2016 Picture Books Preview!

Holy guacamole, folks. You all know I love writing book round-up posts. Evidence can be seen here, here, here, and here. But this is the first time I’ve been able to write a post about books that haven’t even been published yet in Canada! A few weeks ago I attended a Library Bound book preview event where I learned all about 2016 picture book releases.  I’ve also been avidly scouting Twitter for news of upcoming publications.  Put the two together and presto!

Because I work in a large library system with centralized purchasing it can be hard to stay on top of forthcoming titles. If you’re like me, I hope this post is a collection development resource for you.  I’ve chosen to highlight fiction.  The maple leaves indicate a Canadian author, illustrator, or publisher.

I’ve organized them into (very scientific) categories.  I hope you enjoy!  Please leave a comment with any I missed or don’t know about yet.


the bear and the pianoThe Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield. A British import from a debut author/illustrator. Stunning illustrations and a touching story of a bear who travels to New York to play the piano.

Bears in a bandBears in a Band by Shirley Parenteau; illustrated by David Walker. Part of a lively series including Bears on Chairs and Bears in the Bath. Super adorbs bears form a noisy orchestra that threatens to wake up Big Brown Bear.

A beginner's guide to bear spottingThe Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson; illustrated by David Roberts. Author of Rosie Revere, Engineer is back with what Kirkus calls a quirky, appealing title about a child who braves the great outdoors to find some bears. The child has brown skin and is of ambiguous gender.

horrible bearHorrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by Zachariah OHora.  The duo behind Wolfie the Bunny brings us a tale of the power of words and the nature of forgiveness.

Bedtime and Sleeping

Cat NapCat Nap by Toni Yuly. This one will be great for storytime. Cat is ready for a nap, but Kitten has other ideas! Lots of opposites and a mouse that hides on every page. A definite buy if you like Yuly’s other books.

cricket songCricket Song by Anne Hunter. I loved the illustrations in this bedtime story that incorporates the sounds and animals of the night. There is a bottom panel showing how children all over the world are connected.

good night like this

Good Night Like This by Mary Murphy.  Another hit from Murphy, author of A Kiss Like This!  Perfect for a pyjama storytime, different animals tuck their little ones in to bed.

rock a bye romp

Rock-A-Bye Romp by Linda Ashman; illustrated by Simona Mulazzani. Kirkus says, “A fine addition to the nursery bookshelf for baby and all” about this extension of the classic nursery rhyme Rock-a-Bye Baby. I’m excited to share it in baby storytime!

twenty yawnsTwenty Yawns by Jane Smiley; illustrated by Lauren Castillo.  An award winning duo created this bedtime tale with twenty yawns sprinkled in for children to discover and count.

Board Books

Beach babymaple-leafBeach Baby by Laurie Elmquist; illustrated by Elly MacKay. Elmquist is a fellow British Columbian and this is a sweet lullaby about the perfect day at the beach. MacKay’s beautiful paper cut collages caught my eye in Butterfly Park and she continues to dazzle.

cars go Cars Go by Steve Light.  I love Light’s other transportation books because of the sound effects – perfect for baby and toddler storytimes.  Pumped to add the newest addition to the shelves.

duck and goose let's danceDuck and Goose, Let’s Dance! by Tad Hills. Duck and Goose are back with a quack-filled song and dance. You can download the song on their website.

hamsters on the gomaple-leafHamsters on the Go by Kass Reich. Another book in the Hamsters series by Canadian author and illustrator Reich. In this board book, the hamsters show all the different ways they travel from here to there.

my heart fills with happinessmaple-leafMy Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith; illustrated by Julie Flett. Oh boy, am I excited for this one! Both Smith and Flett are from B.C. and I love everything Flett illustrates. This beauty of a board book is a wonderful reflection on the joyful moments of our lives.


Books That Didn’t Fit Into Any Of the Other Categories

a-hungry-lion-or-a-dwindling-assortment-of-animalsmaple-leafA Hungry Lion, Or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins. This is a debut picture book that is reminiscent of I Want My Hat Back and other darkly funny tales. A hungry lion is ready for a fun day with friends until they all start disappearing.

