Thursday, August 30, 2012

Flannel Friday Roundup for August 31, 2012

This week’s Flannel Friday Roundup is full of great ideas!

Sarah of Read Sarah Read brings us “Sssss…Snakes!" I love the five slithery, spotted snakes with wiggly snake eyes.

Katie of Storytime Katie brings us “Five Little Monsters.” Even though these adorable monsters are simply made, Katie’s attention to detail gives each one a distinct personality. (One reminds me of Gumby – yes, I’m that old.)

Sarah of Read Rabbit Read shows us her twist on “Five Little Cookies.” She has stick puppet critters exchange their nickels for cookies. I love how she combines puppets and the flannel board.

Lena of Sixcranberries gives us five “Stylish Worms.” They are not just stylish but sparkly!

Welcome back to Flannel Friday posting to Anne of So Tomorrow who is a new mom and one of the great group of librarians who started Flannel Friday. She gives us her interpretation of Rob Reid’s “Old MacDonald ABCs.” She makes it versatile by going both high tech (PowerPoint) and old school (book).

Lucy of In the Children’s Room celebrates Little Mouse’s birthday with “Happy Birthday to You.” Mouse’s friend, snake, hides behind colorful cakes while a special gift is found behind the smallest present.

Lisa of Libraryland shows us how she created a most unusual prop – a “Story Time Cape.” I can see it being worn by storytelling wizards or superheros.

Monica of Ram Sam Storytime presents “Let’s Go to the Fair.” She has a rhyme about the best part of any state fair – food on a stick.

Library Quine of Loons and Quines @ Librarytime gives us a traditional Scots nursery rhyme, “Katie Bairdie Had a Coo.” She thoughtfully provides a translation. That’s one cute coo.

Mary of Miss Mary Liberrry gives us “D-U-S-T-Y (the horse)” instead of BINGO. It sounds like fun with all that neighing going on.

Nicole of Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime is also celebrating birthdays with “Five Birthday Candles.” The children will have fun blowing those candles out. Her cake is fantastic. Be sure to note the puffy paint sprinkles.

Shawn of Read Rhyme and Sing has a rhyme that uses books as props – “How Many Books Are on Your Shelf?” Having children guess the book titles adds to the fun.

Kay Leigh of Storytime ABC’s has a song sung to the tune of “I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee” with “A Baby What?!??!!!” An adorable critter hatches from a “round giant egg.”

Thanks everyone for such creative ideas!

All things Flannel Friday can be found here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Our summer reading program officially ended August 18. The final program was August 20. We still had numerous check-ins last week but this week has been extremely quiet.

We had our most successful Kick-off party ever June 25. Though there were downpours earlier, it turned out to be a great night for a party. For the first time we had a DJ and it was a big success. The parents enjoyed the music just as much as the kids. Another big hit and a first for us was the bounce inflatable. We also had several crafts for children and plenty of food. Again, another first for us was a cotton candy machine which turned out to be the most popular food item. In order to keep the program manageable we gave out free tickets to the event. In addition we gave out tickets for cotton candy and Italian ice to those attending. In previous years we had food and crafts prior to having a performer inside. Since this year's program received such positive feedback from parents and kids, we plan to repeat the format next year. Let's hope Mother Nature continues to cooperate.

The library had numerous performers and activities in July and August. They were all well attended including programs that weren't in previous years. It was nice to see families using the library so much.

My favorite part of the summer was watching the children who completed the summer reading program choose their prize from our "treasure chest." Even the older children were quite serious about their selections. Popular items were whistles, dream catcher key chains, small inflatable balls and notepads shaped like flip flops.

Children who completed the reading program were eligible to get tickets to our closing program, Summer Reading Fun Night, which was held August 20. Activities included games and crafts. Thanks to the generosity of Hamilton area merchants we had numerous door prizes as well.

Our wonderful Friends of the Library donated gift cards to Barnes & Noble. Every child who completed the reading program was entered into a drawing. There were 50 lucky winners.

Overall it was a great summer at the library. It's hard to believe that school starts next week. So does storytime registration. Not only are we planning our fall programs but are also already filing away ideas for next summer's reading program.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Fox and the Hedgehog

This summer one of our preschool storytimes featured hedgehogs. Since there are not too many stories available about hedgehogs, I searched the Internet for a folktale that I could adapt for the magnet board. "The Fox and the Hedgehog" is based on what I found. The story is about a fox who gets himself and his friend hedgehog into trouble. The clever hedgehog gets himself out of trouble and shows the fox how to save himself.

