Hands-on Storytime Fun!

Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin

I love, love, love the Pete the Cat books!  So much, in fact, that I am planning a “Pete the Cat” program dedicated solely to the books that are written by Eric Litwin, and illustrated by James Dean.

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes    Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes    Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

If you are a teacher or librarian looking for a book character to follow you through the school year, Pete might just been your man… urh, cat.  Pete’s a groovy cat, complete with guitar in hand, and adapts to new situations and problems that pop up by staying cool, and rocking on.  Pete’s “stay cool” attitude is a great example for young children who are going through new experiences, such as beginning school for the first time.

To kick off the school year, begin with Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes.  In this book, Pete starts a new year of school in his new school shoes.  Pete visits all the areas of his new school– including his classroom, the library, the lunch room, and the playground– all while rocking it in his school shoes.  Pete stays cool even in unfamiliar surroundings through keeping a positive attitude– as Pete says, “It’s all good”.

Follow up with Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes.  You can really have fun with this one!

The newest book in the Pete the Cat series is Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons… watch for a great “button up” craft based on this book in the series… coming soon!

Craft Foam Shoe Pattern Pete the Cat


The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle Baggie Butterflies

Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillarby Eric Carle is a classic book that is loved by many preschoolers!  The artwork in this picture book– and for that matter, all of Eric Carle’s picture books– is full of beautiful colors.  Carle created his work from sketches and colorful tissue paper, which is a great technique to use with children to create their own work of art.  I’ll share more on that in a later post.

Today, I want to share a cute, quick, inexpensive way to create beautiful butterflies like the one at the end of Carle’s book.

The supplies you will need for this Picture Book Craft include:

*  Zipper-top plastic bags

* Clothespins

*Pipe cleaners or twist ties (for the antenna)

*Small jiggle eyes (optional)

*Colorful items for filling the bags (tissue paper, buttons, beads, tinsel, silk flowers, etc.)

Image L to R: Butterfly filled with flowers from Hawaiian Lei; Butterfly filled with cut tissue paper squares; Butterfly filled with Christmas tinsel; Mini Butterfly made with small baggie and filled with micro beads; Butterfly filled with Buttons.

Try different fillings for your butterflies– have fun with what you have on hand!  Don’t be afraid to fill butterflies with shaving cream or paint– just look around– this one is super cheap, and easily modified to fit what you already have!


Show Me a Story!

Show Me a Story: Why Picture Books Matter: Conversations with 21 of the World's Most Celebrated Illustrators  I think it’s no coincidence that the day after I made the decision to start this blog, I was found by this book! I say that I was found by this book because that is exactly how it happened. It just happened to come in as I was finishing my preschool storyhour… I need to back up and explain that I am a children’s librarian (Youth Services Specialist). So… as I was saying, the book was on the desk when I finished storytime today. I’ve been thinking about ways that I could share activities that I use to link to picture books in my storyhour programs, for a while now, and I decided that the best way to start was this blog.  Then, the next day… there was this book!

This is the perfect book to include in my first post. Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter, by Leonard S. Marcus brings together interviews with 21 different picture book illustrators. It gets right to the heart of why picture books are so important, which is a huge part of why I wanted to start this blog.  Reading begins long before a child actually makes phonemic sense of words.  It begins when someone reads to them.  It begins with the experience.  The sounds, rhythms, and flow of language combine with another vitally important part of the picture book– the pictures.

In the forward of this book, children’s book author, David Wiesner, gives an eloquent explanation of the importance of picture books, “It is through the book’s images that a child first understands the world of the story…”.  “Take away the pictures and you deprive kids of a wealth of understanding– not to mention a lot of fun” (Marcus, 2012).  I am a firm believer in the power of fun– specifically when it comes to reading– and that is what I plan to bring to this blog!

Marcus, L.S. (2012). Show me a story! Why picture books matter. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Welcome to Picture Book Crafts!

Welcome to the brand new Picture Book Crafts blog!

This blog is the perfect place for parents, librarians, teachers, and group leaders– anyone who works with kids– to find hands-on activities that are inspired by early childhood books!

Stay tuned as we prepare to share some great ideas that connect hands-on projects with some wonderful children’s books!