Parachute ideas for all kinds of programs!

Stumped for ideas for using the parachute at storytime?

Think outside the picture books stacks!

Here are some great ideas for incorporating material from other areas of your collection.

Want to make your own clip art?

Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started!

Some easy ways to spice up your site!

Be sure to suggest your favorites in the comments!

Ideas for incorporating factual materials into storytime

There is lots of great nonfiction for kids out there. If I missed your favorite, leave a comment!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 Reader's Advisory Challenge

Inspired by Abby, I've challenged myself to up my reader's advisory (RA) game this year. I have long wanted to improve my RA knowledge-base and I think this is a great way of doing so. My other full-time staff member is working on it as well, as is the adult services department (in a modified way).

I plan to update this (and only this) post with the titles I read each month, so I don't bombard you because I know no one really cares. I am just going to list titles and perhaps a few notes here. Longer reviews can be found on my GoodReads page. I'm looking for titles you think I should read, given that the intent is to find books I can recommend to the kids in my town. We are using these booklists but if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment!

2013 Reader's Advisory Challenge

January - Mystery
  • Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs Great read-alike for Hiassen fans. My only quibble is there are a few minor references to someone smelling like marijuana and a few minor curses. Nothing you wouldn't hear at recess, but the kind of thing that can make you hesitant to recommend a book to certain families. Very much enjoyed this one and looking forward to reading more from Gibbs. For tweens. 
  • Nate the Great by Marjorie Sharmat Actually moved these out of J Fiction after reading this one and am going to try them in our Easy Reader section. For early elementary students. 
  • All 3 books in Gordon Korman's Titanic series. From an adult perspective, there is a lot going on here (gangsters, Jack the Ripper, gambling addicted parents, women's rights advocacy, plus some boat you've never heard of). This is the series that kept me entertained mid-month when our power went out at home for 27 hours and we had to stay in a hotel. Not for your more sensitive patrons. Upper elementary. 
February-Newbery Winner 
I've already read 2013's winner, The One and Only Ivan, so I'm going to try and get through the Honor books. If there's time left in the month,I'll take a stab at previous winners. 

  • Three Times Lucky We didn't own this book prior to the awards being announced, so it probably won't arrive in time for this month. I put an ILL request in for it, but was unable to get it. 
  • Splenders and Grooms
  • Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--The World's Most Dangerous Weapon  It was awesome.

March -  Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure 

April - Reluctant Readers

May - Realistic Fiction

June -  Historical Fiction

July - Graphic Novels

August - Classics

September- Teen Realistic Fiction

October- Teen Historical Fiction

November - Clean Reads for Tweens

December - Teen Chick Lit

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dream Program: Live Stream the ALA Youth Media Awards

As you probably already know, yesterday the American Library Association announced the winners of the Youth Media Awards, a group that includes the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz medals. Lots of us were tuned to the livestreaming free webcast of the awards announcements, whether we were at home  or at work.  I was at home and didn't tune into the webcast, but I was following the Twitter stream at #alayma closely.

A program I would love to do would be to implement a Mock Awards process and then live stream the Awards announcement for any patrons who wished to view them. I'm not guaranteeing huge numbers for this as the Awards are given out early on Monday morning while most of us are at work, but it wouldn't necessarily be that hard or expensive to put together. And what fun to celebrate them as they happen with people who participated in a Mock Caldecott or Newbery vote! You could also show the finished video of the awards after school or that evening to better accommodate schedules.

Does anyone do this already? I'd be curious to hear your experiences. I love the mental image of someone happening to come into my library where a huge screen was showing librarians love-bombing children's literature. It would be great for ALA/ALSC to encourage this kind of grassroots support for their best known awards. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ethical Problems in Youth Librarianship Round 2 Results

I want to thank everyone who participated in both rounds of my ethical surveys. It has been really interesting to me to think through some of the issues around providing service to kids and teens. Once again, I'd like to encourage those of you who are managers or teach aspiring librarians to use some of this information in your trainings. It is also worth thinking about these issues as we examine our policies. Warning: Pie charts aplenty in this post!

Here are the results from last week's ethical problems survey (missing scenario #s had a text entry field/were not multiple choice, so you can view answers to those questions by clicking the full results link):

See all responses here. Round 1's results were published here

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Going to the Circus" Cut and Tell Rhyme

I was inspired by (re)noticing Grandma's Magic Scissors in our collection to try and pair cuttings of some of the patterns in the book with some favorite fingerplays and rhymes. The first one I'm going to share with you is called "Going to the Circus" and I found it in Creative Resources for the Early Childhood Classroom (5th Edition).

