Sand Puppet Show

September 19th, 2010

K (runs to park play stage, drops handful of sand):
I’m making a sand puppet show!
A: Cool! Can you tell me the story?
K: You sprinkle the sand, and the sand tells the story!
A: What story is the sand telling?
K, after pausing: The Puppet Princess. Isn’t that COOL?!
K (runs and gets more sand): “Finkle finkle finkle!”

Van Gogh and The Starry Night

September 13th, 2010

In the beginning, of course, there was Art Dog. Art Dog paints Starry Night in the night sky. The Little Einsteins found their way into that particular sky as well, in a Christmas episode. And yelled, “Van Gogh!” 

And then, at the fair, there it was, made out of gummy candy (melted together with a hairdryer)

 

and on a cake entry

and a glass mosaic (photo mysteriously missing).

Someone was VERY excited by the mosaic when we saw it on our last trip to the fair. So naturally, we checked out a picture book biography of Van Gogh.

When I put a piece of paper in front of Katya for Uncle Tom’s birthday card, she drew the black part of the picture below and announced that it was Starry Night. (When I asked her what she wanted to give him as a present, she said, without hesitation, “A love orange.” So that’s what we did. More durable present pending.)

When I was sorting through a pile of change for quarters for beach parking she told me no, she was making Starry Night with change, and I could not have any quarters.

When she asked to paint on the window with shaving cream, that’s what it turned into too. (If you click on this picture, you can get an OK look at the mermaid skirt, and her awesome monkey socks with tails.)

When we made her Mona Lisa skirt, Starry Night was the obvious choice for the other side. A smaller section has his painting of sunflowers.

At this point we had read Katie and the Sunflowers, about the post-impressionists, and figured out which other Little Einsteins episodes have Van Gogh paintings in them. A lot, it turns out, and she must have previously seen the one with The Night Cafe in it a few times because she always names it when we seen it in books. We found a few other picture book stories about him, including one called Vincent, about his (fictitious) visit to New York, Camille and the Sunflowers and Painting the Wind, both about being bullied by children and kicked out of Arles, and Once Upon a Picture. The Newport Beach Library yielded The Yellow House, about his tumultuous relationship with Paul Gauguin, which eventually lead to him cutting off his earlobe after a big fight. Who knew? I didn’t! Nobody told me that at Berkeley–I had to read it in a picture book! After we ventured forth in the skirt, a mom in one of our groups emailed me this slideshow set to “Vincent” (Starry Starry Night) by Don McLean. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dipFMJckZOM (Katya liked looking at the pictures but the song lyrics, I admit, had more appeal to the adults. It lead me to discover that Madonna covered Bye Bye Miss American Pie and I have to say I’m against it.)

What’s next? I mean, other than Who Knows and Let’s See!? Well, we were definitely going to plant sunflowers in the spring anyway, and maybe even enter the biggest one in the fair. The most exciting thing is that we’re talking about going to New York next summer to see The Starry Night at MOMA. We wanted to visit my grandparents in Buffalo around then anyway, and had hoped to go to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade with Aunt Bronwen someday, so it all will fit together nicely if it works out. If we can get ourselves to the station in time it would be a nice 8 hour day of train travel between the 2. After having 50 library books out of the library at almost all times for several years, we are also hitting the point where Katya has seen the Statue of Liberty so many times it’s starting to tickle her. We’d like to see that, as well as maybe visiting the Park Slope laundromat featured in Mo Willem’s picture book Knufflebunny.

Mona Lisa and Leonardo da Vinci

September 10th, 2010

First there was Art Dog by Thatcher Hurd, which involves the theft and recovery of the “Mona Woofa.” Then….what was it? Probably the fair.

  The ice Mona Lisa and the cheese-pasta-squid ink-veggie Mona Lisa.

Katya started to get really excited about seeing Mona Lisa places. We checked out Katie and the Mona Lisa. Then I found a bunch of other books that had a single spoof on Mona Lisa in there somewhere–as a monkey, a penguin, a mouse, you name it. We got a simple biography of Leonardo da Vinci. We realized that he was the artist in the “Puppet Princess” episode of Little Einsteins. We ordered the book showing the notebooks featured in the show. We read Leonardo and the Flying Boy, about his inventions. We watched some of them constructed in modern times and tested, on YouTube.

I found out that the great man himself(ish) was making an appearance at a local homeschool class. In anticipation we made a Mona Lisa skirt out of a flat cloth diaper, Sharpies, and watered down acrylic paint. So far Katya has been wearing it 24 hours a day for 3 days.

 

There was a little bit of crying and running away when Leonardo actually spoke to or tried to stand next to Katya. (She said it was OK if I shared this photo.) But she tells me she really wants to go back and see him again. He may not be available again, but we are definitely not done with this interest yet.

Later discovery:
Leonardo’s Horse by Jean Fritz and Hudson Talbott

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