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.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pre-K Bug Storytime ... and Spiders too, Friday, June 5 @ 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.

  • Great Intro: Bugs Pop-Up by Sallie Hewitt.
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. I had the set, the caterpillar and the food cards.  I passed the foods out among the children and let the caterpillar nibble through the audience. I start off reading in a teeny tiny caterpillar voice, while the caterpillar gobbles his chow. As the week goeson, I deepened my voice, until by greedy Saturday I'm a bass profundo!
  • My Bug Book by Melissa Stewart.  Excellent riddle nonfiction by Smithsonian.
  • 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 was an old woman who swallowed a fly
  • 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.


Butterflies: Coffee filters, precut and prefolded in the shape of butterflies, magic marker and drops of water

I gave the kids prefolded, precut butterflies made from coffee filters. I told them to make a nice “juicy” dot with magic marker on one side, and then to drip one drop of water on top of it. The drop of water spread, and when the kids opened the butterflies up, they had created beautiful symmetrical wings out of the drops. Plus, it was like magic.

Craft: Caterpillar buddies: 4" length of pipecleaner, beads. 

Easy and cute little guys. And is it crass for me to add that these require virtually NO preparation on your part?  We also made butterflies with two pipecleaners, simply twisted together in the middle with a little green in the middle and folded upward for the antenna. While I was helping the kids, behind my back, one of the dads started creating little spiders out of a pipe cleaner cut into 1/4s and pulled through a single bead/abdomen!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Car Storyhour, Truck Storytime, Friday, May 29 @ 10:30

Storytimes about sheep, cows and pigs are all very well in their place, but when we want to get excited at storytime (and we so often do) we pull out the tales about THINGS THAT GO!!! 

  • Trucks by Mary Lindeen. All the books in the Blastoff series have great pictures and short texts. Three year old boys eat these up. 
  • My Truck is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis.The creator of Miss Spider gives us a funny rhyming book about a stuck truck. Why is it stuck? Why is there a big hole in the road? And what is he hauling anyway? I never knew until I checked out the author's website at Daniel Kirk  that the owner of the stuck truck had a very strong Southern/country twang. 
  • Ride, Fly Guy, Ride! by Tedd Arnold. *Fly Guy is always a hero in my book! When you're not giving him as a first favorite to beginning readers, remember him for storytime. Big plots + brief text = great deliver.
  • Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems. Doo be dooo dooo, the bus driver says, "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus!" in his deep voice. And then the pigeon whines and begs for the rest of the book. Whining and begging. Gee, I don't know why kids universally go for this one, but they sure do.
  • Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble! by Patricia Hubbell. This cheerful books rhymes and rumbles down the road with about one verse per page. There's no story whatsoever, but the ring of the words rhyming through the pages will amuse.
  • Number One Sam. We can't all come in #1: Sam loses his winning spot when he decides to save the baby chicks instead.  Yay Sam!
  • Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle.  A little like the Big Turnip, but who cares about the Big Turnip when you can read about little blue trucks! 
  • Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw. This very rhymey book is a fun readaloud.


  • Motor Boat, Motor Boat.  The finest song ever written for storytime.
  • THE WHEELS on the Bus (of course!)
  • WHERE is Thumbkin, but the fingers are: racing car, (it zooms) dump truck, big van, helicopter (it twirls), and freight train. I went over this first: "What if your fingers were..." and the kids were really into it!
  • WINDshield wiper WINDshield wiper WINDshield wiper. (Make motion, bending arm at elbow. "Oooh, there's a light rain, just a drizzle" Slow tempo, and then "It's raining harder!" pick up tempo)
  • Dedicated to 3-year-old Quin

    5 little ducks ran in the parking lot
    1 fell down and he went plop.
    Mama called the Big Duck and the Big Duck got hot!
    Always hold hands in the parking lot!
    (4 little ducks, etc.)

