We've gotten off to a great start with Storytime Mondays this year. The library aide and I have our routine down pat and can now just have fun, so that's what we did. Our storytimes are short --only 15 minutes-- and focus just on reading a good book. There's no time for crafts, etc. though we do open and close with "Hello" and "Goodby" songs and occasionally have a fingerplay or other quick activity. I do the picking and reading of the books, meaning I have a great deal of flexibility in the final presentation. I can change my selections right up to the last minute, allowing me the freedom to always read something I love. I think that passion is picked up by the children.
This week I needed to cheer myself up, so I choose some silly stories to read. Most of the children heard "The Great Pig Search," an amusing story written and illustrated by Eileen Christelow. Do you see the pigs included on the front cover? Well, the farmer who lost these pigs didn't see them and neither did his wife. The two of them go to Florida on vacation where they are surrounded by their escapee pigs, but they don't see them. My four-six year-olds could see them and had a great time hunting for them. As usual, I used the document camera to project the book's images on the big screen, and each child got a chance to come up and point out a "pig in hiding," which they really enjoyed.
The three-year-olds were treated to "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus," a funny tale written and illustrated by Mo Willems. They quickly got into the spirit of the book, telling the pigeon "no"rather emphatically each time he came up with a new reason why he should be allowed to drive the bus. I had looked at this book several times in the past two years and decided it was too simplistic to read well. But then I went to a workshop by Judy Freeman where I heard her read a similiar book and realized how effective a "read-aloud" of this kind of book can be.
A sad thing happened on Storytime Day this week. On the way into work I followed a father who was escorting his children into school. They were children I especially liked and I admired how handsome and at ease with each other they all looked together. The dad was in a military uniform and I wondered if he worked at the Pentagon. An hour or so later the library aide told me that she had seen him taking the youngest child into the preschool wing and had heard him tell the child's teacher that he was leaving for Afghanistan that day. As he left the school, the little one burst into tears and clutched his leg. It was so sad and we were both heartbroken for the little one and for the whole family. Later, the solemn little boy came in for Storytime and smiled as he found the hidden pigs. For a moment, anyway, he was diverted from his worries, just as I was, by a good book.