Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Happy Birthday, Randall de Sève - December 1

Happy Birthday, Randall de Sève - December 1

My daughter surprised me today. We finished reading Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball and I said, "Go get your coat. We are going to the store to buy a brand-new, bright blue ball just like Peanut's."

She said, "I don't want to. I don't want to go to the store. I don't want a ball." Imagine her saying this and then following it up with a pouty-lip face.

I was shocked. This was her chance to get a ball from the big, colorful display at the store. A ball all of my children ask for when they see them but are never allowed to get one.  I envisioned her choosing the ball and then acting out the story with me at home. But, she was not interested, at all. I quickly went on to an improvised Plan B.

I turned to the end papers of Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball and said, "No problem. Maybe we could... stamp blue balls just like these."

I expected another "NO!". I was wrong again. She said, "Yes. We can go in the basement and paint the circles on white paper."

So, I said, "Well, Let's go." And that is how our birthday celebration for Randall de Sève began.

Randall de Sève is the author of five picture books including The Duchess of Whimsy, illustrated by her husband Peter de Sève and Mathilda and the Orange Balloon, illustrated by Jen Corace. Before becoming a picture book author and writer, Randall was a first grade teacher who would write for her students when she couldn't find the right book to help them. (Mazza Museum Summer Conference Keynote 2016). Later, she wrote more but this time for a different audience, her two daughters. When her oldest daughter was seven years old Randall published her first picture book, Toy Boat, illustrated by Loren Long. (GeoLibrarian). This book inspired our birthday celebration for Loren Long in 2015.

Randall gave an insightful speech at the Mazza Museum about the importance of picture books.
A few things I wrote in my notes from her talk:
"Picture books are venues for readers to get to know themselves."
"Picture books should be permanently on bookshelves."
"Picture books offer a variety of rich experiences in a small amount of time."
Randall wrote an article for The Nerdy Book Club, In Praise of Picture Books, that includes these thoughts and more!
A Fire Truck Named Red is her latest book. (Released May 2016).
So, my daughter and I went to the basement and we reread Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball. It is a story about young Peanut, her bright blue ball, and her older sister, Fifi. Fifi wants Peanut's ball, but Peanut doesn't want to her play with it. Fifi really sets the tone with Peanut when she tries to grab it first. Then, Peanut is skeptical when Fifi uses kind words. Not to be deterred, Fifi comes up with many imaginative ways her and Peanut could play with the ball. Peanut is quite stubborn and holds off playing with her sister until it is too late...or is it?

I was planning on having a brand-new blue ball to play with my daughter. I had to think fast to come up with ways to stamp and paint blue circles.

A-ha! A potato. 
(Mashed potatoes were still on my mind from Thanksgiving weekend!)
I found many different shades of blue paint.
My daughter picked her favorite blue and started right away.
The first of many circles.
(While she was stamping I was thinking of ways to make different sized circles.)
A wet washcloth is recommended.
Mixing colors is fun. She thought the swirled white paint would look cool with the blue.
She painted a circle-shaped piece of cardboard.
"It looks like the Earth."
She painted her own blue ball without a stamp.
Meanwhile, I was experimenting with stamping blue circles too. I used lids, a cup, a candle, and a marker.
She was thinking of someone, I think.
We were very busy.
Then, she wanted black paint. I thought she was going to paint Peanut.
But, she painted a monster.
Peanut and Daddy had a ball getting messy together.
My son came home from school, saw the blue circles on the floor, and wanted to know all about it. I asked him, "Do you want to make the circles into something? Use your imagination, a little?"
I gave him a brush and ink and he made some cool things.
I made this one. 
My daughter used her imagination too. I was very nervous about giving her the brush to dip into the bottle of ink. But, everything turned out o.k.!
She imagined a girl and a setting sun.
I am so glad we didn't go to the store to buy a brand-new ball.
This was so much more fun!
Randall, thank you for sharing your birthday with us. We hope you have a wonderful day!

Check out Randal de Sève's latest book, A Fire Truck Named Red, illustrated by Bob Staake:


1. Randall de Sève's Website
2. Follow Randall on Twitter
3. Interviews - SharpRead, KidLit Frenzy, Mundie Kids, GeoLibrarian
4. IN PRAISE OF PICTURE BOOKS by Randall de Sève - The Nerdy Book Club

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