Posted tagged ‘Creativity’

PB Review: A BOBBY-DAZZLER OF A POUCH!

September 10, 2020

Over the years, Janet Halfmann’s books have always created a sense of wonder in me. Her newest book, A Bobby-Dazzler of a Pouch! is sure to become a favorite.

Joey, a young kangaroo, practices diving into his mum’s pouch. It’s easy when it’s just he and his mum, but when there are other kangaroos around, Joey has a problem. When Mum calls, Joey doesn’t always find the right pouch. Boing! Boing! Boing! He dives into a pouch that’s already full. Boing! Boing! Boing! He dives into a male kangaroo who doesn’t even have a pouch!

Joey is discouraged, but when he sees Willy Wagtail, he comes up with an idea. Joey asks if he can have some tail feathers to put on his mum’s pouch to make it easier to find. Willy Wagtail agrees, and suddenly Rainbow Lorikeet, Echidna, and the Emu Family want to add something to decorate the pouch. Joey and his mum work together to arrange the decorations, but as Joey climbs into the pouch to sleep, he wishes they had MORE decorations. Koala overhears Joey. Even though Mum would rather not have anything more added, Koala, Sugar Glider, Brush-Tailed Possum, and Wombat all add something special. Joey declares Mum’s pouch a “bobby-dazzler.”

The next morning while Joey is playing, he hears his mum frantically calling him. A dingo is on the prowl! Because of Mum’s bobby-dazzler pouch, Joey knows exactly where to find her. Abira Das‘ adorable illustrations accompany Janet Halfmann’s delightful story. A variety of Australian animals, plants, and words are introduced as are the themes of a loving mother-child relationship, friendship, and creativity. This book is sure to entertain young readers with each page turn. The back matter includes Fun Kangaroo Facts and a glossary of Australian terms which help make reading this book a truly enjoyable experience. 

Bobby Dazzler Cover Back copy

 

Can you create a bobby-dazzler of an idea?

 

 

 

Spending Time Together

March 26, 2020

In this time of uncertainty with the coronavirus on everyone’s mind, life has become more stressful than ever. Many parents are now working from home. With child care centers and schools closed, your children may be causing interruptions and demanding your attention as you try to work. It’s not an easy time for anyone. When possible, take a break from your work and spend some quality time with your kids. They, too, are trying to cope with a new way of family life.

Here are a few ideas that might help entertain your children. As an added plus of spending time together, these activities also complement the STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) curriculum in schools. You may find that these special moments spent with your family can be fun for everyone.

Craft Day – Choose a simple craft and create.

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Organize and Categorize Day – Organize toys and books. Set aside those that your children no longer want and donate them.

Theater Day – Have the family act out one of their favorite books or make up a play and perform it.

Game Board Day/Card Game Day – Have fun learning a new card game or playing a board game.

Puzzle Day – Grab a puzzle piece and see where it fits.

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Game Show Day – Ask questions dealing with math, books, nature, etc. Correct answers gain points. With the points collected, all participants can choose a little prize – a special snack, a sticker, a small toy you may have saved for an anytime prize, etc.

Family Movie/Popcorn Day – Vote on a movie and enjoy it with the family with a side of popcorn.

Cookie Baking Day – Choose a family favorite recipe and measure, mix, and bake.

Quiet Reading Day – Find a quiet place to read your favorite books.

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Hide and Seek Day – Take turns hiding an object and have others find it with hot/cold prompts.

Zoo Day – Gather stuffed animals and set up a zany zoo.

Dress-up Day – Dress up in old clothes you may have around the house and let your imagination go wild.

Build a Tent Day – Use Sheets and blankets to create a secret place.

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Sidewalk Chalk Day – Draw a town in your driveway with roads, flowers, houses.

Band Day – Use objects around the house to create instruments. Don’t forget your voice is an instrument, too. Sing it out!

Build a House Day – Do you have old boxes? Try making a mini house with your mini family members.

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Old MacDonald Farm Day – With a moo, moo here and a moo, moo there… Keep on singing, adding as many farm animals as you can. Draw your favorite farm animals and house them in an imaginary barn.

Take a Quiet Walk Day – Make sure to keep your distance from other walkers.

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This is an extraordinarily stressful time. We are strong. We will get through this. When we do, we may realize that this was the best of the worst of times — a time when families came together.

Stay safe!

 

 

 

 

Put Some Backbone into Your Poetry

April 12, 2018

If you’re a reader like me, you have books everywhere.

It’s National Poetry Month. Try creating a spine poem. It’s a great activity to do with kids.

Pick out some books and arrange the titles to create a poem.

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You can see what happens when you find just the right titles to create a poem.

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Put some backbone into your poetry and try creating a spine poem. Have fun!

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Mistake

October 12, 2017

What if no one ever made a mistake? That would be the biggest mistake of all. Throughout history, mistakes have led to great strides in making our world a better place.

