I want to send a big thank you out to the bloggers who took time out of their busy lives to contribute to the Book & Craft series! I got a lot of great feedback for this series so I'll make sure to do it again.
We're so delighted and honoured to contribute to "A Book and a Craft" initiative. We love books and we love crafts, so when I saw this initiative, I knew my daughter would be thrilled to be a part of such a project.
I left it to my 5.5 year old daughter - Pari - to decide the book that she would base her craft on. And, I wasn't at all surprised that she chose "The Saggy Baggy Elephant" - a heartwarming story of a baby elephant - by Kathryn and Byron Jackson. The illustrations by Gustaf Tenggren are particularly endearing. Though, one may think this book is a little wordy for a preschooler; for Pari it really works because she's now at that stage where she reads voraciously and in fact likes it if the book offers lots to read besides having exclusive illustrations. We all love Elephants and have had many a trysts with this gentle giant of a creature. During some of our trips around South India, we have watched the Elephants in the wild, bathed them, fed them and played for hours. So, our love for Elephants is innate and deep-rooted. The Saggy Baggy Elephant narrates the story of a baby Elephant named Sooky who goes around the forest dancing and playing without a care in the world. He is not aware of his looks; does not even know he is an elephant. Until, he is mocked at by a tactless parrot for the oddities in his looks - his way too big ears, a rather long nose, and a skin that's all "bags and sags and creases and wrinkles.
The Parrot declares that Sooky should be called a 'Saggy Baggy Elephant'. Along the way, he is made fun of and even threatened by many other animals too, which makes Sooky feel lonely and demoralized and hurts his self-esteem. So much so that he hides in a dark cave shedding copious amount of tears. This is when he meets a herd of giant and beautiful elephants and discovers his own identity. And, Sooky regains his confidence, spirits and zest and even teaches his "one-two-three-kick"
dance to this herd.
In my opinion, this story conveys a meaningful message to kids (as well as to adults) in that we are all different and hence unique in our own ways and we should be proud of who we are. We are born with different looks, skin colour and talent and that's what makes this world a diverse and interesting place. For me, as a parent, the takeaway was to respect my child as an individual and not compare her with any other kid. The message apart, the story and the illustrations are bound to delight a child's heart.
Our craft, too, is based on the main character and the message and celebrates the spirit of "being different and unique".
Pari thoroughly enjoyed making this craft because the result is another book - an accordion book - with a story woven into it with the help of six different art techniques!
And, here is a step-by-step tutorial with pictures. I'll try to keep this as succinct as possible.
We discussed the concept and approach before we set out to make this. The concept was to make five elephants using different art techniques:
*Eric Carle style colouring on tissues *Mosaic elephant using styrofoam cuttings *Crayon rubbings with rays effect *Printing an elephant with leaves *Using the rolling tube with yarn technique
Her idea was to write a short story describing each elephant and his talent. But, the talent of the elephant would be decided and narrated only after all five elephant artworks were ready.
Step 1: I cut out a long strip of paper from a sheet of Ivory paper. The length was long enough to make four folds. The size of each fold will depend upon the size of the artwork you want to make on it. I made the elephant sketch for each artwork.
Step 2: The first elephant was made by cutting small pieces from the Styrofoam plate, colouring them and pasting them in the elephant body. Before that, she did the outline with 3D glitter glue.
Step 3: For the second elephant, she cut out the sketch that I drew on a paper; coloured the outline of the cutout with soft pastels and after placing the cutout on one of the folds of the accordion paper she rubbed the colour in a outward direction onto the paper underneath. This resulted in beautiful rays-like effect emerging from the elephant's outline. Then, she went on to decorate the inside with sketch pens.
Step 4: For the third elephant, we used the Eric Carle method of artwork. I had her paint a tissue paper with many layers of diluted tempera paint. We made sure that she did not move the brush too vigorously or the tissue would tear apart. It was also important that the next layer of colour was painted before the previous layer had dried. Finally, once the painted tissue was completely dry and stiff, I sketched an Elephant figure with a black marker pen and cut it out. Pari pasted the cut-out onto the first fold of the accordion book.
