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More and more and more animals

More and more and more animals

Whenever I spot similar themes in more than one book, I always want to compare them. One theme in multiple picture books is animals making space for others until it’s too much, too full, or too tall… then something dramatic happens! These books are fun to read out loud – don’t forget to be dramatic!

Let a staff member know if you’d like help finding these.


So Cozy by Lerry Korda is a newer title featuring this theme. The dog curls up to take a nap in the warm, comfy dog bed. Animal after animal squeezes in until there is a tall tower of mostly sleeping creatures. When the mouse climbs up on the elephant’s trunk, there’s an enormous sneeze that blows the tower apart. The dog and tiny mouse finally have a cozy nap together. This is great to retell with stuffed animals or anything you can pile up until it topples over. When I did  this story at a recent outreach visit, we piled a bunch of puppets onto an upside-down plastic bin, and tried to get them all to stay on it at the same time. We succeeded, with a lot of laughter along the way!

The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood is a classic book with the same idea. Another cumulative piling-on story, the pile of nappers gets taller and taller until a “wakeful flea” joins the pile and wakes up the mouse, who flies up in the air and wakes up the cat, who wakes the dog, who wakes the boy, who wakes the sleeping granny, who comes down with a crash. Luckily, it has slowly become morning. This is a fun story to tell, and I always tell kids that now that they have heard this story, it’s theirs to tell to someone else.

The Mitten by Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock is a newer version of the 1964 picture book The Mitten: An Old Ukrainian Folktale by Alvin Tresselt which won the Caldecott Award for illustration. Another popular version of this story is The Mitten by Jan Brett. In all these versions of an old folktale, a child drops a mitten on a snowy day. One by one, creatures squeeze in as the mitten stretches and stretches until finally the tiny mouse squeezes in and it’s just too much, the mitten blows apart and the animals are scattered.

I really love the picture in the Aylesworth version of all the animals standing looking at the leftover yarn sadly, which is echoed on the next spread when the boy and his grandmother find the pile of yarn and stare in amazement, wondering what happened to the dropped mitten.

A fingerplay to enjoy together

The old fingerplay “Five in the Bed” is a fun way to round out these stories!

There were five in the bed, (hold up five fingers)

and the little one said, Roll over! Roll over! (move your hand in a big circle)

So they all rolled over, and one fell out! (dramatic falling gesture)

There were four in the bed, (hold up four fingers)

and the little one said….

Repeat the song until you have one left! Then you can have the last one roll out or just say Good night! Good night! Good night!

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