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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Activity Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 38
1. DC Super Heroes Origami

dc super hero origamiIt’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…origami?

On a scale of 1 to 3 stars, the “Daily Planet Building” project is a 1, meaning it is the simplest level of the paper-folding projects in John Montroll’s DC Super Heroes Origami (Capstone, September 2015). As an origami novice, I decided to start with the easiest possible project, thinking “Buildings are rectangles; you’ve totally got this.”

Daily Planet Pic 1

what the Daily Planet Building project is intended to look like

But I will forever claim that I was doomed from the beginning: the origami paper specifically designed to be the Daily Planet building was not a square. I feel like that should have been a prerequisite for the production of this book:

“We’re creating a book on how to do origami projects. Origami paper is square. Should we make sure our paper is square?”

“Nah, no one will notice if the paper is rectangular. Just print it. What? No, no, just print. We’re good.”

Uneven paper pic 2

And I began.

Following the step-by-step instructions, I found myself repeatedly flipping back to the handy key in the front which explains different folds and how to do them. I did not master the “squash fold.” I imagine mastering the squash fold is not in the cards for me. But the “pleat-fold”? I’ve definitely got that one down:

awesome pleat fold pic 3

The squash fold, for your viewing pleasure:

Squash fold pic 4

At this point, my windows aren’t matching up and, for some reason, the base of my building has an extra side. There are lots of little steps left between “extra-sided-base” and “finished” and all of them are pleat-folds with mountain-folds along the crease and squash folds to make things…pointy? I’m not even done and it already looks like the Crooked Man built the Daily Planet. Or like something from A Serious of Unfortunate Events happened in Metropolis (that’s where Superman is from, right?).

I squash and pleat and create ART. Because I am an ARTIST. Then, the final step is to bend slightly so the building is 3D and can stand. I turn it over. This is what I have:

Complete laying down pic 5  Complete standing up pic 6
It does stand…when supported by my water bottle. To prove to myself that I am capable of folding paper, I cut my own origami paper and started over. I still have not mastered the squash folds. But look! Look at the difference when the paper is square!

MINE pic 7

That is a Daily Planet! A Daily Planet built by a not-very-imaginative Metropolis-ian (Metropolian? Metropolitan?) architect. Look at the detail! And that flat base. People could totally work in that thing. Tiny, two-dimensional, imaginary people.

The post DC Super Heroes Origami appeared first on The Horn Book.

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2. 8 Ways to Draw an Elephant

8-Ways-to-Draw-an-Elephant_cover_LRContinuing our search for colouring-in books with a twist, 8 Ways to Draw an Elephant by Paola Ferrarotti (@pferrarotti) caught our eye. Featuring the work of Karunakara Sahu, Sunita, Joydeb Chitrakar, Harsingh Hamir, Jason Imam, Jagdish Chitara and Mudrika Devi – Indian artists from different regions across the country each working in their own folk or tribal style – this is a book which encourages us to explore how we can all see the same thing but interpret it in different ways.

Every double page spread offers the opportunity to explore a new artistic style, giving readers the wings to experiment with finding their own approach to decoration and pattern. Whether tracing, copying, colouring or simply free-wheeling with a nice pencil in your hand, this book is all about opening readers’ eyes to variety and possibilities.

Some people don’t like colouring-in books because they can feel quite trammelled, colouring only inside lines, filling in other people’s designs. But this book is quite different – not only widening our experience of different artistic styles, but specifically encouraging its readers and colourer-ins (or should that be colourers-in?) to take the tools it offers to enjoy their own way of expressing themselves with pen and paper.


Information about elephants is interspersed with prompts to draw and be creative on each double page spread. Spot use of colour and gorgeously thick paper make this a beautiful book to look at and hold.


A lovely mixture of facts and fun, I think this book is also important as it shows (Western readers) a different form of artistic beauty. Diversity and inclusivity are (rightly) big themes in the book world at the moment, and extending this discussion to cultural representations and art forms only enriches all our lives.


My girls loved the idea of taking an elephant and seeing how many different ways we could “see” it. Spotting some cardboard elephants at a craft shop they seized upon them and asked if they could turn some of the designs in 8 Ways to Draw an Elephant into 3D objects and of course I couldn’t say no…




Whilst decorating our elephants both on paper and in 3D we listened to:

  • The Elephant Song by Eric Herman
  • Mumma by Kailash Kher. You can listen here, but we found it via the Putumayo Kids Asian Playground CD
  • and everything by one of our favourite (Neo-Trad) bands The Elephant Sessions. Not much to do with elephants, but we do love their music.

