A Picture Book & A Project

A Picture Book & A Project: “Little Red Writing” and Pencil People!

"Little Red Writing" by Joan Holub, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

“Little Red Writing” by Joan Holub, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Isn’t this a cute gift idea for a kid?! I wish we had a birthday party to go so I could give this :) Valentine’s Day is coming up, too. Not bad for a $22 surprise. I found the pencil toppers and pencils in the dollar section at Target, the composition book at the grocery store, and the book at the bookstore.

Okay, back to the picture book and project!

One day, Little Red and her classmates get to write their own stories. As Little Red begins to write, she finds that there are many challenges she has to overcome to make an exciting story. She even has to face a scary pencil sharpener with quite big teeth!

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Photo Feb 08, 10 11 29 AM

Shanda: This book had me at Melissa Sweet- one of my favorite illustrators! And she does not disappoint! Of course I also can relate to the perils of writing a story. There are many layers to this book, so that kids of ALL ages can enjoy it. HJ is 3 years old, and she loved the excitement of the story. Older kids can really see nouns, adjectives, adverbs, EXCLAMATIONS!, and run-on sentences come to life. This would be fantastic to use in a classroom before a writing challenge.

HJ: It’s really awesome when the mean wolf came! (She likes to say the “GRRRRR!” parts.)

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The project for older kids: Write you own story (with illustrations) in your very own composition book, just like Little Red!

The project for younger kids: Attempt to write your own story in your own composition book, just like Little Red! I think HJ enjoyed just playing with the pencil people best :)

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She started off saying she was writing a SCARY story!

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Busy, busy! But in the end, things got epic when some of the pencil people took something from the other pencil people…

Thanks for stopping by! This post is dedicated to the new life and new story of Ellie Pearl Jones! Born yesterday! (She’s the daughter of my cousin, who is really like a sister to me :)

Also, sorry I haven’t posted in quite a while. I’ll tell you why soon…

Love,
Shanda & HJ

A Picture Book & A Project: “The Day the Crayons Quit” and recycling crayons!

Cover from "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by oliver Jeffers

Cover from “The Day the Crayons Quit” by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
PHILOMEL, 2013

I’ve never given much thought to how I treated my crayons when I was a kid…. but now I know… crayons are people too! I’m glad they finally spoke up :)

SHANDA: I love this book SO much! It really brought me back to when I was a kid! I felt like the Critic on Ratatouille when he tastes the food at the end, and it takes him all the way back to his childhood :) There’s plenty to laugh about in this book too! HJ and I could be kids together for a few minutes! Great job Mr. Daywalt and Mr. Jeffers!

HJ: She cracked up when Peach Crayon wouldn’t leave the box because he was naked :)

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So we made a whole bunch of old naked crayons for our project…

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Then we broke them into small pieces and divided them into the spaces of an oven safe mold. *Note- SCRATCH the paper cups you see in the photo. It works better without them. Also, they would turn out much cuter than ours did if you used a silicone candy mold that had cute shapes like flowers or something. Melt them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes.

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Then allow them to cool completely, and use a knife to “pop” them out!

We bagged some up for church (for HJ and her cousin, Laney :)

Happy considerate coloring!

A Picture Book & A Project: “I’m Bored” and how NOT to be bored with a potato!

"I'm Bored" by Michael Ian Black, Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012

“I’m Bored” by Michael Ian Black, Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012

This kid is so bored she starts talking to a potato that thinks SHE is boring! So, she has to set the record straight: Potatoes are boring and kids can do ANYTHING!

SHANDA: I am taken with these cute, yet wild illustrations! And I love the illustrator’s success story. She really thought she was more of a writer, but was discovered big time at an SCBWI portfolio showcase!

HJ: (She likes to say “I’m bored” in a potatoey voice). If you can imagine that.

Now, grab a potato, a parent, a knife, paint, and paper! The best way NOT to be bored with a potato is to make potato stamps! Have fun!

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Here’s a great link to show parents how to cut a potato stamp!

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We made a gift bag with our stamps… but kids can think of lots of cool stuff to decorate! What can you come up with?

 

A Picture Book & A Project: “Little Mouse” and drawing a mouse!

Sometimes your mommy might call you her little mouse, but that’s silly because you’re probably nothing like a mouse at all!

"Little Mouse" by Alison Murray DISNEY HYPERION BOOKS, 2013

“Little Mouse” by Alison Murray
DISNEY HYPERION BOOKS, 2013

SHANDA: I have been hungry for a new book! So, I let myself walk into a bookstore and judge the books by their covers, literally! I didn’t read this before I bought it. I just loved the art, and took it home :) Lucky for me, the writing is lovely too. It’s really a book of comparisons and what animals you might be similar to. I am drawn to the color palette, lines, and shapes this illustrator uses. My favorite page is the precious hug at the end. The simplicity isn’t too simple for me. This is the sweet spot I’d like to find in my own work.

