Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka
Millie Waits for the Mail

The Hello, Goodbye Window

By Norton Juster
Illustrated by Chris Raschka

After a hard winter, the Kentucky weather has started to take a turn towards spring. Milder temperatures have settled in and spring green is starting to fill in the brown, barren landscape. The warmer days have given us all spring fever and we are rellishing our return to spending more and more time outside. In these first few weeks of spring, the time spent outside seems extra special. The simple chores of cleaning up after winter still seem like a reward and the sightings of robins, buds on the trees, and daffodils booming make the days special. 

Our book for this week is also a celebration of simple thinks like counting starts, gathering treasures from the yard, and playing with the garden hose. The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster takes readers through a little girl's overnight visit with her generous, fun-loving grandparents and you finish the book feeling just as loved and happy as if you too had been a special visitor. Illustrated by Chris Raschka (winner of the 2006 Caldecott Medal and creator of A Ball for Daisy) in a loose, energetic style that perfectly matches the everyday magic of this special book. 


In this Issue



Outside the Window Drawing

Observational Drawings with New Mediums

Be inspired by  The Hello, Goodbye Window and take some time with your young reader to look out your window and enjoy the view. Have art supplies at hand and invite your young reader to draw what they see - perfect for building observation skills!


To extend the activity, try inviting your young reader to look out the same window at different times throughout the day to draw what they see, such as changes in light, shadows, and their own reflection at night. 


Any drawing materials would work but we experimented with chalk pastels and oil pastels. Your young reader might also like using watercolors or watercolor pencils to capture the view from your window. 

About Pastels

If your young reader is not familiar with working with oil pastels, allow them time to simply explore the medium. The fun of working with pastels is the ease with which they move on the paper as well as blending and etching. It's also great fun to use watercolors on the same piece after drawing with pastels. Explore to see what happens! For a similar art experience, try a Crayon Resist.

Crayola 28ct Colored Oil Pastel Sticks

Outside the Window Drawings 


  • Drawing paper or watercolor paper
  • Oil or chalk pastels, watercolors, watercolor pencils, or crayons
  1. Invite your young reader to look out the window and, while observing the happenings outside, draw what they see. 



More "Hello, Goodbye Window" Fun

Really bring the story off the pages by watching or listening this video of a grandfather playing Oh Susanna on his harmonica. This American folk song was written by Stephen Foster in 1848 and is quite often one of the first songs a harmonica player learns to play.

 Learn More about the illustrator:



Poppy's Banana-Raisin-Oatmeal Muffins

Poppy's Banana-Raisin-Oatmeal Muffins - The Hello, Goodbye Window - Off the Shelf

While it's quick and easy to make oatmeal like Poppy did by adding banana slices and raisins to oatmeal, try extending the basic ingredients a step further and turn them into muffins. From mashing bananas to sprinkling the oat topping, kids will have lots of fun making these yummy muffins that are perfect for breakfast or a snack throughout the day.  

Banana, Raisin, and Oatmeal Muffins

Adapted from Chiquita


For Topping

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

For Muffins

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon raisins
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
  2. Stir together all topping ingredients until combined. Set aside.
  3. Mash bananas in a small bowl. Add buttermilk and egg and stir until combined. 
  4. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Pour banana mixture over dry ingredients and mix until moistened. Stir in raisins. 
  5. Divide batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with topping mixture. Bake for 18-20 minutes until skewer inserted in a center muffin comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in pan, then remove to a rack to cool. 

 Related Recipes: Banana Brown Sugar Baked OatmealGoldilocks and the Three Bears' Oatmeal Porridge with Berries and Nuts

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Off the Shelf!


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.