The Fox and the Hedgehog
Adapted by Linda A. Meuse
Notes from the Story Room
Summer 2012

Once upon a time there was a fox who came upon a grapevine full of ripe, tasty grapes. He sneaked through a hole in the farmer’s fence and helped himself. Yum! He went back to eat grapes again and again. One day he met hedgehog and told him about the delicious treat. “Come with me,” he said. “The grapes are delicious!” “Won’t the farmer be angry?” asked hedgehog. “He doesn’t even know I’ve been eating them,” replied fox.

But fox was wrong about that. The farmer had set a trap. As fox and hedgehog approached the grapevine, the ground gave way beneath them. Fox and hedgehog ended up at the bottom of a large hole in the ground. It was too high for them to climb out. “I never should have listened to you,” said hedgehog. “Stop complaining,” said fox. “We need to figure out a way to get out of here.” “Oohh,” said hedgehog, “I don’t feel well. My tummy hurts. I think I’m going to be sick!” Hedgehog then curled up into a little ball. “Well, you aren’t going to be sick in here with me!” said fox. He picked up hedgehog and threw him out of the hole. “Thank you, fox!” said hedgehog uncurling himself. “I feel much better now!” “Hey, what about me?” yelled fox. “I need to get out too!” Hedgehog looked around and saw some garbage rotting by the fence which gave him an idea. He took some of the smelly trash and threw it into the hole. “Smear that all over you and pretend to be dead when the farmer comes. He won’t want a stinking fox by his grapevine so he’ll throw you out of the hole and onto the garbage pile.”

Lucky for fox that is exactly what happened. As soon as he landed in the garbage pile, fox ran through the hole in the fence. Fox never went near those grapes again and hedgehog never followed fox into trouble again.

Notes: This story is based on “The Fox and His Bagful of Wits and the One-Witted Hedgehog,” a folktale from Romania which can be found here:

The fox and grapes are clip art from Microsoft Publisher. I drew the hedgehog following Jan Brett's instructions.

This week's Flannel Friday Roundup is hosted by Lisa of Libraryland. All things Flannel Friday can be found here:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Road Trip - Family and ALSC

Last year I took a trip on my own to Ohio to visit my uncle. The visit had special meaning since my dad had died a little more than a year before. We had hoped to get the brothers together for a visit but my dad became too ill before that could be arranged. Since my uncle is not in the best of health, I decided to go visit him. I spent a lovely long weekend with him and found out that he had become the family historian. I learned a few things about my grandfather that were quite surprising. In his youth my grandfather was evidently very much the opposite of the quiet, gentle man that I knew growing up.

I had hoped to go back to Ohio this spring but life got in the way. Then I happened to notice that the 2012 ALSC National Institute is going to be in Indianapolis this year. Road trip! I will drive to Ohio to visit my uncle, continue on to the Institute and then make a short stop back in Ohio on the way home to New Jersey.

I'm usually very picky about the conferences and programs that I attend. Since I am a children's librarian, I like programs that focus on youth services. New Jersey has a Youth Services Forum every year. It is a one day program and covers topics of current interest to youth services librarians. It is probably the one conference I have attended most often over the years. The ALSC Institute has a similar focus only on the national level. Now that I am part-time, I have the freedom to take off to attend the Institute. (If I were full-time, I would be doing storytime that week.) I'm looking forward to meeting with librarians from around the country and to attending the scheduled programs and events.

Although I usually blog about storytime ideas, I intend to blog about my experiences attending the Institute. I am going to try some mobile blogging as well so readers may be subjected to views of the Pennsylvania Turnpike since that will take up a large chunk of the trip. It shall be interesting to see if this senior citizen librarian can deal with technology on the road. I'll be bringing these as back-up:

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Farmer's Dream

I needed a board story for a recent "Dreams" storytime. I found a story from 1001 Nights that I used as a starting point for the following story. By keeping it simple, I ended up with a nice story to tell using our magnet board.

The Farmer’s Dream
Linda A. Meuse
(Notes from the Story Room)

Long, long ago there was a farmer who had been very prosperous but due a series of misfortunes had become quite poor. His once beautiful house with a green roof and two chimneys was falling apart. His once lovely garden with its beautiful fountain of a great stone bird was brown and bare. Water no longer flowed from the fountain.

One night the farmer had a dream. In this dream he was told to go to the city to seek his fortune. The next morning the farmer decided to do what the dream told him to do, go seek his fortune in the city. He had nothing to lose for he certainly wasn’t finding his fortune in the country. He traveled all day and when he got to the city it was very late and he was very tired. The farmer decided to rest in the park. Soon he was asleep. He was awakened by shouts of “Stop! Thief!” Someone had been robbed. Unfortunately the police thought he was the robber so they grabbed him and threw him in jail.