Frank and LAvernemaple-leafFrank and Laverne by Dave Whamond. What caught me about this one was the interesting format. You can read the book from either end and get two perspectives – one from Frank and one from Laverne – about what really happened. A cat vs. dog tale with a twist.

peep and eggPeep and Egg: I’m Not Hatching by Laura Gehl; illustrated by Joyce Wan. A new series for toddlers that is cute and funny. Egg overcomes her fears and hatches just in time for the fun to start. I’m marking this as storytime potential. The second book is already set to come out in August and it’s about Halloween!

snappsy the alligatorSnappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to be in the Book) by Julie Falatko; illustrated by Tim J. Miller. Reminiscent of Mo Willems’ Pigeon, Snapsy is a funny story of an alligator whose day is interrupted by a pesky Narrator who tries to make the story more interesting by adding in some giggle worthy claims.

Community Celebrations

Malaikas costumemaple-leafMalaika’s Costume by Nadia Hohn; illustrated by Irene Luxbacher.  Malaika’s mother has moved to Canada to find a good job and provide for the family, but Carnival season is here and Malaika needs money for a new dress.  A story of family and the power of community.

maybe something beautifulMaybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy; illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Gorgeous illustrations help tell this true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California. Inspiring and transformative.


duck duck dinosaurmaple-leafDuck, Duck, Dinosaur by Kallie George; illustrated by Oriol Vidal. George is a fellow Vancouverite so this one immediately caught my attention. Three eggs hatch revealing a duck, a duck, and a dinosaur! A cute story about sibling rivalry with a diverse animal family.

field guide to grumpasaurusField Guide to the Grumpasaurus by Edward Hemingway. Huge parent appeal in this field guide format picture book about dealing with the moodiest of little ones.

Exploration and Adventure

an armadillo in new yorkmaple-leafAn Armadillo in New York by Julie Kraulis.  A follow up to An Armadillo in Paris.  This time Arlo uses his grandfather’s travel journal to visit famous landmarks throughout the Big Apple.

buddy and earlmaple-leafBuddy and Earl Go Exploring by Maureen Fergus; illustrated by Carey Sookocheff.  This is a sequel to Buddy and Earl which earned a starred review from Kirkus in 2015.  Two unlikely friends show that you don’t have to go far to have an epic adventure.

scribblemaple-leafScribble by Ruth Ohi. Circle, Square, and Triangle always know which way to go.  But along comes Scribble who takes them on a new adventure!  Earmarking this one for storytime.

Friendship and Love

be a friendBe a Friend by Salina Yoon. Yoon is no stranger to friendship books, and this one features a unique character – a mime! It’s being praised for its acceptance of difference and expression of self-acceptance.

hoot and peepHoot and Peep by Lita Judge. A loving sibling relationship between two owls set against a Parisian background. The little sister, Peep, makes lots of funny sounds that remind me of the book Froodle.


worm loves wormWorm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian; illustrated by Mike Curato. The only book I saw with any LGBTQ themes. Two worms defy tradition and what’s expected in their marriage ceremony. A celebration of love.


If I had a gryphon

maple-leafIf I Had a Gryphon by Vikki VanSickle; illustrated by Cale Atkinson. The brown skinned main character, Sam, yearns for an exciting pet like the ones in her book of mythological creatures. There’s a drooling hamster that sold me.

spare dog partsmaple-leafSpare Dog Parts by Alison Hughes; illustrated by Ashley Spires.  A Canadian duo bring us this story of a a dark-skinned child with dark, curly hair who wonders what odd collection of parts made her beloved canine companion.

violet and victormaple-leafViolet and Victor Write the Most Fabulous Fairy Tales by Alice Kuipers; illustrated by Bethanie Deeney.  A celebration of storytelling is the heart of this sibling story.  Kirkus says, ‘” jam-packed view of the creative process of two imaginative siblings.”