HJ: I like this book because I’m not like a mouse either!

 Final mouse drawing :)

Here’s the project… Learn to draw a mouse on your own! Watch the video below…

 

How to draw a mouse: tutorial by a 3-year-old from Shanda on Vimeo.

PB&P: “The Paper Bag Princess” and paper bag fashion design!

A Picture Book & A Project: "The Paper Bag Princess" written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko and paper bag fashion design!

A Picture Book & A Project: “The Paper Bag Princess” written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko and paper bag fashion design!

Elizabeth was a beautiful princess about to marry a handsome prince, then one day a dragon ruined everything… or so she thought. The tragedy taught Elizabeth how to spot a bum… and just in time!

"The Paper Bag Princess" written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko ANNICK PRESS, Seventieth printing, 2012

“The Paper Bag Princess” written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
ANNICK PRESS, Seventieth printing, 2012

SHANDA: This book was sent to HJ by some NYC friends. No wonder this book is a classic! The story is super fun and packed with a very important life lesson about the danger and stupidity of being in love with one’s image whether it be a forest-burning dragon or a royal prince or princess. The art has a nostalgic look for me (from the 80’s). It’s funny, unreal, and too real all at the same time. Great for young and older kids. HJ ALWAYS says “AGAIN!”

HJ: I like her paper bag, because I love it!

Image from "The Paper Bag Princess"

Image from “The Paper Bag Princess”

 

Now let’s embark on some paper bag fashion design! You’ll need: large paper bag, small paper bags, markers, sticky rhine stones, scissors, dolls to dress.

 

 

Step 1: Cut holes in paper bags for head and arms.

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Step 2: Design your paper bag princess dresses however your heart desires.

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Step 3: Try them on and play!

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This project could be made more complex for older kids with trimmings, belts, beads, tiaras, etc. Let them get as creative as they want. Happy fashion designing! (I would love to get photo emails from kids who enjoyed this project :) For more books and projects visit “A Picture Book & A Project” category.

Love,

Shanda and HJ

 

A Picture Book & A Project: “Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover” and make a pizza!

"Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover" by Cece Bell

A Picture Book & A Project: “Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover” by Cece Bell and making a pizza!

Rabbit and Robot have a sleepover, and rabbit has a checklist of fun things to do and a certain order to do it in! When things don’t go exactly as planned, Robot helps Rabbit learn to go with the flow and still have a great time :)

Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell CANDLEWICK, 2012

Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell
CANDLEWICK, 2012

SHANDA: First of all, I’m TOTALY into robots right now! Second, this artwork made me smile. It’s simple, sweet, accessible, and highly effective. I just love it. This book is more like an easy reader, lots of pages, with simple words like Dr. Seuss books. The ending and little happenings along the way were cute and subtly surprising. HJ asked for this one several times, night after night :)

HJ: I like when the robot put nuts and bolts and screws on his pizza!

Image from Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell.

Image from Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell.

Now let’s make a pizza just like Rabbit and Robot did… (Make 2 pizzas if you want different toppings on each one.)

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Hope you enjoyed this post!

Love, Shanda & HJ!

 

 

A Picture Book & A Project: A Sick Day For Amos McGee and Feel Better Balloons

A Picture Book & A Project: A Sick Day for Amos McGee (written by Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead) and making Feel Better Balloons!

A Picture Book & A Project: A Sick Day for Amos McGee (written by Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead) and making Feel Better Balloons!

Amos McGee was a very reliable and busy zookeeper, but he always made time for his friends: the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl. One day, Amos did not feel well and stayed home, but don’t worry- his friends made time to help him feel better!

A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead. ROARING BROOK PRESS, 2010

A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead.
ROARING BROOK PRESS, 2010

SHANDA: I noticed this book in a bookstore several years ago, because the beautiful illustrations caught my eye! Then I noticed it was a Caldecott winner! The pictures are realistic, yet cute, sweet, and expressive with simple backgrounds. The printed textures and colors are lovely. I picked it up and read it. It touched my heart and made me all warm inside.

This is another husband and wife author-illustrator combo! I love that! They now have a few more books out together since this one.

This is a nice bedtime book as it is calm and comfy. Let your little one look for the bird, mouse, and red balloon throughout the book! We have probably read this book together 100 times :)

HJ: I like the elephant on the bus. And Amos McGee!

Now, on to the Project! Let’s make time (like Amos’s friends did) for someone feeling under the weather… We can take or send a Feel Better Balloon to them!

What you'll need to make a Feel Better Balloon

Ballon Step 1

Balloon Step 2

Balloon Step 3

Balloon Step 4Balloon Step 5

We hope you’ll help somebody feel better this week :) Also, I’d love to see the art you create from this post- email me if you like, and I’ll show it on the blog!

