Drama · English · History · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: A Child of Books

a child of books

Book review: A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

A Child of Books is a wondeful book about the importance of stories and imagination. As the child moves through the pages and explores her imagination and the different stories she encounters we get an insight into the way a child, or adult for that matter, can be transported through the words of stories.

The clever illustrations support the books message as the artist uses actual words to create the images. The pathways, seas, creatures and sky are often made up of letters and words that convey more stories. This is actually a really hard thing to do well in artmaking and it has been done to perfection in the pages of this book.

This book promotes reading, story telling, imagination, invention and more. A truely lovely book to add to your library at home or at school that will help to build a culture of creativity.

To extend the learning from this book you could:

  • Discuss the importance of story telling in fictional and non-fictional forms.
  • Have you ever felt like the words you are reading in a book become pictures in your head and you are transported into the story?
  • Can you create an artwork or image using letters and words like in the book?

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English · History · music · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Mamie

Maime

Book review: Mamie by Tania McCartney

Where do I start with this beautiful illustrated story about the childhood of Australia’s sweetheart, May Gibbs (aka Mamie)!

Tania McCartney has brought the little girl ‘Mamie’ to life in this book filled with references to May Gibbs’ original stories and illustrations.

I highly recommend this book for homes and schools that want to encourage a creative culture for two main reasons. Firstly, this book gives children access to the history of an iconic Australian artist and author, which is great for English, history and Art subjects, in a way that children will enjoy. Secondly, the book describes Gibbs’ inspirational creative way of seeing the world. She spends plenty of time playing in nature, using her imagination and practicing her artistic skills. We get to see Mamie sing, draw, paint, dance, play, bake, sew, explore, observe, imagine and dream. These words and images will make the creative types feel like they’ve made a new, kindred friend.

An adorable, whimsy tale of an inspirational Australian child.

To extend the learning from this book you could:

  • Read a May Gibbs book and discuss the similarities and references in Mamie.
  • Explore the other wonderful Australian works by Tania McCartney.
  • Find some gum blossoms and leaves to paint or draw. Perhaps you could turn some of your illustrations into characters.
  • Visit the original home of Mamie, May Gibbs’ Nutcote. 

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English · Science and Technology · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Australian Birds

Australian birds

Book review: Australian Birds by Matt Chun

This gorgeous book is by artist Matt Chun. I’ve included this book in my recommendations as not only is it a wonderful gathering of beautiful artworks but it is also a fantastic introduction to facts about Australian birds that is great for children. This would be a valuable book for any library.

The illustrations are so lovely and really capture the personality of each Australian bird. Opposite each artwork is a few paragraphs describing the life, habitat, diet and nests unique to each bird family. It is written in a way that is easy to understand and yet still interesting.

To extend the learning from this book, here are some more suggestions for activities.

  • Take notice of the birds around your home and see if you recognise any of them from the book.
  • Find some photos of native birds and create your own illustrations.
  • What other birds are native to your area? Write a short description about their nest, habitat and diet.

This is a great book for art and science.

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Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: 365 Days of Drawing

365 days of drawing

365 draw

365 drawing

Book Review: 365 Days of Drawing by Lorna Scobie

Gosh! Where do I start with this beautiful book! As an art teacher, if I could give anyone (and I will be giving 5 copies as Christmas gifts this year!) a book that will encourage their drawing skills through playful art journaling, it would have to be this book by Lorna Scobie!

When I read about the author’s love of animals, the countryside, climbing trees and illustrating the natural world around her from a young age, I was reminded of the story of how Beatrix Potter developed her artmaking from childhood by following an intrinsic motivation to respond to the world around her.

I love that this book not only gives us tutorials on art skills such as choosing colour palettes, shading objects to create dimension and scaling drawings but it also has tasks like visiting a museum and taking your drawing and painting tasks outside. Every now and then you are also asked to reflect on yourself as the artist with question tasks like “What inspires you” and “How have you overcome the challenge” of some of the tasks that may have been trickier than others. The book has a definite positive vibe and allows you to artistically reflect on your favourite people, seasons and memories.

Some tasks will teach and challenge your drawing/painting skills and others will let your imagination run free and relax through the comfort of pattern making. As an art teacher, I appreciate the references of some tasks, from a Matisse style collage to an Escher style spoon drawing. The book is also dotted with Scobie’s own inspiring watercolour illustrations to give you the courage to create.

Being someone who has kept my own art diaries from childhood, I feel like this is a beautiful way to document your own art skill development in a way that is easy to keep and look back on. Like a favourite novel, you can keep returning to this journal and then safely placing it back with your other treasured books.

As Sobie says in the introduction, this book inspires drawing and art activities through Imagination, Tutorials, Relaxation, Colour Theory and Observation. Each of the 365 activities focus on one of these areas. Everyone in my family now wants their own copy and so I’ve ordered more. From 8 to 108 this book can be enjoyed by all.

I did not get paid for this post, I just really loved this book and thought others may too. When I messaged the talented Lorna Scobie to ask if she would mind me posting a review of her book she kindly said I could and that she may share the review, so if you have visited from her page, welcome!

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Drama · English · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Recipe for a Story

recipe for a story

Book Review: Recipe for a Story, written and illustrated by Ella Burfoot

Ella Burfoot has been writing and illustrating since she was a child. That alone, should be an inspiration to many children who fill blank notebooks with lots of imaginative stories and illustrations. I am a parent to a child who does exactly this and being able to show them an example of a writer/illustrator who has published their work is wonderful.

Not only is the author a creative inspiration but so is this book. It is a fun story about how to write a story! Children can go through each page and think about whether they have included all the ingredients in their own writing to create a story.

To extend the learning from this book, here are some more suggestions for activities.

  • Read the book again and write a list of the ingredients for a story.
  • Write a story that includes those ingredients.
  • Illustrate the story!

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