Monthly Archives: August 2022

Review of Ribbit! The Truth about Frogs, by Annette Whipple

Children love to learn about the wonders of this world and its creatures. And Annette Whipple, loves to research and write about those creatures. Her Truth About series pairs fascinating facts about animals with colorful, up-close photos. The series includes Whooo Knew, the Truth About Owls; Woof, the Truth About Dogs; and Scurry, the Truth About Spiders. Ribbit, the Truth about Frogs, Annette’s most recent book, has now joined the series to the delight of children and adults.

This is the first of Molly’s and my book reviews of 6 books for children! Starting today and going through September Molly and I will be interviewing authors and reviewing some fantastic children’s books that have just come out or will be released soon!

So let’s get started with a wonderful nonfiction book. Annette Whipple’s Ribbit! The Truth about Frogs.

Here’s a peek Annette gave Molly and me into her research for Ribbit:

Kathy and Molly: What were some amazing and interesting things you learned about frogs as you researched for Ribbit?

Annette: The most surprising thing I learned is that all toads ARE frogs. I grew up thinking they were similar but different animals. Scientists classify animals in related groups. There are 54 families in the frog group, and toads are one of them!

It’s hard to choose the most interesting thing I learned. Did you know blinking helps frogs swallow food? Frogs’ eyes push food down to their stomachs!

Kathy and Molly: Wow, we did not know toads are frogs and our eyes are bulging just thinking about trying to push food down that way! Did anything funny happen as you did field research?

Annette: Nothing amusing really happened while I was doing field research alongside my expert. However, it was amazing to come upon a small pond of water with tons of quacking without a duck in sight. It was mating season for wood frogs. They quack! At my own home an American toad visited while I was researching and writing about frogs. He reminded me of one of their favorite defenses against predators–he peed on me! It’s good to remember they do this so you don’t drop a frog when holding it.

Kathy and Molly: Quacking frogs and peeing toads, oh my! Molly’s ears and nose are twitching with curiosity! Do you now have a favorite frog?

Annette: I think frogs are amazing creatures! I think my favorite frog is whichever one I can get up close and personal to. In my backyard that’s typically an American toad. But I love whichever froggy friends I can find!

Kathy and Molly: I can tell you really enjoyed the research for the Truth About series. No wonder children (and adults) love them!

What Children Will Like about Ribbit and the other Truth About Books

The cover of each book in the series has an attention-getting, up-close photo of the animal and its eyes—the fierce eyes of an owl, the dark, melting eyes of a puppy, the many eyes of a hairy spider, and now the big, bulging eyes of a frog!

The question-and-answer format paired with more amazing photos holds a child’s interest throughout. Like the other Truth About books, Ribbit! is the type of book some children will choose to read straight through, while others will dip into pages or photos that especially grab their attention.

Sidebars called Leaping Legs give more information in a humorous way children will love.

Whether children leap in here and there or dive in, they’ll soak up more than just basic facts. For example, though many children know frog eggs turn into tadpoles before becoming frogs, Ribbit helps them discover that some frog mamas actually carry their eggs on their backs until they hatch and are ready to slide off into a pond.

Find Fascinating Photos and Funky Facts on Every Page

Here are some examples of page spreads:

  • How Do Frogs Eat?
  • What Sounds Do Frogs Make?
  • Why Don’t Frogs Freeze to Death?

And there’s toad-aly more!

  • Frogs vs. toads
  • Fact or fiction about frogs
  • How to find and see frogs
  • DIY toad house to build
  • Free frog teacher guide with STEM and ELA activities for school or home.

How I Use the Truth About Books in My Classroom

I’m an art teacher, and I enjoy adding the A to turn the Truth About books into STEAM books, too! In art we teach children (and adults, too) that taking the time to look carefully is the way to learn to draw. So when Whooo Knew, The Truth About Owls came out, I knew it would be perfect for the art room.

To interest and prepare my third graders to make owl collages, I first asked them questions about owls as Annette does in her books. Then I read some of the surprising answers and showed the up-close photos. The page about what owls eat and the photo of the owl swallowing a mouse hooked them, and they pored over facts and photos as we worked on their collages. Those owl collages won rave reviews on Grandparent’s Day!

This year I’m introducing a mixed media art project with a 3-D spider to my first graders. I plan to pair Annette’s Scurry! Truth About Spiders book with Eric Carle’s The Very Busy Spider to help them learn more about color and line. I’m working on an idea to use Ribbit! The Truth about Frogs with the lily pond paintings we do of Monet’s garden.

