Garden Storytime

Spring has sprung! The weather is absolutely beautiful and we celebrated today with a garden storytime! This is a lovely theme and is very versatile. I have been looking forward to this storytime for weeks and was so happy to finally share it with my kids.

First we read My Garden by Kevin Henkes.

This is a beautiful book about a girl who helps her mother in the garden and goes on to describe what her dream garden would look like. It’s full of imagination and encourages the children to dream about what their garden would look like.

Next we read A Handful of Sunshine by Meanie Eclare.

This book was a lovely addition to storytime today. It was a surprise find, I just stumbled upon it and am so glad I did. This is why I like it: it has real photos of a real girl planting sunflowers. That doesn’t happen too often with storytime books. Obviously there are lots of fantastic illustrations out there (Henkes’ from the first book are a glowing example) but it is nice to mix it up with something different. This book is a nonfiction and is easy to share with a group. Highly recommended!

Also included this week was Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert.

This is a super versatile storytime book. It would be great in a colors theme and was perfect for gardens as well. The illustrations are bright and vibrant and it contains good information on plants.

We closed with Lenny in the Garden by Ken Wilson- Max.

This is a nice story about a young boy Lenny, who is in the garden with his mom. While I like this book, I do think it is a bit young for the group I had today. I think if I were to use it again, I would use it for baby storytime.

For our craft today, we made our own gardens!

This was a super easy craft preparation wise. I made lots of flowers with our die cut machine, gave them glue, crayons and paper and let them go crazy.

I should mention that my friend, storytime katie, recently did a garden theme as well. If you want more ideas, be sure to check out her blog!

Tropical Storytime

This week’s theme went through a lot of changes. Let me explain: I wanted to read Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawai’i by Gerald Mc Dermott (I talked about it in a Storytime Contenders post post).  I started out with a fable theme, but it just wasn’t working for me. Then I decided to do a Hawaii theme but it was a challenge to find enough books to fit this theme. Finally, I opened it up and settled on a Tropical theme. This just gave me more to work.

I had to remind myself that themes are basically for myself. I know librarians who never use themes. Sometimes I don’t if I have a preschool visit suddenly pop-up or something. I have just found structuring a storytime around a theme to be a good way to focus the storytime for myself. I don’t always announce it to the children and I would be willing to bet some of them have no idea that there ever is a theme.

 So, we started with one of my favorite books set in the ocean I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry.

I think this book is hilarious. For the first time today in storytime, one of the children pointed out that the main character is boasting and “is not very nice.” Everyone was very excited to see what would happen to this boastful fellow. In the end, he is swallowed by a whale and proclaims the he is the biggest thing in this whale. Many of the children noticed that his is NOT, however, the biggest thing in the ocean.

Next we read Hula Lullaby by Erin Eitter Kono.

This is a very nice lullaby story with bits of flavor from Hawaii throughout. This is a nice book to calm everyone down a bit.

We closed with Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawai’i.

Since this book was the reason for this storytime, I was super excited to share it with the group. I am pleased to report it was a success! It really held their attention and everyone was very interested in what happened to Pig-Boy. I love it when I share a book no one in the room has read before and everyone is so interested to see how the story ends.

I am also very excited about today’s craft. We made leis! This is a very easy craft to make. I cut out flower die cuts, and gave them yarn and some spacers I made out of cardstock. That was probably the most time-consuming part of the preparation.

Oh! One more thing! There is a new Froggy book I would have loved to have included today but it is new and still on-order at my library and although I put it on hold,  it didn’t come in on time. It’s called Froggy Goes To Hawaii by Jonathan London.

Turtle Storytime

Today’s storytime theme was turtles! It was a fun theme and the group really enjoyed it. I can’t believe I haven’t done it before.

I only have two books to share today because my group was very talkative and had lots of energy so we did extra movement activities to help them get their wiggles out! It’s been cold lately and I think everyone has a bit of cabin fever waiting for spring to come back.

