Mother Knows Best: A Storytime for Mother’s Day

Yesterday at our Outdoor Musical Storytime, we did stories and songs about mothers. Here’s what we did:


Toad on the Road: Mama and Me by Stephen Shaskan

This is a really cute story about a Mama toad who drives a tow truck, accompanied by her little one. As they drive along, they rescue a goat who has run out of gas, a fox with a flat tire, and a moose in the muck. Finally, they arrive at a party, where they discover where all of their newfound friends have been going.

Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke; illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

Adorable book about a mother and her baby, who are shopping in a Nigerian market. The vendors can’t resist giving Baby different foods: bananas, oranges, chin-chin biscuits, and more. Each time, Baby eats one, and puts the rest in the basket on Mama’s head, without her knowing. Eventually Mama notices how heavy her basket is, and is shocked all the additional food. The crowd laughed at the ending, when the mother says Baby must be very hungry, since he’s had nothing to eat.

Everything is Mama by Jimmy Fallon

Very simple but funny book that shows a variety of baby animals who call everything they see “Mama.” Claire read the part of the babies, and I read the other parts. The kids enjoyed chiming in on the “Mama’s.”


We Bounce and We Bounce and We Stop

One of my all-time favorite storytime songs. It works so well for different ages, and you can do different motions for each verse. We did clapping, turning, leaning, and stomping. The kids always love it!


We bounce and we bounce and we stop!


We bounce and we bounce and we stop!


We bounce and we bounce and we bounce and we bounce,

C                                          G7                       C

And we bounce and we bounce and we stop!

Five Dinosaurs by Nancy Stewart

This one was a fun tie in to Toad on the Road: Mama and Me. I have the kids pretend to drive the car as we sing.

[C] There were five dinosaurs, [F] driving in cars,
[C] Having a really good [G7] time.
They said, [C] “We’ll step on the gas, and [F] go really fast!”
And they [C] did…until one [G7] had a flat [C] tire.
Ka-thunk! Ka-thunk! Ka-thunk! Ka-thunk!
She said, “Go on without me!”

Then there were four dinosaurs…

Repeat, until the last dinosaur has a flat tire, then say,

“She said, ‘I know! I’ll fix the tire! and then I’ll pick up all my friends!”

Then there were five dinosaurs,
Riding in a car, having a really good time.
They said, “Step on the gas, and go really fast!”
And they did, and down the road they went flying.


Five Days Old by Laurie Berkner

We sang this after Baby Goes to Market. It’s a fun action song, and very catchy! Here’s Laurie Berkner’s video:

[C] I’m sitting here, I’m [F] one day old, and [C] I’m sitting here I’m [F] two [G7] days [C] old.

[C] I’m sitting here, I’m [F] three days old, and [C] I’m sitting here I’m [F] four [G7] days [C] old.

[F] One [C] day, I’ll [F] be a [C] year, then [F] I’ll be [C] two, then [G7] three, then four.

[C] As for now I’m [F] sitting here, I’m [C] five days old and [F] no [G7] days [C] more!

I’m jumping up, I’m one day old…

I’m clapping my hands, I’m one day old…

I’m kicking my legs, I’m one day old…

Getting really tired, I’m one day old…

I’m jumping up, I’m one day old..


This song is always a favorite with both kids and caregivers. I go over the sign language for “I Love You” before we sing the song together. Here’s a link to a YouTube video from Super Simple Songs with the tune:

Skidamarink a-dink, a-dink
Skidamarink a-doo
I love you.
Skidamarink a-dink, a-dink
Skidamarink a-doo
I love you.
I love you in the morning
And in the afternoon.
I love you in the evening
And underneath the moon.
Oh, skidamarink a-dink, a-dink
Skidamarink a-doo
I love you.

Circle of the Sun by Sally Rogers

We did this as our instrument play-along at the end. It’s a pretty folk song, that works well because you can add your own verses about different “firsts” in the life of a child. We sang, “Babies take their first steps in a circle of the sun,” and “Babies say their first words…”

[C] Babies are born in a circle of the sun,

Circle of the sun on their [G7] birthing [C] day.

[C] Babies are born in a circle of the sun,

Circle of the sun on their [G7] birthing [C] day.


[C] Clouds to the North, Clouds to the South,

[F] Wind and [C] rain to the [F] East and the [G7] West,

[C] Babies are born in a circle of the sun,

Circle of the sun on their [G7] birthing [C] day.

