Friday, July 31, 2015

Blast Into Space

All the talk about the New Horizons probe taking photos of the surface of Pluto this month inspired me to choose "space" for today's preschool storytime. 

As usual, we started with our welcome song, introductions, and story song.  The first book I chose to read was Astronaut Piggy Wiggy by Christyan and Diane Fox.  I chose this book because it was shorter than some others and encourages kids to use their imagination and dream about what they would like to do someday, and it had a countdown the kids could participate in.  I really liked the illustrations because they were not too busy, had bold, bright colors, with a heavy black outline.  Simple, high contrast pictures are easier for kids to see clearly, and they hold their attention better. 

After that, we got to pretend to be an astronaut, and work on counting backwards from 10 to 1, with the action rhyme "Climb Aboard": 

     Climb aboard the spaceship; we're going to the moon.     (pretend to climb ladder)
     Hurry and get ready; we're going to blast off soon.           (point to watch)
     Put on your helmets, and buckle up tight.             (pretend to put on helmet & buckle belt)
     Here comes the countdown, count with all your might:
    10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 ......                                 (show fingers as you count)
     ....BLAST OFF!!!!!                                                              (jump up in the air)

For our second book, I wanted something a little different, that didn't have to do with rockets, so I chose Eric Carle's Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me after someone recommended it to me.  Of course it has beautiful illustrations and some neat fold-out pages.  This is a good book to introduce the phases of the moon, as well.

The we sang a song about going to the moon, to the tune of "Farmer In The Dell":

          We're flying to the moon.
          We're flying to the moon.
          Blast off, away we go,
          We're flying to the moon.

          We're going in a spaceship...
          We're walking out in space...
          We're landing on the moon...
          We're collecting moon rocks...
          We're flying back to earth...
          We're landing on the earth....

For our last book I read Sheep Blast Off! by Nancy Shaw.  I love these silly sheep, and so do most kids.  This was a cute, slightly silly story where the sheep get themselves in trouble by sneaking aboard a spaceship belonging to visiting aliens.  I also like the rhyme and rhythm of this book.  I'm convinced the kids are drawn in and listen better when books have a rhyme & rhythm, and I just find them easier to read and memorize as well.

We ended with our closing song and stickers.

How It Went
I was not as well-prepared as I like to be as it has been a crazy busy week, and I did not make my final book and song/rhyme selections until the night before, so I really felt like I was winging it.  But it went fine other than me forgetting which verse we were on of the "Flying To The Moon" song once.  The kids were a little more hyper and talkative today for some reason, and required more correction, but they did like the topic.  Several of them insisted they had their own rocket ships at home.

They seemed to enjoy all the books, but sat and listened the best for Sheep Blast Off!.  They liked the Eric Carle book more than I thought they would, and were very impressed with the huge fold-out moon and Papa's very, very long ladder.  The thought Piggy Wiggy's space pajamas were silly for some reason.

They loved the "Climb Aboard" rhyme, especially the blast off, of course.  Some of them had a little trouble with counting backwards from 10, so I will have to try to incorporate some more activities in the future that have counting down.

It was a good day, but a little sad as some of the kiddos will be moving up to the 4 yo class next week, so I won't see them again :(  But I'll have a whole crop of new ones to get to know.

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Picture Books!

I grabbed a few picture books off the new shelf to review, fortunately I had much better luck than last month and found a few good ones.

How To Spy On A Shark by Lori Haskins Houran, illustrated by Francisca Marquez.  March 1, 2015.  Albert Whitman & Company.  24 pages.  Ages 4-7.

This non-fiction picture book shows some of the steps involved in studying sharks, with very brief, short explanations just right for very young kids and early readers, with fairly realistic drawings.  At the end of the book is more detailed information for adults to read and explain if they wish.

Somehow I missed this book when it first came out back in the Spring.  It is the perfect level and amount of information for younger kids who are curious about sharks and how they are studied, but are easily overwhelmed with too many details.  I like that the more detailed information is given at the end so that and adult can read and discuss it with the child(ren).  This would be good for a beginning reader, or could work for a storytime to introduce some factual information.

