Friday, April 28, 2017

Shape Storytime, Friday, May 5 @ 10:30


  • Ticklemonster by Manceau. 
  • Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald.  A bit like Big Green Monster, i.e., aDORable.  But don't forget to hide the cover!!! And don't forget the intro: this is a guessing game, and it's being read by the brachiosaurus, so be a brachiosaurus!
  • Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh.  Could there be any book that lends itself more to a flannelboard? So charming.
  • Let's Play by Herve Tullet.  Let's see -- a big yellow pom pom and a piece of string?  They really liked this, it was so interactive.  We did it without the pom pom, and even the runners got involved.
  • Friendshape by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  This is really a book about friendship, but the shapes are really cute. The moms really liked it -- for the moms.
  • Brown Rabbit's Shape Book by Alan Baker.  This is a book which uses solid geometry -- the green cubical box, the white cylinder inside, etc.  And I so love blowing up those balloons and letting them go in the audience. I had just used it two story times ago so I didn't use again.
  • Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon. Kinda complex shapes.
  • Go, Shapes, Go! by Denise Fleming.  Again, where are my flannels! 
  • Perfect Square by Michael Hall.  There's a lot of learning going on in this book. You've got the days of the week; the colors on each page, and the shapes, which are not really geometric except for the perfect square.  Get the kids to tell you the colors of the pages as you flip.
  • The Wing on a Flea by Emberley.

Used the toys -- the square bean bags, the oval shaker eggs, the round pom poms and balls, and talked colors and shapes while passing them out. This was fun, but next year I might make this into a real game: pass out the shapes and telling the kids (and their moms), to keep them secret. Put the box in the middle of the room and roll call the shapes: yellow square beanbag! and the kids (and their moms) throw them in. ???


Shape collages, of course!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Manners Storytime, Friday, April 29 @ 10:30 AM

I begin  by explaining that there are different kinds of manners for different kinds of places. (Playgrounds vs. Libraries) Then I talk about the manners people should be using in storytime. Now's your chance to eyeball offenders and get down and dirty, as well as reminding moms you need them too. Good manners means making other people feel good, and when people talk when you're reading a story, it hurts your feelings. You think they don't like it. Rub it in. 

We always sing our hello song, but there are so many ways to say hello.  In some countries, you always bow.  Here, we sometimes slap hands, but I like fist bump. 
Excuse Me by Karen Katz. "I read this to the babies this week, and they didn't know ANY of the answers. Show me how many answers you know." They weren't 100% sure, so we repeated the EXCUSE ME! I'M SORRY! etc. in chorus.
That's Mine!  by Zeveren
The Duckling Gets a Cookie by Mo Willems. Read in two voices, and I look up in duckling's voice to emphasize his smallness.
Hello, Hello! e Miriam Schlein. Very nice about how animals greet one another.
Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins.  THE BEST!!! The cakes: tiny nasty little 
voices. The cyclopes: deep voices. The kids were kind of amazed by the weirdness of this book.
Thank you, Octopus by Darren Farrell. Love it.  Not sure about the voices. Note: my two year olds drew a blank on the egg salad in the bath.  Try tuna salad or hummus.
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food by Jane Yolen.
Mind your Monsters  by Bailey  Say please!

No One Told the Aardvark by Deborah Eaton.  Good for higher level readers, compares human rules to animal ways.
Mind Your Manners. B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra.  A bit long for a very young crowd, great for 3s and 4s.  "Sip your tea and never slurp" song goes with the "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" tune.
Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony.  How do you get a donut? You ask nicely. Strange ending though.
Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell.
Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis. Can't wait to read this one aloud.
Science:  Animal Talk by Etta Kaner (j591.59), pg. 22. The meaning of different animal faces, showing your teeth, eyes closed, etc.


3 nice mice, 3 nice mice, see how nice they are, see how nice they are.
They're always polite when they nibble their cheese.
They never forget to say thankyou and please.
They always remember to cover their sneeze.
Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!
They're 3 nice mice.

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!
No more ducks running in the parking lot! etc.


We just did a generic: scribbling with large crayons on heavy paper and then watercoloring on top.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Earth Day Storyhour, Garden Storyhour, Friday, April 21 at 10:30

What is more magical than planting a seed?