    For this one, teach the kids how to go vroom vroom vroom (shift gears), and teach them how to talk in their radios as dispatchers (and what a dispatcher is) 
    5 Big Trucks. 
    Five big trucks go vroom vroom vroom                           
    They hit the road going zoom zoom zoom. (Add screech & exploding sound effects, and crash one car.)    
    The announcer calls out, “Come on back!” 
    But only 4 race cars  are on the track.
              4 race cars go vroom vroom vroom                           
    They hit the road going zoom zoom zoom.     
    The announcer calls out, “Come on back!”
    But only 3 race cars are on the track.
              3 race cars go vroom vroom vroom                           
    They hit the road going zoom zoom zoom.     
    The announcer calls out, “Come on back!”
    But only 2 race cars are on the track.
               2 race cars go vroom vroom vroom                           
    They hit the road going zoom zoom zoom.     
    The announcer calls out, “Come on back!"
               1 race car goes vroom vroom vroom                           
    It hits the road going zoom zoom zoom.     
    The announcer calls out, “Come on back!”
    But no more race cars are on that track!

    I used a hook & ladder firetruck, a garbage truck, a backhoe, a dump truck, and a tow truck. I went over them first with the children (which was good because evidently in England tow trucks are called transporter trucks), and then I hung them from my clothesline. I took them off as they went away and handed them off to the children, talking about where they were going (to put out a fire, dump some stinky garbage, etc.) Don’t forget to get out your imaginary bullhorn when the dispatcher yells.
To the tune of "Down Around the Corner at the Bakery Shop". You CAN do a flannelboard, but I just use matchbox cars. INFINITELY preferable.)

Down around the corner at the used car lot
There were 8 big trucks all ready to be bought.
Along came (call on a young patron), all alone,
She hopped in the green one and she drove home.

Painting with Cars
Just painting with matchbox cars is fun, but this week I got a shipment of letter stencils from Oriental Trading, and I brainstormed using the letters for a little experiment in blank space. The moms helped pick out a letter for their children, attached them to the pages with just a tiny piece of double sided tape, and then let the kids have at it.

I must admit some of the children were a bit bewildered. Two boys refused to get their cars “dirty” and I had to produce paintbrushes for them. But the rest seemed to have a good time and made some very nice pieces to take home.
Follow this art class up with A CAR WASH!!!

10 Ways to Play with Toy Cars
I spent quite a bit of time after the kids painted with their matchbox cars cleaning paint off those tiny tires. What a dork I am! I could brought in a pan and had the kids given them a car wash! Next time!
Matchbox Cars and Me

The truth is, I really like matchbox cars. They’re so cute, so small, so infinitely variable. It’s all I can do to keep from collecting them myself. I didn’t see the point of a craft involving toilet paper rolls that might be made to look like cars, when the world is so full of matchbox cars. Instead we designed a roadway for them and a (disastrous) bridge leading off the table. This year, have the bridge connect to the next table -- not the floor.
This might sound faintly familiar...

I figured everyone had a pile of matchbox cars already at home, so instead of making little cars, we made a  street and a neighborhood. Then we added some ramps made out of paper towel rolls. Cut the rolls down the middle and staple them together, making sure you overlap the same way all the way down. This is really a cheap thrill!

Off that police car hurtles. Maybe if it were angled onto a chair.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Pre-K Imagination Storytime, Friday, May 22 @ 10:30


