Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Storytime - Visual Storytelling

This week's theme was visual storytelling/picture books. I was happy to "read" some David Wiesner picture books.  The first two were wordless.  The last one, Art and Max, has some words but the pictures are much more important to the story than the words.  I stumbled upon these books at the public library with my son one day and fell in love.  The pictures are AMAZING and the stories, told so clearly by the illustrations, are whimsical and thought-provoking.

I asked the kids to tell me what they saw in the pictures and we would sort of summarize the story as it went on.  The first book we read was Flotsam.  The story is about a young boy who finds and underwater camera at the beach, develops the film inside, and finds all kinds of amazing pictures of what goes on under the sea. They were very excited about the story and what they saw in the pictures. If you haven't read this book yet, get it!  It's really a treasure!
The second book we read, also by David Wiesner, was Tuesday.  This was definitely the favorite of the day and perhaps one of the best received of all the books I've read since I started storytime.  They thought this book was hysterical!  The adorable illustrations tell the tale of one late Tuesday night, when frogs are able to fly around town on their lily pads.  Mishaps and hilarity ensue.  Every page I turned the kids would explode with giggles and point out what they saw.  The kids loved it and I loved seeing their reaction to it.
As I've mentioned in other posts, I like to be fluid with my storytime, and its small enough to accommodate the kids' wishes, to an extent. One of the regular attendees asked me to read her favorite book, Bently & Egg by William Joyce, since its illustrations reminded her of the last book we would be reading (Art & Max). Honestly, this book was a little strange to me, there was a lot going on and some of the language choices were unusual, but the plot was cute (frog must save a bunny egg) and the kids listened intently to the relatively long story.
 The last book I read was Art & Max. The plot is a bit complicated to explain with words...but one lizard attempts to paint another grouchy lizard with initially disastrous results, but beauty reins by the end.  Its a fun story and the illustrations and use of color are just breath taking. The kids liked the story and got very excited over the pictures and the different colors in the book.
All the David Wiesner books are among my very favorite children's books and I really enjoyed sharing them with the kids.  He has authored a number of other picture books and I'm looking forward to incorporating them into another storytime.

Normally, I do a craft after reading, but this week I decided we should play charades, keeping with the theme of visual storytelling.  I was surprised - none of the kids had ever played before (even the older kids...up to age 6 1/2).  There was a bit of a learning curve, but they loved it and didn't want to stop playing. Initially, I was giving them ideas to act out (reading a book, sleeping, riding a bike, walking a dog) but once they got the hang of it, they started thinking up their own ideas to act out.  The kids would have been happy to play charades all day!  I am going to think of ways to incorporate the game into other storytime themes, since it went over so well. After sitting through a few books, the kids are definitely ready to get up and moving out of their seats.

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