Hungry for Stories: A Food Themed Storytime

It’s been a while since I’ve written up a food-themed storytime, so I thought I’d do an updated one. I’ve actually done three different storytimes this week, with the same theme but for different age groups, so these are some of the highlights:

caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I had to include this classic, of course, especially for my toddler groups. Lately, I’ve been trying to add an interactive element into one or two of the books I read, so, since I read this one after doing a song with play scarves, I asked the kids to pretend that their scarf was a caterpillar while I read. We made munching noises and pretended the scarf caterpillars were eating the foods on each page, and when the caterpillar went into his cocoon, we stuffed the scarves into our fists, then had them emerge as “butterflies.”

food fight

Food Fight Fiesta by Tracey Kyle; illustrated by Ana Gomez

This rhyming book is so much fun, especially since it is based on an actual celebration in Buñol, Spain, where the whole town has a huge tomato fight. Once again, we used the scarves, only this time we pretended they were tomatoes, which we threw into the air whenever the story called for it. The kids loved it!

pea

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by Jen Corace

One of my all-time favorites, this hilarious story about a pea who hates to eat candy is always a hit.

peeling

How Are You Peeling by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

This is another fun book to share. The kids love shouting out the names of the vegetables and fruits in each photo, as well as answering the questions posed by the text about feelings.

sausages

Sausages by Jessica Souhami

This is a wonderful, funny, simple adaptation of the classic Three Wishes folk tale, where a couple are granted three wishes, and accidentally waste them on a string of sausages, which get stuck to the man’s nose.

water

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

Adorable and hilarious story about a crocodile who accidentally swallows a watermelon seed, and imagines that a watermelon vine is growing in his stomach. The kids loved repeating the “Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!” lines.

SONGS:

If You’re Happy and You Know ItI sang this one after reading How Are You Peeling? For the past few years I’ve changed it to add in different emotions, and the kids love it. Here’s what we sing (with ukulele or guitar chords):

 

C                                                           G
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands, (Clap, Clap)
G                                                           C
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands, (Clap, Clap)
F                                                           C
If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it,
G                                                           C
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. (Clap, Clap)

 

If you’re sad and you know it, cry Boo Hoo! (“Boo Hoo!”)…

If you’re angry and you know it, say, “I’m mad!” (Stomp your feet while saying, “I’m Mad!”)…

If you’re sleepy and you know it, yawn and stretch (Yawn! Stretch!)…

If you’re shy and you know it, hide your face (cover your eyes, then uncover them and say “Peek-a-boo!”)…

If you’re happy and you know it, shout hooray! (Hooray!)

 

If All the Raindrops

I use this song all the time, with a wide range of age groups. The lyrics below are the “real” version, but usually when I sing it for storytime, I just do the first verse, then have the kids suggest other foods for the next few verses. Click on the arrow to hear the tune:


C
If all the raindrops
G                             C
Were lemondrops and gumdrops
C                                               G
Oh, what a rain that would be!
C                    G                            C                     G
I’d stand outside, with my mouth open wide
C               G               C                C
Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah!
C                                         G                             C
If all the raindrops were lemondrops and gumdrops,
C                   G                    C
Oh, what a rain it would be!

If all the snowflakes
Were candy bars and milkshakes…

If all the sunbeams
Were bubblegum and ice cream…

Candy Corn for Dinner: I wrote this song several years ago for an Ice Cream Storytime, and it’s a fun one to have the kids play along to with maracas and egg shakers. Click on the arrow to hear a recording:

C                                                                     G7                   C
My mom and dad put me in charge of our dinner tonight.
C                                                                                G7
They said I could make anything as long as we ate right.
C                                                        G7                   C
I had to serve some vegetables, a salad, and a stew.
C                                                                        G7               C
I thought a while and cooked a bit, and here is my menu.

F                                                     C
We’re having candy corn for dinner
G7                             C
With a side of chocolate stew.
F                               C
A three jelly bean salad,
G7                                                C
And an ice cream sandwich too.

