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


by Mindy Baker

THE GRIZZLED GRIST DOES NOT EXIST, written by Juliette Maclver and illustrated by Sarah Davis, is a rhyming picture book about a class adventure into the wilderness led by a zany teacher. No one listens to the warnings of Liam—they all insist that the Grizzled Grist does not exist. When they walk into a trap, Liam comes to their rescue. I think you will enjoy reading this book aloud with your child, and it is a perfect springboard into a treasure hunt adventure.


  • What are the children doing in the story? 
  • Who is trying to warn them of the dangerous Grizzled Grist?
  • What happens when they don’t listen to Liam’s advice? 
  • Is the Grizzled Grist real or make-believe?
  • Have you ever been on a hiking adventure? What do you think you would see?
  • Have you ever had someone give you good advice that you didn’t listen to? What happened?

DO: Make an Treasure Map and a Grizzled Grist

For the map you will need:
  • Brown paper grocery sack
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Hair gel
  • Optional: used tea bags
Directions to make the treasure map:
  1. Cut a brown paper grocery sack into a large rectangle
  2. Crumple and rip edges
  3. Draw your map with markers (use landmarks from your yard or your imagination)
  4. (Optional) Paint your map with a used tea bag. Dry with hair dryer.
  5. Smooth your map with hair gel. Let dry.

For the Grizzled Grist you will need:
  • Yarn
  • Google eyes
  • Glue
  • Small piece of cardboard
Directions to make the Grizzled Grist:
  1. Wrap yarn around a small piece of cardboard.
  2. Tie tightly with a small piece of string.
  3. Flip the cardboard over and snip to create pom pom
  4. Glue on eyes with tacky glue.
  5. Hide the Grizzled Grist and go on a hunt with a strainer to capture him.
  6. Use your map to encourage imagination.

Activity ideas once you have created your map and Grizzled Grist:

1. Once you have the items made, let your imaginations take over. Hide the Grizzled Grist in your house and then use your map and “net” (small strainer or butterfly net) to go and capture him. You can also pack a small backpack for the “trail.”

2. Play a game similar to hide and seek and/or tag. Take turns being the “adventurer” and have the player who is pretending to be the Grizzled Grist capture the other player with a blanket.

3. Surprise your child with a treasure hunt! This requires a bit of prep work, but the end result will be worth it! I have created the clues and locations (download or copy the clues from the graphic onto 3 X 5 cards). These clues can be combined with a simple treasure map that you make depicting your own backyard (follow the directions listed above, only use landmarks from your own backyard).

  1. Make a treasure map of your backyard. (Use the directions above)
  2. Cut your map into 7 puzzle pieces.
  3. Hide one piece with each clue. (Use the clues and directions in the graphic below, if you like)
  4. Kids solve each clue to find the pieces to the map.
  5. Kids put the map puzzle together and follow it to the red X (location in your backyard).
  6. Have a small treat in a "treasure box" for them to enjoy.

If you make a map and/or a grizzled grist, we would love to see it! Share on social media using the hashtag #RDDSummerChallenge.