Red And Lulu
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I am an avid fan of books that teach my kids great things! I love books about Christlike attributes, God and goodness. Over the last twenty years, since I became a mom, I have worked to curate a list of the very best Christmas books.
Still, though, every once in a while I still run across books I haven’t seen before that bring me to tears because of their goodness.
This is one of those books. It isn’t about the Nativity, or our Savior. But it is about the true meaning of Christmas — love!
Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares
Red and Lulu make their nest in a particularly beautiful evergreen tree in the front yard of a small home. It shades them in the hot months, keeps them warm and cozy in the cold months, and once a year the people who live nearby string lights on their tree and sing a special song: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree.
Cardinals, like humans, are creatures of habit. They mate for life. They do not fly south for the winter. Some even make their nests in the same tree year after year. Red and Lulu live in a big, beautiful evergreen. It is the center of their world, the foundation of their lives.
But one day, something unthinkable happens. The evergreen tree is taken away and Red and Lulu are separated. It will take a miracle for them to find each other again.
Luckily, it’s just the season for miracles. This heartwarming story combines the cheer of Christmas, the magic of New York City, the Rockefeller tree tradition, and the real meaning of the holiday season; how important it is to be surrounded by love.
Literature Activity: Make pinecone birdfeeders in honor of Red and Lulu
Birds are amazing little creatures! They have to use a lot of energy to maintain a constant body temperature.
During the warmer months, many birds eat insects, which provide fat and protein. But during the cold months insects die, so birds have to look elsewhere for food.
These easy pinecone birdfeeders combine peanut butter and lard, which are high in fat, with a birdseed mixture that will nourish them through the lean winter months. If you hang them in a tree near a window, they will also give you the fun opportunity to observe the birds while they eat.
What you need:
- Pinecones, preferably open
- Peanut butter
- Birdseed mix
- Cake pan or pie tin
- Tie a string around the pinecone.
- Mix 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup lard, and 1/2 cup cornmeal. Warm the mixture in a saucepan.
- Use a butter knife to spread the mixture onto the pinecone. Make sure to get the mixture into the open areas of the pinecone. It’s easier if the mixture is warm because it melts together and you can easily coat the pine cone just by dipping and rolling it in the mixture.
- Place birdseed in pie tin. Roll and press seed onto pinecones until well-covered.
- Hang your pinecone feeder in a tree just outside you window. Try to place it away from the tree trunk so it’s more difficult for squirrels to get to it.
Enjoy watching birds outside your windows and learning to recognize them!
Literature Activity: Make a Christmas Lights project about Red and Lulu
I love the use of color in Red & Lulu. The cool blues of winter transition to the warm yellows of spring and summer, then the orange and browns of autumn. Then, once the tree is removed, the color palate is very limited. As Red ventures out, looking for Lulu, he stands out against a nearly monochromatic background.
When Red and Lulu are finally reunited, color explodes on the page, thanks to the brightly lit tree!
We’re going to celebrate along with Red and Lulu, by making our own Christmas-light art project. We’re making ours into Christmas cards and gift tags, but you can turn this fun art project into whatever you like. I think it would make adorable gift wrap!
First take a black sharpie and draw a swirly line. Then draw little squares along the line spaced out to be the bottom of the bulb part.
Have your child dip their pointer finger in different color paints (we used the paint caps to make it easier) and leave their fingerprints right above or below the black squares. Easy, peasy!
Literature Snack: Bird Seed Energy Bars (for people, not Red and Lulu!)
These bars are full of yummy, crunchy seeds, wheat germ, and rolled oats for fiber, and protein. They’ll keep for months in your freezer, so you can make an extra large batch and then pull them out when you need a boost.
- 4 c. rolled oats (old-fashioned, not instant)
- 1 c. brown sugar, packed
- 1 c. wheat germ
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 c. whole wheat (freshly ground) flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 c. honey
- 1 c. coconut oil
- 1 c. applesauce
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. flax seeds
- 1/2 c. sesame seeds
- 1/2 c. sunflower seeds
- 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 c. craisins
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
- Mix the rolled oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, and flour together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and salt until evenly blended.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir in the flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, craisins and chocolate chips. Use your hands to mix the ingredients, and press the mixture into the prepared pan. You will want to spray your hands with oil before pressing the mixture down.
- Bake in preheated oven until the edges are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool completely in the baking dish before cutting into 2 inch bars.
We are calling these Bird Seed Energy Bars, since we are making them to go along with this Red and Lulu storytime. But you’ll find that they would make a great alternative to preservative-filled granola bars from the grocery store. They would also make an easy breakfast!
I’ve substituted all kinds of yummy things over the years: m&m’s, raisins and other dried fruits and nuts. I’ve even thrown in straight-up bags of trail mix. These are pretty much impossible to mess up!
I hope you enjoyed reading Red and Lulu with us! And I hope you enjoyed the fun craft, activity and snack!
If you enjoyed this fun storytime about Red and Lulu, check out my other Christmas Story Time selections!
Pin the fun activity, craft and snack ideas for later!