Monday, October 17, 2016

Ready to read? You've come to the right place!

Yes! The ABCs are a done deal, and your child is ready to read!
Now you just need
The Right Book

Next to the board books, we have two shelving units with Early Readers.  On their labels you will see K, 1, 2, or 3 which is a ROUGH guess at grade levels. There is a wide selection. May we suggest for the very beginning reader our beloved

Elephant and Piggy series by Mo Willems. Mo Willems is like a millenial's Dr. Seuss; funny books with a controlled vocabulary, but way more hip. We like them so much that we encourage kids to read all 25. (Actually, they WANT to read all 25 and find the hidden Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus pigeon in every book. We have a hard time keeping these on the shelf so you may want to request them.
The Fly Guy series by crazy Tedd Arnold is the next rung up the ladder. Big hits.

These Blast Off readers are also in the Early Readers. They are books about animals and CARS and MONSTER TRUCKS illustrated with lots of great photos, and appeal to some kids who want the facts, ma'am just the facts.
So much for the Early Readers. Much as I love Elephant and Piggie, don't lose track of Pete the Cat, Pinkalicious, Mo Willems' pigeon books, and all our other great books. They are shelved with colored labels over the author's name.  The colors are a ROUGH GUESS at how long the books are: green is just a few words per page (hey, anyone a beginning reader?), pink is a sentence, blue is a paragraph, and yellow is a longer book, a few paragraphs per page.

Kids are drawn -- happily -- to the spinners. There will be some stuff there leveled for early readers, so let them roam among the skinnier books, like the superhero books, Star Wars, and Scooby Doo. 

Sunshine States 2016

Need a Sunshine State? Place your request now and we'll notify you when it comes in for you! 
Click here for our catalog.

OK, this year Ms. Travis is going to try really hard to read ALL the books on Sunshine State even though it's not going to be easy because she's also reading ALL the books on Sunshine State Grades 6 - 8 plus of course the books for her own grown up book club and then, for dessert, all those yummy new picture books. Here's what she sees it:

Absolutely Almost: Realistic. Lisa Graff gets inside the head of a very ordinary, not very smart ten year old boy and makes him very lovable and interesting. The plot? Meh.  If you don't HAVE to read all the Sunshine States, read her Lost in the Sun instead, about a boy with anger issues.  That's really outside the box.
All Four Stars: Realistic. I loved the idea of a sixth grade master chef. But the arc of this plot was just messy. Starts out great when she sets her kitchen on fire but from there... parents unreasonable, three best friends (guy and girl), evil classroom bully, lots of missteps, and no real cooking at all.  
Circus Mirandus:  Fantasy on the weird side.  I gave it one of the only negative reviews on  Amazon.  Maybe because I don't like circuses.  I didn't quite get it.
***Dinosaur Boy:  HiLARious science fiction.  Even if you don't like sci fi, the matter of fact humor of this situation -- our hero is a semi-dinosaur. Because of a lab mix-up, he has some stegosaurus genes mashed up with his. He's had to convert to eating a lot of salads, and the other kids tease him by playing ring toss on his spikes.  Note:  I've bought the sequel because I loved the first so much.
Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile. Realistic. Sort of. Skip this one if you can. There's just nothing to like. The young hero has a photographic memory and the ability to draw anything he has seen. Sure. I still don't see why the NYPD need him to help them break a case.  They keep telling him not to interfere, he's just a 'camera' for them. So why don't they use a camera? They've been invented.
**Fish in a Tree: This year's Wonder readalike. Ally has a very bad case of dyslexia instead of crippling ugliness. Very likable, nice, interesting friends, an insightful class teacher, and of course, the classroom bully, Mean Girl. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.
Freaky Fast Frankie Joe by Lutricia Clifton. Realistic. Despite the painfully corny title, this book is aces with me.  The plot is simple and hardworking: Frankie's mom has just been jailed for a 'mix-up' and he has to go live with a father and four half brothers he's never met.  There are no villains in this book, even the flaky mom, just a lot of very believable people getting on each other's nerves.  Highly recommended. Looking forward to her next book.
Gabby Duran and the Unsittables: Light hearted sci fi. Author Elise Allen's dialog is spot on, has tons of action in this light quick read. The characters for me were a bit stereotyped and the action just too wild. 
**Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord. Realistic.  A welcome relief! Well written w. threads about dementia, LOONS (really?), and photography tying together beautifully. 
*Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures. Fantasy on the realistic side -- Pip's world is just like ours except with magical creatures (sometimes endangered) as well.  Very funny, lots of action, great characters --loved it.
Prairie Evers:  Realistic.  A little too realistic for my tastes.  I like a little adventure in my realism. It's a nice book, like a door opening on a pleasant other world, but not a very exciting other world.
Serafina's Promise: Written in very readable blank verse, this short book takes place in Haiti. Starvation, earthquakes, and sickness are all faced down by a hardworking, cheerful Serafina and her loving family. This is an important book.
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett & Jory John. Humor. What a relief this book was! After so many lightweight OCD books of this type, spawned by Captain Underpants and continued by Wimpy Kid, what a relief to find one so well told.  The threads here are simple:  Miles and Niles are prankster who find each other, make a reluctant bargain, and go on to make prankster history.
Worm Whisperer by Betty Hicks. Realistic. Ellis Coffey is a nature lover with a few problems -- his dad needs back surgery and his mother lost her job, so he has to do A LOT of chores.  He keeps at it though, and the ending is a pleasant, if slightly unexpected, pay off.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Roald Dahl 100 Birthday Party! Sept 13! Prizes!

