…storytime, books, and ideas

Archive for the ‘storytime’ Category

…a big pile of books!

Finally, I got to look through this huge pile of books by my desk. There were some real winners in that pile. Here are the ones I really liked.

PS – new feature! I’ve added links to the AVRL catalogue so you can place holds right away!

flyThe Fly by Petr Horacek, Candlewick
Flies are interesting storytime fodder. I once did a whole FLY storytime and had a mother ask me why I chose to do a storytime with the theme of death. So, tread carefully when using ‘fly’ books is my sage advice. However, this fly book is quite fun, with some die-cut flyswatter pages and a warning not to squash the fly when you close the book. Fun illustrations.

Rufus the Writer by Elizabeth Bram, Illus. by Chuck Groenink, Schwartz & Wade
Instead of a lemonade stand, Rufus sets up a story stand. He writes and illustrates and takes barter as his payment. For storytimes with children who can sit for a longer story, this is a really delightful little book.

Bike on, Bear by Cynthea Liu, illus. By Kristyna Litten, Simon & Schuster
Bear can do so much. He is brainy, flexible, and helpful. But he can’t ride a bike. This little cub’s high-vocabulary adventures in learning to ride include a trip to the library and some pretty sweet illustrations. Kids can relate to this little bear easily.

Sun and Moon by Lindsey Yankey, Simply Read Books
This Canadian offering is a lovely tribute to the moon. The illustrations are detailed and the story reinforces the idea that we should take a look at what we have instead of wanting what others have, without being didactic.

moonThe Moon is Going to Addy’s House by Ida Pearle, Dial Books
Gorgeous illustrations featuring lush colors show a family traveling home from the city. The moon follows. A simple tale, made special by the pictures. Pair with “Sun and Moon” for a lunar storytime.

Fish Jam by Kylie Howarth, little bee books
This fish is so loud; everyone asks it to hush, until it is swallowed by a whale. That seems a bit weird, but there’s a jazz jam going on inside the whale, so all is fine. An odd one, but a fun one for interaction, and a nice addition to music storytimes.

Get out of my bath by Britta Teckentrup, Nosy Crow
Tip the book and water splashes in this little elephant’s bath. If “Press Here” and “Tap the Magic Tree” are favourites, then this one will be a hit as well. A fun offering for storytimes.

Beastly Babies by Ellen Jackson, illus. By Brendan Wenzel, Beach Lane Books
A jaunty rhyme introduces a zoo’s worth of beastly babies. Lots of fun vocabulary and delightful pictures make this a great chobeastlyice for toddler storytime.

Finders Keepers by Keiko Kasza, G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Kasza is one of those storytime greats – a good story accompanied by illustrations that are easy for all to see. This is no exception – a solid story about finding, using, and re-purposing. Nice little twist at the end. Use it with other Kasza favs such as “When the elephant walks” and “The wolf’s chicken stew”.


Spots and Seeds and Sadie

Here are the books that caught my eye as they passed by me this past month…. and also This is Sadie, which I have been waiting and waiting to see! It did not disappoint.

On Sudden Hill by Linda Davies, illustrated by Benji Davies, Simon & Schuster, 2014sudden hill
The illustrations made me pick this book up, and they are lovely & charming, with that retro feel. The bookmaking will impress, with that thick paper and matte finish. But the story, too, is a fine one to share at storytimes. Two boys are BFFs, playing together each day with cardboard boxes on Sudden Hill. Then another boy comes along, and the friendship sours. But the three of them find a way to play together. This is a great story about friendship and imagination and it might have you saving up boxes for playtime after you share this. Might be a good choice for BUILD programs.

Nancy Knows by Cyble Young, Tundra, 2014
A quiet, elephant-remembering book. Nancy has forgotten something, but she remembers at the end! Would likely be best for smaller group sharing, since the illustrations are quite detailed. But once kids start looking, this will generate plenty of conversation. Be prepared to hand this one over for lots of close exploration.

