Tag Archives: virtual storytimes

2020 Favorite Storytime Books

It’s book list season! I’ve read a lot this year, and I am excited to highlight my favorite releases of 2020. I’m thrilled to start this year’s lists with 2020 favorite storytime books.

These lists are personal. The storytime books that work for me may not work for you–and that is okay! We each have our own storytime preferences. Also, I very well may have missed some great titles that were released over the last year–so make sure to check out all of the great lists all over the internet.

I had so many favorites this year that I split picture books over two lists: storytime favorites and picture book favorites. Make sure to check both places for amazing 2020 titles!

Which titles were your favorites of the year? Please share in the comments!

2020 Favorite Storytime Books

55313380. sx318

#Baby by Michael Joosten
Adorable baby photographs paired with humorous hashtags will make this a winner for both babies (who will love the close ups of other babies) and grown ups (who will appreciate the humor). Fun choice for virtual baby storytime.


50221861. sx318 sy475

A is for Another Rabbit by Hannah Batsel
“A is for A Rabbit. B is for Bunny. C is for Can you believe how many rabbits are on this page?” A rabbit-obsessed narrator makes an owl angrier and angrier as this alphabet book fails to follow normal expectations. Try this out at an elementary school storytime.


53634064. sx318

Animals Brag About their Bottoms by Maki Saito
Bottoms are cool. Animal bottoms are SUPER COOL. For toddlers, focus on identifying the animal by their bottom. For preschoolers, read through the story and talk about loving our bodies in all their unique shapes and sizes. Pair with a nonfiction book about animals, Whose Poop Is That?, or any Steve Jenkins title.


52298952. sx318 sy475

The Babies and Kitties Book
by John Schindel and Molly Woodward Redd
A companion to the adorable The Babies and Doggies Book, this book features photographs of babies…and kitties! Wonderful photographs featuring diverse babies are paired with fun actions that work well in a storytime environment (climbing, hiding, jumping).


51326665. sx318 sy475

Bedtime Bonnet
by Nancy Amanda Redd and illustrated by Nneka Myers
“In my family, when the sun goes down, our hair goes up!” A little girl shows us her Black family’s nighttime hair routines, but when it comes time for her to go to bed, she can’t find her bonnet! Where could it be? A fantastic own voices book that centers a diverse narrative in a bedtime storytime.


52033081. sx318 sy475

Do Sharks Bark? by Salina Yoon
These lift-the-flap books are perfect for toddler or preschool storytime. Read them as they are written–opening each animal mouth for that sound–or try retelling them with puppets.


44281015. sx318

Don’t Feed the Coos!
by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Heather Fox
Coos are so cute! And they are begging you for a snack…but don’t give in! If you feed one, they will all come! Lots of humor and giggles about what happens if you feed pigeons (or seagulls or ibis or ducks depending where you live).


50204762. sx318 sy475

The Elephants’ Guide to Hide and Seek
by Kjersten Hayes and illustrated by Gladys Jose
Elephants love playing hide and seek–but they aren’t very good at it. Consult this handy guide for tips and tricks to improving your hide and seek game. Ask storytime attendees to think of new places or ways for an elephant to try to hide–maybe even places in your library!


44230405

Federico and the Wolf
by Rebecca J. Gomez and illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
A clever retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Frederico tries to take food to his grandfather’s store, but a hungry wolf has other ideas. A bouncy rhythm makes this fun to read aloud. Spanish words are scattered throughout, with a glossary and pronunciation guide in the back.


50225750. sx318 sy475

Fussy Flamingo
by Shelly Vaughan James and illustrated by Matthew Rivera
Lola is one fussy bird–she doesn’t want to eat shrimp like her fellow flamingos. She is determined to try any other food, and each of those foods changes the color of her feathers. Lots of repetitive text and humor make this a fun family read aloud.


46159802. sx318

The Ghosts Went Floating
by Kim Norman and illustrated by Jay Fleck
A spooky Halloween story sung to the tune of The Ants Went Marching. Perfect for counting practice, with a catchy tune that will soon have everyone singing. The last few pages include a Halloween tie in with the spooky friends all attending a Halloween party, though those could be skipped.


50957365. sx318 sy475

Going Up
by Sherry J. Lee and illustrated by Charlene Chua
Sophie and her dad are excited for Olive’s birthday party! Sophie pushes the elevator button, and they start the long journey up their building–but at each floor, the elevator stops, and more neighbors crowd in. Repetitive text helps keeps readers engaged as they meet the diverse residents of this apartment building.


52027739. sx318 sy475

Hey Baby!: A Baby’s Day in Doodles
by Andrea Pippins
Lovely photographs follow a 1-year-old through everyday activities. The black and white contrast is great for young eyes (if a little busy for a virtual storytime setting). Great actions and motions to compare the baby’s day to your family’s day.


52364704. sx318 sy475

I Love Me!
by Laronda Gardner Middlemiss and illustrated by Beth Hughes
Celebrate diversity, identity, community, and everything that makes you special. Rhyming text, vibrant illustrations, and the repeated “I Love Me!” makes this a great fit for toddler and preschool storytimes


52764224. sx318

I Love My Fangs! by Kelly Leigh Miller
Little Dracula loves his two, pointy, beautiful fangs! But then–oh dear–one falls out. How can Dracula be a vampire with just one tooth? Why won’t it pop back in? Lots of humor and drama surround our adorable young vampire, including a hilarious battle with the tooth fairy. Bright, colorful illustrations will keep the youngest readers engaged. 


52766002. sx318

Jules vs. the Ocean by Jessie Sima
Jules wants to build the best sandcastle ever! But the ocean has other plans, washing away all of Jules’ attempts–and eventually it takes her bucket too. A fun summer beach story filled with dry humor in both the words and illustrations.


52722961. sx318

Lia & Luís: Who Has More?
by Ana Crespo and illustrated by Giovana Medeiros
Lia and Luís argue over who has more of their favorite snacks. A great way to include math concepts in storytime including measuring, counting, estimating, and weighing. Perfect for STEM programs!


46223450. sx318

Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse
by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Heather Fox
I am a fan of everything Llama! While this sequel isn’t quite as amazing as the original, Llama gets into even more hilarious shenanigans in an effort to never have to clean his house again.