Libraries and Literacy

daniel finds a poemDaniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer. If you follow me on Twitter you know how much I love poetry so I was ecstatic to see this story of a young African American boy who discovers poetry in nature. Kirkus agrees.

froggy goes to the library Froggy Goes to the Library by Jonathan London.  It’s the 28th Froggy title!  Froggy shows off his excitement to borrow books and learns a dance as well.

the lending zooThe Lending Zoo by Frank Asch. Known for his Moonbear series, Asch brings us a story about a zoo-brarian and the hunt for a missing tiger. A diverse cast of characters included.

library dayLibrary Day by Anne Rockwelll; illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell. Part of a series called My First Experience, this book shows an up-to-date visit to the library. There are male and female librarians and a child who uses a wheelchair using a computer. Score!

mom dad our books and memaple-leafMom, Dad, Our Books, and Me by Danielle Marcotte; illustrated by Josee Bisaillon. The love of reading is celebrated to the max in this book from Montrealers. A young boy encounters family and neighbours who all read what they like.

oops pounce quick runOops, Pounce, Quick, Run!: An Alphabet Caper by Mike Twohy.  What a unique alphabet book. Each letter stands for a word that helps the story of a mouse and a dog progress. Lot of opportunities for encouraging talking with children as you read.


yaks yakYaks Yak: Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park; illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt. I’ve loved Park since my niece was obsessed with Bee-Bim Bop! In this new one animals act out the verbs made from their names. Funny, clever, and I see teachers asking for this one a lot.

Loss and Leaving

always rememberAlways Remember by Cece Meng; illustrated by Jago. An elegant, for-sure-will-make-you-cry book about a group of ocean friends who remember Turtle after he dies. No religious messaging, just gorgeous illustrations and a lyrical story of death. See the Kirkus review.

before i leaveBefore I Leave by Jessixa Bagley. Bagley wrote the critically acclaimed Boats for Papa and is back with this tale of a hedgehog who has to move away from her anteater best friend. A friendship story that hits home.

harry and waltermaple-leafHarry and Walter by Kathy Stinson; illustrated by Qin Leng. Four-year-old Harry and ninety-two-year-old Walter are best friends, but can their friendship last when Harry has to move away? So happy to see more intergenerational stories being published!

how to mend a heartmaple-leafHow to Mend a Heart by Sara Gillingham. A diverse cast of characters lead us through many instances of a broken heart and how to heal in this beautifully illustrated book from a B.C. author.

ida alwaysIda, Always by Caron Levis; illustrated by Charles Santoso. Another tear jerker about a pair of polar bears who live in a zoo and what happens when one of them dies. I loved the large pages and bright colours used to depict a solemn topic.

mayamaple-leafMaya by Mahak Jain; illustrated by Elly MacKay. MacKay has been busy! But this is Toronto’s Mahak Jain’s first picture book about the power of story in helping a young girl deal with the death of her father.


bringing the outside inmaple-leafBringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals; illustrated by Patrice Barton. I’m not surprised the author is from B.C. because this book is all about getting outside! A celebration of dirt, nature, and play that gets kids up and moving featuring a diverse cast of children.

when spring comesWhen Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes; illustrated by Laura Dronzek. Big, bright pages showcase the joy and language associated with spring. Henkes and Dronzek deliver another nature title that would be great for storytime.


gator dadGator Dad by Brian Lies.  Author of the Bats series, Lies shows us how a gator dad and his kids have a fun-filled day doing every day things like grocery shopping and trip to the park.  Looks like a lovely male caregiver depiction.

mamasaurusMamasaurus by Stephan Lomp.  I’m eyeing this one for storytime. A baby dinosaur gets lost and has to find his mama with the help of his prehistoric friends. Reminiscent of Are You My Mother?

monster and sonMonster and Son by David LaRochelle; illustrated by Joey Chou. LaRochelle’s Moo! and It’s a Tiger! are storytime staples, so I’m excited to try out this new one featuring a slew of monsters and how they love their children.

