December's Author of the Month
Author of the Month: Laura Joffe Numeroff
For the month of December we will highlight the works of Laura Numeroff.
About Laura Numeroff
December's author is Laura Joffe Numeroff (born July 14, 1953), an illustrator of children's books who is best known for her work If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Numeroff was born in Brooklyn, New York, and is the youngest of three girls. As a child, Numeroff was an avid reader and by the age of 9 had decided she wanted to be a writer when she became an adult. She credits her current profession to two specific childhood favorites and has claimed that they “are the reason” she is a writer: E. B. White’s Stuart Little and Kay Thompson’s Eloise.
When it came time for Numeroff to apply for college, she decided not to become a writer. Instead, she followed her sister's footsteps and majored in fashion. Eventually though, Numeroff decided that fashion "wasn't for me". She went back to her childhood dream of becoming a writer and began taking a class on writing. A homework assignment for one of these classes prompted Numeroff to write the story Amy for Short. In 1976, the story was published by Macmillan Publishing and launched Laura Joffe Numeroff's writing career.
When Numeroff began her career she served as her own illustrator; her first 9 books were both written and illustrated by Numeroff herself. Since her editor chose Felicia Bond to illustrate Numeroff's If You Give a Mouse a Cookie book, she has not illustrated another book. When asked about her earlier endeavors into illustrations during an interview, she mentioned that though she loves drawing, she decided her "strength was in writing and not in illustration” and said "I don’t think I would illustrate a whole book anymore at this point".
Her autobiography, If You Give an Author a Pencil, was published in 2003; it is written at a second grade reading level so that it is also accessible to children. Numeroff’s books have been published in many languages. Numeroff resides in Los Angeles, California.
If you would like to know more about Laura Numberoff visit her website:
Our Readling List
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is the title of a 1985 children's book illustrated by Felicia Bond. It is the tenth and best-known book written by Laura Numeroff. Its plot deals with a boy named Estuardo who gives a cookie to a mouse.
If You Take a Mouse to School
If you take a mouse to school, he'll ask you for your lunch box. When you give him your lunch box, he'll want a sandwich to go in it. Then he'll need a notebook and some pencils. He'll probably want to share your backpack, too . . . ...
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
Mouse is back for the holidays! A first sequel to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, starring Mouse! The famous little mouse from the children's classic If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is back in another irresistible tale full of holiday antics. ...
What Do Mommies Do Best
Mommies can do lots of things, like teach you how to ride a bike, sew a loose button on your teddy bear, and read you a cozy bedtime story. But what do they do best?
What Do Daddies Do Best
Daddies can do lots of things, like bake you a birthday cake, play with you in the park, and take you trick-or-treating. But what do they do best? The answer is made perfectly clear in this irresistible celebration of parents and the everyday things they do.
December's Artistic Corner
Nothing smells as good as freshly popped popcorn. Once it starts popping the aroma fills the air, and all you want to do is eat it all. Allow it to cool, and instead of eating it, string them for your Christmas tree. This project may take a little time, but it is well worth the effort. Children will delight in helping string the popcorn (as well as eating it) so pop plenty--some for the tree, and some for the decorating team.
1 Make some popcorn with any method you prefer. At least one large size bowl is needed, but that will depend on the size of your tree. Be sure to let the popcorn cool before you continue on to the next step. Better yet, use stale, day old popcorn as this will be less likely to crumble and break.
2 Thread the needle, but do not cut the thread from the spool. It will take a lot of thread for the popcorn garland to cover an entire tree.
3 Start stringing one popcorn at a time by inserting the tip of the needle into the center of each piece. Keep sliding it further down on the thread making room for more popcorn. It's best to slide the popcorn to the end of the thread to prevent knots. Once you feel that you have enough garland for the size of your tree tie off the end of the thread by looping the thread, pulling tightly, and going under the loops a few times. Make sure that it is well-secured, so that popcorn won't fall off, and then gently cut the thread.
4 Carefully hang the garland onto your Christmas tree.
December's Inspired Snack
For a healthy snack that kids will love, make veggie ornament crackers. For these, use round crackers and cover them in cream cheese. Small, chopped pieces of celery serve as the top of the ornament. Cut up colorful vegetables such as carrots, peas, corn and peppers to let your kids decorate their snack ornaments. You can do this with fruit as well if your kids like fruits more then vegetables. Some fruits you can use are plums, peaches, strawberries, blueberries and cranberries. Dried fruit works too.
