“He’s the writer. He writes the words. He makes the pictures. Eric Carle is a human. I’m like Eric Carle!”

While children were embarking on an author study of Eric Carle in their classroom, there was so much enthusiasm around his stories and illustrations that consistently came up in conversation. It seemed like a natural progression would be to find connections to his work that we could explore in the Studio!

Each group began by reading By Mouse and Frog by Deborah Freedman. In this story, Mouse is trying to write a story, but Frog keeps interrupting and changing the plot of the story. By the end, they learn that they can write a wonderful story together, but only if they take the time to slow down and listen to each other.

Phoenix: Mouse and the frog don’t listen to each other.

Naomi: Mouse was mad because frog made a big mess with his story.

Sebrina: The mouse was sad that frog was talking over his story.

Cameron: Frog made it a mess and it was a bad story. He didn’t let mouse talk!

Eli: The frog made the mouse worried because he didn’t listen.

Isaac: That story blew my mind because they drew on the walls!

Next, children were introduced to the “imagination rock”, which meant that when it was your turn to contribute to the story, you were holding the rock and sharing your ideas. The rock had the word “imagine” etched in it, and friends loved feeling it’s “powers” when it was their turn to share. Once the collaborative story was complete, we edited it until everyone in the group was happy with it.

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Autumn: The special rock is giving me powers… story powers!

Luca: Close your eyes and you can feel the story powers.

Amal: If you put it on your heart, you use your imagination and you know what you want to make.

Samantha: This rock is really special.

As children learned about Eric Carle, they loved that he writes books and also does the illustrations. After re-reading our story, children used ripped tissue paper and glue to design backgrounds based on their story.

Amen: I heard Eric Carle did the ladybug and the click beetle book.

Dafnee: I read a book, an Eric Carle book, and it had a monkey in it.

Fatima: Eric Carle writes the words and draws the pictures.

Katherine: He made that caterpillar book.

Anders: He’s the writer. He writes the words. He makes the pictures. Eric Carle is a human. I’m like Eric Carle!

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Aurora: He’s the person who draws the words about the caterpillar who ate all the food.

Joelle: He’s an author. He draws pictures. He wrote about the grouchy ladybug.

Luca: When I grow up, I want to be Eric Carle.

Gionni: I’m gonna be like Eric Carle and make the frog a funny color. He’s a yellow frog now!

The following week, we read The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse by Eric Carle as we began thinking about how to represent the characters. Eric Carle used his imagination in this book, and friends thought it was silly that he represented the animals in different colors. Children began drawing and collaging to make their stories come alive. When the work was finished, children signed their names so people would know that they were the authors and the illustrators!

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Isaac: Everyone calls me Eric Carle but I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m drawing a rainbow donkey.

Frances: Eric Carle is a great storyteller.

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Samantha: Eric Carle is friends with Antonio the ant. He’s not a person, he’s an ant.

Cameron: Eric Carle is Antonio’s favorite author and illustrator.

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Below are a few of our collaborative stories and storyboards… enjoy!

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The Little Rock Goes to the Pool Party   by Jabez, Jeylin, Dylan, Frances and David

Once upon a time, there was a rock. He was walking because he had legs. And he has feet and he wears shoes. The rock has clothes on. And he has eyes, a nose, mouth and hair. Then, there’s a lion in a pool. The lion invites the rock to the pool party. They eat chocolate ice cream cake. The lion has his feet in the water. All of the people are coming to the party for the lion and they are so happy because the rock is just like them. The people are also rocks with legs! The airplane comes to pick the rocks up. The airplane takes them to New York for a bigger pool party.

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Giant Monster at the Playground   by Adonai, Trebor, Cora, Nydelyn and Nazeer

One day on the playground, the mouse fell on the ground. “I hope it will stop falling,” said Trebor. “I hope it can slide down the slide,” said Adonai. There was a monster and the mouse showed his claws and said “roar!” Then, Trebor just slide down the slide and bumped the wood chips because he was surprised. The monster just fell on the rock and he got a scratch.

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The Princess, the Prince and the Dragon   by Elliott, Eva, Isabella, Kaleb and Brandon

Once upon a time, there was a tower. A princess and a dragon lived there and the dragon was trying to destroy her tower. He tried to keep the city all to himself. And the princess was sad and the prince came and he made her another castle and saved her. Then, the dragon came back and destroyed the whole world and the whole planet. The dragon broke the princesses new house. The princess goes in her house and then the dragon breathes fire on the princess. And then the dragon and the princess got friends and got along. They were friends again and happily ever after.

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The Rainbow Butterfly and the Nice Dinosaur  by Daniela, Cameron, Leonel, Amal and Issabela

One day, there was a butterfly and he was flying in the forest. He’s eating flowers like rosies. A dinosaur came and ate him. The dinosaur said, “roar!” The bunny comes and the butterfly came and they become friends. “Do not eat it,” said the bunny. And then the dinosaur ate him! The dinosaur ate all the butterflies in the whole city. But, he didn’t kill one butterfly, the rainbow butterfly, because he was so powerful. And he had nice kindness powers and he shot it at the dinosaur and he became nice. Now, he shares.

“Why’s the wall blank?”

Today, we started some BIG work in the Studio!  To make space for the paper, I cleared everything off of the bulletin boards and moved the tables around.  Many friends noticed the change right away and had many questions about what exactly we were going to be doing with all the space.  We began by reading Sky Color by Peter Reynolds and like Marisol in the story, children began by brainstorming what they wanted to illustrate for their large resist painting.

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Once friends decided if they wanted their paper horizontal or vertical, they selected materials from the table and began to draw!  Children used oil pastels, twist crayons, crayons, rainbow tape and blue painters tape to make their ideas come to life.  While some friends were inspired by the sky in the story, other children chose to focus on sea monsters, a skateboard with a nose and legs, and poisonous space plants!  

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Jude: A mural is a big, big drawing. Remember we did one last year and now it’s on the playground?

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Haley: One sea monster and then another sea monster.  Mine’s a lady one.  The seaweeds popping out… it’s green tape!”

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Mouhammadou: I’m making rainbow water like rainbow sky in the story.  It can be any color we want!

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 Jasmine: You have to be pretty tall to reach the top of the big paper!