Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November Outreach Story Time: A Selection of Funny Books

I'm well into the second half of my fall outreach season, which means I'm making steady progress through the 2012 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award nominees as a visit preschools for story times. This month I grouped together some of the stories that have humorous elements to them, then I rounded things off with a new title from one of the nominated authors.

Opening Song: "Open, Shut Them"

Story: Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas
     I think I've mentioned before how much I love Jan Thomas. Those books are always a delight to share with audiences of any age children--they always find the stories engaging and, often, hilarious. This title is no exception, as three cows get up to all kinds of mischief in the name of fun, much to Chicken's chagrin.

Song: "Chicken Won't Allow"
     This song is an adaptation of a perenially popular camp song, "Mama Don't Allow." I figured that Chicken in our first story had lots of rules--why not break some with a song?

Chicken won't allow any hand clappin' 'round here. (clap hands)
Chicken won't allow any hand clappin' 'round here. (clap hands)
We don't care what Chicken won't allow, clap your hands any old how!
Chicken won't allow any hand clappin' 'round here. (clap hands)
*repeat with different actions, like foot stompin', bottom bouncin', and yee-hawin'

Story: The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore
     I preface this quieter read-aloud with the question of whether a dog would know what to do with a book if you gave one to him. In this story, an assortment of animals encounter a book and, not knowing its purpose, use it in different and sometimes silly ways. When a boy finds the book and begins to read, however, they all enjoy what the book has to offer.

Rhyme: Books
     This rhyme helps reinforce opposities. Use your hands to illustrate the different sizes of books.
Big books
Small books
Short books
Tall books
Skinny books
Thick books
I love them all!

Story: Press Here by Herve Tullet
     I'll admit I was skeptical of using this book as a read-aloud title. After all, a room full of preschoolers cannot all "press here" when instructed to do so. With a few small modifications--the reader presses while the audience helps count dots, report on color changes, and perform small actions when asked--this book is a surefire hit with preschool crowds. They always seem genuinely enchanted by how doing what the book says causes the dots to behave in funny ways. I would not have expected this book to be such a hit, but I am now glad to have it in my story time arsenal.

Story: Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas
     I mentioned that I love Jan Thomas, right? This newest title is no exception, especially because it involves using a cowboy voice and some pretty funny discussion of what it means to be brave. Kids enjoy the lullaby aspect of the book, too, and that device serves to make the book a perfect calming end to story time.

Song: "If You're Happy and You Know It"
     In what has become a sort of standard closing for my outreach story times, I broke out the ukulele to accompany our singing of this song. Instead of doing the ordinary clapping, stomping, and shouting, we reviewed our stories by making the noises of some of the animals characters we'd met throughout the program. During our last verse, we all waved goodbye.

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