The first book we read is called Hurry Up and Slow Down and it is by Layn Marlow.

This is a very sweet book about a tortoise and a hare. The hare is always in a hurry and wants the tortoise to “Hurry Up!” However, when it comes time for the tortoise to read the hare a story, the hare worries the tortoise is going much too fast and wants him to “Hurry Up and Slow Down!” It’s a nice book and many of my kids were familiar with the tortoise and the hare which added a bit of depth for them.

We also read Turtle Splash! Countdown to the Pond By Cathryn Falwell

This is a counting book about turtles. It’s simple, but fun to read and it kept my group’s attention. We all counted together, which was a great way to keep them involved with the story. Falwall has another book that features turtles, Scoot! that is a great book for this theme.

I didn’t get to it because I ran out of time and we spent much more time moving around this week than usual.

Our craft today was really cute. It’s from this website.

It’s a turtle whose head can peek out from its shell! Everyone really liked it and the children were quite proud of what they were able to make. This craft does require a bit of cutting, which worked great today because most of the children are confident with scissors and if they needed help their parents were there to provide it. Everyone’s storytime group is different so if your group isn’t ready for scissors, this craft might require some pre-cutting. As usual, everyone’s turtle was spectacular!

Tools

This week’s storytime was all about tools! I have done a construction storytime before (unfortunately prior to the start of this blog) so this was a different take on the same idea.

We started with Emma Garcia’s Tap Tap Bang Bang.

This book is the reason I wanted to do this theme for storytime. I am a huge fan of Garcia’s books. Tip Tip Dig Dig is one of my favorite picture books about construction and Tap Tap Bang Bang does not disappoint!. This book describes the sounds and actions of tools: “We can bang bang with the hammer and tappety tap in the nails.” This makes it lots of fun to do with a group.

Next we read Whose Tools Are These? By Sharon Katz Cooper, illustrated by Amy Bailey Muehlenhardt.

I like this book because it is interactive and ask the reader to guess who uses each tool. This book goes beyond the standard hammer, wrench, screwdriver tools and includes a chef’s tools, doctor’s tools and even a teacher’s tools. We had a good time discussing the type of tools we each use. A librarian’s tools are books!

We closed with I Love Tools! by Philemon Sturges.

This was a great book to close with. It discusses lots of tools and culminates in the creation of a bird house!

There are a few other titles worrth taking a look at if you want to use this theme. They are:

Magic Toolbox by Mie Araki
The Toolbox by Anne and Harlow Rockwell
and Toolbox Twins by Lola M Schaefer, illustrated by Melissa Iwai

I am sure there are others I am not including. Do you have a favorite tool book you like to use for storytime?

Our craft this week was a bit abstract. The children were given shapes and they could build something of their own on their paper. I will admit, the group needed a bit of guidance. It’s not as clean-cut as other crafts so we discussed it prior to starting and I gave them some ideas and asked them what they thought they would like to build. As a result, their creations were quite varied but they were also very imaginative.

I was told this is Thomas. As in the Tank Engine.

I did not get a chance to find out what this one is, but I think we can all agree it is awesome!

Rainbows!

This week’s storytime was all about rainbows and colors! I have done this theme before. It is  fantastic and can be done again and again because there is no limit on the amount of books available about colors!

We started today with Wow Said the Owl! by Tim Hopgood.

This book was part of the owl storytime last year and I LOVE IT! This book has beautiful, vibrant illustrations and is perfect to share with a group. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time this book shows up in storytime.

Next we read Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd.

Dog's Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting

Emma Dodd’s books are made for storytime. Her books have been featured before in Pets storytime, Dog Storytime and Bugs storytimeDog’s Colorful Day is great because not only is it a book about colors, but it is also a book about counting! I am fortunate enough to work at a library that has flannel boards available. I work with a great group of creative people that make lots of wonderful things like awesome flannel boards. Today, I used a flannel board that a co-worker made to help read this book.

