A sweet, gentle, honest story about finding a way to feel like you, to feel comfortable, to navigate new things in your own way.
(click image(s) to enlarge)
The start of school is approaching, and when shopping with her dad, only one item calls Lily’s name. A cat mask.
Lily does everything in the cat mask all summer. Goes to the doctor, meets her soon-to-be teacher, grows up.
It’s kind of a security blanket, but it’s more than that too. A mask is something that allows you to see and experience the world, but without the world seeing you. It’s a way to ease into something, to check it out first, to have a little buffer from what’s now and what’s coming next.
So when Lily can’t wear the mask during certain times at school, the reader sees her feeling strange and uncomfortable and a bit out of sorts. Until the day of the costume party, which I get the feeling the kind teacher may have thought Lily would like.
One of the things I love about this book is that Lily doesn’t change who she is. She doesn’t all of a sudden love the spotlight. She stays herself, but she grows too, and even inspires someone else. In the end, Lily wears her trusty cat mask to the costume party. She’s comfortable again. And she’s no longer alone.
I’m delighted to have Shelly from Creating Creatives with a cat mask craft like Lily’s for us! Her site is full of wonderful art projects for kids. She’s even got a template to make it even easier to make your own.
Something to color with, we used Paint & Paint Brush & Kwik Stix
Pen or Blunt Pencil
Pipe Cleaner or String
Start by cutting the outer (red) circle on mask template.
Once cut, take your paper plate and turn it upside down. Center the template on the bottom of your plate and trace the features you want to use with a ball point pen or dull pencil. You want to make an indentation in the plate, so it looks like the picture below. The eyes are probably the most important.
Trace the dotted line on the top of the head, then draw 2 curved lines from the top dotted line to the edge of the plate; these will be the edges of the ears.
Use your scissors to cut the top section (the part between the ears) out. Then use your x-acto knife to cut out the inner most pupil, this is the dotted line part of the eye on your template. If you want to cut out a mouth, use your x-acto knife to cut out the mouth too.
Now it’s time to personalize your cat! I put out a bunch of things to color with for my little creatives to decorate their masks. Their favorites were paint and Kwik Stix.
This is a great time to look at the cat masks in the book and discuss what features their cat mask might have. We discussed spots, stripes, tigers, rainbow cats and cats with different colored eyes. Have fun.
Once the paint has dried it’s time to hole punch and add the pipe cleaner / string. Because everyone’s head is a little different, place the mask on your child and see where it’s best to hole punch.
Now thread your pipe cleaner or string through the hole and twist, or tie. We like using pipe cleaner because it’s easy for my little creatives to put their masks on by themselves.
Here’s a PDF with all the instructions, plus step-by-step photos:
Shelly is a Visual Effects Producer turned Entrepreneur who lives with her husband and 3 young children in sunny California. After having her third child, she realized she wanted to spend more time with her family. Many a happy afternoon of arts and craft with her children led her to the realization that she needed to spread the word about creating together with children, and how inspirational it is. So she created an online space with fun and simple projects to do just that. You can visit this happy space and hopefully grab some inspiration at creatingcreatives.com.
Thank you, Shelly, for sharing this craft with us—so much fun and the photos of your family are the sweetest!
I have a treat for you today. Jen Pino from Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, California has ten picture book gems she recommends! Jen is a passionate bookseller and a delightful person, and I thought it would be neat to find out what picture books are on her radar right now, and have her pass them along to you!
I love that this book features ALL TYPES of jobs. When you are little, I feel like you only get exposed to the jobs your parents do, firefighters, doctors, police, and teachers. This book has so many more. This includes working for the Mountain Rescue Service, being an Operational Planner or even….a Bookseller!!
This is another amazing non-fiction title! Each page features a different way an object is made. Some examples are: a spoon, bread, and a t-shirt! The pages have basic summaries at first, then you can lift the flaps to get even more details!
This book is charming. I instantly fell in love with Sophia and her quest to own a giraffe. Several family members stand in the way of her desire, but Sophia, not one to be easily dissuaded, provides multiple arguments, complete with presentations, pie charts and stellar vocabulary, as she makes her case. Colorful, engaging pictures enhance the book’s delight. Additionally, this book serves as a tremendous resource of SAT worthy vocabulary.