my new mom and meMy New Mom and Me by Renata Galindo.  A picture book debut by Galindo who lives in Mexico City. Told from the perspective of a puppy adopted by a cat, this sweet story of adoption is an honest and heartwarming take on the topic.

tell me a tattoo storyTell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee; illustrated by Eliza Wheeler.  It’s about time someone wrote a picture book about tattoos! This one is framed as a modern father-son love story. “The father tells his little son the story behind each of his tattoos, and together they go on a beautiful journey through family history. ”

thunder boy jrThunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexi; illustrated by Yuyi Morales. An award-winning duo pair up in this touching father-son book that a young boy searching for a name of his own. So happy to see this book get published!



go little green truckGo, Little Green Truck! by Roni Schotter; illustrated by Julia Kuo.  This one was tagged with storytime potential. It stars Little Green Truck who loves to help out on the farm and deliver food to the farmer’s market.

josephs big ridemaple-leafJoseph’s Big Ride by Terry Farish; illustrated by Ken Daley.  Inspired by the author’s interviews with refugee children from Sudan, this story highlights one boy’s journey to finding a bike after moving to America.

maxi the little taxiMaxi the Little Taxi by Elizabeth Upton; illustrated by Henry Cole.  A sound effect infused ride through the city. Maxi gets all dirty riding through the city which leads to a tickly bath in the car wash. Cole illustrated And Tango Makes Three.

mighty truckMighty Truck by Chris Barton.  Author of Shark vs. Train brings this Cinderella tale of a truck who is transformed through a mysterious car wash.

the wheels on the tuk tukThe Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal, illustrated by Jess Golden. Roam through the streets of India in a three-wheeled taxi on this rendition of the popular children’s song. I can’t wait to sing this one in storytime.


Well-Known Authors and Illustrators (That Aren’t Already on this List)

frankencrayonFrankencrayon by Michael Hall.  Though it got a just okay Kirkus review, kids who liked Red will be drawn to another crayon saga this time about some mysterious scribbling that threatens to end the story.

hooray for kidsHooray for Kids! by Suzanne Lang; illustrated by Max Lang.  Described as an “ode to diversity” this book follows up the Lang’s 2015 Families, Families, Families!  A celebration of children at its best.

hopHop by Jorey Hurley.  Author Nest and Fetch brings us another one-word wonder that tells the story of a rabbit family.  Lots of great interactive verbs that would work well in a toddler storytime.

i want a monstermaple-leafI Want a Monster by Elise Gravel.  I love Gravel’s Disgusting Critters series and am glad to see her enter the picture book market. This story features a girl named Winnie who buys a baby Oogly Wump from the Monsterium and watches him grow.

let's playLet’s Play! by Herve Tullet.  Tullet is back with another interactive winner this time focused on emotions.  A book that supports social emotional learning in addition to covering topics such as colour, motion, and shape.

listen to our worldListen to our World by Bill Martin; illustrated by Melissa Sweet.  A variety of animals – whales, lions, kangaroos – are featured in this celebration of sound. Another great storytime choice illustrated by a Caldecott Honour illustrator.

maggie and michael get dressedMaggie and Michael Get Dressed by Denise Fleming. Fleming is back with a clothing themed story that introduces toddlers to colours as well. Based on the cover there’s a cute dog included.

my houseMy House by Byron Barton.  Toddlers rejoice! Barton has got another book filled with bold colours and simple sentences. Follow Jim the cat through all the rooms of a house.

a book of opppositesThe Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na. I may be biased because Il Sung Na is one of my favourite writers and illustrators, but this opposite-filled book is going to be a great addition to storytime shelves. Monkey visits all the animals in the zoo describing them along the way.

rain fishRain Fish by Lois Ehlert.  Mixed media collage illustrations fill this story about the collections of materials that float on rain water during storms. There is an author’s note about recycling. A great jump off for creating art using found objects.

ten kisses for sophieTen Kisses for Sophie by Rosemary Wells.  Two-year-old Sophie gets ready for a party and practices her counting in this new book from Wells featuring her cute toddler.

you are onemaple-leafYou are One by Sara O’Leary; illustrated by Karen Klassen. O’Leary wrote This is Sadie, my favourite picture book of 2015, so I am looking forward to this new book series which speaks directly to the child. It showcases common milestones of a baby’s first year and includes a diverse cast of babies to boot.

