Archives for July 2014

The Little House

Author and Illustrator:  Virginia Lee Burton



As the Little House sits alone on the small country hill, she looks out her windows at all the beauty around her.  She is especially fond of the many apple trees, that change with the seasons; bringing flowers and birds in the spring and juicy apples in the fall.   At night she peers out at the starry sky, often watching the moon transform from a slivering arc to a glowing ball, lighting up her yard.   How she loves to peek out her windows and watch the children play in the fields of daises in the summer and build funny  snowmen in the winter.   She hardly notices the city, so far off in the distance.

But one day the bulldozers and large road graders come.  Soon a road has been built alongside the Little House.  Before long, buildings spring up all around, traffic seems to come from everywhere, and the fields of daisies and apple trees have disappeared.  At night, the quiet starry sky can no longer be seen because of the crowded buildings surrounding the Little House.   Gone is the laughter of the children at play in the yard, and the Little House stands alone.

Until one day… a lady walks by, stops and stares at the Little House with a look of surprise.  “That little house looks just like the Little House my grandmother lived in when she was a little girl – only that Little House was way out in the country on a little hill with daisies and apple trees growing around.”  She is quite sad at how shabby Little House has become in the city.


You will need to read the rest of the story to find out what happens, but I think you AND Little House will both be very happy with how the story ends!

 Mary Byrne Kline

1.  How would you describe the feelings Little House had while living in the city?

2.  Why do you think the lady made the decision to move Little House?

3.  If you could move your house anywhere, where would you choose? Why?

A House for Hermit Crab

Author and Illustrator:  Eric Carle


What happens when you get too big for your house?  Why, you  look for a new one, of course!  And that is just what Hermit Crab did.  For many months he had felt safe and snug in his shell, but in January it was much too snug.   He was rather tentative crawling out onto the ocean floor in search of a new shell to call home.   In February, Hermit Crab wiggled and waggled into a big, roomy shell. It felt just right.

“But it looks so – well, so plain,” thought Hermit Crab.

What happens when you want to beautify your house? Why, you look for ways to decorate it, of course!  And that is just what Hermit Crab did.  During each month for the next year, he found beautiful sea anemones and color starfish to enhance his shell.  He found snails to keep it clean and made friends with the lantern fish to help guide him through the dark.

After a year Hermit Crab has continued to grow.  Now he must look for another, larger shell. Oh goodness, here we go again!

Mary Byrne Kline

1.  Name two of the sea creatures that provided protection for Hermit Crab.

2.  How did Hermit Crab take care of his friends at the end of the story?

3.  Why do you think a hermit crab needs a shell? Could it live without one?




POEM: “Home”

Here’s a great poem to use as a launching point to create
your own family poem about HOME!

Read the poem together and then let each member of the family (including Mom and Dad) create their own stanza.   Consider upping the “legacy moment” of this activity by asking Grandma and Grandpa to participate?

All you need to do is to finish the sentences:

“When I think of ‘home’ I think of  ___?___


When I Think of Home

When I think of ‘home’ I think of cherry pies
When I think of ‘home’ I think of mulberry trees
When I think of ‘home’ I think of butterflies
When I think of ‘home’ I think of bumblebees

When I think of ‘home’ I think of hummingbirds
When I think of ‘home’ I think of sun brewed tea
When I think of ‘home’ I think of morning walks
When I think of ‘home’ I think of Grandma and me

When I think of ‘home’ I think of hidden trails
When I think of ‘home’ I think of lullabies
When I think of ‘home’ I think of signs of spring
When I think of ‘home’ I think of pumpkin pies

When I think of ‘home’ I think of bedtime stories
When I think of ‘home’ I think of I think of honeysuckle
When I think of ‘home’ I think of roses blooming
When I think of ‘home’ I can’t help but chuckle

Because when I think of ‘home’ I think Heaven
When I think of ‘home’ I think of all that’s kind
When I think of ‘home’ I think of dancing
When I think of ‘home’ Grandma comes to mind

Catlin L. Crawford

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Home, Sweet Home (?)


When I saw the little cardboard box and heard the scratching inside, I knew I was in trouble.  Especially because the box was in the hands of my best friend.  My first graders had just gone home for the day, I was worn out, and the look on my friend’s face was all too familiar.  “You’re going to love this!” was all  I  needed to hear.  I just groaned.  In an instant the box was open, and before my eyes, out came… “What is it?” I nearly shrieked.  Deni ignored my outburst.  “It’s just a little hermit crab.  Isn’t it kind of cute?  Look, I have a cage and everything you need.  Your class will love it!”  I just groaned.

Hermit_Crab A

Well, my class did love it.  Boy, did they love it. “Shelly” liked peanut butter along with the hermit crab food, liked to crawl around on leaves, sticks and out in the grass on the playground.  The kids took turns on weekends taking the crab home.  They even colored a bright  little sign to hang over the cage that read, “Home, Sweet H0me.”  When the crab was in the water, it would ease a little out of its shell, which always caused great excitement. After many months we realized Shelly needed a larger shell and the hunt was on. Everyone pitched in, bringing in new ones to see which would be selected.  Reading the book,  A House for Hermit Crab was such a delight!  It was soon our class favorite.

Since that day, I will confess, I have done a lot more groaning.  But I’ve also done a lot more growing.  I’ve had so many “Home, Sweet Homes” in my classrooms that I have almost lost count.  Let’s see – there have been incubators with eggs, and then of course, chicks; a snake, which got loose a number of times and had us searching through children’s  desks;  countless butterfly gardens,  a gecko (rather colorful, but I never got the nerve to handle); an ant farm, and numerous turtles.  Thanks to my friend Deni, who bought me that first hermit crab,  classroom pets have brought some of the most delightful and lasting memories of my years of teaching.  Watching the children interact and learn to take responsibility was invaluable.   I learned to not groan, but to accept the scratching in the boxes, to hunt for the lost snakes, and to realize that all of God’s creatures deserve a “Home, Sweet Home.”

This month we look forward to sharing a variety of “Home” books with you.  They may not be your typical books about homes, but we assure you that you’ll want to curl up and get a copy for yourselves.  Exploring another’s home always leads to a great adventure! Come and join us!

Mary Byrne Kline