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.


Earth Day

Earth Day was last week and to celebrate in the library we have held all sorts of programs for different ages on this theme. So, I had the good fortune to plan an Earth Day themed storytime.

At first I thought this would be an easy task since there are lots of Earth Day books. I was wrong. While most of these books are awesome resources, they just don’t work in storytime with the age group I had in attendance (3-5 year olds.) Many of them are too just too long and too wordy. Two great titles I think would work with an older group are Earth Day Hooray by Stuart Murphy and We Are Extremely Good Recyclers by Bridget Hurst.

After looking at lots of Earth Day specific books, I decided to take this storytime in a totally different direction. Instead, I chose books about plant life and the world. I started storytime by talking about Earth Day with the kids. I was very impressed about how much all of these kids knew!

First we read Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni.

Inch by Inch

I really like this book about a little inchworm who measures his way through the story and out of trouble. It’s a very simple story and the illustrations are lots of fun. One each page you have to look for the inchworm because he is always in a different place, that was a lot of fun.

Next I read Little Green by Keith Baker.

This book has great illustrations. It is about a boy who watches a hummingbird flit around the garden and he paints.

I only read two books today so we could spend mor time on our craft. I had a difficult time coming up with something for this program. I thought of lots of great ideas, but a lot of them either involved paint (something I decided to stay away from because of the drying time) or were a bit too complex for the group.

So, I actually ended up re-creating something I did a while ago in storytime. That time, I actually didn’t get any pictures- luckily this time was different. We made shakers with paper plates and beans. I gave the children markers and streamers to glue on to decorate and they had a great time.

This is a super easy craft. It’s not as green as I wanted, I did want to do something with recycled supplies but that just didn’t work out this time. But, everyone enjoyed themselves and I think that’s what is important!


This week we had an extraordinary elephant storytime. Today was a great storytime. It was just one of those magical days when all of the kids listened intently to the books and were great participants with the songs. Also, there were a few first time attendees which always makes it fun.

First we read Never Mail an Elephant by Mike Thaler.

I wish that I had a bigger picture of this book. The kids liked this so much, I was shocked. Not that it’s a bad book (obviously it was included in storytime for a reason!) but it was incredible just how much the children loved it. It is a very funny story about a boy who decides to mail and elephant to his friend. The humor in this book is prefect for 3-5 year olds.

Next we read I Love My Mama by Peter Kavanagh.

This book was also a huge hit with the crowd today. After the storytime, I heard some of the children talking with their parents about this book- something that always makes me happy!

We didn’t read as many books today because we did a very fun action activity. I had a round rope from another program and each child held onto it. We sang:

 “One elephant went out to play on a tightrope string one day. He had such enormous fun; He called for another elephant to come. All of the elephants went out to play on a tightrope string one day they had such enormous fun, but the tightrope broke and they all fell down”

It turned into a mix between the fingerplay and ring around the rosey. It was a lot of fun. In my co-worker’s storytime she had a lot of success and they wanted to do it over and over again. I generally have younger kids in mine so they didn’t get AS excited a bout it, but they still had a lot of fun.”

We made elephants with paper plates today. It ended up being a cross between this craft and this craft.

 I enjoyed how creative all of the kids were with their coloring and gluing. Some of them made crinkly noses and others made smooth.


This week’s storytime was all about leaves. It’s gotten cold and the leaves are finally starting to turn, so it was a fitting theme.

First we read Fall is Not Easy  by Marty Kelley.

fall is not easyThis was good to start with because it discussed the seasons and what happens to the leaves each season. It was a good transition into our next activitiy. Out of felt, we had a barren tree and each child was given a different color leaf to add to the tree. It was simple and easy but also lots of fun for the kids.

Next we read Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber, illustrated Leslie Evans.

Leaf_JumpersThis is a fun story about the different color leaves that make up a pile of leaves. Of course, everyone in storytime had lots of experience with jumping into leaves.

Finally, we finished with Leaves  by David Ezra Stein.

LeavesI think this is a such a sweet book, I have definitley read it for storytime before. It is the prefect thing for fall. A tree loses its leaves and a bear tries to put all of the leaves back on but eventually he gets sleepy and goes to sleep.

For the craft, we made wreathes with leaves on them.

wreathThis craft worked much better than last year’s leaves craft. Every 3-5 year old loves gluing and the parents liked the finished product.

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.

Music time!

This week for storytime we channeled our inner musicians for a music themed storytime! This theme was great because there are so many ways to interpret music and of course it meant lots of singing!

We began with a book called Punk Farm On Tour by Jarrett J. Krozoczka.
This books is really great, the farm animals are in a band and go on tour while the farmer is away. The entire time they are looking for their great song and end up singing about the Wheels On The Bus- a very familiar tune for this bunch. The kids really like this because they could sing a long with me and the book.

The second book we read was How Can You Dance by Rick Walton and Anna Lopez-Escriva.
A music storytime can’t be complete without a book about dancing. This book is a great addition to my storytime book list. I love it because the kids can get up and dance like the animals and situations described in the book.

Finally, we closed with This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt illustrated by R.G. Roth.

This book is written to the tune of “This Old Man” which makes it really fun to read. It is a very clever book which incorporates counting, music and jazz. Definitely a great addition to this storytime!

We didn’t read as many books this week as previous weeks because I did a few flannel boards and we sang a lot of songs. I introduced an “I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” flannel board which was a huge hit with the kids.

For craft this week, we made our own musical instruments. We made shakers with paper plates and beans. My example craft was taken accidently by one of the kids, so I didn’t get to take a picture of it.

Basically, we stapled a paper plate together on one side, threw in some beans (I am sure rice would work too), closed it up, decorated it and added some streamers on the end. They were very awesome and kid friendly to make.

Under the Sea!

For storytime this week we took a trip under the sea! We explored three fantastic books all about sea creatures.

We started with A Home for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle.

This is the fun story of a hermit crab who has grown out of his home and is looking for a new home. When he finds his new home he needs to make it feel more homey. Overall, it seemed that the kids enjoyed it however it didn’t have as great a reception as some of Carle’s other books that I have shared with them in the past.

After that, we explored Swimmy by Leo Lionni.

One of my all time favorites, Swimmy is about a brave fish who overcomes fear after losing his brothers and sisters and teaches another group of fish how to swim together and scare the big fish.

We closed up with another favorite, I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry.

This was, by far the most popular selection for today. The kids had a blast identifying each of the smaller things in the ocean such as shrimp and the scary shark.

We continued to work on our songs this week. It seems that most of the children have had very little exposure to many songs and stretchers. Head Shoulders Knees and Toes was a huge success and I am going to continue to introduce physical songs into our repertoire.

For the craft this week we made a modified version of this craft:

Instead of using bowls, we used red plates. It also provided a great opportunity to use googly eyes, always a crowd pleaser!