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Pharrell’s “Happy” is the Best Storytime Song Ever!

I woke up feeling wild and crazy this morning. I woke up excited to try something new in storytime. My husband and I have been listening to this song and awful lot:

We haven’t made through all 24 hours of the epic 24-Hours of Happy. But we’ve been chopping away bit by bit, and the shine hasn’t worn of so far.  The song irresistible.  And I’ve always said I could watch people doing silly dances all day long, but I never thought someone would take this statement so literally. So, I am going out on a limb to say: thanks Pharrell! You are sublime. You are quite possibly the greatest living artist of our time.

Anyway, I was driving into work this morning. I was excited about storytime, and decided to play this song, to prep my brain. Suddenly, I had a crazy idea:

Then I decided to test out a new thing in storytime: take a dance break, and rock out in the middle of storytime. I played Happy. We all danced, and got silly.

I think I will try it again next week. In fact, to give the dance break a little more structure, I will bring rhythm sticks. I admit, some of the caregivers in my storytime prefer “conventional” activities. They may have looked a little ill at ease during this activity, but it only lasted a couple of minutes. Then it was on to the normal stuff.Then during playtime the room was filled with toddlers say “happy”…”happy”… “happy”, all over the place.

Anyway, I highly recommend doing the same. It is awesome!


Must-Have Music #2: Stinky Cake

So, I’m late this week, but better late than never, right?  This week’s must-have music is a doozy: Stinky Cake by Carole Peterson. One of my storytimers loved this album so much she put it in her teddy bear’s backpack. Her lovely grandmother tore the house apart looking for it, paid the fine. She only stumbled across it as they were packing the teddy bear for a pretend camping trip. I’d already ordered a couple of copies, and have no regrets. In fact, we’re having the marvelous Miss Carole perform at this library in June! Squeee!!

This is one of the must-havingest CDs ever! It’s wall-to-wall storytime hits. Ok, CD’s don’t have walls, but you know what I mean.

Get a good whiff!

Follow Me!

This album has 4 awesome movement songs.  Track 2 Shake a Friend’s Hand would make a great hello song, but it would also fit a friendship storytime. Track 13 Partner Dance would would also make a good fit for a friendship storytime. But this song is better with older kids who know each other well. Kindergarten is an ideal age. They need to be old enough to follow directions, and confident enough to switch partners. Track 4 Everybody Clap Your Hands perfect for opposites storytime, but it’s also a fun mid-storytime dance break no matter what the theme. Track 11 B-banana/Monkey See, Monkey Do is a double-feature that is exactly what it sounds like. So get ready to set your inner-monkey free for this follow-me song.

Thumbs Up! or All You Need Is Thumb!

You’ll always have the right props on-hand for two tracks on this album (ba dum ching). Ok, I’m all punned out, I promise. Track 10: Icky Sticky and Ooey Gooey is about 2 friends who like to play together. The only problem is Icky Sticky keeps getting stuck to various parts of Ooey Gooey. Kids love it. Actually if a person doesn’t like their song they’re probably a cyborg.

Track 16: Tommy Thumb Is Up! is exactly what it sounds like. Just follow along with the lyrics, and you have a great storytime activity.

3. Stinky Cake!

The title track is one of the sillest songs ever. No kid can resist a silly song about stinkiness.  In this song you’re making up a cake filled with all the stinkiest stuff you can think of: dirty socks, moldy fish, and dirty diapers. Come to think of it, this might make a good flannel board!  Flannel aside, when you play this one, make sure to hold your nose, and emphasize how grody each cake is.

6. As I Was Walking to Town

I’ve done a flannelized variation of this song featuring farm animals. However, there’s something about Peterson’s version that tickles my funny bone just a little bit more.  For some reason, maybe because the animals are city-dwellers, I picture them wearing fancy clothes. It cracks me up.

7. The Little Fish

My storytimers go bananas for this cover of a Laurie Berkner song. It’s about a school of very confused little fish. They wake up from a nap and decide to do some very unfishy things: riding bicycles, taking showers, and brushing teeth. Then the stop, “Wait a minute! We’re fish! We don’t ride bicycles! Let’s go swimming. There’s no trick to this one, just act it out, and you’ll all have a ball.

14. Great Big Man

This song is a little like Flip-Flap Jack. It’s about a weird old, who has spaghetti for hair, and a flower for a nose…etc. This would make a great flannel board song.

So find Stinky Cake by Carole Peterson, and you won’t regret it.


Flannel Friday Round Up 3.23.12

Hello Everybody! Happy Flannel Friday!

