Friday, March 3, 2017

Dr. Seuss On The Loose!


I've always loved Dr. Seuss, I think since I first saw the original animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (I never get tired of seeing it, even though my kids always groan, roll their eyes, and complain when I recite all the words and sing the songs). I love the nonsense words, the imaginative creatures and contraptions, and the rhyme and rhythm; as an adult I appreciate the greater message in many of his works, too.

Given all that, you'd think I would have done a Dr. Seuss storytime before, but the reality is most of his books are too long for a preschool storytime, so I have only used one them before, and even then I skipped pages. But, this year since my storytime fell just a day after his birthday, I decided it was time to give it a try, and I did manage to find some books that were either short and simple, or could be easily shortened.

We started with an explanation of why I was wearing a giant red and white striped hat, which some did recognize as "the Cat's hat". I talked a little about Dr. Seuss and how he wrote many, many children's books that were full of silly words, strange creatures, and funny happenings, and that every year we celebrate reading during the week of his birthday, and mentioned some of the more well-known books and characters. Then we sang our welcome song and our story song.

For our first book I read Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! I chose this one not only because it was short and simple and I knew would be fun as a read aloud, but because it is not one of the more widely known Seuss books, which I wanted to avoid in case they had already read the better known ones at school, plus I wanted to introduce something new. 

This story has a lot of repetition that will have the kids join in telling Marvin to "Please go now!", and laughing at all the funny ways the narrator suggests Marvin might go.

After that, instead of reading Green Eggs and Ham, I told them we were going to do something a little different since most of them already knew it and *sing* it. I got this cute song from Miss Meg's Storytime:


"Green Eggs and Ham"
(to the tune of "London Bridge)

I don't like green eggs and ham,
eggs and ham, eggs and ham.
I don't like green eggs and ham,
Sam-I-Am!

Would you like them here or there,
here or there, here or there?
Would you like them anywhere?
Green eggs and ham?

I don't like them here or there,
here or there, here or there.
I don't like them anywhere,
Sam-I-Am!

You should try green eggs and ham,
eggs and ham, eggs and ham.
You should try green eggs and ham.
You might like them!

After that we read Would You Rather Be A Bullfrog?, which was illustrated by Roy McKie and published under a different pen name, Theo. LeSieg. For those who may not know, "Dr. Seuss" was the pen name Theodor Geisel used for books that he both wrote and illustrated. For the books that were illustrated by others, he used a different pen name, usually "Theo. LeSieg", which you might notice is his abbreviated first name with his last name spelled backwards!

This book asks repeated questions about would you rather be this or that? Some are expected, like would you rather be a dog or a cat, but others are silly, like would you rather be a table or a chair? Kids will enjoy giving their opinions, though may have trouble explaining why. Both this book and the next one are easily shortened since each spread is independent as there is no overall story, and I did shorten both.

The next book, Oh Say Can You Say? brings back memories for me! When my daughter was little, Suess was one of our staples, and while I can read this book pretty easily and somewhat fast, my husband never could. He always got tongue-tied and frustrated! So, my daughter would frequently torture him by asking him to read it, knowing that he hated it but couldn't ever say "No"! 😂 

I wasn't sure how these would go over with the younger kids I had, so I planned on skipping several of them for sure, and just playing it by ear. I introduced it by explaining what tongue-twisters are, and had them try a couple of the classics: "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers," and "She sells seashells by the seashore." Then I started with the longer ones in the book. I could tell the kids weren't really getting it, or at least didn't find it amusing, so I stopped after three.

After this we sang a song I had intended to do as part of the introduction, but forgot (Oops!). When I first saw this song on Melissa's family blog, "Mel's Desk", it only had one verse, but I made up two additional verses in order to add more Seuss characters. I printed out pictures of each character, laminated them, and put on popsicle sticks for visual aids. Prior to singing the song, we went through and identified each character.


