Friday, December 14, 2012

Baby Penguin

Although it is not an original idea, I decided to post a version of a popular and easily adaptable flannel board game. The theme for January's family story time is "Penguins!" I found the baby penguin clip art in Microsoft Publisher's clip art file and wanted to use the little guy because he is so cute. Since the pieces are easy to make and many others will be doing winter programs, I thought that I would share what I am making for our magnet board.

I printed out the baby penguin and drew five roughly identical icebergs. (Iceberg clip art could also be used.) I numbered each iceberg. The figures shown below have yet to be cut out. I will put blue paper behind the icebergs so that the penguin will not show through the iceberg it is hiding behind. (If you are using felt or heavier paper this might not be a problem.)

The rhyme I will be using is:

Baby penguin, baby penguin,
Where did you hide?
Did you go behind iceberg 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5?

We have not played a hidden object game in family story time since the summer so I think the children will enjoy it.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Courtney of Miss Courtney Meets Bobo. Everything you want to know about Flannel Friday can be found here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's Not a Worm! It's a Tail!

As I was weeding our professional collection last year, I came across a collection of puppet plays, Pocketful of Puppets: Three Plump Fish and Other Short Stories by Yvonne Winer (Nancy Renfro Studios, 1983). One of the plays, "Three Little Mice with Three Grand Tails," could easily be adapted into a flannel board story. I made a copy and put it into my Family Story Time folder. When I decided to do my recent "Tail Tales" program, I adapted the story for our magnet board. My version is called, "It's Not a Worm! It's a Tail!" It can be found as a Google Drive document here.

I made my own figures for the board with the exception of the frog and owl. I found exactly what I wanted in the clip art file of Microsoft Publisher for the frog. The owl is also from Publisher. I just used the piece that I had made for "Boastful Beaver and His Beautiful Tail." The other figures are based on combinations of various clip art pieces but are basically original. I used marker to color the fish and the frog but used poster paint for the mice and the bird. I prefer using poster paint for large pieces (better coverage and no streaking). I painted all of the mice because I wanted them the same color. I got a little carried away with the big mouse and he turned out quite a bit larger than the others. I originally wanted to make them stand-up figures but ran out of time. I need to find a good way to support the tails. The original plan was to use clothes pins to clip the figures onto the tails but that made them too heavy even though I had put extra card stock on the back to make the tails stronger.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Cate of Storytiming. Flannel Friday has everything you need to know including information about past and future round-ups, Flannel Friday's Pinterest boards and Flannel Friday's Facebook page.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tail Tales - Evening Family Story Time

Family Story Time - Tail Tales
Thursday, November 29, 2012, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Attendance - 19 (9 children and 10 adults)

Board Stories: "The Cat and the Mouse" (from Multicultural Folktales: Stories to Tell Young Children by Judy Sierra and Robert Kaminski
                       "Boastful Beaver and His Beautiful Tail"
                       "It's Not a Worm! It's a Tail!"

Stick Puppet Story: "The Fox and the Crab"

Guessing Game: "Whose Tail?"

Crafts: Mouse bookmark and Hanging Monkeys

Mouse Bookmark



Notes: As expected it was a small group. Not many had signed up. I had worked the two nights before and the children's room had very little traffic. The holiday season has begun and attendance usually drops off this time of year. It may have been small but it was an enthusiastic group made up mostly of regulars. Several dads came which is why there were more adults than children. I now have a core group of families attending which is great. As usual the board stories were well received. I was most impressed with how good the older children were at guessing the animals. I complemented one young lady for guessing blue tailed skink and she replied that she knew the answer because, "I read." I made my own craft templates. The mouse bookmark is based on one that I used years ago which was from a storytime book from the late 1980's or early 1990's. Of course I now no longer remember the author or title. I think the cover was pink. (Couldn't resist - sorry fellow librarians.) The monkeys are based on the game Barrel of Monkeys. Because it was a small group I was able to have all the pieces were precut. The children glued on the mouse ears and a long yarn tail to make the mouse bookmark. They just had to color the monkeys if they wanted. They enjoyed hanging them by their arms and tails. One boy got a chain of six monkeys before one fell off.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Sheltering Tree

This draw and tell story can be told two ways. It can be told as a winter story or it can be told as a Christmas story. It was written for Flannel Friday's second Holiday Extravaganza but since I seldom do Christmas programs I wanted something I could use for a winter storytime as well.

