Nocturnal Animals – Preschool (But Really Infant/Toddler) Storytime

This was my first storytime at one of my new branches!  It is advertised in our newsletter as a preschool storytime, which to me means that it should be geared for ages 3-5.  But we don’t put age ranges for the preschool storytime in our newsletter, and after observing a few storytimes here, and then performing this one, the audience we get is really more infants and toddlers.

Since this was my first time performing storytime at this site, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I am fortunate that my system uses storyboxes with storytimes in a box that rotate from branch to branch to have a quick storytime ready to go whenever.  I’ve had posts about making those storyboxes (you can find those here), but I have a feeling I am going to be using them more and more now that I’m actually at a branch, and storytimes aren’t a regular part of my work.

And now, to my storytime:

WELCOME: with Owl Puppet

I had the Owl wave to everyone, and then each child got to pat it.

MOVEMENT: Welcome Song*

MOVEMENT: “Wake Up Toes” from Morning Magic by Joanie Bartels

MOVEMENT: Open Shut Them*


We talked about the raccoon, and then about what the owl and the raccoon both have in common — they are active at night!

MOVEMENT: My Wiggles*


Look Whooo’s Counting by Suse MacDonald

BOUNCE: “Ladies Ride” from Wiggleworms Love You by Old Town School of Folk Music

MOVEMENT: “Shake My Sillies Out” from More Singable Songs for the Very Young by Raffi

BOUNCE: “Ladies Ride” from Wiggleworms Love You by Old Town School of Folk Music


Night Owl by Toni Yuly

MOVEMENT: “2 Little Blackbirds” from Music Together (downloaded on iTunes)

MOVEMENT: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (a capella)


“Quack’s Stuck Stick” from Peep & the Big Wide World: Peep’s New Friends

CRAFT: Owl on a Tree Branch Scene
We used different cut outs to make an Owl scene.  You can find the templates for the different pieces below. The eye pupils are made from 2 black circular stickers.  The beak and feet I just made from cutting triangles from orange paper with a paper cutter.
Owl Body Template
Owl Eyes and Moon Template
Tree Branch Shape


Book: Owl Sees Owl by Laura Godwin & Rob Dunlavey
Book: While the World is Sleeping by Pamela Duncan Edwards, illustrated by Daniel Kirk
Book: Good-Night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins (Also a good Flannelboard story)
Book: What’s Awake? Skunks by Patricia Whitehouse
Video: “Birds of a Feather” from Peep & the Big Wide World: Peep’s New Friends

Flannelboard Idea:  I think Nocturnal Song by the Billy Jonas Band would make a fun flannelboard.

Owl in the Tree
Owl in the tree says “Hoo, hoo, hoo.
Hoo, hoo, hoo. Hoo, hoo, hoo.”
Owl in the tree says “Hoo, hoo, hoo.”
All night long.

Substitute other nocturnal animals doing things.

Jen in the Library: Owls – Preschool Storytime
Jen in the Library: Owls – Infant Storytime
Jen in the Library: Owls – Toddler Storytime

It was okay for my first time presented at a new location. I couldn’t figure out how to make my iPhone play through the room’s speakers, so I just played it using my phone’s speaker, which wasn’t quite loud enough.  I set up chairs, also, but I’m not sure if I did it in the best arrangement for the room.

PRESENTED: Wednesday, July 25, 2018

ATTENDANCE: 35 people (adults and children)

* For these songs, please see my page Storytime Movements & Music

Preschool Dance Party!

On Friday February 20th I hosted my first dance party here at the library!  I’m currently working on a grant to bring more play into the library, had heard about many libraries offering one, and thought it would be a perfect way to play and move.  After being inspired by some fabulous blog posts from Storytiming, Jbrary, The Show Me Librarian, Storytime with Miss Sara, Thrive After Three, Catch the Possibilities, and Fat Girl Reading I finally felt confident enough to make the dance party happen!


1) “The Tempo Marches On” by Jim Gill from Jim Gill Sings Do Re Mi On His Toe Leg Knee 
I wasn’t sure how quickly parents and kids would start dancing, or how comfortable people would feel at first, so I picked this one first because I thought it was an easy movement song that was easy enough for everyone to participate.  You are practically running at the end of the song, so be prepared!

