November's Author of the Month

 
Author of the Month: Leo Lionni

For the month of November we will highlight the works of Leo Lionni.

 
About Leo Lionni

As a child growing up in Holland, Leo Lionni taught himself how to draw. He earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Genoa, but began his career as an author and illustrator of children's books in 1959.

 

One afternoon in 1959, as author-illustrator Leo Lionni describes that day, "a little miracle happened." Having boarded a commuter train bound from Manhattan for Connecticut, he faced the necessity of entertaining two fellow travelers, his 5-year-old grandson and 3-year-old granddaughter. As the youngsters vaulted from seat to seat, he recognized that "fast creative thinking" was in order.

 

Lionni, who was, in his late 40s, already an internationally recognized artist and graphic designer, had resigned recently from a ten-year interlude at Time, Inc.: for a decade, he had been the art director of Fortune magazine. So it was that he happened to be carrying in his briefcase an advance copy of Life. As he opened the magazine, he recalls, "a page with a design in blue, yellow, and green gave me an idea." "Wait," Lionni announced, "I'll tell you a story." Next, as he remembers, "I ripped the page out and tore it into small pieces. The children followed the proceedings with intense expectancy. I took a piece of blue paper and carefully tore it into small disks. Then I did the same with pieces of yellow and green paper. I put my briefcase on my knees to make a table, . . . placed the round pieces of colored paper onto the leather stage and improvised a story about the two colors."

 

The result of his efforts was his first picture book, Little Blue and Little Yellow, published within months by the firm MacDowell Obolensky. From that fortuitous beginning, Lionni has gone on to write and illustrate more than 30 picture books, which have sold millions of copies throughout the world and include four Caldecott Honor titles, Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse.

 

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/books_nov97.html#ixzz2B6SeMPTr

 

He became widely recognized as one of the most distinguished and innovative designers and artists of the twentieth century. His life, most especially his early, formative years, bears testimony to how his everyday experiences, his family, and his surroundings influenced him as an artist and creative thinker.

 

Our Reading List
 

A Busy Year

Leo Lionni’s joyous celebration of the rhythms of nature. A tree changes month by month, watched over by twin mice who admire her on their frequent visits. “Oh, Woody, you are beautiful!” they exclaim in May, when her leaves are full and blossoming. And at Christmas, after a full year of friendship, the mice and tree rejoice together, looking forward to the next busy year.

 

 

Little Blue and Little Yellow

A little blue spot and a little yellow spot are best friends, and when they hug each other they become green.

 

 

The Alphabet Tree

A strong wind blows most of the letters off the alphabet tree and those that remain hide among the branches. Then a bug and a caterpillar come along and teach them how to arrange themselves into words and sentences to form a special message.

 

 

Inch by Inch

A little blue spot and a little yellow spot are best friends, and when they hug each other they become green.

 

 

 

Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse

Alexander, a real mouse, wants to be a toy mouse like his friend Willy until he discovers Willy is to be thrown away.

 

 

 

A Color of his Own

A little chameleon is distressed that he doesn't have his own color like other animals.

 

 

 

Fredrick

Frederick, the poet mouse, stores up something special for the long cold winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frederick's Lessons

Winter is near and all the field mice are busy preparing and gathering food for the cold months ahead - all except for Frederick. Always the daydreamer, Frederick is preparing a small surprise that will warm the hearts and feed the spirits of his fellow mice when they need it most.

 

 
Weather and Seasons

-  "Aren't we luck the seasons are four? Think of a year with one less... or one more!"

Leo Lionni's Frederick provides an excellent place to discuss how the seasons and weather changes. When the weather gets cold and food is hard to find, many animals move into comfortable places and go to sleep for the winter. This winter sleep is called hibernation. We talk about how the weather changes and animals begin gather food supplies to prepare for winter.

 

Creative Arts

- "Now I send you the rays of the sun. Do you feel how their golden glow..."

Color StoriesTo keep the mice warm during the cold winter, Frederick paints a picture of the warm outdoors and differentthings which can be found there in the summer and autumn. Based on the idea of painting a picture with words, discuss different comparisons (similes) that can be made about colors and nature. For example: Red like the bright colored poppies, Blue like the small periwinkles, Yellow like the golden sun. With these statements in mind, students will create an art project that features a color.

 

 
Language Arts

-"But Frederick," they said, "you are a poet!"Rhyming Poetry

At the end of the story, the other mice celebrate Frederick's poetry. This poem will be used to introduce rhyme to the class. And as a class, we will brainstorm rhyming words.

 

 

 

 

Leaf Turkey

 

Materials Needed:

Leaves

Glue

Googly eyes

Orange, red, and brown paper

Scissors

 

Start by going on a leaf hunt and find the most beautiful ones! Glue a few leaves onto a white piece of paper. Cut out a turkey body with brown paper and add some eyes, beak, gobble, and feet! Assemble.

 

 

Make a mouse with author Leo Lionni

Here are the cut out instructions:

 

 

 

 

 

- “Now I send you the rays of the sun. Do you feel how their golden glow…”

To keep the mice warm during the cold winter, Frederick paints a picture of the warm outdoors and different things which can be found there in the summer and autumn. Based on the idea of painting a picture with words, discuss different comparisons (similes) that can be made about colors and nature. For example: Red like the bright colored poppies, Blue like the small periwinkles, Yellow like the golden sun. With these statements in mind, students will create an art project that features a color.

 

 

 
 
Homemade Butter with Cornbread

In these modern times, making your own butter is not something that you usually think about. However, its a great preschool project  that acts like an experiment that will give children an idea of how difficult life used to be and what had to be done to gain a small luxury like butter. Making homemade butter in a jar is also good for those who like to eat organic and less processed foods.  We will also  talk about the Thanksgiving feast and how corn or maize was a staple ingredient in  American Indian and pilgrim cuisine.

 

Instructions
  • Fill a jar about half way to the top with heavy cream and put the lid on securely!

  • Shake the jar with the cream in it for about 10 to 20 minutes. Make sure to shake it up and down, but never tip it upside down as it could leak.

  • Once most of the liquid is gone and a large lump of butter has formed, take the lid off the jar.

  • Scoop the butter out of the jar with a butter knife, and place it inside a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth.

  • Close the kitchen towel or cheesecloth over the butter, and wring it out over a sink several times. This extracts all of the left over liquid and leaves you only with the solid butter.

  • Use a butter knife or your hands to shape the butter into a circle, square, rectangle or another shape, and place it in the fridge for about 1 hour to harden.

  • Put the butter on your food just as you normally would and enjoy. If you want to make more butter at one time, you can use a larger pint or quart jar filled with heavy cream.

 
Things You'll Need
  • Small jar

  • Soap

  • Water

  • Paper towels

  • Small kitchen towel or piece of cheesecloth

  • Butter knife

  • Heavy crea

 

 

Seasons

 

In November, we'll explore seasonal change and weather. 

 
 
 
 
 

November's Artistic Corner

November's Inspired Snacks

 

November's Science Lab

1-540-886-1500  /   stjohnspreschool1@verizon.net /    1716 N Augusta St  Staunton, Virginia 24401 

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