Add a Comment
Let me introduce Stanley to you.
He’s a cat.
He’s a generous friend to many.
And he loves to knit.
But what happens when he has to choose between his passion and his pals?
Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat by Emily MacKenzie (@emilymackenzie_) is all about the dilemma you face when you have to decide what really matters to you. Stanley is wild about wool, barmy about yarn and just can’t stop the click-clack of his knitting needles. He makes all sorts of lovely jumpers, scarves and more for his friends, but when he runs out of wool just when he needs it most (for a knitting competition) what’s he to do? Will he demand his gifts back, in order to re-use the wool? Will he find a way to follow his dream and yet avoid disappointing his friends?
Emily MacKenzie’s tale of enthusiasm and eccentricity is joyous and upbeat, illustrated with all the energy Stanley puts into his knitting. Funny (knitted elephant trunk tubes, anyone?), vibrant (all the alluring colours you’d find in a wool shop) and feel-good, Stanley’s spirited creativity is infectious and inspiring.
And inspired we were! Taking our lead from Stanley and a hot air balloon he knits we decided to have a go at making our own woolly dirigibles.
Our first balloons were made by gluing lots and lots of strands of different wool onto card (we used PVA glue and card rather than paper so everything held together a little better).
When all the glue was dry we flipped the card over and drew two shapes – a large circle (by drawing around a bowl), and a basket shape – before cutting them out and joining them together with a bit of hot air balloon rope (ie more wool). Finally we drew Stanley so he could fly in our balloons as they floated gently over our kitchen table (suspended from the ceiling with a little bit of thread).
If you don’t feel like drawing your own Stanley, Emily has very kindly created one you can print off and cut out:
Our next plan was a little more ambitious.We wanted to create a 3-D hot air balloon and so this time we dipped our wool in PVA glue before draping it over a suspended balloon.
Whilst the gluey wool dried (it took a couple of days – though if it’s summer where you are the process might be a whole lot speedier) we made our basket. I cut vertical lines down the side of a plastic pot and the girls then wove wool strands in and out of the tongues of plastic, gradually covering the entire pot.
We attached the basket to the woolly balloon and then popped the balloon….
It didn’t work out quite how I had hoped, but we were still smiling at the result and hopefully Stanley was too!
Whilst making our balloons we listened to:
Other activities which might work well alongside reading Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat include:
If you liked this post you might like another post by me: Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranz & Margaret Chamberlain & a whole host of other knitting themed picture books
If you’d like to receive all my posts from this blog please sign up by popping your email address in the box below:
Delivered by FeedBurner
Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.
Friends are fun to play with. Friends keep you company. Friends comfort you. All this Emily knows.
She also knows a simple balloon can be your friend.
Emily receives a balloon and takes it home to play with. Soon she’s sharing everything with her balloon and takes it outside to play house with. One gust of wind, however, and it is stuck in a nearby tree. What will Emily do now? What will console her?
The innocence and lucidity of this story gives it charm that is utterly captivating. It celebrates a sense of wonder that we sometimes lose as we grow older, but which we’re only too happy to be reminded of. Emily’s natural openness, her ability to imagine and indeed truly see her balloon as a friend – to show such a easy leap of faith – will warm all but the coldest of hearts.
Sakai’s illustrations have a quiet magic about them, capturing Emily’s body language like poetry; in a way that seems so right, so simple and yet still startling in its accuracy. Minimal use of colour and lots of wide open white space create a sense of meditative timelessness. All in all a peaceful, lyrical picture book with the hallmarks of a classic.
Not all playing by the book needs to be complicated. Recently all we did to celebrate a book was eat some cheesecake. (Tough life!). This time, all that was needed was a yellow helium filled balloon to play with after school.
We batted it about, we took it outside, we played “chicken” letting it float away and then catching it before it flew out of grasp!
We tied a spoon to the string and found the “balance point” – using blutack we added and removed tiny weights until the balloon with the spoon floated mysteriously in mid-air, neither touching the ground, nor flying up to the ceiling.
This turned into a science lesson the next day when we saw how how the helium appeared to become less effective at lifting the balloon (this is actually due to helium leaking out of the balloon, through the relatively porous latex) and we had to reduce the weight of the spoon to re-find the balance point.