Chocolate Milk and Other Tasty Tunes
2) “Whatever Dance” by Dana McCarthy from Chocolate Milk and Other Tasty Tunes
I feel like this one was sort of the mission statement for my dance party: “Whatever dance you want to do, it’s good for me if it’s good for you.”

Caspar Babypants I Found You
3) “All The Fish” by Caspar Babypants from I Found You!
Caspar Babypants is one of my favorite children’s bands, so I was happy when I saw this title highlighted on Jbrary‘s blog.  As suggested, we pretended to be all the different animals mentioned in the song and swim like they would swim.  Perfect song for breaking our your swim moves.

Yo Gabba Gabba Music is Awesome
4) “Robo Dancing” by Money Mark from Yo Gabba Gabba! Music is Awesome!
I thought it would be fun (and funny) to have all the kids show me their best robot moves.

Brother Yusef Kids Get the Blues Too
5) “Shake It” by Brother Yusef from Kids Get the Blues Too/Blues for Beginners
Time to break out the shakers!  For each prop I used I wanted to find a song that would just allow the kids to dance freely with it, and then one that they could follow instructions to.  This one was the free dance for the shakers.  Brother Yusef has visited our library many times and he never fails to get toes tapping and shoulders shimmying.

Kathy Reid-Naiman Reach for the Stars
6) “Shake It To the East” by Kathy Reid-Naiman from Reaching for the Stars!
This was the song we used to follow instructions with the shakers.    Especially fun was the little pause part in the middle where everyone stops shaking.

Imagination Movers Juice Box Heroes
7) “Shakable You” by Imagination Movers from Juice Box Heroes
Moving from shaking the shakers to shaking your body!

The Muppets the Green Album
8) “Mahna Mahna” by The Frey from Muppets: The Green Album
At this point in the program I was tired, so I decided we needed to have a sit down.  We all sat in a circle and danced only with our arms for this song.

Josh Levine for Kids
9) “The Hokey Pokey” by Josh Levine from Josh Levine for Kids
We stood up from our circle and then Hokey Pokey-ed!

Carole Peterson Dancing Feet
10) “Dancing Scarf Blues” by Carole Peterson from Dancing Feet.
Time to bring out the scarves!  We started with the instructional song first this time.

Laurie Berkner Buzz Buzz
11) “Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz)” by Laurie Berkner from Buzz Buzz
And now just dancing freely, with scarves going wild when the bumblebee buzzes.

William Janiak Arms Up Keep Moving
12) “Arms Up!” by William C. Janiak from Arms Up Keep Moving
Another guided movement song.  I wasn’t so sure about this one, but Fat Girl Reading mentioned that it was a great track so I thought I would try it out.  Of course, total success.

Bari Koral Rock and Roll Garden
13) “Clap It” by Bari Koral Family Rock Band from Rock and Roll Garden
While I’m not exactly sure how to clap my toes, this was a fun one to move along to.

Pharrell GIRL
14) “Happy (From Despicable Me 2)” by Pharrell Williams from G I R L
I’d heard that this one was always a hit in family dance parties as well.  Yup, it is.

Joanie Leeds I'm a Rock Star
15) “Goodbye, Goodbye” by Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights from I’m a Rock Star
A nice song to end things with.

ATTENDANCE: 40 people


This was a super fun program, but a TIRING one.  I counted this as my workout for the day.  Make sure to wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable to move in.  I am glad I held my dance party close to the end of the day.  If I do a future one early in the day, I may consider bringing an extra change of clothes, just in case.

I wasn’t sure how many people would attend the program and I was waffling regarding where I should hold the dance party.  Our storytime room would have been great, because it has a door that closes so that the sound can be contained.  But, it has large, broad step areas that make the space more like an amphitheater, and I knew we would need plenty of space to move around.  My library recently opened a studio space which is a large open area on our 4th floor.  It has no doors, so the sound carried everywhere, but the flat emptiness made it really nice for everyone to move around.  And since it was just 45 minutes or the noise wasn’t too much of problem.

As the dj I sort of tried to guide the patrons into what dance moves we would do for each song.  “Ok, now we’re going to put on the robot song!  How would you dance if you were a robot?”  I am wondering if this is too limiting, or if it provides needed structure.  Will think about his.

