Category Archives: Puppets

Puppet Show–Little Blue Riding Hood


photoAlmost every summer we take the week before the 4th of July and do a puppet show at all of our branches.  I love puppet shows, but sometimes they can be sort of stressful–managing multiple puppets and props, making the puppets I have fit the story, and sometimes even adapting the story to a puppet show script myself.  This year I was a lucky duck because we happened upon the script for “Little Blue Riding Hood” by Nancy Whetstone.   Y’all, it is SO GOOD.  Really funny stuff and so simple to stage.  We adapted it a bit so that we could use two guy puppets (we made them brothers named Ben and Jerry).  The kids enjoyed the show so much.  I highly recommend trying it out!




We also did the classic paper bag puppet craft.  When space permitted, we left the stage up so that the kids could try out their new puppets onstage.  It was a hit!  It always amazes me how creative kids can be with just simple materials and activities.  The kids had a great time creating their puppets, and I loved hearing the stories they told.


Growing Readers–wheels


growing readers web image

I’m so excited to announce that we are now offering a storytime especially for emerging readers ages 4 and up!  It is called Growing Readers, and it meets on Mondays at 4:00 p.m. at the Leesburg Library.  This is something I have wanted to do for the LONGEST time.  As usual, I was inspired by (and downright took stuff from) many talented librarians like Storytime Katie, Hi Miss Julie!, Storytime Secrets, just to name a few.  If you are thinking about starting your own beginning reader storytime, I would highly suggest that you start with them!







When the kids first came in, they filled out nametags.  This is for writing practice as well as helping me to learn their names.

earlKnowing names is especially important because (again inspired by the wonderful Hi Miss Julie!) I chose Willoughby Wallaby Woo as our hello song.  (I don’t know how I missed this brilliant song, but in case you’re like me and had never heard it before, here.  Watch it now, I’ll wait.  BTW my 6 year old daughter and I made a game out of this on a long car trip recently.  We took turns singing the first part while the other guessed the real name.  We went through the whole family, most of her classmates, and every My Little Pony character we could think of–it was surprisingly entertaining.)  This song is PERFECT for older kids, and for phonological awareness.  Plus, it’s hilarious.  I used my elephant puppet, Earl, to sit on the kids’ heads as I sang to each one of them.








w tubAfter the song, I had Earl read our welcome message.  It was something like “Welcome to storytime!  Today we will read books about things that go.  We will also read about a car wash.  From, Earl Elephant.”  I had already circled the letter “W” in the message in red marker.  I asked them what they thought the letter of the day was.  They correctly guessed “W” and I pulled out items from the letter tub.  (Earl ate the waffle and the watermelon).  Then we did a word cloud–I asked them for other words that started with “W” and wrote them on the dry erase board.  We also talked about the word “transportation” and about different modes of transportation, especially ones that–you guessed it–started with a “W”.







true or falseRead aloud: Transportation True or False? by Daniel Nunn. (E TRANSPORTATION NUNN).  I really like interactive books for older kids.  The format of this book is perfect for that–it shows a picture of a mode of transportation and asks a true or false question about it, then the answer is revealed on the next page.  My personal favorite was “Some cars run on ice cream instead of gasoline–true or false?”  It also has a table of contents, so we talked about that, too.





car goes farRead along: Car Goes Far by Michael Garland (E TRANSPORTATION GARL)

I used to find a book between 0.0 and 0.5 about cars and ordered multiple copies through the PINES system.  The idea is for each child to have a copy of the book so that they can read along with me.  To make reading together even more fun, I invited the kids to pick up a whisper phone (available through Lakeshore Learning–they are so cool!) and a reading buddy.  After we read the book together, I asked them comprehension questions like What happened to car?  How did he feel?  What did he do next?







whisper phones buddies








parking lotFinally, we did a letter matching parking lot activity.  When I asked for Lego donations awhile back, one family generously donated a huge tub of them, which also included LOTS of matchbox cars.  I held onto them, because I figured there was something I could use them for eventually.  Thank you, Pinterest! 

