My Storytime Favorites, Pt. 1: books tried and true. Trust me — I’m a licensed librarian.

20 Sep

I keep my storytime plans written down.  That way I don’t have to recreate the wheel each year, and if something works one year, it’s sure to work the next.  Yes, I update things, add new books I think the kids will like, change things if necessary, but there are certain stories that NEVER change.  These are the books I LOVE to use in storytime, because the response I get from the kids is amazing.  And if the kids are having fun, they’re learning that books are fun, reading is fun, and they’ll want to learn how to read!  It’s really as simple as that.  Plus, these books are just darn fun for me to perform.

  • Feiffer, Jules.  Bark, George.  I have an awesome story about this book from a storytime I did last week, but I’m going to have to post it later, when I have my notes, which are at work right now (yes, I had to write down something a preschooler said, it was just SO priceless).  Before I turn to the last page of George’s vet visit, the one with the cow (I’ll say no more in case you haven’t read it), I ask the kids what they think is going to happen.  They predict the cow’s appearance, and I express my disbelief (“no, it’s not possible.  I don’t believe it.”).  I turn the book towards myself, turn the page, and gasp in surprise.  The kids will usually start yelling “let me see!”  I turn it around so they can, and they ooh and ahh.  Gotta have a little drama.
  • Walter, Virginia.  Hi, Pizza Man! Sadly, this is out of print.  I have a copy squirreled away so that I’ll always have one to share.  Reading this generally ellicits hysterical, crazy laughter.  Personally, I’m a little frightened by the pizza woman.  I mean, who delivers pizza in gloves and a fur?
  • Yolen, Jane.  How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Dinosaur books are generally a safe bet.  But this one is head and shoulders above many others, and that’s not just the dinos towering over their human parents.  When I read it, I really ham it up, yelling “I wanna hear one book more!” and stamping my feet, and pretending to blubber uncontrollably (the kids think my crying is SO funny.  Um, thanks?)
  • Campbell, Rod.  Dear Zoo.  Really you can’t go wrong with a lift-the-flap.  Or a pop-up.  Really.  When in doubt, go 3-D.
  • Willems, Mo.  Leonardo the Terrible Monster and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  I LOVE Mo Willems.  Love, love, love.  I mean, not only does he write and draw unbelievably creative and deceptively simple books, but he’s darn cute, too.  Leonardo’s fun to read because I get to be the insecure monster trying to scare people: “aggle blaggle!”  But it’s also got such a wonderful message.  And the Pigeon?  Well, c’mon, it’s the PIGEON.  And how much fun is it for kids to be in control for once, to get to say “NO!”?
  • Dewdney, Anna.  Llama Llama Red Pajama.  How can you not love a book that contains the phrase “llama drama?”    Although when I’m reading it aloud, it’s all I can do not to follow up “mama llama” with “ding dong”.  (Get it? Ramalamadingdong. Ha!)  Rhyming books are awesome for helping kids learn phonological awareness skills, and this is one of the best.  The follow ups are great, too: Llama Llama Mad at Mama and Llama Llama Misses Mama.
  • Krosoczka, Jarrett J.  Punk Farm.  Dude, I am a performer, and it shows nowhere more than when I’m reading this book.  When the Punk Farm Band begins their rendition of “Old MacDonald,” I head-bang, screech, and generally do damage to my poor vocal cords.  But ya gotta make Punk Farm sound like a punk band, right?  In the words of the chicken, “let’s do it!”  Check out the sequel, where they take their show on the road (to Colorado, even!): Punk Farm On Tour.

More storytime favorites to come…

4 Responses to “My Storytime Favorites, Pt. 1: books tried and true. Trust me — I’m a licensed librarian.”

  1. missmaryliberry September 25, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    My sentiments exactly!

  2. storytimekids September 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Bark George and Hi Pizza Man are two of my absolute favorite read alouds. Those books are so much fun to read, and the kids love them. Leonardo is such a joy to “perform” (before each storytime, I pysch myself up with “It’s showtime!”, such is my read aloud philosophy). I love love love the pigeon, and look forward to reading it to an older crowd (it hasn’t gone over as well with the younger crowd, but I love it so much I read it anyway). And Punk Farm–I think I embarrassed the kids when I did this one a while back, but the MOMS LOVED IT! We had fun. Storytime is really one big performance, so why not make that performance FUN! Great picks.

  3. missmaryliberry September 21, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Thanks! I think that the bigger a fool you’re willing to make of yourself at storytime, the more the kids love you. I hear “you’re silly” a lot and take it as a big compliment. So, ham it up!

  4. Book Chook September 21, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    Ah, a read-alouder after my own heart! I like to think I am sharing the fun, but sometimes I suspect I am just a big ham through and through. Your favourites sound wonderful. I look forward to discovering more!

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