Under the Sea: Books About the Ocean


Paper Shark by Stephanie

Such a fun storytime this week, with a big fun crowd of multiple ages.  We read books about the ocean and sea creatures. Often when I’m working with a theme, I end up reading at least one or two books that I haven’t shared with a group before, and I don’t know how they’re going to go over with the kids.  But these books were all old favorites of mine that I was eager to share.  Here they are:


I’m a Shark by Bob Shea (Amazon.com link)

I had actually read this book to two second grade classes in the morning before storytime, and I still wasn’t tired of reading it aloud, because it is so much fun.  You get to take on the persona of a shark who claims to not be scared of anything.  Squid, dinosaurs, the dark, bears, they all just make him laugh.  But clearly he gets nervous about the very idea of spiders. “That’s not scared,” he says. “That’s smart!”  Hilarious book that would work well for a theme about fear or emotions (the message is that everyone is afraid of something).  It could also lead into a fun writing assignment, where kids could write from the point of view of a different type of animal and describe the kinds of fears they might have.  The book was a big hit with both the second grade and the family storytime crowd, and two kids desperately wanted to check it out at the end.


I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry (Amazon.com link)

Like I’m a Shark, this book also features a large, boastful sea creature, this time a giant squid.  “I’m the biggest thing in the ocean!” he brags, and then points out all of the creatures that are smaller than him.  “I’m bigger than these shrimp.  I’m bigger than these clams.”  But then a giant whale comes along and puts him quite literally in his place.  Not to fear.  He finds a way to look on the bright side: “I’m the biggest thing in this whale!”  There were a lot of kids who wanted this one too, and I wish I had thought to order over more than one copy.


Fidgety Fish by Ruth Galloway (Amazon.com link)

I remember my friend Barbara Bruxvoort telling me about this one years ago, when her son was still a toddler.  He loved the line, “Out shot Tiddler!”  This one goes well with I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean because it’s about a tiny, very active fish, who accidentally swims into a big fish’s mouth, and then escapes.  The illustrations are colorful and appealing.  I don’t even know which of my storytime kids checked this book out, because it was snatched up the instant I finished reading it.


Swimmy by Leo Lionni (Amazon.com link)

Classic Leo Lionni book that several of the Kindergartners recognized.  Swimmy is a tiny black fish who manages to escape when all of the other little fish he knows get eaten.  He roams the ocean, seeings lots of wonderful sea creatures, until he finds another school of small red fish.  Swimmy wants to play, but the other fish are too frightened of being eaten to come out of hiding.  Swimmy devises a plan so they can all swim together like one giant fish, and scare all the big fish away.


There’s a Spider on the Floor

I did this song to go along with I’m a Shark, in honor of the shark’s arachnophobia.  I usually do it with a large spider puppet, but I forgot to bring it out.  Instead I had the kids make spiders with their hands, and act out the song.   I’ve changed the lyrics a bit from the original Raffi version, so these are the words I sing. The tune is the same as If You’re Happy and You Know It:

There’s a spider on the floor, on the floor.
There’s a spider on the floor, on the floor.
Who can ask for any more
Than a spider on the floor.
There’s a spider on the floor, on the floor.

There’s a spider on my leg, on my leg.
There’s a spider on my leg, on my leg.
Oh, he’s really, really big, this old spider on my leg,
There’s a spider on my leg, on my leg.

There’s a spider on my tummy, on my tummy…
Oh, I look so very funny, with a spider on my tummy…

Now the spider’s on my neck, on my neck…
Oh, I’m gonna’ be a wreck, I’ve got a spider on my neck!…

Now the spider’s on my face, on my face…
Oh, I’m such a big disgrace, I’ve got a spider on my face…

Now the spider’s on my head, on my head…
Oh, it fills my heart with dread to have this spider on my head…

But it jumps off!

Now, there’s a spider on the floor, on the floor…

Slippery Fish

The perfect song to accompany I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean. Most of the kids knew it from swimming classes or preschool.  Here’s a YouTube video by Silvia Sanchez with the song.  I do hand motions: swishing my hands for the fish and putting my hands on my cheeks for the “Oh no!”


An easy counting fingerplay.  Click on the triangle for the tune:

Once I caught a fish alive.
Then I let it go again.

Why did you let it go?
Because it bit my finger so!
Which finger did it bite?
This little finger on the right.

