Category Archives: Feltboard

Froggy Gets Dressed

Hot off the press – or out of the scissors: my newest feltboard figures, for the story Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London.

Pictured below are Froggy in his bed, with the view of a snowy day through his window; then Froggy with all of his clothes – blue hat, orange socks, blue boots, pink mittens, light pink long underwear, purple pants, yellow shirt, tan jacket, orange scarf; and Froggy outdoors with the snow and a tree, fully dressed.  Of course, in the story, Froggy never quite gets outside with ALL of his clothes on, but you’ll have to read the story to find out what does happen.  (Click on images to enlarge.)

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

One more of my favorite feltboard creations – the pieces for Emma Dodd’s Dog’s Colorful Day.  It’s a great silly story about a white dog with one black spot on his ear who goes out for a walk in the park and gets all kinds of  spot stains on his coat, including blue paint, green grass, yellow pollen, brown chocolate, pink ice cream…you get the idea.  When I present this story to the toddler storytime, each time I add a new spot to Dog’s coat I ask the kids to help me count the total number of spots on that white dog out loud.  We also talk about the colors of each spot as it’s added to the board.  Pictured here are the spots, as well as the items that caused the spots.  Down towards the bottom of the picture are the yellow sponge that Dog’s owner uses to wash him, as well as Dog’s purple bed that he goes to sleep in after his long day.  Click on image to enlarge:

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Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett

I love using this feltboard story, because I get the attendees to participate in the chant that repeats throughout the story:  “Monkey and me…monkey and me…”  As the group chants, they also pat their knees to the beat of the words.  Interactive fun!

Pictured here are the pieces I made for this feltboard version of Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett.  A little girl and her stuffed animal monkey have visited a zoo, and they list off each of the animals they saw there, including kangaroos, bats, penguins, elephants, and monkeys.  Click on image to enlarge:

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Blue Sea by Robert Kalan

Another in my continuing series of photo documentation of my feltboard stories. Today we are featuring the pieces I made for Robert Kalan’s classic picturebook Blue Sea.  Once again, this feltboard story isn’t too elaborate, and doesn’t look too exciting in a mere photo: this feltboard story is all about the telling and the using of the pieces in a dramatic way.  “Look out, little fish!!” I’ll say with a scared overtone to my voice as I add the medium fish to the board…and the kids always gasp a teeny bit in fear for little fish’s life.  Just enough excitement for the under-four age group.  Click on photo to enlarge:

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Five Little Monkeys

And another of my feltboard favorites, used often and with great gusto:  Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree, which I sometimes use as a simple fingerplay, and other times use in conjunction with Eileen Christelow’s book of the same name.  The monkey that appears to be white in this photo is actually a pale blue (far more attractive).  When presenting the story on the feltboard, I always have the children in attendance help me count out the monkeys, and sometimes we also name the colors of the various monkeys. This feltboard story helps me to remember that simplicity is often the best approach when making felt figures.  Click on image to enlarge:

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Bear Snores On

It’s time to update my online documentation of my library of homemade feltboard stories.  Today’s featured story is Karma Wilson’s Bear Snores On, one of my storytime favorites.  Notable in this feltboard interpretation are the awake bear’s moveable eyebrows, so that he can go from intimidating/scary to upset/crying to happy.  Unfortunately, these photos don’t do justice to two of my favorite figures in this story, the crow and the wren, who just look like a brown blotch and a black blotch in the photo but actually look pretty cool in person.  Click on image to enlarge:

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The Big Red Barn

Here are photos of another of my feltboard favorites – the pieces for Margaret Wise Brown’s The Big Red Barn.  I’ve included a close-up of my favorite pieces, the roosters and hens (click on images to enlarge):

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One more time for Spot…

So I used my felt pieces for Where’s Spot again last Thursday, this time for a preschool storytime (ages four to seven).  I did it partly as an experiment – comparing the reactions of the toddler age group to this age group – and partly because I had a feeling it would be lots of fun.

It was a BLAST!  By age four, most kids know this story inside out, and when I brought out a new piece – the grandfather clock, for instance – the kids would start yelling “There’s a snake in there!!!!” And I would play the dumb adult, saying, “Gee, are you sure?  You really think there’s a snake in the clock?  Don’t you think Spot is in the clock?”  And the kids would holler back in unison, “NOOOO!!!!  It’s a SNAKE!!!!”  And I’d open the the door of the clock and find the snake, and shake my head while saying, “Wow, you guys were right.  There IS a snake in there.  No Spot, but a snake…”

And then we’d continue on to the next felt piece, and repeat the process.  The kids had a fantastic time hollering their thoughts to me (which, surprisingly, never once felt out of control, because I was able to moderate their comments and behavior through the whole story), and I had a great time pretending to be the not-so-bright librarian who had no clue what animal was in each of the felt pieces.

In fact, it was so much fun that I’m going to extend the experiment tomorrow morning, and try using these felt pieces with the infant storytime crowd.  Lots of babies, some one year olds, a few twos or almost twos.  It will be very, very interesting to observe this crowd and how they react to the story.

Most importantly for my own storytelling, though, last Thursday was a prime example of how the best storytimes are interactive, with the storyteller paying close attention to the reactions of the kids in the audience.  If you’re willing and able to “riff” a little when telling stories, it becomes the most incredible experience for everyone, storyteller AND audience.  I left last Thursday’s storytime smiling and with a totally happy storytime buzz that lasted me the rest of the day.  Hopefully tomorrow’s telling of Where’s Spot will be just as wonderful.

Where’s Spot, part 2

I meant to bring my camera yesterday and get photos of the additional felt pieces I’ve made for Where’s Spot by Eric Hill, but, of course, forgot.  But today’s post is more about the process of presenting this story in felt, because yesterday’s storytime was an excellent example of how a felt story can spark something in younger kids in a way that a story in print doesn’t.

For yesterday’s storytime, I loosened up my presentation of the felt story considerably, and did more of a storytelling/felt presentation than a precise retelling of the story.  I paid attention to the reactions of the kids, and drew out the suspense more than I do when using the book (I should note that I’ve used this book more times than I can count for storytimes, since it never seems to get stale for the kids).  It was amazing to watch their expressions as the story progressed, and to see how completely and totally involved they were in the story.  Very, very cool.

And the best part was that in the Quiet Time section of the storytime, which came right after the feltboard story, all of the kids chose to read Where’s Spot with their parents.  Every single one of them.  (Good thing I had multiple copies available!)  So seeing and hearing the story in a felt version actually inspired all of the kids to go back to the original print version of the story – who could ask for more than that?

Where’s Spot?

My longest-running felt board story project is the pieces for Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill.  I spent hours upon hours on several of the pieces last spring, and added one more piece last fall, and now have to scramble to finish off the pieces in time for the “Peek, Peek, Hide-and-Seek” toddler storytime this week.  These are tough to make because I’m trying to duplicate a lift-the-flap book in felt: it uses a LOT of felt, and requires a lot of patient gluing to keep the inner parts from sticking to the flaps.

So here are a few of the pieces from my collection – the staircase (with lion inside the under-stair closet) and the bed (with crocodile hiding under the bedskirt) are quite large and safely stored at the library, and so are not shown here.  Note that the left photo is the pieces as they are shown first (“Is he in the clock?”), and the right photo shows the pieces with the flap lifted; click on images to enlarge:

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Above are Spot’s mommy, Sally, the door with the bear behind it, the clock with the snake in in it, the closet with the monkey in it, and the piano with the hippo in it.  Still to be created are the box with the three penguins, the rug with the turtle underneath, the basket with Spot, and Spot and Sally’s food bowls.  Stay tuned for those photos!