Earth Day is coming up on April 22, so I really, really wanted to do a green storytime all this week. Unfortunately, I had a bit of trouble finding books that were exciting, yet educational, educational yet not overly didactic. Although I liked this program, it just wasn’t a good fit for my storytime audience this week. My golden rule of storytime has two parts: not all books make good read-alouds, and not all good read-alouds make good group read-alouds. These books are lovely, and I still think they would be great in a one-on-one reading setting. All that being said, the kids were good sports and we had fun anyway.
The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown. We started this book with a discussion of what it means to be curious, which inevitably led to a discussion of Curious George. We decided that “curious” meant that you wondered about things. The first page of this book depicts a drab, gray city with no greenery of any kind. A curious boy named Liam likes to go outside anyway, and one day he finds some plants. The plants are in serious need of attention and care, which inspires Liam to begin cultivating them. Through trial and error, Liam becomes a decent gardener, and the plants flourish. Even after the winter, Liam comes back to take up where he left off. Taking Liam’s lead, other children begin to garden in the city, resulting in a much different landscape than that which began the story. I really like this book, and I think it would be wonderful for reading and discussing with a child one-on-one. It might even work as a group read with an older age group. The pictures are very beautiful, and it is a sweet, inspiring story where a kid is able to make a big difference.
Flannel: The Green Grass Grew All Around. This idea came from Miss Mary Liberry. (You can also find links to the flannel pattern and song there.) This is a neat flannel, and I like the song. I think I just didn’t approach it with enough confidence.
From the Garden: A Counting Book About Growing Food, by Michael Dahl, Illustrated by Todd Ouren. This book, along with the flannel below, helped pick things up. In retrospect, I really should have just done the whole storytime about gardening or something Earth-related, but not specifically Earth Day. The pictures are large, boldly colorful, and easy to see. The book counts up with each page, featuring a new vegetable with each number.
Flannel: Farmer’s Market shopping game. The inspiration for this activity, as well as the “shopping list” came from Making Learning Fun. I originally wanted to do the activity as it appeared at Making Learning Fun, but I realized how much printing and cutting out that would be! So I decided to make one flannel set and do it as a group activity, as opposed to making individual sets. I also adapted the shopping list to go in numerical order–1 lettuce, 2 carrots, 3 corn, 4 tomatoes, 5 potatoes, and 6 peas. I made the vegetables with felt and did detailing with puffy paint. To play, I mixed all the vegetables up on the flannelboard and called kids up to take the basket and help me read the list. We played as a group, so if someone was having trouble, I’d ask something like “what color are tomatoes? what shape are they?” The group counted out the vegetables as they are placed in the basket. We had more kids than vegetables, but it wasn’t a big deal. I just left the set out and they played with it during our playtime. They LOVE playing with flannel pieces, and putting them in a basket only made it cooler!