I Want to Win by Tony RossThe first book we read was I Want to Win by Tony Ross. I like this one because it’s simple. There are only one or two sentences per page. The illustrations are clear and easy to understand. We talked about how no one always wins, how it’s fun to win, and sometimes you want to win something and you don’t. These are all familiar feelings and situations for this age group. I think they sympathized with the princess as well as thinking she’s kind of spoiled. It’s fun when you can see the kids seeing both sides of a story. I had them guess if she was going to win for each content, and then we used the illustrations as context clues as to how she felt along with our knowledge of what was happening in the text (inferences!).

For a break, we sang “Where is Thumbkin,” but substituted it with king, queen, prince, princess, knight. Even though 2-year-olds like this song, the 4K class did to. Instead of telling this group who the people were I had them guess, “who else is in the castle we haven’t sung about yet?” “knight!” They liked being  in charge of the song. And I had an adorable 2-year-old who was really frustrated she couldn’t make the thumbs up sign. She kept on staring down her hands like they were betraying her. Another little one put her pointer finger up instead. And I said, “That’s great that Alaina did this because sometimes it’s hard to make a thumbs-up, can you do pointing?” That made for a happy toddler.

Sir Ryans Quest by Jason DeebleFor the 4K crowd, I read Sir Ryan’s Quest by Jason Deeble. It’s  a little bit longer and the little guys didn’t get the abstract idea that the boy is playing pretend at his house, so I did a different book for the littles. The kindergarteners liked guessing what he was using and where he was in the house. For example, I said which picture is the mountain and which one is the jungle. They said, the mountain is the stairs because you have to climb up them. The jungle is the closet because things are hanging down that you have to push out of the way. So smart! So we did that throughout the book. They enjoyed how creative the boy was but thought it was kind of lame his whole quest was for a bowl of soup and not something cooler. One kid was like, it could have at least been candy!

Knight and the Dragon by Tomie DePaolaFor the 2-K crowd, I read The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie DePaola. I like using books that are partially wordless because I let the kids fill in the story. Sometimes people feel uncomfortable without a narrative, but it really gets the kids involved in storytelling. So every time we got to a wordless section of the book, I asked the kids what was happening. It was a little monotonous seeing ALL the things the dragon and knight did to prepare, but it was fun to see the parallel structure. The kids actually thought the knight and dragon would get better at fighting each other and I think they may have been disappointed that they ended up friends reading. But one kid shouted out, “hey that’s a library! I’ve been to a library!” (I didn’t want to point out that she was, in fact, sitting in one right at that moment.) I think they thought I would be cooler if I had dressed up like the princess librarian in the book.

princess and the pea "flannel"Instead of a flannel, we did a princess and the pea story, where I told the story orally. I started off by asking kids how they would know if a princess is real. Last year I got some good advice, this year they just said, she’d be wearing a dress (what about a crown?!). I said, if I wore a dress, would I be a princess; and they just looked at me like, are you nuts?  Instead of each child having a flannel, they each got a different color mattress (I wrapped VHS tape cases in color paper. You can do this with fabric instead to make it look more like a mattress, but that would be very time consuming and you’d have to hot glue the fabric down too). Each child brought up a mattress for the princess and said what color they had. We put a pea on the bottom and a doll on the top. Then I had the kids guess if she slept well or not. Then we asked the princess how well she slept, and I finished the story. The kids and parents wanted a photo op next to the princess and all her mattresses afterwards. Cute. Here’s the only warning: if you wrap the VHS tapes in color paper make sure you tell the kids at the beginning of storytime they are not presents, they are mattresses, so unwrapping them would only give them an old VHS tape that doesn’t work. I repeat, they are not presents, don’t open them! (None of my kids did open them, but at first they were like you got us presents?! *slap hand on forehead*)

This was my awesome backup action song. We didn’t use it this year, but last year it was a hit.

“Castle Capers”

I am the king of running

I run and run and run

My subjects all run with me

And we have so much fun


I am the queen of jumping

I jump and jump and jump

My subjects all jump with me

And fall down with a bump


I am the prince of turning

I turn and turn and turn

My subjects all turn with me

It’s an easy thing to learn


I am the princess of dancing

I dance and dance and dance

My subjects all dance with me

And sit when they get a chance


These were our back-up books: