October 23 – Mole Day

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About the Holiday

From 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m. on 10/23 chemists, scientists, students, and others who love numbers celebrate Mole Day to commemorate Avogadro’s Number, which is a basic weight measuring unit in chemistry. Defined by the equation 6.02 x 1023, Avogadro’s number finds that for any given molecule one mole of that substance has a weight in grams equal to its atomic number. The name of this scientific constant naturally led to an association with the furry underground burrowers, and the mole and mascot moles can be found working in tandem to promote a better understanding and enjoyment of chemistry. As today’s book proves there is no better mixture than the chemistry between friends.

A Friend for Mole

By Nancy Armo

Mole loves his cozy burrow. “He liked his soft bed of leaves, the warm smell of the earth, and the quiet darkness all around.” He can imagine the world above him by all the distinct sounds he hears. But one day those sounds become louder. Instead of gentle tapping and buzzing, he hears stomping, shouting, and laughing. He decides to go up above and see what all the ruckus is about.

“The bright light, loud noises and new smells were overwhelming,” and Mole thinks it was a very bad idea to have left his burrow. He tries to find his way home, but he can no longer see the hole. In a panic he starts to run. He trips over a tree root and rolls under a bush. The soft leaves and darkness remind Mole of his burrow and soon he is fast asleep.

Mole wakes up during the night. He hears rustling and sees two shiny eyes staring at him. “‘Oh no!’” thinks Mole. “‘Please don’t be something scary.’” Mole closes his eyes, hoping to hide. But then he hears a small whimper. “‘Are you afraid of the dark too?’” When Mole takes a peek, he sees a wolf. “‘No,’” Mole answers. “‘I’m afraid of the light.’” Wolf tells Mole that he is lost after being chased by the other animals and that he is scared.

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Copyright Nancy Armo, courtesy of Peachtree Publshers

Mole and Wolf think about what they can do and devise a clever plan. Mole says he will stay with Wolf in the dark, and Wolf agrees to help Mole find his burrow when the sun comes up. To make the time go faster, Mole and Wolf play games, such as hunting “imaginary slithering creatures,” stomping on “pretend scampering bugs,” and “chasing away scary monsters. It was all so much fun they forgot about being lost and scared.”

As daylight breaks, Mole begins to think about home. Wolf also feels homesick. As they search for the entrance to Mole’s burrow, Wolf shields Mole’s eyes from the sun with his tail, and Mole giggles at the tickly softness of Wolf’s fur. Soon they discover Mole’s burrow, and Wolf realizes that he lives nearby. Although Mole is happy to be home, he also feels sad to say goodbye to Wolf.

He asks if Wolf would like to play again sometime. Wolf shouts, “Yes! That was so much fun! I was scared but having you there made everything okay.” As Mole settles back into his leafy bed, he knows “exactly what Wolf meant.”

In her sweet story of friendship found, Nancy Armo relates that most comforting feeling—the knowledge that friends always stand by you even when times are hard or scary. Her characters Mole and Wolf are perfectly chosen foils with opposite strengths that, combined, help solve their immediate problem and form a strong friendship. Armo’s straightforward storytelling is enriched by the endearing personalities of Mole and Wolf as well as their honest sharing of feelings.

In vivid two-page spreads Armo superbly depicts the daytime and nighttime scenes, transporting readers into the heart of her story. Above the “quiet darkness” of Mole’s burrow, cute mice scamper in the rain while an earthworm, a snail, and a bee take shelter. When his roof rings with noise and curiosity gets the better of Mole, he emerges into an open field, and his tumbling trip over the tree root is nimbly portrayed with a series of flips rendered with a filmy transparency. As nightime falls the Mole’s and Wolf’s adventure plays out on pages with a solid black background. Wolf’s eyes shining on a completely darkened page offers just the right amount of suspense for little readers, and a careful look at the expression in his eyes is reassuring. Kids will enjoy the games the two friends enjoy, and will cheer when the sun dawns on their new friendship.

A Friend for Mole is a great book for young readers navigating the world of meeting new classmates, teammates, and other children who may see the world differently but would make good friends.

Ages 3 – 7

Peachtree Publishers, 2016 | ISBN 978-1561458653

You’ll find fun A Friend for Mole activity sheets, a portfolio of artwork, and more on Nancy Armo’s website!