Oceans storytimes


Wow!  I can’t believe summer is here again!  For my final storytimes of the spring term, I wanted to choose a science-related theme that allowed me to start talking about our Fizz Boom READ summer reading program.  I decided that the ocean was perfect!  I used some combination of these books, songs, and activities at both of my preschool storytimes, my pre-k outreach storytime, and my Book Buddies storytime for children of all ages and abilities.

commotion in the ocean Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andrae and David Wojtowycz (E OCEAN ANDR).










pout pout fishThe Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen. (E FISH DIES)  For some reason I had never read or used this awesome book before.  This is a fantastic read-aloud that is now on my list of faves!  Pre-K especially had a great time saying “Blub Bluub BLUUUUUUUUUB” with me.









ten little fishTen Little Fish by Audrey Wood and Bruce Wood.  (E COUNTING WOOD)  Counting concept book that counts backward from ten and then up again.  I love this book and used it for all three groups.  The rhyming text makes it easy to predict which number is coming next: “Ten little fish, swimming in a line.  One dives down, and now there are…”








rub a dub subRub a Dub Sub, by Linda Ashman and Jeff Mack. (E OCEAN ASHM) Again, rhyming text is so helpful for phonological awareness.  There are also some uncommon animal names that are great for vocabulary building, such as marlin, wrasse, and eel.  The illustrations are so cute and colorful.  (I *just* realized that is the same Jeff Mack who wrote and illustrated my beloved “Good News Bad News” and “Ah Ha!”  The guy is a genius!)








Song: There’s a shark

Song: Once I caught a fish alive

paper plate fishCraft: paper plate fish.  I found many versions of this on Pinterest.  You cut a wedge out of the paper plate and staple or glue it on to the side as a tail.  We decorated ours with dot markers and glued on pieces of aluminum foil and a wiggly eye.






ocean pupptsPretend play with ocean puppets.  The kids had a great time with this!










Activities: I got both of the following activities from the awesome Prekinders.

fish bingoOcean bingo–the template is Prekinders (see link above).  I randomly wrote in letters and put letters on scraps of paper in a container.  The kids each chose a card and a dot marker.









fishing activityfish activity closeupFishing for numbers.  Again, directions for this activity can be found on Prekinders.  The rod is a wooden dowel with yarn and a magnet attached.  The fish each have a paper clip on them.  I like the versatility of this activity–older kids added the dots on the fish together and younger kids just counted the dots.








Preschool and Pre-K storytimes–Owls!


001Preschool storytimes are Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. at the Leesburg Library and Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. at the Oakland Library.  Preschool storytimes are immediately followed by playtime with developmentally appropriate toys like these.  Playtime is a great time for social interaction–for kids and parents/caregivers alike!








Opening song: We hit our knees together

Opening rhyme: Two Little Dickey Birds/Open Them Shut Them

004Good-Night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins. (E BIRDS HUTC).  The daytime noises of Owl’s fellow tree-dwellers keep Owl awake, but when night falls, owl has the last…screech?  This is a nice, simple story with a repetitive structure–perfect for retelling!







003Wow! Said the Owl, by Tim Hopgood.  (Available through PINES).  Owl is accustomed to sleeping through the day, just as a little owl should.  But one day, Owl becomes curious and stays awake so that she can enjoy all of the colors that daytime has to offer.





008Flannelboard: Five Hoot Owls.  I changed the rhyme slightly to reinforce the colors (Five hoot owls sitting in a tree the [red] one flew away, now how many do we see?)






009Little Owl Lost, by Chris Haughton. (E BIRDS HAUG).  Little Owl has fallen from his nest and lost his mother.  Squirrel tries to help find her based on Little Owl’s description.  The kids laughed like crazy each time Squirrel says “Here she is!  Here’s your mommy!” and it was a completely different animal.  And it is totally heartwarming how happy the kids are when Little Owl finds his mom at the end.  I really don’t know why everyone in the world doesn’t want my job.  It’s just the best.




Rhyme: Wide Eyed Owl.

