By Awnali Mills
Well, we’re back in the saddle again! Storytimes are back in session, and to get us started right this morning’s storytime was about mice. I had a hard time getting excited about this storytime, but the kids’ enjoyment is infectious, and the whole thing went super well. Huzzah!
The books I chose were How To Catch a Mouse by Phillipa Leathers, Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! by Mike Twohy, and The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood.
I had a mouse fingerpuppet in my magic bag, and to engage the kids right away, we did the fingerplay House for a Mouse:
A house for a mouse is a hole in the wall (form hole with thumb and forefinger)
She is quiet and timid and meek.
She hides in her hole and she rarely comes out. (cover thumb with remaining four fingers)
But the smell of fresh cheese makes her peek. (sniff air and poke thumb between fingers)
Then we read How To Catch a Mouse. First, we talked about each of the characters on the cover, and I told them that they needed to be on the lookout for the mouse, because he was going to be doing funny things but the words wouldn’t tell us that. So, as I read, I kept stopping and asking them what the mouse was doing. It became a little game as they hunted for the mouse. Unfortunately, the book is just a little small and I had a big group this morning, so it was harder for the kids in the back to see what was going on. But they all thought it was very funny that the cat learned to disguise himself.
Next, we played the flannelboard game Little Mouse, Little Mouse. Of course, this is the classic game where a mouse hides behind the different color of house and the kids have to guess where it’s at. My brilliant students have figured out that the mouse may be hiding behind any house that looks the least bit “full” or rumpled.
So, I tricked them.
Yup. I’m mean like that.
I rumpled ALL of the houses. This game is always a favorite, and it was even better when they couldn’t guess right away. They loved it so much that I had to bring it back at the end for an encore, and was able to fool them down to the LAST HOUSE.
After that game, we sang Where is Mousie, which is just a variation of Where Is Thumbkin. I used mouse finger puppets, and the kids used their fingers. Then everyone stood up and we marched and sang the alphabet song. I explained that we needed to sing the alphabet song because our next book was an Alphabet Caper—Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run has just one word on almost all the pages, but that one word is in alphabetical order, and tells the story of a dog who finds a mouse and chases it all over the house. I’m not a huge fan of most alphabet books, but I really love this one.
For our last activity, I had taken a small box, covered it with brown construction paper and put a clock face on the front. I cut the top off the box and laminated a bunch of different colored mice. I used the fingerpuppet again, and we did Hickory Dickory Dock together. Then, I handed out the colored mice and would say “Okay, this time we’re doing purple! Hickory Dickory Dock, the purple mouse ran up the clock!” All the kids holding purple mice would come up and put the mice inside the clock. We continued until all the mice were back in the clock. There was a little bit of crying when one of the kids didn’t want to give the mice back, but I think he was kinda having a rough day anyway.
For our last book, I pulled out the big book of The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. I don’t usually read big books in storytime because I find them difficult to work with, but I read this one to my kids when they were small and it’s an all-time favorite of mine. I couldn’t resist (even if I did have to read upside down.)
And of course, I finished with an encore of Little Mouse, Little Mouse.