The disembodied voice seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere ricocheting off rocks, echoing through trees, speaking out of thin air. But try as they might, Nancy and Joe could not lay eyes on the Being that belonged to the spooky words that had just rasped, “What have you got there?”
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is available in hardcover, paperback, and audio. Ask for it at your local library and bookstore!
Click on a title below for book recommendations; reading, writing, and art information and activities; and discussion questions.
Wolves! Annotated List of Suggested Read Alouds and Independent Reads
by Thom Barthelmess, Curator at the Butler Children’s Literature Center at Dominican University
Gravett, Emily. Wolves. 40p. Gr. 1-3.
Kasza, Keiko. The Wolf’s Chicken Stew. 32p. Gr. PreK-3.
Trivizas, Eugene, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. 32p. Gr. PreK-3.
Aiken, Joan. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. 168. Gr. 3-7.
Lyons, Jayne, illustrated by Victor Rivas. 100% Wolf. 256p. Gr. 4-6.
Wood, Maryrose. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling. 288p. Gr. 4-6.
© 2010 Thom Barthelmess
by Marilyn Ludolph, Ed.D, Dominican University School of Education
Some say that riddles began in ancient times and were mainly about the sun, the moon, the rainbow, and the wind. Riddles were taken very seriously back in the days of the Greeks. Homer, a great Greek philosopher, is said to have died of humiliation because he couldn’t answer a riddle!
In the Middle Ages, riddles were considered a form of entertainment associated with the bards. The format of riddles facilitated their job as traveling entertainers. Riddles were also a sort of trivia, passing information between people that others could not understand, comparable to “undercover information.”
A riddle is a question that usually requires clever or unexpected thinking in order to come up with the correct answer. There is usually one correct answer to a riddle, and the correct answer is usually given, even if the person guessing doesn’t think of it.
Episode Ten includes this riddle, “Thirty white horses upon a red hill. Now they champ, now they tramp, now they stand still.” Nancy and Joe venture several guesses before exclaiming the correct answer. Did you know the answer to the riddle? Have you heard or read this riddle before? Here’s a hint: it comes from a “somewhat” famous book by a writer named J.R.R. Tolkien! Can you guess the answers to these other riddles from the same book:
This thing all things devours:
What has roots as nobody sees,
Alive without breath,
A box without hinges, key or lid,
It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
How to write a riddle:
When writing a riddle three rules apply:
1. Pick one item you would like to talk about.
2. Think crazy thoughts about the item you would like to talk about.
3. Give clues about your item.
Here’s an example:
What do you call a kitten drinking lemonade? (a sour puss)
What flower do you always wear? (two lips)
by Geri Zabela Eddins, NCBLA
Following their confrontation with the Wolf, Nancy and Joe are confronted with another crisis when they realize they have lost both Baby Max and the key given to them by Angel. Joe protests immediately when Nancy suggests they must split up. The twins have never been apart, and they can hardly stand the thought of it. It is the red arrowseach pointing in a different directionthat convince the two that going separate ways is the right decision. What do you think about Nancy and Joe’s decision to separate? Can you think of an alternative? What do you think will happen next? Have you read any other stories in which siblings were forced to separate? What were the circumstances…and the consequences?
Have you ever been forced to say goodbye to someone you care about? How did you feel? Were you as lonely as Nancy and Joe seem to feel?
Imagine you were a witness to the parting of Nancy and Joe and you can choose to join one of them as they leave each other. What would you say? Think about the conversation you might have…and write it down as a duologue. Who would you choose to talk to? Nancy or Joe? Would you find one to be easier to talk to? Write down your conversation, and be sure to specify who says what. You might also want to include “stage directions” in parentheses to indicate the action that is taking place. For example, your duologue might start like this:
(Joe begins to walk more quickly toward the water, though his head hangs low. I approach from the side.)
Joe: Who are YOU? Where did you come from?!
Me: Errrr…Hi. I was hanging out at the other end of the beach with my family. We heard something loudlike an explosionand I ran up the beach to see what it was. Are you ok? Is that your sister? (Points to Nancy, who is walking the other way.)
Moffett, James. Active Voice: A Writing Program Across the Curriculum. Boynton/Cook Publishers: Portsmouth, NH; 1992.
For Parents, Teachers, LibrariansTalk Art!
Chris Van Dusen’s Illustration for Episode Nine and James Ransome’s Illustration for Episode Ten
By Mary Brigid Barrett
In their illustrations for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, both Chris Van Dusen and James Ransome have skillfully contrasted light and dark values in their paintings creating drama and depth. Instead of imagining a source that sheds light from the front of the picture plane, Chris and James have imagined a light source emanating from the back of the picture plane, creating a backlit illustration.
