SLC Book Boy

the storytime ventures of a children's librarian

Art Afternoon – Spiral Shapes Christmas Tree paper plates

For Monday’s art program this week, we’re making Christmas Trees from paper plates.

skills – fine motor (cutting), cognative flexability (shape = substitution), shapes practice

difficulty – low
prep – low
clean up – low
(See supplies and prep on last slide)

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Bear Storytime

Opening: Shake My Sillies Out – Raffi

Book: It’s the Bear – Jez Alborough


(This is pretty adorable, the kids had a good time with it.)

Activity: Somethinglocks…
(See the full version here)


(It took a little while for the kids to warm up to this, I think it works better later in the program, but it was still fun!)

Book: Bears on Chairs – Shirley Parentheau


(It might have just been my brain, but this felt a bit long, or maybe it was just the pacing. The kids stayed engaged for the whole thing, and the illustrations are adorable!)

Activity: The Cool Bear Hunt
(from the CD Dr. Jean Sings Silly Songs)

We’re going on a bear hunt,
We’re going to catch a big one!
Big green eyes, fuzzy little tail.

Candy Factory – eat through it
Peanut Butter River – swim across it
Jell-O swamp – wiggle through it
Cave – go through it, and find the bear!

(This was a good time.)

Book: …the Big Hungry Bear – Don and Audrey Wood


(Always goes over well, a cute story with lovely pictures.)

Activity: Where is Bear?


(Slightly less enthusiastic group than I’ve had with this before, but that just means they were manageable!)

tune: Thumbkin

Where is bear? Where is bear?
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you this winter?
Very tired, thank you.
Go to sleep. Go to sleep.

Book: Snow Bears – Martin Waddell


(I thought this might be a bit too long for our last story, but the kids stayed engaged, and giggled throughout!)

Activity: Bubbles


(We ended the program by letting the kids be ‘snow bears’ in our bubble blizzard!)

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Letter V Storytime

Opening: Shake My Sillies Out – Raffi

Book: How I Spent my Summer Vacation – Mark Teague


(This was a smidge wordy, but worked okay for the first book.)

Activity: A Circle is Not a Valentine
adapted from the book by H. Werner Zimmermann

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(A very popular part of the program, the kids are great at helping correct the puppet when he paints the wrong shape.)

Book: The Sleepless Little Vampire – Richard Egielski


(A simple story and very nice illustrations, this also brought some Halloween into our program.)

Activity: Little Volcano
tune: I’m a Little Teapot

I’m a small volcano in a mound,
(crouch on the floor)
Waiting so quiet, without a sound.
(Shushing finger at lips)
When the lava bubbles and churns around,
(fingers wiggle up for bubbles, then spin)
KaBoom! I explode then fall to the ground.
(Jump into the air, then sink back down.)

(One of our groups wasn’t really into this, but the other had a great time with it!)

Book: Vulture View – April Pulley Sayre


(I think this is a very nice book, and it’s worked well before. This time, there just didn’t seem to be much interest.)

Activity: The Little Little Girl with the Big Big Voice
adapted from the book by Kristen Balouch


(A great adaptation, where the little girl has trouble finding a friend, until she meets someone with a voice as big as hers!)

Book: The Ugly Pumpkin (Vegetable) – Dave Horowitz


(Such a cute character, and it is a great link from October to November!)

Activity:  Parachute (volcano)


(We finished by bouncing balls on our parachute ‘volcano’.)

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Haunted Library – a Halloween party

Welcome to the Haunted Library! We wanted to include activites for teens and adults, but our audience really ended up being elementary age for the most part, and the activites still worked great for them!

Ghostly Greeter:
One of our librarians has this awesome set-up with a curtained box, black lights, and a ghost puppet who sang and told jokes as patrons came in or left the party. The ghost wasn’t very good at holding still though!

The Witch’s Kitchen:
We had cider, popcorn filled ‘witch’s hands’ and cake bites donated from The Sweet Tooth Fairy. A lovely little spread.

Guessing Jars:
We had a jar of bubble gum and worms, which the winner got to take home, and a jar of ‘blood’ (made from marachino cherry juice and ketchup). The closest guess for the drops of blood got to keep the zombie gnome.

