Sunday, February 25, 2001

Story Times

I do several story hours a week--two for children aged 2 and up and one for children ages 3 and up.
Various preschools drop in about once a month for programs. And I do two weekly programs for one year olds, but I don't use books at "Mother Goose Time".
 Here are some of the programs I've done in recent years. If you're a librarian, help yourself--and let me know if you find any of this useful.
And if you're a parent,you don't NEED a "Library Lady" doing a story hour to enjoy these books and stories. Head out to your library and bring them home to share with your kids!

      My Spring Robin

    The spring title in   Anne and Harlow Rockwell's charming seasonal cycle of books  The others are Apples and Pumpkins, The First Snow, and (my girls' adored favorite), At the Beach )All are perfect for two and three year olds.

    Baby Bird  by Joyce Dunbar
Poor Baby Bird! He tries to fly, falls out of his nest, is sniffed at /jumped over/menaced by /different animals and finally, tries again. This time he is successful and proudly flies over everyones' heads.  Funny pictures (each page has a series of panels like a cartoon)& simple rhyming text.

   Margaret Read MacDonald is a librarian, a storyteller, and a blessing to any children's librarian. Her  incredible masterwork "The Storyteller's Sourcebook" is a godsend for finding folk and fairy tales by genre, and her storytelling books are one of the most important resources for beginning tellers.
Her story "Kanji Jo"-- a Liberian story about a mother hen and her chicks is retold with illustrations in this collection of 5 stories: Tuck Me In Tales.  I told the story using puppets--I have an adorable little "birds nest" puppet from Folkmanis and I adapted the story to suit the other bird puppets we have.

  Diane Wolkstein is known both for her storytelling and for the stories she has collected, especially Hatian tales.  "The Magic Wings" is a Chinese folk story of a little goose girl who wants to fly and the chaos it creates in her village. This story is fun to tell, and even more fun to act out.  I used props (hats) and tdid this with some 4 to 6 year olds and the kids really got into their parts!
Sadly, this too is out of print, but it should be available in many libraries as it was a "Reading Rainbow" selection some years ago.
 We also sang the "Five Little Chickadees" song, which I learned long, long ago in elementary school in the Bronx. Our music teacher never would have guessed that at least one kid learning it would be using it many (many!) years later!. You can find the words at , and somewhere I know there's a source for the tune.
We also danced to "When the Red Red Robin Goes Bob Bob Bobbin' Along".  I knew it was an oldie and that my father loved the song. What I didn't know (but do now) is that it was an Al Jolson hit. My dad was (and is) a big time Jolson fan--he recalls my grandma actually coming one day to meet him at school because a new Jolson movie was out and she knew he'd want to see it!   I have not been able to get a clip of this--our version was on the sadly out of print  "Happy Feet" recording by Fred Penner.
 Duck Season!

  10 Little Rubber Ducks  by Eric Carle

  Based on a true incident where a cargo of rubber toys fell off a ship in the Pacific, (and for all I know there are still some washing up on beaches somewhere) Carle tells the story of the adventures of each little duck. Count from 1 to 10 as the ducks meet everything from a polar bear to a flamingo to a family of REAL ducks. The kids will love pushing the button on the last page to make the rubber duck "squeak", but even without the gimmick, Carle's imimitable tissue paper and paint artwork make for a wonderful book.

   One Duck Stuck  by Phyllis Root
Phyllis Root always does wonderful picture books, and this is one of my favorite examples of her work. The duck is "stuck. Stuck in the muck". From 1 to 10, animals ranging from crickets to moose try to get the duck out, but to no avail. But when they all try together--success!  Bright pictures, patterned rhyming text (with rhymes that work!) and a fun story.

 Ruby In Her Own Time  by Jonathan Emmett
Father and Mother Duck have 5 eggs. Mother Duck sits on them through wind and rain, and finally 4 of them hatch. But not the 5th. "Will it ever hatch?" asks Father Duck. And Mother Duck replies "In it's own time".
And that's Ruby. She's late to hatch, late to eat, late to swim--but when she flies, she flies further and higher than any of her siblings. And of course, she comes home "in her own time". Sweet pictures and a story that has a lot to say to a lot of children--and perhaps even more to their overanxious parents!

