.  

Turtle was up in the air!  He was up up up, looking down down down at every body. There was an alligator,  ha ha, stuck in the water.  He wiggled his turtle foot at it, but of course the gator didn't look up and see him.  They flew over a hippo. He wiggled his turtle at it, but of course, the hippo didn't look up.  They flew over some children playing, and they looked up and saw him!  

They were so amazed!  They all pointed at him, and he was very proud to be in the air, all because of his brilliant idea.  He waved all his feet at them.  

"Wow, look at those birds!" he heard them call out to each other.  "They're so smart, they've figured out how to carry turtles around!"

The BIRDS were so smart!  Turtle was FURIOUS!  He stopped waving his feet, craned his head down at them over the stick, and shouted down, "But it was my ideaaaaaaaaaa SPLAT."

Turtle landed on the back of his shell, and that's why, to this day, turtles have cracked shells.

(I first learned this story from Donarita Vocca, a storyteller who learned it at the Jonesboro Storytelling Festival.  What makes the story fun is having the turtle speak super fast, running his words together and repeating himself again and again. When he's up in the air, I stand up and move my hands over my head as if holding on to a stick, look down, and move around on tiptoes.)
  • 2015: Skipped, Jump, Frog, Jump by Kalan. OK.
  • Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathon London.  Fun motions, and ALL the kids in my storytimes are taking swimming lessons.
  • I Wish I Could Fly  by Ron Maris. A mom turned the pages for me while I acted out the story with puppets.  I turned off the lights when it began to rain at the end of the story -- that got their attention -- and just then the roofers started stomping around on the roof.  "And the lightning and the THUNDER" I said!  Next year I'll have to bribe Stan to crawl up on the roof for me because it was a hit.

I downloaded this template from Dorling Kindersley at  After experimenting for years, I've finally figured out the best way to do this craft with little guys:  HALF SIZE.  I shrunk the DLTK template by 60% and put two on a sheet.  Then I just had them color them in with marker and cut.  

Emma is hard at work on her snake, as are Ben and Sarah behind. 

Ben & Emma's turned out very well!  Inspired by Noel MacNeal's 10-Minute Puppets, I showed them how to tape a sort of ring to the back of the snake's head so they could use them as puppets curling down their arms. We also used bookmarker size sticky notes for forked tongues.  
Songs & Poems, besides the usual:
  • 5 green and speckled frogs
  • Over in the meadow 
  • There was a little turtle (with turtle puppet)
  • Clapping Song: Tiny Tim
  • Hop Little Bunnies (2nd stanza is about hopping froggies)
  •   There once was an alligator      

Friday, June 2, 2017

Pre-K Bug Storytime ... and Spiders too, Friday, June 3 @ 10:30

No one tells a bug story like Eric Carle, and this one is justifiably his greatest. "What's the big deal?" a friend asked me once about this iconic tale. Hmmm, let's see. Carle manages to work into the mix colors, the days of the week, numbers, and food vocabulary, while (almost) staying within the bounds of a real caterpillar's life.

But more importantly, this story speaks of growth and metamorphosis, the stage of life where a two-year-old finds himself. This is a book which truly speaks to a child in a powerful fashion.

  • My Bug Book by Melissa Stewart.  Excellent riddle nonfiction by Smithsonian. 
  • Hi Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold. Not an immediate grabber. Irony was a bit much for this group.
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. With no props and a huge audience, I asked how many people had read this story. Everyone raised their hands, so I said we would read it together. "How hungry is this caterpillar?" "VERY hungry." As I read, I paused, and they filled in the fruits, and I paused after "but" and they filled in "he was still hungry."
  • The Eensy Weensy Spider FREAKS OUT! by Cummings.  First we sang eensy weensy spider, then we did this.  Pull out the anticipation on it.  Esp. for dog. Is climbing dogs safe, don't they roll on the ground? Etc.  
  • Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle. TUrned off house lights, right with the firefly as a little flashlight (It's in the disco ball box), and then turned on the disco ball in the end when he met the cloud of fireflies at the end.  Did skip a few pages. 
  • Butterfly Butterfly: A Book of Colors. by Petr Horacek I got out all the colors to match the bugs on each page -- but the kids were too busy looking at the pages of this beautiful book, which I think is a GOOD thing!
  • Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth.  Tell the kids to go Shoo Fly, Shoo Fly Shoo! with you, as you turn the pages. Very interactional and fun -- esp. for an ABC book.

  • There was a little froggy who liked to eat bugs (see frog storyhour)
  • Five green & speckled frogs (with frog cut-outs)
  • Eency weency spider
  • Butterfly Pokey/You put your antennae in/You put your antennae out/You put your six legs in/You put your six legs out/You put your wings in/You put your wings out
  • Poor little bug on the wall, no one to love him at all/No one to wipe his nose, no one to tickle his toes/
  • 1 2 3, 4 5 6, 7 8 9, 10 11 12, 12 ladybugs went to the ladybug picnic
  • There's a spider on the floor, on the floor done with giant spider puppet. I did a mash-up between Raffi's version and Peter, Paul & Mary's Boa Constrictor:
  • There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.
    There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.
    This is nutty for sure! To have a spider on the floor.
    But there's a spider on the floor, on the floor.

    Now the spider's on my knee, on my knee.
    Now the spider's on my knee, on my knee.
    Oh, gosh, oh gee! There’s a spider on my knee.
    Now the spider's on my knee, on my knee.

    Now the spider's on my tum, on my tum!
    Now the spider's on my tum, on my tum!
    Oh, now I’m really bummed, with a spider on my tum!
    Now the spider's on my tum, on my tum!

    Now the spider's on my neck, on my neck!
    Now the spider's on my neck on my neck!
    Oh, I'm gonna be a wreck, I've got a spider on my neck!
    Now the spider's on my neck on my neck!

    Now the spider's on my head, on my head!
    Now the spider's on my head, on my head!
    Oh, I wish that he were dead. I've got a spider on my head!
    Now the spider's on my head, on my head!

    There’s a spider on the floor, on the floor.
    There’s a spider on the floor, who could ask for anything more?
    There’s a spider on the floor, on the floor.
I had all my bug critters in my big bag and pulled them out one at a time asking what they were.  This group needs a lot of help:  instead of giving them hints, I should have been silly.  "Is this a dog or a ladybug?" etc.

I passed out my Halloween ring spiders as props for eency weency, and they worked very well for the spider on the floor too.


  • butterflies from coffee filters. Lesson: symmetry
  • collaged butterflies with tissue paper and then cut out.  One child figured out about scrunching the tissue paper for a nice dotted affect. I also gave them dot stickers because don't butterflies have circles? And they like them so much.

For the VPK+ :