Category Archives: Picture Book Round Up

Mind Your Manners: Storytime for the Oblivious

There are lots of books on manners for kids, and most of my preschool attendees have clearly been taught their Ps and Qs, and dutifully say thank you after  storytime. But today I discovered how completely oblivious kids can be to discussions of manners. I had a rude little puppet who kept interrupting, picking her nose, and saying mean things. The kids and I talked about how we should behave, and how to say the “magic” words. That is until I was interrupted by a little girl who wanted to tell me about her stuffed panda, and then the boy who wanted to tell me about how he fell once. Let me say this again–in the middle of discussing how it is rude to interrupt, I was interrupted twice by kids who felt no self-awareness of the situation. Anyways, here is a manners round up for your politeness pleasure:

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners, funny, but a little old for prek, with some small parts that are hard to showcase in a storytime setting.

Monster Manners Monster Manners, sometimes monsters remember their manners and sometimes not.

Please Say Please! Penguin's Guide to Manners Please Say Please: A Penguin’s Guide to Manners, When Penguin has a party, his guests don’t know how to behave, can you help them?

Time to Say "Please"! Time to Say “Please!” What do you say when you want something? And when you get it?

Being a Pig Is Nice: A Child's-Eye View of Manners Being a Pig is Nice: A Child’s Eye View of Manners Animals can get away with all kinds of gross things!

How to Lose All Your Friends (Picture Puffins) How to Lose All Your Friends, 6 steps to lead a friend free, cookie filled life!

I’d love any other suggestions for manners and etiquette books suitable for preschool storytime!


Sad Days, Silly Days, Sorry Days–A Picture Book Round up on Emotions.

For the first time in a LONG time, I found myself doing Toddler Storytime. My assistant went out of town and our substitute would only come if she could do Preschool Storytime. So I said bring it on! Well besides having groups ranging from 35-40 instead of 17-30, less interaction, and more running around it was only completely different. Ok, so it is a different skill set for toddler storytime, but I still enjoyed it. I think Preschool is preferred around her because it is easier to see the audience interacting and absorbing the theme, but Toddler Storytime is still super important. I do really believe that kids learn a lot from attending and participating with their caregivers.

So this week the theme was Boo-Hoo, which I actually thought might be sick stories, but was really stories about emotions. I think that is a really good theme with a bad/unclear name. Kids need to learn to describe what they are feeling, because only that way can they learn to communicate what they need. We’ve all seen the kid who is consumed with some emotion he can’t quite get out in words or even understand. So this is a good theme. I might have avoided focusing just on sadness, but still emotions are important.

Here are some books for preschoolers and toddlers on emotions:
What Shall We Do with the Boo-hoo Baby? What Shall We Do with The Boo-Hoo Baby Cressida Cowell, very cute, very simple story of a baby who cries and will not relent. Good for toddlers.

Hurty Feelings Hurty Feelings, Helen Lester, Some of us are super sensitive, even if we are hippos.

Grumpy Bird Grumpy Bird Jeremy Tankard, How can the day turn around, when you wake up grumpy?

How Are You Peeling?: Foods with Moods How Are You Peeling? Saxton Freymann, Joost Elffers. Fruit and veggies that are creatively shaped to express emotions.

That Makes Me Mad! That Makes Me Mad, Steven Kroll. What makes kids mad? Lots of things.

Sometimes I'm Bombaloo (bkshelf) (Scholastic Bookshelf) Sometimes I Feel Bombaloo, Rachel Vail. When you are little, sometimes your emotions are hard to explain.

Don't Worry Bear Don’t Worry Bear Greg Foley. Some kids worry about a lot of things, how to express this and deal with it are important topics.

The Pout-Pout Fish The Pout-Pout Fish, Deborah Diesen. What can cheer up a fish that is sad?

Ready for Anything! Ready for Anything, Keiko Kasza, A picnic would be fun, but there are so many things that could go wrong, can they stop worrying long enough to have fun?

Mouse Was Mad Mouse Was Mad Linda Urban. Sometimes you can’t do ANYTHING right, not even be mad!

