Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Shark Week! - Family Storytime

shark week storytime

I have so much fun with the "Shark Week" theme every year! I do the Saturday storytime, which doesn't have a regular audience like the weekday storytimes do, and often people just happen to be at the library when it's time for storytime. Since many don't come specifically for storytime and often leave right before, I asked my teen volunteer if she could write a notice on the dry erase board in the storytime area, along with a picture of a cute shark to hopefully get people to stick around for storytime, and she did a great job, as you can see above.

shark week storytime

We started with our welcome song, and then I introduced the subject, and we talked a little about sharks. I used the non-fiction book Face to Face: Sharks from Scholastic to show them how the size and shape of sharks' teeth varied, depending on the size of the shark and what its prey is. I also passed around a prop I made to let them get an idea of what a shark's skin feels like. Most think it would be slimy or slippery, because it's a fish, but it's actually very rough and feels a lot like sandpaper due to its dermal denticles. I cut out a shark shape from gray sandpaper and added shading and details with a colored pencil and sharpie, and mounted it on cardstock so they could all feel it.

shark storytimeThen we led into the first book with our story song. For our first book I decided on one of my favorites, The Little Fish Who Cried Shark! by Trish Phillips, a pop-book that is a retelling of The Boy Who Cried 'Wolf'.

Naughty little Sprat loves playing tricks on everyone, especially scaring them by yelling "Shark!", but in the end he learns that sharks are NOT a laughing matter. Told with rhyming text that has a great rhythm for reading aloud and wonderful pop-ups, this is a story that is sure to engage. Unfortunately this book is out of print, but the used copy I bought was in pretty good condition.

After that we sang a song that features some of the same ocean creatures that were in our book.

Slippery Fish

Slippery fish, slippery fish, 
Swimming through the water.
Slippery fish, slippery fish, 
"Oh, no! He's been eaten by an ...."

Octopus, tuna fish, great white shark, enormous whale (Gulp, gulp, burp)

With younger kids I simplify it by just saying "swimming" each time, rather than using a different word for each animal as in the original.

shark storytimeFor our second book I chose a new non-fiction picture book that shows many different sharks, categorized by contrasting characteristics, Chomp: A Shark Romp by Michael-Paul Terranova. The artwork is not so realistic, which makes it a better choice for younger or more sensitive audiences.

[Another one I like is
How To Spy On a Shark by Lori Haskins Houran, which explains how scientists study sharks in a very accessible way.]

And of course we couldn't do a Shark Week storytime without singing "Baby Shark". There is a slightly slower version I've always used in the past that I like better, but the PinkFong version is so well known, I figured it best to go with that.

I started using a version of this song several years ago, before it went viral, and my son said he blames me for how popular is is. I'm flattered he thinks I'm that influential 😂.

shark storytime, shark week storytimeFor our final story, I chose a classic, Nick Sharratt's Shark In The Park. This one is great when you need something short without a lot of text, plus it is very interactive. Timothy Pope takes his new telescope to the park, where he keeps thinking he sees a shark, though each time it turns out to be something else. Eventually it's time to go, and he leaves, declaring that there is no shark in the park. But, did he miss something?

If you like this one, there is also a little-known sequel,
Shark In The Dark.

We ended with a closing song, and I set out supplies for the optional craft.


Knowing I'd likely have a small crowd and people are often in a hurry to leave in the summer, I kept the craft very simple. I found this "big mouth shark" printable template at "Easy, Peasy, and Fun" and printed it out on white cardstock, then provided crayons and an example.

First you color your shark, and draw any other scenery and details you would like to add. Then fold back along the line of the upper jaw. Next, fold down until the upper jawline meet the lower jaw. Fold/unfold to reveal the sharks big mouth and potential meal!

shark week storytime, shark craft

How It Went 

I had a decent crowd and we had a lot of fun, though I was a bit distracted and disturbed when about half the audience got up an left after the first book. I've never had this theme not be a huge hit, so I was very confused at first, and wondering if it was me. But after thinking about it and talking with my supervisor, I think it is just a weekend storytime in the summer thing. People have other activities planned, and most did not plan on attending storytime or know that we had one, and just happened to be there. I think they just decided to stay for part of it, then have to leave because of other plans. Also they may not have anticipated that storytime was more than just reading one story. Do any other Saturday librarians see this same phenomenon??

I also got to wear my shark print dress and shark tooth earrings! Just call me Ms. Frizzle :)

Monday, July 1, 2019

Dragons! - Family Storytime

I initially had no idea what I was going to do for storytime this month, but when checking in new books I came across one that had to do with dragons, making me realize I had never done a dragon-themed storytime! So I set about requesting many picture books with dragons to consider, and found some really great ones for storytime.

