I've already done two weeks worth of Halloween storytimes and am in the middle of two weeks of Monster storytimes with the Storytime-To-Go program, so I wanted to either find different books, or tweak the theme a little, for my regular outreach storytime today.
I decided on "Zombies" for two reasons, (1) I found a great book, and (2) the season premiere of "The Walking Dead" was this week, and while it is most definitely NOT a show for kids, many adults watch it [I don't] so zombies have been a hot topic as a result. So for my friends and family who were traumatized by this week's premiere, hopefully this storytime will cheer you up!
We started with our usual welcome song, then during our introduction we talked about Halloween and shared what we were dressing up as, discussed various monsters and how it was fun to pretend to be scared, then sang our story song. I used the first book, Peanut Butter &
Reginald is an unusual zombie. Instead of brains, he craves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! He finally gets one, and then shares it with the other zombies, who subsequently give up their diet of brains and become integrated into Quirkville society. Reginald then moves on to....pizza!
I went straight to our second book, I Want To Eat Your Books by Karin LeFrank and Tyler Parker, because they were listening pretty well, and it continued the theme of atypical zombies who eat something other than brains.
This little book-eating zombie finds his way to the school library, threatening to eat all the books. One inspired little boy shows him a book about the brain, and the zombie learns to appreciate books and wants to read them, not eat them. At the end, they find the zombie sharing his new-found love of reading with a mummy.
Then we were ready to have fun with some monster dancing, "Zombie Style"! I came across this cute parody of Psy's "Gangnam Style" and knew I had to use it. While the original song is before these kids' time, it still has a great beat. The "video" below is the original recording that I used for us to dance to, but check the end of this post for some really cute videos a couple of different schools made.
Next, we danced to the classic "Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Cript Keepers, using movement scarves.
After they were tired out from dancing, I had them all sit down for one last story, Zombelina by Kristyn Crow and Molly Idle. This is the story of a little zombie girl who loves to dance, so her mother signs her up for a proper ballet class.
Zombelina excels in the class, but on the night of the big recital, she has a terrible case of stage fright and freezes. Her stiff movements and anxious groans frighten her classmates and audience, but when she sees her family supporting her, she puts on such an incredible performance, her teacher declares her the best in the class.
We ended with our closing song and passed out stickers.
How It Went
Today was a clear case of "I should have quit while I was ahead!"
They really liked the first two books, though I was a little surprised (though pleased) that the kids had a much stronger reaction the the idea of a zombie eating all the books in the second story than they did to the idea of the zombie horde being after people's brains in the first book! Maybe because the zombies never actually ate any brains, just wanted to, but I was still glad to see the kids had such strong feelings about using books appropriately and protecting their books.
The kids enjoyed dancing to both songs, but I would have to say they LOVED "Zombie Style", even though they are too young to know the original song. They liked pretending to be zombies, and the song has a really upbeat tempo and techno sound, that helps off-set the rather dark lyrics (I don't think the kids were even really aware of what any of the lyrics really were, other than hearing the words "zombie" and "brains"). Most of the kids got into dancing, though a few didn't, or tired out early.
Up until this point, things went great. But I pushed and made the mistake of trying to do a third book. They had absolutely no interest in Zombelina whatsoever. I think there were a few reasons,(1) even though they were tired from dancing, they weren't ready to focus on anything, (2) Zombelina was a little too tame compared to the first two, (3) None of the books I had selected were very interactive, and (4) they were just done. So, I quickly flipped through the pages, greatly shortening and paraphrasing to mercifully get to the end. They didn't get too out of control, so it wasn't a disaster or anything, just would've been better if I had stuck to the two books.
Check out these two "Zombie Style" videos made by different elementary schools as part of a competition! Didn't they do a great job??