Days of the Blackbird--Virtual Book Club for Kids

Last week we kicked off this month of the Virtual Book Club for Kids with two of Tomie dePaola's books with angels.

This week we are sharing Days of the Blackbird: A Tale of Northern Italy. This sweet story is a way that La Giornate della Merla, The Days of the Blackbird, may have come to be. It is a fictional story to explain a true Northern Italian holiday.

The story is about a duke and his daughter. The duke is well respected and well liked in the town and many people come to him for his advice. However in the warm weather his daughter and he sit in their courtyard to listen to the birdsong. Their favorite bird is an all white bird which his daughter calls La Colomba. This bird is always the first to return in the spring and the last to leave in the fall and has the most beautiful voice.

Late one fall the duke falls ill. His daughter worries about him greatly. As the winter begins some of the birds begin to leave, but his daughter goes and begs them not to leave. She feeds them and puts out baskets with wool to keep them warm. Eventually all of the birds except La Colomba leave. She begs La Colomba to stay and he does. He sings on the windowsill for the duke every day. Then the coldest days of the year occur--the last three days of January and La Colomba needs to find more warmth and goes to sleep in the chimney. On the third day he returns to sing but the daughter is shocked to see a blackbird and realizes it is La Colomba. After that La Colomba is called La Merla (Blackbird) and never changes back to white. The duke of course becomes healthy and calls the last three days of January the Days of the Blackbird since it was La Merla that saved him.
Well we had quite a fun time with this one. Hazel has been asking questions about fire a bit, so I burned some scrap paper in a tin can to make ashes and then added water to them. We used this ash water as paint.
We started with La Colomba. We used a picture I found at DLTK-Growing Together.
Then Hazel painted the picture with the ash water and I helped a bit.
The result was La Merla, though not as black as if we had used real paint, but I liked giving the lesson of ashes and soot.
I also made the white bird pictured above using a pattern in Living Craft Magazine last year. I made Hazel a black one to go with this book. Now she uses them to act out the story. (Can I tell you how sad I am that Living Crafts is no longer published?)

Now it is your turn to share your favorite activities to go with Tomie dePaola books.


  1. I love how you did this! We are working our way through a few of the books now.

  2. Such a memorable idea to paint with ash. I must look out this book.

  3. What a wonderful way to paint! I love you explore this wonderful book. I am sharing this post on The Read.Explore.Learn. Facebook page today.

  4. How cool!! I love the idea of painting with ashes! Thank you so much for sharing on The Sunday Showcase!


I love to hear your comments and ideas. Thank you for reading and contributing!