Family Storytime: Jan 2016

I haven’t been posting many storytime plans on here lately. This is mostly because I usually only do 1 storytime a month (sometimes 2, but usually just the one). It’s also because I no longer do themes unless it’s a special occasion. Still, I’d like to post some storytimes, so here’s what I did in January.

P.S. This storytime doesn’t have a theme, but if it did have a theme, the theme would be, “Awesome books I discovered through Jbrary’s 2015 Favorite Storytime Picture Books post.”

Storytime Books

Welcome Home, Bear by Il Sung Na
The Fly by Petr Horacek
Fish Jam by Kylie Howarth
Nose to Toes, You are Yummy! by Tim Harrington
Pepper & Poe by Frann Preston-Gannon


Along with my usual rhyme cube, we also danced to Jumping and Counting by Jim Gill, sang “Where is Bear” with bear finger puppets, and sang “Shoo Fly” with shoo fly props. The words to “Where is Bear” and “Shoo Fly” are below:

Bear Puppets

Where is Bear?
To the Tune of Where is Thumbkin

[start with hands behind your back]
Where is bear? Where is bear?
[bring one hand, then the other in front of you]
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you today, bear?
Very tired, thank you.
Go to sleep. Go to sleep.
[lower fingers as if bear is sleeping]

Instruct children to count to three then yell, “Wake up, bear!” Repeat rhyme.

Credit: Storytime Katie

Shoo Flies
Shoo Fly (Don’t Bother Me)

[pass out shoo flies and have children wave them around while you sing]

Shoo fly! Don’t bother me!
Shoo fly! Don’t bother me!Shoo fly! Don’t bother me!
I below to somebody.

Oh no! The fly landed on your knee! Where’s your knee? Shoo fly!

Repeat. Choose different body parts such as feet, hands, shoulders, nose, and head.

Credit: Mel’s Desk

How It Went:

This was such a fun storytime! My preschool group especially loved the books; three kids came up to me after storytime to tell me how much they liked them, and one child asked if I could read all of the books again at the next storytime!

My family group also loved it! I’m so glad that I picked really short stories because the average age of the family group was probably 2.5 (if you don’t include the parents’ ages, of course). Despite their young age, the kids were really into the books and loved the extension activities!

The other thing that I noticed about this storytime plan is that it had a good variety of interactive and get up and wiggle stuff, as well as let’s sit quietly stuff. I’ve been noticing that there are two types of storytime kids: those who want to bounce around the whole time, and those who want to sit quietly and listen. I’ve been trying to make sure I have something for both kinds of kids, and this one really worked well.

What I Read in 2015

What I Read 2015 Header

It is mid-December as I type this, and I am currently 49 books into my 50 books reading goal for the year (this count does not include rereads, picture books, or early readers). I’m smack dab in the middle of Winter by Marissa Meyer and will be picking up Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes as soon as I can get my hands on a copy. And with several days off of work for the upcoming holidays, I am fairly confident that I will reach, and possibly surpass, my 50 book goal for the year.

2015 was a FANTASTIC reading year for me! I can’t even tell you how many times I found myself so completely absorbed in a book that I lost track of time and space and sorta forgot who I was for a bit. This usually doesn’t happen to me very often, but there was just something about this year. Maybe it was a good year for books in general. Or maybe I’m just getting better at finding stuff that I like. Or maybe the planets and stars just aligned in such a way that all Tauruses had a good reading year. I don’t know. But I do know that I had so many feels about so many books, that I just have to talk about them. So here’s an end of year reading survey. Be careful; it’s long.

Read More »

Pre-K Storytime: Super Heroes

I am jumping on the bandwagon and posting about the Super Hero Storytime that I did a few weeks ago for my library’s Free Comic Book Day event! As most of you know, I have given up themes for storytime, but I was happy to do a themed storytime for this special event. Not only was it fun, but it also gave me a chance to read Supertruck to a group!

