Tag Archives: picture books

Review: Mitchell’s License

Mitchell's License
Mitchell’s License by Hallie Durand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I checked this out because I really love Tony Fucile’s art style. The book was not a disappointment! It’s adorable and sweet and a great story with great illustrations. It’s about a little boy who doesn’t want to go to bed until his dad gives him a “license” to drive (Dad is the car). It has a lot of humor and heart. The large pictures and quick text will make this good for read-alouds too. Don’t be surprised if it’s on one of my storytime lists soon!

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Review: That Is Not a Good Idea!

That Is Not a Good Idea!
That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another hit from Mo Willems! Super cute and I loved the ending.

It’s meant to look like a silent film, with the pictures on one page and the text on a blank black page. The little chicks are the “viewers” reacting to the story.

I think this would be really fun for storytime, especially if you’re good at doing different voices – a sinister voice for the wolf, a sweet, innocent voice for the duck, and then a frantic set of voices for the little chicks.

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storytime – librarian’s choice

It was the end of my storytime run AND the day after a holiday weekend, so needless to say I sorta threw together this pile of books at the last minute. But most of them went over well, even with 63 preschoolers in the room!

I started with the most complex book in the pile:


Brief Thief by Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo
There is underwear on the cover and a lizard that has to go poo and finds himself without any toilet paper. I was worried they wouldn’t get it but when I flipped to the last page that revealed the twist ending, the giggles let me know the joke was clear.

This one might have been a bit too weird:


There Was an Odd Princes Who Swallowed a Pea by Jennifer Ward
This might be more fun as a flannel board or something. Or maybe the fact that they are still PreK and not as familiar with the “I Know an Old Lady” rhyme as older kids made this book just a bit much for them. Would be really hilarious if I had a burping sound effect…

Song and Dance time!

Jump Up, Turn Around by Jim Gill

And now a couple of classics.


Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle
I had found some cut-outs on sticks that went along with this story and wanted to give them a try. I had the kids ask me “what do you hear” each time and they caught on after the third animal and did it without prompting. It as cute and fun.


From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
This book is so great when the kids are getting wiggly. They act out what the animals do and they really go into it. Definitely a crowd-pleaser.


Under Ground by Denise Fleming
I am not good at these kinds of books at storytime. Someone else must be because they put it on the shelf, but when you have 60+ kids of varying ages, these one word a page book do not go over well.


Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier
I picked this book because it went really well with my craft but it happened to also be a great read-aloud! I kept asking the kids to identify what the different dots represented. They would go above and beyond, pointing out all the dots (for example: the eggs in one picture were sitting on a round plate so one of the little girls called out that the plate was also a dot).

After we were done, the craft was to use lots of dots to create their own picture. We had some really creative kids! Will definitely use this book/craft combo one again!

Storytime! Don’t be afraid!

This morning’s theme sort of fell together as I gathered up books that I thought looked cute then realized there was a common theme – being scared! But not, like, Halloween scared, just those little things that can make you scared.

Of course, I had to start with my favorite not-so-scary friend, Leonardo!

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
Always one of my favorite to do at storytime. I actually remembered to bring my Leonardo doll down to the room with me so he had fun peeking out from behind the book to say “BOO!” and scare absolutely no one. I love doing the two-page spread where Sam vents about his terrible day in one BIG BREATH!

Then I did a brand new find (even if the book itself is 4 years old). I literally walked past this book on display, saw the cover, said “OMG CUTE!” and picked it up. And it was actually good! I love when that happens:


Kiki’s Blankie by Janie Bynum
Short, simple, cute, with good illustrations, this book was a big hit. Who doesn’t love a little monkey??

Time to get up and work out some wiggles with Jim Gill!
Jumping and Counting from Jim Gill’s Irrational Anthem

This song didn’t actually tie into my oh-so-loose theme but it’s always fun and no one seemed to mind because they were having too much fun jumping and counting!
(I love that this song ends with Jim singing “now jump back down into your seats” because the kids actually do it so it’s easy to get back into the books!)


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

Jan Thomas is one of my favorite storytime authors because her books always have a lot of actions and humor. Good for the middle of storytime where you have to find a way to get the crowd’s attention. This one is extra fun because I get to yell “EEEEEEK!” which totally cracks them up. (The “Brave Cowboy” is startled by several shadows, interrupting his song, then when he decides a big shadow must just be a bunny, it turns out to be a wolf…but he likes lullabies too so it’s okay).