I don’t know why Mom and Dad say cooking’s such a chore,
‘Cause I had such a great time going to the grocery store.
My mom said we were out of milk, so I bought a big milkshake,
And since my dad likes cheese so much, I got him a cheesecake.

We’re having candy corn for dinner
With a side of chocolate stew.
A three jelly bean salad,
And an ice cream sandwich too.

CRAFT: SPICE PAINTING

This week, I ended up doing Playdough for craft time, but one of my all-time favorite art activities is spice painting, which I did a few months ago. Basically, you just mix different spices with water (turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, etc.) and give the kids paper and brushes to paint. The kids loved the different colors and smells.  There’s a description with pictures on Mama.Papa.Bubba: https://mamapapabubba.com/2014/02/19/spice-painting/

OTHER BOOKS ABOUT FOOD: 

martha

How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans by David LaRochelle; illustrated by Mark Fearing

I love this story, although it works better for older preschool and early elementary school kids. Martha has always hated eating green beans, but when they kidnap her parents, there is only one way for her to rescue them.

rude

Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins

This hilariously quirky book describes how cakes who never say please or thank you get their comeuppance when they encounter a cyclops who likes to wear cakes as hats. Delightfully random and very funny.

What are your favorite picture books about food?

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?

Hang On To Your Hat!

Dining hat colored by Sophie

Dining hat colored by Sophie

Okay, so I kind of cheated on this one.  My coworker, Gwen M. had ordered a bunch of dining hats from iRead, the company that provides the materials for our Summer Reading Program, and she gave me all the ones she had left over.  They featured cute little fruits and vegetables for the kids to color in.  Hello!  Easiest craft project ever.

But coincidentally, there seem to be dozens of great picture books about hats, including this year’s Caldecott Award Winner, This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen.   (Oddly, Klassen has another book called I Want My Hat Back, which is strikingly similar in its well…disappearance of hat thieves.  I guess Klassen really likes his hats).

Here are the ones I read tonight:

milo-pict

Milo’s Hat Trick by Jon Agee

I love the wacky originality of Jon Agee, especially this book, and My Rhinoceros.  This one features a magician who sets out to find a rabbit for his hat trick, and instead happens upon a very talented bear.

13531024

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

This year’s Caldecott Award winner.  I’ve read it to a wide range of age groups, from toddlers to second graders.  It’s always interesting to see how differently they interpret and react to the story, which is about a brazen little fish who brags about stealing a big fish’s hat.  Some younger kids don’t pick up on the implied ending, but a second grader in a class I read to clearly knew where the whole thing was headed from the beginning, because he spent the whole book saying, “No!  Don’t say that!  The big fish is going to eat you!”

tornado

Tornado Slim and the Magic Cowboy Hat by Brian Langdo

A longer story, but it held the kids’ interest, and was fun to read.  A coyote entrusts Tornado Slim with a letter and a magic hat that can hold the water from a broken dam and a whole tornado.

magritte

Magritte’s Marvelous Hat by D.B. Johnson

I took a chance on this one, because the artwork is full of Magritte-style surrealism and references to his paintings.  A dog painter named Magritte buys a magical hat that floats above his head and inspires him to paint better than he ever has before.  The kids seemed to enjoy this one, and the parents were intrigued by the illustrations.  I brought it home to share with my daughter because I think it would work even better as a one-on-one book.  It has those clear plastic overlays I remember being fascinated by as a kid.

SONGS:

Slippery Fish

My Hat It Has Three Corners

INSTRUMENT PLAY WITH A CD: This Hat by Laurie Berkner, from her Under a Shady Tree album.

CRAFT: Coloring diner hats

There are lots of wonderful hat crafts online.  If I hadn’t had the paper diner hats already, I probably would have done a paper hat like this: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Paper-Hat.  Given the age range of my storytime group, I think I would have made the hats ahead of time (and maybe printed out instructions for the parents in case anyone wanted to try making their own at home), then had the kids decorate them with stickers, markers and glue-on gems.

OTHER HAT STORIES:

Midway through the storytime, it hit me that I had forgotten my favorite hat book: Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slodbodkina.  One of the best read-alouds for any age group.  The kids always love joining in on the “TSZ!  TSZ!  TSZ!

Any other favorite books about hats?

Saddle Up for Cowboy Storytime

photo (17)

Foot print horses made by Owen and Parker.

Tonight we read cowboy stories, which have a lot of kid appeal.  There’s adventure, and horses, and outlaws, and big hats.  What’s not to like?

kaboom

Moo Cow, Ka-Boom! by Thacher Hurd

Written by Thacher Hurd, son of Goodnight Moon illustrator Clement Hurd, this one is terrific fun to read aloud.  Farmer George’s Moo Cow is stolen by a space cowboy named Zork, who plans to ride her in the Inter-Galactic Rodeo.  Certain books will always remind me of other people, who read them especially well, and this one belongs to my friend Barbara B.

giddyup

Giddy-up, Daddy! by Troy Cummings

My daughter’s current favorite picture book.   It features a dad who gives the world’s best horsey rides.  So good, in fact, that he is kidnapped by horse rustlers.  His two kids rush to the rescue, pursuing the horse thieves through a rodeo, a circus, a polo match, the Kentucky Derby, and all the way to Canada.  This one is a great read-aloud as well, with lots of opportunities for the kids to add sound effects like gasps and boos and galloping noises.

lets-sing-a-lullaby-with-the-brave-cowboy

Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas

Jan Thomas writes wonderfully goofy books that are made to be read aloud to large groups.   In this one, a cowboy’s lullaby to his cows is constantly interrupted by scary things (a big hairy spider, a snake) he thinks he sees.  The kids loved joining in on the “EEKs!”

tucker

Tucker’s Spooky Halloween by Leslie McGuirk

Okay, this wasn’t in my plan for the evening.  But, as I’ve mentioned before, the holiday books are right next to the storytime area, and kids are constantly pulling out Halloween books (especially this one!) and begging me to read them.  Last night was no exception. Coincidentally though, this one is about a dog who wants to dress up as something scary for Halloween, and is disappointed when his owner wants his to dress up as…a cowboy!

horse

Are You a Horse? by Andy Rash

A cowboy sets out to find a horse for his new saddle, but, since he doesn’t know what a horse is, he approaches everything from a wagon to a tree sloth.   The kids liked yelling out what the different “not a horse” things were, and the surprise twist at the end made everyone laugh.

SONGS:

Cowboy Pokey

A variation of the Hokey Pokey I learned from Karin M. at the Foster City Library (she did a wonderful cowboy storytime recently, where they also sang “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and “Every Cowboy Needs a Horse.”)   For this version of the song, instead of your feet, you put your spurs (right and left) in.  You can also put your lasso in, your hat (head) in, and finally ride your horse in.

B-I-N-G-O

In retrospect, I could have made Bingo a horse, as in, “There was a cowboy had a horse and Bingo was his name-o.”  Instead, I did my usual variation, where we barked the missing letters.

If I had had a younger group, I would have done one of my favorite baby/toddler songs, which a lap-bounce to the tune of the William Tell Overture (Lone Ranger theme):

Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up-UP-UP! (bounce child on knees)
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up-UP-UP!
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up-UP-UP!
Whoa, Horsey! (Pull child back into a hug against your chest)

INSTRUMENT PLAYALONG WITH A CD:  Bling Blang by Arlo Guthrie from the Sing Along with Putumayo album.

CRAFT: Foot Print Horses

I got this craft from Busy Bee Crafts, one of my favorite kids craft sites.  It did require some adult help to trace out the kid’s feet.  Luckily, the kids were mostly all old enough to cut out the footprints themselves.  I supplied the one-inch pieces of black yarn, the wiggly eyes, the neck (basically a long triangle with the top point cut off), and the ears (triangles).    It worked pretty well, and each child assembled their horse slightly differently, so they each made the project their own.

What are your favorite cowboy, Wild West, or horse stories?