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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Storytime Suggestions: Rhyming Dust Bunnies

That went well!  A week or two ago I announced that I would begin a new series on this blog.  My idea was that children’s librarians always want to see how other children’s librarians tell different stories.  It gives us ideas.  We can steal ways of telling books and incorporate them into our own storytimes.  So I did a post called Storytime Suggestions that consisted of a video of me reading The Noisy Counting Book by Susan Schade along with suggestions on how to present it.

Well I had so much fun that I’m doing it again!  And since we already did a Toddler Storytime book last time, let’s go for a Preschool Storytime book this time!

We begin.

Name: Rhyming Dust Bunnies
Author: Jan Thomas
In Print?: You bet.
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7976-0
Best For: Preschool Storytime

Storytime Suggestions: While there’s nothing saying you couldn’t present this book to a group of toddlers or even second graders, I personally feel that the ideal audience for this book is preschoolers (which is to say, 3-5 year olds).  First off, when each Dust Bunny asks for words that rhyme with “car” or “cat”, sometimes an enterprising preschooler will interject with suggestions of their own.  You can totally use that.  And that makes Bob’s ill-rhymed words all the better.

Some librarians I know have performed a kind of Readers’ Theater with this book.  They’ve taken colored fluff, be it faux fur or colored cotton balls, and stuck ’em on the ends of pencils or popsicle sticks.  Or, if your office looks anything like my own, you can grab actual dust bunnies and give ’em a dye job.  And googly eyes.  Be sure you are well stocked in googly eyes.

The advantage of any Jan Thomas book is that it reads well from a distance.  Now in this video I cut off the side of the book once in a while, but it’s rarely a problem because the images are so doggone big.  Thomas participates in what I like to call The Todd Parr/Lucy Cousins Effect.  Which is to say, if you combine thick black lines and bold colors, kids go gaga.  Add in some humor and you’ve come up with the world’s greatest readalouds.

When doing a Jan Thomas books in a preschool storytime you can always begin with this one after the preliminaries.  It doesn’t get the children so riled up they won’t sit for more books (unlike, say, Can You Make a Scary Face?), though they may be baffled by the ending.  I love Ms. Thomas but while her books read aloud beautifully, her endings sometimes leave kids confused.  Only What Will Fat Cat Sit On? has a real kicker of a closer.  Books like this one can feel a little like they’re trailing off when you finish them.  Be sure to move immediately into your next book then.  It’ll keep the flow of the storytime going.

As always, send me links if any of you guys care to create Storytime Suggestions of your own.  Last time we did this I got some great suggestions for other Storytimes including:

Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock by Eric Kimmel – Suggested by Jennifer Schultz
Too Much Talk by Angela Shelf Medearis – Suggested by Jennifer Schultz
Too Much Noise by Ann McGovern – Suggested by Toby Speed
The Valiant Red Rooster by Eric Kimmel – Suggested by IF

Next Time: A picture book readaloud appropriate for kids between Kindergarten and Third Grade.

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. YES….my second graders love love love Rhyming Dust Bunnies and the equally amazing sequel Here Comes the Big Mean Dust Bunny! The first time I read it aloud they immediately begged me to read it again. I even had one kid come with his parent for conference night and pick up the book to read to his parent before I could begin the conference. My below grade level readers were especially enamored with the Dust Bunnies books because they are both so easy to memorize. Towards the end of the school year some of my lowest readers were reading the books to their former kindergarten teachers’ classes. I can’t tell you how much this means to these kids’ confidence.

    Fuse, i’m hoping you’re thinking about Remy Charlip’s Fortunately for your next storytime suggestion. It’s a real shame it didn’t make your top 100 picture book countdown and in my experience is the best 1st & 2nd grade read aloud there is.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      I confess that I was considering “Unfortunately”. Boy that puppy is a fantastic readaloud, isn’t it? You can always guarantee that the kids (and teachers and parents) won’t have heard it before too. Is the paperback still in print? I will check.

  2. I’m such a fan of RDB. I’ve been doing it as a Reader’s Theater for pretty much every grade, (I’ve done most of Jan Thomas books as such) I’m not a big prop person so no googlily eyes.

    Where can I get me one of those dimples? Well done.

  3. My whole LIFE is preschool storytime (I run an outreach program that visits Head Starts and Preschools) and RDB is one of our favorites. I tend to be a bit of a yeller when I read it, in fact, one of the kids, after storytime, commented to a teacher that “Miss Mary reads a lot of shouting books”. We also read “The Doghouse” by Thomas, and everytime I say “THE DOGHOUSE” I add a big dramatic “dun dun dun!”… The kids picked up on it and started doing it themselves.

    Thomas’s books, with their big print, are perfect for developing print awareness, and RDB is great for helping develop those rhyming skills — I ask the kids to tell me their rhymes (sometimes they get it, sometimes not) and then we see what the bunnies say.

    If anyone’s interested, I blog about my preschool storytimes, as well as the wonderful things the preschoolers say, at

  4. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    We got this book for my son for Christmas — I believe after your previous review of it.

  5. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Help! I still can’t get the Older Entries link at the bottom of your blog to work (it sends me to a
    404 – File or directory not found.
    The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. page)
    . And I just tried the Contact Us link and it doesn’t work either! (this just doesn’t do anything!)

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Re: The Older Entries dead link – Yep, I’ve let them know about that. A pity they don’t have my posts by month on the sidebar anymore. Hopefully this will get fixed at some point.

  6. Always fun to see how somebody else does a book you’ve done a zillion times – thanks! Definitely, totally my kind of read-aloud…Jan Thomas is SO on my list of new favorite authors. Add a little Bob Shea and Mac Barnett plus a whole lot of Mo Willems, and you’re in author heaven! Kids just love it when I start making up rhymes with them afterward and throwing in a “Bob” response, just like following up the pigeon stories asking them “you wouldn’t let the pigeon______would you??” Hey, who doesn’t want to be a children’s librarian??!!??!!

  7. Erica Perl says:

    Ahem, not to flog my own books too hard BUT when it comes to preschool storytime, may I suggest Chicken Butt!

    Makes for excellent readers’ theater (divide the crowd into “grown up” and “kid” sides, and let everyone chime in for the “chicken” lines). And if you pause before the page turns and have kids guess the rhyme, you’ll generate a loooong list of rhymes that are perfect for them to use to make their own illustrated books (You know why? Alligator pie! You know who? Bubblegum shoe!).

    Happy reading!

  8. Thank you for this resource, and I’ll be trying the dust bunnies out soon. One of my fave readalouds is Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch.

  9. catwoman says:

    thanks Betsy! i think your suggestions & reviews are awesome (especially Fischer’s Jump & Harper’s Cupcake.) so glad i found this blog. More storytime picture book suggestions please!

  10. I’d love to see what you’d do with William Bee’s Beware of the Frog.

  11. Just wanted to say “thanks” for suggesting this book. I am a new elementary librarian (with a high school background) this blog has become my new favorite place on the web! I read “Rhyming Dust Bunnies” last week and this week I tackled the sequel “Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny”! Needless to say, my kids LOVED both books and I am now known as the “Funny Dust Bunny Librarian”. I am going to read “What Will Fat Cat Sit on Next” next week.