Wordless Or Nearly Wordless

skunk on a stringmaple-leafSkunk on a String by Thao Lam.  In this wordless wonder, a skunk has been tied to the tail of a balloon.  As he soars, he takes in a diverse city and eventually figures out how to help himself.

spot the cat

Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole. Detailed and intricate illustrations. Follow Spot as he travels around the city while his owner tries to hunt him down.

treatTreat by Mary Sullivan. This is a companion book to Sullivan’s Ball. Using just one word, a little dog does everything in his power to find a delicious treat. An interesting picture book/graphic novel hybrid with a diverse family.

Canadian Libraries Spotlight: Belleville Public Library

This week our Canadian Libraries Spotlight series turns fifteen! We’re celebrating with a post from a fellow YouTube creator: the Belleville Public Library in Ontario. Suzanne Humphreys who is their Coordinator of Children’s, Youth and Readers’ Services shares the how’s and why’s of a public library YouTube channel and we’ve even included one of their fan-tab-ulous videos down below!


We at the Belleville Public Library are adding another string to our social media bow with a YouTube channel. As with most libraries a frequently discussed issue is that of the schedule of a program being an obstacle for some families. As much as we make our customer needs a priority we are still bound by the confines of staff and space. We have very well attended story time programs but got to thinking about children who were not able to attend and came up with the idea of Storytime Anytime as a way for kids to have at least some of the storytime experience at home on their own schedule.

We are lucky enough to have an iPad in our department so the filming of the video clips was relatively easy and we figured that we could edit in iMovie and upload to YouTube in one swoop. However, it turned out to be the case that there were compatibility issues and using YouTube editor was the better option.

Our storytime programs are always introduced by our puppet Blossom the Bookworm who sings our welcome song and the kids just love her. We could not have Storytime Anytime without Blossom! We filmed a clip of Blossom introducing the Storytime and added this to the beginning of our videos. We also used her image on the button at the kid’s page of our website to link to our YouTube channel.


We recorded a handful of videos ready to upload. It is funny how intimidating that camera can be even when you are usually quite happy to be singing and bouncing and making a complete fool of yourself in the name of a fun filled storytime. And yes it is still painful to watch yourself on video but just fine watching your colleagues!

Once we had uploaded our first handful of videos we realized that the image quality was good but the sound was not great. It also varied from one computer to another and certainly from one reader to another. This (plus the onslaught of our Summer Reading Club!) slowed down the rate of adding more content. However, we were lucky enough to have the support of management to go ahead and purchase a camera and tripod that will certainly improve the quality of our videos and our still photography too. We are now filming new videos and using Movie Maker on our laptop to edit and upload. At the moment it is only videos from Children’s Services on our YouTube Channel but that is about to change as staff from throughout the library add patron testimonials, tutorials and book talks and create playlists for each. The possibilities are very exciting!

I have found that as with any new initiative and particularly when it involves technology there have been hiccups along the way but the very thought of one of our young story time patrons watching us at home when sick on the couch or while getting fussy in the car makes it so very worthwhile. Engaging new and existing customers through social media is an essential part of promoting the services and collections of the library and we hope that with this YouTube channel we can reach out to another segment of our public.

Baby Storytime: Putting it All Together

For the past seven months Dana and I have been writing about all the elements that make up our baby storytimes.  I decided to write a final post showing how all of these elements come together to form a complete 30-minute baby storytime at my library.  Here are the more detailed posts about each element:

You can also check out our Baby Storytime Beginner’s Guide which has links to resource books and other bloggers who share their ideas and plans. It’s important to remember that everyone does storytime different and that includes babytime!  In fact, my own baby storytime has changed over the years depending on my community, the size of the group, the resources I have on hand, and the things I’m currently digging.   I’ve written up two of my programs before – a basic baby storytime and one with play activities integrated.

