Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holiday Grandparent / Grandchild Storytime

A Grand Family Storytime

Over the years I've noticed that many extended families come into the library the day after a major holiday, and often they ask me, "do you have a storytime today?" Um, well, no, we don't. 

This year I decided to offer storytime on December 26, for visiting grandparents and grandchildren. I'm calling it a Grand Family Storytime.

The books I chose to read: 

In the Rain with Baby Duck / Amy Hest
   The Grandfather in this story is wise and compassionate and understanding, and Baby Duck is fussy and funny. Kids can pat their knees with their hands to make the rain sound effects. Baby Duck's song can be sung with great heaving sobs and sniffs.

Full, Full, Full of Love / Trish Cooke
   This is a very sweet story of a Sunday afternoon with Grandma. Illustrator Paul Howard does a beautiful job with the artwork, the pictures are warm and inviting. I want to have Sunday dinner with this family too! Each page spread ends with some sound effects or actions which you could act out with the children. Example "splash, splish, wiggle, wiggle"  - clap twice and wiggle.

Whose Mouse Are You / Robert Kraus
    I love this story. Mouse is all alone - his family members are scattered, and some are in grave danger. Mouse has to save his family and bring them all together again. The pictures and text are simple, touching, and sometimes amusing. The mouse family does not mention grandparents, but I couldn't resist including this book because it is all about family love and belonging. I think I will have the kids and adults help me out with adding another verse about grandmother and grandfather and make up a "page" of pictures using a felt board.

Sleepytime Rhyme / Remy Charlip
   This is my go-to book for Valentine's Day, storytimes about family, babies, love, sleep/bedtime, and bodies. Remy Charlip's free form art features a baby and a woman, she could be a grandmother, and his text uses the word "grand" twice, so it's just perfect for my Grand Family Storytime.  If you wanted to integrate some actions into the story, ask  the families to snuggle up and have adults gently touch their children: " I love your hands, your teeth, your nose, your ankles, feet, and all ten toes." This is the last book in the storytime, a nice ending with a cuddle and lots of smiles. 

Songs and Stretches

If you search through books or online for action rhymes about grandparents you are sure to find the one that begins: Here are Grandma's glasses. Cool, right? Plus the second verse is about Grandpa. Unfortunately, the ending is really lame, with Grandma putting her hands in her lap, and Grandpa folding his arms. Boring Grandma and Grandpa. I tweaked both rhymes. Here is my version, which I hope you will use, because it is so much cuddlier! 

Grandma's Glasses / Grandpa's Glasses

Here are Grandma's glasses (circle fingers around eyes)
Here is Grandma's cap (cover head with hands)
And here's the way she wraps her arms
around me in her lap!  (hug self)

Here are Grandpa's glasses
Here is Grandpa's hat
And here's the way he folds his arms
around me just like that!

Here's a variation of "Johnny Pounds With One Hammer"  that you can use for any member of the family, and you can change the tools too. This is one of those cumulative rhymes - each verse adds another action using another body part - the actions here are simple compared to My Aunt Came Back, but still tons of funs for kids and grown ups alike. For a good example of how to do the hammer rhyme, check out this you tube video posted by the King County Library System.

Grandpa Pounds with One Hammer

Grandpa pounds with one hammer
one hammer, one hammer,
Grandpa pounds with one hammer
Then he pounds with two. 

2 hammers - 3 hammers - 4 hammers - 5 hammers - then he goes to sleep!

Grandma's Little Baby / Grandpa's Little Baby

My mother used to sing me Short'nin Bread when I was really little, and when I had children of my own, I continued the tradition. They loved clapping along with the tune. 
I was really pleased to find a new version about Papa's Little Baby. 
For this storytime of course, I used Grandma and Grandpa.

Grandma's little baby loves
Short'nin', short'nin',
Grandma's little baby loves
Short'nin' bread,
Grandma's little baby loves
Short'nin', short'nin',
Grandma's little baby loves
Short'nin' bread.

 Put on the skillet,
Slip on the lid,
Grandma's gonna make
A little short'nin' bread.
That ain't all
She's gonna do,
Grandma's gonna make
A little coffee, too. 
(repeat verse 1)

For Grandpa's version, get up and dance!
Grandpa's little baby loves
dancing, dancing,
Grandpa's little baby loves to 
dance round.
Grandpa's little baby loves
dancing, dancing,
Grandpa's little baby loves
to boogie on down. 

Lean to the left
Lean to the right
Hug that child 
nice and tight
Lean to the left 
Lean to the right
Hug that child 
nice and tight!  (repeat verse1)

The last song we sing is Skidamarink (aka Skinnamarink).  If you're not familiar with the tune or actions, watch this.


Skidamarink a dink a dink
Skidamarink a doo
I love you!
Skidamarink a dink a dink
Skidamarink a doo
I love you!
I love you in the morning
and in the afternoon
I love you in the evening
and underneath the moon.
Skidamarink a dink a dink
Skidarmarink a doo
I love you!
(You can add a few little personal flourishes at the end, like Sharon, Lois & Bram did in the video!Very cute to end with a Boop Boop a Doop) 

Make and Take or Snack Time
I often have a craft for kids to do after storytime, but for this one, I think we might have a snack of short'nin' bread!
More Good Books about Grandparents
Please add your favorite rhymes, books, or links in the comments. 

