Let’s face it- Not all stories are created equal when it comes to great read-alouds for the Pre-K crowd. Cedar Mill Librarians who present storytimes for children from birth to preschool are trained to look for narratives that capture audience attention and contain themes any child can relate to. We evaluate potential read-alouds for strong story arc, pacing, visible illustrations, developmental appropriateness, humor, opportunities for participation, and more.  We constantly collaborate by finding crowd-pleasing stories to share in book form, or with puppets, flannels, and props.

Sometimes, we love stories but know they just won’t work in storytime. Maybe they are a bit too scary, or have tiny illustrations, or are simply too long to hold the attention of an audience. Here’s a list of some books our youth services librarians love but we will never read at storytime!

The Book About Nothing by Mike Bender: Explains that a cookie jar that seems empty, a floor after toys have been put away, and the strange noise in the middle of the night all demonstrate nothing. A little too much toilet humor in this one!

Mr. Maxwell’s Mouse by Asch : An urbane, executive-level cat on his lunch break orders a live mouse instead of his usual baked mouse and finds himself in conversation with his entree. Witty dialogue between the cat and the crafty, deferential mouse and refined, digitally rendered illustrations combine in this macabre but deliciously dark comedy. (Source: 2005 Horn Book Guide Reviews) This title is too scary and dark!

Chirri & Chirra In the Tall Grass by Kaya Doi: While on their bicycles, sisters Chirri and Chirra notice that the meadow in front of their house has grown, and cycle into the long grass to discover such activity as bees making honey and flower chafers making mixed-leaf juice. This story is too small and hard to see in storytime!

When A Wolf Is Hungry by Christine Naumann-Villemin: When Edmond Bigsnout, a lone wolf, sets out to satisfy his craving for a city rabbit, his efforts are foiled by apartment dwellers who think he is a new neighbor. Could be too scary and violent for a young audience!

The Fox Chase (and other books) by Sven Nordqvist: Afraid that their neighbor will hurt a little fox while trying to protect his chickens, Pettson and Findus work on a plan to outsmart the fox, with results even better than they could have imagined. Illustrations are too detail-oriented and stories are too long!

Tough Boris by Mem Fox– Although he is a very tough pirate, Boris von der Borch cries when his parrot dies. It has gorgeous pictures, fun repetition, a mean, greedy, pirate, BUT  this story would turn us all into a puddle, hearing about favorite pets that have gone.  Not enough tissues in the world for a group experience!

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell: When a wolf cub and little girl are lost in a snowstorm they must find their way home. The pictures too small and too detailed for a group!

The Dreadful Fluff by Aaron Blabey: When perfect Serenity Strainer finds some lint in her belly button, it comes to life and wreaks havoc in her house, gaining in size every time it absorbs more dust. Too scary-a cat is eaten and a baby is almost eaten!