Drive: A look at Roadside opposites by Kellen Hatanaka, Groundwood, 2015
There aren’t many words in this book, but it would still be fun to use at storytime. I could see reading one opposite, and letting the kids guess what the other word would be. Some are very easy but others more difficult. The illustrations, done in a blocky retro-style, make it worth trying.

Ten Pigs: An epic bath adventure by Derek Anderson, Orchard Books, 2015
Add some math and a funny twist with this book. There’s a surprise wolf at the end, so I’m adding this one to my Big Bad Wolf storytime list. Fun comic-style illustrations will engage kids.

spotsSpots in a Box by Helen Ward, Templar Books, 2015
A guinea fowl with no spots? Time to mail-order those decorative dots. Of course, the spots are not right, and so the story rolls on until the bird finds the right spots. Told in a jaunty rhyme, this will be a fine addition to storytime. The lovely illustrations, featuring lots of white space, cut-outs, and even texture, will draw the kids into the story.


The Bus is for Us by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Gillian Taylor, Candlewick, 2015
Simple rhymed look at regular—and fantasy– modes of transport, but the best, the best is the BUS. Will be a fun add to toddler storytimes.

With a Friend by your side by Babrbara Kerley, National Geographic Books, 2015
I like sharing books that are nearly non-fiction at storytime. This one fits the bill, with beautiful photographs and a message about friendship.

This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad, Tundra, 2015saide
Strap on your imaginations and take a trip with Sadie (I think you are going to fall in love with her). This gentle ode to creativity will make a nice addition to storytime. Don’t miss this little Canadian gem, beautifully illustrated by Julie Morstad. Maybe you can make a fox mask afterwards? Check out the activity kit for the book HERE.

Bulldozer’s Big Day by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann, Atheneum, 2015
All the big vehicles pretend they don’t know it is little bulldozer’s birthday, until the end, when they pull out a big cake. A fun story for toddler transportation storytime.

If you plant a seed by Kadir Nelson, Balzer & Bray, 2015
Lovely illustrations frame a short tale of kindness. Bordering on didactic, this story of being nice instead of grumpy will hit the mark for toddler and preschool audiences.

Books with holes and bright orange birds

Here are a few books that caught my eye as they made their way past my desk: books always

Stick and Stone by Beth Perry, illus. By Tom Lichtenheld (Houghton Mifflin)
An unlikely friendship between a rock and a twig, but kids will get the reference to “Sticks and stones” . The story is told in very few words, it is Lichtenheld’s illustrations that do the heavy lifting in this story. Could be used in storytimes, but older kids will get much from it as well.

Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt, illus. By Sarah Massini (Random House)
A good choice for baby or toddler storytimes, this ode to books will bring a smile to your face, and is a bookish way to introduce concepts such as big/small, wide/tall to your young audiences. The cheery illustrations remind me somewhat of Helen Oxenbury. (published 2013)

Supertruck by Stephen Savage (Roaring Brook)
Though (hopefully) a bit late for snow season, this fun truck book will be a hit in transportation storytimes. For a younger audience.

Beautiful Birds by J. Roussen & E. Walker (Flying Eye Books)
This book is aptly titled, because it is really beautiful. The fact that it is a sort of alphabet book that rhymes makes it useful for storytimes. Small groups especially will want to look over and over at these lovely pictures dotted with that crazy bright orange.photo

There’s no such thing as Little by LeuYen Pham (Alfred A. Knopf)
Die-cut holes reveal that little is all in the eye of the beholder. Toddler storytimes are a perfect fit for this book – an age group that is starting to feel “bigger” will appreciate the sentiments in this story. Nice illustrations that include diverse children, too.

Outstanding in the Rain– Frank Viva (Tundra)
Anothrainer book that uses die cuts. This one plays with words and the retro-style illustration almost make it a seek-and-find story – the die cuts fit in so well they are nearly hidden. A simple story that could be used with elementary school kids, too, for language lessons.

