Category Archives: Picture Book Crafts
This picture book is dreamy, with the coziest illustrations and story to match. It’s about animals sending wishes to the moon, the rabbit who turns them into stars, and finally, Rabbit setting out to the place those wishes come from to follow their own.
In an author’s note at the beginning, Jean Kim tells readers that in Korea, “when we look at the full moon we see the outline of a rabbit standing next to a mortar…pounding rice into rice cakes.” Seeing the rabbit in a full moon is an invitation to make a wish. The story was inspired by that tradition, and it made her wonder if the rabbit might have a wish of their very own as well.
I love the way paper airplanes are the way wishes travel to the moon in this book; the fuzzy, glowing quality of the illustrations; the idea of stars not as vehicles for wishes but as the embodiment of them instead, hopes we’ve let fly shining down on us.
There is a quest quality of the story and Rabbit’s journey takes a few different turns. And the last one, after Rabbit has had their friendship adventure, is especially sweet for a twilight read.
Rabbit Moon is a story of longing—for adventure and friendship and connection—a story of wishes come true.
Check out Jean Kim’s dummy with sketches of the book as well as more illustrations on her website.
Big thanks to Scholastic for images!
I just had to make a wish-inspired craft to go with Rabbit Moon, a story so fitting for the beginning of a year! So, here is a simple wishes and stars mobile. The best part? You can write your wishes on paper airplanes and then watch them spin among the stars!
What you need:
Sturdy gold paper (painted cardboard or gold card stock would work)
Paper airplane paper (I used foil origami paper, but plain white paper would work too)
Sturdy blue thread
A hoop (I used a gold hoop from a craft store, an embroidery hoop would also work, or a hollowed paper plate!)
Gold threading beads (optional)
A pen or pencil with which to write your wishes
A small hole punch (though I used a seam ripper and skewer to punch holes DIY style)
First, cut out stars. I traced one large one on white paper from the book, then cut that out and used it as a stencil to trace and cut out stars on the sturdy gold paper. (Repeated that process for a smaller version as well.)
Next, make some paper airplanes! Easy instructions here. (If using origami paper, you need to start with a rectangle versus the square shape.)
Write a wish inside each plane!
For the hoop, tie three equal lengths of string around it so the hoop is balanced, then join them together above in a knot. Use the leftover length to make a knotted loop for easy hanging.
Make holes in the stars and airplanes. Then, thread them through the string. If you want to add beads or several stars on one line of thread, make a knot to catch each one; add as many as you like. Finally, attach the star and airplane strings to the hoop with knots. Trim the long bits as a final touch.
Hang on a hook or doorknob or hanger! Voila!
You might also like these paper airplane Valentines inspired by Hearts by Thereza Rowe.
This picture book meets graphic novel is fantastic in every way! Infused with Korean folklore, gorgeous, action-packed illustrations, and a pair of siblings on a quest to find their grandmother, this is an absolutely delightful adventure.
Halmoni means grandmother in Korean, and this story is two children’s quest for theirs who is missing from her home when they arrive there. They smell her red bean soup, but that, too, is nowhere to be found. One of the most delightful things about this book is the little visual clues sprinkled in the illustrations of Halmoni’s house that foreshadow characters the two kids will meet on their journey: a fox, a tiger, and dokkebi (trickster goblins).
The scenes with each character they meet are funny, playful, and mysterious all at the same time and the sibling dynamic is loads of fun too.
The main characters must interpret all that comes along on their path and figure out how to solve each problem they face. My favorite part is when the kids play rock-paper-scissors with the tiger from the cover in order to get back Halmoni’s red bean soup pot. It’s an action sequence that plays out beautifully, complete with twists and turns and tricks.
And there is a key at the back to explain what characters were saying when they were speaking Korean in the text, as well as a glossary of Korean folktale figures who appear in the book. Julie also shares in the back matter that when she was a child and something disappeared, her parents would say, “This must be the dokkebi playing tricks!” That mysterious, mischievous spirit infuses this terrific tale.
Big thanks to Little Bigfoot for images!
The author-illustrator herself, Julie Kim, is here to share a recipe for red bean soup with sweet rice balls! That’s the soup Halmoni makes and finally serves the children at the end of the book when their adventure is over.