The Way I Feel The Way I Feel Janan Cain. Bright colorful pictures cover many different emotions, silly and jealousy, disappointment and sadness.

When Sophie Gets Angry -- Really, Really Angry When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry… Molly Bang.

What Baby Wants What Baby Wants, Phyllis Root. Mom takes a nap, while leaving baby with the family. They can’t get poor baby to stop crying, even though they try a whole lot of things.

My Many Colored Days My Many Colored Days Dr. Seuss, Some days we feel different things.

We did “If you’re happy and you know it!” along with sad, mad, excited. If it were preschool I’d do more emotions, but the toddlers liked the simple ones. In addition I used pictures of different kids showing different emotions to see if kids could identify them. We used the shakers to shake out different emotions–happy shakes, excited shakes, angry shakes, tired shakes. And we danced!

If I’d done the preschool storytime, I’d’ve done a creative dramatic of What Baby Wants, with a doll and different things to offer to calm baby down. All the kids in the audience make the crying noises, and some kids offer the gifts.

For a craft we drew pictures of our emotions on a bear face. I’ve also done in the past a many colored days craft, where children glue tissue paper on cut out shapes glued on Popsicle sticks, to show their emotions.

Moms, Mommys, and Mothers: A Picture Book Round-Up

Turns out that after I imported my old blog posts, I discovered that I’ve actually posted a Mothers storytime. Well my mom is the best, so clearly there can be more then one storytime to celebrate the awesomeness of mothers everywhere. Plus the subject of mothers is a staple of children’s books every year, so in the two years since my last post new books have been published.

This week was not just Moms, but also Grandmas. This was nice, as we have lots of G’mas that bring the grandkids to storytime.

So here are some fun stories on moms and some on the mothers of our parents (kids liked to think about the mom’s of their mom’s or their dad’s mom.

A Mother for Choco (Paperstar) A Mother for Choco, Keiko Kasza. While I do like the “are you my mother” stories (and will include some here), this avoids the idea that a mother needs to be just like her kids.

Llama Llama Mad at Mama Llama Llama Mad at Mama, Anna Dewdney. Classic tantrum book, once saw a kid throw a tantrum because his Mama wouldn’t read this to him. The others in the series are also good choices.

Bedtime for Mommy Bedtime for Mommy, Amy Kraus Rosenthal. Funny role reversal.

Mommy Mine Mommy Mine, Tim Warnes. Very cute pictures and simple story.

Where's My Mommy? Where’s My Mommy? Jo Browne. Fun to do the actions and make crocodile noises.

My Mom My Mom, Anthony Browne. Classic, simple story, with great illustrations. I did have one kid tell me that a woman couldn’t be an astronaut. I told him about Sally Ride.

What's the Matter, Bunny Blue? What’s the Matter, Bunny Blue?, Nicola Smee. A story about a missing Grandma! Perfect for toddlers.

Sleepover at Gramma's House Sleepover at Gramma’s House, Barbara Joosse. A fun Grandma story!

Just What Mama Needs Just What Mama Needs, Sharlee Mullins Glenn, helping Mom around the house can be fun!

Most Loved Monster Most Loved Monster, Lynn Downey, another classic formula–who is the favorite child? Mommies can love a lot!

You're All My Favorites You’re All My Favorite, Sam McBratney, more sappy than the above title, but sweet.

I Love It When You Smile I Love It When You Smile, Sam McBratney. Another cute book about all the things moms do for their kids.

Flip, Flap, Fly!: A Book for Babies Everywhere Flip, Flap, Fly: A Book for Babies Everywhere, Phyllis Root, A little long, but fun!

Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?, Eric Carle, fun parade through different animals and babies.

Also see the non-fiction picture books I posted a couple weeks ago on Non-Fiction Monday, both feature Moms, Grandmas, and families.

