Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley

I discovered this gem back in the early spring and immediately fell in love with it. I read it to my storytime...when I subbed at Tiny my preschool visits...I lent it to Miss Pattie who read it to her her babies...It is Just That Good. I realized immediately we needed a copy and, in a stunning piece of providence, a copy was immediately donated!

There's no actual plot or definite narrative. The "story" is just a series of gaily dressed animals and children performing an unending series of delightful antics. The simple rhyming text encourages children to perform actions ranging from clapping their hands to performing somersaults.

This is my "review" of how best to use it in storytime! I start with the kids sitting on the floor, "Clap your hands," then we stand up and "stomp your feet./Shake your arms,/then take a seat." Which gets us all back to the floor. We do the next few couplets sitting on the floor, "Rub your tummy,/pat your head./Find something yellow,/find something red." For some reason, finding the colors gets more excitement than some of the later loud noises!

Some of the kids will stand up for "Reach for the sky" and so by the time we get to "Stick out your tongue/and touch your nose." it's pretty confused. I skip the couplet that calls for a kiss - some of the kids would just sit there, but a fairly large proportion of them would bury me in slobber. This works ok with babies or toddlers though, as the parents can kiss their kids who are usually more in their vicinity. I skip the tickle couplet too, for the same reason. After some rather dizzy episodes, I try to have the kids just turn around once for "Spin in a circle" and I only include the somersault if we have enough space - and if the kids are old enough for most of them to know how to do one! The excitement mounts with the animal actions and I had 20 kids yelling their names and ages simultaneously at me the last time I did it, so I would leave that one out, along with the telling a secret. Then things just go nuts with animal actions, jumping, crawling, flying, and finally waving good-bye.

I strongly recommend finishing storytime with this one; if you can get the kids calmed down and back in their places for another story after this, you're an amazing librarian and I will sit at your feet!

Verdict: A must have both for your general collection and professional collection. Happily, it's still in print! Go forth and purchase!

ISBN: 0-399-22118-2; Published January 1997 by Puffin; Borrowed from the library

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