Friday, April 7, 2017

May Story Time Themes

My go-to themes for May are connected to spring, growing, flowers, gardens, and Mother's Day.


Suggested Books:
  • How to Grow a Friend by Sara Gillingham
  • Alison's Zinnia by Anita Lobel
  • The Rose in My Garden by Anita Lobel 
  • Fantastic Flowers by Susan Stockdale
  • This is the Sunflower by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Donald Crews

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:
  • Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild by Mem Fox, illustrated by Marla Frazee
  • Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by  Barbara Lavallee
  • Mother, Mother, I Want Another by Maria Polushkin Robbins, illustrated by Jon Goodell
  • My Mom by Anthony Browne
  • The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Tomie de Paola
  • This Quiet Lady by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Anita Lobel


Suggested Books: 
  • Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar by Clare Jarrett 
  • Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming 
  • Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! by Bob Barner 
  • Butterfly Butterfly by Petr Horacek
  • The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
  • I Love Bugs! by Philemon Sturges 
  • Yoo-Hoo Ladybug by Mem Fox, illustrated by Laura Ljungkvist


Suggested Books:
  • A Garden of Opposites by Nancy Davis 
  • In the Garden: Who's Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George 
  • Inch By Inch by David Mallett, illustrated by Ora Eitan 
  • My Garden by Kevin Henkes 
  • Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott 
  • Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
  • Whose Garden Is It? by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Jane Dyer 

Extension Activities:

Fruits & Veggies

Suggested Books:
  • The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson
  • Jamberry by Bruce Degen
  • The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood
  • The Pea Patch Jig by Thacher Hurd
  • Rah Rah Radishes by April Pulley Sayre 
  • Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens

Extension Activities:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 3/29/17 (Friends Theme)

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, illustrated by Beni Montresor
This is the first time in my long history of using this book at story time that it was a total flop. The audience was a bit young - average of 2 today, probably - but even the kids who were the right age just didn't seem to "get" the book. So disappointing.

Song with Ukulele: The More We Get Together
We sang the original version of the song, and then changed the word "get" to action words like clap, stomp, roll, and read. The group knew the song, and I think the novelty of the ukulele was appealing even though most of the kids didn't want to do the motions.

Book: My Friends by Taro Gomi
This book was the best of the session. It's very straightforward which seemed to resonate with the younger ones.

Song with Ukulele: Johnny Has One Friend
This is an Ella Jenkins song I've been singing with my kids. Even though it doesn't have much of an ending, the group liked it.

Rhyme: Dance Your Fingers
I used this rhyme to make up for the fact that Johnny Has One Friend has no real ending. The kids loved it!

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun

Songs with Ukulele and Shaker Eggs: 

  • Stop and Go
    This is another Ella Jenkins song. Instead of the motions she uses (walk, skate, etc.) I sang about shaking eggs, and then shaking them high, low, fast, and slow. The slow verse was too hard to sing and I got completely tongue-tied, but the parents and kids all loved this, and I want to use it again. 
  • Can You Shake Your Egg With Me?
    This is the shaker song this group likes the most. We did it the normal way, I just played the ukulele instead of shaking an egg and pointed to the body parts between verses. 

Book: Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike, illustrated by Patrice Barton
This group got really restless once the shaker eggs were put away, and they barely paid attention to this book. I kept on with some of the rest of my plan, but I probably could have ended story time here.

Rhyme: This is Big Big Big

Song: Put Your Hands Up High
I threw this in because the group was so restless and I thought it might calm them down for the last book.

Book: A Year with Friends by John Seven, illustrated by Jana Christy
Thankfully, this was a very short book because everyone's attention span was pretty much spent by this point and only my own kids were listening.

Ukulele Medley: ABCs/ Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/ Baa Baa Black Sheep

Goodbye Song: Chickadee

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 3/22/17 (Berries Theme)

This session was very well-attended: fourteen kids and nine adults, including me and the girls. I think this is the biggest audience we have had since the second week.

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
This might be the longest book I've ever read to this group. One boy identified it as a favorite, and I think the older end of the group (ages 3 to 3 1/2) appreciated having a story with a bit more plot than usual. The toddlers were not too restless, except for my own who spent half the story trying to climb into my lap.