Paper Pumpkin Patch:
We had strips of paper with holes punched in them for people to threat a pipe cleaner through. There was also black paper and scissors so people could glue on a face to jack-o-lantern their pumpkins, but our examples don’t show that.

Tarot Reading Rooms:
One of our study rooms had a staff member reading cards, and this one was open with simple instructions for reading them yourself or for a friend.

Quiet in the Library:
We had a wheel patrons could spin, and they had to do whatever challenege it landed on without making a sound! (This could also be done by drawing cards if you aren’t able to get/make a spinner) Walking across the LEGO, seen to the right, without shoes was one of the more popular challenges.

This is the spinner we made from a lazy susan, a spare board, and some nails. There are lots of instructables online you can look up, ours was easier than most because the base of the lazy susan already had a hole in it, we could just slip it onto a screw.

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Creepy Eyes Craft:
Maybe our most popular craft, you cut out the eyes of the image, then tape a strip with eyes behind it, folded so that it stands away from the page.

Festive Fingernails:
We had a nail artist painting the full two hours, everyone loved it!

Photo Booth:
We had a photographer on hand to capture all the awesome costumes! Here you can see the team that put it all together.

Word Games:
We had a sheet for these Mad-Libs (which all used the same words, in case people wanted to spend more time reading than writing) and a page of Scary Synonyms. You can see the full text for both at the bottom of this post!


In our downstairs meeting room, we had the activites geared for kids,
though everyone really ended up doing everything. =]

Tangled Tree Treat Bags:
Use scissors to cut strips in the top of the bag, then twist them to make tangled branches. Use markers to decorate them with faces or creatures. I wanted this to be very simple, but with the option to spend more time decorating.

Pin the Wart on the Witch:
Pull the hat down over your eyes for this adaptation of the traditional donkey game.

Ghost Gobble:
The ghosts are hungry! We had these ‘snowballs’ on hand, and they made perfect ghost food!

Corn Cob Bowling:
Our corn cobs were water bottles covered in bubble wrap and painted. They looked great, but the paint came off and made a terrible mess! We used pumpins from the craft store to knock them over.

The Monster March:
The kids walked around while music played, and when it stopped they made the noise of whatever monster they were on. Witches cackle, monsters moan, werewolfs howl, and ghosts go Boo!

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Spider Tunnel:
Rather than doing the traditional maze this year, we had web-like fabric in a tube for the kids to crawel through, and they loved it!

Spider Pops:
Our only real treat were the lollies they got with this craft. Four pipe cleaners wrapped around the stick make a spider! Though they would have been much cuter with sticky eyes, we opted out.

Our decorations were primarily paper bats that we hung all over them place, as well as a few webs, and these strings of lights that we attached cat faces to. (and our monster entrance, as seen in the banner at the top of the page)

The Word Games:

Mad Libs

Fill in each space with an appropriate word, then read the big pages with your words in the matching spaces!
1. A kind of weather

2. Name of a town

3. Halloween Costume

4. Another Halloween Costume

5. Character from a book

6. A greeting

7. An emotion

8. Something you own

9. Something to eat

10. Something you like

Trick or Treat

On a ___1___ Halloween in the town of ___2___, I was going to go trick or treating. I decided to dress up as a ___3___ but everyone thought I would scare people, so I decided to dress up as a ___4___ instead. I looked great! The first door I knocked on turned out to be the home of ___5___. They opened the door and said “___6___”. I tried to say “Trick or Treat” but I was very ___7___.  ___5___ said “Come in”. But I ran as fast as I could back home and hid under my ___8___. I didn’t get any ___9___ or ___10___ for Halloween that year.


The Visitor

I was trying to figure out how to get some ___10___, I’d run all out! I sat in the kitchen eating some ___9___ as I thought of a plan. My ___8___crashed to the floor in the other room. What happened? I went to see, and a ___7___ monster was climbing in through the window! “___6___” I said, then hurried out of the room and locked the door, but the monster was trying to get through! I grabbed my phone and called ___5___. As soon as they picked up I said “No time for ___6___s, get over here and help me!” They brought our superhero costumes, and we got suited up. I was a ___4___ and ___5___ was a ___3___. Then we opened the door and screamed at that monster! It was so terrified it disappeared in a flash. I don’t think it’ll show its face in ___2___ anymore. I felt like I could do anything, so I ran out into the ___1___ day, all the way to the store, and got myself some ___10___.


