Princess Pistachio, by Marie-Louise Gay (Pajama Press, 2015)

Princess Pistachio Activities for Kindergarten through 3rd grade

by Jessica Young

We regularly offer activity suggestions to assist you in sharing books with groups of kids, whether in a classroom setting or as part of a library-based or other agency program. In this post, we have both two full activities, each requiring about 45 minutes to complete in a group setting, as well as a “jumpstart” suggestion if you want to find a way to discuss an element of the story in the context of the audience’s lives.

What the book’s about:

Pistachio Shoelace has always known she was a princess. For years she has been waiting for her real parents, the King and Queen of Papua, to whisk her back to the tropical island where she belongs. When she finds a mysterious package with a golden crown and a card that says, “Happy Birthday, my little princess!” she is overjoyed. She plans to return to her real home in Papua as Princess Pistachio and live a royal life, eating chocolates and chestnut ice cream and wearing only the finest silks and ostrich feathers. But despite her new crown, no one will believe she is a real princess.

When her grandpa calls and asks how she likes her present, Pistachio realizes she’s not a princess at all. What’s worse, her little sister, Penny, has dressed the dog up in Pistachio’s favorite clothes and is giving him a bath with Pistachio’s favorite scarf! In a fit of anger, Pistachio wishes that Penny would disappear. When Dad comes looking for Penny, Pistachio must muster all her princess courage and help find her missing sister.


1.  Fantasy Kingdom


  • White drawing paper or roll paper
  • Pencils/colored pencils/crayons/markers or paints

Art note: Kids can also do the activity as a collage, cutting and pasting construction paper or magazine pictures and words to make their map features.


After reading Princess Pistachio, discuss how Pistachio imagines herself to be Princess Pistachio of Papua, a “golden island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Encourage kids to brainstorm their own fantasy kingdoms. Where would they be—on a cloud, in the rainforest, in the mountains, or on a desert island? What topography, natural features, castles/buildings, parks, businesses, or other landmarks would they include?

Kids then draw maps of their kingdoms, including all the important features and details that make them unique!

2. Angry Dragon


  • White drawing paper or roll paper
  • Pencils/colored pencils/crayons/markers or paints.


After reading Princess Pistachio, help kids to recall what Pistachio did or looked like when she was angry. Ask them to recall what they do and what they look like when angry (maybe face turns red, feel hot, muscles tense, etc.). Invite them to make a portrait of an angry dragon. As an extension, ask for suggestions of good things a person can do when angry.

Jumpstart Activity


Princess Pistachio’s imaginary parents, the King and Queen of Papua, shower her with fantastic gifts — like silver skates, invisible kites, a parrot that speaks five languages, and a piano-playing monkey. Make a list of amazing presents. If you could give a family member or friend any present in the world, what would it be? Which one would you like the best?

About fgoldsmith

Librarian, consultant, writer, reader, regularly on the move

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