Perfect for Storytime

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If I Had a TriceratopsIf I Had A Triceratops by George O’Connor

This book is in the same vein as O’Connor’s If I Had a Raptor, only this time the dinosaur takes after a dog instead of a cat.  While I have shared If I Had a Raptor in storytime before, I personally believe that If I Had a Triceratops would be more easily understandable to a preschool crowd.  The illustrations, for example, are a bit more humorous for a younger crowd and feature the large triceratops in the dog house (only his nose fits), hiding under the bed (the bed rests precariously on top of him), and sniffing another dinosaur’s — erm — posterior.  Overall, this would be a great addition to storytime, and I honestly can’t wait to read it in front of a group!

Elephants Can't JumpElephant’s Can’t Jump! by Jeanne Willis

Lions can jump.  Monkeys can jump.  Even giraffes can jump.  But elephants can’t.  A little elephant is determined to learn how to jump, and he tries everything to no avail.  Just as he’s about to give up, he learns that there is something that he can do.  While the illustrations are adorable enough for a young crowd, I actually think that this one will work best with the 4 to 5 year old crowd.  The story runs a tad on the long side, and I’m fairly certain that most younger readers (or even older readers who are a bit wiggly) will lose interest.

if you plant a seedIf You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

The illustrations steal the show in this picture book about a rabbit and mouse who plant a tomato seed, carrot seed, and cabbage seed. When some hungry birds want to eat the vegetables, rabbit and mouse react not so pleasantly.  In the end, all the animals learn that it is better to share than to be selfish.  I already shared this one with a storytime group, and it worked so, so well! I think the parents in particular appreciated the moral of the story, and everyone loved the pictures! I’m sure this book will be getting some definite Caldecott buzz!

Toddler Art — March 2015

Even though I’ve been doing Toddler Art every month, the last time I posted about Toddler Art was last year…in December! This is mostly due to the fact that I haven’t been inspired to write about Toddler Art, but also because I’ve been busy and this blog has kind of taken a back seat. But I’ve got some time today, so here’s what I did for Toddler Art last month:

Circle Stamping

Circle Stamping

  • Paper of any color (paint looks most vibrant on white)
  • Paper towel or toilet paper tubes
  • Non-toxic paint


  • Children use the tubes to stamp circles onto their paper


Chalk Art

Chalk Art

  • Dark construction paper
  • Chalk


  • Children draw with chalk

Both of these crafts were super simple as far as prep work and execution went. The program basically ran itself, and the results of both projects were awesome! I will definitely be doing both of these crafts again.


Life Lately at the Library: February 2015

Life Lately FebruaryI can’t believe that we’re almost done with March, and I’m just now getting to my February recap.  Wait.  No.  I can believe it.  Still, at least I’m not posting this in April, right?  February was quieter month, and while I do have a few things to share about last month, I do not have pictures this time around.  Sorry!  I’ll try to do better with the whole taking pictures thing.  Anywho, here’s what’s been happening:

1) Juvenile Deposit Collection (JDC)

Three times per year, my fellow librarians and I pack up a bunch of books, grab some storytime stuff, and hop into the library’s van to visit local daycares and preschools.  We give each daycare/preschool provider boxes of books that they can keep until our next visit.   We also perform a storytime at each daycare/preschool while we’re there dropping off books.  For our winter JDC visits that took place in late January and early February, we checked out 3500 books to give to daycares and preschools!  This is a GREAT service that we offer, and I love it!  Although I will admit that our winter visits can be challenging due to winter weather.  Remember that blizzard that hit ALA Midwinter?  Yeah.  I was out the very next day to deliver books in nine inches of snow!  It kind of made me feel like a super hero.  (Although I do want to point out that the roads weren’t terrible that day…my coworkers and I do have permission to reschedule if roads are unsafe.)

2) Biggest Tour Ever!

We had the biggest tour ever during the month of February!  150 kids with 70 adults visited Children’s Services to hear stories, get library cards, and check out books.  It was fun chaos that took more than 3 librarians, myself included, to keep under control.  Still, the kids (and adults  (and librarians!)) had lots of fun!