Pumpkin Carving

I just found the perfect pumpkin, even though it was a pretty ___1___ day in the pumpkin patch. Now I can make the best Jack-o-lantern in ___2___! But it wasn’t as easy as I thought. I tried to carve a ___3___ but it ended up looking more like a ___4___. Maybe I wasn’t going to win the carving contest after all, especially with ___5___ as the judge. But then I heard something. “___6___”. It came from my pumpkin, it was alive! Then it said, “I was so ___7___ in that pumpkin patch. But now I have a mouth to talk with. Thank you!” Then it was time! I put the pumpkin on my ___8___ and brought them to the contest. My Jack-o-lantern made ___5___ laugh when it ate their ___9___s, and I won first prize! A big box of ___10___.

Scary Synonyms
Can you name the horror movies by their synonymous titles?
Example: Concluding Journey’s End is Final Destination

1. Drowsy Empty Feeling
2. Tormenting Hallucination on a Public Thoroughfare with a Shade Tree
3. Craggy Terrifying Image Presentation
4. Horrific Vision Preceding an Occasion for Exchanging Gifts
5. Skeletal Newlywed
6. Herbal Infant
7. First Light of the Expired
8. Formal Senior Gala After Dark
9. Gentle Young Man with Cutting Appendages
10. Dark Hours of Animated Cadavers
11. Absence of Auditory Effect Produced by Young Woolen Mammals
12. Shiny Insect Secretion
13. Abnormal, Canine-like U.S. Carnivore in England’s Capital

  1. Sleepy Hollow                                       
  2. Nightmare on Elm Street                     
  3. Rocky Horror Picture Show                
  4. The Nightmare Before Christmas          
  5. Corpse Bride                                   
  6. Rosemary’s Baby                            
  7. Dawn of the Dead
  8. Prom Night
  9. Edward Scissorhands
  10. Night of the Living Dead
  11. Silence of the Lambs
  12. Beetlejuice
  13. An American Werewolf in London
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Friendly Fiends (a not-so-scary monster storytime)

Opening: Shake My Sillies Out – Raffi

Book: The Monsters’ Monster – Patrick McDonnell


(This was just a smidge wordy, with with some pages clipped together, and as a opener …so the kids were fresh… it worked out great!) 

Activity: One Little Monster


(The kids join in on the ‘Roar’ and for the counting. It was well recieved.) 

One little monster dancing on the floor
Had such fun it gave a Roar!
Then there came one monster more
How many monsters dancing on the floor?

(continue with increasing numbers)

Book: Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak


(This was a bit of a stretch for the theme, but during the Rumpus, we chatted about how they were all being friends, and why the Wild Things didn’t want Max to leave.) 

Activity: Wild Thing, Wild Thing, Turn Around
(adapted from Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear)

Wild thing, wild thing turn around, 
Wild thing, wild thing scratch the ground.

Wild thing, wild thing Roar out loud,
Wild thing, wild thing, touch a cloud.

Wild thing, wild thing, win a race.
Wild thing, wild thing, jump in place.

Wild thing, wild thing, stop and pause,
Wild thing, wild thing, touch your claws.

Wild thing, wild thing, sit right down.
Wild thing, wild thing, make no sound.

(The kids had a great time being Wild Things, and it even worked for the boy who said he didn’t want to. …I told him he could just watch.) =]

Book: Don’t Squish the Sasquatch – Kent Redeker


(A cute simple book, with full illustrations. Not really my favorite, but it works very well for storytime.) 

Activity: Bone Soup
Adapted from the book by Cambria Evans
(see the full version here)


(The villagers end up helping make the soup, and they all share it in the end! The kids love how disgusting the ingerdients are.) 

Book: Leonardo the Terrible Monster – Mo Willems


(Such a great book, the characters have personality, and the pages are big, great for group reads.) 

Activity: Monster Hands Craft
As done at the Irving Schwartz Branch


(a simple craft, and the kids had fun with it!) 

click the image to open, then copy and paste the URL to download template

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Brew and Boo! (a ghost and witch storytime)

Opening: Shake My Sillies Out – Raffi

Book: Skeleton Hiccups – Margery Cuyler


(After introducing the theme, I asked the  kids if this was a witch or a ghost, they weren’t fooled! But then his friend, a ghost, showed up to help out. Very simple and fun in the story and illustrations.)