Roald Dahl 100 Birthday Party

Tuesday, Sept. 13

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

·       ENTER TO WIN A $20 Gift Card! Create a Roald Dahl character with a story that includes at least some of the words from Find Your Roald Dahl Name. Your story should have a villain or at least a very annoying person in it. Please submit this before Sept. 13 so the winner can be announced.
·       ENTER TO WIN a $10 Gift Card for best costume!
·       Party favors: We’re making Dream Jars!
·       Games: Bubblegum blowing lessons.
·       Refreshments. BIRTHDAY CAKE

·       SPECIAL GUESTS:  Rico and Bella!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Last VPK + of summer: School, August 4

Hey, all you big kids, we're going to play school at storytime this week! We're going to have a circle time and read some books, then we'll break up into centers and have art, science and math activities -- really fun ones!

Science - I won't do this again -- kids really just want an opportunity to play with shaving cream and food color.  The 'science' wasn't so convincing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


The LAST WEEK (sob!)

So sad I'll only get to have one more art session and one more cooking class with you! This summer was great, and I so enjoyed seeing so many of you!  You have all my best wishes for a wonderful school year.

I have a special morning planned Thursday @ 10:30 for our VPK + dudes and dudettes. We're going to play school, with circle time and math, art and science centers afterward!

At 2:30, we'll break out our HOLIDAY BINGO BOARDS!!!

And then our 3:30 art project  AFTER CANDY BINGO will be:


No, you won't be making an art project of Mrs. Morojin's (???) name! You'll be doing your OWN name, duh! This project sums up everything we've done:  We doodled in the first session, and you will bring that doodling expertise here. And we'll be using Matisse colors too!

Our Friday Cooking Class will be 

Healthy Snacks with our own Chef Debbie Laramie.  No, I have no idea what Debbie has in store for us. Artichoke leaves dipped in butter? Toasted peanut butter sandwiches? Watermelon rind pickle? These things are all healthy, so who can say? 

