If you’ve ever walked through our front door on a Friday morning, you’ve experienced the delightful mayhem that is Wee Ones Storytime. Every week I’m amazed at the number of toddlers that manage to fit in the reading corner–and the amount of strollers in the aisles! It’s one of my favorite times of the week, and that’s saying a lot, since once upon a time, when I started doing storytimes, I was terrified of the responsibility that comes with keeping a crowd of two-and-unders entertained for a whole thirty minutes! Thankfully, though, I’ve discovered some tried and true books that little ones simply can’t resist. The following, in no particular order, are my absolute favorites to grab for an interactive storytime for infants through preschoolers.
Hooray for Fish, by Lucy Cousins, Candlewick Press
One of our all-time bestsellers at HFB! The fantastic thing about this book is that it grows with your wee one. For the smallest children, the large, vibrant illustrations are enough to keep them engaged. As they get older, though, the various concepts (counting, colors, emotions) will begin to take hold. A central character (Little Fish) describes his various “fishy friends,” and in so doing gently introduces the idea of storyline and narration without ever becoming wordy or overly descriptive.
Cows in the Kitchen, illustrated by Airlie Anderson, Child’s Play International
I was thrilled to find a version of this raucous story in print! I’ve found that stories that can be sung are usually an instant hit with the storytime crowd, and this title is no exception. Sung to the tune of “Skip to My Lou,” Cows in the Kitchen presents the conundrum of how to get a group of rowdy farm animals out of Tom Farmer’s house. This is one of my favorites to use when introducing animal sounds, since there’s a wide array here–pigs, goats, ducks, and of course the requisite cows.
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, by Eileen Christelow, Houghton Mifflin Publishing
These five naughty monkeys are as popular as ever! This version by Eileen Christelow gives us a brief introduction and conclusion to the chant, rounding everything out into an inclusive story. I love to pull this one out when we’ve got excess energy to burn during Wee Ones Storytime. There’s nothing like turning the reading corner into a toddler mosh pit to get all the wiggles out!
Is This My Nose?, illustrated by Georgie Birkett, Barron’s Educational Series
I don’t think this book is meant to be sung, but that hasn’t stopped me yet! I’ve freely adapted the text to fit the rhyme scheme of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and it’s become one that I use nearly every week. Each two-page spread is targeted at identifying a certain facial feature. Simple, colorful illustrations of children and animals aid in identifying eyes, nose, ears, chin, etc. This title is slightly larger than the typical board book, which is always an asset when trying to keep the back row engaged!
Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, by Bob Shea, Hyperion Books
A book that gets little ones involved with vocalization and storytelling is a winner in my opinion. This is one of my newest favorites, and it’s possible that I have as much fun with it as the two-year-olds do. Our friend the dinosaur is an energetic little guy who likes to ROAR (cue the vocalization!) when he is confronted with various challenges. Dinosaur versus a pile of leaves! Dinosaur versus a big slide! Dinosaur versus a bowl of spaghetti! This prehistoric beast is sure he can conquer anything–until bedtime rolls around. This is a great title to use with wiggle worms who aren’t too thrilled with the prospect of saying goodnight.
Of course, I like to rotate my list of titles for Wee Ones Storytime, but these are the ones I simply couldn’t do without! Don’t be surprised if you consistently see books from this list making appearances on Friday mornings–sometimes I just can’t resist.
Miss Megan (G.)