Love, Shanda & HJ!

A Picture Book & A Project: Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad (by David Soman and Jacky Davis) and painting rocks like bugs!

 

A Picture Book & A Project: Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad (by David Soman and Jacky Davis) and painting rocks like bugs!

A Picture Book & A Project: Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad (by David Soman and Jacky Davis) and painting rocks like bugs!

Ladybug Girl is so excited to have the perfect playdate planned with her friends (the bug squad). She wants everything to be just the way she imagined! But when an unexpected catastrophe arises, Ladybug Girl has to deal with it like a hero.

Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by David Soman and Jacky Davis DIAL BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS, 2011

Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by David Soman and Jacky Davis
DIAL BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS, 2011

SHANDA: I like this book because it has a female super hero, and it shows that even good girls make mistakes, and heros don’t run away when things get hard. Lots of character building built into this fun adventure!

David Soman and Jacky Davis (husband/wife team) hit a home run with introducing the Bug Squad characters! These characters have the potential for many different adventures (and still room to maybe meet new friends/squad members in the future.)

I am awed by the beauty of the artwork! The painted/fine art-like backgrounds with the comic/inky characters on top is a lovely and exciting combination throughout all the Ladybug Girl books. It meshes painting and illustration in a new way for me.

This book is longer than most modern picture books, but it absolutely works. HJ (3 yr old) is captivated all the way through! She asks to read Ladybug Girl series books more than any other books these days.

HJ: My favorite part is when Kiki gets mad.
SHANDA: Why?
HJ: Because I like her!

Well there you have it! Our project is a scene right from the story…

Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad

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We hope you enjoyed this very first “A Picture Book & A Project”! Now go have a blast reading and creating with your sweet peas :) Also, I’d love to see the art you create from this post- email me if you like, and I’ll them on the blog!

Love, Shanda & HJ!

Lesson #3: Give Your Blog Readers Good Free Content (& they’ll probably be excited about your books too :)

This lesson I learned from my Southern Breeze Illustrator Coordinator, Elizabeth O. Dulemba. About 5 years ago, she started offerring a FREE coloring page every Tuesday on her blog. Every Tuesday. For 5 years (and still going). Wow!

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Readers loved it. Teachers loved it. Librarians loved it. Kids loved it! Her blog blew up! Coloring Page Tuesdays are hotter than hotcakes! Now she has a super nice platform of readers to tell about her new books when they come out! Genius! And she did this by GIVING!

So, the lesson here is the title above: Give your blog readers good, free content, and they’ll probably be excited about your books too! At this point, they would probably be willing to buy your books for their kids, kid’s friends gifts, nieces, nephews, classrooms, or themselves.

Well then, what can I do on my blog that could serve a similar purpose? Of course, I would not copy Elizabeth’s coloring page idea, so I thought about my own strengths, experiences, and what I enjoy. At this point in my journey, I like to experience lots of books and learn from them. Especially picture books. Reading with my daughter is my favorite way to spend time with her. We are both into books, and can have a lot of fun together. I’m not the best to get on the floor and play each day, but reading is different. We read together just about every day.

Our Reading Chair

Our Reading Chair

I love to see what books she asks for again and again. Reading together is such a great way to learn what kids respond to, and the breadth of their understanding of a story. It’s that stuff and so much more! Here’s a great quote from The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books:

A picture book may seem like a simple proposition- a decorated story. In fact, a picture book contains several modes of expression and can contain multiple layers of meaning. What a picture book “means” to a child is more than just a story with illustrations. From an early age, children learn what a book is, how to hold it the right way up, the order in which to turn the pages, and how to read- first the images and then later the words. The imagery may be “realistic” or entirely graphic. Imagery and colors may form patterns throughout the book, accruing meaning as motif; white space may imply content and demand that the child mentally “fill in the gaps”; and the illustrations may expand on and extend the information in the text. Sometimes, the illustrations may even tell a different story. This tension between what is said and what is shown makes picture books a unique and exciting form of graphic expression.

So I’ve decided to offer up picture book suggestions that my daughter and I both enjoy and why. I’ll share my point of view, and then she’ll share hers :) But I’m also going to add an art element to it, and we’ll demonstrate a project to do with your little ones that expand on the book and are fun! And there you have it! I think I’ll call it “A Picture Book & A Project”.

I try to do it once a week, and my projects will be suited for young kids for now, My daughter is just about to turn 3. But as she grows, so will the complexity of the projects.

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Which books will she pick??

Be on the lookout for “A Picture Book & A Project”. Coming soon!

-Shanda

P.S.- Notice anything different about the look of my site? It’s nice to change things up every so often :)

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Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author