Wednesday, February 25, 2015


We finally made it to the Madeline at 75: The Artwork of Ludwig Bemelmans exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. I have been meaning to go since December, but we made it the week before the show was going to close. While we were there we got to meet Madeline, see lots of large-scale paintings of Bemelmans work, attend a dance performance of Madeline by a local prep school, and do some artwork of our own. We had a lot of fun, and so, we had to re-row Madeline.
Here's a flashback to our first time through Madeline when Ella, my oldest, was in kindergarten. We loved making Madeline hats out of paper plates and bowls, so we had to do it again.
Here are our hats this time. We heated up our trusty glue guns. I traced around the paper bowl onto the plate and then cut a hole in the center of the plate. Then we glued a paper bowl to each paper plate.The kids then painted the hats: yellow for Madeline and black for Pepito, the son of the Spanish ambassador next door. Since we had no ribbon, we made the black bands and ribbons out of electrical tape. We glued two pom-poms to Pepito's hat. My two-year-old kept cracking us up all week by saying, "I have a hat like Potato!" 

Then we had a Madeline tea party with madeleine cakes, clementines, and French tea. We had the party on Mardi Gras so we could enjoy lots of treats before Lent. 
Madeline tea party
By the end of the week, the kids all had the book memorized, so they could recite it while I turned the pictures. We learned about symmetry in art and the kids used a tutorial of How to Draw Madeline that we picked up at the museum. For science, we learned about the internal parts of the human body: skeleton, muscles, and organs. We read a Magic Schoolbus book about the body and did a giant human body puzzle from The Evan Moor Giant Science Resource book. We also read Madeline in London, Madeline and the Bad Hat, and Madeline Says Merci, and watched several episodes of the Madeline cartoon.

If you like Madeline, you might also enjoy these other books set in France:
Anatole by Eve Titus
Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and her cat by Susanna Reich
Charlotte in Giverny by Joan MacPhail Knight
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

Monday, February 16, 2015

Snow, Tea, and Poetry


We are buried under snow here with crazy windchills. So we are fighting winter with a lot of tea and poetry. I mentioned in my last post that we have instituted a weekly Poetry Tea Time inspired by the Brave Writer curriculum. It has quickly become a favorite part of our week. We have some special tea party treats and read poetry. Of course, in our house, no tea party would be complete without dressing up.

One of our favorite days was when Daddy got a snowday from work. When Daddy is home from work,he makes us yummy treats like homemade orange cinnamon rolls. Since we were doing a Five in a Row unit on Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, we read from several books of Robert Frost's poetry.

That week, we also tried writing some poetry using the rhyme scheme from Frost's poem. The kids liked it so much, they decided to publish their poems in a binder. I wrote them out for them, and they illustrated. Now we have poems that they can read at our teas too. 

Our next week, we were reading Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say, and decided to learn about haiku. That required some new school supplies purchased at an Asian market. We love our new Chinese tea set and Pocky! Yum!  The kids really liked writing haiku and we read those, alongside some by the haiku master Basho.We brought out our kimonos from our Japanese tea party last year, though I didn't manage any good pictures this year. 

Want to try a poetry tea time with your family? Here are some of our favorite poetry books for kids:
The Poetry for Young People series of books are beautifully illustrated collections of famous poets' works. We have Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I hope to purchase more of these lovely collections.
A Swinger of Birches: Poems of Robert Frost for Young People 
Books by Shel Silverstein: Falling Up, A Light in the Attic, Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers