About the Holiday
Missing the green leaves and colorful flowers of spring and summer? Maybe it’s time to recreate the sights of warmer days inside with houseplants! Placed in a sunny window, some plants will continue blooming all winter long, making you feel happier. Houseplants also provide health benefits as they produce oxygen, release moisture into that dry winter air, and improve air quality. Add a few herb plants and even cooking will take on new life. Whether you add just one plant or create an indoor garden, today’s the perfect day to get started.
Luna’s Green Pet
Written by Kristen Pendreigh | Illustrated by Carmen Mok
When Luna saw people on her block walking their dogs and playing with their pets, she wished she could have one. “But her apartment building had a very strict NO PETS! policy.” Luna’s friends tried to help out by suggesting other types of pets, including a pet rock, an expensive dog-shaped purse, and an ant farm, but none of these were quite what Luna was looking for. Then one day, she found a small discarded plant in a trash can. She decided it would be the perfect pet.
Luna took it home. The plant’s tag read Stephanotis Floribunda, which Luna shortened to Stephanie. Luna gave her pet a “bigger crate, new bedding, and fresh water.” Stephanie took to her new home right away. At night Luna read to her; every morning she took her to the park. Luna’s friends “were not impressed.”
Stephanie turned out to be more “rambunctious” than she appeared, climbing the walls and wrapping herself around the headboard of Luna’s bed. Luna trimmed her and got her into shape with “obedience training” and a collar. One day unusual white “clumps of bumps appeared” among Stephanie’s leaves. As the bumps grew, Luna tried washing and hugging Stephanie, but the bumps only got bigger.
Luna decided she’d take Stephanie to the botanist the next day to see what was wrong. During the night under a full moon, though, “the bumps burst open!” Then a “powerful perfume woke Luna.” Luna couldn’t believe her eyes—or her nose. The sweet scent floated out the window and soon attracted bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies during the day and moths at night.
When Luna entered Stephanie in the neighborhood pet parade, she even “won a special prize—Best in Scent.” But Stephanie wasn’t finished with her tricks. A green fruit grew from her branches, and when it burst open Luna found that “a tangle of tufted seeds lay inside.” Carefully, Luna took out one seed for each of her friends and neighbors so they could grow their own Stephanotis Floribunda. And the rest, she let fly away on the “warm night wind” to find new homes where they would be loved as much as Stephanie.
Detailed back matter includes ways in which plants make great pets, a list of ten houseplants that are easy to grow, more information on Stephanotis Floribunda and how to care for it as a houseplant or in a garden.
Kirsten Pendreigh’s gentle and creative story will charm kids who have a natural tendency to anthropomorphize plants, toys, furniture, and anything they love, imbuing these inanimate objects with personalities all their own. As Luna repots her plant, cares for it, and reigns in its wandering tendrils, Pendreigh enhances her pet imagery by using terms commonly associated with pets, a detail that will also enchant kids. With Luna’s sharing of Stephanie’s seeds, Pendreigh sparks wider ideas of generosity, friendship, and nurturing the environment.
Carmen Mok’s soft-hued, yet vivid illustrations have a quiet grace that allow readers to identify with Lulu’s creative thinking and caring nature. During Lulu’s serendipitous discovery of Stephanie in a trash can, Mok emphasizes Lulu’s personality with a kitty purse, shirt decorated with hearts, and gentle way she examines the plant’s wilted leaves. Kids will love seeing tiny Stephanie grow from a straggly stem into a lush, dog-shaped shrub with the help of some topiary framing.
Any child who has raised plants from seeds or seedlings will understand Lulu’s love for Stephanie and her surprise when Stephanie blooms unexpectedly. Mok’s lovely nighttime spreads spotlight the starlike beauty of the Stephanotis Floribunda flowers and the heady scent that calls out to pollinators. With the appearance of Stephanie’s seedpod, Mok realistically depicts its size, the tufted seeds inside the pod, and how those tufts carry the seeds to new far-flung growing spots.
Unique and heartwarming, Luna’s Green Pet will enchant kids who love pets, plants, a well-told story, or all three and will become a quick favorite to be heard again and again. The book is sure to inspire young botanists and would be a creative way to introduce lessons on plants in school classrooms or for homeschoolers, to spark projects for extracurricular clubs or library programs, and to get kids excited about gardening as well as planting a pollinator space at home. Luna’s Green Pet will enhance any home, school, or public library collection and is highly recommended.
Ages 4 – 8
Sleeping Bear Press, 2022 | ISBN 978-1534111615
Discover more about Kirsten Pendreigh, her poetry her debut book on her website.
To learn more about Carmen Mok, her books, and her art, visit her website.
World Pet Day Activity
Flip-Flop Plant Holder
Have you outgrown your flip-flops or sandals this summer? Well, you can repurpose them with this easy craft that turns summer shoes into a creative way to hang small plants on walls or even windows!
- Child’s flip-flops with elastic heel straps
- Buttons or charms
- Small plastic solid-bottom pot
- Small plant
- Hot glue gun
- Heavy duty mounting strips
- Small shovel or spoon
- Place the flip-flop toe down on your work surface. With the hot glue gun, attach the buttons to the plastic toe straps of the flip-flops.
- Add dirt to the pot
- Add plant to the pot
- Slip the pot into the elastic strap and gently push down so it is also supported by the plastic toe straps
- To hang, use appropriate-weight mountable strips.
- To make an interesting and attractive arrangement, use various sizes of flip-flops
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