 Little White Duck  (lyrics)by Walt Whippo
Hopefully you remember this song from your childhood. Here it is with bold bright pictures, all ready to read and sing with kids.
Don't know the song? Don't remember the tune?
Have no fear. Head out and look (preferably at the library) for this:

 Burl Ives sings Little White Duck and Other Children's Favorites
You probably will recognize Burl Ives' voice--he was voice of the Snowman who narrated "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer" and sang all the songs. He did a number of recordings for children, and this is a record (yes, RECORD) that I played over and over as a child. There's lots of fun songs for children here.


"Never Say Boo" has incredible sewn fabric illustrations--beautiful, but also big, clear & with tons of child appeal.
Lots of space for audience participation as the kitten mistakes various farm animals for a goose. And they might spot the ladybug who appears in every picture.

More animal noises in"Boo Hoo  Baby" as Cat,Duck, Dog &Cow try to make unhappy Baby happy. Each time there are prompts for what each animal says and a chance before turning the page to see if Baby is happy. Exaggerating  Baby's "boo-hoos" makes the kids giggle, and there's room for discussion about how babies cry to be fed, played with, etc because they can't talk!

Judy Hindley's text doesn't rhyme, but it has a swing that works well when it's read aloud and the bright illustrations of farm animals and round faced kids in a style reminiscent of Helen Oxenbury--and if you don't know her books, find them.

The book ends with a prompt for the kids to play peek-a-book themselves, and I followed it with a peek-a-boo song that I sing with the Mother Goose set. The twos and threes liked it just as much:

Someone is hiding, hiding, hiding. Someone is hiding, who can it be?
Peek-a-boo! I see you!  Peek-a-boo, I see you. 
Someone is hiding, hiding, hiding. Someone is hiding, who can it be? 
Peek-a-boo--I see YOU!
And since I can't find a recording of this anywhere, so here's a podcast of me singing it:

Kites and the Wind
Kite Flying  by Grace Lin
This book was catalogued as non-fiction, but it really is a simple story. A Chinese American family build and fly a kite. Every one gets to do something from putting the sticks together to fastening on the tail. The text is brief, and the big clear pictures make this appealing even to very young listeners. Older children will like looking at the different kites shown on the inner covers, complete with their symbolic meanings.
Someone Bigger by Jonathan Emmett

"Can I hold it now?" asked Sam. "I'm old enough, I know I am"
But as Dad, a postman, a police (and horse) and a wide variety of people and animals are dragged skyward by a kite, the cry continues to be "This kite needs someone BIGGER!"
Of course, it's Sam to the rescue in the end because "This kite needs someone just like ME!"
The rhyming text is perfect and begs to be read aloud and the big clear pictures (note a trend in books I use for story hour?) are full of life and fun.

I also told a story that I think we originally got from a storytelling tape by Marcia Lane. It's known as "Peter and the North Wind" or "The Lad Who Went to the North Wind". It's about a little boy who goes to the North Wind to get back the oatmeal (or flour) the wind has blown away. We did it as a puppet show years ago, and I tell it using a few props and a "North Wind" puppet. You can find a version of the story here
I've also used "Lucky Song" by Vera Williams "One Windy Wednesday" by Phyllis Root,  "Gilberto and the Wind" by Marie Ets and "Who Took the Farmer's Hat?" by Joan Nodset, though I'm saving that one for my farm program.
My colleague was going to use "Whatever Wanda Wanted" by Jude Wisdom, which is a very funny book about an overprivleged brat who learns the value of simple things. But I think it's a better bet for school age kids. And since she was out sick, I did her program...... Innocent
Kite craft--the kids got large diamonds of paper and got to paste foam shapes or draw all over them. We punched a hole for a string and stapled on a piece of streamer for the tail. Simple and fun.

Lions and Tigers and Bears (Oh, My!!)
by Maurice Sendak

 A cautionary tale with a HAPPY ending, this is another of the Sendak "Nutshell" books so it has Carole King music to go with it.  I am lucky enough to have huge magnetboard pieces for this story, but I have also acted it out with a companion. Long ago (!) SC used to love this book and we used to act it out at home. In fact, somewhere I know I have a picture of her with a bowl on her head and a blanket around her shoulders as she pretended she was Pierre. That should be good for blackmail in future years, heh,heh,heh...........

