This week, we did a bunny-themed storytime. It was a weird storytime in that my supplemental activities all were big hits, but some of my books were just ho-hum.
I began with my typical welcome song and the Mystery Bag. Because we're doing another "b" word theme later in the session, I used "r" words for "rabbit." I was a bit rushed this week, so I used pictures instead of physical objects, and the kids didn't seem to mind at all. They threw out a lot of great "R" words!
I was very excited to read one of my very favorite books...
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
I felt very confident about how I would read this aloud, and I just adore this book... but it didn't get the response I'd hoped for. We had a very large audience, so I wonder if perhaps the illustrations weren't the best for sharing with a big group. Or maybe my Trixie impression isn't just as funny as I'd like to think. It wasn't a flop or anything... they definitely listened... but no one was laughing or responding to the book. I also think that maybe I should have pointed out that Knuffle Bunny was in the washing machine when they left the laundromat. Rookie librarian mistake. One of the best things about doing storytime is that I really do learn how to improve each week. I'm so much more confident than I was when I started 11 months ago.
If You're Hoppy by April Pulley Sayre
This was a huge hit. I like incorporating "song books" into storytime -- I feel like I'm a mom sneaking in vegetables into dessert, since it feels like I can sneak an extra book into storytime -- and this one went over very well. Parents and kids alike had fun guessing what animal would be on the next page. They especially liked growling for the growly animals. I am definitely going to bring this one to preschool outreach.
I took large letters made of EZ Felt and placed them on the board spelling B-U-N-N-Y. Or at least that's what I meant to do... somehow the Y fell out of my basket on my way into storytime. So I made the kids pretend a Y was there, and we all drew a Y in the air with our fingers, and then I said we were going to sing the song Bingo, but instead of B-I-N-G-O, we'd spell Bunny. And since my Y was already missing, I said we'd do something extra tricky, and take the letters away from the end of the word first instead of the beginning. This was actually very fun, and I'd recommend trying it for a round of regular ol' Bingo. Everyone had to pay attention a little bit more, and the song sounded a little different with the claps in different places. A good reminder that it's fun to play around with the classics.
Forest Friends Flannel Story
I improvised a story based off some flannel pieces we had in a folder and based off an outline another librarian at my library gave me. I don't tell flannel stories like this very often, but I enjoyed it, and maybe I'll incorporate more of this into my storytimes. My story went something like this....
"Once upon a time there lived three friends in a forest: a bunny, a bird, and a duck. Each of them had a very special home in the forest. The duck lived in a pond, where he could swim and catch fish to eat; the bird lived in a big tree where she could see the entire forest; and the bunny lived in a a hole underneath a big bush, where he was safe and warm. One day the three friends wanted to play together. "Come to my pond," said the duck. "We will dive and swim!" But the bird and the rabbit said, "We cannot come to your pond. We do not know how to swim." So the bird said, "Come to my tree! You can see the whole forest from the highest branch!" But the duck and rabbit did not know how to climb a tree. "Come join me in my bush," said the rabbit! But the bush was full of prickly brambles, and the duck and bird did not want to get scratched. So they thought about what they could do together, and they thought and they thought and they thought..." And the rabbit said, "I know! We can read a book together!" So that's exactly what they did.
This also went over really well. I held up the cover of the book, but covered up the title and asked people what it was a picture of. Most kids shouted, "Rabbit!" I then asked if anyone thought it looked like something else. A few parents said, "A bird!" The entire audience was really engaged with the whole book, and it was a very interactive experience. I like it when books engage the parents as much as the kids. This is another one I'm going to bring to preschool outreach.
I Think I'm a Bunny by Todd McHatton
This was my grand experiment... which was an utter failure. My kids love the song I Think I'm a Bunny. We have sung it on many a car trip to much giggling. I really wanted to incorporate the accompanying video into the bunny storytime somehow. I debated doing it as a puppet show, with a kid puppet and a purple monster puppet, but, well, I didn't have either of those things. I ended up just decided to hold up my iPad and play the video, but first I held up a picture of the monster and asked the kids what they thought he was. It actually paralleled nicely with the previous book. The kids were pretty sure it was a monster, not a bunny. So I played the video, and... some kids stood up, but then the kids behind them couldn't see, so I paused the video, had all the kids come sit right in front of me, restarted the video... and radio silence. No real response to it -- no one thought it was funny (at least no one was laughing), no parent or child seemed engaged. Well, actually the kids WERE watching it, but they had that glazed-over screen time look. I stopped it about halfway through the song.
I knew going into it that it was a risk, but I just couldn't help myself. I am definitely interested in incorporating my iPad into more storytimes, but only in an interactive way, not in a, "Hey, let's watch this video" way, no matter how awesome it is.
(But you should watch it, because it really is awesome.)
So then I went onto my final book.... which also fell kind of flat, sadly.
Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells
I love the Max and Ruby books, and I thought that a lot of the kids would be familiar with them from the Nick Jr. TV show. (I was right about this.) I also thought the kids and their families might not know that the series originated as books. (I was right about that, too.) But this didn't garner quite the reaction I was hoping for. I think maybe it would be better suited for one on one telling rather than reading it to a large group.
To finish, we did the Bunny Hokey Pokey, where we put our right paws (our right foot and hand), left paws, bunny ears (index fingers on the tops of our heads), and bunny tails in and out and shook them all about.
The craft was a rabbit hat made out of construction paper. It was very cute, and we had a lot of bunnies hopping around the department post-storytime.