CRAFT: Paper Shark

I found this craft online at Almost Unschoolers: http://almostunschoolers.blogspot.com/2011/03/paper-plate-shark-craft.html.  I didn’t have paper plates, so I used a CD to trace and cut out white circles for the mouths.  I drew the shark shapes on blue paper and cut them out ahead of time, then gave the kids googly eyes, gluesticks, crayons, and kids scissors.  I had made my example like the Almost Unschoolers ones, with triangular shaped teeth, but I let the kids cut their teeth however they wanted, and they each did something different.  Some kids cut straight lines all the way around the circle, while others cut the circle in half.  It was fun to see the variety.


Paper Shark by Lena


Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark by Deborah Diesen; illustrated by Daniel X. Hanna (Amazon.com link)

The sequel to The Pout-Pout Fish, an adorable story about a “pout-pout fish with a pout-pout face” who spreads “the dreary-wearies all over the place.”  In this book Mr. Fish braves the scary dark of the deep sea to search for Ms. Clam’s lost pearl (I thought only oysters made pearls, but I looked it up, and apparently clams occasionally make them too).  Again there is a refrain that recurs throughout the story: “I’m fast as a sailfish, I’m strong as a shark, I’m smart as a dolphin, but I’m scared of the dark!”  I’m partial to this book because when my son was 2 and 3, he was obsessed with deep sea creatures, and my husband and I searched everywhere for books about angler fish, gulper eels, dumbo octopus, and all the other bizarre, toothy, glowing things that live down there.  I would have been thrilled to find this one.  A similar story is Rainbow Fish Discovers the Deep Sea by Marcus Pfister.

If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano and Erin Stead (Amazon.com link)

We’ve been seeing a lot of whales off the coast lately, and it’s always a thrill.  This book captures the patience required to look for them, and the joy and wonder you feel when they suddenly appear.

A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle (Amazon.com link)

I love this story about a little hermit crab who outgrows his shell.  His new shell is very plain, so as he explores the ocean, he invites other creatures (anemones, coral, a sea star) to attach themselves to his shell and join him on his adventures.  A lovely story featuring Eric Carle’s colorful illustrations, and including information about different sea creatures.

Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex (Amazon.com link)

Whenever Billy Twitters doesn’t do what he’s told, his parents threaten to buy him a blue whale.  He doesn’t believe they’ll follow through, but one day, much to his shock, a blue whale is delivered to his house, and it’s up to Billy to take care of it.  Wacky story packed with whale facts, by one of my favorite author/illustrator combos.

Baby Beluga by Raffi; illustrated by Ashley Wolff (Amazon.com link)

This song has become one of our standards for Musical Storytime, and one that kids often request.  This board book version, featuring illustrations by Ashley Wolff, is perfect for babies on up.

What are your favorite picture books about the ocean?



We Are in a Book: Storytime with Elephant and Piggie


Paper Bag Gerald and Piggie Puppets by Nina

A few weeks ago, one of my storytime Dads asked if his son could come with his Boy Scout troop for a tour of the library and to read books at storytime (it happened to be the night that one of the Kindergarten girls read a book to the group at the beginning of storytime, and inspired several other kids to want to do the same). We arranged for the troop to come to Family Storytime this week, and I pulled a bunch of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books for them to read.

Elephant and Piggie books are perfect for kids (or adults) to read in pairs, because the text is simple, and usually involves a conversation between the two main characters, Gerald (the elephant) and Piggie (sometimes other characters have a few lines too). The parts are color-coded, making it easy to figure out who is speaking. The stories and illustrations are hilarious, and entertain everyone from toddlers to adults. Plus the kids love looking for the pigeon from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, who always shows up somewhere on the end pages at the back of the book.

We ended up with six Scouts, who read three books. I made simple pig and elephant noses out of paper and taped them onto the boys’ noses to indicate which part they were reading. In order to keep the rest of the kids engaged, I also made a few cue cards for some of the words or phrases that were repeated a lot in each book, so they could join in on those. The boys did a wonderful job reading, and didn’t seem to have any qualms about having an audience. Some of them even took on different voices for Elephant and Piggie. The hardest part was getting them to remember to hold up each page slowly for the audience to see, but then I’ve seen adults who struggle with that too. Here is what they read:


I Am Going! by Mo Willems (Amazon.com link) Gerald is horrified when Piggie says she is going, and begs her to stay, until he finds out she is only going to lunch. This book has a page where Gerald chants, “Why?” and I wrote that word on a cue card that I held up on that page so the other kids could join in.