52889468. sx318 sy475

Lift by Minh Lê and illustrated by Dan Santat
Wow! This book is visually gorgeous, but also contains serious storytime potential. Iris tapes a broken elevator button to the wall of her room. When she pushes the button, a new world opens up. A great book for older readers paired with an activity where kids create their own imaginary worlds that they would like to find behind magical elevator doors.


50998814. sx318

On Account of the Gum by Adam Rex
A poor kid wakes up with gum in their hair, and their grown up is determined to get the gum out. Instead, they make things much, much, much worse along the way. Lots of laughs.


52931032. sx318 sy475

One of These Is Not Like the Others by Barney Saltzberg
Three cows and one elephant–one of these is not like the other! A great read-aloud for toddlers practicing similarities and differences (and celebrating both). Easy to skip spreads to shrink the length of the book.


44125843

Our Favorite Day of the Year
by A.E. Ali and illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell
Musa’s kindergarten teacher, Ms. Gupta, proposes a yearlong show and tell, where each child shares with their classmates about their favorite day of the year. As a class, they celebrate Eid Mubarak, Rush Hashanah, Christmas (with some Lantinx cultural elements), and Pi Day. A great way to have a conversation about holidays without focusing on one religion (or, in the case of Pi Day, any religion at all).


51079418. sx318 sy475

Sloth Went
by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Bensom Shum
Is there ever an audience where poop books don’t get a good laugh? Encourage young sloth to climb down a tree for his weekly poop. Pair with fascinating facts about how sloths poop in the wild, or a conversation about bathrooms and potty training.


51286250. sx318 sy475

Smug Seagull by Maddie Frost
Smug Seagull can snatch more snacks than you! But…who is this new crab? How is crab so good at swiping? Is there enough room at the beach for two snack snatchers? A perfect read aloud to pair with Mo Willems’ Pigeon.


45421826. sx318

Speak Up
by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Ebony Glenn
When you see something that doesn’t feel right, when you make a mistake, when you can help someone in need, use your voice and speak up! While this book’s message is simple, it approaches kindness, activism, and using your voice in a tone perfect for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders. 


49753251. sx318

Turtle Walk by Matt Phelan
“Turtle walk! Nice and slow. Here we go. Are we there yet? No.” This repetitive story is delightful. Adorable turtles make their plodding walk, exploring the wonders of the world, slowly making their way through the seasons to the cave where they will nap for the winter. Lots of fun to read aloud with a great refrain to repeat as a group.


55386492. sx318

Twinkle, Twinkle, Diaper You
by Ellen Mayer and illustrated by Ying-Hwa Hu
Mama changes baby’s diaper in this simple board book. While the action is straightforward, the book excels in modeling ways a caregiver can turn a small exchange, like changing a diaper, into an early literacy experience by singing a modified version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, practicing animal sounds, identifying body parts, and more. A great board book to highlight in a virtual storytime.


49770812. sx318

Unicorns Are the Worst! by Alex Willan
Unicorns are the worst! Goblin is not happy when unicorns move in next door with their glitter and tea parties. Why are unicorns so well loved while goblins are so underappreciated? Funny story perfect for fans of unicorns, magic, humor, and new friendships. Bright illustrations will draw in young readers and also make this a good book to share virtually.


48932414. sx318

We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates is one of my favorite storytime books–and I am so glad Penelope is back for more fun! She is excited to play her guitar at the school talent show until she hears a classmate say that dinosaurs can’t rock and roll. Her classmates have a lot of opinions about what dinosaurs can be…does Penelope have the courage to show off everything she is capable of? A great elementary read, especially to start a conversation about bullying and microaggressions with kindergarteners and first graders.


52037431. sx318

Welcome to the Party
by Gabrielle Union and illustrated by Ashley Evans
This is a baby storytime win! Beautiful illustrations, wonderful rhymes, and perfect actions for a group of babies or toddlers.


What Color Is My Hijab?: Hudda Ibrahim, Meenal Patel, Meenal Patel:  9781643439204: Amazon.com: Books

What Color Is My Hijab?
by Hudda Ibrahim and illustrated by Meenal Patel
A simple book that highlights both colors and diversity as a little girl chooses what color hijab she will wear today. Great choice for toddlers or preschoolers.


49295971. sx318

What Will Fit? by Grace Lin
Grace Lin’s new series of math board books are perfect for introducing simple math concepts for toddlers. Make sure to check out the whole series!


51349137. sx318

When We Are Kind
by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt
Celebrate kindness with this beautiful book by a Native author and illustrator. Perfect for talking to preschoolers and kindergarteners about being kind and helping others.


51325154. sx318

Your Name Is a Song
by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrated by Luisa Uribe
A girl tells her mother how frustrated she was after her teacher and classmates couldn’t pronounce her name. Her mother teaches her that her name is a song as well as how to embrace your name and identity. A beautiful book perfect for elementary school conversations about the importance of pronouncing names correctly.

Storytime: Flannel and Magnet Activities

Flannel and magnet activities are a staple of storytimes–especially my virtual storytimes! While I’ve always enjoyed these activities, we typically had very large in-person storytime audiences. I’ve never had the best vision, and I was always the kid (and adult) who was stuck in the back of a crowded room and who couldn’t see the tiny shapes on a flannel board or magnet board. I have some tricks to still make flannel and magnet activities work in a large crowd–mostly giant magnet and flannel pieces on a board I’m holding up high–but I like the intimacy of a virtual storytime where everyone can see everything I am doing.

While I love the cuteness of a high quality flannel set (Mister Keith is the flannel making king), I personally lean more towards magnet sets. I can stumble my way through making a nice flannel set I am happy with, but more often I try to find high quality images to create my own magnet sets. These can be printed over and over and laminated for reuse. Magnets stick a bit better for me (on a cookie sheet I hold up) are are generally less likely to fall off than flannel board pieces.

Looking for more flannel and magnet activities for your storytimes? Your one stop shop is Flannel Friday. Their Pinterest boards are regularly updated and filled with a world of cuteness.