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading 8 Ways to Draw an Elephant include:

  • Making your own 3-D elephant by cutting and folding one from card, with this tutorial from My Creative Life
  • Finding out what Indian art is held in museums and art galleries near you and then going for some chai and jalebi afterwards. If your local museum/art gallery doesn’t hold any Indian art, you could instead go on an elephant hunt, looking for images and sculptures in other forms of art
  • Exploring more Tara Books‘ publications on Indian Art for kids, including Following My Paintbrush (click here for our review)

  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:

  • An interview with David Barrow, author of the very funny Have You Seen Elephant?
  • A day trip to India
  • Bubble and Squeak by James Mayhew and Clara Vulliamy
  • moreelephants

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    3 Comments on 8 Ways to Draw an Elephant, last added: 2/4/2016
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    3. Q&A with Hervé Tullet (Yes, It Rhymes!)

    What drove you to start creating children's books? A revolt! When I had my first child, children’s books looked like some stupid marketing thing.

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    4. The Switch Witch and the Magic of Switchcraft, by Audrey R. Kinsman | Book Review

    The Switch Witch and the Magic of Switchcraft is actually a beautiful gift set that includes a Switch Witch doll and a storybook centered on the Switch Witch character.

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    5. Things I Did Before They Were Cool: Coloring Book Edition

    pippins_i love my hairRecently, I have seen many articles about coloring books for adults (like this one). I paid little attention because I was so ahead of this trend.

    You see, my right-out-of-college boyfriend and our group of friends were super into board games. Initially I tried to play, but it became very clear to all of us very quickly that no one wanted that: I didn’t understand the rules; I didn’t want to understand the rules; I was bored; I was frustrated; and I made the game miserable for anyone trying to play with me. But if I didn’t play I felt left out, which meant I would pester them while they tried to concentrate.

    So my then-boyfriend bought me coloring books and colored pencils. The group of us would go to the bar, they would focus in on the game, I would focus in on my coloring, and we would all speak distractedly to each other over booze and activities.

    And that is how I was preemptively cool.

    But then, I ♥ My Hair: A Coloring Book of Braids, Coils, and Doodle Dos (Schwartz & Wade, November 2015) by Andrea Pippins came across my desk. The Horn Book doesn’t review activity books (and this may be an adult book?) but I instantaneously fell in love with it. Pippins writes in her forward, “As an artist and a designer, I’m all about self-empowerment for women and girls, and much of my artwork over the years has been inspired by social, political, and cultural statements that can be made with hair…Inside this book, you’ll find pages filled with doodles that continue to celebrate my love for black hair, and my passion for inspiring all women and girls to feel good about themselves.”


    What follows is a riot of up-dos, curls, waves, and braids to color. The illustrations are intricate, bold, and dazzling, with many double-page spreads of impressive styles such as the “South Indian Bejeweled Bridal Braid,” the “Marie Antoinette,” and the “Diana Ross.” Sayings (“Relax & let your hair go free!”) and accoutrements are displayed proudly and beautifully, the book expressing over and over again “I love my hair.”

    I love this book.

    I spent part of my day listening to calming music and filling in the double-page spread of short hairdos (“Go cropped & coily or short & spiky”).


    hair_finished page

    One of our interns, Julia, started one and blew mine out of the water:


    This is a perfect coloring book for a meticulous colorer — adult or youth — with a message that is extremely valuable. Get it. Give it. Color it. Love it.

    The post Things I Did Before They Were Cool: Coloring Book Edition appeared first on The Horn Book.

    0 Comments on Things I Did Before They Were Cool: Coloring Book Edition as of 1/1/1900
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    6. Cutting, colouring and creating layered landscapes


    Colouring books are slowly taking over the world, and with their ubiquity it’s interesting to find ones which take an innovative, unusual approach to the pastime. Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons by Anouck Boisrobert is just such an eye-opener.

    In fact, this book turns people into little magicians, for with just a few pencils or crayons and a pair of scissors, it allows you and your kids to conjure into being 3-D landscapes across the seasons. The process is simple but hugely effective – as this short video shows:

    The explanation and design is very clear and the illustrations are clean and uncluttered with just a sprinkling of detail and pre-printed colour. Young children may need some support with the cutting, not least because the pages are all bound tightly into the book, rather than with perforated edged for easy removal.

    Boisrobert’s pop-up books are among the most treasured books-as-objects in our home, with their crisp lines and clever paper engineering never failing to delight. It’s such fun that with Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons a little of their beauty has been packaged up in such a way as to enable children to create something a little similar.



    Whilst colouring and cutting out the scenes in this activity book it occurred to me that we could adapt the basic idea of Boisrobert’s book to create our own layered landscapes. First I gathered together examples of paintings where layering, in terms of shades and colours, plays a big role. You can see what I found (with much appreciated help from blog/twitter followers Anamaria Andersen and Fiona Barker amongst others) on this Pinterest board.


    With these beautiful pieces of art in mind, M put watercolour washes in several shades of blue on separate sheets of paper, basically making each sheet lighter than the last by using more water on her brush.

    When dry, she draw mountain ranges on the reverse of each sheet…


    …before cutting them out and layering them up.


    We noted how when hills or mountains are “layered” in a picture, they tend to “fade” the further they are away. M also noticed how in many of the pieces of art we looked at the sky’s colouring typically went from darker up above, to lighter near the horizon. She decided her “mountains” were beneath a stormy sky and so painted a final sheet with a graded black-grey watercolour wash.