Step 5: She made the fourth elephant by applying paint on the back of the leaves and stamping them. We used three different leaves to make the elephant's head, body and trunk and painted the legs separately.
Step 6: Finally, she moved onto design the accordion book cover. For this, I first cut out an elephant from a Styrofoam plate and stuck it down in the centre of the book cover using glue sticker. The idea was to make an elephant surrounded by tall grass all around. To make the grass, we glued yarn around a hollow cardboard tube. Then, painted the strings with green tempera paint. While it was wet enough, Pari rolled the tube all over the paper, including on the Styrofoam elephant. When we removed the Styrofoam cutout, we had a white space in the shape of an elephant surrounded by green grass.
Step 7: Besides all those arty and fun techniques, we used a spin-art technique to make the rainbow coloured flowers. On a dart (part of Pari's toy bow and arrow), Pari placed some drops of thick colours. She then pressed the dart down and gave it a slight spin to reveal beautiful impressions with branched effect.
Step 8: Once the artwork was over, Pari sat down to decide names for her elephants who were all so unique and so different from each other, despite the fact that they were all the same creature. The Eric Carle style tissue elephant gave her an impression of night sky. So, she named it "Singing Elephant under the moon-lit sky". Among the rest of the elephants, one was a dancer, another was a designer and the fourth was a nature lover! She named her book with a fitting title - "It's Fun to Be Different"!
Rashmie is from New Delhi, India. She is passionate about creating a holistic learning environment for her daughter by means of art, nature, free play, books, music and traveling. She writes about her artful parenting journey at Mommy Labs. A former advertising and marketing professional, Rashmie, now, is a published photographer and a writer. She writes about health, travel, eco-friendly living, pursuing dreams and purpose in life etc. You can follow Mommy Labs here on facebook.
Thank you, Rashmie! To see the rest of the books and crafts in this series click the button below!
My guest today is Miri of Here We Are Together sharing one of their favorite books, The Paper Bag Princess, and how to make your own paper bag dress! It's fun, easy, and you probably already have everything you need to make it!
I'm Miri of HereWeAreTogether. I am a homeschooling Mama to three little ones and live on the south coast of England. We love reading together and today I want to share one of our favourite stories with you:
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munch
(Our book is the German version of the story.)
The book is about a beautiful princess who lives in a wonderful castle with lots of pretty dresses, until one fateful day a fierce dragon simply scorches all her clothes and takes her prince away. Not wanting to wait for someone to help her she gets dressed in the one thing the dragon did not burn: A paper bag. She sets off to rescue her prince and defeat the dragon in a smart and non-violent way and in the end she comes to realise that you can't judge people by the clothes they wear.
Our craft is quick and easy, a decorated paper bag dress.
You will need:
a large paper gardening bag (those you use to collect leaves)
Everything else you might need to decorate your dress.
First let your prince or princess lay down on the bag, their head on the part of the bag that is closed.
Mark the arms and the head so you can cut the holes into the right place.We also cut a fancy edge around the other side of the bag.
Now it's already time to decorate your dress,
we first coloured in the whole bag with crayons,
then added a few buttons and ribbons, too.
Now all you need to do is put on your dress, maybe make a matching crown to go with it, and find some fierce dragons to play with!
Today Zoe of Playing By The Book introduces a new-to-me book that looks gorgeous! It is called Journey on a Cloud and is inspired by the art of Marc Chagall. Zoe created a board game to go along with the story that she is sharing with you today!
With my choice of book today I wanted to find something to say a very special thank you to Cassi. I know I don't need to tell anyone reading this what a wonderful job she does with The Crafty Crow, but I really wanted to find a beautiful, breathtaking, unusual book that offered a myriad of creative possibilities as my own way of showing how thankful I am for her and her blog.
Journey on a Cloud by Veronique Massenot and Elise Mansot is a stunning large format picture book which hits the nail on the head. Inspired by the work of Marc Chagall this book has it all - a story to tug at heart strings, with humour and delicious language that will delight both child and adult readers, illustrations you'll want to put on your wall, and that special something that, I promise, will spark any reader's imagination into creativity, whether that be to explore art, geography or science.
