Pie in the Sky: A Storytime About Pizza

I had planned to do this storytime right after New Year’s, in honor of National Pizza Week (January 8 through 14). But our area got hit by a series of atmospheric rivers, which turned our outdoor storytime area into a marsh for several weeks. Today was beautiful though, and we had a great time with this theme. I based it heavily on Storytime Kate’s Pizza storytime, with a few tweaks.

Here’s what we did:


Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig

This is one of my all-time favorite storytime books. When Pete’s plans to play ball with his friends are cancelled by the rain, his father decides to cheer him up by turning him into a pizza: kneading the dough, tossing it in the air, applying toppings (which are really checkers and pieces of paper), and cooking him in the oven (the couch). It’s a sweet story about a shared family game. The kids always laugh when the pizza gets tickled.

Hi, Pizza Man! by Virginia Walter; illustrated by Ponder Goembel

This was a favorite of both of my kids’ when they were little, and the storytime crowd absolutely loved it! When a little girl is hungry and impatient for their pizza to be delivered, her mother asks her what she would say depending on who the delivery person is: a pizza snake, a pizza cow, a pizza cat, etc. The illustrations are hilarious and got lots of laughs from the grown-ups. The kids loved making the different animal noises.

Pizza at Sally’s by Monica Wellington

Simple, sweet story describing the different steps involved in making a pizza. We had passed out play scarves for our Pat-a-Cake rhyme before hand, and I had the kids pretend they were pizza dough as we read: stretching out the scarves, and twirling them in the air.

Songs & Rhymes:

Silly Pizza Song

This song by Rachel de Azevedo Coleman from her Signing Time series is one of my absolute favorites. Here’s a YouTube video with the tune and the signs.

I usually just teach the kids the sign for pizza (there are a lot of different variations in ASL, but I use the one she demonstrates in the video with the double Z) and the sign for cheese, and then I ask them for topping suggestions. Today we had pepperoni, sausage, olives, and mushrooms.

Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake, Pizza Man

I got this one from Storytime Katie. We handed out play scarves, and had the kids pretend the scarves were the dough.

Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake, Pizza Man!

Bake me a pizza as fast as you can!

Roll it,

And toss it,

And sprinkle it with cheese.

Then put it in the oven and bake it fast, please!

Since we had just read Hi, Pizza Man!, I asked the kids for other types of pizza creators and we made up new verses for them, including:

Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake, Pizza Cow,

Make me a pizza if you know how!…

Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake, Pizza Dinosaur,

Make me a pizza as fast as you can roar! R-O-A-R!…

Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake, Pizza Elephant,

Make me the kind of pizza I want!…

I Am a Pizza by Charlotte Diamond

This is a classic children’s song by Charlotte Diamond (there were some grandparents visiting from Winnepeg today, who were excited because Charlotte Diamond is from Canada too). We did it as our instrument play-along at the end. It’s also an echo song, which makes it perfect for storytime.

Here’s a video of the original song:

Oh, [C] I am a pizza (I am a pizza),
[G] With extra cheese (with extra cheese).
[G] From tomatoes (from tomatoes),
[C] Sauce is squeezed (sauce is squeezed).
[F] Onions and mushrooms (onions and mushrooms),
[G] Oregano (oregano).
[F] I am a [C] pizza,
[G] Ready to [C] go!

Oh, [C] I am a pizza (I am a pizza),
[G] Pepperoni (pepperoni),
[G] No anchovies (no anchovies),
[C] Or phony baloney (or phony baloney)!
[F] I am a pizza (I am a pizza),
[G] Order by phone (order by phone).
[F] I am a C] pizza,
[G] Please take me [C] home!

Oh, [C] I am a pizza (I am a pizza),
[G] Peppers on top (peppers on top),
[G] Out of the oven (out of the oven),
[C] Into the box (into the box).
[F] Into the car and (into the car and)
[G] Upside down (upside down)…
[F] I am a [C] pizza,
[G] Dropped on the [C] ground!

