Tag Archives: Monsters

Flannel Friday: Monsters the Easy-Peasy Mac-N-Cheesy Way

11 Oct

Several years (years? YEARS.) ago I posted about a 10 little monsters game we do in storytime. Each monster is a different color and after we’ve counted them and identified their colors, I turn the flannelboard around and take a monster away. The kids get to guess which color is missing. It’s fun! The monsters I was using, however, were looking pretty shabby. Plus, a few of them mysteriously disappeared. So, it was time for replacements.

In a fit of laziness, I decided to freehand my own monsters rather than cutting patterns out of paper and then using them to make the felt ones. After a couple of false starts, I came across the magic formula for creating an easy monster:



Seriously. Cut out a shape – circle, square, cloud, blobule, etc. Add some legs, arms, horns, antennae. Glue on some eyes. Paint on a mouth and maybe some eyebrows. Instant monster – no pattern needed!

Shh....don't tell the others, but these three are my favorites.

Shh….don’t tell the others, but these three are my favorites.


This week’s roundup will be hosted by Lisa. To see all the previous posts, visit our Pinterest page via the icon to the right.

Happy flanneling!

Flannel Friday: (No Sew) Monster Finger Puppets

19 Oct

Oh boy, do I LOVE how these little monsters turned out!

I was inspired by this owl finger puppet post* from playingwithwords365.com to make these monsters.  As you can see in that post, the puppets are a rectangle of felt, rolled into a tube with ends glued together. She then folded over two edges of the tube to create the owl “ears.”

I did the same for a couple of my monsters (fuschia, although it’s covered by pompom, and dark blue) but for the other three I improvised the tops, gluing each in a slightly different way. I then attached pompoms and googly eyes, and gave each a puffy paint smile.

Silly little monsters!

I found several different “5 little monsters” poems to use (see link), but this one was my favorite:

5 little monsters sleeping in my bed,

1 crept out from under the spread

I called to mama and mama said,

No more monsters sleeping in your bed!


No little monsters sleeping in my bed

None crawled out from under the spread.

I called to mama and mama said,

There are no monsters! Now go to bed!

This week’s roundup will be hosted by Mollie Kay! And if you’d like to see all of the past flannels, helpfully organized into categories, click the icon to the right to visit our pinterest page! To learn more about Flannel Friday (and to get more involved) visit our website!

Happy flanneling!

*I’m totally making the owls too.

Book Review: The Monsters’ Monster by Patrick McDonnell

14 Oct

It’s been QUITE A WHILE since I posted a book review. Perhaps that’s because I’ve not felt inspired to do so in a while? Maybe, maybe not. At any rate, I felt VERY inspired to write about Patrick McDonnell’s (he’s the creator of the Mutts comic and several other lovely picture books) new story, The Monsters’ Monster.

Grump, Groan and Gloom ‘n Doom are monsters. At least, they THINK so. The like to SMASH, BASH and CRASH, and they live in a gloomy castle on a hill above a monster-fearing town. However, they can’t decide which of them is the MOST monsterly. All of their debates on the subject end in a brawl (these are two of the glorious vocabulary words used in the book: debate and brawl). So, Grump, Groan and Gloom ‘n Doom decide to solve the problem by making the BIGGEST, BADDEST monster EVER. They gather supplies (like gunk, glue, and a smelly old shoe) and, in true Frankenstein fashion, raise their monster up to the heavens for a jolt of lightning. When their monster is lowered to the ground and begins to tear off his bandages, they cheer “It’s alive!”

And then the monster utters his first words: “DANK YOU.”

Wait, what? Who is this BIG, BAD monster saying thank you? Monsters don’t say  that! But Monster finally plows through a wall and heads toward the village to the bakery. Grump, Groan and Gloom ‘n Doom  cheer and follow closely behind, hoping to hear the “howls and yowls” of the bakery’s inhabitants. But when Monster emerges, having NOT smashed up the bakery, with a small white paper bag, what will they do?

This is JUST the right kind of not-so-scary story that’s right for young kids. It’s a bit long for toddlers, and introduces lots of great new words to add to a preschooler’s vocabulary. And the message of happiness at simply being alive? LOVELY. McDonnell’s illustrations are silly and filled with detail, but the muted shades of green, orange and grey are just right for the slightly-eerie tone. Add this to your Halloween or Monster storytime ASAP. You WON’T regret it – and neither will the kids who get to enjoy it!


What Monsters Are Made Of

14 Apr

Today we were reading The Dark, Dark, Night by M. Christina Butler, in which frog discovers what he thinks is a pond monster.

I was informed of this by a young man: “Monsters are made out of costumes.”

I think he has a point.

Sleepy Bears: New bear stories for storytime

23 Nov

Around this time last year, I posted a bear storytime. October and November, with their falling leaves, first snows, and general chilliness, seem about the right time for those bears to crawl into their caves and hibernate. But before they do, I want to share a few new books I’ve added to my repertoire:

  • Brown, Peter. Children Make Terrible Pets.

