Holiday Books

Wobble the Witch Cat

Dear Friends,

As darkness arrives a little bit earlier each day and dusk lingers a bit longer, there's more time for imaginations to think of Halloween witches and their black cats. We decided this was the perfect time to revisit an old favorite, Wobble the Witch Cat by a favorite childhood author Mary Calhoun.

I originally fell in love with Mary Calhoun's books as a young reader following the adventures of Katie John. I imaginged visiting Katie John in her big red brick house and having lots of adventures together. The books became even more special to me when I learned that Mary Calhoun's hometown was just a few miles down the road from where I grew up, and that big red brick house is still standing. It was as if Katie John became a favorite playmate! We hope you enjoy Wobble the Witch Cat and, if you don't know Mary Calhoun yet, she becomes one of your favorites as well. 

 

Wobble the Witch Cat

by Mary Calhoun

illustrated by Roger Duvoisin

Wobble, the Witch Cat is a happy little black Halloween cat that belongs to sweet-natured witch named Maggie. The two have always gotten along famously and enjoyed many Halloween adventures together until Maggie ruined their peaceful existence by getting a new broom. Something very unfortunate occurs when Wobble goes out with Maggie on the new broom and has caused Wobble to become very cross and dread the approach of the spooky night of Halloween.

The fun little Halloween tale, paired the vintage 1950s feeling illustrations by Roger Duvoisin, is a perfect choice for young trick-or-treaters who prefer Halloween stories that cause smiles and not scares.

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Ghosts in the House!

Dear Friends,

Does it seem to you that Halloween gets more and more ghoulish every year? We enjoy a zombie-free Halloween zone: our pumpkins all smile, our ghosts are friendly, and our witches have neither green skin nor warts. The spine-tingling side of the holiday certainly has its place, but children can often find it a bit overwhelming and worry there really might be monsters in the closet once the lights are turned out. 

So in keeping with this approach, here's our second spooky by not scary book to enjoy during the magical month of October. 

Ghosts in the House

by Kazuno Kohara

Kid power is the theme of this wonderful, whimsical Halloween book. The young heroine of Ghosts in the House! is a confident little witch who knows just what to do with all the ghosts in the splendid house at the edge of town. With the help of her spunky little cat, she immediately takes charge of the situation and transforms the ghosts from haunting to helpful in a very clever way.

Full of stunningly simple illustrations with an almost tactile appearance to them, the book has a vintage look of children’s literature from the 195op0s when really the publication date is 2008. The colors are limited to black and orange and gauzy white, making the ghosts looks as if they could float right off the page. This is a book to be placed on the must read list and one that will be pulled from the shelf year after year to celebrate the Halloween season.

In this Issue

Banana Ghost Pops

As fun to make as they are to eat, these cute little ghost pops are a healthier alternative to more traditional Halloween treats!

Banana Ghost Pops - Ghosts in the House! - Off the Shelf

Young Readers in the Kitchen

This no-cook recipe is perfect for little witches and warlocks to make with a parent's help. Every step in this recipe is kid friendly, depending on age and skill level.

Banana Ghost Pops

Makes 2; increase as desired

Ingredients

  • 1 Banana
  • Apple juice or cider
  • Shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 4 Chocolate chips
  • 2 Wooden popsicle sticks
  1. Pour apple juice or cider into a small, shallow dish to a depth of about 1/2 inch.
  2. Spread some shredded coconut in another dish or on a plate. 
  3. Peel banana and slice in half. Insert one popsicle stick in each half. 
  4. Place banana in dish with juice and roll to coat banana. Transfer the banana to the dish of coconut and press so that coconut sticks to banana. 
  5. Insert two chocolate chips in each banana for eyes (and maybe another for a mouth!).
  6. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Enjoy!

 

 

Clothesline Ghosts

Inspired by the transparent inhabitants in Ghosts in the House!, these tissue paper ghosts keep little fingers busy creating their own versions to hang out to dry. 

Clothesline Ghosts Craft - Ghosts in the House! - Off the Shelf

Why We Like It

  • Tearing the ghosts, using the hole punch, and clipping the ghosts to the string are all wonderful for building fine motor skills.
  • Creating organic ghost shapes encourages imagination and creativity. 

Clothesline Ghosts

Supplies

  • White tissue paper
  • Hole punch
  • Hole reinforcement stickers
  • Black crayon
  • String
  • Mini clothespins (or paper clips)
  1. Tear a ghost shape from tissue paper. Repeat until you have desired number of ghosts. 
  2. Use hole punch to punch eyes in each ghost. Place a hole reinforcement sticker around each eye. 
  3. Use black crayon to give each ghost a mouth.
  4. Cut a length of string long enough to hold all of your ghosts. Clip each ghost to string with a mini clothes pin or paperclip. 

 

 


Gingerbread Baby

By Jan Brett

 A delicious twist on a classic favorite, Gingerbread Baby is a story within a story about a fun-filled romp through a tiny Swiss village and into the forest. Matti makes the mistake of peeking into the oven just a bit too soon as Gingerbread Baby is baking and our mischievous little cookie takes advantage of the open oven door to make a quick escape. 