Whilst playing with our balloon we listened to:
Other activities which might work well alongside reading Emily’s Balloon include:
If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:
If you’d like to receive all my posts from this blog please sign up by inputting your email address in the box below:
Delivered by FeedBurner
Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher. Whilst this book has been translated from Japanese, there is no information available regarding the translator.
£5.99 • Paperback •
I’m sometimes called the Bread-Bike-Book Woman by people who recognise me in the community but don’t know me by name; I go everywhere by bike and my basket is nearly always full of either baguettes and or books.
Shop assistants will ask what I’ve borrowed from the library, or let me know when the fresh bread is cheap at the end of the day. It’s a sobriquet I’m quite at ease with
To some, the Cloudspotter might appear isolated; Indeed, he doesn’t have many friends.
But what he does have is bags and bags of imagination. He can look at the sky and imagine stories galore in which he’s a hero, and adventurer or an explorer. Simply put, he’s very happy with his head in the clouds.
One day, however, Scruffy Dog arrives on the scene. The Cloudspotter doesn’t want to share his adventures and poor Scruffy is sent packing. But could it be that Scruffy wasn’t trying to take anything away from Franklin? Perhaps he was trying to offer him something? Something kind and full of heart, to make adventures and exploring, on earth or in the sky, even more enjoyable?
Tom McLaughlin’s quiet and thoughtful story is a lovely celebration of the power of imagination to provide comfort and joy, as well as solace. The Cloudspotter also acknowledges that it’s quite OK to be a bit different, to daydream. It shows how when friendship comes knocking it’s about doubling – rather than halving – fun and games through sharing.
The summery, soothing, pastel palette enhances the story’s gentle and charmingly whimsical feel. McLaughlin’s style makes Franklin feel like a cousin to Oliver Jeffers’ boy in How to Catch a Star.
All in all a delightful book to encourage us all to be open to spotting more adventures in the world around us.
After sharing The Cloudspotter with my girls, I prepared somewhere comfortable to do a bit of our own cloud spotting…
…we lounged around and saw lots of scenes like this…
…then we went over to the paint station…
…and started covering large sheets of paper with various shades of blue, mixing in PVA as we went. The large sheets of paper were strips of wallpaper lining. The PVA (glue) was mixed in so that we could start sticking “clouds” onto our skies as soon as the paper was covered:
We used a mixture of cotton wool and toy stuffing for the clouds, exploring the different ways these materials stretch and becoming wispy.
Whilst our sky scenes dried, it turned out that cleaning up after painting was almost as much fun as creating our art!
A few hours later, our skies were ready to go above beds, enabling hours of relaxing cloud spotting. Here’s what the kids can now see as they lie with their heads on their pillows:
What can you see in our clouds?
Music to spot clouds by could include:
Other activities which could be great fun to try out alongside reading The Cloudspotter include:
Do you have a nickname like Franklin or me?
Wishing you and yours many happy hours of cloud spotting, creating stories with all the amazing characters you imagine!
Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.
If you’d like to receive all my posts from this blog please sign up by inputting your email address in the box below:
Delivered by FeedBurner
Can you imagine a world without colour, where all you see is black, white or the shades of grey in between? As a self-confessed colour junkie such a world would sap my energies and leave my life (perhaps ironically), somewhat blue.
Thus when two new books came to my attention both titled ‘The Colour Thief’ I was very intrigued; not only did they look like their subject matter would appeal to me, it was funny and surprising to see two books, from different authors/illustrators/publishers with the same title.
In The Colour Thief by Gabriel Alborozo an alien looks longingly across space to planet earth, full of colours and brightness. He believes such a beautiful place must be full of joy, and so sets off to bring some of that happiness back to his home planet.
With just a few magic words the alien is able to suck up first all the reds, then the blues and the greens and before long planet earth is looking very grey and sad. But what of the alien? Can he really be happy when he sees the glumness he has caused?
Alborozo’s story about kindness, desire and what makes us joyous and content is full of appeal. There are lots of themes which can be explored; from the beauty around us which we might take for granted (requiring an outsider to alert us to us), to whether or not we can be happy if we’ve caused others distress, this book could be used to open up lots of discussion.
