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Books about Animals - Mammals - Ages 4-8
Books about Animals - Mammals - Ages 9-12
Books about Animals - Mammals - Young Adult (YA)
Online links to stories/info about Animals - Mammals
SOS: Searching Out Stories/Info - Animals - Mammals
~~Advice/References - Storytellers, Teachers, Librarians




Key in the names of specific animals/mammals into the Google search box on the home page.

Book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the books and how to buy them.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Alphabetized for your convenience with short descriptions to save you research time.

Berenstain Bears and the Truth (The) (First Time Books(R)) by Stan and Jan Berenstain. (1983 - Ages 4-8)
When Brother and Sister Bear accidentally break Mama's favorite lamp, their little lie grows bigger and bigger, until Papa Bear helps them find the words that set everything right again. The Berenstain Bears and the Truth

Cat in the Hat (The) by Dr. Seuss. (1957 - Ages 4-8)
He may be an old standby, but he never lets us down. When in doubt, turn to the story of the cat that transformed a dul l, rainy afternoon into a magical and just-messy-enough adventure. There's another, hidden adventure, too: this book really will help children learn to read. With his simple and often single-vowel vocabulary, the good Doctor knew what he was doing: hear it, learn it, read it--laughing all the way.

Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney. (2007 - Ages 4-8)
Does any child like to go shopping? Not Llama Llama! But Mama can’t leave Llama at home, so off they go to Shop-O-Rama. Lots of aisles. Long lines. Mama is too busy to notice that Llama Llama is getting m-a-d! And before he knows it, he’s having a full-out tantrum! Mama quickly calms him down, but she also realizes that they need to make shopping more fun for both of them. Parents and children are sure to recognize themselves in this book.

Little Bunny Foo Foo: Told And Sung By The Good Fairy by Paul Brett Johnson. (2004 - Ages 4-8)
The Good Fairy co-narrates the story of naughty Little Bunny Foo Foo, who scoops up field mice, woodchucks, foxes, and bears and bops them on the head. In this version, the rabbit hits them with mud pies. The Good Fairy, an opossum in a tiara, a purple-and-yellow dress, and purple pumps, gives the rabbit three chances to be good, but when he persists, she keeps her promise and turns him into a goon...oh-oh!

Make Way for Ducklings (Viking Kestrel picture books) by Robert McCloskey. (1941 - Ages 4-8)
It's not easy for duck parents to find a safe place to bring up their ducklings, but during a rest stop in Boston's Public Garden, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard think they just might have found the perfect spot--no foxes or turtles in sight, plenty of peanuts from pleasant passers-by, and the benevolent instincts of a kindly police officer to boot. Young readers will love the mother duck's proud, loving protection of her wee webbed ones.

Snuggle Puppy (Boynton on Board) by Sandra Boynton. (2003 - Ages 4-8)
A great big hug in book form, this book is a year-round valentine from parent to child. It is bright, chunky, a pleasure to hold, and has a die-cut cover that reveals a glimpse of the joy inside before it's even opened. Best of all, it's packed, of course, with pure Boynton: her inimitable language, her inimitable illustrations, her inimitable sense of fun.

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Key in the names of specific animals/mammals into the Google search box on the home page.

Book titles are in blue and underlined
. Click on them to find out more about the books and how to buy them.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Alphabetized for your convenience with short descriptions to save you research time.

Call of the Wild (The) (Aladdin Classics) by Jack London with foreward by Gary Paulsen. (reprint 2003 - Ages 9-12)
First published in 1903, this book is regarded as Jack London's masterpiece. Based on London's experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike.

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell with Jonathan Bean (illus). (2008 - Ages 9-12)
Emmy was a good girl. At least she tried very hard to be good. She did her homework without being told. She ate all her vegetables, even the slimy ones. And she never talked back to her nanny, Miss Barmy, although it was almost impossible to keep quiet—some days. Honestly, Emmy really was a little too good. Which is why she liked to sit by the Rat. The Rat was not good at all...

