Tag Archives: book costume

archie and the bear + bear hat craft by author zanni louise

Archie and the Bear by Zanni Louise and David Mackintosh.


This picture book takes a bit of mind-bending, and that’s fine by me. There’s a boy who believes he’s a bear. There’s a bear who believes he’s a boy. And there’s a friendship of misunderstoods who understand each other.

This is one of those stories that affirms a child’s view of things and leaves adults of out it. I love books like that.



Archie is fed up with no one believing he’s a bear, so he goes to the forest. Where bears live. And he meets one. A bear who believes he is a boy!



The pair share honey sandwiches and teach one another. Archie teaches the bear the ways of being a bear. The bear teaches Archie the ways of being a boy.



And eventually, they go home and find that both bears and boys like sitting by the fire with a warm blanket. Every kind of creature likes that.


Mackintosh’s dynamic and varied illustrations zoom in and out and play with scale in wonderful ways. They combine stark contrasts and soft watercolors and pencil drawings. They sometimes leave things out. The artwork is both simple and complex, like the story.


This is an inventive and satisfying picture book about affirming one’s imagination and finding a kindred spirit.


Big thanks to Zanni Louise for images!




I’ve been waiting for cooler weather to post about this book, and since it’s Halloween-time, what better picture book craft than the costume-y kind! And we’re very lucky because Zanni Louise, the author herself, has stopped by to show us how to make a bear hat and be like Archie. Or like the bear. Well, how to look like a bear anyway.


Over to Zanni!

What you’ll need:

2 x brown sandwich bags

2 x small paper doily

1 x large paper doily



Thick black marker


Cut paper bags in half, lengthwise (top to bottom).


Take one piece of brown paper bag, and fold lengthwise. Roughly calculate the centre point of the strip, and on the fold make two dots approx 3cm / 1.25 inches apart. These are the inner corners of the eyeholes.

On the fold, use markings and cut two semi-circles for eyes. Unfold.


Stick three brown paper strips together, which make one long strip, with the eyeholes in the centre strip. Make a crown around the child’s head, which goes over their eyes, and stick ends together to fit crown securely. You may need to trim ends, depending on the head size. Aim for a big overlap though, as this will be more secure.

Using the larger doily, trim away the ‘lace’ so you are left with a round circle. You can also use white paper or board for this. Draw a black nose and mouth on the white circle, and fasten to your crown, between the eyes. The bottom half of the white circle will hang over the child’s nose and mouth.

Attach the smaller doilies above the eyeholes, on the inside of the crown. These are the ears.


Voila! Your child is now a bear.


Zanni Louise has written numerous books for kids, and is published in 19 countries worldwide. Zanni runs writing workshops for kids and adults, and provides one-on-one mentoring services. Archie and the Bear is Zanni’s first North American publication, and has just been announced as a White Ravens Book for 2018. Find out more about Zanni at www.zannilouise.com







You might also like this Bob the Artist beak craft









you forgot your skirt, amelia bloomer! / my DIY historical halloween costume

ameliabloomer I sure like a gal like Amelia Bloomer. She edited the first newspaper for women. She believed women should be allowed to vote. As Shana Corey puts it, for the mid-nineteenth century:


“Amelia Bloomer was NOT

a proper lady.”

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey, illustrated by Chelsey McLaren.



Shocking, I know! Certainly improper were her dress reform ideas. As soon as she discovered a friend of a friend’s alternative to corsets and hoops and gigantic, weighty dresses, she sewed up that alternative herself. And that’s why it was called a bloomer costume. After her.

images courtesy of Scholastic Skirt 01 “Amelia Bloomer was NOT a proper lady.” Skirt 02 “The corsets they wore underneath their dresses were so tight it was hard to breathe in them. Proper ladies were fainting at the drop of a hat. What was proper about that?”   Skirt 03 “And she went right to her sewing machine and sewed a matching outfit for herself. Then she went out for a walk.”

“As soon as it became known that I was wearing the new dress, letters came pouring in upon me by the hundreds from women all over the country making inquiries about the dress and asking for patterns – showing how ready and anxious women were to throw off the burden of long, heavy skirts.”

-Amelia Bloomer herself

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My inspiration mood board

I took some major liberties with my Amelia Bloomers-inspired costume, of course. But thanks to four local thrift stores, I think the idea of an independent 19th century woman wearing bloomers comes through!

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The bloomers are from Ragg Mopp Vintage in my neighborhood and I’m going to keep them around to wear around the house or sleep in. They’re big and flowy and adorable.


The local Goodwill and Out of The Closet had both skirts I found and both period-looking shirts, all for six bucks each.  That short velvet jacket? Six bucks as well and totally wearable again. (It’s actually Ann Taylor LOFT!)


The only bits that are mine are the shoes and knee-highs.


Amelia would never have worn JUST bloomers, but hey, they’re so adorable!


ameliabloomer6The long coat I got at a local vintage/costume shop, Ozzie Dots. If you were so inclined, it could be worn as a Victorian-y fall coat.



Here’s to an historical Halloween ! And gutsy ladies!

photos by Todd Davis @ www.DavisHandmade.com. Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 5.10.08 PM