  • My Garden by Kevin Henkes.  Henkes once again speaks truly to how we all feel -- we all want jellybean bushes and chocolate rabbits in our gardens, and to be able to plant seashells if we want to grow seashells. So delightful a read.
  • Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson.  Soooo interactional.  Tap the magic tree, turn the page, and see how your tapping made the leaves grow, the flowers blossom, leaves change.  A beautiful book, perfect for a small storytime. I used it as the conclusion. I had a small, and very young, group, and it worked very well. This year I had a large active group (12), and inviting 12 two-year-olds to tap a book on each page just doesn't work. I tried telling them to tap the air, but those who knew this book all wanted to touch.  Maybe skip for a big group.
  • The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.  Plant a seed, yes, but what happens when you accidentally SWALLOW one? Before I read I reminded the kids that some watermelon does have seeds (!!!) And when I got on the page with the piece of watermelon, I made a point of noticing the little black seed. Get ready to burp.
  • The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. The moms and dads all oohed and ahhed in helpful horror as the Mom and Dad and Brother said, "It won't grow!"
  • Grow Flowers Grow! by Lisa Bruce. (Originally Fran's Flower.) Intro: "This girl makes some mistakes. Let's see what she's doing wrong!"
  • Searcher and the Old Tree by David McPhail. What do trees do for us?  In a clear, compelling (love weather sound effects) tale, McPhail shows how trees protect us.
  • Good Stories:  Nibbles: A Green Tale and Nibbles: Another Green Tale by Charlotte Middleton.  This book really has everything -- good art, a cute guinea pig, and everything you need to know about seeds and gardening.
  • Longer Tale: Pinkalicious GOES GREEN in Emeraldalicious! "I was strolling in the park...suddenly I tripped on a rock and fell, breaking my tiara and wand."  Pinkie's recycling is like nothing's as if she's been on Pinterest for the last six months. She creates thrones, castles and a boat mobile out of the garbage she finds strewn over her favorite picnic site.  Long for the little guys, but chop it up and add a recycling craft and it's a winner.
  • Longer Tale: Rotten Island by William Steig. "This book is about MONSTERS," I said, and the children clung to each other in mock terror.  I did abbreviate the text, but the kids enjoyed this great story.  Just last week one of my storyhour kids gave me a  big pink daisy, and I pulled that out as The Flower.
  • I Went to the Bay by Ruth Miller. This short, rhyming tale perfectly describes Florida wildlife.
  • The Earth Book by Todd Parr.  I dunno, I like to get my message across with a little more liveliness than Parr uses.
  • Dig In! by Mary Peterson. Short and very sweet. 
  • Penguin and Pinecone by Yoon.  A friendship story!
  • Over in the Meadow
Cupcake Flowers 

I succumbed to making flowers out of cupcakes, and it worked out OK. It's not the cheapest craft around; cupcake liners really do cost money, so unless you've picked up a couple on sale, this craft may not be that worthwhile. Also, the crafts on pinterest look adorable but they've used beaucoup high price liners. I got some pastel ones and they were so blah I spraypainted them with leftover spray paint. I wasn't sure about this craft but it did accomodate the skill sets of 2 - 5 year olds. Gluing was all the kids HAD to do, but they could also cut the edges of the flowers, cut the yarn, draw, and crumple tissue paper for the centers.  

Shape Collage
This year a volunteer punched out some shapes, like hearts and circles and cut rectangles. I showed them how to make flowers and butterflies from hearts. I gave them a pile of shapes and had them play with them on the paper (and also cut them up) before I handed out the paste.

based on A Seed Was Planted by Toulla Palazeti

We did this last summer with begonias.  Buy a big, beautiful plant, and then just divide it up into cuttings so that each child can have a new plant.  This works very well with the young ones with no attention spans.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Pre-K Rabbit Storytime, Friday, April 14 @ 10:30

We'll be searching for eggs in the library again this year, so bring your baskets!  You know what I love best about Easter? When all my alumnae come to visit me on their spring break and I get to see how  SMART and GROWN UP everyone is.

2016: This year's Easter Storytime was THE BEST!!!  We had so much fun, and I got to see so many old friends. Eggs were hidden, eggs were found, balloons were blown up.  It was great.

I was late for storyhour so I rushed in garbed in white plush but without my bunny ears. I was carrying my bag with all my hats, and after I apologized, I started trying them on.  "Is this the right hat?" I asked, and pulled on my witch's hat.  "Nooooo!"  I went through a Cat in the Hat hat (NOOOOH!), a pirate hat (NOOOOOO!), and a crown (NOOOOO!) before I pulled on my ears.  Ham I am!


