We’re trying some new today, kids. Bear with me.
Today marks the official re-release of one of the greatest storytime picture books of all time. Ladies and gentlemen, I have been a one-woman-band for the power, glory, and overall wonderfulness that is The Noisy Counting Book. It is my storytime staple. I might forget the Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. I might eschew the Old MacDonald lift-the-flap book by Jessica Souhami. But never will I ever give up my Noisy Counting Book.
Until today, literally today, The Noisy Counting Book (written by Susan Schade and illustrated by her husband Jon Buller) has been out-of-print. But as of RIGHT NOW it has appeared back on the market. At long last, you too can buy a couple copies. I won’t have to rely on New York Public Library’s single, dilapidated, near-death circulating edition for much longer.
Which got me to thinking about how I could properly celebrate this release. What would be a proper send-off into the world? Then it hit me. For a while I have toyed with the notion of a regular series called Storytime Suggestions. These would be fairly simple. Children’s librarians are constantly in need of new ideas for their storytimes. I know I am. I have some fun staples on hand, but I always need new books. Yet even when a fellow librarian tells me how great a book is to read for kids, sometimes I want to see them present it firsthand. I mean, if you read Bark, George by Jules Feiffer while wearing rubber latex gloves for effect, I wanna see how you pull that off! How do you modulate your voice for Snip Snap, What’s That? by Mara Bergman? The solution? Video.
Here’s the notion. Starting with this book, I intend to regularly film myself reading some of my favorite picture books for different audiences. My ultimate hope is that other children’s librarians will start doing the same thing. Then maybe we could have an exchange of different ideas. I’m sure people have been doing this on YouTube for years in some capacity, of course. I’ll just dip my toe in.
Now first, I’ll show the video of me reading the book. You won’t be able to see the pictures in the book all that clearly thanks to my use of a Flip Camera, but at least you’ll be able to get a sense of how I like to read it. Then, I’ll offer background on the book and some alternative reading ideas.
Name: The Noisy Counting Book
Author: Susan Schade
Illustrator: Jon Buller
In Print?: Yes! Yes! By the power of all that is good in the universe, YES!
Best For: Toddler Storytime
Storytime Suggestions: We’ve a couple different Folkmanis puppets floating about the children’s room. Generally, I like to grab one of the froggy puppets for a reading. I tuck it away in a place that is far away from the grasping, greedy hands of the tots until the time comes to present the book. My preferred frog is this little guy:
Ain’t he a doll? Now I keep him on my left hand as I hold the book up with my right. That means, of course, that to turn the page I have to put the book on my lap and turn with my right hand then immediately pick it up again. Fortunately, after each GA-DUNK the audience is momentarily shocked by the sound (and, I have just now learned, my weirdly wide eyes). That gives you the adequate amount of time to conduct the page turn. It might take some practice, but in the end it’s worth it.
Now generally speaking I like to begin a storytime with a couple hand rhymes and songs and then make The Noisy Counting Book my first picture book, roundabout four minutes in. This sets the tone for the rest of the storytime. I wish I had a video of the faces of the kids when you read this, but you’ll have to experience it for yourself. They are entranced. Something about the colors, the clear pictures, the sounds of the creatures, and the final GA-DUNK just gets to them. Also, in the video I wasn’t able to properly show it, but with each animal sound I sort of pan the book around the room so that all the kids can see the pictures.
Expect more of the same in the future. I’ll attempt a mix of toddler storytime books, preschool storytime books, and older picture book readalouds. And if you start doing your own storytime videos, please let me know. I’d love to link to them in some manner.