Tag: storytime essentials

Storytime Essentials: Five Most Beloved Purchased Puppets/Sets

Photo booth style!

1. Folkmanis Grizzly Bear Cub
They don’t make my bear cub anymore, but they do have another bear available. (I think mine looks more friendly in the face.) This is a perennial favorite for the “Sleepy Bear” rhyme, singing “Grr Grr Went the Big Brown Bear”, hidden behind the flannelboard to eat strawberries and to chase the kids on a bear hunt.

2. Merry Makers Scaredy Squirrel
Scaredy Squirrel has a big place in my heart. “Scaredy Squirrel” the book was the very first book I read to kids in a library and the first puppet that made me go, “OH MY GOSH, I MUST HAVE HIM.” Scaredy has helped me on fall school visits by showing kids the library is nothing be scared of.

3. Manhattan Toy Old MacDonald
I think every librarian needs a good farm set. My set isn’t sold through Manhattan Toy; you need to catch it on a re-sale website. Obviously good for “Old MacDonald”, but also for “Over in the Barnyard” and “Ah-Choo!”

4. Manhattan Toy FlipFlaps Butterfly
I cannot find this one sold anywhere and I am terribly sorry about that. I love this puppet. It’s so easy to manipulate and move around with. I wish there were more FlipFlaps made. I use this all the time with “Flutter, Flutter Butterfly”.

5. Folkmanis Golden Retriever
Where would I be without Applesauce, the storytime mascot from my last library? Applesauce came with me to my new library because he was mine and the library finally purchased their own golden retriever puppet to maintain the tradition I started. He’s been a superhero, eaten strawberries off the flannelboards, led a game of “Applesauce Says”, and been mended countless times when I use this Band-Aids flannelboards.

So whether or not puppets are your style, I hope at least the pictures amused you since I had fun taking them on my dinner break! And if puppets are your thing, maybe you’ve found a new way to use one of your favorites or have found a new friend to purchase.

Storytime Essentials: Picture Books for a Deserted Island


I absolutely love playing the game that begins with this question: “If you were on a deserted island and you could only have X amount of X, what would you take?”

So, for today’s post I’ll write about the ten picture books I’d want on my deserted island. You know…in case it’s not really deserted and there’s a colony of children just craving a storytime!


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
Colors, animals, rhythm — this really is one of the most versatile books. As a bonus, it can be sung to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, so it could work as a lullaby as well in case I need to lull the children to sleep.

Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Horacek
Whether it’s an insects storytime or a colors storytime, the surprise pop-up butterfly at the end will clearly thrill children. And there’s a chance that perhaps a predator might be scared of the pop-up and it could be used as self-defense, right?

Can You Make a Scary Face by Jan Thomas
With this interactive book, we’d burn off the multitude of calories acquired by drinking coconut milk and eating berries (read: very little amount of calories), and we would definitely be laughing as we did. Bonus points: practicing our scary faces for protection.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
Besides the relating to our tropical environment, this great rhythmic story would be comforting to the children because it’s a story that nearly every kid in my library knows. Plus, we’d need to learn our ABCs somehow, right?

Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee
A bounce, an adventure, and a safe tumble in the hay await us here. We’d also have a nice break from all of the jungle animals with these sweet domestic animals. Also: I’ve never known this book to flop, especially if I get all the kids to jump with me.


Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (pop-up)
This simple story will remain us of simpler times when we could send the animals that scare us back to the zoo and away from us. The pop-up edition will give us more than enough bang for our buck and while kids may know the answers to the animals after a few re-reads, they will love the book all the same.

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
Another title that can used for a multitude of themes: colors, counting, dogs, baths. It also can be substituted as a bedtime and since I’m betting money that I don’t have my flannelboard collection, I would absolutely need a visual to tell this story.

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
Again: we have to exercise sometimes! This is another book that is great for identifying animals and also has Eric Carle’s amazing illustrations. (I tried really hard not to repeat authors, but you can see that I failed on several occasions.) This fun, engaging book will keep all the kids around no matter how distracting the island may be.

