I love owls! They only come out at night, they can turn their heads way around, they make cool noises, they have enormous eyes, and they’re quite fashionable at the mo. Not only did I have owl shirts to wear for this storytime, two storytimers showed up wearing owls and THEY DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT WAS THE THEME. We’re so hip!
Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood
Owl is curious and takes a nap in order to wake up in time to watch the day. Every time Owl sees a new, beautiful daytime color, she says, “Wow!” This is a great book to use for a color storytime, as well.
Interactivity factor: High. Hello, color recognition! Plus the kids will probably start saying “Wow!” when it’s time even without encouragement to do so.
Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Little Hoot is a very happy young owl on the whole, but he sure doesn’t like staying up late. He wants to go to bed early like everyone else, but his mom keeps insisting he stay up and play like a good owl! This story works best with older preschoolers and early elementary, although parents are likely to giggle at the role reversal of the little one begging to go to sleep and the parents saying, “Go play!”
Interactivity factor: Low. If your group skews to the younger end of the scale, they will not get the joke and will get bored.
Good-night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins
Oh, Pat Hutchins, you so retro! Okay, not really. The book came out in 1972, so the illustrations were very now at the time. Now, though, they look delightfully retro. In this classic, owl is trying to sleep but all of the other birds and critters are making too much noise. Finally night comes and everyone goes to sleep…except Owl, who takes revenge by shrieking and waking them all up. Ha!
Interactivity factor: High. Ask the kids to help make the animal sounds.
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
Um, how cute is this little owl? SUPER cute. I had first grade boys in my second session go, “Awww!” when I pulled this one out. Little Owl does what many owls in picture books do, which is fly around at night and see the sights. In this case, the sights are primarily other nocturnal animals plus one sleepy bear. While the story’s not exactly stunningly original, no other owl does it quite so squee-inducingly.
Interactivity factor: High if you ask the kids to name the animals Little Owl encounters.
I’m lazy. I didn’t take a picture of this one. It’s just five die cut owls with mondo-sized wiggle eyes glued on.
Five Little Hoot Owls
Five little hoot owls sitting in a tree.
One flew away. How many do you see?
Source: Storytime Katie
We only did one action rhyme this week due to a little bit of weirdness with the age groups. We did the Owl Hokey Pokey! It’s the regular one but with wings for arms, talons for feet, and owl self for whole self.
Cardboard tube owls! Take a cardboard tube and squish one end down at opposite points using both thumbs to make your owl’s “ears.” Add wiggle eyes, a paper beak, and feathers or pre-cut wings, breast, and tail, and presto! Super cute owl. You can find a lot of ideas for these on the Internet, too, like doing them in pretty colors. We used plain, natural brown.
How It Went:
Hoo, boy. Well, at my first session, I walked in and seriously thought I had gotten my days confused and was supposed to be doing lapsit. I had about 10 storytimers and only two of them were above the age of 2. Nobody understood Little Hoot, nobody was really able to focus because they weren’t ready for preschool storytime yet, and everybody wanted to wander around. I wound up cutting most of the program and saying, “Okay, it’s craft time! Let’s go play with glue!” The next day, I got everything ready for my usual small crowd, since my numbers have been down this year. Unbeknownst to me, school was out that day! I only had the next day marked on my calendar. Suddenly I had a room full of kindergarteners and first graders. Oy. I had cut Little Hoot and not added a different book because it took so long to talk about the other books with the little ones. Well, since these kids were older and knew all their colors and animals, we breezed through pretty quickly. However, it went much better than the previous day. I’m always nervous when a bunch of elementary schoolers show up to preschool storytime because I’m afraid they will be bored. These kids all stayed invested in it and even thanked me afterward with no parental prompting. Phew!
Next up: Chicken Storytime!