Going to the Circus
Start with a closed fist and raise one finger as in the rhyme. 
Going to the circus to have a lot of fun. 
The animals parading one by one. 
Now they are walking 2 by 2,
A great big lion and a caribou.
Now they are walking 3 by 3, 
The elephants and the chimpanzee. 
Now they are walking 4 by 4,
A striped tiger and a big old bear.
Now they are walking 5 by 5,
It makes us laugh when they arrive. 

I used the elephant pattern from page 55 in Grandma's Magic Scissors. There is also a seal one on page 78. This probably isn't a "true" cut and tell because the cutting doesn't necessarily correlate with the action in the story, but I thought it was a cute pairing that adds a little oomph to a simple fingerplay. 

These are pretty simple to make. I photocopied the pattern, then cut that out and traced it onto black cardstock (which I had folded in half). Then I cut the image out following my light pencil tracing. I used a hole punch for the eyes.

Today Sarah's hosting a Valentine's Day themed Flannel Friday Round-Up! I don't have any mushy gushy activities that I haven't posted before, but here are some links to them if you haven't seen the old ones yet:

The Big-Hearted Elephant 
A Blanket for the Princess
Moose in Love (my personal favorite)

If you're feeling anti-Valentine's Day, maybe "Nobody Likes Me" is your jam?

I'm always on the lookout for circus books that aren't too long for preschoolers, so if you have a favorite, please leave it in the comments! I like to bring some props to storytime and have the kids jump through a ring of fire (hula hoop with red and orange crepe paper streamers), walk a tightrope (jump rope or, in a pinch, masking tape line on the floor), and then I have them pretend to be strongmen and show me their "muscles." 

Monday, January 21, 2013

More Ethical Scenarios for Youth Librarians

Last week, we talked about sticky situations youth librarians can find themselves in. If you'd like to read through all the responses, I've published it as a web page. I would have done a PDF, but there were 31 responses (thank you!) and it was an obscene amount of paper. I found it easier to read all the responses to the first question and then scroll back up to the top to read the second set of answers, and so on.

There were so many interesting dilemmas suggested, that I'm back with a much longer survey. I made some of the ones that seemed "yes/no" into multiple choice questions. You can elaborate in the comments, at the end, if you wish to explain an answer.

Take the follow-up survey here! As before, no identifying information is requested. Responses will be identified by a date/time stamp. None of the questions are "required." I will post the results in the same format as the previous version's. I will leave the survey open until at least Thursday. I'll post the results in a new post (and will have more scenarios if more are suggested). 

To summarize answers briefly: 
There were some very good answers for Scenario #1, which was about a parent asking if The Hunger Games was suitable for an 8 year old, so I'd read those.

The second question about whether you would allow a teenager to check out 50 Shades of Gray was unanimously answered yes. Answers were more split about whether you would discuss the contents of the book for the teen (and a few people pointed out how easily that one can be confused with a legitimate YA book's title).  A few people mentioned that they didn't think everyone in their library would be as willing to check 50 Shadows out to minors. One person mentioned that they were having a staff meeting because of this exact issue.

The third question, about accepting gifts from patrons, was the most split. I was surprised by how many libraries don't allow gifts! My library's "gifts" policy only covers gifts/donations to the library itself. Personally, I'd accept a gift card, on behalf of the library, but use it for a summer reading prize. It's probably obvious that I was the inspiration for the baby clothes part of that question, and, yes, I did accept that gift. Actually it was accepted on my behalf, because it was dropped off on my day off from a patron I am quite close to. I wonder if the libraries that are stricter about this sort of thing are departments of their city or county? My public library is an independent entity, but I could see how there would be more potential for ethical lapses when you're dealing with huge government contracts.

Here are my favorite things people said in their responses:

  • "I am knowledgeable about the book [contents], not the child" 
  • "...If your parents aren't comfortable with you reading those books, I never saw you."
  • "I read some inappropriate stuff when I was younger and I turned out just fine." 
  • In my mind, gift card equals money and I've had patrons offer me "tips" or donations for all the good work I do. (Yes, I do amazing work!) (Ed note: I love this one because I think we are far too humble in our little corner of Library Land)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Valentine's Day in the Library

I love a good holiday display! I'm the only youth librarian in my library system, so I get to do displays for everyone from babies to teens. A holiday display is an easy way to highlight a little something for everyone. Here's what I did for the readers of picture and teen books in the library. I had grand plans of doing something for the chapter book readers, but we really only have 2 spaces where it makes sense to put a display. I need to brainstorm a solution.