Oh, [C] I was a pizza (I was a pizza).
[G] I was the best (I was the best).
[F] I was a [C] pizza,
[G] Now I’m a [C] mess!

Stay & Play: Playdough Pizza

Before the storytime, I made playdough using this simple recipe from Jinxy kids, which just requires flour, salt, water, and oil.

For the storytime, I put out golf-ball sized balls of dough on small paper plates, along with playdough toys like plastic rollers and pizza cutters. I had also cut out some clip-art pizza toppings from My Cute Graphics. The kids had a great time rolling and slicing their dough, and adding toppings. Some of them even added extras, like their storytime stickers, and some of the gum nuts they found on the ground at the park.

What are your favorite pizza books or songs? Please share them in the comments below.


Making a Mark: Kindness Bookmarks

Well, the craziness of our California weather has literally put a damper on my Outdoor Musical Storytimes for the past few weeks, but I wanted to share this sweet project from my daughter’s elementary school.

One of the unique things about the school has always been that every student (Kindergarten through Eighth Grade) is assigned to a school “Family,” with one student from each grade. They stay in the same family until they graduate from eighth grade, and once a month, on “Family Day,” they do an activity together. The activities are usually simple games, like Bingo, or a craft project, like decorating paper plates to become the scales of a Lunar New Year dragon in the hallway. But last month, for the first time, they decorated bookmarks.

The theme of the bookmarks was Kindness, so the kids were told to write and draw things to encourage other students, like “Keep Smiling,” or “You Can Do It!” The school’s Library/Media Specialist, Sue, who sent me the picture above, told me that her favorite bookmark said, “You are not annoying!”

After the kids decorated the bookmarks on Family Day, the middle schoolers added the premade tassels, and Sue sorted them into piles for each class. I happened to be in the library reading to second graders today when she was handing out the bookmarks. The kids were so excited to get them, and also to wonder which student might have gotten the one that they made.

I thought it was such a sweet idea, and I would love to find a way to incorporate it into the public libraries where I work. Coincidentally, a library patron had just brought in some handmade bookmarks over the weekend, and asked if we would be interested in putting them out for people to take. These were made of leftover fabric from her sewing projects, and they were a huge hit! All that day people, both kids and adults, exclaimed over the different patterns, and were happy to take some home for their friends and family.

Fabric bookmarks made by a library patron.

Coincidentally too, today my coworker, Claire, happened to be leading a bookmark-making program at the library after school. She was having the kids make woven Chevron Bookmarks, like the ones shown in this YouTube video from Crafter Rani. But she also put out some plain cardstock for the kids to decorate with markers and stamps, and different types of pinking shears to cut the edges. One patron even made a bookmark just for us!

What is your favorite bookmark, or bookmark project? Please share it in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Time for Bed: A Storytime About Sleep

Today (January 3) is the Festival of Sleep, which I gather was created to encourage people to relax and recover after the hectic festivities of the holidays. Here in the Bay Area, we’re in a temporary lull between huge rain storms, and I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to brave our Outdoor Musical Storytime, but we did end up with a nice small group.

Here’s what we did:


Bedtime for Mommy by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by LeUyem Pham

I hadn’t planned on reading this one, because the illustrations are a bit too small for my usual group, but with the smaller turnout, it worked perfectly. I love all of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s books, and this is one of my favorites. A little girl patiently puts her mother to bed, guiding her through the nightly routine of toothbrushing, bath, picking out an outfit for the next day, and reading together. When she finally gets Mommy tucked in for the night, it’s time to put Daddy to bed too. Claire read the part of the mother, and I read the little girl. The kids and grown-ups all loved the role reversal.

Tuck Me In by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt

Very simple but adorable book about baby animals asking to be “tucked in” by having the half page “blanket” flipped over to cover them. Our group was small enough that each child could take a turn tucking in an animal.

What! Cried Granny by Kate Lum; illustrated by Adrian Johnson

This is one of my favorite read-alouds, about a boy going to his first sleep-over at his grandmother’s house. But when Granny tells him it’s time to get into bed, he complains that he doesn’t have a bed at her house. “What!” she cries, before chopping down a tree and building him a bed. But then he complains he doesn’t have a pillow. The kids love chiming in on the repeated “What’s?!” and the punchline at the end always gets a laugh.


