Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Apples For All: A Toddler Story Time

Seasonal story times are my mainstays as a youth services librarian. It's easy enough to find general fall-related story times, but they tend to not be very captivating for a toddler story time (winter themed picture books are another matter).Apples, however, are another story. They can definitely relate to apple stories, and with pick-your-own farms and orchards so close by, many young Fauquier County patrons are familiar with apples orchards and apple trees.

The Apple Pie Tree

Through the narration of a preschooler, readers are introduced to the stages of an apple tree (featuring some lucky robins) in this cheerfully illustrated picture book perfect for reading aloud. "There's nothing as good as an apple pie you grew yourself." You said it, sister. A quick guideline on the importance of bees for an apple tree and an apple pie recipe are included in the back matter.

Apples and Pumpkins

Anne Rockwell is a master of concept and nonfiction books for very young children; Apples and Pumpkins is one of her classics. The experience of a young girl's trip to the pick-your-own apples and pumpkins farm is told through simple sentences and charming illustrations. Admittedly, the pumpkin is the real focus of the story, and the Halloween ending makes it appropriate for a Halloween-themed story time as well.

One Red Apple

Out of all my apple-themed picture books, Harriet Ziefert's One Red Apple is my favorite. It may be one of the simplest in terms of sentence structure and story line, but the illustrations by Karla Gudeon are absolutely gorgeous. A farmer and his farmhands pick delicious red apples and drive them to the market, where they are bought and enjoyed by customers. The birds even get a little taste of the action by nibbling on discarded apple cores. The apple seeds are scattered by the wind, land, and grow into apple trees. The visual evolution (through an opened flap) of a growing apple tree at the end of the story puts an enchanting end to this remarkable picture book.

The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree

Gail Gibbons's marvelous nonfiction picture books are usually suitable for older children, but I'm going to try out The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree on my toddler story time group tomorrow. This is a bit longer than the books that I normally read, but if I read this first, I may have some success. We'll see. Arnold's apple tree is busy throughout all seasons, making this a good choice for any seasonal story time; the inclusion of Halloween makes it suitable for a Halloween-themed story time.


There are tons of apple-themed fingerplays that go great with this story time. Here are my standards:

Little Apples (Tune: 10 Little Indians)

Count on fingers while singing the song.

1 little, 2 little, 3 little apples
4 little, 5 little, 6 little apples
7 little, 8 little, 9 little apples
All fell to the ground.

For added emphasis and to provoke giggles, everyone can fall dramatically to the ground at the end. You may have to repeat this several times for full enjoyment.

Round the Apple Tree (Tune: Mulberry Bush)

Everyone stands in a circle. Holds hands and walk in a circle while singing the chorus. Mime the motions.

Chorus: Here we go round the apple tree, the apple tree, the apple tree/Here we go round the apple tree, so early in the morning

This is the way we plant the seeds...
This is the way the apples grow...(curl up and unfold, standing on tiptoe)
This is the way we pick the apples...
This is the way we wash the apples...
Thhis is the way we cut the apples...
This is the way we eat the apples....

If you're short on time, or if they get restless during the circle time, cut the chorus and just repeat at the end. Or, start the song at "pick the apples."

Apple Tree

This is the tree with leaves so green (wiggle fingers above head)
Here are the apples that hang in between (make fists)
When the wind blows (wave arms)
The apples will fall (arms down)
Here is the basket to gather them all (make a circle with arms, mime gathering)

10 Red Apples

10 red apples growing on a tree (show 10 fingers)
5 for you (show five fingers) and 5 for me (show other five)
Help me shake the tree just show (mime shaking)
And 10 red apples fall down below
(Count to 10 on fingers)

Coloring page: Apples 4 the Teacher is one of my favorite coloring page sites. The pictures are clear and big. Apple

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