Also did I mention that the winner of last week's Publix Challenge will receive a second gift card to Publix? So make sure you bring in your culinary tales of tastiness!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July 28 & 29, Art and Cooking

YES, we're still doing programs this week:

Thursday, July 28, 2:30: Candy Bingo
 3:30: Art. This week's challenge: Mixed Media.  Make either a landscape (think city scape) or an under the sea scape using mixed media, which means, bits and pieces of everything, like dictionary pages, map pages, colored paper, etc.  Add what's most important to you, whether it's cats or cars or whatever. Paint over it, glob on the glue, and crumple the corners for texture.  

Then see what you come up with.

Friday, July 29, 2:30:  Build with our Legos and take your turn reading to our wonderful visiting Pet Therapy dogs, Bella and Rico.
Cooking class, 3:30.  This week: Bring a pot with you! We'll be souping up our ramen recipes by experimenting with adding eggs, condiments, veggies and what have you to the broth.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mice, Thursday, July 21 @ 10:30

Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh. I had an enormous snake puppet from PPLC, 10 little mice, a jar, and a stone I quickly harvested from the library landscaping. Remembering all I had learned from magicians visiting this summer, I palmed the mice and pulled them out from behind folks' ears. Wonderful story!


You and Your Pet Mouse. j 639.6 Mice. Mice live 1 - 2 years, what they eat, they like to play, etc. They weren't that into it, but I heard all about the rat that got into their car's air conditioning.
Mouse, Look Out!  by Judy Waite. The children loved joining in on the chorus, "MOUSE, LOOK OUT! THERE'S A CAT ABOUT." Choral reads are always fun.
Mouse Counts by Walsh. Check out the adorable set of flannel mice in the small props box. Along with a snake and a rock and the autumn leaves, this was a great show.
Mouse Shapes by Walsh. Maybe
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Numeroff.  (PPLC flannelboard) This would be a fun one to do with a xylophone. Start by playing a simple  note, and as the requests pile up, change to chords.
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young. This very simply told tale is relative high concept, so I warned the children ahead of time that there was a trick in the story. Luckily this did intrigue the four-year-olds and they really enjoyed this beautifully illustrated tale.
Mice by Fyleman. Love Lois Ehlert's pictures. Love the mice. Love the cat. 

Three Nice Mice: 
3 nice mice, 3 nice mice
See how nice they are, see how nice they are. 

They're always polite when they nibble their cheese. 

They never forget to say "thank you" and "please" 

They cover their noses whenever they sneeze.
They're 3 nice mice, 3 nice mice.
(Ended up skipping this one for these bigger kids.)

The Old Gray Cat (only I had  young white cat)
The old gray cat is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, 

The old gray cat is sleeping in the house. 

The little mice are dancing, dancing, dancing (children dance) 

The little mice are dancing in the house. 

The little mice are nibbling, nibbling, nibbling (children nibble) 

The little mice are nibbling in the house. 

The little mice are resting, resting, resting, 

The little mice are resting in the house. 

The old gray cat comes creeping, creeping, creeping, 

The old gray cat comes creeping in the the house. 

The little mice go scampering, scampering, scampering (children run in place) 

The little mice go scampering in the house. 

The old gray gray cat is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, 

The old gray cat is sleeping in the house. 

(They loved running around the room to this one.)

This year I am going to do half/circle potato printing:  stamp the half circle and add the whiskers, ears and eyeballs to make a little mouse.

They worked on this for a full half hour, stamping the mice, working them over a little, and then drawing in every detail in their repertoire: airplanes, flowers, cats, rainbows, etc.  So fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cooking Lessons for Kids at Gulf Beaches Public Library: Fried Rice, Friday, July 15

Peggy in the hat mixing things up -- she certainly looks self assured, but that's Peggy. Milo ready to start on Batch # 2. Me trying to finish up my first delicious plate.

This is why I've loved my cooking classes: that's Milo standing at the end of the table in the blue and white striped shirt, and he's never in his young life agreed to eat anything but plain white rice. He ate two platesful of fried rice he made himself. He's five.  
The two other boys were just plain super nice kids.

