Thursday, December 6, 2012

Charlie Needs a Cloak ~ Tomie de Paola {Virtual Book Club for Kids}

For Virtual Book Club for Kids this month, we were to read a book by Tomie de Paola and do some activities.

I was excited to read another book by de Paola because he is the author of one of my favorite books that prompted a phenomenal Christmas for us a couple of years ago. For Christmas 2010, we read the book An Old Fashioned Christmas and then decided that we were going to replicate it the best we could for our own Christmas celebrations. We bought a ball and burlap tree, made all of our decorations (popcorn garlands, paper ornaments, crystal ornaments, salt dough ornaments, orange pomanders), ordered and burned authentic bayberry candles on Christmas Eve, made luminaries, and made our own candles. Our kitchen table was covered for two weeks with all of our crafts and activities. It gave us a true appreciation for how important Christmas was for the originators of the holiday in America and how their whole family invested in preparation for it. It was so special!

For the Virtual Book Club blog hop, we chose Charlie Needs a Cloak.

For our activities, we made yarn dolls.

We then watched a couple of Youtube videos showing how to shear sheep and how to spin wool into fiber. Then we discussed the next step of using a loom to turn fiber into fabric, and then how to use patterns to make a garment and how to dye fabric.

The next step was to dye some "wool" to make a cloak. We took white felt (pretending it was wool) and dyed it "red" with boiled cranberries and white vinegar.

We used the fabric to make cloaks for our dolls.

Again, this book showed us and gave us an opportunity to experience how before our modern times, folks actually had to WORK for what they had. They didn't just go to the store to buy it. Dying the fabric took work. Fitting it to our dolls took work. And we didn't even have to spin the fibers into the fabric before we dyed it. (I was hoping that making the dolls from yarn would give us a similar appreciation for the work involved.) We were also able to discuss and see how these processes still take place today, but on a grander scale, to give us the clothing that we have. Our clothes start somewhere.

This was a great book with great lessons. We are linking up with Virtual Book Club for Kids at Toddler Approved and Read Aloud Thursday with Hope is the Word.

Next month ... a book by Jan Brett. And we have chosen a Christmas one!


  1. How could I have forgotten about yarn dolls? I hadn't thought about them in probably 30 years until I saw yours! I'll have to show my kids.

    I love that you gave them an understanding of how much work went into everything at that time. What a greatlesson, especially in the season we're in where there's a lot of instant gratification!

  2. Love this! This was one of my favorite picture books. And we love all of Jan Brett's books, so I can't wait to see what's next:)


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