Soon Meow! The Truth about Cats will be out and will join our art room collection. I know those cats will leap into my student’s hearts to help them draw cats to sit on their woven mats project.

All so much fun, but I especially like Annette Whipple’s books because children clearly see the wonder and variety of creatures in the world and all the special ways God has made them for survival in their environments.

Here’s a special bonus Annette has prepared to go with Ribbit: a frog teacher guide, which is downloadable from her website. It includes 19 reading, writing, and STEM activities! https://www.annettewhipple.com/2022/05/frog-teacher-guide-with-activities.html

And There’s More:

Parts of this blog first appeared on Write2Ignite. I’m honored to be part of this group that seeks to encourage, inspire, and educate Christians who desire to write for children and young adults. You can go here to learn more about the Write2Ignite and its many resources, including

a virtual  master class taught by Annette  on Writing Nonfiction Books for Children and Teens on September 10.

Before You Go

You may also be interested in a children’s devotion I wrote for DevoKids this month. DevoKids is part of Christian Devotions Ministries. Here’s link to  “Little Flowers with Super Powers.”

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly and I can’t wait to add Ribbit to our book shelf!

Stay tuned for an upcoming newsletter and an interview and review of a sweet back-to-school picture book!

Scroll in a Box Art Activity Based on Christ and His Mother Reading the Scriptures by Henry O. Tanner

Let’s make a scroll in a box. This project has endless possibilities to use for school projects and special days and holidays. It will also remind us of our painting, Christ and His Mother Reading the Scriptures, by Henry O. Tanner, because of course, at that time they would be reading from a scroll.

Christ and His Mother Reading the Scriptures by Henry O. Tanner, 1909, Dallas Museum of Art, public domain

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions  AND Variations, which are limited only imaginations!
  • Helpful hints
  • 4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Molly Photo with a special announcement

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

  • A box with a lid
  • Paper of all kinds
  • Glue, scissors, pencils, rulers, crayons, markers, etc
  • Craft supplies, such as ribbon, yarn, stickers, shells, etc

Directions AND Variations:

The Scroll

  1. Cut a long piece of paper to make a scroll that will fold into the size of your box (if you need to tape or glue several pieces of paper together)
  2. Fold this as you would a fan to make sections that fit the box’s length and width (make the paper a little smaller than the box so it folds in smoothly)
  3. Do not glue the scroll into the box until you have done any writing or other decoration on the scroll

Here are a few suggestions for ways to use your scroll in a box. I bet you can think of lots more:

  • Book reports
  • Favorite verses you’ve decorated
  • Stories you’ve written
  • Facts about an animal you’re studying
  • Mother’s Day “card”
  • Christmas “card”

The Box Cover

  1. Choose how you want to decorate the cover of your box
  2. I cut and glued colored paper to cover the original design first

Here are a few suggestions for cover designs:

  • Your design may be a pretty paper you once marbled or blew colored bubbles onto
  • If this is for a book report, you may draw and color a picture from the book and include its title and your name somewhere on the cover
  • If it’s a history project, you might glue on a map showing the area you studied
  • For an animal report you could glue or draw a picture of the animal for the cover
  • If it’s a story you’ve written about the beach you might glue on some shells and color waves or lighthouses
  • Try printing a leaf and then gluing on some more leaves, pinecones, etc.
  • If the box is for a special day such as Mother’s day decorate with artificial flowers, etc

When the scroll and the box cover are done, it’s time to glue the scroll into the box and hand in for a terrific grade or give as a special gift to someone in your family or a friend!

Helpful Hints

  • If you use thin paper for the scroll, liquid glue will pucker it. Try glue sticks instead
  • Some of the 3-D elements may need to be attached with a glue gun (parent oversight of this is recommended)
  • Parents or caregivers will need to make the scroll for younger children and glue it into the box. But children will enjoy decorating or writing on the scroll.

4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Using pencils, brushes, scissors, etc. helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. This project is a wonderful way to encourage children to use their imaginations and creativity
  3. Making art refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.
  4. This project gives children new ways to do school projects or to explore their interests and talents as they decide what to put on the scroll.

