I notice that there’s a reason traditional tales are classic. Kids love them, they have all the elements of good storytelling, and they never get old. I wanted to introduce the little guys to the stories if they hadn’t heard them before (and some had not!) and show them the fun ways they can be twisted. This was the first week of our storytime sessions and I realized that my family storytime which is for 2 year olds to kindergarten were all 2. Yikes. And last session most of them were kindergarten with little sibling. Now I have to re-write all of my lessons because it’s more like a 2/3 storytime than a “proper” family storytime. I had no siblings in the class and only 3 of the 10 kids showed up. Time to start training the little tykes! We had a lot of “this is how you sit on your bottom” talks.

Opening Song

Name Song

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo WillemsI wanted to read Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs (Mo Willems), but I saved it for the kindergarteners. It’s not as funny to read this book if you don’t know the original story. The kindergarteners thought it was hilarious and liked pointing out all the clues Goldilocks missed to realize that it was a dinosaur house she was intruding.



The Three Little Pigs by Bernadette WattsFor the family storytime I read, The Three Little Pigs (Bernadette Watts). They could barely sit still for this even though it’s pretty short. So I had them pretend to blow the house down and then make predictions about whether it would work. I love the beautiful pictures in this and thought it would be entertaining, but it was so-so for the 2s.


Huff and Puff by Claudia RuedaNext time, I’ll use Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda. I love that one. But, I had just read it for my “pigs” storytime. This book has a hole for the kids to blow through and only a few words on a page. It’s simple but crafty. And at the end, they are blowing out the candles on the wolf’s birthday cake. Adorable. I should have just used it again.

The 2s loved this song because most of the programmers use this in the fall because it is fun and simple. It’s more of a gross motor than a fingerplay, so even though it’s not hard, the kids like it because they don’t get frustrated trying to shape their fingers. And it’s familiar for them.

Song: Two Red Apples

Way up high in the apple tree

Two red apples smiled at me

I shook that tree as hard as I could

Down fell the apples and

Mmmm were they good


The Hare and the Tortoise by Helen WardThe Hare and the Tortoise (Helen Ward) was going to be a no-brainer great book. Wrong. These 2s are hard. Ward makes beautiful and simple books. There is only one sentence per page. There’s many conversations to have about what is hidden in the illustrations and even inferences to be made. Not to mention races are always suspenseful. Nope. These kiddos were rolling on the floor. And I thought it might be a little young for my kindergarteners but they LOVED it. They even got the inference that instead of going through a regular forest, the forest the hare goes through is made out of the other animals’ feet like they are trying to help the tortoise win. We also talked about (in the beginning so they understood the book) that hare is another word for bunny and rabbit (although there are slight differences) and that tortoise is a turtle but tortoises live on the land and not in the water.


Flannel: The Turnip (storytelling with flannel pieces)


The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey SchwartzI wanted to get to another personal favorite, The Three Ninja Pigs (Corey Schwartz) but I wanted to introduce the classics before the fractured tales. And since the first set of kids didn’t like the three little pigs (gasp), I read The Lion and the Mouse by Jenny Broom. This book is brightly colored with cut-outs that lead to the next page. While the cut-outs don’t particularly do anything to further the story, the kids thought they were fun. The story is only a few sentences per page and it’s not the most exciting retelling, but I think the vibrant colors woke the kids up. I tried to incorporate a lot of predicting. We talked about whether they thought lions were nice or mean and whether mice were nice or mean, which is always a funny conversation, how picture books take advantage of our assumptions.

The Lion and the Mouse by Jenny BroomThen I asked what would a lion do to a mouse? Eat it!!!! all the kids screamed. So apparently they already know something about predators and prey. They didn’t think the mouse could help the lion either. They tried to think of how the mouse could help the lion get out and only one said chew through the net… oh 4-year-olds…. While I like the more classic books on this tale, the kids liked the design so much I think it may have distracted them from actually hearing the story they were so busy looking through all the cut-outs. Good? Bad? I’ll take it for now.

12 Dancing Princesses by Rachel IsadoraBefore someone suggested the lion and mouse book to salvage my surprise predominantly young storytime, I tried to read The Twelve Dancing Princesses (Rachel Isadora). I love her. Her books are gorgeous and simple. The fact that she transcribes each story onto an African setting is a great way to introduce multi-cultural books to young ones (see my “but princesses aren’t brown!” storytime). The kids hated it. Sorry Isadora… apparently they only liked the Rapunzel one when I read it. It seemed like they couldn’t sit through the literally one sentence backstory for this. So I will save this one for the kindergarteners.


Tony Chestnut (tune: “Frere Jacques”)

Tony Chestnut

Knows I love you,

Tony knows, Tony knows,

Tony Chestnut

Knows I love you,

That’s what Tony knows.


Closing Song


Overall, this storytime was pretty much a flop, but I think it was more because of the ages that showed up. I will have to do some book swapping the next time I do this storytime. I haven’t had a “bad” storytime in a while, so it was kind of disappointing, but it happens. The reflection is where it’s really at. So don’t make the same mistakes I did!