Today we have the pleasure of participating in a blog tour for artist and author Elisa Kleven’s children’s books.
One of her older books is in the spotlight today: The Paper Princess. In two weeks, we will be sharing her newest, Glasswings: A Butterfly’s Story.
The Paper Princess by Elisa Kleven is the magical tale of a paper doll who is blown away before the little girl who made her can finish. She has a number of adventures, but continues to seek the little girl. Will the princess ever find her?
The book has many dimensions, but what catches the reader’s eye first is Kleven’s unique illustrations. Mixed-media collage, they are bright, colorful, and full of shapes and patterns. The details are so rich, it is possible to discover new things every time you read it. Look for examples of negative space, as well.
For part of the story the princess doesn’t have hair, because the little girl never had a chance to finish her. This element takes on a whole new meaning when you view this video based on the book, which introduces the story and gives you the flavor of Kleven’s illustrations from the point of view of Ashley, a little girl who has lost her hair.
When I looked a few days ago, I saw that The Paper Princess (Picture Puffins) had 26 reviews at Amazon, and every single one was 5 stars! Whether or not you give much weight to those types of reviews, that is pretty impressive. Hopefully it indicates that this lovely book will continue find its way into the hands of yet another generation of young readers.
II. This book also just begs to be accompanied by art projects, particularly collage. Making paper dolls or animals seems an obvious choice.
- Manila file folders or other sturdy paper
- Assorted pieces of colorful paper such as used wrapping paper, stationary, old magazines that can be cut up, etc.
- Colored pens, pencils, crayons and/ or markers
- Bits of textured materials, such as ribbon, lace, yarn, fake fur (optional)
- Age-appropriate adhesives such as glue sticks, white glue, craft glue or double-sided scrapbooking tape
- Age-appropriate scissors
Note 1: This is probably a well-kept secret, but paper dolls are a great way for children to learn spatial relations. Therefore, you should let the child make his or her own creation as much as possible rather than providing templates, particularly for older children. Let Kleven’s illustrations serve as inspiration rather than models for the project.
Note 2. Try to avoid gender bias. Although we tend to stereotype paper dolls as an activity for girls, boys may also enjoy creating male figures or animals or cars, etc. There is a boy in the story who makes an important contribution.
Cut out a figure from the manila file folder. Children may simply draw a stick figure and cut it out. If they are ready for the idea of symmetry, they can fold the paper in half and cut so both sides are mirror images.
Create paper clothing from colored papers or decorate the figures as desired.
Here’s where the spatial relations comes in. Getting the coverings to fit properly can be a challenge. Tracing portions of the figure onto the paper may help. Encourage the children to design the clothes with paper tabs so it can be removed and more outfits created. Where should the tabs be placed so the clothes don’t fall off?
Decorate the figure as desired.
You might also want to make several figures. Glue or tape a craft stick to each one and make up puppet shows of your own princess and prince adventures.
The Paper Princess (Picture Puffins) by Elisa Kleven
Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (May 1, 1998)
Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition (October 13, 2003)
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Tricycle Press (September 1, 2005)
Disclosures: The book was provided for review purposes.
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