Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Featured Author of the Week: Eric Carle

Eric Carle is an author, illustrator and one of my favorite storytime resources. He uses the collage method to illustrate his whimsical tales. Not only does he make art for his own books, but he also illustrates other author's books. You will recognize his art in the Brown Bear, Brown Bear series. Carle is so dedicated to his art, he opened The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in 2002. If you are ever in the Amherst, Massachusetts area, be sure to check it out.

You have probably read at least one of his Very Buggy books (as I've coined them). The Very Busy Spider, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Lonely Firefly , are there any more? These books are all wonderful for preschoolers who like repetition and predictability.

Toddlers enjoy Carle's simple texts such as: Little Cloud, Today is Monday, Draw Me a Star, Does a Kangaroo have a Mother too? and From Head to Toe. Each book has something different to offer from guessing shapes to singing to mimicking actions. The best part of these simple stories is the interaction they create between the reader and listener.

Try some Very Eric Activities:

Very Hungry Caterpillar Memory Game: Set out 1 piece of fruit for each day: Apple, Pear, Plum, Strawberry, Orange and Watermelon (just a slice will do). After reading the story, let your child line up the fruit in the order it was eaten. Count the fruit and go over colors if you'd like. Ask your child what color s/he thinks the inside of the fruit will be? Cut up the fruit for a delicious snack.

Very Busy Spider Game: Give your child a ball of white or black yarn and ask them to build a web by twining it around objects. After they are all finished, ask if they can navigate through the web like a real spider without getting caught. After the yarn has all fallen, put on a favorite song and play the freeze game like you've become a fly caught in the web.

Collage: Make a collage with tissue paper, tempera paint (it's usually washable), water and glue. You can paint white tissue paper to make collages that look like Eric Carle illustrations. There are directions on his web site. I tried this to see if we could do it in storytime. It was easy and fun, but it takes too long to dry (craft time usually lasts 10 minutes). After the painted tissue papers dry (you should make at least 5), you can cut those into shapes and paste them on a poster board or cardstock.

This is what the tissue paper looks like before you start cutting it. Very Carle!

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