  • Across the Stream BIG BOOK.  
  • Too Many Bunnies by Matt Novak. I had so much fun with this goofy old favorite! I had five little beanie baby rabbits and two strawberry boxes.  All five bunnies were crammed into one of the boxes and the other was empty.  During the book, the bunnies move back and forth between the holes, and I act it out with the bunnies.  
  • Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman.  This is actually a pretty complicated story and a little weird too.  It needs a bit of a set up.  It's about being eaten up, which is always a fave, but it needs a bit of an explanation. Emphasize the chorus, "He's going to eat us up!"
  • Fierce Bad Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Don't forget to bring some wrapping bubbles to stomp on for the boom of the hunter's gun. I just introduced the famous rabbits, Peter Rabbit and Max and Ruby, today.
  • Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes.  You deserve all those Caldecotts. This was a great wrap up tale at the end of story time.
  • Lion vs. Rabbit by Alex Latimer. The pictures are very busy, and they may have missed the humor. 
  • The Easter Bunny that Overslept by Priscilla & Otto Friedrich
  • Daley B. by Jon Blake. This funky old book deals with a very confused bunny who doesn't know what the heck he is, where he should live, or just what being a rabbit is supposed to be all about.
  • "Little Bunny Foo Foo." 
  • "This is the Way We Shake Our Eggs," to the tune of "This is the Way We Wash Our Clothes" and we shook our dollar-store-plastic-eggs-filled-with-lentils-and-taped-shut way up high, way down low, very fast and then oh-so-sloooooow. 
  • "The Bunny Pokey" -- you put your ears, your nose, your tail & your paws in.  At this time I swept away by the whole Easter Bunny spirit. After all, I was the one with the ears. I was the one with a bushy tail.  I felt myself becoming larger then life -- like Kevin Henkes' Little White Rabbit. I was full of myself indeed.
  • "Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose/ Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose/ Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose/ and he flicked it till it flew away...& then ear, paw, tail, etc. (Thanks Miss Mary Liberry!), starring Peter Rabbit and the Fly. 

Shaker Eggs

After years of careful research, I've finally discovered the easy (and only) way to make homemade shaker eggs.  Run the strips of duck tape lengthwise. Then and only then will the eggs not snap open under the baby's determined grips.

Rabbit Mobiles

Have them decorate white paper bags with markers, stamps, stickers, cutting around the edges, etc. These will be the bags for their Easter Eggs. While they do this, you can hide the eggs.  Really, four is plenty per child. A Hershey's Kiss, a butterscotch, and a mini.
A very simple rabbit mobile made of cardstock w/a few stickers.  How I yearn for a diecut at egg time! But Michelle, my obliging teen volunteer, hardly complained at all about cutting out all those bunny rabbits and some eggs.  I gave some visiting four year olds scissors and crayons too, but I kept it simple for the young ones.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Pre-K Egg Storyhour, Duck Storyhour and Chicken Storyhour, Friday, April 7 @ 10:30

Oooh, ducks & chickens & geese -- & foxes! We read some great tales and painted eggs. How could storytime be better?

  • Across the Stream by Mirra Ginsburg. (Big Book -- good for audience interaction)
  • Chicken Little by Rebecca Emberly. Great retelling, funny, colorful illustrations.
  • The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend.  Kids always are amazed when I use my my bad French, Spanish and Western accents on this one.
  • Little White Duck by Walt Whippo 
  • Margaret Wise Brown classic: The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown.  AND I have a golden egg, a bunny, and a chicken puppet! All the grandmas go ahhhh when they see this one.
  • Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore
  • Chicken Story Time by Asher

5 pretty Easter eggs, that’s what they are.
Mother ate the blue one, now there are 4.
Now 4 little Easter eggs, that’s what you see.
Daddy ate the pink one, now there are 3.
3 little Easter eggs looking at you.
Sister ate the yellow one, now there are 2.
2 little Easter eggs, we’re almost done!
Brother ate the purple one, now there’s only 1.
One little Easter egg, that’s all, just one.
I ate that last one, and now there are none.
I substituted the children's names for Mother, Daddy, etc., and even the shyest (Logan!) pretended to gobble them my plastic eggs.

The bus today in Wheels on the Bus was full of ducks, chickens and geese.

This is the Way we Shake our Eggs to the tune of "This is the Way we Wash our Hands". We shook shaker eggs way down low, way up high, really fast and really slooow.

Five Little Ducks that I once knew. Metalboard.

