Books to Read Under the Storytime Umbrella

The Thingamabob

Click on jacket image to visit Jan Brett's website, where she has printable masks for the rainforest characters in her book.Umbrella by Jan Brett (Ages 3-8)

Little Carlos is heading off into the cloud forest with his leaf umbrella, hoping to spot some animals. He drops his umbrella at the foot of a tree when he starts to climb up into the canopy, and water slowly starts to drip, drip, drip into the umbrella. The water attracts a little frog, then a toucan, then kinkajou, then more in a lushly illustrated rainforest cumulative tale reminiscent of The Mitten or Who Sank The Boat?

The Umbrella Queen by Shirin Yim Bridges, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (Ages 4-9)

Noot lived in a village in Thailand where everybody wprked on making umbrellas. Noot was thrilled when she was finally allowed to start painting umbrellas like her mother and the other women in the village. She was very good at it, too! There was only one problem: instead of painting beautiful flowers, Noot's brush somehow kept painting silly elephants! She liked elephants, but her family needed the money from beautiful flower umbrellas to eat, so Noot limited herself to painting silly elephants only on little doll-sized umbrellas in her free-time. Then, one day, the king comes to choose as "umbrella queen" the woman who paints the most beautiful umbrellas...


The Un-Brella by Scott E. Franson (Ages (3-8) 

In this wordless picture book, collage illustrations show a cartoonish little girl gazing out at a snowy landscape as she dresses in a swimsuit, scuba flippers, sunglasses, and grabs a giant umbrella/UN-BRELLA. While her expressive pet cat and a cheery snowman look on, she plunges out into the snow with her un-brella, which magically casts a penumbra of sunlight and summer weather within the snowy landscape. By book's end, winter is making way for warmer weather, and our heroine is back, this time dressed for snow as her umbrella creates a moving bubble of winter around her.  Get creative with this one; let the pictures tell the story, invite children to discuss the pictures with you, or describe the scenes to scaffold for younger learners. What will happen in Spring? Autumn? 

The Thingamabob by Il Sung Na (Ages 2-7)

 "One day, he found the thingamabob." "He" is a wonderfully bobbly whitish elephant, and try as he might, he simply cannot figure out "what the thingamabob was, or where it came from." Young listeners, however, will immediately recognize the thingamabob as an umbrella, and be tickled by the elephant and his friends' explorations: is it edible? can he fly with it? In the end, necessity is the mother of invention--and a seal of friendship. Not only is this a fun, very simple read-aloud, it's ideal for beginning readers.


Roger's Umbrella by Honest Dan'l Pinkwater, illustrated by James Marshall (Ages  4-9)

 Roger's mother always made him take his umbrella with him to school on rainy days, or days that looked like they might turn rainy. Roger hated taking his umbrella. "For one thing, it got in the way. And for another, he didn't like the way the umbrella behaved." Roger's umbrella occasionally turned itself inside out for no apparent reason, or caught the wind and made him walk on tiptoe. Sometimes, it picked him up off the ground completely and set him down somewhere else--not always where he meant to go. Worst of all, sometimes, his umbrella would fly around the room like a crazy bird at night! Then one day, when Roger is on his way to school, his umbrella pops open and blows him high over the rooftops, finally putting him inside the backyard of three old ladies. This time, though, the umbrella has more than met its match: these old ladies give Roger tea and cookies and teach him how to talk to umbrellas to make them behave.


A Princess in Boxland by Tanja Szekessy (Ages 3-5)

 Marie might not look like one, but she knows she's a princess "because of the unusual things that happened to her. / Like the day she found the red umbrella..." In fact, Marie was able to just pluck the umbrella off the label of a big brown packing crate! Then the umbrella grew to normal size in her hands, and she used it like a parachute to enter Boxland. During the course of her trip, she used the umbrella as a mast, a boat, a walking stick, and to help her pacify the royal lion--then "she clambered over boxes full of adventures she'd never even dreamed of, because... / even a princess has to get home on time."


