Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Birthday G. Brian Karas - September 27

Happy Birthday G. Brian Karas - September 27

Farmers and gardeners may watch the weather report hoping for rain, but I watch praying for sunshine -- at least during the daylight hours.  Last night, I saw the weather forecast and it was predicting rain for the whole day with the potential for heavy downpours.  I knew it would be wise for me to stay indoors and not to venture out with three children only to be caught somewhere waiting for the rain to let up. Conceding to being inside for a long period of time with my children comes a responsibility of keeping them busy or things can go bad quickly.  

This week we discovered the book Bebe's Bad Dream by G. Brian Karas. The story is about a young girl, Bebe, who happens to have a nasty older brother named Walter who teases her about her reoccurring nightmares. Bebe is living her life in fear thinking that the aliens from her nightmares are going to snatch her up and eat her.  Walter does not make things easier when he often talks in a mean alien voice and says things like, "Yum. Bebe sandwiches."  Bebe tries to defend herself from the aliens by wearing a helmet, shield, and armor to bed while holding her special laser sword, but her mother tells her that her protective gear will rip the sheets. Bebe must find a way to conquer her nightmares and her brother all by herself.

This is the first page of the Bebe's Bad Dream.  I love this illustration by G. Brian Karas. I knew the moment I saw this picture that my boys were going to enjoy the book.
Upon waking up this morning I realized that the weather report was going to be exactly right.  I needed an activity that was going to keep my boys engaged and happy for much of the morning. I remembered the illustration from Bebe's Bad Dream.  I thought it might be fun for us to work together to make Bebe's armor, shield, helmet, and laser sword.

I thought making the laser swords first would really draw my boys into the activity.  The swords were very simple to make.  We slipped a small flashlight inside the cardboard wrapping paper tube while leaving a majority of it hanging out of the end to become the sword's handle.  We taped the tube and flashlight together using duct tape. 
Once the laser swords were made we had to try them in the dark! We turned on the flashlights and were instantly impressed. They would definitely help us defeat the aliens if we saw them.
Next, we made the armor and shields out of cardboard pieces.  I used the illustration by G. Brian Karas as a model for these creations.
My boys added some decorations to their protective gear.
Bebe would be so proud!
I quickly discovered that the helmet I made was too big for our heads.  I found some bubble wrap in the garage. Then, lined the inside of the helmet to allow it to fit better.
I may look mad in this picture, but our day turned out to be really good despite the rain.  The boys had fun with the book extension activity. They impressed me by making arrows out of leftover cardboard pieces that could be thrown and then blocked with the shields!
G. Brian Karas has published nearly 100 books including a few of my favorites by Candace Fleming, Clever Jack Takes the Cake, Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, and Tippy-Tippy-Tippy Hide! (According to Publisher's Weekly he and Fleming are currently working on a third book about the bunnies!) His career in children's literature began strictly as an illustrator.  However, in 1996, he wrote and illustrated his first book, Home on the Bayou: A Cowboy Story, which was awarded the Boston Globe Horn Book Honor Award. Expect to see lots more from G. Brian Karas as he is currently "booked out for the next two years" with many projects!  

Check out G. Brian Karas' latest book, Lemonade in Winter, that he illustrated for Emily Jenkins that was released this month, September 2012:


3. Trailer to Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas - YouTube
4. Interviews - Publishers Weekly, SCBWI, Seven Impossible Things Blog, Picture Books Review
5. Follow G. Brian Karas - Twitter and Facebook
6. Biography on Embracing the Child


  1. What a fun way to celebrate a rainy day. I love the bubble wrap tip. I'm adding that to my "future parenting tips" file. I love the Muncha Muncha book and we will have to check out Bebe's Bad Dream adventures. Happy Birthday G. Brian Karas!

    1. Glad you liked the bubble wrap. I was secretly impressed with my "MacGyver"-like skills!

  2. I had to laugh when I saw this because it reminded me so much of when my husband made wooden swords and shields for our 5, 3, and 1 year olds during a medieval knight fixation phase and cardboard helmets! :) Something wrong with that picture... :) What a great activity - looks like you conquered the rainy day. Happy Birthday to Brian - he's a really nice guy - I've met him at school visits because he lives in my neck of the woods!

    1. It is amazing how homemade swords and shields entertain boys more than any toy you could buy at the store.


You Might Also Like:

Related Posts with Thumbnails