Activity: Five Little Ghosties
adapted from The Chocolate Chip Ghost
(see the full version here)


(The kids got to identify the foods as they came out, and predict what color the ghosts would turn. They loved it!)

Five little ghosties shining clean and white,
Waiting for their mother to bring dinner for the night.
One little ghost said ‘I’m too hungry to wait!’
Grabbed up some ____ and that is what it ate.
It swallowed it all down into its hungry tum.
Do you know what color did that ghost did become?

Count down remaining ghosts end with…

One mother ghostie, shining clean and white,
Brought home to her little ones dinner for the night.
When she saw the colors her ghosts had become,
She knew just what do to, and put into their tums,
A tall glass of milk, and a marshmallow or three.
Then her little ghosties were as white as white could be!

Book: Peek-a-Boooo! – Marie Torres Cimarusti


(Another simple book, where the kids got to show off their smarts. After the revelations, we all tried making the sounds of the character. Fun) 

Activity: If You’re a Witch and You Know It
Tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It

If you’re a witch and you know it ride your broom…
If you’re a monster and you know it stamp your feet…
If you’re a skeleton and you know it shake your bones…
If you’re a wolf and you know it give a howl…
If you’re a bat and you know it flap your wings..
If you’re a ghost and you know it, just say Booo!…

(A great get-up-and-move activity.)

Book: Ghosts in the House – Kazuno Kohara


(A charming book, which belies the traditional view of both ghosts and witches! Adorable illustrations.) 

Activity: Humbug Witch
adapted from the story by Lorna Balian
(see the full version here)


(I loved this story, and it transitioned very well into a flannel book. The kids got a kick out of the final revelation, and the undies as well.) 

Book: What’s In the Witches Kitchen – Nick Sharratt


(A fun book, with some cool special effects. It felt a smidge long, but not enough for the kids to get restless.) 

Activity: Bubbles


(Then we had bubbles from the witch’s cauldron. Don’t let them transform you into anything nasty!) 

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Humbug Witch

adapted from the story by Lorna Balian

There was this little witch… All of her was little except her nose. That was very Big.She had long, stringy, red hair. It was so long she kept tripping over it. She wore a slightly squashed, tall, black, pointed hat like Witches always wear, orange gloves, a handknit black wool shawl, an old plaid apron, and funny-looking black shoes with gold buckles on them.

She had a good sturdy broom, and a black cat named Fred.

You can see for yourself…she was truly a frightening-looking, Horrible, Witchy, Witch!

But… when she tried to Do things they never worked the way they were supposed to for witches.

Like when she wanted to laugh wickedly and scare everyone it never soudned “Cackle-Cackle-Cackle.” It always sounded “Giggle-Giggle-Giggle.”

Or when she wanted to go somewhere she would climb on her good sturdy broom and say all sorts of magic words, and wait a few minutes… and Nothing would happen. Nothing at all. The broom would not move an inch.

And when she wanted to turn Fred into an alligator, or a hippopotamus, or a candy bar, and would say all kinds of magic words, and wait… and wait… but Fred just stayed a cat!

When she wanted to cook up a batch of magic potion, she would dump all the very best things in her very best kettle …things like Sour Milk, Molasses, Egg Shells, Apple Peelings, Genuine Rainwater, and Peanut Butter. And she would stir and stir and say all the magic words she could think of.

It never got smoky, or bubbly, or exploded like magic potions are supposed to do.

She finally decided it was just no use! She took off her funny-looking black shoes with the gold buckles.

She took off her plaid apron.

She took off her handknit black wool shawl.

She took off her slightly squashed Tall Black Pointed hat.

She took off her orange gloves.

She took off her long, stringy, red hair.

She took off her mask. And went to bed.

And so did Fred.

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Letter U Storytime

Opening: Shake My Sillies Out – Raffi

Book: Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great – Bob Shea


(I thought this might be a bit wordy, but our crowd was just the right age for it! …usually we have quite a few very young patrons.) 

Activity: Uniforms


(This was a hit, and super simple. The kids loved identifying the jobs based on their uniforms, and then deciding which would use the tools we revealed.) 

