Monthly Archives: October 2009

HOW SPIDER SAVED HALLOWEEN by Robert Kraus

When we were searching the shelves for Halloween books, Helen asked if I had How Spider Saved Halloween because it was one of her favorites. She also remembered it having a fairly good witch in it (and I’m sure Ladybug would agree!)

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Spider is worried about finding the right costume because nothing changes him drastically enough to hide who is behind the costume. This book was published in 1973 – look at these costumes. No Halloween or Scream masks, no blood or guts. I miss 1973. Not the clothes, just the … innocence.

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Spider goes to his friend Ladybug’s house to see if she can help him.
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Ladybug and fly show him their costumes – see isn’t that a great witch?

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Spider is still trying to think of a good costume for himself when they hear a smashing sound and laughter coming from outside.

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Bullies have destroyed Ladybug’s jack-o-lantern. Maybe it wasn’t such an innocent time after all. Ladybug is terribly upset because what is Halloween without a jack-o-lantern? And that’s when Spider gets the idea for the perfect costume. He has his friends color him orange and he cuts out a green stem and voila!

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He’s the perfect jack-o-lantern.  The three friends go out trick-or-treating and are having a wonderful time until they hear the bullies coming down the street with cans of shaving cream. (Even though they are bullies, they still are pretty tame.)

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But Spider knows how to get back at them. Hiding behind a bush until they are right near him, he then jumps out and scares them. And that is how Spider saved Halloween.

Robert Kraus wrote several other Spider/Ladybug/Fly books, some of which are still available through Amazon, etc. In 1965, Kraus started his own publishing company, Windmill Books which published some of his NY artist friends’ books, including, among others, The Chas. Addams Mother Goose, (which I need to find immediately!) and several by William Steig, including Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, another huge favorite here at Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals. They also were the first to produce board books and bathtub books for very young kids.

THE GHOSTS DINNER by Jacques Duquennoy

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I love it when ghosts get together for dinner.

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Want to know why? They become the color of whatever they eat/drink.

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Green for spinach juice?

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What other kind of juices did they have? Blueberry? Strawberry? It just boggles the mind!

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I always turn orange when I eat Pumpkin soup. I love that the ones that had seconds are a darker orange.

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How funny is it that they look like the lettuce and the cheese? Who can tell me what type of cheese they’re eating:D

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There are times when I could really use this magic dessert recipe.

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Good friends are the ones that help you clean up at the end of a dinner party.

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This surprises me a little (although maybe not that much knowing my penchants for chocolate), but I love the color brown they turn after drinking hot chocolate. And I usually don’t like brown at all. But this is such a warm, rich color. I’m thinking the ghost in the middle is overdoing his chocolate to milk ratio, just a bit!

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Oh, and the bowls they are using for their milk? They would make AWESOME ice cream dishes. I’m just saying!

Posted by Mary Beth

WELCOME TO THE GRAVEYARD!

What better to make for our cooking project near Halloween than a graveyard? An edible graveyard no less! And what do you need to make this masterpiece?

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Chocolate pudding – we prefer the cooked variety in our household; milk, whipped cream, Oreo cookies, Milano cookies, candy corn, decorating gel, and little chocolate candies for eyes (more about that later.)

We’re going to take a quick break now while I run get milk, since I just noticed that this carton expired on the 9th … of SEPTEMBER! Obviously, we’re not big milk drinkers in this household. We get our vitamin D and calcium from other sources – like cheese & ice cream!

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Take three cups of milk (from the new carton, if you please) and dump it into a pot.

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Add the pudding powder and mix well.

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Heat the milk/pudding mixture over a medium high heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a full boil.

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We’re almost there – just a little bit longer! If you’re doing the non-cook kind of pudding, just mix the milk & pudding together until it thickens, then put it in the fridge for a little bit to let it set.

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While the pudding is thickening, take the Oreos and put them in a food grinder. Chop those suckers up into tiny little crumbs. Don’t worry about the cream filling – you want that mixed in. Hey you! Put down the Oreo! No licking of the frosting!

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What does that remind you of?

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Dirt, maybe? Well, let’s just pretend it does, okay? Spread a layer of crumbs dirt over the pudding.

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Add the candy corn for embellishment’s sake. There’s no correlation between them and graveyards. I just like candy corn, okay! I try to use it in as many halloween recipes as possible. Don’t judge me!

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The Milano cookies are your gravestones. Use the gel to write epitaphs on the grave markers. If you’re spastic the way I am, limit it to initials or RIP.

Stick the graves  into your pudding graveyard.

