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.
Best For: Preschool Storytime
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 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.