Rhyme: Two Little Brown Bears
I rewrote Two Little Black Birds to suit the theme of the book. This group really likes very simple fingerplays, so it worked great.

Rhyme: Blue is the Lake

Book: Jamberry by Bruce Degen
This book was a favorite of a few of the kids, including my toddler. I have never really used it in story time very much, but it's growing on me. The group was the most attentive for this book.

Song: Head and Shoulders Baby

Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Book: The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
I didn't get much of a reaction at all to this book, so I decided not to push for a fourth book, especially since Blackberry Ramble was pretty long.

Song: Mr. Sun

Songs with Shaker Eggs:
Song: Chickadee

Monday, March 27, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 3/8/17 (Up, Up and Away Theme)

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: The Grumpalump by Sarah Hayes, illustrated by Barbara Firth
I traditionally have the kids perform hand motions to accompany this book, but this group is young (lots of toddlers) so I read it without the interactive elements and it worked just as well.

Song: Way Up in the Sky

Book: Molly Who Flew Away by Valeri Gorbachev
This book is a little bit longer than I realized, but most of the kids were into it.

Rhyme: Five Balloons in the Sky
I've seen others do this as a flannel board, but I made it into a fingerplay.

Book: Higher Higher by Leslie Patricelli
This was the hit of the session. A couple of moms took down the title to find it for their kids.

Song: Here We Go Up Up Up 

Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Song: Mr. Sun

Book: Hello, Airplane by Bill Cotter
The illustrations really make this book, and there were a few kids who really reacted to them.

Song: I'm an Airplane
I find it impossible to get audiences to sing in a call and response format, so this song was a bit awkward, but the really little ones were able to do the motions, so that was a plus.

Book: I Want to be An Astronaut by Byron Barton
This group is not that big on nonfiction, but they did like this book.

Song: Moon Moon Moon 

Shaker Egg Songs:

  • Egg Shakers Up  
  • Can You Shake Your Egg With Me?
  • Chickadee
    I tried to put the shaker eggs at the end of the session to avoid having to collect them mid-session, so we just held onto them for the goodbye song. I didn't like doing this song with the shakers, however, and won't do it that way again. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Build a Better World: Middle Grade Book List for the 2017 Summer Reading Program

These books for upper elementary and middle school readers all relate to themes of Architecture, Building, and Construction which are the focus of this year's Build a Better World summer reading program.

My Life in Dioramas by Tara Altebrando
Kate Marino loves her family home, Big Red, and she can't bear the thought of it being sold. As her parents show the house to potential buyers, Kate works to scare them away with a series of pranks.

Fort by Cynthia DeFelice
Eleven-year-old friends Wyatt and Augie are thrilled when they are given permission to build and sleep out in their very own fort, but they don't count on being discovered by Gerard, a teenager in the neighborhood with special needs, or becoming his defenders against some serious bullies.

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
After Dutch schoolgirl Lina writes an essay about the lack of storks in the fishing village of Shora, her teacher challenges her and her five classmates to find a way to bring the storks back to their community.

Ramshackle Roost by Jane Flory
The Stuart family relocate to a tumbledown shack after a falling out with their landlords during a 1920s summer.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Castle Glower, which has a mind of its own and changes its own layout periodically, is the setting for a tale of political intrigue starring Celie, the youngest daughter of King Glower the 79th, who must help her brother Rolf prove that their parents and older brother have not been killed and and drive off the usurpers who would try to steal the throne.

The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton
Mysterious happenings ensue when Thomas Small, his parents, and his infant siblings move from North Carolina to Ohio to live in a house which was part of the Underground Railroad and belonged to an abolitionist named Dies Drear.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Afflicted by a curse that drives her from her family, Sophie finds herself seeking shelter in the mysterious moving castle of the dreaded Howl, who has a reputation for harming young girls.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford
During his Christmas vacation, Milo and his family expect their inn, Greenglass House, to be vacant, so they are shocked when, one after another, guests keep arriving. Amidst the crowd, Milo links up with the cook's daughter, Meddy, who teaches him to play a roleplaying game that allows them to spy on the suspicious behavior of the guests, all of whom have ulterior motives.

The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit
During a holiday from school, three siblings stumble upon a castle, and a young girl who claims to be a princess. When the princess accidentally turns invisible, an adventure begins.