I had a very small, but enthusiastic, crowd today as it was sunny and hot for the first time all summer, so I'm sure many families were at the pool, lake, or leaving for vacation with the holiday coming up. We started with our welcome song and then I went straight to our story song after introductions because I just had a feeling if I talked too much or did an extra song I would lose them.

Dragon storytime
For our first story, I chose a shorter, but super cute and very interactive book, very similar to Christie Matheson's Touch the Magic Tree, There's a Dragon In Your Book by Tom Fletcher and Greg Abbott. This book opens with an egg about to hatch, and a warning not to turn the page, which of course we do. 

This lets a cute baby dragon into our book, and the book encourages the audience to tickle her nose, which makes her sneeze, and that catches our book on fire! But eventually we put the fire out and all is well. But then the last page is FULL of eggs! Do we dare turn the page? 

After that, we had fun pretending to be dragons with this action rhyme based on a classic:

Dragon, Dragon

Dragon, dragon turn around.
Dragon, dragon touch the ground.

Dragon, dragon fly up high.
Dragon, dragon touch the sky.

Dragon, dragon swing your tail.
Dragon, dragon shake your scales.

Dragon, dragon give a "ROARRRRR!"
Dragon, dragon sit on the floor.

Dragon StorytimeThen I moved to our next book, and my favorite of the three, Dragon Was Terrible by Kelli Dipucchio and Greg Pizzoli. I fell in love with this book when it first came out, but then somehow forgot all about it before I got a chance to use it! This book is a little longer, but is so funny and dramatic that it holds the audience's attention well, and really suits my style. I had SO much fun with it!

The dragon in this story is really terrible. I mean the spitting on cupcakes, taking candy from baby unicorns, COLORING IN LIBRARY BOOKS kind of terrible! Finally the king has enough and offers a reward to any knight who can tame him, but all fail (miserably). Then the people have had enough, and offer the reward to any person who can tame the dragon. Many try, but all fail (embarrassingly). But then one small boy comes up with a unique solution. But will it work?

I followed that with another take on an old classic, "Going On a Bear Hunt". But this time we were hunting dragons! If you aren't familiar, this is a call and response chant, with the audience repeating each line after you, while clapping in rhythm.

Going On A Dragon Hunt

Going on a dragon hunt....
Gonna catch a big one....
But we're not scared!

Look, there's a big river ahead...
Can't go over it....
Can't go under it....
Have to swim across it....
(Make swimming motion)....

Repeat the first stanza each time. We swam across the river, climbed a big mountain, and creeped into a big, dark cave. Then we felt something with scales. And sharp claws. And hot, stinky breath! Oh, no! A dragon!

Then we ran out of the cave, climbed down the mountain as fast as we could, ran to the river, swam across, ran inside the castle, pulled up the drawbridge, and closed the gate! Safe at last!

Dragon Storytime
For our final book I chose another short, simple one without a lot of text, If I Had a Dragon by Tom and Amanda Ellery. In this story Morton thinks he would rather have a dragon than a little brother; a dragon would be way more fun. But, what if it flew off while he was walking it? Or took up all the room in the swimming pool? Or breathed fire on him? The more Morton thinks about it, the more he realizes that a dragon really wouldn't make the best playmate and he'd rather go home and play with his brother.

After that we sang our closing song and I put out the supplies and instructions for the optional craft.

After a disastrous attempt to download another supposedly free printable dragon mask template that had a virus and messed up my laptop, I copied one from into a Publisher document instead (laptop is still fried) and printed it on cardstock.

I provided crayons, scissors, tape, large craft sticks, and red & orange streamers. First they colored their dragons, then cut them out with the help of their grown ups, and some of the grown-ups needed help with the eye-holes. After that, they attached the crepe paper streamers to the back and cut them into jagged fringe to look like flames, and added the craft stick for a handle. Simple, but turned out surprisingly cute!

Dragon Storytime, Dragon craft, dragon mask

How It Went
I had a really small turnout, and two of the kids were very young and couldn't sit still and were roaming throughout the storytime, but that was fine. On little girl was extremely engaged, so that made up for it. They really liked the first two books and the first action rhyme, but were getting a little restless during the "Dragon Hunt" and last book, but some were still listening.

I think Dragon Was Terrible was everyone's favorite! I loved finally getting a chance to read it, and I was excited to have an outreach visit two days later and a chance to read it again.