Wattle We Read Next? A Thanksgiving Storytime

Thanksgiving is a frustrating holiday for picture books.   Sure, there are some entertaining books, but 90% of them seem to be about a turkey trying to escape being eaten.  I don’t mind reading one or two of these, but too many gets a bit old.  Also, I can’t help but wonder if it’s just going to make kids feel bad about their Thanksgiving Dinner, aka The One That Didn’t Get Away. That being said, I did read a couple of Turkey Escape books for this week’s Family Storytime (I did the Thanksgiving theme a week early because Chabad, a local Jewish outreach organization is coming to next week’s storytime to present a Chanukah theme).   Here was my Thanksgiving line-up:

a-plump-and-perky-turkey

A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman; illustrated by Jeff Shelly

Every year, just before Thanksgiving, all the turkeys of Squawk Valley seem to vanish (actually they climb into hot air balloons and fly away to a tropical island).  But this year the town has a plan: they will post fliers asking for a turkey to model for a turkey-themed Arts and Crafts Fair, and trick a bird into becoming their dinner.  But of course, the turkey ends up being smarter than they thought.  This is a longish rhyming story, but the kids loved the illustrations of all the turkey crafts: turkeys made of potatoes, and oatmeal, and even soap.  There was a lot of clamoring to check this one out at the end.

Image

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Allison Jackson; illustrated by Judy Byron Schachner One of my Thanksgiving standards.  A clever parody of The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, about a woman who eats WAY too much: a turkey, a pot!, a ten-layer cake.  The kids liked the twist at the end, when she becomes a big balloon float for the Thanksgiving parade.  Great read-aloud for any age group.

Image

Sometimes It’s Turkey, Sometimes It’s Feathers by Lorna and Lecia Balian

My daughter loves this book.  Old Mrs. Gumm is excited to find a freckled egg hidden in some leaves.  She takes it home, and sure enough, it hatches into a baby turkey, who eats and eats and eats.  My daughter especially loves the lists of what the turkey eats: caterpillars, inchworms, pea gravel, and cat food, among other things.  In November, Mrs. Gumm is ready with her hatchet, but by then the turkey has become a good friend who ends up joining her for Thanksgiving dinner.   Yes, this is another book vilifying the turkey dinner, but the writing is full of warmth and wonder, especially when the egg hatches, and the illustrations are sweet.  The kids all seemed to enjoy it too, since several of them asked to check it out.

Image

The Dumb Bunnies’ Easter by Sue Denim; illustrated by Dav Pilkey I am currently living with Dumb Bunnies.  We own the first book, and have the other three checked out, and my daughter insists on hearing at least one of them every day.  And yes, they are dumb.  But funny.   This book is a crazy mishmash of almost every holiday, which is kind of the way I feel this time of year.   The bunnies chop down an Easter tree, hang up Valentines, and carve a turkey like a jack-o-lantern.  I wasn’t originally planning to read this one, but I had to bring my daughter with me to storytime last night, and she saw it in my pile.  I was happy I did though, because the book is shelved in the Easter section, even though it covers several holidays, and we happened to have 6 copies for the kids to check out.  It felt like Christmas when I handed them out at the end.

SONGS: The Turkey Jerky (To the Tune of the Hokey Pokey)

You put your left drumstick in (left leg)
You put your left drumstick out
You put your left drumstick in
And you shake it all about.
You do the Turkey Jerky and you turn yourself around
That’s what it’s all about!

Repeat with right drumstick, left wing, right wing, waddle (chin), and tail feathers.

I Know an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly (with puppet)

We sing the song with the old lady puppet, and the kids take turns feeding her different animals.  I have a big spider puppet I pull out for repeated line “It wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,” and I tickle the kids with it (usually they make a big game out of backing up out of reach, and saying, “It didn’t get me!”)  At the end, our old lady dies, but we take her to the hospital and resuscitate her.  Clearly, she needs counseling.

