The week of Thanksgiving seemed to be the perfect time for a round of "Food"-themed storytimes, since food is such an important part of the holiday tradition, as well as for many holidays in general. My book selection was kind of a mish-mash without any real focus, but all had something to do with food: cooking, eating, sharing, table manners, etc.
Each storytime started with a brief introduction which included letting the kids each share what one of their favorite foods is, our letter of the day ("Ff"), and our story song. Though it varied with the group, we generally read 2-3 books and did 1 or 2 additional songs/rhymes.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic, and while many may already know it, there are still those that don't. I use the opportunity to point out that he got a tummy ache from eating all the junk food, when he should have been eating leaves.
- Worms for Lunch by Leonid Gore has various characters with lift-a-flaps for guessing what each one eats, and figuring out who eats worms.
- The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli has a silly crocodile who loves watermelon, but when he accidentally swallows a seed fears that it will grow inside him.
- What's for Lunch? by Ann Garrett, Gene-Michael Higney, & Stephanie Peterson features lift-a-flaps and a rhyming text to show what different animals like to eat. They also produced a companion book, What's for Dinner?
- Yummy, Yucky by Leslie Patricelli is a board book intended to help teach babies and toddlers what they should and shouldn't eat, but preschoolers still enjoy saying whether things are "yummy" or "yucky".
- Sam's Sandwich by David Pelham is a book that looks like a sandwich. Sam offers to make his sister a sandwich, but sneaks in some rather distasteful ingredients among the others. Kids love being grossed out by this one.
- The Wolf's Chicken Stew by Keiko Kaska has an unexpected ending, though most of the preschoolers don't quite get it.
- How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague is a fun book for addressing appropriate table manners.
- Cookiesaurus Rex by Amy Fellner Dominy, Nate Evans, & AG Ford is a really fun
- Is That Wise Pig? by Jan Thomas (inadvertently omitted from collage above) has humor, counting, and making soup, though the ingredients Pig suggests are pretty questionable.
We talked about our favorite foods and identified fruits and vegetables using the set of plush props I had as visuals:
We also had a great song about making soup to complement Is That Wise Pig?, and let each child have a turn suggesting an ingredient to add:
"Stir, Stir, Stir the Soup"
(to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat")
Stir, stir, stir the soup;
Stir it all day long.
Add some (ingredient) ,
Take a taste (SLURRRP!)
Soup will make us strong!
[Act out stirring, adding ingredient, tasting from spoon, and show muscles,
repeat for as many ingredients as desired.]
As you might expect, we did get some rather unusual ingredients, and they outnumbered the typical soup ingredients. Even after reading Is That Wise, Pig? and seeing ingredients like onions, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, etc., they tended to choose fruits, or silly things, like cookies, cakes, and ice cream.
How It Went
Even though I think our book selection needs a little improvement (I really hope to find something about healthy food vs. junk food that is engaging), the kids seemed to enjoy the theme, and talking about what they liked and didn't like. Some of the books they seemed to like best were Is That Wise, Pig?, Worms For Lunch, How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food, and my newest favorite, Cookiesaurus Rex.
They had a lot of fun with the "Soup" song, though the ingredients they came up with were for the most part definitely not standard soup ingredients. A few did say things like carrots, tomatoes, rice, or noodles; but I also got a lot of fruits, ice cream, and cookies. They did have fun with it, though.
One group was absolutely beside themselves with excitement as they presented us with "drumsticks" that their teacher had made, obstensibly with their help. They were made of paper bags and had candy inside. It was very sweet of her to do, and so cute how excited the kids were to give to us (the "us" being myself, the Storytime Bus driver, and the volunteer assistant).
One little boy in that class, that I have noticed really seems to enjoy the stories, asked if we had the "scary carrot book" because he really wanted to read that one again. I realized he was talking about Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown's Creepy Carrots that we had read to them last month. Unfortunately I didn't have a copy of it with me this time, but it's always nice to see when a book makes that much of an impression on them that they remember it and ask for it later.