My director predicted that about half way through the summer, I would get the hang of Cooking Class, and SHE WAS RIGHT!  Fried Rice went really well. Crystal brought in the oyster sauce, Daniel reminded me it was Fried Rice not Refried Rice, that's something completely different, two people brought in frying pans when I forgot mine (!!!), Jacob appeared for duty, and most wonderfully of all, Kelly volunteered to wash dishes.

Here's how my layout works: three long tables laid out in a U with room between, and a small one at either corner of the room for nibblers.  The two opposite each other are for cooking (because we can only have two appliances on at a time in this room) and the third table opposite is for set up, chopping, and mixing.  

For the fried rice, I had large bowls of rice (jasmine, already cooked) at either table, along with oil and soy sauce and big spoons.  The kids picked out their veggies, scallions, carrots, shrimp, and green peas at the long table, and in teams of two cooked their dishes.

The teams of two thing worked out very well, although it was a concept born of desperation since I couldn't give each child a cook station.  But by working in twos, they a) met each other; b) watched over each other; and c) gave each other advise so that we didn't have to interfere as much and could stand back a bit.  They still felt as if they were doing it all, but they helped each other to that goal.

I'd kind of run out of great ideas for next week and Jacob suggested his signature dish, a ham and cheese sandwich made with pesto on ciabatta rolls and grilled on a waffle iron.  The pesto will be esp. fun. Easy Pesto

Monday, July 11, 2016

Sun, Moon, Stars Storytime, Thursday, July 14 @ 10:30

Play: Disco light on when they came into the room, and we practiced "Star Light, Star Bright.

The Way Home by Oliver Jeffers.

If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty. 629.4 This is just such an excellent book.  Skipping bits, we got all the way through it. Afterwards, we sang Motor Boat, then Zoom Zoom Zoom, then we got up and floated through space, walked on the moon with our bouncy walks for a while, gathered moon rocks (invisible) and put them in a bag (invisible), got back in our rocket ships, buckled up, and flew back to Earth, landing with a bump.  

The Mouse Who Ate the Moon by Petr Horacek.  Adorable. 

Another Day in the Milky Way by David Milgrim. Read with your most huh? voice. A very different treatment!

How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers.  So nice that I just happened to have a starfish (rubber) on hand for the ending. I know they liked this simple but appealing tale of a boy trying to catch a star. I heard one child say, "That was a good story."

This is a Moose by Richard Morris.

Star Wars Colors. We read this as an intro to the craft, which was light sabers and balloons.  I had them leftover, it was a rainy day, so we did them.  It was something different, and the kids loved playing with them.


  • Moon, Moon, Moon by Laurie Berkner.  Great tutorial on her DVD.
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom. 
  • Motor Boat, Motor Boat -- there's a rocket ship in "How to Catch a Star," even if it's just a paper one.
  • I told them about the magic in seeing a star, and taught them the words to "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight." You get a wish, just like blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. (Good calmer too.)
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Of course.


         Does it get better than tissue paper scraps and glitter glue?  "Go ahead and make it all bumpy" I said. "Because the moon has craters." 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Thursday, July 7 @ Starting at 2:30: Bingo & Art

Yes, it will be CANDY BINGO again -- this week, under the sea creatures. 

After that, we'll break out the watercolors & sharpies!

Gorgeous, huh?  Yours will be too!

Jungle Storytime, Thursday, July 7 @ 10:30

  • Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae. Didn't use for this older group.
  • Oh, No! by Denise Fleming
  • The Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman OR 
  • Jungle Drums by Graeme Base. I USED my jungle drum, and shortened a couple of pages. 
  • Tiny Little Fly by Michael Rosen
  • Giraffes Can't Dance 
  • Ananse's Feast by Tololwa M. Mollel. 
  • 5 Little Monkeys teasing Mr. Crocodile, of course. But I had the little monkey fingerpuppets and gave them to five kids -- luckily I had a back up monkey for Luke and Jake, and I gave Diego the croc. The kids got chased around the room a bit, not wanting to surrender their monkeys, but it was all in good fun.
  • Down in the Jungle (with the drum, so you can't go wrong)
  • The Wheels on the Bus goes through the jungle -- and the animals are all on board.

