Family Book Festival: Eileen Straiton and The Little Snowgirl

February is Family Book Festival month at Jump Into a Book!

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Family Book Festival is a project to help chase away the doldrums of winter by jumping into the favorite books of our author, illustrator, blogger friends. It’s our hope that, not only will we provide reading families with amazing new booklists and activities, but also give the parents a chance to experience a blissful walk down memory lane as they share favorite books from their childhood.

What a lucky day it is when we get to welcome Eileen Straiton for a visit.

Eileen is the mastermind and creative director of Little Acorn Learning. Since coming into my life Eileen has filled my days with creative doings and wanderings. You see Eileen has served as my editor and invited me along with a few other creative friends to contribute to her after school guide series. For one full year I crafted to my little heart’s content around our monthly themes.

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When we aren’t crafting, loving nature, and good food we are loving our children and sharing all of those endeavors with one another via our blogs and Facebook pages. You must know that Eileen has one of the most nurturing news letters I’ve ever seen. If you want to feel a little monthly mommy hug coming to your inbox, be sure and sign up for Eileen’s Little Acorn Learning newsletter. She also has incredible guides and menus for each and every occasion in your life.

I love snow and Eileen is sharing their family favorite The Little Snowgirl. Living in Connecticut this year has seen a huge amount of snow. It’s no wonder they picked this book to share.

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Along with a look into the pages of this tale is just an incredible activity of creating your very own Snowgirl.

I wish you many happy reading moments in this lovely blog post by my friend Eileen Straiton.

The Little Snowgirl

One of our favorite books to read at Little Acorn Playgarden is this beautiful winter tale by Carolyn Croll, The Little Snowgirl.  Croll holds a special place in her heart for her Russian heritage and her interpretation of the old Russian folk tale The Little Daughter of the Snow is a beautiful new twist on an old story.

The story centers around a very sweet couple who had just enough in life:  a home, food, warm clothing and love.  But the one thing they wanted more than anything else was a real child of their own.

Saddened by his wife’s pain of not having a child, the husband goes outdoors late one winter’s night and creates a beautiful Snowgirl out of fresh snow for his wife to wake up to in the morning.  While his wife is very happy to see his creation, she saddens again knowing that it is still not a ‘real’ child.

All of a sudden something magical happens; the Snowgirl begins to laugh!  Finally the sweet couple has a child of their very own to love and care for.  They soon realize, however, that the Snowgirl cannot go indoors with her mother and father for she will melt.  She must sleep outside on a bed of snow.  The Snowgirl also cannot eat warm food her mother makes like cabbage soup and hot porridge.  She can only eat crushed ice in a bowl.  This made her new parents so sad.

On Christmas Eve, the Snowgirl decided to ask Babouschka for something very special.  Dismayed by the thought of their daughter sleeping in the cold on such a special evening, the couple decides to carry her inside and put her near the fire to keep her warm like a real child.

On Christmas morning, the couple wakes up and cannot find the Snowgirl where they had left her.  The couple is in tears believing they have melted their little child.  But suddenly, they hear her laughter and when they turn around they see that Babouschka gave their sweet girl exactly what she wished for most – she was now a REAL child!

Something to Do:  Bring Your Own Little Snowgirl to Life for Your Children!

Create a magical storytelling experience for your children by sharing the story of The Little Snowgirl and then leading the children to the freezer to find their very own little snowgirl waiting for them to come to life!  This is a perfect opportunity for older children or siblings to help do something special for the little ones in your care.

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Materials:

  •  The Little Snowgirl Book
  • Beeswax Modeling Material
  • Bowl with Warm Water (optional)
  • Plastic Container with Tight Fitting Lid

Have older siblings or students in your class create this sweet little beeswax doll in advance for younger children.

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We used Beeswax Modeling Material to make our little doll.  Warming beeswax in your hands is a very beautiful way to work with the material but oftentimes we find it can be frustrating for many to create more complex designs without a little assistance from a bowl of warm water.  Simply place the beeswax you plan to use in the warm water for a few minutes and it will soften up very easily in no time.

Create the body’s form using white modeling material.  Work hard to smooth out any cracks or loose areas so later on it will not fall apart.  Add hair to your doll’s head area as shown here.

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We also added simple facial features and a little apron dress.  A bowl of crushed ice was created as well just like the girl of snow in the story ate.

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After you have finished your little doll, place her in a waterproof plastic container that you have a tight lid to.  This can be a tupperware container or even an old plastic toy container like we used.  Gently fill your container with water and secure your lid.

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Your little snowgirl is ready to be frozen.

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Place the container in a safe place in your freezer or if the temperature is very cold where you live, you can even place her outside.  Allow water to freeze overnight.

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The next day gather the younger children around and share with them this beautiful story.  At the very end surprise them and ask if they would like to have a little snowgirl of their very own to bring to “life”! Lead them to the special place where your little doll has been waiting and let them discover her deep within the ice.  Just like the little girl in the book, the snowgirl has been living in the cold and is now ready to be a real doll just for them.

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Explain to the children that just like the mother and father loved their own little snowgirl enough to warm her by the fire, they must do the same (with an adult of course).  Ice can be removed from the container and placed in a safe bowl near but far enough away from your family’s woodstove, fireplace or surrounded by warm blankets.

Slowly the little snowgirl will begin to warm up and turn into a real doll for them to love.

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If the doll was created well with the beeswax it should stay together well (one version of ours did loose a foot so try to avoid a lot of small parts to your doll and keep her simple and smooth before freezing).  Because the beeswax is in cold water it does not change shape and the slow warming process does not warm the beeswax enough to soften it either.  Remember not to try to rush the process by running it under hot water or using a microwave, etc. or the beeswax may begin to soften so much that the doll will lose its form.

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Enjoy!

**Keep checking back for more of our Family Book Festival! We have an exciting line-up of participants, books, and activities that we just can’t wait to share with you :)

 

eileen1Eileen Straiton is a work-at-home mother to four daughters. She writes and publishes Waldorf inspired ebooks and facilitates ecourses for parents, teachers and caregivers of children at Little Acorn Learning.  She also has many ideas and activities on her blog at Eileen’s Place.  Eileen rediscovered herself after becoming a mother and was drawn toward Waldorf Education and holistic living.  Eileen applies her love of nature-based learning in her work as owner and lead teacher at Little Acorn Playgarden serving children ages 0-5 in Brookfield, Connecticut.

 

 

Comments

  1. Love the message in this book an the followup activity is great!

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