By Awnali Mills
Today’s theme was music. The books I chose were Be Quiet, Mike by Leslie Patricelli, Punk Farm by Jarrett Krosoczka, and Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus by James Dean.
Biscuit the puppy puppet brought us our letter of the day, which was “D.” We talked about D being the sound for Dog, and also Drum. That segued nicely into our first activity, which was pounding out the syllables of our names on the drum. Having the adults do it too helped kids understand what to do.
That then segued into my first story, Be Quiet, Mike. I had a special surprise for the kids. My coworker, Roman, is a percussionist, and he’d brought in a snare drum, tambourine, coffee can, wooden block, and shaker eggs (and maybe some other stuff). As I read the book, he improvised a beat around me to reflect what was going on in the story. It was super cool! Unfortunately, I had a very young crowd today, with several under age three. They had a hard time focusing. They didn’t have any trouble with the next activity, though. We walked and bounced around to Roman playing on the snare drum. They got very much into that, and we bopped all over the place.
Thanks so much, Roman!
Our next book was Punk Farm. This was definitely a hit. The kids thought the Old MacDonald animal noises were hilarious for some reason. I haven’t had that happen when I’ve done this book before, but I’ll definitely take it!
I handed out jingle bell circles for the next activity. I played Jim Gill’s Alabama, Mississippi from Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes. We jingled our bells up for Alabama, and down for Mississippi and New Orleans, and shook them side to side for everything else. Then we did a variation on Dance Your Fingers Up.
Jingle bells up
Jingle bells down
Jingle bells jingling all around the town
Jingle them on your shoulders
Jingle them on your head
Jingle them on your knees
And tuck them into bed (stick them in your armpit and clamp down—they loved this!)
We did that a few times. Then we did our last book. I kind of feel like I need to defend this choice. As a rule, I don’t care for James Dean’s versions of Pete the Cat, but I wanted a book that I could sing, and this one was available. I shortened it considerably, because it’s way too long. I would much rather have used Jane Cabrera’s Row, Row, Row Your Boat, if I’d had the option.