By Jennifer Coleman
Ready, steady, shoot!
Mika was practicing. The new camera she got for her birthday took pictures that she could put on the computer with a little help.
She aimed for Toby, her sleepy cat.
Click, click, click!
Now she had pictures of her tree house.
The old oaks outside her bedroom window were the perfect place to build her secret get-away. Now that the tree house was finally finished, she wanted to photograph it.
Mika loved how the moon shone on her sign that read, “Mika’s Place.”
She had made the sign by spelling the letters with acorns from the old tree. The sign had taken her a long time to make, but she was glad she stuck with the project.
In the photo she had just taken, the glow of the moon lit up the sign letters, making them seem extra-special. This picture she would e-mail to her Grandpa. He would love to see what the camera he sent Mika could do.
Early the next morning, Mika woke to a strange tap, tap, tap sound.
What could it be?
Toby’s cat collar? Opening one eye, Mika saw her cat still sleeping. The sound happened again!
Tap, tap, tap! Tap, tap, tap!
It sounded like a friendly knock on the door.
Listening closely, Mika heard the mystery noise coming from outside her window.
Creeping to her sill, Milo discovered the mystery was indeed an outside guest—of her tree house. A red-headed bird was tapping away at Mika’s sign.
At first, Mika was mad—it had taken her a long time to glue those acorns into words! But the little feathered friend’s beak was funny to watch as it made a drumming sound over and over. Mika felt her anger melt into a smile as she watched the bird peck at the nuts on the sign.
Suddenly, Mika had an idea. She reached for her camera and began snapping photos of the bird on the other side of her window pane.
She practiced pushing a zoom button that let her take a good picture of the bird’s head close-up, and she was able to get many pictures before the bird flew off of the tree house in a rush.
After breakfast, Mika sent the pictures of the tree house and the mystery guest to Grandpa through the computer. It wasn’t long before the telephone rang for Mika.
Grandpa! He had been so pleased to see both the finished tree house and the new camera’s pictures.
“So you’ve had a guest in your new house, I see!” he laughed.
“Do you know what kind of bird that was, Grandpa?”
“Looked like a woodpecker to me—they love suet. I’ll email you a recipe to try. If you make it, your little mystery guest may just move in for good.”
Mika smiled. “Maybe after I make the bird’s food, I’ll have to change my sign to, ‘Mika’s Café’!”
Grandpa’s Bird Suet Recipe
With a grown-up’s help, mix:
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup lard
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 1 cup flour
- Chopped raisins, nutmeats or peanut hearts
Mix ingredients until it reaches the consistency of medium-stiff cookie dough. Crumble into an open tray feeder.
About the Author
Author and elementary-school librarian Jennifer Coleman was born in Scotland before she and her family moved to Texas. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also shares a love of ballet with her daughter, who suggested the Texas-style Nutcracker story.
Jennifer’s first picture book for children, The Texas Nutcracker, was released in Fall of 2018 with Pelican Publishing. She has also had several articles published with Library Media Connection, and a professional book for educators published by Linworth Publishing.
Check out Jennifer’s Flubberhunt for more storytime fun!