I am Invited to a Party! by Mo Willems (Amazon.com link)

Piggie is excited to receive an invitation to her very first party. Gerald wonders what kind of party it is: a fancy party? A fancy pool party? A fancy costume pool party? They must come prepared! The cue card I made for this one was the word, “PARTY!” which both characters chant together throughout the book. The kids really liked that.


I’m a Frog by Mo Willems (Amazon.com link)

Gerald is shocked when Piggie says that she is a frog, until she explains she is only pretending. I wrote the word “Ribbit!” on a cue card because Piggie says that throughout the book. There’s also a page where Gerald and Piggie get into an argument consisting solely of: “No I can’t!” and “Yes you can!” I made cue cards for those two phrases too, and the kids enjoyed chanting them back and forth. The adults liked the part where Gerald asks if even grown-ups pretend to be something they’re not, and Piggie says, “All the time,” with a knowing look.


My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems (Amazon.com link)

I got to read this one myself, which I was happy about because it was the first Gerald and Piggie book I ever read, and it will always be one of my favorites. When Piggie sees that Gerald is sad, she tries to cheer him up by disguising herself as a cowboy, a clown, and a robot. But Gerald seems sadder than ever. For this one, I made a cue card for Gerald’s repeated, “Ohhh…’s”


Elephants Have Wrinkles

After each verse of this song, I ask the kids where else elephants have wrinkles and we add in a new body part, while singing the song faster and faster. This time the kids suggested teeth (we clicked our teeth together), feet (we stomped our feet), and faces (we patted our cheeks). Click on the triangle for the tune:

Elephants have (pat legs on each syllable)
Wrinkles, Wrinkles, Wrinkles (clap hands on each syllable)
Elephants have (pat legs on each syllable)
Wrinkles (clap hands on each syllable)
Everywhere! (stomp feet on each syllable)
On their nose! Oh-oh! (touch your nose, and mime a trunk)


Elephants have wrinkles…

On their legs! On their nose! Oh-oh!

I Bought Me a Rooster

We have a variety of stuffed animals in the children’s area, so I passed those out, and we sang a verse of the song about each one. I play it on the ukulele in C.

I bought me a rooster and the rooster pleased me
C G7
I fed my rooster on the bayberry tree
My little rooster goes, “Cock-a-doodle doo!
C F G7 C
Dee Doodle, Dee Doodle, Dee Doodle, Dee Doo!”

No No No No No! I think this song is also called The Argument. It’s basically the tune to Reverie, but you sing, “No, no, no, no, no” all the way through the first half, while shaking your head, then “yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,” for the second half while nodding. If you have an older group, you can divide them up and have them sing both parts at the same time.

INSTRUMENT PLAYALONG WITH A CD: Old MacDonald Had a Farm by Rufus Thomas, from Sing Along with Putumayo.

CRAFT: Gerald and Piggie Paper Bag Puppets

Gerald Paper Bag Puppet by Chloe

Gerald Paper Bag Puppet by Chloe

Piggie Paper Bag Puppet by Chloe

Piggie Paper Bag Puppet by Chloe

I got this idea and the templates from Three Little Birds: http://threelittlebirdsnorth.blogspot.com/2012/04/elephant-and-piggie-party.html. I copied and pasted the picture of their template into a blank Word file, then printed it out, and made copies. The Gerald one worked out well just on white paper, because it ended up looking gray in the copies. For Piggie, I copied it onto pink paper. I did all the cutting ahead of time, so the kids just had to glue the pieces onto paper bags.

OTHER BOOKS BY MO WILLEMS: Okay, so I have a huge librarian crush on Mo Willems. He’s definitely one of my favorite children’s authors, and although he has an astounding number of books, they are all perfect for storytime. Here are some of my other favorites:

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems (Amazon.com link)

Before Trixie has learned to talk, she goes with her Dad to the laundromat along with her beloved stuffed animal, Knuffle Bunny. But on the way home, she realizes that Knuffle Bunny is missing. She tries everything she can to tell her Dad, but he just doesn’t understand. Of course, as soon as Trixie’s mom opens the door, she says, “Where’s Knuffle Bunny?” The whole family races back to the laundromat to look. A book that resonates with both kids and parents. I love Trixie’s attempts to communicate, including going boneless (a phenomenon familiar to anyone with a toddler). The illustrations are equally hilarious. Followed by two sequels: Knuffle Bunny Too and Knuffle Bunny Free (this one makes me cry).

