March 15, 2011

Classy Crayons & (Giles Andreae Review)

I recently spoke with the gifted teacher at E's school. Our city's gifted program doesn't begin until second grade, but I was curious if there were anything I could be doing with E now. To my great surprise, she recommended exposing her to a variety of art media.

So I dutifully headed to the art supplies store and decided to start simple: oil pastels. Oil pastels are at their most basic, classy crayons. They blend better - and stain clothes and fingers better - than regular crayons, and are also softer and thus more vibrant.

I am in the middle of packing up my entire house for our impending move across town, so I threw a couple sheets of packing paper on the floor and set the girls to color while I got back to work. To give them a bit more inspiration, I propped up two Giles Andreae books.

Rumble in the Jungle


Commotion in the Ocean

Both of these books are collections of short poems, each based on a different animal. Matched with the poems are the riotous illustrations of David Wojtowycz. Alive with color, his drawings match the playful tone set by the poems and engage the eye of even the squirmiest little listener. His characters are happy, vibrant, and full of personality - the perfect pairing for a book of silly poems

To give E a little added incentive, I told her to draw a picture of an animal - just like in the book - and I would write a poem to go along with it. So, ahem, without further ado.... The Jelly Fish.

A jellyfish, happy and fat,
floated by this and by that,
with a terrified look
she spotted a hook
but smiled as it caught an old hat.

Disclaimer: Rumble in the Jungle and Commotion in the Ocean was provided to me courtesy of Tiger Tails Books free of charge in exchange for a review. This does not in any way influence my review.


  1. I love both of those books and we love oil pastels too! I love the picture of the girls creating their art.

    Sadly, budget cuts (grrrr..) have resulted in the end of our talented and gifted program. Even sadder, administration is happy it's gone because it makes the other children feel bad that they aren't talented and gifted. I love public schools, but stuff like this makes me CRAZY!!!!!!!!!

  2. That's nice to know since we're in the same advanced daughter and not a lot of enrichment offered in kinder.

    Love the books! We've checked one of those out already. What an awesome Mom to get that going in the middle of moving.

  3. We have some oil pastels, but they came with some set and don't work well. Her picture is cute and the crayons do look bright. What set did you get?

    Moving day must be coming soon...I hope...yeah!

  4. This is JDaniel's favorite poem from the book. I hope the move goes well.

  5. I love the jelly fish! It is so fun seeing children be creative! ~Val

  6. I liked your craft and books. We did the same this week for St. Patrick's Day, check it out @


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