Looking for more storytime tools? Check out our Storytime Resources page for links to more content.

Flannel and Magnet Activities

Animal Guessing Game (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)


B-I-N-G-O

There was a farmer who had a dog
And BINGO was his name-o
B-I-N-G-O
B-I-N-G-O
B-I-N-G-O
And BINGO was his name-o


Brown Owl, Brown Owl, What Do You See?

Retelling of Brown Owl, Brown Owl, What Do You See?, a spooky book adaptation of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Retelling of the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.


Count the Balloons (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)

Red Balloons, red balloons, how many do we see?
Red balloons, red balloons, count them now with me!


Dear Zoo

Retelling of the book Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.


Dog’s Colorful Day

Retelling of the book Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd.


Down Around the Corner

Down around the corner at the bakery shop
Were five yummy/fancy cupcakes with sprinkles on top.
Along comes a….
With a dollar to pay.
She picks out a cupcake and takes it away.

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1
Pink Animals: pig, flamingo, blobfish, axolotl, dragon
Fancy Animals: poodle, unicorn, dragon, ballerina hippo, peacock


Fancy Nancy Playing Hide and Seek

Fancy Nancy, Fancy Nancy
Playing hide and seek.
Are you behind the __ teacup?
Let’s take a peek!


Fancy Words (Fancy Nancy)

Paired Words:

  • Hello – Bonjour
  • Great – Fantastique
  • Sad – Crestfallen
  • Pretty – Glamorous
  • Thank You – Merci
  • Goodbye – Au Revoir

Five Fancy Peacocks

One fancy peacock feeling mighty fine
Spreading his tail in the bright sunshine.
Another peacock has come to play.
Now two fancy peacocks have a great day.

Continue with: 2, 3, 4


Five Ferocious Lions

Deep in the jungle, what did I hear?
Five ferocious lions roaring loud and clear.
ROAR! said the lions.
SCAT! said I.
And one ferocious lion ran away…
Goodbye!

4, 3, 2, 1…


Five in the Bed

There were five in the bed,
And the little llama said
“Roll over! Roll over!”
And they all rolled over
And one fell out.


Five Little Bats

Five little bats sleeping in a tree
Hanging upside down
Where no one else can see.
The sun sets and the moon shines bright,
And one little bat flies out of sight.


Five Little Ducks

Five little ducks went out one day.
Over the hill and far away.
Mother duck said
QUACK, QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!
But only four little ducks came back.

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Eggs

Give it a whack, (clap)
Hear it crack, (hand behind ear)
Drop it in the middle, (pat hands on your lap)
One egg frying on the griddle.


Five Little Fishies

Five little fishies, swimming in the sea
Teasing Baby Shark – “You Can’t Catch Me!”
Along comes Baby Shark, as quiet as can be…
And SNAPS that fishy right out of the sea!

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Owls

Five little owls sitting in a tree
Shouting “hoo, hoo, hoo”
As loud as can be!

One flew away,
And then there were…
1, 2, 3, 4!


Five Little Penguins

Five little penguins playing in the snow,
Slipping and sliding to and fro.

One looked up and yelled “Oh no!”
“I see a great big ball of snow!”

Rolling down the hill it stopped with a splat,
All that’s left is a fuzzy hat.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Five big snowballs wearing fuzzy hats,
Rolled back home dressed just like that!


Five Little Pigeons

Five little pigeons jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head!
The driver called the doctor, and the doctor said
No more pigeons jumping on the bed!

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Sharks in the Bathtub

Five sharks in the bathtub,
Going for a swim.
Knock, knock.
Splash, splash.
Come on in!


Froggy Gets Dressed

Retelling of the book Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London.


Get Dressed Fancy (Fancy Nancy)

It’s time to put our dress on,
Dress on,
Dress on,
It’s time to put our dress on 1, 2, 3!

Continue with: shoes, gloves, glasses, crown

Now that we’re all dressed!
Now that we’re all dressed!
Now that we’re all dressed!
Let’s be FANCY!


Go Away Big Green Monster

Retelling of book Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly.


Goodnight Moon

Retelling of the book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.


If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Retelling of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.


I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

Retelling of the book I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry.


Is Your Mama a Llama?

Retelling of the book Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino.


The Little Old Lady Who Was NOT Afraid of Anything

Retelling of the book The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.


L-L-A-M-A

There was a llama who wore pajamas,
And Llama was his name-o!
L-L-A-M-A
L-L-A-M-A
L-L-A-M-A
And Llama was his name-o!


Llama Llama Playing Hide and Seek

Little Llama, Little Llama
Playing hide and seek.
Are you behind the __ bed?
Let’s take a peek!


Letter Matching (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)

Oh, have you seen the letter W
The letter W, the letter W
Oh, have you seen the letter W?
It makes the sound wuh-wuh-wuh


Little Crab, Little Crab

Little crab, little crab,
Where do you hide?
Are you in the…shell?
Let’s look inside!


Little Fox, Little Fox

Little fox, little fox
Are you in the YELLOW box?


Little Monster, Little Monster

Little monster, little monster
Playing hide and seek!

Are you behind the __ door?
Let’s take a peak!


Little Mouse, Little Mouse

Little mouse, little mouse,
Are you in the….
RED house?


Little Snail, Little Snail

Little snail, little snail,
Are you in the _ pail?


Little Spider, Little Spider

Little spider, little spider,
Playing hide and seek!

Is spider behind the __ leaf?
Let’s take a peak!


Magic Butterflies

Five fuzzy caterpillars spinning cocoons
Hoping spring will come real soon!
With a little bit of magic
And the warm sunshine–
Clap, clap, clap, there’s a butterfly!


Marco the Polar Bear

Marco the polar bear
As white as the snow
Sat on the ice
Where the cold waters flow

“Lunch! I need lunch!” he said.
“I’ll make a wish!”
He stuck out his paw
And came up with a fish!

What color is it?


Move Over, Rover

Retelling of the book Move Over, Rover! by Karen Beaumont.


N-A-N-C-Y

I know a girl who is so fancy,
Nancy is her name-o!
N-A-N-C-Y
N-A-N-C-Y
N-A-N-C-Y
And Nancy is her name-o!