Here’s what’s happening in the world of flannel boards:


Hi Everyone. I am so sorry I missed the following posts:

Seth (or is it Sethers?) offers a fish only a mother could love: Ugly Fish

Andrea of rovingfiddlehead offers these lovely simple shapes

Lisa of lisaslibraryland offers these colorful birds

And here’s another sharp-toothed story from across the pond, libraryqune gives us Mr. Shark

Katie from Recipe For Reading offers this ode to a loyal little puff ball: Mary’s Little Lamb

Jeanie of totallytodder wrote an adorable original story for this bookish tale: The Little Red Book Who Wanted To Read

Hurray for Spring!

Kay Leigh of librarystorytimeabcs welcomes the spring with a small gray friend: Mouse’s First Spring

Jane of piperlovesthelibrary is also a friend to the tiny rodents. “Mice Are Nice” says she.

Tara of storytimewithmisstara offers a zillion excellent ideas for spring storytimes

Sarah of ReadSarahRead (holy moly, this is awesome!) is hosting a very delicate guest: The Princess and the Pea

Meghan of busycraftingmommy offers this ode to mommy-arms: Mommy Carry Me Please

Mary of missmaryliberry is splashing in the tub: 5 Rubber Ducks

The floor is rumbling over at @ Kari Ann’s blog mystorytimelife: elephants!

Blub, Blub, Blub: These Stories With Make A Splash

Mary of missmaryliberry is splashing in the tub: 5 Rubber Ducks

And these have bite!

Tracey of 1234morestorytimes is floating gently on the stream: Row Row Row Your Boat (but don’t let the alligator get you!)

Lucy of inthechildrensroom brings you this story from the under of the sea: Chomp Like A Shark

Sharon of RainMakesApplesauce has a litter of long-eared, nibblers: 10 Hungry Rabbits

Katie of Story Time Secrets isn’t the shushing type, so Let’s Make A Noise!

Katie of storytimekatie is rolling the bones to build the Lorax

Shawn of Read!Rhyme!Sing! is flannelizing for funds!

Susanne of Fussy Hen offers this awesome flannelized tangram 

Oh and here’s mine: 5 Little Puppies

If I missed you comment here, and I’ll update asap.

Check out the pinterest archive for ideas of #FFRU from the past.

Cheers dears!

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Flannel Friday: The Jelly Bean Countdown!

Happy Flannel Friday!

I’m nearly forgot today was #FlannelFriday. In fact, I thought this was the first day of our break. I was going to throw up something old, but then a tiny dancer inspired me to create a new flannelboard for our collection.

Today is the 2nd Friday of the month, which means I began my day by hosting my very favorite program: Bibliobop Family Dance Party!  Unfortunately, I’m recovering from a cold. But it’s nothing a zillion cough drops can’t handle.

Anyway, we had decent crowd today considering the icy roads in this neck of the woods: 22 kids, and 17 moms/nannies.  After we cleaned up, and things were winding down.  I always get a lot of hugs at the end of this program (that’s only part of why it’s my favorite program).

When I bent down to hug a pair of sisters, the older one said, “Ms. Cate, you smell like jelly beans.” (I’m thinking it’s the cough drop).  The room went silent. Every child in the roomed turned to me, and I could see this fire flare up in their eyes. Before I knew what way happening, 20 preschoolers we running at me to get a sniff.

I was crouched down on the balls of my feet, so they immediately knocked me over on my butt and started sniffing like a litter of puppies. The moms lost it. They were all laughing too hard to do anything about it.  Once I got over the shock of it all, I started laughing too. It was chaos.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to make a flannel board version of Jellybean Countdown.  This is not new to #FF. It’s a well-known rhyme, and a great addition to one of my favorite storytime themes: Yummy Stuff.

I used clip art to make the jelly beans. The originals were in b&w, so I colored them. Unfortunately the files are small, and even through their vector images, they didn’t resize very well. Anyway, might go ahead and trace them to make the images look better.

Jellybean Countdown!

Jellybean Countdown!

Jelly Bean Countdown
(Use real jelly beans 5 colors)
5 little jelly beans I wish I had more! I’ll eat the (color) one
Now there are four!
4 little jelly beans Tasty as can be I’ll eat the (color) one
Now there are 3!
3 little jelly beans Only a few. I’ll eat the (color) one
Now there are 2.
2 little jelly beans Eating them is fun I’ll eat the (color) one
Now there is one.
1 little jelly bean The last one for me I’ll eat the (color) one
I’m as happy as can be!

Happy Flannel Friday!

Check out the Flannel Friday Round Up. The lovely-and-talented Liz is our host this week!