Picture books: 
I usually put picture books in our display case. Unfortunately this is the darkest area in my department. It is also very narrow here by the entrance, so it is impossible to get a good picture. But I tried!

I cut some hearts freehand out of cardstock. Once I put tacked them into the display case, I realized it would be fun to decorate them like those awful-tasting conversation hearts you find around Valentine's Day. I used a Sharpie and wrote things like:

  • Text Me
  • 2 Sweet
  • Luv Ya
  • Read Me
  • Call Me Maybe
  • Happy Valentine's Day
  • Be Mine
Incidentally, I converted the back of my metal display case into a bulletin board by buying a package of cork squares and hot gluing magnets on the back. You want to make sure that the magnets are thick enough that they won't sit too close to the real back to accommodate tacks and pins. 

I did a Book Valentine display inspired by Mollie's blind date teen display. She was kind enough to send me the files she used so I didn't have to create them from scratch. I just changed the font and converted the shapes to red and added a heart from auto shapes  Of course, the week I made this display is the week my department killed all 3 color inkjet printers. The only other color printer we had left is one with serious Horizontal Lines of Doom. I cleaned the print heads over and over but it didn't solve the problem completely. I hope to get a laser printer for us soon. My plan in the meantime is to try and convince ever-more dubious children that stripes are the new chevron. 

Speaking of stripes, I wrapped the valentine books in red and white striped wrapping paper from a roll my cat enjoys picking fights with. The note on the front has a line for the item's barcode to be handwritten so that the books can be properly accounted for in our ILS. I did put more than 3 books out. This is a progress photo. :) 

Friday, January 18, 2013

"A Soup Opera" by Jim Gill (with puppets)

If you have a group of children's librarians, and you ask them who their favorite musician for kids is... you're probably going to hear Jim Gill's name come up a lot. And for good reason! Jim's songs are interactive, which is the kids love and his voice is much more pleasant to adult ears than some other performers I won't name.

I've had the pleasure of seeing Jim perform live a few times in the Grand Rapids area and he always puts on a great show. One of the best parts is when performs his book A Soup Opera with puppets made from the illustrations in his book. I decided to make my own version using coloring pages I found on the Internet and paint stirrers.

The only tricky thing about this one is making sure the voices and puppets match gender-wise. I did drop The Mayor from my version because I don't think preschoolers really grasp the different between a mayor and the president and it also goes on a little long. This show is easy to put on by yourself. I copied Jim's idea and wrapped black paper around a cardboard box. Then I cut slits into it just big enough to stick the puppets in.

Don't know this book? Here's a video of Jim acting it out live.

This also makes a great play for kids to put on at school or if you do a theater club at your library, try this one out. Nobody will forget their lines! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Gnome Game

One of the things I added to the summer reading program at my library when I started was a weekly contest. The past few years, it has been a simple trivia contest. We draw a couple winners each week and they get to pick a free book. This year, I wanted to try something a little different for at least one week. I decided to hide a gnome named David in the youth department and have kids try to find him. I used a pattern from the 2013 summer reading manual and traced it onto a milk filter.

My question for the readers: Where do you think I should hide him? We have a smaller youth department and I don't want it to be too hard for the little ones. I'm less worried about it being too easy.

Looking for more summer reading 2013 ideas? I'm keeping them all in one big Dig Into Reading post

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

On Target: Benchmarks for Success as a Librarian

Here's a topic I've been thinking a lot about lately: how do we gauge the success of our youth departments (and by extension, our own work)? We all know librarians love statistics. We track circulation (daily, monthly and yearly), program attendance (same), and patron visitors (same).

At my old library, branches were given specific targets to hit. I can't remember exactly what they were, but they were things like:
  • The number of children registered for summer reading should increase 3% over the previous year
  • Circulation of picture books should increase 5% over the previous year
  • Registered library cards should increase 10% over the baseline year
There were suggestions for how you could hit these targets: 
  • School visits
  • Displays
  • Talking to every single family checking out books about joining SRP
  • Encouraging families to sign up for individual cards vs. everyone using mom's or dad's
Obviously putting smiles on faces is a wonderful thing, but I think we have an apprehension in our field about making measurable progress. We have competencies for individuals, but what does a competent youth department look like? Are there standards for how many books per capita you should own and how often they should circ? How many programs per year should you do?