It’s a Tiger by David LaRochelle
We’re definitely going to relate to this book in the jungle. (But whereas, the main character is more scared of tigers, I’d be more scared of the snakes!) I think it would be a great read for my island kids and hopefully remind us that scary things can sometimes work out in our favor.

Press Here by Herve Tullet
This would be a great read and fun for the kids even as they grew up. While I mostly picked preschool & under books, this is one of the ones that would carry us through the grade school years. Plus, we could rotate turns and the kids would look forward to the day when they were the star of the story!

I hope that I won’t be lost anytime soon, but even without the deserted island question, these are ten of my favorite storytime books that I am proud to own in my professional collection!

Storytime Essentials: Songs That Never End


No, no, no, I’m not talking about that song.

I’m talking about songs that you can keep adding more verses to as long as you need them.

1. 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!

Have the children suggest animals for you to sing next. Just be prepared for someone to name an animal (koala bear!) that you have no idea what sound to use. (For the record: I went with a generic chompchomp for anything I couldn’t sound out since all animals have to eat!) I originally learned this song from Perpetual Preschool.

2. When Animals Get Up In the Morning
When animals wake up in the morning, they always say hello
When animals wake up in the morning, they always say hello
And what do they say? [animal noise]
And that is what they say!

Another great animal noise song! I do tend to plan this one out more in advance since I typically use puppets with it. But it could also be turned into a game where the children pull out a puppet and have to provide the noise. I originally learned this song from Jbrary.

3. Sticky, Sticky Bubblegum
Sticky, sticky, bubblegum, bubblegum, bubblegum
Sticky, sticky bubblegum
Sticking your fingers to your head

Preschoolers with stick with this song for the whole storytime if you let them! I originally learned this from a school group that was visiting the library and got stuck without a bus for nearly an hour after their scheduled departure time! Their teachers did a great job keeping them entertained and taught all their classroom songs to me. Since I learned it by rote, my version is a little different than both the Carole Stephens and the Dr. Jean version. The closest approximation is this video.

4. Driving Round In My Red Car (Tune (approximately): Bumping Up & Down In My Little Wagon)
Driving round in my little red car
Driving round in my little red car
Driving round in my little red car
Zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom

I actually remember this song from childhood. This is a great song for color identification and also for getting the wiggles out. Invite the children to drive imaginary cars in their seats (or if you’re really feeling brave, let them drive around the room) and watch the magic happen. I couldn’t find a video that sounds anything like how I sing this, so maybe one day I’ll record my own!

5. Wake Up Toes
Wake up toes, wake up toes
Wake up toes and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
Wake up toes, wake up toes
Wake up and wiggle in the morning

This is a great one for babies and toddlers. Parents and caregivers can help out by touching or helping move each body part as we sing about it. This is another song that I learned from the fabulous ladies from Jbrary.

As a final note: I tend to choose opening songs that can be extended. You can read more about those in the last edition of “Storytime Essentials”. I know I missed February’s edition, but I will be back in April with a new topic!

Storytime Essentials: Opening & Closing Songs


Since I started doing storytime, I’ve done a few different opening/closing songs before I finally settled on the ones at my old library: “Clap and Say Hello!” and “We Wave Goodbye Like This”.

In the past, I’ve done “Here, Here” and “Mr. Sun” for opening songs and mostly the “ABCs” for closing.

At my new library, I wanted to try something different! Since I was doing Toddler Storytime, I wanted a song that I could repeat for as long as I needed depending on the energy of the group. And my other thought was that I wanted a song that was available on CD so that the rest of my team could play the song if for whatever reason (like PLA/ALA) that I can’t be there. I first read about the song on Kendra’s blog Read Sing Play and found this video from King County Library System to learn it.

As for my closing song, I wanted something short and it wound up that the rhyme “Tickle the Clouds” worked out the very best for me and for my group.

The reason I think opening and closing songs/activities are so essential is that they create a framework for your storytime, encourage repetition, and set-up a routine for your patrons to recognize.