Boo! Halloween Storytime!

My most favorite holiday ever is Halloween! Last year we sort of dropped the ball with our Halloween storytime so I definitely wanted to make up for it this year! My theme was loosely ghosts. I had one book, in particular, that I was excited to read and sort of used as inspiration for this week’s storytime.

We started storytime this week with Pumply, Dumply Pumpkin by Mary Serfozo.

I think I have pulled this book before for other storytimes but it hasn’t made the cut for storytime. I really liked this book. It was fun to read with lots of rhyming phrases and the kids really enjoyed guessing what the pumply dumply pumpkin would be used for. 

Next we read Boo, Bunny! by Kathryn O. Galbraith, illustrated by Jeff Mack.

This book is a good example of me really liking a book and realizing that it may be better for a lapsit type of situation rather than a storytime after the fact. Don’t get me wrong, I think the kids enjoyed it… just maybe not as much as I thought they would. Before I started the story one little girl asked if this was a scary story. I told her it wasn’t scary but it was maybe a little Halloween creepy. I think that a) my answer didn’t really make sense and b) the kids were a little off because of the possibility of it being scary. I think this is a great book and is lots of fun but it wasn’t right for this group today. That happens, I can’t always be super awesome and pick out crowd pleasers 100% of the time.

Next we read Go Away Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley.

This book is a classic and really needs no explanation. Emberley’s books are great for storytime because they are so visually appealing. I love it when I read it to a group of kids and there is one in the group who has never seen it before. I love the look they get as the monster slowly starts to unravel. At my library, we have a cool Go Away Big Green Monster glove that I retold the story with after I read the book.

The kids really liked the repetition of the story. They also thought the glove was really cool and enjoyed watching me add and subtract its pieces.

Finally, I closed with Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara

This book was my storytime inspiration! It came out in 2008, but I didn’t learn about it until last year. I love this book! This year I bought it as a Halloween gift for all of the little kids in my life. I like it because while it is about ghosts and Halloween it’s not really scary. Ghosts don’t always have to be super scary and creepy they can be friendly too (just like Casper!)

There are so many Halloween songs and fingerplays out there. I chose just a few to get us rolling…. first we sang If You’re a Ghost and You Know It, which was a huge success. We sing If You’re Happy and You Know It every storytime, so the kids really like it when we mix it up. They came up with lots of great things such as yelling “Boo!”, waving our arms and spinning in circles.

I needed a bit of movement  in today’s storytime so I found something to get them up off the ground. This one fit the bill:

Ring Around the Pumpkins
Pocket full of spiders
Boo! Boo!
We all fall down!
The ghosts are in the meadow
Drinking witches brew
Boo! Boo!
We all stand up!

Finally, I really like this fingerplay because it sort of went a long with the whole ghost idea:

Five Little Ghosts
Five little ghosts dressed all in white
Were scaring each other on Halloween night.
“Boo!” said the first one, “I’ll catch you.'” (Hold up pointer)
“Wooo said the second, “I don’t care if you do! (Hold up middle finger)
The third ghost said, “You can’t run away from me.” (Hold up ring finger)
And the fourth one said, “I’ll scare everyone I see! (Hold up little finger)
Then the last one said, “It’s time to disappear.” (Hold up thumb)
“See you at Halloween time next year!”

The craft today was SUPER easy but also lots of fun. We made tissue ghosts.

This is very easy. Using a facial tissue, you cover a sucker and secure it with yarn, string or ribbon. Because this was so easy and quick, I also provided cute Halloween coloring sheets for them to color. Lots of fun!

I like bugs!

This week’s storytime was all about BUGS! This is a super versatile theme and a lot can be done with it. There are SO many great bug books out there.

We started with Sleepyhead Bear by Lisa Westberg Peters, pictures by Ian Schoenherr.

This book is about a bear who just wants to take a nap but can’t because bugs are constantly bothering him! It’s a sweet story and features lots of neat bugs. We had a fun time identifying each bug.

Next we read I Love Bugs by Emma Dodd.

I really love reading Emma Dodd’s books in storytime. That’s really no surprise since we’ve seen one about pets and also one about dogs show up in storytimes. This one was not a disappointment! I can’t recommend her books enough.

Finally, we closed with Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas.