Brush Your Teeth by Raffi

I did this one as a follow-up to Bedtime for Mommy. Here’s a link to the Raffi video:

When you wake up in the morning,
It’s a quarter to one,
And you want to have a little fun,
You brush your teeth,
You brush your teeth,

When you wake up in the morning,
It’s a quarter to two,
And you just can’t think of something to do,
You brush your teeth…

When you wake up in the morning,
It’s a quarter to three,
And your mind starts humming,

When you wake up in the morning,
It’s a quarter to four,
And you think you hear a knock on the door,
You get a little scared,
And then you brush your teeth…

When you wake up in the morning,
It’s a quarter to five,
And you just can’t wait to come alive!…

Hop, Little Bunnies

I learned this one from a local daycare provider, who used it every day with her kids. The motions are pretty self-explanatory, but you can either have the kids physically pretend to sleep and then hop around, or you can have them make bunny ears with their fingers. There are different versions of the song, but the tune I used is the same as in this video by Little Baby Bums Nursery Rhymes for Babies:

See the little bunnies sleeping

‘Till it’s nearly noon.

Shall we wake them with a merry tune?

They’re so still.

Are they ill?

NO! Wake up little bunnies!

Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop!

Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop!

Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop!

Hop little bunnies, hop and stop!

Five in the Bed

There were five in the bed (hold up five fingers)
And the little one said,
“I’m crowded! Roll over!” (roll hands around each other)
So they all rolled over,
And one fell out,
There were four in the bed
And the little one said…
(Repeat, counting down until one.)…

There was one in the bed,
And that little one said,
“I’ve got the whole bed to myself!
I’ve got the whole bed to myself!
I’ve got the whole bed to myself!
I’ve got the whole bed to myself!”

Grandma’s Feather Bed by John Denver

I loved this song when I was little, so it was fun to do it for our instrument play-along. Here’s a video of John Denver singing it:

[C] When I was a [F] little bitty boy
[C] Just up off the [G] floor,
We [C] used to go down to [F] Grandma’s house
[C] Every month [G] end or [C] so.
We’d have [C] chicken pie, [F] country ham,
[C] And homemade butter [G] on the bread.
But the [C] best darn thing about [F] Grandma’s house
Was the [G] great big feather [C] bed

It was [C] nine feet high, [F] six feet wide,
[C] Soft as a downy chick.
It was made from the feathers of [F] four-eleven geese,
[C] Took a whole bolt of cloth for the tick.
It’d [C] hold eight kids, [F] four hound dogs,
And the [C] piggy we stole from the shed.
Didn’t get much sleep, but we [F] had a lot of fun
On [G] Grandma’s feather [C] bed!

After supper we’d sit around the fire,
The old folks’d spit and chew.
Pa would talk about the farm in the war,
And granny’d sing a ballad or two.
I’d sit and listen and watch the fire,
Till the cobwebs filled my head.
Next thing I’d know I’d wake up in the morn’
In the middle of the old feather bed.


Well, I love my ma, I love my pa,
I love granny and granpa too.
Been fishing with my uncle, wrestled with my cousin,
And I even kissed Aunt Lou, eww!
But if I ever had to make a choice,
I guess it oughta be said,
That I’d trade ’em all plus the gal down the road,
For Grandma’s feather bed!


Stay & Play: Bedtime Paper Dolls

I based this cute craft on one I found on Fun With Friends at Storytime. Before the storytime, I folded pieces of colored printer paper in half, and cut the top half off of the left side of each sheet. Then I printed out some blank paper dolls (like these from Printablee.com).

For the storytime, I put out the blank paper dolls, some markers and crayons, and glue sticks. The kids enjoyed decorating their paper dolls, then gluing them onto the right side of the paper, and “tucking them in” by folding the left side of the paper on top.

Happy Festival of Sleep! If you have any favorite books or songs about Sleep or Bedtime, please share them in the comments below.