FANTASY & Historical BOOKS FOR CHILDREN, Mid Grade.,




OCTOBER's free story (from my Back Yard Friends) to download and read to your preschool children. Good for Teachers, Parents, and Grandparents.  

(graphic taken from

M.  C.  Arvanitis

Merle Squirrel clapped his hands together as he looked at his pile of acorns. “Those acorns will taste really good when I wake up from my winter’s nap,” he said.
Bitty BlueJay swooped down from the oak tree. “Don’t you know you can’t leave them lay on the ground? The crows will eat them all before you wake.”
“Oh dear. Where can I hide them from the crows?” he asked.
The crabby jay flipped her wings, “That’s not my problem,” and she flew to her nest on the top of the tree.
“She’s right, it is my problem,” Merle said to himself. Rachel Robin hopped by with a fat worm in her mouth. When she heard Merle she gobbled it up. “What is your problem, Merle?” she asked.
“If I leave my acorns on the ground the crows will eat them. Can you help me find a place where I could hide them? “
Rachael shook her head. “Sorry, but my family and I are leaving for the winter. It is time for us to fly south. See ya.” And she flew away.
Merle looked up at Ollie Owl, who watched him from his hole in the tree. “Ollie, can I hide my acorns in your place? If I leave them on the ground the crows will eat them.”
“OOO, sorry, no room.” Ollie disappeared back into his hole.
Merle looked all over the farm for a place to hide his acorns. Wherever he looked either another squirrel had claimed the space or it would not be dry enough to keep acorns through the winter.
He continued to search. Each day brought him closer to winter. He was getting desperate. Then he spied a strange looking object standing in Farmer Ann’s cornfield. It had a wide brimmed hat, arms that stretched straight out, a large jacket and baggy pants flopping in the wind. He jumped on the arm of this thing to see it closer. The head was a pumpkin with a face traced upon it. Why this must be the new scarecrow, the one that Farmer Ann made each fall to scare away the crows,” he thought.
He greeted it, "Hello, Scarecrow.” The scarecrow didn't answer. "Guess you don't feel like being friendly, huh?” No answer. Merle was about to jump to the ground when he noticed the scarecrow's jacket pockets. They were wide and deep and no one would ever think of looking in them for acorns.
"Say, could I hide my acorns in your pockets for the winter?" he asked.
The scarecrow didn't answer.
"Is that a yes or a no?"
Still no answer.
"Well, than, I'll consider it a yes." Quickly Merle ran his pile of acorns. It took him all day to carry the acorns in his mouth and placed them in the scarecrow's pockets.
When he finally had the acorns stored he climbed back onto the scarecrows arm and look into its pumpkin face. "Thank you for letting me store my acorns in your coat pockets. I am going to take a short winter nap now but when I wake I will be hungry. The acorns will taste very good when the snow covers the ground and there is nothing else to eat. If you get hungry you may have a few."
Merle climbed up to his nest in the oak tree. Just as he settled down for the winter he saw a big black crow fly near. The scarecrow waved its coat sleeves and the crow flew away. “Good,” he thought. That Scarecrow will keep my acorns safe.
Early in the spring, Merle’s tummy began to growl. He woke up very hungry but he didn't worry. He knew where to find some acorns. Quickly he jumped to the scarecrow's arm. "I've come to get my acorns,” he said.
The scarecrow didn't answer.
"Thanks for looking after them." Merle reached his paw into the pocket. The pocket was empty. "Well, I did say you could eat a few, I guess." He reached into the other pocket. That pocket was also empty. Merle jumped on the scarecrow's arm. "Did you eat all my acorns?”
The scarecrow didn't say anything, but Merle noticed that its face was sort of puffy.
"You did eat my acorns. I said you could eat a few. I didn't say you could eat all of them." He swished his fluffy tail in anger.
At that moment a big black crow zoomed down to reach its beak inside the scarecrow's pocket. It reached to the bottom but came up empty. It tried the other pocket and finally flew away with an empty beak.
"So it was the crows that ate my acorns. Oh dear, I'm so hungry. I'll starve before the new acorns are ready for dropping." Merle started to cry.
The scarecrow's jacket moved back and forth in the breeze. But wait, its pumpkin head was moving too. It shook so hard that the hat fell off. Merle jumped to the lowest corn stalk in fright. He looked down at the scarecrow’s head. He saw a big hole in top of the pumpkin where Farmer Ann had removed the seeds to carve its face. He looked again. The head wasn't empty. It was full of his acorns. 
" Merle jumped back to the scarecrows shoulders and planted a big kiss on the pumpkin’s cheek. “Thank you for keeping my acorns safe.”
 The scarecrow said nothing but if you were watching very closely you could see the mouth curve up into a smile.
Merle climbed on the pumpkin head and contentedly ate his fill.
Every year after that Merle Squirrel stored his winter supply of acorns inside the scarecrow's head where the crows could not find them. 

Song to sing: “Shoo Scarecrow”
(To the tune of "Little Brown Jug.") 

(Children stand with arms out feet flat on the floor. Only body moves. They sway back and forth as they sing. At the end they throw their arms out and up as if shooing the crows.)  

Fly away crow with coat so black
Fly away crow and don’t come back,
I’m standing here so the corn can grow,
So fly away, fly Away, Fly away crow.

BOOK SUGGESTION:  To use with this story,
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
by Linda Williams, Megan Lloyd (Illustrator)

Merle Squirrel
This can also be made into a movable picture. 
Cut out a pattern for the tail, two arms, two legs
and the acorn.
When pieces are colored or painted cut them out,
punch holes in where they would fit on the body
and fasten them to the body with barbs.  You need
three barbs. (Small bend over holders) Glue the
acorn to one of the hands.

 If you enjoy these free stories and activities tell your friends and fellow teachers. I will present a free story and activity each month.   M.C. Arvanitis.   

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