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Bunny Storytime!

Two weeks ago was “Snapshot Day” in Illinois libraries. It’s an advocacy campaign designed to show daily usage in a library. Participants are able to complete surveys about their library. For our part, Youth Services put together four activities that day. And of course, one was storytime. Because it was on a different day than my normal storytime hour, I had a smaller crowd of seven kids and our theme was bunnies.

Started off storytime with “Max’s Chocolate Chicken” by Rosemary Wells.

I grew up loving these books and still adore Rosemary Wells. This is a great one all about finding Easter eggs and getting candy and of course, Max being mischievous. I love how Ruby bosses him around, and so do the kids. (This was my one and only Easter book, and I asked parents before hand if they minded an Easter book being shared. I was ready to go with “Goodnight, Moon” instead if anyone had a problem.)

Next up, a new book by a favorite author — “What’s the Matter, Bunny Blue?” by Nicola Smee.

This is a great book for rhymes. Bunny Blue has lost her grandma, and she’s something of a mess. The kids laughed a lot when I was boo-hooing as Bunny Blue, but they kept insisting that we would find her grandma so I know that they weren’t worried. A great read-aloud book!

Then, we tried our own hands at locating a bunny. She was hiding under some Easter eggs. The kids got to practice naming colors, and since we were such a small crowd, I let everyone come up and take their own guesses off the board. (And I had the houses on stand-by for bunny to hide under if needed.)

Since the kids were a little wiggly after moving around, we did a quick rhyme to sit them back down:

Action Rhyme: “Little Rabbit”
I saw a little rabbit go hop, hop, hop
I told that little rabbit to stop, stop, stop
He wiggled his ears and crinkled his nose
And wiggled, wiggled, wiggled right down to his toes.
Credit: Modified from Preschool Education Music & Songs

Next up, I got to use a small board board because our crowd was smaller: “In My Meadow” by Sara Gillingham and Lorena Siminovich.

I actually bought this book to possibly make a flannelboard out of it. (I’ve loved this board book/puppet series since I first saw them in bookstores last year.) Well, time got away with me and it was still in my storytime drawer so I brought it down to use as a puppet moreso. The kids LOVED getting to pet bunny at the end of the book. And since it was so short, I read it twice!

Then, I did a little rhyme with puppets:

Puppets: “There’s Something In My Garden”
There’s something in my garden
Now what can it be?
There’s something in my garden
That I can’t really see.
Hear its funny sound…
RIBBIT RIBBIT RIBBIT
A frog is what I found!
RIBBIT RIBBIT RIBBT
(SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK, A mouse is what I found! / CAW CAW CAW, A crow is what I found! / THUMP THUMP THUMP, A rabbit is what I found!)
Credit: SurLaLune Storytime

The kids were spot on with their guesses, but they were still very excited when I pulled out a puppet of the animal from behind my back. After, I read “What Does Bunny See?” by Linda Sue Park.

Another great guessing book, this time guessing what colors and flowers Bunny sees in her garden. Which brought us to our fingerplay:

Fingerplay: “Here is a Bunny”
Here is a bunny with ears so funny (hold up index and middle fingers for ears)
And here is his hole in the ground (make a circle with the other hand)
At the first sound he hears, he pricks up his ears (extend two fingers)
And hops in the hole in the ground (fingers jump into the hole)
Credit: Early Literature

And then our next book, “Bunny Fun” by Sarah Weeks.

This book was a fun deviation from a lot of the normal bunny books. This one was about a little bunny who was stuck inside on a rainy day and all the fun he came up with. My kids were very excited to see activities that they do (blocks, coloring, etc.). Super cute.

Fingerplay: “Little Bunny”
There was a little bunny who lived in the wood. (hold up two fingers)
He wiggled his ears as a good bunny should (wiggle on head)
He hopped by a squirrel. He hopped by a tree. (hop, hop)
He hopped by a duck. And he hopped by me. (hop, hop over fist)
He stared at the squirrel. He stared at the tree. (stare, stare)
He stared at the duck. But he made faces at me! (stare, make faces)
Credit: Texas State Library

That was a hysteric fingerplay. The kids could not stop laughing when we made funny faces. After a good laugh, I read our last book for the day, “Little White Rabbit” by Kevin Henkes.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of books by Kevin Henkes. So, it should come as no surprise that I love this newest one by him. It’s such a good calming, end-of-storytime read.

