This picture book is out this month, coincidentally the same time of year the Ursa Major constellation is most visible in the night sky. And a bear who shines is another way of describing this main character. A gleaming debut all around!
“There were all the bears. And then, there was Ursa.” Ursa is different. Just look at her lying in the green grass, rainbow sweater-adorned. She’s a dreamer. Even on the first spread, she’s already looking at the sky.
Ursa goes big and thinks out of the box with every undertaking. When her focus turns skyward again, she decides she wants to fly! She applies all her other attributes—observing, making, trying—to the dream of flight.
There are many fantastic details in this book. Ursa’s little sibling who serves as sidekick, for example, whose shirt says what’s on big sister’s mind. Ursa’s own spirited outfits. And I love how her name reminds us of the bear constellations, how it brings us immediately to the clouds and stars above.
I also love the illustrations. Aren’t they delightfully engaging? The book alternates from dark spreads to light, spanning all the times of day in beautiful ways. And the texture of the dark bits, including the night sky and the bears own faces has a speckled quality that gets me thinking immediately of stars in the city.
I’ll let you read the book to find out what that is! And as Deborah Marcero reminded me when we talked about this post, there’s always a “feeling of ‘flying’ when you do something that’s totally YOU and you do it well.” That’s it’s own kind of flying as well and sometimes, as in Ursa’s case, it takes some trial and error to get there. Which makes the feat that much sweeter.
I think you’ll want to read Deborah’s blog post about the process of creating the artwork in this book. She has a lot in common with Ursa herself!
Big thanks to Peter Pauper Press for images!
We are so lucky to have Kellie as crafter in the picture book kitchen today! She’s an artist and book lover I admire. You may already follow her on Instagram, but if not, I highly recommend her delightful feed: The Kaleidoscope. (She made some fantastic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland cookies too!)
Over to Kellie!
With four little boys, reading and snacking go hand in hand. Thanks to Danielle, I am excited to share a fun little project inspired by Ursa’s Light.
Ursa is a unique little bear. I didn’t think my regular bear face cutter would do her justice, so I sketeched a little picture of her onto a heavy card stock paper. After cutting her out, I used this recipe for the cookie dough.
Once you have rolled out your cookie dough, I used a butter knife to cut along the paper shape.
For painting the cookies, I used icing sugar, a splash of milk and the most important part is cream of tarter, which helps it set. I used a paintbrush, just small plastic brushes you can get at any dollar store. The most important part of painting your cookies is waiting for the icing to dry before you add on details. I started with my base coat, in this case it was black and red. Once the icing has set, you can add the eyes, and pink for the ears and nose.
After the stars had cooled, and while I waited for my icing to set, I painted the dried stars with some glow in the dark paint and strung them together with some bakers twine.
We hung them above the bed, and it’s the perfect inspiration for reading and dreaming about how we can dream big like Ursa.
In University, she studied children’s literature, minored in child development, and went on to complete her fine arts degree. She is fond of picture books and painting. She’s always sharing her love of books in her community and through the online community (where we were lucky enough to meet!).
Thank you, Kellie for these Ursa cookies! I’m in heaven gazing at them!
You may want to check out Kellie’s Frida Kahlo peg doll from last year’s Viva Frida post too!