Rhyme cube

Closing rhyme: This is big (Mel’s Desk)

Closing song: My hands say thank you

owl puppetCraft: owl puppet.  Playing with puppets is a great way to promote narrative skills.  Store-bought puppets can be expensive, so making puppets is an affordable alternative.  This week we made an owl puppet by coloring this sheet and attaching it to a paper bag.  A fun game to play with this puppet might be to point out colors with the puppet and say “Wow! said the owl–look at that blue sky!”





The Pre-K storytime was pretty much the same as the preschool one, except I added a brief introduction with my owl puppet, Olivia (pictured above).  Olivia asked “Who? Who? Who keeps talking?  I’m TRYING to sleep!”

007Little Owl’s Night, by Divya Srinivasan. (E BIRDS SRIN).  This book is very slow and soothing.  In my Pre-K storytimes, I placed it right before Little Owl Lost and then we finished with Wide Eyed Owl if there was time.






Preschool and PreK storytime–Monsters!


This week’s preschool and pre-k storytimes focused on monsters!  Some of these books just happen to rank among my favorite readalouds, period, so it made for a super fun storytime!

We have two preschool storytimes each week: Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. at the Leesburg Library and Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. at the Oakland Library.  Both storytimes are immediately followed with toys and playtime.  For more information about preschool storytime, call 759-2369.


Bubble machine (Hello Bubbles and 1 little 2 little 3 little bubbles)

Opening song: We hit our knees together (Mother Goose on the Loose)

Opening rhyme: Two Little Dickey Birds/Open Them, Shut Them

008Letter Monster–“Letter Monster wanted to read.  He htought if he ate letters, it was all he would need!”  I thought that this folder story was a really cute way to incorporate letter knowledge into this storytime, plus it connected really well with the craft we did (see below).  Find template and text of rhyme here.  I had to mutilate this poor folder to get it to work because my laminator wasn’t big enough to laminate the entire folder.  But I still think it turned out pretty cute.  The eyes and mouth are self-stick foam and I wrote the letters on green cardstock to make the monster green.




monsters love colorsMonsters Love Colors, by Mike Austin.  (E COLORS AUST)  This is a new book that I absolutely love!  It has very fun illustrations and is a perfect way to introduce primary colors and color mixing.  Plus, having to tell a monster not to eat is crayons is just funny.  It just is.









go away big green monsterGo Away, Big Green Monster!  Ed Emberley.  (E MONSTERS EMBE)  This book is genius.  I love how the die cut design is incorporated into the story, and how the reader is given the power to make that mean old monster GO AWAY!









Rhyme cube

This is Big (Mel’s Desk)

My hands say thank you

011Craft: letter monsters.  I found a free template online and used it to cut monsters from construction paper.  I offered assorted spooky eyes (foam stickers from Oriental Trading that were leftover from Pumpkinpalooza).  Use white glue and foam letters (or self-stick foam letters if you have them) and put letters into the monsters tummy.  Make sure to talk about each letter and the sound it makes before monster eats it!








Bubbles and playtime


Every Wednesday I visit Lee County Pre-K and read to all of the classes (5 groups with 2 classes each and 1 group with 1 class).

006The Monster at the End of this Book, by Jon Stone and MIchael Smollin.  (E MONSTERS STON).  Two things: #1–Grover seems to be largely unknown to most of the children I read this book to. #2–This disturbs me because I LOVE Grover.  #3–This book was my absolute FAVE when I was little.  The kids laughed like crazy as Grover pleaded with us not to keep turning the pages!








leonardo the terrible monsterLeonardo the Terrible Monster, by Mo Willems.  Want to show off your reading aloud prowess?  Try reading Sam’s monologue as fast as you can with proper emotion.  It’s awesome and hilarious, and be prepared to have at least one “Do it again!”









Monsters Love Colors (see above)

if monster and you know itIf You’re a Monster and You Know It, by Rebecca Emberly and Ed Emberley.  E MONSTERS EMBE)  I didn’t use the illustrations in this book, although they are wonderful.  I often say that I dare not enter pre-k without a puppet, and today was no exception.  I ended each storytime with Monty the Monster instructing the kids on how to be monsters by singing parts of “If You’re a Monster and You Know It” in a growlly voice.  I did “give a roar” last and pretended that Monty was scared of their roars, which they loved.