    Can I keep him?

    Lucy Bear finds a child spying on her as she twirls her way around the forest. She immediately takes “Squeaker,” as she names him, home and asks if she can keep him. Reluctantly, mom says yes, and Lucy and Squeaker become inseperable (new vocabulary word!)  friends. Until Squeaker begins to prove why Lucy’s mom thinks that “children make terrible pets.” I adore the illustrations in this book, with muted colors and faux-wood grains. Plus, Squeaker really is darn cute.

  • Wheeler, Lisa.  Ugly Pie. This story, about a bear who sets out to find the ingredients to make an “ugly pie”, allows me to channel some of my relatives and sing/speak in a southern accent. For those of you who do crafts, perhaps you could give each child a circle of brown construction paper (the pie crust) and allow them to draw/paste pictures of food on the crust in order to invent their own ugly pies? (By the way, ugly pie isn’t particulary disgusting – it’s just not pretty.)
  • Wright, Maureen. Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep. I first heard about this one thanks to a reader of this blog! Bear doesn’t hear very well, and when Old Man Winter tells him to “sleep, big bear, sleep”, he mistakenly thinks he’s supposed to drive a jeep, leap, dive deep, and do other curious things that rhyme with “sleep.”
  • Wargin, Kathy-Jo. Scare A Bear. Do YOU know how to scare a bear? What if that bear wants to stay and swim? Join your campfire? Sleep overnight? How will you make him go?

Any new bear stories you’d put off hibernating for?


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)!

Feltboard, flannelboard, whatchamacallit – that thing you stick stuff on.

11 Sep
  • I use a flannelboard (feltboard? I never know which term to use)  a lot in my storytimes, and the kids really seem to enjoy anything I stick on the blue felt.  I carry a big red portable flannelboard and I often have kids point at it and say, “can we do that now?”   I have couple of ones that are particularly successful:
  • BINGO.  Obviously, the song alone is fun.  But the way I’ve modified it for my flannelboard really (I hope) reinforces phonological awareness — the ability to hear the smaller sounds making up words. We start with the 5 letters, each on a bright colored square.  As I put each on the board, we say the letter, but also say the sound it makes: “What letter is this? B.  What sound does it make?  Buh. Buh.”  We go through the letters and sounds again, and I tell the kids that as we put the sounds together we make the word: “Buh, Ih, NN, Guh, Oh.”  I say it faster and faster until we’ve got the word “Bingo!”  I run my finger under the word each time, from left to right.
    The letters to the song "Bingo" on my flannelboard.

    The letters to the song "Bingo" on my flannelboard.

    We sing the song the first time through, saying each letter.  Then, I turn over the first letter to reveal…. a dog!  The next time we sing, I explain, instead of saying the letter B, we’re going to Bark.  One time — for one dog.  And then say the rest of the letters.  Singing commences…

    Bingo flannelboard with 1 dog showing

    Bingo flannelboard with 1 dog showing

    We continue singing, turning over one letter to reveal a different dog each time.  We count the dogs to see how many times we will have to bark.  I ask the kids to guess what animal will appear next, giving them outlandish ideas like “octopus!” and “hippopotamus!”, while they continue to insist it will be another dog.   Finally, our last time through the song is all dog barks.

    All dogs!

    All dogs!

The letters are felt, hot-glue-gunned onto felt squares.  The dogs were taken from Microsoft Word clipart, printed out, and attached to the felt with contact paper (not the best, most-sticky way to do it, but they’re okay).

  • WHICH MONSTER (DINOSAUR, WHATEVER) IS MISSING? This one is less about early literacy skills and more about colors and memory.  I have 10 monsters (complete with googly eyes), each in a different color.  I put them all on the board, singing:

“One little, two little, three little monsters.  Four little, five little, six little monsters.  Seven little, eight little, nine little monsters.  Ten little monsters roar.  ROAR!”

We go through and name all of the colors, and then I tell the kids to take a good look, as I’m going to take one away and they’ll have to tell me which one is missing.  I turn the board around so only I can see it, hide behind it, and tell them not to peek (they always try to peek!).  I make a big show of “hmmming” and even sing a little song to myself: “I’m taking away a monster, a monster, a monster.  I’m taking away a monster, which one will it be?”  Occasionally I peek over the edge and glare at the kids as if I know that they’re peeking (this always gets a BIG laugh).  I remove a monster and ball it up in my fist.  Turning the board around I ask the kids to guess which color is gone.  We do this several times, with me eventually taking away two or three at a time.

This game has been a big hit.  The teachers are also able to evaluate which kids need help with their colors, and which have it down!  It can be done with lots of different themes — I have a set of 10 dinosaurs as well.

I don’t have any pictures of this one, but will try to take some and post them soon.  What are your storytime flannelboard (feltboard) hits?  And what the heck do you call that thing?

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