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.

Make: Tissue Paper Collage Creature Feature

 

 

When Danielle Davis of This Picture Book Life blog asked if I’d make a craft inspired by the delightful picture book Normal Norman by Tara Lazar, illustrated by S. Britt, I thought, no problem! After all, Norman is my kind of guy. A dune-buggy-driving, jet-pack-flying, tiara-toting, out-of-the-box orangutan dude.

Norman’s multi-hued self is decidedly not orangutan normal, but it is fun-loving, just like the big guy. And tissue paper collage seemed the best way to capture Norman’s coat of many colors. Tissue paper collage is also great because it’s very forgiving in less experienced kid hands–you can smudge, rip, and layer exuberantly, and still the results are delicious.

What you need:

Tissue paper in fun colors

Mod Podge

paint brush

white card stock

stick-on googly eyes

paper fasteners

popsicle sticks

Trim the tissue paper into 1″ squares. (We sorted our tissue squares for easy use: purples, blues, and greens in one bowl, yellows and oranges in another.)

Next trace Norman’s orangutan bulk, his adorable eggplant-shape head, and his 2 longish arms onto card stock. (If that step seems onerous, we traced some basic gorilla shapes for you here.)

Brush a layer of Mod Podge onto a small area of your shape and cover with tissue squares. Make sure to overlap squares to create new hues. Seal the squares by brushing another layer of Mod Podge over the top of them. Continue in small areas until you’ve covered the shape.

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Give your collage time to dry. Once dried, cut along the outlines of each shape. Adhere the face with glue or Mod Podge and attach the arms with paper fasteners (to give them a little gorilla swing).

Now for the best part: accessorize!

Add goggly eyes, brown specs, a teeny tiara and tutu, or even a dual-rocket jet pack (Norman’s preferred not-normal way to get around). Attach a popsicle stick to the back of your creation to make a puppet. Do not forget to make some friends for Norman: a magenta clarinet-playing hippo, a rollerskating giraffe, a top-hatted snake!