Who Stole the Cookie?

Books to Share

Crictor by Tomi Ungerer
The Judge by Harve and Margot Zemach
Missing Mittens by Stuart Murphy
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? by Bonnie Lass

Books to Show or Booktalk

A Day in Court with Mrs. Trinh by Alice K. Flanagan
Mystery at the Club Sandwich by Doug Cushman
Richard Scarry's The Great Pie Robbery and Other Mysteries by Richard Scarry
Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp
Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar? by Margaret Wang and Christine Schneider
Young Cam Jansen and the Missing Cookie by David Adler

Bulletin Board

Cookie Jar

Enlarge the pattern provided here and make one large cookie jar and several small jars. Color the pieces. Fill the large cookie jar with book jackets, spilling out onto the bulletin board. Add additional smaller cookie jars around with dates for programs or other information you want to share. Alternately, cut out small cookie patterns and let the children write their names or the names of their favorite books on the cookies. Add to the bulletin board.

A graphic of an outline of a cookie jar pattern ot cut out and put on a bulletin board


Crictor's Medal

Use a die cut machine to make circles from gold or dark yellow paper. On one side note that this is a medal for bravery and on the other side write the name of the child who is attending storytime. Hole-punch and tie a piece of ribbon.


If the library has a display case, ask a patron who collects cookie jars to display them. Alternately, borrow cookie jars from a cooking store or gift shop.


Provide fresh or pre-packaged cookies so that no one has to steal the cookies from the cookie jar. To really keep in the spirit of the theme, serve thumbprint cookies.


Gingerbread Cookie Stickers

Oriental Trading Company sells gingerbread cookie stickers. Give one to each child who attends the library program.


The Police Officer (Traditional)

This is a car driving down the street   (make your right fist travel down your extended left arm)

Here's a police officer walking the beat   (have yourright index and middle fingers walk down your left arm)

Now he is checking the stores at night   (look around)
To see that the stores are locked up tight   (hold your right thumb and index finger like you are holding a key and pretend to turn the key in keyhole formed by making a circle with the thumb and index finger on your left hand)

And this is the friendly traffic cop,   (hold up yourleft hand in fist with your index finger pointing straight up)

Who tells the cars when to "Go" and "Stop!"   (when you say "go" use your index finger to beckon and when you say "stop" hold your hand out in front of your body)

When cars get in a traffic jam  (touch two fists together)
He helps them better than anyone can.   (put hands on hips)


Mama Don't Allow (Traditional)

Mama don’t allow no music played around here.
Mama don’t allow no music played around here.
Well, we don’t care what Mama don’t allow,
Gonna play that music anyhow.
Mamma don’t allow no music played around here.

(Add additional verses substituting other instruments for the word "music." Examples include banjo, guitar, fiddle, or harmonica.)

Action Rhymes

Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar? (Traditional.  Continue the rhyme until at least seven or eight names have been called or the children are tired.)

Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?   (clap hands while reciting)
(Fill in the name of a child) stole the cookie from the cookie jar!
Who me?   (point to self)
Yes, you.   (shake head)
Couldn’t be.   (shake head side to side)
Then who?   (shrug shoulders)

Rhymes and Poetry

Tom Tom the Piper's Son (Traditional)

Tom, Tom the piper's son
Stole a pig and away he run.
The pig was eat,
And Tom was beat.
And Tom went howling
Down the street.

Audio Recordings

”Cookie Jar” on One Elephant, Deux Éléphants by Sharon, Lois and Bram

Flannel Boards

The Queen of Hearts

(Traditional. From felt, cut out three hearts, each a different size, to represent the queen, king, and knave, and a pie-shaped piece. Place the pieces on the flannel board as you recite the rhyme.)

The Queen of Hearts,
She made some tarts,
All on a summer's day.

The Knave of Hearts,
He stole the tarts,
And took them clean away.

The King of Hearts
Called for the tarts,
And beat the knave full sore.

The Knave of Hearts
Brought back the tarts,
And vowed he'd steal no more.

Who Took the Farmer's Hat?

Use the book, Who Took the Farmer’s Hat? by Joan Nodset to create a flannel board. Make a brown hat. Other pieces needed include the farmer, a goat, a squirrel, a duck, and a mouse. Also make a tree and a cloud if desired. Tell the story as you add and remove pieces from the flannel board.

Puppet Plays

"The Pumpkin Thief" in One-Person Puppet Plays by Denise Anton Wright. (Available through Net Library.)

Stories to Tell

What’s Cooking?: A Surprise Mystery (by Sarah Cortez.  Used with permission)

Rosie and her little brother Juan sat outside on the patio behind their home.  Their good friend, Sammy, sat with them.  Their mothers were inside cooking a surprise dinner for the children. 

From the kitchen window came a wonderful smell.  Sniff, sniff.  Sniff, sniff.  The noses of the three children were high in the air.

“I smell cinnamon,” said Rosie. “What’s cooking?”

“Mamá must be making buñuelos,” said Juan, thinking how much he loved the crispy rounds of dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

“I think Mamá is making atole,” said Rosie, hopping up and down on one leg with excitement at the thought of drinking the sweet, warm, cinnamon-y treat.

“No.  I think our moms are making applesauce with cinnamon on top,” said Sammy.

Then, the three children heard a low grinding noise.  Around, around, around, the gravelly sound growled from inside the kitchen.  All six ears of the children leaned toward the kitchen.

What’s cooking?

“Oh, I know what that is!” said Juan, not letting Rosie go first.  “That’s the garbage disposal under the sink.”

Rosie said, “No, no.  I think it’s the molcajete Mamá uses to grind up garlic and spices to go in mole—my favorite dinner!”

Sammy laughed and said, “It’s a coffee bean grinder like my Mom uses every morning.”

By now, the children were getting hungrier and hungrier.  Rosie remembered seeing a box of juicy red tomatoes on the kitchen countertop earlier in the day.  So she told the boys, “Listen, I saw tomatoes in the kitchen.  I bet Mamá is using them to make tortilla soup!”

Juan jumped up then said,  “I bet she’s chopping tomatoes for her special guacamole.”

Sammy (who didn’t like tomatoes one little bit) remembered a dinner he hated—tomatoes stuffed with tuna.  So, in a tiny, tiny voice he said, “Maybe they’re making tomatoes stuffed with tuna,” secretly hoping his Mom was not making that for the surprise dinner.

Suddenly, a new smell floated through the air to the three children.  It was the smell of hot grease, and it came with a delightful sizzle, sizzle, sizzle that every ear could hear. What’s cooking now?

“Mamá is frying tortillas for enchiladas,” exclaimed Rosie, jumping up and down on one leg.

“Mamá is frying buñuelos for dessert,” said Juan, rubbing his empty tummy.  “That’s why I smelled cinnamon.”

“I think my Mom is frying sweet potato donuts,” said Sammy, so excited that he twirled around with his arms open wide like an airplane.

All three children were wrapped up in their own thoughts of favorite foods they believed were cooking in the kitchen. All three mouths were watering. All six ears were listening for the magic words, “Surprise! Dinner’s ready!” All six feet were itching to run inside to the kitchen table.

Then, both Moms came to the back door and said, “Dinner’s ready. Surprise!”

And guess what had been cooking?

Mole enchiladas—Rosie’s favorite. Guacamole with chopped tomatoes—Juan’s favorite. Fresh home-made sweet potato donuts for dessert—Sammy’s favorite. Oh, yes, and there was a big plate of buñuelos—the Moms’ favorite— tucked behind the donuts for everyone to share.

Laughing, the children sat down in front of their delicious surprises.

Jokes and Riddles

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Robin who?
Robin the piggy bank again.


Police Puppet
  • Toilet paper tubes
  • Pattern (provided here)
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Blue and white construction paper
In advance, print the patterns provided here for each child. Cut the pattern pieces out. Color the face, hair, hands, hat and other pieces. Cut one rectangular piece from the blue construction paper and one from the white.
A photo of the completed police puppet cut from the outlines of materials below.

Glue the blue and white pieces onto the toilet paper tube, with the blue piece on the bottom to represent pants and the white on top to represent a shirt. Glue the other pieces in place. Note that the shoes have a tab to glue inside the toilet paper tube. Attach the head to the front of the tube and the hat onto the head.

A graphic of of the police puppet patterns to cut and use for the puppet

Games and Activities

Red Light, Green Light

Select one child to be "it." That child faces away so that he or she can't see the other players. The players stand at a starting line across the room (or across the field if playing outside). The child who is "it" counts to ten while the other players move forward a step at a time. When the child who is "it" is finished counting he or she yells "Red Light" and turns around. Any player who is still moving must go back to the starting line. The player who is "it" turns back around and yells "Green Light," allowing players to move again. The first player to reach "it" wins and becomes the new "it."

Guest Speakers

Invite a police officer to meet the children and talk about his or her work. If desired, invite a child protection organization to provide fingerprinting of the children for their families.


Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (9 minutes)
I Spy: A Runaway Robot and Other Stories (90 minutes)
"The Missing Cookie Coupon Mystery" on Busytown Mysteries: The Biggest Mysteries Ever(269 minutes)

Page last modified: January 18, 2012