Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mama's Mothers and Monsters

What do Mama's Do? 
Actually, what doesn't a Mama do?


My mother read me stories.
Does your mother read you stories?

I know Hazel has an amazing mother, let's see what Hazel's mother does . . . 

But, what if you get scared?

What If?
by Frances Thomas

What if you are afraid of  . . .  of . . . oooh, it's too scary to think, but what if . . .  it isn't just your imagination?

What do you think your mama would do if there were scary things outside?

Goodnight Lulu
by Paulette Bogan
OPL Link


Whew, I'm so glad that worked out so well for little Lulu --and those pigs! What a Mama!

But what if your mama's a MONSTER?

Monster Mama
by Liz Rosenberg

Wait a minute, if your mama's a monster, that means . . . that YOU are KID-MONSTERS!
(ha ha -- wink at the mama's in the audience!)

 . . . and what do you think kid-monsters are most afraid of?

The Monster Bed
by Jeanne Willis
OPL Link

Heavens, that was a surprise! Humans hiding under the bed! What will they think of next? Don't you know that humans aren't real? :)

Well so long little monsters, thank you for coming to storytime today, take good care of your mother's and we'll see you next time!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Colors Count Too

Counting Colors! 

(updated 2016)

Color me PINK and PURPLE and BLUE and RED and YELLOW and GREEN and  . . . 

Do you know your colors?
hmmmm, let's see if you can help me find Mr. Ladybug's friend . . .

Ladybug Under a Rug
(a "do you know your basic colors" activity)
Hide one ladybug under a rug before storytime.
Depending on the age group, leave a bump under the empty rugs to fool the older kids.

Hold up the second ladybug up, and tell the kids his friend is hiding, and can they help you find the other ladybug--what color of rug do you think he's hiding under?

Have you ever had one 'One of THOSE days?'
(or course the kids will say no -- But the adults . . . :)

You are SO lucky!

But Dog here, he's had one of  THOSE days --let's see how it went--

Dog's Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting (Picture Puffins)

Dog's Colorful Day  
by Emma Dodd
OPL Link

Paper is way too fragile for my energetic Lap and Storytimes. Felt is so much more durable--and it sticks relatively well to flannel boards. Flannel idea courtesy of Utah State Library Workshop

 Alternately, put the felt or flannel dots on YOURSELF! Wear white ;) -- a great idea from our volunteer storyteller, Amy C. Just don't jump at the end, you just do the counting, otherwise the dots would come off!

 Okay everyone, let's count the spots on Dog!
Stand up and let's jump for every spot.
 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10!

Uh-oh, it's bath time, we've got to count backwards!

Everyone TURN AROUND--- 

and . . . 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - until there's only ONE spot left, the black one on Dog's ear.
 (dialogue idea courtesy of Orem Library's fabulous volunteer storyteller Amy C)

Everyone put your hand binoculars on --we're going to go looking for colors . . .

Teddy Bear Teddy Bear - Color Find
(form two circles with your hands and put them to your eyes)

Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Touch your head,
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Find some . . . RED!
(let the kids start to guess it before giving it away)

Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Give a wink,
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Find some . . . PINK!

Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Squeeze some glue,
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Find some . . . BLUE!

Okay -- one last round

Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Touch the ground
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Sit on the ground.
(another idea from our storyteller Amy C)

Do you like to paint with colors? 
What's your favorite color to paint with?

and when you paint -- do you ever have to STOP painting--
because you have to put your paints away . .

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More
by Karen Beaumont
OPL Link

uh-oh! I bet none of you would EVER do that . . .

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes 
by Eric Litwin
OPL Link

Sing it with gusto!


MORE . . . 

Where Is the Green Sheep? (Horn Book Fanfare List (Awards))Where is the Green Sheep 
by Mem Fox
Hide the last little green sheep on your BACK. Don't read the last page, just shut the book, and start turning and looking around for it--the kids will LOVE this game of 'they see it, you don't' 

Yes this is another idea I learned from the great Librarians of Utah! Nothing beats a great get together with fellow Storytime enthusiasts:) 

Mix It Up
by Herve Tulle

Have an active storytime group? Need to keep their attention? Use Amy C's line:
"It only works if you watch"

The Snowball (Step-Into-Reading, Step 1)
The Snowball  
by Jennifer Armstrong
OPL Link
(great seasonal variation / add in counting or colors when you do a repeat telling)

And some MORE

Dino-Monsters, a colorific telling
(I have drawings of a 'close relative', at least in the looks department, of these dinos, ie; yellingdactyl - pterodactyl etc. I found this idea in a copyshop’s files. Each is on a different colored cardstock... you will really want to abridge this if you've got a very young crowd)

Oh, first, who do we have… we have oh, could it be…

It’s an AnGREENosaurus 

This one is okay to be around if it’s in a good mood, but watch out if he gets angry or pouts, he can get pretty scary then. Just the littlest things will set this dinomonster off, things like when he thinks his mother is picking on him, or making him actually clean his room before he can go out and play! The angry-green-osaurus doesn’t ever have much fun, he’s too busy complaining. Do you know this dinosaur monster? Have you seen him?

