pigs & pancakes

At my (awesome) library, we’ve been using letters of the alphabet to structure our preschool storytimes this spring. I borrowed the idea from Motherreader and tweaked it to my own tastes. Here’s my letter P storytime:

Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore by David McPhail

This Little Piggy fingerplay

If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff

Blow the Balloon/Sticky Sticky Sticky Bubblegum

I’m Invited to a Party! by Mo Willems

Letter P party: name things that start with letter P.

I love Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore. If you’re not familiar, it is the story of an Everydude who is, one night, swarmed by hungry, messy pigs (oh, the stereotyping!) Eventually he makes peace with the pigs, and after they clean up the mess they made they all enjoy a slumber party. (While I may not be the world’s best summarizer, it is just that weird). We talk about how those words–aplenty and galore–mean a WHOLE BUNCH of pigs. Some groups really lose it during the underwear part (Pigs from England,/ Pigs from France,/ pigs in just/ Their underpants) and other kids don’t even notice. Depends on how u-word centric they are, I guess.

If You Give a Pig a Pancake is one of the entries in Numeroff’s “If you” series, which intends to educate small children everywhere about the subjunctive mood tense, second person pov, and the dangers of being TOO GIVING. The pig eats her pancakes with syrup, and becomes sticky, so of course I follow this book with “Sticky Bubblegum.”   I learned blow the balloon and sticky bubblegum  from Hugh Hanley.*

I’m Invited to a Party is an easy reader, but it works surprisingly well for preschool storytime if you have an attentive group of kids and you read it in such a way so as to help them follow the sometimes slight changes in the characters’ appearances. At my library, we actually have made a flannel board set, and allowing the kids to actually see the layers of party clothing be added helps them recognize the absurdity of it all.

Then, of course, we end by naming a bunch of words that begin with P, and I write them down on the dry-erase boards. I have a couple kids who couldn’t care less about the stories and songs–they want to tell me all of the words they know, and pronto (PRONTO STARTS WITH P MISS JULIE!).

What are some of your favorite words that begin with the letter P? I like prelapsarian and potentate.

*I hereby COMMAND you in my most authoritative librarian voice to buy all of Hugh Hanley’s books and CDs (three altogether, and if you buy all of them you get a shipping discount). With these CDs in your professional tool-kit, you will never be at a loss for songs and fingerplays. Also, you should listen to all of them in sequence a few dozen times to absorb Hanley’s masterful ability with sequencing and creating a dramatic arc out of a series of songs. Trust me. Do it now. Further, you’ll be supporting an independent musician, which is always a good thing, right?

3 responses to “pigs & pancakes”

  1. ahhh, I teach in early childhood education and my 3yr olds love Pigs Aplenty… and it’s a pleasure to read it to them!


    1. Yep, it’s totally one of my all time favorite books. And 3’s are one of the best ages to work with. I love the 3s.


  2. Beyond the fact that I love pigs…and rhymes…and silliness – Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore is one of my favorite picture books!!!! How could anyone not love it? It is replete with awesomeness. As a Middle School Librarian I have few chances to read it, but I keep a copy at home and in my car for whenever I get access to one of my friends’ children for more than a few seconds.


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