Storytime favorites: books

Due to some staffing changes, unplanned illnesses, and planned staff vacations, I’ve been doing a ton of storytimes recently! I find my biggest challenge is often finding a way to walk the fine line between being repetitive enough so that the children can come to expect routines and novel enough that the families (and I) don’t get bored! Lately I’ve been browsing around looking for new materials and in the meantime have been thinking about some of my classic “go-to” materials for when I need to come up with a storytime in a pinch. I’m sure most of my go-tos are similar to those for other storytime librarians. They are:

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See? by Bill Martin
    • I swear by the magical properties of this book, especially when paired with Greg and Steve‘s lullaby version. No matter how restless, upset or otherwise rowdy my storytime kiddos are, whenever I bust this out it’s instant silence, as if they’re hypnotized. I close every 0-2 storytime with it thanks to an excellent recommendation from the woman who trained me to perform storytimes.
  • It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw
    • This book is excellent because of it’s repetition, its simplicity, and because the kids love trying to guess what it “looked like.” (Although I always have to help them out with the Great Horned Owl… a terrible addition to an otherwise excellent book, I think!)
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
  • From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
    • Another great one that is adaptable for a variety of age groups. Kids love this one because they can act it out alongside the book.


  • Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes OR …and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin
    • I can’t explain it but kids are addicted to this groovy cat and even parents love to sing along with Pete as he celebrates his white shoes and his groovy buttons. I don’t like the rest of the Pete the Cat books all that much but White Shoes and Groovy Buttons are essentials for any storytime.
  • Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
    • The first time I tried to read this to a storytime I chickened out at the last minute. No matter how funny the story is, I thought the concept of a doctor reaching into a dog to pull out the other animals he ate was a bit too aggressive for my kiddos and I thought parents would be horrified. But after talking to other co-workers who have read the story with a lot of success I tried it… and it was great! The parents laughed harder than the kids and now it’s definitely one of my favorites.
  •  Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
    • Kids love to guess the animals and if you’re really feeling interactive you can ask them to follow up with the animal’s noise. Most editions are pop-ups as well, which adds that extra special exciting touch.

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