Clean up Hints:

  • Be sure to put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Have paper towels handy
  • Wax paper under things you glue keeps them from sticking in the wrong places
  • Keep a wastebasket handy for trash

Special Announcement:

Starting next week and for the whole month of September Molly and I will be interviewing 6 great children’s author’s and the new books they have coming out, including nonfiction, picture books, and board books.

Here’s a picture of Molly with 2 earlier books by Annette Whipple, which I use in my art room all the time.Those eyes have her mesmerized!

Next week Molly and I will tell you all about Annette’s newest book and give you a sneak preview of some of its amazing illustrations!

Before You Go

Molly hopes you enjoy making a scroll in a box! On August 31st our newsletter will come with curriculum connections, a museum gem, suggestions for related research, children’s books to read, and a freebie or 2! Don’t miss it. Sign up with the button above. And also receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages. Add link

 

 

 

 

Back-to-School Devotion Based on Jesus Learning to Read by Henry O. Tanner

Are you excited to start school? Did you know Jesus went to school? He probably learned in a synagogue school.

Look at Henry Tanner’s painting, Christ Learning to Read, and notice that neither Jesus nor his mother, Mary, have halos. In earlier times Christian artists often added halos to show a person was holy. We must never forget that Jesus is fully and completely God.

But Henry Tanner knew the Bible teaches that Jesus is also fully and completely man. This means He was born and grew just like you, but without sin. So Tanner shows Jesus as a regular boy.

And as Jesus grew, He had to learn things just like any other boy or girl, including how to read. Wow! The One who created us with the ability to talk, the very author of the Bible itself, humbled Himself to learn how to read just like you!

Why We Need to Learn to Read

The titles of Tanner’s 2 paintings tell us why Jesus and all of us should try to learn to read. Jesus learned to read so He could read the Scriptures. He delighted in reading and meditating on God’s Word. He knew,

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” (Proverbs 1:7a).

Christ and His Mother Reading the Scriptures by Henry O. Tanner, 1909, Dallas Museum of Art, public domain

3 Things We Learn from Reading God’s Word

  1. When we read God’s Story in His Word, we learn that God made this beautiful world and everything in it. He made the oceans and singing whales that swim there. He made the mountains and the little pikas that build burrows on the highest slopes. He made fierce tigers that blend in to jungle grasses. And He made you in His own image to be creative and curious, and able to sing and write, paint and play games, study the stars and knit, and do all these things for His glory.
  2. The Bible teaches us also that our sin is the reason for the trouble and sadness in the world.
  3. But most important of all, the Bible tells us God loves us and has sent Jesus to be our Savior so we can be part of God’s family. And someday He will return to restore our world to its first beauty and we will live with Him forever.

And God’s Story is the most wonderful story of all and the very best reason to learn to read.

Hide a few of these verses in Your Heart for Light for Your School Year

  • Psalm 1:1-3
  • Psalm 19:7-14
  • Psalm 119:11,18, 105
  • Proverbs 1:1-7
  • Proverbs 4:23

Prayer: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for giving us your Word and the ability to learn to read so we can know how much You love us. We pray we will treasure Your Word in our hearts, so we can glorify You this school year in our work and our friendships.

Molly and I hope you enjoyed this devotion based on Christ Learning to Read by Henry O. Tanner. And we pray you will have a wonderful school year! Next week we’ll have an art activity based on the painting

Don’t miss what’s coming to Kathy the Picture Lady blog in late August through September!

Many wonderful new children’s books are releasing, so starting with the last post of August, I’ll be interviewing 6 children’s authors, and Molly will talk to some of the main characters in each of their new releases of picture books and board books!

Molly hopes you’ll join us to learn more about such fun characters as a mole, a rocking chair, frogs, animal daddys, pugs, and all the people and creatures that came to the manger when Jesus was born!

Molly has enjoyed reading these books and is eager to learn to read all the special new books we’ll be reviewing in late August and September!

Also Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages. Add link

 

 

 

 

“Preaching with his brush,” Henry Ossawa Tanner Painted Warm Scenes of Christ and His Mother.

Henry Ossawa Tanner once said he, “preached with his brush.” He won awards with his religious works and was one of the first African American artists to win international fame. He took several long trips to study and paint in the Middle East, because he wanted to show real people in authentic settings.

