As I was going through my September files recently, I came across a copy of the story "The Little Red House With a Star Inside." I think I picked it up in a children's lit course way back when. I love this story and tell it to my class every year. The best part is the collective gasp from the kiddos when I cut open a little red apple and show them the star inside. It's these magical moments that make me love teaching kindergarten. This story is a classic and I'm sure most of you are familiar with it, however in case you aren't, I'm including it below.
There was once upon a time a little boy named John who was tired of all his toys and tired of all his picture books and tired of all his play.
"What shall I do?" he asked his mother? And his dear mother who always knew beautiful things for little boys to do, said:
"You shall go on a journey and find a little red house with no doors and with a star inside."
Then John's eyes grew big with wonder. "Which way shall I go?" he asked, "to find a little red house with no doors and a star inside?"
"Down the lane and past the farmer's house and over the hill," said his mother. "Come back as soon as you can and tell me all about your journey.
So John put on his hat and his jacket and started out.
He had not walked very far down the lane when he came to a merry little girl dancing along in the sunshine.
"Do you know where I shall find a little red house with no doors and a star inside?" John asked her.
The little girl laughed. "Ask my father, the farmer," she said. "Perhaps he knows."
So John went on until he came to the great brown barn where the farmer kept barrels of fat potatoes and baskets of yellow squashes and golden pumpkins. The farmer himself stood in the doorway looking out over the green pastures and yellow grain fields.
"Do you know where I shall find a little red house with no doors and a star inside?" John asked the farmer.
The farmer laughed, too. "I've lived a great many years and I never saw one," he chuckled; "but ask Granny who lives at the foot of the hill. She knows how to make molasses taffy and popcorn balls and red mittens. Perhaps she can direct you.
So John went on farther still, until he came to Granny sitting in her pretty garden of herbs and marigolds. She was as wrinkled as a walnut and as smiling as the sunshine.
"Please, dear Granny," said John, "where shall I find a little red house with no doors and a star inside?"
Granny was knitting a red mitten and when she heard the little boy's question, she laughed so cheerily that the wool ball rolled out of her lap and down to the pebbly path.
"I should like to find that little house myself," she chuckled. "It would be warm when the frosty nights come and the starlight would be prettier than a candle. But ask the wind who blows about so much and listens at all the chimneys. Perhaps the wind can direct you.
So John took off his hat politely to Granny and went on up the hill rather sorrowfully. He wondered if his mother, who usually knew everything, had perhaps made a mistake.
The wind was coming down the hill as the little boy climbed up. As they met, the wind turned about and went along, singing, beside the little boy. It whistled in his ear and pushed him and dropped a pretty leaf into his hands to show what a good comrade it was.
"Oh, Wind," asked John, after they had gone along together quite a way, "can you help me to find a little red house with not doors and a star inside?"
The wind went singing ahead of the little boy until it came to an orchard. There it climbed up into an apple tree and shook the branches. At John's feet fell a rosy apple.
John picked up the apple. It was as much as two hands could hold. It was red as the sun had been able to paint it, and the thick brown stem stood up as straight as a chimney. It was a little red house. It had no doors.
"I wonder," thought John. He took his jack-knife from his pocket and cut the apple through the center. Oh, how wonderful! There inside the apple, lay a star holding brown seeds.
John called to the wind, "Thank you," and the wind whistled back, "You're welcome."
Then John ran home to his mother and gave her the apple.
Be sure that you cut the apple horizontally about half-way down between the flower and stem ends.
The cut apples also make great stamps for making prints on paper place mats for the apple feast. Use the shortened version below as the center of the place mats and the children can make apple prints as a border around it.
When cutting the apple, remember not to cut from stem to blossom. You must slice through the center in order to find the star inside.
After telling the story, we make apple prints using the apple halves and yellow paint. Here is a photo of the project we make with the prints.