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. (1992 - Ages 9-12)
This wonderfully absurd tale makes kids (and parents) laugh out loud. Poor Mr. Popper isn't exactly unhappy; he just wishes he had seen something of the world before marrying and settling down. Most of all, he wishes he had seen the Poles, and spends his spare time between house-painting jobs reading all about polar explorations. Admiral Drake, in response to Mr. Popper's fan letter, sends him a penguin; life is never the same again...

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. (1996 - Ages 9-12)
Billy and his precious coonhound pups romp relentlessly through the Ozarks, trying to "tree" the elusive raccoon. In time, the inseparable trio wins the coveted gold cup in the annual coon-hunt contest, captures the wily ghost coon, and bravely fights with a mountain lion. When the victory over the mountain lion turns to tragedy, Billy grieves, but learns the beautiful old Native American legend of the sacred red fern that grows over the graves of his dogs.

Tale of Despereaux (The): Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo with Timothy Basil Ering (illus). (2006 - Ages 9-12)
Despereaux Tilling is a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea and a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives.

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Key in the names of specific animals/mammals into the Google search box on the home page.

Book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the books and how to buy them.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Alphabetized for your convenience with short descriptions to save you research time.

Black Stallion (The) by Walter Farley. (1991 - Young Adult)
First published in 1941, Walter Farley's best-selling novel for young readers is the triumphant tale of a boy and a wild horse. From Alec Ramsay and the Black's first meeting on an ill-fated ship to their adventures on a desert island and their eventual rescue, this beloved story will hold the rapt attention of readers new and old.

Darkest Hour (The) (Warriors, Book 6) by Erin Hunter. (2005 - Young Adult)
ThunderClan's darkest hour is upon them, as Tigerstar's quest for power plunges all the Clans into the most terrible danger any cat has ever faced. In order to save his Clan and his friends, Fireheart must uncover the meaning of an ominous proclamation from StarClan:
"Four will become two. Lion and tiger will meet in battle, and blood will rule the forest." The time has come for prophecies to unfold, and for heroes to rise ...

Incredible Journey (The) by Sheila Burnford. (1996 - Young Adult)
Instinct told them that the way home lay to the west. And so the doughty young Labrador retriever, the roguish bull terrier and the indomitable Siamese set out through the Canadian wilderness. Separately, they would soon have died. But, together, the three house pets faced starvation, exposure, and wild forest animals to make their way home to the family they love.

Max (Maximum Ride, Book 5) by James Patterson. (2009 - Young Adult)
Maximum Ride and the other members of the flock have barely recovered from their last Arctic adventure, when they are confronted by the most frightening catastrophe yet. Millions of fish are dying off the coast of Hawaii and someone--or something--is destroying hundreds of ships. Unable to discover the cause, the government enlists the flock to help them get to the bottom of the disaster before it is too late.

Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven) by Brandon Mull with Brandon Dorman (illus). (2008 - Young Adult)
At the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother Seth find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures. Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists -- a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper -- to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power. Time is running out.

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Online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Short descriptions included for your convenience and to save you research time.
Animals - Myths and Legends: Oban's Myths, Legends and Fables.
Folktales and Ecology: Animals and Humans in Cooperation and Conflict from EdSitement.
Animal Folktales of the Americas. oral traditions and literature of North, South and Cenral America.
Zoo to You. Savanna Stories: Folk Tales and Animals of Africa. Outreach Teacher Resource Guide.
"The War Between the Village Animals and the Forest Animals" - from D.L. Ashliman, includes "Old Sultan" (Germany) and "The Dog and the Wolf" (Bohemia).
Appalachian Animal Tales from AppLit.
Animal folktales: Legends, superheroes and pourquoi tales from LearnNC.
10 Top Fables from
"Stories to Grow By" with Whootie Owl! Fairtales, Folktales and Children's Plays with Positive Themes for Kids.
Animal Fairy Tales from Wikipedia.

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Advice, Discussion and References from Storytellers, Teachers, Librarians
(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

Book titles and online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Posts are added chronologically as they are received by Story Lovers World.

