Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes

Letter C


See below for the 2015 Letter B Storytime.

Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)

Mystery Bag objects: cup, clothes pin, cauliflower, caterpillar  (we also had a car, cat, crayon, and carrot, which I didn’t use)

Because we’d already talked about the letter, I introduced each story or song by having them guess what C-word it was about.

Story: The Cake that Mack Ate by Rose Robart.  This started out well, with the kids and adults participating nicely, but degenerated towards the end.  I think they lost it at “This was the woman who married the farmer…” and, honestly, I don’t blame them.  Why can’t there just be a female farmer?  Why is she always the farmer’s wife?  Anyway, I might think twice about using this one again, although they did love the surprise of finding out who Mack is at the end.

mixed-up-truckSong: “A Cat Had a Birthday”.  I introduced it with cat and then the kids suggested duck, zebra, and dog.  The zebra barked like a dog (no one knew what sound a zebra makes!) but it was all good.

Story: The Mixed-Up Truck by Stephen Savage.  This was my new book for the week – I’ve never used it in storytime before – and I didn’t think hard enough ahead of time about how to read it.  The joke comes in the truck using the wrong white powdery material.  The kids can’t read, so they didn’t know he was using the wrong thing until they got to the reveal on the next page, but then it didn’t make sense because it didn’t reinforce the error on the reveal page.  I still like this book, and the idea of the book, but you might need to read what happens and then go back to check what he mixed.  Overall, so-so.

drat-fat-catSong: “Drivin in My Car” by Ralph Covert on Ralph’s World.  This is always a sure hit, and it worked even with today’s rowdy group.  The parents were chatting over verse one, but once it got to the second verse with the beeps, they were with us.

Story: Drat that Fat Cat! by Pat Thomson.  This is another one that usually works well for me, and I had the kids, but the adults — well, it was a chatty day.  Blaming the weather often works, so I’ll try that.  (Rain!)


Craft: Cardboard and Construction Paper Creations.  I put out colored tape, markers, and scissors on the tables, and then allowed the kids to take scrap cardboard and construction paper from a box at the front of the room.  As with other totally open-ended projects, they took a while to get started, but then many of them stayed and worked for quite a long time.  Cora spent a full half hour on her house (above) and would have stayed much longer if her caregiver had let her!


Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)

Mystery Bag objects: coin, crayon, car, cow  (we also had a clothespin and a plastic couch from the doll house that I didn’t use)

Because we’d already talked about the letter, I introduced each story or song by having them guess what C-word it was about.

black-catStory: Black Cat, White Cat by Silvia Borando (cats).  I love this book, especially the ending, when the black cat and white cat get together and make orange kittens.  (I thought the kittens would be striped or spotted, since all the illustrations to that point were solidly black and white, not even gray.)  The funny thing was that when I asked what color they thought the kittens would be, the adults were pushing the kids to say “gray,” but they actually threw out all kinds of wild colors.  Perhaps the surprise at the end works better on older kids?

Act Out:   How Do I Put it On?  by Shigeo Watanabe (clothes).  Dress the stuffed mouse, but, of course, do it all wrong.  Hilarious!

ready-for-funStory: Is Everyone Ready for Fun?  by Jan Thomas (cows).  I had originally planned to do this first.  Right before storytime started, I realized that How Do I Put it On requires verbal interaction, but no large motor, so I decided to do this one in the middle when they might be getting wiggly instead.  The kids all acted out the cows and had fun jumping, wiggling, and dancing.  Although on a carpet, not a sofa.

little-peaStory: Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal  (candy).  None of the kids were familiar with this one, but they still guessed at the surprise ending – if you eat candy for dinner, you must eat veggies for dessert!  This is another one of those books where the setup on the first few pages didn’t really hook them, but once we got to talk about all the candies and make “ick!” faces, they were into it.

Song: “If You’re Happy and You Know It” (tenuous connection with clapping).  I had planned to do “A Cat Had a Birthday” here, but we needed more movement, so I tossed this in instead.  Since I hadn’t practiced, it took me a few verses to work out the chords, but the kids didn’t seem to notice.  They must still have been thinking about Is Everyone Ready for Fun? because they suggested wiggling and dancing as things you do when you’re happy.

duckling-gets-a-cookieStory: The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems (cookies).  I had this one as a backup, and I used it as a fourth story because the stories this week were so short.  This one would be even more fun in a tandem storytime, but it works fine solo, too.  He’s the askingest pigeon around, for sure!

Closing Song: “See Ya Later”

cloud-resistCraft:  Cloud painting.  You could do this with a 50/50 mixture of shaving cream and glue, but I went with the crayon resist.  Draw with white crayons on white paper and then paint over with watered down blue liquid watercolor.  I made two fairly large mistakes here.  First, I knew we had liquid watercolor, but when I took it out 10 minutes before the program to set up, I realized that all of our blue was gone.  At this point, I could have smartly put out purple, orange, and yellow, and called them sunset clouds, but I was so stuck on blue that I couldn’t get past it.  I mixed my own with water, blue food coloring, and a little black or green liquid water color when I realized that the food coloring on its own wasn’t really dark enough.  It was an ok craft, and some of the kids loved the magic reveal, but it would definitely have been better if I was more prepared.

“A Cat Had a Birthday”

A cat had a birthday and all the cats came
To eat cat cake and play cat games.
They opened cat presents and when they were through
They sang “Happy Birthday” the way that cats do.
(Meow to the tune of “Happy Birthday”)

Repeat for other animals.


Possible subthemes:  cars, cookies, construction, cats, cereal, colors, community helpers, cows, chickens, clothes, camping, cake/cupcakes, cowboys, clouds, candy

Other possible titles:

Toot Toot Zoom! by Phyllis Root (car)

Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj (cats)

Drat that Fat Cat! By Pat Thomson (cats)

Is That a Cat? by Tim Hamilton (cats)

There Are Cats in this Book by Viviane Schwarz (cats)

Where is That Cat? by Carol Greene (cats)

Peepsqueak! by Leslie Ann Clark (chick)

Chickens to the Rescue by John Himmelman (chickens)

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont (colors)

My Blue is Happy by Jessica Young (colors)

Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin (colors)

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin  (colors/cats)

I’m Gonna Climb a Mountain in My Patent Leather Shoes by Marilyn Singer (clothes)

It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw (clouds)

Shapes in the Sky by Josepha Sherman (clouds)

Roadwork by Sally Sutton (construction)

The Construction Crew by Lynn Meltzer (construction)

The Diggers are Coming! by Susan Steggall (construction)

What Can a Crane Pick Up? by Rebecca Kai Dotlich (construction)

The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins (cookies)

Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas (cows)

The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson (cows)

Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border (cupcakes)





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