Now it’s time to stand up as I try this very active story called:


It’s a Tiger! by David LaRochelle

Run! Duck! Climb! There are so many actions in this story, I had to make the kids take part with me. Only one of them went really crazy, the rest stayed in their spot and did the miming of motions with me as we tried to outrun a hungry (?) tiger — or maybe he is just sleepy and wants someone to rub his belly. See, nothing to be afraid of after all!


I’m a Shark by Bob Shea

This one is sorta on the borderline of being able to do at storytime because the Shark is conversing with little crabs so it can make a little tricky. I shortened a few pages (when he talks about the bear and if he has a creepy spider with him). I could hear the parents giggling more than the kids at the end but I think that is because they were kinda done, it had been 25 minutes.

And then we made a really simple paper bag puppet that had nothing to do with anything (but I had 70 kids the week before and I wanted something I could duplicate quickly if it happened again…which it did.)

Storytime – Dinosaurs!


The Three Triceratops Tuff by Stephen Shaskin — this Dino-fied version of Three Billy Goats Gruff was a big hit! The colorful illustrations really popped, the kids were watching closely.


Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems — I love Mo! The kids that were familiar with the story of Goldilocks enjoyed this but for the little ones, I think it was too long. They survived though and the giggles at the end let me know the kids enjoyed it.

Then we all stood up and did this dinosaur rhyme:

Dinosaurs lived a long time ago
Some walked (STOMP)
Some swam (swim motions)
Some flew, you know! (flap wings)
Some were big (hands above head)
Some were small (squat down low)
Some were gigantic (arts out stretched)
And some very very tall (stretch on tip toes)

And then we did the Dino-Hokey Pokey


Put your claws in…
Horns in…
Teeth in…
Feet in…
Tail in…

One little boy pointed out that he did not have a tail…though he never mentioned to me that he did not have horns…

Sit back down for more stories!


Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea — OMG THEY LOVED THIS BOOK! Probably because I had them do all the ROARS!

Fingerplay: Five Enormous Dinosaurs


Five enormous dinosaurs letting out a roar (ROAR!)
One stomped away and then there were four!

Four enormous dinosaurs knocking down a tree (CLUNK!)
One stomped away, and then there were three.

Three enormous dinosaurs eating tiger stew (EW!)
One stomped away and then there were two.

Two enormous dinosaurs sitting in the sun
one flapped away, and then there was one.

One enormous dinosaur left all alone (AW!)
He stomped away and now there are none.


Dino Bites! by Algy Craig Hall — I really wanted to try out this brand new book even if it is on the gruesome side…but not really! I could tell the kids were starting to get nervous as the dinosaurs started eating their lunch, but once it because clear he wasn’t going to be able to keep it down, they all said “EW GROSS!” Appropriate response is appropriate.


Dinosaurs love underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort — I had to finish with this one since I drew underpants on my craft dinosaur! It flows really well and the kids thought it was hilarious.

Craft Time! Dinosaur cut out, color it and put it on a stick to make your own dino puppet!

storytime – friends, big and small

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers — sweet little story, had a small group of kids today so this worked well since some of the pictures are only half a page. But they seemed interested in what would happen.

Little Beauty by Anthony Browne — I wish I knew the sign-language for “I did it, I broke the televison”. Might have made the ending a bit more interesting for the kids. But they enjoyed the tale of the monkey and his pet kitten.

Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn’t Fit by Catherine Rayner — They def. responded to this one, especially when I started unfolding that final page.

[song] Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill

I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems
— you could tell the kids were familiar with Elephant & Piggie by how quiet they got when I picked up this book. Always fun to read his stuff out loud and the small crowd made this easier to present during storytime.

A Splendid Friend, Indeed by Suzanne Bloom — this one just didn’t do it for them, I don’t think they quite understood bear’s plight as Goose ran around him asking all kinds of questions.

[song] If You’re Happy and You Know It — one of my favorites. I use the book Clap Your Hands to read the words and actions.

Don’t Worry Bear by Greg Foley — big on pictures, short on text. Some of the kids knew what was coming but a few hadn’t learned that basic caterpillar to butterfly story yet.

[craft] make little bear and butterfly puppets to take home and continue the story!

Storytime – imagination!

Me and My Dragon by David Biedrzycki — great story to start off with since it’s a bit morei involved. The kid’s really seemed to like it and you could tell which of them had pets and saw the similarities between the relationship between the Dragon and the boy and them and their own pets.

