Wednesday, May 20, 2015

French storytime: le vert

After day after uncharacteristically rainy day here along Colorado's Front Range, our lawns are lush and weedy, our skies cloudy, and we are all rolling our eyes about the fact that for the second year in a row, it snowed on Mother's Day.  So in honor of our soggy springtime, I picked GREEN as the theme for my most recent library storytime.

After "Dans la forêt lointaine," our usual opening song (which happens to be about birds in the woods, so, green), we read and discussed a nonfiction board book about the seasons, Au fil des saisons.  Well, as much discussion as you can get from toddlers and preschoolers.  In other words, we named the seasons with help from the grown-ups; exclaimed about how pretty the tree in the book was; established that the apples were red, the leaves started out green but turned to red and orange and brown; and waved bye-bye to the baby birds as they left their nest.

To transition, we sang and danced to "Savez-vous planter les choux," a traditional song about planting cabbages with different parts of one's body.  Perfect for this time of year, and very much in keeping with the green theme.

And what else happens in the spring?  The caterpillars transform into butterflies, which means I had to read the French translation of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, prosaically titled La chenille qui fait des trous (the caterpillar that makes holes).  Everybody loves that little caterpillar!

And once you've spent time with a little green caterpillar, it just makes sense to move on to a little green mouse, so then we sang the vaguely psychodelic song "Une souris verte," in which the narrator catches said little green mouse by its tail, shows it to some gentlemen (who tell him to dip the mouse in oil and water in order to turn it into a hot snail--wtf, right?), and then tries to resettle it in cozy new homes (his drawer, his hat, and his--ew--underpants), each of which it objects to.  The song closes on the indelible and cringe-worthy image of the souris verte leaving trois petites crottes in the singer's shorts.

In other words, the children loooooooved it.  And not just the boys!

We concluded with another French translation of a familiar picture book, Ed Emberley's Go Away, Big Green Monster (thanks, Carol, for showing me the French version!).  This one is such a favorite for storytimes because the kiddos get to yell "Va-t-en!" (go away!) at the monster a lot.  (Go on, try it yourself!  Feels good, doesn't it?)

After our good-bye song ("Ainsi font font font"), we did a petit bricolage to close our green afternoon--a craft project that involved gluing torn pieces of brown and green construction paper onto a black-line drawing of a tree (copied onto card stock).  I also printed out some cute little clip art pictures related to trees--apple blossoms, apples, bird nests, owls, beehives, and squirrels.  (I am very fond of craft projects that require no artistic ability and very little prep on my part, especially since I do these storytimes on a volunteer basis!)

Gwyneth got tired of gluing before she finished her tree.  Oh well, she's three.
So, happy spring, all.  Hope you've got lots of vert where you are, too.

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