Bookscape, our library’s gallery, has a giant tree kids can walk into and read (or take the secret stairs to the second floor and curl up with some pillows). The tree is so iconic, we are often referred to as the “tree library.” So when we were presented with an adorable picture book that featured a library in a tree, well, we just had to send a little of the magic home!
We read Red Knit Cap and the Reading Tree by Naoko Stoop (Little, Brown, 2014).
Red Knit Cap Girl and White Bunny are happily reading when Squirrel drops by to show them something interesting – a big, hollow oak tree. They have a brilliant idea. Why not turn the tree into a library? Soon all the animals are dropping things off (except Sly Fox – she keeps sneaking off with stuff). Beaver makes some shelves, Sheep brings snugly blankets, and Owl and Moon make a sign for the new Library. Now everyone can share a love of reading, even Sly Fox!
- 1 large box (ours was 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” – a large tissue box works too)
- 1 corrugated cardboard base (we used a 10″ diameter cake circle)
- Brown wrapping or packing paper
- A selection of construction paper
- A selection of poster board
- White paper
- 6 mini craft sticks (ours were 2.5″ long)
- 2 toilet paper tubes
- Markers for decorating
- Scissors and tape for construction
- Hot glue
First, cut the lid or bottom off your box, and hot glue it to a corrugated cardboard base.
Next, crumble up a swath of brown packing paper (ours was 25″ x 36″). The more wrinkly it is, the more it will look like bark! Wrap the paper around the sides of the box, anchoring it tape or hot glue. Hot glue the paper to the base as well. One thing to note – you want the brown paper to extend about 14″ – 16″ above the top of the box. This will give you nice, fat branches on your tree.
Cut sections into the paper, then twist the sections tightly to create branches. Notice in the photo below that the branch sections end 4-5″ above the top of the box. If you cut them too close to the top of the box, your branches will droop.
Add some green construction paper leaves, and your tree is done! We used the box lid to create shelves for the library, tucked a couple felt blankets in place, added a patterned paper rug, and made a library sign. Here’s a shot of our library’s interior.
We wanted the library books to sit solidly on the shelves, so we hot glued mini craft stick spines to 2.75″ x 4″ pieces of poster board, then hot glued a couple 2.25″ x 3.25″ pages on top. It worked great!
It takes a little time to make the books, and we really wanted to fill the shelves, so we prepped 6 books per kid in advance (132 books total!). Behold the fruits of our labors…
Finally, your library readers! We fashioned ours after the characters in the book, using 2 toilet paper tubes and construction paper. We couldn’t help making a red knit felt cap for the girl, too.
Our library tree has red lanterns so those were the final touch to our project. We recycled them from this Creepy Underwear project and hung them on the branches with ornament hooks.
This project is adorable, but it has special significance too. Like this robot project, Red Knit Cap and the Reading Tree was selected by a little girl who was a die-hard story time regular and was moving out of New Jersey. So we asked her to share a very, very special book with us, and this was what she selected. This project’s for you Vivian!
Want to see a real-life library tree? You’ll find it here!