Book: Up, Up, Down – Robert Munsch


(Perfectly simple fun book, the kids loved it. The ending felt just a bit abrupt.) 

Activity: Grand Old Duke of York

Oh, The grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.

And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half-way up,
They were neither up nor down.

(We marched in place, then went on our toes for Up, and squatted for Down). 

(We started this at a normal speed, then gradually increased the speed for about four rounds of the song. They loved it!) 

Book: What Color is Your Underwear? – Sam Lloyd


(A simple, silly book. The kids were great at identifying the colors, and really liked the laugh-out-loud ending.) 

Activity: One Rain Drop


(A simple little rhyme, wasn’t fantastically recieved, but I needed something else for the theme, and they didn’t dislike it.) 

One rain drop came out to play,
On an umbrella one day.
It had such enormous fun
That it called for another little drop to come!

…continue adding more drops

Book: The Umbrella – Ingrid & Dieter Schubert


(Wordless books still make me a little nervous, but this was fantastic! We just chatted about what was going on, the kids were great at filling in the information.)

Activity: Parachute


(I made ‘raindrops’ out of yarn to bounce on our parachute. We kept going until more kids were interested in hiding under the parachute than bouncing the rain on it.) 

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Friendship Storytime

Opening: Shake My Sillies Out – Raffi

Book: Lottie Paris and the Best Place – Angela Johnson


(A great way to introduce the theme, making friends at the library! I clipped the ‘rules’ pages to streamline things.) 

Activity: Dear Zoo
from the book by Rod Campbell


(A zoo keeps sending the wrong pet! The kids loved saying why certain animals weren’t a good fit, and we swapped a skunk for the original camel.) 

Book: Wombat Walkabout – Carol Diggory Shields


(Quite a fun book, though it felt a smidge long. Maybe it would be better as a opening title.)

Activity: If You’re Friendly and You Know It

If you’re friendly and you know it, clap your hands!
If you’re friendly and you know it, clap your hands!
If you’re friendly and you know it, then your face will always show it,
If you’re friendly and you know it, clap your hands!

…wave hello
…jump up and down
…shout Horray!
…do them all.

(A nice simple activity to do some moving.) 

Book: My Friend is Sad – Mo Willems


(A fantastically fun book, as all the Elephant and Piggie are.) 

Activity: My Friend Rabbit
from the book by Eric Rohmann


(Pretty simple, we ask the kids to identify the animals as rabbit brings them out to add to the tower.) 

Book: You Will Be My Friend – Peter Brown


(A good lesson in friend behavior. Clipped a few pages together, and it went over well!) 

Activity: Streamers


(Our last book ended with the new friends having a dance party, so we finished with a dance party of our own!) 

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On the Farm Storytime

Opening: Shake My Sillies Out – Raffi

Book: Cock-a-doodle! Quack! Quack! – Ivor Baddiel


(A playful story, the kids love the mess up’s. A smidge long, so I do clip some pages together.) 

Activity: 5 Pigs So Squeaky Clean

(A fun simple rhyme. Not such a hit this week though.) 

Five pigs so squeaky clean, cleanest you’ve ever seen,
wanted to go outside and play. Uh huh!
One jumped into the mud, landed there with a thud.
Now there are four pigs squeaky clean. Oink, oink!

Book: Chickens To the Rescue – John Himmelman


(Fantastic illustrations, even though they are quite busy they work for a group as well. Very cute story too.) 

Activity: I Know a Chicken
from the CD Whadda Think of That by Laurie Berkner


(This song is always a hit, kids love the shaking!) 

Book: Up, Down, and Around – Katherine Ayres


(We have the kids point up, down and twirl their finger around during the appropriate points. I think it would be a bit dull without the interactive element, but with it’s great!) 

Activity: In the Farmyard


(A sweet little rhyme, and it let well to our next book.)

In the farmyard at the end of the day,
All of the animals politely say
“Thank you for my food today.”
The cow says …

(continue with other animals)

And then the barn is locked up tight,
and the farmer quietly says, “Good night.”

Book: Farmyard Beat – Lindsay Craig


(The animals wont stay asleep! A great book with nice illustrations and repetition.) 

Activity: Streamers


(We ended with streamers this week.)

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