The Lion and the Mouse

by Jerry Pinkney

Come along on a journey to eastern Africa, where elephants roam and zebras graze in the Serengeti. This is the breathtaking setting of Jerry Pinkney's wordless telling of The Lion & the Mouse, Aesop's tale that celebrates kindness and courage. 

Is your young reader rambunctious and confident like a lion, or more quiet and unassuming like a mouse?  The beauty of Aesop's classic tale The Lion & the Mouse is that neither of these personalities is more admirable than the other, for both are celebrated in their own way. 


Winner of the 2010 Caldecott Medal, The Lion & the Mouse is exquisitely illustrated in watercolors that enhance the underlying gentleness of the story.  The only words are the occasional onomatopoeia of wildlife sounds as well as the putt putt of the hunters' truck. This is a book to savor and linger over and cherish. Enjoy! 

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The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

by Dan Santat

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend is an absolutely adorable book that kids are going to beg to hear over and over again.  It celebrates the power of imagination, the joy of friendship, and the tremendous fun that can come from doing everyday things when you have a best friend. Most children have an imaginary friend at some point whose name and appearance quite often baffle the adults in their life (my cousin had two imaginary friends: Joe Hunk and Sue Kleenex...we're still wondering about that!). Beekle shows us the importance of these imaginary playmates and how all friendships, real or imagined, are a wonderful thing. 

The Adventures of Beekle -

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A Tree is Nice

Dear Friends,

Trees are the perfect childhood friends. How many summer days are spent playing in the shade of a tree? Or fall afternoons spent tramping in the the fallen leaves? In imaginative play, tree can be almost anything, from houses to spaceships, as well as base in a game of tag or the perfect place to climb. Although we sometimes take them for granted, this week's book helps us to take a few quiet moments to celebrate the many gifts that trees give us!

A Tree is Nice

by Janice May Udry
illustrated by Marc Simont

Winner of the 1957 Caldecott Medal, A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry is a timeless classic that has a feel that is both vintage and contemporary at the same time. Gently proclaiming a deep appreciation of the beauty and virtues of trees, the text is simple yet expressive and has a calming rhythm that entices readers in for factual reasons to love trees.

Gorgeous illustrations by Mr. Simont are perfectly matched to the poetic text, alternating between soft, lush watercolors and black and white illustrations that are quiet but never stark and cold. Simplistic but never dull, A Tree Is Nice compels readers to go for a walk and take the time to notice and appreciate the beauty of the trees that surrounds us.

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Crayon Rubbing Autumn Tree

Bark rubbings and leaf rubbings are autumn activities that never get old. No matter the age of the artist, making these fall favorites seems to usher in the season of crisp weather, shorter days, and the excitement of the quickly approaching Halloween season. We decided to expand on the basic rubbings in order to further engage in the spirit of our book of the week. So get out the paper, crayons and scissors and get ready to create a little autumn magic.

Crayon Rubbing Autumn Tree
Crayon Rubbing Autumn Tree

Crayon Rubbing Autumn Tree

Crayon Rubbing Autumn Tree

Crayon Rubbing Autumn Tree from Off the Shelf

Why We Like It

  • Fun activity for developing observational skills by discussing the size, shape, texture, and colors of the leaves.
  • Great way to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and make some fun art.

Crayon Rubbing Autumn Tree

What You Will Need

  • White paper
  • Crayons – wrappers removed
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Leaves – fresh are best
  • A tree

How To Do It

  1. Hold a sheet of paper on the trunk of a tree and, using the side of a crayon, gently rub the crayon over the entire sheet of paper to get a bark rubbing.
  2. Collect several autumn leaves. Place 1 leaf on a flat surface, textured side up, and lay another sheet of white paper on top of the leaf. Using the flat side of a crayon, gently but firmly rub across the leaf to make the image of the leaf appear. Repeat until you have several leaf rubbings.
  3. Cut a vertical section of paper from the bark rubbing to use as your tree trunk. Cut the remaining bark rubbing into strips to use as tree branches.
  4. Cut out the leaf rubbings individually.
  5. Glue the branches to the trunk and attach leaves.
  6. Lay flat to dry.


Leaves and Twigs Snack Mix

With dried cranberries and golden raisins in the colors of fall leaves, pretzels sticks reminding us of the shape and crunch of twigs, and flavored with two delicious gifts from trees, this is the perfect snack to enjoy on a beautiful autumn day while sitting under your favorite tree. 

Snack mixes are perfect for kids because they are portable, not messy, and easily customizable to picky eaters!

Leaves and Twigs Snack Mix from Off the Shelf

Leaves and Twigs Snack Mix

Granola adapted from Pumpkin Granola.

Makes roughly 2 cups.


  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (see video below)
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup pretzel sticks, broken in half


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, mix together oats, applesauce, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon until well combined. 
  2. Spread mixture on an oiled or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  3. Let granola cool before scooping into a medium bowl, breaking up any large chunks. 
  4. Add cranberries, raisins, and broken pretzel sticks to granola. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Curious where cinnamon comes from? 

Blueberries for Sal

by Robert McCloskey

Beloved author Robert McCloskey wrote and illustrated Blueberries for Sal, a gentle adventure story that won the Caldecott Honor Book award in 1949. From the minute you open the cover you will feel yourself relax and be drawn into the world of Little Sal and Little Bear.

The beautiful two-page introductory illustration of Sal and her mother canning blueberries sets the tone for this sweet book filled with just enough suspense that young readers will be holding their breath in anticipation. The gentle humor of two mothers' mix-up will appeal to kids’ sense of humor and the detailed blue-black illustrations allow readers to feel they too are on Blueberry Hill on a beautiful, sunny day. A true classic every book lover will treasure for years to come.


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