By Awnali Mills
As I am sure you’re aware, there are approximately one jillion, eight hundred thousand farm books out there. So, it stands to reason that there are some good books out there that feature cows, right? So, I decided to do a cow storytime so that we could enjoy them. The books I chose were The Cow Who Clucked by Denise Fleming, The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson, and Moo! by David LaRochelle. (In case you’re interested, I used the Doreen Cronin books featuring cows fairly recently, so I didn’t want to reuse them.)
In my magic bag, I had a stuffed cow, so the kids didn’t have any trouble guessing that storytime was about cows.
They’re smart like that.
The Cow Who Clucked is a cute little book, but just a tad long for my taste. I start getting a little irritated about ¾ of the way through. This is easily fixed with a high-tech solution—two paperclips which hold some of the pages together. Now, it just may be that my tolerance is a little low for farmyard critters, and you would like it just fine at original length. To each her own.
Then, we did the flannel The Sleepy Cow. I pulled some images from the internet to use as patterns for the flannels. The words go:
Inside the barn,
Lying fast asleep,
Were a cow,
And a rooster,
And three little sheep.
In flew an owl
With nothing to do.
Woke everyone up
With a loud,
(pause at the end of each line to allow children to make animal sounds)
The sheep said, “Baaa!”
The rooster, “Doodle-doo!”
The sleepy cow yawned
And said, “Oh, Moo!”
This was originally a fingerplay, but I thought it would make a good flannel, and it did. The kids really enjoyed making the animal sounds.
Our next book was The Cow Loves Cookies. As I read, I had the children chant with me, “But the cow loves cookies!” They really got into it, bouncing up and down, eyes twinkling. I love it when that happens.
Next, we all got up, got in a circle, and did the “Cow Pokey.” We put our hooves in, our horns in, our udders in (which got a LOT of laughs from the parents. You put your udders in by spreading your fingers wide and straight out with your wrists on your tummy), and our tails in. Shake ‘em all about, turn yourself around, and baby, you’re doing the cow pokey!
For our last book, we did Moo! I told the kids that the book was soooo easy to read that I was going to read it to them first, and then they could read it with me!
They looked skeptical.
There are only six words in the entire book. There’s a sign that says, “Car for Sale,” the door of a police car says “Police,” and there’s a bunch of “moo” and a “baa.” See, the farmer puts his car up for sale, and the cow decides to take it for a joy ride. She goes up and down hills, crashes into a police car, and tries to explain the situation to the irate police officer. When she walks back to the farm, the farmer is not happy. Then, she tries to blame everything on the sheep.
So, I read the book to the kids, and I have to say that they didn’t even let me finish reading before they joined in with me. They laughed at the funny ending, and then we all read it together. I put my finger under each word as we read it, and explained to the parents that putting their finger under the words as they read helps kids connect the words with the meanings. The kids put all the right expressions with the words, knowing that a big dark moo meant a loud moo, and moving their voices up and down when the story called for it.
True confessions time. I read about this book in the blog Rain Makes Applesauce. She had such a great experience with it that I had to try it out. If my experience sounds like hers, it’s because it WAS almost identical.
Obviously, the book works with kids!
So tell me, what are your favorite cow books? Are there any that work well for you in storytime?