This week is National Pet Week, which is one of the easier themes to work with. There are SO many great picture books about dogs, cats, bunnies, and even unusual pets like rhinoceroses and unicorns. The hard part was deciding which ones to read. But, with the large, spread-out crowd for our Outdoor Musical Storytime, I ended up choosing books that I hoped the kids would be able to follow, even if they couldn’t see the illustrations very clearly.
Here is what we did:
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems
The Pigeon books are always a lot of fun to read aloud, and this one is no exception. The Pigeon really, really wants a puppy…until he realizes how big (and toothy!) they are. Instead, he decides, he really wants a walrus.
Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
This is such a sweet book, and works well for a wide range of ages. The large, clean, black-and-white illustrations make it perfect for storytime, and so does the repetition of certain lines. When Kitten sees the full moon for the first time, she thinks it’s a big bowl of milk in the sky, and she wants it. But all of her efforts to get it just leave her soaking wet, exhausted, and hungry. Luckily, there’s a surprise waiting for her on her own front porch.
How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? by Iza Trapani, based on the song by Bob Merrill
No matter how many times I read this one, I always get choked up at the end. It’s so embarrassing! But it works so well for storytime. Iza Trapani has extended the classic song How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? to tell the story of a little boy who is saving up his money to buy the adorable puppy in the pet shop window. But he ends up spending all of his money on his family, and then discovers that the little dog has already been sold…and is waiting for him at home.
We sang this one with the Monkey Mitt set, which has little removable dogs featuring each letter. I have the kids bark instead of clap every time we leave out a letter. This is an old standby, but here’s a video from Super Simple Songs, just in case you’re not familiar with it.
The Cat Went Fiddle-I-Fee
I love the Sam Hinton version of this song. It’s a great song for storytime, because you can ask the kids to suggests animals and sounds for each verse.
[G] I had a cat and the cat pleased me,
And I fed my cat under [D] yonder [G] tree.
And the cat went [D] fiddle-i-[G] fee.
I had a wolf and the wolf pleased me,
And I fed my wolf under yonder tree.
And the wolf went “Arrrrroooo!”
And the cat went fiddle-i-fee.
Two Little Kitty Cats
I learned this one years ago from a Music Together class. Here’s a video from Sally’s Music Circle with the tune:
Two little kitty cats lying in the sun (crouch down)
One jumped up and said, “I’d like to run!” (jump up and run in place)
Then said the other one, “I’ll run too!
Running, running, running, and I’ll play with you!
Meow! Meow! Meow!
Two little puppy dogs lying in the park,
One jumped up and said, “I’d like to bark.”
Then said the other one, “I’ll bark too,
Running, running, running and I’ll play with you.”
Woof! Woof! Woof!
How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? by Bob Merrill
I sang this one for our instrument playalong (when we hand out shakers to the kids). Here’s a link to the Patti Page version. It’s very easy to play on the guitar or ukulele, since it only has two chords:
[C] How much is that doggie in the [G] window? (Arf! Arf!)
The one with the waggley [C] tail?
How much is that doggie in the [G] window? (Arf! Arf!)
I do hope that doggie’s for [C] sale!
[C] I must take a trip to [G] California,
And leave my poor sweetheart a-[C]lone.
If he has a dog, he won’t be [G] lonesome,
And the doggie will have a good [C] home.
[C] I read in the paper there are [G] robbers,
With flashlights that shine in the [C] dark.
My love needs a doggie to [G] protect him,
And scare them away with one [C] bark. BARK!
Stay & Play: Paper Bag Puppets
I got this idea from the Ann Arbor Library District web site. I had precut different shapes for ears out of construction paper (triangles for cats, ovals for dogs and bunnies, circles for mice). For the craft, I put out paper lunch bags for each child, along with the ears, some gluesticks, markers, googly eyes, and some foam shapes. One thing I love about the stay & play crafts is that a lot of the caregivers end up collaborating on the project, especially the ones with toddlers and preschoolers, and they all really seem to enjoy it.
What are your favorite books about pets? Please share them in the comments.