Old Brass Wagon

Circle to the side, old brass wagon.
Circle to the side, old brass wagon.
Circle to the side, old brass wagon.
Now there’s one my darling!

Continue with:
Oval to the side
Square in the middle
Triangle up high
Rectangle down low
Heart to the back
We’ll stop at six my darling!


One Dinosaur Went Out to Play

One dinosaur went out to play,
On a giant fern one day.
She had such enormous fun,
That she called for a friend to come…
OH DINOSAUR!!


One Elephant in the Bathtub

One elephant in the bathtub,
Going for a swim,
Knock, knock (clap)
Splash, splash (slap knees)
Come on in! (wave)

Continue with: 2, 3 – all fell in!


One Elephant in the Bathtub (Elephant & Piggie)

One elephant in the bathtub,
Going for a swim!
Knock, knock! (clap, clap)
Splash, splash! (slap legs)
Come on in! (wave)

Continue with: 2, 3, 4


One Red Sock

Retelling of the book One Red Sock by Jennifer Sattler.


Our Friend Rocky Has Some Tools

Our friend Rocky has some tools, E-I-E-I-O.
And with those tools he had a hammer, E-I-E-I-O.
With a bang, bang here and a bang, bang there.
Here a bang, there a bang, everywhere a bang, bang.
Our friend Rocky has some tools, E-I-E-I-O!

Continue with:
Saw…see-saw
Wrench…turn-turn
Screwdriver…twist-twist
Pliers…pinch-pinch
Drill…zzzz-zzzz


Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Retelling of the book Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean.


Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

Retelling of the book Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean.


Pete the Cat Playing Hide and Seek

Pete the Cat, Pete the Cat,
Playing hide and seek.
Is Pete behind the __ shoe?
Let’s take a peek!


Piggie, Are You in a Book?

Piggie, piggie, where so you hide?
Are you in the __ book?
Let’s look inside!


Pinkalicious, Where Do You Hide?

Pinkalicious, Pinkalicious,
Where do you hide?
Are you in the pink __?
Let’s look inside!


Polar Bear’s Underwear

Retelling of the book Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera.


Snowball Hide and Seek

Snowball, snowball
Cold and round!
Behind which mitten,
Can you be found?


Tickle Monster

Retelling of the book Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau.


Tip Tip Dig Dig

Retelling of the book Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia.


Very Hungry Caterpillar

Retelling of the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.


Walking Through The Jungle

Walking through the jungle,
What do I see?
I think it was a….elephant!
Trumpeting at me!


We’re Going on a Bug Hunt

We’re going on a bug hunt!
We’re gonna catch a bug one!
What a sunny day.
Are you ready?
Okay!

Oh my! A ladybug!
A red and black ladybug.
Crawling on a leaf.
Crawl, crawl, crawl, crawl.

Continue with:
Bumblebee…buzzing through the air
Grasshopper…hopping through the grass
Dragonfly…darting across the sky
Butterfly…fluttering through the air
Spider…spinning its web
Time to go home…Goodbye!


Who Stole the Cookies

Cat stole the cookies from the cookie jar.
Who me?
Let’s see!

Couldn’t be!
Then who?


Zuma, Are You in a Boat?

Zuma, Zuma, where so you hide?
Are you in the __ boat?
Let’s look inside!

Storytime: Baby Bounce or Movement Rhymes

Baby Bounce Rhymes are a staple of Baby Storytime. Our baby storytimes are designed for ages 0-2, so my example videos often show a little bit more movement than may make sense for a little one you are holding in your arms (especially a little one that needs head support). Many of these baby bounce rhymes can also be adapted for walking babies, who could jump instead of bounce. When little ones have started walking, I encourage grown-ups to do the baby bounce rhymes themselves, even if their little one is standing nearby and doesn’t want to be confined to a lap anymore.

I sometimes refer to baby bounce rhymes as “movement rhymes” instead of bounces because there are many activities that encourage the same behavior as bounce rhymes but instead focus on swaying (or other, similar, full body movements). Regardless of what I call them, when introducing this section of storytime, I always use these activities as an early literacy moment, explaining to parents how bouncing or moving little ones to the rhythm of words helps them hear the small parts of words and builds phonological awareness skills.

Looking for more storytime tools? Check out our Storytime Resources page for links to more content.

Baby Bounce Rhymes

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 I Caught a Fish Alive

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (bounce)
I caught a fish alive! (hug)
6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (bounce)
Then I let him go again! (tickle)


Acka Backa Soda Cracker

Acka backa soda cracker,
Acka backa boo.
Acka backa soda cracker,
I love you! (hug)

Acka backa soda cracker,
Acka backa boo.
Acka backa soda cracker,
Up goes you! (lift)


Andy Pandy

Andy Pandy Sugar and Candy
All pop down.

Andy Pandy Sugar and Candy
All pop up.

Andy Pandy Sugar and Candy
All pop in.

Andy Pandy Sugar and Candy
All pop out.


Bounce and Stop

We bounce and bounce and bounce and stop!
We bounce and bounce and bounce and stop!
We bounce and bounce and bounce and stop!
Now bounce that baby to the top!


Bouncing, Bouncing

Bouncing, bouncing,
Let’s go bouncing!
Up and down,
All around.

Bouncing, bouncing,
Let’s go bouncing,
Whoops!
Don’t fall down!


The Bouncing Song

Bouncing, bouncing, bouncing, bouncing,
Bouncing, bouncing, STOP!

Bouncing, bouncing, bouncing, bouncing,
Right up to the top!

Continue with: Rocking, Clapping, Tapping, Tickling


A Bouncing We Will Go

A bouncing we will go,
A bouncing we will go,
Hi ho the derry o,
A bouncing we will go.

Continue with: rocking, tickling


Did You Ever See a Baby?

Did you ever see a baby, a baby, a baby?
Did you ever see a baby go this way and that?
Go this way and that way, and that way and this way?
Did you ever see a baby go this way and that?


Dump Truck

Dump truck dump truck, bumpin’ down the road.
Spillin’ out gravel as you travel with your load.
Bumpety, bumpety, bump, bump, bump!
Dump truck, dump truck, dump truck,
DUMP!