I played everything from my iPad through the wireless speakers we had.  This is awesome and much easier to control than having to deal with a cd player.

I think I am going to have to do one again during our music-themed summer reading program.

A sincere apology, dear Readers.

I just wanted to write a quick apology for not updating my blog recently!  To all my loyal readers, I am sorry.

I’m working on some really exciting things (in the middle of one grant, just wrote another), and had some wonderful training opportunities that have taken me away from my blog.

But – I do have some programs and storytimes that I’ve been saving up to write about, so while it may take me a bit of time to post here, I am working on new content.

Thanks for sticking with me!

Fables and Stories with a Lesson – Class Visits (School M)

At my site, we’ve recently begun doing outreach visits to some of the local elementary schools.  The schools used to come in to the library to visit, but with bus funds cut, it now makes more sense for us to go out and visit the schools.  Monday – Thursdays myself or one of my colleagues goes and visits a school.  Each week is a different school.  We visit a wide range of grades when we go out, so you’ll see that reflected in my class visit posts.

I usually try to pick a theme or idea to stick with for the visit to help me prep my materials.  This time around, I thought it would be fun to tell some fables, or stories with a lesson.


Rabbit’s Gift by George Shannon

Giant Carrot Flannelboard3

MOVEMENT: My Wiggles*


Too Many Pears! by Jackie French

ATTENDANCE: 25 people

1st Grade

Too Many Pears! by Jackie French

Giant Carrot Flannelboard3
The Giant Carrot

MOVEMENT: My Wiggles*


Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young

ATTENDANCE: 25 people

2/3 Grade

The Crocodile and the Scorpion by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley

Rattlesnake, Mouse and Coyote
Rattlesnake Mouse and Coyote Flannelboard
Pattern and Story from: The Flannel Board Storytelling Book  by Judy Sierra.


“The Elephant’s Son” from Fables by Arnold Lobel


“The North Wind and the Sun” from You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fables to Read Together by Mary Ann Hoberman

ATTENDANCE: 20 people

3rd Grade

The Miller, the Boy and the Donkey by Brian Wildsmith

Rattlesnake, Mouse and Coyote
Rattlesnake Mouse and Coyote Flannelboard
Pattern and Story from: The Flannel Board Storytelling Book  by Judy Sierra.


“The Peacock and the Crane” from You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fables to Read Together by Mary Ann Hoberman


“The Fox and the Stork” and “The Fox and the Crow” from Three Aesop Fox Fables by Paul Galdone

ATTENDANCE: 30 people

4th Grade

Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes by Margie Palatini

Rattlesnake, Mouse, and Coyote
Rattlesnake Mouse and Coyote Flannelboard
Pattern and Story from: The Flannel Board Storytelling Book  by Judy Sierra.

MOVEMENT: Aroostasha*


“Grasshopper Logic” from Squids Will Be Squids by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith


“The Peacock and the Crane” from You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fables to Read Together by Mary Ann Hoberman

ATTENDANCE: 20 people


BOOK: “A Drink for Crow” from Stories to Solve: Folktales from Around the World by George Shannon
BOOK: The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner
BOOK: The Tortoise and the Hare by Janet Stevens
BOOK: The North Wind and The Sun illustrated by Brian Wildsmith

Overall, I think most of these class visits went over well.  Rattlesnake, Mouse, and Coyote is a fun flannelboard story to tell, and it is a good one to get the kids talking.  It’s also fun, because the kids get really exasperated when the Coyote pretends to not know what is going on.  I also really enjoyed doing the You Read to Me stories.  Originally, I thought I was going to ask the teachers to read with me, as a way to help them be engaged.  A lot of the classes on the day had substitutes – some who felt comfortable reading with me, and some who didn’t.  I also read with one of the 4th graders for that group, which was really fun.  “Elephant’s Son” and “Grasshopper Logic” didn’t seem to work as well — maybe I need to do a little more prep for those stories before I try them out again.  And Lousy Rotten Stinkin’ Grapes may have been a touch too long, but I still think it was fun.

*To see the words to these movements and activities I use frequently, please visit my A-capella Movements Section on my Storytime Movements and Music Page

Happy Birthday to JenintheLibrary! Now with a giveaway!

