Let me just say for the record that purple is the HARDEST color to find books about! There’s tons of food that’s purple (plums, jelly, jam) but no books for preschoolers about that food. Someone please write a book about jelly and grapes, please!

With that being said, I did manage to find some books for this storytime, and I have to say that the books were received with great joy and happiness on behalf of my preschoolers. Previous color storytimes can be found here: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.

First up, this is a book I found in my library’s collection, “Lunchtime for a Purple Snake” by Harriet Ziefert.

This book is very similar to Tomie dePaola’s “The Art Lesson,” which is one of my favorite books from being a child. A young girl paints with her grandfather. Her purple streak across the page turns into a snake, and they decorate the page with objects for their snake. The kids were really involved in this story!

Next up, I read “Gladys Goes Out to Lunch” by Derek Anderson.

At library school, someone used this during our storytime week and for whatever reason the book stuck with me. When I was trying to think of purple books, I remembered that Gladys was a purple gorilla, and grabbed the book off of the shelves. The kids were pretty horrified that a gorilla had escaped from the zoo. They kept saying, “She shouldn’t be out, Miss Katie!” during the reading. But when it was revealed that she was looking for bananas, lots of giggles ensued. And then everyone got a chance to be a monkey!

Action Rhyme: “Little Monkeys Swinging In the Tree”
Little monkeys swinging in the tree
All hold hands and swing with me
Swing up high and swing down low
Swing in the tree, now don’t let go!
Swing, swing like I do
Swing like the monkeys in the zoo
Credit: Step By Step — Rainforest Theme

Next up, a super short book, “Too Purpley” by Jean Reidy.

This book is about a little girl who doesn’t want to wear most of what’s in her closet. Every outfit she tries on has something wrong with it. This got a lot of laughs, especially during the polka-dot page. Afterwards, the kids and I did this song:

Action Song: “I’m Going to Take a Sweater” (Tune: Jolly Good Fellow)
I’m going to take a sweater, a sweater, a sweater
I’m going to take a sweater, when I go out today
When I go out today, when I go out today
I’m going to take a sweater, a sweater, a sweater
I’m going to take a sweater, when I go out today
(Additional Refrains: Umbrella, hat, raincoat, etc.)
Credit: Best Kids Book Site

I changed the words a bit from what’s originally on the BKBS, but I went with what felt natural singing to me. (Sometimes I find that there are too many syllables in the songs, and I get tripped up as a singer.) I acted out putting on the clothes we were singing about, and so did the kids.

And then I brought out my flannelboard of “Harold and the Purple Crayon.”

I was really shocked when one of the little boys said that he knew this story! Hooray!

The next book was “Chicken, Pig, Cow and the Purple Problem” by Ruth Ohi.

This book didn’t work out nearly as well as I had hoped. My kids were confused about the fact that chicken, pig, and cow are all clay animals that the girl made — so the whole book they kept reminding me that cows were not purple. I think this book is definitely a kindergarten and up book, and will save it for them.

However, singing “Old McDonald Had a Farm” with my Manhattan Toy puppets made everything better because my cow puppet is black and white, so that fixed their world.

And then it was on to the last book of the day, “Purple” by Sarah L. Schuette.

This is technically a non-fiction book, but it works for storytime because it’s told in rhymes and has bright pictures. I just skipped over the little information boxed and everything was fine. I choose it because I needed a book about grapes and jelly, and I’m glad it worked so well!

Then, a favorite song of mine from childhood:

Song: “Peanut Butter and Jelly”
First you take the peanuts and you crunch ‘em, you crunch ‘em
First you take the peanuts and you crunch ‘em, you crunch ‘em
For your peanut, peanut butter and jelly
Peanut, peanut butter and jelly
(Grapes/Squish ‘em; Bread/Spread it; Sandwich/Eat it)
Credit: Childhood

And then our craft!

I made up this craft, basically. I have a circle scrapbook punch, punched out some purple circles and we made grape bunches. Super simple, and the kids were so much more creative than me, as always!

10 comments on “Purple!

  1. Danielle
    May 23, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Have you seen the new book by Greg Foley called “Purple Little Bird”? It’s super cute and would fit perfectly for next time!

    • Katie
      May 23, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

      I have and I love that book! But our library’s copy was not in when I did the storytime. I do have it written down for next time though.

  2. Rachael
    July 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    Thanks so much for posting these great titles and activities! I’m a teen librarian filling in until we replace our outgoing children’s librarian and really needed help with the purple story time…none of the titles she listed for me are in our library! Anyway, just wanted to say thanks and I “borrowed” liberally. 😀

    • Katie
      July 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      Glad that I could help! Feel free to “borrow” any time!

  3. Elisha
    November 15, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    What about Jamberry by Bruce Degen? Also, there’s a book version of the song, Peanut Butter and Jelly by Nadine Bernard Westcott.

    • Katie
      November 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

      Thanks for the suggestions! I will look into them when/if I repeat the theme!

  4. Joan Collins
    June 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Thank you for your great ideas.

  5. Erin
    April 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    If you ever decide to do this theme again I have to recommend the hilarious book, “The Purple Kangaroo” by Michael Ian Black. It’s pretty popular with our storytime crew.

    • Katie
      June 7, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation!


  1. 20 – Extra Yarn (Barnett, 2012) | the library around the corner - March 14, 2015

    […] (which of course would take place in the winter). The storytime would start with the song, “I’m Going to Take a Sweater” and lead into Extra Yarn. For an activity, we might take skeins of yarn and wrap them around […]

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