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems; illustrated by Jon J. Muth (Amazon.com link)

A departure from Willems’ usual funny, cartoonish style, featuring paintings by Jon J. Muth. When a city dog visits the country, he meets a frog who teaches him to play frog games. The two have a wonderful time throughout City Dog’s visits in Spring and Summer. By Autumn Country Frog has grown tired, and in Winter, when City Dog comes, he can’t find his friend, but ends up making a new one. A lovely and bittersweet story about the seasons and friendship.

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs as Retold by Mo Willems (Amazon.com link)

Hilariously dark take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In this one, three dinosaurs prepare bowls of chocolate pudding at varying temperatures and go…uh…someplace else, where they are definitely not lying in wait for brazen little girls. The kids love to spot the Pigeon hidden in the cookie jar, and the rejected title ideas on the back, including Goldilocks and the Three Major Networks, Goldilocks and the Three-Foot-Long Hoagies and more.

Cat the Cat, Who is That? by Mo Willems (Amazon.com link)

Very simple easy reader that introduces Cat the Cat and her friends Fish the Fish, Duck the Duck, Mouse the Mouse. But then she meets someone entirely new: a strange creature who says, “Blargie! Blargie!” This is a fun read-aloud for toddlers, and a great book for beginning readers. Followed by several sequels.

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems (Amazon.com link)

I like the Pigeon, but I love the clever, manipulative Duckling even more. Pigeon is excited to find a hot dog, until a wistful Duckling who claims to have never tried a hot dog asks him to share. There are lots of great Pigeon books, and a fun iPhone/iPad app as well, which allows kids to create their own Pigeon story and learn how to draw the Pigeon (both my kids love it).

What are your favorite Mo Willems books?



All About My Mother: Books for Mother’s Day

photo (100)

Big, fun crowd this week, with a wide range of ages.  In honor of Mother’s Day, we read books about Moms.


Baby Brains and Robomom by Simon James (Amazon.com link)

Mr. and Mrs. Brains hoped to have a smart baby, but they never expected one as smart as Baby Brains, who not only talks, but builds amazing inventions.  One day, hoping to save his parents from their daily chores, he invents a robot who can iron, cook, and wash the car.  The problem is that the new Robomom also wants to do the things Baby Brains prefers his parents to do: changing his diaper, putting him to bed.  The other problem is that Robomom is working so hard that she eventually explodes.  The kids loved the explosion part.  Delightfully far-fetched and silly, this book demonstrates that there are some things technology still can’t do.


Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey (Amazon.com link)

This was one of my mother-in-law’s favorite books as a child, and I think of her whenever I read it.  It made for a nice old-fashioned contrast to Baby Brains and Robomom.  Sal and her mother are picking blueberries on the same hill as a mother bear and her cub.  When the two young ones swap places, both their moms are in for a big surprise.  This one was a bit long for the younger kids, but the older ones enjoyed it, and it was snatched up at the end.  A gentle and timeless story.


Llama Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney (Amazon.com link)

Given how popular this book and its sequels are, I was surprised that a number of the kids had never read it.  A rhyming story about a llama lying alone in bed and calling for his mother, then panicking when she doesn’t come right away.  The illustrations are big and adorable, and the story is something both kids and parents can relate to.  I love the mother’s frustrated, but soothing reminder at the end, “Mama Llama’s always near, even when she’s not right here.”  There was a bit of llama drama at storytime over who was going to get to check out this book, and I’m ashamed to say that my daughter was the instigator (my husband couldn’t get off work in time tonight to watch our kids, so she tagged along with me).  Anyway, the book is clearly a hit.


Love You When You Whine by Emily Jenkins; illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier (Amazon.com link)

This book got lots of laughs, especially from the moms.  It’s a list of things a little kitten does that upsets his mom, and how his mom still loves him always: “Love you when you whine.  Love you when you interrupt…Love you when you scream ‘Lollipop Lollipop Lollipop’ for forty-five minutes on line at the bank.”  I usually add a disclaimer not to try these things at home, especially hiding mom’s keys and painting the dog.  It was a hit though, and another mild dispute arose over who was going to get to take it home (thankfully not involving my daughter this time).


Five Days Old

Great Laurie Berkner song that the kids enjoyed.  I played it on the ukulele, which is tricky with the jumping up and down.  Click here for Laurie Berkner’s video.