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Deja, a ten-year-old homeless girl, learns for the first time about what happened in New York City on September 11, 2001 and how her father was affected.

Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder
Henry and Emma, Roy and Susan discover a magic wall and use it to satisfy some of their wishes.

Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre
When Louise “Lou” Mayhew learns that her historic house is in danger of being condemned, she starts looking for ways to save it and learns there might be buried treasure somewhere on the property.

Building Blocks by Cynthia Voigt
Brann, who has trouble understanding his father, gains some insight into the way his father was raised when he travels back in time via his father's childhood set of building blocks.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Build a Better World: Chapter Book List for the 2017 Summer Reading Program

This list of chapter books connects with this summer's Build a Better World reading program, which focuses on Architecture, Building, and Construction.

Sprout Street Neighbors: Five Stories by Anna Alter
Stories about the different animals who live as neighbors in an apartment building at 24 Sprout Street.

Enchanted Palace by Rosie Banks
When best friends Ellie, Summer, and Jasmin find a magic box they are swept away to an enchanted castle where King Merry's 1000th birthday party is about to be ruined by a thunderbolt from Queen Malice.

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson, illustrated by Garth Williams
A struggling mother and three children befriend an elderly homeless man named Armand, and they make their home together under a Paris bridge.

Orphelines in the Enchanted Castle by Natalie Savage Carlson, illustrated by Adriana Saviozzi
When imaginative French orphans move into their new home, they become convinced it is an enchanted castle.

The School is Alive by Jack Chabert, illustrated by Sam Ricks
This first book in the Eerie Elementary series introduces a sentient school building against which Sam must fight to protect his friends.

Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library by Eth Clifford
In a snowstorm, two sisters are accidentally trapped in a library overnight.

Welcome to Silver Street Farm by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Katharine McEwen
A group of animal-loving friends work to turn an abandoned railway station into a working farm.

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
When Mercy Watson, a pig, snuggles up with her owners, the Watsons, the bed surprisingly crashes through the floor. Mercy must quickly notify the police and bring them over for a rescue.

The Lucky Wheel by Grace Gilmore, illustrated by Petra Brown
In this historical fiction story, Maple Ridge needs a new school house, and Logan wants to help by restoring and selling an old wagon wheel, even though no one believes he can take on such a task.

The Dragonsitter's Castle by Josh Lacey, illustrated by Garry Parsons
Uncle Morton always seems to be leaving his dragon with Eddie. In this third book of the series, Eddie is forced to take the dragon with him on vacation to the castle his father is renovating.

Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan
Jake and his grandfather, Billy have a special friendship. When Jake learns that Billy will soon die, he decides to grant him one last wish and rebuild the sod house where Billy grew up.

Home Sweet Horror by James Preller, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
When Liam Finn and his family relocate to a fixer-upper in upstate New York, Liam senses that something is very wrong. After a game of Bloody Mary takes a terrifying turn, only the spirit of Liam's late mother can save the family.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Build a Better World: Easy Reader List for the 2017 Summer Reading Program

These books for beginning readers have been selected for their suitability to this summer's Build a Better World theme, which focuses on Architecture, Building, and Construction.

The Inside Story: Log Cabin by Dana Meachen Rau
Simple text shows how log cabins are built.

Dig Scoop Ka-boom! by Joan Holub, illustrated by David Gordon
A group of diggers seem towork the day away, but they turn out to be toys in a sandbox.

Mega Machines by Deborah Lock
A DK reader including photos of big construction vehicles on the job.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Paint the Porch by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard
Mr. Putter is painting his front porch when a squirrel scampers through his paint, making a mess.

Henry and Mudge and the Tall Tree House by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Carolyn Bracken
When Henry gets a new tree house, he worries about whether Mudge will be able to come inside.

National Geographic Readers: Skyscrapers by Libby Romero
A brightly colored level 3 nonfiction reader with facts about the world's most interesting skyscrapers.

Fly Guy Presents Castles by Tedd Arnold
Factual information about castles is presented by beloved easy reader character Fly Guy.

Amazing Buildings by Katie Hayden
A level 2 DK reader that shows off different types of buildings from around the world.

Homes Around the World by Max Moore
A level 1 DK reader showing how and where people live in different parts of the world.