Sniff!  Sniff! by Ryan Sias, April 7, 2015. Harry N. Abrams.  32 pages.  Ages 3-7.

On each 2-page spread, see what the doggie smells and guess where he is going next.  On the first page, he smells bacon, pancakes, and oranges.....Breakfast!

This is a short, simple book with very little text and bright illustrations with heavy outlines, perfect for younger kids.  I think it would be great for a 3-5 year old storytime, but I personally think it's a bit short & simple for 7 year-olds.  I like that it has little text, but plenty of action and is interactive. 

The Fly by Petr Horacek, May 12, 2015.  Candelwick, 32 pages.  Ages 3-7.

What has two googly eyes, six hairy legs, and two transparent wings?  The narrator of this story, the common housefly.  As he goes throughout his day, the poor fly is constantly getting swatted at, but he doesn't understand why no one wants him around.

This simple but humorous story is sure to work well for a preschool or kindergarten storytime.  Kids will enjoy the sounds of the flyswatter smacking and discussing whether they think cows smell lovely, and the ending is sure to get a few laughs and giggles.

Billy and Goat At The State Fair by Dan Yaccarino, June 30, 2015.  Knopf Books for Young Readers.  40 pages.  Ages 3-7.

Billy and Goat were best friends, and did just about everything together, though not in the same way.  While Billy liked to swing, Goat liked to push.  Billy liked to smell the flowers, and Goat liked to eat them.  Billy liked reading adventure stories, and Goat wanted to have real adventures.  One day Billy decided to enter Goat in the Best Goat contest at the fair.  Instead of waiting patiently in the barn for the contest like he should, Goat leads Billy on a series of adventures and hijinks at the fair.

This is a cute story with bright, sharp illustrations and plenty of action.  It is a little on the longer side, with a few more pages and a bit more text on each page, so would probably work best as a one-on-one read, or in a storytime with older kids who have a longer attention span.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A World of Shapes - Outreach Preschool Storytime

This week on the bus we did shapes.  Maybe not the most exciting theme, but an important concept for kids to learn.  As it turns out, there are some pretty cute shape books out there, and most of them are bright and colorful and can do double-duty reinforcing colors as well.  They also encourage imagination and creativity by showing how to combine shapes to make pictures.  We used the following books this week, choosing 2 or 3 for each class for a 20-minute storytime:

Shape by Shape by Suse Macdonald is short, but fun, good for younger ones.  Everyone seemed to like this one.  After all, what kid doesn't love dinosaurs?  Most classes figured it out by the end, if not before, but one class was sure it was a snake.

Shape Capers by Cathryn Falwell is a little longer than the others, but has a nice rhythm and cadence and encourages creative shape play.

Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh has the mice trying to hide from the cat as usual, this time in a collection of shapes.  Sometimes this works ok, sometimes it just doesn't seem to hold the kids' attention as well as shorter or rhyming books.

Go, Shapes, Go! by Denise Fleming shows how the same assortment of shapes can be arranged to form two different animals, with a funny consequence.  Also introduces arcs in addition to basic shapes.  This one is simple enough to work for younger kids, but engaging enough for older kids as well.

Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier only covers one shape, but is a fun read and very cheerful with all the bright colored dots.  It is on the longish side, but still works with most kids, unless you're pressed for time.

Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert has different zoo animals made up of different shapes.  Some people love using this book for younger kids as it has very little text and bright colors (and the similar Color Farm by the same author), but I find that several of the animals are very difficult for the kids to recognize and I don't particular care for it. 

In addition to the books, we also used two action songs, one to the tune of "The Muffin Man":                                 "Do You Know What Shape This Is?"

               Do you know what shape this is, what shape this is, what shape this is?
               Do you know what shape this is, that I'm holding in my hand?

Then we would hold up a large foam shape and the kids would guess the shape, then we'd ask how many sides, and what color. 

The other was a "Shape Shake" version of the "Hokey Pokey", where we gave each child a shape for each hand, and then we would sing:

               Put your square (rectangle, circle, triangle) in, put your square out.
               Put your square in and shake it all about.
               Do the shape shake and turn yourself around.
               That's what it's all about.