Happy Birthday to Jen in the Library!


Today marks the anniversary of my first real blog post!
(My first post was really on July 3, 2012, but it took me until September 29, 2012 to get up the courage to write an official storytime blog post.)

So, to celebrate, I thought I’d run a short little contest.

Now through October 13th, in the comments section of this blog post, write which of the flannelboards I’ve featured on my blog you’d like for your own, and a short reason why. I’ll do a random drawing, and the winner will receive a version of the flannelboard they mentioned in the comment!  (Small Print: Delivery may take a bit as I will have to make it for you.  Also, please just mention the flannelboards I’ve made, and not ones I’ve purchased from an outside source.)

I know a lot of the people who use this blog are either librarians or teachers, so you probably enjoy making flannelboards on your own.  But, I figure, who doesn’t like to save a little time and get one ready-to-go!


Bedtime – Storybox

My library system has one central location and 9 branches.  To make storytime programming easier for all involved, we use storyboxes.  These are “storytimes in a box”.  They contain everything a storyteller would need for a successful storytime including books, videos, fingerplays and crafts.  Ideally, there should be enough variety that the box can be used for infants/toddlers, preschoolers, and lower elementary ages.   The boxes are routed from branch to branch so that each week a branch has a different storytime ready to go.  You don’t have to use the storyboxes, but they are there as an option when you need them.  Here’s the my latest storybox.

Bedtime – “You won’t want to catch any Zzzzs while listening to these great stories!”


Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!
  by Mo Willems
Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Going to Sleep? by Bill Martin Jr.
The Prince Won’t Go to Bed! by Dayle Ann Dodds


The Woods by Paul Hoppe
No Sleep for the Sheep! by Karen Beaumont
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney


Mother, Mother, I Want Another by Maria Polushkin Robbins
Baby Can’t Sleep by Lisa Schroeder
Back to Bed, Ed! by Sebastien Braun


CREAK! Said the Bed by Phyllis Root
Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Bed? by Barney Saltzberg
Froggy Goes to Bed by Jonathan London


Time for Bed by Mem Fox
Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea
The Baby Beebee Bird by Diane Redfield Massey


5 in the Bed

Pattern from: Making Learning Fun

There were five in the bed,
and the little one said,
“It’s crowded!
Roll Over!”
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were four in the bed…

**Continue counting down until…

There was one in the bed
and the little one said

Ending Option 1:
“I’m Lonely!”
So all the others climbed back into bed.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
And everyone drifted off to sleep.

Ending Option 2:
“Ahhh… Just Right!

5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

Pattern and Song from Felt Board Fingerplays by Liz and Dick Wilmes

Five little monkeys
jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”

 Continue counting down until no monkeys are left.

(Since the storybox travels from place to place, flannelboard pieces often get lost.  That’s why I used a pellon version of this story, instead of my felt version seen here.)


Time for Bed
Time for bed, time for bed
Fluff your pillow(make fluffing motion with hands)
Lay down your head (palms together, place side of face on palms)
Tuck in tight (pull blanket up to chin)
Close your eyes (close eyes)
And sleep all night (snore).

Good Night
Two little hands go clap, clap, clap
Two little hands lie in my lap
Two little feet go bump, bump, bump
Two little legs give one last jump
Two little eyes are shut up tight
One little voice whispers low,

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear (Short Version)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, reach up high
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the sky
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch your knees
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, sit down please

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear (Long Version)
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, show your shoe.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, that will do!
Teddy bear, teddy bear, go upstairs.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, say your prayers.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn off the light.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, say good-night!

There Were Five in the Bed
There were five in the bed (hold up 5 fingers)
And the little one said, “Roll over, Roll over!”  (twirl both hands around each other)
So they all rolled over and one fell out (hold up 1 finger)
There were four in the bed (hold up four fingers)

**Continue the rhyme counting down until**

There was one in the bed  (hold up one finger)
And the little one said
I’ve got so much room! (spread arms out wide)
Goodnight!    (lay head on hands)

The Goodnight Song
(Tune of: “London Bridge is Falling Down”)
Now it’s time to say goodnight,
Say goodnight, say goodnight.
Now it’s time to say goodnight,
It’s time for home and sleep.

