Featuring Heather Forest

Yesterday, I got to go out and play with other librarians at a story-swap meeting (Lincoln Story League)!!!

There, I shared my love of musical storyteller Heather Forest. I plugged two of her wonderful cds, Sing Me a Story and Tales Around the Hearth as well as her picture book version of The Little Red Hen. These cds (as well as mp3s of individual stories from the collections) are available from such sites as CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon.

I’ve adopted catchy musical refrains from her versions of The Mitten, The Turnip and The Little Red Hen into my own storytelling at the library. Adding these refrains is a great way to perk up the presentation and to get the kids singing along.

I also talked a little about how I tell The Little Red Hen. In addition to using Heather Forest’s singing refrain (“If you want some cake to eat, who will help me plant this wheat, etc.?”), I often use audience participation in the form of choosing some kids to work puppets or wear special headbands to act out the parts of the dog, the cat and the mouse. I wear a crazy chicken hat and act as the little red hen. Everyone else gets to be my little chicks. So, when the dog, the cat, and the mouse all say “Not I”, I ask my little chicks if they will help me. They all nod and agree, and we act out planting the seeds, harvesting the wheat, etc. And, of course, the little red hen and her chicks all get to mime eating delicious cake at the end! For my youngest audiences, I usually use flannels and visual cards to tell the story. I still have the kids be chicks, but I don’t select anyone to be a specific part.

The Little Red Hen was a part of a chicken folktale program that I geared for a K-3rd grade audience (and their families). I also used it in my storytime best practices presentation for the California Library Association Conference in 2009. (Please note my email address and blog URL have changed since then.) For that presentation, I also included a template for a fun chicken craft. Other chicken storytimes I’ve done can be found here, here, and here. (Can you tell it is one of my favorite themes?)

3 thoughts to “Featuring Heather Forest”

  1. I love the audience participation ideas for “The little red hen”! Do your younger audiences ever get scared of you in your crazy chicken hat?

    1. You know, I don’t think that I’ve ever used the hat with the toddlers. I’ve used a red hen puppet, though, instead. I do think that they would have been a little scared of my hat. K-3 loved the hat, though!

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