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Kids' Activities

Jane Lind presents ...

The Cedar Glen Secret

Written by Sandra Margaret Maitland
Illustrated by Linda Leon

Theme: Environment--The Ecosystem and the Creatures, Ages 5 to 8

The Cedar Glen Secret

Cathy's favourite place at her Aunt Amy's farm was the forest. Each July when she went to visit, Cathy went for long walks and had picnic lunches in the cedar glen.

One day she discovered that her oatmeal cookie was missing from her lunch, and she thought a squirrel took it. But when she tried to find the squirrel, she discovered something else instead: a whole community of tiny people living in a stump.

To be sure of what she saw, she came back after dark with a flashlight, and she had her first conversation with Wiley, one of the Snippets. The Snippets were afraid of her and Wiley was not sure if he could trust her, so he gave her a riddle. She found the answer, so Wiley felt she was trust worthy and Cathy kept secret her discovery of the Snippets. But more than that, when the cedar glen and the Snippets were threatened, Cathy managed to save them.

This is a story that capitalizes on the common childhood fantasy of a diminutive people. At the same time, without being heavy handed, the author has created a situation that can be read as a parable in which the characters, with some thought, can avoid harm to the environment.


1. Why did Cathy never tell anyone about the Snippets?

2. Are there any other answers she could have given to the riddle?

3. What do you think would have happened if Cathy had not become friends with the Snippets?

4. How can we protect our forests and still get what we need, such as wood for building houses and wood for fires to keep warm in the winter?


1. Initiate a discussion about forests, why Cathy enjoyed the cedar glen, and what her aunt got from it. Discuss why the forests are important in the ecosystem of the globe: they contribute oxygen to our air; they provide a home for wild life; they provide shade; they provide a resource for things such as building materials, heat, paper for books.

2. At the end of the discussion, make a large tree chart. Let the children draw a large tree on a large sheet of paper. Then help them label the tree with a list of resources trees provide.

3. Let the children write their own stories about tiny creatures. Suggest a variety of settings: the forest, a river, the ocean, under a bridge, in a tree, in a cave. The children can develop characters, along with describing how the creatures look and how they live. They can also illustrate their stories.

from the
Theme Catalogue and Teaching Guide for Children's Books
written for Penumbra Press by Jane Lind
© Jane Lind

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