Storytime All Star: Bee-bim Bop!

bee bim bopThis book by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Ho Baek Lee is a must read. The text has a bouncy, pleasant rhyme and the repetition makes it easy for children and parents to chant along with you. My storytimers did this without any coaching! The pictures are warm and friendly, the main character is relatable, and the ending – a full tummy – is a happy one. This is a perfect fit for food storytimes, Korean culture storytime, or family storytime. At the end, there is one page that shows the family gathering for a (presumably Christian) prayer before eating their meal. I work in a very multicultural and multi-religion library, where we avoid storytime themes about any religious holiday out of respect for the audience members who aren’t part of that tradition, but this page was innocuous enough that I read it anyway. If you want to skip it, though, you certainly could.

Try this out for your storytime! Toddlers and preschoolers alike will be enchanted by it, and grown ups will clamor to take it home so they can follow the recipe for bee-bim bop (which translates to ‘mix-mix rice’) in the back matter.

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Storytime All Star: Clip Clop

Clip Clop by Nicola Smee

This fabulous storytime title is, regrettably, out of print. My library’s hardcover was hugged to death before I started here, so I bought the hardcover used from Amazon and donated it to the Office collection. I’ve read this book more than any other storytime title, and in three different formats: the tiny board book, the full size hardcover, and a stick puppet I made from the photocopies of the hardcover book. My favorite is the puppet – it’s so fun to throw all the animals when they go flying into the haystack! My storytime students are starting to really know this book – when they see it propped up in the front of the room, they shout “clip clop!” at it.

Clip Clop is so successful because it’s so adaptable. You can do a straight read aloud, but that’s not going to make this a storytime all star. If you add a rhythm slap on your thigh when you read out “clip clop, clippety-clop!” you’ve suddenly got an interactive, exciting book that lets kids practice gross motor skills. But it doesn’t stop there: for very little listeners, you can break on each page to count the animals riding on Mr. Horse, name their colors, or make their sounds.

Read during: Toddler Time, winter-spring-summer sessions 2014

clip clop

Clippety-cloppety! Clippety-cloppety!

Storytime All Star: Digger Dog

Digger Dog by William Bee, pictures by Cecilia Johansson.

Every time I read this story, no matter who’s in the audience, no matter how shaky the rest of storytime is going, it’s an absolute winner. Digger Dog sniffs and sniffs, and smells: a bone. He can’t dig it up with his paws, so he gets a digger, then a bigger digger, then the biggest digger in the world to unearth the bone! The story hits so many important readaloud benchmarks: a predictable story with repetition, dogs, construction equipment, visually appealing illustrations that are easy to see from a distance, and amazing fold-out pages that always get a reaction from your audience. The surprise ending always gets a laugh from parents, and some of the older toddlers too. I’ve only had spontaneous applause break out at storytime a handful of times, and this book’s responsible for three of those!

Read during: Toddler Time, spring and summer sessions 2014