    Finally everything came together and I framed it:


    For such a simple art project, I think it is remarkably effective, and M is definitely delighted with the results.


    Whilst making our cut-out layered landscapes and colouring in Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons we listened to:

  • The Colored Pencil Factory by Astrograss (which comes with its own colouring in page!)
  • Rock Paper Scissors by Dean Jones
  • Colour In by Kenny Miller. Oooh listen to that “cockney” accent!

  • Other activities which might work well alongside getting crafty with Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons include:

  • Using your scissor skills to create decorations out of old books. If your kids are comfortable with the cutting out in Boisrobert’s book, they’ll definitely be able to make the baubles described here
  • Enjoying these book sculptures, many of which make use of a layering technique in their creation
  • Reading Why I like Colouring In Books by Sarah McIntyre

  • If you liked this post, you might like these other posts by me:

  • Tree by Britta Teckentrup, which explores the life of a tree across the span of a single year, along with a tree collage
  • Nature’s Day written by Kay Maguire, illustrated by Danielle Kroll, along with a spinning Mother’s Day card
  • Lots of free activity sheets from a wide variety of authors and illustrators – including many colouring in pages
  • cutcolourextra

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    3 Comments on Cutting, colouring and creating layered landscapes, last added: 2/1/2016
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    7. Activity books for long journeys and school holidays

    We’ve a week’s holiday from school coming up and will be travelling around the country visiting family, and this means we’ve several multi-hour journeys ahead of us. Journeys are my favourite time for enjoying stories and our bags always include:

  • our mp3 player loaded up with a new audiobook and some old favourites, along with a splitter, so both children can listen at the same time should they wish to
  • a couple of new magazines or comics
  • an activity book or two for busy fingers
  • Favourite audiobooks include the How to train your Dragon series, voiced by David “former Dr Who” Tennant, enriched with great music and sound effects, David Walliams reading his own stories (not surprisingly, he does really funny voices), and Tony “Baldrick” Robinson’s Theseus and Odysseus. New for our next journey will be The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell (thanks to @HawthornPressUK for the recommendation).

    As we subscribe to several magazines and comics at home, reading choices for the train are made from what is available in the station newsagents so that the kids get to try something they wouldn’t have at home. Often they’ll chose a wildlife, craft or archaeology magazine. Technically these may be marketed for adults, but they are often much more engaging than those aimed at kids as they have more content, fewer adverts and less “plastic crap” on the front (a bonus from my point of view).

    When looking for activity books to take on journeys my first port of call is always the online shops of museums and art galleries; generally speaking these are good sources of slightly more unusual or quirky activity books. This holiday I’ll be taking DoodleFlip Dress-Up by Hennie Haworth, Stickyscapes London by Robert Samuel Hanson, and also Stickyscapes Paris by Malika Favre.


    DoodleFlip Dress-Up is a mix and match, lift the flap fashion colouring-in book. There’s lot to choose from; maybe your creation will have the legs of a ballerina, the floaty dress of a hippy, the accessories of a pirate and the helmet of an astronaut (all figures are female). Prompts suggest ideas for filling several blank flaps with your own designs.


    Whilst advertised as 3+, I think the style of illustration will appeal to much older children (say 8+); the designs are quite detailed and relatively small and also look more sophisticated than many colouring-in illustrations aimed at young children.

    The two Stickyscapes books are great fun. They are large concertina style fold out cityscapes of the two cities, and come with lots of reusable stickers. One side of each fold-out shows the “real and present-day” city, whilst the other side depicts an “imaginary and historical” version of the city.


    There’s lots to learn and explore in both sticker books. A key to each scene is included so you can identify landmarks around the city, and the stickers (a mixture of present-day, historical and fictional people, forms of transport and items you might find on the cities’ streets) come with explanatory notes, making this much more than “just” a sticker book.


    I have just one complaint about these books: The population of these cities is far more diverse than the stickers would have you believe.


    In the London book, there are perhaps three non-white people represented (out of a total of 33 modern day inhabitants and visitors), or to put it another way 9% of the sticker book modern day population is probably not white. According to the 2011 census just over 40% of Londoners identified themselves as non-white. Comparable figures are not easily obtainable for the French capital, but I suspect the demographics of this city are not accurately represented by the stickers in the Paris book, which could be seen to suggest a 100% white population.


    Of course these books are just a bit of fun, and some will say I’m making too much of the hard numbers. But I’d disagree. Why wouldn’t we want the illustrations of these great cities to reflect their rich, mixed populations more accurately?

    Alas we won’t be visiting either London or Paris during our travels, but at least we’ll be able to travel there in our imaginations, suitably decked out in the highest of fashion as designed by my kids! What book or story resources do you pack when you’re going on a long journey?

    Disclosure: I received the three activity books from the publisher.

