St. Patrick's Day Fun for the Wee Folk

St. Patrick's Day is coming up and it is such a fun holiday for kids to celebrate. Here's some ideas to make the day extra festive!

St. Patrick's Day Books, Activities, and Recipes

Bring the books alive with the activities and recipes, or do them on their own for just as much fun.  


St. Patrick's Day in the Morning

St. Patrick's Day in the Morning

Join in Jamie and Nell's early morning St. Patrick's Day fun with an illustrated recipe for Irish Soda Bread, an Irish flag four your young reader to make, and a homemade flute. Put them all together with some Irish music for your own St. Patrick's Day Parade!



Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka

Find out what happens when Jamie O'Rourke is befriended by a mysterious Pooka, then create a pooka of your own and enjoy a traditional Irish dish full of cabbage and potatoes.




Although Green is not a traditional St. Patrick's Day book, what color is more associated with the day? Explore the many different shades of green in both the story and our activity and recipes. 


St. Patrick's Day Recipes

Enjoying holiday food is a great way to make any day festive and memorable. Here' a collection of both Irish recipes and some green dishes from our archives that are fun for kids to help prepare as well as eat.

St. Patrick's Day Green Recipes

Irish Recipes

Irish Soda Bread


Green Recipes to Celebrate the Day

Lime Smoothie

Green Wraps

Broccoli Cheddar Pie with Cheesy Rice Crust

A is for Avocado Guacamole 

Zephyr's Spectacular Triple-Veggie Pancakes (green and orange)

Bamboo Stir Fry (also green and orange)

Refrigerator Pickles

Kale Stew

Monster Mashed Potatoes (leave off the monster faces for green mashed potatoes!)

Iceberg Lettuce Tacos

Peanut Pea Salad


How are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day this year? Let us know in the comments or on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Tag your Instagram photos with #booksofftheshelf so we can see what you have been up to! 

Flora's Very Windy Day

by Jeanne Birdsall
illustrated by Matt Phelan

Oh, the joys of having a little brother! In Flora's Very Windy Day the first picture book from The Penderwicks author Jeanne Birdsall, Flora has just about had enough of being a big sister after Crispin spills her paints. When the pair are sent outside, the wind might present the perfect opportunity to blow Crispin away, until the last moment when Flora joins him on a rather windy adventure. Kids will love following Flora and Crispin as the wind blows them on a high-flying adventure where they meet a dragonfly, an eagle, a friendly rainbow, the man in the moon and more before the wind agree to help them. Will Flora blow back home without Crispin, or maybe just realize how important big sisters are for their little brothers?


In this Issue

Continue reading "Flora's Very Windy Day" »

Rudy's New Human

by Roxanna Elden
illustrated by Ginger Seehafer


When we started Off the Shelf, we knew we wanted our logo to have the feel of classic Winnie the Pooh illustrations as well as communicate our mission of bringing books alive. Illustrator Ginger Seehafer perfectly captured our vision in our logo, complete with our very own teddy bear! So, it is with great pleasure that we present a book illustrated by Ginger, Rudy's New Human.

Lovable pup Rudy's world is turned upside down with the arrival of a new baby in the household. Peace, calm, and routine have vanished and Rudy is not sure how to handle these changes. Will his life ever be the same? 

 The illustrations really let the reader feel Rudy experiences, from his excited anticipation at the arrival of a new friend, to his disappointment that the baby is not what he expected, to the eventual friendship that develops. Rudy is sure to find a special place in your heart!

In this Issue

Continue reading "Rudy's New Human" »

The Lion and the Mouse

by Jerry Pinkney

Come along on a journey to eastern Africa, where elephants roam and zebras graze in the Serengeti. This is the breathtaking setting of Jerry Pinkney's wordless telling of The Lion & the Mouse, Aesop's tale that celebrates kindness and courage. 

Is your young reader rambunctious and confident like a lion, or more quiet and unassuming like a mouse?  The beauty of Aesop's classic tale The Lion & the Mouse is that neither of these personalities is more admirable than the other, for both are celebrated in their own way. 


Winner of the 2010 Caldecott Medal, The Lion & the Mouse is exquisitely illustrated in watercolors that enhance the underlying gentleness of the story.  The only words are the occasional onomatopoeia of wildlife sounds as well as the putt putt of the hunters' truck. This is a book to savor and linger over and cherish. Enjoy! 

In this Issue


Continue reading "The Lion and the Mouse" »

Annie and the Wild Animals

by Jan Brett

For four of the five years of Off the Shelf's existence, we have featured a Jan Brett book in at least one of the winter months. This pattern was completely unintentional, but makes sense with the snowy, usually Scandinavian settings of her stories. So, you can tell it's winter as we bring you another treasure, Annie and the Wild Animals

Annie is feeling restless after a long winter. Her loneliness is made worse when her cat Taffy disappears, seemingly for good. In hopes of finding a new friendly pet, Annie bakes corn cakes and places them on the edge of the forest. Come along on a snowy, end of winter adventure to find out if Annie's corn cake plan succeeds! Full of Jan Brett's signature illustrations, Annie and the Wild Animals is a delightful story for young readers to enjoy on long winter days (or any time of the year). 