First Shapes in Buildings by Penny Ann Lane
A simple text illustrated with photographs of buildings that teaches kids the words for different shapes.

A Day in the Life of a Builder by Linda Hayward
This level 1 DK reader follows a construction worker through a day of work.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Build a Better World: Picture Book List for the 2017 Summer Reading Program

This year's CSLP summer reading theme is Build a Better World, with a focus on Architecture, Building, and Construction. These appealing picture books all tell stories related to these topics.

Building a House by Byron Barton
A construction crew builds a house and prepares it for a family to move in.

Building Our House by Jonathan Bean
A boy narrates the details of the process he and his family undertake to build their new house.

Tinyville Town Gets to Work! by Brian Biggs
Community leaders work together to replace a bridge that causes traffic jams.

Stanley the Builder by William Bee
Hamster Stanley builds a brand-new house for Myrtle the mouse with the help of some other rodent friends.

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
A humble country home survives the changes brought about by an increase in industry.

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Mike Mulligan and his supposedly outdated steam shovel, Mary Anne, prove their worth by digging a basement in just one day. 

Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus
This book shows how bricks are laid and what types of buildings are made from them, while also reinforcing some counting concepts.

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming
Each letter is given a tool-based spin in this alphabet book.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
A picture book biography remembering Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between the twin towers several decades prior to their destruction on September 11, 2001.

Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia
An onomatopoetic celebration of the work done by construction vehicles.

Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House by Libby Gleeson, illustrated by Freya Blackwood
When Clancy moves to his new home, he misses his old neighborhood terribly, but when he meets Millie, she helps make the transition more comfortable.

Add caption
Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale
A collection of concrete poetry about building.

The Construction Crew by Lynn Meltzer, illustrated by Carrie Eko-Burgess
This colorfully illustrated rhyming book introduces the people and machines who work to build new homes.

Hush Little Digger by Ellen Olson-Brown, illustrated by Lee White
A piggyback song based on Hush Little Baby for construction-loving kids to sing at bedtime.

Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres, illustrated by Christian Slade
This book shows how diggers get ready for bed in routines that mirror kids' regular nighttime tasks.

Old MacDonald Had a Woodshop by Lisa Shulman, illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Another piggyback song, this time about a sheep whose handy farm friends help build a special surprise.

Block City by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Daniel Kirk
An illustrated version of a well-loved poem of childhood.

I Love Tools by Philemon Sturges
A boldly illustrated introduction to the different types of tools used by builders.

Construction by Sally Sutton
Simple text describes the construction of a building which turns out to be a public library.

This is Our House by Hyewon Yum
A little girl reflects on all the history reflected in her family home.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 3/1/17 (Looking at Animals Theme)

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Monkey See, Look at Me by Lorena Siminovich
This is the second time I have read this book to this audience, but there were a few different families in attendance this time, so it was new for at least half the room. There was one toddler boy in particular who got really into it and gleefully called out the names of all the animals.

Rhyme: Five Little Monkeys

Book: Mama, Look! by Patricia Murphy, illustrated by David Diaz 
This is a brand-new book, and I love the pictures. It worked really well as a one-on-one read at home, but somehow it seemed to lose momentum in story time, especially toward the end. I would want to try it again before saying it's not a story time book, but for this group, it just didn't work.

Song: Butterfly Gals 
This song always goes over so well. It seemed to be an even bigger hit this time than usual.

Rhyme: See See See
This was a repeat from last week, and the kids did better with it this time around.

Song: Mr. Sun

Song: Put Your Hands Up High
I threw this song in mostly for my own kids, who both love to sing it at home. It was a particular hit with the new families for whom the "punchline" was new. 

Song: Head and Shoulders

Book: What’s Looking at You, Kid? by J. Patrick Lewis and Renee Graef
I think this book was a little bit too similar to Mama, Look! and maybe a bit too long to be the final book. It went okay, but I felt like I needed to talk a lot about each page to create a sense of enthusiasm.

Songs with Shaker Eggs:
The original version of this song is transportation-themed, but I wrote my own verses to help it match the "looking at animals" theme. These are the four verses I used: 
  • bluebird… tweet tweet tweet
  • yellow duck… quack quack quack
  • green frog… ribbit ribbit ribbit
  • red snake… hiss hiss hiss

Song: These Are My Glasses

Song: Chickadee

Friday, March 3, 2017

April Story Time Themes

In April, I like to do story times about rain, chickens, birds, bunnies, libraries, and jazz.

