It also means we didn't have a lot of traffic moving in and out of the room, and more importantly, our usual school-aged party crashers didn't come to find us! (The story time is open to them, but the group I have in mind tends to misbehave and try my patience.) So, here is what we did.
Song: The Wheels on the Bus
Whenever I feel nervous, I start with this song, because it's four minutes long, and everyone knows it so well. By the time it's over, I'm usually ready to tackle the rest of the session. Today, I did it mostly to kill time so people could find the room we were in.
Book: I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child (2000)
I've never really gotten into the Charlie and Lola phenomenon, but I know they're popular, and I was looking specifically for a book that would be recognized and enjoyed by a variety of ages. As it turned out, this week's audience was mainly toddlers, with a couple of fours and fives, and this book was just the ticket! In this adventure, Charlie tricks Lola into eating her veggies by pretending they are magical concoctions from other worlds.
Song: Monkeys on the Bed
Flannel Board Rhyme: Elephants in the Bathtub
I originally saw this rhyme at SurLaLune Storytime, then adapted it for the flannel board using clip art. I used this elephant and this bathtub.
Flannel Board Song: The Farmer in the Dell
I used felt pieces from kizclub.com and sang these verses:
The farmer in the dell,
The farmer in the dell,
heigh-ho, the derry oh,
the farmer in the dell.
The farmer takes a wife...
The wife takes a child...
The child takes a nurse...
The nurse takes a dog...
The dog takes a cat...
The cat takes the rat...
The rat takes the cheese...
The cheese stands alone...
This song prompted one preschool boy to ask me, "Why does the cheese stand alone?" Why, indeed.
What's Going On In There? by Geoffrey Grahn
This book is very visual, which was tough for today, since folks refused to sit on the floor and sat way far away from me just so they could have chairs. But each page shows a shadow on an apartment window. It looks like people are doing everyday, ordinary things, but upon closer inspection, they're actually building dinosaurs, launching space ships, and making arctic expeditions. It's a bit longer than I would have liked, but it kept everyone's attention through the ending.
Song: Moon Moon Moon by the Laurie Berkner Band (from Victor Vito)
I am trying not to play all Laurie Berkner all the time, but I had to include at least one. And this was a big hit. Two little boys - probably the oldest of the bunch - decided the music sounded like ballet and they turned pirouettes throughout the whole second verse, which was very funny.
Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (from Where is Thumbkin?)
I played this specifically for the aforementioned ballerinos - and it worked like a charm. This version repeats the entire song four times, and by the end, they were worn out and ready to hear one more book.
Book: The Boy Who Cried Wolf by B.G. Hennessey, illustrated by Boris Kulikov
This is a really upbeat and contemporary-sounding version of this book with great dialogue and sound effects. The wolves look scary on only one page, and they don't actually eat the sheep, they just scare them up a tree. The moral isn't explicitly stated, which I actually didn't mind, because it lets kids draw their own conclusions and makes it seem more like a story and less like a lesson. I also love the illustrations - they are really vibrant and interesting to look at.
Song: Where is Thumbkin?