I have also started introducing an abbreviated version of my "story song" in the beginning.  From what I have observed, there hasn't been any consistent use of a welcome or an ending song/rhyme, which I would like to change.  I feel these repeated routines make the transitions much smoother for the kids and adults alike, and the "story song" helps get them settled.  Repeated elements also get the kids more involved because they already know them, and expect them.  I know with only 20 minutes it is tempting to want to just jump in to the stories, but I really feel it is well worth it to carve out a few minutes for a beginning and ending routine. 

Out of all the various books that were used, my personal favorites were Lots of Dots and Shape by Shape; they seemed the most fun and easy to read, with good flow and opportunities for the kids to interact by naming shapes, colors, objects, and acting out movements like pretending to lift a heavy weight or pop bubbles.  Although I did have a couple of dinosaur experts who (correctly) pointed out that Brachiosaurus was a plant-eater and therefore did not have sharp, triangular teeth.  I have to confess, that inaccuracy bothers me as well.  The kids also seemed to do well with Go, Shapes, Go!  For the songs, I thought the "Do You Know" seemed to work best.  Surprisingly, some groups did not get into the "Shape Shake".

All 10 groups we had seemed to know their shapes (and colors) pretty well.  We almost tripped them up on the oval a couple of times, but they would always realize their mistake and correct it, usually without prompting.  I was surprised that at least a couple of kids actually knew "rhombus" for the diamond shape (another correctly named an octagon in Color Zoo).  Behavior wise, we had quite a range, which is to be expected considering we had 10 different groups at 4 different locations, and varied ages.  Some were very good, well-mannered, and engaged; while others were much more fidgety, interrupting, not sitting, messing with the decorations, etc.  Nothing unexpected or terribly age-inappropriate.  I hope instilling some consistency in the programming with help curtail some of it.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Unusual Pets

I've had the idea of doing some type of pet storytime in the back of my mind for a while, but wasn't sure which direction I wanted to go.  All pets, cats and dogs, just cats, just dogs.... In the end I decided it would be more fun to talk about unusual pets.  I was originally inspired by Trinka Noble's The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate The Wash, which I find quite funny, but in the end decided the 3 year old class might have a little trouble following it, and the illustrations were a little pastel and too detailed for this age.

So I decided to start with Cats Are Cats by Valeri Gorbachev (following our welcome song, introduction and "story song", of course).  This is a cute story about a orange kitten named Tiger who grows, and grows, and grows....into an actual tiger!  But, cats are cats, and Miss Bell loves her cat.  One day she decides to buy some pet fish since Tiger enjoys watching them swim, and one of them grows and grows....and I'm sure you can guess the rest.  I chose this because I thought it was cute and the kids would enjoy the twist to a seemingly typical kitten story, and I wanted to see if they would predict the ending.

After that, we did an action rhyme I saw on Sunflower Storytime (who got it from Library Storytime), called "Can You..."

          Can you hop like a rabbit?                     (hop like bunny)
          Can you jump like a frog?                      (jump)
          Can you waddle like a duck?                 (squat & waddle, bend elbows like wings)
          Can you wag your tail like a dog?          (wiggle bottom)

          Can you fly like a bird?                          (flap arms)
          Can you swim like a fish?                      (make swimming motions with arms)
          Can you sit back down,                         (sit down)
          and be still like this?                              (hands in lap)

Kids always love any song or rhyme that allows them to imitate animal actions or sounds!  Also, if you want to lead into a discussion about what pets they would like, you could replace the last two lines with:  "If you could get a pet, what pet would you wish?"

For the next story, we read A Pet For Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold. I chose this since Fly Guy seems to be pretty popular with the 3-5 year old set, and I liked the twist of the owner becoming the pet (which I'm pretty sure is how my cats see me anyway).  I also thought the kids would enjoy helping me make the buzzing sound at the end of all of Fly Guy's words.

Now that we had already done animal actions, it was time to have fun making animal noises!  For this I chose keep it simple, using the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It":

                                                        "If You're A ......"