This particular story takes a great deal of preparation but children love surprises so it's worth the effort. The inside picture can be simple or quite elaborate if you want by using clip art animals and colored markers.  You can use whatever animals you want. I used a cardinal, an owl, a squirrel, an opossum, a raccoon and a porcupine. You can also use two of each animal instead of six different ones. I will probably save my inside picture and simply glue it to another piece of paper when I want to tell the story again. The outside part is very easy to draw.

The story is about a little fir tree that stands firm against the wind and snow because it has a job to do. Once it is drawn in the winter version, the flaps are opened to reveal the animals taking shelter. In the Christmas version it is rewarded for its kindness when a special star shines upon it for it is Christmas night. After that star is drawn the flaps are opened to reveal the animals in its branches. The complete story and drawing instructions can be found as a Google document here.

Update 2/8/13: Sarah of the Read, Sarah, Read! blog has turned this story into a prop story. It's a great way to tell the story particularly if you want to do it with several groups. Her great idea can be found in her post for February 7, 2013.
This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up can be found here. Everything Flannel Friday can be found here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flannel Friday Holiday Round-Up 2012

Welcome to Flannel Friday's second Holiday Extravaganza - the one-stop place for holiday storytime planning. As usual there is a wide variety of ideas and many that are not just limited to the holidays.

Anne of So Tomorrow gives us a draw and tell story about Santa having "Trouble at the North Pole." She also gives us some other holiday storytime suggestions.

Sarah of Read It Again! presents a "Pete the Cat Christmas Extravaganza." Her gingerbread Pete is adorable. She cleverly makes Christmas versions of the popular Pete stories.

Sharon of Rain Makes Applesauce brings us another extravaganza with her "Gingerbread Story Time Extravaganza." My favorite is her story about the "Three Little Cookies" with great props and a great ending. Her department entertained almost 300 people with this program. Wow!

Lisa of Libraryland has "Santa Claus, Santa Claus," based on Bill Martin, Jr.'s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? She selected colorful clip art to feature familiar Christmas objects.

Courtney of Miss Courtney Meets Bobo features "Snow Is Falling Down," a flannel that builds a wintry scene that includes a snowman. This one is great for winter storytimes.

Meghan of Busy Crafting Mommy takes the popular holiday rhyme to a new level with "Rudolph, Rudolph - light up nose."  She adds a LED light so Rudolph's nose lights up!

Mary of Miss Mary Liberry uses her skill with puffy paint to create realistic icing for her "Five Little Cookies." They definitely have "frosting galore."

Sandy of Storytime Sparks shows us different ways to present "Snowmen" rhymes. She is great at finding inexpensive sources for her storytelling figures. Snowman gift tags - genius!

Monica of Ram Sam Storytime presents a "Bunches of Bears!" storytime. She not only shares the flannels she used but the rest of the program as well.

Seth of The Voices Inside My Headphones can always be counted on for something different. This time he has a rhyme, "Five Little Fezzes." It would be fun to use in a storytime about hats.

Katie of Storytime Katie offers her take on "Rudolph, Rudolph." She used the pattern provided by Library Quine. I agree with her that it is too cute not to make.

Mel of Mel's Desk contributes a flannel set she designed for Raffi's song, "Thanks a Lot." She graciously provides us with the pattern. She used it for her "Thanks and Giving" baby storytime.

Lisa of Story Time with the Library Lady shares her fantastic "Countdown December!" It's a huge calendar for the entire month. I love how she sneaks a little information in with the colorful pictures.

Although K Leigh of Storytime ABC's does not have a flannel to contribute this week, she does have an invitation for everyone to her "First Annual Storytime Swap." Holiday cookies swaps inspired her to come up with this interesting idea.

My contribution is a draw and tell story, "The Sheltering Tree," that can be either a Christmas story or a winter story.

Thank you everyone for all of your great ideas. Happy holiday storytelling!

