Storytime Share: Pumpkins

26 10 2017

Rather than do an all-out Halloween storytime for my outreaches this month, I chose to do a pumpkin theme. In addition to a variety of pumpkin stories that I’ve done in the past, I was able to find a couple new pumpkin activities to do to make the storytime fresh for myself.



Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch by Alyssa Satin Capucilli; illustrated by Pat Schories

Biscuit the puppy takes a trip to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin and finds some friends there, too. Baby, Toddler


Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills; illustrated by the author

Friends Duck and Goose search high and low for a pumpkin until a helpful friend suggests the right place to look. Baby, Toddler


How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? by Wendell Minor; illustrated by the author

Imagine just how big a pumpkin could grow – as big as a building or even the Grand Canyon! Preschool; Early Elementary


Pick a Pumpkin, Mrs. Millie!  by Judy Cox; illustrated by Joe Mathieu

On a class trip to the pumpkin patch, silly Mrs. Millie keeps mixing up her words – “big” becomes “pig” and “wagon” becomes “dragon” and so on in this humorous tale. Preschool, Early Elementary


Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch by Mary Peterson and Jennifer Rofé; illustrated by Mary Peterson

Two little pigs run amok all over the farm until the big bull chases them back to the pumpkin patch. Toddler, Preschool


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


Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

Starting with one seed, young Jamie grows a pumpkin, then after carving it into a jack-o-lantern he starts all over again with a handful of seeds. Toddler, Preschool


Ten Orange Pumpkins: A Counting Book by Stephen Savage

Count down from ten to one as Halloween friends such as a mummy, witch, and ghost, select their pumpkins. 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


“Pumpkin, Pumpkin”

Pumpkin, pumpkin, sitting on the wall (make hand into a fist and prop on opposite arm)

Pumpkin, pumpkin, tip and fall (make “pumpkin” wobble and fall off “wall”)

Pumpkin, pumpkin, rolling down the street (make rolling motion with arms)

Pumpkin, pumpkin, good to eat (or trick or treat)!

Flannel story: “Orange Pumpkin, Orange Pumpkin” from First Grade a la Carte blog

Activity: “Old McRainbow’s Pumpkin Farm” from Fun with Friends at Storytime blog


Storytime Share: Bears

19 12 2016

As many times as I have done bear-themed storytimes over the years, I can’t believe I haven’t posted about one before. Well, here goes…

This month my outreach storytimes have been filled with bear stories, songs, and activities.



Bear & Hare: Snow! by Emily Gravett; illustrated by the author

Friends Bear and Hare spend the day playing in the snow – making snowballs, sledding, and building snow animals. Toddler, Preschool


Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson; illustrated by Jane Chapman

Bear and his animal friends explore the forest, taking in all the bright colors they see around them. Toddler, Preschool


Bear’s Big Breakfast by Lynn Rowe Reed; illustrated by Brett Helquist

When Bear wakes up hungry, he goes in search of a food that starts with the letter “b”. Toddler, Preschool, Early Elementary


A Bedtime for Bear by Bonny Becker; illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

Bear must have absolute quiet at bedtime, so he is a little reluctant when his friend Mouse sleeps over – until a strange noise makes him glad to have some company after all. Preschool, Early Elementary


More Bears! by Kenn Nesbitt; illustrated by Troy Cummings

As an author creates his story, he is encouraged by the voices of young readers to include “more bears” until the book is overrun with the furry animals. Preschool, Early Elementary

Note: This book lends itself well to interactive reading. As I read this book, I held up a sign with a picture of a bear on it every time I got to a place with “More Bears!” in the text. The kids really enjoyed shouting along every time I held up the sign.


Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by K.G. Campbell

A real bear takes the place of a stuffed teddy bear at a little girl’s tea party, but will he be able to follow her rules in order to have some cookies? Preschool, Early Elementary


“The Bear Went over the Mountain” traditional

“Down by the Bay” traditional (I held up illustrations of the rhymes as I sang the song)


“Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear” traditional

Activity: “Book Bear” flannel game

This flannel story is similar to the “Little Mouse” flannel that can be found in multiple resources.  In that flannel, you hide a mouse behind houses of various colors and have the children guess where the mouse is hiding.  In this version, I hide a bear, which I call “Book Bear”, behind one of eight book-shaped flannel pieces and have the children find him.  We’re fortunate enough to have a die cut machine at my library, so I used our book shape die cut to make eight book pieces, each a different color.

Before I begin the flannel with the children I explain to them how it works, hiding the bear behind one of the books as I talk.  Then I place the books on the flannel one at a time, being careful not to let them see which one has the bear behind it.  After the books are all on the board, I go through the colors with the kids and then let them start guessing.  With each guess, I point to the particular book, and ask them, “Is Book Bear behind the (insert color) book?”  Then we chant together, “Book Bear, Book Bear, are you under there?”  Then I pull the book off to reveal either a blank space or Book Bear.  I usually try to finagle the game so that Book Bear is under the last book I remove.  This flannel story (and its many variations) is ALWAYS a hit, and kids of all ages love it.

Picture Book Presentation

8 11 2016

Today I had the opportunity to talk about picture books with area teachers during their inservice day. I really enjoyed pulling the presentation together, and I hope the presentation was beneficial for them, too!

For anyone interested in the books I discussed, the links are below:

Slide show: picture-book-talk-nov-16

Book list: picturebooktalk

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