                                   If you're a fly and you know it, say "Buzzzz".
                                   If you're a fly and you know it, say "Buzzzz".
                                   If you're a fly and you know it, then
                                   your "Buzzzzz" will surely show it.
                                   If you're a fly and you know it, say "Buzzzz".

We did several versus using animals from the two books we had read so far, and a couple of others that the kids suggested.

Then on to our last book, Hieronymus Betts and His Unusual Pets, by M. P. Robertson.  Obviously this book fit the theme to a "T", and made the unusual pets in the first two books look pedestrian and mundane!  I chose this because I knew the kids would love the pure silliness of it, and enjoy pretending to be appropriately grossed out or scared of each animal, and trying to guess what could be even worse (of course after having my house overrun with my niece and nephews all week, I immediately predicted it would be a little brother).  And of course we ended with our usual closing song.

How It Went
We had an unexpected change of venue this week.  When I arrived at the daycare, there was a notice that the class had been temporarily relocated to the church next door due to mold being discovered under the carpet and in the ceiling of their classroom.  Once I found my kiddos, of course they were more unsettled than usual since their normal routine had been totally disrupted, and I found my usual leader was in time out for interrupting, so I had a quick talk with him, then got the others settled.

Once we got going, things went pretty well.  They of course enjoyed imitating the various pets' actions and sounds with our rhyme and song, and we talked about what kind of pets they had and what kind they wanted.   They really liked Cats Are Cats, and how it tied into the last storytime's shark themeA Pet for Fly Guy seemed like it was just a bit too long, I felt like their interest waned a little in the middle, and I think they were just a little too young to appreciate the irony of the boy becoming the pet.  They still liked it, and thought the buzzy way Fly Guy talked was funny, but it would have been better if it was a little shorter.  They loved the fantastical creatures in Hieronymus Betts and His Unusual Pets, but I think they were a bit disappointed that in the end it was just his little brother that was slimier, louder, smellier, stranger than all his imaginary pets instead of some really bizarre, scary creature.  Again, I think older kids would appreciate the humor in that a lot more, but I still think this book was a winner.

I also showed them a picture of my own unusual pet, Randall, the leopard gecko (he's technically my daughter's, but guess who gets stuck taking care of it while she's at college?).  At first I told them he eats bad little kids' toes, and they weren't quite sure if I was kidding or not :)  Then I explained that he really eats crickets and worms, which they of course thought was gross.

Monday, July 13, 2015

First Day On The New Job!

Today I graduated from being a page in the children's department to being a library assistant in Outreach!  I joined my new manager on the Storytime Bus and we visited 2 different daycares, for a total of 4 classes (I was told this was a short day).  Since it was my first day, and I'd had no time to prepare at all, I mostly observed.

The Storytime Bus is an RV that was donated and retrofitted into a mobile storytime room to take storytime to daycares and preschools who don't have the means to visit the library (see video below).  It was originally intended to be a completely volunteer-driven program, but unfortunately that didn't work out due to a shortage of reliable volunteers.  Thus, the need for creating the position I now have.   Since it was intended to be conducted by volunteers, storytimes were loosely pre-planned by creating kits for various themes.  Each kit is basically a storytime-in-a-box:  a plastic bin filled with a number of books related to the theme, of varying types & lengths, different activities such as flannel boards, rhymes, and songs.  So the person conducting the storytime can pick and choose books that suit their style and the age and attention span of each class, and mix it up if they get bored.  The storytime bus visits a different day care each day for 2 weeks, then repeats; therefore the theme changes every 2 weeks.  Each storytime lasts approximately 20 minutes.

This week's theme is "Bedtime" and the following books were used, though only 2 were used for any given class:  Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, Bedtime Bugs by David Carter, Time For Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail, and Froggy Goes To Bed by Jonathan London.  We also did a song version of "Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed" (I don't have the name of the performer or CD that it was from).