Last year's Holiday Extravaganza can be found here. Everything about Flannel Friday can be found here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Boastful Beaver and His Beautiful Tail

I came across a version of this Ojibwa story when searching for folktales about tails for my next Family Story Time. The version that I based my adaptation on can be found here. I decided to make it into a magnet/flannel board story which can be found as a Google document here.

The story reminded me of Keith Faulkner's The Long-Nosed Pig which is one of my favorites. (This pop-up book is a great choice to read to large groups. I have used it for numerous class visits as well as storytimes. Sadly it is out of print.) Faulkner's book inspired my retelling though I am dealing with the opposite end.

I used clip art for my animals, some from Microsoft Publisher and some from other sources such as Open Clip Art Library. Since only two animals are on the board at any one time, I made the figures larger than I usually do.

Beaver - Before

The Other Animals

Beaver - After

This week's Flannel Friday Round-up is hosted by Tracey of 1234 More Storytimes.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Whose Tail? - A Guessing Game

Inspired by a recent addition to my library's non-fiction collection, Talented Tails Up Close by Melissa Stewart (Enslow, 2012), I created a guessing game activity for my upcoming Family Story Time program, "Tail Tales."
This project took a bit of time to research but was easy to put together. First I selected the animals I wanted to include, then I searched free clip art sites for images. I also used some from Microsoft Publisher. The challenge was to find images that clearly featured each animal's tail. I used Publisher to enlarge the images and to crop, enlarge and copy the tails. I printed the image, outlined each animal in black marker, cut it out and pasted it on a page that had the animal's name printed on top. I printed each tail, outlined it in black marker, cut it out, and pasted it to a page that had "Whose Tail?" printed on top. The tail "question" pages were pasted onto neon green construction paper and the animal "answer" pages were pasted onto purple construction paper. This not only adds a bit of color but also helps me know which is a question and which is an answer.

On the back of the answer pages I listed some facts about each tail. Since some of the tails will be more difficult to guess, I will use these facts as clues. For those that are guessed right away, the facts will explain why the tail is unique.
I selected nine animals for this activity: kangaroo, giraffe, squirrel, blue tail skink (lizard will be a correct answer), spider monkey ( monkey will be a correct answer), blue whale, beaver, rattlesnake, and peacock.

This game can be simplified for younger children. I would choose five well-known animals and make flannel/magnet board pieces of the animals and their tails. Since my group has older children and adults, I decided to do a more challenging version. This guessing game is also one I can use for elementary school class visits.
This week's Flannel Friday Roundup is hosted by Anna of the Future Librarian Superhero blog. Everything you ever wanted to know about Flannel Friday can be found on the Flannel Friday blog.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Fox and the Crab

I am preparing stories for my next family story time. The theme is "tails." I plan to tell "The Fox and the Crab Have a Race" using stick puppets. This story is an adaptation of a Chinese folktale and can be found in A Twist in the Tail: Animal Stories from Around the World by Mary Hoffman. In this story the slow but clever crab fools fox into thinking he is just as fast as fox by riding on fox's tail (unknown to fox) for the race. There are several variations of this type of folktale. This one is short and easy to tell.

The stick puppets were easy to make though it took some planning to make them reversible. I used clipart from Microsoft Publisher for the fox and crab. After I enlarged the images to the sizes I wanted, I then copied each image and reversed it. After printing out the images, I outlined them in black marker to make them easier to cut out. I then glued one of the crabs and one of the foxes on card stock. Before I cut out around each image I added a second piece of card stock so that when I cut around the image, the shape would match for the reverse image. After pasting the reverse image to card stock, I taped a craft stick to the back of one fox piece and then glued the other piece over it. Instead of a craft stick I used a toothpick for the crab. The toothpick is smaller and lighter and even helps support the crab on the fox's tail. I cut a slit into the crab figure so it would fit on the fox's tail.

Crab and Fox - Reversible Stick Puppets

Crab on Fox's Tail

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Lisa of the Libraryland blog.  Flannel Friday has everything you need to know including information about past and future round-ups, Flannel Friday's Pinterest boards and Flannel Friday's Facebook page.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Costume...Or Not?