In this Issue

Continue reading "Annie and the Wild Animals" »


by Mike Wu

What's an elephant to do when her zoo is in trouble? Each of her friends has a special talent that they use to help their beloved zoo from closing down. Ellie has lots of enthusiasm but struggles to discover her helpful gift, until one day she discovers a paintbrush...

Ellie is an endearing picture book by Mike Wu, a Pixar animator who has worked on The Incredibles and  Toy Story 3, among others, and who definitely knows the way to capture the imagination of young readers. Ellie shows us that we all have special gifts, and that we can all make a difference, no matter what those gifts are. 

In this Issue

Continue reading "Ellie" »

Black Dog

by Levi Pinfold

We often hear you have nothing to fear but fear itself, but sometimes (quite often, in fact), that fear takes on a mind of its own and plays tricks on us. This phenomenon is explored in Levi Pinfold's charming picture book, Black Dog.
One day, a large black dog arrives outside the Hope family's home.  As each family member reports their sighting of the dog, the unexpected visitor grows with gargantuan proportions. It takes the smallest member of the family, named Small of course, to show the true nature of the beast. 
Childhood quite often is a time of fears, whether of storms, the dark, or even dogs. But young readers will enjoy the fact that Small is the hero, the one member of the family who shows no fear and keeps things in perspective. Whatever your young readers fears are, sharing this book together just may help to shrink the size of the monsters under the bed. 

In this Issue

Continue reading "Black Dog" »

Gift Guide 2015 Day 12: Books to Read Aloud

We've come to the last day of our Book-Inspired Gift Guide, and we hope you have enjoyed the picture books and ideas we have collected.  Here's a recap of the past 12 days:


Today we have a (rather long) list of chapter books that are perfect to read aloud with your young reader. We wish you a very merry Christmas and will see you in the new year! 


Mary Poppins


All-of-a-Kind Family


Charlotte's Web


The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles


Ballet Shoes


The Saturdays

Because of Winn-Dixie


Stuart Little


Caddie Woodlawn


The House at Pooh Corner


The Betsy-Tacy Treasury: The First Four Betsy-Tacy Books


Miracles on Maple Hill

Gift Guide 2015 Day 11: Gifts for the Young Chef

Spark young readers' love of cooking with these gift ideas. Start with some lovely cookbooks (some inspired by picture books, others with their own stories), then set them up with their own supplies! Happy baking!

Christmas is almost here! Need some more ideas? Check out Day 1: Holiday BooksDay 2: Peter RabbitDay 3: OliviaDay 4: MadelineDay 5: For Little Artists and CreatorsDay 6: The Very Hungry CaterpillarDay 7: Winnie the PoohDay 8: Miss BindergartenDay 9: Gift for Young Gardeners, and Day 10: The World of Jan Brett.

Fanny at Chez Panisse: A Child's Restaurant Adventures with 46 Recipes


The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook (also featured on our Winnie the Pooh Gift Guide)


Mary Poppins in the Kitchen: A Cookery Book with a Story


Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up

And for young chef who prefer to cook with ingredients like dirt, sand, and flower petals, Mud Pies and Other Recipes



Young readers will be ready to get cooking in his or her own personalized apron! We love these classic striped aprons from Williams-Sonoma, sized just for children. 



Part of the fun of cooking is sharing with friends! Add these personalized stickers to baked goods and young readers can take pride in their culinary and sharing skills!


Gift Guide 2015 Day 10: The World of Jan Brett

Don't you love Jan Brett's books? We have featured several here on Off the Shelf, including Gingerbread BabyGoldilocks and the Three BearsThe Hat and The Three Snow Bears. In every book you can look at the illustrations for hours before you see all the details. So today we have some gift ideas inspired by her books, many of which are set in Scandinavia. 

Looking for more book-inspired gift ideas? Check out Day 1: Holiday BooksDay 2: Peter RabbitDay 3: OliviaDay 4: MadelineDay 5: For Little Artists and CreatorsDay 6: The Very Hungry CaterpillarDay 7: Winnie the PoohDay 8: Miss Bindergarten, and Day 9: Gift for Young Gardeners.


Start with any of her books! 

Two we like are The Animals' Santa and...


her latest release, The Turnip.


Here are a few items that reminded us of her books! 


Woodland Animal Toys featuring, what else, a hedgehog!



A gorgeous Nordic-pattern hand knit sweater for girls



A black and white wool sweater  


Pinecone Hedgie



Scandinavian-inspired heart mittens

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