"Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!"

by Patricia Thomas

Illustrated by Wallace Tripp

Dear Friends,

I'm going to break some sort of unwritten rule by staring this post off by talking about a book besides our book of the week. And that book is No Flying in the House. It doesn't seem like many people know about it but those who are devotees. I got it in the last Scholastic book order of the school year and remember being completely engrossed reading it in my book nook, which was comprised of my own bookshelves, a lamp and a little bean bag chair. 

Going forward several years, I read "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" to my kindergarten class, not realizing that the illustrations so beloved by my kindergartners were done by the same illustrator who had brought my beloved Gloria and Annabel to life. They loved the language and rhythm of "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!", but it was the richly detailed illustrations that truly captivated their imaginations. 

Although "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" is a bit longer than our usual picks, it is so fun and entertaining that it will hold your young reader's attention. We hope you enjoy this selection and if you weren't familiar with it before, the work of Wallace Tripp. 


In this Issue

 Elephant Nose

Bring the story to life with an elephant nose that will curl and uncurl, powered by your young reader!

Elephant Nose Toy - "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" - Off the Shelf






Elephant Nose


  • Bathroom tissue roll
  • Gray or silver tissue paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • White paper for tusks
  1.  Cut a piece of tissue paper wide enough to fit around cardboard tube, and roughly twice the length. Wrap the tissue paper around the tube and secure with tape. Place another piece of tape halfway down the length of tissue paper to keep it closed. 
  2. Fold the end of the length of tissue paper closed and secure with tape. 
  3. Cut two tusks from white paper and tape to each side of the tissue covered tube. 

To use: Have your young reader hold the tube over their mouth and blow out to make an elephant sneeze, and breathe in through their mouth to make the elephant nose curl back up. 


Jungle Crumble Bars

Jungle Crumble Bars - "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" - Off the Shelf

Almost all the animals in "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" are represented in this fun to make recipe. This is all about the process of making this story-related recipe, so have fun making it together with your young reader. 

Jungle Crumble Bars - "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" - Off the Shelf

Jungle Crumble Bars - "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" - Off the Shelf

Jungle Crumble Bars - "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" - Off the Shelf

Jungle Crumble Bars - "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" - Off the Shelf

Jungle Crumble Bars - "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" - Off the Shelf

Jungle Crumble Bars - "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" - Off the Shelf

Jungle Crumble Bars

Makes 16. 


  • 1 cup animal crackers
  • 1 cup leopard spots (chocolate Cheerios)
  • 1/2 cup graham goldfish (for the fish and crocodile)
  • 1/2 cup snakes (unsalted sesame sticks)
  • 1/2 cup dried banana slices (for the monkeys)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (for the mouse)
  • 1/4 cup bird feathers (unsweetened coconut)
  • 1/4 cup honey (for the bees and bear)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (for the elephant)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (to make zebra stripes)
  1. Heat oven to 350. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large bowl, measure and mix together all ingredients except the peanut butter, honey, oil, and chocolate chips. 
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the honey, peanut butter, and vegetable oil until smooth. Pour over cereal mixture and stir until evenly coated. 
  4. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely. 
  5. Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over bars to make stripes. Once chocolate is set, cut into 16 bars. Enjoy!


One Year Ago: A Home for Bird by Philip Stead, My Garden by Kevin Henkes, and Anatole by Eve Titus, illustrated by Paul Galdone.

Two Years Ago: Make Way for Ducklings by Robet McCloskey, We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, and Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni.

Mouse Paint

Dear Friends,

We hope you are having a good day. Sometimes, we find ourselves weary of daily schedules and routines. As helpful as they are for crossing things off a to-do list, they can sometimes result in little time for spur-of-the-moment fun. Do you ever feel the same way? So here's a friendly reminder to seize the moment and create a memory with your young reader...maybe by hopping and dancing in some paint? 

Mouse Paint

by Ellen Stoll Walsh

 Three clever little white mice are hiding from a gray cat in a very tricky place – on a sheet of white paper! Things get even trickier when the mice discover three jars of paint and begin to have so much fun dancing and jumping in the paint they forget all about the cat.

