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

What the book’s about

Pistachio Shoelace has always known she was a princess. 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 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.

Two Activities for kindergarten through 3rd grade, by Jessica Young

Activity 1: Fantasy Kingdom 

For kindergarten through 3rd grade

Supplies

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

Art tip: This activity can also be done as a collage, cutting and pasting construction paper or magazine pictures and words to make the map features.

Activity

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.”

Invite 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?

After brainstorming, kids draw maps of their kingdoms, including all of the important features and details that make them unique!

Activity 2: Angry Dragon

For kindergarten through 3rd grade

Supplies

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

Activity

After reading Princess Pistachio, kids 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.).

Each child then makes a portrait of an angry dragon.

As an extension, ask for suggestions of good things a person can do when angry.

Jumpstart Activity for kindergarten through 3rd grade, by Jessica Young

Pick-a-Present

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?

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