Oh, dear… I see another dinomonster...
It’s the TurquoiseTattleochtodon

Better known as the Whineosaurus, this dinomonster is always pulling on her mother’s sleeve trying to tell her all about how all the other dinos are misbehaving or getting into trouble, they won’t share, they are calling me names, he hit me, or just telling everyone around how no one wants to play with her. Well, no wonder. Do you know a Tattleochtodon?

Duck everyone! There she goes, oh, now she’s gone again, but you can still hear her for miles and miles it’s the…

Yellow Yellingdactyl!

You almost always know where a yellingdactyl is, she flies in and out and in and out, around and around, always yelling. It’s easy to find this dinomonster, never a quiet moment, well until she gets in trouble. A yellingdactyl is known for it’s ability to wreck havoc on fragile lamps and other breakables that it bumps when it’s flying around and not paying attention to where it’s going.

Oh, what,
(someone is tugging on your sleeve for your attention)please wait. Yes, I know, but it’s just not your turn yet. Hm? You don’t care whose turn it is? Oh folks, we have a slight interruption. I think we have found the…

Blue But-inbrontosaurus

I better hurry and tell you about this dino, he tends to interrupt a lot. Whenever this bronto’s parents are on the phone, it’s just too much, this monster insists on butting in and talking so loud that no one else can be heard. It’s been known to take over whole conversations. You know, tt makes you wish that but-inbrontosaurus would just butt out.

Excuse me, please, I know you had to wait, but…. what, why, I never…Here we go, yet another terrible dinomonster, here, let me introduce you to…

Rudeosaurus Red Rex

This guy always wants to be the center of attention. A lot like our last dinomonster. The Rudeosaurus Rex never asks for permission, never says please or thank you. As a matter of fact, rudeosaurus pushes and shoves. He even burps real loud and he thinks it’s funny. There are no manners to be found in this monster. He better be careful or he will find that he has no friends at all. Have you seen Rudeosaurus Rex around your house?

Shhh, be careful what you say around our next dinomonster, this is the…

Purple Poutasaurus 

The poutasuarus gets her feelings hurt at every turn. She feels bad because she thinks she can’t draw very well. She is always discouraged and blue about something. No fun to be around at all. Poor poutasaurus, she’s not looking too well, such a sad frowning face she has. I don’t think she is ever happy. Have you seen a poutasaurus?

Hmm, where could this next dinomonster be? I wonder where she is? Hmm, must be running late again. Oh, finally, here she is…

Oh, dear, it’s Pink Pokeyceratops

What a slowpoke! Always late, always making people wait. Pokeyceratops is so slow that she is always behind. She likes to sleep late, ‘just one more minute mom, please’. She is the last one to breakfast, the last one out the door, and even then, she has to go back in while everyone waits because she forgot to brush her teeth. Poor pkeyceratops, we almost missed her on our hunt she was so slow.

Wow, what a sorry lot of dinomonsters today! Oh, look, there’s one last one, oh this one does not look like the others at all. Wow, this one is looking pretty good, I don’t know that I can even call it a monster, this one is, well too happy…

It’s a Hip-Hip Hooray HappyORANGEosaurus!

Wow, this is the best dinosaur anyone could possibly meet. This Happy-orange-osaurus has the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, never greedy, always courteous and sociable. This is the kind of dino you want for a friend. Even when this dino is happy and loud, Happyosaurus is always thinking of others that are around, never whiny never stingy or pouty. The Happyosaurus is so much fun to be with that I think we might just have to keep him around.

(a coloring handout is a great way to keep the Happy-orange-osaurus with you all day)''

Special thanks to Annie E. of the Salt Lake County Library System (Millcreek Branch) and the Utah State Library (go Colleen!!!) for the awesome 'Storytime Spice-ups' workshop last month! I gathered a LOT of ideas from the sharing opportunity that Annie instigated. You will see some of these ideas--inspired by my fellow librarians--start to crop up in my posts over the next little while. WAY TO GO UTAH LIBRARIANS, YOU ROCK!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Using Your Imagination

Use Your Imagination!

