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.
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.
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"
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.
and the message and celebrates the spirit
of "being different and unique".
result is another book - an accordion book - with a story
woven into it with the help of six different
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"!
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.