This program was designed to use with mixed grade level students in class and after school programs, as well as a family activity. Each book in the series can be used over a month long program.
Day One: Becoming a member of the publishing team
Hand out the books and have each child look through the pages. Discuss what is different from other books that the child has held. Notice the name of the author on the front cover.
Point out that the name of the illustrator has been left out. Tell them that is because they will be creating the artwork for this book from their own imagination. Have each child put their name on the illustrated byline.
Have the children go to the back flap and read the information on Karen Sperling and Gerald McDermott. Tell them that they are going to become part of the team that created this book. Discuss what an author is and what an artist does.
On a blank piece of paper have the child write a description of their life.
Discuss the fact that this is a draft of the information that they will use on the back page “About Me” section. Have the child transfer this information to the back flap of the book and have them share the information. Point out that every illustrator’s “biography” is different.
Day Two: Getting to know the story
1. Read the story once to the students.
2. Have them pair up and read the story to each other.
3. As a group discuss the story line and what happens to the character.
4. Finally, make a list of words that describe the character and what happens to the character in this story. Encourage them to use words that are not found in the story itself. Post these words on a sheet marked – The Little Toy Maker (or whichever book you are reading).
Day Three: Getting to know your character
Review the list of words the students created the day before. Read the story again and have them listen for their favorite part. On a blank piece of paper have them draw a picture of something the character did in the story. Have them label the picture. Remind the children that each biography they wrote was different. When we are finished with this “picture draft,” each character will be as different as each person in this room. Share the character pictures with the class.
Day Four: Entering the Process – The title page
Using the artwork on the title page, have the child choose their favorite colors and complete this page as they see it. Some may draw the character; some may draw the world in which the character lives. Share the pictures with the other illustrators.
Day Five: Becoming an illustrator
Discuss the fact that every good illustrator uses the story line to create a picture in their own mind before they start to draw the picture You will be creating the world in which your character lives.
Point out that there are partial images on each page. There are also activity prompts throughout the book. Before you start, read the page and think about what their world looks like on paper. Once you have a picture in your mind, complete the illustration as you see it. Use the prompts to help guide your artwork.
Days Six–Twenty – Completing the work
Each day as the students come to the programs, have them review their work and move on to the next two-page spread. You can add variety to this activity by having them share their work, taking a day once a week to add detail to previously drawn pictures or by having them act out that week’s part of the story as a skit. You can have them start to create a costume for their character or they might invent props for their play.
The Final Week:
Write a story: First have children write a draft on separate page. Have the child review and edit their story. Then have them put it on the “Tell Your Own Story” page. Share each story with the group.
Character portrait: have the child do a final portrait of their character and share the different look with the group.
Write a gift note to the person that will receive this book.
Have each child read and share their illustrations with one other person in the group.
Create and perform a group skit about the story, or about one of the new stories created by a member of the group.