Who Is the Beast?
by Keith Baker
This book is fabulous as a big book, but even in the standard form, it is just wonderful to share with a child. The artwork is just gorgeous--the colors are intense and the animals beautifully detailed. The message that "we are all beasts"  may not get through to younger kids, but they enjoy it just to see the animal peeping through the jungle at the tiger.

Bear Wants More  by Karma Wilson

I am not sure I love this book as much as I do Bear Snores On  --I find the bit where Bear gets stuck a little too Winnie-the-Pooh like, and I'm not sure the story works as well here. But it's still a lot of fun and the pictures are great.

Monkey Business: 
Caps For Sale
by Esphyr Slobodkina
Since 1940, children have adored this tale of "a peddler, some monkeys and some monkey business"

  Hug!  by Jez Alborough

The only words in this story are "Hug!", "Mommy" and "Bobo!".   But this sweet little story has appeal for older preschoolers as well as toddlers, as I found with one of my favoriter groups of 4 and 5 year olds this week.

Little Gorilla  by Ruth Bornstein

Everyone in the jungle loves Little Gorilla. And when he grows up into a very BIG gorilla, they still love him just as much. I love it when you can get a great story with a nice message built right in!

Mother's Day
 Mother,Mother, I Want Another by Maria Polushkin Robbins
Yes, but another WHAT? 
NOT another mother, but poor Mrs Mouse only learns what Baby Mouse wants after bringing a string of other mothers in to put him to bed. This is a reissue of a book that has to be at least 20 years old, since I have been doing it as a magnetboard story for years. Fun to do--especially if you sing the lullabies provided by Mrs Duck, Frog, Pig and Donkey!

Ask My Bear  by Marjorie Flack
Marjorie Flack also wrote the classic The Story About Ping and a series of books about Angus, a little Scotty dog.  Here Danny asks various farm animals to help him find a special present for his mother's birthday. Finally, he ventures into the woods, and Mr Bear suggests the perfect present--a birthday "bear hug". Simple and sweet. I like to act this story out with puppets.

 Kiss, Kiss!  by Margaret Wild

 First hugs, then kisses!  Baby Hippo is in such a hurry to go off and play that he forgets to kiss his mommy. As he waddles along he sees various animal mommies (and a daddy) with their children and each time he hears "kiss kiss!"  Finally, he realizes he's forgotten something and sets home to find HIS mama. The artwork here is bright and bold, the animals are not overly anthropomorphized, and the text is just the right length. Perfect for reading to a child on your lap so you can "kiss kiss!"

Is Your Mama a Llama?  by Deborah Guarino
Or is she a seal? Or a cow? Or a bat? Young listeners will have to guess from the clues in the verses. The illustrations are by Steven Kellogg, a distinguished artist and creater of many popular picture books of his own.I have this as a Big Book. It is also available in a Spanish translation.

 Mommy Mine  by Tim Warnes
More animals here, with pairs of rhyming words about their attributes. "Mommy Scary" shows a sharp toothed crocodile, while "Mommy Funny" is a clowning chimpanzee. "Mommy Honey" is a sticky furred bear who looks like she might be the consort of Bear in "Bear Wants More". Not surprising, because the  bright beautiful pictures are by Jane Chapman, illustrator of the "Bear" books by Karma Wilson!

  Llama Llama Red Pajama  by Anna Dewdney
I mentioned this book previously when I first had it, but this week I finally got to read it to "my" kids. And it's even better than I thought. The rhyming text begs to be read out loud--and NOT in a montone. The kids and their parents LOVED it!

Rabbit Season!
A Boy and His Bunny
by Sean Bryan
This is almost Seussian in its humor and simplicity of style. Having woken up to discover a bunny on his head, the boy names him Fred and heads down for breakfast. His mother is horrified, until the boy and Fred point out to her "you can do anything with a bunny on your head!".  From making a peanut butter sandwich, to diving underwater, it's all here. The rhymes are excellent, this reads beautifully and the ending punch line is PERFECT!