This week's Flannel Friday Roundup features Halloween storytelling ideas and is hosted by Mary of the Miss Mary Liberry blog. This year I have a Halloween draw and tell story:

Costume...Or Not?
A Halloween Draw and Tell Story
by Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room

Tom and his brother Will had spent the evening trick-or-treating along their street. (1) The last house on the street was set back from the street but there was a path to the door. (2) It was lit by a smiling Jack O' Lantern. (3) They went up the path to the huge front door. (4) After just one knock a ghost came through the door. (5) He was holding two of the biggest chocolate bars that Tom and Will had ever seen. (6) "Thank you so much!" said Tom as the ghost dropped one into his bag. "Wow, thanks," said Will when he got one too. "By the way," added Will, "That's the best ghost costume I've ever seen." "Thank youuuuu...," said the ghost as it floated back through the door. Tom and Will started down the path but suddenly stopped. They both looked at each other realizing what had just happened. "Maybe that wasn't a costume after all!" exclaimed Tom. The boys ran home as fast as they could. What do you think? Costume...or not?

Drawing sequence:
(1) Draw street
(2) Draw path
(3) Draw Jack O' Lantern
(4) Draw door
(5) Draw ghost
(6) Draw candy bars

More Halloween posts:

Snacks for Ghosts and Bats in Hats (board story and game)

Big Pumpkin Deconstructed and Big Pumpkin Constructed (props for an audience participation retelling of Erica Silverman's Big Pumpkin)

Evening Family Story Time #2 - Halloween! (family story time program with crafts)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Monsters! - Evening Family Story Time 10/2/12

Family Story Time - Monsters!
Tuesday, October 2, 2012, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Attendance: 49 (28 children and 21 adults)

Books - My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck
             Monster Munchies by Laura Numeroff
             Go to Bed, Monster! by Natasha Wing

Finger Puppets: "Five Little Monsters"

Cut and Tell Story: "The Mess Monster"

Prop Poem:  "Monster Lunch"

Prop Story: "Sam and the Acorn"

Crafts: Monster Mouth and Monster Feet

A Monster Mouth and Monster Feet (with "hair" between the toes)

Notes: Last year in October I did a Halloween program so this year I decided to do monsters instead. The monster theme drew a large crowd for evening Family Story Time. I've noticed that several families have been attending regularly. It's nice to see several dads at the program. "Sam and the Acorn" was the biggest hit of the program. It made the work that went into making the pieces worthwhile. The group also liked "The Mess Monster." By far the most popular activity of the evening was the Monster Feet craft. The feet were fun to make and the children loved walking around in them. Several cell phone cameras came out as parents took pictures of their little monsters. I changed the craft to make it easier to prepare for a large group by making an easy to cut out foot template. The children drew on the toenails and, instead of tissue paper, small pieces of yarn were used for monster hair. The Monster Mouth craft is similar to the Jack O' Lantern Smile that was one of last year's crafts for the Halloween Family Story Time. Several examples are available online or you can make your own. The children colored the mouth, cut it out and then taped a craft stick to the back.

Monster Lunch

This activity was inspired by a Flannel Friday post by Lucy of the In the Children's Room blog. Her "Monster Lunch" flannel board activity is based on the poem, "A Munching Monster" by Marian Swinger. I used the same poem but made a prop for it instead. The monster eats the monster food and then ends up with a monster tummy ache. This was made for the monster themed October 2 Family Story Time.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sam and the Acorn

This prop story was created for my upcoming "Monsters!" family storytime. Since I do an all ages program, I like to use material that will capture the attention of both the children and adults so I find myself often creating stories with props. The concept of "Sam and the Acorn" has been used in books and flannel board stories before - wishing for change and then finding out the original is best after all. I've listed some of them at the end of the story which can be found as a Google Document here.

This prop took some time to create. (The story would also work as a flannel board story and the figures would probably be easier to make.) It was worth the effort for Sam is 50 inches tall and makes quite a visual impact when hanging from my storytelling board. Sam is drawn over 6 pieces of card stock taped together in the back. I outlined him in black marker and painted him with poster paint. I like to use poster paint to color large figures. I used hook and loop dots to fasten the "monster" parts. I painted over the dots to make them less noticeable.

Sam and his monster parts

Sam hanging on my front door


This week's Flannel Friday is hosted by Katie of Storytime Katie.  Complete information about Flannel Friday can be found here.