(preceded with short speech abt holding hands in parking lot!)
Five Little Ducks run in the parking lot
1 fell down and he went plop
Momma called the Big Duck and the Big Duck got hot.
Always hold hands in the parking lot!

We don't do enough just plain coloring. These were a big hit in my library.  There are 9 on the page, all different designs. Most kids were happy to do 3.

Pom Pom painted chickies.  
Super easy to do.  These are all blobbed on to a paper with a normal size pompom. The legs are ultra fine sharpie, the eyes black paint done with the back of a paintbrush, and the beaks are drawn on with orange sharpie.

Tinfoil Painting
Eggs painted on tinfoil. Children mixed up baby food jar lids filled with white paint and colored, and I explained what pastel meant. (A little bit of clear dishwashing liquid was used to make the paint stick to the tinfoil.) They painted with q-tips. I showed them how to make polka dots, stripes, and zigzags.
This year I tried just giving them my usual palette of colors and the pastel experiment was lost in the color mixing experiment.  The little lids definitely are the only way to go.

They mostly experimented!  But the pastels worked together beautifully. The eggs should be big enough so they can really experiment.  Although painting on foil is fun, I'm not sure this is the best medium for this -- can't do anything interesting or 3D with it.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Pre-K Funny Storytime, Friday, APRIL FOOL'S DAY @ 10:30

Well, I know we're usually p-r-e-t-t-y darn funny at storytime, but this week we're going to be just plain silly. We sang the hello song in silly voices (deep and growly, high and squeaky, just silly).


  • The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak.  All about the voice.  I bet the babies would love this one too.
  • Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas.  Good for audience participation. Remember to brush up on your chicken dance.
  • 15 Things NOT to Do With a Grandma by McAllister.  We had three grandmas present, so this really hit the spot.  Everything was just silly enough -- perfect for this age group.
  • That Is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems.  Although let's get real, ANY Pigeon book is really funny.
  • Betty Goes Bananas by Steve Antony. I paused a lot before a turned the next page on this book to give the kids a chance to guess how Betty would react to the tragedy of a banana difficult to open, a broken banana, etc.  
  • That is NOT a Good Idea! by the immortal Mo Willems.  I echoed back the baby chick's "That is not a good idea" with "Do you think that was a good idea?" and luckily they were paying attention.
  • Are You a Cow by Sandra Boynton.  Yoon's Do Crocs Meow would have done even better. They were REALLY young this year.
  • The Boy Who Cried Ninja by Latimer.  This kid has it tough.  When they ask him what happened to the last piece of cake and he explains that a ninja (or an alligator or an alien) entered the house and took it, they punish him! He solves his problem by inviting the visiting miscreants to a party at his house.
  • Didn't Get To: Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? by Julie Middleton.  As dad and his son tour the museum, the dad ticking off all the attributes and long names of the dinosaurs, the kid's getting tickled by triceratops etc.  Are the dinosaurs dead, dad? Of course! But....what's T-Rex doing?  The author works everything off the letter D, so as you read the short text, plunk down on the D sound for extra ridiculousness.
  • Chicken Butt by Erica Perl.
  • That's How by Christoph Niemann.  How does stuff work? Not the way this book shows!
  • If you're silly and you know it stick out your tongue.
    If you're silly and you know it stick out your tongue.
    If you're silly and you know then your face will surely show it.
    If you're silly and you know it stick out your tongue.
       Pat your head,
            Rub your tummy
            Do all three
  • 1 2, Chocolate Goo, 3,4, Want some more, 5, 6, pudding mix, 7, 8, get your plate, 9, 10 hungry again!
  • 5 Little Ninjas Fighting with Each Other, One Kicks Super Fast and Turns to Peanut Butter
  • The Banana Song:  (First you peel, peel, peel peel banana, etc.)
Marble Painting

Painting with Balloons

Lesson Learned:  Next year, pass out the balloons and then ask the kids to practice holding them by the knot.  Make sure the balloons are blown up pretty small.  As it was, they just held the balloons and sort of rolled them around in the paint instead of dipping and pressing.  (These are the gorgeous ones I did -- theirs were quite a bit more smeary.) They would probably roll them around anyway once they got started, but start them off right. (We don't want paint on our hands, do we?)

2015: Slime recipe.  
I mixed up and premeasured cups of the glue/water mix. Each kid got one and a spoon and was told to start stirring a bit. Then I went around and added the food coloring color of their choice -- no, they could not do it themselves!  and told them to keep stirring.  Then I went around and added the borax "potion" solution, and told them to watch for the magic.  I guess I'm not much of a scientist -- it's magic, not polymers, to me.  The kids loved this and I think the parents loved it even more.  

