Raar! It’s time for a Monster Storytime!

7 Oct

I don’t generally plan a halloween storytime, unless a school specifically asks for it — most of the classes I visit don’t have a Halloween celebration.  Instead, I plan a monster-themed storytime that I love to perform.  It’s only slightly scary, and a whole-lotta fun.

My good friend Ogg

My good friend Ogg

My shy, scared little monster friend Ogg (not a puppet but a plush toy) introduces the theme.  He’s reluctant to come out of his bag, but when the kids promise not to scare him, I bring him out.  He’s my good friend, and the kids usually wave nicely and treat Ogg very sweetly.  And then, on to the books:

  • Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems.  Leonardo is a terrible monster — terrible at BEING a monster, that is.  He tries and tries to scare people, but he just doesn’t have what it takes.  He decides that he can find success by finding the “most scaredy cat kid in the world and scaring the TUNA SALAD out of him” (which, in my opinion is one of the best lines ever written in a children’s book).  He thinks he scares Sam (the scaredy cat kid), but really, Sam just needs a friend.  Leonardo finds that if he can’t be a terrible monster, he can be a wonderful friend.
  • There Was An Old Monster by Rebecca, Adrian, and Ed Emberley.  A new favorite — I’ve only added it to the storytime in the last couple of days, and today I had to read it TWICE the kids liked it so much.  I had them clap their hands and keep a beat for me, and I chanted the story.   At “scritchy SCRATCH scritch” we scratched our fingers on our legs. They helped me out, too, chiming in on “still felt sick!”.  This is a great one for phonological awareness, with a beat and a rhyme. 
  • Flannelboard: 10 little monsters.  I wrote about this in a post here.
    10 Little Monsters Flannelboard

    10 Little Monsters Flannelboard

  • Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley.  Boy, those Emberleys know how to write a good monster book!  This is a big favorite with the kids, and they’ve heard it again and again, but still love it.  I have a puppet version that a kind preschool teacher gave me a few years ago — the big green head with two big yellow eyes, long bluish-greenish nose, big red mouth with sharp white teeth, two little squiggly ears, and scraggly purple hair (that attach with velcro).  When we tell each part of the monster to “go away!”, I tear it off the face and toss it over my shoulder.  Apparently, if you’re a preschooler, this is hilarious.
  • Go To Bed, Monster! by Natasha Wing.  Another new-ish favorite.  When Lucy cannot (will not) sleep one night, she decides to draw a monster.  She’s not afraid of her monster, and invites him to play!  After a fun play session, she’s tired and wants to go to bed.  But now Monster will not go to bed!  She draws him a bed, pyjamas, food, and other things, all in an attempt to get him to go to sleep.  This is a descendant of Harold and the Purple Crayon, and it is great.
  • The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone.  I didn’t know this one as a kid; how did I miss it?  Starring loveable, furry old Grover from Sesame Street, we are encouraged NOT to turn the pages for fear of coming to the end of the book and finding the monster.  I can do a pretty decent “grover-ish” voice, and the kids really get into it, encouraging me to knock down all of Grover’s attempts to keep us from turning pages.  This one’s great for learning print awareness, as well, as the text is written in large speech bubbles and plays a prominent part in the illustrations.
  • Monster, Monster by Melanie Walsh.  This one, sadly, is out-of-print, and the few copies my library has will probably not last much longer.  But the kids liked it so much, and I wanted to keep it in my reperatoire, so I bought a copy through ebay for my personal storytime collection (I will probably have to do the same for Hi, Pizza Man!).  The kids and I guess which black blob with eyes is a monster, and then I lift the blob (it’s a flap!) to reveal something with the same shape, but not at all monster-like — a cowboy, a nurse, a mouse.  We DO, however, find the monster by the end.  Lift-the-flap books are always a hit.

Obviously, there are more books/activities here than will fit in a 30 minute storytime.  I plan extra books, though, so I have options — I might modify the plan based on how well the kids are listening that day, how much time it takes us to get settled, how young the group is, etc.  It’s nice to be able to change things up if necessary. 

So go forth, all you friendly monsters, and share the fun!  RAAAAARRRR!

One Response to “Raar! It’s time for a Monster Storytime!”

  1. Meg September 26, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    Hi Mary, I love your idea of hiding the “shy” monster and making the children promise not to scare him! Where did you find that adorable monster?

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