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Get your glad rags on, pull out your dancing shoes and join me At the Animal Ball by Ella Bailey! A delightful, playful action-packed flap book mixing costume design and dance moves in such a fun way, this is a board book with a difference.
Bailey’s illustrations are fantastic, using great colour combinations and lovely details. Her use of texture adds a vintage touch, reminding me of the collection of dolls’ in national costumes I had as a child. Fans of of Marc Boutavant‘s work will not be disappointed; Bailey’s cute (but not cutesy) funky animals seem to me to be Mouk‘s friendly cousins, dressed in a wide range of get-ups inspired by national costumes around the world, from kilts to grass skirts, sarongs and even leather jackets.
Each page is split into three so readers can mix and match heads, tops and bottoms, creating their own bespoke tailoring. Each flap also comes with its own dance moves, from fluttering a fan to shaking a rattle, stamping your feet and wiggling your hips: By combining any three flaps, you could choreograph your own dance!
The charming animals and the beautiful clothes combined with the great excuse to boogie make this a winner of a book – and not just for kids who can’t sit still whilst they’re being read to. It’s fun, pretty and robust – this larger-than-average board book utilises a little bit of simple engineering to make sure the satisfyingly chunky pages of At the Animal Ball can put up with lots of to-ing and fro-ing.
Lovely, lively and full of flaps – an glorious read for anyone with young kids!
Inspired by the fabulous illustrations and this video…
…we made some masks (there’s nothing like a masked ball, is there?)….
…and had lots of fun dressing up in all sorts of finery and breaking out some moves… This video of our antics makes us laugh a lot!
Whilst dressing up we danced to these toe-tapping tunes (but unfortunately couldn’t include them in our video because of copyright issues):
Other activities which would go well with reading At the Animal Ball include:
When did you last get down and boogie?
Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.
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|Written by Marianne Berkes, illustrated by Cathy Morrison, published by Dawn Publishing|
Title: National Geographic Kids ALMANAC 2015 Published by: National Geographic Themes/Topics: Science, nature, gales, culture, history, going green, geography Suitable for ages: 8-13 Paperback, 352 pages, nonfiction, Three Snippets: Page 112 has a monthly sky calendar saying what is happening in the skies … Continue readingAdd a Comment
I was delighted to receive this new edition in the mail from the publisher Dawn Publications. What a joy to see that children all over the world are reading and learning about alligators and other swamp creatures in The Swamp Where Gator Hides written by Marianne Berkes. This book is available on Amazon.Add a Comment
|Last Shearing, June 6. Gouache, 5 x 8 inches|
The DVD of "Tyrannosaurs: Behind the Art" is now retail ready.
The DVD version has the 40-minute production about the making of the paintings I did for Scientific American. But it also has a slide show and a special 13-minute bonus feature, where I pose the question: "What can we learn about dinosaurs by sketching a chicken?" The abbreviated YouTube video above gives you a sample of that feature. (Link to YouTube)
Birthdays in my house are an occasion to create original cards and invitations. Here is some of my art from birthdays past.
|Sir Edwin Landseer, Study of a Lion, 1862, oil, 914 x 1378 mm, Tate|
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One amazingly interesting creature is the octopus; this cephalopod can twist and turn its body into many shapes, suction to all types of surfaces, and use a cloud of ink to distract predators. This week, researchers uncovered the California two-spot octopus’s ability to sense light through its skin.
When the scientist shone a beam of light on the skin of an octopus the chromatophores (pigmented structures in the skin) expanded and the skin changed color. When the light was turned off, the chromatophores contracted again and the octopus was back to its original color. Why does this happen? Scientists determined that the octopus’ skin has proteins called opsins that work with the chromatophores for this reaction to occur.
Changing colors is nothing new in the octopus species; they can become red with anger, or transparent in sunlight. The more tools the creature has to camouflage itself the better chance for survival in the wild depths of the ocean where predators are abundant.
To learn more about the octopus or how other animals use light in the depths of the ocean here is a short underwater reading list!
Octavia and her Purple Ink Cloud
Octavia Octopus and her sea-animal friends love playing camouflage games to practice how they would hide from a “big, hungry creature.” Octavia, however, just cannot seem to get her colors right when she tries to shoot her purple ink cloud. What happens when the big, hungry shark shows up looking for his dinner? This creative book introduces basic colors along with the camouflage techniques of various sea animals; a great introduction to marine biology!
