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

PPReadingPoster_Draft_2015-01-21-1What the book’s about

In the sequel to Princess Pistachio (2014), Pistachio Shoelace’s first day of summer vacation arrives with her mom at work, and Pistachio forced to take her little sister, Penny, to the park instead of adventuring with her friends. Penny, determined to cause all kinds of trouble along the way, tangles with the grocer and witchy neighbor, Mrs. Oldtooth, until Pistachio and Penny finally make it to the park with their stuffed-animal-filled wagon. When Penny decides to take a swim in the fountain and collect its trove of coins, the two are caught by the park warden who cites them up for walking on the grass, bringing (stuffed) animals without a leash, and swimming in the fountain. Pistachio is sent home, pulling a sopping Penny behind her. Pistachio tells her mother that she’ll never babysit again, but when her mom informs Pistachio that she’ll get a certain witchy neighbor to come over to watch both of them instead, Pistachio changes her mind. Perhaps Penny’s not so bad after all.

Two activities for ages 5-8, by Jessica Young

Extension for English language learners, by Francisca Goldsmith

Activity 1: What’s the Problem?


  • White drawing paper or lined paper
  • Pencils


After reading Princess Pistachio and the Pest, discuss how story characters face problems, or conflicts, just like real people do. Explain that conflicts sometimes come from misunderstandings, or when a character wants or needs something she can’t get or has a difficult problem to solve. Sometimes conflicts are external, involving other people or situations. And sometimes conflicts are internal, such as when a character has to make a difficult choice. Invite kids to list the conflicts in the book, and discuss the sources of each one.

Extension for older kids, including English language learners

After kids have created their lists of story conflicts, ask that they each focus on one specifically and consider alternative solutions the character might have chosen.  Lead a discussion of how an alternative solution would have changed the story. Would such an alternative feel true to the character? 

Activity 2: I Don’t Wanna


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


After reading the book, ask kids to recall what Pistachio had to do that she really didn’t want to do. Ask them to think about something they really didn’t want to do but had to do anyway. Ask them to draw a picture to illustrate the situation. Kids can volunteer to share their drawings with the group. Ask what they felt like when they had to do the unwanted activity, and then how they felt when it was done.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s