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett - Off the Shelf

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett - Off the Shelf
A varied cast of characters joins in the chase to catch the puckish little treat, but it is Matti who stays home and bakes up a sweet plan in the borders on each page that entices Gingerbread Baby back home.

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett - Off the Shelf

Jan Brett’s beautifully detailed paintings and a fun lift-the-flap feature bring the story to life so much that you will practically smell the gingerbread baking. Each page is so richly illustrated that readers will find themselves discovering something new and wonderful each time the book is opened. This is certain to become a must read holiday classic!

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Moonlight: The Halloween Cat

By Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet


Moonlight: The Halloween Cat is a warm and cozy Halloween book that tells the story of a gentle black cat on her favorite night of the year. Smiling pumpkins, trick-or-treaters and shining stars are just a few of sights Moonlight sees as she explores the dark night before making her way inside her own front door.

Artist Melissa Sweet illustrated the book with luminous paintings that seem to glow and come to life as each page is turned. The text is eloquent and lyrical, mimicking the softly padding movements of Moonlight as she makes her way from one favorite spot to the next.

Told in a way that is gentle, yet conveying the excitement of the holiday, Moonlight The Halloween Cat is a perfect book for Halloween readers of every age.

In this Issue

  • Moonlight the Halloween Cat Pipe Cleaner Art
  • Black as Moonlight Chocolate Pudding
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    The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

    By Linda Williams
    Illustrated by Megan Lloyd 

    A new twist on an old tale, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything is a just-spooky-enough Halloween book to send shivers down the spine but not frighten even the youngest of trick-or-treaters.

    With limited text and lots of repetition, young readers will love to join in and help read the refrain with enthusiastic sound effects. Participating in the reading process is an important early literacy skill that encourages a love of books and reading and sparks creativity and imagination.

    The little old lady set out through a dark, autumn forest to gather herbs and spices, nuts and seeds. (Perhaps she is planning to prepare trail mix?) On her way home she encounters many mysterious items who try their spooky best to frighten her. Because the little old lady is not afraid of anything she bravely continues on her way until….!

    Illustrations by Megan Lloyd are warm and folksy, filled with autumn colors and fun details. Enjoy the book with your young reader to find out how the little old lady outwits the scary things and makes a happy ending to the book. 

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    Boo to You!

    Dear Friends,

    Don't you love Lois Ehlert's books? Her use of collage is so inventive, especially when transforming the images of everyday objects into something completely re-imagined. Who else would think to make a cat's teeth out of pumpkin seeds? So often as adults we become very strict in the way things should be perceived and done; things are very black and white. A child's imagination allows them to color their world however they want, with cranberry eyes and corncob ears, of course adapting to suit the occasion!  

    While a lot of her books simply use different types of paper to depict the subject, what I love about Boo to You! is the addition of photographed and Xeroxed images of some of her "favorite fall objects".  Children naturally have the tendency to collect little things, and a walk around the block or an outing to the park can result in a treasure trove of art supplies. Put this scavenger trait to good use in creating these adorable little mice puppets for a Harvest Party Puppet Show.

    Imagination is such a powerful tool and allows children to “see” how a simple seed or twig can be transformed into a multitude of fascinating items. When you let go and give your young reader the opportunity to express this ability, you will build their confidence in their choices, their creative process, and the validity of their thoughts. Besides all that, it’s just plain fun!

     

    Boo to You!

    by Lois Ehlert

    In author/illustrator Lois Ehlert's Boo to You!, adorable, fuzzy mice figure out a plan to outsmart the scary cat and keep him from ruining their Harvest Party. Throughout the book the mice build their plan, and by the end are ready to meet their nemesis head on and turn him from a scary cat to a scaredy cat.

    Ehlert used fall time crops such as pumpkins, corn, and gourds to create her signature mixed media collage illustrations, add scavenger hunt feel to reading the book. Prompt yur young reader to try and identify all the things he or she recognizes on each page. A pictorial list of the items used to create the collages is featured at the end of the book.

     

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    Pumpkin Soup

    by Helen Cooper

    This is the absolutely perfect book for the time between Halloween and Thanksgiving, when the trees are bare, and the smell of pumpkin wafts through the house.

    Big Pumpkin tells the story of three friends who have a disagreement, and the antics that ensue because no one wants to compromise. Even the youngest of readers will most likely have of memories of their own about being in a similar situation as presented in the book, and are sure to sympathize with the characters. The plot is highly entertaining, full of fun and enhanced by the detailed illustrations that seem to present something new each time the book is read.

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    Big Pumpkin

    by Erica Silverman
    Illustrated by S.D. Schindler

    A delightful, cumulative story with text that is rhythmic and repetitive, your young reader will eagerly chime in as Big Pumpkin is enjoyed many times during the Halloween season. A group of fun, not-so-scary Halloween characters learn how to cooperate, share and listen to each other before celebrating the haunting holiday with delicious pumpkin pie. Illustrations by S.D. Schindler give the book just enough spookiness to be fun but not at all scary for even the youngest reader. 

     

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