And don’t forget to bookmark the#FF archive on pinterest.

And if you still haven’t had enough join us on facebook!


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I’m For The Kids!

I’m working on the children’s reference desk this evening. We were crazy busy today, but it has settled down, and now it’s pretty quiet. A little girl just walked into the children’s department, spread her arms wide, and declared, “THIS IS MY SECTION. IT’S ALL MINE!”

On another note, I’ve received several emails and comments from librarians who are hosting dance parties in their libraries.   They all say they’ve been a big hit. Awesome! They really are ridiculously fun.

Valerie Bird Fort (a LMS and blogger from South Carolina) put together a stellar “Let’s Dance” storytime. She posted this storytime plan on her blog, Library Goddess, so check it out. Her Pete the Cat Shishkabobs blew my mind!

In this post she mentions that she brought a Wii in so the kids could play Just Dance, which is crazy, because I had the idea to do a Just Dance Gaming program the other day after stumbing across this amazing video a 3 y.o. twins playing Just Dance 2 in matching outfits. I’ve watched in like 200 times this week, and I’m still not sick of it. Enjoy!


Bibliobop: The Mixtape

It occurs to me that I never posted my Bibliobop playlist.  Here’s to hoping this falls into the better-late-than-never category!

I used to burn the mix to a CD, and play on the PA system in our large meeting room. It worked just fine; but earlier this year, my boss purchased an ipod touch for the department. (WAHOO!) They both work fine, but the ipod makes it much easier to add new songs to the playlist. Plus, it means I am not limited to 25 (or so) songs.

Below, you’ll find my current 50-song “Master Mix”. For the most part, I try to keep a balance of new and familiar songs. I begin (see *) and end (see **) with the same songs every time.  For everything in between I hit shuffle, and leave it up to fate. Enjoy!

Song Artist Album
Hello Hello* Miss Nina Singing & Dancing Together
All Ready To Go!* ScribbleMonster Songs With No Character
Jumping All Day Long Jennifer Gasoi Songs For You
Beadhead The Jimmies Make Your Own Someday
1, 2, 3, 4 Laura Freeman Somersault Season
Moon Boots Recess Monkey The Final Funktier
I Like Fruit Leeny and Steve Be Nice
I Love My Library Lunch Money Dizzy
How Do You Build a Robot? Recess Monkey The Final Funktier
Lizard on My Leg Human Tim + Robot Tim Pop of the Tots!
Mezuzah The Macaroons Let’s Go Coconuts!
All Together Now MFLP Band All Together Now
A Little But Up & A Little But Down Michael & Jello What’s Shakin’?
Shake It Up Milkshake Play!
Robo Dancing Money Mark Music Is Awesome!
Shoulda Woulda Coulda Daddy-A-Go-Go Monkey In The Middle
Abc The Nields Rock All Day
Booster Seat Recess Monkey The Final Funktier
Shake Your Sillies Out Michael & Jello What’s Shakin’?
Laughing Robert Bobbert & The Bubble Machine self-titled
You Did It! Milkshake Great Day
Mummy Don’t Allow Recess Monkey Tabby Road
Wildlife Secret Agent Skidoo Underground Playground
One Day Soon The Sippy Cups The Time Machine
Clap Your Hands They Might Be Giants No!
Dancin’ In the Barn Human Tim + Robot Tim Pop of the Tots!
Do You Wanna Know My New Dance Step Dog On Fleas Beautiful World
Jump Dino V Baby Loves Hip Hop
Mommy’s Lips Daddy-A-Go-Go Monkey In The Middle
Nicky Nicky Knock Knock The Dream Jam Band Kidapalooza V. 1
Gotta Be Me Secret Agent Skidoo Kidapalooza V. 1
Shake It Lil’ Rock Stars self-titled
Dance Party ScribbleMonster Best of Friends
Shake It Off Uncle Rock The Big Picture
Pizza & Chocolate Milk Terrible Twos If You Ever See An Owl
Lovely, Love My Family The Roots Music Is Awesome!
Jump, Jump Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights I’m a Rock Star
Kids Rock! Princess Katie & Racer Steve Tiny Cool
I Know A Chicken Laurie Berkner The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band
I Really Love To Dance Laurie Berkner The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band
I’m Gonna Catch You Laurie Berkner The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band
Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz) Laurie Berkner The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band
Robot Dancer Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck Rockin’, Rollin’, and Ridin’
All The Ways Frances England Mind of My Own
The Ten Song Big Giants Fee, Fi, Fo, Fun!
We Will Brush Our Teeth Big Giants Fee, Fi, Fo, Fun!
Come On Let’s Hop Big Giants Fee, Fi, Fo, Fun!
We Pick Up Our Toys** Big Giants Fee, Fi, Fo, Fun!
Goodbye Song** Yo-Gabba-Gabba! Music Is Awesome!
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Hello Everyone

Joanie Leeds

City Kid!

