Happy Birthday to you!

It’s true, Halloween is my favorite holiday but there is one thing I might love even more… birthdays! I love my birthday, of course, but I really do love everyone’s birthdays. This was a very popular theme because of course EVERYONE enjoyed sharing stories about their birthday.

We started with Don’t Spill the Beans! by Ian Schoenherr.

This is a very cute book about a bear who has quite a surprise a birthday party! The kids really enjoyed this book, everyone was excited to find out what the secret was.

Next we read Happy Birthday, Monster! by Scott Beck.

This is a really great birthday book and everyone really enjoyed it but I think it is better suited for a one on one reading situation. There were lots of extras (the characters talking to each other etc) and I had thought it would have been no problem, but it ended up being a little distracting. However, this is a really sweet story about a birthday and also really fun.

I closed with My Birthday Cake by Olivia George.

This book features a little girl after my own heart. She creates quite a cake with lots of sweet treats. Unfortunately, she discovers that it is a bit TOO sweet and she really prefers the cake her mother makes her. This was the perfect book to close with because for our craft we made our own birthday cakes!

This was very easy. My kids really enjoy coloring and I also provided foam sticky shapes for them to stick on their cakes. Everyone got very creative.

There are lots of great fingerplays and songs out there that go with this theme. Obviously good old “Happy Birthday” works well. We also sang another of one of my favorite ones.

Jelly in the Bowl
Jelly  in  the  bowl, (cup hands and wabble around)
Jelly  in  the  bowl.
Wiggy  waggy, 
Wiggy  waggy,
Jelly  in  the  bowl.

Cookies in the jar, (creat jar with hands and shake)
Cookies in the jar,
Shake ’em up,
Shake ’em up,
Cookies in the jar,

Candles on the cake, (display all ten fingers)
Candles on the cake,
Blow them out, (“blow out” fingers)
Blow them out,
Candles on the cake.

As an unrelated note, today in storytime one of my kids said “I love your shirt!”, which made the rest of the kids comment on what they love. It was fantastic and a great way to start the day!

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.

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!

Dinosaurs galore!

This week in storytime we revisited one of the awesomest themes ever- Dinosaurs! I love this theme, which is obvious because I have used it before. There are so many great dinosaur books out there that are perfect to share in storytime. Also, kids love dinosaurs and that always makes storytimes more enjoyable.

First we read my favorite dinosaur book, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague.

Words cannot express how much I love to read this book aloud. It’s a great way to start out a storytime because it always gets the kids excited and ready for a fun time.

Next we read Dinosaur Starts School by Pamela Duncan Edwards, illustrated by Deborah Allwright.

This is a nice story about a boy whose dinosaur is nervous to go to school and he eases his worries and explains how much fun school is. I was happy to discover this book because not only is it a great dinosaur book, but it is also a great back to school book. I will have to remember it for the fall.

Finally, we finished with The Super Hungry Dinosaur by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Leonie Lord.

 This is a nice story about Hal who fends off a super hungry dinosaur and saves his family from being eaten. I just love the illustrations in this book. They are very cute and make the story fun and not at all scary.

The craft this week was a dinosaur hat.

This was a super easy and awesomely fun craft. What I like most about it is it can be transformed into so many other things AND it can be worn.

Happy St. Patrick Day!

Very rarely does storytime actually fall directly on a holiday. This week was different and storytime was on St. Patrick’s Day! I didn’t feel like I could ignore the holiday so we went all out with a St. Patty’s day theme!

The first thing I will say about this theme is it is really easy to find a craft for this theme. There are tons of leprechaun, rainbow, and pot of gold craft ideas out there ripe for the taking. The second thing I will note is that the St. Patrick’s Day books that are around don’t always make the best books for storytime.  Sure, there are tons of books about the green holiday but many of them are a bit wordy, lacking bold pictures and just not quite what I look for when choosing a book for storytime for my 3-5 year olds. This week I was able to find two books that suited my needs. I am sure there are lots of other great books out there for this theme, but it was hard to get them because many were checked out for the holiday.

Ok, enough of me….. on to the books!!!

The first book we read this week was It’s St. Patrick’s Day by Rebecca Gomez, illustrated by Mary Morgan.

Initially, I had some reservations about this book. It is an easy reader so it’s small size could have made it hard sell in storytime. Luckily, it has some awesome rhymes so that held the kid’s attention.

The next book we read was not about St. Patrick’s Day but is about a green creature. It was Big Frog Can’t Fit In by Mo Willems.

I love Mo Willems. I think every children’s librarian loves Mo Willems. This book is just awesome- that’s the only way to describe it. Reading pop-up books in storytime is a great way to pull the group back together because they are so fun to look at. This one is extra special because it is a pop-OUT book that is lots of fun.

We finished with The Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever by Teddy Slater, illustrated by Ethan Long.

This was a great closer. It’s got great illustrations and also rhymes. The kids were really into the rhyming today so that made it even more fun.

While we are on the subject I just want to take a moment to talk about how great the kids were today. We had been on a break so I wasn’t sure how many kids would show up. All of my regulars came as well as some new faces. They were all so happy to be there and some were even dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day. It really is days like this I feel so lucky to have the best job in the whole world. If you are someone who works with children, you will know what I mean. Storytime is one of my most favorite parts of my job and I know how blessed I am to get to do it.

For our craft this week we made pots of gold.  The template for the pot is here, from DLTK’s crafts for kids. To make the gold pieces, I glued gold tissue paper on card stock and cut out the circles with our die cut machine. They turned out really nice. The thing that impressed me most is that the kids decided to draw their own rainbows on all on their own. I didn’t even mention it. They were all fantastic. I wish I could have taken a picture of everyones!

Valentines!

First, a bit of honesty. I am writing this post a week late. Usually I try to write them just after storytime so that way they are fresh and I remember everything. Last week, however that didn’t happen. I got busy and when I came to update with this week’s storytime, I realized I forgot the Valentine Storytime! So this post may not be as fantastic as other posts- I’m sorry.

First we read I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy.

There aren’t a whole lot of Valentine theme books that I really like to use for storytime. I feel like some of them are just too much for little kids. So instead I tried to focus on books about love and happiness. A lot of the kids that come to storytime have younger siblings so we were able to talk about the babies in their lives.

Next we read You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano, illustrated by Satomi Ichikawa.

To be honest, this book went all right. I think it would work better as a lapsit and is definitely geared more for parents ( I could tell the parents in the room really liked it.) But when read to a group, it just didn’t hold their attention.

Finally, we finished with Love Bugs by David Carter.

Ok, so I guess I did use one sort of Valentine-y book. BUT since it is a pop-up book, it is awesome.

For craft this week, we made valentines. It’s an obvious craft, but they all really liked it. It was impressive how many kids knew exactly who they were making their cards for. I made lots of hearts with the dye-cut machine and gave them to the kids with extra large cards and crayons and they went crazy.