After a few years of story time sessions under our belt, youth services librarians build a repertoire of tried and true story time themes. Farms, transportation, dogs, monkeys, etc. In order to not get stuck in a rut with the same old routine, it’s good to brainstorm new themes in order to re-energize your story time and audience. I’ve found that having a few “opposites” story time broadens and allows for more variety within a story time program.
One of my favorite “opposites” themes is a big/little theme. Young patrons are fascinated with big trucks, big animals, and the concept of being “big,” but they’re also interested in little things–little animals, miniatures, and babies. If a big/little story time interests you, here are some excellent titles to get you started:
Poor Little Chicken. Big Chicken is in a hurry, so she’s constantly fussing at Little Chicken to wash his face, get dressed, and hold her hand. Little Chicken is easily distracted, though, and gets separated from Big Chicken. Although temporary separation from a parent is not an unusual plot point in picture books, Little Chicken’s Big Day stands out for its adorable chicken characters and for a great refrain (“I hear you cluckin’, Big Chicken!”). Several pages are wordless and the text is minimal at best, so this is ideal for sharing with a very young group.
Big Smelly Bear is one of my story time staples. I use it in two story times other than my big/little story time (bears and bath time). Big Smelly Bear does not like taking a bath, until he is persuaded otherwise by a lovely Big Fluffy Bear. This is a blast to read aloud, especially when you get to the fight scene between Big Smelly Bear and Big Fluffy Bear.
I don’t need to tell ALSC readers about this book, but I couldn’t blog about my big/little story time and not include this title. This little mouse is desperate to save his strawberry from the big hungry bear, and goes to all lengths of trouble to secure it. Luckily, the narrator has quite the suggestion for the little mouse! The expressions on the little mouse as he contemplates his delicious strawberry being taken by the big hungry bear are tremendous.