For a Christmas snack pretty enough to give as a gift, make chocolate-dipped pretzel rods. Melt white chocolate chips in the microwave. Dip the bottom half of a pretzel rod into the melted chocolate. Roll the dipped portion in crushed peppermint candies and sprinkle it with green decorating sugar. Cool the pretzel rods on wax paper until the chocolate hardens. Keep these snacks in an air-tight container for up to one week at room temperature.
Make two batches of Jello, one red and one green. Then let your kids cut out shapes, such as Christmas trees and ornaments, from the Jello. This way they are involved in making the food and they can enjoy their snacks. It also keeps them busy in the kitchen while you are working on making other food. If your children are young, then this gives you the opportunity to teach the names of different objects to them.
Sugar cookies are good on their own, but they're even better with toppings so set up a cookie bar for kids to make their snacks. Have different stations where they ice their cookies and decorate. Set up bowls of various candies such as M&Ms, licorice and other favorite candies they like. Then refrigerate the cookies so the icing hardens.
December's Science Lab
We'll be studying evergreen trees this month.
Pine trees refer to a large group of trees that are called "evergreens." Evergreens never lose their needles like other trees with leaves do each year in the fall. Pine trees are also called "conifers," because they produce their seeds in cones. Pine trees are one kind of tree in the evergreen family, along with cedars, balsams, spruces and firs.
Where Pine Trees Grow
Pine trees grow in most regions of the the United States, with the exception of the desert. Pine trees often grow together in groups, since the pine cones will fall from the tree and sprout nearby, creating more pine trees. Pine trees grow well in the forests, on the mountain ranges and even in landscaping around your yard. Pine trees can grow in most conditions where they have soil that doesn't stay wet and a bit of sunshine every day.
Who Lives in Pine Trees
Since pine trees keep their needles all year long, they provide homes for many creatures. Birds live in the trees during the winter because the branches hide them from other animals and the needles provide protection from the wind and cold. In the spring, birds will make nests in the branches and tend to their babies.
Squirrels, chipmunks, skunks and even a raccoon can live in a pine tree. Squirrels build large nests made of leaves at the very top of the tree and live in it all year. The squirrels will also nest with babies in the spring, then the babies leave to make their own nests in the summer.
Bugs such as beetles, caterpillars, ants and moths crawl around in the needles and on the bark of a pine tree. The bark provides protection and sometimes even a home for insects who burrow out holes.
What are Pinecones?
Pine cones are the "fruit" that drops from the pine tree. Pine cones develop on the ends of the branches of a pine tree each year, but might not fall off the tree each year. Some pine cones hold on and stay in a tree for three to five years.
When a pine cone is ready, its "petals" will open up and a seed will fall out. There are hundreds of seeds in each pine cone. Sometimes the whole pine cone will fall or just several of the seeds. the seeds get stepped on, the pine cones get crunched and the seed ends up in the ground, under the dirt.
Pine cones can be used in many crafts projects. Pine cones decorate wreaths, make bird feeders and can even be used in ornaments on a Christmas tree.
Plant a Pine Tree
Planting a pine tree is best when done from a plant and not a seed. When you are planting a pine tree, you need to dig a large hole and add other things to the soil to help feed the new tree.
When the hole is dug, mix in peat moss or compost with the soil already there. Then place the roots in the mixture and cover with soil, compost or peat moss. Pat the dirt firmly in to place. Depending on where you plant your tree, you might need to attach it to a stake to prevent the wind from tipping it over or making it grow crooked.
Uses for Pine Trees
Pine trees have many different uses. They are cut down and the logs are made in to boards. The boards are then used for building houses, sheds, play forts and furniture. When pine tree logs are cut down in to boards, the shaving are taken and kept to make in to smaller shavings. The smaller shavings are packaged and sold as pet bedding for small animals, such as guinea pigs and hamsters.
Pine trees also provide shade, wind blocks when planted in a row and places to live for birds and animals. Some people also cut down small pine trees and bring them into their houses each year as Christmas Trees.