2012 ALSC National Institute - Reflections

After attending PLA 10 years ago, I finally made it to another national conference - ALSC's 2012 National Institute. Even though I hope to retire in a couple of years, I'm still interested learning more about my profession and in finding ways to improve as a youth services librarian. So I took advantage of my part-time status to take a week off to visit family and attend the Institute.

Since I was attending on my own time and my own dime, I chose programs that I was interested in rather than those which would be helpful to my library (OK, I did attend one program simply to bring back information for my library.) For example, I know little about copyright so I attended "Quick and Easy Copyright." I love picture book art but know little about graphic novels so I attended "Viewing the Picturebook and the Graphic Novel as Sequential Art." There were other programs I would have loved to attend but there were conflicts. (It seems to be a law of conferences that all the programs you want to attend will meet at exactly the same time.)

The best part of the Institute for me was hearing the authors talk about their art - words and pictures. Every single one was fantastic. I do not collect autographs but I value authors as artists. It was such a pleasure to hear them speak. They were entertaining, inspiring and thoughtful.

I learned to deal with technology on the road. I even managed to get a couple of blog posts up using Blogsy. I missed my full-sized keyboard very much. I can type so much faster on it. The younger librarians were definitely way ahead of me - I was very impressed with the tweets and live blogging that went on during the programs.

It's always nice to meet librarians from around the country but I was particularly impressed with the enthusiasm and dedication of the younger librarians I met. It's nice to know that the future is in good hands.

In a couple of years I may be leaving my job but I won't be leaving the profession. I'm looking forward to seeing how youth services librarians meet the challenges of the future. I will probably be retired when the 2014 ALSC National Institute takes place but that doesn't rule out my attending.

Road Trip - PA Turnpike

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 3 - 2012 ALSC National Institute

"Quick and Easy Copyright" Professor Tomas Lipinski, Indiana University School of Library and Information Science, presented an overview of coyright law and how it affects libraries. The group attending this program was small so we were able to have an interesting discussion about copyright issues. This turned out to be my favorite Institute program probably because it was a small group and definitely because Dr. Lipinski not only made a complicated subject understandable but his genuine interest in helping libaries and librarians in this area was clearly evident.

"Closing General Session: Exploring Nonfiction though Authors and Illustrators" This panel discussion by three very different authors of non-fiction books for children was excellent. Bryan Collier, Doreen Rappaport, and April Pulley Sayre not only talked about how they research and write their books but also about why they write non-fiction.

Notes: The Institute ended Saturday (Day 3) so these comments are a bit late. I had hopes of posting Saturday evening but it was not to be. Sunday was my big travel day (8 hours) and I was very tired when I got home so again blogging was not going to happen.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 2 - 2012 ALSC National Institute

"Breakfast for Bill: Caldecott Celebration" This event honors the memory of William C. Morris, the first recipient of the ALSC Distinguished Service Award. This year's event celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal. A panel of past medal/honor winners talked about their reactions to winning. Kevin Henkes, Denise Fleming, and Eric Rohmann were joined by Ben Sapp of the Mazza Museum of International Art from Piicture Books who talked about the museum's collection of original art. Because it was the Caldecott's 75th, Ms. Fleming brought birthday hats for the panel and moderator Floyd Dickman to wear.

"What Difference Does It Make? The Impact of Early Literacy Training on Youth Services Staff" The Hedberg Public Library (Janesville, WI) demonstrated how effective their early literacy workshop was in showing staff how to integrate literacy tips for parents into their programs.

"Planning for Excellence: Developing Best Practices for Youth Services" Celia Huffman of the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library emphasized the importance of planning programs that keep the library's mission and, more importantly, the community's needs in mind.

"Author Luncheon with Gary Paulsen" Mr. Paulsen was humorous but his talk was far from light entertainment as he told us about his journey to become the writer he is today.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 1 - 2012 ALSC National Institute

After a brief welcome the programs began.

"It's All About the Money: Corporate Partnerships in Children's Programming" Cheryl Lee of the Palo Alto City Library emphasized the importance of building relationships with donors and of keeping detailed contact lists.

"Viewing the Picture Book and the Graphic Novel as Sequential Art" The focus of this presentation by Erin Reilly-Sanders of Ohio State University was on looking at graphic novels and picture books as art rather than literature.