The next day he was brought before the judge. Fortunately the person who was robbed came forward and said that the farmer was not the thief. The judge said, “You are a very lucky man. What brings you to the city?” “I was told in a dream to seek my fortune in the city,” replied the farmer. The judge laughed. “You are a fool to believe in a dream. I had such a dream once. It told me that I would find my fortune in the country. There I would find a house with a green roof and two chimneys. I would find a chest of gold coins buried under a bird fountain. It was just a silly dream for everyone knows that houses don’t have green roofs! If you are smart, you will return to the country and not waste your time in the city.” “Oh, I will, your honor!” replied the farmer. “Thank you so much for your excellent advice. My house is the best place for me to be.”

The farmer immediately returned to his home in the country - the house with a green roof and two chimneys. What do you think he did as soon as he got home? That’s right, he dug under his bird fountain and found a chest full of gold coins. His dream had come true in a most unexpected way.

Notes: This story is based on “The Ruined Man Who Became Rich Again Through a Dream” from The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. Complete information can be found here.

Farmer, Fountain, Treasure Chest, Judge

I made figures for the farmer, the judge, the fountain and the chest of gold. I made the fountain rather large so I could place the chest behind it. I kept the fountain at the top of the board and moved the farmer to the bottom of the board when he traveled to the city.

Erin of Falling Flannelboards is hosting this week's Flannel Friday Roundup.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pajama Story Time

Pajama Story Time: a Family Story Time for All Ages, Monday, 8/6/12, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Attendance: 76 (44 children, 32 adults) Children were invited to come in their PJ's and bring a favorite stuffed animal.

Books:  How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen
            Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems
            The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle
            The Game of Light by Herve Tullet

Poem with Props:  "Aliens at Bedtime"

Story with Props:  "Chin Chin Kobokama" from Tuck-Me-In Tales: Bedtime Stories from Around the World by Margaret Read MacDonald

Board Story:  "Peace and Quiet" from The Flannel Board Storytelling Book by Judy Sierra

Games:  "Finish the Pattern" from the  2012 CSLP Manual (p.p. 126-7)
               "Guess the Night Shapes" from the 2012 CSLP Manual (p.128)

Craft:  Decorate a pair of pajamas - pattern from


Notes:  Most children did come in their PJ's which made the storytime something special. I wore my cat slippers and brought a favorite stuff animal (though I passed on the pajamas). It was also nice to see many dads attending the program. This was the first time I had done a pajama storytime at this library and it was very well received. I will definitely be doing it again next year. Overall the program went quite well. The props for "Chin Chin Kobokama were toothpicks. Even though this story has lovely illustrations, I did not think the details would be seen by a large group so I told it instead. Surprisingly there was a large number of older children in attendance and consequently the games I used were a too easy for the group. I used the recommended site in the CSLP manual for the images for "Guess the Night Shapes" which is Even though the children liked The Game of Light, I think it would have worked better in a smaller room. My favorite was "Peace and Quiet" which I haven't told in a couple of years. I enjoyed telling it and children enjoyed doing the animal noises. I kept the craft simple. Each child received pre-cut pajamas, a piece of construction paper to glue them on, and a baggie with pieces of scrap booking paper, pieces of tissue paper and four foam stars for decorating their pajamas. Crayons and glue sticks were also provided. The craft was not too challenging for the younger children and the older children could be as creative as they wanted. There were some really great pajamas created that night.

Night Shapes

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dreams Storytime

Dreams: Storytime for ages 4-7, Thursday, 8/2/12, 10:00 a.m., attendance - 11 children

Books: Maisy's Rainbow Dream by Lucy Cousins
            I Dreamt I Was a Dinosaur by Stella Blackstone
            Cat Dreams by Ursula Le Guin

Rhyme: "Dream Horses" by Sandra Wallack (from the 2012 CSLP Manual, p. 88)

Board story: "The Farmer's Dream"

Guessing games: "I Dreamt I Was Someone" (based on 2012 CSLP Manual, p. 84)
                          "Little Owl, Little Owl"

Dream Horses

Notes: This storytime was successful because there were activities that encourage the children to participate. This particular group likes making comments and answering questions. Fortunately it has been a small group so discussion has been easily manageable. Their favorite was the guessing game, "I Dreamt I Was Someone" which I adapted from a rhyme in the 2012 CSLP manual (for details see my post for 8/3/12.) "Dream Horses" is also from the manual. I traced the horses from clip art found in Microsoft Publisher. After coloring them with marker I added glitter glue to give them some sparkle. The "Hedgehog, Hedgehog" rhyme that I made for the previous storytime was such a hit that my colleague who does the Tuesday storytime decided to do one for the "Dreams" storytime too. Her rhyme is this:

Little owl, little owl,
Can you be far?
Are you under the moon, planet, cloud or star?