All that was left was our craft, which I had purchased from an Oriental Trading craft kit:

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Wild Animals!

For my second afternoon storytime, I decided to do a wild animals storytime. And I had nineteen kids show up to practice their animal noises! (I was floored, given the weather!)

First up, I read “Dancing Feet” by Lindsay Craig.

I used this book in my “Shake Your Sillies Out” program, and promised that I would use it again. It was the perfect book to kick off storytime. The kids love guessing which animal is coming next. I did not have the kids stomp their feet with the animals though, because I didn’t want to get them all riled up at the first book! And since they were sitting so well, I went straight into “Jump!” by Scott Fischer.

This is a great repetitive, cause-and-effect book — the kids quickly caught on to the animals pouncing on each other, happily shouting out “JUMP!” between pages. My favorite part of this book is the vertical spread. Make sure you know when it’s coming, and the kids will be so surprised when you turn the book around! Since they were already such great jump shouters, I gave them a chance to practice their own jumping with this action rhyme:

Action Rhyme: Kangaroo!
Jump, jump, jump (Jump)
Goes the kangaroo (Jump)
I thought only one (Hold up one finger)
But now I see two! (Hold up two fingers)
Momma and her baby
With his head popping out (Make a fist, have other hand pop out)
He holds on tight (Hug yourself)
As they jump all about! (Jump)
Credit: Preschool Education — Animals: Zoo

Next up, I had the kids sit down for our flannelboard: Dear Zoo (Based on the book by Rod Campbell).

All of the kids kept trying to guess what animal was coming next from the zoo — and I had one boy who insisted the zoo should send a dog, which was excellent when I got to the end and he proclaimed, “I WAS RIGHT!”

After that energetic story, I led the kids in a quick round of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” slow, fast, slow to get them prepared for the next book. It actually gave me a great segue for “Whose Nose and Toes?” by John Butler.

Now this book is definitely for the younger crowd, and my older kids dominated the younger kids. But! One of my youngest loved the pictures and kept pointing all the way from the back row, trying to sound out the animal’s names. The only one that she got clearly was dog.

(Another reason why I like to mix things up, and do some younger books is that I often have bilingual families attending. So this simple book can be understood without actually understanding all of the English words I’m saying. The reason I know this? I had some kids guessing Spanish animal names instead of English.)

The book ends with an elephant as the last animal to guess, so that was another great intro to our next action rhyme.

Action Rhyme: “Big Gray Elephant”
The big gray elephant slowly walks.
She doesn’t make a sound.
She swings her trunk from left to right.
When she puts her feet on the ground.
Swing, swing, left and right,
She doesn’t make a sound.
Credit: Alphabet Soup – Zoo Poems, Songs, and Fingerplays

Next up, “My Heart is Like a Zoo” by Michael Hall.

Definitely a great rhyming story; my (and their) favorite page is the page where hippos are drinking apple juice. The kids were very talkative during this story, and I definitely had to lower my voice to sometimes get their attention between rhyming couplets. Overall, this is still one of my favorite books for its bright colors, and almost homage to “Color Zoo.”

Next, I just couldn’t resist using two flannels in one program! So, I pulled out my Seals on the Bus flannel (Based on the book by Lenny Hort) and we sang the book out loud.

One last song before our last book! I pulled out my Manhattan Toy “Sweet Safari” finger puppets for this one, and modified what animals we heard so that the puppets would fit.

Song & Puppets: “You Can Hear” (Tune: She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain)
You can hear the lions roaring at the zoo, ROAR! ROAR!
You can hear the lions roaring at the zoo, ROAR! ROAR!
You can hear the lions roaring, you can hear the lions roaring
You can hear the lions roaring at the zoo! ROAR! ROAR!
(Elephants trumpeting, zebra braying, monkey eeking)
Credit: Perpetual Preschool

Last book, I did as an action rhyme/book — “From Head to Toe” by Eric Carle.

