Snowy Storytime

I left my house this morning and thought “It’s kind of warm out here, almost balmy…. I am over dressed with this scarf and hat. Spring must be just around the corner!” Friends, it was 29 degress. Yes, that’s right, we have reached the point in the Chicago winter where anything above 25 degrees feels like springtime. Ten more degrees and people will start breaking out their shorts and tank tops.

Obviously by now everyone around these parts is well acquainted with winter. Today in storytime our theme was snow. I asked the kids if they knew about snow and they replied affirmatively and let me know that it snows if it is winter, at which point one of my regulars told me he “is sick of snow and hates winter!” I really had to laugh and apologize for devoting a whole storytime to something he is completely over.

Enough of my babbling, on to the storytime. We only had time for two books this week, I had a lot of other things going on that took up a lot of time.

We read Chaucer’s First Winter by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Henry Cole.

I liked this book because it was your run-of-the-mill bear hibernates in winter story. (Don’t get me wrong I love those I did a whole storytime about them, but it was nice to have something different.) Chaucer is a curious bear and decides to stay up for winter. It’s a very sweet story and he luckily has two friends to pal around with as his parents sleep.

We also read I Know A Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow by Lucille Colando, illustrated by Jared Lee.

I am pretty sure that everyone who reads this blog is familiar with these stories. The old lady keeps swallowing crazy things and a huge surprise happens at the end (in this one she hiccups up a Snowman, which the kids loved.) When I was previewing this book prior to storytime, my main concern was whether or not she dies in the end. That crazy lady who swallowed a fly sometimes dies, which can be an awkward moment in storytime. However, I somehow missed the fact that when she swallows a scarf she doesn’t barf. I know that barf is not exactly a bad word BUT it is one of those words that some parents might be uncomfortable with. What did I do? Well, I will be honest, I said it and then told them I didn’t realize the word was in the book and moved on. Was that the best thing to do in the situation? Probably not. But it is my fault for missing it in the first place. Did the kids notice? Nope. Actually, when I finished one of them proclaimed “I LOVED THAT BOOK!”

I used a great flannel board today that I found on DLTK. This is a very easy flannel board to make, basically all you need is five snowflakes and a sun. You can be as creative as you want with these. I used our die-cut machine to cut out the shapes. I also made a sun to pull out at the end. If I had some sort of sun looking puppet, I would have maybe used that. Easy peasy and lots of fun.

Five Little Snowflakes!
One little snowflake with nothing to do.
Along came another and
Then there were two.

Two little snowflakes laughing with me.
Along came another, and
Then there were three.

Three little snowflakes looking for some more.
Along came another, and
Then there were four.

Four little snowflakes dancing a jive.
Along came another, and
Then there were five.

Five little snowflakes having so much fun.
Out came the sun, and
Then there were none!

We also sang a cute song that I found on Perfectly Preschool. This song was a great opportunity to get up and get moving.

Snow Pal Song (Sung to: “Feres Jacques”)
Great big ball, great big ball, made of snow, made of snow.
Rolling down the street, landing at my feet, great big ball, great big ball.
Medium-size ball, medium-size ball, Made of snow, made of snow.
Rolling down the street, landing At my feet,
Medium-size ball, medium-size ball.
Teeny tiny ball, teeny tiny ball, Made of snow, made of snow.
Rolling down the street, landing At my feet,
Teeny tiny ball, teeny tiny ball.
Watch my snow pal grow as up the Balls they go… 1 2 3, 1 2 3!

For our craft today we made hats. I have said before my favorite crafts are the ones they wear out of the storytime room. It is just so cute. All this consists of is a hat pattern a piece of cardstock and some bands cut out of cardstock.

Since I was so terrible about getting pictures last week I tried really hard to remember to snap a few shots this week. I had a really huge group (almost 30 kids!! Throw in their parents/caregivers and younger siblings and there were a lot of people in the room) so I was running around during craft making sure everyone was doing OK.

The next picture is a little blurry and not the best picture of the craft, but it is an awesome picture of one of my little friends enjoying himself.

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!

Stinky, Smelly Storytime

This week’s storytime was so smelly! I bet you could smell us a mile away! Just kidding…. seriously though, the theme was stinky stuff.

The motivation for this theme was the craft. I wanted to do a garbage truck craft because one of my little storytime friends had requested it. After determining the craft I had to think of a good theme to go along with it. Trucks seemed too obvious (although I am sure it would have been just as popular) so stinky it was.

In the beginning of the storytime when I announced the theme, I asked the children what they knew of that is stinky. Of course one kid answered “Poo!,” which made everyone else answer “Poo!” Until another kid said “GREEN Poo!”  The kids thought it was HILARIOUS and could barely contain themselves. I definitely left myself wide open with that one.

Anyway, on to the books. I started out this week with Big Smelly Bear by Britta Teckentrup.

This book was a hit! Rarely do I have the undivided attention of every single child in the room. I have no idea what it was about this book, but the kids were definitely in to it! It’s about a bear who refuses to bathe and is very stinky as a result. One day when he gets an itch he can’t reach, he has to take a bath so that Big Fluffy Bear will scratch it. The kids were all so focused on this book, it was unbelievable. I think it might be the huge, beautiful illustrations or the simple story about cleaning up. It led to a nice discussion about taking baths and washing faces. Hardly any of the kids took showers, but everyone’s daddy does!

