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Colors Storytime Summer 2014

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How soon is too soon to reuse a theme? Some people would say that using a single story repeatedly works wonderfully. Others might say that returning to a pre-used theme too soon is monotonous. I fall somewhere in the middle. Babies and toddlers at my programs do seem to relish repetition, but if I repeat something too quickly (story, song, etc) with the preschool crowd, they get all suspicious on me, even if it’s something they loved the first time. On the other hand, storytime is about constant repetition: counting objects in illustrations, talking about colors, or discussing the morals of stories, which are often variations on the themes of friendship, sharing, family, and so on. All this nattering is by way of confessing that I used a theme today that I just used a few months ago in my spring series, and I’m not sorry.

Today’s letter was C for Colors!

We read:

It’s an Orange Aardvark! by Michael Hall

I love Michael Hall’s shape books, but this color-themed story really stole my heart. A handful of carpenter ants (they wear hard hats!) live in a tree stump. When one of them drills a peephole that lets in a glimpse of the color orange, a naysayer claims it’s an orange aardvark coming to eat them! Determined to prove him wrong, the driller adds more holes, letting in every color of the rainbow. The naysayer has a horrifying additional explanation for each color (the red is ketchup), but finally the rest of the group realizes they’re seeing a rainbow. Unfortunately, after they fly away to explore, the orange aardvark does show up! Or maybe he’s just still a figment of the last ant’s imagination…or he’s real and the others didn’t fly away, they got eaten…or…

Concept: Colors

Caterina and the Lemonade Stand by Erin Eitter Kono

Caterina the creative little brown bird is back, and this time she’s opening a summer lemonade stand to earn enough money for a new red scooter to, we assume, replace her old blue one. However, when all her friends open lemonade stands, her business plan looks shaky, until little brother Leo comes up with the idea for rainbow lemonade. They freeze fruit in every color of the rainbow to make rainbow ice cubes that also flavor the lemonade, and Caterina’s Color Your Own Lemonade stand is a hit. She makes enough money to buy that new red scooter…for Leo, so they can go riding together.

Concept: Creativity. Generosity.

Magic Colors by PatrickGeorge

If you haven’t gotten your hands on one of the Magic series books yet, I recommend them. Each book has a transparent overlay that changes the picture on the next page. I don’t think I can adequately explain, but if you check out PatrickGeorge’s website, you can see the magic happen!

Concept: Colors.

 

Flannelboard: White Rabbit’s Color Book

I found the plans for this flannel, based on White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker, at Sunflower Storytime. I have wanted to make a video of it for some time so that any of our branch people who check out the kit can see the order instead of having to read the instructions. Enjoy my messy office, weird lighting, and rainy day hair.

Action Songs:

If You’re Wearing Any Red

If you are wearing red, shake your head
If you are wearing red, shake your head
If you are wearing red
Then please shake your head
If you are wearing red, shake your head

If you are wearing blue, touch your shoe
If you are wearing blue, touch your shoe
If you are wearing blue,
Then please touch your shoe
If you are wearing blue, touch your shoe

If you are wearing green, bow to the queen
If you are wearing green, bow to the queen
If you are wearing green,
Then please bow to the queen
If you are wearing green, bow to the queen

If you are wearing yellow, shake like Jell-O
If you are wearing yellow, shake like Jell-O
If you are wearing yellow,
Then please shake like Jell-O
If you are wearing yellow, shake like Jell-O

If you are wearing black, pat your back
If you are wearing black, pat your back
If you are wearing black,
Then please pat your back
If you are wearing black, pat your back

If you are wearing brown, turn around
If you are wearing brown, turn around
If you are wearing brown,
Then please turn around
If you are wearing brown, turn around

Source: NIH

When the song was over, I added this verse to transition us to the next story:

If you’re wearing any brown, please sit down.
If you’re NOT wearing brown, please sit down!
If you’re wearing any brown, or if you’re NOT wearing brown,
Everybody in the room, please sit down.

A Tooty Ta Ta

I’m going to let this video by Dr. Jean explain this one for me.

Experiment: Color Mixing Lemonade

I used this theme for two reasons. First, I was dying to use Magic Colors and It’s an Orange Aardvark. DYING TO. Also, I fell in love with the idea of rainbow lemonade in Caterina and the Lemonade Stand. Since frozen fruit wouldn’t have shown the kids much about the properties of color, though, I set up a food coloring experiment.

To replicate it, you’ll need:

  • Cups
  • Lemonade
  • Food coloring (the standard blue/red/yellow/green pack)
  • Napkins
  • Stirrer sticks or spoons
  • A spill-proof area

A volunteer set up the cups and filled them about halfway with lemonade while I was leading storytime. After we read our last story, we had the kids line up at the table and choose which colors to put in their lemonade. The volunteer and I added the food coloring. I would have preferred to let the kids do it, but then I thought that we would have hand sanitation issues, plus the bottles are tiny and one enthusiastic squirt would have wiped out an entire color, plus the potential for clothing/carpet/younger sibling damage. The kids were allowed to choose one color or choose multiple colors to see what new color they could create. Then, we drank lemonade!

How It Went: Awesome! Even though we just did this theme not long ago, the books, songs, and experiment were new. Some of the storytimers had seen the flannel before, but they love it, so they were happy to see it again. Some surprises: When I asked if aardvarks are really orange, one boy said, “Can I tell you something about aardvarks?” I said yes, and he told us that they are known as earth pigs, are grey/brownish, live in the African savannah, and eat ants or termites, usually termites because termite mounds are prolific in the area. Naturally, we were all impressed that he knew so much about aardvarks! About half the audience knew A Tooty Ta Ta already, and they all got so into the song that I didn’t have to use my sit down transition rhyme afterwards. They just collapsed! The older boys loved the aardvark book because they thought the aardvark had probably eaten the flying ants, and everyone wanted me to turn the Magic Colors pages over and over and over and over and over and… If I hadn’t mentioned lemonade, I would still be turning those pages. I worried that Caterina would be too quiet for them, but the girls all liked the craftiness of the story, and the boys liked that Caterina was so good to her little brother.

The lemonade experiment went over really well, because even though we had talked about color combinations during storytime, seeing color mixing is the best way to get the concept across. Most of the kids wanted purple lemonade and couldn’t remember which colors would make purple, so I would help them reason it out by choosing which colors looked most like purple. Yellow and green don’t look like purple, and blue does, so by process of elimination, they’d know red had to be the color to mix with blue. Some boys wanted green and blue together, which makes forest green. I called it Swamp Juice, which they loved. And one 3/4-ish year old wanted brown to match his shirt! Later I asked if it tasted different from regular lemonade, and he insisted it really did. I asked him, “Did it taste browner?” and he said, “YES!” Despite being indoors due to rain, we did not ruin the carpet with our colorful sippers. Also, our teen volunteer and I learned that if you lightly put the coloring in and give the cup a little shake, it looks like one of those color-layered cocktails you see all over Pinterest. Hooray for mocktails at the library? Oh, summer reading.

Next week: Dead time! We take the week of the 4th off from programming because most of the town goes on vacation. I’ll be back in two weeks to talk about slime, oobleck, and such.

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