Wednesday, July 10, 2024

New Books - Preschool Storytime

This was a bit of an "off" week, as it was the week of the Fourth of July. Our numbers are always low for this week, so we back off on the programming a little bit. The holiday fell on the day we would normally have had the elementary program, and instead of booking a performer I just did a very simple family Lego program. There was no weekly theme, and I had a couple of new books that I really liked, so decided to forego a theme for storytime and use them.

We started with a "Hello" song, followed by introductions and expectations, then this month's warm-up song, followed by our lead-in song:

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees and toes; knees and toes.
Head, shoulders, knees and toes; knees and toes.
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose,
Head, shoulders, knees and toes; knees and toes.

If You're Ready for a Story?

If you're ready for a story, stomp your feet!
If you're ready for a story, stomp your feet!
If you're ready for a story, if you're ready for a story,
If you're ready for a story, stomp your feet!

(turn around, sit down, clap hands, pat knees, say "shh"...)

For our first book I choose The Wrong Book by Drew Daywalt and Alex Willmore, which starts out as a perfectly normal book, presenting objects/animals/people and saying what they are and what they say. On the first spread, a red apple is shown, and the text reads "This is an apple. And apples go 'Crunch! Crunch! Crunch' when you eat them." However, things soon begin to go hilariously wrong when the book says that a pretty flower smells good and says "Chugga, chugga, Chooo-Chooo!", followed by a puppy that the book says is a bicycle and goes "Buurrp!". The silliness and mis-information continue, much to the consternation of the serious bookmark.

This book is super silly, and super fun to read aloud! It would be even better if done with two readers, one reading the main text of the book, and the other reading the part of the bookmark, which I realized as I was reading it and really wish I would've thought of earlier, in time for a second person to prepare. This would be a great book for elementary classes, too.

After reading such an incredibly silly book and getting our sillies all wound up, it was time to shake them out!

Next up was another new book I ordered primarily to beef up my selection of beach/sand related picture books. The Squish, by Breanna Carzoo, tells about a poor little sandcastle that keeps getting knocked down. He gets stepped on, hit by a frizbee, rained on, wiped out by waves. He tries picking himself up, dusting himself off, and rebuilding himself taller, to no avail; he still ends up getting squished. Will he give up and just stay squished?

This story starts out a little bit funny, a little bit cute, and a little bit sad. The messaging about dealing with trauma felt a bit heavy-handed to me, and I felt took away from what could have been a fun, cute story (which is what I thought I was ordering). But the kids didn't really notice, and it might be a good book for someone who needs that message, and it can be interpreted as dealing with frustration when things don't work the way you want them to and trying again, which is the spin I put on it for storytime.

I decided to stop there rather than attempting another song, book, or rhyme and sing a quick "Goodbye" song, followed by activities and play time.

Since I expected a very small turnout, I just planned on two activities, figuring I could always pull out more if we needed to.
  • Kinetic Sand - I gave each child a couple of handfuls of kinetic sand on a tray, along with a handful of shells, 2-3 mini castle molds, and 2-3 animal molds.
  • Sensory Bin - This week it contained rice and several different kinds of beans, along with measuring cups and spoons.
  • Soft blocks - we got these out for the one younger sibling who was too little for the other activities.

How It Went
It was a weird morning, being the day after the Fourth of July. I expected a small crowd, and at start time only one family was there. I waited a couple of minutes to see if others would show up, but none did, so we went ahead and started. After we got going, 3-4 other families trickled in, the last one not arriving until we were almost finished with the storytime part. Other than that, it went well. I think kids that are a little older, 5-8 years old would appreciate the humor in The Wrong Book even more.

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