Storytime Share: Fall Harvest

21 10 2016

For my outreach programs to preschool classes in the community I do some form of autumn storytime every year – pumpkins, leaves, etc. This year I wanted to expand the theme a little bit and chose to do books and activities related to harvest time. Below are the books I read as well as a few songs, fingerplays, and rhymes I also shared.



Fall by Ailie Busby; illustrated by the author

An adorable group of toddlers enjoys the delights of autumn. Baby, Toddler


Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky; illustrated by Susan Swan

When a family visits a farm to enjoy all that the season has to offer, they observe the various shapes all around. Preschool


Time for Cranberries by Lisl H. Detlefsen; illustrated by Jed Henry

A young boy helps his parents harvest the cranberries on their family farm. Preschool, Early Elementary


The Pumpkin Patch by Cliff Griswold

Readers follow a young girl as she visits the pumpkin patch with her family to select the perfect pumpkin. Toddler, Preschool


Apple Harvest by Calvin Harris

Simple text about picking apples in the fall. Preschool


Baby Loves Fall! by Karen Katz; illustrated by the author

A young child has seasonal fun in this lift-the-flap book celebrating fall.


Harvest by Kris Waldherr; illustrated by the author

A mother and child spend an autumn day collecting fruits, vegetables, and other plants from their garden that they’ve been tending all year. Preschool


Penguin and Pumpkin by Salina Yoon; illustrated by the author

When Penguin and his friends leave their snowy home to experience a true fall, he brings something special back to share with his baby brother Pumpkin. Toddler, Preschool


“Ten Little Pumpkins”

sung to: “Ten Little Indians”

One little, two little, three little pumpkins

Four little, five little, six little pumpkins

Seven little, eight little, nine little pumpkins

Ten little pumpkins in the pumpkin patch

Sing again counting backwards from ten to one

“Leaves Are Falling Down”

sung to: “Rain Is Falling Down

Leaves are falling down – crunch!

Leaves are falling down – crunch!

Whirling, twirling, whirling, twirling

Leaves are falling down – crunch!

Note: Before we sing this one I talk to the kids about the sound that dried leaves make

Fingerplays: “Way Up High in the Apple Tree,” “Little Seed in the Ground

Storytime Share: Mice

14 01 2016

For my outreach theme this month I randomly chose “Mice.” I based my decision completely on the fact that I wanted to do the “Little Mouse” flannel with my outreach groups. As I had predicted the flannel was a hit, and the rest of the storytime went well, too. I used most of the same fingerplays and songs with all age groups, though the books varied slightly. Age levels for the particular books are listed in the descriptions.



Mousetropolis by R. Gregory Christie; illustrated by the author

A new take on the traditional story of Country Mouse and City Mouse with vibrant illustrations by Christie. Preschool, Early Elementary


Lunch by Denise Fleming; illustrated by the author

A hungry little mouse eats a lunch full of colorful fruits and vegetables. Toddler, Preschool


A New House for Mouse by Petr Horacek; illustrated by the author

When Little Mouse discovers a juicy, red apple that is too big to fit into the hole she lives in she goes in search of a new home. Preschool


A Surprise for Tiny Mouse by Petr Horacek; illustrated by the author

Even though a rain shower interrupts Tiny Mouse’s exploring adventure, a surprise after the rain makes everything better. Baby, Toddler


Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh; illustrated by author

Three white mice experiment with colors when they discover three jars of paint. Toddler, Preschool


“Hickory Dickory Dock” (Traditional)


“Creeping Mice,” “The Quiet Mouse,” and “Hurry, Scurry” from Small Town Storytime Lady blog


Storytime Share: Opposites

15 12 2015

In December, we explored the concept of opposites in my outreach storytimes. Here’s the plan as I did it with the Pre-K/Four- and Five-Year-Old Groups:



Alex and Lulu: Two of a Kind by Lorena Siminovich; illustrated by the author

Alex worries that maybe he and Lulu are too different to be friends, but Lulu reassures him that being different is what makes them such good friends. Preschool, Early Elementary

Song: “Open Shut Them” (Be sure to check out this version from Super Simple Songs that includes several other opposite pairs.)