Luckily, we own the big book version of this one, so I was able to have all the kids stand (short ones walk towards the middle of the rug to see better, tall ones move to the sides) while I held up the book, panning back and forth and doing (most) of the motions with them. This led to hysterical giggles — I don’t recommend doing this as the opening story!

But for me and my kids, it was time for the craft. They made lion masks that I found on my new favorite website, KidsSoup. (Again, it’s paid, but for me it has been WORTH it so that I’m not struggling to find a craft to fit my theme.)

Nothing beats little ones running out of the program room roaring at one another.

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Monsters!

Rather than go with a Halloween theme (which I love, but wasn’t sure all of my parents would be on board), I went with a simple monsters theme. Also, any chance at all that you can give kids to roar around equals a great time.

First up, “If You’re a Monster and You Know It” by Ed and Rebecca Emberley.

This book is an amazing plethora of crazy excitement. I was a very brave storytime lady and sang the book, and let the kids do the actions as we went. There was a ridiculous amount of paw stomping, claw smacking, snorting, growling, and roaring — the kids loved this book!

But my favorite part was when one of my little boys jumped up to interrupt the story and asked, “Hey! Are we going to do the head, shoulders, knees, and toes thing today?” I nodded and continued with the story. He, however, fist-pumped into the air and shouted, “YES!”

Sometimes the interruptions are worth it.

Continuing on, I did our flannelboard: “Go Away Big Green Monster.”

This is a super simple flannelboard version of the book by Ed Emberley. And I have to say — the book works really well as a flannel! The kids were delighted when I taught them how to say, “GO AWAY” to the big green monster. My little boys especially like getting to holler in storytime.

And I moved our “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” up to the top of the list, because it was requested!

And then the kids were still wiggly, so I went ahead and did another action rhyme:

“Monsters Galore”
Monsters galore, can you roar? (Roar.)
Monsters galore, can you soar? (Flying motions.)
Monsters galore, please shut the door. (Clap.)
Monsters galore, fall on the floor! (Sit/fall down.)

Credit: SurLaLune Storytime

Finally, another book — “Monster Hug” by David Ezra Stein was next.

This is a super simple, short text book about two monster best friends. This one was a big hit with my parents, actually. Almost all of my moms awwed at the end of the story and gave their kids hugs. It was super sweet to see!

But enough sweetness, this is monster storytime! So, the kids got up to do the “Monster Stomp.”

Action Rhyme: “Monster Stomp”
If you want to be a monster, now’s your chance.
‘Cause everybody’s doing the monster dance.
You just stamp your feet, wave your arms around. (Stomp, wave arms.)
Stretch ‘em up, stretch ‘em up, (Stretch up arms.)
Then put them on the ground. (Put hands on the floor.)
‘Cause you’re doing the monster stomp. (Stomp feet.)
That’s right! You’re doing the monster stomp. (Stomp feet.)

Credit: SurLaLune Storytime

Followed by one of my favorite bedtime books ever, “Go to Bed, Monster” by Natasha Wing.

A book all about a child trying to get a monster to go to bed! This was a great choice for storytime — any book that makes children sympathize with their parents is funny to see. We finished up with a song:

“Ten Little Monsters” (Tune: “Ten Little Indians”)
One little, two little, three little monsters
Four little, five little, six little monsters
Seven little, eight little, nine little monsters
Ten monsters roaring at me!

Credit: SurLaLune Storytime

And…the best monster storytime book ever, “Leonardo the Terrible Monster” by Mo Willems.

(Why yes, I do have Sam’s speech memorized.) I love this book (and author) so very much, it was such a pleasure to get to read it in storytime!

And for the craft, I borrowed one from Sarah — her monster mask craft. My teen volunteers cut out the masks, eyes, and used some scrapbooking punches to cut out the circles. They had a great time gluing away!

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Farm Storytime!

I had a daycare class of three-year-olds and four-year-olds request a special storytime all about the farm. Their daycare is taking them on a field trip to a farm next week and the kids were PUMPED to hear farm stories today!