Fall storytime


I was so excited to do a fall storytime for my preschool, pre-k, and Headstart groups!  I referred back to my trusty Trees and Leaves storytime from last year–I will never get tired of Fall is Not Easy as a flannel story, and “[Yellow] leaves are falling down” is a great, simple song that the kids feel comfortable joining in on.  I even read “Stuck” a few times, just because I (heart) Oliver Jeffers that much.  But I did add some new things to this “fall” storytime, most notably:

tap the magic treeTap the Magic Tree, by Christie Matheson.  (E APPLES MATH)  This beautiful book is as interactive and fun as Press Here by Herve Tullet, one of my faves.  It actually looks like magic to the kids when we read it and the images seem to be responding to our movements.  Books like these are of course amazing one-on-one reads, but don’t discount them for group readalouds.  Trust me that it doesn’t bother the kids one bit that they can’t do the pressing/patting/whathaveyou–there are plenty of other opportunities for interacting with the book (wiggle fingers, blow a kiss).  This one works very will with a conversation about the four seasons, because you can see the tree as it goes through them.  There is also a tie-in with apples, so this would also work well for an apple storytime.






leaf blew inWhen the Leaf Blew In, by Steve Metzger and Kellie Lewis. (E FARM ANIMALS METZ).  I used my cow puppet and a leaf to introduce this book.  First, I showed a leaf and said that I noticed something was happening outside (getting cooler, leaves changing colors).  We talked about fall and how the leaves “fall” off the trees after they change color, then the wind blows them around.  I pretended like my leaf flew near Camilla and she sneezed a really big sneeze!  This is a really cute book with a progressive story line and clear illustrations that allow kids to predict what will happen next.






leavesLeaves, by David Ezra Stein.  (E FALL STEI).  This is another good story for the seasons.  Bear is having a great time–until all of the leaves start falling down.  Bear tries to catch them and stick them back on, but it’s just not the same.  Then, Bear gets sleepy–when he wakes up, he is in for a wonderful surprise!  Beautiful illustrations and a short and sweet, soothing story.








For my preschool storytimes, I pulled out some felt leaves in brown, orange, yellow, and red and we played with them during the storytime.  When we sang the “Leaves are falling” song, we looked for the different colored leaves.

Preschool and Pre-K storytime–Dancing!


Dancing was last week’s theme for both my preschool storytime at the library and the outreach storytimes I do at Lee County Pre-K.







Preschool Storytime:

Opening song:  We hit our knees together (from Mother Goose on the Loose)

Opening rhyme:  Open them shut them

017Book:  Wiggle, by Doreen Cronin and Scott Menchin. (E DOGS CRON)

Activity:  Wind, Oh Wind (with scarves–from Mother Goose on the Loose)

Song:  Hokey Pokey with scarves






016Book:  Dancing Feet, by Lindsey Craig and Marc Brown. (E POETRY CRAI)

Activity:  Rum Pum Pum (from Mother Goose on the Loose).  For this game, I use a drum or tambourine.  I say “Rum pum pum this is my drum.  Rum pum pum this is my drum.  My name is Er-in, what’s your name?”  Then the children take turns patting out the syllables of their name on the drum.  This is a great exercise for promoting phonological awareness, or hearing the smaller sounds that make up words.  Then, we stand up and march, run, and tiptoe until the drum says STOP!

Closing game: Rhyme cube

Closing rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big (from Mel’s Desk)

Closing song: My hands say thank you

For our craft, we made dancing sticks by taping crepe paper onto craft sticks as seen here.


Pre-K storytime:

The cardinal rule of storytime at Pre-K is “thou shalt not enter Pre-K without a puppet.”  This means that whatever I do, I have to link it to a puppet somehow because the  Luckily, I have a really great supply of puppets at my disposal, which includes my lovely hippo Hilda, pictured in her tutu, above.  I started the storytime by pulling Hilda out of my bag and asking the kids if they knew what Hilda *loved* to do.  They guessed dancing because of her tutu.  We talked about how hippos are big animals as a lead-in to the first book, Hilda Must Be Dancing, by Karma Wilson.

