Given that we’re all paying extra attention to staying germ-free right now, I thought it was time for a “sick” storytime. No, I’m not reading those books my former boss and I always joked about including in an “inappropriate stories” storytime (Don’t Call Me Little Bunny, anyone?), but rather stories about feeling ill and getting better.
We start with my little gorilla puppet, Frankie, who has a tissue attached to his hand by a poorly-hidden rubberband. Frankie sneezes a few times, covering his sneeze with his kleenex. This is the perfect time to remind ourselves that we cover our coughs and sneezes with our elbow!
On to the books: I use a selection of these (again, the larger number is so that I have a options based on attention spans, amount of settling time, ages of group, etc.).
- Yolen, Jane. How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? Can’t go wrong with dinosaurs. Plus, I get to whine.
- Wilson, Karma. Bear Feels Sick. I love all of these bear books. The refrain “And the bear feels sick” allows the kids to join in, building narrative skills. I do a LOT of question-asking during storytime (dialogic reading!) and we talk about why bear’s friends get sick (did you notice he doesn’t cover his sneeze in one illustration?).
- Charlip, Remy. Mother, Mother, I Feel Sick, Send for the Doctor, Quick, Quick, Quick! An oldie, but a very goodie. Mom calls the doctor because her son has a stomach ache and looks like he’s swallowed a beach ball. Turns out, he HAS swallowed a ball, along with a bunch of other non-food items! There’s lots of opportunity for the kids to interact with the story here, as they get to figure out what the boy ate based on the sillouette-shadow-puppet illustrations.
- Rostocker-Gruber, Karen. Rooster Can’t Cock-a-dooodle-doo. When Rooster develops a sore throat he’s unable to wake the other animals and the farmer. What will they do? While the illustrations (totally silly, by the way) are a little smaller than I would usually choose for storytime, the story is so cute — especially when Farmer Ted sets Rooster up in a lawn chair with a cup of tea.
- Tankard, Jeremy. Boo Hoo Bird. I am a big fan of Bird, even though he is a bit of a drama king. When playing catch with Raccoon, Bird gets bonked on the head. His friends try all kinds of things to make him feel better — hugs, kisses, cookies, even a band-aid — but nothing works. Not even the COOKIE, my friends. What will they do to stop his crying? A longer review I wrote can be found here. While techinically, this is not a book about being sick, it IS a story about getting well. My storytime, my rules.
As a break in between the stories we share this action rhyme, which I found in the listing for the “Feeling Sick” box from the King County Library’s Books to Grow On service. Sometimes, if the kids aren’t too young or too wiggly, after we say the rhyme we talk about the words in it that rhymed. Practicing rhyming words is a great way for young kids to learn to hear the smaller sounds made up in words, which will help them sound out words when they start to read on their own:
Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick [hold hands over stomach as if ill]
So she called for the doctor to come quick, quick, quick [pretend to call]
The doctor came with her bag [pretend to hold bag handle] and hat [hand on head]
And she knocked on the door with a rat-a-tat-tat [knock on door]
She looked at the dolly and she shook her head [shake head]
She said, “Miss Polly, put her straight to bed.” [shake finger]
She wrote on the paper for a pill, pill, pill [pretend to write on paper]
“I’ll be back in the morning with my bill, bill bill [hold out hand]
I feel better already! What are your favorite “sick” stories?