The closest I can think of is the list of Starred Libraries Library Journal publishes annually. It deals with circulation, visits, program attendance, and computer uses per capita. You can then compare your library's numbers to your colleagues who are in the same expenditure category.  It's not specific to departments, however. 

At some point, ever-increasing goals become impossible to reach when the law of diminishing returns sets in. You may be able to increase circulation 20-50% one year because you open a new, awesome building and everyone wants to come visit it, but eventually the novelty will wear off and then your numbers might (gasp!) go down. There are tons of extenuating circumstances that could befall you. The Michigan Department of Transportation announced plans to redo the two major highways in town in this coming summer and guess whose library is at the intersection of them both? Lucky me! I'm not 100% sure how I will even be able to get to work. Who knows what will happen then? We will do the best we can, as we always do. 

And another question--how much can increases or decreases be attributed to staff members? If the circulation goes up, is it attributable to a new staff member who is better at collection development than his/her predecessor? How much credit (or blame!) could a librarian reasonable take, given the myriad potential reasons (demographic shifts, marketing changes, sheer luck)? 

Ask the readers: I'm curious: Does your department have written goals for what you hope to achieve in the coming year? If so, how did you align them with your library's strategic plan, if one exists?What about personally... how do "I" know that I'm doing a good job? 

I'd like to thank Abby and Melissa for the emails they sent me about how their library systems use goals and objectives for the youth department to address specific areas of their strategic plans. 

Indoor Blizzard

Do you know what you get when you combine a parachute and 3 bags of jumbo cotton balls? An indoor blizzard! I tried this for the first time at my storytime this week and it was so much fun. Whether your library is somewhere that gets snow or not, your kids will love this.

My top tip would be to try and pour the bags out in the middle of the parachute for maximum snowosity. After all the snowballs flew out of the parachute, I had the kids run and grab them so we could play again. The second time, we had a contest to see who could pick the most up and bring them to me.

Has anyone done this before? I don't think I saw this on a storytime blog, but maybe? If you posted it, let me know and I'll edit this. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ethics & Children's Librarianship

Many of the courses I took when I was working on my MLS covered ethics, but none of them were classes that dealt specifically with working with children. I think there are sticky situations that come up more often when kids are involved. I thought it would be interesting to pose a few to the readers and see how we think they should be resolved.

 I know some of the people who read this blog also teach library school or children's literature classes. I'd love if you posed these questions to your students and shared what they have to say.

Scenario #1: A parent brings a copy of The Hunger Games up to you and asks if you think it's appropriate for their 8-year old child. How do you proceed?

Scenario #2: A teen asks you for a copy of 50 Shades of Gray. Would you check it out to them (or put it on hold for them)? Would everyone at your library be willing to do so? Would you discuss the contents of the book with them, whether you've read it or not, I think we all have a pretty good idea what it's like.

Scenario #3: A patron wants to give you a gift card. Would you accept it? What would you do with it? What if it was an item like baby clothes for a pregnant librarian?

If you are interested in participating, the survey can be taken here. I have closed comments on this post to protect everyone's identity. The survey results are public (but anonymous), so please factor that in to your responses. 

EDIT 1/17/13: The survey is now closed. I'll be back soon with the results!

Thanks to the real librarians who chipped in their real life experiences. If you have one to add, there is a section on the survey to do so. You may also email me. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Winter Themed Storytime

  • Red Sled by Judge
  • Snowballs by Ehlert
  • Brownie & Pearl See the Sights by Rylant
  • A Perfect Day by Berger
Flannels & Storytelling
Movement Activities
  • Make it snow by putting a few bags of cotton balls on the parachute and bouncing them in the air! 
  • Give each kid a pair of paper plates and let them "ice skate" on the carpet.

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Shadow Wash" by Shel Silverstein

"Shadow Wash" by Shel Silverstein (Where The Sidewalk Ends, page 113) is the tragic tale of the narrator's attempt to wash her shadow and it (spoiler alert!) shrinks! I've been trying to incorporate more poetry into storytimes.

I saw this idea in Nancy Renfro's Storytelling with Puppets. Before you start the poem, talk to the kids about their shadows. Then ask them "Have you ever washed your shadow? No? Maybe it's time you did!" Then go right into the poem, which is best as a prop story.