Daniel Miyares has been one of my favorite illustrators for a while. Whenever he has something new coming out, I am eager to see what it’s going to be. In this, budding curiosity turns into a beautiful friendship. When the colors on the page go from black and white to warm shades, I get chills. So so good.
This is a super funny book for all the little super villains in your life. Dylan strives to be the “very best and cleverest super-villain in the whole wide world.” But will Addison Van Malice and some purple parsnip preserves stand in the way of that?
This is another book that gives me chills each time I read it. I never knew what Grand Central had to go through to be the station it is today. Furthermore, I had no idea how much work Jackie Kennedy did, over the course of 3 years, in order to save it from being demolished. I loved learning about how much Americans cared about Grand Central and how it started a movement to save other landmarks across the states.
Panda Pants by Jacqueline Davies, illustrated by Sydney Hanson ( 2016).
Baby Panda wants pants. When his father doesn’t understand why a Panda would need pants, baby Panda illustrates exactly why they would come in handy. However, even if on the surface this could be a book about choosing an outfit for the day, it’s underlying themes could be used to go even deeper. I could see Teachers and Parents using this book as a way to help children own who they are and who they want to be.
I was thrilled to see that this book features characters as diverse as an airport actually is. In calm, but informative text, this book narrates exactly the kinds of things a child might face when traveling to, entering an airport, or boarding a plane. Everything that a child might have a question about (regarding airports), is in this book.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Kelly DiPucchio. I think everything she touches turns to gold. This book is about a terrible dragon who cannot be tamed. However, turns out our dragon has a soft side for stories! Dragon’s face cracks me up as he “pretends not to listen” to the hero and friend he could be. This is for troublemakers and softies alike.
Jen Pino works at the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California, Vroman’s Bookstore. She’s worked there for almost 7 years and loves all things related to children’s books. Check out her blog: Confessions of a Starstruck Bookseller, where she shares what’s new at Vroman’s Bookstore, reviews books, features gift guides, and showcases booksellers!
Thank you, Jen, for sharing these picture book gems with us!
Bigger, also by Eleonora Marton. A super inventive foldout poster kind of book that’s also a ruler. It’s totally hands on and encourages guessing and measuring all kinds of stuff. You kind of have to see this one to understand it—but it’s great!
Me: A Compendium from Wee Society. This is a visual diary that inspires thinking, drawing, and recording.
Journal Sparks by Emily Neuburger. Emily has such a knack for bringing art and ideas to life for kids. This book is no different. It’s full of activities for noticing, for creating, for contemplating.
(Emily stopped by last summer to make potato prints with another activity book!)
Who What Where? by Olivier Tallec. This one is mind-bendingly brilliant and great for practicing observation skills.
Read All About It by Alice Bowsher. This one’s really unusual: a pamphlet that gives you everything you need to write and design your own newspaper pages! Plus, stickers. What fun (and perfect for budding journalists).
I’m giving away three of these activity books! Read All About It,Bigger, and Rosie Revere’s Big Project Book for Bold Engineers (pictured below) are all going to one lucky winer. Simply leave a comment below to be entered to win. (North America only; ends midnight PST Saturday, June 3rd.)
I adore this book! A mouse is helping Polar Bear find his lost underwear. Each page has a cut-out that shows somebody’s underwear on the next page and the reader can guess whose it is. But it’s usually not Polar Bear’s! Not until the surprising end, which feels like a magic trick. (Also, underwear is inherently funny.)
This book has a wonderful sense of scale and color as well as inventive typeface. Plus, an underdog to root for. And then, a delightful reversal I didn’t see coming on a first read. Captivating in every way.
I adore this inventive, quirky story so much. It’s all about Toto the worm trying to get a hard to reach apple in a nearby tree. Toto “gets busy” with a few different creative tricks to get closer to the apple. But the ending, well, you probably won’t see it coming, and that’s why it’s so very satisfying.
The image below kind of gives away the surprise. Essentially, you’re following all these wonderful creatures talking about what’s great and not so great about being a unicorn or Bigfoot or robot, but then it turns out the creatures were really kids, playing in their imaginations. And then, there’s a final spread that’s a pretty fun surprise for the dad in the book too.
A bunch of animals are trying to step over the tiger to avoid waking the big cat. They even enlist the use of balloons in order to float to safety! But, in the end they do wake him up. And you might not expect what happens next.