Rain (April Showers) 

Suggested Books:
  • Rain by Robert Kalan and Donald Crews
  • Rain Dance by Kathi Appelt 
  • Rain by Manya Stojic 
  • Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle and G. Brian Karas 
  • Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema and Beatriz Vidal 

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:
  • Chicken Big by Keith Graves
  • Minerva Louise by Janet Stoeke
  • Bob by Tracey Campbell Pearson 
  • Hurry! Hurry! by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Jeff Mack 
  • Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker 

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:
  • Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown and Garth Williams
  • Moonlight by Helen V. Griffith, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
  • What Does Bunny See?: A Book of Colors and Flowers by Linda Sue Park
  • The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd 
  • Brown Rabbit in the City by Natalie Russell

Extension Activities:

 Jazz Appreciation Month

Suggested Books:
  • This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt, illustrated by R.G. Roth
  • Ben's Trumpet by Rachel Isadora 
  • A-Tisket A-Tasket by Ella Fitzgerald and Ora Eitan
  • Jazzmatazz by Stephanie Calmenson, illustrated by Bruce Degen
  • Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler and R. Gregory Christie 

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:
  • Birds by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
  • Birdsongs by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Steve Jenkins 
  • Mockingbird by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Paul Howard
  • Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Dylan Metrano
  • A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead

Extension Activities: 

National Library Week (April 9 -15, 2017)

Suggested Books:

  • I Took My Frog to the Library by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Blanche Sims 
  • Otto the Book Bear by Katie Cleminson
  • D.W.'s Library Card by Marc Brown 
  • Quiet! There's a Canary in the Library by Don Freeman
  • Bats at the Library by Brian Lies 

Extension Activities:

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 2/22/17 (Birds Theme)

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting 

Book: Birds by Kevin Henkes
I was a little unsure about this book because it doesn't have a straight narrative, but this group really enjoyed it.

Song: Way Up in the Sky

Book: No Two Alike by Keith Baker
I really enjoying reading this aloud. It's really just about the concepts of same and different, but birds are the characters, so it was a good fit.

Rhyme: Two Little Red Birds

Book: North, South, East, West by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
I borrowed this from the library for my three-year-old who has been learning about direction. When I first read it to her, I wasn't sure kids at story time would get it, but I decided to take the chance and I was pleasantly surprised. It did go over quite well.

Song: The Little Bird

Songs with Shaker Eggs: 

Song: Mr. Sun

Book: Hooray for Today by Brian Won
This is a good story time book because of its bold illustrations and repetitive structure. It's kind of predictable, but no one seemed to mind.

Rhyme: See See See

Book: Mockingbird by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Paul Howard
I have noticed that singable books do well with this audience, so I decided to end with this one. It worked very well, even though I think some people were puzzled by the changed lyrics to Hush Little Baby.

Song: Chickadee

Preschool Story Time, 2/15/17 (Hugs & Kisses Theme)

This story time was originally planned for the 8th, before Valentine's Day, but then that session had to be canceled because my kids were sick, so I saved it and presented it on the 15th instead.

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri
This went over best with my own kids, but everyone enjoyed making the animal sounds.

Rhyme: I Can Hug
I realized halfway through this that I was already sitting, so I wouldn't be able to sit down very slow like it says in the last line. I ended up changing the line to "reach down very slow."

Book: My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
My daughter and another little girl near her age both loved this book. The younger kids (under 2) were a bit restless.

Song: There’s a Little Wheel a Turning in My Heart

Book: Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein
I was correct in my assumption that this would be a good story time book. It has just the right amount of plot for my audience.

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big 

Songs with Shaker Eggs: 

Song: Mr. Sun

Book: Can You Cuddle Like a Koala? by John Butler
There weren't really enough kids old enough to act out the motions, but everyone did seem to enjoy looking at the animals.

Song; Cuddly Koalas 

Book: I Love You: A Rebus Poem by Jean Marzollo and Suse MacDonald
I had originally planned for the audience to do motions with me for each "I love you" in the text, but the group was pretty much done, so I zipped through it and called it a day.