In most illustrations and paintings, figures and objects in the foreground are frontally lit so that details and expressions are easily read by the viewer. Backlighting in an illustration or painting accentuates figures or objects in the foreground, dramatically separating the foreground from the middle and background, adding great depth to the picture. Atmospherically, because details in the foreground figures and objects are obscure and deeply shaded, the use of backlighting can add a sense of heightened drama, mystery, excitement, and even danger to an illustration.
Even more, backlighting is a technique that draws the viewer into the picture. In both Chris’ and James’ illustrations, backlighting the figures in the illustrations makes us feel like we are right behind or above the figures, looking over their shoulders, watching, perhaps even worrying.
Chris and James have shaded the figures in the foreground, using contrasts of dark against light values, giving form and weight to the figures. One of the masters of light and dark shading in both drawing and painting is Rembrandt van Rijn, a 17th century Dutch painter. In his painting here, Christ at Emmaus, you see a beautiful example of backlighting and chiaroscuro, the visual modeling and shading of light and dark that gives a sense of volume, of three-dimension, to figures and objects.
Home and Classroom Art Activity: Shading and Modeling with Light and Dark
Supplies: White or cream paper; soft lead #2 pencils or Ebony pencils; a kneaded rubber eraser; a light board or heavy piece of cardboard to be used as a drawing board; a spotlight, lamp, flashlight, or independent source of light that can be moved easily; whatever objects you have on hand to create a still life (fruits and vegetables, pile of blocks, simple geometric objects, etc.)
Create a value chart for a handy reference
Most young people love to draw, and love to experiment with “shading” the figures and objects in their drawings. But, most young people are hesitant to use strong darks in their drawings. Creating a simple value chart on paper is a drawing exercise that raises their awareness not only of the dark values that are needed to give a shape form and depth, but also makes them aware of the wide range of middle values available.
On a white or cream sheet of paper, you and your kids draw a long vertical rectangle of at least six inches and roughly, and lightly, sketch out ten somewhat equal sections within the rectangle (see the drawing to the left). The top section will be the white of the paper; the last section will be the darkest dark you can create with your pencil, black if possible. In the eight sections in between the “white” and the “black,” you and your kids should try to make a gradated flow of pencil graphite that take the shades from the sharpest darkest dark of the bottom section, gradually getting lighter and lighter until it blends into the pure white of the top section.
It sounds easy, but it can be very hard to make this value chart. Experiment and don’t worry if the first time you or the kids try that it does not show a gradual blending of shades. It is important to try to make a value chart, not only to raise the kids’ awareness of the wide variety of shadings available, but it can also be used as a guide when shading their own drawings. Most often, in realistically inspired drawings, most of the values used in shading objects and figures will be those eight middle sections in the chart. But importantly, all drawn object and figures will also need both the lightest white and the darkest dark to really give the shape weight and dimension. Kids can use the value chart as a comparison point when working on their own drawings as it is a helpful reminder that all the values should be represented when they are trying to render figures and objects three dimensionally.
There are many different ways to shade objects and figures. One way is to gradually blend the different shades, which can be done by applying different levels of pressure on a soft lead pencil, and also by rubbing and blending the graphite with a tissue, a figure, or lightly with kneaded eraser. You can also use a kneaded eraser to reveal whites of the page, and to lighten areas that are too dark. Another method of shading is to cross hatch lines over and over again to attain needed dark shades. A third way to shade is to use small dots, or pointspointillismto achieve light and dark areas. You and your kids may want to experiment with all three methods by drawings simple spheres, like in the above drawing, and then shading them.
Have Your Kids Arrange and Draw Their Own Still Life!
A still life is an “artful” arrangement of intimate objects. The object can be simple, like round pieces of fruit standing on the table or in a bowl, a vase of flowers, or a tower of blocks. The still life can be more personalan arrangement of beloved stuffed animals or favorite toy cars and trains. It can be anything you and your kids would have fun drawing, but for the first time, simple may be best.
Have your kids arrange their chosen objects on a table. See if you can get rid of all natural and man-made lights sources in the roomclose the curtains and shades, turn off all overhead artificial lights. Then get your portable light source and place it somewhere near the still life. It can be behind the still life to get a backlit effect. It can be to the right, left, or way abovewhatever you and the kids like! You may want to try a series of drawingsdrawing the same objects from a variety of different viewpoints with a different lighting source direction each time.
The kids should pull up a chair near the table, resting their “drawing board” at an angle from the table to their laps. A piece of drawing paper can be masking taped to the board. They will also need their soft lead pencils and an eraser. You can sit right next to them and draw, too! Everyone should lightly and loosely sketch in the objects in the still life, and use the entire sheet of paper!!! Once you have an idea of where you want the objects on the paper, draw in details and shade the objects so that they begin to have dimension, weight, and form.
When everyone is donehave a tea party and tape your drawings all around the living room or your classroom for your own gallery showing!!
Websites to find out more about Rembrandt and the art technique of shading:
© 2010 Mary Brigid Barrett