Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I had to do a little searching because while Bookivore loves Art, she hates Crafts. So I was looking for something that fell more under Art and less under Cut-Paste-and-Glitter. What I found was a gem of a site that offered me projects based on actual artists (you know -- people who get paid to make art)or on artistic principles.
It's called -- appropriately -- Art Projects for Kids, and I love that all the projects have been classroom tested. Some projects need a template, which may only be available for a small fee, but most are free. FREEEEEEE!
Another nice feature is that the projects mostly require stuff you're likely to have at home or can get easily at a local craft store -- paint, oil pastels, chalk. One or two require fancy art stuff like gesso, but there's enough there that you can just skip those and find something else to do. We're going to focus mainly on drawing and painting. As a bonus, some projects upcycle old CDs and CD cases or old magazines.
To make this relevant to the books we're reading, I may adapt some of the projects to include objects or places we're reading about. Or I might just have them write about their art -- the perfect double bonus.
Summer starts in T-minus 3 days and counting!
Monday, May 16, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Art and Max, by David Wiesener: Yes. Wiesener's artwork makes this one a good choice. He's an established author with really innovative illustrations. Love the lizards, love the focus on art, love the gorgeously illustrated story. Deserves a spot on the list.
Olivia Goes to Venice, by Ian Falconer: I loved the first Olivia book. I liked the second, I liked the third, I liked, mildly, the Christmas book, and then I got a little saturated with Olivia and have had no real desire to learn more about her exploits. There's been so much Olivia that this one doesn't really break new ground or offer anything in the way of freshness. Sorry. This one's a Shameless Marketing Plug (SMP)
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
December turned out to be wall-to-wall crazy, so I took a little hiatus during which I made cookies, attended Christmas programs, saw the Nutcracker, wrapped more presents than I could count, listened to my kids play Christmas carols on the piano, spent time with extended family, and dug my way out of this on Christmas Day:
It truly was going to be just a quick break -- like a week or so, but then I caught something that was suspiciously like pneumonia, though no one at my doctor's office called it that. Whatever it was, it flattened me for a while and that put an end to my blogging ambitions.
But, my kids went back to school yesterday and I finally have time (and healthy lungs) to take a breath and think about books again. We/they/I did a lot of reading over break and I am ready to rock -- but not until tomorrow.
See you then!
Monday, December 6, 2010
So here's the breakdown for 2010:
The Lost Hero: two copies of this for our tween nephew and niece. Hardbacks of this one are reasonable through Amazon. I also saw them at Costco for about the same price.
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda: for my 11 year old nephew. Should be a hit.
Maximum Boy books: a new old series that my 7 year old recently discovered. 11 year old Max Silver accidentally becomes a superhero and has fast paced, silly adventures saving the planet. Humor that is a bit more sophisticated than Captain Underpants (but not much).
Down, Down, Down and Sisters and Brothers: We love Steve Jenkins books and these are two fairly recent ones. Informative text, beautiful collage art. These are for my 7 and 4 year olds.
Ingo: for my 13 year old niece. Loved the dark tone of this mer-people tale.
Hunger Games series: for my 16 year old nephew. He's a total omnivore when it comes to books and has been trying to get these from the library and failing. Not sure if we'll be getting him Mockingjay, but the first two for sure.
Sabotaged: for my 9 year old daughter. She began the Missing series and really likes it, so book three is going to make an appearance under our tree.
The Girl Who Could Fly: this one for my 11 and 13 year old nieces. 11 year old Piper McCloud discovers she can fly, just before she's packed off to a school for special kids called I.N.S.A.N.E. -- nothing ominous in that, right? A gem of a book.
Here's what I'm NOT getting:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 5: The Ugly Truth. Although both my son and his cousin want this one, I can't do it. I am not a big fan of the Wimpy Kid books -- I find the characters mean and crude and disrespectful. Sorry, no sale.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The big question: Is Origami Yoda real?
Well, of course he's real. I mean, he's a real finger puppet made out of a real piece of paper.
But I mean: Is he REAL? Does he really know things? Can he see the future? Does he use the Force?
Or is he just a hoax that fooled a whole bunch of us at McQuarrie Middle School?
So begins The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger. And the central question, of whether Origami Yoda really knows things revolves around his "animator," the school's oddest kid, Dwight. The argument is simply that Dwight is too weird to give good advice, otherwise he wouldn't be so weird, right? And yet Tommy and his friends Kellen and Harvey begin tracking Origami Yoda's patients -- or victims -- to see whether he is the real deal or not.
This book brings up a number of middle school issues -- the kid who cries in P.E., the kids with the awful nickname, the kid dealing with an embarrassing crisis, the kid who wants to see an R-rated movie his parents have nixed, the boy who likes the girl who might not like him -- each handled by Origami Yoda. It's nicely done, all woven neatly into the mystery of Origami Yoda, which makes it more factual and less melodramatic than it might have been.
I think this one will play equally well with boys and girls, but especially with boys for a couple reasons. There's the obvious Star Wars theme, which will appeal to boys, it's loaded with doodles ala Wimpy Kid, and the main characters are all boys. Each chapter is a first person account by Tommy or one of his friends; a few are also by girls they know, but most of the story is told by boys. This would make an excellent Christmas gift for 7-12 year olds on your list, especially if they're boys.
The writing style is easier than I expected: Accelerated Reader puts it at a 4.7 (4th grade and 7 months) which seems about right. My 7 year old and my 9 year old read it over the holiday weekend and both really liked it. They especially liked the instructions at the back of the book for folding your own Origami Yoda. Having spent last Saturday folding little paper Yodas, I can offer you this advice if you find yourself in a similar situation: start with half of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper cut or torn neatly to a 5.5 x 8.5 rectangle, then follow the approximate proportions shown in the diagrams instead of the measurements as they didn't actually work that well. The author's website offers instructions for folding an origami Yoda like the one on the cover if you're up for a challenge.