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Flannel Friday: Where’s My Teddy?

I’m back!

Things have been crazy at the library lately with SRC and a whole lot of other craziness. Not only have I not been making any new flannels, I just haven’t I’ve have the time or energy for blogging. I missed at least 2 #FFs in a row. Anyway, I decided to reach into my felt board vault and find the very first flannel board I ever made:

Where’s My Teddy by Jez Alborough

I love this book. And this is a pretty simple flannel board. There are only 4 pieces, but I made the bear big enough, that it’s risky to put all the pieces on one board. It’s too easy to knock all the pieces over when you’re switching the bears between the bear and the boy. So I use 2 boards side by side (even though the photo shows them all on a single board.) Also, I usually have the book on hand. The rhythm of the story is just one part of what makes this an awesome read-aloud, but it’s a pretty important part.

I don’t have a pattern for this one, but I could take a shot at making it from the pieces. I sketched them freehand, and  and cut the felt using my drawings.


He’s scared already!

How did you get to be so big?

Uh oh! Wait, what that sound?

How did you get to be so small?

Something’s not right here…

Oh, that make more sense!


And they each run home, jump into bed (I made a blanket to tuck them both in at the end, but I may have repurposed the felt for another story at some point.

Katie is our adorable host this week!

Mollie and Amy have done some retooling of the pinterest page. Thanks ladies! Check it out, and let them know what you think on the FB group.

Also, a few readers have told me the rss feed is giving them an error. If you’re having this problem, can you leave a comment, or email me cateinthelibrary |AT|g|mail|DOT|com (with details like the RSS url, and the reader you’re using)




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: Will Hillenbrand, What A Treasure!

I just love smart, savvy picture book authors who offer free story extenders. It makes my job so much easier. If you haven’t seen Will Hillenbrand’s website you are truly missing out. He wrote one of my all-time favorite picture books:

What’s more, he offers a slew of excellent story extensions including an beautiful flannelboard pattern (with his beautiful illustrations) FOR FREE!

Say it with me now, “WHAT A TREASURE!”

So don’t waste your time here, go straight to his site and download all this loot!

Mollie is our magnificent host today!



Must-Have Music #1:

This idea has been marinating in my brain for quite a while… With all the children’s music out there, it’s a tough to slog through your library’s collection to find the right music for storytime. Believe me, I know from *recent* personal experience. I’m in the middle of a major slog-athon right now in preparation for a new “Campfire Sing-Along” program I put on our 2012 summer calendar.

Side note: About 2 years ago, I started a program we call “Bibliobop”, and it’s been pretty popular for from the get-go. I decided to try a the sing-alongs this summer. It’s somewhere between a storytime and a dance party. It will still be a program you can grab and go (a playlist on the department’s iPod + 1 book), but with a little more structure than a dance party.  I’m pretty close to a final mix. I should have it by the end of the week(?). I’ll post it when I do. 

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time:  Must-Have Music Monday. Each week (give or take) I’ll feature a storytime CD that no storytime room should be without.

There guidelines for these CD are as follows:

  1. currently available thru major vendors
  2. CD has multiple tracks that will come in handy  for storytime
While I’m at it I should also define what makes a good storytime song:
  1. short/no intro (more than once, I’ve been in front of a storytime group as a 20-30 second intro played through feeling like a total weirdo)
  2. songs should be 85-98% chorus… This may sound weird but repetition is the sweet spot when it comes to storytime music.
  3. Movement/Participation/Silliness
  4. There’s more, and I’ll add more as I think of them
Anyway, without further ado, here’s Must-Have Music Monday #1:

Little Ditties For Itty Bitties by Michele Valeri

This CD is wall-to-wall storytime awesomeness!

1. Bouncy Bouncy

Super-cute song for Babytime.  If your library does a small-group baby lapsit this would be a great bouncing song. It’s a pretty rigorous bouncing song, so make sure your group is in the mood. Sit in a circle, follow along with the song (this will work especially well if you use a demonstration doll) as it plays.

2. Hurray For My Face!

Very silly song it would be perfect for toddler time preschool storytime. Have the kids touch the various body parts mentioned through out the song. I might try making a flannelboard to go along with this song, and build a body as the song plays.

4. Walking/Caminando

This is ideal for an English-Spanish storytime. This would work with babies, toddler, preschoolers. I would stand in a circle and follow along with the lyrics (first in English, then in Spanish).

6. My Dog George

Grab your favorite dog puppet, and wag his tail, scratch his ears, let him give you a kiss, and hug him as the songs instructs.

7. Knock Knock and 8. Toc Toc

Pass out rhythm sticks, and use them to knock on the door. Then make the various animal noises when the time is right. This is a super silly crowd-pleaser. You can do it in English and/or Spanish.