INSTRUMENT PLAYALONG WITH A CD: Rhubarb Pie by Laurie Berkner from her Under a Shady Tree Album

CRAFT: Paper Bag Turkey

Paper Bag Turkey by Ramona

Paper Bag Turkey by Ramona

I owe this craft to my coworker Gail Benjamin, who did it for a pajama story time at our other branch a few weeks ago.  She had several turkey “kits” left, all ready to go (gotta love leftovers!), with instruction sheets and all the turkey parts in paper bags.  Gail had pre-glued the googly eyes to the plastic spoons for the heads, and also glued the wattle to the bottom of each beak (these were made out of construction paper).

I handed out sheets of newspaper for the kids to crumple.  They stuffed the paper inside their bag, then fastened the bag shut with rubber bands (the parents helped with this).  Then the kids glued the construction paper feet and bowties on.   We helped each kids poke their spoon handle head into the bottom of the paper bag.   Then they glued the beak and wattle onto the spoon. The tail feathers were thin strips of colored paper.

Gail had recommended that the kids put glue inside the “tail” end of the bag, then arrange the paper feathers inside (she even gave me small containers of Elmer’s glue, which are perfect for small hands).  That worked well, although if you want a slightly less messy approach, the mom of Ramona (whose turkey is pictured above) stuck her paper strips through the rubber band that separates the body from the tail.

OTHER THANKSGIVING BOOKS:

The Firefighters’ Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts; illustrated by Terry Widener

This is actually one of my favorite Thanksgiving books, and I would have done it if I hadn’t read it to the same group for my firefighter storytime a few weeks ago (I was going to do it anyway, if my daughter hadn’t seen the Dumb Bunnies book).   Firefighters at a busy fire station try their best to make Thanksgiving dinner, but they keep getting called away to fires.  Luckily, while they are on their last call, people from the community bring dinner to the station as a thank you.   The text is rhyming, and simple enough to hold the interest of very young children.

The Thankful Book by Todd Parr

I didn’t get to read this one either, but it’s perfect for Thankgiving.   With Todd Parr’s characteristic brightly colored, whimsical illustrations, this book lists many things to be thankful for every day: music, reading, bathtime, nature, and, of course, underwear!

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey (Recommended by Heidi Locicero)

Another runaway turkey book, but a funny one.  Eight kids on a field trip to Farmer Mack Nugget’s farm are horrified to find out what he plans to do with his adorable turkeys.  Luckily for the turkeys, the kids hatch a plan of their own.   My daughter loves this one almost as much as the Dumb Bunnies.

BREAKING NEWS!  I found the best Thanksgiving book for elementary grades!  (Actually, I stole it from my boss, Thom Ball, who had been planning to read it at Musical Storytime but went with something shorter).   I read it to two second grade classes and they loved it.  They kept asking, “Is this a true story?”  And it is!  The book is Thank You Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner.   It’s the story of Sarah Hale, the woman who wrote thousands of letters over the course of 38 years and finally succeeded in making Thanksgiving a national holiday.  Anderson portrays Sarah Hale as a true superhero, who fought for lots of important causes like schools for girls and the abolition of slavery, and also wrote the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”  She explains the context of Sarah’s cause, and her hopes that Thanksgiving would help unite a country torn apart by the Civil War.  The caricature-like illustrations are funny and eye-catching, and it’s an excellent lesson in perseverance, democracy, and the power of words to bring about change.  Highly recommended for libraries and classrooms.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving books?

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?

Down on the Farm

photo (36)

Construction paper farm by Joaquin

This week’s storytime was lively and a lot of fun, even though I was fighting laryngitis, which always makes things a bit interesting. A coworker commented that I sounded like Peter Brady singing “Time to Change.” But the kids hung in there with me anyway.