Opening Song:  The More We Get Together with ASL

First Book:  My Mom Has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister

My Mom Has XRay Vision
This book runs a teensy bit on the long side, particularly if your crowd skews to the young side. However, this is a great book to share with older children! A young boy is convinced that his mom has X-ray vision because she can always tell when he’s up to no good. He tries to test his theory one day by hiding in a closet when he’s supposed to be helping Mom with the groceries. He’s convinced that if she finds him in the closet, then she has X-ray vision. However, Mom is too busy saving the neighbor to come find him, so the boy determines that she does not have X-ray vision. But when she catches him sneaking some snacks  under his shirt, he determines that she has eyes on the back of her head! The twist at the end caused the adults to chuckle.

First Activity: X-Ray Vision Flannelboard Game

X Ray Vision Flannelboard
This is my super hero rip-off of the ever classic little mouse game.  I told children that a robber stole some money from the bank and hid it behind one of the stars on the flannelboard.  I then told them that they were to use their X-ray vision to find which star the money was hiding behind. We did not do a rhyme with this one. Instead, since the stars were numbered, I told children to hold up the number of the star that they think the money was behind, and I chose what seemed to be the most popular star.

Second Book:  Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero by Anne Cottringer

Eliot Jones
Again, this book was a smidgeon longer than what I normally read in storytime. (Or maybe I just tend to read really short books in storytime?) Eliot Jones is a quiet boy by day, but a superhero who saves the world by night.  I loved the colorful illustrations in this, and despite the text being a little long side, it still flowed well for a read aloud.

Second Activity: Five Superheroes Flannelboard/Fingerplay

Five superheroes ready to fly,
Here comes a villain. Stop that guy!
This superhero can save the day.
Off he/she flies — up, up, and away!

I got this rhyme from the amazingly talented Jbrary, and, while it’s not pictured, I used a flannel set that I based off of this one from Storytime Katie.

Third Book: Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears by Carmela LaVigna Coyle

Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears
This book is a more appropriate storytime length (for my standards at least). It’s told in rhyme that is easy to read and discusses all the things that super heroes may have/do.

Third Activity: Did You Ever See a Hero? (with puppets!)

Super Hero Puppets

Did you ever see a hero, a hero, a hero,
Did you ever see a hero, flying through the sky?
Flying this way, and that way, and that way, and this way.
Did you ever see a hero, flying through the sky?

…hopping on one foot…twirling around…saving the day

Rhyme credit goes to Jbrary, and the template for the Popsicle stick super hero puppets goes to Hello Bee.

Last Book: Supertruck by Stephen Savage

I loved this book from the moment I read the first review! Most days, Supertruck is a normal, bespectacled garbage truck. But when a blizzard comes, he takes off the glasses and puts on a plow and saves the day! This was a very short book (perfect for those wiggly toddlers) with great illustrations!

Closing Rhyme: Put Your Hands Up High


Perfect for Storytime

Perfect for Storytime Banner

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!

Perfect for Storytime

Perfect for Storytime Banner
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!

Perfect for Storytime

Perfect for Storytime Banner
Baby and Toddler Storytime:

Love Always EverywhereLove Always Everywhere by Sarah Massini.

This super simple book is especially perfect for baby storytimes, though it’ll also work well for toddler storytimes.  Each page features only two words, and there’s a simple rhyme scheme that makes it flow smoothly.  While books that chronicle the many facets of love are plentiful, this one stands out for its warm illustrations that feature a diverse cast of children.  Also puppies.  And a little mouse that can be found on every spread, which would make a great look and find game for one on one reading.


Preschool and Family Storytime:

The Bear Ate Your SandwichThe Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach

This book is beautiful and detailed and funny!  The story is simple and follows a bear as he escapes the forest on a berry truck and spends the day in the city, culminating with him eating a sandwich.  But the best part of the story is the slight twist at the end.  While a one on one sharing would be best for a child to see all the amazing details in the illustrations, this book will still work well as a read-aloud.  And while I’m not really good at predicting Caldecott contenders, I still say that this one has a definite chance for next year’s award.