1) "Brer Rabbit Tricks Brer Bear"
Brer Rabbit goes in Brer Bear's garden every day. Then, one day Brer Bear catches Brer Rabbit and ties him up in a sack. While Brer Bear is gone to get a stick to beat Brar Rabbit old Brer Fox comes along. Brer Rabbit tricks Brer Fox into getting into the sack to eat some food. The Rabbit runs away but the fox gets a beating when Brer Bear returns with her stick. A Brer Rabbit tale in Joel Chandler Harris's The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus. In the Song of the South DVD, it is the fox who ties up Brer Rabbit. Brer Bear (who is kinda slow) is told by Brer Rabbit that he is making a dollar an hour. Rabbit convinces Bear that he should relieve him. Fox comes back to find Brer Bear in the sack rather than Brer Rabbit. This tale is called Brer Rabbit Tricks Brer Bear.

The king says he will give anyone who can eat a pile of black pepper a sack of gold. The lion can't do it. The hippo can't do it. A monkey does it by eating just a little bite and then going to take a rest in the high grass. It turns out to be a whole tribe of monkeys instead of just one. They are taking turns eating just a little bit, then lying down in the grass where no one can see them. The other animals assume it is only one monkey eating the pepper. A slightly different version, clearly of the same origin, is in Verna Aardema's Princess Gorilla and a New Kind of Water (Pied Piper Paperbacks) is a Mpongwe tale from West Africa. Her version has the king promise his daughter to anyone who can drink from the barrel of vinegar he found. All else is the same.

3) The Name of the Tree: A Bantu Tale Retold is an African story where the animals go to find out the name but they get distracted.They don't give up, the animals keep trying and finally one succeeds and the entire community is rewarded. The title Celia Lottridge uses & Janina Domanska calls it The Tortoise and the Tree. Adapted from a Bantu Folktale around the turn of the century.

Another version is called The Bojabi Tree.
This story retold by Celia Barker Lottridge is adapted from a Bantu Folktale called The Bojabi Tree. Due to a drought in the land, the animals haven't eaten for days.As they search for food, they come upon a tall tree with fruit on top. However, they cannot get the fruit down until they learn the name of the tree. One by one the animals try until the turtle finally succeeds by creating a verse to remember the name of the tree, "Bojabi."
Cute story of a group of animals who were all hungry. They find a new tree in the jungle, but don't know the name of it or if it is good to eat. One by one they go to King Leo to ask the name of the fruit that looked like a appleorangeplumpearbanana and smelled like a bananapearplumorangeapple. None of the animals could remember the name of the fruit by the time they returned from the long trip to see the king until one good student, a little turtle, asked his mother the best way to remember the name. Cute story and lesson on nuemonics.
The Bojabi tree by Edith Richert and Gleb Botkin (illus). (1958)

4) For a book with great nonsense songs for kids including "Little Bunny Foo Foo" (and the music, which is the same as "Down By the Station"), you could use: Wee Sing Silly Songs (Wee Sing) by Pamela Conn Beall and Susan Hagen Nipp (2006 - Ages 4-8).

"Barrington Bunny" by Martin Bell may be found in a book called Way of the Wolf. The story is printed on this site, as well as the website for Martin Bell.

6) "Talk" in Jane Yolen's Favorite Folktales from Around the World (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) - p. 246. Her notes indicate she got the story from The Cow-Tail Switch: And Other West African Stories by Harold Courlander and George Herzog (Henry Holt: 1947). Also, Talk, Talk: An Ashanti Legend (Legends of the World), retold by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate as part of the Legend of the World series. It is listed as a legend from the Ashanti from West Africa. It is about a poor farmer who goes to his field to harvest his neglected yams. The yam speaks rudely to him to leave him alone since he has neglected the field. A chain of events is ignited with the farmer leading a parade of frightened neighbors to the king. They each report about talking dogs, branches, stones, fish trap, cloth, and a river. The chief chastises them for their foolishness and sends everybody away. The Chief's stool then speaks up about whoever heard of a talking yam.