Mouse Paint - Off the Shelf


Mouse Paint is a fun, light-hearted introduction to primary colors and color mixing told through the antics of the little white mice. Filled with cut paper illustrations and vivid colors, each page pops with energy and inspiration.  Mouse Paint - Off the Shelf

Enjoy Mouse Paint with your young reader and discover how the little mice continue to enjoy their new painting hobby and still hide from the gray cat.


In this Issue

Continue reading "Mouse Paint" »


by Eve Titus
illustrated by Paul Galdone

Anatole is an honorable little mouse with a great deal of character, so he is crushed when he discovers that the humans think he and all other mice are a disgrace to France. It troubles him to be thought of in such a negative manner, and he devises an ingenious plan to earn his crumbs and scraps and renew his sense of dignity.

Young readers will delight in this fun adventure story with a timeless message of self-reliance, working hard, and using your talents. The charming and classic illustrations by Paul Galdone showing the life of a French mouse are done in charcoal, pen, and ink. The mainly black and gray pages are highlighted with red and blue of the French flag and have a true 1950’s vintage feel! Originally published in 1956, this Caldecott Honor Book continues to be a favorite for readers just discovering its charm, and to those rediscovering it from an earlier time.

In this Issue

Continue reading "Anatole" »

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.


In this Issue

Continue reading "Boo to You!" »

If You Take a Mouse to School

by Laura Numeroff
Illustrated by Felicia Bond 

Going to school has never been more fun! Full of humor and mouse hi-jinks, reading this book will set imaginations in motion dreaming up all the possibilities of what could happen with a little whiskered friend in school.

The text is humorous on its own but the illustrations add to the hilarity of the story and truly bring the adventures to life. Hunting for mouse throughout the pages adds to the fun of this book and takes the reader along through a giggle filled day of school. 

 In this Issue

Continue reading "If You Take a Mouse to School" »

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

by Kevin Henkes 

The importance of patience is a difficult concept to teach to most children, and so often to adults as well! But this beloved book by author and illustrator Kevin Henkes beautifully illustrates the virtues of the concept as well as the happiness in forgiveness.

Through the excitement of becoming the proud new owner of movie-star sunglasses, a purple plastic purse that plays a jaunty tune, and shiny quarters, plus the overwhelming need to share these new items with her classmates, enthusiastic Lily learns that difficult lesson of patience. 

What makes this book so relatable for children is the imperfection of Lily. She is as enthusiastic in her love of everything, school, chalk, the sound of her boots, her teacher... as she is in her impulsive angry behavior (which I'm sure many young readers can relate to!) As in any good story, she also shows even more remorse and learns another valuable lesson on forgiveness. Never preachy and always fun this is a fun read for both children and adults.


In this Issue

  • Transform an ordinary brown paper grocery bag into a Paper Bag Cape just like our heroine wears on the cover.
  • Make the most tasty snacks, something crunchy and cheesy: Cheesy Snack Crackers!

Continue reading "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" »

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear

By Don and Audrey Wood
illustrated by Don Wood 

How will a little mouse ever stop a big hungry bear from eating his delicious strawberry? In The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear, the clever little mouse has several very interesting ideas that require a little help from the reader and make for a highly entertaining, interactive book full of timeless fun. Be prepared for smiles and giggles galore as well as a sneaky lesson on the positive outcome of sharing with a friend.

Authored by husband and wife team Don and Audrey Wood, Mr. Wood illustrated the book as well. The text is chatty and light and the illustrations are bright, engaging, and just plain fun to look enjoy. By the end of the book the reader feels as if Mouse has become a new best friend who wants us to visit over and over again.


In this Issue


Continue reading "The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear" »

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie

By Laura Joffe Numeroff
Illustrated by Felicia Bond 

 What happens when a mouse in the house asks you for milk, and cookies, and a straw, and a napkin, and….nail scissors? Read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and find out how a perfectly normal day turns into giggle-out-loud chaos. 

Check out MouseCookieBooks.com!

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - offtheshelfblog.com

In this Issue

Continue reading "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" »