MaiStoryBookLibrary: Piggie Pie! + Halloween Barnyard Masks Pretend Play

Introducing the First Friday of October witchy, twitchy children’s book featured in this week’s MaiStoryBook Library Collection:

“Piggie Pie!” by Margie Palatini and Howard Fine

Book Synopsis and Review

Gritch the Witch is HUNGRY, and grouchy and grumpy, and the *only* thing that will satisfy her is a warm, freshly-baked delicacy *Piggie Pie.* There’s just one Problem~ As Gritch zooms through the ingredients in her witchy pantry ~ NO PIGGIES. Well, where else to look for piggies than Old MAcDonald’s farm? But piggies are quite clever, and in a bold attempt to trick Gritch the Witch, they masquerade around the farm in plain sight, costumed and dressed up as ducks, cows, and even Old MacDonald himself. A not so bright Gritch the Witch grows increasingly aggravated, throwing furious tantrums *until* a mysterious new friend shows up and presents an ironic alternative solution… Will Gritch the Witch get her Piggie Pie in the end…or will she get something even more delicious…?

This book was created for pure enjoyment. Honestly, there aren’t any morals or life lessons to be offered ~ rather the book seems to have been made for the sake of reading for fun and for evoking laughter from readers of all ages. Fun stories such as these help children gain an apprciation and pleasure in reading. This *Fun-October-Halloween* read aloud is full of alliterations and clever allusions to other classic fairy tales that kids love to pick up on and point out.  It also incorporates the classic Old McDonald song, so if your child is familiar with the tune they’ll be able to join along with part of the reading! Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities to change the tone and pitch of your voice during the read aloud, especially with the Gritch the Witch character, so clear your throats *ahem!* and go all out with different nasaly and crackly-witchy voices.

Vocabulary List

  • Buzzard (p.2) big bird that eats dead animals
  • Puny (p.6) small, weak
  • Yellow Pages (p.7) big book with the phone numbers of all the different places you can go 
  • Passel (p.15) a group
  • Lumbered (p.20) moved slowly

Themes/Main Ideas

  • Discuss with children the different allusions that come up in the story~ such as The Three Little pigs and Old MacDonald. If children aren’t familiar with these classics, take the opportunity to teach them about, or read to them, these stories.
  • Flexibility: concept of being flexible~ If there is a problem or something doesn’t go your way, be flexible and try something different. Don’t get too upset. Discuss tantrums and what are more approiate ways to behave if you feel frustrated or upset.

YouTube Video: Guided Shared-Reading Read Aloud Example

Example of a shared-reading Read Aloud of “Piggie Pie!” – how to subtly introduce the vocabulary list words within the text, ask guided questions, and spark conversation!

*~Check it Out~*

Subscribe: MaiStoryBook Channel for additional read aloud videos!

Halloween Barnyard Masks Pretend Play Activity

As the beginning of October officially arrives, I can’t help but to already anticipate its end ~ *Halloween!* The holiday of dress up, makeup, ~ the ultimate pretend play experience for little ones! Parading around as witches, lions, ninjas, and superheroes, I can remember fingers sticky with the gummy residue of fruity jolly ranchers, and lips smudged with streaks of Recess cups and KitKat bars. I would carefully lift my snow fairy mask, delivering a portion of candy corn to my eager taste buds. Costumes are a large part of pretend play, adding to the make-believe mystique.  In preparation of Halloween, this week’s activity includes instructions to make 2 different barnyard masks, similar to the costumes the Piggies in the story wore to trick Gritch the Witch. The perfect craft for some pre-Halloween festivities ~ prepare for an afternoon of witches, piggies, farm animals, and a whole lot of trickery and play~*


  • 2 paper plates
  • 1 sheet each of black, pink, white and brown construction paper
  • 1 sheet each of orange, yellow, and red construction paper
  • Black marker
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Box cutter


For Cow Mask

  • Draw and cut out two eye holes on the paper plate *I used the box cutter for easy cutting*
  • Cut out a medium pink oval for the nose and two black dots for the nostrils. Glue on the dots to the oval, and glue the oval under the eye holes on the mask.
  • Using the black paper, cut out 4-5 small black shapes for cow spots
  • Glue/tape the black spots onto the paper plate (for spots around the edges of the plate, I found tape worked best to keep them in place)

  • For the ears: cut two ear shapes from the white paper, two smaller ear shapes from the paper, and two small black shapes for spots on the ears.
    • Glue on the black spots anywhere along the edges of the white ear shapes. Glue the small pink shapes to the bottom part of the white shapes to mimic the pink part of cow ears. Tape ears to the top-back of the plate.
  • For the horns, cut out two small brown ovals and glue them to the top of the mask, between the ears.

For Chicken Mask

  • Draw and cut out two eye holes on the paper plate *I used the box cutter for easy cutting*
  • For the beak, fold the orange paper in half and draw a triangle along the crease. Cut it out, so that you have a triangle flap for the beak. Glue it below the eye holes.

  • Trace a handprint onto the red paper and cut it out. Tape it to the top-back of the mask. For the little gobble below the beak, cut out a squiggly red shape and glue it to the bottom of the mask.
  • For the feathers, cut out 6 small yellow feather shapes, glueing three onto one side of the mask, and three to the other side.

Enjoy Your Halloween Barnyard Masks with Pretend Play

  • You and your child can use these masks to renact the story with some dramatic play~ Pretend to be the witch searching for the piggies, while your little ones pretend to be the piggies, using the masks to trick you and hide from the evil witch! They’ll love the idea of trickery, so go ahead and be *dramatic* about not finding the pigs ~ they’ll be delighted to see you throw a Gritch-the-Withc-tantrum!
  • Re-read the story using the masks to guide the reading and dress up with the piggies to trick the witch.

*~Overall, Have FUN with these pre-Halloween festivities with your child. Please comment below  – tag me on Instagram @MaiStoryBookLibrary  – or post on FaceBook to share your photos of your own Halloween Barnyard Masks and Pretend Play ! I’d love to hear from you!~*

*Check Back on Next Friday for our New Reading Adventure*

*~Until next time, Happy Reading~*

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