As an on-call librarian I sometimes get called in to cover a storytime at the last minute. I can find myself in a branch I’m not familiar with, in a neighbourhood I might not know very well. Family story times can be particularly challenging for a substitute librarian, because you don’t typically have any idea what the group is going to look like – you could very well end up with a room full of toddlers or a room full of preschoolers, who have very different needs and preferences.
Fortunately in these situations I can always turn to my trusty story time superstars – picture books that I know like the back of my hand, and which I can rely on to always work, whatever the audience. Today I’m going to share with you a handful of these reliable workhorses, my secret weapons for last-minute circle time success!
George is a dog, but he doesn’t bark. Instead, he mews, oinks and quacks! When George’s mother takes him to the vet, they discover the hilarious reasons for George’s strange noises.
I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet. They sent me…. So begins this classic lift-the-flap picture book, filled with wonderful animals to act out. Simple enough for toddlers, the story can be expanded for use with preschoolers, who will enthusiastically debate the pros and cons of keeping exotic animals as pets!
There’s only one rule in Larry’s book – DON’T PUSH THE BUTTON! But…it’s such a pretty red button. It would be a shame not to push it just once. What’s the worst that could happen….?
An enthusiastic squirrel tries to help a little lost owl find its mommy, with mixed, and hilarious, results.
I Love My White Shoes and Four Groovy Buttons are absolutely circle time staples that no librarian or ECE should be without. Don’t even bother with any of the more recent Pete the Cat stories, though. They’re sadly just pale imitations of their original glory.
I adore singable picture books. They’re great for getting audiences actively participating in the program, and can engage bored and wiggly participants. This is a fun twist on the classic children’s song The Wheels on the Bus, and introduces animal noises for even more toddler and preschool fun!
Do you have any picture book all-stars that you know will always work, no matter the program or the audience? Let me know in the comments below!