Each group had 10-12 kids, about 4 years old, and one teacher.  The kids were all pretty well behaved, actually better than I had expected.  There was one incident that was a bit funny and ironic, as we were reading Bedtime Bugs.  When we got to the part about bugs in the bath one boy exclaimed "That's gross!," while he had his finger knuckle-deep up his nose!  Out of the four books, I would say that Llama Lama and Bedtime Bugs were probably the biggest hits.  I particularly was impressed with the miniature pop-up book within the Bedtime Bugs pop-up book.

I'm still not sure how I'm going to handle blogging about my outreach storytimes on the bus since there will be so many, but I will probably start by just summarizing in one post each week and see how that works, and tag these as "outreach storytimes" to differentiate from the storytime I have been doing that I plan from scratch every other week (which will now be on Friday instead of Wednesday).  I think I will have a lot of fun on the bus, and I look forward to the opportunity to be involved in collection development as well.

Also, I just wanted to mention I have decided to start another blog, Jen's Library Tales, covering all other library topics that are not storytime/picture books, mostly to document that I am staying current with middle grade and teen lit, and still staying in practice with customer service, reader's advisory, and reference as I will be working the children's desk one day a week in addition to the storytime bus. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Shark Week 2015 - 10 Picture Books About Sharks

In honor of Shark Week, I put together a list of picture books featuring sharks.  Most of these are suitable for preschool storytime (in fact, I liked some of them so much, I did a shark-themed storytime earlier this week), but some of the longer ones would be better for older kids.  I have listed these roughly in order from shorter to longer.

Shark in the Park! by Nick Sharratt, February 2007, Corgi Books. 17 pages.  Ages 3-7.

Young Timothy has a new telescope and is trying it out at the park.  As he looks through it, he spies a shark!  Oh, wait, it's just a black cat's ear.  He looks again, now he really sees a shark!  Oops, it's just a bird.  This continues until Timothy's dad takes him home.  So there never was a shark in the park.  Or was there?

This is a great interactive book that keeps kids guessing.  Cut-outs on each page reveal a portion of an image that looks like a shark fin, then when the page is turned the truth is revealed.  Just when you think there is never going to be a shark, the ending suggests otherwise.  Short enough that even younger preschoolers can pay attention, and very engaging.

The Monkey Goes Bananas by C. P. Bloom, illustrated by Peter Raymundo, May 2014, Harry N. Abrams.  40 pages.  Ages 3-7.

Poor monkey is stranded on a barren island, while a banana tree grows on another island a short distance away.  However, a hungry shark lurks in the waters in between.  Watch as the monkey tries again and again to get to the bananas, and finally succeeds.  Or does he?

With only 1 or 2 words per page, this book relies on the 
illustrations and the reader's tone and expression to tell the
story, and is a fun read-aloud.  Cute and funny, especially the ending. 

Cats Are Cats by Valeri Gorbachev, July 2014, Holiday House.  32 pages.  Ages 3-7.

Miss Bell loved cats and one day she adopts a cute little orange kitten she names Tiger because of his stripes.  Tiger grows and grows.  And grows!  As it turns out, Tiger really is a tiger!  He is big and makes a mess, but Miss Bell loves him anyway.  After all, cats are cats.  One day they are walking past a pet store and Miss Bell decides to buy some fish for Tiger to watch since cats love fish.  One of the fish grows and grows and grows.... But, fish are fish.

This is a cute little story I came across shelf reading with a humorous ending that the kids might be able to predict.  The illustrations are a bit old-fashioned for my taste, but still cute and not too busy.

The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist, illustrated by Julia Gorton, May 2007, Cartwheel books.  32 pages.  Ages 3-8.

In this re-telling of the classic Three Little Pigs story, three little fish build their houses out of seaweed, sand, and an old ship, respectively.  When the big, bad shark asks to come in, they reply  "Not by the skin of  my finny, fin, fin," then he threatens to "crunch and munch and smash" their houses in.  Will the three little fish survive?

This is my favorite shark story so far.  I love the re-telling of the Three Little Pigs and the bright, colorful illustrations.  This would be great for storytime as it can be very interactive with all the repeating lines the kids can join in, and they can try to predict what will happen with each house.  It would be interesting to see if they recognize it as being based on The Three Little Pigs.

