We gathered in the classroom on this crisp, fall morning for our next-to-last story time for the 2012 garden season. About a dozen boys and girls, mostly young preschoolers and toddlers, many of them there for the first time, joined in the singing as we welcomed everyone. It seems a shame to be ending when so many have just discovered us. But the rain this morning tells me we made the right decision to bring this to a close next week, September 26. It will soon be cold and rainy, not great weather for hanging out in the garden.
We began with a beautiful book, All In a Day, by Portland author Cynthia Rylant. Through rhyming text and intricate cut paper illustrations by artist Mikki McClure, we joined in the beauty and celebration of one little boy's day, through work and rest, rain and sun, comforts and surprises. Check it out at the Lake Oswego Library. We sang about the day. "♫Morning has come, ♪night is away, ♫rise with the sun♬, and ♪welcome the day♩" Hand and body motions help to get the wiggles out!
With this new crowd, we revisited a favorite from earlier in the summer, a big book about the farmer who wants to stay in bed just a little longer as one by one the animals and farmer's wife awaken and urge him to get out of bed and get at those chores. We pretend that it's Rudy and Mrs. Luscher. We also reprised "♫Rudy Luscher Had♪ a Farm♫" pulling the animals out of the lunch box barn verse by verse. Both story and song were fresh and exciting for this group.
It's pumpkin time. Pumpkin Harvest by Calvin Harris has big, bold, colorful photos of pumpkins and simple text--great for this age group. The photo of a slice of pumpkin pie with a huge dollop of whipped cream was a favorite and the scarecrow with a Jack-o-lantern head was pretty funny. Pumpkin Cat by Anne Mortimer, in which Mouse teaches Cat how to plant and grow a pumpkin is fun, especially when Mouse carves the pumpkin into a cat face Jack-o-lantern as a surprise for Cat. I had to suspend belief with this story. A mouse planting a seed and nurturing a plant rather than feasting on it? This author obviously hasn't met the voles in my garden plot!! But the story and realistic illustrations nicely set the stage for a pumpkin hunt in the garden. Finished up with "Five Little Pumpkins" finger play.
No story time would be complete without a visit to the chickens who were eager to try the oatmeal Children's Garden coordinator Dawn had provided. A new treat, plus they already had a pen full of greens. Then we became pumpkin hunters. Not so many in the garden this unusually cool summer. But eventually we found a few in a plot. How many? Count them. Wow! FIVE little pumpkins, like the ones in the finger play, so we recited it again!! Then we found a big, dark orange, bumpy pumpkin in another plot. That was fun to touch. We also saw some little, round green ones, a big papery blossom, and scratchy leaves. Just like in the story. One little boy wanted to find a bee like the one on the blossom in the book. We looked and looked. But no bees were out. Probably because the sun wasn't out either. But we found a treasure trove of creepy, crawly critters under the straw bale: slugs, earthworms, centipedes, beetles, pill bugs, etc. In spite of the overcast, it was too bright for them and they quickly crawled away. From there, some kids headed to the worm bin, others picked--and ate!--green beans, while others just dug in the dirt. The moms talked and exchanged contact info, making plans to get together when story time is over.
Next week: scarecrows, apples and more pumpkins. Fall has arrived.