Sunday, October 18, 2015

Costumes Inspired by Children's Books - Part Two

In my last post I shared how book characters can become very creative costumes for Halloween or for Children's Book Week.  Since that time, I sat down with my little reader and asked her to remember some of her favorite picture book characters and then we discussed which of these characters would make interesting costumes.  Here are seven of Emmy's choices:

1)  Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Emmy has always loved the adventures that Harold went on through his purple drawings.  She said that this costume would be easy to put together. "Well, just get a white shirt and draw on it with a purple fabric marker and then carry a purple crayon around with you." Here is a really cute image that I found on the  web that shows how this could become a family costume.

2) Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola 

Strega Nona has been a favorite character of Emmy's for a long time.  When she was very little and we were cooking butter noodles or spaghetti for dinner, she would always say "Enough, enough pasta pot!" and would blow three kisses into our magic pasta pot.  Emmy suggests wearing a long dress with an apron, a scarf on your head and carrying a pot with yarn for noodles. Here is the most adorable image of this costume idea!
3)  A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

The friendly bear from deepest, darkest Peru with his battered suitcase and duffle coat would make a super cute costume according to Emmy.  Grab a blue coat, a red hat and a some sort of suitcase and you are all set.  Oh, don't forget to pack a marmalade sandwich!"  Here are two inspiring images for this fun costume.  

4)  The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

I love this book for its portrayal of a strong girl character who just happens to be a princess.  Emmy loves the reversal of the princess and the prince role.  After the prince tells the girl to go home and come back when she looks more like a princess, Emmy would always exclaim quite loudly,  "That Ronald is a real bum!  I'm glad Elizabeth didn't marry him."  I agree!  Here is Emmy's advice on how to create a Princess Elizabeth costume:  wear a white or black long sleeved shirt and leggings then get a large brown grocery bag and cut out holes for your head and your arms and wear this over your clothes, be sure to make a princess crown out of yellow paper. Check out this cute image! 

5)  Olivia by Ian Falconer

When Emmy was little, we would read the book Olivia over and over again. Her favorite page was the one that showed Olivia getting dressed in all of her red outfits.  Whenever Emmy wore red she would claim to be Olivia.  If you are interested in this costume then Emmy suggests to get a headband and attach pig ears, paint your nose with a pink circle and two black slots to look like a snout, then wear black and white striped leggings, a red dress, black shoes and be sure to accessorize with a red bow and a red pair of sunglasses! Here's a picture for inspiration.

6)  Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
Emmy would laugh and laugh at the monkeys in this book.  She loved to repeat the sound that the monkeys made and could often be found putting all of her hats on her head and saying rather loudly, "Caps, caps for sale.  Fifty cents a cap!"  Here is Emmy's idea of how to become the peddler in this story - wear grey pants and a black jacket with a bow tie, stack as many hats as you can on top of your head (use safety pins to attach them together), draw a mustache above your upper lip and carry a stuffed monkey or two around with you.

7) The Jolly Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg

Delivering mail was always one of Emmy's favorite activities when she was little.  She would find one of my purses and put it on like a mail bag and fill it with papers that she had drawn on.  She would then pretend to deliver the mail all over the house.  After we read The Jolly Postman, her play became a retelling of this story as she created letters to nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters and delivered them "all across fairy tale land" as she called it.  Emmy suggests that you wear a big blue coat or shirt, a red and white striped scarf, a blue hat and boots.  Be sure to fill a mail bag with letters and maybe even walk your bike with you!  Here is a photo that should get your creative juices going.  

We hope that you are inspired by our book character costumes and would love to hear your ideas, too!  Leave a comment and let's see if we can grow this list of costume ideas!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Costumes Inspired by Children's Books - Part One

Halloween is just around the corner and answers to the question, "What are you going to be for Halloween?" can be heard all around me.  I have always been inspired by characters in books when it came down to creating a costume.  When I taught elementary school, celebrating Halloween through book characters was the way to go.  One year I was Ms. Frizzle from the The Magic School Bus series followed by The Rainbow Fish the next year, another year I was the tree in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and even portrayed Miss Nelson from Miss Nelson is Missing! with a costume change midday to Miss Viola Swamp.  Somewhere among my teaching memories are photographs of these costumes.  As going through my storage unit in search of these photos is not on the agenda today, I am instead including some photos I found on the web that might inspire you to become one of these characters.

Another great time to dress up as a book character is during Children's Book Week.  Usually celebrated at the beginning of May, it's a great time to to bring books to life in your classroom or at home.  I remember one year when a little girl in my class came dressed as the main character in The Bad Case of Stripes.  Her mom meticulously painted stripes on her face, neck and arms.  She wore striped tights, a pink dress and a bow in her hair. It was awesome!  Here are two inspiring photos found on the web of that idea. 
Emmy's early Halloween costumes were inspired a bit by book characters as well as her personality. On her first Halloween she was Tigger.  This was inspired by her bouncy time in Mommy's belly and her need to move throughout her early months as well as our love of all things Winnie the Pooh.  Next up was a lion inspired by the book The Happy Lion (she loved exclaiming, "Bonjour Happy Lion" and "Au Revoir Happy Lion") as well as her ability to ROAR on command.  On her third Halloween, Emmy was a clown inspired by a recent trip to the circus as well as the book Circus Caps for Sale (she loved the page where the clowns were using the caps in their act).  Click HERE to see photos of Emmy on Halloween as well as read our post about one of our favorite Halloween books - Monster Needs a Costume.

Stay tuned for Costumes Inspired by Children's Books - Part Two which will highlight some more character costumes from our favorite children's books!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Jan Brett's Book Tour

 Jan Brett is on tour and bringing her book bus to nearby Portsmouth, NH!  Emmy and I are beyond excited to see one of our all time favorite authors and illustrators.  We have quite a collection of Jan Brett books and Emmy often chooses these for her daily homework reading.

Jan will be visiting 23 cities and towns to celebrate her new book, The Turnip.  She will be giving a book talk and an illustration demonstration at each signing.  When I told Emmy that we would be going to see Jan Brett, she immediately asked if Hedgie would be there! Yes, Hedgie will be there. I am so grateful that Emmy gets this excited about an author/illustrator and that we can share this experience together. Click HERE if you would like to see if Jan is coming to a town near you!

With the upcoming release of her book The Turnip, Jan Brett brings another original twist to a favorite folk tale.  Jan, with her husband Joe, travels all over the world to get inspiration for her books.  When they were in Russia,  Jan was reminded of a simple carved wooden toy given to her by a friend.  The toy showed three people and a bear struggling to pull up a large turnip.  This was all it took for Jan to start imagining a story about a giant turnip.
Jan wondered if readers would believe a turnip could be as big as she wanted to make it.  She remembered someone who grew pumpkins to be over nine hundred pounds and decided that it could definitely happen.  Once again we see animal characters in beautiful clothes that show the culture of where this story takes place ~ Russia.  And, of course, the borders on the pages are full of beautiful illustrations offering the reader a further peek into the story.  

I haven't told Emmy the twist in this story yet, but I know it will give her lots of laughs!  I'm not going to spoil it for you either.  Look for the book The Turnip to hit book shelves on November 3, 2015.