Miss Hickory
by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, Viking, Newbery Winner 1947
Activities 2000 Nancy Polette

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When Great-Granny Brown packed up and moved to the Women's City Club in Boston, Miss Hickory was faced with the problem of spending a severe New Hampshire winter alone. This might not have been so bad if Miss Hickory had not been a country woman whose body was an apple-wood twig and whose head was a hickory nut. Also, if her house had been built of stronger material than corncobs, however neatly notched and glued together.

This is the story of how she survived those trying months, in the company of neighbors like Crow, who was tough, wise and kindly; Bull Frog, who lost his winter clothes; Ground Hog, a surly man afraid of his own shadow, and a host of others. It is a fantasy full of the peculiar charm of the New Hampshire countryside, seen from an angle which most of us, city-bound in the winter, know little about.

Activity One: Apple Head Dolls
While Miss Hickory's head was a hickory nut, her body was an apple-wood twig. You can easily make an apple head doll by following the directions at this web site: 


Activity Two: Vocabulary 

In describing the setting of the book, the author often gives human qualities to things found in nature.

  1. The Temple Mountains GUARDED the orchard spring.
  2. The earth OWED him a living.
  3. The goldenrod STRETCHED above her head.
  4. The leaves DANCED on their merry stems.
  5. Choose one of the puzzles to enhance your vocabulary and earn your 
    diploma at VOCAB U.

Beanbag Bonanza: Accessories, Crafts and Games You Can Make for Your Beanbag Friends by Shari Ann Pence. Troll, 1999
The True Book of Apples by Elaine Landau. Children's Press, 1999

Activity Three: 
In Miss Hickory, Groundhog is afraid of his own shadow. Read about the celebration of Groundhog Day at: 

Answer true or false:

  1. The origin of Groundhog day is German. ____
  2. The groundhog is a member of the squirrel family. ____
  3. If a groundhog sees its shadow on February 2nd, there will be six more weeks of winter. ___
  4. The movie Groundhog Day was filmed in Pennsylvania. ___
Activity Four: Animal Superstitions

There are many superstitions about animals and nature. Some may have basis in fact. Choose three of the superstitions listed below and find out if they are true or false. Report your findings to the class.


Enter the name of the animal you want to read about at the above web site. 

  1. Deer shed their horns every year. 
  2. Foxes charm squirrels out of trees. 
  3. A skunk cannot discharge its odor without raising its tail. 
  4. It's bad luck for a rabbit to cross your path from left to right. 
  5. Buzzards winter in Ozark caves.
  6. The bite of a wren is poisonous. 
  7. Young crows are white before they leave the nest. 
  8. Loud thunder kills young turkeys in the egg. 

Weird & Wacky Animal Facts by Rita Mullin. Crown, 1998