Ella, Of Course! by Sarah Weeks, illustrated by Doug Cushman (Ages 3-7)

 Ella is a born problem-solver. Who's always ready to spring to the rescue with a shoe-and-chewing gum contraption, or a spagghetti strainer and a curtain rod? Ella, of course. The problem starts when Ella receives a beautiful present from her grammy on her fourth birthday; it's a blue umbrella with fluffy white clouds, and it makes the most satisfying "!" sound when she opens it. Now, Ella has gone from being a problem-solver to a problem-causer, leaving a wake of chaos with every delightedly oblivious "!" When her ballet teacher tells her that she maynot bring her umbrella to the big recital, Ella is more nervous than ever--but she hasn't forgotten who she is. She is a creative problem-solver.

Umbrella by Taro Yashima (Ages 3-8)

Momo is a little girl with Japanese parents living in New York. For her third birthday, she gets her very own umbrella and a pair of bright red rubber boots. She wants to wear them right away, but the weather won't cooperate. Each day, she tries to persuade her mother of a new reason why she ought to be allowed to use the umbrella, but her mother just tells her to be patient. When it finally rains, Momo is so thrilled, she puts her boots on her bare feet and whispers to herself all the way to school " I must walk straight, like a grown-up lady!" Yashima so perfectly captures the little girl's excitement and impatience, the beautiful closed-world feel of a rainy autumn day, the rhythm of raindrops on Momo's umbrella and the bittersweetness of watching his daughter's newfound independence.


What Rhymes with Umbrella, Silly Fella?

Rain on the green grass,
(Flutter fingers down to ground) 
And rain on the trees,
(Flutter fingers up over head) 
Rain on the Rooftop, 
(Make an upside-down "V" with hands and arms over head) 
But not on me! 
(Circle arms over head to make an umbrella)


by Robert Louis Stevenson

The rain is raining all around
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea. 
(access to this work no longer restricted by copyright)

Songs to Sing and Dance To Under the Storytime Umbrella

"Here's My New Umbrella"
(to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot") 

Here's my new umbrella,
 Wide and high,
It keeps me cozy, warm and dry
If the rain starts falling from the sky
Just open it up, and you'll stay dry.


"Please Open Your Umbrella"

Please open your umbrella,
Please open your umbrella,
Please open your umbrella,
And shield me from the rain.

The shower is nearly over,
The shower is nearly over,
The shower is nearly over,
So close it up again. 

"Leaky Umbrella" Track 14 (2:08)

Gill, Jim. “Leaky Umbrella.” Jim Gill Sings The Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes. Jim Gill Music, 1993, CD.

"I got a leaky umbrella, all full of holes, (x2)
I got a leaky umbrella, leaky as can beeee,
Oh that leaky umbrella will be the end of me.
The rain is drip-drip-dripping on my head,
The rain is drip-drip-dripping on my nose,
The rain is drip-drip-dripping on my shoulders,
Oh that leaky umbrella will be the end of me."

(Leaky raincoat, leaky rain hat, leaky rain boots, etc., with parts named changing accordingly each verse.)
This song is very lively and catchy without being annoying. Have kids tap or wave a scarf at the designated body part with each “drip-drip-drip.”

"Under A Big Bright Yellow Umbrella"  Track 3 (4:29)

Yosi. "Under A Big Bright Yellow Umbrella." Under A Big Bright Yellow Umbrella. Yosi Music, 2004, CD.

Umbrella Bibliography

Brett, Jan.  The Umbrella.  New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2004.

Bridges, Shirin Yim.  The Umbrella Queen.  Illus. Taeeun Yoo.  Greenwillow Books-HarperCollinsPublishers, 2008.

Franson, Scott E.  Un-Brella.  New Milford, Conn.: Roaring Brook Press-Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Ltd. Partnership, 2007.

Na, Il Sung. The Thingamabob.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf-Random House Children's Books,2008.

Pinkwater, Daniel.  Roger's Umbrella.  Illus. James Marshall.  New York: E. P. Dutton, Inc., 1982.

Szekessy, Tanja.  A Princess In Boxland. Trans. J. Alison James. North-South Books, 1996.

Weeks, Sarah. Ella, Of Course. Illus. Doug Cushman. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc., 2007.

Wettasinghe, Sybil. The Umbrella Thief. Brooklyn, NY: A Cranky Nell Book-Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 1987.

Yashima, Taro.  Umbrella.  New York : The Viking Press, 1958.