I really enjoy Jan Thomas’ books. This one is a PERFECT read aloud and PERFECT for storytime. It is similar to Monster At The End of This Book and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus in that it speaks directly to the listeners and asks that they are active participants in the story. As a result, this was super fun for everyone. My favorite part is when the bug asks the children to stand… then to sit… and then to stand again. Very silly!

For our craft this week we made spider hats! This was a great craft to get the parents working with their children. Crafts that result in them wearing something as they head out the door are always very cute.

Mustache Storytime!!!

This theme has been a long time coming. I’ve been so excited about it and actually came up with it a long time ago. I was inspired by a wedding: my lovely friend, Kelly, got married last May. I was lucky enough to be her DJ and point person. I am not an official wedding anything but she thought I could do it and I was happy to help out. So anyway, she is super crafty and creative and came up with having mustaches as favors for the guests. I helped her make these super cute mustaches out of felt and on the big day they were a huge hit! Everyone loved them.

Me and the bride on mustache creation day

Probably on of the cutest things was probably the little kids- especially her super cute flower girl running around with mustaches and I immediately thought of storytime ( I don’t know, that’s just how my mind works). I wanted it to be a true theme with books to match. This wasn’t easy. I enlisted the help of awesome librarians on the Pubyac listserv and they answered my call for help with some great books! Never underestimate the value of asking for help and suggestions. My colleagues, both at my job and in librarianland, are always a huge source of inspiration and aid. I have been so excited about this theme all summer. I couldn’t do it because we all tried to keep our storytime themes in line with our summer reading theme. So now, finally after months of waiting I got to do my mustache storytime!

Initially, I wanted it to be only mustache books. But that just wasn’t working out. There are some good ones out there, but I didn’t know how great they would be for today’s storytime. One in particular is super awesome, Moosetache by Margie Palatini, but it is sort of long and I know that my kids’ attention would be out the window. I think this would be better for an older group such as Kindergarten.

We started this week by reading If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff.

This one is always a crowd favorite. I chose it because the mouse gets a milk mustache. It’s a great book to read aloud and lots of fun. Definitely a storytime classic.

Next we read the Runaway Beard by David Schiller.

This is a super fun book about a beard who takes off and tries to find a new home. One of the coolest things about this book is it comes with a beard to wear. I decided to wear it while I read the story.

I can’t believe this entry has two pictures of me with fake facial hair.

Finally, we closed with No Haircut Today by Elivia Savadier.

This book was great for storytime. It has fun pictures and large, bold text. A little boy does not want to cut his hair but his mother is a hair dresser and really wants him to. After he refuses he worries that she is mad at him but learns she is not because she loves him very much. It’s very fun and has a sweet ending.

Our craft this week was mustaches, of course! I just made a template and had them decorate, cut out and stick their mustache on a stick. It was all very cute!


Fall leaves

Yesterday was the first day of fall and so today we did a fall themed storytime! This storytime turned out to be much like the leaves storytime that I did last October. Now that I am looking back, the craft and the books are very similar. Generally I try not to do exactly the same thing, but sometimes it does happen. I guess it is a different group of kids each year and it’s been a while. The librarians who do the baby and two-year old storytimes will cycle through themes each year and refresh with new titles. What do you think? Do you have any opinions on having similar/repeating storytimes?

Anyway, on to the storytime! First we read Leaf Trouble by Jonathan Emmett, illustrated by Caroline Church.

This is a cute story about a squirrel, Pip, who is stressed out by all of the leaves falling off of his favorite tree. This is a sweet story, although it is a bit long. I read it first because I knew that my group would be the most fresh right away at the beginning rather than the end of storytime.

Next we read Don’t Worry Bear by Greg Foley.

Another cute story, this one features a little bear who is worried about his friend, Caterpillar, who has spun a cocoon. This one is not exactly about fall or leaves but it is a nice story about friends and the kids really enjoyed it. In fact, I had all of the books out for them to see and they requested it next!

Finally, we finished with Leaves by David Ezra Stein.

I really love this book, I used it last year and the year before that and had to use it again. There is something about the simplistic story and beautiful illustrations that make me really love this book. It’s such a simple but perfect way to discuss fall.

