Thursday, January 28, 2010

Storytime Suggestion - Colors

The theme for last week's storytimes was colors. Almost all of the books we ordered from our wonderful Story Collection (basically a mini-branch that only loans its items to Youth Services libarians in the county) were for ages 2 - 3 - much too young for my Pre-K - 2nd grade storytimes, so I was stuck with two books.

Creepy Crawly Colors by Robin Koontz
"A swishing red octopus, a slithering yellow slug, and a pouncing brown spider are a few of the colorful crawlers creeping around in this book of colors." (this is the annotation in our Story Collection database - I'm not sure if it is written anywhere on the book, or just their summary of it)

Any children I have had experience working with thus far have loved pop-up books, which compensates for the fact that this is a very short story dealing with colors (which almost all children have mastered by the time they are 4-5). The school groups I read this book to enjoyed saying the colors and what kind of animal it was when I asked, but they all had trouble with the snake and the jellyfish. They all seemed to think the snake (featured on the cover) was black and white until I told them "no" to their first guess. Because the jellyfish are against a blue water background, they all thought the jellyfish were blue, so I would hold the transparent part up to my face, ask them if they could still see me, then ask again what color it still was. This usually did the trick, but some of them still didn't get the concept of "clear".

Amazon recommends this book for ages 4 - 8. I would recommend looking at Amazon anyway, because they have images of several of the pages.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  by Bill Martin
"A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck - all parade across the pages of this delightful book. Children will immediately respond to Eric Carle's flat, boldly colored collages. Combined with Bill Martin's singsong text, they create unforgettable images of these endearing animals." (inside jacket flap)
Again, thanks to our Story Collection, I had the pleasure of using a BIG book version of Brown Bear during my storytimes for color week. I began by telling the children that I would need their help telling the whole story. First I asked them what color the animal was, then I asked what animal it was, then I lead them in asking "brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?" After the first page I usually just had to say "what color?", "what animal?", "how do you ask him?" and they made it through the book on their own as I turned the pages. One of my groups had a child who was either a great reader or who knew the book by heart because she always knew what was coming before I turned the page, which would really throw the rest of the class off-timing.

Amazon recommends this book for ages 4 - 8.

Of course I couldn't just do a storytime with two books and send them back to school! I had to get creative. We have bean bags in the primary colors, and, coincidentally, a homemade beanbag target with a multi-colored balloon background. We also had a coloring sheet of a mouse leaning against a tray of paints, and a DVD version of Planting a Rainbow.
So, I handed out 1-2 beanbags per person (depending on the size of the group), and a coloring sheet and crayons, and let them play bean bag toss and color (not at the same time, of course). I had only one rule - don't hit me - as I had to stand there and hold up the bean bag target. What do you know? I didn't get hit once that week. When they were done coloring, I put in the (c.) 6-minute movie Planting a Rainbow, and by the time it was over, it was time for the kids to go back to school.

I would have loved to do some sort of dance with the ribbon rings we have available through Story Collection (they look similar to the picture on the left, but in primary colors), but unfortunately they were not ordered for this week of storytime. Now that I know they are so easy to make, I'll probably just make a bunch for us to keep at our library permanently!


  1. Great books about color. Thanks for including my ribbon rings. They would be a perfect activity after reading!

  2. You're welcome! Do you happen to recall how many of these rings a spool of the ribbon would last you?

  3. A lovely colour book suitable for 4-8 year olds is Here Comes Frankie by Tim Hopgood, which I reviewed here:
    Thanks for visiting me and thereby enabling me to discover you!

  4. Thanks for visiting, Playing by the book.
    Unfortunately, neither our library system, nor our Story Collection have the book Here Comes Frankie. :(


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