Besides reading some fun stories, we did this fun song, it is to the tune of Frère Jacques, the kids really got into it, and ran to hug grandmas and mom’s

We love Grandmas, We love Grandmas
Yes we do! Yes we do!
Grandmas are for hugging!
Grandmas are for kissing!
We love you,
Yes we do!

We love Mommies, We love Mommies
Yes we do! Yes we do!
Mommies are for hugging!
Mommies are for kissing!
We love you,
Yes we do!

We also did Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee. I really wanted to use the version from Toddler’s on Parade, but I could only find the second verse, so we just did two verses, the bumblebee and the baby dinosaur.

Funny Ha-Ha: A Picture Book Round Up

In light of my last week’s post about planning ahead, I thought I’d start rounding up my favorite funny picture books for this week’s storytime. My problem with this theme is that there are SO many funny picture books that I like. It did help to have the books all pulled together before, but I did struggle with fingerplays and stuff to go along with it. We ended up doing “if you’re happy and you know it” and shaking our sillies out.

Humor is a relative thing, especially for little kids. Here are some funny (to me) picture books, some of which I shared in storytime this week:

Bark, George Bark George, Jules Feiffer. One of my favorite books to read aloud–I get the whole group to help tell the story.

What Will Fat Cat Sit On? What will Fat Cat Sit on?, Jan Thomas. Another favorite story, funny and fun to read.

Pigs to the Rescue Pigs to the Rescue, John Himmelman. Funny things happen when pigs try to help out around the farm.

Green Wilma (Puffin Pied Piper) Green Wilma, Tedd Arnold. What would happen if you woke up and you were a frog or went to sleep a girl and woke up a frog?

Chicken Big Chicken Big, Keith Graves. Hilarious story of an enormous chick, who is mistaken for a whole bunch of things. The kids really got into this one.

Chicken Cheeks Chicken Cheeks , Michael Ian Black. Very funny, and helps kids learn funny new vocabulary words.

Let's Count Goats! Let’s Count Goats, Mem Fox, Goats are silly, and the words and Jan Thomas’ illustrations are awesome.

My Lucky Day My Lucky Day, Keiko Kasza. When a pig shows up on a fox’s door step, it is someone’s lucky day, but whose?

Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothes, Judi Barret. I brought a bear in a wig and scarf to point out the humor of animals in clothes.

Children Make Terrible Pets Children Make Terrible Pets, Peter Brown, a bear finds a child in the woods and wants to keep it, humor ensues.

Interrupting Chicken Interrupting Chicken, David Ezra Stein. Very funny chicken, the kids can all relate.

My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World Gilles Bachelet, Silly story, for cat lovers.

Dog BreathDog Breath, Dav Pilkey, funny story for dog lovers.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type Click, Clack Moo: Cows that Type, Doreen Cronin. Really funny, but most of the kids have heard it dozens of times.

A Girl and Her Gator A Girl and Her Gator Sean Bryan. This is a seriously underrated book, it is good for phonological awareness, plus it is funny. I’ve read it numerous times with a gator on my head.

I’d love to hear about other funny storytime staples, so please share!

Bunny Hop–Picture Book Round Up

A perfect spring time theme, bunnies are cute, funny, and have a lot of kid appeal. Cradling my bunny puppet in my arms, twitching it softly, all of the kids line up to give it a pet and ask if it is real, which of course it is. Where I live, rabbits are pets, and are almost never seen in the wild. The idea of a rabbit in the garden is one children are exposed to in books, not real life (true story, the only bunny I saw in the wild growing up here was someone’s pet, and it was followed by a group of kids trying to catch it). That said, bunnies are all kinds of fun!

This week was spring break so storytime was full of older siblings and grade school kids. My picture book round up thus has a few titles for older kids. Here are some bunny rabbit books for your enjoyment:

What's the Matter, Bunny Blue? What’s the Matter, Bunny Blue? Nicola Smee. Very cute story, particularly good for toddlers, I like to hide the missing family member and search. It doesn’t work in my room which is just a little cove, and opens to the main children’s room.

Knuffle Bunny:  A Cautionary Tale Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, Mo Willems A classic for a reason!

