Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Owl and the Woodpecker: Storytime Themes: Being a Good Neighbor, Forest Animals, Owls, Birds, Peace, Problem Solving

Title: The Owl and the Woodpecker

Author/Illustrator: Brian Wildsmith
Word Density: Medium
My Recommended Age-Appropriateness: 4 to 12

1. Loving your neighbor.
2. Living peacefully with one another.

1. Settling differences.
2. Being a good neighbor.
3. Solving problems.
4. Forest animals.
5. Nighttime and daytime animals.
SUMMARY: In this classic fable about a group of forest animals who have property disputes, readers learn about how to be a good neighbor. With beautiful colors and lively textures, Wildsmith portrays the all-too-realistic argument between nocturnal Owl, who recently moved into the tree next door, and Woodpecker. Owl can't sleep and becomes infuriated with Woodpecker's daytime noise. Woodpecker, however, maintains that it's his right to peck on his own tree anytime and as loudly as he wants. The dispute grows more and more heated, eventually causing a siding of opinions among all the forest's residents. The tiny mouse sees Woodpecker's point of view, insisting that "Owl is always around." The larger animals tend to see Owl's perspective, encouraging Woodpecker to compromise and "stop pecking" so they can all get some peace. Finally the residents gather round to encourage the troubled Owl to do something to fix the situation. He, however, feels the problem is entirely Woodpecker's fault, and insists on Woodpecker moving house. Their neighbors get so fed up with it all that they actually try to push down Owl's tree. Of course, this doesn't work, but coincidentally, two beavers begin to take a liking to Owl's tree. When a big storm comes along and threatens to blow down Owl's tree one day while he's fast asleep, Woodpecker sees the danger and, disregarding all their earlier disputes, rushes in to waken Owl one last time with his frantic pecking. Owl is so grateful to Woodpecker for rescuing him, that all is forgiven, and a suitable arrangement is made so that everyone lives peacefully together. Altogether an excellent way of demonstrating how to be, and not to be, a good friend and neighbor.

Choose from the following themes, songs, and Bible verses to create a lesson that best suits your curriculum or learning objectives:

1. 2 Corinthians 13:11 "...Try to get along and live peacefully with each other." (CEV)

2. Proverbs 11:25 "...those who help others will themselves be helped." (CEV)

3. Romans 15:2 "We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord." (NLT)

4. Romans 15:5 "God is the one who makes us patient and cheerful. I pray that he will help you live at peace with each other, as you follow Christ." (CEV)


1. "Up All Night" (a song about nocturnal animals) by Zach Burba from "Cool Creatures" CD & MMMKids.

2. "Love Your Neighbor" from the Veggie Tales Veggie Tunes CD.
3. "This is My Commandment" from the Cedarmont Kids Platinum Collection.
Craft Idea: Let the children create paper plate owls. Give each child two paper plates, one large and one small. Staple the smaller one above the larger one to simulate the owl's head. Provide plenty of brown craft feathers (available in most arts and crafts supply stores) and let the children use glue to cover their owls in feathers. Finally, glue two plastic googly eyes (also available at craft stores) on the "face." Hang your lovely, silly owls around the room and enjoy!