What a Feeling! Books about Emotions

Emotion Wheel by Olivia

Emotion Wheel by Olivia

This week for Family Storytime, I read books about emotions.  I noticed that most of the books out there with that theme focus on negative emotions like anger and fear, but they are some of my favorites.  Here are the ones we read:

grumpy

What are You So Grumpy About? by Tom Lichtenheld (Amazon.com link)

This book does a great job of illustrating the frustrations of being a kid: boring grown-up conversations that never end; trips to dull museums; bland grown-up cereals.  Tom Lichtenheld takes each one to an hilarious extreme, ending with the worst: somebody making you laugh when you were trying to be grumpy, and making you forget what you were grumpy about.  This one always gets laughs, from the parents as well as the kids.

friend

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

My favorite of the Elephant and Piggie books, and one of the best for very beginning readers.   When Piggie sees that Gerald is sad, she tries to cheer him up by dressing as a cowboy, a clown, and a robot, but only makes him feel worse.  I had the kids say the repeated “Ohhhhh”s along with Gerald.   A good, funny story about friendship as well as emotion.  The kids all loved it.  By now they are all so familiar with Gerald and Piggie books that they couldn’t wait to get to the end page, which always has Mo Willem’s Pigeon hidden inside of one of the illustrations.

mousemad

Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban; illustrated by Henry Cole (Amazon.com link)

This is one of the best picture books about coping with anger.   Mouse is so angry, he jumps up and down, stomps his feet, screams, and rolls on the ground.  The problem is that other animals (hare, bear, bobcat, and hedgehog), each do those things much better, and when he tries to emulate them, he always ends up falling into a mucky mud puddle and getting even angrier.  Finally, he stands still…and breathes…something he can do better than anyone else.  A great way to teach an important skill for regaining calm, but taught in the context of a lively, non-preachy read-aloud.  My daughter, who could teach bobcat a thing or two about screaming, loves this book, so I’m hoping its quiet lesson will rub off.

crankenstein

Crankenstein by Samantha Berger; illustrated by Dan Santat (Amazon.com link)

Another funny book about being grumpy.  Crankenstein is a monster.  When you say, “Good Morning!  How are you?” he says, “MEHRRRR!”  He also says “MEHRRR” to lots of other things: getting ready for school, standing in long lines, and going to bed.  But then he meets another Crankenstein, who makes him laugh.  The kids enjoyed joining in on the “MEHRRR’s,” and this one grabbed the attention of some of the boys who love monsters.

SONGS:

If You’re Happy And You Know It:  I added new verses with other emotions: If you’re sad and you know it, cry ‘Boohoo!’;  If you’re shy and you know it, hide your face…peek-a-boo!;  If you’re grumpy and you know it, stomp your feet; etc.

INSTRUMENT PLAY WITH A CD:

My Energy by Laurie Berkner from Under a Shady Tree (Amazon.com link)

CRAFT: Emotion wheel

Emotion wheel by Sarah

Emotion wheel by Sarah

This was an easy craft I found on the Allen County Public Library Youth Services web site, on a page with a list of other good books and songs about emotions.  I adapted it a little, and created a Word document with circles for the kids to draw faces in.  You can print the template here.  I also cut out arrows out of cardstock, and punched holes in them for the metal brads (I attached the arrows to the page ahead of time because that part seemed a little tricky, and the brads are a bit sharp.  I just pushed them through the middle of the paper and twisted them a bit until the arrow could spin easily, then separated the metal tabs on the back of the page to hold them in place).

The kids had fun drawing in their faces.  I liked that this made for a simple reading activity too, since they had to learn the emotion word (happy, sad, angry, or scared), in order to know what kind of face to draw.

OTHER BOOKS:

The great thing about this theme is that you can really use just about any picture book and talk about the emotions the characters may be feeling.

Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods that Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis; illustrated by Laura Cornell (Amazon.com link)

One of the few celebrity authors I actually like.  In this book Jamie Lee Curtis explores a wide range of emotions based on situations that kids can easily relate to: feeling angry at not being included in a friend’s playdate; being sad after a fight with a friend; feeling happy at learning how to do something new.  The text is simple, well-written rhymed verse, and the illustrations are whimsical and full of feeling.  The book comes with an emotion wheel at the back, although I noticed the one from the library copy we have was missing.

How Are You Peeling?  Foods with Moods by Saxton Freymann and Joost Eiffers (Amazon.com link)

The emotional vegetables and fruits in this book, all made from actual food, are hilarious: angry peppers, kissing strawberries, joyful peas.  This is a great book for a food-themed storytime as well.

Baby Happy, Baby Sad by Leslie Patricelli (Amazon.com link)

Perfect for babies, toddlers, and beginning readers, this board book goes through all the things that make baby happy (getting an ice cream!) and sad (dropping the ice cream).

Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman (Amazon.com link)

I’m including this one because it does a great job of conveying a common experience that everyone, especially young kids, can relate to: being SO excited that you rush in and do something you regret later.  This story is about an adorable dog named Katie, and three little kittens.  When her owner brings home three new kittens, Katie can’t contain herself: she rushes in howling and scares the kittens.  Then she feels ashamed and sad.  The cycle repeats several times, until she finally learns to control her excitement.  The illustrations are darling (no one conveys shame better than a dog), and it’s a terrific read-aloud, with lots of opportunities for kids to howl.

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

Another story all parents and kids can relate to: Llama Llama feels alone and scared in bed, while Mama Llama is on the phone downstairs.  Adorable rhyming book with wonderful illustrations.  Many of the other Llama Llama books (Llama Llama Mad at Mama; Llama Llama Misses Mama) would work for this theme as well.

When Sophie Gets Angry…Really Really Angry by Molly Bang (Amazon.com link) Recommended by Jeanine Asche and Erica Hohmann

Vivid colors and bold descriptions capture just how it feels to be really, really angry, and how Sophie calms down.   This is a simple story about a little girl’s frustration and anger that kids can easily relate to, and one that conveys both the overwhelming feeling of rage and the fact that it eventually passes.

Grumpy Gertie by Sam Lloyd (Amazon.com link) Recommended by Shelley Jacobsen

I haven’t read this one yet, but it looks like a fun, simple way to teach kids that the face they project to the world can affect others.  Gertie is determined to tell the world just how grumpy she is, until a monkey teaches her how to turn her frown upside down.

The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen; illustrated by Daniel X. Hanna (Amazon.com link) Recommended by Kim Day

Adorable rhyming story about a pouty fish, whose ocean friends all try to cheer him up, until he turns upside down and becomes a kissy fish instead.

What are your favorite books about emotions?

Scary Stories!

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Q-tip Skeleton by Sophia

I love Halloween. The only thing that frightens me about the holiday is that I know the instant it’s over, it will be Christmas. And not just in the stores, because Christmas has already begun its red and green invasion across our local Rite Aid. No, I mean, that as soon as October ends, that whole eight weeks between November 1 and December 25 will vanish like a pepperoni pizza in a room full of teenagers.

But for now, I get to enjoy the huge variety of great picture books about monsters, witches, pumpkins, and ghosts. The only challenge is gauging the scariness level for the wide range of ages I read to. This week, I did Halloween-themed storytimes for two groups of toddlers, two groups of preschoolers, two second grade classes, and my family storytime group (mostly Kindergartners). This post is mostly about my family storytime, but I’ll list some of my favorites for the other age groups below:

monster

When a Monster is Born by Sean Taylor and Nick Sharatt

“When a monster is born, there are two possibilities: either it’s a Faraway in the Forests Monster or it’s an Under Your Bed Monster.” This book explores all the different things that might happen with each decision a monster might make, each with hilarious twists: it might eat the principal, it might meet a kitchen girl and fall in love. The kids love joining in on the repeated line, “There are two possibilities.” This one was quickly snatched up by one of my family storytime kids. The parents enjoyed it too, especially the line, “Hey, I’m a monster. You’re a monster. Let’s get married!”

peas

The Monster Who Ate My Peas by Danny Schnitzlein and Matt Faulkner

I love this book. It’s rare to find a long story in rhymed verse that reads so well all the way through, and is easy for the kids to follow. When a boy doesn’t want to eat his peas, a horrifying monster appears to offer a trade: he’ll eat the peas in exchange for the boy’s new soccer ball. The boy accepts, but the next time he has to eat peas, the monster returns asking for his bike. I had read this to two classes of second graders the morning before my family storytime, and I thought it was really interesting that, when I asked them if the boy should give up his ball or his bike, most of the older kids said, “Yes.” (The Kindergarten kids at family storytime said, “No” every time.). But when the monster demands the boy’s puppy, all the kids were emphatically against the deal, and also worried about what was going to happen to the dog. Luckily, the boy decides to eat the peas himself, and the monster disappears in a deliciously satisfying ending. A couple of the Kindergartners thought this one was scary, which surprised me because I remembered reading it to them a year or so before. But then I know from my own kids that they find different things frightening at different ages. The second graders loved it.

crankenstein

Crankenstein by Samantha Berger; illustrated by Dan Santat

This one was recommended by my friend Kerri, on her blog What is ML Reading? It’s a fun read-aloud because the kids get to make that Frankenstein “Mehrrr!” noise all the way through. It describes all the things that can turn a normal kid into Crankenstein: waiting in long lines, running out of maple syrup, getting ready for school, and bedtime. It would pair well with another of my favorite books: What are You so Grumpy About? by Tom Lichtenheld. This one got snatched up too.

CreepyCarrots1

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds; illustrated by Peter Brown

Always a hit! As I told the kids: this one’s only scary if you’re a rabbit. But it has all the hallmarks of a horror movie: dark shadows, creepy breathing, things that aren’t there when you turn around. In this case, the monsters are three creepy carrots, who stalk poor Jasper Rabbit until he decides to take matters into his own hands. It’s a fun read, with a funny twist at the end, and it works for a wide range of ages.

