by Janell Cannon
Due to an unfortunate experience with an owl, Stellaluna becomes separated from her mother and is taken in by a family of birds. Giving up her bat ways in order to fit in, Stellaluna learns to live like a bird by eating insects, sleeping at night, and last but not least, she stopped hanging by her feet! Although she learns to adapt to living in her bird home, it is a joyful day when she is reunited with her own mother and able to be true to bat ways.
Stellaluna is a wonderful example of fact meets fiction through Janell Cannon’s accurate portrayal of fruit bats infused with endearing personalities. Be sure to enjoy the two pages of bat facts at the end of the story.
In this Issue
For each grasshopper you need:
- 1 approximately 5-inch piece of celery
- 4 chow mein noodles
- 1 green grape
- 2 1-inch pieces of fresh chive
- 1 dried cranberry
- Honey Mustard Cream Cheese Spread (see recipe below)
- Wash and dry celery, grape, and chives.
- Cut one end of the celery piece so it forms a point. See photo. Fill celery with cream cheese spread and place curved side down on a plate.
- Choose 2 straight pieces and 2 curved pieces of the chow mein noodles. With cream cheese spread, attach the straight pieces to the front for front legs, and the two curved pieces to the back for back legs.
- Cut the cranberry in half. You might need to halve these pieces again for the right proportion.
- Using a toothpick, create two small holes in the top of the grape for the chive antennas, and two larger holes for the cranberry eyes. Insert chive pieces and cranberry pieces. If needed add cream cheese spread to help eyes stick.
- Place head in front of body.
Honey Mustard Cream Cheese Spread
- 4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese
- 1 tablespoon honey mustard
- 1 tablespoon skim milk
- In a small microwavable bowl, soften cream cheese in microwave, about 20 seconds.
- Add honey mustard and milk, and stir to combine.
The left-over spread is a delicious on a sandwich or used as a dip for vegetables.
For the insect salad, dress your favorite greens (we used spinach) with your favorite salad dressing. Top with cranberry “bugs” and chow mein noodle “worms.”
"Fruit bats don't drink blood and won't get caught in your hair. I hope to show them in a positive light so that they might be given more respect."
Janell Cannon has said she wrote Stellaluna in order to demystify bats for young children. The portrayal of Stellaluna and the bat facts at the end of the book allow young children to learn about bats without the typical, scary 'Halloween' depiction.
Young readers will enjoy watching the following video from National Geographic Kids to see bats flying and hanging upside down: Foxy Fruit Bats from NG Kids (video)
For more bat facts in addition to those featured in the back of Stellaluna, see Bat Facts for Preschoolers.
Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly. Grab a bath towel and try some flying around the house. To help your reader transform into a fruit bat, drape a large bath towel over your child’s shoulders with one of the long sides running from hand to hand. Grasp one corner in each hand and FLAP! around the house.
After all that flying through the house, you bat will need a cozy bat cave. Use a large cardboard box or a table draped with blankets to make a bat cave for dramatic play or reading bat books. Invite your young reader to “roost” in the bat cave for a batty good time!
Fruit bats like Stellaluna enjoy eating, believe it or not, fruit! While fruits can be enjoyed on their own, it is easy to get your young reader involved in preparing this easy fruit salad.
Invite your young reader to help in the fun of chopping fruit by providing a plastic knife to keep little fingers safe. Bananas are the easiest to cut, but even fruits such as apples and peaches can be chopped by little hands with a little preparation. Just quarter the fruit and remove the core or pit, and then pass it along for the little ones to finish. They will also enjoy stirring the easy yougurt dressing for this salad.
Batty Fruit Salad
About 8 cups of assorted fresh fruit, such as those listed below, chopped into bite-sized pieces.
- Kiwi – peeled, halved, and sliced
- Seedless grapes
- 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Chop the fruit into bite sized pieces and mix together in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients.
- Pour the yougrt dressing over the fruit, and stir to combine.
You could try topping each serving of fruit salad with a dollop of vanilla yogurt, granola, or toasted coconut.
Hand Wing Bats
- Paper plate
- Lightweight cardboard or brown construction paper
- 1 brass brad
- Hole Punch (optional)
- Tape (optional)
- String (optional)
Note: You will need two different sized, round containers for tracing the head and body. We used a soup can and a peanut butter jar lid.
It might be difficult for your child to hold the container while tracing, so you might need to hold the container steady while your child traces.
- Trace your young reader’s hands on cardboard or construction paper. Cut out the traced hand-prints.
- Trace containers for head and body onto cardboard or construction paper. Cut out the circles.
- Draw two triangles for the ears on cardboard or construction paper. Cut out.
- Cut paper plate in half. Color both halves brown with crayons.
- Glue a hand-print on one half of the paper plate with the thumb parallel to the flat side. The fingertips should be touching the rounded outer edge of the plate.
- Cut the paper plate to round out from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the forefinger. Between each of the other fingers, cut the bottom of the paper plate so it is “webbed” between each fingertip.
- Repeat with other wing.
- Punch a hole in the top of the larger circle, and the pointed edge of each wing. Insert the brad through the body circle and the hole punched in each wing and fasten.
- Glue ears to the back of the head circle. Glue head circle to body circle to cover brad.
- Place a piece of tape over the prongs of the brad on the back of the bat. This keeps the wings from sliding together!
- To illustrate the bones in the bat’s wings, draw a line from the body to the end of each finger with marker or crayon.
- Draw a face with markers or crayons.
- If desired, use a hole punch to punch one or two holes in the bottom for hanging with string.
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