Make: Giant Frisbee!

Here’s another activity to celebrate my new picture book, Flip! How the Frisbee Took Flight, and this one is a goodie. In fact, it’s one of the funnest projects I’ve done. And yes, I know, “funnest” is not a word–but it best expresses how satisfying it is to make a giant flying disc.

I’m sorry I didn’t photo-document the process better. The whole thing felt like a wild experiment with an uncertain outcome. But . . . it worked! I recommend trying this one at home.

MATERIALS:

  • 1 hula hoop (I used child’s size hoop.)
  • 1 yard of cotton or nylon fabric (or enough to cover the hoop).
  • Iron
  • Scissors or pinking shears
  • Hot glue gun

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Iron your fabric so it’s wrinkle free. I used cotton because that’s what I had on hand. I also tried to make it look a splashy by sewing together four colors but that’s optional and an extra step.
  2. Lay out your fabric on a large working surface and place the hoop on top. If necessary, trim fabric so there’s about 5″ inches of fabric outside the circumference of the hoop.
  3. With a hot glue gun, squeeze drops of glue on a 5-6″ segment of the hoop.
  4. Fold the fabric over the glue and shape to the curve of the hoop.
  5. Repeat adding glue to a segment of the hoop and folding the fabric over it. Make sure to pull the fabric taut as you go.
  6. Once it’s all glued, trim off the extra fabric. Tuck the remaining fabric in. (I added glue here and there to make sure the fabric ends were tucked in well.

That’s it. Take it outside and give it a spin!





Check out www.margaretmuirhead.com for more information about Flip! You can order your copy at Indiebound, Target, Barnes & Noble, Amazon or at your favorite neighborhood book shop. 

Read & Make: Count on Me + Math Quest Cards

When Danielle Davis of This Picture Book Life asked me to dream up a little math-y crafty to accompany Miguel Tanco’s picture book, Count on Me, I was ready. I could overcome my fear of all things arithmetic!

Unlike me, the curly-haired heroine of this beautifully illustrated book has a special love for math. While her dad has a passion for painting, her mom science, and her brother music (he plays a tuba twice his size), the smallest member of the family sees shapes and patterns everywhere. She skips stones to see concentric circles form and tracks the trajectory of a paper airplane. She finds math everywhere.

Count on Me cover

Tanco’s sweet story is followed by a book-within-a-book: the heroine’s math notebook that illustrates math concepts like fractals, polygons, curves, solid figures, trajectories and sets (in terms clear enough that even I can understand).

Inspired by the small heroine’s passion for math, I painted a deck of cards with basic concepts from the book to spark my own scavenger math hunt. If we take the time to notice, what patterns, polygons, circles, and curves can we discover in the world around us?

Materials:

  • Art cards or index cards (I picked up these little Legion Paper samplers at my local craft store)
  • Pen, marker, and/or paint
  • The world!

Count on Me supplies

I copied the math concepts illustrated in Count on Me and in an attempt to emulate Tanco’s delightful, watery illustrations, I used watercolor paint to tint them. However, young artists can skip the paint and get the job done easily enough with markers and crayons.

Count on Me Deck

I drew and labeled the cards with a range of basic polygons, solid forms like cones and cylinders, patterns of concentric circles and curves, and other concepts to create a deck of 25 cards. Then my son and I went hunting through the house and around our neighborhood. This is some of what we found:

We found so many surprises: dandelion fluff fractals, milk carton polygons, the curved trajectory of a Frisbee in flight. What will you find?

 

Read & Make: Cloth Lullaby & Sashiko

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This book. I’m not sure which is more beautiful: the words or the pictures. Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois (written by Amy Novesky; illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault) was published a couple of years ago, but my appreciation for its cross-hatched reds and blues hasn’t abated, nor has my admiration for its quiet telling about an emerging artist.

fullsizeoutput_169For me, the illustration’s delicate inky stitches brought to mind sashiko, a Japanese form of embroidery that I’ve been spotting online a lot lately.

Sashiko is usually a running stitch; the word sashiko translates to “little stabs.” My attempt at sashiko was my own improvised version. I used fabric scraps I had on hand, denim pieces from old jeans and worn cotton patches I rescued a while back from a disintegrating quilt. I grabbed embroidery floss for thread and the sharpest needle I could find.

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I didn’t make anything in particular. I’m not sure I will. But I found the stitching meditative and love the way the stitches & patches look: imperfect, wobbly, delicate, salvaged. I think the simplicity and improvisation would appeal to kids, too (although I’d probably use thinner cotton so that the “little stabs” are easier to make). I’m going to try it out in my school library after reading Cloth Lullaby aloud–I’ll let you know how it goes . . .

 

FREE GIVEAWAY: Hello Goodbye Dog

Updated: The winner of the book giveaway is Sarah E. of Massachusetts. Congratulations, Sarah! You will receive a copy of Hello Goodbye Dog very soon. 

