Craicmonkey’s Storytime Delights #9 and #10

Yes, I know I missed posting last month’s Storytime Delights; but I like to see it as a bonus edition for this month, rather than a complete lack of ability to get my act together last month. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Are You a Horse? by Andy Rash.

Are you a horse

It’s Roy’s birthday and he has just been given a brand new saddle! It even has instructions: 1) Find a horse 2) Enjoy the ride. Perfect, right? Well, not if you happen to be the only cowboy in existence that has no clue as to what a horse is! Roy sets out in search of the mysterious creature. Along the way he meets many different things, none of which are a horse, but all of which give him clues towards discovering what a horse actually is.

This is a fun story with a hilarious twist at the end that always brings laughs. The children are taken on an adventure of taxonomy as Roy, through a process of elimination and deduction gets closer and closer to his goal of getting to try out his birthday present.

Good Little Wolf by Nadia Shireen

Good little wolf

Rolf is a wolf; a good little wolf; a wolf who eats his vegetables and is nice to his friends. However, his best friend, Mrs. Boggins, warns Rolf that not all wolves good; a fact he discovers one day when he happens upon the Big Bad Wolf. The Big Bad Wolf tries to convince Rolf that all wolves are big and bad, and so if Rolf is a real wolf, he will need to prove it. Poor Rolf tries and tries, but isn’t able to live up to expectations, until finally something inside Rolf snaps. Is there really a big bad wolf inside of Rolf? Can the real Big Bad Wolf be reformed? Can I ask one more question for the sake of asking a question?

While on the surface this is a story about being true to yourself, it does have a somewhat shocking twist at the end that makes it more appealing to an older group, such as a classroom, where you can see sit back and watch the little light bulbs light up one by one.

I Spy Under the Sea by Edward Gibbs

I spy under the sea

There’s a hole in the bottom of the sea,

There’s a hole in the bottom of the sea…

There’s also a hole in this book about the sea. We are introduced to many different marine wildlife through a hole in the preceding page that shows only a little bit of who’s behind the page. Each animal is introduced by a clue, for example, “I spy with my little eye… something with lots of arms.” As you turn the page the rest of the picture is revealed and, as a sharp little girl in one of my storytimes observed, “It’s a counting book!”

Right you are, my dear. It is a counting book. Starting off with seven clownfish and working down to one animal “with a big fin” the children have a chance to not only guess the animal, but count them as well. There is even a hole at the end of the book that allows the children to look through to spy with their little eye.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin, Jr. (illustrated by Eric Carle)

Polar Bear Polar Bear

Listen! Did you hear that? What’s making that sound? Is that a lion roaring? Maybe it’s a walrus bellowing, or a flamingo fluting (whatever that is!) Welcome to the always colourful, and now, noisy world of Bill Martin and Eric Carle. In the style of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? this book is another gem of simplicity. On each page we are introduced to an animal who is listening to the sound of another animal. While Brown Bear, Brown Bear focuses on colour, Polar Bear, Polar Bear explores sound. Some of these sounds are familiar to children like the roar of the lion, or the trumpet of the elephant. Some sounds, however, are less well known. Have you ever heard the yelp of a peacock? How about the bray of a zebra (it’s not what you may think).

This is a great book to get the children to participate. You can have lots of fun getting the little ones to try their hand at making all kind of sounds, even if you’re not sure what that sound is. If you feel like adding a tech element to your storytime, you could find examples of each animal sound and play them as you read the book. Using an iPad I employed two apps and YouTube to cover all the animals. The children were interested to hear the different sounds and had fun trying to imitate them.

The last page has a delightful image of children dressed up as all the animals making the sounds; another great way to get your storytime children involved!

Apps used: Zoo Sounds Free (Tantrum Apps), Animal Chatter (iGreenEarth)

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

bark george

George’s mother said: “Bark, George.”

George went: “Meow.”

George is a dog; and as we all know, dogs go: “Arf.” So imagine George’s mother’s worry as George opens his mouth and makes all manner of animal sounds except “Arf.” What’s a mother to do? Time to take George to the vet. At the vet we find out how all these other animal sounds got inside of George, to the great shock of George’s mother!

Feiffer’s illustrations are bold, simple, and full of expression as we see George’s mother progress from slight confusion to full-out distress. The children will have a blast reacting every time George opens his mouth both in and out of the vet’s office, not to mention the surprise at the end! Of course the story’s a lot more fun when the children get to help out with the sounds.

Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems


Lonardo was a terrible monster. How terrible? Well, he couldn’t scare anyone. If you’re a monster, that’s pretty terrible. No matter how hard he tries, Leonardo can’t scare anyone. Then he gets an idea: Find the most scaredy-cat kid in the whole word, and “scare the tuna salad out of him.” Leonardo finds his mark and makes him cry; but is it fear that’s making him cry, or is it something else? Perhaps it has to do with an older brother, an action figure, and cockatoo poo. What is revealed challenges Leonardo to examine his life goals, yet without having to deny his true nature.

Another storytime favourite from our pal, Mo Willems, Leonardo the Terrible Monster is as fun to read as it is to listen to.


Read-In Week 2012

As Read-In Week 2012 wraps up, I was delighted to have visited my daughter’s elementary school as a guest reader. It was something I did last year when she was in Kindergarten, and I wanted to do it again, this time with her Grade One class. As it turned out, the school wanted me to read to a couple of other classes as well. Soon one class turned into five classes and, long story short, I was in for an extended storytime. Just as well, as I was having the hardest time trying to narrow down my selections. Working in the Children’s Library has its advantages. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to read to each class, but I knew that it wouldn’t be until I got started that I would know for sure which books I would pull from the sack. I was a little worried going in, but I had my coffee, I had a sack full of books, and I was ready to have some fun! Here, then, is what turned out to be my “set list” for Read-In Week.

My itinerary for the morning

Special Needs Class (Grades One, Two, and Three)

Opening rhyme: “One Is a Giant”

One is a giant who stomps his feet,

Two is a fairy, nice and sweet,

Three is a mouse who crouches small,

Four is a great big bouncing ball,

Five is a king who wears a crown,

Six are the children who all sit down

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

Mortimer by Robert Munsch

Are You a Horse? by Andy Rash

Grade One (part one)

Opening rhyme: “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!”

Zoom, zoom, zoom!

We’re going to the moon!

Zoom, zoom, zoom!

We’re going to the moon!

If you want to take a trip,

Climb aboard my rocket ship.

Zoom, zoom, zoom!

We’re going to the moon!

In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,

Blast Off!

13 Words by Lemony Snicket

Flight of the Dodo by Peter Brown

Grade Two (part one)

Opening rhyme: “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom”

Nothing by Jon Agee

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas

Grade Two (part two)

Opening rhyme, “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!”

Beware of the Frog by William Bee

Nothing by Jon Agee

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Grade One (part two)

Opening rhyme: “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!”

More Bears! by Kenn Nesbitt

Flight of the Dodo by Peter Brown

Where the Wild Things Are (recited) by Maurice Sendak

My wonderfully indecisive sack of stories

By the end I was spent, but I was so glad I went. It was fun to read to the students, and they did a great job interacting with the stories. One of the highlights of my visit was having my daughter help me read 13 Words. I read the story while she was responsible for the thirteen feature words. I was so proud to have my daughter stand beside me in front of her Grade One class reading words like despondent, haberdashery, and mezzo-soprano.

I wish to thank the students and staff of Lorelei Elementary School for inviting me and making me feel so welcomed. I thoroughly enjoyed the morning and I hope I can come again.