Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christina Katerina and the Box

I can't write about cardboard box creations without mentioning one of my favorite books, Christina Katerina and the Boxby Patricia Lee Gauch.

When Christina's family gets a new refrigerator, she gets a world of possibilities from the box it came in. The story follows Christina and her friend Fats, as they transform the box from a castle to a secret clubhouse to a race car to a summer mansion where they throw a lavish ball for their stuffed animals and dolls. The box is finally damaged beyond repair when Fats decides to wash it off with a hose. Fortunately, Fats' family just got a new washer and dryer...

The simple line drawings, by Doris Burn (who also wrote and illustrated the wonderfully imaginative Andrew Henry's Meadow, another favorite of mine) provide lots of inspiration for box creations.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Not a Box

What better way to start a series of posts about the creative reuse of boxes than with a book about a rabbit with a box and an active imagination.

Not a Box is a simple and engaging book (think Harold and the Purple Crayon) that encourages imagination and thinking outside the box.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Unique in all the world

My mom used to tease me about how my big toe curved up. Now, as a parent, I understand that it is those unique traits, those one-of-a-kind features that she observed clear back in the quiet moments of my young life, that bonded her to me, and now bonds me to my two children.

I am reminded of the fox's comments in The Little Prince,"to me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys...But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world....I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me...But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat..."
The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let it snow!

Books are a big part of our family's holiday tradition. We pack up most of our Christmas and winter books at the end of the season so that we can rediscover them the next year. I have always been a big fan of pop up books. With the turn of each page a new three dimensional world comes into being.

If you have ever seen Robert Sabuda's intricate pop-up books, you know that they are wonders of engineering and creativity. In addition to several books with Christmas and winter themes, he has created pop up books based on such literary classics as Narnia, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose. He also has a line of boxed gift cards. If you are looking for a last minute gift, I would definitely recommend checking out Sabuda's books.

If you are feeling crafty and want to make your own pop up cards or books, Sabuda's extensive website provides detailed instructions (including photographs of each step) on how to create your own. There are over forty designs including, seasonal holidays, animals, Star Wars characters and more.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Let it snow!

"Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind."
Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, 1925

In my 10-plus years of photographing children, I see similarities to Bentley's passion for photographing snowflakes and mine for photographing children. Children, like snowflakes are each entirely unique and beautiful. Now as a parent of two, I see even more clearly how this beauty is ever changing and melting into new complex and fascinating works of art.

Snowflake Bentley tells the true story of a farm boy who was so fascinated by snowflakes that he made photographing them his life work. Wilson A. Bentley's passion for snowflakes led him to spend 50 years pioneering the scientific study of ice crystals, and developing a technique of microphotography that allowed him to capture the integrate details of snowflakes for others to see. Mary Azarian's beautiful woodcut illustrations for the book won the Caldecott Medal in 1999.

If you want to see some examples of "Snowflake" Bentley's work, Snow Crystals contains more than 2,000 black and white microphotographs of snowflakes by Bentley, graphically demonstrating that each snowflake has its own unique beauty.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Visiting the White House

Barack and Michelle Obama's recent visit to the White House reminded me about Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out,
a new anthology of White House history, in the form of illustrations, nonfiction writing, short stories, poetry, texts of actual speeches, transcripts of television interviews, and "illustration essays." It includes an amazing collection of work from over 100 award winning children's authors and illustrators, as well as, historians and former White House employees and residents. It is a great place to help our kids dig deeper into the history of our country during this historic election year.

Also, check out the official website.