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Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 | 0 comments

Nadja’s Animal Storytime Birthday Party

Nadja’s Animal Storytime Birthday Party

My daughter Nadja wanted an animal-themed 5th birthday party, which had me stumped at first. How could I entertain 10 rambunctious kids, age 3-7, in our small house? And what if it rains and we have to be inside the entire time? Then, I decided to hire Barbara Effron, storyteller and a former children’s librarian, whom I had met last winter through an acquaintance. And all was well. Looking back, I think Nadja’s birthday party was probably the easiest I’ve organized yet.


Barbara’s performance started as soon as the children arrived and lasted about an hour.

animal mask party

She kept the kids, ages 3 to 7, entranced the entire time.

animal mask party

Since Nadja wanted an “animal theme” for her party, Barbara chose stories to fit. She first performed the story from a classic children’s book called Crictor, about an old lady’s pet boa constrictor.


She acted out the story using the giant stuffed snake she brought with her in a gift wrapped box.


Then, she led the children in the story of Three Billy Goats Gruff, letting them take turns acting out the parts of the troll and the three goats.



She also sang the story of The Wide Mouth Frog. She played the part of the frog and handed out puppets to the children for all of the other animal characters in the book.


They repeated their characters’ lines back to her in the cutest ways imaginable.

animal mask party

Barbara was just as captivating to the children as I had hoped.


With a final song, she led the children in a line to the table for the birthday treats. Brilliant!

animal mask party

As soon as everyone was seated, we sang Happy Birthday, and served ice cream, animal cookies, and cake pops (from Del Ray Cakery).


animal mask party

I kept the decorations to a minimum: I bought a Happy Birthday balloon to hang on our front railing, some napkins with animal cartoons from Del Ray Variety, and compostable bowls and spoons from Mom’s Organic Market.


I had made the party favors a couple of weeks ago – felted animal masks. It admittedly added up to hours of work, but I thought of it as a labor of love. In the last 10 minutes or so of the party, Nadja handed out the animal masks to her friends and they all went outside for group photo and a round of Duck Duck Goose.



animal mask party

animal mask party

In all, it was a simple and entertaining party. I would highly recommend hiring Barbara for a child’s birthday party since she’s not only a fabulous storyteller but she also makes the party logistics quite easy by being the main act. I never felt more relaxed at one of my girls’ birthday parties.

You can email Barbara directly if you want to book an event with her.

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