The theme for this week was farm stories and farm animals. Here are the books we read:

Farmer-Duck

Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell and Helen Oxenbury

This was an interesting read-aloud. An unfortunate duck is forced to slave away every day while the farmer lies in bed and eats chocolates, until the other animals stage a rebellion and scare the lazy farmer away. It’s basically Animal Farm without all that unpleasant allegorical aftermath, and I was amused to see that a couple of horrified reviewers on Amazon declared it was “dangerous” Communist propaganda. That interpretation would never have occurred to me (and all the other Amazon reviewers loved the book). My storytime kids enjoyed the repeated line, “How Goes the Work?” and getting to yell out, “QUACK!” each time.

farmflu

Farm Flu by Teresa Bateman and Nadine Bernard Westcott

This one worked really well. It’s a rhyming book about a boy who is left in charge of his family’s farm when the cow comes down with the flu. He tucks her into bed and coddles her just like his Mom would do, but then all the other animals on the farm mysteriously come down with the flu as well. The kids love chiming in on the sneezes in different animals voices, and the pictures are colorful and hilarious.

Egan_SeriousFarm

Serious Farm by Tim Egan

I wasn’t sure how this one would go over because it was a bit lengthier than the other books, but the kids liked it a lot. Farmer Fred is always very serious, much to the dismay of his animals. They try everything they can think of to make him laugh: Edna the cow stands on the fence and tries to crow like a rooster; the pigs bark like dogs; and all the animals try on Farmer Fred’s clothes and dance around the farm yard. But nothing works, and the animals finally decide to seek out a more humorous place to live. In the course of their escape, they finally manage to make Farmer Fred lighten up, a little, but he still doesn’t think there’s anything funny about corn.

cowlick-christin-ditchfield-hardcover-cover-art

Cowlick by Christin Ditchfield; illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

This is a funny book that works well for toddlers as well as older kids. It describes in rhymed verse how a sneaky cow invades a little boy’s bedroom and leaves him with an unexpected gift. Always a hit.

SONGS:

Old MacDonald: One of the kids requested that we choose animals in alphabetical order, like we did the previous week. Our farm included an alligator, a baby(!), a cat, a dog, and an Ella (one of the storytime participants).

If You’re Happy and You Know It: We did this as a follow-up to Serious Farm. We added other emotions, and I asked the kids what they do when they felt that way. We ended up with, “When you’re sad and you know it, cry ‘Boohoo!'” “When you’re angry and you know it, go ‘ERRRRRRRR!'” and “When you’re shy and you know it, hide your eyes…peekaboo!'”

Baby Bumblebee: As usual, I asked the kids to suggest other animals they might bring home, which is always a fun challenge. We came up with: “I’m bringing home a baby skunk. Won’t my Mommy fall into a funk?” and “I’m bringing home a baby killer whale. Won’t my Mommy turn so very pale?”

I Bought Me a Rooster: My CD player broke last week, so I had to play my uke and sing for our instrument play time. This is a fun cumulative song, where the kids suggest animals and the sounds they make. The trick is remembering all the animals in order, as the song gets longer and longer.

CRAFT: Construction Paper Farm

photo (35)

Construction paper farm by Jonas

I adapted this craft from the one on Lines, Dots, and Doodles. I cut out the barns and grass ahead of time, and gave the kids a choice of adding cotton ball sheep and feather chickens (see Joaquin’s example at the top of the page). It was cute to see all the different ways they each constructed their farms.

OTHER BOOKS:

I had a stack of books to choose from, and let the kids pick the ones I actually read. Here are some of the ones we didn’t get to:

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

You can’t go wrong with David Shannon. When a curious duck decides to test out a little boy’s bicycle, the other farm animals are intrigued. The illustration of all the animals on bikes always gets a big laugh.

