Saturday, October 22, 2016

Halloween, Friday, October 30

We'll be trick 'r treating throughout the library this Friday, so wear your superduds or tails & horns! We'll supply the books, the songs, the treats & the treat bags. Halloween is that night of the year when we can be anything we can imagine. Halloween is that time when we can take our fears (of monsters, witches or bats) turn them inside out, wear them like a hat, and get rid of them for good.   I'll be wearing my witch hat.


Pop-Up by David Carter

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

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".

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.

Boo! Haiku by Deanna Caswell  A book I've needed for a long time. A Guess who HAIKU riddle book about Halloween illustrated by Bob Shea! (If the kids can't guess, make the sounds)


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


I do this with 5 pumpkins on the ledge of my puppet theater, and roll them off at the end.
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!
  • Dance to Dem Bones w. CD by Bob Barner
  • Freeze tag to the Monster Mash, only kids should try to "freeze" into scary faces.
  • Play Halloween Bingo

    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!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Monster Storytime, Friday, October 21 @ 10:30

  • Little Monsters by Jan Pienkowski. Such a fun pop-up. Were they really so scared? They did a good job pretending!
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley. I used a different goofy voice as I turned each page, and it made this great book even greater (esp. since most of them had heard it before.) At the end, Ronan was great about echoing. Every time I said "Go away," I made a shooing motion, and Ronan repeated after me.
  • Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems. Be sure to read the last page all in one breath.
  • Ticklemonster by Edouard Manceau
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  I forgot to get the props from PPLC. Maybe they would have helped. The kids were extremely familiar with the book, but I hate to skip it. A few children's parents hadn't rediscovered it yet. Maybe I should just read a preview of it next year. Or better yet, ASK the kids to PREDICT what happens next!
  • Monsters Dance bb by Hodgman.  We needed the exercise.
  • Quit Calling Me a Monster by Jory John.  
  • There Was an Old Monster by Rebecca Emberley.
  • Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty. Take your time with setting this one up by asking questions. "(Jeremy) had his very own room. He never left. HE NEVER WENT OUTSIDE. Wow, what kind of kid is this Jeremy? No wonder something strange is about to happen to him!
  • Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligot.  I talked a little about who had a haircut, and then began reading this short but v. interesting tale about a boy who sneaks back to open his dad's barber shop every full moon, to give all the monsters haircuts.  They liked it more than I thought they would!

Monster Pokey
 You put your horns in, you put your horns out,
You put your horns in and you shake them all about.
You do the monster pokey and you turn yourself around,
  that’s what it’s all about.
You put your fangs in…
You put your claws in…
You put your tail in…
Horns and Fangs
Sung to: "Head and Shoulders"
Horns and wings & fangs and claws,
fangs and claws.
Horns and wings & fangs and claws.
Eyes and ears and tail and paws.

 If You’re a Monster
Sung to: " If you're happy and you know it"
If you're a monster and you know it show your claws
If you're a monster and you know it show your claws.
If you're a monster and you know then don’t be afraid to show it.
If you're a monster and you know it show your claws.
...gnash your teeth
...stomp your feet
...growl out loud

 5 little monsters
5 little monsters sleeping in my bed
1 crawled out from under my spread
I called to Mama and Mama said
"No more monsters sleeping in your bed"

no little monsters sleeping in my bed
none crawling out from under my spread
I called to Mama and Mama said
"There are no more monsters, now go to bed!"

Craft: Shape Monsters: A Big Favorite
  1. Punch out eyeballs, cut out noses and horns. I pre-attached googley eyes for this very young crowd.
  2. Pre-fold printer paper lengthwise.
  3. Lay down a lot of newspaper.
  4. Demonstrate: Use the world SPLOTCH as you squirt out the paint. "Just a SPLOTCH of paint. As long as it takes to say SPLOTCH." I splotched on about five or six splotches AND THEN THE MAGIC!  Open to reveal the monster, and show how you'll glue on eyes and noses etc.

We made scary shape monsters, and they were different as snowflakes! I talked about how many ears, eyes, etc. they had, and how many they might want to put on their monsters. 
Materials: Shapes cut randomly out of a scrap box of paper, using mostly Halloween colors. Orange stickers I glued googly eyes too. Googly eyes can be awfully fiddly.

Dom's looks like a Big Orange Monster!

Brody is going to let his dad take his monster to work.