    3 Comments on Activity books for long journeys and school holidays, last added: 2/12/2015
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    8. 5 Art Activity Books for Kids that are Meditative, Innovative, and Inspiring

    Art activity books can serve as a wonderful meditative tool to help reduce stress, refocus and recharge the brain, and spark inspiration.

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    9. Top Secret Files of History: Spies, Secret Missions & Hidden Facts from World War I by Stephanie Bearce

    In October 2014, I reviewed a book called Top Secret Files of History: Spies, Secret Missions, & Hidden Facts from World War II.  It is such an interesting book, and I discovered all kinds of new information about the hidden workings and wartime secrets that helped end the war.   Now, the author, Stephanie Bearce has followed it up with a similar book about World War I.

    Bearce has once again culled little known information about WWI and combined it with more well-known details and events in a book that will fascinate young readers.  For instance, they will read about the secret society, the Black Hand, formed by the Serbian Army for the purpose of freeing Serbia from being ruled by Austria-Hungary, which led to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife and the start of WWI.

    And then, in the section on Spies, there is the prospector/mining engineer Howard Burnham, who had lost part of his leg before the war in an accident.  Working for the Allies, Harry traveled into German territory to do learn enemy troop positions.  Howard has a photographic mind and didn't need to put anything on paper.  In addition, he cleverly hid his surveying tools in his prosthetic leg and no one was ever the wiser.  Readers will also read about brave women like Nurse Edith Cavell and Nurse Marthe Cnockaert, whose professions helped them spy for the Allies.  After the war, Cnockaert went on to write spy novels.

    One of my favorite stories in the Special Missions section are the dazzle ships.  Radar was unknown in WWI, and the Germans had developed their submarines or U-boat to such an extent that Allied ships were being successfully torpedoed by them.  A British naval officer named Norman Wilkinson came up with a unique way to confuse the Germans: camouflage the ships by painting the bright geometric patterns so the U-boats couldn't zero in on their position.  See what I mean:

    HMS London (1918 Public Domain)
    Spies, Secret Missions & Hidden Facts from WWI is chockablock with interesting facts, people and events.  Towards the end of the war, as planes were being used more and more, the French were afraid that Paris would be bombed.  What to do?  Readers will discover the unusual solution the French come up with in this book.  And speaking of airplanes, remember the World War I flying ace, Snoopy and his foe, the Red Barron.  Well, readers will meet the read Red Barron in the section on Secret Forces.

    And they will learn about some secret weapons that were used, like carrier pigeons and dogs, and Little Willie, the tank that was able to put an end to trench warfare.  How?  Here's a hint:

    The newly invented tank could easily cross over a trench 
    Like it companion book, this one is also divided into five sections: Secrets, Spies, Special Missions, Secret Weapons and Secret Forces, each packed with all kinds of interesting information, and within that, readers will find inserts with even more unusual facts.  And at the end of each of the five sections, there are activities and projects for kids to do that corresponds to the topic covered.

    A Bibliography of Books and Websites is included for further exploration.  Like Bearce's book on WWII, this volume is also sure to please young history buffs, or anyone else who like a good secret.

    This book is recommended for readers age 9+
    This book was sent to me by the publisher, Prurock Press

    0 Comments on Top Secret Files of History: Spies, Secret Missions & Hidden Facts from World War I by Stephanie Bearce as of 4/10/2015 9:34:00 AM
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    10. Klutz Activity Kits | Book Review

    Klutz’s book based activity kits are exceptional for providing inspiration and convenience and for allowing children to explore and uncover new interests and talents.

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    11. National Parks: Top 10 Kids’ Books

    For those of you planning to take your kids to a national park in 2015, here are some excellent books you need to take along for the ride.

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    12. A Crazy Fairy Tale, some Rhythm and Movement, a cute Penguin, and Messy Pasta - all from Scholastic

    A Crazy Fairy Tale…

    Little Red Riding Hood Not Quite by Yvonne Morrison, illus. Donovan Bixley, Scholastic NZ

    If you liked the previous Children’s Choice Award-winning story from this pair – The Three Bears Sort Of – you’ll like this one. 
    It’s the same format, with a long-suffering parent trying to read the fairy tale to a precocious child. The interruptions and discussions are very funny – and extremely logical, when you think about it. The old fairy tales certainly weren’t renowned for being logical…Donovan Bixley’s bright and cheeky illustrations are done in mixed media, hand drawn and digitally painted. They convey the two layers of the narration with gusto. Probably best for older children, maybe about 6 to 8, who know the original story and can enjoy the input from the child listener.

    ISBN 978 1 77543 263 0 $15.99 Pb

    Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

    Rustle Up a Rhythmby Rosalind Malam, illus. Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson, Scholastic New Zealand

    Packed with action and noise, this will be great fun to read aloud to either a group or an individual child. Written from the point of view of a small boy, the rhyming text zips us through the day with his family, using such verses as: “Bibble, bibble, bubble, hums my egg from the pot, and the bread in the toaster goes click – click – pop!” Onomatopoeia is featured all the way through the story, right up to bedtime. The illustrations are friendly, expansive and colourful, happily integrating the “noise” words into the flow of daily events. Pre-schoolers in particular will love identifying and saying the words, at the same time associating sounds with events or objects familiar to them. I imagine this book will be very useful for reading and language sessions in pre-school centres and early entrant classes.