3) Lots of Planning

A few months ago, I was awarded the Building STEAM with Dia grant.  While I’ve been planning programming for this grant for months, February was the month in which I was dotting i’s and crossing t’s for a lot of the grant implementation.  I worked with a local t-shirt printing company to have some t-shirts made for promotion.  I ordered a lot of books to give away and add to the collection.  And, of course, I ordered a lot of fun STEAM things for passive and pop-up STEAM programs that we’re offering this month and next month as part of the grant.  Stay tuned to hear more!

And that, sadly, is about it.  I did do a couple of other programs during the month (including Toddler Art, which I should really get back to posting about), and there were a lot of other tasks that I complete on a semi-regularly basis.  But I think I’ll talk about those things another day.

Perfect for Storytime

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Baby and Toddler Storytime:

Everything DoddEverything by Emma Dodd

Okay, so this book actually came out in 2013, but it’s new to me.  I’m already familiar with the rest of the series by Dodd (and particularly love I Am Small), but some how this one escaped my notice, which is a shame because I really love it and think it will do wonderfully for a baby or toddler storytime (or as a calm down book in Pre-K storytime).  Overall I think most of the books in this series are saccarine sweet, to the point where I don’t want to share them in storytime.  But this one, while sweet, isn’t overly so and features koalas, which are always popular in storytime.  It’s also mildly interactive because kids can point out various body parts mentioned, and parents can give their kids hugs, cuddles, and kisses at the appropriate moments.

Where's LennyWhere’s Lenny? by Ken Wilson-Max

This is, apparently, another new to me book that came out in 2013.  In this story, a father and son play hide and seek. The illustrations, done in acrylics, feature a multiracial family and are colorful enough to draw attention, despite the book’s smaller size.  There are also interactive features, such as counting and tickling.

Preschool Storytime:

If You Were a DogIf You Were a Dog by Jamie A Swenson

If you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be?  Would you be a lickety-sloppidy, frisbee-catching dog, or would you howl at the moon.  Some dogs do.  This story has a very simple premise, asking readers to imagine what kind of dog, cat, fish, dinosaur, etc. they’d be.  Again, there’s opportunities for interacting, such as howling at the moon, swimming with the fish, or stomping with the dinosaur.  The illustrations were done by Chris Raschka, and the book was published in September 2014, and I just missed it because that is the theme of this post, apparently.

How to Spy on a SharkHow to Spy on a Shark by Lori Haskins Houran

Told in a simple rhyme, this book follows a young mako shark around the ocean for a day.  It shows how we can track sharks in the ocean by tagging them and having a robot follow them around.  The back discusses why marine biologists spy on sharks and goes into more detail about the process.  While the story and illustrations are very simple, I love the nonfiction spin on this and think it could be great to include in an ocean storytime.  Also, it was published in 2015, so yay for that!

Themeless Storytimes: Final Thoughts

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In conclusion — and I’m gonna keep this brief because it’s Flannel Friday, and y’all should be checking out some awesome flannelboards right now — themeless storytimes may not be for everyone.  But I’m having lots of fun with them right now.  I may not always stick to themeless storytimes.  I mean, every now and then you just gotta do a bugs storytime or something, you know?  But for right now, themeless storytimes are working really well for me.

What about you?  Do you do themeless storytimes?  If so, what are some of the pros/cons you’ve experienced?

Themeless Storytimes: Example Storytime

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Opening Rhyme:  The More We Get Together (with ASL)

First Book:  Chengdu Could Not, Would Not Fall Asleep by Barney Saltzberg

Activity:  There’s Someone in My Garden

Song Book:  If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera

Rhyme Cube:  Itsy Bitsy Spider

Movement Book:  I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

Short Book:  This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne

Activity:  Spider on the Floor with Scarves

Calm Down Book:  How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight by Jane Yolen

Closing Rhyme:  Put Your Hands Up High

I just want to mention that as I was typing this, I realized that this storytime has a lot of similarities in it!  It starts and ends with books about bedtime.  The song book has a lot of movement involved, and the movement book has a song-like rhythm to it.  And of course the rhyme cube landed on Itsy Bitsy Spider on the day that I was planning to do Spider on the Floor as an activity.