The community where I work has a very active downtown association. They hold a big, festive event the weekend after Thanksgiving. And we’re involved in the kick-off. We hold 2 simultaneous storytimes (one in the library’s meeting room and one in the children’s services program room). Afterwards the crowd meets on the street (temporarily closed by the police) where Mrs. Claus rides a fire truck behind a marching band. They walk down Main Street for a block to the train station where Santa is welcomed and they light the tree.
It started out with a donation. Someone purchased a toy from the local Build-a-Bear store. They wondered if we wanted the box. Sure, we’d take it. We didn’t know what to do with it, but we took it.
One day, sitting around the office table, someone brought up the box. What should we do with it? Should we just throw it away?
You know how good ideas are born? Someone innocently says something and, wham, great idea… The cute little windows were brought up. What about finger puppets?
Our programming librarian was finessing our baby and early walker story times, so she agreed to work on it–coloring the plain box and cutting a hole. Thus was born the Knock Knock House.
What to do with the Knock-knock house? Good question. It’s mostly used with the babies and toddlers. It’s so important to keep story times moving with this age. Toddlers are curious and love figuring out which window the finger puppet will pop in to.
There are lots of things you can do with the Knock Knock House. It’s definitely an open-ended activity dependent only on your supply of finger puppets (we have a lot more than we used to). You could focus on animal sounds, beginning letter sounds, knock-knock jokes. The skies the limit…
Confession: I’m terribly uncoordinated. Sometimes I need three hands to do things…so I’ve only used it a few times. When I do, it’s animals sounds for sure.
Here is Katie, our current programming librarian, demonstrating the Knock-knock house:
So, what would you do with your Knock-Knock House?
Update: Check out this post by Anna. It has a great rhyme that would be perfect with the Knock Knock House!
Our summer reading club this year was a homegrown program called Pizzeria Read. It was my favorite SRC in 15 years and in the words of our new director, it was ” simply spectacular.” High praise indeed.
Our final program for the year was a storytime called Pizza with Miss Mouse and the four full-time librarians presented it. When we have story times like this, it’s fun to have the story time presenters do a big to-do. We take turns and team up with the stories. On days like this, story time is book-free, we tell stories. And in this case, all of the stories are homegrown. We take classic stories that we are familiar with and re-work them.
Miss Mouse: was hiding behind pizzas. There were lots of choices: cheese pizza, peppers, pepperoni, sausage pizza, and three different pepperoni pizzas. (hint: she was behind the pepperoni pizza) Miss Mouse: greeted everyone and gave visual clues about what she wanted on her pizza (hint: cheese. Just cheese. Lots and lots of cheesy visual aids) Flannel: Make a pizza. Have you seen our Make-a-pig flannel? Well, the concept works for many, many things. This time it was making pizza with cheese and olives and socks and baseballs and all kinds of good things. Prop story 1: Little Red Hen: This is a homegrown story and was my favorite story of the day: Traci wants to make a pizza and asks her three librarian colleagues for help. Who will help me make the dough? The three of us, reading books, filing our nails, etc: Not I. Then when the pizza starts to smell good, and we want in on the action, things change. The story was filled with props and had really good, fun feel to it. Fingerplay: Pizza, Cheese Pizza. You’ve heard of Peanut, Peanut Butter? Well, we re-wrote it. Prop story 2: Hi Pizza Man! by Virginia Walter. We used our prop door (doesn’t everyone have a prop door?) and the many puppets had pizza boxes and fake mustaches. Funny. Fingerplay: Roll, Roll, Pizza Dough Prop Story 3: The Pizza Man. Did you guess? A homegrown version of The Gingerbread Man. The ending: the pizza man had run away from all sorts of animals and a little old man and a little old woman, but when he got to the librarian, she put him on a “boat”… turns out the boat was a pizza tray and it was lunch time. My Hands Say Thank you… then everyone had a lunch of cheese pizza and grapes.
Saturday Storytime attendance: 54 there were all sorts of ages from babies to toddlers with lots of preschoolers. There were far more dads than moms today. I’d say about 75% of the parental units were dads. I like that about Saturday story times.
