Spring is in full swing, with summer not far behind! The sounds of crickets chirping and frogs croaking fill the night, and the ponds are full of eggs and tadpoles, so I thought this was the perfect time for a frog-themed storytime.
We started with our welcome song, then to introduce the theme I gave them clues until someone guessed frogs: "what lives both on land and in the water", "what is both good at jumping and swimming", "what eats flies and other bugs". I didn't have to resort to the dead-giveaway clue, "what says ribbit", but they all started "ribbit-ing" once it was established that frogs were indeed the theme.
After that we sang our story song and proceeded to our first book, The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner and Jonathan Lambert. The illustrations in this book are really nice, and it's a pop-up, so that's always a bonus.
There are several other versions, with different animals (African, Australian, South American...) and slightly different endings (some make the small mouth, some just have him hop away). I just wish this version was a little longer; the kids are always disappointed that it's so short and doesn't show more animals.
Since we just had a story with an alligator who liked to eat frogs, I followed with this fun action rhyme I learned from one of my volunteers that kids really seem to enjoy:
"There Once Was An Alligator"
There once was an alligator,
(hold up arm to be body and hand to be head & snapping jaws)
Sitting on a log.
(lay "alligator" arm on top of other arm)
Down in the water,
(bend hand out and down from "log" slightly as though looking down)
He saw a little frog.
DOWN dived the alligator!
(quickly move hands down to floor)
AROUND spun the log!
SPLASH went the water!
(throw arms out)
And AWAY swam the frog!
(make swimming motions)
For our second book, I chose a unique non-fiction picture book, Little Green Frogs by Frances Barry, that shows the development from egg to frog with very simply text and less detail, so good for young children. This book is unique, in that the pages open out, instead of turning, so that in the end the book forms the whole frog pond, complete with lily pads and water lilies. We talked about each step: eggs are laid, tadpoles hatch, tadpoles get bigger, back legs form, then front legs form, tail shrinks away, and they are finally frogs that breathe air rather than tadpoles that breathe in the water. I also showed a picture I found online of a person holding a handful of teeny tiny froglets.
Then it was time to sing the classic, "Five Green & Speckled Frogs". I decided to use my finger-puppet glove with the song today, and have them imitate me using their fingers for their 5 frogs and opposite arm as the log (for other ways to do this song, check out my "Five Green & Speckled Frogs, Five Ways" post from last week).
"Five Green & Speckled Frogs"
Five green and speckled frogs,
Sitting on a speckled log,
Eating the most delicious bugs. YUM! YUM!
One jumped into the pool,
Where it was nice and cool.
Now there are FOUR green and speckled frogs. RIBBIT! RIBBIT!
(continue counting down to zero)
Our last book was I Don't Want To Be A Frog by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt, which I prefaced with a brief discussion of how sometimes we all might wish we could be someone or something else. In this story the little frog wishes he were a cat, or a rabbit, or a pig, or an owl; anything but a wet, slimy, bug-eating frog. As his father tries to explain that he can't be anything other than a frog, it is the fierce wolf who makes him appreciate all his frogginess in the end. This is a cute, funnny story and the kids enjoy naming the animals, and joining papa frog in reminding his son that he is, in fact, a FROG.
After that, it was time for our closing song and to pass out stickers.
How It Went
I had 14 very rambunctious kids today, who were very glad to see me but had trouble settling down. One little boy was really interested and enthusiastic about the stories, but was interrupting and repeating so much, that I had a hard time reading the story. But after calling him down a couple of times and reminding him that he could answer the questions, but then he needed to be quiet so I could go on with the story, he finally settled down a bit.
There were a couple of kids who kept whispering to each other, and one who kept interrupting me to ask about stickers. I told her the first time we were not talking about stickers until after stories, then after the second time I told her that if she continued to be rude and interrupt the stories to ask about stickers that she would not get one. Sometimes I wish I had never started doing stickers and/or hand stamps, because some get hyper-focused on them instead of appreciating the stories, which is the most important part! I told her she was going to have to go to the end of the line and wait for her sticker because she needed to learn to be patient, and then we had a little chat about manners and patience, and what is most important at storytime.
Of the books, they seemed to like I Don't Want To Be A Frog the best. They were okay with The Wide-Mouthed Frog, but the problem with that book was that by the time they were really getting into it, it was over. And I don't think they really got the part about why the frog puckered his mouth and tried to make it small, they just thought it was funny. They really enjoyed the "There Once Was An Alligator" rhyme, but were a little "Meh" with the "Five Green & Speckled Frogs," which surprised me because most kids are familiar with that one and really like singing it.