by Kelly DiPucchio
illustrated by Christian Robinson
If you have followed Off the Shelf for very long you will know that we love dogs and dogs books. Gaston, of course, is no exception. We love Gaston (the dog) because he is boisterous and goofy but is full of love and does his best even though he seems out of place among his siblings. We love Gaston (the book) because it is about celebrating differences and being happy where you are. You and your young reader are sure to find your own reasons for loving this delightful book (please share!), and pulling it off the shelf will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step!
In this Issue
We were so inspired by Christian Robinson's illustrations and how they truly capture the spirit of Gaston's story that we adapted his style for this week's art activity. Although he doesn't use cut-paper in creating his illustrations, his images are composed of flat, basic shapes that reminded us of paper. We love the idea of adding cut-paper to make this activity appealing to different age groups, including those who have not yet mastered scissor skills.
His illustrations also inspired us to choose cardboard for the base, since the faint ridges in corrugated cardboard reminded us of the background texture he creates with paint. Cardboard also stands up to thick applications of paint, so you don't end up with a soggy mess!
Cardboard and Paper Collage
- Corrugated cardboard - we cut ours from the side of a box
- Newspaper for covering painting surface
- Cover painting surface with newspaper.
- Paint cardboard to cover the surface completely. The paint application does not have to be even; thicker areas of paint adds texture and fun to the finished piece! Let dry.
- Cut paper shapes. Here are three different methods based on skill or preference:
a) Free-form cutting: cut one complete shape from paper (top example)
b) Cut different shapes to make one complete image. For example, we cut a dog's body, four legs, ears, etc. separately, and glued them together (bottom left)
c) Parent cuts out random shapes and the young reader can assemble them as desired ((bottom right)
- Glue paper to cardboard background.
- Use crayons to add desired details.
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Influenced by the black and white colors of Gaston (the dog), this art-in-the-kitchen activity allows young readers to create a healthy and artistic snack!
Yogurt Bark Canvas with Homemade Chocolate Syrup Paint
- 32 ounce container vanilla yogurt (you won't need the whole container)
- Chocolate syrup, homemade or store-bought
- Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil.
- Spoon in and smooth yogurt to desired thickness, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
- Place in freezer until solid.
- When ready to paint, put a small amount of chocolate syrup in a dish. If the syrup is very thick, microwave it for a few seconds. Remove yogurt bark from the freezer. Using a new paintbrush or a pastry brush, decorate the yogurt bark with your chocolate syrup paint.
- When your painting is complete, break up the yogurt bark and eat, or return to the freezer to enjoy later!
Note: Also try substituting jam for the chocolate syrup!
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