Although the alien’s actions could be frightening, this is mitigated by his cute appearance, just one of the book’s charms. I also think kids will love the apparent omnipotence of the alien: He wants something, and at his command he gets it, just like that, and this identification with the alien makes the story more interesting and unusual. The artwork is fun and energetic, seemingly filled with rainbow coloured confetti. I can easily imagine a wonderful animation of this story.
The Colour Thief by Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Peters, illustrated by Karin Littlewood is a very different sort of story. It draws on the authors’ own experience of parental depression, exploring from a child’s perspective what it can feel like to watch a parent withdraw as they suffer from this illness.
Father and son lead a comforting life “full of colour”, but when depression clouds the father’s mind he withdraws, and all the colours around the family seem to disappear. The child worries that he might somehow be the cause of this loss, but he is repeatedly reassured it is not his fault and gradually, with patience and love, colours start to seep back into the father’s life and he returns to his family.
Mental health is difficult to talk about when you’re 40, let alone when you are four, but this lyrical and moving book provides a thoughtful, gentle, and unsentimental way into introducing (and if desired, discussing) depression. If you were looking for “when a book might help” to reassure a child in a specific situation, I would wholeheartedly recommend this; it is honest, compassionate and soothing.
However, I definitely wouldn’t keep this book ONLY for those times when you find a child in a similar circumstances to those described in the book. It is far too lovely to be kept out of more general circulation. For a start, the language is very special; it’s perhaps no surprise when you discover that one of the author’s has more than 70 poetry books to his name. If you were looking for meaningful, tender use of figurative language, for example in a literacy lesson, this book provides some fabulous, examples.
And then there are the illustrations. Karin Littlewood has long been one of my favourite illustrators for her use of colour, her graceful compositions, her quiet kindness in her images. And in The Colour Thief there are many examples of all these qualities. I particularly like her use of perspective first to embody the claustrophobia and fear one can feel with depression, with bare tree branches leaning in onto the page, or street lamps lowering overhead, and then finally the open, sky-facing view as parent and child reunite as they walk together again when colour returns.
Particularly inspired by the imagery in Alborozo’s The Colour Thief we made a trip to a DIY store to pick up a load of paint chips.
Wow. My kids went crazy in the paint section: Who knew paint chips could be just so much fun? They spent over an hour collecting to their hearts’ desire. A surprising, free and fun afternoon!
Once home we snipped up the paint chips to separate each colour. The colour names caused lots of merriment, and sparked lots of equally outlandish ideas for new colour names, such as Beetlejuice red, Patio grey, Spiderweb silver and Prawn Cocktail Pink.
We talked about shades and intensity of colours, and sorted our chips into three piles: Strong, bright colours, off-white colours, and middling colours. I then put a long strip of contact paper on the kitchen table, sticky side up, and the kids started making a mosaic with the chips, starting with the brightest colours in the middle, fading to the palest around the edge.
Apart for the soothing puzzle-like quality of this activity, the kids have loved using the end result as a computer keyboard, pressing the colours they want things to change to. I also think it makes for a rather lovely bit of art, now up in their bedroom.
Whilst making our colour mosaic we listened to:
Other activities which might go well with either version of ‘The Colour Thief’ include:
If you know someone suffering from depression these charities may be of help:
Disclosure: I received free review copies of both books reviewed today from their respective publishers.
Some other books I have since found with the same title but by different authors/illustrators/publishers include:
‘The Snowy Day’ by Ezra Jack Keats, and ‘The Snowy Day’ by Anna Milbourne and Elena Temporin
‘Bubble and Squeak’ by Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud and Susan Banta, and ‘Bubble and Squeak’ by James Mayhew and Clara Vulliamy
‘My Dad’ by Anthony Browne, ‘My Dad’ by Steve Smallman and Sean Julian, and ‘My Dad’ by Chae Strathie and Jacqueline East
Yes, really. It’s about sausages.
And I say that even though you could in fact argue Little Answer is ultimately about the biggest existential questions any of us face; it’s about trying to find out who we are, about trying to understand how we fit into the big wide world.
Profound AND full of laugh out loud moments, kindness and good old fashioned silliness, this is a fabulous book for all ages.
In this philosophical and joyously absurd book Little Answer actually knows his name (‘Sausages‘), but the worrying problem is that he can’t find his question. Something’s missing in his life, and until he can find the Q to his A, things just don’t feel right.
