Cooking Up Storytime

STORYTIME FOR: Berwyn Public Library (Outreach)

Hello/Goodbye Song

We Say Hello/Goodbye Like This (with ukulele)
(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)
D                                                          A7
We wave hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we wave hello like this.
D                                                         A7
We clap hello like this…with our friends in storytime, we clap hello like this.
D                                                           A7
We stomp hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we stomp hello like this.

Why These Books?

Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells.  I start with this book, because it’s a bit longer than the rest.  Despite the length, the narrative has repetitive part and many accidents, which helps keeps the kids engaged.  Rather than simply reading the story, I point to the pictures and ask the kids about the accidents Max makes.  We also talk about what tastes betters–brown earthworm cake or pink raspberry cake.  (Even the boys admit that the pink cake will taste better.)  This is a good story for teaching the stages of baking.

Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by John Parra.  I originally thought that this would be a good multicultural book to add to the mix, since it is in rhyme and teaches about shapes–it even mixes in spanish words!  But the experience of reading this story didn’t go so well as I hoped.  The book often poses the question, “I can name more round things.  Can you?”  Some classes struggled to name the shapes, perhaps because there was no context to tell them what the shapes were called.  For example, a stove burner is round, but the preschoolers did not necessarily know its name.  I also think this book serves as a better book to read one-on-one with a preschooler, like an Eye Spy book, rather than for storytime.  That way, a child can spend more time exploring each page.

Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee.  Contrary to my initial opinion of Round is a Tortilla, I was hesitant to use this book at first because it seemed like there was a lot of text.  Then I heard another librarian read it, and I’d thought I’d try it out in my cooking storytime in place of Round is a Tortilla.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well this went over!  The story is told in rhyme, with a bouncy rhythm that makes it perfect for storytime.  I also really like this book because it goes through the steps of making bee-bim bop (a Korean dish), from getting food at the grocery store to boiling rice to setting the table.  There are a lot of opportunities to start conversations, too.  Do you help someone grocery shop?  Why do you cry when you cut an onion?  Do you help set the table?  What is your favorite meal?

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague.  Thematically, this is a great way to end cooking storytime because it is all about the polite way to eat after food is prepared.  It’s also fun and exciting, and it’s hard to miss the mark with Jane Yolen’s and Mark Teague’s How Do Dinosaurs series.  I’ve had a couple of different experiences reading this.  In response to questions like, “Does he burp, does he belch, or make noises quite rude?” one class responded with the typical “no,” as in he shouldn’t.  But I also had a class that said “yes” as in that’s what he’s doing on the page.  I thought both responses were great, and it just goes to show you one book can be interpreted many ways.  The preschoolers also loved to point out their favorite dinosaurs, and some of them identified when the people in the book looked mad or happy.

Extensions

I’m a Little Teapot  (action song)
I’m a little teapot short and stout,
Here is my handle, here is my spout.
When I get all steamed up, hear me shout:
“Tip me over and pour me out!”

Make a Pizza (flannel)
With a round felt piece, have kids add felt pizza toppings.

pizza felt

Pat-a-Cake Cake (fingerplay)
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s hands,
Bake me a cake as fast as you can.
Pat it, roll it, mark it with a B,
And put it in the oven for baby and me..

Popcorn  Kernels (rhyme, scarves)
Popcorn kernels, popcorn kernels, (bounce scarves high)
in the pot, in the pot.
Shake them, shake them, shake them, (roll into a ball, then shake)
Till they pop, till the pop.

*credit: Jbrary

How It Went

Though it took me a while to get exactly the right selection of books, the extension activities all worked really well.  The kids loved the scarf rhyme (as usual) and eagerly participated in the fingerplays and motion activities they knew well (Pat-a-Cake and I’m a Little Tea Pot).  They really enjoyed the pizza felt, which was very easy to make.  I cut out an oval for bread, an oval for sauce, an oval for cheese, and a made enough toppings that all the kids could put one thing on.  We talked about shapes and colors as well as the process for making a pizza.  If I ever did this theme again, I would probably try to talk to the kids more about what they like to make at home.

Storytimes That Grow

STORYTIME FOR: Berwyn Public Library (Outreach)

Hello/Goodbye Song

We Say Hello/Goodbye Like This (with ukulele)
(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)
D                                                          A7
We wave hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we wave hello like this.
D                                                         A7
We clap hello like this…with our friends in storytime, we clap hello like this.
D                                                           A7
We stomp hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we stomp hello like this.

Why These Books?

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan A. Shea.  I heard another storytime librarian at Skokie Public Library read this book and instantly fell in love with it.  This books rhymes, it involves call and response, and it easily helps kids understands the things that grow and the things that don’t.  It’s a great book to start a storytime, because the call and response really gets kids warmed up.  I would suggest it for any age.  It’s easy enough for two-year-olds, but humor of the things that grow really engages the general preschool crowd.

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson.  I love this book for Kadir Nelson’s art alone–his oil on canvas paintings are absolutely life-like, stunning, and vibrantly colored.The book begins by showing how a seed will grow, and then transition into a message about what happens when you plant seeds of selfishness and kindness.  When I read this book, I paused and asked the preschoolers to identify different food that grew in the garden.  Though the language–or poetry–is sparse for a preschool book, it definitely succeeded in capturing the preschoolers’ attention.

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.  This book is less designed to teach about growing, but rather offers a hilarious, imaginative perspective.  When an alligator who loves watermelon swallows a seed, he begins to panic that it will grow in his stomach until he becomes a watermelon.  When he spits out the seed, the drama begins all over again.  It’s a short book, but a great story to end on.  A lot of the kids I read to told me the liked this one a lot.

Extensions

Green Leaf (fingerplay, scarves)
Here is a green leaf (hold out one palm)
And here is a green leaf (hold out other palm)
That, you see, makes two (hold up two fingers)
Here is a bud (cup hand together)
That makes it a flower (slowly open hands)
Watch it bloom for you (slowly open hands)

*Credit: Jbrary video

Not a Garden
Have kids identify different types of fruit and vegatables that grow in the garden, and have each student put a food item on the felt board.

In My Garden (action song)
Digging, digging, his is how we dig the ground
In our garden, in our garden …
Digging, digging, this is how we dig the ground
early in the morning.
Repeat: hoe the weeds, plant the seeds, peas will grow, pick the peas, eat the peas.

*Credit: Raffi
 

How It Went

This has, rather unexpectedly, been one of my favorite storytime themes.  The idea of growing is so tactile and interactive that all the extensions worked really well.  The kids (and teachers) liked the Green Leaf scarf rhyme the best.  For some classes, I ended up repeating it more more than three times.  It took a for some classes to get through the felt activity, just because there were so many students, but completely worth it.  They loved being able to come up and put something on the board.  For the Raffi garden song, I got into a habit of asking the kids what we should do next (many classes came up with a new verse: water the seeds).  They loved the books too!  Personally, I loved how this ended up being both fun and educational.