Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Happy Birthday, Jane Dyer - March 7

Happy Birthday, Jane Dyer - March 7

Are you ready for story time?

Or is it storytime (one word)?

If anyone knows for sure, please let me know. I have seen it both ways and I should probably know the right way since planning story times/storytimes is all I have been thinking about lately.

This year I am very thankful for the many opportunities I have had to read picture books with local children and their families. There have been more opportunities than ever before. I guess people are starting find out how much I love reading picture books.

I am always looking for new story time ideas and this week I had a fun idea, while reading a stack of books illustrated by Jane Dyer. I can't wait to try it the next time I see my favorite group of preschoolers at my neighborhood school.

Jane Dyer is the illustrator of over 60 books including Sophie's Masterpiece: A Spider's Tale, written by Eileen Spinelli, Cookies: Bite-size Life Lessons, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and Oh My Baby, Little One by Kathi Appelt. Jane told the audience at the Mazza Museum Summer Conference 2017, "Books were a big part of our family growing up." But, how about art? Surprisingly, the only art classes Jane experienced were during elementary school.

Before, becoming an award-winning illustrator, Jane Dyer was a teacher and then a illustrator of teacher's guides and textbooks. In an interview with Picture Book Builders she said, "I illustrated stories for a K-3 reading series and before that I taught Kindergarten and 2nd grade. I never went to art school. My students' parents, along with friends and family encouraged me to try illustrating children's books." It just so happens that Jane Yolen, author of over 300 books, was one of the people encouraging her. Yolen lived nearby and when the two met she suggested that Jane become involved with SCBWI, get a portfolio critique, and then visit publishers in New York.

The portfolio critique did not go well. She was told, "Your illustrations are not appropriate for children." But, Jane was not going to quit. She worked on her portfolio and added an illustration of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It was this illustration that lead to her first book in 1984. Now, Jane says she has contracts lined up for the next five years and one of her latest books, Once There Was a Story: Tales from Around the World, Perfect for Sharing is written by Jane Yolen.

I got my storytime idea when I was reading Move Over, Rover!, written by Karen Beaumont. This book was awarded a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor award in 2007. In the story, Rover, a big dog, is in his doghouse when it starts to rain. One by one animals seek shelter in the doghouse until there is no more room, even for a mouse. It is tight, but all the animals are dry. It is the perfect place to wait out the storm. Wait...what's that smell? It's a skunk! Run! And so much for being dry.

I love getting children involved in my story times. I thought with Move Over, Rover!  there is an opportunity to have children become a part of the story by putting the animals in a doghouse one by one. But, I would need a doghouse. We could make one, right?
"Yes. We are going to make a doghouse out of this box." I think my daughter was skeptical.
We measured and cut the doghouse to have a pitch for the roof and then taped shut the bottom of the box.
We used the pieces we cut off to make the roof.
My daughter made a sign with Rover's name for the front of the doghouse.
She glued it on.
We had a bunch of cardboard squares. (Don't ask...I collect weird things like cardboard squares because you never know when you might need them). The cardboard squares were perfect for the shingles.
Big brother came home just in time to help her paint!
The doghouse turned out great, but what about the animals. We would need Rover, a cat, a raccoon, a squirrel, a blue jay, a snake, a mouse, and a skunk.
I found many stuffed animals in my kids' rooms, but I would need to make some too.
I love this Sew Cool sewing machine. It allows me to stitch together two pieces of felt without using thread! Check out my blue jay.
My son's huge stuffed dog was just the right size!
Awww! So cute!
I cut a secret door in the back of the doghouse. This is where the stinky skunk will come in.
My little ones and I performed Move Over, Rover! for their older brother and sister before bedtime.
Rover has his bone.
Move, over Rover! Skit-skat, Cat! Here comes raccoon. You better make room!
Here comes snake too!
There is no room! Sorry, mouse.
Ahhh! A stinky skunk! All the animals run away!
Thank you, little ones for helping me create this story time idea.
I will tell the preschoolers at story time that you helped me make it!
Jane, it was so nice to meet you at the Mazza Museum. Thank you for sharing your birthday with us! We hope you have a wonderful birthday!
Pre-Order Jane Dyer's next book, Where Did You Come from, Baby Dear?, written by George MacDonald (available August 14, 2018):

Do you follow Happy Birthday Author on Pinterest? Please Pin!
1. Jane Dyer's Website
2. R. Michelson Galleries Profile
3. Interviews - Picture Book Builders
4. Jane Dyer at the Mazza Museum - Video from KnowledgeStream

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