Monday, September 23, 2019

Fractured Fairy Tales - Family Storytime

Fractured Fairy Tales Storytime, Fractured Fairytales Storytime

I changed my mind several times about the theme for this storytime! First, the new Pete the Cat book gave me the idea to do a pizza storytime. But, as I was looking for ideas, I found out a colleague was already planning a pizza storytime. So then I decided to do "Big & Little", but not as an opposite concept, rather looking at relative sizes. For example, a 10 year old child may be big when compared to a baby, but they are little as compared to an NBA player.

But as I was reviewing books for a libguide I had to make for my kid lit class (I decided to do non-Disney princess stories), I came across two fractured fairy tales that just begged to be read out loud. As I was thinking, "boy I wish I could do these now," I realized that I could! So, I changed my theme to fractured fairy tales, and the plus side is I now have two partially-planned storytimes to save for later!

I started with our welcome song, and then another song I first saw on Jbrary and have been using a lot as a warm-up song lately:

 "Hello, Everybody"

Hello, everybody! Can you touch your nose?
Touch your nose, touch your nose?
Hello, everybody! Can you touch your nose?

Clap hands, pat head, rub tummy, wiggle ears.....

Then I introduced myself and the topic of fairy tales, and we talked a little bit about the typical characteristics of fairy tales: usually start with "Once upon a time...", often end with "...and they lived happily ever after.", frequently have dragons, princesses, princes, fairies, kings, queens, and magical beings in them. I told them the stories I had today were silly fairy tales, that might not end the way they expected.

Fractured fairy tale storytime
Somehow I managed to forget to do our "story song" before jumping into our first book, Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox and Lydia Monks. I like this book because there is not too much text and the humor is very obvious and silly, making it perfect for reading aloud to younger kids. I do wish the book were physically a little larger, though. 

This is a story of miscommunication and misunderstandings, with comical results as Prince Charming mistakenly interprets Rapunzels crying about a bad hair day as a plea for help, and then she mis-hears him every time he asks her to let down her hair, culminating in a surprise ending.

I segued into our next activity, a silly crown song, by asking how they knew a character was a prince or princess or king or queen in a picture, and of course they said because they would be wearing a crown. I've seen this song done with a variety of themes, and I'm not even sure anymore what the original version was! I changed up the order and the words to emphasize the silliness.

Crown craft

There's A Crown On Me!

There's a crown on my foot, on my foot.
There's a crown on my foot, on my foot.
It just won't stay put; does it really go on my foot?
There's a crown on my foot, on my foot.

There's a crown on my knee, on my knee.
There's a crown on my knee, on my knee.
Goodness, gracious me, does it belong on my knee?
There's a crown on my knee, on my knee.

There's a crown on my arm, on my arm.
There's a crown on my arm, on my arm.
It's not doing any harm, but does it go on my arm?
There's a crown on my arm, on my arm.

There's a crown on my head, on my head.
There's a crown on my head, on my head.
Did you hear what I said? I think it goes up here instead!
There's a crown on my head, on my head!

There's A Crown song props

I used a crown made from pipe cleaners that I had left from a drop-in craft program a colleague and I did back in December when we had the Maurice Sendak exhibit in our main library. I printed out clip-art images of crowns on cardstock and attached them to craft sticks for the kids to use.

Fracture fairytale storytimeThe second book, Waking Beauty, was also by Wilcox and Monks, and again involves some misunderstanding. The Prince follows a terrible sound to a thorn covered castle, where he find a beautiful princess snoring away. The three diverse fairies beg the prince to wake her, as they've had to listen to her snoring for one-hundred years! 

But, he doesn't listen as they try to tell him he has to kiss her, and interrupts with his own ideas. He tries yelling at her, pouring water on her, even shooting her out of a cannon! When he finally gives the fairies a chance to explain, he is reluctant to kiss her at first, after all, he's heard girls have germs! When he finally does, the results are very unexpected.

I had one other very short story ("The Frog Prince" from Jon Scieszka's The Stinky Cheese Man) and a couple of other rhymes and songs (Dragon, Dragon, Turn Around and The Grand Old Duke of York), but I had already lost half the crowd, so I quickly went to our closing song and the optional craft.

Optional Craft 
I had initially planned to have them make pipe-cleaner crowns like mine above for the craft, but I realized (1) we didn't have any gold or silver pipe-cleaners, and (2) the age kids I typically get wouldn't be able to make them themselves, and the parents would just end up doing it.

So when I saw a fairy tale craft using construction paper in all different colors and shapes to make your own fairy tale castle collage, I decided to do that instead, thinking it would be more developmentally appropriate. They could identify shapes and colors as they worked, and practice fine-motor skills in picking up and placing the shapes using their pincer grasp as well as using crayons to add details or backgrounds, and most importantly the kids would be able to do it themselves.

How It Went 
It was really a mixed bag. The first half went really well, and the second half did not. I had a decent crowd of about 24 kids and adults to start with, and initially they seemed very interested and engaged. They participated with the opening songs, and giggled the whole way through Rapunzel. They also seemed to really enjoy the "Crown" song, laughing and enjoying telling me each time, "No, it goes on your head!".

But as I got ready to start the second book, at least half the crowd just got up and left. The kids didn't seen to enjoy the second book as much, and I had forgotten about the ending where Sleeping Beauty punches the prince for kissing her. I remembered just in time to skip it, but rather clumsily. Everyone left was ready to go at that point and only two families tried the craft, one of whom didn't bother taking theirs home. Then a co-worker told me people often ask the circ staff to throw them away as they are leaving!

So I ended up being rather disappointed and frustrated, and re-thinking the whole way I do this storytime, especially the craft. I need to do something different, but I'm just not sure what yet. Shorter storytime, different structure, shorter books, just one book, better crafts, no crafts??? 

I really don't think it's me, I mean I've done literally hundreds of storytimes, trained others, and I think I know I know what I'm doing. I really think it's just the nature of doing the weekend storytime versus a regular weekday storytime that has a regular crowd who come specifically for storytime. But something is not working and that means I need to change something I'm doing.


  1. You just never know sometimes! The same book can work really well with one group one day and flop with the next. Both those books have been big hits when I've read them with preschoolers before - they have just the right amount of background knowledge about fairy tales to get why the books are so funny.

    Out of curiosity, why skip the punching on the nose part?

    Storytime in the Stacks

    1. I initially had qualms about whether the kids would get it, and how the parents might feel about it, but then I kinda forgot to figure out how I wanted to handle it, and mainly because I was loosing the audience, so I just wanted to wrap it up quickly.