Next year I think I'll remember to save the reverse of the shelf paper we use to cover books, so that after the kids mix the stuff up, they can dump it out and play with it on a smooth surface.  Slime sets better as it works.  Even more fun. I might even give them little creatures to embed in the slime.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Baby Storyhour

I loved doing a storytime about babies for BIG KIDS like two-year-olds. And you can always throw baby animals into the mix for variety. I like Farm Animals, Watch Me Grow at 636 pets.

Game: Intro: I had a four sets of animals and their babies pinned to the clothesline. The lion was with her cub, but the others were all mixed up. I asked the kids to help me straighten them out. Is this right? Is this right?


  • Potty Time by Guida van Genechten (Yes! Everyone poops! and it's so funny!) Pause and solicit the "Do zebras have potties?" to get that "Nooo!" from the kids. They'll think it's funnier.
  • King Baby by Kate Beaton.  Must try, toooo funny. More for the moms than the kids, but they thought it was funny too.
  • The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz. Kids all sang along.
  • Royal Superbaby by O'Malley. Every year I think this bunch is going to be much too young for this story, and every year I look up from reading it to see them listening with jaws dropped.  This is a story kids really want to hear, weird though it is to us grown-ups.
  • Rock-a-Bye Romp by Linda Ashman.  A near perfect readaloud. First we sang Rockabye Baby, and the moms gave a little sigh of disapproval afterward. Then we read the book. All thoroughly enjoyed. I do love the Moon's appearance at the end.
  • Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton
  • Baby Says "Moo!" by JoAnn Early Macken. I had puppets for all the animals, so I distributed them among the sitters in front.  Then as I read the book, I approached each child and interacted with them. 
  • Baby Danced the Polka BB by Karen Beaumont
  • Didn't get to: Quickie: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox. I like to remind the kids that when they were all born (Yes! They were born!), the first thing their doctors and nurses and moms and dads did was count all their fingers and toes. So how many fingers and toes do they have? They were born with then fingers and toes, and they still have that many, just like the babies in this book!
  • Hello Baby! by Mem Fox.  Animal babies
  • Mommy, Carry Me Please! by Jane Cabrera. I like this one so much because it talks about how each mom carries her baby.  "Would you like to sit in your mother's mouth?" etc.
  • Maybe: Avocado Baby by John Burningham. The Hargraves are a bunch of weaklings, and at first, their baby is too.  But the children get the idea of feeding their new baby avocado, and in no time he is moving furniture, chasing burglars, and throwing bullies in the nearest pond. For avocado eaters everywhere. Pull it out: ahhhh-voe-caaaahh-doe.
  • Ninja Baby by David Zeltser.  Shorten
  • Before You Were Big by Jennifer Davis. 
Songs Background: Any lullaby CD
  • Over in the Meadow
  • Mama's little baby loves bouncing, bouncing (to Shortnin' Bread). 2nd chorus, wiggling.
  • 5 little babies rocking in a tree
4 little babies blowing kisses at me.
3 little babies knocking at the door.
2 little babies crawling on the floor.
1 little baby playing hide and seek. Keep your eyes closed now, till I say PEEK!
  • Bringing Home a Baby Dinosaur

(sung to I'm Bringing Home a Bumblebee)
I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee
Whoops! It stung me!! 
I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
Won't my mommy hide behind the door?
I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
Whoa! He's heavy!
I'm bringing home a baby grizzly bear.
Won't my mommy pull out all her hair
I'm bringing home a baby grizzly bear?
I'm bringing home a baby dinosaur
Big Bear Hug!
I'm bringing home a baby kitty cat
Feeding him will make my mommy poor.
Won't my Mommy give him gentle pats.
I'm bringing home a baby kitty cat.
Ooooh, he's gone to sleep.
  • Let's make one thing perfectly clear: The babies on my Wheels on the Bus do not go waa-waa-waah. They play peekaboo. I hope yours do too.

Baby Oil Suncatcher
I know, I know, incredibly dorky, huh?  But the kids get into polka dotting, and everyone smells like baby oil instead of poster paint for a change.

Materials:  Construction paper shapes (I just cut up some scrap pieces in odd geometrics and odd colors); baby oil in VERY small cups, Q-tips, washi tape, and straws.

Washi tape made this a VERY simple craft.