by Ben Hatke
"Julia's house came to town and settled by the sea. Things are just a little too quiet for Julia, so she opens her doors to any lost creatures in search of ah ome. Soon she's hosting troops, goblins, mermaids, ghosts, and even dragons. Quiet isn't exactly a problem any more."
'Judicious placement of the spare text and enlarged, attention-getting onomatopoetic words like “whoosh,” “scratch scratch,” “boom” and “creak” add drama, while fanciful pen, ink and watercolor illustrations create a whimsical world of cartoonlike creatures. Julia’s all practicality in her kerchief, apron and pink high-top sneakers, while her ramshackle house atop the giant tortoise is the picture of cozy comfort until the invading troll, dragon, mermaid and companions trigger a rumpus reminiscent of Sendak’s Wild Things.' –Kirkus Reviews
Julia's House for Lost Creatures is a magical story and readers of all ages will want to step right in and be a part of the story!
In this Issue
"That evening there was a warm fire and toast and tea. And all the house was quiet. Too quiet."
Because tea and toast is served in Julia's house, we knew our recipe needed to be toast, but how to make toast more interesting? There is such an intriguing collection of creatures who come to live at Julia's, so we took our inspiration for troll toast from the very sad troll who came to stay, just until he could get back on his feet.
We had our color, but what could we use to make something green appealing for young readers to eat? After experimenting, we came up with a recipe form yummy avocado troll toast that is green in color but full of delicious flavors and offers many opportunities for young readers to be involved in the preparation.
- 1 avocado
- Grape or cherry tomatoes
- Shredded cheese
- Shredded carrots
- 2 slices of bread; we chose a loaf with lots of seeds for added crunch and flavor
- Halve the avocado and remove the seed (save the seed. Scoop the avocado into a bowl and mash with a fork (great fun for young readers).
- Wash and chop tomatoes as many tomatoes as you like. Add to the the mashed avocado along with some cheese, shredded carrots, and salt to taste. Stir until well combined.
- Toast the bread slices. Top each slice with half of the avocado mixture. Enjoy, perhaps with some tea!
Take inspiration from the imaginative menagerie of creatures that comes to stay at Julia's house, and set out play dough and a variety of add-ons and see what kind of Lost Creatures your young reader creates.
We mixed up a batch of Mud Play Dough (made with coffee grounds!) to create our Lost Creatures.
What fun to take the seed from the avocado used to make Troll Toast and then plant it and see how it will grow! Once your seed sprouts, this site has everything you need to know about growing an avocado tree.
Plant an Avocado Seed
- Take 3 toothpicks and insert them evenly around the seed, toward the crown of the seed.
- Take a small glass jar or other small container and place the seed over the rim. Fill the container with water so that the seed sits about 1 inch into the water.
- Place in a sunny location and replenish the water as needed. The seed should sprout in a few weeks!
"So Julia ran to her workshop. She got out her tools and her paints and went to work. She made a sign."
Throughout the book, Julia makes signs in her workshop for many different reasons. Invite young readers to create signs of their own to hang in their room, in their pretend play spaces, or anywhere their imagination takes them!
The directions for this activity are more suggestions for getting started, and the supplies that can be used are endless. What will your young reader's sign say? It is amazing to set out a few supplies, then stand back and watch young readers create their vision!
Sign Making Workshop
- Kraft paper
- Yarn or twine
- Hole punch
- Markers or paints
- Paper towel tubes
We made our hanging sign by punching holes in the top of a piece of thin cardboard, then lacing a piece of twine through the holes and around a stick (This is great for fine motor practice). A long piece of twine tied to both ends became a hanger.
The standing sign was made by gluing a paper towel tube to each end of a piece of cardboard. In both cases we decorated the cardboard before turning them into signs.
More from Off the Shelf
One Year Ago: Three by the Sea
Two Years Ago: A Basketful of Easter Activities
Three Years Ago: My Garden
Four Years Ago: Make Way for Ducklings
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