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.
In this Issue
Inspired by the little old lady's walk in the forest to gather herbs and spices nuts and seeds, here's a recipe to mix up a batch of scarecrow trail mix. Pull the elements for the story together and add a dash of imagination as you gather ingredients that will keep scary things away during this frightful season: shredded wheat cereal becomes the scarecrow's straw stuffing, while spiced pumpkin seeds come straight from the pumpkin head; nuts were collected from the forest by the little old lady, and we added sweetened cranberries to round out this seasonal mix.
While it's delicious on it's own for a snack, it also makes a scrumptious breakfast with a splash of milk or almond milk.
Scarecrow Trail Mix
makes about 1 1/2 cups, although easily doubled or tripled!
- 1 cup frosted shredded wheat cereal
- 1/4 cup spiced pumpkin or squash seeds
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- Have young readers break up cereal biscuits into small pieces and place in a bowl (more practice for fine motor skills!), while you coarsely chop almonds. Pour almonds into the bowl with the broken cereal.
- Add seeds and cranberries and stir to combine.
What a fun book for this season when so many things tend to be scary! This little old lady shows young readers how to transform an object that can apper spooky into something fun and helpful. How many times has a scratching at the window really just been a branch? Instead of being afraid of the pumpkin head and disembodied clothing, the little old woman uses her imagination to make the pumpkin head a happy, helpful fellow and no longer something to scare her.
Likewise, each of the scary things in the book come together to make this happy fellow who will help to keep all scary things away!
This activity focuses on fine motor skills: grasping the sponge builds strength, and controlling the direction of the sponge's strokes builds control. Painting a variety of shapes to form the scarecrow, from the round, orange, pumpkin head to the straight green legs, also incorporates shape and color skill practice into a fun painting activity.
- brown paper grocery bag or a length of butcher paper
- sponges (We used a 6-pack of inexpensive rectangular sponges, then cut each sponge in half, making it more manageable for small hands.)
- If using a brown paper bag, cut out each side panel using the fold lines as a guide. This will give you one long piece made of the front, bottom, back of the bag. You can also cut a length off a roll of butcher paper to make your banner.
- Pour a small amount of paint into containers. Dip 1 edge of a sponge into the chosen color and apply paint to brown paper banner.
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