Stay & Play: Dot Paint Hearts

I intended this to be a resist type project, where the kids used the dot markers to color all around different sized hearts, and then removed the hearts to reveal the heart-shape in white, like the example on the right. But the kids seemed to be more caught up in decorating the paper hearts, and some of them turned out really well (the kid on the right was VERY enthusiastic about the dot markers!).

In any case, to prepare, I cut several paper hearts out of cardstock, and then covered the back with restickable glue stick. For the Stay & Play, I put out the paper hearts, sheets of cardstock, and dot markers.

I think if I did this again, I would either just have the kids decorate paper hearts, or pre-stick the paper frames of the hearts I cut out onto the cardstock, so they could enjoy decorating a big heart, and still have the magic moment when they peeled the frame away.


Where’s My Mom? by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

At my preschool visits this month I’ve read sharing this fun rhyming story about a monkey who can’t find his mother. A butterfly tries to help by pointing out various animals (an elephant, a frog, a snake, etc.), but none of them are the monkey’s Mom. The monkey complains that none of the animals the butterfly has found look like him, but the butterfly points out that her baby caterpillars look nothing like her either. The kids love yelling out, “No, that’s an elephant!” etc. on each page, and the book has a wonderful message about how not all children look like their parents.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell; illustrated by Patrick Benson

One of my all-time favorite books for toddlers. An adorable family of baby owls wake up to discover that their mother is missing. At first they reassure themselves that she’s probably gone hunting, but then they start to worry. Luckily, their mother arrives just as they are starting to panic. The beautiful illustrations and repeated lines for kids to chime in on, along with the reassuring message make this perfect for storytime.

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

Sweet, funny story about a little girl who puts her Mommy to bed, with all of the usual negotiating and stalling tactics.

Hush, Little Trucker by Kim Norman; illustrated by Toshiki Nakamura

Another book I’ve been reading at the preschools lately is this truck-themed version of Hush, Little Baby. When a little boy loses his toy truck, his mother helps him look for it using a variety of construction vehicles.

What are your favorite stories, songs, or crafts for Mother’s Day? Please share them in the comments below.


All About My Mother: Books for Mother’s Day

photo (100)

Big, fun crowd this week, with a wide range of ages.  In honor of Mother’s Day, we read books about Moms.


Baby Brains and Robomom by Simon James ( link)

Mr. and Mrs. Brains hoped to have a smart baby, but they never expected one as smart as Baby Brains, who not only talks, but builds amazing inventions.  One day, hoping to save his parents from their daily chores, he invents a robot who can iron, cook, and wash the car.  The problem is that the new Robomom also wants to do the things Baby Brains prefers his parents to do: changing his diaper, putting him to bed.  The other problem is that Robomom is working so hard that she eventually explodes.  The kids loved the explosion part.  Delightfully far-fetched and silly, this book demonstrates that there are some things technology still can’t do.


Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey ( link)

This was one of my mother-in-law’s favorite books as a child, and I think of her whenever I read it.  It made for a nice old-fashioned contrast to Baby Brains and Robomom.  Sal and her mother are picking blueberries on the same hill as a mother bear and her cub.  When the two young ones swap places, both their moms are in for a big surprise.  This one was a bit long for the younger kids, but the older ones enjoyed it, and it was snatched up at the end.  A gentle and timeless story.


Llama Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney ( link)

Given how popular this book and its sequels are, I was surprised that a number of the kids had never read it.  A rhyming story about a llama lying alone in bed and calling for his mother, then panicking when she doesn’t come right away.  The illustrations are big and adorable, and the story is something both kids and parents can relate to.  I love the mother’s frustrated, but soothing reminder at the end, “Mama Llama’s always near, even when she’s not right here.”  There was a bit of llama drama at storytime over who was going to get to check out this book, and I’m ashamed to say that my daughter was the instigator (my husband couldn’t get off work in time tonight to watch our kids, so she tagged along with me).  Anyway, the book is clearly a hit.


Love You When You Whine by Emily Jenkins; illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier ( link)

This book got lots of laughs, especially from the moms.  It’s a list of things a little kitten does that upsets his mom, and how his mom still loves him always: “Love you when you whine.  Love you when you interrupt…Love you when you scream ‘Lollipop Lollipop Lollipop’ for forty-five minutes on line at the bank.”  I usually add a disclaimer not to try these things at home, especially hiding mom’s keys and painting the dog.  It was a hit though, and another mild dispute arose over who was going to get to take it home (thankfully not involving my daughter this time).


