Saturday, July 15, 2017

Happy Birthday, Richard Egielski - July 16

Happy Birthday, Richard Egielski - July 16

Our author birthday celebrations can be messy! I can remember the molasses flood for Blair Lent's birthday when we left a mess all over the kitchen table for my wife to find when she came home from work. Then, there was Deborah Freedman's birthday when we used straws to blow blue watercolor paint. My daughter accidentally drank the paint and turned her tongue blue. For Ian Falconer's birthday we made a giant Jackson Pollock-like painting and we were splattered with paint along with the giant door that we used as a canvas. Not to mention all the birthday celebrations that have involved cooking, baking, and lots of dirty dishes! This week I had an idea to celebrate Richard Egielski's birthday that may go down as not the messiest family reading experience, but the cleanest!
The Tub People stood all in a line on the side of the tub until it was time to play sea captain. The father loved rescuing the other Tub People by floating around on a bar of soap like he was driving a boat. This fun little game turned tragic one day when the water started to spin and the Tub Child was sucked down the drain before the others could rescue him. The Tub People knew where the Tub Child was but could not do anything about it. Was there a heroic rescue? Would The Tub People ever stand all together in a line on the side of the tub again?
My children love The Tub People and I knew this was the book I wanted to use for our author birthday celebration. As I reread the book, I remembered whittling a piece of soap into a dog when I was little boy. I thought this would be a fun project for my children.
I bought nine bars of Ivory soap knowing we might make mistakes or want to make multiple carvings. We started by using a wet cloth to rub off the Ivory logo.
My son sketched his design with a pencil directly on the soap.
My daughter wanted a circle shape so she pressed a small cup into the soap to give her a starting point. Ivory soap is very soft and was perfect for my young soap carvers!
My son used a set of small screwdrivers to do his carving. You could also use a butter knife or a craft stick.
My daughter changed her mind on her design. She drew a cat on a piece of paper and then traced the shape onto the soap.
We all worked hard together!
My son's first soap carving was a smiley face!
Her cat turned out purr-fect!
Next, my son decided to make a baseball!
Meanwhile, I was carving out The Tub People - father, mother, grandmother, doctor, policeman, and child. In the book, The Tub People were wooden, but I was up for challenge to create them out of soap.
Grandmother turned out to be my favorite.
I almost forgot the dog! Isn't he cute?
More soap creations!
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As my daughter decided to carve more, my son looked around at all the scraps of soap on our counter and said, "Dad, what could we make with all this soap?" I told him I read that you could make liquid soap from the soap shavings. He immediately said, "Can we do that?"
I placed the Ivory soap pieces in the blender and continued to add water until it blended smooth.
My son recalled that we had an empty bottle of body wash. We filled it up with our blended soap creation.
We were able to make over two bottles of body wash from the soap scraps.
I made special labels for the bottles.

It puts a smile on wooden faces.
The Tub People Body Wash.
For fathers, mothers, grandmothers, doctors, policeman, children, and dogs.
I thought this was going to be the cleanest author birthday celebration ever. But, it ended up being another big mess! There was soap everywhere, but it really smelled nice!
Richard Egielski is the illustrator of over 50 books including The End by David La Rochelle, Perfect Pancakes, If You Please by William Wise, and his own, Slim and Jim. As a child, Richard loved to draw and was fortunate to attend High School of Art and Design in New York City which prepared him for his college studies at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design. 

One of the classes that Richard took at Parsons was taught by Maurice Sendak. Sendak mentioned to his friend, Arthur Yorinks, an aspiring picture book writer, that he thought Egielski would be the perfect illustrator for his stories. By chance, one day in an elevator, Richard met Arthur and they decided to collaborate. (Talking with Artists). They were a perfect match, like Sendak predicted, and together they published their first book, Sid and Sol in 1977. The team went on to publish ten books together including Louis the Fish, Ugh, and the 1987 Caldecott Award Winner, Hey, Al.

1. Richard Egielski's Website

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