Monthly Archives: October 2014

Storytime: Monsters


don't push button monster mess monster be good

Don’t Push the Button! by Bill Cotter (this is a great book to do interactively)
Monster Mess! by Margery Culyer
Monster, Be Good! by Natalie Marshall (I wouldn’t use this one again)

Other Book Possibilities
Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks
Bedtime for Monsters by Ed Vere (my 3 yr old son liked this one)

Songs – “If You’re a Monster and You Know It!”
A variation of “If You’re Happy and You Know It!”. We did four verses: wave your arms, stomp your feet, roar out loud, and do all three. Roaring was popular.

Action Rhymes – “Monsters Galore” from Sur La Lune Storytime

Monsters galore, can you roar? (Roar)
Monsters galore, can you soar? (Making flying motions)
Monsters galore, please shut the door. (Clap hands)
Monsters galore, fall on the floor! (Fall down)


1. Monster Toothpaste – I used the elephant’s toothpaste experiment from Steve Spangler, but changed the name to reflect the theme. I couched it as a question for the kids: “How do monsters brush their teeth?”. Well you need water (hydrogen peroxide) and scrubbies (yeast), and when they brush their teeth it foamily erupts out of the bottle. I found some photos online of Sprite bottles decorated to look like a monster/dinosaur/dragon, and I decorated my bottle similarly.  This was experiment was a hit at both family and toddler storytimes.

monster toothpaste

2. Monster Headbands & Dance – I found the idea for monster headbands from Fantastic Fun and Learning. I didn’t give the children as many options, keeping it to googly eyes and either crimped or spiraled strips of construction paper. Even with limited choices, some of the headbands were incredibly creative.

For our dance, I played “Monster Boogie” by Laurie Berkner. One of my regulars stood watching me while I danced, and when I asked if she wanted to join or just thought I was crazy, she told me I was crazy. (She did catch her dancing a few moments later.)

Other Activity
I forgot to round up the paint needed to make Rorschach monsters (my library has no usable paint), but the next time I do monsters, I will do this craft.


School-Age Science: ArtBots

This past Tuesday was my first attempt to carry over the science program momentum from the summer. Three children signed up, and three children participated, so it wasn’t a failure, but not necessarily a success (if judging by participation numbers). The three children who participated had a great time, so from that perspective, it was a success. I plan on repeating this with my Girl Scouts at our next meeting.

I got the initial idea from The Show Me Librarian, and used the tutorial from the Cheshire Public Library. I won’t rehash their content, but the tutorial was easy to follow.

It artbots about an hour from start to finish. I was initially worried the children would zip through the assembling process only to wonder what do to until the program ended. It took about 10 minutes for them to assemble the motor and 10-15 minutes to customize. This left around 30 minutes for the art. I had the children create individual pictures so they could make marker adjustments, then we made a mural to hang in the library.  We discussed how different surfaces, marker placement, or marker type might affect how the robots move.


What I learned:

*Dollar Tree in my area of greater Buffalo, NY does NOT carry the Luminart brand of electric toothbrushes. However, Family Dollar carries a comparable brand – Dr. Fresh Velocity.

*Thick rubber bands (wrapped around twice) are the best for securing the markers to the pool noodle. Duct tape does a good job holding the markers in place, but you can’t reposition them.



Storytime: Pumpkins

This was overwhelmingly the LARGEST storytime I have had to date: 20 children, 35 people total. I was not expecting this many (we have sign up sheets so I have a general feel for how much supplies I need, 3 signed up for this session). It was crazy and loud, but the kids had fun.


pumpkins nelson not a pumpkin 5 little pumpkins

Pumpkins by Robin Nelson
This is NOT a Pumpkin by Bob Staake
Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino*

*This is one of the first board books I bought my oldest daughter, and a favorite among my three children. When I recited the book, multiple mothers recited it along with me – a testament to how many of us have read this book more times than we can count.

Cut and Tell Story The Little Orange House (from Skip to my Lou)
Popular with caregivers and children alike!
*Thank you Storytime Underground Facebook group for giving me this idea!

Song – “Pumpkin, Pumpkin on the Ground” (sung to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground (touch the ground)
How’d you get so big and round? (make a circle)
Once you were a seed so small (pinch fingers together)
Now you are a great big ball! (make a big circle)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground (touch the ground)
How’d you get so big and round? (make a circle)
Tune from Jbrary
Motions from Storytime Katie

1. Paint Mix Pumpkins (from Sunflower Storytime) – I drew a jack o’lantern face on quart size baggies, squirted some yellow and red paint in, closed and sealed with duct tape. The children squished the paint around to make orange.
*I did not do this with Family Storytime because it wasn’t practical. However, I did to it with my babies earlier in the morning, and will do it with my toddlers at their next storytime.)

2. Pumpkin Guts (from All Kids Network) – I had a bunch of foam pumpkin shapes, one of my friends had a bunch of dried squash seeds, and my library has more yarn than I know what to do with (yarn is pretty much the only craft supply we have a lot of).  The children glued the seeds and strings to the pumpkin shape. I did not have enough shapes for them to make an “outside”, so open-faced it was!

3. Catch That Pumpkin! – The original idea is from Vanilla Joy, but I modified it slightly because I had no sno-cone cups. I used the premise that a bunch of pumpkins fell off the back of a truck (dumping the orange balloons amongst the children), and let them have fun. I made sure to do our closing song before this activity.

Storytime: Shapes


what is round lots of dots perfect square

What is Round by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Lots of Dots by Craig Fraizer
Perfect Square by Michael Hall

(I repeated this program for Toddler Time, but used Bear in a Square by Stella Blackstone instead)

“Shape On Their Head” (modified from Laurie Berkner’s “Pig On Her Head”)
I gave each child a shape, and then sang a verse with their first name and the shape they were holding on their head.

