By Rosemary Wells
Illustrated by Susan Jeffers
McDuff is one happy little West Highland Terrier. Breakfast with Fred and the morning comics, walks with Lucy, family time listening to the radio and his very own soft blanket. Life is good! Then a small stranger arrives and life is not as it should be. What will McDuff do? Richly illustrated with all of the details of life in the 1930s, McDuff and the Baby is a gentle and touching lesson in sibling rivalry and thinking of the feelings of others. Hurray for McDuff!
In this Issue
McDuff is not pleased. After the baby arrives in McDuff and the Baby, he is looked over and stepped over, his sleep is disturbed, and his fur is pulled by that tiresome little newcomer. But who wouldn't want to stroke that fluffy white coat?
So that was the starting point of this craft. We took inspiration from a tangram dog, but used basic square, triangle, and rectangle shapes, and then cut out the shapes in white felt for his coat.
A fluffy cotton ball, stretched slightly to look like his short tail, added another texture. A length of ribbon became a collar, and instead of a dog-bone shaped tag which would be difficult for small hands to cut out, we added a metallic jingle bell similar to the one featured on the endpapers.
Ever heard of big, black shoe button eyes? A quick search through the button jar produced two matching buttons for eyes and a larger one for a nose. After collecting all the items we just got out the bottle of glue and attaching everything to a larger piece of craft felt.
The beauty of this craft project is that nothing has to be exact. If you don't have felt, try craft foam, another type of fabric, textured or plain paper, or even bubble wrap for a modern twist. Use fabric or wrapping ribbon, a piece of plastic, or construction paper for the collar. For the background, use a larger piece of felt, paper, or cardboard. Try making a game of it: have your young readers look through all the craft supplies and items in the recycling bin to finding the perfect material for each element of McDuff.
Depending on the scissor skills of your child, you may want to cut the shapes out first and then let your young reader assemble McDuff.
Shape and Feel McDuff
- White felt for McDuff, another color felt for background
- Cotton ball
- Small jingle bell for collar
- Cut a square for the head.
(Ours is about 3 1/2” x 3 1/4”)
- Cut a rectangle for the body.
(Ours is about 7” x 4 1/2”)
- Cut 2 triangles for ears.
(Ours are 1 1/2” tall and 1 1/2” wide.)
- Cut 4 small rectangles for legs.
(Ours are 1 1/2” tall and 1/2” wide)
- Cut a length of ribbon for the collar.
(Ours is about 2 1/2”)
- Slightly stretch the cotton ball out for the tail.
- Arrange all pieces to make McDuff on the background. Once your reader is satisfied with each placement, have them glue everything down and let dry.
When Lucy and Fred realise that they have been ignoring McDuff, they make him his favorite treat of vanilla rice pudding with sausages. Our recipe leaves out the sausages, but it is so delicious that even McDuff wouldn't miss them!
Young Readers in the Kitchen
Young readers can help measure the rice and milk into the saucepan, stir together the egg mixture and then add it to the pot, and stir the pudding as it cooks.
McDuff's Favorite Rice Pudding
adapted from Lightened Rice Pudding.
- 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
- 3 cups skim milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- In a medium saucepan combine rice and 2 1/2 cups milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to make sure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Reduce heat, cover partially, and simmer until rice is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- While rice cooks, stir or whisk together sugar, egg, cinnamon, vanilla, and remaining 1/2 cup milk.
- Slowly add the egg mixture to the rice.
To make it easy for little ones, have them use a measuring cup to add about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring between each addition.
- Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. It will take about 5 minutes; the pudding will coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat. Cool slightly and serve warm, or chill and serve cold.
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