During January literacy groups in pre-kindergarten students read some picture books written and illustrated by Eric Carle. They were The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me.
While reading these books the class talked about the illustrations; students noticed various aspects including the bright colors Eric Carle uses, the moons and suns he drew have faces, and how the pictures helped the author tell each story. When they finished reading the books the students watched two videos, one showing some of the techniques Mr. Carle uses to create his collages and the other produced in honor of the 40th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In his videos he stresses using imagination and creativity. For instance it is okay to draw a blue horse or have red in the colors of the ocean. Some students noticed the many colored polka dot effect or the related color stripes on the inside of the book covers.
A few children were inspired to paint their own pictures influenced by the stories and videos. As you can see there is a green sun, some pictures with a dot technique and rainbows that do not have to follow a set formula.
Then the class talked about making their own mural. All of the children noticed many of Eric Carle’s books have suns and moons. As a group they decided to make the mural have a night side and a day side. The students also decided to include water and land on the mural. Several children helped paint the background (half dark and half light) to represent night and day. Stella painted the moon and Scarlett painted the sun. Everyone painted a solid color on a large piece of paper. After these paintings dried they cut them into pieces for the collage. Emerson, Gavin, Presley, Gigi and others cut out the sun rays and the stars. More students helped cut up some of the brown, blue and green pages. Each child made a building (barn or house), a creature or a person to add to the mural. Some represented their drawings as a collage using tracing paper to make the separate pieces. Others were very particular about adding great detail and cut out their pictures. There is an eleven legged unicorn, mermaids, a hammerhead shark, a whale, children, horses, barns and houses.