Sarah's looks a bit like a mermaid monster.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Clothing Storytime, Friday, October 14 @ 10:30

Really YOUNG group this year, so we started with this book with a great twist on getting dressed. At the end, I take the book around to 'get' the little kids, and then slam it shut -- Go away wolf!  (Guiettier board book)

May be my favorite new storytime readaloud. Big dopey Polar Bear can't find his underwear and little mouse tries to help. Very engaging -- as in it engaged the listeners and they shouted out guesses about who was lurking behind each die cut.
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by the immortal Eric Litwin.  Of course White Shoes would be just as great.  Any excuse to read Pete the Cat.

I also use Dini Dinosaur for bath storytime, but I don't think it would hurt kids to hear such a funny little book twice in one year.  Dini is a very young dinosaur -- he gets very dirty playing and when his mom tells him to get ready for the bath, he keeps getting in without taking his clothes off.  Kind of like Froggy Gets Dressed only backwards.Mem Fox's Magic Hat blows into town, landing on villagers' heads and turning them into different animals....  

More ludicrous clothing ideas from Judi Barrett.  A classic.  You can always shorten by a few pages if the kids start to get twitchy. This year I named a boy and asked if he would lend his t-shirt to a porcupine, keeping it personal.

Why do kids love these dorky books about the passionate adoration that monsters, aliens, and dinosaurs feel for underclothing?  I don't know, but author Claire Freedman is on to something with them.

I love Carter Goodrich's slyly humorous series about Zorro and his buddy, so perfectly doggy.  In this, Zorro suffers the burden of an "outfit" his owner thinks looks "so cute" on him.  All the other dogs and cats make fun of him -- until he meets another dog wearing an outfit.

I love all the books I read at storytime or I wouldn't read them, but this one really is esp. for me.

Other good books:

Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won
Which Hat is That? by Anna Hines
Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathon London good flannel or metalboard
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (cut and tell, on Kizclub)
The Pirate and the Penguin by Patricia Storms. (The storyline hinges on the fact that no one can tell the penguin and the pirate apart when the penguin wears the pirate hat and the pirate wears the penguin's sweater.)
Curious George Goes to a Costume Party by Rey.  The usual shenanigans.

Down by the Bay

Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Underwear Gone

I love it! A flannelboard of underwear in assorted colors, sung to the tune of Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Cat Storyhour

What a great session we had! I got out my face paint set from Klutz and did about a half dozen children in only about five minutes.  

The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend. I love to read books in bad foreign accents.

Boris and the Wrong Shadow by Leigh Hodginkson.

  • Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj. Very interactive. I put on my cat makeup, so thata I looked like a cat so the cats in the book would tell us their secrets.  (No one else would let me make them up.) But they all purred, and stretched, etc., so it was a good opener. 
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin.  No book better.
  • Cat Up a Tree by John and Ann Hassett. All the moms were giggling at this charmer.  Great formula: the number of cats increase on each page, and on each page concerned Nana Quimby calls a different institution for help, always unsuccessfully.  I did the city officials in pompous, officious voices. I didn't count the ever increasing cats because the group was a bit young. A surprise hit.
  • There Are Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwarz. This book deserves to be read slowly. It's very interactional because the cats ask a lot of questions as you turn the pages, and the die cuts make for very nice surprises. I had a ball of yarn when I used props for the younger crew, and EVERYBODY wanted a piece of it. Bring a couple next time so the kids can do group play with them. Very big bulky yarn.
  • The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend. I love reading this book and doing bad foreign accents, but I don't know if the kids quite get this tale.

Have You Seen My Cat?  by Eric Carle.  I acted it out with puppets.


This is the way we like to purr, like to purr, like to purr

This is the way we like to purr so early in the morning.

This is the way we wash our paws...

This is the way we play with a ball...

This is the way we hiss at dogs...

This is the way we like to purr, like to purr, like to purr

This is the way we like to purr so early in the morning.

The Old Grey Cat
The old gray cat is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping,

The old gray cat is sleeping in the house

The little mice are dancing, dancing, dancing (children dance)

The little mice are dancing in the house

The little mice are nibbling, nibbling, nibbling (children nibble)

The little mice are nibbling in the house

The little mice are resting, resting, resting (children rest their heads on hands)

The little mice are resting in the house

The old gray cat comes creeping, creeping, creeping (cat begins to creep)

The old gray cat comes creeping in the house

The little mice go scampering, scampering, scampering (children run in place)

The little mice go scampering in the house 

And when the bus went for its usual circuit, there was a cat and a dog on it inside of a baby and a mom. 


