We had a special treat today – not only did we see the sun for the first time in several days but we had a chance to “meet” author Jonathan Bean through a “LIVE Event” at Read-Aloud Revival. As you may recall, we reach a couple of Mr. Bean’s books earlier this month – in preparation for this WebCast – and they were both great.
On the Webcast, Mr. Bean talked about growing up as a homeschooler, and let us in on some of the “secrets” and stories happening in the background of the pictures in “This is My Home, This is My School”. We really enjoyed his letting us inside his studio (and inside his head). My favorite insight was how he went about the amount of work, the number of iterations, and the differences in approach and media depending up on the subject matter in the book. For example, in “This is My Home…”, he talked about standing up, drawing his pictures at a greater distance from his desk, and going liberally outside the lines with his watercolors in order to better capture the disorganization, level of activity, and general clutter that came with being homeschooled. He also took the time to show us all how many times he draws, re-draws, and pieces together final artwork from pieces of different drawings (he even uses – gasp! – tracing paper all the time).
In honor of Mr. Bean, we decided to add another of his books to our reading list for tonight: “Big Snow”, a book he discussed on the WebCast but which we could not find readily available at the local library or Barnes & Noble…so we bought it on Kindle! Mr. Bean talked about how in making “Big Snow” he opted to use a Prismacolor pencil for his drawings – as opposed to more traditional ink – so that he could better capture the blurring of lines that happen to the outlines of the houses in town as they become covered in snow. I thought that was a pretty neat insight. The story introduces us to David, a young boy who is “helping” his mom clean up around the house while waiting anxiously for the arrival of a big snow storm. While he begins every task with the best intentions, something about his work always seems to him of the impending storm and he keeps lapsing into daydreams and play time as the town around them slowly transforms from the “Big Snow”. It’s probably better for read-aloud in book form – but we made do and had fun with the electronic version.
We did not get to extended read-aloud tonight. We did do a little research for potential titles – so many great books we could read! Sometimes I get hung up on the “opportunity cost” of all the great books we don’t get to read right away because we have to pick one.