Pet Projects: A Storytime for National Pet Week

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:

Books:

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.

Songs:

B-I-N-G-O

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:

CHORUS

[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!

VERSE 1

[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.

CHORUS

[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!

CHORUS

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.

Going to the Dogs

photo (38)

Envelope Dog Puppet by Olivia

I decided to do a dog-themed storytime this week.  For once I was faced with the problem of having too many great books to choose from!   The kids loved the four I read, and they all got checked out at the end, but there were so many others I didn’t get to:

how-much-is-that-doggie-in-the-window-trapani

How Much is That Doggie in the Window? by Iza Trapani (based on the song by Bob Merrill)

This is my daughter’s current favorite book, and one of my all time favorite read-alouds.  Parents often ask me if it’s the full version of the original song (which actually hit #1 on the Billboard charts in 1953).  It’s not.  The original song is about a woman leaving on a trip to California, who wants to buy a dog to protect her sweetheart from burglars.  The version in this book is by Iza Trapani (author/illustrator of the classic, The Itsy Bitsy Spider).  It’s about a little boy who hopes to raise $60 to buy the adorable puppy in the pet shop window, but ends up spending all his money to help his family.   The illustrations are adorable, and I still get choked up at the happy ending.   This one is always a hit.  Tonight it got snatched up immediately!

breath

Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey

Poor Hally Tosis, a cute, friendly dog with horrible breath.  When Mr. and Mrs. Tosis decide to find her a new home, their kids try everything they can think of to solve her bad breath problem.  Nothing works, until two burglars creep into the house one night.  Can Hally save the day, along with her place in the family?  Filled with groan-worthy puns, and lots of visual jokes, this one appeals to both kids and adults.  It was quickly claimed by one of the kids as well.

doghouse

The Doghouse by Jan Thomas

Jan Thomas is a master of storytime read-alouds, always finding some way to interact with the audience.  In this one, several animal friends lose a ball IN THE DOGHOUSE!!  One by one, they venture inside to get it…but never come out!  The story is short, suspenseful, and funny, and the kids loved joining in on the phrase “IN THE DOGHOUSE!”

dogblue

Dog Blue by Polly Dunbar

Bertie has always wanted a dog.  A blue dog.  He wants one so badly that he often pretends to be a dog himself.  But then a real dog shows up: a perfect, beautiful, spotted dog who needs an owner.  But the new dog isn’t blue at all.  This is a sweet, funny story with Polly Dunbar’s characteristic quirky surprises.  (I also love her book Penguin).

SONGS: I did B-I-N-G-O with a dog hand puppet, who licked all the kids faces.  We barked the missing letters instead of clapping them.

CRAFT: Envelope Dog Puppets

photo (40)

Envelope Dog Puppet by Joaquin

I found this craft on the Twiggle Magazine web site, and was very happy because the instructions included a template you could print out for the ears, eyes, and nose.  Basically you fold a business-sized envelope in half down the middle, then cut it along the fold (I found it worked better if I sealed the envelope first).  Then you tape the inner halves of the cut envelope together (on the side where the seal is), so that you can slide your hand into the outer part of the envelope to make a puppet.  I cut out the ears, eyes, and noses ahead of time, and the kids glued them on, along with some wiggle eyes.  I gave them crayons to add spots and other decorations.  It’s always fun to see how differently everyone’s craft comes out.

OTHER BOOKS

Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman

I wish I could have gotten hold of this one in time.  When Sarah Ann brings home three adorable kittens, her dog Katie loves them so much she can’t help but howl, scaring the kittens and upsetting her owner.  The illustrations in this book are priceless, and the howling makes it so much fun to read.

Harry, the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham

This one of my childhood favorites, about a dog who gets so dirty, his family no longer recognizes him.  I read it often at storytime.

Angus and the Ducks by Marjorie Flack

I remember my grandmother reading this to me, and I still have the copy she gave to me on my birthday when I was 3.  Angus is a curious Scottish Terrier who wonders about a strange noise he hears on the other side of the hedge, until one day he gets the rare opportunity to explore.   The illustrations are wonderful, and I’ve always loved the way Flack uses sound effects, capital letters, and pacing.  Great storytelling.

Bertie Was a Watch Dog by Rick Walton and Arthur Robins

One of many, many dog books about pets thwarting burglars, but this one is a lot of fun.  Bertie is a Watch Dog, but not because he is big, or mean, or scary.  It is because he is the size of a watch.  But of course, he still finds a way to save the day when a nasty burglar comes to call.  I can never read this book as well as my boss, Thom, who portrays the burglar with an hilarious heavy Cockney accent.   But I still love it as a read-aloud because the kids get to join in on all the barking.

Chewy Louie by Howie Schneider

Love this one, and not just because my own black lab ate not only the siding of our house, but also my 11th grade teacher’s copy of The Epic of Gilgamesh with all of her teaching notes inside.  As a puppy, Louie eats everything: sticks, toy trains, his dog dish.  His family hires several trainers, but nothing seems to work, and they fear they’ll have to give Louie away.  Of course, it all works out in the end.  The wry sense of humor is what makes this book, but the illustrations are hilarious too.

The Hallowiener by Dav Pilkey

Recommended by Thom Ball, branch manager of the Pacifica Libraries.  I wish I had remembered this one, since it is also perfect for Halloween.   Oscar the dachshund has enough problems with being called “Wiener Dog!” by the other dogs, and then his mother expects him to spend Halloween night dressed as…a hot dog.  Filled with Pilkey’s characteristic puns and visual humor, this is one of my favorite October read-alouds.

Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale by William Kotzwinkle

Recommended by local Mom Ria Tajbl.  When Walter ruins the family yard sale by driving away all the customers, his owner sells him for $10 to a clown with a secret plan to use Walter’s gas to inflate noxious balloons he plans to use to help him stun guards so he can rob banks.   Gotta love Walter!  Ria also recommended the classic easy reader Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman.

Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey

Recommended by school media specialist Linda Anderson.  When Stanley the dog discovers that he can get away with lying on the forbidden couch while his people are out, he wonders what other liberties he can take.  Soon he is throwing a wild party with all the dogs in town!

Old Mother Hubbard by Jane Cabrera

Recommended by Christina Olson, who says it was one her kids read to pieces.  Funny extended version of the classic nursery rhyme with bright, whimsical illustrations.

Carl’s Afternoon in the Park by Alexandra Day

Recommended by Tanya Scoville.  The Carl books are sweet, beautifully-illustrated, mostly wordless adventures about a baby and a kind Rottweiler.  In this one they spend the day in the park together, riding on a carousel and going to a zoo.

No Roses for Harry by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham

Recommended by Barbara Beyer.  In this sequel to Harry, the Dirty Dog, Harry tries desperately to get rid of his new present from Grandma: a sweater with big roses all over it.

What are your favorite picture books about dogs?