It was Boppo, of course.
Click on a title below for book recommendations; reading, writing, and art information and activities; and discussion questions.
Pigs! Annotated List of Suggested Read Alouds and Independent Reads
by Thom Barthelmess, Curator at the Butler Children’s Literature Center at Dominican University
Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. The Water Gift and the Pig of the Pig. 32p. Gr. K-3
Prelutsky, Jack. It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles: Poems. 159p. Gr. K-6
Rylant, Cynthia. Poppleton. 48p. Gr. 1-2
Brooks, Walter R. Freddy the Detective. 263p. Gr. 3 -5
Hearne, Betsy Gould. Wishes, Kisses, and Pigs. 133p. Gr. 3-6
Zindel, Paul. The Pigman. 166p. Gr. 6-9
© 2009 Thom Barthelmess
Activities for the Classroom
by Marilyn Ludolph, Ed.D, Dominican University School of Education
Episode Three of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure introduces the reader to foreshadowing. “Foreshadowing” in a written work introduces hints and clues that tip the reader off as to what is to come later in the work.
Foreshadowing leads to making predictions about what might then occur.
Juggling?? Why might that not be a good idea? Joe and Nancy didn’t think it would be good for Boppo the Clown to juggle. Does this new wrinkle (and worry!) in the episode represent a clue of what is to come??
What would you predict might happen?
Log the events that foreshadow in on the chart below. (Go all the way back to Episode 1 and Episode 2 to check on whether there were clues that you could record in the chart below and then add those found in Episode 3. Keep filling in the chart as you continue to read the Episodes!) Then take a look at the Prediction Chart to see how accurate you are in following the clues to what will happen next!
The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau by Jon Agee
Shortcut by David Macaulay
Just Plain Fancy by Patricia Polacco
Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
For Parents, Teachers, LibrariansTalk Art!
Calef Brown’s Exquisite Corpse Adventure Illustration for Episode Three
by Mary Brigid Barrett
Building on Artistic Tradition
Clownswhether they appear as circus personalities, carnival performers, or pop iconshold a fascination for many people perhaps because in our own daily lives we feel we must walk out into the world and be a bit of a performer ourselves, our faces an outward mask of happiness even when we feel dark and depressed inside. Young people, too, may have mixed feelings about clowns. The performing clown hired to entertain at a child’s birthday party may come across as a scary figure to some of the children with unfolding laughter abruptly interrupted by fearful shrieks.
Artists have been fascinated by clownsby harlequin and Pierrot figures; carnival, circus, and theater performersfor centuries, so much so that kitsch and parody clown art have become almost as collectable as fine art paintings of clowns. Some artists, like Picasso, feel that the harlequin figure acts as a visual metaphor of the artist as entertainer, a conception that has grown more popular in today’s post Andy Warhol fine art world and in the ever-expanding worlds of contemporary performance and video art.
When I opened up the jpeg file to see what Calef Brown had created to illustrate The Exquisite Corpse Adventure Episode Three: “The Found Clue” by Kate Di Camillo, I was thrilled to see his bold graphic approach and immediately thought of the work of American printmaker and painter Ben Shahn and the expressionist clown paintings of Georges Rouault, and so many other artists.
• Ask the students about their own personal feelings and experiences with clowns. Are clowns funny and entertaining? All clowns? Are some clowns sad? Can clowns be scary? Do all clowns wear the traditional funny make-up or are there some clowns like Charlie Chaplinwho create their own non-traditional clown make-up? See if you can get them to broaden their definition of clowns and share with them the many different kinds of clowns.
• Share Episode Three of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure and Calef Brown’s expressionistic illustration with your young people at home and in the classroom and library. Ask the students if Mr. Brown’s illustration style is realistic or interpretive. Does it depict what a clown would actually look like in the situation Kate Di Camillo has written, or does it show more of an emotional reaction or interpretation of the story?
• Ask if a tight realistic illustration would have worked better? Or does an interpretive approach convey much more than a realistic illustration would have conveyed? If yes, in what way? Does Mr. Brown’s illustration give us more than visual information? Does it convey emotional, atmospheric, and intellectual content as well? In other words, ask them about their feelings when they look at the illustration. What are they feeling and thinking, and would they have felt and thought of differently if the illustration had been very realistic? How does Mr. Brown’s illustration make them think about Episode Three and about the whole story? Ask them if they can guess, looking at Mr. Brown’s illustration, what the character Boppo the clown is thinking? What are Boppo’s intentions? Does the illustration reveal what Mr. Brown thinks or feels about the Boppo character?