I'm a Shark by Bob Shea, April 2011, Balzer + Bray.  40 pages.  Ages 4-8.

Shark is not afraid of anything, not shots, not scary movies, not even the dark.  Other fearsome animals, like dinosaurs and bears, would be afraid of HIM.  But, there might just be one little thing Shark is afraid of, even though he doesn't admit it.

I think this book is hilarious and would make for a great read-aloud, especially with older kids who would get all the jokes, particularly the one about the squid inking himself in fear.  This book provides great opportunities for using different voices and lots of expression and movements.  The illustrations are simple, bold, and bright and look like drawings a kid might have made.  This is probably my second favorite shark story.

Nugget & Fang: Friends Forever--or Snack Time? by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Michael Slack, April 2013, HMH Books for Young Readers. 40 pages. Ages 4-8.

Nugget and Fang are best friends; they do everything together and life is close to perfect.  That is, until Nugget goes to school where he is taught that minnows like him can't be friends with big, bad sharks.  Poor Fang misses his friend and his misguided attempts to win Nugget over backfire and push Nugget further away.  Then one day fishermen catch the school of minnows in a net and Fang uses his sharp teeth to free them, becoming a hero.

This one is a little long at 40 pages and a fair amount of text on some pages, so is better for older kids.  I think there is enough action and drama that some younger kids could handle it, but I would only use it with a group I knew well enough to be sure they could sit through it.  There are plenty of opportunities for using different voices, expressions, and gestures to help keep the kids engaged.  The illustrations are bright and colorful, with beautiful shades of blue and green in the background.

Yummy Yummy!  Food For My Tummy! by Sam Lloyd, illustrated by Jack Tickle, March 2009, Tiger Tales. 32 pages. Ages 4-8.

Once there were two monkeys.  George lived on one island with a banana tree and Jess lived on another island with a coconut tree.  They saw each other and decided they wanted to get together and share their bananas and coconuts.  There was just one problem; the ocean between the two islands was filled with hungry sharks, who chanted "Yummy, yummy!  Food for my tummy!" every time one of the monkeys tried to find a way across the water.  Will George and Jess ever get together?

While this book only has 32 pages, there is quite a bit of text per page, so I would save this for either reading one-on-one, or for older kids for a group read-aloud.  The illustrations are bright and colorful and the story has humor and mild drama and kids can join in with the repeating refrain "Yummy, yummy!  Food for my tummy!

Gilbert the Great by Jane Clarke, illustrated by Charles Fuge, June 2005, Simon & Schuster.  24 pages. Ages 4-8.

There are several other Gilbert books in addition to this one.  In this story, Gilbert copes with the loss of a friend.  In Gilbert In Deep, Gilbert and his friend explore the deep see beyond the reef, and in Gilbert the Hero, Gilbert is put in charge of watching his little brother.  These books have nice illustrations, but a lot of text on each page, so better for one-on-one or with older kids for a group read-aloud.

Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, April, 2010, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.  40 pages.  Ages 3-7.

In this wacky book, we have an odd match-up between fish and machine.  Shark and train are pitted against each other in several unlikely competitions, such as pie-eating, tightrope sword-fighting, burping, videogame playing, and high diving.

I'm not wild about this book myself, but I know some people love it.  I think it would appeal to boys in particular, and to kids old enough to appreciate the inherent absurdity of the competition.

Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale, illustrated by Guy Francis, June, 2013, Harper Collins.  32 pages. Ages 4-8

This is the first in a series featuring both picture books and early readers.  In this story, Clark the Shark loves life and is excited about going to school.  However, his overly exuberant enthusiasm causes problems with his teachers and fellow students.  Can Clark learn how to tone it down and behave in a more school-appropriate way?

This is a great story for helping to teach self-control and being more considerate of how one's behavior can affect other people.  Clark definitely reminded me of a couple of little boys I know.

For more picture books about sharks, see my second list for Shark Week 2016 - "10 More Picture Books About Sharks".  For non-fiction books to learn about sharks, check your local library in the 597.3's.

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 :(