Author Peter Brown was the keynote speaker. He gave us insights into his creative work with a very entertaining presentation. If you ever have a chance to hear him speak - go!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


After a nice visit with my uncle in Ohio, I left today for Indianapolis to attend the 2012 ALSC National Institute. I attended the ALSC happy hour at a nearby restaurant, joining a group of librarians from Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Library on the way. (Thank you for letting me tag along!) It was fun meeting youth services people from around the country and I'm looking forward to tomorrow when the Institute officially starts!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Five Little Monsters - Finger Puppets

The Family Story Time about monsters is starting to come together. I have a cut and tell story, a possible board story, and a prop story. I also have several books which I will have to pare down to three or four. I spent some time looking at monster rhymes. Several were variations of "Five Little Monkeys." I liked the idea of jumping monsters but didn't feel that they should be confined to a bed so I wrote my own rhyme.

Five Little Monsters
Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room

Five little monsters jumping with glee,
The silly one said, "Hey, look at me!
I jumped so high that I landed in a tree!"

Four little monsters jumping up and down,
The slimy one said, "Soon I won't be around
Because I can jump so far that I'm jumping into town."

Three little monsters jumping high and low,
The scaly one said, "I just want you to know
That I can jump so fast that you'll never see me go."

Two little monsters jumping with each other,
The smelly one said, "I can jump higher than my brother
So now I'm jumping home to show my monster mother."

One furry little monster was left jumping all alone.
"I miss all the others," he said with a monster moan.
"But we'll jump again tomorrow!" and he jumped on home.

Even though I made my own monsters, clip art of cute monsters can be easily found online for those who don't want to draw their own. (Monsters are easy to draw - give it a try!) My post, "Finger Puppets for Five Colorful Birds" shows how I make my finger puppets.

This week's Flannel Friday Roundup is hosted by Kay Leigh of Storytime ABC's. All things Flannel Friday can be found here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Mess Monster: Cut and Tell

"Monsters!" is the theme of next month's Family Story Time so I am in the process of gathering and creating storytelling activities that feature monsters. For this cut and tell story I first drew a symmetrical monster figure and then wrote a story to go with it.

The Mess Monster

Linda A. Meuse
(Notes from the Story Room)

Joe's mom came downstairs, turned off the TV and said, "Joe, go upstairs and clean your room. It is a mess!" "Aw, mom," replied Joe, "can't I do it later?" "No," she said, "Do it now."

With a sigh Joe went upstairs to clean his room. He didn't think it was messy for he knew where everything was. As he entered he had to go around a pile of dirty clothes and step over toys on the floor. (Cut from 1 to 2) "Well, maybe it could use a little cleaning up after all," thought Joe. He went back and forth across his room picking up toys and clothes as he went along. (Cut from 2 to 3) He was pulling some dirty socks from under the bed (Cut from 3 to 4) when he heard a noise. He thought it came from his pile of dirty underwear so he went across the room to investigate but he couldn't find anything when he got there. (Cut from 4 to 5) He picked up the pile of underwear and headed over to the hamper. As he dumped his underwear in, he heard the noise again near his toy box. He picked up the rest of his toys walking around the room. (Cut from 5 to 6). As he put his toys in the box he saw it. Joe reached down and grabbed it. "Gotcha!" shouted Joe as he picked up the little creature. "Why you're no bigger than a piece of paper!" (Cut out 7) said Joe, "What are you?" "My name is Sibley," it replied, "I am a mess monster. I hide in messy rooms and nibble on toys. No one ever notices me because the room is such a mess. Please put me down. I would like to go now that everything has been put away." Joe put Sibley down and the little monster ran quickly out of his room.

From then on, Joe always kept his room neat and clean. Well, maybe not always. Well, maybe sometimes. If any of his toys looked like something had been chewing on it, then Joe knew that it was time to clean his room.

Sibley - The Mess Monster
 I added sticker eyes. You can also make eyes by drawing them or using a hole punch.

This is the template with cutting sequence that I made.

The story with the photos is also available as a Google document here.

Library Quine is this week's Flannel Friday host. The roundup can be found at Loons and Quines at Librarytime.

All things Flannel Friday can be found here.

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?