Sun Above and Blooms Below: A Springtime of Opposites by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky; illustrated by Susan Swan

A class observes a variety of opposites during a field trip to the farm. Preschool, Early Elementary

Song: “Opposites Looby Loo” from Bay Views ACL

Activity: Opposites Matching Game using cards from Kiz Club blog

Fingerplay: “This Is Big” from Mel’s Desk blog



What’s Up Bear?: A Book about Opposites by Frieda Wishinsky; illustrated by Sean L. Moore

Sophie and her teddy bear explore the sights of New York City and come up with many opposite pairs along the way. Toddler, Preschool

Fingerplay: “Two Little Blackbirds” (This fun version from the Jbrary blog goes through many different opposite pairs, and the kids loved it!).



Black? White! Day? Night!: A Book of Opposites by Laura Vaccaro Seeger; illustrated by the author

Author Seeger explores opposites with bold, colorful illustrations, cut-outs, and flaps. Preschool

For the younger preschoolers, the two- and three-year-olds, I followed mostly the same plan with a few minor changes. The Opposites Matching Game took them a little longer, and they needed more assistance from the teachers and me. I also dropped the last book from the lineup due to time constraints and shorter attention spans.

For the toddlers, I shortened the program by about ten minutes, skipping the matching game and substituting a couple of titles. We still read What’s Up, Bear?, but read these two in place of the other books:


A Garden of Opposites by Nancy Davis; illustrated by the author

Opposite pairs are everywhere to be found in the garden. Baby, Toddler


My Book of Opposites by Britta Teckentrup; illustrated by the author

Opposites are represented by lively animals in this board book. Baby, Toddler



Storytime Share: Five Senses

10 12 2015

For my outreach storytimes in November, we read and talked about the five senses. Here’s the storytime plan:



Cold, Crunchy, Colorful: Using Our Senses by Jane Brocket

Brocket uses simple text and colorful photos to introduce the five senses to readers. Preschool, Early Elementary

Activity: Talk about the five senses



Let’s Play a Five Senses Guessing Game by Amanda Miller & Joan Michael

Readers are encouraged to guess items based on a little boy’s descriptions of experiencing the objects using his senses and accompanying close-up photos. Preschool, Early Elementary

Fingerplay: “My Senses”

These are my eyes that let me see. (point to eyes)
This is my tongue that tastes for me. (point to tongue)
These are my ears that let me hear. (point to ears)
My hands and skin feel things that are near. (touch things with hands)
This is my nose that helps me smell, (point to nose)
My senses teach me very well.



Rain by Manya Stojic; illustrated by author

African animals anticipate and experience a rainfall using their senses. Toddler, Preschool

Songs: “Rain Is Falling Down” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider”



Five for a Little One by Chris Raschka; illustrated by the author

A little rabbit counts each of his senses and talks about the things he enjoys by using each of them. Toddler, Preschool

Activity: Animal Sound Guessing Game (Have children use their sense of hearing to guess stuffed animals hidden inside a barn based on the sounds each makes.)

Song: “Old MacDonald”



Senses on the Farm by Shelley Rotner

Experience everything on the farm using sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Toddler, Preschool


Reading with Little C: Hole-y Moly!

19 11 2015

Oh, the typical younger child whose life is documented less than the firstborn – fewer pictures, fewer videos, and apparently, fewer blog posts, too. I can’t believe this is only the second post I’ve written about reading with Little C, and he’s almost two already!

I do read with Little C, and he is usually with Little L and me as we read big brother’s books, too.

Little C definitely shows a preference for certain books. Many of his favorites include stories about his favorite characters – Elmo and Thomas the Tank Engine. In addition to that, he also enjoys books with die cuts in the pages.

The classic example of this type of book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle; illustrated by the author

As the caterpillar eats his way through the story, the holes he leaves behind are the perfect size for little fingers. Little C loves to poke his fingers into the holes, even if he has a sippy cup in one hand.

A newer title that he also loves is the Go Away, Big Green Monster! spin-off Nighty Night Little Green Monster.


Nighty Night, Little Green Monster by Ed Emberley; illustrated by the author

Little C especially loves touching the little monster’s round nose.

A couple of new board book series are also in our regular reading rotation.