What Does Bunny See?: A Book of Colors and Flowers What Does Bunny See?: A Book of Colors and Flowers Linda Sue Park, cute and colorful!

Bunnies on the Go: Getting from Place to Place Bunnies on the Go: Getting from Place to Place, Rick Walton. There are a whole series of these bunny books.

Rescue Bunnies Rescue Bunnies, Doreen Cronin. Funny, but the humor is for the older kids.

Rhyming Dust Bunnies Rhyming Dust Bunnies, Jan Thomas a fun read aloud, and a bunny is a bunny, right?

The Bunnies' Picnic The Bunnies’ Picnic Lezlie Evans. Another cute rhyming book, plus spring is good for picnics–there are also other bunny books by this author.

Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa, Gerald McDermott. A relatively simple trickster tale, though cleverness/wisdom is something that even grade school kids don’t always get.

Hey, Rabbit! Hey, Rabbit!, Sergio Ruzzier. This bunny has a suitcase full of surprises for all of his friends–I like to imagine it is imagination, but it is fun!

Moon Rabbit, Natalie Russell. Beautiful illustrations, sweet story of friendship.

Duck! Rabbit! Duck! Rabbit!, Amy Krouse Rosenthal (one of my favorite authors ever) Whether or not it is it duck or a rabbit, it IS a lot of fun!

My Friend Rabbit My Friend Rabbit, Eric Rohmann, another simple story, yet fun, particularly for the littlest kids.

Little White Rabbit Little White Rabbit, Kevin Henkes. A new book, but super cute–can you imagine you are green, a rock, taller then a tree?

Lots of cute books this week–I was interested to notice in putting together this list that it has three of the four or so children’s authors I’ve actually met are on it. We did some fun finger plays, counted carrots, and jumped around like bunnies with our egg shakers. Then the kids made their own bunny puppets. It was lots of fun, and my niece came too, which made it the best!

Upcoming Storytime Themes

While I really love storytime, I’m not very good at planning ahead. I usually find myself the day of storytime looking at the kit and wishing I’d remembered to reserve that one favorite book I thought would be in there but isn’t. This is totally my fault because they give us the list of themes a long time in advance, but I never have the list with me when I’m thinking about it. No more! I’m going to post the themes here so I know what is when. It will also help me to get thinking of books. If anyone has any suggestions for titles that work well for pre-school storytime for these themes, suggest away!

April 7: Bunny Hop
April 14: Ha, Ha (I’m thinking funny stories)
April 21: Moms, Grandmas, and Aunts
April 28: Break Week–No Storytime!

May 5: Boo-hoo (I’m thinking sick days or injuries or crying or sad?)
May 12: Splish Splash (Bathtime? Water Fun?)
May 19: Letter G (things that start with G that sort of go together)
May 26: Far Away Places
June 2: Snakes
June 9: The Color Red
June 16: Dad’s, Grandpas, and Uncles

That takes us through the next eleven weeks of storytimes. Some of these themes leave a lot of wiggle room for interpretation, which is why it is hard sometimes to start thinking of them before the kit gets here. But it is a place to start! Any suggestions are welcome.

Circuses and Zoos

One of the downsides to having storytime kits is that sometimes a theme is selected that just doesn’t work. Most of the time it is just that it doesn’t work equally well for toddlers and prescholars, but a occasionally there is a theme that should just be retired never to surface again. Such is my opinion of having Circus as a theme. It didn’t help that I’ve had a cold this week, which made it hard to be as excited as usual. In order to make this work, I did circuses and zoos, or places you can go to see animals and have fun. Most of the finger plays were circus related and we talked about circuses, but I did read two books on zoos and two on circuses (I tried two different ones, changed for the second storytime).


Here are some zoo and circus stories, some of which I used for my circus/zoo storytime:

Circus Family Dog Circus Family Dog, by Andrew Clements, This was an ok story, but the ending falls flat. The kids didn’t seem to understand what was going on.

Olivia Saves the Circus Olivia Saves the Circus, by Ian Falconer, a better book, but not great for preschool storytime.