Five Little Riders

Five little riders on a nice fall day,
Jumped on their ponies and rode far away.

They galloped in the meadow.
They galloped up a hill. (lift)
They galloped so fast,
That they all took a spill. (tip over)


Giddy Up

Giddy up, giddy up, ride to town.
Giddy up, giddy up, UP and DOWN (lift).
Giddy up fast!
Giddy up slow!
Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up, WHOA! (tilt)


Gregory Griggs

Gregory Griggs, Gregory Griggs,
Had 27 different wigs.
He wore them up,
He wore them down.
To please the people of the town.
He wore them east.
He wore them west.
But which one did he love the best?
This one!


Here We Go Bumpy Boo

Here we go bumpy-boo
Here we go bumpy-bye
Here we go bumpy-bee
All on top of my knee.

I bounce you to the left.
I bounce you to the right.
I bounce you up and down.
I bounce you out of sight!

Here we go bumpy-boo
Here we go bumpy-bye
Here we go bumpy-bee
All on top of my knee.

I bounce you very fast.
I bounce you very slow.
I bounce you up and down.
And back we both do go!


Here We Go Up, Up, Up

Here we go up, up, up!
Here we go down, down, down,
Here we go back and forth,
And here we go round and round!


Here’s a Little Pumpkin

Here’s a little pumpkin bouncing on the vine.
Roll it left, and roll it right,
And bounce it bounce it down the line!

Continue with:
Medium pumpkin…medium bounces
Great big pumpkin…great big bounces


Hippity Hop

Hippity hop to the candy shop,
To buy ourselves some candy.
Some for you and some for me,
And some for sister Mandy!


A Hippopotamus

A hip, a hip, a hippopotamus
Got on, got on, got on a city bus,
And all, and all, and all the people said,
You’re squishing us! (hug)

A cow, cow, a cow got on the bus,
And all, and all, and all the people said,
Moooooooooove over (tilt to side)

A sheep, a sheep, a sheep got on the bus,
And all, and all, and all the people said,
Baaaaaaaaaaccckkkk up (lean back)


Humpy Dumpty

We rock and rock and rock on the wall, (sway)
We rock and rock, I hope we don’t fall!

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall! (tilt sideways)

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men (bounce)
Couldn’t put Humpty together again!


I’m Bouncing

I’m bouncing, bouncing everywhere.
I bounce and bounce into the air.
I’m bouncing, bouncing like a ball.
I bounce and bounce and then I fall.


Jelly on a Plate

Jelly on a plate, jelly on a plate,
Wibble wobble, wibble, wobble, jelly on a plate.

Candy in a jar, candy in a jar,
Shake ’em up, shake ’em up, candy in a jar.

Candles on a cake, candles on a cake,
Blow ’em out, blow ’em out, candles on a cake.


Old Grey Mare

Clip, clip, clippety clop,
Clippety, clippety, clop.
The old grey mare goes up and down,
Until it’s time to stop!


Popcorn, Popcorn

Popcorn, popcorn sizzle in the pan.
Shake it, shake it, bam, bam, BAM!

Popcorn, popcorn now it’s getting hot!
Shake it, shake it, pop, pop, POP!


Ride That Horsey

Ride baby ride, ch ch ch ch ch!
Ride that horsey ride, ch ch ch ch ch!

Ride baby ride, ch ch ch ch ch!
Ride that horsey ride, ch ch ch ch ch!

Repeat in a whisper.
Repeat really loud!

WHOA!


Rocking Horse

Rocking horse, rocking horse, to and fro,
Side to side and away we go,
Rocking horse, rocking horse, front and back,
Don’t fall off just like that.

Woah!


Snuggle Up

Snuggle up together,
Baby in your lap.
Snuggle up together,
And clap, clap, clap!

Snuggle up together.
Don’t you nap!
Snuggle up together,
And tap, tap, tap!

We’re working out together.
Baby don’t stop.
We’re working out together,
So hop, hop, hop!

Now our song is over,
Get ready to stop!
Now our song is over,
So stop, stop, stop!


Tick Tock

Tick, tock, tick, tock,
I’m a little cuckoo clock.
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
Now it’s almost one o’clock.
Cuckoo! (lift)


Tiny Little Babies

Tiny little babies love bouncin’ bouncin’,
Tiny little babies love bouncin’ so.
Tiny little babies love bouncin’ bouncin’
Tiny little babies love bouncin’ yeah.

Bounce to the left,
Bounce to the right,
Now hug that baby nice and tight.


Toast in the Toaster

I’m toast in the toaster.
I’m getting very hot.
Tick tock, tick tock,
Up I pop! (lift)


Two Little Boats

(rock front to back)

Two little boats went out to sea.
All is calm as calm can be.

(rock side to side)

Gently the wind begins to blow.
Two little boats rock to and fro.

(bounce)

Loudly the wind begins to shout!
Two little boats they bounce about.

(freeze then rock front to back)

STOP goes the storm, the wind, and rain.
Two little boats sail on again.


Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We’re going to the moon.
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We’ll get there very soon.

In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
BLAST OFF!

Storytime: Fingerplays

Fingerplays are awesome! Fingerplays are especially fantastic for toddlers and preschoolers, allowing them to practice controlling their fingers in specific ways while building those finger muscles they will need for writing. I sometimes include fingerplays in baby storytimes, but I’ve been able to explore fingerplays more since I’ve started presenting toddler and preschool virtual storytimes.

Looking for more storytime tools? Check out our Storytime Resources page for links to more content.

Problems with 10 Littles

Ten Little Indians. I’ve heard librarians use it (with those original words). For a while, I used adapted fingerplays to the same tune with different words, but I’ve stopped. I may attempt to avoid dehumanizing Indigenous people by not counting Indians like they are toys, but the few times I used this fingerplay, some caregiver would often mess up my new words and loudly use the original words because they are so associated with the tune.

At the beginning of virtual storytimes, I shifted to a different counting tune I found while watching other library storytimes (I have one, I have two, I have three little fingers). I adapted this a lot virtually because it was a quick, easy fingerplay that was just…easy to adapt.