With help from a friend, Little Answer asks around. Could he be the answer to “What makes the wind blow?” or “Where did everything come from?”. There must be a question out there just right for him to answer…
Children will recognise themselves in the gloriously satisfying end to this book, and they and their parents will enjoy the inclusion of brief answers to all the more challenging questions posed in the story. Indeed this is the perfect book for children always asking “Why?”
Tim’s richly textured illustrations are bright and beautiful. His scribbles and prints, full of energy, have an appealing child-like quality to them. Thick crayon strokes look like they’ve just been drawn on the page. And Little Answer’s characterization is brilliant; he’s utterly personable and endearing!
Tim’s told me that the idea for this book came to him during a question and answer session at the end of one his school visits.
One boy put his hand up and said “I’ve got a guinea-pig” and the teacher then explained to the boy that that wasn’t a question.
She then asked the class “What does a question need?” to which they all replied “An answer!”.
And at that point Tim immediately thought, “But what if the answer can’t find its question…”
I do hope that little boy and his guinea pig one day find out they’ve inspired a wonderful, witty, and warm book perfect for feeding (and satisfying) curiosity.
You know a book’s hit home when within just a couple of hours of it arriving, the kids are already at play, inspired by the book. And so it was with Little Answer. Balloons were filled with rice (making them lovely to hold), and then eyes, smiles and legs were added to make our own Little Answers.
M couldn’t resist making a BIG Answer too! And the answers didn’t go nameless for long.
They were called:
The girls told me that these were all answers to questions they had come up with, and it was now my job to find out what those questions were.
Well I like a challenge, and I was certain that one of the questions must involve cake, so off we set for a cafe.
To the huge delight of the girls, I was WRONG! None of their answers involved anything to do with a cafe (though they were more than happy to try some cake, just to be sure).
I thought I better up my game, so I then decided that the local library would be a good place to look for questions. M was very obliging and looked up the dewey numbers for the books which might help me find the right questions to the answers she and her sister had prepared.
So at least I was in the right section for some of my questions…. and I started knuckled down to work, with the Little Answers looking along side me.
The Big Answer preferred to lounge about!
I have to admit, it was quite a struggle to find the right questions. But in case you’re wondering what they were here they are:
And are you ready for the really really BIG question?
I especially liked the big question. It really reminds you how different the world can see when you’re a kid!
Even if I struggled to find all the questions in the library, we had so much fun with this activity. Any game where the kids are in the know and the adults are clueless is always popular in this home! Plus, along the way we got to practise research skills and giggle a great deal. What could be better?
Music we listened to whilst making our little answers included:
Other fun activities to try out alongside reading Little Answer include:
What are you the answer to? What questions are you looking for?
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Little Answer from the author.
Balloon Trees, the new title from Sylvan Dell, written by Danna Smith and illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein, reveals that the rubber that makes up balloons, balls, tires, shoes and many more things actually comes from trees! What other surprising things do you think trees give us?
The house you live in may be made from wood from trees; that’s obvious, but did you know that that house is filled with gifts from trees also? Do you like that your parents are less grumpy in the morning when they have their coffee? You can thank the coffee arabica tree for that, a 20 foot evergreen that grows in warm climates of the world. A cup of hot cocoa has made a long journey from cocoa trees along the equator to reach your kitchen. Maple syrup, cinnamon, fruits, nuts, and many more delicious items also come from trees.
Ever wonder how jelly candies get so goopy and great? Check the ingredients and you’ll find “gum arabic” in the list. Gum arabic is hardened sap from an acacia tree, and it’s used in foods like desserts to lend its goopy texture to them. It is also a key ingredient in glues, paints, and many other products that manufacturers want to make ‘slimy,’ ‘goopy,’ or ‘jelly.’
“Cellulose” is part of the ‘skin’ of trees, and when manufactured it can become “Rayon” clothing to make our own skin warmer. Cellulose is even an ingredient in foods and beauty products, lending its texture to them to make them ‘thicker’ or ‘heavier.’ When fat is removed from some “diet” or “fat-free” products, cellulose is often added to try and make the food ‘feel’ the same in a person’s mouth as before.
Trees also give us many kinds of medicine, such as aspirin, and even the first medicine for fighting malaria, “quinine.” If you’ve read our book, The Most Dangerous, you know how harmful the mosquito-spread disease malaria can be. Without the discovery of quinine from Peruvian trees, malaria would have harmed that many more people, and maybe even changed world history! Soldiers in WWII that fought in the Pacific jungles took quinine everyday, and it helped the building of the Panama Canal, and the Dutch and English to build their historical empires!
Of course, this is only the beginning of the gifts that trees give us. Say “thank you” back, by planting a tree, or at least reading a Sylvan Dell book under the shade of one!
It starts with an observation about family life which is tiny but which resonates loudly with us; it being summer holidays here and lots of time spent out in the garden, on more than one occasion it has happened that some of the kids’ toys have been left outside over night.
So a great start – we open Mini‘s latest book and the girls already think it is about our home (or so easily could be). Then a tiny bit an anxiety is introduced; the toys are a little scared by the night and what it might bring. Anxiety is ratcheted up to another level of worry when the toys are beamed aboard an alien space ship…
This worry is transformed into sympathetic concern when the toys discover the alien is only looking for his very own very toy which he has lost. Will the toys be able to help the alien? Will he be reunited with his own Cuddles? And will the toys make it back to their own garden?
Without giving away the details, the emotional arc we went through, which started with “delightful recognition >> anxiety >> worry” then continued “hope >> happiness >> relief >> great satisfaction (with a giggle)”. A perfect journey for a picture book!
As well as the thrilling emotional ride this book takes you on (with just the right amount of nerves for young children), this book scores highly for its adorable cast of characters. Having fallen in love with Traction Man and Scrubbing Brush, I did wonder if any new characters from Mini Grey could find a similar place in our hearts, but the crowd here are great and surely offer wonderful opportunities for more stories in the future featuring the same cast (What do you say, Mini?).
The visual narrative in the book is perhaps more complex than many picture books you’ll find on the bestsellers’ list, with a Jack Bauer / 24 style split screen take on events running concurrently. I like the richness this brings, and although my kids had absolutely no problems understanding how events are unfolding I wonder if some parents who are not confident readers might be put off by this.
I hope not, because Toys in Space is an exciting and heart warming story about losing (and finding) your favourite toy and is bound to delight children far and wide.
My girls were very keen to act out Toys in Space as soon as we’d read it for the first time. We gathered their favourite toys together, but didn’t have a suitable alieDisplay Comments Add a Comment
The highlight of their trip to the city wasn’t the city. It was Balloons!
A work in progress. I feel like its not quite there yet, but I can’t figure out what’s missing. Somethings off, somethings missing, but what? Any suggestions?
and hope everyone has a very safe and
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
See you all in 2012.
It’s going to be a great year.Add a Comment
One of the contributors to last week’s popular post 50+ picture books every child should be read was an author/illustrator much enjoyed in our home – Tim Hopgood. One of the very fist books I reviewed on Playing by the book was his award winning Here Come’s Frankie, which is still the book I pick up if I’m in a wonderful mood and feel like dancing, or a terrible mood and need cheering up. Our Big Blue Sofa, however, is probably one of my kids’ top 10 picture books (even if my review of it makes me cringe; who of you would display for all the world to see the detritus found down the back of your sofa!)
So when I saw that Tim had a new book out I knew it was something I would want to read and review here. UnPOPpable, published last month, captures all the joy and wonder a simple balloon can bring. Kids will love this book as they will recognise themselves in it – the delight at playing with a balloon, squeezing it, holding it, the loss but also awe as it floats up into the sky, and the magic and squealy delight that comes when the balloon finally does pop.
The story is told with just a few bare words on most pages making is an enjoyable book for even the youngest children to listen to (and great for slightly older siblings to read to their toddler brothers and sisters). As an adult reader it’s a really fun read-aloud – there are plenty of opportunities to get into the spirit of things with loud popping noises.
Tim Hopgood’s illustrations are exuberant; even those depicting the black night sky and space feel bright and vibrant, and without wishing to give anything away, the big bang finale is bursting with energy just as it must have been back when time began.
I hope you’ll find an opportunity to give this book to a child with a helium balloon – I guarantee you will make someone very happy indeed!
Inspired by UnPOPpable we got up to some good old fashioned play with balloons. The girls drew silly faces on them and then we rubbed the ballons on our hair to charge them with static electricity. Once charged we could stick our balloons pretty much anywhere we liked – on the walls and on the ceiling. It seemed like magic to the girls!
Taking the magic to the next level I challenged the girls to stick a knitting needle in a balloon without popping it. Of course balloons ended up popping left right and centre, but then Mummy stepped in with the sort of magic that only mummies possess, and sure enough, withDisplay Comments Add a Comment
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! We went to see the balloons being blown up for the parade (pictures below), then had a big beef dinner (not a turkey fan), and a relaxing weekend. What did you do for Thanksgiving?
On to the real purpose for this post: balloon pictures! When you try to take pictures of the balloons while they are being blown up, you’re at the mercy of how the balloon is positioned and how many people get in your way while you are aiming the camera. These three pictures were taken with my cell phone and came out okay, although pics from other years have turned out better.
So just how big are those balloons, anyway? They’re HUGE! Here’s a picture I took of Buzz Lightyear in 2008. Three people happily posed for scale … okay, they weren’t posing for me, so I blurred out the faces, but it’s still a great picture to show the scale of the balloons.
You might be wondering how they manage to find space to blow up all those balloons. What they do is close off the two streets on either side of the American Museum of Natural History and line the balloons up along each street. Here’s a picture from 2008 that shows Horton in between Shrek and some holiday balloons.
Here’s another example. Remember the Kool-Aid Man picture above? Here’s the wide screen shot that shows him sandwiched in between Sponge Bob and a football and another balloon.
If you want to see the balloons next year, be prepared for lots of people. The crowd is always wall-to-wall, even before you get anywhere near the balloons, and especially once you get there. It’s inadvisable to bring small dogs and strollers to this event, although some people bring them (it’s an easy way for a pet, child or adult to get injured in the crush of the crowd). Here’s a picture of the 2007 crowd. It’s a little blurry, so it’s hard to see past the first couple of rows, but it’s all people, as far as the eye can see (and no balloons in sight yet).Display Comments Add a Comment
Right. Maddy has a whole new hairdo consisting of a fringe (which Americans inexplicably call bangs), or bangs (which the English mysteriously call a fringe), and she looks oddly like the Coraline puppet from the Henry Selick film, while I have, er, not quite as much hair in my eyes as I did this morning. Stopped off at DreamHaven (http://www.dreamhavenbooks.com/) after the haircut and signed a pile of stuff for them (it'll be up on www.Neilgaiman.net soon enough).
Also bought a few books, which considering how much time I've had recently to read, and how much I have sitting in piles waiting to be read (I seem to be reading everything I can find about Bert Williams right now) is madness. Still, I picked up, with joyful expectation, Avram Davidson's Adventures in Unhistory, Diana Wynne Jones's The Pinhoe Egg, and Kim Newman's The Man from the Diogenes Club. It's nice to have books on the To Be Read Pile you know will be good. A Charles Vess cover drew my eye, and I found myself getting the paperback of Herminie Kavanagh's Darby O'Gill, and I wrapped up the shopping expedition with a copy of M. John Harrison's Viriconium (not to read, just so I had a copy with my introduction in).
And I just got to see some site statistics (courtesy of Dan Guy who has made the Webelf her Clouds -- the first is up at http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/labels/ and is really rather fun. Hurrah for you helpful people out there reading this) and I learned that as of the last post, I'd written One Million and Fourteen Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixty One words on this blog.
I wish I'd known that 14,261 words ago. We would have had a party. With balloons.
Strange things keep turning up in the right hand side of the page. (If you're reading this on a feed, you might want to click over to http://journal.neilgaiman.com/ and refresh a few times. I'm just saying...)
please click on image to view a larger versionAdd a Comment
Professor William Waterman Sherman has just been fished out of the Atlantic Ocean by the crew of the S.S. Cunningham. They found the Professor floating among the detritus of some twenty deflated balloons. Obviously the Captain and crew of the ship were anxious to know the Professor's story, but he simply refuses to tell insisting that "This tale of mine shall first be heard in the auditorium of the Western American Explorers' Club in San Fransisco, of which I am an honorary member!" (p.11)
The Professor is then whisked cross country in none other than the President's very own train. Everyone, it seems, is awaiting the details of the Professor's round-the-world balloon trip.