Zephyr is a mailman who loves to daydream and to watch clouds. One day a breathless cloud offers Zephyr the chance to fulfill his dream of travelling the world to look for beauty. Zephyr leaves his little blue town, with its addresses on Flax Street, Cornflower Lane, Lapis Lazuli Avenue and Indigo Arcade and takes to the sky.
What he sees on his journey around the world is more delightful than anything in his dreams; a village of bright and glowing yellows, a land rich with reds. Everywhere he goes he is welcomed, even if smiles are the only language Zephyr can share with people he meets. But all of a sudden a storm brews up; "A giant lightening blot struck the cloud, who roared in thunderous anger... and then wept tears of rain". Zephyr looses his grip and falls to earth landing in a dark and frightening rainforest. There, surrounded by doubt and fear, something happens to Zephyr which is so wonderful, powerful and profound that his heart is given flight enabling his journey to both come full circle and start anew.
Inspired by Chagall's love of including flying figures in his paintings, his passion for his wife Bella, Chagall's own childhood full of daydreaming and his lifetime travelling across the world this book packs so much into its 32 pages. The intense colours are gorgeous, the confirmation that warmth, kindness and beauty can be found right here on earth are reassuring, whilst the message about having faith in your dreams is a great one for kids of any age.
When we first read Journey on a Cloud at home our heads were buzzing with ideas. The girls wanted to make their own clouds, start painting, pretend they were travelling the world, lie on the grass in the garden and just watch the sky all at once! In the end we decided to make our own board game to incorporate at least some of their ideas.
First the girls coloured in a rough map of the world using different shades of groups of colours, inspired by the village of yellows, the town of blue and the land of red visited by Zephyr.
We stuck our map onto a large cardboard lid, cutting holes into each continent.
Inspired by looking in an encyclopedia at the various clouds and their intriguing names, the girls brainstormed ideas for what we could use for different clouds; We ended up with popcorn, tissue paper, cotton wool, quilt padding, silver crepe paper and regular paper, scrunched up into balls.
To play the game we took turns to blew our clouds around the world - the destination and type of cloud we used was determined by picking tokens we made to match.
A simple game we could all play together as we chatted about where in the world we would visit if we had a friendly cloud to float on! And if boardgames aren't what your family is into right now dont' let that put you off. This stunning, inspirational book is really worth seeking out - I'm sure it will encourage all sorts of flights of imagination in you and your kids.
Prestel, the publishers of Journey on a Cloud, have another great art inspired picture book for children - The Great Wave. This is also a super mix of story and fact, offering lots of opportunity to play and learn as well as being a book that is simply lovely to read.
Zoe writes at Playing By The Book all about kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire her and her kids to get up to. "A book and a craft" could be said to sum up the raison d'etre of her blog! Sometimes her family crafts or plays and they want a good book that continues the game, that captures some of the magic they’ve enjoyed. Sometimes it’s the other way round and they read a great book which inspires them to get the glue and glitter out. Either way, they’ve always got plenty of books around the house, boxes of “crafty stuff” and a desire to have fun.
Thank you, Zoe! To see the rest of the books and crafts in this series click the button below!
Please welcome Khali of little.lovely. as my guest contributor today! She is sharing a wonderful book called The Gruffalo and a craft that I have fond memories of - a moving story book!
“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood, A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.”
The Gruffalo follows a resourceful mouse on his walk through a deep, dark wood. The mouse encounters animals along the way and cleverly comes up with a plan to avoid being eaten.
This book is a favourite in our house for my husband, children and I. Beautifully written and illustrated, we read it over and over again. We have read it so many times now that our children can recite it by heart.
Now that my children don’t need the book read to them, I created a moving story book so they can retell the story to each other.
Moving Gruffalo Story Book
You’ll need: *Cereal Box *2 x Cardboard tubes (toilet rolls or paper towel tubes) *Paper *Pen *Items to decorate box *Glue *2 x plastic milk bottle lids (optional)
Step one: Draw characters from your book onto a piece of paper. If you’re not good at drawing, you can photocopy pictures from your book.
Step two: Take your cereal box and cut a window in the front of the box and an opening in the side, as shown.
Step three: Place cardboard tubes inside box. About 3cm of tube should be able to be seen over the top of the box. If your tubes aren’t long enough, consider pushing two tubes together as shown.
