Michael and Mrs. Applebee woke early after their night in the castle, ready to head off to find the Z fairy. Michael looked sad.
"Why the long face, Michael?" asked Mrs. Applebee.
"Well," said Michael "Z is the last letter in the alphabet..."
"Yes!" said Mrs. Applebee "Isn't that great? What a lot of letters you met!"
"But," said Michael, "my mother doesn't know about the fairies and when I give her the flowers she's just going to say that they are lovely and she won't know why they're so special to me."
"Oh, dear, I'm not sure about that!" said Mrs. Applebee with an wink.
Michael cheered considerably, wondering what Mrs. Applebee's wink could mean. Michael could not see any more of the path ahead of him, but, oddly enough, he could look back and see all of the twists and turns which brought them there.
"Mrs. Applebee, I'm going to come and visit you and the fairies all of the time." said Michael "I'll hear the saints' stories over and over and I'll never get tired of hearing them, and maybe I'll even bring my little sister, Marie."
"I look forward to that fondly, my little friend," said Mrs. Applebee "Be sure to look for the fairies in your mother's garden now that you know where to find them."
"No, I'm not so sad," Michael said, brightening, "I know that I'll always be able to come visit the fairies!"
The path widened before them and a bright pink fairy danced in front of Michael and Mrs. Applebee. "Hello, Michael!" said the pink fairy. "I'm the Zinnia fairy!"
"Oh, you're so pretty!" Michael exclaimed. "May I hear your song?"
The lovely little pink fairy began to sing.
The Song of The Zinnia Fairy
Z is for Zinnias, pink or red;
See them in the flower-bed,
Copper, orange, all aglow,
Making such a stately show.(...the rest is in the Flower Fairies Alphabet)
"That's a lovely song!" said Michael, "and is there a saint for the letter Z?"
Zinnia read to Michael from the red book. She shared the story of St. Zita, the good maid who was never slothful.
When the story was finished, Zinnia handed Michael his final flower. "Now, I have my birthday bouquet. I guess it's time for me to go home.." said Michael. He turned to Zinnia and Mrs. Applebee and said "Goodbye dear fairies!" Then, he caught his breath. A large green troll was standing with them!
"Oh my! You are the one whom I kept seeing along the path!" said Michael with excitement and a little bit of fright in his voice.
"Yes! I am," said the troll, "and I'm here to give you these." The troll handed Michael a piece of paper and some bright beeswax crayons. "You can use these to make a birthday card for your mother."
"Thank you!" said Michael. "Now, how do I spell the words?" Mrs. Applebee took the golden U ribbon and tied it around the bouquet. As she did so, all of the fairies came from behind the trees and bushes. One by one, the fairies for each letter of "Happy Birthday. I love you!" danced for a moment in front of Michael. He used his crayons to write H-A-P-P-Y B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y! I L-O-V-E Y-O-U!
"Thank you!" Michael nearly sang to the fairies. Thank you for showing me how your letters spell words that will make mother so happy!" Michael beamed at all the fairies assembled there to send him home:
Apple Blossom and her baby were standing smiling and waving at Michael.
Bugle fairy was marching in place, blowing his trumpet stood boldly.
Columbine danced in her dress of light pink and yellow.
Double Daisy was standing there in his suit of crimson.
Eyebright smiled at Michael with great affection.
Fucshia was twirling on her toes, tickled to be a part of the party.
The Gorse fairies darted in between the other fairies, still playing their game of kissing tag.
Herb Twopence was busy counting each of the fairies again and again, making certain they were all there.
Iris, in her bright yellow suit, brought back lovely memories of the flowers by the marsh.
Jasmine was there in her sparkling white suit looking as beautiful as ever.
Kingcup stood regally, surrounded by elves from his kingdom.
Lily-of-the-valley gently tinkled her white bells.
Mallow shared her cheese with all the fairies gathered there.
Nasturtium nibbled on peppery petals.
Orchis stood in splendid glory.
Pansy hummed a waltz tune.
Queen-of-the-meadow had extra fluffy hair for the occasion.
Ragged Robin played his reed pipe.
Strawberry, all decked out in red and green, grinned at Michael.
Thrift and her seagull circled above the crowd.
Vetch and U stood holding hands.
Wallflower stood very near to Mrs. Applebee, leaning gently against her.
Yellow Deadnettle was with X, though occasionally they stepped on one another's toes.
And then Zinnia called out merrily "Let the parade begin! You show us the way to your house, Michael!"
"A parade!" Michael clapped gleefully. "Now my mother will know about the fairies!"
Michael, Mrs. Applebee and all of the fairies merrily made their way to Michael's garden, parading all the way to the front door. Michael rushed inside and pulled his mother by the hand, all the while telling her excitedly about his wonderful birthday surprise. His sister Marie followed along eagerly.
"Happy Birthday!" sung all of the fairies as Michael handed his mother the big beautiful bouquet.
"My goodness!" said Michael's mother, delightedly, "I love them!"
"Do you see them mother?" asked Michael "See what?" she asked him.
"There, in the garden. Do you see the fairies?"
"Yes!" she answered with an excited little squealing. "I see a whole parade of lovely fairies and beautiful flowers. I love my birthday bouquet, dear boy and I love you!" she answered.
Michael gave his mother a gigantic birthday hug and they both waved as the fairies marched away towards the forest.
"Goodbye my fairies! I'll see you soon! Come and visit any time! I love you!"