A Day in the Deep
Travel deep into the ocean way below the surface and you’ll encounter some creatures you never knew existed! This book takes you on a journey through the dark depths of the sea towards the ocean floor. Most ecosystems need sunlight, but deep in the ocean where the sun doesn’t shine animals have adapted some very interesting ways to see, protect themselves, and eat. Discover the unique habitats, adaptations, and food chains of these deep -sea creatures.
Ocean Hide and Seek
The sea is a place of mystery, where animals big and small play hide and seek! Can you imagine a shark hiding in the light? What about a clownfish in plain sight? Don’t believe it? Then, sink into the deep blue sea with Jennifer Evans Kramer and Ocean Hide and Seek! Surround yourself with the vibrant ocean illustrations of Gary R. Phillips. The ocean is an old, old place, and the exotic animals in the depths have learned to adapt to their surroundings to survive. Can you find the creatures hidden on every page? Or will you, too, be fooled by an ancient, underwater disguise?
"The display of organisms in these museums rests upon concepts strikingly different from modern practice, but fully consonant with Victorian concerns: Today we tend to exhibit one or two key specimens, surrounded by an odd mixture of extraneous glitz and useful explanation, all in an effort to teach (if the intent be maximally honorable) or simply to dazzle (nothing wrong with that either). The Victorians, who viewed their museums as microcosms for national goals of territorial expansion and faith in progress fueled by increasing knowledge, tried to stuff every last specimen into their gloriously crowded cabinets — in order to show the full range of global diversity. . . . You can put one beetle in a cabinet (usually an enlarged model, and not a real specimen), surround it with fancy computer graphics and pushbutton wwhatzits, and then state that no other group maintains such diversity. Or you can fill the same cabinet with real beetles from each of a thousand different species — all of differing colors, shapes, and sizes — and then state that you have tried to display each kind in the country."
|Septimus Power, The End of the Day|
|H. Septimus Power, Horse Cart, Watercolor|
|H. Septimus Power, Bringing Up the Guns|
When I Grow Up I Want To Be…a Veterinarian!: Sofia’s Dream Comes True!
Series: When I Grow Up
Written and illustrated by WIGU Publishing
WIGU Publishing 12/08/2014
56 pages Age 7—12
“Sofia wants to care for all the animals in the world. But Mom does not think Sofia is ready for the responsibility of even one pet. Ready or not, when a hungry and sick-looking cat appears at the family’s back doorstep, Sofia takes action. When Sofia is found feeding the cat, Mom gives in and agrees that a trip to the vet will tell them if the cat is healthy and not someone’s lost pet. As the veterinarian introduces Sofia and readers to the important and wide-ranging work of animal doctors, Sofia learns how she might help all kinds of animals, including a little stray cat!” [back cover]
Like every kid, at some time in his or her life, Sofia desperately wants a pet. Mom sternly responds, “No,” after every plea. I suspect many kids will relate to this situation. Dad tells Sofia gets her love of animals from Mom, which made mom’s stern and resolute rejections surprising to me,
“. . . the answer was always ‘No. And I mean it, Sofia!’ . . . and she meant it.”
Mom’s reluctance must be due to something she went through as she has some definite opinions about caring for pets. While looking outside at the soaking wet cat, mom says:
“People should be more responsible about animals.”
“There are too many unwanted animals running around.”
Veterinarian does not delve into the reasons behind the above statements; instead letting Sofia remark that she cannot believe any pet could be unwanted. I agree with Mom and Sofia. Bringing a pet into the family is a big decision, and includes much more than housing and feeding. But Veterinarian is about the career, not the social issues. Continuing with the story, mom finally tells Sofia her reasons for saying no: she does not think the family is ready for a pet. But then it rained.
“It rained cats and dogs.”
That night it really did rain cats . . . one little, hungry, “sorry-looking,” water-soaked cat. To Sofia’s amazement, her mother was also upset and concerned about the cat. With dad taking the lead, mom agrees to take the cat—now called Samantha—to Dr. Helen, a veterinarian.