I Love My Library

Lunch Money



Robbert Bobbert & the Bubble Machine (self-titled)

Clap Your Hands

They Might Be Giants


A Cookie as Big as My Head

Lunch Money


Shake it!

Lil Rock Starz (self-titled)

Nicky Nicky Knock Knock

The Dream Jam Band


Skip to My Lou

Candy Band


Brush Your Teeth


Come on, Get Happy

All Around the Kitchen

Dan Zanes

Family Dance

The Books I Like to Read

Frances England

Fascinating Creatures

Busy as a Bee

Frances England

Fascinating Creatures

Shake It Up


I Like Fruit

Leeny & Steve

Be Nice

Vitamin C

Leeny & Tamara

Sharing the Same Stars


The Jimmies

Make Your Own Someday

1, 2, 3, 4

Laura Freeman

Somersault Season

Mommy’s Lips


Monkey In The Middle

Goodbye Song

Yo Gabba Gabba

Music is Awesome


More Books With Boogie Woogie

More Singable Picture Books

One of my favorite authors, April Pulley Sayre, pinged me on her blog! She calls me a “cool librarian” (okay, so maybe that’s an oxymoron, but who am I to argue with such a wordsmith?). Anyway, I have been a fan of Sayre’s for a long time. She’s one of those rare authors who can write fascinating, engaging books for kids of all ages.

If You're Hoppy by April Pulley Sayre

Her latest If You’re Hoppy, is already on our Best Books of 2011 list. It’s an awesome singable picture book (SPB).  The concept for this book is singularly brilliant.  I was all, “Where has this book been all my life!?” So thank you, Ms. Sayre, for filling a void I didn’t know was there!

I love SPBs. I use them in storytime as often as possible. I also open every Bibliobop Dance Party with one.  Last year I posted a detailed description of this program, including a list of SPBs. But it occurs to me that, several wonderful SPBs have come out since that last post. And here’s a few additional titles that will get toes tapping at storytime:

Croaky Pokey by Ethan Long

Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin

If You're a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca Emberley

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae**

**Giraffes Can’t Dance is a sneaky one. My co-worker discovered that the rhythm of this rhyming picture books is in the exact same meter as Miss Suzy Had a Steamboat. Singing this book makes it a very enjoyable read-aloud.

Steal This Program!

I want to take this opportunity to encourage other youth services librarians to consider offering dance parties in their libraries. Here’s why in bullet point format:

  • Requires little preparation, planning, and $.
  • Gives young children a great opportunity to get some energy out without disturbing other patrons.
  • It’s crazy fun!
  • Highlights children’s music collection.
  • Strenghtens bonds with the youngest patrons and their parents.

I get about a million hugs after dance parties. Even the shyest kids who hide behind their moms when they first enter the room, feel comfortable with me by the end of the hour.  I’ve seen these same kids start showing up at storytime the next week. Often, they’ll plop down at the front of the room, totally comfortable, confident, and ready to participate.  This isn’t the most scientific conclusion, but I see many of the behaviors discussed in this Zero to Three Article reflected in the children who attend Bibliobops. Anyway it’s a little food for thought.


Nobody Puts Baby In the Corner!

Bibliobop: Family Dance Parties at Niles Public Library

I am not one of those grrrls who goes out dancing with her grownup friends.  It’s not like I’m a party-pooper or anything, (I’ll make the best of it if I have to) it’s just not my preferred method of “letting my hair down”.  Add kids to the mix, and I’m a total party animal.

The idea for library dance parties  sprouted back in library school, but I shelved it when I first started working at Niles Public Library to focus on other things.

Summer Reading is a huge event in our department, and make a special effort to load up our calendar with fun programs. But registered storytimes, such as toddler, preschool, and big kids’ storytimes only run during the school year. We offer a couple of year-round drop-in storytimes, which are particularly well-attended during the summer.  Four members of the YS staff share these storytimes on a monthly rotation. When I realized I would be cutting back from from 2-3 storytimes per week to 2-3 per month, I got sad; and maybe even a little panicky. In order to scratch the itch,  my decided to revisit the dance party idea.

We scheduled them for the second Friday morning of each month.  Attendance has varied wildly from month to month.  One week we only had 10 people attend, but the last one of the summer we had 71 people attend.  On average we have about 35 people. The response from patrons has been very positive, and I see a lot of families coming back week after week, so we decided to continue this program throughout the year.

