Storytime Mixer

Sometimes I get tired of themes. Animal themes. Holiday themes. Seasonal themes. The whole kit and kaboodle. Whenever this happens I like to mix things up.

“Miss Becca’s Storytime Mixer” is my unthemed storytime where I pick a few unrelated, favorite books of mine to read to the kids. There are so many wonderful new books that I’ve been eager to share and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. After storytime, the kids transformed into authors and illustrators and crafted their very own little books. More on that later!

First things first.

Here are the stories we shared together…

Storytime Mixer Line-up:

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

I read this book:

to Ponchielle’s “Dance of Hours”:

And I didn’t say a word. This beautiful, wordless picture book (also seen here) doesn’t need words, for the two characters to dance between the pages. I practiced a few times beforehand playing the first sequence of the song using the music as cues to turn the page/lift the flap. When I preformed it for storytime, it was as if the kids were watching a silent film. It took a few pages for them to get into it, but once they did their eyes were fixated on Flora and her dancing friend.

Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Dan Santat

Comic relief of the Sunday’s storytime, Kel Gilligan had the storytimers giggling as he defeated the daredevil challenges of being an everyday kid. Both author, Michael Buckley, and illustrator, Dan Santat, are among the best creating books for kids this day and age.

Rosie’s Magic Horse by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Quentin Blake

Never hurts to add a little magic to the mix. Actually, I think it makes storytime all the better! Rosie’s Magic Horse (full review here) is about an ice-pop stick with dreams of becoming a horse, and a girl named Rosie who has dreams of her own. Together they embark on an adventure to make their dreams come true.

Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier, illustrated by Suzy Lee

I’ve never read anything quite like Open This Little Book (full review here). It’s a story about opening a book, within a book, within a book, and the unlocking of a world within. It was also the inspiration behind the the “little book” craft we made after storytime.

Open This Little Book Storytime Activity:

 The post-storytime activity was inspired by Open This Little Book, and the story behind it (seen here on Chronicle Books Blog). Author Jesse Klausmeier first had the idea for this genius picture book when she was just 5-years-old. You can even see a picture of the book she made way back when she was a girl! Since the storytime kids are only a little bit older, a little bit younger, or the very age when she first conceived of Open This Little Book, we crafted our very own “Little Books” to invoke their inner author and/or illustrator.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of checking this book out yet, here is a peek at what the inside looks like:

We used this ‘series of pages that progressively get smaller and then bigger’ format as a model for the kids to make their own little books. But I emphasized the fact that they did not have to make their books exactly this way. It was their book, the home of their story, and there wasn’t a right or wrong way to go about creating it. Whatever shape the story took, they could model their book after it. This is one of the things I love about Open This Little Book… It’s a great way to introduce a unique perspective on thinking outside the ordinary shape of a book.

Here’s the “little book” example I made:

And here’s a step-by-step on how to make your own!

Materials used: colored paper, stapler, scissors, markers.

The only thing I did to prepare for this craft before storytime was cut the colored paper into four different sizes. The kids did the rest of this project by themselves or with a little help from their caregiver.

First, fold your sheets of paper in half width-wise (hamburger fold).

After the sheets of paper are folded, stack them in the order desired on the fold.

Fold in half together and staple a few times in the center. And that’s it!

I left mine blank because I wanted the kids to make up their own stories. Once again, I persuaded them to make whatever type of book they liked. There was no wrong way. I only used the idea of the descending pages in Open This Little Book as a way to spark their imagination. In the same article I mentioned earlier, illustrator Suzy Lee shared a picture of a book her son made called “Rainbow Book” that also served as inspiration behind Open This Little Book. It was a book with loose leafs of blank, colored paper. That image gave me the idea to make an example similar to that book with the smallest cut paper size from this craft. It served as a model of another type of book the kids could make during this exercise.

The kids had so much fun making their “little books” and several made more than one. One 5-year-old girl gave me her books to send to the author, which I will be mailing out today. How sweet is that? Even though there was quite a crowd at storytime, I made sure to snap a few pictures of the kids’ “little books”…

“Little Books” created by the storytime kids:

Future authors and/or illustrators?

You saw it here first.


7 Responses to “Storytime Mixer”

  1. Belinda says:

    I completely agree with you about storytime themes–I don’t think they are needed, but the library where I volunteer requires a theme for every storytime. Sigh.

    Your craft project looks wonderful!

    • Rebecca says:

      Thank you :) I have a love/hate relationship with themes. They’re handy when it comes to developing “a lesson”, but I get so bored with them. AND I don’t like picking books to read just because they fit the theme. I want each and every book read to be top-notch. So, it’s nice to have mixers every once in awhile.

  2. what a fun collection of books! and i love that darling book craft, Julia would love it.

  3. Danielle says:

    Love this! And I completely agree. I think it happens on blogs a lot too. We get so ingrained in “what’s going on” that we can overwhelm readers with the same old stuff from blog to blog. I like that you mix it up!

    Those little books are to-die for too! I’m going to have to make one with Littlebug, she’ll love it! :)

    • Rebecca says:

      Exactly! It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. I constantly find myself battling between what I think I “should do” and what I “want to do”. The products of deferring to the “should do’s” (read: what’s popular or new) are usually mediocre, while when the products of the “wants” are original.


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