Dr. Helen looks for a microchip, listens to Samantha’s heart, weighs her, and then tells Sofia, there are an estimated 10 million different kinds of animal species on Earth . . . that we know of. Much of our planet is unexplored—mostly underwater—and there are animals we have not seen, and some we never will. I did not know this, which is why I love the WIGU series—I learn something with each edition.
Dr. Helen gives a short history of cats and dogs. Cats first became household “pets” 3,000 years ago in Egypt, where they were worship (cats kept rodents out of the grain and hunted dangerous snakes, including cobras). Dogs, as pets, began roughly 33,000 years ago. Dogs were valued for their companionship and keen senses—hearing, sight, smell—that helped protect humans. Dr. Helen told Sofia cats are the most popular pet (2:1 dogs), yet veterinarians treat more dogs than they do cats. No explanations are given.
As with the other When I Grow Up editions, Veterinarian is loaded with useful information kids will enjoy reading, can use as a reference, or when exploring possible careers. Teachers can use this series as adjunct texts. In Veterinarian, Dr. Helen describes many areas of specialization and the road to becoming a veterinarian. The illustrations are a combination of actual photographs and digital images. On the cover, I adore Samantha’s contented look on her face as Sofia hugs her.
In the end, Sofia decides she wants to become a veterinarian. The family decides to keep Samantha, even with the funny, unexpected twist. Veterinarian’s tone is positive and it highlights the best about being a vet. This is my favorite edition thus far. Wigu Publishing is planning to explore more careers for the When I Grow Up series and is working on Spanish versions. Every school should have this series, keeping room for new editions. The When I Grow Up series might go on forever.
WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE A . . . VETERINARIAN. Text copyright © 2014 by Wigu Publishing. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Wigu Publishing. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wigu Publishing, Sun Valley, ID.
Learn more about WIGU I Want to be a . . . Veterinarian HERE.
Meet the author/illustrator, Wigu Publishing, at their website: http://bit.ly/WIGUTeam
Find more picture books at the Wigu Publishing website: http://whenigrowupbooks.com/
When I Grow Up . . . Books
in the U. S. Army [review here]
a Teacher [review here]
a Firefighter [review here]
in the U. S. Navy [review here]
a Nurse [reviewed soon]
Review Section: word count = 543
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
After turning in artwork for If You Love Honey, Nature's Connections I got a look at Patty Arnold's design and layout for the book. I'm posting a few spreads here to give you a sneak peek. This is my second book illustrated by Martha Sullivan and third book for Dawn Publishing. It comes out this fall. After doing a lot of research for the illustrations I'm now a true honey bee fanatic, not to mention a Martha Sullivan fan!
Look at these wonderful drawings created by the students of Ms. Crowley, Media Specialist at St. John Vianney School. I love to see these. These are true artists! A big thank you to the students who created these lovely illustrations. I’ve enjoyed all of the extra details you’ve added. So Fantastic!
Just to let you know that if there are other little artists that have enjoyed the book, I would love to see your drawings as well! You send, I’ll post!
The Swamp Where Gator Hides, Dawn Publications, Marianne Berkes, Author, Roberta Baird Illustrator
|Wilhelm Kuhnert, Lions at Rest, courtesy Heritage Auctions|
|Wilhelm Kuhnert Jungle Life, BBC Images|
|Wilhelm Kuhnert, Cape Buffalo, Heritage Auctions, May 2, 2015|
|Kuhnert, Lion Cub study, 6 x 9 inches, courtesy Delahunty|
|Wilhelm Kuhnert, African Crowned Eagle, pencil, 12 x 9 ½ in.|
Poem in Your Pocket Day.
Squirrel winds her way
from limb to limb, encumbered
mouth full of dry leaves
Turk, the gentle giant of a draft horse, died this week. I painted one last portrait of him and made a video tribute (Link to YouTube).
He had been losing weight, even on a special rich diet, and one rear leg was so lame that he was almost unable to get up from the ground. He was around 28-30 years old.
|Portrait of the Belgian draft horse Turk, gouache, 5 x 8 inches.|
|Paintings of Turk|
|General George Washington at Trenton by John Trumbull|
|Mount Vernon created three wax figures of George Washington. |
This one depicts General Washington at Valley Forge riding Blueskin.
Find out more about George Washington's historic home