In this monthly feature, I pick my favorite storytime reads of the month–one from my baby storytime, one from toddler storytime, and one from preschool storytime.
Baby Storytime Pick: The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz. This is one of my favorites to use in baby storytime. I love Katz’s illustrations for babies–they are big, clear, bright, and colorful. I also love that it’s a diverse group of babies. And I love to use a book I can sing. This one has some silly changes the the original song which makes it fun, but there are still the old standbys that keep it familiar. If I had any quibble with this book in the context of baby storytime, it would be that it is a little long. I’ve actually not had to shorten it too much, although occasionally I just end on the page where the babies fall fast asleep. But because it’s a song, it usually holds my babies’ attention all the way through.
Toddler Storytime Pick: Oh, No! by Candace Fleming. Speaking of books that are longer than I would usually pick for a specific age range, this book might be just a touch too long for a lot of toddler groups. But I love it and use it anyway. I find that the rhythmic language and beautiful illustrations keep my toddlers engaged, and it’s fun to make all of the animal noises and yell, “Oh, no!” together. I’m not sure why, but I’ve actually never used this book with preschoolers–I need to change that posthaste. It’s just a really great picture book with really wonderful illustrations that work. A couple of things: I usually have a backup for this book when I’m reading it in toddler time. If the energy is too high for a longer read, I will put it away to use next time. And I always read this one first, to keep everyone’s attention. But it really is one of my favorites, and one that I come back to again and again.
Preschool Storytime Pick: The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood. I had so many great books to choose from for preschool storytime this month, but this pick (from a food themed storytime) was my favorite, mostly because of the reaction from my kiddos. When I was holding it up, a boy who’d obviously read it at home many times was telling everyone about how they eat the strawberry before the bear comes. And one little girl interjected: “And then the bear comes and eats the mouse! There will be blood!” This gruesomeness injected into such a sweet book made me laugh and made all of the kids very curious about what was actually going to happen. I’m pretty sure the little girl was sad that there wasn’t any blood in this one. Also, our storytime collection version of this is a big book, which is always fun to use in storytime–the kids are always a bit dazzled by big books. Those were my picks from the month of November! I’m starting to wonder if I should change this feature to a weekly one–there are so many great books that I’d like to talk about that I don’t get to when only picking once a month.