The principal at my elementary school knew Bowzer well. My beloved mutt hated goodbyes and followed me to school, preferring the many hellos of the kids in the playground. Bowzer was sent home, to bark maniacally at the mailman and wait not-so-patiently for the school day’s end.

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Zara and her dog Moose also suffer the pangs of daylong separation in Maria Gianferrari’s lovely picture book Hello Goodbye Dog. For Moose, hello is a “ride in the car” and a “pat on the head,” while goodbye feels like an “itch that cannot be scratched” and “a closing door.” After Moose makes mayhem in the school cafeteria one day, Zara provides a perfect–and unexpected–solution. Train Moose to be a therapy reading dog! Now Moose go to school, too, and turn reading into a cozy, furry experience for Zara and her classmates.

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To celebrate this little gem of a book (illustrated by Patrice Barton and brought into being by Roaring Brook Press), I created an easy bookmark project that honors both reading & puppy power! Your finished bookmark will slip onto the corner of the page & hold your place so your copy of Hello Goodbye Dog won’t get dog-eared.

What you need:

5.76″ x 5.76″ origami paper

Scissors

Black pen

Glue stick

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Step 1: Fold the origami paper as shown in the slideshow below.

Step 2: Once you have a triangle shape, cut the bottom point into two rounded points to make the dog’s snout.

Step 3: Cut out the nose (a small rounded triangle), ears, and tongue shapes in colors of your choice. You can freehand or use this template for the ears and tongue.

Step 4: Glue the nose in place. Adhere the ears into the pocket at the top of the triangle. I folded the ears at a slight angle to give the puppy a rakish look!

Step 5: Trim the tongue so that you can insert it into the opening at the snout end of your triangle. Dab with glue so that you can press it into place.

Step 6: Draw eyes and other details with your black pen. Voila! A dog-eared bookmark!

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Also, if you are in New England this August, Maria and therapy dog Brig will be presenting Hello, Goodbye Dog at the Toadstool Book Shop in Keene, NH August 20 at 11 a.m.

The blog tour of Hello Goodbye Dog continues . . . check out these sites:

July 27      Kid Lit Frenzy

July 28      Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook

July 31      Picture Books Help Kids Soar

Aug 1        Bildebok

Aug 2        The Loud Library Lady

Aug 3        DEBtastic Reads!

Aug 4        Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love

Aug 7        Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

EXTRA: Aug 25     Kidlit411—Interview with Patrice Barton

Officer Katz and Houndini (and Craft!)

*BOOK GIVEAWAY* Leave a comment below on this post and you will be eligible to win a free copy of Officer Katz and Houndini! The giveaway will be open from October 26 until November 1.

The book giveaway officially closed yesterday and the winner is . . . RebeccaAa! Congratulations–we’ll be in touch shortly.

I love a cat vs. dog story. But as a hybrid cat person/dog person, I never know who to root for. As good fortune would have it, I don’t have to pick sides in Maria Gianferrari’s new picture book Officer Katz and Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails published this week by Simon and Schuster. Readers can enjoy plenty of silly, sticky, maze-bending, catapulting antics before arriving at a satisfying (and collaborative) solution to this classic canine-feline face-off.

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Illustrator Danny Chatzikonstantinou’s cozy autumny teal-orange-maroon palette and his adorable mustachioed Houndini inspired one of my fave kid-friendly craft projects ever: mustaches on a stick! Who doesn’t want to sport a mustache once in a while? And everything is better on a stick. Think old-time opera glasses, but more debonair and dastardly.

What you need:

wooden skewers

card stock in your preferred mustache color

hot glue gun

mustache pattern by homemadecity.com

It couldn’t be simpler: print the pattern and trace on card stock. Apply a dab of hot glue to the back of your mustache and adhere the pointed end of a wooden skewer. Voila! An escape artiste is born.

In case you’re more law-and-order feline than hard-to-pin-down canine, try this pattern instead: an official Officer Katz Kitty City sheriff’s badge. Just trace the pattern onto card stock, cut out, and hot-glue a pin clasp to the back.

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Follow Officer Katz and Houndini’s virtual tour at these blogs:

Monday, Oct. 17: Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) THREE GIVEAWAYS: a query pass from the amazing Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary; picture book critique from me, and a copy of Officer Katz & Houndini!!

Tuesday, Oct. 18: Librarian’s Quest

Wednesday, Oct. 19: Bildebok

Thursday, Oct. 20: Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love

Friday, Oct. 21: Pragmaticmom + THREE book giveaway

Monday, Oct. 24: Homemade City

Tuesday, Oct. 25: ReFoReMo THINK QUICK Interview with Carrie Charley Brown

More about author:gianferrarimaria_hres
Maria Gianferrari’s a lucky dog—she gets to write stories about cats and dogs, and when she’s dog-tired, she can catnap in her office. Maria lives in northern Virginia with her cat’s meow of a family: her scientist husband, artist daughter, and top dog, Becca. She is the author of the Penny & Jelly books as well as Coyote Moon and the forthcoming Hello Goodbye Dog. To learn more about Maria, please visit her website at mariagianferrari.comFacebook or Instagram.