After quite a journey — storytime break of three weeks, but the library’s phone was out last night so I couldn’t do reminder calls and was pretty much convinced that storytime *wouldn’t* happen — SEVEN of my regulars showed up without fail and I got to do my storytime!

Wonderfully ironic that I feel such love for them for coming, and my theme was love today! (I actually modified a storytime from Afternoon Storytime about Valentine’s Day, but…Chicago got hit with a blizzard and the library closed, so no storytime. And rescheduling after the holiday seemed silly.)

First book up, “Sweethearts” by Jan Carr.

This is the only Valentine’s Day book that I did read at storytime. I love this sweet story about a little panda leaving valentines all over his house for his family. And the kids really enjoyed counting how many valentines he hid on each page spread. We talked about loving our families, and then I asked the kids if they could love anything else. One girl answered with her bear, which was super cute. And I replied that you could love some bugs, which led us into the next book, “I Love Bugs” by Emma Dodd.

I *LOVED* reading this one during this particular storytime! I had a little boy who kept saying, over and over, “Spider? Does he love spiders?” and when we got to the spider page, he said, “ACK I HATE SPIDERS.” I almost fell out of chair laughing. So adorable. Other than that, this book offers a great opportunity for kids to name the bugs in the pictures — vocabulary! I quickly talked about hearts and love before launching into this version of BINGO.

Flannelboard: “H-E-A-R-T”
There is a shape and it means love
And heart is its name-o.
H-E-A-R-T, H-E-A-R-T, H-E-A-R-T,
And heart is its name-o!
Credit: Everything Preschool

I made a quick flannel with five hearts and the letters glued on to help the kids keep track of when to clap and when to say the letter. And using the heart shape led us straight to the next book, “My Heart is Like a Zoo” by Michael Hall.

I adore this book, and used it at wild animal storytime last year, as well as at a zoo storytime over the summer, and will probably use it again at jungle storytime this summer! I was thrilled to work it into a love theme. After seeing all the animals made of hearts, I invited the kids to learn to make their own hearts with this fingerplay:

Fingerplay: “Heart”
I put my hands together,
This is how I start
I curve my fingers right around,
And I can make a heart!
Credit: Perpetual Preschool

And then, I went straight into the theme song, “Skinnamarink” by Sharon, Lois, and Bram, which is from my childhood, and I did not have to refresh my memory on any of the motions or lyrics. For those unfamiliar, the song ends with a kiss — which was a perfect segue into the next book, “I Kissed the Baby” by Mary Murphy.

This book has a great call-and-response that one of my kids immediately picked up on. After every “I [saw] the baby, did you [see] the baby?” he responded, “YES, YES, I DID!” except for one case when he responded, “No, but my sister did.” Cue heart melt! A quick action rhyme:

Action Rhyme: “Little Heart”
I have a little heart, (place hand over heart)
And it goes thump, thump, thump (pat chest three times)
It keeps right on beating,
When I jump, jump, jump (jump three times)
I get a special feeling, when I look at you. (point to child)
It makes me want to give you a hug or two. (hug yourself)
Credit: The Best Kids Book Site

Which led us to our very last book, “Henry in Love” by Peter McCarty.

This book is adorable, and a great example of sweet, first love. But because it’s an older read, I was prepared to substitute it if the kids were wiggly or done with storytime. But I had amazing behavior during storytime — like remarkable best behavior ever, with kid participation and no running around, and clapping and singing; storytime librarians will understand what I mean! So, this was a great way to end our program for the day!

And our craft for the day was an Oriental Trading kit left over from the Afternoon Storytime that didn’t happen — bear plates with hearts!


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