Miss Mouse was wearing her red and black dress. She showed us the large ♥ box of chocolates. Empty. Miss Mouse: was hiding behind in pockets. This was cute! I’d never used them before and all the elements inside the pockets (save Miss Mouse) were items that start with the letter P: pickles, pjs, popcorn, etc. Who puts a pickle in a pocket? Pickle, pigs, pjs and popcorn all start with P!! Oh, and pizza too! fingerplay: Clap. Clap your lap. Book 1: Pouch by David Ezra Stein. I like this story. I had to fill in a few words to make it work as a read-aloud, but a great book. We hopped along in our seat every time Pouch hopped. Fingerplay: Roll, Roll, Sugar Babies Prop Story: Joey by Jack Kent. This is a lap story that a friend made for me years ago. Joey’s mom’s pouch expands as his friends show up. It’s great. Song: Jack Be Nimble. Jumping seemed the only thing to do for this story time. (I still don’t have a source for this song…) Prop Story 2: McGillycuddy Could by Pamela Duncan Edwards McGillycuddy visits the farm and learns his talents for running, jumping, hopping, and boxing aren’t as grand as laying eggs, growing wool, making milk… or is it? I have all the puppets for this, so I turned it into a prop story. (Isn’t it funny how I turn every story time into a farm animal extravaganza?) Fingerplay: Hickory Dickory Dock Flannel Story: Katy No Pocket by Emmy Payne Fingerplay: Fee Fie Fo Fum Book: Boing by Nick Bruel. This one doesn’t have a lot of words so I did some explaining. Cute. If my audience were filled with lots of young kids it wouldn’t have worked… Finger story: Miss Cat and Mr. Dog Book: If you’re Happy and You know it by David Carter.
This was such a fun story time. It was different and filled with things we hadn’t done in a long time!
It’s a delightful story about a woman who lives alone on a farm. She’s firm but fair with the animals on the farm.
Four days before Halloween, a pumpkin shows up. It has a mouth, and likes to use it.
My mouth is here. I speak to you. When my teeth are here, I’ll eat you!
Well, Mrs. McMurphy doesn’t take to sass and she puts the pumpkin on the porch where pumpkins belong. (Actually, throughout the story Mrs. McMurphy is fair and always counteracting the pumpkin’s sass with a kind but firm word.)
The next day, the pumpkin shows up in the living room with a nose, saying:
My nose is here. I smell you. When my teeth are here, I’ll eat you!
Well, two days before Halloween, Mrs. McMurphy finds the pumpkin in her kitchen, saying:
My ears are here. I hear you. When my teeth are here, I’ll eat you!
The day before Halloween, Mrs. McMurphy finds said pumpkin sitting in her kitchen again.
My eyes are here. I see you. When my teeth are here, I’ll eat you!
On Halloween, guess who shows up just as Mrs. McMurphy is baking?
My teeth are here. I can bite you. It’s time for me TO EAT YOU!
“We’ll have to see about that,” says Mrs. McMurphy.
I just want to show you the close-up of this beautiful pumpkin and ear. My colleague, who doesn’t work here anymore, came up with it. It’s lovely. I looks like she used multi-colored thread in an zig-zag needle setting. Nice job Amanda Kelly!
Miss Mouse was wearing her jammies. She’s was a little put off that we woke her up — but acknowledged that she knew about Pajama story time. She wasn’t too happy we were doing a story time about owls. Miss Mouse: was hiding behind the green leaf
There’s a wide eyed owl (thumbs and forefingers around eyes)
With a pointed nose (forefinger makes a v at end of nose)
Two pointed ears (forefingers extended up from head)
and claws for toes (Fingers and arms bent in front of chest)
when he sits up in the tree (point to tree)
and he looks at you (point at a child in the group)
he flaps his wings (fold arms into arm pits and flap)
And he says “whooo Whooo”.
Book 1: Cock-a-Doodle Hooooooo by Mick Manning (make sure you get all 7 o’s or Worldcat will never find it.) Fingerplay: Roll Roll Sugar Babies Book: Wow! Said the Owl by Tom Hopgood Song:I know a Chicken by Laurie Berkner Prop Story 1: Owl Babies by Martin Waddell (I have three baby owl puppets, purchased for this very reason.) Fingerplay: Clap . Clap Your Lap. Prop Story 2: I’m Not Cute by Jonathan Allen (rabbit, fox, and squirrel owl joined mamma owl and baby owl) Book 3: Knock Knock Who’s There by Tad Hill (get it, Whooooo’s There?) Book 4:Who’s in the Forest by Phillis Greshator. This is a beautiful board book. Fun too.
