Picture Book Pair for a Fun Fall Story Time

by Rebecca J. Gomez Pairing two or more picture books with similar themes can open up a world of discussion possibilities, and those discussions are great ways to connect with your children or students. It can be fascinating to see how different authors and illustrators approach different topics and themes. Pairing books with similar themes during story time will help children learn that everyone sees the world a little differently, and it's good to see other people's perspectives. Read : Leaves by David Ezra Stein and The Leaf Thief by Alice Hemming, illustrated by Nicola Slater Discuss :  What is the main theme in each of these stories? How are these two books different? How are they similar? What were Bear and Squirrel both confused about?  Have you ever been confused or curious about something in nature? Talk about it! What is fall like where you live? Do you see leaves changing, then falling from the trees?  What other books about fall or leaves have you read? Are any of

A Build It Challenge Inspired by THE THINGITY-JIG by Kathleen Doherty

by Mindy Baker

Read: THE THINGITY-JIG by Kathleen Doherty and illustrated by Kristyna Litten is a sure hit with your little engineer-builders. A sweet little bear can’t sleep and wants to play, but his friends want to sleep. Under the silvery moon he finds a Thingity-Jig. To move it, he uses a Rolly-Rumpity, Lifty-Uppity, and a Pushy-Poppity. At daybreak, his friends wake up and want to play. Bear has to remind them when it is his turn…but then he falls asleep. The whimsical world play takes this book to the top of my list because it is so much fun to read.


  1. What is your favorite contraption that Bear built?
  2. Have you ever build something that helped you to do a difficult task? What was it?
  3. What makes a good friend?
  4. Do you like to share and take turns?
  5. Do you like it when other kids take turns with you?


Build your own "rollity-rumpity" or other contraption inspired by THE THINGITY-JIG using Lego bricks, blocks, or other building toys. For an extra challenge, use items that you find around the house. How could you use the following items? 

  • A rubber band
  • Plastic bottle tops
  • Scraps of wood
  • Bits of cardboard 
  • Wooden dowels or pencils
  • Nuts and bolts
  • String

Short on supplies? Try drawing your contraption instead! Give your contraption a fun, original name. What job can your contraption help you accomplish?

For more building fun, check out these links for some step-by-step directions to simple machines:

Simple Lever

Simple Catapult

We’d love to see a picture of something you build and hear what you name it! You can share in the comments or on social media using the hashtag #RDDSummerChallenge.

Other “Inventions” books:


This book shows the emotions inventors experience through the trial and error of a creation. In the end the little girl creates a scooter with doggy side car for her beloved pet.

BE A MAKER by Katey Howes and illustrated by Elizabet Vuković

This is a call to the reader to get creative in all aspects of life. The book shows children making towers, music, a telescope, blueprints, a cardboard spaceship…and much more. It is a celebration of the inventive human spirit.

GOING PLACES by Peter and Paul Reynolds

When the teacher hands out kits to make go-carts, Rafael and his friend Maya decide to create something their own way instead of following the directions like everyone else. The result is spectacular and wins the race!