To tell it, you'll need a large shadow and a smaller shadow (pattern I made, can be enlarged to whatever size is desired) cut out of felt. Hide the small shadow in a container (bucket, bowl, etc.). Show the large shadow as you tell the poem, and put it the container when indicated by the text. Pull the "shrunken" shadow out at the appropriate time. A small bottle of soap could complete the effect, but is not required.

Doing a shadow-themed storytime? A felt board story to try is Gregory the Groundhog Looks for His Shadow. I've also posted shadow puppet versions of the picture books Mother Mother Mother I Feel Sick Send For the Doctor Quick Quick Quick and Arthur's Nose. More will be coming up in the next few weeks too! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2012's Most Wanted List

In 2011, I did a post of the most circulating books at my library. I thought it would be fun to do the same for 2012. The only difference is that the 2011 list was done following the school year calendar, and this one is calendar year.

Background: We are a public library in Michigan with about 25,000 people in and just outside of a small city. Books and audiobooks circulate for 3 weeks and can be renewed for the same amount of time if no one is on hold for them.

Board Books and Picture Books
All of these circulated 14 or more times in 2012. This category was dominated by Tedd Arnold (Fly Guy series) and Karen Katz's books. 

Nap Time for Kitty
High Fives with Julius and Friends
Twinkle Toes
Spring is Here
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Fly Guy
Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl
Buzz Boy and Fly Guy
Trouble at the Krusty Krab
Castle Under Attack
Mission to the Arctic
All Aboard!
The Amazing Spongebobini
Disney's Storybook Collection

Interestingly, only the last two books are cataloging on our regular picture book shelves. The rest are board books (1-4) or easy readers (5-11). 

Chapter Books
All of these circulated at least 13 times in 2012. 
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series accounted for at least 140 checkouts. (Each title in the series was on my list, so I'm not going to type all of them)
Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson
The Last Olympian and The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
The first three titles in Dork Diaries are all on this list
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick Sleeper hit! Love this book but didn't realize it had been checked out so often. 

Nonfiction (From Here On, to Be Known as The LEGO and Star Wars Section)
Minimum of 10 checkouts gets you on this list, along with all the Star Wars visual dictionaries that I didn't bother to list because You. Get. The. Idea.
How to Convince Your Parents You Can Care for a Puppy So many hilarious parent facial expressions/comments when faced with this book title
LEGO Star Wars (x2)
The Ultimate LEGO Book
The LEGO Ideas Book
The Avengers
The Star Wars Craft Book
How to be a Princess (Sadly not this princess by someone who I swear is NOT me)
The Princess Encyclopedia
Darth Vader
Pokemon Sinnoh Handbook

Graphic Novels
Basically we only need to buy books by Jenni Holm (Babymouse series) and Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate series) apparently. The only other title on this list was a Pokemon comic book. 

Chapter Book Audiobooks
6 or more checkouts. 
Adventures in Odyssey
Robinson Crusoe This was a surprise to me. 
Dragon Rider
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
War Horse
The Lightening Thief
The Son of Neptune
Geronimo Stilton (2)

YA Audiobooks
6 or more checkouts
The Hobbit
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Warlock by Michael Scott
The Enchantress by Michael Scott

YA Fiction
Beyond The Hunger Games trilogy titles, here are the others that circulated 13 or more times: 
Matched by Ally Condie
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Supernaturally by Kiersten White Another surprise! I haven't read this or Fitzpatrick's, so I'll add them to my To Be Read Pile. 

So where do we go from here? I will probably purchase an additional copy of many of these that are still popular. We have tons of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Hunger Games books on the shelf as interest has waned locally. 

What was the "most wanted" at your library this year? I expected most of these, but it's always fun to see the surprises. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Don't You Forget About Me: Programming Ideas for 20- and 30-Somethings

One age-group libraries struggle to program for is 20- and 30-somethings. As a member of that age group, I thought I would share some ideas of dream programs that I would like to attend. Maybe some of your libraries can rock these out? Let's not exclude younger adults and forget about them until they're parents bringing kids to storytime (although I do have some ideas related to parenting).

The first is a Pinterest Party. I saw this idea on a blogger's instagram (PSST--follow me @sotomorrow). Her library invited people to come and do a show and tell of projects they had completed based on ideas from pins. You could also pick 3-5 quick, fun projects and set them up as stations, depending on how much room and time you have. If anyone reading this works at the Palo Alto Library (or another one that has done this), I'd love to hear how it went. A bunch of my regular patrons/moms are on Pinterest (and following me, so I am trying to behave, ha!) and it would be fun to get them all together and craft.

