Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A New Coat for Anna

Our latest FIAR row was A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert.  Booklist's synopsis of it reads, "A fresh and moving story of a mother's dedication to acquire a coat for her daughter in post-World War II hard times.  Anna's mother decides to trade the few valuables she has left for wool and for the services of a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor.  Lobel's pictures do a tremendous job of evoking the period.  Insightful and informative, this may make children consider how precious the ordinary can become in times of turmoil."  This was our very last row for Volume 2 (we have skipped around a lot) and we thought it was a lovely book.
After we read the book, we talked about the setting of the story during the second world war.  We read about the effects of WW2, and the countries affected by it using The Story of the Second World War by Paul Dowswell (pictured below).
We then listed the enemies and allies of WW2 using the printables at
Next, we colored our story disk for this book and placed it on one of the countries damaged by WW2, Poland.  (We chose Poland because we have ancestors from there.)
For a snack, we decided to make a Christmas bundt cake like they served in the story (see below).
 We chose chocolate and decided to sprinkle it with powdered sugar to make it look more festive.
 I even dug into our holiday closet and pulled out a Christmas plate to eat it off of!
After a discussion of how wartime changed things, we used this book, Usborne's Wartime Fashion: From the Second World War, 1939-1945 sticker book, to learn about the shortage of fabric during those years.  It is very informative!
Here are some excerpts from that book ...
I did not know this stuff before now.
Mags completed a couple of the sticker pages in it, including this page because of the lady knitting the sweater on the right ...
... and this one, because it featured children, like Anna.
Next, we completed this fun printable from, which challenged her to list the different steps required to make a coat, from sheep to hanger, in order.  Once done, we placed them on sheep paper.
It was time to watch the process from start to finish for ourselves.  We found this informative video called "From Sheep to Rug" at (below).
After that, we watched a spinner at

Maggie loves weaving and so she was really excited when I pulled out this new hand loom with lots of new stretchy bands.  She got right to work weaving!
"Easter colors!" she said.
Great job!
For a reward, she enjoyed a little chocolate sheep!
In the story, Anna made paper chains for the sheep who gave their wool for her coat.
We saw the same chains on her Christmas tree.
So, of course, we thought we'd make some, too!  We chose red and green for Christmas colors.
Paper chains!
We had no sheep to pretty with our chains, but we do have cats!  Ellie was most uncooperative, though!
For a math activity, we took measurements in inches and centimeters for a coat.  We measured from shoulder to shoulder, wrist to wrist with arms outstretched, and neck to upper legs.  We could see the conversion from inches to centimeters easily with our tape measure.
Anna's red coat got its rich color from lingonberries.  We did an image search to see what they looked like in nature.
At a recent trip to IKEA, we picked up a jar of lingonberries to sample for this study.
Maggie wanted hers with crackers.  The berries reminded us of cranberries in appearance and smell.
The taste was powerful but good, like tart cranberries!  Maggie gave lingonberries a thumbs up!
Next, we decided to dye some wool of our own.  Maggie wanted to try strawberries for dye.  We took some white yarn and a few strawberries and got started.
It didn't take long for the strawberries to lose their color ...
... but once removed, we definitely had pink and not red!  Maybe many more berries would have helped?
We placed our yarn in our dye and let it sit for an hour.
Once out, we hung the yarn to air dry.
Against this white paper towel, we could see the pink color well.
Once dry, we had pink yarn!  Now, it's ready for weaving!
This was a fun row!  Next up?  Our very last row for Volume 1, Another Celebrated Dancing Bear by Gladys Scheffrin-Falk.

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