Well, my Toddler Storytime this week got rained out, but we luckily the weather held for our Musical Storytime. Our libraries are participating in a program called San Mateo County Reads, sponsored by the County Office of Education, so our featured book was Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison. We had copies of the book to give out, along with copies of Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes for older kids.
On a side note our library system recently purchased portable PA systems for each branch, and these have made a HUGE difference for outdoor storytime. I can put the speaker on one of the picnic tables closer to the audience, and use a headset mic when I read and sing. At the first outdoor storytime, I had to use a microphone on a stand, which was really awkward for reading aloud. But now I can move around freely.
Here are the books and songs that we used:
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry; illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Our featured picture book, and this year’s picture book selection for San Mateo County Reads, this is a beautiful story about an African American father and daughter, and their struggles to recreate a special hairstyle for a very special day. The book is actually based on an Oscar Award-winning short film, which was originally funded by a Kickstarter pitched by the author. (Warning: the film will make you cry!). The book was a bit longer than the ones I usually read for my musical storytime audience, but since we had given out copies to each family, they could follow along as we read, giving the kids a really clear view of the illustrations. It was sweet to see all of the caregivers and kids sitting on their blankets and looking at the book together.
Who Has Wiggle-Waggle Toes? by Vicki Shiefman and Francesca Chessa
This is a really cute book, reminiscent of Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe, but featuring children instead of animals. It begins by asking who has different body parts (wiggle-waggle toes, hokey-pokey heads, and big, bold bottoms), and then asks the kids to move each part in different ways. I’ve noticed that the kids in the outdoor storytime tend to stay seated on their blankets, and this was a great way to encourage them to move around a bit more. Since the families were spread out, my coworker, Claire, walked a second copy of the book around to help the kids see the illustrations (she says it’s fun to hear the caregivers talking to their kids about things they see in the pictures. This has turned out to be an unexpected bonus of outdoor storytime, and a new way of promoting interactions between parents and kids.
There Is a Bird on My Head? by Mo Willems
This is one of my favorite Elephant and Piggie books, where Gerald the Elephant is unhappy to discover that a couple of birds have decided to build a nest on top of his head. Claire drew a pig nose on a face mask and read the part of Piggie, and I put on a set of elephant ears to be Gerald. We had a bird puppet, and even a nest of baby bird puppets to put on our heads, which was an extra challenge, but hilarious for the kids, since they kept falling off. Lots of fun!
I LOVE MY HAIR
I came up with this one to go with Hair Love. It’s to the tune of Love Somebody, Yes, I Do.
I love my hair, yes I do! (nod)
Love to wash it with shampoo (Mime washing your hair)
Rinse it, dry it (shake head vigorously), style it too.
Don’t you love my new hairdo? (fluff your hair with your hands)
This old Scottish song is one of my favorites to sing and play. I often have the kids suggest their own foods for the different parts of Aiken Drum’s face, but this time I printed out large pictures of meatballs, cheese, pizza, and spaghetti noodles, and taped them to the back of the large notepad I use to display song lyrics. The ukulele/guitar chords are in brackets:
[C] There was a man lived [F] in the moon
[C] In the moon, [G] in the moon.
There [C] was a man lived [F] in the moon,
And his [C] name was [G] Aiken [C] Drum.
And he played upon a ladle, a ladle, a ladle,
He played upon a ladle, and his name was Aiken Drum.
His eyes were made of meatballs, meatballs, meatballs,
His eyes were made of meatballs, and his name was Aiken Drum
His nose was made of cheese….
His mouth was made of pizza…
His hair was made of spaghetti… etc.
THE HOKEY POKEY
This one worked perfectly as a follow-up to Who Has Wiggle-Waggle Toes. Here are the chords:
[C] You put your right hand in,
You put your right hand out.
You put your right hand in,
[G] And you shake it all about!
You do the Hokey Pokey
And you turn yourself around,
That’s what it’s all [C] about!
HEAD AND SHOULDERS, KNEES AND TOES
This one needs no explanation, except that I like to sing it three it times, getting faster and faster, and I always add a “beep beep” after the word nose. I also point to each body part before we sing the song the first time, and make the inevitable joke, “Did everyone bring their heads today?,” which usually gets a laugh from the grown-ups.
NO ONE LIKE YOU by Andra Willis Muhoberac:
For years, my manager Thom Ball and I used this as an opening song for Musical Storytime, and we recorded it with two storytime volunteers (Ellen Ron and Sue Beckmeyer) on a CD we created to give away to families. It’s such a sweet and beautiful song.
I like your [C] eyes.
I like your [F] nose.
I like your [G] mouth.
Your ears, your hands, your [C] toes.
I like your face.
It’s really [F] you.
I [Dm] like the things you say and [G] do.
There’s not a [F] single [G] soul
Who [C] sees the [Am] skies
The [G] way you see them.
Through your [C] eyes.
[F] And aren’t you [G] glad.
[E]You should be [Am] glad.
There’s [C] no one, [G] no one
Exactly like [C] you.
STAY AND PLAY ACTIVITY
For our stay and play activity, I printed out these adorable Nature Collage Critters from The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Camping on TommyJohn.com (the link includes a bunny, a bear, and a raccoon). I gave out glue sticks, so the kids could gather leaves and other small objects from around the park to glue onto their picture. This was a big hit!
Any other favorite books or songs about parts of the body? Please share them in the comments.