Peanut, Peanut Butter

A song I learned at Girl Scout camp a thousand years ago.  The version I sing goes like this (click on the triangle to hear the first verse):

First you take the peanuts and you pick ’em, you pick ’em,
You pick ’em, pick ’em, pick ’em! (Mime picking peanuts)
Then you smash ’em, you smash ’em, you smash ’em, smash ’em, smash ’em! (clap hands together each time you “smash”)
Then you spread ’em, you spread ’em, you spread ’em, spread ’em, spread ’em! (mime spreading peanut butter)
Singing “Peanut, peanut butter…jelly!
Peanut, peanut butter…jelly!”

Then you take the berries and you pick ’em… (repeat the first verse)

Then you take the sandwich and you bite it, you bite it, you bite it,
Bite it, bite it!
Then you chew it, you chew it, you chew it, chew it, chew it!
Then you swallow it, you swallow it, you swallow it, swallow it, swallow it.
Singing, “Peanut, peanut butter…jelly!
Peanut, peanut butter…jelly!” (I usually sing this part in a slightly garbled voice, as if I have peanut butter on the roof of my mouth. Then we all mime drinking a glass of milk).

No More Monkeys

I gave out instruments for this one, and played it on the ukulele.  It’s the wonderfully catchy Asheba version of Five Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed from Putumayo’s Animal Playground album.

CRAFT: All About My Mother 

My Mommy by Olivia, Sarah, and Lily

My Mommy by Olivia, Sarah, and Lily

I stole this idea from my daughter’s preschool last year, and adapted it for Father’s Day as well.  I love it because the kids’ answers are so adorable.  (Last year my daughter told her teacher that I was 4-years old.  This year, of course, she said I was 5).  Here’s the .doc I created: My Mommy is  Most of the kids needed help filling out the form, so I interviewed each of them and wrote in their answers, but they enjoyed drawing pictures of their moms.


My Mom by Anthony Browne (Amazon.com link)

Lovely tribute to a Mom who is a fantastic cook, a brilliant juggler (of daily tasks), a magic gardener, and much more.  The illustrations are fun and full of humor.   It would also be a good example to use in a lesson on similes, which are used throughout the text (she “sings like an angel,” and “roars like a lion,” etc.)

Mom Pie by Lynne Jonell; illustrated by Petra Mathers (Amazon.com link)

When two brothers are frustrated that their mom is too busy preparing for company to pay attention to them, they decide to make a “Mom Pie,” made of all the things that remind them of her.  Sweet story with childlike stick-figure drawings.  This book, along with Mommy, Go Away by the same author and illustrator, do a nice job of capturing the wistfulness and frustration that kids often feel, in the context of a warm and playful story.

Please Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee; illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Amazon.com link)

One of the few celebrity picture books I actually like.  A simple, repetitive rhyme that follows an adorable toddler throughout her day with her mom: “Go back to bed, baby, please, baby please / Not on your head, baby, baby, baby, please!”  The illustrations by Kadir Nelson are full of life and mischief, and it has a sweet ending, with the little girl begging for a kiss from her tired Mama.   This also makes a good book for beginning readers. because of the rhymes and repeated words and phrases.

What! Cried Granny: an Almost Bedtime Story by Kate Lum; illustrated by Adrian Reynolds (Amazon.com link)

Because Mother’s Day is for grandmothers too.  This is one of my storytime standbys.  A little boy named Patrick is ready to go to bed at his Grandma’s house.  “But Granny!” he says, “I don’t have a bed here!” “What?!” cried Granny.  She rushes out to chop down some trees, and quickly builds him a bed.  But he still needs a blanket, a pillow, and a teddy bear.  This is a terrific read-aloud.  The kids love joining in whenever the Granny says, “WHAAAATTT?!” and guessing what Patrick is missing this time.

The Grandma Cure by Pamela Mayer; illustrated by John Nez (Amazon.com link)

I love this story about two grandmas who come to take care of a little girl named Sophie when  she stays home sick from school.   But each grandma has a different idea of how to do things: one thinks Sophie needs hot tea, the other wants to give her orange juice.  Sophie has to step in and explain how to sort out their differences the way her Kindergarten teacher has taught her.  Funny story that kids and grown-ups both enjoy.

Happy Mother’s Day!  If you have any favorite books about moms or grandmas, please share them in the comments.