Another is a young adult book club for people who aren't teenagers anymore. When I lived in Grand Rapids, I attended a book club like this and, while there was never a crowd, it was a lot of fun. Many book clubs in libraries seem to be aimed at people who are 50+, and I can understand that it's hard to get anyone younger, but I think we have a bit of a self-defeating prophecy sometimes here too.

What about a class on baby bargains? You could cover breastfeeding, cloth diapering, couponing, products it's safe to get secondhand, etc. Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provide free lactation counseling to qualifying participants. If you have a cloth diaper store in your area, perhaps the owner would be willing to bring some samples in.

A related idea would be a workshop on photographing children for parents, grandparents, and other relatives. Professional photographs are expensive. I'm glad that we were able to hire our wedding photographer to shoot photos of our daughter as a newborn, but many people aren't so lucky.

What are your dream library programs for younger adults? Or is your library already targeting this age group? I put a call for program suggestions for this age group on Twitter and here were some of the suggestions: 

Wordplay Bulletin Board

My department has been long overdue for a new bulletin board. I took a few minutes this weekend to put together this easy "Scrabble"-style board. I used a free font called Scramble. I played with the font size until it was big enough to fit one tile on a page. These are font size of 450.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Put a (Series) Number on It!

Number stickers in (in)action
A recent discussion on Twitter regarding the "new order" of the Chronicles of Narnia series prompted me to share how we handled this situation at my work. We actually put numbered stickers on all of the series books in the J and YA sections. This way I can put whatever order of numbers I want on C.S. Lewis's classic series.

I know it sounds like a lot of work to go back and do this retroactively, but it wasn't bad (says the staffer who didn't do it herself). When my assistant is processing new books, she looks up titles in the What's Next database maintained by Kent District Library (coincidentally, my previous employer). The numbered stickers were purchased from a vendor before I started working here, but most of them have been applied during my tenure. The trickiest books to do were all of the different Nancy Drews, because there are so. many. different. ones. The stickers go from 0-9, so she does have to trim some of them to fit if a book is in the double digits. We do put a 0 on prequels.

I think this is a great option for medium-size collections like ours. Our reference/circulation area in our youth department is combined and only has one dedicated computer for staff to use when assisting patrons, so it's great for us that no one has to look up the order of books in a series that we own, assuming that they are on the shelf. Patrons also appreciate having that information readily available to them.

Friday, January 04, 2013

"Arthur's Nose" Shadow Puppets

Alligator Nose
You may remember that the show-stopper in our "set list" for shadow puppet show was Mother Mother I Feel Sick Send for the Doctor Quick Quick Quick, but the other full-length picture book we performed was Arthur's Nose by Marc Brown, the first book in the Arthur series. The plot centers on Arthur being embarrassed by his long aardvark nose so he decides to try on some other types of noses to see if any are a better fit. Eventually he decides he's happiest with his own nose. This whole story is made much funnier to me because Arthur's nose no longer bears any resemblance to the one in this book.

I thought it would be pretty confusing for the kids and parents if I used a puppet for the main character that looked anything like the aardvark Arthur, so I used the same image I manipulated to make the Nobody Likes Me felt board I posted previously.

Here's how I made this show (similar to the MMIFSSFTDQQQ process):

1. I drew all the noses I wanted in Paint. Some of them I didn't think would translate well to shadow puppets (koala!?) so I didn't try to make those. The zebra is my favorite.
2. I opened the nose files in Publisher and sized them to be the appropriate proportion with the generic silhouette face.
3. I printed the noses and face onto black cardstock and cut them out:

To use the overhead projector with these pieces, I simply taped the face piece onto a transparency sheet so it wouldn't move around. Then I set down the nose on top as suggested by the text.

I rewrote the text of the book to present it more easily, leaving out much from the beginning pages. I did not bother making the other characters in the story, as my version is basically an excuse to have a puppet try on funny noses.

This is also the story I sent to my First Annual Storytime Swap partner. I hope Ann likes it! See what others shared in the swap here!

And, because I had a lot of fun with this story, here's how Arthur looks with a few other noses:
Hippo Nose

Elephant Nose
Download my patterns here for free: 
Staff -