Over to Julie!
There is a popular Korean folktale where a tiger comes to eat up an old woman living alone in the mountains. It is summer, and the old woman tells the tiger to come back in the winter when it is more hungry. By then, her red beans would be ready for harvesting and the tiger can have red bean soup as well. The tiger thinks this is a great idea and tells the old woman it will be back in winter. Meanwhile, summer and autumn pass and the old woman weeps as she makes red bean soup. She knows she doesn’t have long to live. Luckily, little creatures like the turtle, a mat, a wooden carrier, and even a pile of poo come to her aid in exchange for the red bean soup. They all team up to foil the tiger and throw it over a cliff.
We eat it at home too, but this story of the grandmother was mainly the inspiration [for including red bean soup]. Like a lot of things that I do, this recipe is a bit of a mishmash. Traditionally, there are two types of red bean soup (called Pot-Jook in Korean): the savory kind with rice, and the silky sweet kind with sweet rice balls, which you can add to either type. I like the texture of the savory type and my children like the taste of the sweet version, so I combined the recipe and topped it off with sweet rice balls. By doing this, I end up with a hybrid, a sweet red bean soup/porridge that has the texture of rice pudding. And you can go either way, savory or more sweet, depending on whether you add or omit the sugar.
Here’s Julie’s red bean soup and sweet rice balls recipe along with step by step photos to download as a PDF!
Julie Kim is an author and illustrator living in Seattle, WA. She has published with Cricket Magazine, Scholastic, and Mondo. Where’s Halmoni? is her authorial debut.
This is a dear, dear picture book. As the title implies, it contains a guide to making friends with a phantom written by Dr. Phantoneous Spookel, leading ghost expert and poet, and stars one sweet girl and one sweet companion ghost.
(click image(s) to enlarge)
The tone is at once quirky, inventive, and sincere and what gets me the most are the details. There’s a warning not to put your hand through a ghost as that can cause a tummy ache. There’s advice on hiding a ghost in a tissue box when guests come over. It’s those creative bits like bath time in a cauldron, bedtime lullabies of “eerie hums and wails,” and snack time of earwax truffles that truly delight.
The guide has three parts: ghost identification, ghost basics, and growing up with your ghost. The last one takes the main character all the way into adulthood, a certain spirit always by her side. And the ending plays with the idea of a friendship that lasts and lasts and truly goes on forever. You’ll seeeeeee!
Rebecca Green‘s illustrations have those same qualities as the text—quirky and inventive while also being sincere and gentle. This tender ghost story is a win all around.
Big thanks to Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada for images!
Baker and cook extraordinaire, Sylvia of Sincerely, Syl, is here with a vanilla marshmallow ghost recipe to bring the sweet ghost from the story to life!! Sylvia works for Tundra, the publisher of How to Make Friends with a Ghost, and we’ve been wanting to collaborate for some time. And then we found the perfect fall book, and Sylvia devised the perfect craft, complete with the ghost’s small mouth (that eats a lot) and rosy cheeks. Plus, each ghost is satisfyingly squishy!!
Makes enough to fill an 8 x 12 x 2 baking pan
½ cup water
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
Unsalted butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup golden corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- Using the bowl from your stand mixer, pour in the water and gelatin. Let it sit so that the gelatin can bloom.
- Brush the melted butter onto the base and side of your baking pan. Set it aside.
- Add the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and the other half cup of water into a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring it to a rolling boil and let it boil for about a minute. Then remove it from the heat.
- Fit your stand mixer with the whisk attachment and turn it on low to mix the water and gelatin that’s already in the bowl until it combines. Then very slowly and carefully, add the hot sugar and corn syrup mixture into the bowl.
- Still mixing on low, add the vanilla extract.
- When everything is in the bowl, turn the mixer to high and whisk for 10 minutes until the batter turns white and triples in size.
- Stop the mixer, using a spatula, scrape the marshmallow batter into the baking pan. Spread the batter evenly and do your best to level it. A bench scraper or off-set spatula can help.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil, be sure not to touch the batter otherwise it’ll stick. Or use a lid if your baking pan comes with one. Leave the marshmallow to set at room temperature overnight or in the fridge.
