Yesterday I had my usual Tuesday afternoon Storytime. The kids who come to this program are generally between the ages of three and six. I have alternated between doing strickly themed programs and more by-the-seat-of-my-pants, gathering-books-30 seconds-before-the-kids-arrive sort of programs. While the latter can sometimes work wonderfully, I’ve found that themed programs keep the audience more tuned in and focused.
The downside to themed programs is finding fun and age-appropriate titles that fit the day’s theme- without seeming forced or contrived. One way I accomplish this is by keeping the themes rather general: Summertime Tales, Things that Go, Silly Stories, Funny Fairy Tales, etc.
Another way is to feature stories about animals. I can almost always pull together a last minute storytime program about an animal. I pick one of the following: chickens, pigs, cats (especially fat ones), dogs, frogs, or elephants. I usually have no trouble finding at least 3 or 4 related books and a few silly songs.
This week I tried something new- worms. Not only are worms inherrently funny, but they tie nicely into the Summer Reading “Catch the Reading Bug” theme (although, strickly speaking, worms are not bugs. Apparently, they are annelids. Huh.)
I read Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, Bob and Ottoby Nick Bruel, and The Big Fat Wormby Nancy Van Laan.
Then, I told the story of “hermie-the-worm.” I’ve heard versions of this oral tale from several librarians and storytellers and it is one of those stories that can be easily tailored and adjusted to the teller’s personality. Sometimes, instead of “rockin’ in my rockin’ chair (back and forth, back and forth)” the teller is “chewin’ on some bubble gum (chew, snap, chew, snap).”
The best part of this tale is watching the kids’ reactions to the punch line. Sometimes they may ask for a bit of clarification on the specifics of certain gaseous emissions. At that point, I usually encourage them to ask their parents. 🙂