1. Disappearing Shapes – This idea came from Gift of Curiosity. I cut coffee filters in half then drew shapes on them with washable markers. Each child had a filter, plate, small cup of water, and a pipette (to squirt the shapes into submission).

2. Shape Hopscotch – I used painter’s tape to put shapes on the floor for hopscotch. A for effort, but it didn’t work out very well. It was hard to keep any semblance of order.

Storytime: Trains


terrific trains trains freight train

Terrific Trains by Tony Mitton
Trains: Steaming! Pulling! Huffing! by Patricia Hubbell
Freight Train by Donald Crews

Other Possibilities
Trains (Mighty Machines) by Matt Doeden

Action Rhyme
“This is a Choo Choo Train” from SurLaLune Storytime
(I would not use this again because if feels like it’s missing a line at the end.)

“The Little Red Train Going Down the Track” by jbrary (link to YouTube video)
(I love this song! Which is a good thing since it was stuck in my head for the whole day.)

My original plan was to have the children make train track paintings, but my library has no paint, and surprisingly, neither do I. My 8-year old decided to make fairy houses over the weekend, which caused all paint, glitter glue, and glitter to miraculously leave their jars and containers to cover my entire living room carpet.

1. Paint chip trains – the children used paint chips and dot stickers to make their own rainbow train.

train paint2. Wooden train set – after the closing song, I brought out my sister’s childhood Brio train set for the children to play with. Thank you to my mother for mailing to me when she did!

September Books

This month’s reading was a bit sparse. One of my classes had the big project due at the end of September (instead of at the end of the semester), so a good chunk of my time was spent working on it. I also spent a lot of my free time marathoning the first two seasons of Elementary.

india black 1 queen tearling

*India Black – It’s not horrible, but not great either. It’s written in first person, and India Black’s voice is somewhat annoying.  I will probably get around to reading others in the series because I want to know about her “mysterious past”. None of the books are on Wikipedia so I can’t read the synopsis and call it good.
*The Queen of the Tearling – This was a stay-up-until-3:30-in-the-morning book. I like quests with female progtagonists, when they’re flawed and/or act their age, and I also like the fact that this is the rare book that doesn’t have a love interest as a focal point. My only quibble has to do with the world’s history – explanations were a bit murky and confusing, and I would like to know how a hereto undiscovered continent appeared for the original settlers to sail to.

ouran mercenary sea Girls of the Wild's

*Ouran High School Host Club, vols 1-12 – I watched the anime first, and liked how the show made fun of itself. The manga isn’t bad, but I prefer the anime.

*The Mercenary Sea, vol 1 – This has been on my list to read since I learned about it in one of Image’s monthly newsletters. Adventure in the South Pacific in 1938 mixed with a bit James Bond and a bit Indiana Jones.  Volume 1 was alright, but it felt like it was mostly set up. The series has a lot of potential to become awesome. I hope it does.

*Girls of the Wild’s – This is a weekly Korean webtoon (can be read long form on, published on Saturdays) that I’ve reading for a while. I thought I would tack it on to September since I haven’t listed it at all this year. An all-girls high school specializing in various fighting techniques and martial arts going co-ed starts the plot ball rolling. The story revolves around the lone male student, the girls who end up glomming onto him, and the various shenanigans they get into.

Storytime: Dinosaurs

This storytime was a special one-time evening event to see if there was enough interest from families to add an evening storytime part of the regular line up. Seven children attended, three of them were mine. I will probably try again, but not until the weather is cold and everyone is sick of being cooped up.

I read How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? in lieu of a closing song since it was getting close to bedtime.

dino galoredino roardino good night

Songs / Action Rhymes
I had the children stand up and act out the movements with me.
Five Enormous Dinosaurs
Five enormous dinosaurs, letting out a roar
One danced away and then there were four
Twist, twist, twist, twist,
Twist, twist, twist, twist, ROAR!

Four enormous dinosaurs crashing down a tree
One skipped away and then there were three
Skip, skip, skip, skip,
Skip, skip, skip, skip, ROAR!

Three enormous dinosaurs eating tiger stew
One twirled away and then there were two
Twirl, twirl, twirl, twirl,
Twirl, twirl, twirl, twirl, ROAR!

Two enormous dinosaurs resting in the sun
One shook away and then there was one
Shake, shake, shake, shake,
Shake, shake, shake, shake, ROAR!

One enormous dinosaur left all alone
It wiggled away and then there was none
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, ROAR!

1. Dinosaur masks – I printed out tyrannosaurus, stegosaurus, and triceratops masks from Mother Natured and Itsy Bitsy Fun. The children (some with parental help) cut out the masks, colored them, added stickers as desired, then put them on.


Two of my dinos.

2. Dinosaur dance – Once everyone was done with their masks, we danced to two songs:
“We Are the Dinosaurs” by Laurie Berkner
“I Am a Paleontologist” by They Might Be Giants

3. Fossilized dinosaur muffins (eggs) – I followed this recipe to make fossilized dinosaur eggs, and I put these dinosaurs inside (I recommend using these instead because mine ended up a wee bit melted). I put the eggs in a mini muffin pan because they didn’t look like they would hold their shape while they dried/baked. I baked mine in a 200* oven for an hour, leaving the door cracked because I didn’t know if my squishy dinos would melt.

**Please note: do not try eating the muffins. After several gentle reminders to all children present, one little boy took a taste. He was not a happy camper.

dino muffin

Mmm…fossilized dinosaur eggs.