Mrs. Wishy Washy’s Farm by Joy Cowley; illustrated by Elizabeth Fuller

I’ve always been impressed by Joy Cowley. She’s a New Zealand author who writes literally hundreds of books for the very beginning reader, including many of the Story Box and Sunshine Books (we have these in the library, but they are uncatalogued, so you just have to look for the collection of tiny paperbacks near the Easy Reader section). The beauty of these books is that they have basically the same sentence structure on each page, so kids can easily learn the pattern and read the book, building their confidence and sight word vocabulary at the same time. But somehow Cowley still manages to make these incredibly simple books entertaining, by throwing in a little twist at the end. Mrs. Wishy Washy’s Farm is a more typical picture book, but it’s a cute rhyming story about some farm animals who get fed up with their owner’s constant bathing, and run away to the city. The illustrations are adorable, especially the cow in the washtub. It would also work well for a bathtime theme.

Click Clack Moo! Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Betsy Lewin

I couldn’t do a list of farm books without including the Click Clack Moo series about Farmer Brown and his scheming duck. I think Dooby Dooby Moo is my favorite. The humor in this one appeals to adults (who will understand the labor dispute references), as well as kids.

Two friends of mine, Neely Dean and Tanya Scoville, both pointed out a classic I forgot to mention: Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown (author of Goodnight Moon).   A joyful, soothing poem about the sights and sounds of a cheerful farm.

Kim Day, a children’s librarian at the Burlingame Library, also recommended The Cow That Laid an Egg by Andy Cutbill, illustrated by Russell Ayto, an adorable story about Marjorie, a cow who wishes she had some special talent, and then one day appears to have laid an egg.  You can watch the book being read aloud on Youtube here.

What are your favorite farm books?

Gorilla! Gorilla!

Baby-gorilla7.18.13web800

There is a new baby gorilla at the San Francisco Zoo, born on July 17, 2013.   She’s not out in the gorilla enclosure yet.  I’m sure both she and Mom need a while to settle in (I know I wouldn’t have wanted to be on public display during my first few months as a new parent.  The horror!)  But I enjoyed showing my storytime kids the pictures from the zoo web site.  They found her both adorable and frightening, which kind of sums up a lot of the picture books about gorillas too.  And there are many!  Here are the ones I read:

gorilla

Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein

One of my all-time favorite books for toddlers, this is a sweet story about a little gorilla, and all the animals who love him.  But then one day he begins to grow and grow and GROW, until one day he is big.  And everybody still loves him.  I have the kids sing Happy Birthday to Little Gorilla on the page with his birthday cake.  This book seems to appeal to a wide range of ages, and is perfect for storytimes about birthdays and jungle animals.  Even though the color scheme is very 1970’s, this book is timeless, and is always a hit.

ross

Gorilla! Gorilla! by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross

I love Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross.  One of my secret evil picture book favorites is The Tadpole’s Promise, even though it horrifies my son, and I’ve only had the nerve to read at a storytime once.  (The kids loved it.)  In Gorilla! Gorilla! a mother mouse is searching for her baby when a giant gorilla begins to chase her…all over the world.  The desperate chase ends when the exhausted mouse finally stops running, and realizes the gorilla was trying to help her all along.  This book really builds the drama, exaggerating the scariness of the gorilla and the fears of the mouse.  I remember reading this to my daughter when she was two, and it terrified her (although after that first read, she loved it), so I tend to do it more for preschool-aged kids and older.   There was an 8 year-old in my group tonight who said, “That was a really good story!”

nilson

No Fits, Nilson by Zachariah OHora

This one was new to me, but it worked really well.  Amelia and Nilson the gorilla do everything together, but sometimes the smallest things make Nilson upset.  Amelia has to remind him not to have “fits,” especially when they are out running errands with Mom.  But when the ice cream vendor runs out of banana ice cream, it is Nilson who helps Amelia remember to stay calm.  This was a fun read-aloud that gave the kids the chance to join in on the angry “Gaarrrghhs!” when Nilson has his fits.  On the last page, Nilson is revealed to be a toy gorilla, a surprise that the kids enjoyed.  This book would pair well with Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney, or Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban and Henry Cole for other stories about coping with anger and life’s daily frustrations.