 . . .  or, maybe not

Can You Make a Scary Face? 
by Jan Thomas
OPL Link

Well, it's very good to know that you all can make scary faces. I think they might come in handy . . .

You see, I like to use my imagination, I'm a librarian after all, I love reading--

Oh, I see here that someone else likes to use their imagination

Use Your Imagination
by Nicola O'Byrne
OPL Link
(using the Hula Hoop Rocket Ship)


Bye-bye Wolf!

 ...AND Bananas! What happened to having bananas? 
Oh well.


Is someone's telephone ringing? NO?
Oh--it's coming from inside this book . . . 

The Viper
by Lisa Thiesing

OPL Link

Oh dear, someone's imagination was running away with them, that Peggy, she was all worried for nothing.

But . . . What If . . .

What If?
by Frances Thomas

I know another little character that let his imagination run away with him  . . .

Jumpy Jack and Googily
by Meg Rosoff
OPL Link

That Jumpy Jack and Googily, what a pair (of socks!--no no no) of friends they are.
Okay, are YOU ready for bed?
What? You're worried there might be a SOCK under the bed? 

What if . . . there was something a little worse than a sock?
What do you think your mama would do?

Goodnight Lulu
by Paulette Bogan

OPL Link

Whew, I'm so glad that worked out so well for little Lulu --and those pigs!

But what if your mama's a MONSTER??!! 
What if YOU were the monsters?
(ha ha -- wink at the mama's in the audience!)

The Monster Bed
by Jeanne Willis
OPL Link

Dear me! Afraid of humans, what a silly little monster Dennis is.

Remember your scary faces? I think we're going to need them here . . .

Go Away Big Green Monster
by Lois Ehlert
 (felt story)

REVERSE and REMOVE the pieces,
and then it's . . .
"And don't come back, unless I say so!"

Show me that scary face--one more time
Whoops, that was WAY too scary -- I'm outta here :)

Thanks for coming to storytime, we'll see you next time--just no more scary faces!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Introducing . . . Amy's Hula Hoop Stories!

It was a perfect storm . . .

First, inspiration came via Susan M. Dailey's Boa Constrictor, then as I was working with a new children's staff employee, they got one of my exuberant tellings of how fun it is to do Laptimes and Storytimes --then (as my pre-teen daughter would aptly illustrate with a hip thrust, a snap, and a verbal 'Boom!')

I got it!

I could create my own
Hula Hoop Stories
to go with my favorite Action Plays

First came the idea for the Rocket Ship

I sketched out the ideas, made a supply list --based on a 67" hula hoop

Then went on a shopping trip

...and the project began, laying out, cutting, and a bit of applique


-Trace out the pattern on the back side of the fabric, then cut


-Cut the 'window' and start stitching on the pieces. I did a hand-stitched applique--the fabric is mighty slick and I found that doing it by hand was less stressful!


-For the clouds of steam, I stitched the perimeter, tucking the raw edges in as I went. the puffs are just manipulated folds of fabric held in place with individual stitches.


The flames were cut, machine sewn, then turned right-side out. Hand stitch to the rocket

-I hand stitched the blue background fabric up and over the silver to create a nice border, then using that seam as a guide, machine sewed the plastic window in. Tip: Cut the plastic down AFTER sewing, much easier and less hassle.

-Sew a 'back half' of the circle to the Rocket Ship 'front'
-Sew a pocket for the hula hoop -- if using a pre-made hula hoop, then sew the hoop inside the pocket as you go.
-If you make your own hoop (using sprinkler hose and a connector) you can sew the pocket, leaving a hole to thread the hose into the pocket. Connect with the hose connector and hand stitch the opening shut.

ONE -- and

If You Want to Take a Trip
Start with the hula hoop ship in a bunch on the floor, keep the center open and clear of fabric.

If you want to take a trip,
Climb aboard my rocket ship!
     Step into the ring of fabric
Five Four Three Two One
     Crouch down lower and lower as you count down
     Grab the hula hoop and lift up as you jump

After showing the kids, or even without doing it with yourself as the 'inside man', let a few kids take a turn being the astronaut.

Now we just need a reason to take a trip to Mars! What a blast it would be to have a gaggle of little Martian Munchkins running around for Storytime :) :)


I'll still add some  'rivets' (Silver Half Ball Cover Buttons), along with some stitched 'metal plate' lines, a USA and a Flag.


