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!
There are so many things to love about today's guest post by Merrilee of Mer Mag! Degas! Ballerinas! Paperdolls! It all begins with her favorite book choice, Chasing Degas :)
I'm a big fan of both Edgar Degas and Eva Montanari so naturally Chasing Degas, by Eva Montanari, comes to mind as an immediate favorite children's book. This picture book follows the journey of a young ballerina, whom Degas was painting, through the streets of Paris as she tries to find Master Degas to return his paints in exchange for her ballet bag. The illustrations are gorgeous and give a nod to Degas' impressionistic pastels. It was these such impressionistic ballerinas (and an inkling to do something for little girls for a change) that inspired the craft that I will be sharing with you.
We invited Little A's friend, Little J, over for a play-date and some ballerina fun. We started out with some fine art watercolor paper that I had on hand (cut down to roughly 13x22 - but you can use any number of fine art papers, such as watercolor or Canson pastel paper), two coordinating colors of crepe paper, pastels, a charcoal pencil and this ballerina template.
Trace the ballerina template once on one end of the paper. Then accordian fold the rest of the paper, being careful to match up the paper at the elbows. Cut around the figure, going through all layers of the paper, while leaving a portion of paper attached at the elbows (one of our last ballerina's lost a bit of her elbow but we kept her in the bunch just the same). As the paper is so thick, I would suggest doing this part yourself as it could prove to be too difficult for little hands).
Unfold the dolls once you are through cutting. Then using the charcoal pencil, you or you little one can add faces, cheeks and hair to the dolls.
From there you can move on to outfitting the dancers. I would suggest limiting your color palette by choosing just a handful of coordinating colored pastels.
From there you can let your little one color and create the leotards and ballet slippers.
I did a simple demo to show how to use the pastel on it's side for a broad stroke to cover a large area (such as the leotard) and then demonstrated how to use the tip of the pastel to create the straps and laces, etc. I then let our little friend take it from there.
After the dolls are complete, you can move on to the crepe paper tutus. Simply run the crepe paper through the sewing machine (or hand stitch if you don't have a machine) and it will naturally bunch up into a ruffle.
From there you can cut up the paper to the desired tutu sizes. You can then adjust the ruffle to how you want it by pulling the threads at either end.
Finally, adhere the tutus with adhesive or Elmer's glue (so that the child can do it) or use hot glue (as I did, as that was all I had on hand at the moment).
You dolls are now complete! Now hang them up in your little one's room and adore them for days to come.
I really hope you will give this a try if you haven't done it before - go on a nature walk with your kids and create some land art! Made famous by Andy Goldsworthy, it's a wonderful way to learn to appreciate the beauty of nature. Visit Lil Fish Studio for more photos of their adventure.