    ISBN 978 1 77543 148 0 $19.00 Pb

    Little Hoiho by Stephanie Thatcher, Scholastic NZ

    Stephanie’s first picture book The Great Galloping Galoot was published by Scholastic NZ in 2012. It’s a jolly, bouncing story – fans will find this second book is quite different in tone but just as satisfying. On her first foray out of the nest, a little penguin finds that not all birds are the same. Kotuku struts on beautiful long legs, Toroa flies on big wings, Tui can sing. Little Hoihoi can’t do any of these things. Of course, as soon as she falls into the water she finds there is something she can do much better than the other birds… The pencil illustrations are a delight with their gentle watercolours, uncluttered scenes and good use of white space. Little Hoihoi’s expressive face takes centre-stage and delicately conveys her emotions. The book includes a small amount of information about yellow-eyed penguins, but its true value will be as a group read-aloud to children of around 3 to 7.

    ISBN 978 1 77543 249 4 RRP $19 Pb

    Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

    Piggy Pasta and More Food With Attitude by Rebecca Woolfall and Suzi Tait-Bradly with feature photography by Vicki Leopold, Scholastic New Zealand
    The picture on the cover is of some extremely pink (ie. beetroot-coloured) pasta which certainly draws the eye to the book… Once you get past the pasta pig face, you’ll find an alphabetically arranged collection of interesting recipes ranging from Dirt Pudding and Incy Wincy Chocolate Spiders to Rowdy Rice Saladand Witchy Poo Fingers. Each recipe is coded to indicate what types of meal it can be - there’s certainly a wide range of dishes covered. The authors are the founders of the Auckland-based LittleCooks cooking classes for kids (www.littlecooks.co.nz), so they know what’s likely to appeal to young appetites.

    I studied the recipes and reached a few conclusions. Firstly, kids will love eating most of them and will especially love making them with a (very) patient parent to assist. Secondly, the recipes will probably be more successful with older children than with littlies – some procedures are quite fiddly and time-consuming. Scholastic recommends the book for ages 8+. Thirdly, what you see in the busy, bright illustrations is not necessarily what you get. Toys, props and fancy backgrounds have been used in the photos to create a fabulous picture – so if you want to replicate the presentation of some of the dishes, you’ll have to do a shopping trip to the toy shop first…

    ISBN 978 1 77543 216 6 $19.00 Pb

    Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

    0 Comments on A Crazy Fairy Tale, some Rhythm and Movement, a cute Penguin, and Messy Pasta - all from Scholastic as of 5/22/2015 5:53:00 PM
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    13. A Dr. Seuss Celebration for What Pet Should I Get?

    It is the release day for the newer-than-new new book from Dr. Seuss, What Pet Should I Get?

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    14. Activity Books: Drawing Tips and Techniques

    Manga for the Beginner Kawaii, My Monster Bubblewriter Book and Photoplay! all seek to engage readers by providing prompts and tips to spark creativity.

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    15. Halloween Crafts for Kids: 4 Spooky Activity Books

    By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
    Published: October 27, 2011

    Monster Comics

    By Mike Herrod

    Doodlers and fans of monsters and comics, unite! From freaked-out moms to thirsty vampires, using clean lines and minimal color, the talented children’s book author and illustrator Mike Herrod offers kids over 30 spook-tacular monster-pieces to finish off with their own drawings. However, it’s the “Magic Monster Pen” that steals the limelight. Kids can use the pen to compose their own secret messages or design their own hidden drawings; it also magically reveals 16 invisible ink picture pages throughout the book. This is an activity book that fans of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid are bound to enjoy.(Ages 7 and up)

    Make a Mummy, Shrink a Head and Other Useful Skills

    By Pat Murphy

    Pat Murphy and the Scientists of Klutz Labs have put together a very unique book of activities for fearless explorers. Kids that enjoy experiments can make their very own mummy from a hot dog and a few other household items, such as toilet paper. Kids that really enjoy art and have a little patience will love turning an apple into a creepy, shrunken head. The well organized book includes fun facts and amusing photographs every step of the way. (Ages 8 and up)

    PomPom Monster Salon: Create, Cut & Style Your Own Monsters

    By April Chorba

    This is an activity that really brings out creativity and personal style. Easy to follow instructions and simple tools make it really easy to customize homemade pompoms. Although the publisher (Klutz) recommends this activity book for 8-year-olds and up, parent or guardian participation makes it a great choice for younger children, too. (Ages 8 and up)

    Wicked Cool Friendship Bracelets

    By Karen Phillips

    This Klutz activity book offers a spooky take on the classic friendship bracelet. Including cord, charms and beads, kids are introduced to the basics of the bracelet making process before taking on the task of creating bracelets with names such as Bitten and Cobweb. And, even when the provided supplies are all used up, you can easily buy more sup

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    16. Kids’ Cookbooks: 8 Mouthwatering Recipe Collections for Kids

    By Nicki Richesin, The Children’s Book Review
    Published: March 8, 2012

    A Delicious Way to Bring your Favorite Stories to Life

    When I was a child, I fell in love with a cookbook called Wild Foods. Just the idea of foraging the woods for berries and creating a delicious soup filled me with wonder. Years later, when my daughter was small, we discovered a lovely cookbook for dolls called Mudpies and Other Recipes. We lovingly prepared Wood Chip Dip, Dandelion Soufflé, and Rainspout Tea for her dolls. Cooking with children is such a wonderful way to spend time together. Within these superb cookbooks, you’ll recall your favorite stories and feast on mouth-watering dishes.

    Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes and Roald Dahl’s Even More Revolting Recipes

    By Roald and Felicity Dahl and Josie Fison; illustrated by Quentin Blake with photographs by Jan Baldwin

    Your children will scream with delight when they read and recognize the many treats from Roald Dahl’s memorable books. Bunce’s Doughnuts! Bruce Bogtrotter’s Cake! Frobscottle! Both of these cookbooks are a great tribute to his nutty genius and were largely compiled by his widow Felicity after Dahl’s death. For adults, I recommend Memories with Food at Gipsy House and also Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights by Roald’s granddaughter Sophie. She has a new cookbook Very Fond of Food available from Random House in April. (Ages 8-11. Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) and Puffin)

    The Secret Garden Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden

    By Amy Cotler; illustrations by Prudence See

    This exquisite cookbook reminds us of the beauty of Burnett’s classic The Secret Garden and the magic of making things come to life. Mary’s rambling walks along the moors in the countryside with Dickon and their hard work in the garden stirs a great appetite for porridge, little sausage cakes, and jam roly

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    17. Twist It Up! by Jack Witherspoon great recipes for tweens (ages 9 - 14)

    Children love making things and they especially love cooking. Tweens are especially excited to get cooking, learning to use different ingredients to make dishes their family and friends will want to eat. If you have a kid who has fun experimenting in the kitchen, check out this new cook book from the inspiring Jack Witherspoon.

    Twist It Up: More than 60 delicious recipes from an inspiring young chef
    by Jack Witherspoon
    CA: Chronicle, 2012
    ages 9 - 14
    preview available on Google Books
    available at your local library, favorite bookstore or on Amazon
    Young Chef Jack will inspire kids to get into the kitchen and make some magic. His passion for cooking began in the hospital at age 6, as he was battling a relapse of childhood leukemia. One day, he happened upon the Food Network and ever since he has followed his passion to become a chef himself.

    Today, 11-year-old Chef Jack is happy and optimistic that his treatments will keep him healthy. The sales of this cookbook benefit pediatric leukemia research.

    Our school’s cooking teacher and some of her students reviewed Twist It Up and give it a definite thumbs up. The roasted sweet potato wedges were delicious and crispy without being fried. Another rainy winter day, they tried the Norwegian pancakes. The kids especially enjoyed filling the pancakes with jam and then rolling them.

    While this book doesn’t emphasize whole grains or seasonal fruits and vegetables, it does get kids excited about cooking. The mouthwatering photographs and Jack’s personal stories pull readers into this cookbook again and again.

    Take a look inside this book here:
    Twist It Up: More Than 60 Delicious Recipes from an Inspiring Young Chef 0 Comments on Twist It Up! by Jack Witherspoon great recipes for tweens (ages 9 - 14) as of 1/1/1900 Add a Comment
    18. On onions and existentialism

    s great escape On onions and existentialism

    Help! There is an onion trapped in this book, destined for certain death! It is up to us to save her from the Big Fry, the greatest fear of onions everywhere. But this onion has hope: “Yet I have been told / That there’s a way out / For an ONION who challenges, / Questions and doubts.”

    All pretty mystifying and just plain weird, but readers interested in existential philosophizing may be tickled by the onion-like layers of meaning in Sara Fanelli’s interactive book The Onion’s Great Escape (Phaidon, May).

    The book has no qualms about jumping into fundamental questions from the first peel. At the start of the volume, an onion’s face emerges from a series of solid red-washed double-page spreads. “WHO AM I?” the onion asks, soon followed by “WHO ARE YOU?” Faced with her imminent death, the onion leads us through an exploration of deep concepts like fear, time, memory, reality, imagination, and morality.

    As we move from contemplation to contemplation, we punch out the onion’s perforated silhouette.

    onion 1 On onions and existentialism

    With each poignant question, we shed one more layer of the onion—or something like that.Then as we think about the onion’s thoughts and ask ourselves those same questions, we gradually free the onion from the book, and from her fate. (How exactly? I’m not entirely sure.) Then we can make a 3-D model of the onion that we’ve liberated from the prison of her pages.

    Mechanically speaking, it’s hard to re-read the book once the onion has been freed, because a lot of relevant text and images appear directly on the form of the now-flown onion. But the self-actualization is worth it—at least to the onion.

    onion 2 On onions and existentialism

    "Who are you?"


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    19. Let Books be Books by Keren David

    Beautiful Girls...Brilliant boys? 
    I'm on deadline, so this post will be brief. In fact I'm over deadline, and I've reached the gibbering stage of madness where words and storylines are swirling around my head in such a bewildering fashion that I despair of catching them all. 
    So, let me quickly commend the Let Books Be Books campaign to you and urge you to sign the petition, which calls for children's publishers to take 'Boys' and 'Girls' labels off colouring, activity and sticker books.
    As the campaign says: 'Children are listening, and take seriously the messages they receive from books, from toys, from marketing and the adults around them. Do we really want them to believe that certain things are off-limits for them because of their gender? They’re not ‘getting it wrong’ if a girl likes robots, or if a boy wants to doodle flowers. These artificial boundaries turn children away from their true preferences, and provide a fertile ground for bullying.'
    I'd go further and ask that publishers think carefully about all the books they publish for children of all ages and ask if gender specific  covers are really necessary.  Too often the message goes out to children that books about girls are off limit to boys, and vice versa. That adventure and action is for boys, and relationships are for girls. That a 'pink' book written by a woman is somehow not serious. 
    The book that I'm struggling to finish is about love. It's about love from a boy and a girl's point of view. It's also about expectations and freedom, including the freedom to love who you want.  My hope is that it'll appeal to all sorts of readers, and I have great confidence that my publisher will  market it accordingly.
     Do you feel that marking books for 'girls' or 'boys' helps to write and sell them? Is it inevitable? Or can this campaign just be the start of real change in the world of children's books? 

    0 Comments on Let Books be Books by Keren David as of 3/7/2014 7:04:00 PM
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    20. LEGO Building: 5 Kid-Approved LEGO Books

    All the excitement surrounding The LEGO Movie sparked a renewed interest in the venerable building toys at my house. The following books that include all kinds of tips, ideas and techniques to re-purpose existing LEGO pieces for all sorts of fantastic creations.

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    21. A Chat with Karen Benke : Author, Poet, & Creative Writing Instructor

    It’s National Poetry Month this April and what better way to celebrate than a chat with author, poet, and creative writing instructor Karen Benke.

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    22. Lately Lily Travel-Centered Books from Micah Player

    The Lately Lily books and activity sets, bought together or separately, are beautifully designed items that not only tell an interesting story about travel and adventure, but also encourage children to be storytellers and chroniclers themselves.

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    23. A book to help you prepare for Halloweeen

    Ghoulish Get-ups by Fifi Colston (Scholastic)

    If you enjoyed Fifi Colston's last book 'Wearable Wonders' you'll be wanting this new book too.

    Kids (and parents) are often invited to fancy dress birthday parties, school book week parades and Halloween trick or treating - all which require a costume. Most invitees approach them with trepidation - what to wear ... gasp! In the past, I took my children to The Warehouse for cheap costumes, or helped with rough get-ups that neither my children or I have been satisfied with. 

    That's the beauty of this book - there's nothing expensive you need to buy. Fifi gives you tips on how to make 16 different outfits including elves, fairies, punk rockers, vampires, zombies, murderous butchers, aliens and creatures. If those costumes don't appeal Fifi shows you how to turn recycled objects such as egg cartons, paper bags, sheets, t-shirts, pants and tights into numerous outfits. She also gives tips on how to transform your face, hands, feet, ears, hair, and how to make wings, foundation, warts, boils, facial hair, guts and broken bones, wounds, stumps and bumps, and horns.  She even gives recipes for ghoulish food such as zombie fingers, and eyeballs.

    It is written in an easy-to-read writing style, with colourful photographs, and designed (text boxes, captions, fonts and examples) to hook the intended audience in - children 8-14 years (though, parents will find it really helpful too). It also includes three pages on materials and techniques, and an index.

    So the next time you get an invitation to a fancy dress, you can take a breath, sit down, and open 'Ghoulish Get-ups' and you'll find something that will suit, or it will inspire you and give you the tools to make your costume out of materials you have at home.

    Fifi is well qualified to write such a book, she has been a finalist and award winner at Wearable Art competitions for over 18 years, and has worked in the film industry as a costumier and illustrator for Weta Workshop. She has written junior fiction novels and illustrated other people's books, and has been a long-standing presenter of arts and crafts on TVNZ's What Now and recently Good Morning. Her book 'Wearable Wonders' won the LIANZA Elsie Locke Award, was a finalist at the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards, and was awarded a Storylines Notable Book Award.
    Ghoulish Get-ups is a must-have resource for families, and school libraries.

    ISBN 9781775432470
    RRP $19.00

    Reviewed by Maria Gill


    0 Comments on A book to help you prepare for Halloweeen as of 10/4/2014 12:51:00 AM
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    24. Illustration Inspiration: Hervé Tullet

    Hervé Tullet is known for his prodigious versatility, from directing ad campaigns to designing fabric for Hermès. But his real love is working with children, for whom he has published dozens of books, including Press Here.

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    25. An assortment of books for the holidays

    Doodle Bug by Bruce Potter (Draconis Publishing)

    Bruce Potter lets his pen take over his imagination and doodles creative characters and scenes in this picture book for children. There's a little story to complement the pictures about Doodle Bug walking through the doodles and finding all sorts of characters - it encourages children to find him in the pictures.

    The illustrations are a mix of pencil drawing and computer art with black and white, and colour illustrations. At the back of the book, Bruce shares where he got the inspiration for the book. He says that he has always loved doodling and finds it helps him think more clearly and often that is when he creates something new. He encourages children to do the same.

    When Bruce gives talks to schools he draws the doodles in front of the kids; first asking what they'd like to see. Bruce can draw anything.  Kids get so excited they yell it out when they've found Doodle Bug.

    A fun book for 3-6 year olds. Could be used in the Junior school art programme to encourage children to doodle and create characters from their imagination.

    Hear Bruce sing the Doodle Bug song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-5xO6JZ8vY#t=188

    ISBN: 978 0 473 28113 7
    RRP $25.00
    Bruce has just released an e-book version too.
    To find details go to his website: www.brucepotter.co.nz

    The Bumper Book of New Zealand Wildlife: to read, colour and keep by Dave Gunson (New Holland Publishers)

    Dave has collected 90 wildlife species he's included in the New Zealand Birds, Garden, Shore and Sea Life Books into one bumper edition. You'll find birds, fish, insects, and marine life. Kids can draw them; noting their colours from the colour editions also in the book, then pull them out and hang them on the wall or fridge. Teachers could use them as templates for their Junior classes.  Also included are facts about the featured animals.

    Will be useful for the holidays, as it will keep kids occupied and also increase their wildlife knowledge of New Zealand species.

    Dave Gunson is a prolific writer and illustrator of children's books. He's written seven titles in the 'All About' series, four board books for young children, and written and illustrated many picture books and activity books.

    ISBN: 978 1 86966 427 5
    RRP: 19.99

    No cover available at time of writing blog.

    The Story of a New Zealand Truck Driver by Mary Kelleher, music by David Parker

    For something a bit unusual (in a delightful way) and on subjects little boys are bound to what to know more about ... have a look at the this book.  For starters it's a fold-out mural book that you can hang on a wall or sit on a table.  The artist has created the pictures from a collage of raw materials such as sacking, felt, buttons, string, photographs and material. (I hope she holds an exhibition one day so we can see the originals!) The story is embroidered onto woven material and are snatches of conversations between the truck driver and the people he meets. If you play the CD these words have been transformed into a song from the tune 'Baa Baa Black Sheep'. On the other side of the mural are fact boxes about the journey Truck driver Bertie Williams has when he travels over the hills and valleys of Banks Peninsula from 1920 to 1960. Kids will learn about wool bales, cocksfoot, Indian motor cycle and Side car race, vehicle author licences, snow blizzards, kerosene, and the hills of Bank Pensinsula. On the back page is a map of the journey and the CD.  Other books in the series include 'The Mill is Kaiapoi' with more to come. Go to www.handmadehistories.com to find out more and see their other murals.

    After reading the book, teachers could encourage children to make a class mural about the history of their area.  A great resource for schools when studying local history.

    ISBN: 978-0-473-28703-0 
    RRP $39.99

    Release the Beast by Romy Sai Zunde, illustrated by Cinzah Merkens (Beatnik Publishing)

    A little boy is feeling naughty and unleashes his inner beast. 

    "When I get mad, the beast boils in my bones. He stomps in my feet and roars in my mouth. He does anything he wants, and no one can stop him, not even mummy. He can make anything he dreams happen, and the beast never, ever gets into trouble."

    When baby wants to play with the blocks the inner beast stomps and kicks down the blocks and shuts mummy in a box and eats baby Noah for breakfast.When his father tells him to hurry up, again his inner beast wakes up. Same when he's told to eat up all his vegetables, and go for a bath. His inner beast does whatever he wants. Or does he?

    Read this delightful story with clever artwork - stylised in mix of black ink pen and water colour paint - about how kids and grown-ups can feel rage and can express those feelings through imagination rather than carrying it out. Kindergarten and Junior Primary teachers could read the story and use it as an introduction to a unit about feelings and anger management.  The book will let children know that anger is normal; adults and kids feel it too.

    "A fun and quirky reminder that there's a beast in all of us - and why wouldn't he come out when you've been told to do something you don't want to do again! Being able to recognise your frustration for what it is, is what counts.'  Karyn Henger, Editor, Little Treasures Magazine

    ISBN: 978-0-9922648-1-9
    RRP $24.99

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