Tag Archives: audrey wood

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.









Pre-K visit–Fruit


At my visit last week, I learned that the pre-k classes were going to a strawberry patch for a field trip.  I thought that this week, I would use the storytime to help them tell me about it.

Apple Countdown, by Joan Holub, Illustrated by Jan Smith.  Even though it’s about apples instead of strawberries, this turned out to be the perfect book to help lead the kids in telling me about their field trip in an orderly way.  I introduced this book by saying that, even though it’s about apples and not strawberries, we could read it and compare their trip to the trip taken by the kids in the book.  The book is ostensibly a countdown book, but I think it might have been stronger as just a plain old field trip book.  It covered things like being excited about the field trip (“were you guys as excited as Jose?”), wearing nametags, riding a bus (“did you get to ride a bus?”), and having the teacher explain what they might see.  The countdown device got a little tortured toward the end ” ‘Three pies for us!’ says Russ.  ‘How many slices are there?’ asks Claire.  ‘Two times six, plus eight,’ says Kate.”  Uh–what?  Still, it’s a nice book, and I’m really glad I found it.


The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear, by Audrey and Don Wood.  Mouse has found a beautiful, red, ripe strawberry that he wants to pick.  But what if the BIG HUNGRY BEAR tracks down the strawberry?  It seems that no matter how hard Mouse tries, he will never be able to hide his beautiful strawberry from that greedy bear.  Almost every group of kids started pointing and talking excitedly as soon as I pulled this book out.  Most of them had read it before, and they were crazy about it!  It was so fun to read, and I will definitely be using it again and again in the future.





Flannel: 5 little strawberries.  This idea (like so many others!) came from Mel’s Desk (she also generously shared a template for the strawberries there).  I used yellow puffy paint for the seeds instead of sewing them on.  I also altered the words to the rhyme to say “Mouse came and ate one” instead of “Bear came and ate one” so that I could use my mouse puppet to take them off the board and “eat” them.  The kids really liked this flannelboard, and I did too!  I also used the different shapes and sizes of the strawberries to ask them about the strawberries they picked (“were they all the same, or were they different shapes and sizes?”)





Lunch, by Denise Fleming.  While this book doesn’t have any strawberries in it, it does have a hungry mouse, which made it tie in nicely with the previous book and flannel.  The story is pretty simple–Mouse is so hungry that he eats through a variety of fruits and vegetables.  What makes the book so interesting is the beautiful illustrations and the way they are structured on the page.  In the right-hand corner, there is part of a fruit or vegetable, and the words above it suggest what it might be–this invites the children to guess what is coming.  It mostly worked except for the first one (turnip) so I just read that one, then pointed to the others and gave them time to guess.  They had a lot of fun with it!




We ended with allowing them to feed strawberries to Mouse.  (For a few classes, I told them that Mouse was scared of the word “Bear” but they got a little carried away with yelling “Bear!”, so I eventually stopped doing that—don’t tell anyone….hehehe)



Pre-K storytime–SILLY


I’m not going to Pre-K next week (sad face) because of spring break, so I decided to do a silly-themed storytime in honor of April Fool’s Day.  Really, it was just an excuse to read all my  favorite goofy stories.  Wow, I love my job!

Rhyming Dust Bunnies, by Jan Thomas.  In my opinion, dust bunnies are inherently silly, at least in nomenclature.  Anyway, this book is absolutely perfect for 4 to 5 year olds because they know all about rhyming words.  I would recommend introducing it by asking if they know what dust bunnies are.  “Are they real bunnies?  No, they aren’t.  They don’t really look like the ones in this book, either.  Really, dust bunnies are just balls of dust!  So, if they are dust, what do you think they are most afraid of?”  (My target answers were “broom” and “vacuum cleaner”, but I got some other, really funny responses to this question–my favorites were “Mrs. So-and-So” and “Swiffer!”)  What I’m trying to say is that it might take a little effort on your part to get them to see how funny it is, but it is SO WORTH IT!  For those who are interested, there are some very cute prop ideas out there.  Check this out.



Silly Sally, by Audrey Wood.  Once upon a time, many moons ago, I wrote a post about making some Silly Sally puppets.  (Head over to that link if you want to see how I made them).  Since I still had them, I decided to use them to tell the story instead of just reading the book (though I do love the book!)






Since I only have two hands and I suspected that a request for audience participation could result in Pre-K chaos, I decided to convert the animal puppets into flannelboard pieces.  I did this by ripping the dowel off and putting a velcro dot on the back.  Easy peasy.  I left Silly Sally and Neddy Buttercup as puppets.  While telling the story, I held Sally in my right hand (upside down, of course!) and the other characters in a stack on my lap.  It went sort of like this:

Silly Sally went to town, walking backwards, upside down.  On the way she met a pig (hold up pig), a silly pig.  They danced a jig (make Sally and pig dance, then put pig on flannelboard).  Silly Sally went to town, dancing backwards, upside down.  Etc.



When Sally meets the sheep and falls asleep, I pretend that I’ve fallen asleep.  Then, I “wake up” and ask–“Now how did Sally get to town, sleeping backwards, upside down?”  (Hold up Neddy Buttercup with other hand and point out the feather that he is holding).  Along came Neddy Buttercup, walking forward, right side up.  He tickled the pig who danced the jig (make the feather tickle the pig), and so on…  I hope this description makes sense.  It really went pretty easily, and I think the kids enjoyed it.  (If I had been at my library, I would have used a larger flannelboard so that the animals would fit properly.)




Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems.  Is there anything sillier than a pigeon who wants to drive a bus?  I was surprised that a number of my pre-k friends had not encountered Pigeon before.  Most of them told him “no” with gusto, although there are always a few who say “Yes!” the whole time, or, worse yet, those that just look at me like I’m crazy.  Nevertheless, in my opinion this is storytime gold, and I always have so much fun reading it.





Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, by Doreen Cronin, Illustrated by Betsy Lewin.  As with Rhyming Dust Bunnies, I think that this one benefits from a bit of groundwork.  Luckily, I had this awesome typewriter made out of cardboard to take along with me.  When I asked if anyone knew what a typewriter was, most of them didn’t (we’re all computerized now, remember?)  Knowing what a typewriter is is critical to understanding the humor of the story, so I took a few minutes to describe a typewriter, how it is similar to and different from a computer.  Then, after the story, we invited my cow puppet (wrapped in her blanket) to demonstrate how she typed the notes to Farmer Brown.

Silly Sally Puppets


In my last post, I mentioned that I was interested in figuring out a way to use puppets to tell Silly Sally by Audrey Wood.  This book is just pure, silly fun.  There isn’t really a message to it–it’s just funny, and I think the addition of puppets would enhance that.

It turns out that I’m not alone in thinking that this would be a great story for using puppets (I didn’t figure I was!)  See this blog for how one librarian pulled it off!

In my search for how to make puppets for Silly Sally, I came across these printables.  I decided that maybe I could work with them instead of trying to make conventional cloth puppets my first time out.  Here they are!









What you’ll need:

Silly Sally printables (see above)


Glue stick


Markers/crayons/colored pencils

Clear contact paper/laminating materials

Round wooden dowels

Clear packing tape

Feather (optional)

What to do:

1.  Cut out the printables.

2.  Glue each piece onto cardstock with glue stick.  (Neddy Buttercup and Silly Sally come in two pieces.  Glue the two pieces together before gluing to cardstock).

3.  Color in with markers.

4.  Cut out with scissors.

**Note:  My pieces were curling up after I cut them out, so I put the smaller ones in the pages of a dictionary and put the larger ones under heavy books.  I left them overnight, and this morning they were flat.

5.  Either laminate using a laminating machine or use clear contact paper.  To use contact paper:  Use the grid on the back of the paper to cut a piece of contact paper big enough for each character.  I found that cutting across, then in half worked for all of the animal characters.  Peel the backing off the paper, then lay it, sticky side up, on a table.  Put the character face down on top of the contact paper and press down firmly.  Peel the back off of the other piece of contact paper and carefully apply it to the back.









Believe me, I have tried many ways of doing this, and I found this to be the easiest.  However, do whatever works best for you.

6.  Once you have laminated all of your pieces, cut around them with scissors.  I left a bit of a border around the edges, to keep the contact paper together and to give it more stability.

7.  Flip each piece over and place the wooden dowel as desired. (I put Silly Sally upside down on the dowel, but all other characters right side up.  I think it would be easy enough to just hold it upside down, though).

8.  Place a long strip of packing tape vertically along the dowel.  Place shorter, supporting strips horizontally along the length of the dowel.









Here’s Neddy Buttercup, front and back:











9.  Secure a feather to Neddy Buttercup’s “tickling” hand with a small piece of packing tape.

How to use them:

Choose four child volunteers (this would probably work best with older children–say, ages 4-7).  Give each of them an animal puppet (pig, dog, loon, sheep) and stand them in a line, in the order they appear in the story.  Keep Silly Sally and Neddy Buttercup.  Start with Silly Sally in right hand and go to each animal.  Dance with Pig, play leapfrog with Dog, sing with Loon, sleep (snore) with Sheep.  Put down Sally and pick up Neddy Buttercup.  Tickle each animal with feather.  Pick Sally up again and have Neddy tickle her.  Have children walk behind you with their puppets upside down to end the story.



I recently had the opportunity to visit a library that had a wealth of beautiful, handmade puppets.  It reminded me of a book that I purchased while I was in library school, at the suggestion of my professor, called A Puppet Corner in Every Library by Nancy Renfro.  My professor said upfront that the book was old (it was published in 1978) but said that it was still an excellent resource.  I bought it used on Amazon very inexpensively and put it on my shelf, figuring I would need it for reference later.

So last night I pulled it off that shelf and started reading.  The book has some really great ideas about incorporating puppets into a library children’s department!  Not only does it have drawings and patterns for puppets, puppet storage and puppet theaters, but it also suggests ways that you can use the puppets.  One of my favorites is this one:

“SHERLOCK HOLMES is precise and calm, and in his detective-like manner could take the children through the library with his “Magnifying Glass Tour”, explaining shelf layout, reference book location, and checkout tips.  Games specifically designed for Sherlock could be fun.  How about a treasure hunt search for a missing book.  Give each child the name of a book to look up, which, in turn, has a note to look up another book, etc.  It could end up with a surprise or award.”  (p. 15).

Another idea that intrigued me is to circulate the puppets, along with a reading list for each one.  For example, a list of suggested cat books (both fiction and non-fiction) to go along with a cat puppet.  (See p. 93).  I think that this could really help support parents in reading aloud to their children.

I also thought it was a fun idea to give the puppets over to older children and allow them to make their own story.  (p. 32-33).

One idea I have been cooking up is to make a puppet show or flannelboard for Silly Sally by Audrey Wood.  I think it would be so much fun!  “A Puppet Corner in Every Library” has inspired me to give it a try!  Stay tuned…