Vera's Baby Sister  / Vera Rosenberry  - Vera is jealous of her new baby sister, so Grandfather dreams up a plan to keep Vera busy and happy, constructing her own green bean teepee. After reading this story I was inspired to build my own green bean teepee, but the bunnies ate all the little seedlings. Next year my teepee will have a fence. : /

Grandmother and I,   and  Grandfather and I, both by Helen E. Buckley - Both books are told from the point of view of a grandchild, about why Grandmothers and Grandfathers are so important. 

Our Granny / Margaret Wild - I love that the author's name is wild, because this book is wildly hilarious. It's about all the different kinds of grannies, fancy grannies, comfy grannies, swimming grannies, working grannies and more, all delightfully illustrated. This book makes me smile. 

So Much / Trish Cooke  - another book about family love - this one is about how each person in the family has a unique way of showing love to the baby. Lots of fun action in this story.

"More More More," said the Baby : three love stories / Vera B. Williams - three little stories about a daddy, a grandma, and a mommy and the babies they each love. Lively illustrations match the lively text, a fun book to read. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bread Baking Storytime

November 17 is National Homemade Bread Day. To celebrate we presented a Bread Baking Storytime

Because we don't have an oven at our library, I baked bread in a slow cooker, which is really easy: just line the bottom of the pot with parchment paper and put in your risen bread dough. A full loaf will take 3-4 hours. I used the "high" setting, and the bread was overcooked on one side of the bottom. A "low" setting might do a nicer job of baking.

By the time the families arrived for the story time, the room was filled with the aroma of baking bread.

After the story time the kids got to mix up their own batch of bread dough in a zipper bag. I found perfect instructions at Something Edible. Many thanks to the owner of the blog, Beau Dealy  for his inspired recipe instructions.

For the story time I started with a great non-fiction book Bread Comes to Life, by George Levenson. Photographs and simple text explain the creation of bread from planting the seed to baking the dough.

I followed that with the familiar folktale of the The Little Red Hen. We have several versions of this in the library, I used Byron Barton's book because I really like his simple, straightforward illustrations.

I ended the story time by telling the story of The Gingerbread Man. We have several versions of this tale also, but none of them felt right to me. I was looking for the book I had owned when I was a child, with the chant,
                         "Run, run, as fast as you can,
                          you can't catch me,
                         I'm the gingerbread man.
                         I ran away from the little old woman,
                         I ran away from the little old man,
                         and I can run away from you,
                         I can, I can, I can!"

So I decided to tell the story, only I added a twist - yoga poses. For each character and some scenes, the kids and I adopted a yoga posture.This was a lot of fun, and really engaged the kids in the story. Many thanks to Dana Robinson of Sweet Feet Yoga for her yoga storytelling class at ILA this year, and to Sydney Solis for her great book, Storytime Yoga. Here are the poses I used for the story.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Good Books

Amelia's Fantastic Flight / Rose Bursik 
     Amelia wants to fly, so she builds a plane, and takes off around the world. Very simple text, beautiful illustrations, and maps so kids can see where Amelia flies. 

The Ugly Truckling / David Gordon
     A fractured fairytale, very sweet, with darling illustrations, about an airplane "born" into a family of trucks. This is a fun story to read. (Print Motivation!)

Plane Song / Diane Siebert/ illustrations by Vincent Nasta
    The text for this book is a poem describing a variety of airplanes, from small private planes to airlines and military jets. I really like the way this poem flows. Kids who like machines will be fascinated by all the different planes illustrated in Vincent Nasta's outstanding oil paintings.  (Vocabulary, Phonological Awareness)

First Flight / David McPhail
     I love this story told from the point of view of a small child going on a first plane trip. The child explains to a teddy bear each part of the experience, buckling up, using the restroom, turbulence, and more. (Airport and airport signs - Print Motivation)

Between Story Stretches

Action Rhyme: Airplane

The airplane has great big wings                                      (stretch arms out)
The propeller spins around and sings                               (spin one arm)
Vrroooom! The airplane goes up!                                    (tilt head up and rise up on toes)
Vrroooom! The airplane goes down!                               (lean over)
The airplane circles round and round.                              (lean to one side, lean to other side)
The airplane waves and flies                                            (waggle wings)
around our town.

Action Song:  My Little Red Airplane (tune: Bumping up and down in my little red wagon)

Props - I use a felt board and pictures of various tools, hammer, screwdriver, wrench, etc. Plus, I add a few odd pictures, a banana, a hat, a kitten, etc. Hand pics out to kids, and have them come up and put pictures on felt board during their turn.
       Or, you could also bring a tool box filled with tools and other items. 
       If you have a small group, you could pick kids to come up to the toolbox and select an item. 

Flying up and down in my little red airplane (3x)
  Won't you be my darlin'?

Oh, no!!

One wheel's off and a wing is broken (3x)
    Won't you be my darlin'?

____________'s gonna fix it with her/his ______________  (3x)
    Won't you be my darlin'?

Repeat last verse till about 5 kids have had chance to fix the airplane.
Then repeat first verse.

Felt Board Song: Airplane, Airplane
   I wrote new words for the tune of Freight Train, by Libba Cotten. There are several videos on You Tube if you need the tune.
  For the felt board pictures I just copied pictures of a jet airliner, some mountains, and the ocean (not beach).

I sing this 3x - first so the kids can hear it, the second time so they can sing along, the third time so they can sing with confidence. 

Airplane, airplane, up in the sky
Where are you going flying so high?
Over the mountains, over the seas, 
Shiny airplane will you take me?

Goodbye! Here's a cute goodbye rhyme:
Up, down,
Turn around,
touch the sky 
and touch the ground.
Tickle tummy,
blink your eyes,
blow a kiss 
and wave goodbye!