  • Magic Envelope time!  This is when I used the wonderful Magic Envelope I had all the ingredients on the blackboard and told them we were going to make a pirate, what would we need? Would we need a flower? They caught on very fast, great involvement. (Thanks so much, Sharon Hrycewic pronounced Rice-Witts for sharing at !)
  • Superhero Me! by Karen Katz. This cute little board book was a good start for the theme.
  • Good Thing You're Not an Octopus by Julie Markes kept everyone interested, puzzling over what life would be like with 200 teeth or twelve feet.
  • Pirates Don't Take Baths by John Segal. I started losing them here. Even the good listeners weren't very sympathetic to this tale. This year I tried Come Away from the Water, Shirley by John Burningham. The pictures aren't as bold but the story is very nice. Maybe some of the older kids got the concept of the parents real vs. Shirley's imaginary journey to the pirates.  But the found her pirate voyage all too easy to believe.  Kids.
  • Let's Go for a Drive by Mo Willems. Bring your props, there's lots of action as Elephant and Piggy plan their exciting drive.
  • Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer.  I love Falconer's sarcasm but it might be a bit much for the kids.
  • skipped this year: The Adventures of Max and Pinky by Eaton.  The bright pictures and humor of the Max and Pinky books make them big favorites of mine.
  • Sand Cake by Frank Asch. This old favorite has recently been reprinted and is perfect for my beachy kids. It was also a great lead in for MAKING  PLAY DOUGH!!!


This theme was an inspiration to sing a lot of old neglected favorites:
  • Can you hop like a rabbit?/Can you jump like a frog?/Can you walk like a duck?/Can you run like a dog?/Can you fly like a bird?/Can you swim like a fish?/And be still like a good child -- as still as this. (They couldn't!)
  • Windshield Wiper/I'm a windshield wiper/This is how I go/Back and forth, back and forth/In the rain and snow./Slowly! There's just a drizzle./Fast now! It's pouring!/Ah, just a nice steady rain now.
  • The Old Grey Cat is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping.  (I invited Milo to be the sleeping grey cat -- he did a great job as we little mice crept up on him.)


 Stir up a batch of Cinnamon Play Dough and pretend! I didn't use as much water as the recipe called for, and I didn't have cream of tartar -- just used baking soda. 

Can you go wrong making playdough?  I had one batch all ready. I mixed up the second so the kids could watch, and then passed out the first so they could get playing while I finished kneading and the playdough cooled.  They used plastic forks and knives and little round containers for cutting out. (Picture courtesy of Jenifer Fosnaugh. Thanks!)

Milo made a burger with everything.

Oleg made everything.


    Wednesday, May 13, 2015

    Pre-K Color Storytime, Friday, May 15 @ 10:30

    So many great things to do with a color storytime! Every year, the time ends to soon!

    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. 

    A Clown Magic Coloring Book by Haines' House of Cards, Inc., with the pages that go from blank to colored as you fan them. 

    Disco Ball.

    Different colored matchbox cars: 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.

    Pete the Cat and His White Shoes by Eric Litwin. Everyone's favorite cat in everyone's favorite story!

    I Went Walking by Sue Williams.  Get the Big Book from PPLC.  Make sure you get them to guess! The colors are muted and the kids didn't really get the red cow or the green duck, but I added that bit of vocab.

     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. 

    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.

    Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd. Don't need artistic talent for this.  I photocopied the dog and drew spots on him.

     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.

    Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley.

    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.

    • Bumping up and down in my little red wagon
    • Five green and speckled frogs, which I do as a clapping song too.

    This is my favorite version of this old favorite. I do it with a color pennant I can stretch out on my clothesline. Some kids don't really know their colors and do need prompts! I did this with my mostly twos today and they were pretty hopeless -- didn't know their colors or what they were wearing. Best maybe to stick to songs moms can do.
    To: The Muffin Man
    If you're wearing red today, red today, red today,
    If you're wearing red today stand up and shout, "Hooray!"
    Blue, brown, PINK, etc.


    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.

