This section includes descriptions and links to recommended picture books that make excellent feature books in different themes or are special favorites that can extend and enrich the study of a particular subject.
Featured Book Activity
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Ted Rand
According to a dictionary, a shadow is a dark figure or image cast on the ground or some surface by a body intercepting light. A puppet is an artificial figure representing a human being or an animal, manipulated by the hand, rods, wires, etc., as on a miniature stage. Before writing was invented people recorded their history orally through story telling; in ancient Indonesia people added puppets to help tell the stories, You can make your own shadow puppets to share familiar stories or life experiences.
One way to make shadow puppets is to use your hands in special ways in front of a strong light in order to make interesting figures appear on a screen or surface behind you. The Hand Shadow Puppetry ClipArt Gallery offers 15 examples of animals such as a butterfly, dog, donkey, or elephant represented in shadow by one or two human hands.
You can also make paper puppets. Cut some different shapes from cardboard or any stiff paper. Tape handles to the shapes so you can hold them up in front of a bright light and see the shadows on a wall or other surface. The following directions are for making a small puppet theater for use with shadow stick puppets.
Gather your materials
- Light-source (lamp, flashlight, etc)
- Parchment paper for screen
- Cardboard box (such as for cereal, laundry detergent, or pizza)
- Wooden sticks, bamboo skewers, tongue depressors, or straws
- Paper or tagboard
- Place to hide yourself
Make the screen
- Cut the bottom out of the cardboard box to access the screen
- Cut a frame from the side of the box
- Fasten the parchment paper with tape on the frame.
Make the puppets
- Draw the puppets you want on paper, or cardboard. You can also use outline templates.You may want to draw detail like eyes, smile etc. on the puppet, so that, when it's cut out, the details will appear in the shadow.
- Cut out the puppets.
- Put a piece of tape on one side of the stick or straw. Leave some free tape at the end of the end of the stick. Fasten the stick to your paper puppet, somewhere in the center of the backside of the puppet. Put some tape at the other side of the stick, so that it's solid.
Position the light correctly
- Have a strong light-source just behind you and the screen.
- Position yourself so that you do not interfere with the light and puppets.
Make a connection
written and illustrated by David Shannon
written and illustrated by Laurie Keller
Learning to Get Along
Big, boldly colored drawings show all of the wrong things he does when David Goes to School while the simple text, printed on snippets of 1st grade lined paper, tells expected acceptable behaviors. Mr. Rabbit is concerned about getting along with his new neighbors and envisions how things might work out when Mr. Owl reminds him of the Golden Rule--Do Unto Otters. The wild mix of changing fonts and word sizes and silly cartoon illustrations is a real child-pleaser. These books together are an excellent way to lead into discussions of manners, rules, and appropriate social behaviors.