- The next day, take the foil off and sprinkle icing sugar over the top. Cover the surface evenly so that it won’t be too sticky to handle. Run a knife along the edge of the pan to help loosen the marshmallow slab. Then carefully flip the marshmallow out onto a counter. Sprinkle icing sugar all over the marshmallow – don’t forget the sides.
- Use a knife to cut them into squares or roll a cookie cutter in icing sugar before using it on the marshmallow.
Check out that squishy sweetness!
Sylvia Chan lives in Toronto, Ontario with a growing collection of books and kitchen supplies. During the day, she works in marketing and publicity for a children’s publishing house. On her time off, Sylvia loves to bake, eat, photograph, draw, and travel. Follow along at sincerely.syl on Instagram or visit her blog at www.sincerelysyl.com.
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.
Big thanks to Penguin Young Readers for images!
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.
Over to Shelly!
What you need:
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!
The main character from the title is a mail carrier, only he delivers letters he finds floating in bottles found at sea.
What a fanciful idea for a picture book!
(According to press materials I received, Michelle Cuevas got the idea when she read: “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I had created a formal role of the ‘Uncorker of Ocean Bottles’ to make sure that naval secrets sent via bottle did not fall into the wrong hands.”)
The illustrations alternate between and sometimes combine the green-blue of the sea and the rusty yellow rays of the sun. I can almost smell the seaweed and salty air. And the language is full of poetry.
The main character is a man who delivers ocean bottle-mail, but believes he will never receive any himself. But how he wants to! The Uncorker doesn’t even have a name. He is lonely.
“…for a letter can hold the treasure of a clam-hugged pearl.”
One day, The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles collects a letter from the sea with no recipient named. It’s a party invitation, for tomorrow evening at the seaside—and so The Uncorker’s quest begins!
This is a story of kindness repaid, of connection made, of community convening. Of a heart, once empty, now “a glass vessel filled to the brim.” Everyone deserves some music and a seaside dance, don’t you think?
Big thanks to Dial Books for images!
I’m delighted to be hosting crafter and author, Margaret Bloom—her son was her assistant and you’ll see his hands in the photos! Margaret’s come up with a sweet, enchanting ocean bottle necklace craft.
Over to her!
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles celebrates not only the joy of sending and receiving letters, but also the joy of acceptance within a community. This is a perfect story to share with children in anticipation of Valentine’s Day when all are encouraged to create and deliver their own messages of friendship and love.
There are many beautiful lines in this book, but one of the sweetest reminds us that “a letter can hold the treasure of a clam-hugged pearl.” And so in each little necklace-bottle created by my son, he placed a pearl… a tiny treasure hidden among the glittering ocean within each bottle. And when he offers these necklaces on Valentine’s Day, they will be accompanied by small, hand-written messages of his own, expressing friendship and love.
Tiny glass bottles, 2 cm tall (we used these)
Thin cord or ribbon
Glitter or tiny confetti
Paper scrap, approx. 3 cm x 6 cm
First, curl the paper scrap around the tip of your finger and secure with adhesive tape in the shape of a small funnel. Then hold the tip of your funnel in the mouth of the bottle and pour in a small bit of glitter (or tiny, iridescent/metallic confetti). Drop in a pearl bead. Insert cork into top of bottle (glueing the cork in place is optional), and seal with a wish.
Then measure a length of ribbon long enough to loop over a person’s head, plus extra for tying knots (we cut our ribbons approx. 40 cm long). Wrap the mid-point of the ribbon 2-3 times around the neck of the bottle and knot tightly. Then knot the ends of the ribbon together.
Last, write a note to accompany your gift, and delight a friend by giving them a magical necklace on Valentine’s Day (or any other day!).
Margaret Bloom has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and is the author of two books: Making Peg Dolls (Hawthorn Press UK, 2013), and Making Peg Dolls & More (Hawthorn Press UK, 2015). She lives with her husband & children in a small cottage beneath the great oak trees of Northern California, and when she is not busy reading, buttering toast, and searching for lost socks, she spends her time working on a third book. You can visit her at We Bloom Here to read about more things which bring her joy and inspiration.
Many thanks, Margaret!