She also made the pieces from clip art. This "hidden object" activity is probably one of the most versatile storytime activities for it can be adapted to almost any theme.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Changing and Extending Stories and Rhymes

Often I will change a story to make it more suitable to my storytelling style. I will do that with other storytime activities as well. Often I find a great idea but it doesn't quite fit in with what I want to do. In this case, I not only made some changes but extended the activity as well.

In this year's CSLP manual there is a guessing game called "I Wish I Were." It is a flannelboard rhyme for toddlers. Children have to guess an animal from the clues given in a simple rhyme. Animal motions are also given. There are only four verses. The first three describe a monkey, fish, and bird. The answer to the fourth is "Me!"

Since the theme for my storytime was "Dreams" I decided to change the rhyme to "I Dreamt I Was Someone." Since the storytime was for ages 4 to 7, I decided to extend the activity by adding more animals to guess. I did not use the last verse at all. I also did not use the animal movements for I wanted the children to focus on getting the clues from the words. The animals I added are cat, cow, spider, rabbit, snake, and elephant. I printed out the rhymes along with clip art of the animals using Microsoft Publisher. I then pasted them on construction paper and made "cards" out of them. I read the rhyme and then opened the card to show the animal when the children guessed. The children really enjoyed this activity.


Microsoft Clip Art Animal

Guessing Cards

When I find stories and rhymes that don't quite fit what I want to do, I look at them to see if they can be tweaked. Often I end up with something that I will be able to use over and over.

This week's Flannel Friday Roundup is hosted by Liz of Putting Smiles on Faces.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hedgehog Storytime

Hedgehogs: Storytime for ages 4 to7, Thursday, 7/26/ 2012, 10:00 a.m., attendance - 10 children

Books:  Ouch! by Ragnhild Scamell
             Dragon Moves In by Lisa Falkenstern

Draw and Tell Story: "Hedgehog"

Paper Cutting Story: "Hedgehog Looks for a Treat"

Board Story: "The Fox and the Hedgehog"

Game: "Hedgehog, Hedgehog"

Handout: Hedgehog (small size) from DLTK's Crafts for Kids

Notes: The group enjoyed these stories. I only read two books because the others selected were too long. (The other librarian who does this program has a totally different style of storytelling.) Ouch! is a great hedgehog story and the children really enjoyed it. I had to come up with my own additional stories which was a bit of a challenge but fun. I have never done this theme before and would have never selected it myself but I enjoyed doing this storytime and would definitely do it again. Although it fits in with this summer's CSLP theme, it also lends itself to fall programs.

The game is a variation of a storytime favorite (guess where something is hidden).  The rhyme I came up with is:

Hedgehog, hedgehog, where can you be?
Behind the hill, the hedge, the rock or the tree?


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Night Animals - Summer Family Story Time 2012

Family Story Time 2012 - Night Animals
Wednesday, July 25, 2012, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Attendance: 43 (29 children, 14 adults)

Books:  While the World Is Sleeping by Pamela Duncan Edwards
             Let's Play in the Forest While the Wolf Is Not Around by Claudia Rueda

Draw and Tell Story: "The Night Walk"

Paper Cutting Story: "The Bat"

Board Stories:  "The Little Breeze"
                        "Five Fat Possums" based on "Ten Fat Possoms" (Kidstuff, V. 6, No. 1, p. 8)
                        "Raccoon and the Magic Fish"

Game: "Nocturnal Animal Memory"

Crafts: Raccoon and Owl

Notes: This was a very successful program. The children enjoyed the wide variety of stories. Even though Let's Play in the Forest While the Wolf Is Not Around takes place during the day, it is a very silly story, fun to read, and lends itself to audience participation. The children were very good at the memory game though it did take them a while to come up with all nine of the animals I used.  I simply printed out clip art for the following animals to use in the memory game: owl, red-eyed tree frog, hedgehog, fox, wolf, bat, raccoon, hamster and skunk. The crafts took longer than expected. I really should have limited it to one animal. Both crafts are from DLTK's Crafts for Kids.