But. Not everyone has 10 little fingers. Or 10 little toes. Or 5 little fingers. I’ve made storytime videos using ten fingers that I am not highlighting below. I’m including fingerplays that count up to five, though I want to eventually phase those out to or make videos where we count to five using two hands instead of always just using one. How do you think about inclusivity in your fingerplays and overall storytime plans? What other elements to this am I not thinking about?

Fingerplays

Thinking about some of the inclusivity lessons I mentioned above, plus that some kids can’t bend their fingers one at a time, I’m also including action rhymes that focus on hand motions.

Bananas Unite

Bananas unite!

Peel bananas.
Peel, peel bananas.
Peel bananas.
Peel, peel bananas.

Continue with: Chop, Mash, Eat

GOOOOOO BANANAS!


Bubble, Bubble Pop!

One little red fish
Swimming in the water,
Swimming in the water,
Swimming in the water.

One little red fish
Swimming in the water,
Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble (roll arms)
POP! (clap)


Clap Them

Clap them, clap them, clap them so.
Clap them high!
Clap them low.
Clap them left.
Clap them right.
Clap them, clap them, out of sight!

Continue with: roll them, shake them


Cool Cat

Hey there everybody, you’re a real cool cat.
You got a lot of this,
And you got a lot of that.
So come on in
And get down (ch ch ch ch ch ch)
To the left (ch ch ch ch ch ch)
To the right (ch ch ch ch ch ch)
Up in the air (ch ch ch ch ch ch)
And get down (ch ch ch ch ch ch)


Dance Your Fingers Up

Dance your fingers up.
Dance your fingers down.
Dance your fingers side to side.
Dance them all around.

Dance them on your shoulders.
Dance them on your head.
Dance them on your tummy.
And put them all to bed.


The Elevator Song

Oh the city is great and the city is grand.
There are lots of tall buildings on a little piece of land,
And we live way up on the 57th floor,
and this is what we do when we go out the door.

We take the elevator up and the elevator down,
take the elevator up, take the elevator down
Take the elevator up and the elevator down
and we turn around.


Five Fat Peas

Five fat peas in a peapod pressed.
One grew, two grew,
And so did all the rest.

They grew, and they grew,
And they wouldn’t stop.
They grew, and they grew,
Until they popped! (clap)


Five Green and Speckled Frogs

Five green and speckled frogs
Sitting on a spaced log.
Eating the most delicious lunch,
Yum, yum!

One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Then there were four green and speckled frogs
Ribbet, Ribbet.

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Caterpillars

Five little caterpillars wiggling on a leaf,
One falls off, goes to sleep.
Close her eyes and wait a week,
Up come a butterfly floating on the breeze.

Repeat with: 4, 3, 2, 1, None


Five Little Hot Dogs

Five little hot dogs
Frying in a pan.
The grease for hot,
And one went BAM!

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Pumpkins

Five little pumpkins sitting on the gate
The first one said, “Oh, my it’s getting late.”
The second one said, “There are witches in the air.”
The third one said, “But we don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run.”
The fifth one said, “Let’s have some fun!”
Ooooooooo went the wind, and out went the light.
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.


Five Little Snowmen

Five little snowmen went out one day!
Rolling through the snow
They played and played.

Out came the sun,
And it shined so bright,
One little snowmen melted out of sight!

Repeat with 4, 3, 2, 1


Funky Spunky Monkeys

Funky spunky monkey
Climbed up the coconut tree
Down came the coconut
And bonked him on his knee
Along came his mama
And kissed away the pain
And the funky spunky monkey
Climbed up the tree again.


Here is the Beehive

Here is the beehive,
But where are the bees?
Hidden away where nobody sees.
Watch and you’ll see them come out of the hive…
1, 2, 3, 4, 5…They’re alive!
Buzzzzzzzzz


Here’s a Llama

Here’s a llama!
There’s a llama!
Llama Llama Red Pajama!
Fuzzy llama!
Funny llama!
Llama, llama, duck!


I Built a Little Snowman

I built a little snowman.
He had a carrot nose!
Along came a bunny,
And what do you suppose?

The hungry little bunny
Looking for his lunch,
Ate the carrot nose…
Nibble, nibble, crunch!


Itsy Bitsy Spider

The Itsy Bitsy Spider
Went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and
Washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and
Dried up all the rain
And the Itsy Bitsy Spider
Went up the spout again.


Itsy Bitsy Spider (Audiation)

The Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
And the Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the spout again.


Leaves on the Trees

The leaves on the trees turn orange and red,
Orange and red,
Orange and red.
The leaves on the trees turn orange and red, all around the town.

The leaves on the trees come twirling down,
Twirling down,
Twirling down.
The leaves on the trees come twirling down, all around the town.

The leaves on the ground go swish, swish, swish,
Swish, swish, swish,
Swish, swish, swish.
The leaves on the ground go swish, swish, swish, all around the town.


Little Mousie Brown

Little Mousie Brown
Little Mousie Brown
Climbed up the big, white candlestick
And couldn’t get back down.

So she called to her Grandma,
“Grandma! Grandma!”
But Grandma was not around.
So she curled into a little ball,
And rolled herself back down.


Mix a Pancake

Mix a pancake.
Stir a pancake.
Pop it in a pan.
Fry a pancake.
Toss a pancake.
Catch it if you can!


My Garden

Here is my garden.
Rake it with care.
And then, some seeds
We’ll plant in there!

The sun will shine,
The rain will fall,
And then my garden
Will grow big and tall.


Open Shut Them

Open, shut them.
Open, shut them.
Let your hands go clap, clap, clap!

Open, shut them.
Opem, shut them.
Drop them in your lap, lap, lap!

Walk them, walk them,
Walk them, walk them,
Right up to your chin, chin, chin!

Open up your little mouth,
But do not let them in!


Point to the Ceiling

Point to the ceiling.
Point to the floor.
Point to a window.
Point to the door!

Point to your elbow.
Point to your knee.
Now sit down,
And point at me!


Put Your Claws

Put your claws in the air.
Put your claws on the ground.
Put your claws in the middle,
And wiggle them around.

Put your claws to the side,
And pretend to soar!
Put your claws to your mouth,
And give a big ROAR!


