In our second offering from Margaret Wise Brown, we thought this was the appropriate time to learn more about the author, and we were fascinated by what we discovered. So fascinated, in fact, that we encourage you to read her bio for yourself; her life story reads like a classic black-and-white movie. Although she is almost exclusively known for Goodnight Moon, she penned dozens of children's books, among which was The Little Scarecrow Boy. We hope you enjoy discovering more about this favorite children's author and the book we're sharing with you this week.
The Little Scarecrow Boy
by Margaret Wise Brown
illustrated by David Diaz
The Little Scarecrow Boy is Margaret Wise Brown’s tale of wanting to grow up too fast and how a parent’s love and guidance can make everything better. The little scarecrow boy so badly wants to go out in the field and scare crows away on his own. His father has spent a long time teaching the boy the scarecrow methods but feels his son is not quite ready to tackle such an important task on his own.
Determined to prove his independence, the little scarecrow wakes very early one morning and sneaks out into the cornfield on his own. Young readers will love the adventure and excitement he has as he meets up with the crows and uses all the knowledge his father has given him.
Caldecott Medalist David Diaz used watercolor, gouache, and pencil to create illustrations done in the palette of a sunny, autumn cornfield that truly transport the reader to the field setting. Contrasting against the light-filled landscape are the menacing black crows with beady eyes and open beaks, allowing readers to share the feelings of the little scarecrow as he faces the imposing birds.
In this Issue
Inspired by the corn the scarecrows protect, we decided to bake up a batch of tasty cornbread crackers to much on while creating our Yarn Scarecrows. Making crackers might sound intimidating, but they are no harder to make than a batch of cookies.
Young Readers in the Kitchen
Kids can whisk together the dry ingredients, have fun working butter in, stirring up the dough, and rolling and cutting out the crackers.
Adapted from Honey Cornbread Crackers.
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons cold butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Cut butter into medium sized pieces and add to flour mixture. Using hands, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs.
- Stir together the milk and honey and add to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. If it seems dry and crumbly, stir in a few more tablespoons of milk.
- Roll dough out on a generously floured work-surface to about 1/8 inch thick; thicker crackers will be more chewy, thinner, more crisp.
- Cut out to desired size using a knife or pizza cutter (cookie cutter works too).
- Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
Related Recipe: Scarecrow Trail Mix
With a little help from you, your young reader can create a scarecrow of his or her own. This simple activity will only require you to wrap the yarn and tie some knots, and then allow your young reader's imagination to bring it to life with odds and ends of fabric and art supplies.
Why We Like It
- Develops fine motor skills
- Ideal activity for expressing creativity
- Fosters imagination
- hardback book
- fabric and yarn scraps
- Wrap yarn around book to desired thickness: this will vary by the size of your book, anywhere from 30 to 50 (or more) times around. We used our copy of In November, which is 9.5 inches tall and wrapped 50 times. Cut yarn when finished wrapping.
- Slide wrapped yarn off book, keeping loops intact.
- Cut a length of yarn and tie in a knot at the top to secure loops together.
- Cut another length of yarn and tie in a knot approximately 2 inches down from the top to form the head.
- Cut through all yarn loops at the bottom.
- Separate body yarn into fourths. The two outer sections will form the arms.
- Cut arms to desired length and tie a length of yarn around the "wrists."
- Tie a length of yarn around remaining sections to form the "waist." You can stop at this step for a doll with a skirt, or proceed to make legs.
- Divide remaining yarn in two and tie lengths of yarn at each ankle.
- Set out an assortment of fabric and yarn scraps and allow your child to create clothes and facial features. Glue the resulting fashions to the scarecrow.
Make a scarecrow family! Why stop at just one scarecrow? Varying the size of the book used to wrap the yarn will make different sized scarecrows. Create the whole scarecrow family from the book and put on a puppet show to act out the story. You could even make all the members of your own family, scarecrow style!
More By Margaret Wise Brown: Big Red Barn, illustrated by Felicia Bond
One Year Ago: In the delightful The Knight and the Dragon, Tomie DePaola illustrates how to solve problems and work together.
Two Years Ago: In November beautifully describes the rituals that you and your reader associate with this time of year, from animals hibernating and bird going south, to families cooking together and gathering to give thanks.