I thought that it would be interesting to start off my pumpkin storytime with a book that discussed how pumpkins are grown. I chose It’s pumpkin Time! by Zoe Hall and Shari Halpern (available through PINES) because it had straightforward text, good vocabulary, and vivid pictures. A word of warning: it does mention Halloween and trick or treating specifically, but only at the beginning and end of the book, so it’s easy to skip over if you need/want to.
This is NOT a Pumpkin, by Bob Staake. (Available through PINES). This book is so funny, and reading it to a group of kids is even funnier! For some reason the upside down pumpkin sent them into hysterical laughter. Not to mention the insistent “Yes, it IS!” exclamations I kept hearing. There is a cute “surprise” ending to this book, and I thought it was a fun, participatory addition to the storytime.
Poem with props: Jack O’ Happy. I’ve seen this poem other places too, but the idea for the puppets came from Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime. In fact, mine look so similar to hers that I won’t even post them here. I will tell you that the kids loved this poem, even more than I thought they would. I asked them to make the same faces along with me, and they were thrilled at the ending (I changed this a tiny bit, just to make sure they understood the joke. I said “I am Jack O’ Pumpkin Pie the YUMMIEST Jack of all! and I rubbed my stomach while saying it).
Flannel story: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd. Boy, do I LOVE to tell this story. Almost all of the kids seemed to have heard it before, so I’m glad I decided to tell it as a flannel story, just for a little variety. (I used some of the color pieces from kizclub.com). I’m still working on my storytelling, but this is one that I feel pretty comfortable with because of its simple structure (and the fact that my daughter made me repeat it constantly after we read it for the first time last fall!)
Pumpkin Trouble, by Jan Thomas. Is it embarrassing to admit that I sat at my desk and actually laughed out loud the first time I read this book? If it is, then I don’t care! I think Jan Thomas’ other books are hilarious (What Will Fat Cat Sit On?, Rhyming Dust Bunnies) and Pumpkin Trouble is no exception. While excitedly carving his pumpkin, Duck accidentally falls inside! As he searches for his friends Mouse and Pig, he is mistaken for a Pumpkin Monster! While it can be challenging to read aloud (especially to groups), I think that a book like this is great for encouraging kids to examine pictures closely to derive meaning from them in conjunction with the story. For example, when Mouse and Pig are running from the “Pumpkin Monster”, one of them says “Hide behind the barn!” The next page shows Duck, still trapped inside the pumpkin, saying “What barn?” We talked about the fact that Duck couldn’t see the barn, then we predicted what was going to happen next. This kind of discussion is good for developing reading comprehension and narrative skills.
Before I left, I had to bring out my duck (really, my nondescript multipurpose bird) for a quick hello. He noticed a pumpkin…then promptly fell in. “Did that pumpkin just quack?”