Tag Archives: books

This storytime is a little fishy…

21 Feb

Okay, that was lame. I admit.

But yes, this is a storytime about fish. Or, more broadly, sea creatures. I start with my fish puppet hidden and ask the kids what animals live in the ocean. I get lots of suggestions before the fish comes out to “bloop bloop” his hello. And, we’re off swimming!

  • Diesen, Deborah. The Pout-Pout Fish. One of the reasons I love this book is for the performance opportunity it gives me.

    Let's go for a swim!

    The Pout-Pout fish sounds a bit like Eeyore, I think, and that’s how his voice comes out of me. Plus, the story is sweet.

  • Grace, Will. The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark. The kids recognize this as a variation of “The Three Little Pigs,” which is cool!
  • Flannelboard: “Five Little Sea Creatures” I substituted a crab for the lobster because that’s the pattern I had. The kids named all the sea creatures and helped with the counting.
  • Peck, Jan. Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea. As early literacy skills learning goes, this book is a winner. It’s repetitive, has opportunities for the kids to participate (by naming the sea creatures and “swimming away”), and is generally just all around fun.
  • Song: “Slippery Fish” – by Charlotte Diamond. Oh, we love this song! It’s silly and gets us all up and moving as we pretend to “swim” our hands like fish, wiggle our tentacles like octopus, and use our arms as a shark’s gaping jaws.

Other books I might substitute based on group’s mood/attention span or my boredom:

  • Blackstone, Stella. Secret Seahorse.  The kids look for the seahorse on each page and tell me where it is. They are not allowed to simply point and say “there!”; they have to describe it’s location with more vocabulary.
  • Cousins, Lucy. Hooray for Fish! “Spotty fish, stripy fish. Happy fish, gripy fish.” Hello, new vocabulary word! Easily deciphered as a synonym for grumpy based on the fish’s face.
  • Heck, Ed. Big Fish, Little Fish. The kiddos help “read” this one, as I read “big fish,” and they can easily recognize the refrain “little fish.” There are also lots of opposites.

Now I gotta get out of the water. My fingers are getting pruny.

We’re Reading Dogs and Cats: A Storytime

1 Feb

Woof! Dog stories. Cat stories. Dog AND cat stories. Here are my picks for a Dog-tastic and Cat-tacular storytime!

I have a lovely chocolate lab puppy puppet, named Hershey,Daisy Kitty who introduces our theme. We talk about why he’s named after chocolate (his color) and if he can eat chocolate (NO WAY! POISON!). We’re going to read stories about dogs, but also some cats, too, because I have the lovely creature to the right living in my house and I’m a bit biased.

  • Masurel, Clare. A Cat and A Dog=Un gato y un perro. A very simple story of a cat and a dog that don’t get along, but the preschoolers love it. We try predicting what will happen when the dog’s ball gets stuck in the tree and the cat’s fish goes in the water.
  • Alborough, Jez. Some Dogs Do. Magical realism in a picture book! “Do dogs fly? Is it true? Some dogs don’t, and some dogs do.”
  • Flannelboard: BINGO. My post on this, and pictures of my flannelboard, here.
  • Dodd, Emma. I Don’t Want a Cool Cat. After reading this one, I follow it up with I Don’t Want a Posh Dog. This gives us the opportunity to compare the covers and talk about what’s the same (the girl), what’s different (one has a dog, the other a cat), and the author’s name on both books (building print awareness and learning about authors and illustrators!).

Other books I like and will trade out for some of the above:

  • Beaumont, Karen.Move Over, Rover! A great repeated line, perfect for little kids who want to help.
  • Gravett, Emily. Dogs. The way Gravett depicts the dog that barks is perfect!
  • Henkes, Kevin. Kitten’s First Full Moon=La primera luna llena de gatita. Beautiful, expressive black-and-white illustrations.
  • Himmelman, Jon. Katie Loves the Kittens. The illustrations/book size are a little small for a large group, but if you’ve got a smaller group, or are sharing with just one young person, this one is lovely. It’s so much fun to express Katie’s excitement: “AROOOOOO!!”

And, don’t forget, when you’re doing dog and cat storytime, you can always include Soft Kitty.  Although I’m kinda partial to this version, performed by a colleague of mine in Colorado.

