I’m not doing a Thanksgiving storytime, well, ever. I have some issues with the revisionist history whitewash job plastered all over this holiday. However, I don’t have issues to the point that I can’t get into the idea of cooking a lot of food and therefore having a lot of leftovers and NOT cooking for a long time.
Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, chances are that you eat food, so I decided to food-theme the storytime. I originally planned to do a turkey storytime, but all of our turkey-driven picture books were either boring or in-your-face busy, so that idea got scrapped. Next idea: pie! I still had a rough time finding books and extension activities, but here’s the breakdown.
The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
The children in this book have an apple tree, and they describe the seasonal changes it goes through from the barren winter to the autumn harvest, when they have apples for fresh apple pie. Also, some birds hatch and grow up with the apples.
Interactivity factor: Low. I kept them listening by asking them to predict what would happen next or asking questions about what’s going on in the pictures.
All for Pie, Pie for All by David Martin
Grandma Cat makes an apple pie that goes a long, long way. Every cat in the family has a slice, the mice in the house each get a piece of the slice that’s left, and the ants in the house get the crumbs from the slice the mice ate. Then the pie is gone. What to do? Bake another!
Interactivity factor: Low, but it’s a short, cute story.
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson
This book is the only one I used that mentions Thanksgiving. It’s a reimagining of the old lady who swallowed a fly with Thanksgiving foods. In the end, she’s so big from all that eating that they use her as a balloon in a parade.
Interactivity factor: Medium. If you have an older group and go slowly, they can sing/say the story along with you.
Flannelboard: Little Fly
These pie slices look a little wavy, don’t they? Well, that’s because technically they’re pizza slices. I made them with our dyecut machine. The black speck in the middle is my freehanded fly. I know, not very elaborate this week, but the kids liked it anyway.
I put the pieces up on the board one at a time, asking as I went what color and flavor of pie each one was. Then I had everyone cover their eyes while I hid the fly. I let them guess which slice he was under. Each time, we’d say,
Little fly, little fly, are you under the (insert flavor here) pie?
And so on until we found the fly.
Apples and Bananas
An old favorite, this song makes a game out of switching out vowel sounds. My favorite part was “ooples and boonoonoos.”
In two sessions, we didn’t have time for anything else. In the middle session where the group is pretty young, though, we had extra time since they don’t contribute to the discussion quite as heavily as the older kids. With this group, we sang about Thanksgiving pie.
Thanksgiving Pie Song (to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”)
This is the way we slice the pumpkin, slice the pumpkin, slice the pumpkin,
This is the way we slice the pumpkin to make Thanksgiving pie.
Continue with pour the flour, roll the dough, stir the filling, sprinkle spices, bake our pie, and eat a slice.
Craft: Scented Paper Pies
There are several versions of this craft online. For ours, I used the dye cut machine to make brown paper “pie” slices (again with the pizza dye), then I told the kids to color it like their favorite kind of pie. Then after they smeared glue all over the pieces with glue sticks, I let them pass around shakers of pumpkin pie spice and sprinkle it onto the glue to make scented pie slices. Here’s mine. It’s supposed to be cherry but looks kinda pepperoni-ish.
How it went:
I admit I worried that I didn’t have enough action in this one, but it went well. The kids all LOVED the flannelboard game. I loved hearing their pie flavor suggestions, like tomato pie for red, water pie for blue, and especially sunshine pie for yellow! They stayed tuned in to the stories because I engaged them in conversation about the books as much as I could. I had a lot of non sequiturs in this storytime, including:
Prior to our hello song, which includes singing the kids’ names, a little girl said, “Do my frog first!” and held up a little stuffed frog. When I asked her his name, she said, “His name is…” think think think think “…Love!” Aw.