9. Monkey Talk

This is an awesomely silly song. Who doesn’t like make monkey noises? It’s really fun to get very dramatic during the verses:  climb, fall, look around… as you look for your bananas.
10. Vroom, Vroom Vroom.
I made these steering wheels a while back for a book called In The Driver’s Seat by Max Haynes.  These would also work for this fun, adorable song. I would use this in toddler time and preschool storytime.

Vrrrrooooooooooommmmm!! Take the wheel!

 12. A Dinosaur I Am
Show off your big dinosaur feet, teeth, claws, and so forth. It’s good for just about any age group. I might also make a “build a dino” flannelboard to go with this song.  It’s a fun one.
So there it is, a must-have CD for the storytime room…


Flannel Friday: Color Blending Magic

This is a decidedly flannelless storytime activity I like to use when the theme is color. It pair perfectly with one of my all-time favorite stories, with Mouse Paint. It’s one of the simplest ways to provide a hands-on experience with color blending.

I Give each child 2 blobs of Play-Doh. Then ask the group what they think will happen if you squish the 2 blobs together. I try to coordinate the squishing so I count out, “1 squish, two squish, three squish. Show me what you’ve got!”





It works best with a small group (fewer than 10 kids). It works with preschoolers, but if you have any know-it-alls in the group they may poo-poo it at first. But don’t let that discourage you, once they get the play-doh in thier hot little hands, they’ll be putty in your hands (pun intended). And of course it brings down the house with toddlers. Anyway, this is one of my most flannelless #FF to date, but there it is…

Libraryquine is hosting this week.

Happy storytiming!

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Let’s Make Something! Storytime

I started this blog with the intention of sharing my storytime plans. I want to do this more. So here I go:

I do about 2-3 storytimes each week. I do PreK Storytime and Toddler Time back-to-back at 10am and 11:30 am. I do the same theme for both. I also use some of the same stories, but switch out titles where developmentally appropriate.  Below I’ll indicate which titles I used for PreK, TT, or Both

 Name tags:

Handprint die cuts


My new favorite hello song is Kathy Reid-Naiman’s “Clap Everybody and Say Hello”. You can find it on Sally Go Round The Sun

Hi Gertie! Gertie, my storytime mascot comes out and greets each child. When she’s through making the rounds we all sings

Good night Gertie
Good night Gertie
Good night Gertie
We’re glad that you are here!


Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia

This is one of my all-time favorite picture books. This book works best if you use your whole body to demonstrate what each machine does as you read it. I have found it works best when I am consistent with my motions (duh, right? well, I’ve actually messed it up…AWKWARD!)  So before the kids arrive, choose a motion for each machine, and you’ll have kids and parents diggin’ it! (I’m not sorry for the terrible pun, HA!) Both

Two Little Pigs whose small homes in the woods have been accidentally destroyed by Bear and Moose decide to build a house they can all share, and with the help of Beaver Builders they soon have a fine new home. It’s a British import (I believe). The pictures are delightful. This story worked well with my preschoolers, but it’s a small group (around 10). I wouldn’t think of using it in my toddler time (which is about 20-28, including parents), even through they’re a very attentive group. I think some of them would love it in a 1-on-1 situation, but 1) it’s a bit long for them, and 2) the illustrations are loaded with detail. Regardless of age, I think you have to be able to get up close to appreciate it. PreK

Build It Up and Knock It Down by Tom Hunter

This is a really fun concept book about opposites. TT

The Magic Toolbox by Mie Araki

The preschoolers connected to Fred the Rabbit big-time. They were all jumping out of their skin to tell their own stories about their towers falling down, and how bad they feel when their towers fall down before they’re ready. They even started cheering Fred on at some point.  They also loved identifying the tools. And when they got to the bandaids, they all wanted to show me their boo-boos. PREK

Click here for more titles on this theme I will update this list in the morning.

BTW… A Few Words On Booboo Checks:

I’m a big fan of boo-boo checks. Whenever the topic of boo-boos come up, I’m always willing to pause the group activity for a boo-boo check. When it comes to pain, kids have a one-track mind. If the topic comes up, they can’t just move on. It’s as if the memory or idea of pain is so intense that it immediately takes over their whole brain. They can’t just filter it out, or move on.  They need some sort of release. They need to tell a story about a past/healed boo-boo, or show someone a cut they got this morning.  I don’t know why I started doing this, but at some point I realized that when I tried to shut it down, they spent the rest of the time staring and/or picking (ick!)  at their most recent boo-boos.

So now, if the topic comes up, I take a pause, and I go around the room and do booboo check. It goes like this:

Me: Austin, do you have a boo-boo?
Kid: Yes, (pointing to a tiny dot on his finger) I was running fast, and Jake was…
Me: Youch! What did you do?
Kid: Jake got Mommy, and we got a bandaid, and we talked about it.
Me: It looks like it’s healing up really nice. How does it feel now?
Kid: Hmmmm, good!