On the INSIDE of the hoop, behind the Rocket Ship, the next step is a WASHING MACHINE--it's a perfect match for the rocket's window :)

We are Clothes in the Washing Machine
- thanks Allison!

We are clothes in the washing machine
    -have a child or two step inside the hula hoop 'machine'
We wiggle and giggle until we are clean
     -wiggle and giggle away . . .
 Then our mama shakes us out to dry
    -there is a 'clothesline' inside the hoop --you unobtrusively direct the kids hold the rope when they are 'inside'
And hangs us on a clothesline high
    -LOWER the washing machine, instruct the kids to hold the rope up over their heads :)

AND -- I'm not done yet

There are TWO MORE SIDES!!!

Three Men in a Tub
A Witch's Cauldron

Just think of the ideas you could do with this, make the ocean look a bit like a rug, and you could pull in almost any bathtub adventure story. And the uses for a Witch's Cauldron ---are you kidding me? The ideas are simply . . . LIMITLESS!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

From Winter to Spring

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb
Winter into Spring

A Laptime for the season

Once There Was a Snowman

Once there was a snowman, snowman, snowman
Once there was a snowman, tall, tall, tall

In the sun he melted, melted, melted
In the sun he melted, small, small, small

But what if it's snowing outside?

Once there was a snowman --- small, small, small

Chubby Little Snowman

Chubby little snowman
With a carrot nose.
Along comes a bunny
And what do you suppose?

That funny little bunny
Was looking for some lunch
he saw that carrot nose and . . .
Nibble, nibble CRUNCH

It's Not That Cold Outside
(to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb)

I don't want to wear my coat, wear my coat, wear my coat
I don't want to wear my coat
It's not that cold outside.
I don't want to wear my gloves, wear my gloves, wear my gloves
I don't want to wear my gloves
It's not that cold outside.

I don't want to wear my hat, wear my hat, wear my hat
I don't want to wear my hat
It's not that cold outside.

Aaaa CHOOOOOoooo

I just can't wait for Spring! Why does it takes so long?

Tick Tock Goes my Daddy's Big Clock

Tick tock, tick tock,
- rock back and forth at each word, with child in your lap
Goes my Daddy's big clock
Tick tock, tick tock,
Goes my Daddy's big clock

But my mommy's little clock
- pause...
Goes tick tick tick tick tick!

Where is that sun?

Mr. Sun
(Raffi sings this one too)

Mr. Sun, sun, Mr. Golden sun,
~arms up, rock in time to the rhythm 

Please shine down on me.
~fingers tap shoulders

Oh Mr. Sun, sun, Mr. Golden sun,
~arms up again

Hiding behind a tree
~ASL sign for 'tree'

These little children are asking you,
~gesture towards children 

To please come down
~motion coming down

so they can play with you,
~sign ASL sign for ‘Play’

Oh, Mr. Sun, sun, Mr. Golden sun, 
~arms up again 

Please shine down on me.
~arms cross in front of self, ASL for ‘Love’


Are You Sleeping Little Flower
(To the tune of Are You Sleeping Brother John)
by Amy

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping
Little flower, little flower
Snow is falling, spring is calling
Ding ding dong
Ding ding dong

Where is Daisy
(to the tune of Where is Thumbkin )
by Amy

Where is Daisy, where is Daisy
Here I am, Here I am
How are you today ma'am
Very well I thank you
Run away, run away

Where is Rose, where is Rose
Here I am, here I am
     Rose: "Wait a minute, you aren't a rose!"
     Goofy flower: "Well I am if I say I am, and a rose is a rose by any other name..."
Run away, run away

Oh where are all the flowers, and the birds, and the bees? 

There is a Bird on Your Head
by Mo Willems
OPL Link

Oh, and the bees? What about the bees?

Here is the Hive

Here is the hive
~hold closed fist up
But where are the bees?
~shrug shoulders

Hidden inside
~point to fist
Where nobody sees
~shake finger, 'nobody', point to eyes, 'see'

expectant pause... closed fist starts to shimmer and shake...

Oh, oh OH!
1 2 3 4 5
~fingers pop up, counting

They're alive! They're alive!
~let your figners go TICKLING!

Oh no! We let the bees out! Catch them!

Got it!