Once the Professor is ensconced in a comfy bed on the stage in the auditorium of the Explorers' Club, he begins to tell his tale. And quite a tale it is! A tale including crash landings, shark infested waters, secret island habitations, diamond mines, international food, and escape plans!
This is a Newbery blast from the past of the very best sort. The pacing is perfect, the story is action packed, the people of Krakatoa and their "gourmet government" are hilarious, and the Professor is a great storyteller. William Pene du Bois definitely understood what kids want in a story. Readers will easily be able to see this turned into a film of the Willy Wonka variety if only in their minds.
One of the fun things about doing design work is that you never know when you might stumble across one of your designs in a store. I was in the grocery store the other day. I really wasn't in the mood to go grocery shopping but I knew ketchup and saltines for dinner wasn't going to cut it for dinner. As I slogged through the last aisle I was surprised to see the bakery department was decorated with mylar balloons that had my froggy design on them. I covertly snapped a photo on my cell phone. People probably thought I was a kook taking photos of the scones.
Craving Street Art?
The Sky Zonkey
We created this little zonkey and wrote a short note on his tummy. It read:
You Found Me! I was attached to balloons and set adrift from Apex, NC. Please take a photo of me and email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We took the little zonkey outside and then, as noted, set him adrift on the wind..
We're hoping someone will find him and report back...
He flew pretty high...
UP, Up, up...
over the powerlines..
and then he was gone
See more at Zonkey Street!
Check back soon for more street art projects including:
Floating Street Art
Name the Zonkey
Or click here to read about the Adventures of Zonkey
*Senior pranks can be cause for trouble within the school or law. Make sure the prank is appropriate and doesn’t harm any person, property, or animal. I am not held responsible for any of the punishment, damage, or any other causes of these pranks. Trespassing, vandalism, or any other crime is not acceptable in the process of carrying out a prank.
A great idea for a senior prank is to fill an office, classroom, gym, or car full of balloons, popcorn, packing peanuts, or any other item that consumes up space. This is a hilarious prank that is pretty harmless.
This classic prank will also create problems within the school. Buy 700-1000 Dixie cups or how many you find appropriate. Fill them up with a little bit of water, but not to much. And place them all next to each other but very close so that you cannot step between the cups without knocking them down. Make sure you start on the opposite side of the room and make your way backwards toward the exit!
Order and Buy thousands of bouncy balls, most likely online. Get a good group of friends and distribute them amongst each other. Plan out a certain time in the day where everyone is spread out throughout the school and then just make it rain bouncy balls! This prank would definitely cause chaos and confusion, but would be hilarious.
An easy prank would be to saran wrap other student’s cars. Juniors would be the primary target seeing they are the other grade that can drive. Faculty may be a risky idea, but they would be an option. This may be one of the more expensive pranks, but it deserves to be on the list.
Forking the school yard would be another senior prank. Students would go to a store and buy hundreds of forks, and during the middle of the night they would stick them into the school’s courtyard, lobby, or football field. This prank would be a risky one seeing that it could be considered vandalism. A vulgar message may cross the line.
This classic prank is known all over. I don’t think I need to explain, but I will. Buy a bunch of toilet paper rolls and just go crazy. You can never buy too much toilet paper. Throw them all over the school’s building, trees, and anything else that works.
src=”http://www.outyourbackdoor.com/images/articles/122511_dalmac.tents.jpg” alt=”" width=”190″ height=”142″ />
This prank involves getting as many seniors as possible and camping out for a night in the parking lot or any other good area. This would be a fun prank that seems pretty harmless if everything goes right. Grilling out, chilling, and playing some sports would make this a fun night.
This prank involves putting as many for sale signs as possible in the front lawn of your school. This would be a pretty humorous prank not to mention harmless. Another option is to put a real estate ad in the local newspaper.
For this prank you need to get a group of seniors, and while class is in session this group needs to run around with numerous jars of Vaseline and rub it all over door handles and lockers. This will definitely cause students to be mad and will leave a mark in your school’s history.
Better Post-It Note It
This final prank is pretty self-explanatory. You need to get a whole group of seniors and buy a bunch of post-it note packages. Then during school sometime or after when no one is in the hallways cover everything with post-it notes. Completely yellow-out the school hallway and it will look flawless.Add a Comment