7) Jataka Tales (Forgotten Books), retold by Ellen C. Babbitt, illustrated by Ellsworth Young. Originally published 1912.
Crab and the Crane
Banyan Deer
Elephant Girly-Face
Foolish, Timid Rabbit
Grannie's Blackie
How the Turtle Saved His Own Life
King's White Elephant
Measure of Rice
Merchant of Seri
Monkey and the Crocodile
Ox Who Envied the Pig
Ox Who Won the Forfeit
Princes and the Water-Sprite
Quarrel of the Quails
Sandy Road
Turtle Who Wouldn't Stop Talking
Why the Owl is not King of the Birds
Wise and the Foolish Merchant

8) Pourquoi Tales
Folktale Themes and Activities for Children, Volume 1: Pourquoi Tales by Anne Marie Kraus.
The book does not share the stories but has an extensive list by themes and topics. Under Animal Characteristics/dogs and horses it states: Elements: Why dogs and horses are man's helpers; Why man is separate from the other animals. The book cited The Two-Legged Creature: An Otoe Story by Anna Lee Walters and Carol Bowles. Native American/Otoe tribe.

9) The Spiritual Life of Animals and Plants by Laurie Conrad, 1stbooks, 2002. A delightful volume of true stories written by the musician and healer Laurie Conrad; contains sections on Divine Healing as well. A large percentage of the royalties go to various animal organizations.

10) The story about How Bear Lost His Tail (Below-Level Books Collection, Grade 3). A version may also be found in Joseph Bruchac's Iroquois Stories: Heroes and Heroines Monsters and Magic. In that one bear's tail breaks off because it's frozen - another I've heard has snapping turtle bites it off. LOVE the idea of making this interactive by bringing different animals in to ask Bear why he's on the ice. The same can be done with Bear And Turtle And the Great Lake Race (Tales With a Twist S.) - having different animals come down to cheer for Bear or Turtle as they race around the pond. (Turtle uses his cousin's help.)

11) "Bear and Pig at Market" from Tales of the Amber Ring (Baltic folktales -- zippo source notes) and in Feathers and Tails, Animal Fables retold by David Kherdian (who gives sources for some of the stories but just says "Czechoslovakian" for this one).
Bear and Pig wanted to earn money, so they brought (respectively) baked potatoes and doughnuts to the market square and set up their booths early in the morning. Bear had one coin in his vest; Pig had nothing. While waiting for customers, Bear became hungry and bought one of Pig's doughnuts. Pleased to make his first sale, Pig bought one of Bear's potatoes. They waited; still no customers, but at least each had made a sale. Bear bought another doughnut. Pig bought another potato. So it continued until late morning, when they learned they had come to market on the wrong day. But even so, they had both sold out of their wares! Pleased, they counted their earnings. And found that Bear had one coin, Pig had nothing.

12 "Monkey's Heart," a Swahili tale from East Africa, in the book. When Lion Could Fly: And Other Tales from Africa. Told by Nick Greaves, illustrated by Rod Clement. This tale has a monkey and a shark as the main characters.

The Thornton W. Burgess series, illustrated by Harrison Cady. They include:
The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver
Buster Bear's Twins
Blacky the Crow
The Adventures of Old Man Coyote
Lightfoot the Deer
The Adventures of Prickly Porky
Mrs. Peter Rabbit
Old Mother West Wind
The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk
The Adventures of Buster Bear
The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel
The Adventures of Reddy Fox
The Adventures of Bobby Raccoon
The Adventures of Poor Mrs. Quack
The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse
The Adventures of Peter Cottontail
The Adventures of Johnny Chuck
The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat
The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad
The Adventures of Grandfather Frog
The paper catalogue has a much better selection but the web site will give you an idea:

14) I heard Mary Hamilton tell a story about a coyote who was running away from the dog. When he escapes he thanks all his body parts for saving him - all except his tail. He blamed the tail for something. Anyway, the tail lures the dog back when its feelings are hurt and (I think) the coyote actually dies in this one.