Many children will be heading back to their studies this month so Molly and I are back to our school year schedule, too. Here’s what you can expect most months:

  1. Fun ways to learn about famous artists and their artworks.
  2. Kid-friendly devotion based on the artwork
  3. Art activity based on the artwork
  4. Newsletter with curriculum connections to the artwork and reviews of related children’s fiction and nonfiction books. And freebies!
  5. We also frequently do interviews with children’s authors. In fact, be sure to look at our Special Announcement at the end of this first school year blog.

On to our post about Henry Ossawa Tanner and his 2 beautiful paintings about Christ and his mother.

In this post you’ll:

  • Learn a little about Henry Ossawa Tanner and his 2 paintings of Christ and His Mother
  • Find helpful vocabulary
  • Discover activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy the painting
  • Be sure to check out a Special Announcement at the end about September’s blog that also has a cute photo of Molly, the Artsy Corgi

The Artist

Henry Ossawa Tanner by Thomas Eakins, public domain

Tanner grew up in Philadelphia, the son of a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. His mother, a teacher, had escaped from slavery on the Underground Railway.

When he was 13, Henry saw a landscape artist painting in a city park and decided to become an artist. He spent hours painting in the city zoo, but after high school went to work in a flour mill. The work made him so sick, he had to quit.

Tanner spent his recovery time painting, and in 1879 enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, studying under Thomas Eakins. He was the only African American student. When Henry went out on his own, though, he found it difficult to succeed because of prejudice against African American artists.

Eventually, Tanner traveled to study in Paris as so many Americans did in the late 1800s. He loved Paris and its art and found more opportunity and less discrimination. He married and made Paris his home, only returning to America for visits.

Vocabulary

These words, which will be in bold green the first time they come up, will help you and your children talk more easily about different parts of the painting.

  • Genre art  art that shows everyday events and people
  • Portrait  a painting that focuses on one or just a few people. These may contain background landscape as in the Mona Lisa or a still life containing things that tell a little about the sitter

Tanner came to love the art of Rembrandt. He shared the Dutch artist’s faith and appreciated his portraits of Jesus and other biblical subjects. Tanner loved how Rembrandt used light and shadow to create drama, and how he showed the character of his subjects, giving dignity to everyday people and their work. Tanner continued to experiment with how to use light to create atmosphere and heighten a painting’s message.

There are 2 versions of this painting. One titled Christ and His Mother Reading the Scriptures (1909). The other called Christ Learning to Read (1910-1914). In these warm genre paintings, Mary and Jesus lean together as they both hold the scroll. Mary has her arm around her son, holding him close. Jesus is intent on his reading as his mother looks on with encouragement. From photographs, we know that Tanner’s wife and son were the models for both paintings.

Christ and His Mother Reading the Scriptures bu Henry O. Tanner, 1909, Dallas Museum of Art, public domain

Christ Learning to Read by Henry O. Tanner, 1910-1914, Des Moines Art Center, public domain

Both paintings also show the influences of Tanner’s studies in France, which led him to use lighter colors—cool blues and warm yellows and reds—and looser and more expressive brush strokes. We see the cool blues of her robes contrasted with the warm golds and tans of Jesus’ robes.

Though both paintings contrast light and shadow, the Learning to Read painting has more brilliant lights. It was painted after a trip to North Africa, where perhaps Tanner learned how to better show that bright Middle Eastern sunlight. In each painting, Christ stands out against the blue of Mary’s robes.

Activities to Help You and Your Children further Explore these 2 Beautiful Paintings

Before doing other activities, ask children to tell what’s going on in the painting and what tells them that. Ask children how Mary and Jesus feel about each other. What tells them that? Ask how they feel when they’re involved in activities with those they love. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary.

Having 2 similar paintings by the same artist lends itself to a comparing and contrasting activity:

Encourage children to compare and contrast colors, shadows, items in the paintings, clothing, expressions, brightness, etc.

Ask them which painting they like better and why.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly hopes you enjoyed learning about these two paintings of Christ and His mother and will join us next week for a devotion based on the paintings.

Special Announcement

Look what’s coming to Kathy the Picture Lady blog in late August through September!

Many wonderful new children’s books are releasing, so starting with the last post of August, I’ll be interviewing 6 children’s authors, and Molly will talk to some of the main characters in each of their new releases of picture books and board books!

Molly hopes you’ll join us to learn more about such fun characters as a mole, a rocking chair, frogs, animal daddys, pugs, and all the people and creatures that came to the manger when Jesus was born!

Here’s Molly with her special stash of books that she  hopes to add to very soon!