Not A Box by Antoinette Portis — I could hear them already getting wiggly (lots of little kids) so I went with this book which I always try to make interactive and have the kids shout out what the bunny is imagining the box to be. Kept some of their attention.

[song]The Irrational Anthem by Jim Gill — great action song, the kids were giggling by the end. Good times. Will def. use this one again!!!

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow by Susan A. Shea; paintings by Tom Slaughter — this was my first storytime using this title and the kids LOVED it! I’m convinced that any time a child is given permission to shout “NO!” they are happy. Great illustrations made it easy for everyone to see.

Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas — Jan Thomas is quickly becoming a storytime favorite of mine and this might be my favorite book so far. I had the kids stand up and we did all the actions the cows did. It’s perfect since the last thing they do is sit down and take a nap. 🙂

What Little Boys Are Made Of by Robert Neubecker — I wanted to feature a little boy because I was worried the next book might turn them off. This book has a lot in common with “Not A Box” in that you can encourage audience participation by asking the kids what the little boy is playing.

Princess Super Kitty by Antoinette Portis — This was a HUGE hit but part of that was because I put on MY OWN Princess Super Kitty outfit as I read the book. I had my ears from Dragon*Con, a towel for a cape, and then my crown (which would be our craft at the end of storytime). Everyone enjoyed the little girl’s antics.

[craft] Decorate a Crown so you can be Prince or Princess Super Kitty at home! (thank you Accu-Cut!). I put out crayons, stickers, and puffy balls for the kids to attach to the crowns. I also had my stapler so they could come to me to have their crown “fitted”. A HUGE HIT FOR BOYS AND GIRLS!

storytime — jungle critters

I Love It When You Smile by Sam McBratney — Good story to start with, I think we actually had a “grumpy Roo” in the room, his brow was furrowed when he arrived with his little sister. The kids thought the mud puddle ending was funny.

I Know a Rhino by Charles Fuge — Cute little rhymes, moves quick, and most of the kids new the animals names.

(song) The Wheels on the Bus by Jane Cabrera — this one was fun. I modified some of the “noises” they made to make it easier for the kids. They had a really good time!

(fingerplay) Five Little Monkeys — found some felt board monkeys and stuck them to our fingerplay glove. I had the kids stand up and jump with me, then we all called the doctor and wagged our fingers. They knew the rhyme already and I think it made them feel good after the tricky “Wheels on the Bus” revision.

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle — classic. They acted out all the movements perfectly and they I told them shout out “I CAN DO IT!” each time.

I Spy with My Little Eye by Edward Gibbs — got them to sit back down and do this one. The older kids knew a lot of the animals and had fun shouting out the answers.

Peek-a-Zoo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti — this book, I want to like it but it never seems to go over as well in storytime. I think it’s because the animals are so uncommon when it comes to making noises so they kids stumble. I think the Seal was the biggest winner of them all.

Craft: Hippo paper bag puppet — a big hit! I had them all come up and talk to my puppet with their puppets after they were done.

storytime – ducks!

Come Along, Daisy by Jane Simmons — My first time reading this for storytime. I had the kids help with Mama Duck’s “Come Along, Daisy!” line. They seemed to enjoy that. This was a hit.

Little Quack by Lauren Thompson — Another first for me. Kept the older kid’s attention when I asked them to count the ducks, but the little guys lost interest since counting to five is still pretty tricky for them. Plus, the older kids would just yell out “2 DUCKS!” but the little kids needed me to count with them. Just have to be prepared to do that next time. Maybe a flannel board version of this book would work best.

SONG: Six Little Ducks by Raffi — I had the kids stand up and we flapped our duck “wings” and waddled while this song played, then during the “quack quack quack” part, we said it out loud and made “ducks” with our hands.

Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic — I think this might have been a little to old for my crowd. This is a better lap book than storytime. The older kids were keeping up but it lost most of the little guys.

The Ducklings Gets a Cookie?! by Mo Willems — Probably would have been more effective if I had the pigeon puppet…these are always fun to read but the little were getting wiggly and I had one wander up and grab a toy from behind me and it threw off my reading groove.

SONG/FINGERPLAY: Five Little Ducks — I had Mama Duck get a little cranky by the end, it brought some LOLs from the kids and parents.

Ducks Don’t Wear Socks by John Nedwidek — Probably should have ended it with the fingerplay, but I really wanted to give this book a try! The kids that could still sit still enjoyed it but by this far into the storytime, most of them had a case of the wiggles!

CRAFT: Duck in a Pond (duck cutout, paper plate, popsicle stick)