There are also Russian versions of this, about Fox. The one that comes to mind is "The Fox As Mourner" in Russian Fairy Tales (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) collected by Aleksandr Afanas'ev.

b) I found this version from Laurel Wells that has the story as Fox (Mexico/Nicaragua - no source given) who decided that the tail didn't help his escape - so he punishes it by sticking it out of the cave, and dogs drag him out by the tail. So ended the fox and his tale. Fox is walking along one day thinking how brave and clever he is when suddenly some big dogs began to chase him. Fox ran as fast as he could with the dogs close at his heels. Then Fox sees a small cave and dashes in. The dogs snarl and bark but the opening is too small for them to fit through. Safe, Fox began to feel safe and wants to brag about how clever he's been but since there is no one to talk to, he begins talking to his body parts. First he asks his feet: "Feet what did you do for me to help me get away from those big dogs?" "We ran and ran," said the feet," and if we hadn't those dogs might be eating you right now!" Next Fox asks ears. "Ears, what did you do for me?" Ears answer, "We listened, if we hadn't heard those dogs coming from behind, they would have caught you for sure." Next Fox asks eyes. They answer, " We looked! We saw this cave and told you to go inside it. You might still be running if not for us." Fox reached over to pat himself on the back and noticed his tail. "Tail, what about you? Why you did nothing. You just sat there while the dogs grabbed at you!" Fox's words made tail very angry. "You're right, I even waved my tail to tell the dogs to come and get you!" Now Fox was furious. "That's true. You're a BAD tail. I don't want to ever see you again!" And with that, he backed his tail out of the cave. The big dogs were waiting outside, saw the tail and pounced. And that was the end of Fox and his tail.

c) There is a version of the story of coyote and the dogs, and him leaving his tail outside the cave in Ride with the Sun: An Anthology of Folk Tales and Stories From the United Nations, edited by Harold Courlander, published by Edmund Ward, London in 1957. It is listed as "Senor Coyote and the Dogs," a Mexican story, although notation says is representational of tales told about coyote throughout Native people of the Americas.

"The Three Bears" in 2003:
This should end all Three Bears stories:
Baby Bear goes downstairs and sits in his small chair at the table, he looks into his small bowl. It is empty. "Who's been eating my porridge?!!", he squeaks. Papa Bear arrives at the big table and sits in his big chair. He looks into his big bowl, and it is also empty. "Who's been eating my Porridge?!!," he roars. Momma Bear puts her head through the serving hatch from the kitchen and yells, "Good lord, how many times do we have to go through this with you idiots? It was Momma Bear who got up first, it was Momma Bear who woke everyone in the house, it was Momma Bear who made the coffee, it was Momma Bear who unloaded the dishwasher from last night, and put everything away. It was Momma Bear who went out in the cold early morning air to fetch the newspaper, it was Momma Bear who set the damn table, it was Momma Bear who put the friggin cat out, cleaned the litter box, and filled the cat's water and food dish, and, now that you've decided to drag your sorry bear-butts downstairs, and grace Momma Bear's kitchen with your grumpy presence, listen good, cause I'm only going to say this one more time. "I HAVEN'T MADE THE #*%$ PORRIDGE YET !!

I've used this with camp groups and first graders. From The Story Vine is "Rabbit and Hyena Play the Sanza." In it Rabbit tricks the Guinea hens into a cage by pretending to make rain while playing his sanza (thumb piano.) He tells them that pail of water is to drink, broom is to dust them off, and cage is for shelter from rain. He has them dance while he plays. They raise dust and he uses broom to sprinkle "rain" on them -all the while still playing with one hand. They run to the cage for shelter from rain. He springs trap. When Hyena tries the same trick, he messes it all up - by telling hens what the mop, pail, cage and sanza are really for. Hens won't dance and ask Hyena to show them how to run in cage. They trap him. Hens end up playing the sanza and dancing -may be there still.