I need to mention a fingerplay that goes well with this theme that was a huge hit this morning:

Leaves on the Tree (to the tune of The Wheels On the Bus)

The leaves on the trees turn orange and brown,
orange and brown,
orange and brown,
The leaves on the trees turn orange and brown all over town

The leaves on the trees come tumbling down,
tumbling down,
tumbling down,
The leaves on the trees come tumbling down all over town.

The leaves on the ground go swish, swish, swish,
swish, swish, swish,
swish, swish, swish
the leaves on the ground go swish, swish, swish all through the town.


We also did a fun flannel board activity. I put a tree up on the flannel board with lots of leaves and each child came up and pulled a leaf off and placed it in a pile at the bottom. This was a lot of fun for everyone.

Finally, I can’t forget the craft! This was very simple but still very succesful. I think because of the use of glue sticks. Using leaves from the dye cut machine, the children glued them onto a larger leaf and colored if they wanted. This age group loves to glue! They could have glued leaves all day long!

Dog Storytime

Our fall storytime session began again today and I am super excited to be doing our 3-5 year old storytime again this year! I had a whole new group this fall because most of last year’s group had grown out of storytime and graduated on to kindergarten.  I was accustomed to an older group and a lot of these kids are on the younger side of the 3-5 range so that sort of changed things for me. But, that being said it was super fun! Everyone was so excited to be in storytime and that always makes it more fun for me. Anyway, on to the storytime!

This week’s theme was dogs. I can’t believe I’ve never done a dog theme before! The first book I read was I Don’t Want a Posh Dog by Emma Dodd.

I really love Emma Dodd’s books. The illustrations are super fun and they stories are alway a joy to read aloud. This book was no exception. It’s all about a girl who knows exactly what kind of dog she does not want. I know that the kids got a kick out of and it made for a good first book for this storytime.

Next we read Hunky Dory Ate It by Katie Evans, illustrated by Janet Morgan Stoeke.

Once again, this was a very fun book with rhyming text. It’s a very simple story, Hunky Dory eats everyone’s food and then she gets sick. This was a great book for making predictions. After each page I would ask the kids what would happen next… of course it was Hunky Dory ate it!

After that we read Do Your Ears Hang Low by Caroline Church.

This book is a cute depiction of the classic song “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”.  It was lots of fun to read and then afterwards we sang the song with all of the motions.

There are lots of dog crafts out there. I ended up finding this week’s craft in an old file from a long time ago. Sometimes I like using those crafts. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel each week.

We made a dog house this week. It’s very basic. The kids just cut out a dog and a house, glued it on a sheet of paper and then decorated it.

Fishy storytime

This week’s storytime was all about fish. There are so many great fish books out there, it is hard to pick just a few for storytime.

We started with Smiley Shark by Ruth Galloway.

This is a fun story about a shark who scares away all of his potential friends with his huge smile. Luckily, they learn the value of having a friend like him and they end up being friends. This is a fun book to read in storytime because the kids always think the shark is going to be mean, even though the title clearly states that he is smiley. It always leads to a fun discussion.

Next we read Bright Stanley by Matt Buckingham.

This is about a little fish named Stanley who loses his friends. That seems to be a theme with fish books. Anyway, he is shiny and bright and that helps him find them. This is an exciting book to read just because of the foiled scales on Stanley, the kids really like that. It’s in the same vein as the Rainbow Fish books by Marcus Pfister.

We only read two books today because we played some games and also did a fun flannel board. I gave each child a different color piece of felt and they added it to the fish on the board. I have done this before and everytime it’s a huge success. I call out the colors by name so they have to identify what color they are holding and then get to come up.

Our craft was a similar idea. They had to put scales on fish. This craft is very much like the craft I did for a previous fish storytime except this time I used a paper plate and they tore the scales from paper. I don’t know which one was more popular. They both worked great!

The picture isn’t the greatest of the actual craft, but this is the best one I was able to get. You can see the paper plate fish on the left. My favorite part of the picture is actually hard to see. One of my favorite storytime kids (who am I kidding, they are all my favorite!) made an all yellow fish, you can see it on the right. He told me it was his own Stanley to take home. The same child came up to me prior to storytime and said “I AM SO EXCITED FOR STORYTIME MISS SARAH!!!!” It melted my heart. And that, my friends, is the perfect example of why I have the absolute best job in the whole world.

Octopus storytime!

To continue with our Make Waves theme for Summer Reading, we had an awesome octopus storytime today.

