Feelings! Whoa whoa whoa…!

26 Feb

If you sang along while reading that title, you are my new best friend. If not, well, I still like you, but you need to brush up on your cheesy pop tunes of the 70s.

Perfecting a storytime about feelings (or, if you’re fancy, emotions) has been challenging for me. Often the books for kids about

The original Grumpy Bird. From http://cutengrumpy.blogspot.com/

feelings are rather didactic and not so much fun to read. Same with the songs/fingerplays I’ve found. But I’ve whipped one up that seems to be holding on to the kids’ attention, so I thought I would share.

One of my favorite puppets, Frankie the small gorilla, starts things off (mostly because his hands are so big and cover his face adequately). He greets everyone and then covers his eyes. I ask what wrong, and he tells us he’s “feeling sad.” He doesn’t have a reason – he’s just sad. So we decide to read him some stories to try and cheer him up.

  • Willems, Mo. My Friend is Sad. The perfect book to show off your melodrama skills – Gerald the elephant alternately sighs, cries, and is finally euphoric at seeing his friend who has tried so hard to cheer him up.
  • Chodos-Irvine, Margaret. Best Best Friends. Mary and Clare are best BEST friends, until jealous rears its ugly head and makes Clare say things she regrets. But friends can, and do, get mad at each other and still be friends in the end.
  • Activity: “Feelings Faces”. The kids and I make our best sad, mad, scared, surprised, confused, and happy faces.
  • Menchin, Scott. Taking a Bath With the Dog and Other Things that Make Me Happy. Sweet Pea doesn’t have her smile, so she goes asking various random people and animals what makes them happy. The kids helped me by identifying on each page (based on picture clues) what it was that made that person/creature happy. Afterwards, if the group was small enough and there was time, we each named on thing that made us happy. Surprisingly few of the kids mentioned princesses and superheroes, but more often said things like “being with my mom” or “playing with my brother.” Made me happy just hearing them!
  • Tankard, Jeremy. Grumpy Bird. Holy guacamole, I love this book. Bird is grumpy — too grumpy to fly — so decides to take a walk. His friends come along, and invariably change his mood.
  • Song: “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” I play this on the uke, and we get up and do the motions for various feelings:

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re sad and you know it, say boo hoo (we also wipe our eyes)
If you’re mad and you know it, stomp your feet
If you’re scared and you know it, hide your eyes

Because I like happy best of all, we end by reprising clapping our hands, and maybe jumping up high, and shouting hooray. Yay!

Other books I might use if there’s time or I want to switch things up:

  • Rayner, Catherine. Augustus and His Smile/Augusto y su sonrisa. Augustus tiger has lost his smile. So he sets off on an adventure to find it! The illustrations are GORGEOUS, and it’s available in Spanish too!
  • Hodgkinson, Leigh. Smile! Sunny, like Augustus, has also lost her smile and sets out to find it. She discovers it when she’s not looking for it, but playing a game with the dog.
  • Verroken, Sarah. Feeling Sad. I love the woodcut illustrations, but I don’t think the kids loved this quite as much as I would have liked. It’s pretty low-key. But you might have the right group for it.
  • Emberley, Ed. Glad Monster, Sad Monster. I really wanted to make a felt board of this, but my program copies were out and I never got one in fromt the library! Bummer. Next time.
  • Bang, Molly. When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry. A Caldecott Honor Book!
  • Smith, Linda. Mrs. Biddlebox. If only we could all bake our bad day into a cake. Marla Frazee’s illustrations are glorious.

Hope this storytime puts you in a good mood!

4 Responses to “Feelings! Whoa whoa whoa…!”

  1. MaryMargaret February 27, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    http://www.amazon.com/Many-Colored-Days-Fancher-Seuss/dp/0679875972

    This is a feeling book I often use with much success with my preschool group (which includes birth to5)

  2. Laura K February 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    This is great and sounds like so much fun. Very thoughtful. I’ll have to share with my mom (she’s a teacher).

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