FOR GROUP inclusion, I have half of the group be the first group of hens who are duped by rabbit, and then the second half are in the group that eventually trick Hyena into the cage himself. Don't need to use thumb piano - even rhythm sticks would do.

I came across this site and thought you might find it helpful! Animal Legends.
Angela D.

18) Misc. animal stories at:

Books available from Jacob and Duvall:
The Great Ball Game of the Birds and Animals (Grandmother Stories, V. 1)
When the Animals of the southeastern woodlands challenge the Birds to a game of stickball, two of the smallest Animals are not allowed to play. The Bear, the Deer, and the other big animals think they are too small to compete. In this ancient Cherokee story the little animals find a way to play in the Great Ball Game. This is a story about courage in the face of adversity, the thrill of the game, and the joy of victory. Teaching the virtues of creativity and determination, it takes us to a magical time when the animals talked and wonderful things happened in our world. Murv Jacob’s beautiful drawings bring the characters of Cherokee legend to life, and Deborah Duvall’s dialogue explains the ceremonial preparations and the rules of stickball, a game integral to Cherokee culture that is played enthusiastically to this day.

"How Medicine Came to the People"
"How Rabbit Lost His Tail"
"Rabbit and the Bears"
"Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting"
"Rabbit and the Wolves"
"The Opossum's Tale"

19) Here is a version from the Cherokee.
Native American Legends - "The Ball Game Between The Birds And The Animals" - Cherokee

A fabulous version with background Cherokee music

Still another:

And another from Sacred Texts:

Another source:


Karen C. 3/6/06

20) "The Turkey and the Pumpkin"
A young turkey escapes from his farm on the day before Halloween. He meets a pumpkin who wants very much to become a happy Jack-O-Lantern. Find out what happens to these characters who hope for very different things.

"There’s a Crocodile in Our Pickle Jar"
Sometimes onions aren’t the only thing in a refrigerator that make you cry. A story about the importance of eating your veggies!

"The Sweet Smelling Skunk"
What does old Mrs. Donnelly do when she discovers a skunk in her garden? The answer will surprise you. Come and enjoy this story about an unlikely friendship.

"The Rooster that Wouldn’t Crow"
A story about individuality and the right of a rooster to fall in love with anyone he wants to fall in love with. These barnyard animals deal with questions and issues that are important to all creatures whether they live on a farm or in a city. 2/5/08

21) Judy Nichols' Storytimes for Two Year Olds has saved many a hide. Second edition is out. Look for it in your library's reference section but they may have hidden it behind the desk. Also look in Stories to Play With. This age group loves fingerplays which they can do over and over and Over And Over... Anything with animals in it would be fair game. Animal theme also invites participation with animal noises, although a firm Start/Stop signal will be needed. (and you may wish for earplugs) I'm allergic to puppets but have reluctantly learned that these micro listeners do respond well to visuals. Got any stuffed animals? Cut-out pictures? Wave them around in some of the stories. They'll need at least one stretch/wiggle break, with controlled whole body movement. Make up your own motions to: The elephant sways from side to side, he's very tall and very wide; he has no fingers, he has no toes, but goodness gracious what a nose. Or sing My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean (make that My Bunny for this occasion), with audience going up or down (you'll have to signal them) on each B-word. Rather than Stand/Sit, I find it's less chaotic if you can get them to kneel and go from vertical thighs to sitting on feet.

Remember: that which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

22) If 40 minutes of storytelling sounds intimidating--and it does, why not add your own simple craft. Paste pictures of zoo animals on paper bags. Hand out 1 bag and 1 crayon per child for coloring. Collect the crayons back. (Now admitedly this is going to take a little time and effort, maybe you'll even need a helper.) Then tell a story with lots of animals in it and lots of sounds to make. I suggest this be the last story or the sack puppets will interrupt all the other stories. Alternate idea, let the kids keep the crayon or put it in a box as they leave. Lots of finger plays, simple songs about zoo animals. 5 monkeys jumping on a bed, 5 monkeys teasing Mr. Alligator are 2 good ones. Song: I had a little monkey. His name was sleazy Jim. I put him in the bath tub to teach him how to swim. He drank up all the water. He ate up all the soap. Now every time he tries to talk, there's a bubble in his throat.