"Dr. Seuss Is On The Loose!"
(to the tune of "Bingo")

Dr. Seuss is on the loose,
and this is how we know it:
Cats, hats, eggs and ham,
Cats, hats, eggs and ham,
Cats, hats, eggs and ham,
This is how we know it!

Dr. Suess is on the loose,
and this is how we know it:
Grinch, sneetches, turtles, and wockets,
Grinch, sneetches, turtles, and wockets,
Grinch, sneetches, turtles, and wockets,
This is how we know it!

Dr. Suess is on the loose,
and this is how we know it:
The Lorax, Things, fish, and Who's,
The Lorax, Things, fish, and Who's,
The Lorax, Things, fish, and Who's, 
This is how we know it!


(click on thumbnail for a larger image)



Our last book, Because A Little Bug Went Ka-Choo! is probably one of the most often overlooked of Geisel's books because it was written under the pen name "Rosetta Stone". To my knowledge, this is the only book he published under that name. He collaberated with illustrator and friend Michael Frith, and the name was supposedly to honor Geisel's wife, who's maiden name was Stone.

This is a great cause-and-effect story that starts simply with a little bug sneezing, which sets of an incredible chain of events leading up to total chaos! It will get a lot of laughs, but is also good exposure to the idea of cause-and-effect and consequences. This is one of my favorite Seuss stories, and one of the most overlooked (another is The Big Brag, which is also not very well-known).

I had one last activity, also from Mel's Desk and Hummingbird Educational Resources, that features the most adorable props ever! It is a fingerplay that is not specifically "Seussical", but is about cats putting on hats, with the hats being in the style of the Cat-in-the-Hat. 

"Five Cats In Hats"

One little cat on a sunny day,
put on his hat and went out to play.

Two little cats as the sky turned dark,
put on their hats and went to the park.

Three little cats when the sky turned blue,
put on their hats and went to the zoo.

Four little cats by the kitchen door,
put on their hats and went to the store.

Five little cats on a sunny day,
put on their hats and then all ran away!

I forgot to take step-by-step pictures to show the construction, but I found a printable stripe background at Vintage Digital Stamps (a scrapbooking site), and one page was more than enough for five hats. I simply cut short strips of the paper and used a glue stick to glue them into tubes that would easily fit any of my fingers. 

Then I used a punch (forgot to check the size, maybe 1"?) to cut circles out of card stock. I cut an "X" in the center of each with an exacto knife, bent the pieces up and glued to the inside of the striped tubes (Melissa has a photo showing this). I didn't realize until later that my hats have too many stripes. They should have 3 red stripes and 2 white stripes, but they looked too short that way to me, so you may want to look around for a background with slightly wider stripes.

Then we did our closing song and passed out stickers, and I surprised them with a little something extra! My manager gave me a bunch of headband-style Cat-in-the-Hat hat's that she had leftover from a big program last year to give them ($1 for package of six at Target!).

How It Went  
Everything went well and we had a lot of fun! They all started giggling as soon as I walked in with the big hat on, and asking me why I was wearing it. Most of them were familiar with at least some of Seuss's books or characters. They really liked Marvin K. Mooney and Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo!, and Would You Rather Be A Bullfrog was okay, too. Oh Say Can You Say didn't seem to interest or entertain them, so I didn't force it, but they did at least get an introduction to tongue twisters.

The liked all the songs and activities, especially the fingerplay with the little Seuss hats. I could tell they were a little disappointed that I didn't have any for them. I wish I did, but that would have just been too time-consuming, unfortunately. They were all excited about their hats, especially the teacher! She took a group picture, then took them up one or two at a time for individual pictures as well! This class and teacher in particular are always SO appreciative of everything I do and the little things I'm able to give them every once it a while. It's no wonder I love going there! 💗

I'm hoping to add a picture of them to this post because they were just so cute, but I'm still waiting for permission... In the meantime, here's one of me and my very own Cat-in-the-Hat, Toby!



(He's actually freaked out about my hat, not his. He's a scaredy cat, and it always scares and disturbs him when any of us wear hats!)

No comments:

Post a Comment