Prop: Book, Bottle, Pillow….anything else a baby can play with
Audience: Toddlers (1 & 2s)
Leslie Patricelli’s board books are among my favorites for one and two year olds. Besides being very funny, the illustrations are bold and bright enough to work in a storytime setting if the group isn’t too large. In No, No, Yes, Yes, a baby does something wrong on the first page (pulls a cat’s tail), then does it right on the opposite page (pets the cat). The only text is “no no” for one page and “yes yes” for the other. I like to read the book, with kids and parents joining in on the no’s and yeses, then pull out my own baby puppet and have him follow up with the same pattern.
I use some of the actions from the book. Baby pulls out a squeaky hammer and hammers me on the head (“no, no!”), then softly hammers the table (“yes, yes!”). Out pops a cat puppet for tail pulling and then petting. The pattern of the book is so strong, you can really see the kids anticipating what the puppet will do based on the book they just saw. I’m not sure if they’re specifically remembering (“he pulled the cat’s tail in the book, now he’s going to pull the puppet cat’s tail, then he’ll pet the cat, like he did in the book”) or if they’re more applying the pattern they’ve absorbed (“he’s going to do something he shouldn’t do to that cat, then he’s going to do something that’s ok”). Either way it’s excellent practice at narrative skills.Then I bring in a few new items that weren’t in the book to extend the pattern. A baby bottle (hold it upside down and shake it….then drink); or a cracker (crumble one cracker up…then get a second cracker and politely nibble). I like to finish with a pillow and do a few “no no’s”: Toss it in the air; Bop me on the head with it; Bounce up and down on it. Then finally end it with a satisfying “yes yes” of lying down and going to sleep.
If you don’t have a baby puppet, an animal can work just as well as the one that gets stuff wrong, then right. It’s all pretty simple, but the combination of narrative skills development and playing around with behaviors that are just at the audience’s level, make it an especially appealing toddler time choice.