This week's theme for summer storytime is Monkeys & Elephants. The best part of the storytime is definitely the craft, where kids color the face of an elephant and then cut out the middle and put their arm through the mask as the trunk. Hilarity ensued.The craft pattern is from Never Pick a Python for a Pet: And Other Animal Poems by Tamara Hunt and Nancy Renfro.The book is long out of print, so if you would like a copy of it, e-mail me (address is in my About Me page) and I will send it to you. It is a great simple craft.
Furious George Goes Bananas: A Primate Parody by Michael Rex This one is a little long, but the kids that stuck with it seemed to enjoy it. I had to use my judgement on whether it was too long for the kids who were there or not. Adapting to your audience is one of the trickier parts of performing storytime.
Elephants Cannot Dance and I Am Going by Mo Willems. These are Elephant and Piggie books, and I like to act out the series without whatever poor soul happens to be assisting me with storytime that week. Luckily people are a good sport about this. Usually I play the more dramatic role (in both of these books it is poor Gerald the Elephant) and let the volunteer assistant play Piggie the pig. This also keeps me from having to say the word "Gerald" which I always mess up. Added bonus! We have the kids stand up and attempt to dance with us during Elephants Cannot Dance which is just fantastic and makes an awesome transistion into Jim Gill's "Silly Dance Contest" song that I love so much.
Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett. I have the kids and grown-ups pat their laps and chant the repeating part of this book (Monkey and me/monkey and me/Monkey and me/We went to see...) and then I add dramatic pauses before turning the page. Sometimes I will peek ahead to make sure the animal is not too scary. I have also been known to scream if it is. Or even if it is not. Gotta keep them on their toes.
Elephants Can Paint Too! by Katya Arnold. This is the first time I've ever done nonfiction in a storytime and it was a huge hit. The kids were mesmerized by the photographs of elephants painting. Now that is quality edutainment!
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young. I could have started with this one to introduce the theme, but I like to end with it because it puts a nice cap on things. I do wonder why the creature in this book isn't afraid of the mice though!