Craicmonkey’s Storytime Delights #15

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin (illustrated by James Dean)

Pete the Cat and his four groovy buttons

Pete the Cat has a favourite shirt with four big, colorful, round, groovy buttons. Pete loves his buttons a lot. He loves his buttons so much he sings a song about them. Unfortunately the buttons begin to pop off one at a time. Oh no! Surely the loss of these groovy buttons would be a cause for unbelievable sorrow; but does Pete cry? Goodness, no!

In the same way Pete was able to teach us to keep on walking along, singing our song no matter what we step in, he returns again to show us that buttons come and buttons go, but no matter what, you just have to keep on singing.

A catchy song, a lesson in subtraction, and a simple yet endearing example of perseverance, Litwin and Dean once again team up to give children (and adults) a message of positivity in the face of disappointment.

Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore! by David McPhail

Pigs aplenty

Late one night

As I sat reading,

I thought I heard

The sound of feeding.

So begins an evening of dismay filled with a substantial sorting of unsettling swine. There are pigs making oatmeal in the sink, pigs from England and France, pigs arriving by boat, plane, bus and train. All culminating in a food fight, a humongous pizza bill, and ultimately, a collection of contrite pigs who will do what is necessary to put things right.

A fun story told in rhyme with humourous and detailed illustrations, children will enjoy the sheer ridiculousness of these house crashing hogs.

It’s a Tiger! by David LaRochelle (illustrated by Jeremy Tankard)

Its a tiger

Are you ready for a story?

Me too.

We’ll start in the jungle…

… where it seems that everywhere you turn, there’s a tiger! Is that a monkey swinging from a vine? No, it’s a tiger! Is that a great big fuzzy snake? No, it’s a tiger! What happens when we open this chest that just happens to be on the beach we washed up on? I’ll give you three guesses.

Filled with cool illustrations, this is a great story to get the children up and moving to as you duck, climb, slide, and swim, all in an attempt to get away from the omnipresent Panthera tigris. Of course, there’s also the added bonus of getting everyone to yell out, “A TIGER!” every time we catch sight of the oversized tabby.


Craicmonkey’s Storytime Delights #7

It’s time for Craicmonkey’s Storytime Delights, the Musical Edition!

I enjoy getting the children involved in my storytimes, and there’s nothing like a song to liven things up. These books are great for opening up the floor to audience participation; and even if they don’t end up singing along, you can still get a smile from them as you ham it up and grove out on your own.

Today Is Monday by Eric Carle

Who’s hungry? Well Eric Carle’s got a whole bunch of animals, with very specific diets and feeding schedule, ready to tell you about their food. Today Is Monday takes children through the days of the week and introduces a different food item to go with them. String beans are on Monday, spaghetti is on Tuesday, and on Wednesday we get zooop (soup). While this can be read straight through, there is a tune that accompanies the text, which is printed on the last page of the book, along with an adaptation of the text in verse form.

As always, the vibrant signature illustrations of Carle are a feast for the eyes, but this story also gives children a great opportunity to participate in song. My daughter’s kindergarten class had performed this song as a chorus, but I’ve also simplified it in my storytimes by having the children belt out, “Come and eat it up!” whenever I prompt them with the preceding, “All you hungry children…”

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Pete the Cat loves his white shoes; loves them so much that he sings a song about them as he walks down the street. Unfortunately, Pete happens upon several obstacles that threaten to stain his beautiful white shoes. Raspberries! Blueberries! Mud! Oh, no! Pete’s white shoes are no longer white, but does Pete cry? Goodness, no! Nothing is going to stop Pete from walking along, singing his song.

This simple, yet positive story is filled with groovy illustrations by James Dean, and is punctuated by Pete’s catchy song that is easy for children to pick up on. Best of all, the story ends with a great moral about resilience when dealing with life’s little mucks. “It’s all good.”

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins

Alright, even though the other two books have simple melodies that are forgiving, even to the tonally impaired, you may still be hesitant to let your inner vox shine. No problem; as long as you can keep the beat, there’s Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb.  While there’s no tune to this story it does have an infectious beat. Drum, clap, or simply bop along to the many monkeys, with their many fingers, and many drums in this boom-bastic book.

A classic from 1969, this book is fun to share with large groups, especially if you have enough drums to go around; and if you’re short on instruments, they can still clap, stomp, or even try out a little beatboxing to spice things up. “Dum ditty, Dum ditty, Dum dum dum.”