Saturday, May 3, 2008

In the Small, Small Pond

Author/Illustrator: Denise Fleming

Publisher: Henry Holt 1993

Genre: Children's book

Age Range: K-1st

Caldecott Honor Book

This book names some of the different animals that can be found in a small pond. Itss simple phrases list different verbs that these animals do like "lash, lunge herons plunge." The illustrations are very bright and colorful and show the different animals that being described.

I really love the illustrations in this book. Fleming creates them using colored cotton pulp which she pours through stencils that she makes. In the end the water is pressed out and the different colored pulp comes together to make paper that has the image set in. I think this is such a unique method of illustrating and something that can definitely be adapted for the classroom.

For an art class the teacher could have prepared bottles of different colored paper pulp which the students could use to pour onto screens and make their own paper images. The pulp wouldn't have to be cotton pulp it could be made from tearing pieces of different colored construction paper, which the kids can help with, and then blending them in the blender with some water to create a pulp. I like the idea of letting students become familiar with different types of fiber arts from an early age. The fiber arts have often been labled as crafts and not been included in the higher art genre but as time goes on they are beginning to come into this scene through artists who take these methods to the next level. This book could also be used in an english lesson when learning about verbs. Fleming uses some really great verbs like wiggle, wriggle, waddle, parade, hover, shiver, etc.

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