Robot Storytime

The head of youth services at my library has been letting me put together mini displays on some free counter space – I set one up for Chinese New Year, and I’m both pleased and surprised with how well the display has been used! I’ve mentioned here before that my theory is you can never have too many displays, because people will use what they can see, and I think this has been proof positive of that. My next one, which will go up beginning next week, will be on the Winter Olympics (we’ve already got a bunch of great stuff out for Black History Month and Valentine’s Day).

I don’t have anything new to report on my storytime, because I haven’t had one in a couple of weeks – it’s been way too cold! I don’t blame parents for not wanting to bring their babies out into this awful, awful weather, but I’m a little sad that I haven’t seen my kids in a while. I will say that this week was my theme week in the storytime schedule, and my robot books have been going over very well. There are some SUPER cute ones I found in our collection. Some of my favorites:

Doug Unplugged
an Yaccarino


A pretty fabulous story about a little boy robot who decides to “unplug” from his usual information download and go out into the world to learn by experience. Dan Yaccarino includes some great, unconventional illustrations that follow Doug around the city, and the simple color palette makes the bright yellow Doug really pop out.

Boy + Bot
Ame Dyckman


Reminiscent of a simplified Iron Giant. Boy + Bot tells the story of two friends who don’t quite understand how the other one works – when Bot powers down, Boy thinks he’s sick but can’t make him better. When Bot powers back up and Boy is asleep, he doesn’t know how to fix Boy! The mix of simplicity and sweetness make this friendship fable a great readaloud for most ages, and the humor takes it to the next level of quality.

Robot Zot!
Jon Scieszka

Who DOESN’T love a wannabe robot overlord? The repetition and fairly simple word choice make this more sophisticated story accessible to younger kids – this story is FUNNY, you guys. Robot Zot plans to conquer Earth, even though…he is only three inches tall. Watching him wreak havoc on the suburban kitchen he lands in is hilarious, but even better is when he falls in love with a pink princess cell phone and decides he’d rather be a hero.


Planning a Con

Last week was my official first storytime of the new session (we missed the week before because of the cold). Important things I learned:

– Putting two clapping rhymes next to each other is actually a bad idea.
– Don’t start at 5 for counting rhymes, it’s too many for babies. Start at 3.

In other library news, my library put on its Comic Con (we called it MiniCon) and, even though I didn’t work the day it was held, I stopped by to see how things were going and it sounds like it went great! I’m going to speak to my manager about being a bigger part of that next year, because I a.) am a huge nerd, b.) have experience planning conventions (it was a while ago, but I was the con chairperson for my high school science fiction & fantasy club one year), and c.) am addicted to planning things.

I’ve had a couple of ideas already, and the first thing that struck me when I saw how it was set up was that my ideas might be bigger than our library! Not that we should ever be afraid to plan big for our programs, but we ARE a smaller library, both in terms of village size and building size. It doesn’t make sense to ask a local gaming store if they want to set up free- or tournament-play for a game when we literally don’t have anywhere to put them!

On the other hand, I DO think we could put on more in the way of events – we had an author and an artist both come in, and I think we’d have the space to do some panel-adjacent activities if they’d be interested. We also had reps from comic stores, and while we don’t have the space for a lot of gaming events, we could totally do some demos or smaller organized play.

Have any of my readers hosted something like this with limited space? How did that effect your planning process, and how did you maximize what you had available?

New Storytimes and the Semi-Finals! *UPDATED*

**WRITER’S NOTE** BOY IS MY FACE RED. You may have noticed that the first version of this post incorrectly had The Hobbit as a semi-finalist – this is incorrect. The Golden Compass will be in the vote against Speak, and the poll has been updated to reflect that. Sorry about the confusion!

Our final matchups, generously provided by a random number generator, are…

The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman, vs. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card vs. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

Guys, these books need no introduction at this point. WHO WILL COMPETE FOR THE NUMBER ONE CROWN?

In other news, I’ve put the finishing touches on my storytime plan for this up-coming session – as you’ll recall, my library uses the Mother Goose on the Loose format, which means about 80% of my material is the same from week to week. This is nice, in that I don’t need a whole new plan every week, but it means I feel a bit of pressure to make sure I pick stuff that I like and that the kids will connect with. (Although, if something really didn’t work the first couple of weeks, I don’t think anyone would get mad if I swapped out the duds.)

Here’s my plan (all links lead to my Story Rhymes wiki!):

Opening song: Hello, Hello
Second Opening Rhyme: Open Shut Them (always a favorite of mine)
Rhythm Game: Rum Pum Pum
Rhyme/song that changes every week
Bounce Rhyme: This is the way the Lady Rides
Animal Rhyme: Five Little Ducks (as a finger play, my library doesn’t have a duck puppet to use)
Stand-Up Action: Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Scarf rhyme (this is the one I’m most nervous about changing, because you guys know how popular Wiggle Waggle got to be! We’ll see if I can get them into this new rhyme): Roley Poley
Closing Song: Our Hands Say Thank You

I’ll let you guys know how it goes!