¡Viva! Books in English and Spanish

Tissue Paper Flowers

Tissue Paper Flowers

I had a whole family storytime planned for Cinco de Mayo, with tissue paper flowers as the craft.  But Wednesday night was unexpectedly and unusually hot.  Most of my usual group was at a special event, and everyone else was probably at the beach or hiding out indoors.  It ended up being just me and Olivia, one of the kindergarten girls who’s been coming for several years.  So instead of the storytime I had planned, we read Elephant and Piggie books together for half and hour.  She would read Gerald and I would read Piggie, and then we would switch.  Her dad read all of the additional characters.  She read amazingly well, with lots of expression and even different voices!  Afterwards, we made tissue paper flowers.  It was a fun and peaceful evening, the perfect antidote to a long, hot day where everyone (including my own kids) seemed cranky and unhappy.

So here is the storytime I planned to do (to be honest, I was a little relieved because, although I took Spanish in college, and have studied it on my own a bit, I’m still nervous about my pronunciation, especially those tricky rr‘s).  There are some wonderful bilingual books though.  Here are a few:


Oh No, Gotta Go!  by Susan Middleton Elya; illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Amazon.com link)

My daughter loves this book, and I read it to her preschool class the other day.  Rhymed verse tells the story of a little girl who is out for a drive with her family when she realizes she desperately needs “un bano!”  Unfortunately, it is Sunday, and all the shops are closed.  A construction worker gives her parents directions to a restaurant.  The family rushes in, only to find an enormous line leading out of the women’s bathroom.  This book seamlessly blends Spanish words into the text in a way that makes it easy for kids to decipher the meaning.  The story is funny and definitely something kids (and parents!) can relate to.  There is also a sequel called Oh No, Gotta Go #2, which is about exactly what you might think.


Perros! Perros! Dogs! Dogs! by Ginger Foglesong Guy; illustrated by Sharon Glick (Amazon.com link)

This is a fun, simple book in English and Spanish, with lots of repetition.  I read it to my daughter’s class as well, and had the kids yell out “Espera!” (“Wait!”), whenever we got to those parts.  They liked the illustrations of dogs getting muddy, having a bath, and going down the slide.  Lots of rr‘s for me to butcher in this one, but I love it anyway.


Rubia and the Three Osos by Susan Middleton Elya; illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Amazon.com link)

Another book by the author of Oh No, Gotta Go!  This is a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, again in rhymed verse with Spanish words scattered throughout the text.  My daughter (who has always had a kind of disturbing fondness for the Goldilocks story) loves this one as well.  In this version, Goldilocks runs away, but feeling badly for all of her naughtiness, comes back to the bears’ house with some homemade sopa (soup) and tries to set things right.  Another book I like by this author is Bebé Goes to the Beach (illustrated by Steven Salerno).  I’ve been impressed by her ability to blend Spanish words and phrases into the text of funny stories that kids enjoy.


Faster! Faster! Más Rápido! Más Rápido! by Leslie Patricelli (Amazon.com link)

I read this one for Toddler Time this week.  It’s a bilingual version of a board book about a girl playing “horsey” with her father.  As she begs him to go “Faster! Faster!” she imagines him transforming into a dog, a rabbit, a horse, a dolphin, and finally…a turtle.  The text consists almost entirely of the phrase “Faster! Faster!” so it’s easy to get the kids and families to learn and repeat it in Spanish: “Más Rápido!” Patricelli has a similar book that I also love for baby and toddler storytimes called Higher! Higher! (there’s a bilingual version of that one too).


Uno, Dos, Tres Deditos (One Little, Two Little, Three Little Fingers)

I did this song both with my daughter’s class, and at Toddler Time.  I sing it first in English and then in Spanish:

One little, two little, three little fingers,
Four little, five little, six little fingers,
Seven little, eight little, nine little fingers,
Ten little fingers on your hands.

Uno, dos, tres deditos,
Quatro, cinco, seis deditos,
Siete, ocho, nueve deditos,
Diez deditos son.

El Chocolate

I did this one for my daughter’s class and for Toddler Time too.  It’s about making hot chocolate. It’s fun to repeat it, going faster and faster each time.  At the end, I have the kids mime blowing on their hot chocolate and sipping it loudly.  Click here to see a short Youtube video with the tune.

Uno, dos, tres, CHO (hold up three fingers, one at a time)
Uno, dos, tres, CO
Uno, dos, tres, LA
Uno, dos, tres, TE
Chocolate, Chocolate,
Bate, Bate, el chocolate! (Mime stirring with your hands).

What are your favorite books and songs in English and Spanish?