For Doodle Day May #16 our topic was SPACE. Alison (the creator of Doodle Day May) put no constraint on our imaginations for this doodle. I decided to doodle this in photoshop. I’m still familiarizing myself with it’s features so this was a good practice. Several things in this that I would change, some proportions (those tiny images were hard with the wacom). I would probably do the skyline in pencil and paper and scan it in next time – but I was at 30 minutes – so I made myself stop.
Short funny story about comets-My husband and I love star gazing (as long as the mosquitoes aren’t too bad, or it’s not too cold.) The last time Haley’s comet was around our youngest was an infant. We bundled her up and drove into the country away from light pollution, and sat for 2 hours in the middle of the night trying to see the comet. No luck – the only thing we got was a wide awake baby when we got home. A couple weeks later – my husband worked nights at the time – about 3 in the morning, hubby comes home, wakes me up and says – you have to get up you can see Haley’s comet plain as day! So bleary eyed and staggering I got dressed…socks…boots…extra layers…it was COLD…Tom kept urging me to hurry….mittens….scarf…..’C’mon, you’ll miss it’…..stiff-walked into the back yard, squinting at the sky…. “Where is it?? I don’t see it,” I said. Several yards from me my dear, loving, considerate husband shouts, “APRIL FOOL’s!!!”
Anyway… on to my Perfect Picture Book pick for the week.
Title: Baby Brains and RoboMom (Note: in the UK it is RoboMum)
Author/Illustrator: Simon James
Publisher: Candlewick Press (2008)
Audience Age: 4-8
Themes/Topics: Problem Solving, Family
Opening Sentences: Before Baby Brains was born, Mrs. Brains ate lots of fish and nuts, which are good foods for brains.
Synopsis: The smartest baby in the world builds a robot mom to give his tired mommy a break from the chores, but things don’t go as planned.
Why I like it: This was my introduction to ‘Baby Brains.’ which is actually the third book in the series. The others are Baby Brains: The Smartest Baby in the Whole World and Baby Brains: Superstar. I definitely plan to find these first two to enjoy. The Brains parents seem to be an average, loving and hard working couple who have the smartest baby around. They patiently hold pencils while Baby sits at the drafting board planning and creating his newest invention… like a remote-controlled, self-rocking cradle or a motorized stroller. Baby notices how tired his mommy is so he lovingly creates RoboMom. The busy metal mom hustles to do all the chores and then some. However, we see Baby Brains missing the human touch and the parents perplexed at how to intervene. When an explosion occurs (don’t worry everyone is safe–well almost everyone) the problem resolves itself and Baby Brains learns to be a little more careful with his inventions.
Despite the difference between Baby’s extreme intelligence and his average parents you are able to discern the family’s love for one another. The parent’s acceptance of their unique child and his desire to help give his parents a much needed rest and provide the heart of the story. James’ illustrations are delightful sketchy, watercolor and ink. One comment I read said they have a Quentin Blake (Big Friendly Giant) quality to them and I agree.
My granddaughters (almost 3 and 4 1/2) liked the story and were really intrigued by Baby’s inventions, wanting to know what he was doing at the drawing board and how he could make those things. It was also a requested re-read.
Activities/Resources: Mr. James has an awesome website (check it out), a demonstration page on Youtube and he has colouring pages available. There is one of Baby Brains where Mr. James leaves it to you to draw in YOUR picture of Baby’s invention. (I ran off one for myself 🙂 )
There are sooo many online resources about inventors and inventions. Start by talking about what an ‘invention’ is. Ask your child if they can think of something to invent that would help around your house. Perhaps a machine to put away the toys. What would they make it out of? Have then draw a picture of what it would look like. Here is a simple lesson plan to help spark creativity using boxes, pipe cleaners, glue tape and all kinds of scrap material.
Availability: Major book sellers.
(Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links on her blog.)
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