The My Little World series of concept books from Tiger Tales is full of bright colors and die cut holes that become objects like eyes, mouths, and wheels throughout the books.

Hoot and Zoom  – both titles by Jonathan Litton; illustrated by Fhiona Galloway

In the new Trace the Trail board book series, the die cuts don’t go all the way through, but leave an indentation in the page perfect for tracing with a finger (check out this video). Little C didn’t quite understand the concept of tracing the path at first, but after a demonstration he quickly figured it out. These books could be good for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination in addition to being fun reads.

Around the World and Through the Town – both titles by Craig Shuttlewood; illustrated by the author

I love reading with this little guy, and I can’t wait to see what other books become his favorites.

Reading with Little L: First Chapter Books

18 11 2015

Now that Little L is a little older and has started school, we’ve started adding some chapter books into our regular reading time. The first chapter book we read was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

wizard of oz baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum; illustrated by W.W. Denslow

This title worked well because he loves the movie and was already familiar with the characters and basic storyline.

Another book we read that’s been turned into a movie (which Little L actually hasn’t even seen yet) was The Iron Giant.


The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes; illustrated by Dirk Zimmer

The nice thing about this book is that is already broken into parts that are intended to be read over the course of five nights.

Each year my library hosts a reading festival for children, and this year one of the authors was Debbie Dadey, co-author of the Bailey School Kids series. Little L loves monsters and supernatural beings, so I knew this series would be a perfect fit for him. I got the first book in the series (Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots) for him, and he was able to meet Ms. Dadey and have her sign his book at the festival. After finishing the first one, we’ve continued to read other books in the series as well.


Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones; illustrated by John Gurney

We’re currently working our way through the classic Winnie-the-Pooh. Again, I think Little L likes this one because he’s already familiar with the characters and even some of the stories.


Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne; illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard

I love reading with Little L, and now that he’s a little older, it’s so nice to be able branch out into longer, more complex books. It’s also wonderful to talk with him about the stories and hear his perspective on them.

He’s starting to begin reading some on his own now, but I hope he’ll let me continue to read with him for a long time.


Storytime Share: Fall Leaves

9 11 2015

I don’t even know how many times I’ve done a fall-themed storytime. My estimate is around somewhere around 40. This month my fall storytime focused on leaves in particular. It was a hit with kids in the library and at preschools I visited.


Baby Loves Fall! by Karen Katz; illustrated by the author

A lift-the-flap book celebrating the joys of fall. Toddler


Fall Is Not Easy by Marty Kelley; illustrated by the author

Children will laugh as a tree explains why fall is its most difficult time of year. Preschool




The Leaves Fall Around by Steve Mack; illustrated by the author

An autumnal twist on the song “The Green Grass Grew All Around.” Preschool, Toddler


Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson; illustrated by Buket Erdogan

Mouse and Minka enjoy an abundance of leaves as they play outside in the fall. Preschool, Toddler


Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert; illustrated by the author

The narrator describes the growth of her favorite maple tree from its beginning as a seed.


“Autumn Leaves”

sung to: “London Bridge”

Autumn leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down

Autumn leaves are falling down all over town

The cold wind blows them all around…

They’re drifting gently to the ground…

“Leaves Are Falling Down”

variation of: “Rain Is Falling Down”

Leaves are falling down – crunch!

Leaves are falling down – crunch!

Whirling, twirling, whirling, twirling,

Leaves are falling down – crunch!

Note: Before we sing this one I talk to the kids about the sound that dried leaves make when we step on them.

“Put Your Leaf on Your…”

sung to: “Put Your Finger in the Air”

Put your leaf on your nose, on your nose

Put you leaf on your nose, on your nose

Put your leaf on your nose, on your nose, on your nose

Put your leaf on your nose, on your nose

Repeat with other body parts, ending with “Put your leaf in the air…”

Note: I give each child a paper leaf to use for this song.

Flannel: Leaf Matching Game

Each child receives a leaf in one of five different shapes – maple, oak, aspen, willow, and ginkgo. As I put one of the leaf shapes up on the board, the children with the matching leaves bring them up to the board as well. I usually do this activity before reading Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf and end with the maple leaf since that transitions well into the book.