In which I Seuss in spite of my Seuss hate*.
Y’all know the drill: it’s early March and people are all “It’s Dr. Seuss Day!” and running around in red and white stripes, cat whiskers, Thing One and Thing Two gear (which I would totes rock so long as my clone did so too). And then there’s me, sitting here fussing and grumbling about having to read Dr. Seuss books. I admit my Dr. Seuss dislike can border on the ridiculous and well, it just IS ridiculous. When I first started my library gig I tried reading Seuss during a storytime which resulted in chaos. It scarred me and thus my Seuss vendetta started.
But there is no escaping the man. The kids clamor for him at one of the daycares I visit monthly. There is not a week, heck sometimes days, when people don’t come into the library to ask “Where is your Dr. Seuss section?” Shucks, I’ve been appointed to a committee in his honor (Squee!).
Seuss is all around. ::dun dun!::
So what happens when you’re a library type of person who does not care for Seuss at all?
You Seuss in your way!
For me, that means taking off the blinders and realizing that not ALL Seuss is bad Seuss. Like The Foot Book which, when read with the right group, can be a stomping ruckus of a good time. Or My Many Colored Days which is good for teaching signs for colors and talking about feelings.
I’m still not feeling some of the other titles; they’re a little long for a restless group of preschoolers. I will allow that perhaps a teacher who sees her/his class everyday would do better with Seuss as the class would be a bit more familiar with the rhythm of the teacher and my disadvantage of only seeing the kids weekly makes for not having as strong a relationship sometimes. But I digress.
So what else to read when you’re THE GUEST reader for your library littles who are not quite so little?
You start off with Twaddletuck Talk from Jack Prelutsky’s Something Big Has Been Here. For the sixth graders I visited today, I first read it slowly, which they complimented because I “had bars.” Then I amazed and astounded them with the superfast, mostly enunciated, version that I showoff, er, perform.
Well, I was a bit worried about hamming it up for this group. Tweens are tough. Trying to balance their need to be treated not like kids but let’s face it, they still are, and giving them space to assert their new found positions make for an interesting dynamic. Add in that a few members of the class are some who visit the library and who can be…a challenge. I worried that letting them see a different, less stern Miss Rachee would affect our relationship.
I let that go and decided to go for broke and (over)acted Steve Antony’s Betty Goes Bananas.
They loved it!
One girl told me that I should be on stage and that I was amazing.
This can only be followed up with a Grover voice came next and even those who rolled their eyes (I saw you Kasim!**) were vying for a position to turn the page and see just WHO the monster at the end of the book was.
Spoiler alert: It’s Grover. The Monster is Grover.
Now…what is a silly storytimes WITHOUT silly words?
Bananas? As in Elephanet and Piggie coercing people to say silly words! At this point the kids gave up all pretenses that they were not into me. (Yeah, I went there) and they were digging solving who were looking at Elephant and Piggie. There was one kid who blurted “bananas!” but that kid was happy to be a part of the action and scream “BANANA!” when I gave her the nod.
Last, but not least, is my newest favorite go to, a new one for me, Duck, Duck Moose by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. This book LITERALLY has two words, “duck” and “moose” but it’s fun acting out the calm duck and juxtaposing it with the chaos that is moose. (I sense a pairing of Duck, Duck Moose with another book and will share over on the Storytime CPR site this weekend).
I had a chance to perform this storytime twice today and it was the best. Lesson learned: Dr. Seuss ain’t so bad especially when you don’t have to completely Seuss.
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*I don’t HATE Seuss but he’s not my favorite.
** There was no kid named Kasim but there were a lot of eye rolls.