Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)
Story: Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi. This is a rhyming story that introduces different bugs and the things they do. The bigger kids were interested in identifying the different bugs, which broke up the rhythm but was fun. Fortunately, there was a list in the back of all the bugs and their names, since I couldn’t identify some of them. (Side note: preschoolers like saying the name “Goliath beetle” over and over.) It ends with a nice invitation to search for bugs when you’re outside. It’s a rainy day, so a few kids told me they would look for worms. I lost a fair number of younger toddlers during this book, which was not a bad thing – I still ended up with 30 kids, and the first few stories were not particularly toddler-friendly. Plus, better that they leave the room and go have fun in the play area than stick around in storytime and make everyone else miserable, right?
Song: “Little Flea” I also use this one at Babytime sometimes, but the big kids like it just as much. When I do it with babies, the adults trace the path of the flea and then tickle the babies on the “Gotcha!” With the big kids, they trace the flea up and down their bodies and then stomp on it at the end.
Story: Ladybugs (Creepy Critters Rhyme Along) by Sian Smith. This was a pretty straightforward nonfiction read, but it uses rhyming text, which makes it very storytime friendly. The photo illustrations are quite lovely. The kids were very interested in learning some facts about ladybugs. They especially liked the pictures of the hard shell lifting to show the wings underneath, and promised to try to see this the next time they see a ladybug. I skipped the last page, which asked the kids to find the ladybugs in a picture. The drawing wasn’t as compelling as the photos in the rest of the book, and we were about to do a searching book anyway. One of the kids asked why everyone was “interrupting” so much today instead of “just listening to the stories” – this would have been a good opportunity to talk to the adults about the greater interactivity of reading nonfiction, but I missed it in the moment.
Story: Yoo-Hoo, Ladybug! by Mem Fox. This might have made a nice intro book, since there was a little more interaction than in Some Bugs. The kids liked yelling, “Yoo hoo! Ladybug! Where are you?” with me. I called up one child per page to identify the ladybug – it may have been too small to see in a big storytime group. Even though I asked the kids to raise their hands if they saw the ladybug so that I could call on them to show us, many of them had not yet found the ladybug when they came up for their turns. I have been doing a little more calling on individual kids lately than I’ve done before. This seems to work out ok in a medium sized group. In a small group, everyone wants to get a turn and in a big group it’s disruptive, but with 20-30 kids, they seem ok with not necessarily getting a turn.
Song/Book: The Croaky Pokey by Ethan Long. This is a big storytime favorite for me. The kids danced and the grownups sang. I like to use a red or pink party blower as a fake tongue and pretend to be trying to catch the fly along with the frogs in the book. If it makes noise, that’s even better.
Story: Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth. I once took my daughter to a storytime at the Tigard Public Library in Tigard, OR where the presenter sang this book. I liked it before then, but now it’s another go-to storytime book. She had this really lovely jazzy voice which I can not replicate, but singing books are great for getting (and keeping) the kids’ attention. I had them join me on the “Shoo fly, shoo fly, shoo!” which I teach them before we start and then prompt at the end of each page by waving my hand. The adults were nicely primed for participation by The Croaky Pokey, so I got some adult singing too. Both of my girls liked this one so much that I have it mostly memorized, which makes it easy to hold up without having to look too closely. I once had a child cry at the end when the fly got smooshed with the birthday cake, so now I always stop at this point, have the kids predict what will happen, and tell them to close their eyes if they don’t want to see it. With older groups, I will usually start by telling them to look for the alphabet.
Ending Song: “See You Later”
Craft: Sponge painting on top of the picture of a fly. This craft was inspired by the splatter-paint illustrations of Old Black Fly (ok, and also the fact that we just got some cool new paint sponges and washable glitter tempera paint). I thinned the paint a little bit and put it on paper plates on the table along with the sponges. The kids (and their adults) were pretty good about passing around paint and sponges so kids got different colors. This painting is by 4-year-old Kate, who told me that her fly got smooshed by cupcakes. Next time, I would use something else to hold the paint – maybe plastic bowls or plates? The paper plates soaked up a lot of paint and we had to refill a few times as we went.
(To the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle”)
Creeping, creeping, little flea,
Up my leg and past my knee.
To my tummy, up he goes,
Past my chin and to my nose.
Now he’s creeping down my chin,
To my tummy once again.
Down my leg and past my knee,
To my toe that little flea.