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A perfectly delightful picture book written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken is The Book of Mistakes. The endpapers begin with a splat of ink and end with a charming surprise. Luyken begins her story with spare text and seemingly simplistic sketches rendered in black ink and surrounded by white space. The reader learns the artist has made a mistake. She corrects it by coming up with a good idea, but then there are more mistakes followed by more good ideas. With each page turn, colors seep into the illustrations. In the middle of the book, there are five wordless spreads in which the artist’s illustrations become more intricate and more colorful. At the end, Corinna Luyken poses the question, “Do you see—” which makes readers pause to think. The final illustrations and text give the reader a closer look into the creative mind of the author/artist who demonstrates how inspiration can change a simple mistake into something amazing.

Make no mistake. Grab hold of this book now!

 

 

 

 

DU IZ TAK?

December 1, 2016

If you have very young children, you know they have a language of their own – uhda, madee, ticka …  They know what they’re saying, but it’s up to us to figure it out. And that brings me to a picture book that fascinates me. When I first heard about this book, I was convinced it was written in a foreign language. When I finally got my hands on it, I was in for a big surprise!

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Du Iz Tak? is written and illustrated by Carson Ellis. The text is sparse, using “invented” words. With that in mind, Carson Ellis has masterfully crafted a fanciful story filled with creativity and imagination. Two damselflies discover a shoot growing out of the ground. Other insects investigate the growth. After some interesting discussion and the help of Icky the bug, they build a tree house in the growing shoot. Drama comes into play with the addition of a huge spider, a hungry, bird, and a blossoming flower. While all of this is taking place, a caterpillar has made its cocoon. At night, a violin-playing insect sits above the cocoon and plays to the night sky. This oversized picture book is one that needs time to absorb. Ellis’ illustrations are filled with the beauty and wonder of nature and what can happen when imagination blossoms. This circular story has a very satisfying ending and lends itself to close examination and discussion.

Another picture book with invented words and fun to read is Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis. See my comments here.

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Imagination: Don’t Leave Home without It

September 13, 2012

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.” ~Muhammad Ali

Tuesday was my birthday and I imagined the numbers in my age were transposed. I immediately felt younger. I bounced around like a kid. I had more energy than usual. My mind was sharp, and my tongue was froth with wit. It was a magical day.

That evening when I looked into the mirror, I no longer saw that fresh young face I had worn all day long. I saw my mother! I guess that was her birthday gift to me – to carry on the family genes. Age happens, but imagination rocks!

Without an imagination, you’re stuck. You have no place to go – nothing to fill the empty spaces of your day. Think what this world would be like if we didn’t have “imaginators” like Walt Disney, Marie Curie, Steve Jobs, Harriet Tubman, Albert Einstein, Georgia O’Keeffe,  Benjamin Franklin …

Everyone needs an imagination. From early on, children’s minds need to be stimulated to help them develop their creativity and play. How can this be accomplished?  The picture book!

The picture book is an amazing tool. The pictures, words, sounds, characters, and story all work together to expand a child’s imagination and play. The more books children are exposed to the wider their world becomes. Children begin to develop language skills and make connections between what they see and hear. And don’t forget the emotional bond derived from sitting in the lap of a loved one, sharing the whole experience of reading a book together.

Here are some great picture books, both old and new, to get you and your child started on the road to imagination.

It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss

Little Cloud by Eric Carle

The Hello, Goodbye Window  written by Norton Juster, illustrated by Chris Raschka

Frederick by Leo Lionni

Roxaboxen written by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Tuesday by David Wiesner

Flotsam by David Wiesner

Iggy Peck, Architect  written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Teacher Appreciation Week

May 11, 2012

The teacher’s lounge is filled with cookies, cake, fruit, salty snacks, and candy. It’s Teacher Appreciation Week – also known as The Week You Gain Five Pounds.

Normally, the parents in our school are thoughtful and very supportive, but during Teacher Appreciation Week, they go all out. Besides the goodies in the teacher’s lounge, the Home & School Association treat the teachers and staff to a delicious dinner. Along with the meal, everyone is presented with a gift made by the Pre-K through Eighth grade students.

This year we received note cards. They’re something every teacher can use – for thank yous and for those “we need to talk” moments. I love these note cards!

Pictures were taken of art projects classes worked on throughout the year and made into note cards. Creativity abounds!

Some days being an educator can be disheartening. Then something wonderful happens — a smile, a completed homework assignment, an “aha” moment by a student — that makes you remember why you chose teaching as a career. It’s nice to be recognized by students and parents, but I’m glad Teacher Appreciation Week comes only once a year. Otherwise, we’d all have to join Weight Watchers!

A special shout-out to all you caring parents and students!


Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50

Navigating the second half of my life

Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

Children's Writer

VIVIAN KIRKFIELD - Writer for Children

Picture Books Help Kids Soar

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