Class Two at the Zoo by Julia Jarman
A co-worker had recommended this title to me when I said I was doing a zoo theme. Class Two goes on a field trip and while they teacher and students are looking at the animals in the zoo, the anaconda sneaks out and eats them one by one - until Molly notices and manages to rescue her friends.
Perhaps my narration was too ominous in the beginning because the little girl in front of me seemed VERY concerned about the well-being of class two.
Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch
I love Robert Munsch. Like Mo Willems, I look for any excuse to get one of his books into my storytimes. I love the zany humor, and even though the books tend to be long by picture book standards, there is a lot of repetition that the kids can pick up on.
In this book, Kristen's parents got lost on the way to the hospital and her mother gives birth in the zoo. But when they return home, they bring back different zoo animal babies instead of her new brother.
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
This was my first time using this book in a storytime but it will not be the last! It's the perfect book for when you need the kids to stand up and get their wiggles out. Everyone participated, even the grown-ups.
On each page is an Eric Carle illustration of some animal and a human mimicking their actions - from the monkey waving his arms to a crocodile wiggling his hips. The kids LOVED this.
5 Little Monkeys Flannel Board & Sing-along
I was happy to see that everyone knew this song by heart. I used a flannel board version we had in the closet and as each monkey fell off the bed, I put them upside down at the bottom of the board.
Little Beauty by Anthony Browne
I found this book by chance just searching the library catalog for zoo stories. It's a sweet little picture book about a lonely gorilla who asks the zoo keepers for a friend. They give him a little kitten named Beauty. It's another book that looks too long for storytime but when you open it up there are plenty of textless pages so it wasn't an issue. The kids seemed to enjoy it.
Old MacDonald's Zoo
I just made this up on the spot after going through our storytime closet and finding as many stuffed animals as possible. I put them in a box so the kids couldn't see what I would pull out, then sang the song and told them the sounds I needed. We had a monkey (oooh! oooh!), a crocodile (SNAP! SNAP!), polar bear (Growl! Growl! [snagged this idea from Peek-A-Zoo book), parrot (squwauk! squwauk!), and, of course, a lion (roar roar!)
My Heart is like a Zoo by Michael Hall
This is a relatively new book but the cover caught my eye. I pointed out to the kids before I started reading that all of the images in the book were created using heart-shapes. It gave them something to look for since this book is a bit more low-key, more of a poem than a story, talking about different animals and emotions.
Craft: Monkey Mask
We had some leftover monkey faces in the storytime closet. I had the kids color them and then asked them to bring them to me when they were done and I would attach a popscicle stick to the back and turn it into a mask. This was great because 1) I was able to guard the tape, and 2) I got to see all their handy work and congratulate them on a job well done. Made for some adorable moments.
My favorite moment was the little girl who I had freaked out during the first story. She came up to get her stick and was really quiet and shy. I taped the stick to the back and handed the mask to her saying "make sure it works for me". She put the mask up to her face and went "OOOH! OOH! OOH!" like a little monkey! So adorable! haha.
Now to figure out what I'm going to do for my September run!