This is ORQThis ORQ. (he cave boy.) by David Elliot

This one is sure to be storytime gold, and I can’t wait to read to a group of kids!  For optimal success, you’ll have to read it in your best cave-person voice.  The short sentences on each page tell the story of Orq, a boy who loves his pet woolly mammoth named Woma.  But when Woma gets too big for the cave, Orq’s mother kicks the over-sized pet out.  The antics between Orq and Woma will make kids giggle throughout the whole story.

The Boy Who Lost His BumbleThe Boy Who Lost His Bumble by Trudi Esberger

There once was a boy who loved his garden and the bees that lived in it.  But then the seasons change, and the bees go away, and the boy feels very sad until spring when the bees return.  The story originally made me think of S.A.D, particularly since the colors are bright during the warmer seasons and dull and gray during the colder seasons (and also because the boy is described as feeling empty).  But the back of the book has some interesting tidbits about where bees go in the winter, why bees are important, how bees are in trouble, and what we can do to help.  While you can definitely use this book to talk about emotions or help a SAVE THE BEES campaign, it also works well on its on as a simple read aloud.

A Few of My Favorite Themes: Apples

Fall Banner

Fall themes are my absolute favorite themes, so I’m hoping I can post a couple of these within the coming months.  However, seeing as I have little to no time to work on blog stuff at work (and my life outside of work is pretty busy too), I honestly think that I’ll be lucky to post more than 1 favorite theme this season.  But we’ll see…  Maybe the stars will align or something.

I’m also changing up how I do favorite themes.  I’ll still post a PDF of my favorite books like usual, but I’ll also be posting PDFs of any flannelboard templates I make.  As for crafts, STEM, and other storytime activities (including rhymes), I’ll be providing links to those at the end of the post.  I want to be sure to credit others, and I think providing links is the best way to do that.

So, here we go:

Apple Books PDF:

Apple Books Image








Apple Flannelboard Templates:

Click the images to be taken to the PDFs of the flannelboard templates.  The first image is for the flannelboard rhyme, “Five Little Apples” (Credit).  The second image is for the “A-P-P-L-E” flannelboard song (Credit).  The second image will take you to a previous post of mine — scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the PDFs of the apple images.  To make the flannelboard, print out the apple images, tape or glue them to construction paper, and then tape or glue the letters to the other side.

Five Little Apples




Apple Crafts, STEM, and Other Activities

  •  Everyone knows that worms like to live in apples, so introducing an activity that focuses on worms can add a nice variety to your storytime.  This Wiggle Worms game by Little Family Fun is one of my favorite activities to do in storytime!  It works well with almost any age group, and it’s a good way to change up your regular storytime.
  • If you don’t mind a little mess in your storytimes, try this super cute Apple Prints craft from Make and Takes.  While they used Popsicle sticks as handles for the apples, you can also use those nifty corn on the cob holders too.  Or do without handles and let the kids pick the apples up and stamp away.
  • Want a cute apple craft, but not a big mess?  I don’t blame you!  This Tissue Paper Apple Craft from Storytime Katie is super cute and doesn’t require any paint!
  • Looking to add some STEM to your storytime?  Here’s a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Apple Science!  (I couldn’t just choose one activity, when there are so many great ones on there!)
  • You can’t have an apple storytime without talking about apple picking!  This Apple Picking/Finding Game from So Tomorrow is not only a great way for kids to stretch their legs and get their wiggles out, but it also gives the storyteller a breather.
  • This Picking Up the Fruits rhyme from What Happens In Storytime is a great sorting activity!  If you want to keep it limited to apples only, you can change it to picking up red apples, green apples, yellow apples, etc.
  • A storytime roundup would not be complete without a five little whats-its rhyme.  My favorite is Five Apples in a Basket by Future Librarian Superhero.
  • Like to use props in storytime?  1234 More Storytimes has a great prop to use for the 2 Red Apples rhyme.
  • And, just in case you missed them, here are the rhymes for the flannelboard templates from above:  Busy Crafting Mommy’s Five Little Apples rhyme (there are many great versions of this rhyme which are linked in her post).  And A-P-P-L-E by RovingFiddlehead Kidlit.