(I was also pumped because I think farm storytimes are my favorite storytimes. Also, because I was reading four brand-new-to-me books that I ordered from different libraries in our library system. And I definitely have some new favorites to be purchased for our storytime collection.)

(And! I really made a conscientious effort today to work on transitions between books and to really introduce each title by pointing to the words.)

I started off with “Cock-a-Doodle Quack! Quack!” by Ivor Baddiel & Sophie Jubb.

This was a case where I really feel like I found an absolute perfect book for me to read. While the text is naturally funny (the story is about a baby rooster trying to figure out what to say to wake the other animals up in the morning), I also found myself raising my eyebrows and shrugging — and the kids fell into giggles after every page. But not the kind of off-topic giggles that can occur; actual responding to the story giggles!

Then I asked the group about their favorite farm animals which led into “Well, Miss Katie’s favorite farm animal is a pig…and look, she’s got a story about piggies RIGHT HERE.”

I read “Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch” by Mary Peterson & Jennifer Rofe.

Short and sweet, this book went by quick! The kids loved it though and asked for the book to be read again. As much as I wanted to oblige, their teacher stepped in for me and told the kids that they could read it at school again. So, then I asked the kids if they wanted to grow some pumpkins and they jumped up to do our action rhyme:

“Pumpkin, Pumpkin”
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground, (touch the ground)
How’d you get so big and round? (make a big circle)
Once you were a seed so small, (pinch fingers together)
Now you are a great big ball! (make a big circle)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground, (touch the ground)
How’d you get so big and round? (make a big circle)

Next up, I dropped the ball a little on my transition, but we did our “Old MacDonald” flannelboard. I asked the kids about the different animals in the song and said that we should be on the lookout for them in our next book (leaving the animals up on the board). And then, we read “Hurry Hurry” by Eve Bunting.

As we went through the story (each page only has four words on it at the most), we matched up animals on the flannelboard and in the story, putting the animals away as we went. I think the kids really enjoyed this interactivity, and the story in “Hurry Hurry” is simple enough that the kids could follow it even as we broke away from the book to work with the felt animals. The end of “Hurry Hurry” involves the arrival of a new chick at the farm which was a natural segue to sing “Over in the Barnyard” with finger puppets. We started with the yellow chickies.

“Over in the Barnyard”
Over in the barnyard
Early in the morning
See the yellow chickies
Standing in a row
See the busy farmer
Giving them their breakfast
Cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep
Off they go (remove finger puppet)
[Also, pink piggies and spotted cows]
Credit: Teach-nology Farm Songs

Our next book was “How Kind” by Mary Murphy.

I made sure to define “kind” for the kids in my introduction of this book to make sure that they all understood what was going on. I also told them that this book would be a lot like another one we had read earlier — it was their job to help me figure out which one it was like. In “How Kind,” animals on the farm do favors for one another resulting in another baby chick hatching. At the end of the story, the kids were able to point to “Hurry Hurry” as the book that this one was similar to. One enthusiastic boy shouted, “Because they both have baby chicks!”

Next I asked the kids what else happens on a farm besides animals. No one was able to get the word “crops” out, but we did get a lot of food called out. So, I told the kids we were going to grow some food ourselves next in our action rhyme:

“Farm Chores”
This is the way we plant our seeds, plant our seeds, plant our seeds
This is the way we plant our seeds so early in the morning
[Water our seeds, weed our seeds, our seeds grow up, pick our plants, eat our plants]

Then, I told the kids that my favorite thing grown on farms was apples! And that led us to our fingerplay: “Way Up High in the Apple Tree.” I was so excited that the kids knew this one from school, so they all did the rhyme along with me.

And with that, we had arrived at our last story of the day, “Clip-Clop” by Nicola Smee.

I love this book — it’s a great storytime book, with a fabulous rhythm to it. I always speed up my reading as Mr. Horse speeds up his ride, so that when the other animals go flying the kids are laughing and gasping. And my favorite part of reading it to a group is the one child who is very concerned that someone got hurt, and is very relieved once we discover the animals want to fall off again.

A super simple craft today — a paper pig mask that my teen volunteers had attached to popsicle sticks.

I found our pig mask template here at Animal Jr.

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