By Awnali Mills
Today’s storytime theme was frogs. The books I chose were Beware of the Frog by William Bee, and The Wide Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner.
Sometimes, it takes a while for a storytime to gel for me. There’s been a lot going on at the library, and some personal stuff, and I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to planning this storytime. I had all the pieces pulled together, but just couldn’t think of the right introduction that would spark and grab kids’ attention. When I was griping about it to a co-worker, she suggested that I use the large frog puppet that I had already pulled out for my magic bag, give the kids little black pompoms, tell them they were flies, and let them feed the pompoms to the frog.
Yes! (This was much better than the idea I’d been playing with of having the kids throw ping pong balls at the frog to see if he could catch them. I DO try to avoid encouraging children to throw things at me, but I was getting desperate.) This worked magically. I handed out the “flies” to the children as they entered the room, and after they had all fed their flies to the frog (shrieking with delight when the frog “accidentally” grabbed their fingers), the children were in the palm of my hand. Bwah-Ha-Ha!
The frog next helped us to do our weather flannel, grabbing the flannels off the board that didn’t match today’s weather. There were shrieks of laughter and happiness every time he grabbed one of the pieces.
Then we did the flannel Ten Little Froggies, which is basically 10 clipart pictures of frogs. I put them all on the board and then said the rhyme.
10 little froggies on a lily pad
1st one said, “Let’s catch a fly”
2nd one said, “Let’s hide.”
3rd one said, “Let’s swim.”
4th one said, “Look, I’m in!”
5th one said, “Let’s dive.”
6th one said, “There went 5.”
7th one said, “Where did they go?”
8th one said, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
9th one said, “I need a friend.”
10th one said, “This is the end.”
Each time I said a line, I asked the kids which frog had said it, and they told me which one to take down. Very few of the frogs seemed to go with the lines (I didn’t make this flannel—it was an old one), and so I let the kids decide which one seemed to be saying what.
Next we read Beware of the Frog. I really enjoy William Bee’s books for the most part, and especially love finding the snails that he hides on each page. We didn’t take the time to find the snails, but I did point one of them out. This book just lends itself to funny voices, and the kids were absolutely glued to me while I was reading it. It seems a little long when you first read it, but the funny voices really make the book worthwhile for storytime.
One of the children helped me roll the song cube for our first song, which was Old MacDonald. We stood up and acted like the animals when we were singing, and I would point to a child who seemed to be paying attention to have them call out the next animal. They looked like they could continue for quite a while, but we only did about 6 verses before moving on to Five Green and Speckled Frogs. I made a big deal about making the kids rub their tummies to say “Yum! Yum!” and “Glub, glub” (while nodding their heads) for each verse. They were so funny to watch rubbing their tummies, lowering their voices and growling “Yum! Yum!” We really hammed it up.
We rolled our song cube again and then sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. I threw in Zoom, Zoom, Zoom because I didn’t think the kids hade moved enough. Then I did the flannel I Kissed a Frog. This is another old flannel with only three pieces—a princess, a frog, and a princess turned into a frog. The verse goes:
I kissed a frog because I’d heard
That it would turn into a prince.
That’s not exactly what occurred,
And I’ve been croaking ever since!
Our next book was The Wide-Mouthed Frog pop-up book. This one also lends itself to good voices. I had a sassy, Southern growly voice for the frog, and then did various other ones for the other animals. The children loved the alligator, and after storytime, during our play time, two boys used LEGOs to build an alligator and used a frog pull toy to re-enact the story without any prompting from adults. I was thrilled!
The last thing I did was ask children what color a frog was. Naturally, they replied, “Green!” I said, “Really?” and then pulled out a picture of a blue and black frog and put it on the board. I did this over and over with different color frogs. I even pulled out a pink one! Finally, I pulled out a frog that is mostly green with several other colors on it. These are all poison arrow frogs, who come in amazing different colors, and we talked about what all those crazy colors mean in the animal world.