Wednesday, July 1, 2015


With the Discovery Channel's Shark Week coming up, I was inspired to check out some shark stories.  At first I just planned to use one of them in a more general "Under the Sea" theme, but I could not find any other fish/ocean creature stories that I liked nearly as much as the shark stories, so I decided to just go with it and have fun.

After our welcome song, introduction, and "story song," we read The Monkey Goes Bananas by C. P. Bloom.  This book is unique in that it only has one or two words per page, such as "The monkey" or "The shark!" and you have to use tone and expression, along with the illustrations, to tell the story of the poor monkey who is stranded on one island, with a banana tree on the other, and a shark patrolling the waters in between.

After that, they got to work off any excess energy with a fun little song called "Baby Shark".  This song is very simple and repetitive, and has many verses and variations that can be found online.  I stuck with a less traumatic version, but you can find variations more suitable for school-aged kids featuring all out shark attacks, missing limbs, failed CPR, going to heaven (or not), etc.  The tempo increases with each verse, then slows again at the end.

          Baby shark, do doo, do-do da-doo       (open & close finger & thumb like jaws)
                    (Repeat 3 times)
          Mama shark, do doo, do-do da-doo     (use 2 hands to represent Mama shark biting)
                    (Repeat 3 times)
          Daddy shark, do doo, do-do da-doo    (use both arms to represent Daddy shark biting)
                    (Repeat 3 times)
          Going swimming, do doo, do-do da-doo   (make swimming motions)
                    (Repeat 3 times)
          Saw a shark, do doo, do-do da-doo   (use hand on top of head to represent dorsal fin)
                    (Repeat 3 times)
          Swim away! do doo, do-do da-doo         (swim faster)
                    (Repeat 3 times)
          Swim FASTER!  do doo, do-do da-doo   (swim really fast)
                    (Repeat 3 times)
          Safe at last, do doo, do-do da-doo          (slow tempo, relax)
                   (Repeat 3 times)

Here's a YouTube video so you can get the tune & tempo:

After we got settled back down on the rug, we read my favorite shark story, The Three Little Fish and The Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist & Julia Gorton.  Adults and older kids will instantly recognize this as a re-telling of Three Little Pigs.  I love this one, because it's just plain cute for one, but it has bright, colorful illustrations and all the repeating lines the kids can join in saying.  I highly recommend this for a read-aloud!

Then onto another fun song about the ocean food chain called "Slippery Fish":

Slippery fish, slippery fish, swimming through the water.      (move hand like fish)
Slippery fish, slippery fish, GULP, GULP, GULP!                 (make biting motions with hand)
(Spoken) Oh, no!  He's been eaten by an octopus!

Octopus, octopus, swimming through the water.                 (wave arms like tentacles)
Octopus, octopus, GULP, GULP, GULP!                            (use both hands for biting motion)
(Spoken) Oh, no!  He's been eaten by a tuna fish!

Tuna fish, tuna fish, swimming through the water.               (use both hands like large fish)
Tuna fish, tuna fish, GULP, GULP, GULP!                           (use both arms for biting motion)
(Spoken) Oh, no!  He's been eaten by a great white shark!

Great white shark, great white shark,                                  (hold hand up like dorsal fin)
swimming through the water.                                              
Great white shark, great white shark,
GULP, GULP, GULP!                                                          (use both hands for biting motion)
(Spoken) Oh, no!  He's been eaten by an orca whale!

Orca whale, orca whale, swimming through the water.       (hold arms out at sides)
Orca whale, orca whale, GULP, GULP, GULP!                   (use both arms for biting motion)

And here's a video to help with the tune and motions for this one as well:

Then for our last story, I chose Bob Shea's I'm a Shark.  This is a very humorous story that has the shark bragging about how tough he is (as long as their are no spiders involved) and describing hypothetical encounters with such scary creatures as dinosaurs, squid, and bears.  There are several opportunities for the kids to respond back, and lots of laughs.  The illustrations are primitive and cartoonish, something like a child might draw.  We closed with the usual song.

How It Went
Today was such a fun storytime, and everything was a hit!  The kids were especially glad to see me since the last time I came they were gone to VBS.  They know the routine so well now, I didn't even need to prompt them, they spoke up and said "Now let's sing our welcome song"  and "now it's time for our 'story song'";  I was so proud.  They loved all the books and had a lot of fun with the songs, especially "Baby Shark".  One little girl said "That's disgusting!" when the whale burped at the end of "Slippery Fish".  They did such a good job listening and participating today!  Surprisingly, none of them recognized The Three Little Fish and The Big Bad Shark as a re-telling of The Three Little Pigs, though they did enjoy saying the repeating lines along with me.  The only thing they were disappointed in is that I only had stickers for them instead of a stamp, as I could not find my stamp anywhere this morning :(

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