Storytime: Halloween!

This storytime theme was Halloween! It was simply spooktacular. Thank you, I’ll see myself out. Anywho, here is what we read:

We started with What a Scare, Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom. The book covers all things Halloween from carving a pumpkin to trick-or-treating. The kiddos liked seeing all of the costumes. Next we read Moonlight the Halloween Cat by Cynthia Rylant. I just had to throw in a story about a cat! This was a cute story about a cat roaming around on Halloween night. I think it would be more effective as a bed time story though. They still enjoyed it. Last, we read Sheep Trick or Treat by Nancy E. Shaw. This could not have been more perfect. One kiddo came dressed in his Halloween costume… a sheep! It was great to see him connecting his costume with the story (lots of pointing and smiling).

For our craft we made spooky scary spiders. This was a very mild craft compared to the ones we have been doing the past couple of weeks (bird feeders, wreaths). It was nice to step back a bit on this one. I prepped the body of the spider by gluing two black paper plates together and punching eight holes for the spiders legs. I let the kiddos attach the purple pipe cleaner legs and add googly eyes on top. They just LOVE googly eyes!

(I know, my example spider has 9 eyes… don’t worry, one of the kiddos ripped a googly eye off anyway! Smart kids, eh!) These were fun because they pipe cleaners allowed them to sit up on a flat surface, wrap around the arm of a chair, or hang from a doorway. Just a quick reminder to those in public libraries and schools… make sure you can celebrate holidays like Halloween at your library! Also, remind caregivers ahead of time about a holiday themed storytime. It is easier for them to decide to not show up than it is to decide to stay. We want to be inclusive of all people and let them decide! I told caregivers ahead of time and asked the owner of the shop to cover my bases. Otherwise, do a simple Fall themed storytime. This was a great storytime that really engaged the kiddos. Costumes are just too much fun!


Storytime: Birds

This storytime went egg-cellently. Sorry. The kids loved the craft and the tub of bird seed fascinated them. Here is what we read:

We started with Whose Chick Are You? by Nancy Tafuri. This was a great read aloud with lots of bird sounds that the children could call out with me. Next, we read Counting Birds by Alice Melvin. The kiddos were not enthralled by this book. I made sure every couple of pages to count out the birds on the page, but I think 20 was just too many. I really liked the illustrations in this one. It was very folksy. Finally, we read Early Bird by Toni Yuly. This book is very simple with bright colors. The children really enjoyed this read. It was perfect for ending the reading time. Between the craft and the reading, I set out the DK Eyewitness Bird book for the children to peruse. They love seeing real pictures of things and this one was perfect for displaying feathers, eggs, and nests.


For our craft, we made bird feeders out of pine cones for them to hang outside on trees. I collected the pine cones myself in my neighborhood (it was easier than I anticipated). However, if your storytime is quite large, you could ask each child to bring in their own pine cone ahead of time. We used peanut butter as the adhesive. If you have children that are allergic to nuts, you can also provide honey to use. After talking with caregivers, one suggested Crisco which is used in suet for birds. Both are great alternatives. Next, they dunked their pine cones in the bird seed. This was clearly their favorite part as they kept dunking their hands in the bird seed. It sort of became a sensory bin.

Then, we tide some colorful ribbon to the tops. I had Ziploc bags to put them in for the ride home. If you were located at a public library, you could have the children place them on trees outside the library. All around, this was a very fun storytime that the children loved. I’ll try to incorporate more sensory bins in future storytimes.


Book Review

Electric Ben

Electric Ben13588437

Written and Illustrated by Robert Byrd

Published 2012 by Dial Books

Audience: Ages 7-12

2013 Sibert Honor Medal

2013 Horn Book Award Winner for Excellence in Children’s Literature


Electric Ben by Robert Byrd was a wonderful and informative picturebook. I learned new things that I never knew about Benjamin Franklin. Any child will love learning about Franklin through Byrd’s lovely illustrations and his easy to follow writing. It would be a great curriculum addition for teachers or librarians looking for nonfiction related to the Founding Fathers, the American Revolution, or the Declaration of Independence. Right away, kiddos will be drawn in by the man surrounded by electricity on the cover of the book.

The book follows Ben Franklin’s life from birth to death showcasing his many accomplishments. Each two page spread focuses on a time or period in his electric life such as “Poor Richard Saunders,” “Coaxing Sparks from the Sky,” “Independence and War”, and “Franklin and the Constitution.” The illustrations provide a sense of the time with images of buildings, clothing, and town squares. What I really appreciate about the illustrations is that some are diagrams of Franklin’s inventions. You could spend a long time just browsing over the illustrations and their intricacies.


Images from

I would highly recommend this book for any school library. It is a thorough and informative biography with fantastic illustrations that should enthrall even the most reluctant of readers. It is a great nonfiction picturebook to add to any early American History lesson from the classroom. My only issue with the book is that there are no page numbers. While there is a thoughtful Timeline and Bibliography at the end of the text, a Table of Contents would have been beneficial.

To see more of Robert Byrd’s amazing illustrations visit¬†where you can see more spreads from Electric Ben. He has also written another wonderful biography published in 2003 worth checking out: Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer.





Storytime: Fall

It is finally Fall! My favorite season. No better time to do a Fall themed storytime with crisp October air the the leaves just about to change. Here are the stories we read:

We started with Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell. A simple sweet story about going to a farm to pick apples and pumpkins. Next we read Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson. The kiddos didn’t love this book but the stayed attentive enough. They liked the point in the book where they had to point out Mouse’s tail hiding in the leaves. We next read Leaves by David Ezra Stein. The caregivers all said this book was very sweet. The illustrations are very lovely and the kids liked the bear character. I saved Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert to the side if they were still interested. Thankfully they were because I love Leaf Man! The pictures are not very bright, but it is so interesting to have the leaves form different objects.

We created Fall wreathes for our craft. I purchased two bags of fake leaves for about $2 and used paper plates as the backdrop. I also found these really sweet pumpkin foam stickers. Of course, you can leave the pumpkins off.

I threw the leaves on the floor and had the kiddos collect them up in a pile. Regular Elmer’s glue wasn’t working well to hold the leaves in place because the kids did not want to wait for them to dry (they never do :)). While they played around the shop, I pulled out the hot glue gun and secured the leaves in place. I try to make crafts that are simple and not messy. I always create a “sample” before the storytime, but I didn’t really consider drying time. I’m thinking I should invest in a bunch of glue dots. Despite the glue issues, it was a cute craft and the children enjoyed playing with the leaves. Overall, a very fun storytime for a my favorite time of year.