Friday, May 16, 2008

Storyhour Favs

Okay, you've got to remember that I haven't done regular storyhours for a while now, so some of my choices may seem a little dated.

I used many of the original beginning reader type books in storyhours because they had a story that the kids could relate to. Two books that come to mind areThe Best Nest and Are You My Mother?, both by by P.D. Eastman. Then there'sThe King, the Mice, and the Cheese by Nancy and Eric Gurney. This was a silly circular story, and, dare I say it, there was a lesson to be learned--it is better to get along. Of course the lesson wasn't a "hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-hammer" lesson like you'd get with a Berenstain Bears book, and that's why it was perfectly acceptable to both me and the kids.

And speaking of Berenstain Bears, I would never use a book like The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners, or The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight in my storyhours because they were unbearably preachy, and damn if I wasn't disturbed by Mama Bear's being made to wear that godawful polka-dotted sack of a dress day in and day out! (Actually all the BBs wore the same outfit throughout the 27 million books they starred in, but Mama's outfit was truly hideous.) I did, however, love The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree. This "Bright and Early Reader" book was FUN. It had repetition, action, and a wee bit of scariness that was just right for 4 and 5 year olds. I would read, "Do they dare go up the stairs?" And all the little ones, with their eyes opened wide, would say, "NO!"

[Here's a little aside: I just looked up the book on Barnes & Noble, to check on the copyright date, and found this description of the book, "A man and a woman meet by chance in a bar. Suddenly, they find themselves fleeing from a powerful agency--the woman hunted for what she knows, and the man mistaken as her comrade in a resistance movement." Whoa! Ya think someone neglected to proofread? Now that would make for one hellavu BB story!]

And here are a few other titles that I loved using in storyhours, The Piggy in the Puddle by Charlotte Pomerantz, illustrated by James Marshall, Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London (the first book in the Froggy series, skip the dozen or so titles that followed), The Wolf's Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza, Three Ducks went Wandering by Ron Roy, and The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins.

What do most of these books have in common? Repetition and humor (or just plain silliness). Hey, I'll leave the "teaching moments" to the parents--the kids and I just want to have fun!

If you're gonna write for children, think about adding a little joy. Joy is contagious!


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