SONGS:

Jack-o-Lantern (For the tune, click here)

Jack-o-lantern, Jack-o-lantern,
You are such a spooky sight!
As you sit there in the window
Looking out at the night.

You were once a yellow pumpkin
Growing on a pretty vine.
Now you are a jack-o-lantern,
Let your candlelight shine!

1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Witches

1 little, 2 little, 3 little Witches (hold up three fingers)
Fly over haystacks, fly over ditches (fly your hand around)
Fly over moonbeams without any hitches
Hey ho! Halloween night! (Clap!)

1 little, 2 little, 3 little witches
Flew over barbed wire, tore their britches
Had to go home and get some stitches (mime sewing)
Hey ho! Halloween night! (Clap!)

On Halloween (to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus)

The ghosts in the house go, “Boo! Boo! Boo!”
“Boo! Boo! Boo! Boo! Boo! Boo!”
The ghosts in the house go, “Boo! Boo! Boo!”
On Halloween!

The witches in the house go “Hee hee hee!”…

The bats in the house go “Eee eee eee!”…

The kids at the door say “Trick or treat!”

I asked for suggestions from the kids for other spooky Halloween things, or things they plan to be for Halloween.

Five Little Pumpkins

Five Little Pumpkins sitting on a gate (hold up five fingers)
The first one said, “Oh my! It’s getting late!”
The second one said, “There are witches in the air!”
The third one said, “But we don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run!”
The fifth one said, “It’s Halloween fun!”
Then “OOOOOOH” went the wind,
And out went the light! (Clap)
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight. (roll hands)

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Q-Tip Skeleton by Olivia

CRAFT: Q-Tip Skeletons

I am grateful to the Crafts Ideas website for including a printable template for the skull. I cut those out ahead of time and broke up the Q-Tips into different sizes. One thing I learned the hard way: it’s much easier to break Q-tips with your hands than to cut them with scissors. With the scissors, I was wearing out my hands, and Q-tip bits were flying across the reference desk like tiny cotton missiles!

The kids used glue sticks to glue their skeletons to black paper. If you do a search for Q-Tip Skeletons online, you’ll see an astounding variety of styles. Some of them get pretty elaborate, and include fingers and toes.

OTHER HALLOWEEN BOOKS (with recommended ages):

Babies and Toddlers:

Halloween Countdown by Jack Prelutsky; illustrated by Dan Yaccarino

Wonderful counting rhyme in a board book format. The ghosts are adorable, and there’s a “Boo!” at the end. This one really works well for any age.

Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino

A classic board book of the fingerplay, Five Little Pumpkins (see above). Most of the kids knew this one already.

Tucker’s Spooky Halloween by Leslie McGuirk

Tucker is an adorable white dog who would like to be something spooky for Halloween, but his owner has other plans. Simple, cute story in a board book format.

Preschool:

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman; illustrated by S. D. Schindler

A witch grows a pumpkin for pumpkin pie, but is unable to pull it off the vine. One by one, different Halloween creatures try their hand until a bat suggests the solution. Fun, repetitive story with great illustrations.

Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas

When Duck gets his head stuck in a pumpkin, his friends Mouse and Pig think he is a monster. Short, funny read-aloud with a lot of visual humor. This is one of my daughter’s favorites.

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

Leonardo is a terrible monster. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t scare anyone, until he meets Sam. This is a sweet story, and perfect for storytime because of the large pages with lots of white space. You have to take a big breath when you get to the page where Sam explains why he’s crying. I love everything Mo Willems writes.

Elementary Grades:

The Skeleton in the Closet by Alice Schertle; illustrated by Curtis Jobling

Another wonderful rhyming story. I have actually read this one to younger kids, but I point out the cuteness of the skeleton and tone down the spookiness in my voice. A skeleton climbs up the stairs of a little boy’s house, saying it’s “Coming to get some skeleton clothes!” In the end, it raids the little boy’s closet and comes out fully clothed.

Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Scott Campbell

I’ve read this one for Valentine’s Day too. Poor Mortimer tries everything to meet the girl of his dreams: giving out chocolates (full of worms), hearts (the organ kind), and even diamond rings (with the finger still attached). But nothing works until he places a personal ad in the paper, and meets Millicent, who loses her shoe (and her foot) at the ball. This one got lots of appreciative “Ews!” and “Yucks” from the second grade, both for the gruesome bits and the romantic ones.

The Book that Eats People by John Perry; illustrated by Mark Fearing

The second graders and I had fun acting scared of this book, because IT EATS PEOPLE! Deliciously gruesome, but not for younger kids unless they have a high tolerance for horror.

Next week I will be doing Halloween books again, probably sticking with the lighter, funnier ones. I would love suggestions, so please send me your favorites and I’ll list them below.