This week’s storytime was all about that favorite topic of little boys, trucks and construction equipment. By the way, people don’t give girls enough credit for their interest in trucks. The gender divide doesn’t seem as strong in small children. They haven’t gone to school and learned that they’re only allowed to be interested in certain topics yet.
What Can a Crane Pick Up? by Rebecca Kai Dotlitch
I hate to use the slang term adorbs, but this book is adorbs, y’all! All these smiley, cute cranes pick up everything from submarines to library books to each other to boxes and boxes of underwear. The cartoony format of the art and text is eye-catching, but be sure you give it a few reads before using it in a session since the text goes everywhere.
Interactivity factor: High. The book is written in Q&A format. It asks, “Can a crane pick up (object)?” and you can pause to let the kids offer their opinion. (Spoiler: cranes can pick up anything!) All three of my sessions let out some big laughs for this one, not just on the underwear page, but for several of the illustrations.
Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman
This book is an old favorite but is new to me. A trash collector named Mr. Gilly drives around Trashy Town emptying garbage cans until it’s all clean, and he takes great pride in his work. No blue collar snobbery here! He even has a catchy refrain he says while he works. I don’t like the art, personally, but the kids seemed to love it.
Interactivity factor: High. Get the kids saying the refrain with you! Also, every time Mr. Gilly empties the garbage cans, the text asks if the truck is full.
I Love Trucks! by Philemon Sturgis
More of a toddler read than a preschool read, this simple rhyming parade of trucks nevertheless captivates all ages.
Interactivity factor: Low, although you can always ask questions about the illustrations.
Construction Countdown by K. C. Olson
Starting with 10 dump trucks and ending with one sandbox, this book counts down in different kinds of construction trucks.
Interactivity factor: Again, low, but you can ask about the trucks.
Flannelboard: Trashy Town Game
I hate drawing my own flannelboard shapes, so I use our dyecut machine as often as possible when I’m making sets. Sometimes we don’t have the shape I want, and this time we didn’t have a dump truck. So these dump trucks are made from a trapezoid dye, a locomotive dye (trimmed) and a pepperoni dye. I’m happy with them.
For our flannelboard, I had five colors of truck and five colors of “trash can” — those cups at the bottom left. I also had five colors of “trash” — scraps of paper and felt — which I scattered around. Then, color by color, I “drove” the trucks around the room and picked up the trash from the kids. They had to match the trash color to the truck/can color. Each time, we said the Trashy Town rhyme. The kids always love being directly involved with the flannelboard.
Action Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It
There are not a lot of songs about trucks, so we pulled out the old favorite. I did show everyone how to do the Charleston, so it wasn’t a wasted learning opportunity.
Craft: We did this craft, which I saw on the fabulous Storytime Katie’s blog.
How it went:
Hands down, this was the most conversation-heavy storytime I’ve had so far! Everyone wanted to talk about their favorite truck. The crane book made a big splash and a few kids decided cranes are their favorite. In two sessions, the kids didn’t know what most of the construction trucks were, but there was one boy in the first session who knew ALL of them, even the grader and the cherry picker! What cracked me up was that during Construction Countdown, all the kids would start telling me which truck on which page was their favorite color and which one they wanted to take home.
Next time, I probably won’t do Construction Countdown. We have some nifty pop-up books on trucks headed our way. I can’t wait!