Song: Chickadee

Monday, February 6, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 2/1/17

For this story time, I again planned without a theme, and I was very happy with the results. I think this is the best story time I've done for this group since starting back in November and maybe even the best I've done since leaving the library. There were nine kids in all: three 3-year-olds, three 2-year-olds, and three one-year-olds, and they all seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
There was one mom who seemed to really get this book and enjoy it. It was hard to tell what everyone else thought.

Song: Moon Moon Moon
The punchline at the end of this song about the moon looking like a pizza always gets a laugh and it did on this day as well.

Book: Hi, Pizza Man! by Virginia Kahl, illustrated by Ponder Goembel
I found this book at a used bookstore, and bought it for story time based on the recommendations of other librarians. This was my first time reading it, and it was everything I expected. The kids loved greeting the different pizza deliverers, especially the dinosaur.

Song: This is the Way We Make a Pizza

Songs with Shaker Eggs:

Song with Puppet: Mr. Sun
During this song, my own daughter incited the other children to run and dance through the room. To calm them, I finished the song with a game of "Mr. Sun Says", in which I informed the children of actions Mr. Sun wanted them to take. It worked like a charm to get them all sitting down again. 

Book: The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins 

Book: Over in the Meadow by Ezra Jack Keats

Song: Chickadee

Friday, February 3, 2017

March Story Time Themes

In addition to St. Patrick's Day, there are lots of other great themes to use at story time in March. Here are my favorites.

Colors of the Rainbow

Suggested Books
  • A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews
  • Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett
  • Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff
  • Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle

Extension Activities 

Up, Up, and Away

Suggested Books
  • Higher Higher by Leslie Patricelli
  • I Want to be an Astronaut by Byron Barton
  • Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
  • The Grumpalump by Sarah Hayes and Barbara Firth
  • Molly Who Flew Away by Valeri Gorbachev

Extension Activities

The Color Green

Suggested Books
  • Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  • Little Green by Keith Baker
  • In the Tall Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
  • Stanley Mows the Lawn by Craig Frazier
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley

Extension Activities 


Suggested Books
  • Little Lions by Jim Arnosky
  • How Loud is a Lion? by Claire Beaton
  • We're Going on a Lion Hunt by Margery Cuyler 
  • Pierre by Maurice Sendak

Extension Activities


Suggested Books 
  • No Sleep for the Sheep by Karen Beaumont and Jackie Urbanovic
  • Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
  • When Sleep Sheep by Laura Numeroff and David McPhail
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb by Iza Trapani
  • Wee Little Lamb by Lauren Thompson

Extension Activities 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 1/25/17

Our story time group was small this week, since the weather was nice. In attendance were my own girls (ages 3 and 1), a three-year-old boy, and two little girls around two. I decided to stick with my trend of unthemed story times, and it made planning feel so much easier.

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Tinyville Town Gets to Work! by Brian Biggs
This was kind of long and a bit technical for toddlers, but they loved it. I think it was the combination of transportation and community helpers that really grabbed their attention.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Book: Titch by Pat Hutchins
I think this was the only time I read this book at story time and felt that it went over well. I think 18-24 months is really the sweet spot for this story, and most of the kids were in that range.

Song: Sing a Song of Opposites
This song was a lot of fun, and even more so for me because my one-year-old started doing the motions along with me.

Song: Head and Shoulders

Song: Mr. Sun

Book: Pug Meets Pig by Sue Lowell Gallion, illustrated by Joyce Wan
The kids like the illustrations for this one. This is exactly the kind of book I have been wanting for this group - short, but with a bit of plot.

Rhyme: Wiggle Fingers

Song: Itsy Bitsy Spider

Book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
I am not sure I have ever read this at story time. I actually found it difficult to hold the smaller pages open, and doubly so because some of the kids moved their seats mid-story and I had to move the book to accommodate them.

Song: Butterfly Gals
I love this song. This group did too.

Song: Chickadee

Friday, January 20, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 1/18/17

Little Bo Peep, age 1, "helping" Mommy set up for story time. 
Everyone who attended this story time was a repeat visitor. In addition to my girls (ages 1 and 3), there were 3 boys (all around age 2) and two girls (ages 1.5 and probably almost 3). I decided not to do themes for a while, so this was kind of a hodgepodge of books I own and some I borrowed from the library. I ran short, despite reading five books, so the end of the session is really just a sing-along of random favorites. I need to plan longer books for next time!