Circus Shapes (MathStart 1) Circus Shapes, by Stuart J Murphy. A nice toddler tale.

Where's Pup? Where’s Pup? Dayle Dodds, another toddler tale, lots of fun rhyme.

My Heart Is Like a Zoo My Heart is Like a Zoo, by Michael Hall. My heart could also be like a circus, lots of animals and we did different noises and made faces.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Phillip Stead. I LOVE this book, also I was sickish when I read it, so it made sense. Plus really this is a nice quiet book that has lots of lovey details.

Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book Dear Zoo, Rod Campbell, bring the zoo to you!

Animal Strike at the Zoo. It's True! Animal Strike at the Zoo, it’s True! by Karma Wilson, this has such a fun rhyme. I wish I’d had it for the storytime, because it does mention a circus.

Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo Never, Ever, Shout in a Zoo, Karma Wilson, another rhyming zoo story.

From Head to Toe From Head to Toe, Eric Carle I used this one recently, it is all kinds of animals and the actions they make and at the end there is a zookeeper.

Baby Tamer Baby Tamer, Marc Teague. I used this one from the Babysitter’s kit (another theme that should be retired), but it features a three ring circus.

So a whole circus of stories! We talked about animals you might see in the circus, what else you might see at the circus, and what you might eat. I found some awesome fingerplays in an old kit from my old job, both were circus/zoo related.

5 popcorns popping in a pan, (dance your fingers on your other hand)
one got hot and he went “BAM!” (clap hands)

4 popcorns popping in a pan…

3 popcorns popping in a pan…

2 popcorns popping in a pan…

1 popcorn popping in a pan…

No popcorns popping in the pan,
but the pan got hot and it went “BAM!”

For the first group, we did a circus parade and pretended to be different animals and creatures in the circus, but by the time I got to the second group I was wiped out! So we did this other finger play, which was also counting down, but still fun:

5 little monkeys swinging on a trapeze,
one fell off and skinned his knees (slap hands on your knees)
mommy called the doctor and the doctor said,
“no more monkeys on the trapeze!”

Just like 5 little monkeys on the bed it counts down until all the monkeys have fallen.

We had a really fun lion mask the kids made at the end, and all the kids went around ROARing.

Frogs, Frogs, Frogs: Picture Book Round Up

Storytime this week was actually all things beginning with the letter F, which is fun, fantastic, and frustrating. Mostly the later. Because so many things start with F, including four-letter things, I like to focus (which also starts with an f) on one thing from the kit. This week it was Frogs, which was perfect because it was a frog friendly day, rainy and cool. We did talk about the letter F and all my little friends (sorry I always try to use lots of words that start with the letter of the theme during the story time) would shout out when we used a word starting with that letter.

Some fun frog tales, a few of which I read in storytime:

Fine As We Are Fine As We Are, Algy Craig Hall. Frog Family of two, finds they can be fine as two or as many.

The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale, Yumi Heo. A Folktale about two disobedient frogs and their mother.

Jump, Frog, Jump! Jump, Frog, Jump! Robert Kalan, Fun cumulative story with refrain, “Jump, Frog, Jump!”

A Frog in the Bog A Frog in the Bog, Karma Wilson. Such a good read aloud, I just want to chant it!

Froggy Gets Dressed Froggy Gets Dressed Jonathon London. In my mind, the best of all the long Froggy series, plus underwear humor.

City Dog, Country Frog City Dog, Country Frog Mo Willems, Jon Muth. I wish I didn’t care about copyright and could swipe some images from this book for my blog. Dogs AND frogs!

A Place for Frogs A Place for Frogs Melissa Stewart, Higgins Bond. Amazing illustrations, simple text.

Down by the Cool of the Pool Down by the Cool of the Pool Tony Mitton. A great candidate for repetition, a frog leads off a dance.

Green Wilma (Puffin Pied Piper) Green Wilma, Tedd Arnold. What if you woke up one morning and were a frog?