This baby storytime is what I do for my group of about 10-14 caregivers and their babies who come to the library each week.

1. Welcoming Activities

Please read the  first post in this series for an explanation of my welcome puppet kisses, opening message, and group introductions.  This part takes about 5-10 minutes but really sets the tone for a welcoming and fun program.  One of the things I started doing this season is posting all the lyrics to the songs and rhymes on a giant flipchart.  I sit next to the flipchart and turn the pages as we go.  It has helped tremendously in allowing caregivers to participate in the babytime.


The two welcome songs I’ve been doing for my current session are:

I’m only able to do this song with my small babytime group because we sing a verse for everyone. Can you tell I really want people to get to know each other?

This is one of my favourites. For babytime, I do the following verses: touch your nose, touch your ears, clap your hands, beep your belly.  We also practice waving hello to each other at the end, one of the first social skills babies learn.

2.  Songs, Rhymes, and Bounces

After we do our welcome songs I move into some songs and bounces.  One of the things I’ve learned is to go slow. Sing each song 2-3 times through. Repeat songs every week.  Weave in early literacy tips and time to engage with the parents.  I’ve totally relaxed in this regard compared to when I first started.  Now I’ll throw out a question every now and then and try to get the caregivers to talk to me and each other.  It’s much less formal and much more engaging.  Here are the songs in my current rotation:

I learned this one from Mel’s Desk and it’s a babytime staple now.  Sometimes we swap out “roll” and use animal sounds like “moo, moo, sugar babies.”

I encourage caregivers to turn babies to face them while we do this bounce so that babies can watch their mouths form the words. This bounce is so fun- we squeeze, dip back, and tilt to the side.

A classic bounce.  Many of the caregivers already know this one so it’s fun for them to sing.  We do the second verse too – “One wheel’s off and the axle’s broken” and tip babies to the side.  I also added a verse called, “Bumping Up and Down in My Little Black Stroller” and we talk about ways to adapt songs to daily life.

This is a really simple bounce.  Each week we make up a new verse – a curvy road, a windy road, a rocky road.  A great way to model how to incorporate new vocabulary into baby’s life.

3.  Dancing and Movement

I love to dance and have incorporated that element into my babytimes.  Most of the songs include some lifting which the babies LOVE, but I offer modifications such as lifting baby’s arms instead.  Caregivers are also welcome to stay seated for this part. The three songs I’ve been doing lately are:

We sing this song 2-3 times and change out the name of the caregiver. Sometimes it’s Mama, sometimes Papa, sometimes Auntie.  Sometimes I ask for family names we can try out together.

My group has been loving this song lately.  We get in a circle and swing the babies towards the middle for the first group and then they each turn and face another baby for the second verse.  I have the caregivers find a partner before we start the song so they know who to turn towards.  Sometimes I’ll add a third verse that goes, “Go up and down the staircase” and caregivers can lift babies into the air.

A Vancouver favourite.  I end this song by adding on the line, “and we sit back down” which gets us all sitting and settled again.

4.  Read a Book

Please see the post I wrote on what I read at babytime for a list of read alouds that target baby’s brain development and encourage interaction between baby and caregiver. A really easy way to integrate an early literacy tip into storytime is to simply tell people why chose the book you are reading.  Does it have repetition?  Have bold, sharply contrasted images?  Is it by an author you love who has other books you would recommend?  Just explaining your choice is a tip to caregivers.

5.  Playtime

For the last ten minutes of baby storytime, I pull out one of the following play items and we sing some songs.  If I had some extra money laying around, I would invest in more baby toys for this part of the program. We usually do 3 songs that correlate to the play item.  Check out the links for examples of songs to do with each item.

