Friday, April 15, 2005

Storytime Finale

The final storytime for spring was last night, and I finally had the chance to tell a story for older children. The evening's audience was made up entirely of girls, ranging from a very adept kindergartner to a fourth grader. Storylady and I had of course planned for three year olds, that being our median age group for evening storytimes. Thankfully, she and I are good at doing things "on the fly."

Storylady started off with a story titled "Big Man Drum," about a poor sharecropper who tricks monkeys into taking him back to their cave by holding very still when they surround him as he is taking a nap. They poke and prod, even jam their digits up his nose, but he only makes a sound when one of the monkeys slaps him on the belly. "Ugh!"

Anyway, the monkey take him home across a narrow vine bridge over a waterfall, and decorate him with flowers and jewels. After the monkeys go to sleep, the man sneaks off quietly with his newfound riches and buys himself a farm. His former employer finds out what he did, and decides to try it himself. Sadly, he gets frighened on the bridge and yells, "don't drop me!" Of course, they drop him.

After some silly rhyme dances, I told the story of The Singing Chick using stuffed animal puppets for a chick, a fox, a wolf, and a bear. Instead of telling the story straight, as I would for young kids, I made it more elaborate, and it went something like this:

Do you remember when you first arrived at your new school in first grade, how exciting it was, how you had NO IDEA what you were in for? Well that's just how little chick felt when he cracked open his shell. He was all alone in the big forest, but he was so happy he danced about and sang, "The sky is so blue! The sun is so yellow! The trees are so green! And I'm a happy fellow." (I used my best warbly voice for this) He danced and sang (as I did, coming from behind the felt board to dance in front of the kids, and then back around, circling the easle) and danced... and woke up fox in his den.

Fox took one look at the happy chick and said. "Hellooooo lunch!" Chick sang his little song, "The sky is so blue, the sun is so--!" (Gobbling noises made and the fox puppet leaps on the chick and devours him behind the felt board). Fox was pleased with his meal, he gave a great big burp (braaap) and suddenly began to sing the same silly song. And dance. "What is going on here? I look ridiculous!" Fox thought, but nevertheless he danced and sang (circling around the board again) and danced-- (Wolf appears and grabs fox by the neck) "Hey, fox I've got a migraine like a ten ton truck roaring through my head. Keep it down!" Fox started singing again. (wolf grabs him by the tail, shakes him over the felt board. Now I have a free hand!) "One more peep out of you and I'll eat you!"


Wolf gobbles him up, and complains that now he has to go find an antacid (food and migraines don't mix). But of course he sings and dances (the puppet is just a head, but it has a long felt tongue and wiggle when wolf sings, so the kids are laughing by this point at my silly song) and wakes up hibernating bear, who is very grumpy and with a great gruff voice makes the eating threat again, and of course, wolf just peeps at him, like a pea-goose. Bear eats wolf, and decides to go take a nap on a nice sunny hill.. but he is rudely inturrupted by the urge to sing and dance. Bear is still bleary eye-ed from his long sleep and his dancing (the bear puppet dances and jiggles) runs him right into a tree! (Story lady bangs a drum at this point). Bear bounces down the hill (bear puppet flies over the easle to lay in front of the kids) and out pops wolf (kids love it when you throw stuffed animals during storytime, so more flying puppets) then fox, and then little chick. And the singing and dancing stops!

Well little chick looks around and says, "Wow, first I'm singing and dancing, and then I'm in a dark place like my egg, and now I'm back! Isn't this the best of all possible worlds?!"

Fox says, "I lost my lunch, but somehow, I feel full."

Wolf says, "My migraine is gone!"

And Bear says, "I would appreciate it if we all forgot this ever happened."

And fox carried chick back through the forest to the hen house on a nearby farm, and chick saw a hen singing, "The sky is so blue! The sun is so yellow-- Hey! is that my chick?" The End

After storytime, I took the kids out to the garden and we decorated pots with self adhesive foam cutouts and planted marigold seeds. It was an enjoyable evening.


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