Step four: Create a long strip of paper that is high enough to easily sit inside the inside of your box window without slipping through. The strip of paper will also need to be long enough to create a loop around the two tubes inserted into your box. The paper loop must be snug enough to grip onto the tubes.
Step five: Cut out your characters and stick them along the loop in chronological order.
Step six: Place loop over cardboard tubes inside your box. If you find that your cardboard tubes keep slipping, attach plastic milk bottle lids to the base of your box and slip the tubes over them. This will keep your tubes in place.
Step seven: Decorate the outside of your box.
Step eight: Now turn the tops of the paper tubes and watch as your book characters move across the front of your window!
We’re big readers in our house, so our list of favourite books is very long. Some of our current favourites include:
You'll find out just how easy it is to make a simple compass with my guest contributor today! Annie from Bird and Little Bird shares a compass tutorial to go along with one of her favorite children's books, The Eagle!
Every so often I come across a piece of children’s literature that so endears itself to me, that I can’t imagine letting my daughter grow up without experiencing the magic of it herself. This is certainly the case with The Lighthouse Family series by the singularly talented Cynthia Rylant. My daughter and I have loved Cynthia Rylant through a number of her other series, including the Poppleton books, Henry and Mudge, and of course, Mr. Putter and Tabby. But the Lighthouse Family books have a quality about them that is incomparable; they have become a family favorite that I know will be read again and again.
The Lighthouse Family books feature an unlikely family, brought together by circumstance, rather than biology. A lonely cat, living alone as a lighthouse keeper, finds an injured dog shipwrecked on her shore after a terrible storm. The dog plans to stay on at the lighthouse, healing his wounds and repairing his ship, but the unexpected arrival of a trio of orphaned young mice changes his plans, and suddenly a family is made. Rylant’s beautiful treatment of the subject of family has made the Lighthouse Family books particularly popular with families formed through adoption; the books represent a family that was destined to belong to one another, even if the circumstances of their coming together were unusual. I myself am adopted, and have found the books to be a great way to help my daughter think about how I came to be raised by her grandparents.
The Lighthouse Family series is made up of five books, the first chronicling the coming together of the family, and the other four sharing the family’s adventures as they meet various other animals who pass by their home. Rylant’s writing has a soft, flowing quality to it, and the stories themselves are sweet without being sappy. The narratives are full of a sense of wonder, and children who are sensitive to the stress of dramatic tension in stories will find that these stories contain adventure, but with a feeling of comfortable certainty that a happy ending is on the way.
Now, a little something for you to make in the spirit of these wonderful reads! In The Eagle, the third book in the series, two of the mice children set off on an exploration of the woods near the lighthouse. They are given their first compass as a means of finding their way home, and this piece of the story got my daughter and I thinking about compasses and how very cool it is that, well, they actually work!
We set out to make a basic compass ourselves, and this is how we did it:
two small pieces of sponge or cork
marker or small stickers
Take the needle and rub it along the magnet, moving from the eye of the needle to the point. Do this thirty times or so, always moving in the same direction.
Hold the needle up to the straight pin. If the needle has been magnetized, it should pick up the straight pin. If it doesn’t, return to step one and try again.
Put a small piece of cork or sponge at each end of the needle.
Float the needle with corked ends in a small bowl of water. Make sure that it stays towards the middle of the bowl so that the needle can turn freely. After a short time, the needle should turn so that one end points north. If you move the needle, it should turn again so that the same piece of cork points in the same direction. We then marked this piece of cork with a couple of small stickers to symbolize “North!” A waterproof marker or pen would also work well for this.
And really, that’s it. A fun companion activity to The Eagle, as well as a very easy and satisfying project that can quickly become a jumping off point for further scientific explorations. Enjoy!
Annie Riechmann is a full-time multi-tasker, part-time teacher and librarian in training who blogs about creativity, parenting, cupcakes and inclement weather conditions at Bird and Little Bird.
She is also the creator of Alphabet Glue, a quarterly downloadable magazine for families who love books! Filled with activities, printables, projects and plenty of inspiration, Alphabet Glue was created in hopes of helping more families to incorporate creativity, imagination and all things literary into their everyday routines.