Friday, March 23, 2012

Flannel Friday: Mouse's First Spring

Wow! It is Springtime already!

I don't know about the rest of the country but, here in Florida, we have had a very mild winter. Seems so strange to be starting our Springtime storytimes!  
However, it was officially Spring as of March 20th so I did present our first Spring books at our Family storytime last night. We all had a very enjoyable time exploring many of the signs of Spring's arrival. 

Our featured book was:

Mouse's First Spring 

It is a part of a wonderful series of books about Mouse's first experiences. My storytime families love these books because they are simple, sweet, and colorful. They also provide opportunities to talk about things that a young child might be experiencing for the first time, just like Mouse!

I enjoy sharing these books because they provide me with many opportunities to engage the children and parents through "interactive booksharing" ~ that is my term for any engaging way that I can draw the child and parent into helping me tell the story. 

I have found that "interactive booksharing" also helps the child and parent remember the story so that they can talk about it again and even retell the story at home. It includes using many different tactics such as teaching a few ASL signs, focusing on the repetition of a word or phrase, highlighting motions for certain actions that can be incorporated throughout the book, and many other fun, exciting, and sometimes unique ways to have everyone participate in the sharing of the book.

This week for Flannel Friday, I have chosen to make a set of flannel/magnetic pieces for this book. I chose to use the actual artwork from the book because it is gorgeous

First, I scanned the items that I wanted to use for my board set and then printed them out onto cardstock. After cutting them out, I laminated them to make them more durable. They turned out beautifully!

I have also chosen to back the pieces with flannel and to attach a magnetic strip so that it can be used with either a flannel board or a magnetic board. I do lots of outreach and sometimes it is not always possible to take my own board(s) with me. That means I am at the mercy of whatever the place has available. I like being prepared so I have chosen to make this a dual-use set. 

***Tip: When making a dual-use set, use the thinner magnetic stripping. This will alleviate some of the bulkiness and heaviness of the magnets.

Here is a quick run-through of the story. (Out of respect for the author, I will only share a few quotes.)

"One windy spring day, Mouse and Momma went out to play!"
(I do the signs for Mouse, Momma, and play. 
Sometimes I share the sign for Spring.)

As Mouse and Momma enjoy Mouse's first Spring day, they come across several creatures that are new to Mouse. As they see each one and after a few descriptive words about each new creature, Mouse always wonders, "What can it be?" As one of my "interactive booksharing" techniques,  I have the children hold up their hands and shrug as we repeat Mouse's wondering phrase ~ "What can it be?" ~ together.

The first thing he sees is something "glittery" and "flittery". Some of the descriptive words rhyme and all of them are fun to repeat. This is a great aspect of the story to point out to parents (not during the reading but maybe afterwards.) They might enjoy talking about the descriptive words with their child and coming up with more descriptive words for the signs of Spring.

Each time after Mouse wonders about the creature, Momma always says, "Look!" and then names the creature. I incorporate more ASL signs each time. Depending on the group, I will use the sign for "look", for "momma" and for the new creature.

The first Springtime creature that Mouse and Momma 
see is a gorgeous butterfly!

Next, is another repetitive phrase that I choose to highlight with several additions. The phrase is "Then whoosh! blew the wind" and the new creature disappears. 

I ask the children to show me how the wind might blow. We usually end up with a sweeping motion (using both hands) that starts low on one side of our bodies and sweeps upward as we move them across in front of our bodies. As we make this sweeping motion, we all say, "Whoosh!" like the wind. 

Since a picture of the wind does not actually appear in the book (although there are white swirls to indicate it), I decided to create my own "wind" so that I could add it to the board when it was time to do the motions and repeat the phrase:

"Then whoosh! blew the wind..."

Each time the wind blows, then the new creature disappears ~ we all wave and say,  "good-bye" as it disappears. (Another way to keep the little ones engaged with the book.)

Mouse and Momma see many new creatures as they explore the signs of Spring
They see:

"something slithery and slimy"

"something feathery and plump"

"something green and peeping" that goes "splishy splash" 
and hops away when the wind blows.
Bye, Mr. Frog!

Then Mouse and Momma see one last creature:

"something pink and wiggly"

Finally, they see something that is not a creature: 

"there on a stem, Mouse found something sweet and petally."

"Then whoosh! blew the wind, and rumply bumply Mouse tumbled away!"

Oh, NO! Poor little Mouse! I wonder what happened to him?
I guess you will have to read the book to find out.

But here's a clue:


I really enjoy sharing Mouse's First series with my storytime friends. I also enjoy Lauren Thompson's other books, too ~ especially her book, Little Quack's New Friend. (You might see it featured in the near future!)

Thanks to all my Flannel Friday friends for stopping by! And to everyone else, too!

I hope you enjoyed this post and will take a minute or two to leave a comment. I would love to hear if you use any sign language in your storytimes! I have found that my storytime parents are very appreciative of the effort that I make to include signs each week. I have also found that the little ones pick up the signs very easily and it helps many of them stay engaged with the book for a longer period of time. 

Is there anything that you do that helps to engage your storytime friends?

I also want to mention that I started a post about how I plan my storytimes. If you are one of the many people who asked me about this (or if you are just curious about how someone else plans their storytimes), you will find a little bit of information here: ONE Way to Plan a Storytime. I will continue to share more about my process as I have time. I hope it helps anyone who is curious...

As always,


Here’s Flannel Friday information for this week:

This week’s Flannel Friday roundup is hosted by Cate at  Storytiming.

Talk about storytime and flannelboards at the Flannel Friday Facebook Page.

Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the #flannelfriday hashtag. (You don’t have to be on Twitter to check this out.)

And, last but not least, if you’re a contributor, there is an awesome blog button from Melissa and you can grab it from the right hand menu at Mel’s Desk!


  1. I definitely enjoyed this post. I learn so much each time I read a Story Time blog.

    1. Hi, Leah! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I love hearing from visitors to my blog. :0)

      I learn so much from Story Time blogs to. It is a great resource that hasn't been around for very long but it sure is fun to explore all the blogs.

      I started a couple of Blog Hops to "build my resources" for certain programs. I hope you will take a look at them. They are here:
      and here:

      I'll be adding more Blog Hops in the near future so keep an eye out for them. And link-up if you want to share any ideas!

  2. Great way to do this story...I may just need to run with this in the next week or so. Thanks for the directions...easy to follow. I have the book in my book bag right now!

  3. Beautiful felt pieces. I've copied them out of the book and hope to do this story next week. Thanks for sharing your wonderful talent.

  4. I love Lauren Thompson's Mouse's First...series! Great interactive way to tell this story :-) I, too, use simple signs with my storytime friends (when I don't run out of time to look them up!) because I love teaching new things but also for a selfish reason: my teenaged daughter is losing her hearing due to a neurological disorder called NF2 and this is one way I can prepare myself for communicating through sign language for down the road. My storytime kids take to it just as fast as my daughter has, but I'm a little slower! Still fun, though! Thanks for another great post.

  5. I do love this series! Thanks for sharing it!!

  6. Love your idea for making the story props! Included a link to your post in my post on the OMazing Kids Facebook page & spring blog post:

  7. Nicely presented information in this post, I prefer to read this kind of stuff. The quality of content is fine and the conclusion is social bookmarking