A few weeks ago Eli and I agreed that the book he loved so much from the school library had to be returned so other kids could read it. Ginjer Clarke's book Gross Out: Animals That Do Disgusting Things had been hanging around our house for ages. But I did tell Eli that we could make the funny recipe that appears in the back of the book. Owls, you see, eat mice and other small critters whole. Whatever the owl cannot digest -- fur, claws, teeth, skulls, bones, etc. -- are later regurgitated in a ball or pellet. The "Owl Barf Balls" recipe transformed such ingredients as peanut butter*, sugar, cocoa, and oats into something that looked like owl pellets complete with pretzel "bones."
I asked Eli's teachers if we could make the Owl Barf Balls for the class and was given the green light. It never occurred to me that they would turn it into a funny prank, but.... One of the teachers read the passage from the book about owl pellets and then announced that they had some. Would anyone like to try one and experience firsthand what an owl tastes? Eli raised his hand and was called to the front where he theatrically hesitated before taking a big bite.
"What did the kids say?" I asked.
"Nothing! They just stared at me and some of them gasped."
When Eli got home from school, we had a good laugh about it. I thought the laughs were over until the teacher handed me a packet a few days later. The teachers used the owl pellets to teach the class about thank you letters. Here are a few favorites (with surnames removed for privacy)...
As if that weren't enough, some kids made wonderful drawings of Eli and me in the kitchen, the Owl Barf Balls at school, and owls in the act of expelling pellets...
We love Eli's school and teachers so much!
*Peanut butter is a controversial ingredient because so many kids today have peanut allergies. Eli's teachers gave us the go-ahead to use it as there aren't any allergic kids in Eli's class. (After the Owl Barf Ball activity, they made sure the kids washed their hands before going to shared spaces such as the playground.) The recipe in the book would probably work well with Sun Butter made from sunflower seeds or you may be able to omit this ingredient. If you add broken pretzel sticks to THIS RECIPE, it would also look like owl pellets.