The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A POP-UP BOOK The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A POP-UP BOOK, Keith Faulkner. A good book to have as an office/reference title, because it is great for storytime, but lousy as a circulating title.

And one title to have on hand to share the pictures, if not the text:
Frogs Frogs, Nic Bishop.

We also did a rousing rendition of Five Little Speckled Frogs, shoo fly don’t bother me with our egg shakers, and I did a fold and tell story of the rainhat. Lots of fun for a rainy day!

Moving and Grooving, a Picture Book Round-Up!

Though I have no rhythm or grace, I still like to dance my heart out in storytime at least twice a week. I once had a staff member who would watch me and laugh at me, which bothered me, but generally I don’t mind kids and parents watching me, especially because I want them all to join in. This week we not only did our normal dancing, but read stories about dancing, and even did a dancing finger play. It was a celebration of dancing!

So here are some books to get you moving. I didn’t use them all, some were checked out, and some I didn’t think of in time.

Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance, Keith Graves. A little gross, but fun!

Hop Jump Hop Jump, Ellen Stoll Walsh. Moving like leaves twirling through the air the frogs learn to dance!

Harriet Dancing Harriet Dancing, Ruth Symes. Dancing is for everyone, no matter the size!

Down by the Cool of the Pool Down by the Cool of the Pool, Tony Mitton. All the animals dance around until they jump in the pool!

Barn Dance! (Reading Rainbow) Barn Dance, Bill Martin. Late at night the animals on the farm get grooving!

Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp, Carol Diggory Shields. I like this one, but you have to really practice the dinosaur names or it will trip you up, and some kid will interrupt to insist it be said right and give you the whole history of dinosaurs. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

And, while not dancing per se, Doreen Cronin’s movement books are great:
Wiggle (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards))


We paired our books with egg shakers and new wrist streamers to dance the hokey pokey and do free form dancing how ever the kids wanted. In addition, we danced our fingers around.

Gardening and Growing Things–Spring is Nearly Here!

With spring on the way, I’m ready to start my garden and am thinking of all they yummy things I want to plant this year. Partially because seed packets are sprouting in stores, bulbs are beginning to emerge, and this week we had Planting Time as our Storytime Theme. Our themes are decided centrally and the kits are sent out with books and finger plays. I’m not always a fan of the book selection, but I dutifully stick to the theme and try to use some of the fingerplays.

Here are some great read alouds for Gardening and Growing Things Theme!

Potato Joe Potato Joe, illustrated by Keith Baker. This is only sort of planting, but after counting, shouting, and generally fooling around, the potatoes do find themselves in the ground growing. It is a lot of fun for toddlers or preschoolers.

Up, Down, and Around Up, Down, and Around, Katherine Ayers. This one is a fantastic book to get the wiggles out, everything in the garden goes up, down, or around and kids can follow along by pointing and twirling their hands. Seeds go down, dirt piles up, water goes around and around. Plus you get to act out picking all the foods. Simple enough for toddlers, though it might be a little long for them it would be easy enough to cut out a few vegetable groupings.

My Garden My Garden, by Kevin Henkes. I love this creative vision of a garden from a little girl’s imagination. The kids in storytime were not as excited about this one, but they can be very literal. I think it could be a lot of fun with the right group.

Growing Vegetable Soup Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert. This book is a classic for a reason, it is simple and traces all the steps needed to create a garden. I actually didn’t read this one, but I have read it before in a toddler storytime.

Fun action songs for this theme:

(to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)

The farmer plants the seeds,
The farmer plants the seeds,
Hi, Ho the cheery-o
The farmer plants the seeds

Other verses:
The sun begins to shine…
The rain begins to fall…
The plants begin to grow…
The Flowers smile at us…

or Raffi also has a great gardening song ‘In My Garden,” which I didn’t use (I promise!) partially because we only use Music Together songs and I can’t carry a tune to save my life. But I have used it before on a CD, just acting it out.

My first group had almost 40 kids in it, so it was a little crazy, the second was half as big, and calmer (not always the case, sometimes small groups can be rowdy!)