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara

Rhyme: Little Jackie Jack Frost
I found several Jack Frost rhymes and songs, but each one had something about it that I didn't like. I finally just pulled a few of them together into my own version. It went like this:

Little Jackie Jack Frost pinched my nose
Little Jackie Jack Frost pinched my toes
I went into my house and I shut the door
Then little Jackie Jack Frost didn't pinch me anymore! 

Book: Under My Hood I Have a Hat by Karla Kuskin and Fumi Kosaka
The ending of this book got a nice giggle from a few people.

Song: Head and Shoulders

Rhyme: This is Big Big Big

Book: Toot Toot Beep Beep by Emma Garcia

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song: Mr. Sun

Book: Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald
I could feel that the audience thought there should be more to this book after the brachiosaurus is revealed. I can't say I disagree.

Song: Stomp Like a Dinosaur (tune)
This was a hit. The motions were just simple enough for two-year-olds. We stomped, flew, and chomped all around.

Song: Here We Go Up Up Up
I threw this in because I knew I still had 10 minutes to go and I wasn't sure how I was going to fill it. It felt out of place to me, but I don't think anyone else noticed.

Song: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Book: Mary Had a Little Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale, illustrated by Salley Mavor
The kids were surprisingly into this book, which I did not expect.

Song: The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Song: Chickadee

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Preschool Story Time, 1/11/17

I was supposed to return to story time on January 4th, but my whole household caught a bad cold, and I wound up having to cancel. So my first story time of the year was yesterday. I decided to return to my original approach from when I first started performing story times, which is to avoid themes and simply read good books. It made planning a lot easier, and I think the story time flowed better than the others I have done recently. There were 8 kids in attendance including my own, and here is what we did:

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting

Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle
This book was very well received. With the exception of my three-year-old and her friend, all the other kids were under two years old and this was just right for them. The two big kids happily filled in the names of the animals for me, and my one-year-old stood right up front grinning ear to ear.

Rhyme: Blue is the Lake

Book: Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Ted Rand
I asked the kids to show me the different parts of their bodies as they were named by the text. That worked well for this age group and it seemed to keep the adults' attentions.

Song: Head and Shoulders

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big

Book: King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey and Don Wood
This book has always been hit or miss at story time. This was probably the best it has ever been received.

Rhyme: One Elephant in the Bathtub

Song: Mr. Sun

Book: Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Christian Robinson
This book has a very brief text, but slowing down the pace and being careful not to flip through the pages too quickly helped make it work.

Song: One Little Two Little Three Little Penguins

We sang this song as follows: 

One little two little three little penguins
Four little five little six little penguins
Seven little eight little nine little penguins
Ten little penguins... waddle! 

In subsequent verses, I replaced waddle with other actions: sneeze, turn around, jump, sit right down. 

Song: Chickadee

Friday, January 6, 2017

February Story Time Themes

In February, I like to use themes connected to Groundhog Day (shapes and shadows) and Valentine's Day (hugs and kisses and mail.)

Shapes and Shadows

Suggested Books:
  • My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall 
  • It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw 
  • What's Going on in There? by Geoffrey Grahn
  • Perfect Square by Michael Hall
  • Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald
  • The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss 

Extension Activities

Hugs and Kisses

Suggested Books: 

  • All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri
  • I Love You! A Bushel and a Peck  by Rosemary Wells
  • Panda Kisses by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • Kitty's Cuddles by Jane Cabrera
  • Cuddles for Mommy by Ruby Brown

Extension Activities:


Suggested Books:
  • A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Love, Mouserella by David Ezra Stein
  • Seven Little Postmen by Margaret Wise Brown 
  • Mr. Griggs' Work by Cynthia Rylant 
  • Meerkat Mail by Emily Gravett

Extension Activities: 

Valentine's Day

Suggested Books:
  • If You'll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant
  • Valentine's Day by Anne Rockwell
  • Ten Things I Love About You by Daniel Kirk
  • Henry in Love by Peter McCarty

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