015Fritz Danced the Fandango, by Alicia Potter and Ethan Long.  (E DANCE POTT)







Song:  Head Shoulders Knees and Toes–we started slow and got faster and faster!  So fun!

018Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andrae and Guy Parker-Rees. (E DANCE ANDR)



Pre-k storytime–Friends!


002Instead of doing a full-out Valentine’s storytime, I decided to do a storytime about friends for my pre-k groups this week.

Hello My Name is Bob, by Linas Alsenas.  (E FRIENDS ALSE)  Bob is boring, his friend Jack is not.  Despite their differences, they are the best of friends.  Since I do not dare go to pre-k without a puppet, I decided to incorporate the puppets for this storytime into this story.  [I started out with just the brown bear puppet.  I talked to him a bit, but all did was sigh sadly.  Then we read his book.  After we read the book, I got Bob out again and asked him if reading a book about himself made him happy.  He was still sad until Jack came out!  Jack pulled Bob away, saying that they were going to have ice cream, and go to Chuck E. Cheese, and then to the alligator swamp (book reference)!]

003Grumpy Bird, by Jeremy Tankard.  I LOOOOOOOVE this book!  In the past, I have used it for a feelings storytime, but in a way I think it was a perfect fit for this Friends storytime.  Bird wakes up grumpy–so grumpy he can’t even fly.  But as his friends join him, Bird remembers he has a lot to be happy about.  Since Bird’s friends copy him during the story, it was a great lead-in to the song I chose, and gave the perfect opportunity for a little trick (heh heh heh!)

Song:  Will you be my friend today?  (to the tune of Mary had a Little Lamb)

Source: CanTeach

(start clapping) Will you be my friend today, friend today, friend today?  Will you be my friend today and clap along with me?  (We did things from the book like walk, stand on one foot, jump, fly, and eating a worm!)



005My Friend is Sad, by Mo Willems.  (E WILLEMS)  I think that the Elephant and Piggie series is brilliant and just perfect for the emergent readers in pre-k, so I’ve been trying to share some of these books in storytime to get them hooked!  Gerald is sad, so Piggie tries to cheer him up by dressing up in different costumes.  However, it turns out that all Gerald really wants is to be with his friend.






I have 5 different pre-k groups, so the plan I use sometimes gets changed along the way.  My first group always has the most time, so I was able to share Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack with them.  With another class, I shared Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems instead of My Friend is Sad.  In the end, I felt that the plan I have listed above worked the best.

Pre-k storytime–Dots and Spots!


003I started this storytime off by introducing Spots the Dalmatian.  In addition to having black spots on his body, Spots also has 7 white spots on his ears.  We counted them, then I told the kids that I knew of other books with spots.  One even has a dog with a spot on his ear!





004Dog’s Colorful Day, by Emma Dodd.  (E COUNTING DODD).  Counting, colors, dogs…need I say more about how great this book is for preschoolers?







006Lots of Dots, by Craig Frazier (E BROWSING FRAZ).  This is a fun book about seeing dots all around us.  In each classroom, I asked the kids to look for dots.





007Press Here by Harve Tullet (E BROWSING TULL).  This book is FAN-TAS-TIC!  The kids were amazed at how the dots changed as we read the book.  This is a perfect read aloud!






Christmas programs (and Teddy Bear Sleepover slideshow!)



Wow!  What a week!  We started Saturday with a visit from Curious George at the Leesburg Spirit of Christmas Parade and Festival.  He wanted me to tell everybody that he had a great time visiting with all of you!

003On Tuesday night, we had our annual Puppet Show Extravaganza at the Leesburg Library.  Kids came in their pjs and enjoyed a puppet show of Pete the Cat Saves Christmas and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, along with some stories and of course teeth puppet caroling!


On Wednesday, we had stocking decorating at Smithville, and on Thursday we decorated stockings at Redbone!  Santa will love filling those personalized stockings!






018Last night we had a Christmas-themed storytime and teddy bear sleepover.  As usual, those stuffies got into some mischief!  But everyone had fun, and they are all eagerly waiting to return home.  Check out the slideshow here!

Thank you to everyone who made these programs a success!  And Happy Holidays!