Boundtracks, a music and book pairing for multi-media enjoyment:
“On a summer evenin’ when the corn’s head-high,/ And there’s more lightnin’ bugs than stars in the sky.
Ah, you get the feelin’ things may be alright,/ On a summer evenin’ before the dark of night.”
“It was summer in Iowa…” and there was magic, and it started with a wall…
*The entire album Going Driftless would pair well with this book, in fact.
For this storytime, you need:
1 cat puppet
1 copy of There are Cats in the Book
1 copy of Cat Secrets
Any other cat picture books that strike your fancy, especially ones that detail cat behavior.
1 copy of Hide and Seek with Grover if you want to go the meta route.
With this storytime, the through line is that the cat puppet, which you should refer to as a kitten, doesn’t know how to act like a cat. When you introduce the puppet to the group, talk about what makes it a cat–the eyes, the ears, the nose, the whiskers, the tail, etc. Then ask the kids what else cats do. (If you get a kid to say “poop on the floor!” or bed or rug, you have a great group on your hands.) Eventually someone will say meow, or actually meow. That’s when you say, “Let’s hear the library kitten meow!”
Now, here you have to pause for effect. I actually ask the kitten if it is ready to meow, and it will nod enthusiastically. Then I stretch it out and say, “MOOOOOOO!”
That should get a big laugh. If you had a poop-talker earlier, it might take you some time to get the crowd back under control. Talk to the kitten again, reminding her that she needs to Meow. Have the kids demonstrate. Have the cat fail again. (I think I went through five different animals.) That’s when I would say, “You know, this kitten just doesn’t know how to be a cat. When I don’t know how to do something, I read a book about it.” Read a cat book. Try again. Cat fails again. (In addition to the wrong animal noises, I also had the cat beep like a car. Feel free to improvise. No, more than feel free; I demand you improvise.) Read another cat book. After the second book, I had the cat finally succeed, and I finished my storytime with Hide and Seek with Loveable, Furry Old Grover,* which made my storytime half about cats and half about meta-fiction. Really, you can’t lose with this one.
*Speaking of which, please please please read the Grover books to your children, both your personal children and your storytime kids. Half the kids I read this too shouted “Cookie Monster” and the other half yelled “Elmo!” I almost had a rage stroke, I kid you not. I had to spend far too much time telling the children how Grover was better than Elmo, and different than Cookie Monster.