We began by reading Herman The Helper by Robert Kraus, pictures by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey.

This was a great book to start with. I am a HUGE fan of the Kraus/Aruego books and this one did not disappoint. It’s all about Herman who helps out everyone he knows. He is a small green octopus who does not take up a lot of space on the page so we had a lot of fun finding him on every page.

Next we read An Octopus Followed Me Home by Dan Yaccarino.

Dan Yarrcarino is another of my favorite authors to read in storytime. This is a great story about a girl who brings home an octopus who is reminded by her father of all of the other animals who have also followed her home. This book has fun illustrations and is quite silly.

Finally, I closed with I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry.

Ok, so I know that this is a book about a squid and not an octopus this is something we discussed prior me reading the story, but I couldn’t resist using it. This is also one of my favorite books (looks like this was a week of faves!) and I love reading it to the kids. I have used it many times before and its previously been mentioned on this blog.

For our craft this week we made octopuses. I wasn’t too pleased with the one I made, I thought it looked like a jelly fish. However, the ones the kids made were really great!

Check out this guy’s mouth! Very scary!

I especially like this octopus’ eyes. Very awesome!

Beach Party!

Summer is officially here and for those of us in libraryland that means one thing: Summer Reading! We kicked off our summer reading club last week and yesterday we had our 1,000th person sign up! Last year we had 1,200 participants so we are anxious to see if this year’s number surpass that.
So what does all of this mean? The library has been super busy! Yesterday we had two storytimes, my 3-5 year olds followed by the 2 year olds. Between the two storytimes, we had over 100 people (including parents) in attendance. What an awesome way to start out the storytime this summer! Our summer reading theme this year is Make Waves @ Your Library so you can expect lots of storytimes that fit that theme.
Now on to the books!

First we read At the Beach by Anne and Harlow Rockwell.

This was a great way to start out our first summertime storytime! It is a sweet story about all a day at the beach. The children really enjoyed it and it led to a discussion about days we all had spent at the beach.

Next we read To the Beach! by Linda Ashman

 The story is about a family who is off to the beach but continually forgets necessary items. I loved reading this book! It has great rhyming text that make it lots of fun to read aloud. It was exciting and very funny for the kids too. definitely recommended for a storytime.

Finally, we closed with Beach Day by Patricia Lakin, illustrated by Scott Nash.

To be honest, I didn’t quite know how this one was going to go. I thought it might work but I also thought that it might not. Lucky for me it definitely worked. The kids thought it was fun and it ended up being a great way to finish.

For our craft this week, we made sun visors. The children were given visors to cut out as well as markers and stickers to decorate with. When they were finished, I  gave the parents elastic to tie on. They all turned out very cute! My favorite crafts are the ones that they can wear out, so this one definitely fit the bill!

Storytime Break!

I am so sorry for the lack of posts the past few weeks. The Summer Reading Club starts next week and I have been spending the past few weeks preparing some of the fantastic programs we are going to have at my library this summer. Storytime begins the week of June 15th and our SRC theme this year is Make Waves @ Your Library so get ready for lots of beach and ocean themed storytimes!

Moooooo!!! Cow Storytime

I grew up in Iowa and as a result, I am quite familiar with farm animals. Cows are probably one of the most recognizable farm animal to my storytime group (second to only pigs) so this was a great theme for storytime this week.

First we readThe Cow Who Clucked by Denise Fleming.

This is a nice story about a cow who loses his moo and must look all over the farm to locate it. It was a great opportunity for everyone to practice their animal noises.

Next we read Cows Going Past by Bruce Balan.

While on a car trip, a family sees all sorts of cows going past. This is a cute story with great illustrations. The highlight for me though was one of my regulars read the title aloud when I held up the book. It’s so exciting when a child starts to read and this little boy was so proud of himself. It was fantastic!

Finally, we closed with Cock-a Doodle Quack! Quack! by Ivor Baddiel, Sophie Jubb and Allie Busby.

In this story, a little rooster must learn how to crow in the morning to wake up all of the other animals on the farm. This book was similar to the first one I read in that it provided lots of opportunities for the kids to practice those animal noises.

For craft this week, we made cow masks. The children were given little pieces of pink paper to glue on for the ears and then went wild with the crayons. As usual, the example is much more boring than what the kids came up with.