Next we read I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullen.

I don’t think it would be possible to do this theme and leave this book out. It could be the most excellent book about stinking ever. I love this book about the garbage truck who makes the rounds about the city cleaning up all sorts of nasty things and so do the kids.

Finally we finished with Little Oink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace.

This is another one of the awesome books by Rosenthal and Corace about a character who wants desperately to do something different from what their parents want. I have read another of their books,  Little Pea before in our I’m Hungry storytime and it went over well. This book may have been funnier. It is about a pig who really wants to clean up but his parents make him make a mess. I think the kids really felt the pigs pain although, when asked none of them wanted to clean up!

This week there were a few cool extras. First, my co-worker is an elementary school teacher and she brought in a cute little garbage can for me to use.

I filled it up with lots of  “garbage” (really it was just random things around our workroom like binder clips, felt shapes, and plastic spoons) and everyone was given one piece of trash to throw away. As an added bonus, I called everyone up using colors they were wearing. The kids always enjoy activities like this, but usually we use the flannel board. I think the garbage can made it more exciting.

Also there is a cute fingerplay that the children can act out as you go:


Pick up garbage, and throw it in the bin!
Push it down, and stomp it in!
Carry the cans to the street
for the garbage trucks to eat.
When the truck comes roaring by,
workers lift the cans up high.
Garbage falls into the back.
Crush it, mash it, smash it flat!
Set the cans down with a thump.
Now drive that garbage to the dump!

Finally for craft this week, we made the aforementioned garbage truck:

I can’t take credit for this awesome picture, it was made by one of the kids. Basically all they did was color in their truck and then glue on crumpled pieces of paper on it. It was very popular and all the kids were very proud of their truck!

Pizza! Pizza!

This week’s storytime theme came about in a sort of  backwards fashion. Last week we had a pizza taste-off program for the elementary school kids (A HUGE success and lots of fun) and we made lots of back-up craft ideas in case the pizza tasting went quicker than we imagined it would. It turned out that the pizza tasting went longer than we thought it would- our pizza tasters were very thorough and we had no time left for our awesome pizza crafts. So rather than waste an already prepared craft, I decided to use it for storytime this week.

Usually, I prefer to let the books do the choosing rather than letting the theme dictate the books. I have found that the later makes for a somewhat forced storytime but luckily pizza is pretty straightforward theme and I knew that the kids would really have fun with it.

First we read The Little Red Hen (makes a pizza)retold by Philemon Sturges, illustrated by Amy Walrod.

The Little Red Hen Makes A Pizza

I love this retelling of the Little Red Hen story. In my storytelling class my professor had a former student of his come in and he told this story. It was very awesome. I think this story lends itself to a very exciting and fun telling. He did it without the book and I, of course, had the book. It is on the longer side as far as picture books go and when I told a co-worker I was going to use it she worried it would be too long. The kids LOVED it. Sturges’ writing is so funny and clever and Walrod’s cut-paper illustrations are just as hilarious as the story. I think that the kids really benefited from having experience with the original Little Red Hen story and were quite surprised by the twists and turns this retelling makes.

Next we read Pete’s A Pizzaby William Steig.

Pete's a Pizza

I can’t imagine doing a pizza theme and not including this book. This is such a simple and sweet story about one family’s solution to a rainy day. The kids really enjoyed this book (although one little boy was very concerned that the boy in the story would be eaten by his parents- I assured him that was the end to another book, not this one) and it was perfect for today as it is quite rainy outside!

We finished with Pizza at Sally’s by Monica Wellington.

Pizza At Sally's

This is a very sweet book about Sally who owns a pizzeria. It was great to read aloud because it allows for lots of interaction with the kids, everyone mimed the creation of a pizza. It was especially great for the craft we did this week, which was making our own pizzas.


The template for this craft come from:

It was very successful with the kids. Almost as successful as the craft we did for the Pets theme. I think this is because kids really love gluing and especially love gluing with glue sticks. So many of the pizzas ended up with A LOT of toppings. Funny, because everyone told me their favorite kind of pizza was plain cheese.

I found few great pizza fingerplays that everyone enjoyed:

PIZZA MAN, PIZZA MAN (to the tune of “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear”)
Pizza man, pizza man, turn around
Pizza man, pizza man, touch the ground

Pizza man, pizza man, smell a rose
Pizza man, pizza man, touch your toes

Pizza man, pizza man, touch the sky
Pizza man, pizza man, wave goodbye

Pizza man, pizza man, turn around
Pizza man, pizza man, sit back down

Pizza man, pizza man, shake your head
Pizza man, pizza man, go to bed

PIZZA SONG(To the tune of “If You’re Happy and You know it”)

If you want to eat some pizza
Raise your hand.
If you want to eat some pizza
Raise your hand.
If you like bubbly cheese,
Then just say, “Pizza please!”
If you want to eat some pizza,
Raise your hand.