Five Days Old

Great Laurie Berkner song that the kids enjoyed.  I played it on the ukulele, which is tricky with the jumping up and down.  Click here for Laurie Berkner’s video.

Peanut, Peanut Butter

A song I learned at Girl Scout camp a thousand years ago.  The version I sing goes like this (click on the triangle to hear the first verse):

First you take the peanuts and you pick ’em, you pick ’em,
You pick ’em, pick ’em, pick ’em! (Mime picking peanuts)
Then you smash ’em, you smash ’em, you smash ’em, smash ’em, smash ’em! (clap hands together each time you “smash”)
Then you spread ’em, you spread ’em, you spread ’em, spread ’em, spread ’em! (mime spreading peanut butter)
Singing “Peanut, peanut butter…jelly!
Peanut, peanut butter…jelly!”

Then you take the berries and you pick ’em… (repeat the first verse)

Then you take the sandwich and you bite it, you bite it, you bite it,
Bite it, bite it!
Then you chew it, you chew it, you chew it, chew it, chew it!
Then you swallow it, you swallow it, you swallow it, swallow it, swallow it.
Singing, “Peanut, peanut butter…jelly!
Peanut, peanut butter…jelly!” (I usually sing this part in a slightly garbled voice, as if I have peanut butter on the roof of my mouth. Then we all mime drinking a glass of milk).

No More Monkeys

I gave out instruments for this one, and played it on the ukulele.  It’s the wonderfully catchy Asheba version of Five Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed from Putumayo’s Animal Playground album.

CRAFT: All About My Mother 

My Mommy by Olivia, Sarah, and Lily

My Mommy by Olivia, Sarah, and Lily

I stole this idea from my daughter’s preschool last year, and adapted it for Father’s Day as well.  I love it because the kids’ answers are so adorable.  (Last year my daughter told her teacher that I was 4-years old.  This year, of course, she said I was 5).  Here’s the .doc I created: My Mommy is  Most of the kids needed help filling out the form, so I interviewed each of them and wrote in their answers, but they enjoyed drawing pictures of their moms.


My Mom by Anthony Browne ( link)

Lovely tribute to a Mom who is a fantastic cook, a brilliant juggler (of daily tasks), a magic gardener, and much more.  The illustrations are fun and full of humor.   It would also be a good example to use in a lesson on similes, which are used throughout the text (she “sings like an angel,” and “roars like a lion,” etc.)

Mom Pie by Lynne Jonell; illustrated by Petra Mathers ( link)

When two brothers are frustrated that their mom is too busy preparing for company to pay attention to them, they decide to make a “Mom Pie,” made of all the things that remind them of her.  Sweet story with childlike stick-figure drawings.  This book, along with Mommy, Go Away by the same author and illustrator, do a nice job of capturing the wistfulness and frustration that kids often feel, in the context of a warm and playful story.

Please Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee; illustrated by Kadir Nelson ( link)

One of the few celebrity picture books I actually like.  A simple, repetitive rhyme that follows an adorable toddler throughout her day with her mom: “Go back to bed, baby, please, baby please / Not on your head, baby, baby, baby, please!”  The illustrations by Kadir Nelson are full of life and mischief, and it has a sweet ending, with the little girl begging for a kiss from her tired Mama.   This also makes a good book for beginning readers. because of the rhymes and repeated words and phrases.

What! Cried Granny: an Almost Bedtime Story by Kate Lum; illustrated by Adrian Reynolds ( link)

Because Mother’s Day is for grandmothers too.  This is one of my storytime standbys.  A little boy named Patrick is ready to go to bed at his Grandma’s house.  “But Granny!” he says, “I don’t have a bed here!” “What?!” cried Granny.  She rushes out to chop down some trees, and quickly builds him a bed.  But he still needs a blanket, a pillow, and a teddy bear.  This is a terrific read-aloud.  The kids love joining in whenever the Granny says, “WHAAAATTT?!” and guessing what Patrick is missing this time.

The Grandma Cure by Pamela Mayer; illustrated by John Nez ( link)

I love this story about two grandmas who come to take care of a little girl named Sophie when  she stays home sick from school.   But each grandma has a different idea of how to do things: one thinks Sophie needs hot tea, the other wants to give her orange juice.  Sophie has to step in and explain how to sort out their differences the way her Kindergarten teacher has taught her.  Funny story that kids and grown-ups both enjoy.

Happy Mother’s Day!  If you have any favorite books about moms or grandmas, please share them in the comments.