I don’t want to be a Frog by Dav Petty (Doubleday)
Little frog doesn’t want to be a frog until he realizes, with the help of a wolf, that being a frog is a pretty good idea. Silly and fun, and the illustrations match the tone of the book just right.

Poopshapes-di-doop by Stephanie Blake (North South)
This is kid humour at its finest. They will giggle at an adult saying Poop-di-doop over and over, no matter what the story is. And the story? A little bunny who will only say poop-di-doop, until he is eaten by a wolf, that is. Pair with “I don’t want to be a frog” for a slightly off-kilter Wolf storytime! (Ok, now I am thinking of all the great wolf stories that I could use in storytime!)


Wild about Shapes by Jeremie Fischer (Flying Eye Books)
This spiral-bound book features shapes created by plastic sheets that overlay to create new shapes. Kids will love guessing what comes next and seeing the new animal that appears when you turn the page. Great for an interactive storytime.

Some dogs and guessing games

For some reason, there are a lot of dogs in the books I picked up this week. So, if you are hankering for a doggie storytime, I have you covered.

First off, Smicbear atek, by Doreen Cronin. Her books are so active, you can really get moving with them. In this one, very sparse vocabulary featuring a dog, a bird, and a stick turns into a fun guessing game. Could work well for a multi-age group.

It’s only Stanley by Jon Agee – Stanley is a fix-it dog who wakes up his family with his late-night repair jobs. A slightly complex rhyme scheme and great vocabulary compliment the humour. Repeated verse and a good chance for guessing make this a great choice for older preschoolers. Plus, Agee’s cartoon  illustration style really appeals.

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach is a surprise-ending tale that does not seem to feature a dog, but read it and you will find a dog. Another “Bear goes to the city” book, but still a fun tale with bright, large illustrations. Look at that bear’s face! what ship

Another guessing game book, which was published in 2014 but new to our system is What Ship is Not a Ship? by Harriet Ziefert. This fun play on words may be a bit long for younger preshcoolers, but you could certainly use a few pages & get them to try to guess. Lots of new vocabulary. (PS, the answer is friendship).

A new dino book is nearly always a hit.  The Dinosaurs are Having a Party by Gareth P. Jones will fit the bill. In a jaunty rhyme, a boy goes to a dinosaur birthday party …but where’s thraindropse food? The story is slight but the pictures are bold and silly, and will make a good addition to dinosaur storytimes.

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre is a fine way to add a bit of non-fiction into storytime. The clear nature photography and rich vocabulary make it a good choice for rainy-day storytimes.

And I have to mention Ron Lightburn’s new book, Frankenstink. It has just about everything you need to get a reluctant reader on board: funny rhymes, underwear, gross garbage, and farts. It would work well for ages 5 -8, so it makes a good frankenstinkchoice for class visits or after-school groups. If you are doing a recycling theme, this book will fit in just right. Or read it at a Grossology program. It is sometimes hard to find a good school-age book to read aloud, but keep a copy of this on hand for just that purpose. And don’t forget to check out the glow-in-the-dark cover! Oh, and there’s a dog in this one, too.

I’m back!

Caldecott picture-book looking is over, and I am now back to talk about picture books to use in storytime! If you want to read a bit about my Caldecott experience, I’ve posted that over on the ALSC blog. And I’ve also got a post about Beekle there as well. Now, on to the new stuff!

The Duck Says by Troy Wilsonduck says
A silly duck makes his way through the barnyard, chased by a swarm of bees. Lots of good vocabulary and fun sounds to make for storytime. The text is simple, rhymes, and the pictures are big and clear for group sharing.