Stolen from Literary Hoots  This one turned out to be a real crowd-pleaser and it was really easy for me to prep, so win-win. I did do a bit of instruction for the kids before starting so that they knew what to do with their plain pieces of black construction paper (I did no pre-cutting). Basically, you just fold in half and cut out the letter "C". Use one cut-out piece for the head and the other piece you cut one more "C" to make a tail

We made a messier and more fun version of these by using our oil pastels to color them.  Some very intensely orange, red and yellow cats were created.

 These fingerpuppets are made of rolled crepe paper for the body (Hello Kitty, of course), and dried baby wipes (they dried out sometime in the last three years) for the others.  This gave them a little flexibility. I downloaded some famous heads, we taped them at the top with double sided tape, and I cut up a leftover Fancy Nancy boa for some very effective fur.

Next year try Drat that fat Cat! by Pat Thomson

Friday, September 23, 2016

Road Trip Storytime, Friday, September 30 @ 10:30

  • Rooster's Off to See the World by Eric Carle.  Big Book.  Off to see the world, but he's soooo disorganized!
  • Let's Go for a Drive! by the immortal Mo Willems. Props: jingley keys, accordion map, sunglasses, umbrellas, bags? (cardboard boxes?)
  • In the Driver's Seat by Max Haynes.  Turn your chair around and rock this book!
  • Hungry Bird by Jeremy Tankard. This (whiny) bird went off on a hike with his friends without packing any snacks for himself, and he doesn't like the snacks his friends brought!  Real drama the kids identified with here. We talked about the pleasures of having some grapes and Cheerios packed first, and this book really worked for this young crowd.
  • Seals on the Bus
  • Penguin's Big Adventure by Saloon Yoon.
  • Oh, No! Gotta Go! by Elya.  These much needed pit stops happen to the best of us!
  • Little Red by Bethan Woollvin.  Traveling through the forest! Don't talk to strangers!
  • Are We There Yet by Dan Santat.

Motor Boat
Fire Truck
Wheels on the Bus
Row, Row, Row Your Boat/ gently down the stream/ Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,/ life is but a dream.

 Going on a Bear Hunt
   Stop & Go w. streetlight

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Color Storytime, Friday, September 23 @ 10:30

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

 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.

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.

  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Holding onto the matchbox cars, I put up my 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.) 

  • Five green and speckled frogs, which I do as a clapping song too.


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.

Disco Ball.

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. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Alligator Storytime, Friday, September 16 @ 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.

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.

  • Wide Mouthed Frog.
  • Snip Snap, What's That by Mara Bergman. 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.
  • Do Crocs Kiss? by Salina Yoon. Board Book.  Nice for audience participation; this was a young group.
  • The Three Little Gators by Helen Ketteman. 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.
  • There's an Alligator Under My bed  by Mercer Mayer.  Even at the end of storytime, this book held them. Moms loved the ending.
  • Snappsy the Alligator by Julie Falatko
  • The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett. 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 by Sylviane Donnio. 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 by Ian Whybrow. 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.
  • Open Very Carefully illustrator Nicola O'byrne by Nick Bromley/ 


  • 5 little monkeys swinging from the tree, teasing MR. CROCODILE etc.
  • Row, row, row your boat (if you see a crocodile, don't forget to SCREAM!)
  • Alligator, alligator, alligator pie./If I don't get some, I think I'm gonna cry/You can take away the sun/you can take away the sky/but please don't take away my alligator pie.  -- Dennis Lee.
  • The Lady With the Alligator Purse, board book by Westcott. 
  • See you later, alligator, after a while, crocodile, bye, bye, butterfly.

I dumped some pom poms behind a masking tape line on one side of the room and told the kids it was their job to save their eggs from the birds and the other alligators that wanted to eat them by taking them to the safe nest on the other side of the room, on the other side of another masking tape line.  I gave them dinosaur grabbers from Oriental Trading (leftovers), and considering they were all three years, they did pretty well.  I would have assigned numbers and colors to older alligator children; just working the grabbers was challenge enough this morning.
I realized I hadn't gotten any craft ready this morning, so we did marble painting: a shoebox lid lined with white paper, marbles in little medicine cups, and paints.  This was just the right speed for this bunch. The color experimenting was a lot of fun.

Year before last, 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? Will I make them again?  Kinda labor intensive, and a little too product not process.

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.