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A special Christmas greeting from my daughter Anna!

Holiday time is upon us! No doubt you will be busy with friends and family, playing with new toys and enjoying a few more hours of sleep in the morning. (That’s my favourite bit, even more than all the wonderful food at holiday time – it’s the extra sleep I enjoy!)

If you ever get tired of toys and are looking for a challenge over the holidays, you might like to try a fun word search or drawing project. If so, I have just the thing! For each of my big picture books I have a collection of activities for kids to do on their own. It helps to have read the books, but you can probably have lots of fun with these even if you haven’t.

The first book is Pink! This is the story of a little penguin called Patrick who turns pink overnight and doesn’t know what to do! He swims all the way to Africa to try and live with pink flamingos, but that doesn’t work very well. In the end he discovers that penguins belong at the south pole. Even pink penguins!

If you click on the Wacky Bee Books pink activity page, you can print out different pages and have fun finding words from the story or drawing your own colourful birds.

See if you can find some words from the story.

Here is a fun drawing project for you to try.

The next book is called Jacob O’Reilly Wants a Pet. It tells the story of a boy who would love a pet – any pet – but his parents are not so sure it’s a good idea. They suggest that he might try looking after other people’s pets first, just to see if he is cut out for pet ownership. He soon has a whole menagerie to look after, and it’s a lot of hard work! At the end of the story all the animals go home and Jacob finds a pet that is perfect for him.

Can you find the animal words in this jumble?

You can colour these pets and then draw your own!

The third book is called I Do Not Eat the Colour Green. Its main character is a little girl called Marlene who is a very fussy eater. She refuses to try anything green, including green jellybeans, even though her brother is quite happy eating broccoli, beans and all sorts of healthy green things. One day she is visiting a very important person and is presented with a bunch of grapes! What will she do?

See how many fruits and vegetables you can find.

Can you answer these questions about Marlene McKean?

I hope you have fun with these activities. Do share your pictures with me if you can – I would love to see them! Maybe over the holidays I will work on some new word searches and drawing activities for my new book, Lewis Clowns Around. Let me know what kind of puzzles and games you would like to see here.

Do you have a pet? When I visit schools to read Jacob O’Reilly Wants a Pet, lots of children tell me about the animals they have at home. Some have dogs, some have cats, and some have hamsters or gerbils or guinea pigs. Lots of kids have fish. And once in a while a child will put up a hand and tell me all about a big snake or lizard they have as a pet!  Eeeek!

Before you decide on the right pet for you, it’s important to think about how you live. A pet becomes part of the family so it will have to fit in with your lifestyle. Here’s a little quiz to help you make the right decision:

Jacob O’Reilly’s Pet Quiz

1. Where do you live?

A In a giant castle with a forest all around.

B In a house with a small garden.

C In a cosy flat high above the ground.

2. What is your favourite thing to do?

A Run around outside, whatever the weather.

B Sit on the garden swing in the sunshine.

C Curl up on the sofa with a good book.

3. What is your favourite sort of animal?

A Big and lively with lots of energy.

B Small and cute and full of fun.

C Cuddly and sweet, all snuggled in your lap.

4. What would you name your pet?

A Rufus, Jasper or Duke.

B Corky, Snowball or Rosie.

C Tiddly-wink, Munchkin or Peanut.

So, what does all this mean?

A

If you answered A to most of the questions, you would make a great dog owner. The bigger your garden, the bigger your pet can be. If you live in a castle, you could even have a pet dragon!

B

If you chose mostly B answers, you are best suited to a small dog or cat. You can have lots of fun with them, but they don’t need too much space.

C

If you answered mostly C, you should have a small, quiet pet like an indoor cat or a hamster or guinea pig. Other cuddly possibilities might be a dwarf rabbit or a pair of gerbils. You can have these pets in a small flat and it’s okay if you have no garden.

If you do get a pet…

Looking after an animal is a big responsibility. Unlike toys, animals have feelings and can be hurt if they’re handled roughly. They must always be treated gently and kindly. They also need food, water and exercise every day, just like you! And if they make a mess, YOU have to clean it up! So before you get a pet, think about it carefully. Then you’ll make the right choice.