Once this is out of their system, they’re usually ready to go back to the story.

Action Rhyme

Hi My Name Is Joe (Both)

  1. Hi my name is Joe and I work in a button factory
  1. One day, my boss came up to me
  1. He said,”Hey Joe, are you busy?”
  1. I said, “No”.
He said “Push the button with your right hand.”
(repeat with the left hand, right foot, left foot, head, belly, and butt until the final round. When the boss asks if you’re busy, shout YES! and freeze.)

Goodbye Song

“The More We Get Together” I don’t need to write it out… right?


Flannel Friday: The Was A Bold Lady Who Wanted A Star

This week’s (very late thanks to technical difficulties) #FF is:

There Was A Bold Lady Who Wanted A Star by Charise Mericle Harper

I love this version of the well-worn storytime rhyme. Sadly my library doesn’t own a copy, and it’s out of print. But I want to use it for storytime. So I was thrilled saw this pattern for a flannelized version in Storytime Magic.  What can I say, I love a broad has chutzpah! Anyway, here’s a picture:

(sans the airplane. I set it out to dry, but now I can't find the #*@#$ thing!)

Anyway, I may be too late for the #FFRU… Sorry folks. But check out Andrea’s blog and the #FF pinterest archive for more storytime ideas.

Cheers dears!


My Storytime Rhyme Database

Sadly, it took me several minutes to realize that might be one of the nerdiest blog headlines in the history of blog headlines

When I started my current job, I asked my coworker, the marvelous (and generous) Ms. Shelley, if she had a list of favorite storytime books. She said yes, and I asked to see it. Now I expect it to be large, but I was thinking it would be maybe 600-700 books.  I wasn’t even close. One look at the nearly 1500 titles, I said, “Holy moly! This list needs a database!”

I used Zoho Creator to make a database from the spreadsheet. Once I got the fields set up, all I had to do is cut and paste the spreadsheet, and it came out exactly how I wanted it. It’s easy to maintain. Anytime we read a new picture book on the new books shelf, it takes about 10 seconds to add it to the database. It’s searchable by topic/author/title. It’s my first stop when I’m planning storytime. I still use resources like Hennepin County Library’s ELSIE from time to time, but the best part of producing this one ourselves is that all the titles in this database are in our library’s picture book collection.

After a while I realized the same format would work for storytime rhymes.  Unlike the read-aloud database, I had to start this one from scratch. And like I said, I’ve been slowly adding rhymes to my collection of tried-and-true favorites. In order to avoid information overload, I tried stick with rhymes I really enjoy sharing in storytime. It isn’t nearly as large as the read-aloud database, only about 130 entries. but I was going through it the other day and realized it’s turning into a well-rounded collection. It covers a wide variety of themes and topics, and I thought now is as good a time as any to share it.

Here’s a link to my storytiming rhyme database

So check it out, use it, and enjoy!



Flannel Friday: In The Driver’s Seat

Happy Flannel Friday Holiday Extavaganza!

I don’t mean to be a bit grinchy, but I tend to stay away from religious holidays in storytime. So here is a non-holiday-themed-non-flannel storytime activity. I recently came across this hilarious picture book.

In The Driver's Seat by Max Haynes

I made these steering wheels using clipart.


I made twenty of them. I cut them out and glued them to paper plates. I handed them out to each of my storytimers.  As I read the story, they “drove” along with their steering wheels. We all had a lot of crazy, giggly fun. The only problem was that they didn’t want to give them back. This group is an excitable bunch, so I just let them take them home. I can easily make more.

Library Quine is hosting the big Holiday Extravaganza! And check out the archive on pinterest.

Happy Flannel Friday everyone!


Flannel Friday: Froggy Metamorphosis

This is a work in process. I saw this filed under “flannel board inspiration” pinterest, and I can’t get it out of my mind. So I made it even though I don’t have an activity to go with it yet. If my memory serves, Anne added it. Any way, I had a feeling that if I made this flannelized tadpole-to-frog metamorphosis thingamajig, a usable storytime idea would follow.

He's just a little tadpole swimming in the water

**There is also a cute froglet stage, but I didn’t take a picture.**

Fully Frogganized

So, I’m looking at it, and still…nothing.

But I am nothing if not persistent, so now I think that if I make a few more, maybe using a variety of weird colors (based the Amazonian frog research I am about to do) I’ll probably come up with something.  Wish me luck!

The #FFRU is hosted by Anne at so tomorrow.

And if you have any frog-nificent suggestions for using this little dude, I’m all ears. Cheers!