This is a very easy program to run (however, I do recommend getting a goodnight’s sleep the night before)

Update: I finally posted my Bibliobop Mix. Enjoy

What you need:

  • YSD ipod touch (see Bibliobop Playlist)
  • song list for patrons to take home
  • Scarves
  • musical instruments
  • One Picture book about dancing, parties, music or singing
  • Kleenex
  • Bubbles (*optional*: kids love them, sometimes they’re a little too much)

Here’s how it works

9:30-10:00 SET UP

  • Gather supplies in LMR
  • Sound Check: plug in YSD ipod touch or insert mix  cd, check volume (play, then walk around to room to make sure it sound ok in different parts of the room.)
  • Lay out Instruments on the stage

10:00-10:05 OPEN DOORS and let people get settled

10:05-10:10 INTRO:

  • Greetings (I am DJ Ms Cate, the hostess with the mostest! I hope you brought your wild and crazy mover, shaker, wiggles and giggles with you today because we are going to party up (I stretch up) party down (I bend down) and party all around (I spin)!
  • The Rules:There are 3 rules in bibliobop:
    • “Dance anyway you want! Silly crazy, fast or slow, but no kicking, biting or shoving. Bigger kids, please be careful around the smaller kids. Parent, please stay in the room the whole time”
    • “As you can see we have lots of musical instruments (I hold them up as i describe them) We’ve got jinglers, janglers, click-clackers, and rattlers. And If you need something softer and quieter, take a breather with these colorful scarves. Please take turns and share…No hoarding or snatching.”
    • Have Fun Fun Fun!

10:10-10:15: Readaloud

10:15-10:55 Hit Play and watch ’em go!

I stay in the room the whole time. So far the parents have been super. I haven’t had a single parent try to drop off a child and leave, but you never know. However since “bop” is literally (part of) the name of the game, I try to keep an help parents out by being an extra set of eyes, especially when parents of multiple children and or toddlers who are just starting to walk.

10:55-11:00 Good-bye

The mix CD is long, so we don’t run out of music. At 10:55 I wait for whatever song is playing to end, and then I skip to the last song #25: “Goodbye Song” by Yo Gabba Gabba.

11:00-11:20 Clean up

  • Gather supplies. Dump instruments, flyers, mid cd in blue bin.
  • Turn off PA system
  • Clean up LMR
  • Lock up
  • Power nap.
Over at the Castle Ashburn Boni J/P
Title Author First Call #
Tuba Lessons Bartlett T.C. J/P
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More Beaumont Karen J/P
Over in the Arctic Berkes Marianne J/P
What a Wonderful World Bryan Ashley J/P
Jazzmatazz Calmenson Stephanie J/P
Penelope Jane Cash J/P
Ruby Sings the Blues Daly Niki J/P
Rapataptap Dillon J/P
Cha-Cha Chimps Durango Julia J P
Summertime Gershwin J/P
Soup Opera Gill Jim J/P
Teddy Bears Picnic Hague Michael J/P
Got to Dance Helldorfer M.C. J/P
Soon Baboon Soon Horowitz Dave J/P
Horace & Morris Join the Chorus Howe James J/P
Baby Brains Superstar James Simon J/P
Pigs Rock Jones Melanie J/P
Whistle for Willie Keats J/P
This Little Chick Lawrence John j/P
Geraldine the Music Mouse Lionni J/P
Remarkable Farkle McBride Lithgow J/P
Froggy Plays in the Band London J/P
Boom Baby Boom Boom Mahy Margaret J/P
ChickaChicka Boom Boom Martin Bill J/P
Barn Dance Martin J/P
Maestro Plays Martin J/P
Baby BeeBee Bird Massie Diane ST
Our Marching Band Moss J/P
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands Nelson Kadir J/P
Ten Monkey Jamboree Ochiltree J/P
Roll Over Peek J/1-2-3
Max Found Two Sticks Pinkney Brian J/P
Five Little Ducks Raffi J/P
Raffi books Raffi J/P
Lizard’s Song Shannon George J/P
Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp Shields Carol J/P
Play, Mozart, Play Sis Peter J/P
Five Nice Mice Tashiro Chisato J/P
Itsy Bitsy Spider Trapani Iza BIG
Over in the Meadow Voce Louise BIG
Tanka Tanka Skunk Webb Steve J/P
Ugly Pie Wheeler Lisa J/P
Jazz Baby Wheeler Lisa J/P
Punk Farm Krosoczka Jarret J/P