4 BRINGING HEART AND MIND INTO STORYTIME Winston: Because my ears are flippy floppy. Me: Well, of course they are. You’re a dog, and dogs often have flippy floppy ears. Winston: But I was playing with Grizzle the cat, and he said my ears are silly and floppy and he laughed at them and now I don’t want my ears. (Winston collapses into overly exaggerated boo-hoos.) Me: Oh, Winston, that is not true. I’m very sorry that someone said that to you. How about if you go back into your house, listen to today’s stories, and we’ll talk to you at the end of storytime. I think maybe today’s stories will help you understand that your ears are beautiful and just right the way they are. Winston: Well, I always like stories. (Tries to get inside the easel but the rabbit ears are in the way. Lots of silly back and forth.) Uhm, Heather, would you help me out? (I remove the ears, give him a hug, kiss his ears, and place him inside the easel.) We sing the story song that is sung before each story, and then I read I Am Enough. After the first book, we all get up and do the following rhyme, three times, getting faster each time. I like me from my head to my toes. (touch head, then toes) I like my hair and I like my nose. Honk! (shake head, squeeze nose) I can wiggle my body and stamp my feet. (wiggle and stamp) From my head to my toes, I’m really neat. (touch head, then toes, then hug self) I praise how well they listened and followed me and how hard they worked at following directions. Next we sing our story song for the second time, and then I tell the story of Sylvie, using a flannel board to show the many ways the pink flamingo tries to change her colors, finally realizing she’s beautiful just the way she was meant to be—pink. Then I lead them in “I Can Do It” to show them how strong they are. Tune: First two lines of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star I can do it because I’m me. I can do it, just watch and see. I call out physical exercises such as “three jumps,” or “two turn arounds,” or “five claps.” If your audience includes children who are physically limited, adjust to what you know they can do so they are included. For instance, if they’re in a wheelchair, you might do hand claps, head nods, finger wig- gles, stick out the tongue, count to five, etc. After each exercise we repeat the previous song.