Lesson Plans: You can use the drawing of St. Zita in the book as a visual when telling this story. (Zinnia and the Grand Parade PDF )You may want to print it on card stock and add it to your child's main lesson or sketch book. It can be added to your child's main lesson book as well.
Language: Use the Letter Z in the St. Zita picture as an introduction to letter formation. Have the child trace the Z with his or her finger. Practice the Letter Z by copying the model drawing. Children can use the small poem in the Catholic Alphabet of Saints for copywork and use The Song of the Zinnia Fairy as copywork, too. Sing the song as well and soon it will be memorized.
(Don't try to do it all--these are options for science and nature study)
- After the story has been told, you can research the botanical information and record them in a sketchbook or main lesson book. Or perhaps you would prefer flower storybook paper for letter writing practice and copywork. (An older child can do this independently, but a younger child can give an oral narration which you write or keyboard for him or her.)
- With your older child, you might choose to work through Apologia's Discovering Creation with Botany. Read a section and then ask your child to narrate the information in his main lesson book. Always encourage your child to illustrate his narrations. Work on the experiments that you feel would be most beneficial for your child. Take a picture of the finished project and add it to his main lesson book. The pace at which you move through this book is not as important as the child having an opportunity to really understand the material. Go at your child's pace.
- We've had great success encouraging older children to take their flower narrations well beyond what is provided at the Flower Fairy site. These children are able to truly appreciate the vast varieties of flowers and to to see God's creativity when they consider the lilies of the field.
- For some children, a living books/picture book approach seems to resonate and be more meaningful than any other approach. Consider choosing meaty picture books to teach science concepts. If you choose to pursue this course of study, here is a science-themed picture book study for this letter: Z is for Zoo
Art: Using the illustration in The Flower Fairy Alphabet Book, ask the child to sketch the Zinnia Fairy in the main lesson book. A younger child can color the Zinnia Fairy in the Flower Fairy Alphabet Coloring Book . Perhaps on another day the child could model the fairy or flower with modeling beeswax. (Sources of excellent quality modeling beeswax can be found on the right sidebar.)
For this week's picture study, Museum ABC focuses on ZIGZAG on the Z page. It's interesting to look carefully at just one segment of the painting in the book. The children can discuss what they think the rest of the painting might look like before you show them the print. The full image of Yatsuhashi (The Bridge of Eight Parts) in Mikawa by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai can be found here.
Really look at the picture. Soak in the details. Ask your child to narrate with a prompt such as, "Pretend that I am going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time and want to find this painting. What details could you give me so that I could more easily find it?" Keyboard the narration and ask your child to sketch the work of art. A younger child can copy the painting while an older child can narrate from memory and discover how much detail he remembers by attempting to sketch it from memory. Over the course of this unit, consider collecting the narrations and sketches in a single album and create your own family art history book.
(The goal of Picture Study is to train the eye toward the beautiful. Biographical information about the artist is secondary. Set the work of art as your family computer's wallpaper or screen saver or print the painting on card stock and display it on the refrigerator. After spending time with a picture and really taking the time to look at it, your child will make a connection. There is no need to explain a great deal, especially to a young child. Allow the child to make his own connection with the art.)
Read about St. Dominic de Guzman in the Loyola Kids Book of Saints
A favorite faith-themed alphabet book:
Ideas for "Z Week:"
Author Study: Z is for Paul Zelinksy and Charlotte Zolotow (we couldn't pick just one):
Suggested Books for Read-Alouds and Narrations (These are to be narrated both verbally and artistically. For the younger children it is often fun to keyboard an oral narration for them and then ask the child to illustrate the printed page.)
Our focus this week is on great alphabet books. We've picked 26 of our all time favorites.
Since this is a big celebration week, and since it's Michael's mother's birthday, what could be more fitting than a Flower Fairy Birthday Tea? Charlotte is the Queen of the Birthday Party. We've enjoyed the happy occasion of this party in our house and I assure you, the boys had as much fun as the girls. Don't skip the party--you all deserve to celebrate!
The End of the Alphabet Path but Just the Beginning of the Trails
We're huge fans of Sleeping Bear Press. All of their state books are featured here on Serendipity. A sampling of the rest of the collection (thus far) is listed below. We earnestly encourage you to take a good look at the list and find a subject that interests your child. Now you know well how to take a book and launch a whole world of learning. These books make wonderful spines for really good rabbit trails:
H is for Hook: A Fishing Alphabet
E Is for Extreme: An Extreme Sports Alphabet
Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet
T is for Touchdown: A Football Alphabet
H Is for Horse: An Equestrian Alphabet
P is for Putt: A Golf Alphabet
H is for Home Run: A Baseball Alphabet
I Is for Idea: An Inventions Alphabet
D is for Democracy: A Citizen's Alphabet
M Is for Meow: A Cat Alphabet
B Is for Buckaroo: A Cowboy Alphabet
Z Is for Zookeeper: A Zoo Alphabet
W is for Waves: An Ocean Alphabet
P is for Passport: A World Alphabet
D Is for Dinosaur: A Prehistoric Alphabet
C is for Chinook: An Alberta Alphabet
D Is for Drum: A Native American Alphabet (this one has been done for you;-)
W is for Wind: A Weather Alphabet
B Is for Bookworm: A Library Alphabet
H Is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet
W Is for Woof: A Dog Alphabet
A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet
P Is for Princess: A Royal Alphabet
M is for Majestic: A National Parks Alphabet
S Is for S'mores: A Camping Alphabet
M Is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet