Posts Tagged 'Story Time'

On the Bookshelves: CATchy Tales Edition

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This month I’ve been spending a lot of time in Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt with preschoolers. Ancient Egypt is always endlessly fascinating for young children, but add in cats and picture books, and you’ve got a triple threat! I’ve gathered up some purrrfect picture books for any kid cat-lovers—two of the stories take place in ancient Egypt and two are catchy tales you won’t want to miss.

 

Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert, illustrated by Lisa Brown

With a rustle and a whisper, a little mummy cat wakes up deep in a pyramid and goes in search of his mistress and friend, Queen Hat-Shup-Set. As he journeys through the corridors, paintings on the wall tell the tale of his past life and the tragic fate of his Queen. Brown’s illustrations paint a story-within-a-story, and young readers will love pouring over each little detail and will beg to read this book again and again. Look for three little mice hiding on many of the pages and search for hieroglyphs sprinkled throughout the illustrations. An author’s note on mummies, hieroglyphs, and Queen Hat-Shup-Set make this book an excellent introduction to ancient Egypt. And if you visit Divine Felines, you can see an authentic cat sarcophagus!

 

Temple Cat by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Kate Kiesler

A cat lives like a king in the temple, with servants to care for his every need, but all he dreams of is a life beyond the temple walls. So one night, he quietly slips out and embarks on an adventure, sleeping in barns, catching his own food, and making friends with some children. Along the way, he discovers his greatest dream—to be loved as an ordinary cat. Cat-lovers will especially love how Kiesler captures the very “cat-ness” of our hero as he licks his paws, revels in chin tickles, or weaves around a child’s leg. The background illustrations however, are just as beautiful, painting a vivid picture of what ancient Egyptian life might have been like.

 

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

“The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws…” With this lyrical beginning, Wenzel takes readers on a journey of perspective, imagining different encounters between a cat and its surroundings. With each page turn, we see the cat from a different point of view. A child sees a cuddly, friendly companion. A dog and fox see something to chase. A fish and a mouse see a huge, scary creature to be avoided at all costs! A flea sees a warm place to take a nap. The text itself is incredibly simple, but the illustrations take on a life of their own, challenging young readers to consider how one animal (or by extension, person) can be so many different things. And for art-loving kids, the way Wenzel changes his style to fit each creature’s perspective is truly magical. They All Saw a Cat is already getting some buzz for the coming picture book awards season!

 

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Mr. Tiger is tired of his prim and proper life, and decides something needs to change. HE needs to change! And so he goes “wild.” But does he go just a little too far? I’ve written about this book before here, and it still continues to be a go-to favorite for story time. One page turn in particular ALWAYS elicits shrieks of laughter and gasps, and I can’t help but love it when the children roar right along with Mr. Tiger.

 

What’s your favorite meow-sterpiece in cat picture books? Please share in the comments below!

And as always—happy reading!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

Teen Ambassadors: Coolest Kids in Town

We know all too well that this summer’s going to be a scorcher, so the Museum is bringing back our free Summer Family Fun programs to offer families some seriously cool activities. Each day this summer will feature different experiences for families and visitors of all ages, from Story Times to Art-to-Go Family Tote Bags. We’re not alone in our efforts, though – we have a secret weapon to help families beat the heat. Introducing the next generation of museum educators…the DMA Teen Ambassadors!

Formerly the Teen Docent Program, Teen Ambassadors will lead Community Tours, Family Story Times, and visitor experiences at the Pop-up Art Spot and C3 Gallery this summer. These enthusiastic, art-loving teens attended a two day orientation where they learned how to engage with visitors (especially young ones!) to prepare for their volunteer shifts.

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The 2016 Class of Teen Ambassadors

This year’s class of Ambassadors is pretty impressive, so make sure to catch them in action!

Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

On the Bookshelves

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Flowers are blooming, buds are popping out on the trees, and I’ve rounded up a fresh crop of excellent picture book art pairings that will put a spring in your step! From a blissfully confident giant squid to those witty talking crayons, here are four must-reads to add to your bookshelves. Each has Arturo’s seal of approval!

Giant Squid is pretty proud of everything he can draw. In fact, he thinks he is the BEST artist in the ocean. But a grumpy shark has a very different point of view. Squid’s clever solution to what could be a (shall we say uncomfortable?) situation will make young readers laugh, while caregivers may notice the illustrator’s sly nod to Picasso’s cubist style.

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I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry is a perfect pairing with our beautiful Tiffany windows. Search for starfish, sea anemones, jellyfish, and even eels, while imagining what Giant Squid would think of the jewel-like glass. At home, make Giant Squid proud with your own squid art!

“Friends shape who we are,” and square, rectangle, circle and triangle are the best of pals. They play together, they support each other, and even when they squabble with each other, they know that their friendship is what matters most.

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Friendshape by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is one of those books that puts a smile on your face and warms your heart. The seemingly simple illustrations are bursting with personality and are a perfect way to show young artists how shapes can work together in different configurations to create all kinds of pictures. One particular page spread shows the friends as a rocket blasting off to the moon, and even without the text, children instinctively understand what the illustrator has done. Read this delightful book in the Decorative Arts gallery and take a closer look at the Marshmallow sofa to see how circles have been transformed into a stylish place to sit. At home, download this printable and make your own shapes into the loveable characters from the book.

One of my favorite signs of spring is the birds chirping outside my window each morning. In Apples and Robins by Lucie Felix, we see not only birds outside the window, but apples hanging from the tree, worms munching through an apple, a birdhouse being built, and a basket for gathering apples.

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The genius of this book is clever cut-outs that transform into new pictures with the turn of a page. As with Friendshape, readers will discover how shapes become something more with a little bit of creativity. The bold, bright illustrations are inviting and the cut-outs will have children eagerly turning the pages to see what happens next. Why not bring this book along with you for a quick visit to Apple Harvest by Camille Pissarro? Then at home pull out the tried-and-true apple printing project to create your own apple art. This helpful post from the TinkerLab blog has great suggestions for setting up an apple printing station at home.

You might have thought that after Duncan’s crayons famously quit, that would be the last we’d hear of them. But they are up to their crazy antics again, and this time, all they want to do is come home! Tan crayon was eaten by the dog, Maroon crayon got lost in the couch, and Neon Red crayon was left behind at a hotel on summer vacation. In their postcards to Duncan, each crayon laments their troubles and either whines, wheedles, or begs for him to rescue them. Well, all except Neon Red who has set out on its own to find a way back in The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt.

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I’d like to think that the crayons would have a ball anywhere in the Museum, but it would be especially fun to visit places Neon Red sees on the journey home. New Jersey (according to Neon Red) has some great pyramids, but we all know that Ancient Egypt is the place to be for pyramids, mummies, and more. Visit our Ancient Egypt gallery and imagine Neon Red roaming through on a camel!

And for all the crayon-lovers out there, don’t miss the chance to hear Drew Daywalt talk about his colorful characters in person here at the DMA on May 22–get your tickets here!

Happy reading!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

 

Hop on Pop!

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All kinds of good things are POPping up here at the DMA with the opening of the new exhibition International Pop. The Barrel Vault is filled with bright colors, oversized paintings, familiar faces, and works of art that will make you smile. Why not hop on Pop at home too? I’ve rounded up some of my favorite children’s books to introduce our youngest visitors to the art and artists who POP!

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Toddlers

Two beautiful and fun concept books perfect for the toddler crew are Pop Warhol’s Top by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo and Counting with Wayne Thiebaud by Susan Goldman Rubin. Pop Warhol’s Top mixes together the best of touch & feel books with works by famous Pop artists. Tots can pretend to pull the lettuce off a Claes Oldenburg soft sculpture, touch the eyelashes on one of Andy Warhol’s famous Marilyn Monroe pieces, or tap the beat for an exuberant Keith Haring painting. Rubin’s Counting with Wayne Thiebaud will have little ones asking for “more, please!” as they use Thibeaud’s luscious dessert paintings to count from one to ten.

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Preschool

Pre-readers will POP till they drop as they work their way through the alphabet in Rachel Isadora’s ABC POP! Isadora takes inspiration from Pop artists to depict everyday objects in a Pop art sensibility. A is for airplane and Z is for zoom, and everything in between is illustrated with comic strip word bubbles, close-ups, boldly drawn lines, and lots of dots. Uncle Andy’s Cats by James Warhola introduces emerging readers to Andy Warhol through the eyes of his nephew James and tells the true story of the 20+ kittens Warhol had running through his New York townhouse, all with the name of Sam! Children will love trying to find all the kittens on each page, and also see glimpses of some of Warhol’s most famous works tucked away in the illustrations.

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Elementary

Susan Goldman Rubin highlights some of the most famous American Pop artists–Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Wayne Thiebaud–in three beautifully illustrated biographies for young readers. Wham!: The Art & Life of Roy Lichtenstein introduces readers to Roy as a boy who loved to draw and invent machines who grew up to be an artist that found inspiration in comic books. Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter traces Andy’s journey from a commercial artist to a world-wide sensation who made his name by painting one of his favorite meals as a child–soup! Delicious: The Art & Life of Wayne Thiebaud weaves together the artist’s memories from childhood and mouth-watering reproductions of Thiebaud’s dessert paintings to create a balanced view of the artist’s varied career. All three volumes give readers a peek “behind the canvas” to gain a better understanding of these men as real people.

After you’ve made your way through these POPular books, we hope you’ll POP in and see the International Pop exhibit for yourself!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

New Family Fun: Arturo’s Library Totes

If you’re a regular blog follower, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I love picture books {proof here, here, and here}. So it should be no surprise that I’ve been working on getting more picture books into the hands of our visitors! I think stories and art are perfect partners, especially for young children and am thrilled to announce the launch of a new gallery activity for families here at the DMA. Drum roll please… announcing Arturo’s Library totes!

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Arturo’s Library totes can best be described as a storytime-to-go. The totes are designed particularly for families with children ages two to five, and include a picture book, a deck of activity cards, and materials for hands-on activities.

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With our friendly mascot Arturo as your guide, you can take the tote into the Museum galleries and use the contents to explore a specific work of art. The debut Arturo’s Library tote is all about lines—wiggly, squiggly, zig zaggy, straight lines—and coordinates with Place de la Concorde, by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.

Piet Mondrian, Place de la Concorde, 1938-1943, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

Piet Mondrian, Place de la Concorde, 1938-1943, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

Using the bag is simple—find the work of art in the galleries, plop down on the floor, and try one of the suggested activities in the activity card deck. There are four categories to choose from—READ, LOOK, PLAY, and LEARN MORE.

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Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman is one of my favorite books to use when talking about lines in art. The illustrations are cheerful, bright and sometimes silly, and the text has a beautiful rhythm to it.

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After reading the book, you and your child can LOOK at the lines in the Mondrian painting and compare and contrast the artist’s lines to those you found in the book.

If you’re in the mood for drawing, follow the directions on one of the PLAY cards and create your own Mondrian-inspired masterpiece or try your hand at a squiggle drawing.

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If you’re more of a 3D type of artist, use pipe cleaners to craft a squiggle sculpture to take home with you.

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Then take some time to learn a little more about Piet Mondrian and his unique painting style.

Each activity has minimal instructions, is easy to dive right into, and offers a fun way to spend a little more time with a work of art. Over the next year or so, we’ll introduce new book themes and new activities, so that you can explore the Museum from top to bottom. Is one of your favorite books up next? Cast your vote to let us know which book you would be most excited to see next in an Arturo’s Library tote!

On your next visit to the DMA, be sure to stop by our Family Fun Cart at the main museum entrance and check out one of the new Arturo’s Library totes!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

 

 

Summer Reading Fun at the DMA

If you have or know any school-aged children, you know that the countdown to the end of school has begun! Dreams of afternoons at the pool, summer vacations to see grandparents, and lots of watermelon and ice cream are dancing through children’s heads. For me, one of the best parts of summer was the summer reading club at the library. I loved to read anyway, but getting rewards for reading? What a brilliant idea! (I just wish there was a summer reading club for grown-ups.) If reading by the pool isn’t your thing, why not bring a book to the DMA? Families are always welcome to read together in the galleries—on a bench or even on the floor.

To give you a jump start on your summer reading list, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite books along with suggestions for the perfect reading spot in the museum.

Clad in her swimsuit, cap and flippers, little Flora seems to be bursting with the need to move. Her muse? A pink flamingo who does not appreciate the little girl’s adoration! The two dance across the pages in this wordless book in a graceful ballet that reminds us that imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery and perhaps a way to begin unlikely friendships. Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle is the perfect book for your little dancer, and would be a great choice to tote along to the DMA when the Mind’s Eye: Masterworks on Paper from David to Cezanne exhibition opens at the end of June. Several of the museum’s pieces by Degas will be on display, including these lovely dancers.

The push and pull of waves on the beach is irresistible at any age. In Wave by Suzy Lee, a little girl timidly approaches the edge of the water, then slowly gets wetter and wetter as she becomes more sure of herself. The wave takes on its own personality as it interacts with its little companion, and in a splash of watercolor resembling a Pollock painting, the two become the best of friends. Several views of the ocean are on display in the American galleries on Level 4. Perhaps the waves in Alfred Thompson Bricher’s Time and Tide can become your friends too!

Have you ever wondered where imaginary friends live before they join your family? In Dan Santat’s charming book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, we discover the answer to this mystery. A little marshmallow-like creature patiently waits on an island far away for a child to imagine him into the world. But when no one chooses him, he bravely ventures forth on an adventure to find his person himself. Across the vast ocean, through crowded city streets, and finally perched high in a tree’s branches, our hero discovers a perfect friend waiting for him and learns that she has been thinking of him all along. Santat turns the idea of an imaginary friend on its head, and his color-saturated illustrations will make you wish you could have Beekle as your own unimaginary friend. Bring Beekle along for a visit to the Reves collection on Level 3 and search for Maurice de Vlaminck’s Bougival. The vibrant colors of this painting remind me of Beekle’s birthplace, and I can imagine him and his new friend tramping through these woods!

Beep, beep! Look out—fun is on the way! If your child loves everything that goes, Poem-mobiles: Crazy Car Poems by J. Patrick Lewis & Douglas Florian should be tops on your list. Douglas Florian has written some of my favorite poetry collections for children, and for this high speed volume, he’s teamed up with U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis. As soon as you open up to the first page, you know you are in for a wild ride. The table of contents looks like a bunch of blueprints, and the list of vehicles is sure to get some giggles. From “The Dragonwagon” to the “Eel-ectric Car,” these crazy car poems will ride their way right into your imagination. The rhythm and flow of the language is just right for kids, and Jeremy Holmes’ illustrations are so involved, you’ll get lost in the pictures. Tow this book straight to the Hoffman galleries later this month and find John Chamberlain’s Dancing Duke. Chamberlain uses car parts and materials found in junkyards to create his fantastical sculptures.

If you can’t get enough of stories in the galleries, join us for story time this summer! Each Tuesday in June and July at 1:00 p.m. Education staff will lead story time, DMA-style. We’ll read stories, look at art in the galleries, and do hands-on activities. Story time is free and open to all ages.

Artworks shown:

  • Edgar Degas, Ballet Dancers on the Stage, 1883, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin B. Bartholow
  • Alfred Thompson Bricher, Time and Tide, c. 1873, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Mayer
  • Maurice de Vlaminck, Bougival, c. 1905, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
  • John Chamberlain, Dancing Duke, 1974, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Harold J. Joseph in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Max Walen

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning

Counting Down to the Caldecott

For children’s book lovers, January is the month when we wait in anticipation to hear who will win the Caldecott Award. We’ve spent the year oohing and ahhing over gorgeous illustrations, delighting in quirky characters and being filled with wonder as yet another story reaches The End. Several of this year’s contenders are books that I think would feel right at home here at the DMA, both because of the quality of their illustrations and the power of their stories.

In Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown, Mr. Tiger is quite the respectable, gentlemanly tiger. His top hat and bow tie are endearingly dapper, and his manners are every mother’s dream. But that is all about to change when Mr. Tiger has a wild idea. Brown’s watercolor and gouache illustrations perfectly capture Mr. Tiger’s journey from the orderly, precise city to his walk on the wild side in the jungle. When I read the book, I immediately thought of Henri Rousseau’s vivid jungle scenes and the sneaky tiger on a Japanese scroll here at the DMA. Can you imagine this tiger in a suit and tie?

The Tiny King has a huge army, a massive castle, and all the things a person could wish for. But he is very, very lonely. When he meets a big princess, and asks her to be his Queen, his life gets noisier, more crowded, and definitely more happy—bigger in every way! Taro Miura creates bold, colorful illustrations that remind you how simple shapes and a lot of imagination add up to memorable visual images. Pair this book with a close look at some of the Abstract Expressionist paintings on view at the DMA, and you can have your own shape-filled adventure. To see more of Miura’s amazing illustrations, visit Carter Higgins’ blog Design of the Picture Book (one of my favorites).

What can you do with a piece of chalk? Create an entire world! Reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon, Journey’s heroine uses red chalk to draw a door to another world. She creates a hot air balloon, a magic carpet, and a bicycle to help her get around, and the illustrations beg you to look closer and closer as she explores this new place. When she loses her chalk, it seems like all is lost, until she gets some help from a surprising place. Aaron Becker’s watercolors make you feel like you’ve jumped into a painting, and reminded me of Claude-Joseph Vernet’s A Mountain Landscape with Approaching Storm. With an interrupted picnic in the foreground and a shiny castle in the background, you wish you could just walk around this mountain landscape and experience the frantic activity as the storm draws closer. Journey would work well as a classroom warm-up to practice close-looking, storytelling, and searching for contextual clues before a visit to see the Vernet at the museum. (To see a video demonstrating how the illustrations for Journey were created, visit the author’s website).

Duncan’s crayons have gone on strike and instead of an afternoon spent coloring, he faces a pile of complaint letters. Yellow and orange are arguing over what color the sun really is, blue is worn out from coloring water, white is feeling neglected, and the beige crayon worries that he is only ever a stand-in for the brown crayon. Duncan’s colorful solution for soothing everyone’s frazzled nerves shows some stellar out-of-the-(crayon)-box thinking. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt is just as entertaining for kids as it is for adults, and makes you wonder what your crayons would say if they could talk. Oliver Jeffers’ whimsical illustrations bring the crayons to life and offer the perfect way to start a conversation about the surprising ways artists use color in their work. You can meet artist Oliver Jeffers here at the DMA on February 9th as part of the Arts & Letters Live BooksmART series. Learn more about the program and reserve your free tickets here.

Do you have a favorite picture book that you hope will walk away with the Caldecott next week?

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs


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