The other day I ran across the book Strictly No Elephants. It was so good that I wanted to use it in a storytime. I always make note of good books for storytime that I run across, and when I went to add this book to my topics list, I realized that I didn’t have an elephant list. Curious, I searched the web for elephant storytimes and found several good ones that I loved. I started pulling ideas to add to my elephant page and this storytime was born.
The books I chose were (of course) Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, My Elephant by Petr Horacek, and Hide & Seek by Il Sung Na.
I started off with a stuffed elephant in my magic bag, and then we all practiced our elephant skills—stomping, swaying, waving our trunks, and trumpeting. (FYI, I am a lousy elephant trumpeter—it’s painful, really.)
Our first book was Strictly No Elephants. Unusual pets are excluded from the Pet Club, so the owners get together to make their own club where everyone is welcome. Along the way are some simple lessons about what friends do for each other. It’s gentle and sweet, and I love it.
Next, we did the action rhyme Elephant Walk that I got from Jen in the Library.
Right foot, left foot, see me go (step with one foot, then other, sway side to side)
I am gray and big and slow (hold hands out to side on the word “big”)
I come walking down the street (keep feet stomping)
With my trunk and four big feet. (Make arm look like a trunk from nose).
Our first flannel was Elephants in the Bathtub. This is always a favorite of mine. Before I start, I have the kids practice doing the clap, clap, splash, splash, come on in refrain with me. This is always popular and gets the kids moving before wiggles can set in.
Our next book was My Elephant. This is a very sweet book about a little boy’s imaginary elephant playmate. The parents really appreciated it, and I got several chuckles out of them. Next, we did the rhyme Big Gray Elephant from Storytime Katie.
The big gray elephant slowly walks.
She doesn’t make a sound.
She swings her trunk from left to right.
When she puts her feet on the ground.
Swing, swing, left and right,
She doesn’t make a sound.
Then we talked about whether or not elephants were quiet. Opinion was about half and half. So, I pulled up a picture of an elephant’s foot pad, and we talked about the special cushion that elephants have on the bottom of their feet that makes them so very quiet. Apparently, you can’t even hear when they step on branches because their feet muffle the sound. I also held up a picture of a baby elephant’s foot, and we compared it to one of the babies’ feet that was in the room. We talked about how big baby elephants are compared to that baby (250 pounds compared to 15 pounds).
Our next flannel was One Elephant Went Out to Play. The kids helped me call for the elephants, and had fun counting them. Then, we counted backwards, which was really challenging! (My elephants have numbers on them for just that reason).
Then we did a variation on Two Little Blackbirds that I also got from Storytime Katie. She used puppets, but I didn’t have any, and didn’t have time to make any, so I just used my fists. The kids held up their fists and did it with me.
“Two Big Elephants”
Two big elephants were sitting on a hill
One named Jack and the other named Jill
Run away, Jack! Run away, Jill!
Come back, Jack! Come back, Jill!
I was able to squeeze one last book in, Hide and Seek. Elephant and the jungle animals play hide and seek, and the kids helped me count with Elephant. Afterwards, I told parents that it was a great book to do one on one with their children because Chameleon is actually hiding on every page and it’s fun to try and find him.
Lastly, I plugged Summer Reading, and let people know that we are going on a storytime break.