It’s super cute! If you do not have a lot of flannel boards where you work, this one would not be too hard to make. If you want some inspiration check out my friend Katie’s blog: storytime katie. She makes lots of flannel boards in addition to having  good storytimes.

We closed today with a classic: Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle.

This book was included today because we just got a brand new big book edition at my library. Big books are hard for me to read because they are so big and they make me feel clumsy. Because of that I often have to remind myself to use them. This is a great big book because Carle’s already beautiful illustrations are huge and easy to see. All of the kids were familiar with this book and they enjoyed reading it along with me.

We made beautiful rainbows today for our craft.

The children were given a rainbow on cardstock, pieces of paper and glue. You could probably subsitute tissue paper if you needed to. It’s very easy!

The Audrey and Don Wood storytime

This week we read great books by Audrey and Don Wood. The storytime crowd is very familiar with these authors and that made for a great storytime.

We started with The Napping House.

I am so glad I started with this one because I discovered this book is a favorite of many of my storytime kids. I have read it before and the results are always positive.

Next we read Silly Sally.

I had never seen this book before. The Woods have an extensive catalog, which makes them a great candidate for this type of storytime. It was fun to use something completely new. This book is very silly (obviously) and also lots of fun.

Finally, I closed with Piggies.

This is a sweet story about all sorts of different piggies, which live on a child’s fingers. It’s a great book to read to a group because it encourages them to play with their own little piggies. I could also see sharing this one on one with a child and having equally great results.

For our craft, we made our own hand with piggies. I will be honest, this wasn’t the most successful of all crafts. I am not sure that kids really got the tie-in with the piggies and the hand BUT they did really like tracing and cutting out their hand. My group is on the younger side and so sometimes things just don’t go as planned. No big deal.

The “I Love You” Storytime

Happy Valentine’s Day! Storytime falls midweek so we celebrated a bit early at storytime. Generally speaking, I don’t like Valentine’s Day books for storytime because they are long, a bit too sweet and just not great to read to a group. So, instead I went with an “I Love You” theme today. There are TONS of books about love and this is a concept preschoolers are familiar with.

We started with The Cuddle Book by Guido van Genechten.

My group was very active and talkative today. They had a lot to tell me since we missed storytime last week due to the blizzard. I was a bit unsure about how well this book would captivate them and it turns out I had nothing to worry about. This is a very nice book about cuddling. Each spread shows different animals and how they cuddle. “For crabs, cuddling is hard.” Very cute.

Next we read How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague.

I am constantly singing the praises of the dinosaur books by Yolen and Teague. I really love these books and think they are great to share with a crowd. I have read discussed two titles previously: How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? (here) and How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? (here). How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You does not disappoint. What I like about this book is it is very reaffirming about love, even when the dinosaur does something naughty, the parents still love him or her.

We closed with My Heart Is Like A Zoo by Michael Hall.

This is a great rhyming book featuring animals made out of heart shapes. It’s super simple but very nice to read a loud. The kids really enjoyed it and especially enjoyed the frog- everyone spontaneously started hopping like frogs! Moments like these are the best part of storytime. This is a great book and it was the perfect tie-in for our craft.

We made heart animals. This consisted of different sized hearts cut with the die cut machine, crayons and a whole lot of imagination!

I really loved this frog. The yellow individual next to the frog is its friend because according to the young man who made this, “everyone needs a friend.”

How cute is this butterfly? I don’t know if youc an tell, but my favorite part is it’s face! She was very proud of her work.

We haven’t had an interactive flannel board in a while and the kids really love those. It makes them feel special and involved. This time each child was given half a heart and they had to find a mate for their half. It was very cute and surprisingly worked better than I thought it would. Here is what our completed board looked like:

Lots of beautiful hearts! Very nice! I would like to add that they decided to match the colors together, I didn’t think that would happen but they did it on their own.