This week, I used a monster theme in storytime. Although it was Halloween on Wednesday, we had done Halloween storytime the week before because we also have a Thursday storytime. I just wanted to march into work on November 1, tear away the Halloween decor, and transition back to my lovely, unobtrusive “generic fall” decorating scheme. I love Halloween, but when I’m done, I’m done.
However, I didn’t want to have no Halloween fun on Halloween! I went with monsters because it’s not specifically Halloween but fits in really well. Here’s the lowdown:
The Monsters’ Monster by Patrick McDonnell
A lovely story about three itty-bitty monsters who try to solve their feud over who’s the biggest and baddest by building a fourth monster who will be the roaringest, destroyingest, village-terrorizingest fiend in the history of monsterdom. But when Monster wakes up, rips off his bandages, and starts to lurch around, he turns out to be the gentlest of souls and teaches the little guys that it’s more fun to be happy than to be a monster.
Interactivity factor: Low. I asked the kids what they thought would happen next every time Monster started off on a new action, but that was about it.
The Baby That Roared by Simon Puttock
Soooo does that blue blob on the cover look like a baby? Nope! But the baby-crazy Mr. and Mrs. Deer are easily fooled by a note indicating that the monster is just an innocent baby. Unfortunately, it will not stop roaring! The two deer call all their friends one by one to come help, but the friends keep disappearing! Hm, I wonder where they could be? I’m sure the baby didn’t EAT them, oh my no!
Interactivity factor: Kids can roar along with the pseudo-baby. Be sure you give them a start/stop cue so you can get back to the plot without them yelling over the top of you.
*Warning: The monster (baby) TOTALLY eats the animal friends. He belches them back out at the end of the book unharmed but ticked off, and there is a large green burping scene, so know the gross-out pulse of your audience before attempting.
If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca Emberly and Ed Emberly
This book follows the “If You’re Happy and You Know It” formula, but with monster sounds/actions instead. I sang the lines and we all acted the book out. The illustrations are vibrant enough that the kids looked at them even though we were dancing around like crazy folk. There is a downloadable version of the song, but I didn’t like it enough to use it.
Interactivity factor: High, if you’re brave.
Flannelboard: One Little Monster
This flannelboard is very fun to make! I freehand cut out the monsters, then added stripes, spots, and other features using the resultant scraps. Stick on more (or fewer) wiggle eyes than any creature needs, and blammo! Monsters!
One little monster ROAR, ROAR, ROAR
This little monster called for a friend
Now there is one monster more.
Continue with two, three, and four monsters, then sing final verse.
Five little monsters, five little monsters
Five little monsters ROAR, ROAR, ROAR
These little monsters went home to bed.
No more monsters anymore!
Credit: Miss Katie’s Storytime Wiki
Monsters galore, can you roar? (Roar.)
Monsters galore, can you soar? (Flying motions.)
Monsters galore, please shut the door. (Clap.)
Monsters galore, fall on the floor! (Sit/fall down.)
Credit: SurLaLune Storytime
If you want to be a monster, now’s your chance
‘Cause everybody’s doing the monster dance
You just stamp your feet, wave your arms around
Stretch ‘em up, stretch ‘em up,
Then put them on the ground
‘Cause you’re doing the monster stomp
That’s right! You’re doing the monster stomp
Credit: SurLaLune Storytime
Craft: Monster Printables
I printed off some monster coloring sheets I found online, cut up some sparkly tissues paper, and let the kids color the monsters and scrunch n glue the paper to them. The younger kids loved smooshing up the tissue paper,
How It Went:
So far, this storytime session was my favorite. We usually start with stretches, but we did “Monsters Galore” instead since it ends with them on the floor, in perfect first-story position. The first two books were long-ish (hence my only reading three books this time), but I loved them so much that I had to use them anyway. Since I loved them so much, reading them with loads of enthusiasm came easily, and the kids loved them. Both were also a huge hit with the parents. Moms went “Awwww!” all over The Monsters’ Monster, and one dad applauded for The Baby That Roared. You have to love it when the parents are as entertained as the kids!
My second session was a little rocky, even though everyone wound up having a good time. Librarians, repeat after me: I will NOT do a storytime the day after Halloween! I only had two children for a third of my morning session on 11/1. I wound up with about 15, but everyone dragged in slowly, exhausted from trick or treating the night before. Not only were they exhausted, they all seemed to be in various stages of Sugar Crash. One usually perky little girl started crying because her dad spontaneously tickled her, and it scared her. He does this all the time and she usually loves it, but the poor baby was so tired! We got her cheered back up, though. The afternoon session went better; I had the usual huge daycare class there and they are all great roarers. They also sat there saying “Dank you! Dank you! Dank you!” during The Monsters’ Monster in imitation of the title character. However, due to a school closure, we had a few 6-8 year olds, and they were appalled by my giant fake burp during Baby That Roared. Yes, I grossed out an 8-year-old boy. I have powers.
The 2-4 year olds loved the craft, the 5-year-olds had mixed reactions, and the older kids had a great time trying to make their monsters look as Satanic as possible with red and black color schemes, possibly as a reaction to my offerings of bright green, purple, and pink glittery tissue paper.
Overall, an A+ with kids and caregivers! I’ll definitely revisit this idea in future.