Zomo the Rabbit
by Gerald McDermott
An African trickster tale, retold and illustrated by a Caldecott winning author. I have an oversize book of this, which is wonderful for groups, but I have often just told the story, using the opening lines as a chant with gestures, which can be repeated throughout the story.

Tales Around the Hearth (CD)
by Heather Forest
I owe a huge debt to storyteller Heather Forest, because some of the best stories in my repetoire come from her recordings. Most of her stories are classic favorites, such as "The Little Red Hen" and "Stone Soup" and work beautifully with preschool children. We have turned several of her stories into puppet shows, including this week's "Who's In Rabbit's Hole?"
(You will find several book versions of this with the title "Who's In Rabbit's House?")
Usually I tell this with puppets, but it works as a straight telling as well.
Swamp Romp:
 This book  from the  "Nutshell Library" is too small to use easily with a group, but it is wonderful to act out. Using props ranging from empty macaroni and oatmeal boxes to a "reindoor" headband from Christmas, I reenacted this story.  The music is on Carole King's "Really Rosie" and it's easy to sing it. If you play the music instead, you may find it a challenge keeping up--it moves VERY quickly!

I learned this song as some sort of clapping game when I was a kid in New York City. If you learned it that way, you already know the tune to this-- most of the moms at my programs knew this and sang along.
Most of the nannies didn't, but most of them are from other countries, so this probably wasn't one of their game growing up!
This is part of a whole series of song/game books by Mary Ann Hoberman and Nadine Westcott, who is one of the funniest children's books illustrators out there.
As a preschooler JR loved this book( which is also available as a board book), especial when we changed the names of the characters and had the lady offer "garlic!" as the cure for what ailed the baby!!

 This book is no longer in print, but it has a great version of an old tale known under various titles.Here it's called the "Great Big Wide Mouthed Toad-frog".  In all versions, the frog is curious about what other animals eat--and almost ends up being lunch himself when he encounters an ALLIGATOR. Lots of fun to tell.

 Janet Stevens' lively illustrations draw children into this "pourquoi" tale involving a greedy possum, a wiley rabbit ,an angry  bear and a whole lot of persimmons. I only did this for the oldest kids--it's a little too long for my two year old set.

Think Green!
A Frog In the Bog
by Karma Wilson

"What a hog, that frog!"
Sitting "on a half sunk log in the middle of the bog" this silly frog eats insects ranging from a tick to 5 snails, and with each meal "the frog grows a little bit BIGGER"
Just one problem--that log he's sitting on may NOT be a log!
Rhyming, rhythmic text,funny pictures and a surprise ending make this one a winner.

Little Blue and Little Yellow
by Leo Lionni
Leo Lionni is one of the greats of the picture book world and this simply told story of how "blue and yellow make green" is one EVERY child should know.  The illustrations are made with torn paper and could inspire some wonderful artwork at home or school.

Where Is the Green Sheep?
Mem Fox
There is just something purely comic about sheep, and the sheep in this book are no exception. There are sheep on surfboards, in the bathtub, even on the moon. But where IS that green sheep?This is a book of opposites, a "find that sheep" book and a just plain fun book.
It is also simple enough for a  new reader to try on their own--at my afternoon story hour  the two oldest girls read this out loud and  their younger sisters  were able to chime in on "But where is the green sheep?"

We also did this rhyme, which doesn't seem like a St Patrick's Day rhyme, but is one if you are a mid-Atlantic gardener. For us, St Patrick's Day means it's time to plant peas:
Five plump peas in a pea pod pressed   (hold your fingers up in a fist)
One grew (hold up one finger:"pop!") and another (second finger:"pop!")
And so did all the rest (hold up other fingers "pop,pop,pop!")
And they grew (hold hands apart) and they grew (move hands farther apart)
And they would not stop (move hands wide apart)
Until one day that pod went: POP!!!   (clap hands together)


WendyS said...

Love this! I am a Ready-to-Read volunteer and am always on the lookout for new book ideas. Thank you.

WendyS said...

Just wanted to say, ONE DUCK STUCK was a monster hit at my last program. Thank you for the suggestion!