Put Your Hands Up High

Put your hands up high,
Put your hands down low,
Put your hands in the middle,
And wiggle just so.
Put your elbows in front.
Put your elbows in back.
Put your elbows to the side and
QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!


Roll Roll Sugar Babies

Roll roll sugar babies,
Roll roll sugar babies,
Push and pull
And clap, clap, clap!

Roll roll sugar babies,
Roll roll sugar babies,
Push and pull
And clap, clap, clap!

Roll up high!
Roll down low.
Roll real fast!
Roll real slow.

Roll roll sugar babies,
Roll roll sugar babies,
Push and pull
And clap, clap, clap!


Slowly, Slowly

Slowly, slowly, very slowly,
Creeped the garden snail.
Slowly, slowly, very slowly
Up the wooden rail.

Quickly, quickly, very quickly
Ran the little mouse.
Quickly, quickly, very quickly,
Round about the house!


Snowflakes and Icicles

Snowflakes float so smoothly to the ground
Smoothly to the ground
Smoothly to the ground
Snowflakes float so smoothly to the ground
Twirling round and round.

Icicles are sharp and cold
Sharp and cold
Sharp and cold
Icicles are sharp and cold
Sparkling like gold.


These Little Fingers

These little fingers go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
These little fingers go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
And now they’re on my…HEAD!

Continue with: tummy, feet


There Was a Crocodile

There was a crocodile,
An orangutan,
A flying eagle,
And a silvery fish.

A bunny,
A beaver,
A crazy elephant,
Da na na na na na
Da na na na na na


This is Big

This is big big big.
This is small small small.

This is short short short.
This is tall tall tall.

This is fast fast fast.
This is slow slow slow.

This is yes yes yes yes.
This is no no no no.


Tiny Tim

I have a friendly frog.
His name is Tiny Tim!
I put him in the bathtub,
To see if he could swim.

He drank up all the water!
He ate up all the soap!
And now he’s home sick in bed,
With bubbles in his throat!

Bubble bubble bubble
Bubble bubble POP!
Bubble bubble bubble
Bubble bubble POP!

Repeat with tiny frog and giant frog.


Two Little Friends

Two little friends sitting on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Run away Jack! Run away Jill!
Come back Jack. Come back Jill.

Two little friends sitting on a cloud.
One named soft and one named LOUD.
Run away soft! Run away loud!
Come back soft. Come back loud.

Two little friends sitting down below.
One named fast and one named slow.
Run away fast! Run away slow.
Come back fast! Come back slow.


Two Little Llamas

Two little llamas sitting on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Run away Jack! Run away Jill!
Come back Jack. Come back Jill.

Two little llamas sitting on a cloud.
One named soft and one named LOUD.
Run away soft! Run away loud!
Come back soft. Come back loud.

Two little llamas sitting down below.
One named fast and one named slow.
Run away fast! Run away slow.
Come back fast! Come back slow.


Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We’re going to the moon.
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We’ll get there very soon.

If you want to take a trip,
Climb aboard my rocket ship.
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We’re going to the moon.

In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
BLAST OFF!

Storytime: Book Retellings

We are on a brief live storytime hiatus as we re-adjust for whatever the fall will bring, so I thought I would highlight one of my favorite storytelling tools: Book Retellings! (Post updated 11/8/20.)

Book retellings were a part of my storytimes well before COVID and the move to virtual programs, though I’ve been happy to dig into them more since I am presenting more storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers. I sometimes use a book retelling element for babies with puppets, but mostly any “story” element is for the caregivers, with me focusing on and emphasizing the puppet reveal and animal sound for the babies.

Looking for more storytime tools? Check out our Storytime Resources page for links to more content.

Book Retellings Pros and Cons

Book retellings allow you to:

  • appeal to visual or action-based learners and listeners (so, most toddlers)
  • make things larger–puppets are often bigger than the pictures on a page, especially when presenting to a large in-person crowd (this distinction isn’t such a big deal behind a camera)
  • include more repetition – a book you read earlier in storytime or the week before could be used as a flannel or puppet activity
  • give caregivers ideas for ways to get excited about familiar stories that might be read over and over and over again at home
  • include props, puppets, and other manipulatives in your program

On the other hand, book retellings put more pressure on you as a presenter. Reading the words on a page with the proper inflection, emotion, timing, and engagement is a challenge on its own. Pulling that off without exact words to guide you can be more challenging. However, I also like to think of book retellings as more freeing–viewers can’t see the words, so if I mix up an animal or two, or intentionally skip an entire portion of the story or rearrange something to make more sense visually, as long as I keep my cool, the audience doesn’t have to know. (I think there is a better word than “audience” here. Storytimes are presentations, in a way, but there is a back and forth–what is the word for an engaged, participating audience? Is that still audience? I’m digressing.)

To Memorize or Not To Memorize

I’m going to say something here that may make some library folks cringe–yell in the comments. Please. I know this is my opinion, and it isn’t a popular one, but I still feel strongly about it, so: it is better if you memorize.

Yes, we aren’t actors. Yes, our caregivers know this. No, most kids don’t really notice if we read. But there are kids that do, and there are adults who also notice, and…well I was that totally judge-y preschooler who really didn’t know any better, and compared you (rightfully or not) to Barney and Sesame Street and the Wiggles, and those real people aren’t reading off of a page or constantly glancing off screen to read their next line.

Yes, there will be mistakes, and no, you shouldn’t refilm a 30-minute pre-recorded storytime 17 times because of one error toward the end. Have a cheat sheet somewhere but don’t make it a script and don’t rely on it. I normally put a list of key words taped either directly below my camera on my tripod or right beside the location where I am hiding the puppets or flannel pieces. If I decide to do a dramatic reveal and look back and forth a few times with fun facial expressions–I’m probably re-reading the next line.

I know this isn’t the way most librarians view or encourage this type of storytime experience, especially because it can make it harder or scarier to jump into something like this. But…I do, personally, feel like it makes it a little better. The storytelling experience is stronger and less stilted. But if you need that script, try it with the script. With time and repetition, you’ll know the story so well that you may be able to stop relying on the piece of paper. (End of Annamarie being rude and judge-y. Please berate me in the comments.)