*** IMPORTANT NOTE – DO NOT PUT COOKIES INTO PUDDING UNTIL JUST BEFORE YOU’RE READY TO SERVE IT, OTHERWISE THE COOKIES WILL GET MUSHY! VERY QUICKLY!!***

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Final step – add whipped cream ghosts. I just used the can to add a little swirl of whipped cream and stuck two chocolate candies in for eyes. This would have been more impressive with the marshmallow Peep ghosts I originally planned on using. However, just so you know, looking for those marshmallow ghosts in the week before Halloween is like looking for the proverbial needle (in the haystack). It ain’t happening, baby. So, I got creative. I didn’t say I did it well, just that I got creative!

GEORGIE AND THE NOISY GHOST by Robert Bright

I remember reading the Georgie books all through my childhood and was so excited to find some when I started teaching kindergarten. I loved sharing books that meant a lot to me with a new batch of kids every year.

The first Georgie book was published in 1944 and 11 more followed. They all involved Mr & Mrs. Whittaker, the owners of the house that Georgie haunts, Miss Oliver the owl, Herman the cat, and of course Georgie, the friendly ghost.

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In Georgie and the Noisy Ghost, written in 1971, Georgie & crew move out to a house on the beach that the Whittakers have rented for the summer. Everyone knows that houses should only have one ghost haunting them. So what happens when a family with a ghost moves into a house that is already occupied by another spirit?

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First they travel by car,

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then by boat. What? Don’t you arrive at your new house in the middle of the night?

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But wait, who’s that!

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You’ll just have to read it yourself:)

One thing to keep in mind with these books – they do tend to be a bit wordy so if you’ve got avid listeners, you’re good. Otherwise, you might want to paraphrase or plan to read it in stages.

THEY SAY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY – week of 10/25-10/31

All of us here at Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals are voracious readers. You can usually find us with a book in hand, looking for the closest comfortable chair.  This week’s birthdays included some of my favorite authors, so I wrested the reins from Helen and took over this post.

Steven Kellogg was one of my favorite authors to use with my kindergarten classes. His books are full of wonderful color and creativity. One of my brothers found me a copy of  The Mysterious Tadpole with a plush version of what the tadpole becomes. The kids loved reading the book to each other and bringing out the monster at the end.

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Enid Bagnold was a prodigious writer who published books, plays, poetry. Her most famous work is National Velvet, which I first read when I was in 5th grade at overnight camp.  Lying on the bunk and reading is one of two memories I have from that time – the other is walking off the wrong end of the dock and having to get fished out because I didn’t know how to swim. So now, I always associate National Velvet with almost drowning (sigh…)

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The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson is one of those books that affected me deeply and has remained with me since I first read it when I was 12 or 13. I got it for Easter one year and read it in one sitting. My mother came in to find me sitting on the couch sobbing. I have yet to see the movie because I’m worried it may differ from the book and the very clear picture I had of the whole story. PS – if you want to read about a fascinating woman, click on the link to Katherine Paterson above. She’s lived all over the world, done missionary work in Japan, and sounds like a wonderful person to just sit and chat with.

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Posted by Mary Beth

THE BIDDLES – Inspired by Artwork of David Kirk

Meet some new additions to the Fragile Earth Stuffed Animal family (I almost capitalized Family – as in THE Family, but, whereas we inspire loyalty, we do not require it to extremes!) The Biddles are inspired by the artwork of David Kirk, the creative genius behind Miss Spider.

biddle mouse

Little Biddle Mouse 4" Soft Toy - $8.99

biddle pig

Little Biddle Pig 4" Soft Toy - $8.99

biddle beast

Little Biddle Beast 4" Soft Toy - $8.99

And my personal favorite – the Biddle Beast, who is very adept at helping make things, like broomstick treat bags.

All our Biddles are ready and more than willing to be adopted by your family. Just click the link to go to their page.

BROOMSTICK GOODY BAGS

Here at Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals, we love making easy (I stress EASY) holiday decorations.  This one is perfect to use as a treat/goody bag for your child’s Halloween/Class Fall Party and it came from Martha Stewart. Who else would think to make a broomstick out of some paperbags and sticks found in the yard?

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Here’s what you’ll need – two paper bags, a pair of scissors, some red ribbon, a stick (for the handle), some candy corn (and other goodies to go in the bag), and a monster to help you make the treats.

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Since the sticks came in from outside, I wrapped the bottom with some plastic wrap so no dirt or grit could fall into the candy.

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Take one bag and push the bottom out, but make sure the sides are tucked in. Using the scissors, cut that bag into thin strips from the top to the base.

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Make sure you don’t cut through the base, though.

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On the second bag, cut thin strips about 1 to 2 inches down the bag.

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Put the bag that you cut only a little bit inside the bag that’s cut into long strips. Then, take your monster out of the bag – that’s where the candy goes.

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Add some candy corn and other goodies to the inner bag.

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Take your monster out of the bag – candy corn is VERY BAD for monsters!

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Gather all the fringed edges around the handle and wind the ribbon around it. There you have it – one broomstick full of goodies.

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A broomstick so good, your monster will want to ride it. Probably trying to take it somewhere safe so he can eat the goodies inside.