We started with a puppet show about the nature of love--yes, that may sound very philosophical and very French, but the text came straight out of a children's magazine called Pomme d'api which always has a comic-strip-inspired discussion among animals about an abstract topic. This one wasn't too intense, since the animals were debating whether or not you could say you "love" your favorite cheese (yes, very French!) the way you love your parents or other people. Brigitte and I used the library's animal puppets and little puppet theatre to act out the conversation, and we also asked the kids whom they loved.
The books we featured included this gorgeously illustrated tome about fathers and their children all over the world, J'aime mon papa by Marie-Pierre Emorine and Karine Quesada:
"I love my daddy when I snuggle up beside him, I'm not afraid of the night."
We also looked at friendship via the very short paperback Petit Ours Brun se fait un copain, starring the popular "Little Brown Bear" from the children's magazines Popi and Pomme d'api, in which he makes a new friend at the lake when they share their toys.
"Little Brown Bear asks him, 'Do you want to be my pal?'"
Our third storybook is a translation of I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rosetti-Shustak, which is rendered Je t'aime de la tete aux pieds in French. Here the original rhyming text also rhymes in French, which always appeals to young listeners. Told in the voice of a parent and illustrated with whimsical drawings, the story shows us what is so loveable about toddlers. (My translations that follow are of the French text, which does not always follow exactly the original English, perhaps to make the French text rhyme and rhythm work.)
- Un petit, deux petits, trois petits bisous (to the tune of "Ten Little Indians," but about kisses!)
We wrote the lyrics for the first two, plus our traditional opening and closing songs, on the white board in the storytime room. But we had figured that the last song, about losing one's lover, had too many verses to expect the little kids to actually sing this one (the Francophone moms we had consulted confessed to not knowing all the verses themselves).
So instead of doing it as a sing-along, we played the song on a CD and invited the children to dance along. We gave different directions for each verse. For example, with the line "Sur la plus haute branche un rossignol chantait" (on the highest branch a nightingale sang), we told them to flap their arms and fly around the room like a bird. (Thank you to Griffin's French teacher Veronique for this idea!) An added benefit of this activity is it provided the kids with a chance to get their wiggles out halfway through the storytime.
Griffin, as usual, seemed to enjoy the storytime, and of course I love that he hears me and some native speakers of French reading to a group of kids who react and interact in French!
New to this blog? Read about our French storytime history here:
And see my annotated list of other children's books about family and friends in French here!