Open Storytime attendance: 69
Miss Mouse was wearing her bathrobe and towel wrap. (She was adorable.) We interrupted her bath preparations. She showed us her three rubber duckies: one small, one medium, and one large. Miss Mouse: was hiding behind bath toys. She was behind the scrub brush. Instead of chanting to Miss Mouse to come out, come out, come out, we yelled, “rub-a-dub-dub, Miss Mouse is in the tub.” My Hand Waves Hello. Also ears, lips, feet, hair and cheeks. fingerplay: Clap. Clap your Lap. Book 1:Bubble Bath Pirates by Jarrett Kroszocza. It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day so this seemed appropriate. fingerplay: Roll Roll Sugar Babies. I think there were some people who didn’t know this. That’s good. Book 2:Catch That Baby! by Nancy Coffelt. Nudy Rudy! It’s very fun. Song: Planned: Everybody Wash, but I couldn’t find it. Instead I did Drivin in My Car. It’s easy… a crowd pleaser, no one has to stand up but the wiggles get out! Prop Song: Rubber Duckie with Ernie. We have an Ernie puppet, rubber duckie puppet, and props for the story. Everyone sings along. Prop Story: Walter the Washing Machine. I think this book was a pop-up type book… called Wanda’s Washing Machine. Someone turned it into a prop story. It’s fun telling Walter the Washing Machine to “eat dirt, Walter.” He does a great job. It would have been better if all the props were there, I was missing a clean shirt so I had to skip it which confused me and flow of the story. The story was complete when I practiced it Friday, so i must have dropped it somewhere. Frustrating. Fingerplay 3: Hickory Dickory Dock. Flannel: Counting Duckies (soon to be on Flannel Friday) and then suddenly it was a half hour and time to go. My Hand Says Thank You… Handout: Accucut Rubber Duckie
Saturday Storytime attendance: 47
Miss Mouse was wearing a pretty yellow dress and told a joke:
Car go beep beep beep.
fingerplay: Clap. clap your lap. Book 1:Chickens to the Rescue. by John Himmelman. We practiced saying “Chickens to the rescue”. It was too much for one boy who cried at the noise, so we toned it down.It’s such a funny book. Prop Story:Too Much Noise by Ann McGovern. An oldie but a goodie. I like audience participation, so I’ve worked the story to include instruments:
The bed creaked? tambourines
The floor squeaked? clappers
The leaves falling on the roof? rattles
Tea kettle whislting? jingle bells
After the instruments have been passed out, we practice a bit. Usually it’s a cacophony of sound, which is okay, the point is these things are noisy. I tell the story, using puppets as the animals the wise man counsels Peter into getting. I love this story. Song:Drivin’ in my Car by Ralph’s World Book 2:Big Yellow Sunflower by Frances Barry. I like throwing in a book that has nothing to do with the week’s theme… it mixes it up. Have you seen this title? When the pages unfurl, the mystery of that little seed is revealed. Story Card and Song:: Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton. We photocopied the book to make it large enough for crowds to see. It’s one of my favorite Boynton books; I love the cadence. We somehow have the music to this as well. And we tried it out. Too hard to do in preschool storytime. I’d almost like to do it with grade school kids. Book 3:Pigs to the Rescue by John Himmelman. So Chickens to the Rescue ends with the pigs running in to help the Greenstalk family. We had time, so I read this one… but those piggies are not nearly as helpful as the chickens. I like the chicken book better and will not be doing both books in one storytime. It’s too much. Fingerplay 2: Roll roll sugar babies. Book 4:If You’re Happy and You know it by David Carter.
I love picnics. I love sandwiches. I do not, however, love bugs. Sam’s Sandwich by David Pelham is a wonderful lift-the-flap book. It’s a bit small for story times. This flannel/prop story is from a former colleague. I learned more about storytelling from her than anyone I’ve ever worked with.
Samantha likes to eat. One Sunday she builds a sandwich to satiate her appetite … her brother Sam decides she needs extra protein.
I end with this:
Mmmm, anyone want a bite of this sandwich? You? What about you? No? I don’t blame you.
Saturday Storytime attendance: 40 Which is pretty good for a Memorial Day weekend.
Miss Mouse was wearing her Pink Chocolate dress, pink feather boa, chef’s toque. She was getting ready to make breakfast. Miss Mouse: was hiding behind eggs of course. She was behind the zebra egg. fingerplay: Clap, Clap Your Lap. Book 1: Bear’s Busy Morning by Harriet Ziefert. Bear is having an active morning, can you guess what he’ll do next? Fingerplay: Roll Roll Sugar Babies Prop Song: Flip Flap Jack. If you’re unfamiliar with this little ditty, SoTomorrow did a flannel version of Flip Flap Jack. Song 2:Drivin in My Car by Ralph Covert. Everyone loves this one… even the dads. prop story:Imogene’s Antlers by David Small. Breakfast themed? Yep. They hang doughnuts on her antlers. Song:The Freeze Song. There are so many versions… this is the one that says, “Listen closely to the freeze!” I think Greg and Steve did it Book: Chick by Ed Vere. Okay… this egg hatched into a chick… but it was an egg, so yes, Breakfast themed… Book:If You’re Happy and You know it by David Carter.