This Little Boy
This little boy is ready for bed (hold up index finger)
Down on the pillow he lays his head (place index finger in the palm of other hand)
Wraps himself in his covers tight (hand wrapped around finger)
And here he sleeps all the night (rock hands back and forth)

Diddle, Diddle Dumpling
Diddle, diddle dumpling, my son John,
Went to bed with his stockings on;
One shoe off and one shoe on,
Diddle, diddle dumpling, my son John.

Big Yellow Moon
Big yellow moon shines so bright, (Arms above head in circle shape.)
Glides across the starry night, (Arms move from left to right.)
Looks down at me (Hand shades eyes.)
Asleep in bed, (Hands together at side of face.)
Whispers, “Good night, sleepyhead.” (Forefinger in front of mouth.)
Big yellow moon, your turn is done. (Arms above head move down in front of body.)
Here comes Mr. Morning Sun. (Arms move above head in circle shape.)
I wake up. (Arms stretch out.)
You go to bed. (Hands together at side of face.)
“Sleep well, Moon, you sleepyhead.” (Forefinger in front of mouth.)

Sleeping Time
Down comes the sun
And up comes the moon.
It will be sleeping time soon.
Birds are quiet in their trees.
Cows and horses rest on their knees.
Sleepy children are tucked into beds,
With good night kisses upon their heads.

Are You Sleepy?
(tune: Frere Jaques)
Are you sleepy? Are you sleepy? (rub eyes)
Yes I am. Yes I am. (nod head)
Take your cozy blanket (pull hands up to neck)
And your teddy bear (hug self)
Close your eyes (close eyes)
Go to sleep. (put hands under head)

Going to Bed
This little child is going to bed.
Down on the pillow he lays his head (rest head on hands)
He wraps himself in covers tight (wrap hands across body)
And this is the way he sleeps all night. (close eyes, nod head)

 Morning comes, he opens his eyes, (raise head, eyes open wide)
Off with a toss the covers fly.  (fling arms wide)
Soon he is up and dressed and awake,  (jump up)
Ready for fun and play all day. (clap hands and turn in a circle)


Pajama Coloring Page

Decorate the pajamas however you want to make a truly unique pair!

Paper Plate Moon & Star

Materials Needed:
–        Paper Plate Moon Template (I just made my own by drawing the moon shape I wanted on a paper plate, then cutting  away the part that I didn’t need for the moon.  I used this as my template to trace for the others)
–        Stars Template
–        Paper Plate
–        Small Strand of Ribbon or Yarn
–        Paper Star
–        Crayons
–        Scissors
–        Single Hole Punch

Using the Moon Paper Plate template trace the shape of the moon on the paper plate.  Cut the plate so that it looks like a crescent moon. Decorate the moon as desired.  Cut out the paper star and decorate both sides.  Punch a hole in the top of the moon and one in the top of the star.  String the ribbon or yarn through the holes to attach the star to the moon.  Tie the ribbon in a knot to secure it.

Adapted from a craft featured on Confessions of a Real Librarian

Tuck-Me-In Teddy
 Materials Needed:
–        Copy of Teddy Bear in Pajamas
–        Piece of construction paper
–        Crayons, Markers, Etc.
–        Glue stick
–        Scissors

To prep the bed, fold a piece of construction paper in half so that it is 8.5”x 5.5”.  On the top page, cut out half of the page – first along the folded edge, then across the middle of the paper in a wavy line.  Color and cut out the teddy bear.  Glue this to the larger of the halves of the construction paper, so that the top paper covers the bear up to its chin.

*To save paper, you can make this craft smaller and only use ½ a piece of construction paper for the bed.  Make sure you make your teddy bear smaller too, then!

Adapted from a craft found on Read it Again!

Teddy bear in pajamas found here via a Google Images search for “pajama coloring page”.  Edited a bit to suit my purposes.

Welcome To My Blog

I’ve found that I get lots of great ideas from the community of librarians that keep blogs.  Wanting to give back a bit, I’ve decided to start my own blog that shares what I do for storytimes, programming ideas, great books I’ve read, or anything else that I find exciting in my library world.  I must admit, I find this a bit daunting — there are already so many wonderful librarian bloggers out there.  Thanks so much for visiting!