No, Silly by Ken Krug
Bright pastels accompany this book that will give toddlers a little chuckle. Animal children like to do things (sleep, ride, eat) – and each time, there’s a “wrong” page—ending with “No, Silly” and the right answer. Just the right length for young listeners and perfect for a bedtime storytime.

monkey book
Sometimes We Think You Are A Monkey by Johanna Skibsrud
With delightful illustrations by Julie Morstad, this homage to a new baby would work well in storytime. It could be used for baby storytimes, read in a soothing, lilting manner. Or turn it into a guessing game and movement activity for toddlers.
beardBook-o-beards by Donald Lemke (also masks, hats, and teeth)
Storytime gold right here folks. Each book has a set of rhymes, and then you wear the book!  For instance: pictured here I am “wearing” the pirate beard. This book is so interactive and so silly that kids will just love it. Buy extra copies for your storytime collection, because these are going to get a lot of use.

Worm Races at Storytime

Our Wolfville branch does a Spring storytime each year featuring Worm Races. I asked them to do a write up about it, so here’s a guest post from Emily Leeson at our Wolfvlle branch:

frog craft

frog craft

Spring has finally sprung here in the Annapolis Valley! While the weather outside may still be unpredictable, it’s still the perfect time to bring a bit of spring into the library. The crew at the Wolfville Memorial Library recently welcomed the season with their fifth annual worm races during the monthly special Springtime Storytime held the last Tuesday of the month. This year, the theme had special significance as the library has also taken on a new gardening project. Through the generous support of the TD Friends of the Environment Fund, the Wolfville Memorial Library is now the proud site of a brand new pollinator-friendly garden. Throughout the summer, the aptly-named Pollinator Project will involve activities for all ages will be centered around the creation and management of this special garden.

The Springtime storytime is set for ages 3-5 years with their caretakers on hand. A good crowd gathered this year as the annual event is anticipated by many. Stories and songs set the tone for the Springtime festivities. These included:

Wiggle Waggle by Caroline Arnold, Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond by Mary Quattlebaum, and Bob and Otto by Robert Bruel. For even more wormy ideas, check our WORMS Pinterest board!

May the best worm win

May the best worm win

Alice set up the worms races by placing down a tarp marked with an inner and outer circle. The worms were placed in the inner circle, lightly sprayed with water to get them going and the crowd cheered as they inched their way towards the outer circle. The first one to pass was crowned the winner. After several heats, an overall winner was established and the entire crew sang, ‘You are the Champion’ (with a few wormy-words changed to fit the day) in his/her honour.

You are the Champion
(Wormy Mercury version)

You wiggled along
You won the race
Segments that pulled
Put you in first place

Back to the dirt
No hook for you
You squiggled and squirmed
And squirmed and squiggled
And you came through

Crawl on and on and on and on
You are the champion my friend
And you’ll keep on squirming ‘til the end
You are the champion
You are the champion
No time for fishing
‘Cause you are the champion of the worms

A simple snack was offered: Goldfish crackers acting as tadpole for the theme. A frog-themed craft was available and the storytime finished up with children planting seeds to be later transferred into the library gardens.

Five Little Fluffy Sheep

sheep 002I’ve been invited to be part of an annual “Back to Back” event– the team will shear a sheep, spin the wool, and knit a sweater. This all happens in one day. This year the event is on May 31 and takes place at the Lawrencetown Fire Hall. The team is donating all funds raised to the library, so yes, I’ll be there! I’ll be doing a storytime at 11 AM and I needed a good flannel board story, so where did I turn? To Flannel Friday, of course! There I found a cute story about shearing sheep. Perfect! The one I copied was from Fun with Friends at Storytime (thanks!). I did mine a little bit differently, and changed the rhyme, because when I told one of the participants in the Back to Back challenge about the story I was working on, she gave me some actual wool to use– and it was different colors! Also, I use puffy paint for the details, to save on time.  So, here you have it: Five Little Fluffy Sheep.

Five Little Fluffy Sheep
(sung to 5 green & speckled frogs)

Five little fluffy sheep
In the pasture fast asleep.
Their wool kept them warm all night long.                                       sheep 001
The Farmer ran away with one,
Sheared the wool till she was done
Now there are four more fluffy sheep.
bzzzzz, bzzzzzz!



I think we are going to have lots of fun shearing these little sheep on May 31. Of course I’ll have some sheep books, too, including one of my all-time favourite books, Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox.



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