Riddle story. Put pictures on a card. Hold card so the picture faces you. Give clues about the animal until the children guess it. Hold up next card. Or have a guessing bag with small stuffed animals inside and do the same type of guessing.

I had a picture story I used to tell many years ago. It went something like this. The duck said "Dum, dum, dum." The kitty said Bow Wow, The dog said quack, etc. Mix up all the sounds for the pictures. (Put the words on the back of each picture so you keep it straight.) Now the townspeople didn't know what to do. Should they feed the train or take a ride on the kitten or . .. . etc. Can you help them put everything back together right? Now go through the pictures again and let children tell you the right sounds. You could use a snake, monkey, gorilla, etc. and other zoo animals that have an easy to make sound.

23) Do some paper folder or tearing stories as well as "get the wiggles out". Even a draw and tell might do. I find if I do something like Rainhat, I make up extra rainhats to hand out to the little ones, as they can't make them. (WAIT until the END to do this, of course.) Sometimes older kids and parents want to learn and they can stay to learn how to paper fold. I'm facing a telling with 1-8 year olds this summer - and have urged (OK, I BEGGED) the library to make sure that the ages are taken off the flyers, and that FAMILY storytelling be emphasized. For if parents and OLDER kids are there, the younger children respond to the group reactions and attention. Try to get in some lines for the adults too so they'll "attend" and help you engage their youngsters.

24) Anything with a puppet in your hand will work and just shorten it and shorten it again. Frog and Snake Child with puppets.The puppets bounce around. I too had that opportunity this year, all year. They loved at two years old the monster puppet that said I'm Big and the little peeper eyes or small animal puppet that says in a tiny little voice, I'm little.They have this conversation the puppets with opposites. I'm sad, I'm happy, I'm noisy, I'm quiet, I'm crooked, I'm straight etc. Then I'm hungry, I'm gone. Someone on storytell sent this to me and it was a real winner. They liked to watch me do Mr. Wiggle Mr. Waggle and did some of it. But having a puppet in your hand just made such a difference.40 minutes is toooo long. 15 minutes tops. Also I stood them up and sang, If you're a butterfly and you know it flap your wings,(x3) then your face will surely show it, etc. If you're a bumble bee and you know it buzz around, etc. If you're a duck and you know it go quack quack etc. always end with then your face will surely show it, if you're a duck and you know it go quack quack. This gets the wiggles out.Another thing as they're sitting, Clap, Clap Clap your hands as slo-ow-ow-ly as you can, Clap Clap clap your hands as quickly as you can, point point point your finger as sl-ow-ow-ow-ly as you can, point etc. as quickly, shake your hands, tap your head etc.they think when it goes really fast it's so funny. Hope these help.

25) I have a small grant to do storytelling at two Head Starts, so I do this for an hour usually three times a week during the school year. The most important thing is to have an agreement with the director or talk to her well before the event and ask that the teachers sit with their classes and help them to participate. The children will get lots more out of the stories, and you will have much more fun that way. At the beginning , if the teachers are not sitting with the children, just say, "Teachers, please sit with your classes and help them to participate." By the way, the teachers would each love to have a handout on rhymes or songs or what ever you might have. When you ask the teachers to sit with their class, tell them you will give them a handout at the end of the story time. This really gets their participation! Also, you might ask the teachers if they know any zoo animal songs or rhymes- they love to show off what the children can do, and this is a perfect wiggle break. I have zoo animal masks, and the children love to come one at a time , put one on, and have the other children guess what animal they are. Of course , they all roar like a lion for the lion mask, etc. I have a magic story bag which contains my puppets, and I let the children guess what I am going to get out of it. This works well to get their attention as I begin a story. I have to say I did four weeks of stories on zoo animals in April this year!

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Created 2005; last update 6/20/09

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