I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee

I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me!
~swing clasped hands from side to side as you sing

I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee
Ouch! He stung me!
~ stunned look, open hands

I'm squishing up a baby bumble bee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me!
~squish hands and mash that offending bee up

I'm squishing up a baby bumble bee...
Ewww, it's all yucky!
~ look at 'icky' hands

I'm wiping off a baby bumble bee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me!
~ wipe hands on pants

I'm wiping off a baby bumble bee
Ugh, it's all over me!
~look really sick/ill over the mess

Oh, I'm licking off a baby bumble bee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me!
~pretend to lick palms, you CAN make faces - 'this is so gross' faces ;) This has to SOUND like you are licking off the bee, just talk with your tongue out, it works GREAT!

I'm licking off a baby bumble bee
Uuhhh, that's really yucky!
~shudder, make more icky faces and say...

My mommy won't be proud of me!
~grin mischieviously, wag finger & shake head; 'no no'

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dressing the Naked Hand: The World's Greatest Guide to Making, Staging, and Performing with Puppets

Our long awaited, time gobbling, blogpost robbing book is finally here . . .

Let us introduce you to

Dressing the Naked Hand
The World's Greatest Guide to
Making, Staging, and Performing with Puppets
by Amy White, Mark Pulham, and Dallin Blankenship

Soon to be released, the galleys are in hand and being proofed as I 'speak'. Expected arrival is July, 2015. We can't say an exact date at the moment as there is a dock worker strike that is impacting many an impending ship arrival from China.

INCLUDED in the book is a DVD with over TWO HOURS of how-to instruction--and a bit of fun.

Also, in the book you will recognize a few locations from this blog and the Orem Public Library. We had to include them, after all, this is a library book, a storytime resource book for those of us who are all things storytime and laptime addicted. I hope you have as much fun with the book, not only in the reading of it, but also in the following of your creative muse as we teach you how to make your own puppets.


This book is unlike any other puppetry book on the market. The equivalent of taking not one, but multiple workshops on puppet construction, stage construction, with an added course in the art of puppet manipulation

Includes over two hours of step-by-step videos

Tons of illustrations, step-by-step photos, patterns, and more to make puppet-making easy.

Filled with jokes, gags, and tips from puppet characters throughout to make for a thoroughly entertaining experience.

Clear organization make it an easy, go-to manual.

Authors have over 50 years of combined experience.

The story behind the making of the book:

Mark Pulham, children's librarian, puppeteer extraordinaire, improv king, and yearly summer reading program emcee, has created and performed with his puppets at the library and elsewhere in the community for well over forty years. Known to not only for leaving the kids in a fit of giggles, but also for his ability to have the adults in his audiences streaming tears of laughter.

It's taken the last almost twenty years since I started working at the library for me to pretty much force Mark's hand and make him take me on as his apprentice puppet maker. This book is what I learned from Mark and a few other great puppet makers and performers that I corralled and convinced to teach me.

One of those others, Joe Flores, who is one of the most persistent, non-stop, and over the top creative puppet makers I've had the opportunity to work with was instrumental in getting this book off the ground. It was Joe that insisted I write the book. It was Joe that checked in with me weekly--for years--always bringing new ideas, sketching out how-to's whenever I was stumped, and providing much needed motivation. 

During our journey to publication, we found Dallin Blankenship, yet another storytime telling puppet-maker, although he hails from the nearby Provo Public Library--we'll still claim him despite being from Provo ;) --Dallin found that he was always missing characters whenever he was trying to do storytime. Not one to let a little thing like a lack of puppets dissuade him, he began making them himself. Dallin soon found an internship and then a job at The Puppet School in Los Angeles. Now, he is back in Utah and is busy pursuing his Puppet Master of the Universe Doctorate as a member of the Naked Hand team.

None of this book would have gone further than a fevered dream if not for the vision of Familius Publishing's Christopher Robbins--yeh, you know by his name he's one of us. Forever cheering me on, despite my lack of book-writing experience, Christopher, and the Familius family, never lost faith and more than that, they had my back. I can't tell you how reassuring it feels to know that I had an entire team working to make sure my mistakes got corrected, my faux pas fixed, and access to my own grammar nazi squad.

Another special, huge, tremendous, holy cow this would not have succeeded thank you to David Miles, our brilliant book designer with his mad design skills and never flagging enthusiasm for the book.

It does take a village--or, in my case, the whole city and a publishing house to boot--to succeed. Now it's your turn. Take the book for a spin, enjoy the DVD--we dare you not to laugh--and then drop us a line or two at dressingnakedhands (at) gmail