How to Make Props and Flannels

I steal. I am not as creative as some of my coworkers. Do not be fooled by awesome flannel sets in videos. Some of these things are made by them. Other things are designed based off of me seeing someone else’s work online and remaking piece by piece. Other selections are my personally owned purchased sets, made by awesomely talented people who are not me.

I am not going to continue rambling here because my skills are not great or varied. My one tip, which is obvious to regular crafters but not to those of us new to this domain: get. scissors. just. for. felt. Use for nothing else. The world is a much, much more magical place.

Book Retellings Examples

There are so many great ways to retell stories, but now that I’ve made so many videos for our patrons to watch online, I decided to collect some of my favorites below, in alphabetical order by book title.

Bark George by Jules Feiffer (prop & puppets)
Learn about how I made George in this blog post.


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. (puppets)
Change to whatever animals you have on hand. I tried to select stuffed animals that were different colors to continue the color emphasis from the physical book.


Brown Owl, Brown Owl What Do You See? (Adapted from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.) (flannel)


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. (flannel)
Abbreviated because you don’t realize how long this book is, and how many letters there really are, until you are halfway through.


Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (flannel)


Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (puppets)


Do Cows Meow? by Salina Yoon (puppets)


Do Crocs Kiss? by Salina Yoon (puppets)


Do Sharks Bark? by Salina Yoon (puppets)


Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd (flannel)
I’ve also seen this done as a really cool dry-erase marker activity. I was going to do this on a physical stuffed dog with flannel dots, but my velcro dots didn’t work the way I imagined. Still curious about doing this with a stuffed animal though!


Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London (flannel)
Filming this was the worst because socks kept falling off the flannel board. Something to keep in mind during creation or execution–so many small parts.


Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley (magnet)
Download the printable template from Kizclub.


Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (flannel)
I re-wrote part of the story to create the all-items-enter and all-items-exit effect.


I Spy on the Farm by Edward Gibbs (puppets)
I made an I Spy window with a piece of cardboard hanging from a floor lamp. Change out the animals to whatever you have on hand.


I Went Walking by Sue Williams (puppets)
Change out the animals to whatever you have on hand. I focused on having animals of different colors.


If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff (flannel)


I’m the Biggest Thing in the Oceanb by Kevin Sherry (magnet)
Download magnet template from Kizclub.


Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino (Llama Llama Red Pajama edition) (magnet)


Jump! by Scott Fischer (puppets)


The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams


Move Over, Rover! by Karen Beaumont (magnet)


One Red Sock by Jennifer Sattler (flannel)


Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and James Dean (flannel)


Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean (flannel)


Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. (puppets)
Change out the animals to whatever you have on hand.


Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera (flannel)


Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera (puppets)


The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort (puppets)


Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau (flannel)
If you want to try retelling, this is the story for you. The set is super easy to make, and the order of body parts really isn’t that important. Caregivers can tickle little ones throughout.


Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia (magnet)


The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (flannel)
This is a great example of a story where you don’t need to memorize or have a script–just have your flannel pieces in the order you need them. The words are essentially the foods that you are adding to your board.


White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker (props)

I am always, always looking for more books to retell, especially stories that are about diverse characters or by diverse authors. This video list is very white, and and in storytimes I try to balance that, at least a little, with diversity in my physical book for the week. What are some of your favorite stories to retell?

Storytime Prop: Bark George

Funny stories and book retellings are a staple of my storytimes. I love leaning into the humor of preschoolers, and I particularly like when a story can make parents snicker as well.

I like retelling stories in different formats, and I am always looking for books that can be retold with large props or puppets. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of flannel board story retellings. I do not have great vision, and I struggle to focus on (or even see) tiny flannel pieces. We often have large storytime crowds, and all I can think about when holding small items is that if I was sitting on a chair in the back of the room, I would have no idea what the librarian was holding up. The same goes for finger puppets.

Because of that, I look for ways to adapt things in a large scale way. The book Bark George by Jules Feiffer is a perfect story to retell with props. Essentially, the dog George makes various animal sounds that dogs don’t make (moo, quack, oink, etc.). When George goes to the vet, everyone realizes he has swallowed these animals. The vet pulls them out safe and sound. This continues until George barks again. At the very end of the story, George says a slightly ominous “hello.”

When I was in library school, I saw an amazing online post where a librarian retold Bark George with a giant dog stuffed animal with a mouth that opened. She cut the seam inside the mouth and used some awesome sewing skills to make it possible to physically stuff the dog with animal puppets that can be pulled out as you reach that point in the story.

I unfortunately don’t have those sewing skills, but another amazing librarian blogger made a dog out of a box, and I copied their structure for my Bark George prop.

I found a large square box (about 18-20″ on each side). I taped the flaps and reinforced the seams with duct tape and shipping tape. I then cut a slit diagonally down two sides and about two-thirds of the way down the new “front” of the box using a box cutter.

This creates a “mouth” that can be opened easily for me to reach inside and find various animals.

I used brown butcher paper to wrap the box, aiming to keep all seams as invisible as possible. In this case, seams are located on the inside, bottom of the box, the back of the box, and underneath what eventually are covered by dog ears.

This was my second time making George, and I had learned a few lessons from the first time. Double sided tape and shipping tape were my main tools. In the past, I attempted to use hot glue, but that resulted in a lot of peeling over time.

After wrapping the box in brown paper, I worked on the smaller elements to create the dog face. I used dark brown construction paper for the ears.These wrapped around the front corners of the box, to cover the paper seams. Ears were secured with double sided tape.

From my first version of George, the ears were the element I had to replace the most often. I have debated laminating them, but I am not sure how the shiny ears would look on the overall box.

The rest of the dog face was created using black, pink, and white cardstock and black sharpie.

George is a staple in my family or preschool storytimes. I hide him in a large black garbage bag before it is time for him to make his debut, with 4-5 animal puppets inside. Since I tell the story myself, I pick whatever puppets are most readily available that make obvious animal sounds. Just make sure you remember what puppets you put inside–it was an interesting storytime the day that George said “oink” but hadn’t eaten a pig.

Do you have a favorite storytime prop? I’d love to learn about it in the comments!