6.  Goodbye Songs

I end each babytime by singing the ABCs and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  Then I go around and give everyone a goodbye kiss from my duckie puppet.  Caregivers are free to stay and play and talk to each other for as long as they’d like.
So that’s what my babytime looks like right now!  I’m sure it will change as I learn more and as I get access to new program supplies.  How do you do babytime? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Baby Storytime: Using Scarves and Egg Shakers

Babies are both natural musicians and dancers which as far as we’re concerned means they were made for scarves and egg shakers! We absolutely love busting out these props in baby storytime and hope by the end of this post you will too.  In case you’re interested we have written about using scarves and shakers for the general storytime crowd too. And of course don’t forget to check out the other posts in our Baby Storytime series:

2015-11-04 21.50.142014-12-02 15.28.572015-11-04 21.46.54

So first up the nuts and bolts: why are scarves and shakers so great for babies? Play is one of the five early literacy skills AND also one of the most overlooked. Tell parents baby storytime is not only a  chance for them to learn new songs and rhymes but also learn ways to play with their infant. Scarves and shakers lend themselves to peek-a-boo’ing, hide and seeking and best of all: tickling! Babies learn about conversations when they play back and forth games with adults and scarves and shakers can make this fun and help elicit a response from even the quietest infant. If parents are not convinced that early literacy can be this fun let them know when babies hold, scrunch, drop, and wave  scarves and shakers these movements develop their fine and gross motor skills which will make writing and typing easier down the road.  Or tell them that when you gently touch baby’s body parts with a scarf or shaker while naming them it will help baby remember the vocabulary better. And if they’re still listening maybe mention that shakers (and also scarves to some extent) help break words into smaller sounds, all the better for baby to process them!

A couple other notes on shakers and scarves: moreso than with any other storytime crowd, when they’re out they’re out. To try and get shakers and scarves back before the little ones have really had a chance to play with them would just be cruel. I tend to hand them out halfway through the program, after we’ve done a couple stand-up-and-move songs to capture the babies’ attention again and I collect them when the program is over and they’re getting ready to leave. If the group is new to you handing them out is a perfect chance to practice names and collecting them is a perfect chance to chat with parents. Sneaky, oh so sneaky! A final note, expect anything you hand to a baby to be chewed and drooled on. A lot.

Ok, let’s finally get into some songs and rhymes. Here is a list of our favourites to use with scarves and shakers. Feel free to use them interchangeably and make up your own versions. But only if you promise to share below 🙂

Peek a Boo

A baby storytime must. Have parents peek out from behind the scarf or for older babies place the scarf on their head and take turns pulling it off for the peek-a-boo.

Rain on the Grass

Another absolute gem which you can repeat several times and change the weather each time. Make sure to tell parents to drop the scarf on baby when they sing “not on me!”

Rain is Falling Down

When you live in Raincouver you’ve got to have several different rain songs and this one is soothing and calm. Encourage parents to have the scarves fall like rain on baby and gently drag them across baby’s chest when they sing splash and pitter, patter, pitter, patter rain is falling down.

All the Little Babies

Consider this our challenge to engage caregivers and have some fun. Parents will get a laugh out of this one which in turn equals happy babies!

We Wiggle and Wiggle and Stop

Similar to Everyone Can Shake, Shake, Shake this song is a fun way to introduce babies to the concept of stop before it’s an emergency. Encourage parents to try out new vocabulary like shiver, shake or tap when they’re singing at home.

Ride Baby Ride

This is another new song that I cannot get enough of. Parents can let baby hold the shaker while bouncing them on their lap or draw attention to the ch, ch, ch sound by shaking louder during those lines.

Head and Shoulders Baby

I like to tell parents this is a special version of head and shoulders just for baby- and it’s even more special when you sing it with shakers. Have parents gently tap on the body part they’re singing about and then shake out the 1, 2, 3.

Tick Tock

Ending with yet another favourite. Have caregivers rock baby or just the shaker back and forth to the rhythm and then shake it up high for the cuckoo!

That about does it for using scarves and shakers in Baby Storytime. This is your friendly reminder that we’ve got a Scarf Songs and Rhymes Playlist as well as one for Egg Shaker Songs if you want more ideas and if you’ve got ideas to share please leave them below!