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Storytime Suggestions: Me Hungry! by Jeremy Tankard

Do I pander?  All right then, I pander.  When you find yourself doing a storytime for the kidlets, you may start to become desperate to hold their attention in some way.  With toddlers I always have the option of singing my head off.  Only a few tots have ever resisted the lure of “The Wheels on the Bus” (the “up and down” part is gold, baby, GOLD!).  Preschoolers don’t mind the occasional song but I’ve often found that sometimes they moan when you fail to read them yet another book.  That is a good sign.  It means (A) that they like books and (B) that they don’t mind hearing YOU read said book.  Today’s particular title came out in board book form not that long ago, but I tend to stick with the old reliable hardcover version.  Sometimes I wonder if the future will consist of a children’s librarian, like myself, holding a big iPad up to a group of kids and reading a book that way.  Then my brain starts spluttering like an overheated engine and I have to place some cooling pads beneath my ears until I regain some level of coherence.

Jeremy Tankard, I have found, is a storytime librarian’s best friend.  There’s not a book he’s produced that doesn’t zap inattentive kids to attention.  This one’s the simplest, but as you can see it reads just fine without needing too much in the way of wordplay.

Name: Me Hungry!
Author/Illustrator: Jeremy Tankard
In Print?: Yep. And available in both hardcover and board book formats.  Paperback is out of stock at the moment.
ISBN: 978-0763633608
Best For: Preschool Storytime

Storytime Suggestions:

Warning: You do run the risk of ending up with a roomful of children who upon returning home will turn to their parental units and demand in tones of indisputable authority, “Me hungry!”  On the other hand, it beats whining.

The book allows you to do a variety of different voices, from the gruff dad to the beleaguered mom to the terrified bunny (who I just noticed, for the first time, appears on the cover as well).

The downside?  Well, as you can see it’s an incredibly fast read.  That means you will retain the audience’s attention, sure, but on the downside it’ll be two minutes long (and only if you really stretch it out).

Storytime Suggestions by Readers Have Included:

  • After mentioning Hennepin County Library system’s filmed fingerplays for kids birth to six, Jess at Garish & Tweed pointed out that King County’s wiki includes Fingerplays, Rhymes and Songs that you can watch.  I was delighted to find a version of A Ram Sam Sam that doesn’t go as high, vocally, as the versions I’ve heard before.  Finally I can incorporate it into my storytimes!  Fantastic!
  • In my own travels I discovered that the librarian Ms. Houghton does a variety of different booktalks on YouTube.  Here’s the one she created for A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Leepike Ridge, Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum, Spork, and The Magic Half.

My Own Previous Storytime Suggestions:

For Toddlers:

  1. The Noisy Counting Book by Susan Schade
  2. Old MacDonald by Jessica Souhami

For Preschoolers: Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

For Older Kids: Fortunately by Remy Charlip

By the way, should I start filming some of my storytime suggestions in the library itself?  After watching the King County librarians I found that I really liked seeing how the librarians interacted with the kids.  Your call.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Linda Urban says:

    There is a whole lotta singing at the storytime at my library. I just participated in a Mouse-Themed-Storytime last week and was interested to find that the librarians play cds and sing along that way. It seems to work really well for the very young kids who can’t quite follow the words of a new song, but love bopping and weaving along with the music. Was also interested to learn that we don’t sing about “three blind mice” anymore, nor is there a carving knife involved. These were wild mice who got chased by a cat under a hat.
    There’s a lot more that goes into storytime than when I was a kid!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      (A) I am stealing the “teens on the bus go ‘text text text’ ” for my next storytime. I’ve even figured out a fun hand motion.
      (B) There are many songs from my youth that I cannot use in storytime. I really want to do the “Little Rabbit in the Woods” song, as I can remember all the hand motions. The problem? The words are “Little rabbit in the woods / Little man by the window stood / Saw a rabbit hopping there / Knocking on my door. / Help me, help me, help, he said / Or the hunter will shoot me dead / Little rabbit come to me / Safely you shall always be.” The problem is the shooting motion. Each week I try to get the guts up to do it. Each week I have vision of Manhattanite mothers wacking me about the ears with their Gucci purses about making a gun motion with their children. But the temptation remains . . . .

  2. Yes, please. Film the storytime suggestions at the library. Priceless!

  3. We also do a version of the wheels on the bus and a parent came up with a different verse last week – The teenagers on the bus go text,text, text……
    It made us laugh -we also do the bees in the trees go buzz, buzz, buzz. We get 20+ babies to our rhyme time so always looking for new ideas. Keep them coming..

  4. Rachel Payne says:

    We have toyed with the idea of filming storytimes here in Brooklyn, but some of the legal issues got in the way (needing release forms, confidentiality, etc.). Often caregivers bring the kids to storytime and not parents at some of our libraries, so it can be hard to get a release form for every kid with a parent signature. And if non-release form kid wanders into the frame… As Jeremy Tankard might paraphrase, ME NOT LIKE LEGAL HEADACHES. If anyone knows a way around all this, I would love to hear it!

  5. Don’t worry, kids, it isn’t the same rabbit from Grumpy Bird. This one died millions of years ago. The one in Grumpy Bird is still very much alive.

    I really enjoyed your reading of Me Hungry, Betsy. Priceless. You’ve given me some ideas for my own readings. Thanks so much for blogging about my book. It’s nice to know that something I enjoyed creating so much is being enjoyed by lots of children (and adults!).