Game: Lion Says

Here's a variation on Simon Says: Give commands to your kids. They ARE supposed to do what the lion tells them, and they AREN'T supposed to do what the monkey says. Then start having them jump up and down, roar, make scary faces, run in place, wave their hands in the air, touch the ground, etc.

Painting "Jungle colors and patterns". We squiggled a few lines on the paper with markers and then filled in the different areas with paints, experimenting with colors and different kinds of brushes.

Jungle Beads -- Big hit this year, I used up all my paper beads

Materials: 72" long piece of thin, strong string, floss threaders from the drugstore, beads.
  1. String on large eyed needle  and double back. Even up the ends of the two threads and tie a small bead there to hold the end about 3" from end, so there will be room to tie final knot.
  2. The child can then thread on the beads of their choice. 
  3. When they finish, thread the needle back through the end bead and tie in a knot.  
  4. If desired, glue threads together with Elmers, just to give a finished look.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 30. Week Three: Matisse mobiles made from blobby shapes 
  Material: string, construction paper cut in 1/4 pages, filament, scissors
  Resources: Make a few examples ahead of time.
Instructions: Have the kids pencil in their blobby shapes and then cut them out. Then the easiest way to string these is just the way you might make a necklace: poke a little hole in the soft construction paper, feed the filament through, then double back to secure the shape in place. You don't have to knot it. (My genius volunteers Karolina and Emily figured this out.) 

Friday, June 24, 2016

My Body Storytime, Thursday, June 30 @ 10:30

Cover image for Uncover the human body


Whose Nose is This? by Randolph. Fun Q & A.
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont. Bright pictures, funny rhymic text with predictable rhymes -- this book was a great opening number!

Me and My Cat  by Kitamura.  I just love this goofy book. Intro:  We all have bodies, and we don't think much about them unless they get sick.  But something happened to this boy that I hope never happens to you! His body got mixed up...with a cat!

Mother Mother I Feel Sick, Send for the Doctor Quick Quick Quick, by Charlip. Clap to it.

Pierre by Maurice Sendak.  Because I love it so.

Uncover the Human Body  j 612 Colombo.  Great parts of the body open up. Get on the floor and invite them to look. 

Head and Shoulders (make it harder)
I'm Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor

Simon Says!

Paint fireworks with glitter, glue, and folks.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Art Class,Exquisite Corpses: Thursday, June 23 @ 3:30

exquisite corpse drawing game for kids:
June 23. Week Two: Exquisite corpse
   Material: cardstock, pencils, crayons, scissors, rulers, ultra fine sharpies (when they were through just to outline for pop)
   Resources:  Books for ideas.

I gave the kids good cardstock folded into thirds. I showed them the sample. Then we talked about proportions: the head and the torso are about half the body and the legs the other half. So we shouldn't cut the paper into exact thirds. The top part should be smaller for the head, the middle should be a bit larger, and then the bottom half for the legs. 

I told them to use rulers to make light pencil marks between where the page divisions should go and the center fold AND THEN to open up their paper and draw a figure on the middle inside. I reminded them that their head would need to connect to their torso and to their legs, so be sure to have the head big enough so the neck would link up correctly. 

I reminded them they could make any kind of figure, a person, Pete the Cat, Mo Willems' Pigeon, an alien.  They got very busy, made mermaids, Darth Vader, hideous monsters, narwhals, etc., etc.  

This project kept the kids busy for a full hour at least, and it was really just a drawing activity.  They loved their results; a girl as young as five and a boy as old as eleven left feeling very pleased with their accomplishments.  This brought out a lot of excellent imagination.

Cooking Class: YES, it happened! (Sort of)

Cooking Class 1: Popcorn

A total disaster?

Not at all!

  • No one was hospitalized.
  • Popcorn was popped (indirectly -- we had to go in the backroom after we blew all the breakers)
  • Many interesting and some tasty popcorn concoctions were concocted.
Everyone who came was delightfully patient with our lack of power (and I mean just regular old power, like the stuff that flows through the wires and makes our hotplates hot, not the ability to fly), and I very much hope they'll all come back.

Cooking Class 2: (Slightly revamped) Eggs
  • Devilled eggs.  
  • Scrambled eggs with or without cheese. And yes, you will be asked to break eggs and separate the whites and the yolks. 
  • Fried eggs. (I sort of poach them -- my secret, put a lid with a little water over them.)
Cooking Class 3: Waffles and French toast

Beach Storytime, Thursday, June 23 @ 10:30

  • Be Glad Your Dad is not an Octopus  by Logelin
  • Memoirs of a Goldfish by Devin Scillian
  • Ziggy Piggy and the Three Little Pigs by Frank Asch.  
  • The Pop-Up Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae. 
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell!  by Lucille Colandro.
  • Larry Gets Lost Under the Sea  by Eric Ode
  • Sea and Rex by Idle
  • Only One You by Linda Kranz
  • Harry at the Sea by Gene Zion


    The Waves on the Sea (To The Wheels on the Bus)

    The waves on the sea go up and down, up and down, up and down, the waves on the sea go up and down all day long.
    The shark in the sea goes snap snap snap...
    The fish in the sea go swish swish swish...
    The boats in the sea go toot toot toot....
    The gulls on the sea go swoop swoop swoop....
    The babies on the sea go splash splash splash...
    The divers on the sea dive deep deep down...

  • Craft:  

    We're hoping to see lots of you younger folks, ages 4 through 7, at our VPK ++ storytime tomorrow! We'll be talking about the beach. Plus Ms. T is product testing this brand new Dory set, and there are lots of fresh markers to try out.

    Cover image for Only one you

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Art Program, Ages 7 and up. June 16, Week One: Scribble Drawing

Art Programs are on Thursdays from 3:30 - 4:30.  We'll play Bingo from 2:30 to 3:30 if you want to come early, pick out a book, get a prize for READING a book, and then get in a game.

June 16. Week One: Scribble drawing, add expressions.
   Material: large paper, crayons, markers, sharpies.
   Resources: Youtube of scribbling, poster of facial expressions

Instruction:  Show the scribbling youtube, but tell them not to touch their markers yet.  Show the facial expressions info, and then ask them to scribble their doodle (doodle their scribble?). Then the rest is up to them. They can a) use as many faces to fill in as they want, b) use as many or as few colors as they want to fill in and c) use patterns to fill in if they want (stripes, etc.)

For design purposes, they can alternate with design patterns like swirls, stripes, polka dots, etc.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Frogs, Turtles, VPK, Ages 4 - 7, Thursday, June 16

Cover image for Fish is fish


  • Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner.  Great opener & great readaloud! Carson fell over backwards! Try to gurgle the r in "frog" and don't forget to pinch up your mouth at the end for the alligator encounter.
  • Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni. The way frogs grow up? It's just weird. Every fish could tell you that.  (Tarpon Springs has the big book.) 
  • Oscar and the Frog by Geoff Waring. Educational series, we'll see how these smart little VPKs like it.
  • Big Frog Can't Fit In by Mo Willems. The sheer engineering genius of this book makes up for its underwhelming story. Try pushing the sad big frog/good friends angle.
  • Gripping tale: 99 Tadpoles by Ken Kimura.  It gripped us!
  • I Don't Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty. Little Froggie is complaining bitterly to Froggie Dad about being a wet, slimy creature instead of an owl, say, or maybe a pig.  Until they bump into a wolf....
  • Story of the Turtle Who Flew: 
I held up two turtle puppets and showed them the cracks on their backs.

