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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

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Ick Yucky Eeeewww Post-Storytime Report

Pre-K Storytime was a little crazy this morning. Wait, I said that wrong… Storytime was a raucous, craZY, ROWDY RUMPUS!!!!  I have a pretty high threshold for kid-craziness, but my preschoolers were running amok this morning. I’m not exaggerating one bit; at one point–while I was reading a story– a spontaneous game of tag broke out among 4 boys. At some point, after trying a few “quieting rhymes” I decided to throw caution to the wind, and integrate as much movement as I possibly could. If nothing else, I figured I would get a good workout out of it. But I am getting ahead of myself… Here’s how

Hello Song

My right hand waves hello
My left hand waves hello
Every time I see my friends
My hands wave big hellos

Con’t belly, feet, fingers, toes and by request: hair, head, knees, tongues, bottoms, eyes, noses.

Circle Meeting: To Do List & Introduce Theme

We discussed all the things that we think are yucky. Of course there was some disagreement among the members of the group, but in the end we all decided worms, mud, and poop are yucky.

We made our to-do list:

  1. Hello Song
  2. Morning Meeting
  3. Book #1: Toad by Ruth Brown
  4. Action: Baby Bumblebee
  5. Book #2: Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo by E.S. Redmond
  6. Book Number #3: Yuck! by Mick Manning
  7. Action Rhyme: Littlest Worm
  8. Coloring Journals
  9. Goodbye: The More We Get Together

Toad By Ruth Brown

He is about as gross as it gets. He’s a warty, smelly, bug-crunching creature, who hobbles half-blind through the toxic, sludgy swamp.  Predators beware! For when a “monster” believes eating toad is like taking candy from a baby, he quickly realizes his mistake. He launches toad into air with a resounding “YUCK!” And our now “confident” triumphant hero lands safely in his cozy, oozy swamp.  This book is really fun to read aloud. The wording is beautifully rhythmic, and rolls off the tongue. However, I don’t think this is an immediate winner with kids. It’s full of big words, and this can work for it and against it. On one hand, I think Brown selected the perfect words for this story, and I think she was very economical with the language.  However, some of my preschoolers may have been a little on the young side.  I tried to look around a little as I read, and I saw a couple of nervous faces. I would recommend this for kids 4.5 and older. Still, everyone loved the ending, and even my girliest among the little girls in the class, loved toad’s enormous grin on the final page.

Baby Bumble Bee

I am always nervous when to do sing this song (the same goes for my all-time favorite: Little Bunny Foo Foo), particularly if there are any parents in the room. Luckily this wasn’t a problem this time. So we had fun smooshing up our baby bumble bees. I decided to skip the licking and barfing up our baby bumble bees, just to be on the safe side.  I know, I know… I’m a chicken.

Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo by E.S. Redmond

When all the animals at the zoo wake up sniffling, snuffling, and looking a little green around the gills, the zookeeper is at a loss to explain the misery that has struck his menagerie.  In order to find the culprit we must go back in time several days when, “pale, sniffly girl named Felicity Floo wiped her runny nose without a tissue” on her visit to the zoo. We can track Felicity’s movements through the zoo by following the sticky, green trail of boogery hand prints she left along the way. This book is always a huge hit in storytime. Don’t ask why, but I am always surprised that it goes over so well. My first impression was that it was that the rhyme scheme was a little rigid, and/or it was too cutesy. But I’ve used it several times, and each time, the kids love following Felicity’s germy rampage. In fact, I gave each child a chance to find, point out, and touch a hand print–the hand prints are made from a sickly yellowish-green puffy paint– and every single kid recoiled in what can only be described as ghoulish delight. Felicity Floo is a winner, and it pack a powerful lesson: WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

We skipped the littlest worm at this point because the aforementioned chaos. I decided we needed to dance it out so I popped in my special surprise-dance mix, and it played 1, 2, 3, 4 by Laura Freeman.

Yuck! by Mick Manning

This is an awesome read aloud, that discusses all the most disgusting things critter babies eat for breakfast–worms, rotten eggs, just to name a few. After descriptions of each meal, an enormous “Yuck” explodes across the page.   This story makes anyone who is, or ever was a human baby feel very fortunate to have been fed milk for breakfast.  I directed the kids to jump as high as they could and yell yuck everytime I pulled my earlobe. They seemed to enjoy this element quite a bit. But a more low-key reading of Yuck! would work just as well.

Finally, it was time to color, and then sing The More We Get Together.


My Bag O’ Tricks

I haven’t been a children’s librarian for very long, but a lifetime of being scatter-braine has taught me to keep stashes of extra in-case-of-memory-lapse-emergency items (i.e. chapstick, keys, $10) stashed away in all my bags, jackets, and desk drawers. I have found this rule work for me in the storytime room, too. I keep a mix CD of my favorite interactive kids songs hidden near the CD player. If things are going a little rocky, I need to fill some time, kids are getting restless; I pop it in on shuffle, and go with whatever the machine chooses. It’s a silly thing, but there something about that small element of surprise that I could never fake in a million years. It never fails to shake things up, and get storytime back on track.

So here’s my Storytime 911 mix:

  1. Clap Your Hands/ They Might Be Giants
  2. Shake Your Sillies Out/ Raffi
  3. Brush Your Teeth/ Raffi
  4. Brush Brush Brush/ of montreal
  5. 1, 2, 3, 4/ Laura Freeman
  6. Do You Wanna Know My New Dance Step/ Dog on Fleas
  7. The Hokey Pokey/ Dan Zanes
  8. Song about Slow, Song about Fast/ Hap Palmer
  9. Shake Your Sillies Out/ Michael and Jello