Thursday, June 14, 2012

On the Farm

I've always wanted to live on a farm.
It's kind of like the perpetual dream of getting a pony for your birthday.
The idea is romantic. The reality is work.

Summertime is farm time.
4-H clubs are in high gear. "Pick Your Own" is in full swing, and Farmers Markets are bustling on Saturday mornings.

Reading about the farm is almost as good as being there. Especially if you have a beautifully illustrated book full of short, sweet poems about the various animal life that resides there.

On the Farm by David Elliott is a perfect read aloud for summer. 
Each double page spread highlights a different animal on or about the farm.
The poems, while very brief, give a wink to the true nature of the beasts they describe.
The illustrations are by Holly Meade. Woodblock prints and watercolor give the book a nostalgic appeal. Vivid and eye-catching, but calming as well. 
I love the colors and texture. Light and shadow. Young children will spend time looking into the pictures as they read the book again and again.

Art Extension Idea:
Foam Tray Prints
Materials: foam trays (recycle those from the grocery - clean with bleach/water solution first), tempera paint, roller, paper, plastic knives, shallow dish for paint, clean up supplies.
Procedure: Draw your farm animal (or whatever you choose) onto the back of the foam tray. "Score" or etch the drawing with the plastic knife. The knife should not cut all the way through the tray, just make an indentation over the drawn lines.
Using a paint roller and a shallow dish of paint, cover the roller with paint. Roll the paint over the back of the tray, covering the drawing/etching. Turn the tray over and press onto a sheet of paper.
Remove the tray and see your print!

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