beauty

Little Beauty by Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne clearly likes gorillas (in fact, I almost read his book One Gorilla, a counting book about primates).   This story is about a signing gorilla, who is given an adorable pet kitten named Beauty.  The two become inseparable (the favorite page for the kids, of course, is of the gorilla on the potty, while the kitten sits next to him in her litter box).   Then one day the gorilla sees a movie (King Kong) that makes him so angry that he smashes the TV, and the keepers threaten to take Beauty away.  But Beauty surprises them all with a sign language of her own.  The ending is a bit wacky, but the large illustrations are wonderful, and it was fun to talk to the kids about Koko the Gorilla, who lives in Woodside, not too far from here.  I wish I had thought to show them one of the books about Koko and her kittens.   A lovely one is Koko-Love! Conversations with a Signing Gorilla by Francine Patterson.

SONGS AND RHYMES:

Freight Train

Although I love the original version of this song by Elizabeth Cotten, I use the more kid-friendly one by Elizabeth Mitchell and ask the kids for suggestions of where to go.  Luckily one of them wanted to go to the zoo, which worked perfectly for my theme.

Ten Candles on a Birthday Cake

Ten candles on a birthday cake (hold up ten fingers)
All lit up for me (point to yourself)
I make a wish and blow them out.
Watch and you will see! (blow on fingers and quickly close hands into fists)

I asked the kids how old they were, and we did the rhyme a few times with different ages.  I even asked the parents if they wanted their ages represented, but sadly nobody volunteered.

Hickory Dickory Dock

Hickory Dickory Dock (clap along to the beat)
The mouse ran up the clock. (run fingers up arm)
The clock struck 1: BONG! (hold up one finger)
The mouse ran down. (run fingers down arm)
Hickory Dickory Dock! (clap beat)

…the clock struck 2, the mouse went “BOO!”…
…the clock struck 3, the mouse went “WHEE!”
…the clock struck 4, the mouse said, “No more.”

Boom Diddy Boom 

Boom Diddy Boom Diddy Boom Boom Boom (pound on chest)
Boom Diddy Boom Diddy Boom Boom Boom
Down in the jungle where nobody goes,
There’s a great big gorilla washing his clothes.
With a scrubba dubba here, (scrub hands back and forth)
And a scrubba dubba here.
That’s the way he washes his underwear!

INSTRUMENT PLAYALONG WITH A CD:  Gorilla Song by Sha Na Na from Blue Moo by Sandra Boynton

CRAFT: Gorilla Masks

photo (20)

Olivia holding her gorilla mask (with two adorable teeth)

I got this craft from a site called Noah’s Ark Preschool.   There wasn’t a template, but it was pretty easy to draw the faces and heads freehand on construction paper.   I cut out those and the eyes (white circles) and bows ahead of time.  The kids glued the faces and eyes on and drew in their own mouths, pupils, and eyelashes.  We used tape to hold the popsicle sticks on the back.  It was amazing to see how different each child’s gorilla was.

OTHER BOOKS:

The book I wish I had gotten in time was Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann, the classic nearly-wordless story about a naughty gorilla who follows the zookeeper around on his evening rounds and lets the animals out one by one.   My son and I always enjoyed looking for the mouse and the balloon on every page.

Another one I almost read was My Friend Gorilla by Atsuko Morozumi.  This is a bittersweet story about a little boy whose family takes in a gorilla.  They have a wonderful time together, until some people come to take the gorilla away to a preserve where he will be happier.  I remember reading this to my son when he was little, and he was sad that the gorilla had to go away, which made for an interesting discussion about animals in the wild versus in captivity.

I had also considered doing books about other primates, which might have included Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (always a hit!), but also the more recent Me, Jane by Patrick McDonnell, a lovely simple story about the childhood of Jane Goodall.

Any other favorite gorilla or ape books?