Mole Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-mole-mazeMole Tunnels Maze

Dig into this printable Mole Tunnels Maze that has as many twists and turns as a mole’s home!

Picture Book Review

September 15 – Make a Hat Day

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About the Holiday

Hats are great for cold days, days when you want to dress up or express a certain fashion statement, or to cover up a bad do or bedhead. Today’s holiday may spur you to learn how to knit a hat or inspire you to invite your friends to a crazy hat-designing party! Make a Hat Day also shares the spotlight with Felt Hat Day, which exhorts people to rediscover an old and cherished fashion accessory.

Hooray for Hat!

By Brian Won

 

Elephant wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. He’s hardly had a chance to fully shake off sleep when the doorbell rings. He clomps down the stairs yelling, “‘Go away! I’m grumpy!’” But there’s no one at the door. Instead Elephant finds a prettily wrapped present on his doorstep. Unwrapping it Elephant finds the grandest hat he’s ever seen. It has everything – A pompom, a star, a feather, a mortar board with a tassel, a crown, a coo-coo clock bird, and even a cup holder! Elephant puts it on. How can he be grumpy with such a hat on his head? He can’t! “‘Hooray for Hat!’” he cheers and goes off to show Zebra.

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Image copyright Brian Won, courtesy of brianwon.com

Elephant finds Zebra sitting alone on a tree stump. She doesn’t even turn around when her friend approaches. “‘Go away! I’m grumpy!’” she states. Elephant removes the top hat from his own new chapeau—a party hat with the pompom—and gently places it on Zebra’s head. Zebra can’t help but smile. “‘Hooray for Hat!’” they both cheer and head out for Turtle’s house.

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Image copyright Brian Won, courtesy of brianwon.com

Oh, but Turtle is so grumpy that they won’t even come out of their shell. Elephant lifts down the cowboy hat with the star and feather from his own towering hat and gives it to his pal. Out pops Turtle who proudly joins the parade. “‘Hooray for Hat!’” they all cheer and march off to show Owl. “But Owl did not want to see them or their hats. “‘Go Away! I’m grumpy!’” she hoots from her tree trunk hole.

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Image copyright Brian Won, courtesy of brianwon.com

But Elephant is as wise as Owl, and thinks the striped mortar board is just the thing to change her mood. “‘Hoo-Hoo-Hooray for Hat!’” Owl says, leading the way to find Lion. But Lion’s frowning face peers out at them from his den, and he shoos the group away with the familiar “‘Go Away! I’m Grumpy!’” Down comes the golden crown from Elephant’s hat and while Lion loves it, he’s more concerned with their friend Giraffe who isn’t feeling well. “‘What can we do?’” Lion asks the group.

They all know exactly what to do. They pack up the very special hat and take it to Giraffe, who is standing with her head hidden in a treetop. “Do Not Disturb” reads the sign hanging on the trunk. But as soon as Giraffe dons that hat, a toothy smile breaks out, and the six best buddies cheer, “‘Hooray for Friends!’”

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Image copyright Brian Won, courtesy of brianwon.com

Brian Won’s joyful celebration of the power of surprise, friendship, and a great hat is a day brightener for anyone, whether they wake up grumpy or feeling fine. His adorable animal friends don’t mind a little grumpiness—they’ve experienced it themselves—but only want to make each other happier. The repeated phrasing throughout the story invites kids to read along, and the absence of pronouns offers open interpretation and inclusiveness. The confetti-colored hats will make kids smile and the tribute to friendship will have them cheering along with this fun picture book.

A cheer-ful book, Hooray for Hat! would make a happy addition to children’s libraries for those days when they need a little more encouragement or inspiration. Kids will want to get together with Elephant, Zebra, Turtle, Owl, Lion, and Giraffe again and again and will no doubt love to create a magnificent hat of their own!

Ages 3 – 7

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers, 2014 | ISBN 978-0544159037

Visit the world of Brian Won on his website

Hooray for this book trailer!

 Make a Hat Day Activity

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Hats Off to You! Matching Game

 

Can you match the pairs of identical hats? Of course you can!

Supplies

Directions

  1. Print 2 pages of the Hats Off to You! game cards (or more to make the game harder)
  2. Cut the cards apart
  3. Shuffle the cards
  4. Lay the cards face down on a table
  5. By turning one card over at a time, find all the matching pairs