    Pre-K Father Storytime


    Intro: Mighty Dads by Joan Holub.  Does it get better than a book about construction vehicles who are dads teaching their young construction vehicles how to dig and hoise? Lots of action build into this one too, as bulldozers roar, cranes reach, etc.
    Gripping Read: Tad and Dad by David Ezra Stein.  Maybe not so gripping, but funny and fun and very real somehow.  I really identify with that frog.
    Good Story: Froggy's Day with Dad by Jonathan London.  
    Good Story: Building with Dad by Carol Nevius Jones.  Gorgeous storytime book, with graphic illustrations that fold down to allow for beautiufl views of the construction sights.
    Good Story: You Can Do Anything Daddy by Michael Rex. Nice Q & A format: "Daddy, if I got taken by pirates, would you save me?" "Of course, Son." (Picture: smiling son in PJs in the arms of ruffians with suit and tied Dad chasing after).
    Science Bonus: Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle.  Even if you have to skip a few pages for length, this one is just too perfectly Eric Carle to miss.


    By Emma from My Little Three and Me

    We traced the children's hands and cut them out, gluing them on to the monster and adding eyeballs.  Much appreciated Father's Day card.

    Thursday, May 7, 2015

    Pre-K Pirate Storytime


    • What's a pirate's favorite letter in the alphabet?  Arrrrrr.  Practice talking like a pirate:  arggh, aye, me hearty, belay that!
    • Bring your mascara pencil to work, or get out the facepaints, and draw some curly moustaches on your attendees. 
    • End the storytime by having them "walk the plank" right out the door.   

    Storytime Line-up

    Intro: Pirates Don't Take Baths *****
    Gripping tale: Pirates Love Underpants 
    Gripping tale: Pirate Pete, Talk Like a Pirate by Kennedy
    Physical: Pirate Treasure Hunt **** (Parents provided super back-up!)
    Science & Math: This Little Pirate ***
    Classic: Pirate Boy by Eve Bunting
    Quickie: Pirate Nap (Didn't really do -- just colors)


    To the tune of "If You're Happy & You Know It" (Credit: Born Librarian)
    If you're a pirate , swab the deck (swish, swish)
    ...walk the plank
    ...say Ahoy!


    For older kids, have them transform small jewelry boxes into pirate chests with a little brown paint and washi tape. Put a little bling inside.

    Friday, May 1, 2015

    Mother's Day Storyhour

    This week is all about our brilliant storyhour partners – you moms!  
    Thank you for wanting the best for your kids every day. 
    Thank you for bringing your wonderful children to storyhour. 
    Please enjoy t his imaginary flower from     Ms. Travis.  


    • Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse. I had the big book and spent a lot of time introducing the setting, which is very important for the children to understand the choice of the different animals and the way the characters are dressed. 
    • Over in the Meadow. I love the Jane Cabrera version with its big bright pictures best, so unfortunately out of print.  You get numbers, critters, and an assortment of verbs.
    • Pouch by David Stein.  I had a kangaroo & joey puppet and we acted out the book, with bee, bunny & bird.  I gave the other puppets to some parents to work.  Ordinarily I would have chosen kids, but this solution was very stress free and I will definitely do it again this way. 
    • Ol' Mama Squirrel by David Stein.  Another fun one -- Mama Squirrel and her many ch-ch ch-ch's.  The moms were great about ch-ch ch-ch'ing with me, and going shoo.  Strangely enough, even the little tiny ones liked this one, maybe the most.
    • Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino. I love books with strong ending rhymes, and I always pause at the end of the sentence to try to get the kids to guess them. Kids should shout out in storytime.
    • My Mom by Anthony Browne. Simple bright pictures matched up to simple action oriented text make this one my first choice for mom's storytime. Calls for dancing, roaring like a lion and painting.  Don't forget your plant.

    • Mama's Little Baby loves bouncing, bouncing
    • Skinnamarinka
    • "Over in the meadow" done with a metalboard.  I only go about to 5, stopping with the bees.  The kids just love this.
    Mothers's Day Banner

    Materials:  wallpaper, yarn

    They made a card and decorated a bookmark as a gift their mothers.  I had punched out hearts of different color which they COULD have assembled as flowers with a center but they mostly just stuck hearts all over their cards and did likewise with the bookmarks.  They were happy as long as they had a gluestick in their hands.