Storytime Contenders I

At my library, we have a huge break between the end of the fall storytime session and the start of the winter storytime session.  Right now, I have about six weeks until the start of the next session. That’s a long time! I know this may seem a bit extreme but the reasoning is all based on numbers. We don’t get a lot of participation after Thanksgiving most people have other things going on. We do offer other programming and events but just not storytimes.

Anyway, that left me with a bit of a predicament, what to do about this blog? In the past I have just sort of disappeared and then magically reappeared when storytime starts up again. As a blog reader, this sort of thing really irks me. I tend to lose interest and forget about the blog so, I decided to *really try* not to do that this time. It is sort of working.

The question became, what should I fill this space up with? I don’t really want to review books. It’s just not my thing. There are lots of fantastic review blogs out there and I don’t think that Awesome Storytime could ever really be one of them. But, I do really want to still share books. So, I came up with Storytime Contenders!

What is a Storytime Contender? Basically, I often find myself reading picture books and thinking “this would be great for storytime!” but don’t always use them. Sometimes it’s because I don’t have a good theme for these books and sometimes I just plain forget. Maybe YOU, the invisible but very friendly readers, could find a use for them in your storytimes.

For the sake of this blog, I am going to try to discuss new books, which I define as published within the last twelve months. I also really want to stay positive and will only discuss books I have considered using for storytime.

So, let’s get started:

Contender title: A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Author: Philip C. Stead
Illustrator: Erin E. Stead
Publisher/year: Roaring Brook Press/2010
ISBN: 9781596434028
Storytime appeal: Let me start by saying I adore these illustrations and I think that is why I am SO drawn to this book. They were done by hand using woodblock printing techniques and pencil. They are exactly the type of illustrations I wish in my heart of hearts I could create. (I can’t so I am really glad that Erin E. Stead has!) The story is about a zoo keeper who excels at his job and always finds away to spend time with each animal. When he gets sick one day, the animals go to see him. It’s simple and also very comforting.
I can see myself using this for my 3-5 storytime. It’s a great book and maybe a bit long for younger kids.
Possible themes: This is a clear choice for a zoo theme. It reminds me a lot of Sam Who Never Forgets  by Eve Rice- I think it’s the relationship between the zookeeper and the elephant. I would also like to use this in a sick day theme or even a friendship theme.

Contender Title: Sleepy, Oh So Sleepy
Author: Denise Fleming
Publisher/year: Henry Holt/2010
ISBN: 9780805081268
Storytime appeal: This is a beautiful picture book about sleepy baby animals. The illustrations are done in Fleming’s pulp printmaking technique and add a great hazy effect. Each spread focuses on a sleepy baby animal and the book finishes with a sleepy (and very cute!) baby. I would like to use this for a baby or two-year-old storytime. There isn’t a lot of text, just about two lines per page so that paired with the big, beautiful illustrations would be a nice fit for the babies. It might work with older kids, it’s quite sleepy and the yawning baby makes me want to yawn too. It could be a great way to settle a group down.
Possible themes: Obviously a bedtime or sleepy theme would be great for this book. I also think maybe a storytime about baby animals or animals in general.

What do you think? Have you read either of these books? What themes would you like to see these books in?

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