Storytime – Monsters

I have been looking forward to doing a Monsters-themed storytime for quite awhile. There are so many adorable Monsters books just begging to be read aloud! So I was really excited to get the chance to finally try this one out–and this time around I got to do it multiple times, as it happened to fall during the week that I bring storytime to several of the area preschools and daycare centers.

Each time I introduced the theme, I got mixed reactions when I told the kids our storytime was all about monsters… Some kids cheered while others looked a little wary. I assured the latter that we would only be reading about silly monsters, not scary monsters.

Monsters 4

Letter of the Week: CMonsters 9

  • Cookie – I laminated an image of a scrumptious looking chocolate chip cookie, had the kids identify what kind of cookie it was, and asked for a raise of hands how many people liked chocolate chip cookies (In case you were wondering, the consensus was that kids and librarians LOVE chocolate chip cookies).
  • Crayon – We also determined the color of the crayon–purple!
  • Comb – A little trickier… Many kids were stuck on the word “brush”Monsters 7
  • Crocodile – The kids loved Mr. Crocodile, and to their squealing delight my goodbye somehow ended up being bringing him back to “snap” their fingers (I am quickly realizing that kids are often amused by the simplest things!).

Book 1: Spike the Mixed-up Monster by Susan Hood

I love this book because it is not only a sweet story about a tiny “monster” with small-man syndrome, but it includes some Spanish words, shows the power of kindness, and has a section in the back with photographs and descriptions of the animals in real life. The kids enjoyed baring their teeth along with Spike as he did his “monster moves.”

Puppet activity: “Go Away, Big Green Monster!”

I started out this activity by letting the kids know that I brought along a monster today, and asked if they’d like to see it (of course, the overwhelming answer was, “YES!”). I built up the suspense by slowly pulling the puppet out of the bag, and as I revealed it to them I shouted, “It’s a BIG GREEN MONSTER!”. It was pretty hilarious to see their looks of befuddlement when they realized that it was a blank green blob (I hadn’t added any of its body parts yet). I asked them why they didn’t think it was scary, prompting them to pinpoint that he was missing some scary features.

Monsters 12

Then one by one I added on the Big Green Monster’s parts: Two big, yellow eyes; a long, bluish-greenish nose; a big, red mouth with sharp, white teeth; two squiggly little ears; and scraggly purple hair. Most of the kids agreed that now he looked like a Big Green Monster (or at least more scary than the blank green blob we had started out with). Then we decided that we should make him go away. So we shouted “Go away, two big, yellow eyes!” and so on and so forth until he was all gone. I called on the kids randomly to be my helpers in pulling off his velcroed body parts, which they got a big kick out of.

Book 2: Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer

I really enjoy this story, but it definitely went over better with the older kids. I don’t think the little ones quite understood the concept that Bernadette the monster didn’t fit in with her monster peers because she was sweet and enjoyed things like baking and petting kittens. The delightfully yucky cards she made for them said things like “Roses are red, Violets are Blue, In this card I went ‘Achoo!'” These lines didn’t get quite the laughter and gross-out effect I was going for. Aside from that, I appreciate the book’s message that it’s okay to be unique and you can still find a way to fit in while being true to yourself.

Song: “If You’re a Monster and You Know It” (Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)

If you’re a monster and you know it
show your claws,
If you’re a monster and you know it
show your claws,
If you’re a monster and you know it
and you really wanna show it
If you’re a monster and you know it
show your claws.

Other verses:
Stomp your feet, Swish your tail, Roar out loud

Book 3: Love Monster by Rachel Bright

As expected, this book got several “awwws” from parents at the end. I am pretty sure I even spotted one of the teachers at my outreach visit wiping a tear from her eye! It certainly is a sweet story about unsuccessfully searching for love and just when you’re about to give up, finally discovering contentment when love finds you. I especially appreciate the moments in the story that call upon the reader to inspect the illustrations to figure out what’s happening.

Activity: “We’re Going on a Monster Hunt”

This is a super fun activity that I was introduced to when a very talented former classmate did it in a storytime demonstration for class. Here is the video of her doing the monster hunt, which I consulted in preparation for my storytime (Monster Hunt starts at 2:10). I only got the opportunity to try this one with a couple of my groups, as we were running short on time with the others. I would say this was quite successful with the 1st-4th grade class that I tried it with, but not so much with my regular storytime crowd, which ranges in age from about 2 to 5 years old. This is one that really only works with solid audience participation. I recommend really selling the make-believe component and leading it with a ton of enthusiasm.

Craft: Shredded paper monsters

Just shred some colored paper, provide background paper, glue, Q-tips for applying glue, googly eyes… and voila! You have an adorably goofy-looking monster. Not too much prep involved, and it involves experimenting with unconventional items? That’s my kind of craft!

With so many other options for monster books, songs, and activities, I will definitely do this theme again in the future. Maybe for Halloween next year!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s