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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Birthday P.D. Eastman - November 25

Happy Birthday P.D. Eastman - November 25

It feels like our family has been going 100 mph since the end of September! October was just a blur. November has gone by too fast. However, we are now in a calm period before it gets busy again with the upcoming holidays.  The first thing my wife and I do once things slow down is PUT STUFF AWAY! I love the projects we do for this blog, but I am notorious for leaving the projects on display throughout the house, stashing craft supplies where they don't belong, and leaving piles of books in every room of the house.  This week, we finally had a chance to breathe.  We gathered missplaced items that were left around the house, emptied two MESSY bins of craft supplies that were in the basement, and ORGANIZED!

It feels great have all the supplies neatly packed away. Now we know what supplies we have and where they are!  As an added bonus we found supplies that we used for two fun projects to celebrate P.D. Eastman's birthday.

Philip Dey Eastman was a children's author and illustrator that published under the name P.D. Eastman. Before publishing his first children's book in 1958, Sam and the Firefly, Eastman worked for Walt Disney Productions (1936), Warner Brothers Cartoons (1941), and enlisted in the army and animated many training films (1943). (Source: Random House Kids).  In 1945, while working at United Productions of America he developed the screenplay for Dr. Seuss's Gerald McBoing-Boing which won an Oscar in 1951. (P.D.  According to Anita Silvey's Book-A-Day Almanac, Dr. Seuss, his wife Helen, and Phyllis Cerf started the Beginner Books series at Random House and it was Dr. Seuss that asked Eastman to write books for children who were just learning how to read.

This week, my kindergarten-age son practiced his developing reading skills with Go, Dog. Go! in his own bed by the light of his headlamp.  Random House states that over 30 million of Eastman's books have been sold -- WOW that is a lot children who have become readers with these great books!

Over the past 8 years, I read the board book version of P.D. Eastman's Are You My Mother? to all my children without knowledge that I was missing something.  I think I knew something didn't feel quite right about the board book.  My subconscious must have been trying to tell me that there was more to the story that I had heard numerous times during my childhood. Recently, we acquired a full version of Are You My Mother? and I discovered a large portion of the story was omitted from the board book version. I felt that I needed to make things right with my children this year by reading them the full version of the classic story.

I was inspired to make a felt-board version of Are You My Mother? after I discovered a stack of felt in many colors while organizing our craft bins over the weekend.  I made a mama bird, a baby bird, a nest, a tree, a worm, a kitten, a hen, a dog, a cow, an old car, a boat, an airplane, and of course a SNORT!
I drew and cut all the shapes and then my little buddy glued everything together. 
Our container of googily eyes exploded all over the basement floor -- thanks to my daughter! After I cleaned them up --  they exploded I just left them there. (Oh no! Another mess is starting!)
ARE YOU MY MOTHER? by P.D. Eastman Felt Board Story
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"Where is my mother?" said the baby bird.
"How could I be your mother?" said the cow. "I am a cow."
I love that the story ends with the baby bird recaping everything he learned and experienced after leaving the nest. This gave me an opportunity to bring all the felt pieces back onto the felt board.

I expected to use this felt board story once or twice with my little ones, but even my older children enjoyed hearing the story! I must say that I feel much better.  All my children now know the full story of Are You My Mother?.
This next activity our family did this week to celebrate P.D. Eastman's birthday was the result of finding a bag of colorfulf craft feathers.  In the bag were two really big feathers that my two youngest children played with throughout the day. I found them running in circles on the deck, each with one feather, pretending to be birds. That gave me the idea make flappable bird wings after reading P.D. Eastman's The Best Nest and Flap Your Wings.

I had my son draw a wing on a piece of cardboard.
I cut it out, flipped it over, and had him trace it to make a second wing.
We taped a large craft stick to the back of each wing.
They squirted a large amount of glue on the front of the wing.
Then, they used a paint brush to cover the entire wing with glue.
Next, it was time to press the feathers into the glue.
My basement was a mess! Feathers were everywhere (along with the googily eyes)!
We let the wings dry overnight and the next day when my son came home from preschool his sister showed him the finished wings.
I think he was a little excited!
They followed each other around the house flapping the whole way.
Lookout! Here come a couple of birds flying fast!
Later, we made a nest out of blankets.
This baby bird pretended to sleep in the nest.
My son thought he needed to take it a step further by taping feathers to his shirt.  He gave up after a while.  He must of realized it was going to take a lot of feathers to cover his whole body!
Homemade Flappable Wings for FLAP YOUR WINGS by P.D. Eastman
If you are on Pinterest, please pin this picture and follow Happy Birthday Author!

1. P.D. Eastman's Website
2. P.D. Eastman - Random House Website
3. Biography - RandomHouse Kids
4. Go, Dog! Go! - Children's Book-a-Day Almanac

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