"This is the story of why turtles have cracks on their backs.  The birds and the turtles all lived along the shores of a great river.  The turtle was very smart.  He noticed that the birds could eat all the little fish and bugs on one side of the river, and then fly to the other side in just seconds and eat some more, while the poor turtles had to swim and swim and swim. The more he watched those birds fly, the more he wished he too could go up high. 

Finally he crawled up to a flock of them and said, "Please-birds-I've-been-watching-you-and-I-really-really-want-to-fly-up-high-like-you-I-really-really-do-it-looks-so-amazing-and-fun-and-easy-please-please-birds-won't-you-take me-up-too?"

"How could we do that?  We are birds. We have wings. You are a turtle with short stumpy legs."

"Oh-I-have-that-all-figured-out-all-figured-out-I-have-a-plan-a-brilliant-plan-I-will-find-a-stick-a-stick-on-the-ground-and-I-will-bite-on-to-it-with-my-powerful-jaws-with-my-powerful-jaws-then-one-of-you-birds-will-get-on-one-side-and-one-on-the-other-and-lift-me-up-lift-me-up-high-in-the-sky-and-I-will be-up-in-the-sky-oh-this-is-a-great-plan.

"An interesting plan, turtle. But there is one problem with it."


"Turtle, it wouldn't work.  Because you couldn't give your big mouth shut long enough."


"Well, we were going across the river anyway, so pick out your stick."  Turtle found his stick, and bit down with his jaws, which weren't all that powerful.  One bird got on one side of him and one on the other, they picked up the stick with their claws, and took off.  

Turtle was up in the air!  He was up up up, looking down down down at every body. There was an alligator,  ha ha, stuck in the water.  He wiggled his turtle foot at it, but of course the gator didn't look up and see him.  They flew over a hippo. He wiggled his turtle at it, but of course, the hippo didn't look up.  They flew over some children playing, and they looked up and saw him!  

They were so amazed!  They all pointed at him, and he was very proud to be in the air, all because of his brilliant idea.  He waved all his feet at them.  

"Wow, look at those birds!" he heard them call out to each other.  "They're so smart, they've figured out how to carry turtles around!"

The BIRDS were so smart!  Turtle was FURIOUS!  He stopped waving his feet, craned his head down at them over the stick, and shouted down, "But it was my ideaaaaaaaaaa SPLAT."

Turtle landed on the back of his shell, and that's why, to this day, turtles have cracked shells.

(I first learned this story from Donarita Vocca, a storyteller who learned it at the Jonesboro Storytelling Festival.  What makes the story fun is having the turtle speak super fast, running his words together and repeating himself again and again. When he's up in the air, I stand up and move my hands over my head as if holding on to a stick, look down, and move around on tiptoes.)

  • Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathon London.  Fun motions, and ALL the kids in my storytimes are taking swimming lessons.
  • I Wish I Could Fly  by Ron Maris. A mom turned the pages for me while I acted out the story with puppets.  I turned off the lights when it began to rain at the end of the story -- that got their attention -- and just then the roofers started stomping around on the roof.  "And the lightning and the THUNDER" I said!  Next year I'll have to bribe Stan to crawl up on the roof for me because it was a hit.

 I downloaded this template from Dorling Kindersley at  After experimenting for years, I've finally figured out the best way to do this craft with little guys:  HALF SIZE.  I shrunk the DLTK template by 60% and put two on a sheet.  Then I just had them color them in with marker and cut.  

Inspired by Noel MacNeal's 10-Minute Puppets, we taped a sort of ring to the back of the snake's head so they could use them as puppets curling down their arms. We also used bookmarker size sticky notes for forked tongues.  
Songs & Poems, besides the usual:
  • 5 green and speckled frogs
  • Over in the meadow 
  • There was a little turtle (with turtle puppet)
  • Clapping Song: Tiny Tim
  • Hop Little Bunnies (2nd stanza is about hopping froggies)