October means MONSTER STORYTIME!

21 Oct

Last fall, I posted the plan to my monster-themed storytime, that I do around this time every year.  It’s a lot of fun for me, and, I think, the kids, too.

I wanted to add a couple of new additions for this year:

  • McCarty, Peter. Jeremy Draws a Monster. When Jeremy draws a monster, he soon realizes his mistake when the monster asks him to draw item after item: a sandwich, a comfortable chair, a television. But Jeremy’s pen also yields the solution in this non-scary monster book. I don’t THINK I really do voices, but when I read this one for the first time, the monster’s voice came out of me so clearly. It’s a sort of slightly-gruffer, more-enunciated Grover voice.
  • I like this rhyme:

If I were a happy  monster, I’d go HA! HA! HA!

If I were a sad monster, I’d go BOO HOO HOO.

If I were a mad monster, I’d go STOMP! STOMP! STOMP!

If I were a scared monster, I’d go AHH! AHH! AHH!

But I’m just me, you see, so I’ll just READ, READ, READ. (open and close hands like a book)

I hope you’re all having fun with your little monsters (and I’m not referring to the Lady Gaga kind)!

Brand-new books the preschoolers (and I) like

16 Aug

In addition to Pete the Cat and Jump!, this summer I’ve been collecting fun newly-published (or just new to my library) books that I want to add to my storytimes this year.  It’s always fun to try out a new title on the preschoolers; sometimes (oftentimes) it works, and sometimes, to my surprise, it falls flat.  But I really enjoy sharing a book that I’ve just discovered and really love, and it makes it all the more sweet when the little guys like it too.  Here are some of my new faves:

  • Geringer, Laura.  Boom Boom Go Away. This one has a great refrain that the kids I read it to picked up on right away. They always came in on the “go away!”  Lots of sounds to make, which reinforces phonological awareness.
  • Hendra, Sue.  Barry, the Fish With Fingers. Okay, so maybe here in the U.S. we don’t call fish sticks “fish fingers”.  But that doesn’t make this book any less silly.  After you read it, you can talk about things we can do with our fingers.  And things we probably shouldn’t (*cough* sticking them in your nose *cough*).

    Wiggle those fish fingers!

  • Doodler, Todd H.  Animal Soup. Take a squirrel, cross it with a whale, and what do you get? A SQUALE, of course! This pictures are the best part of this book, although this book can be used for print awareness: I run my fingers under the words squirrel, whale, and squale to show the kids what I was reading.
  • Silly daddy!

    Shea, Bob. Oh, Daddy! Daddy can’t do anything himself, like get dressed, get in the car, or hug. His little hippo has to show him every time. Oh, daddy!  Can’t wait to see Shea’s Dinosaur vs. the Potty, too – it’s coming out in September!

  • Thomson, Bill.  Chalk. Okay, so I’m not yet sure how this is going to play in storytime as I haven’t used it yet. And it has NO WORDS. This will be a great one for narrative/storytelling kids as I hope to have the preschoolers tell me what’s happening rather than me reading the story.  I’ll let you know how it goes. I CAN say, for sure, that this one will be GREAT for one-on-one sharing.
  • Bloom, Suzanne.  What About Bear? Bear and Goose. Such good friends. In fact, you could say they are splendid friends, indeed.  But what happens when tiny Fox enters the scene, and deems bear too big, too grumpy, and too far away to play with? Will Goose abandon his old friend in favor of a new one? Read it and find out! And if the picture of little Fox hiding behind his tail doesn’t make you go “awwwww”, then, well, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

    Mem Fox! Jan Thomas!

  • Fox, Mem. Let’s Count Goats. Okay, so I’m cheating a little here. I haven’t actually seen this one, so I don’t really know ifI like it yet. But, given the factors involved (Mem Fox, illustrator Jan Thomas, goats!?), I can predict that I will probably LOVE it.  And since the preschoolers have always reacted well to both Fox and Thomas (haven’t tested goats on them), I can be pretty sure they will love it too.

Which books are you looking forward to sharing? I polled some fellow librarians on twitter, and these are the titles they shared: How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills (looks cute to me!), Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie by Herman Parish,  City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, and Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis.

The best way to combat illness: a storytime!

11 Dec

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?

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