• Share the other artists’ “clown” subject paintings and prints (see above) with your kids. Encourage them to discuss the clowns portrayed in each painting or print, comparing and contrasting each artist’s interpretation of the subject matter. Are there similarities in how each artist depicts his clown figure, are there differences? What are those similarities and differences? Which paintings and prints are more realistic and which are more expressive? Can your kids tell how each artist feels about the subject he is painting? Does the painting or print reveal the emotional state or mood of the subject or subjects in each picture? Does this artistic tradition of a clown/harlequin painting show a straightforward depiction of the clown as wonderful entertainer/performer? Or is it more complicated?
• Now have your kids look once again at Calef Brown’s illustration for Episode Three. In what way is his illustration like the other artists’ “clown/harlequin” paintings and prints? In what why is his piece different? How has Mr. Brown used color compared to the other pictures? How has he used space compared to the other pictures? Is the compositional space a flat graphic use of space or has he used space in a more realistic sense using perspective with a foreground, middle ground, and backgrounda traditional placement of visual content? Has Calef Brown built on an artistic tradition of clown/harlequin painting? If yes, how has he done that? Has he added to the tradition with his own original ideas and interpretation? Does building on the clown/harlequin painting artistic tradition work within the context of the story episode Mr. Brown is illustrating?
• Is it more interesting to copy an artistic tradition, or is it more interesting to interpret an artistic tradition, investing in it your own ideas and feelings?
Sketch paper, pencils, erasers (kneaded rubber erasers are so very wonderful!)
Thicker paper to paint finished painting onwhite or off white of a size of your choosingbigger rather than smaller!
Black India inkand make sure your kids wear an old art shirt because India ink is a permanent stain!
Small or medium size old paint brushes with a pointed tip---old or cheap paintbrushes work best because India ink is harsh on paint brushes, and make sure the paintbrushes are thoroughly cleaned with soap and water afterward.
More paint brushes for painting with paint.
Tempera or acrylic paint
Containers full of clean water for rinsing paint brushes
Soft rag or paper towels for spills
And make sure your kids work in an area that is spill proofthey will spill something and you getting upset about a mess will not make them feel great or inspire them to create art in the futureso assume the worst and be prepared!
1. After you have discussed Calef Brown’s illustration and the other “clown/harlequin” paintings and prints, have your kids think about what they feel about clownsdo they really like clowns and find them fun and amusing? Do they think clowns are sad? Scary? Hilarious? Stupid? If they state that they do not care about clowns at all, expand their vision of clownsdo they like funny movie and television personalities? Are there performers who do not claim the label of clown but in fact are clowns? Identify contemporary clown figures in pop culture like Ronald McDonald, the Joker from Batman comics and movies or The Simpson’s Krusty the Clown. How do they feel about those images?
2. Ask them to sketch and/or doodle different images of clowns on their scrap sketch paperfill their papers edge to edge with drawing and doodles of all different images of clowns. Have them take their time and come up with at least a dozen different sketches or doodles.
3. Ask them to pick the sketch or doodle that best depicts their own personal feelings about clowns, whatever those feelings arean expressive drawing rather than a “realistic” drawing.
4. Give each young person a bottle of India ink, a great piece of thicker paper, paints, brushes, a rag of paper towels, and a container of water. Have them do a fresh drawing, as big as their paper, using their best expressive sketch as their inspiration. Emphasize that this new drawing does not have to be an exact copy of their sketchthe new drawing can be different and even better!
5. Inspired by Calef Brown’s use of ink, have your kids dip their old pointed paintbrush into the bottle of India ink and then paint the lines of their drawing in black. You might like to have them look one more time at Calef Brown’s illustration so that they can see that Mr. Brown’s lines are not even or the same thickness throughout. His black lines are thick and thin, really dark in some areas, and textured in others. Some of his lines “close”that is they are attached to other lines forming shapes, and some of his lines remain open and unattachedall of which is great because all that variety is more interesting visually! Encourage your kids to experiment drawing with the ink. And have lots of extra paper on hand in case they are dissatisfied with their first experiments.
6. After their ink drawings are dryif they would like to add flat areas of color to their drawing with the tempera or acrylic paintlet them do so! Some kids may like their drawings as is and not want to add color and that is fine.
7. Hang all their “clown” paintings and drawings throughout the room. See if the other kids can guess how each child or teen feels about clowns by the way they have drawn or painted their subjects. Ask them which paintings or drawings are the most “expressionistic,” the drawings or paintings that express emotional power and depthpositive and negative emotions. Now that they have painted themselves, ask them if they feel differently in any way about Calef Brown’s illustration and the other artists’ paintings and prints.
To share more of Calef Brown’s work with the young people in your life, go to:
www.polkabats.com/ kid’s book blog
Flamingos on the Roof Soup for Breakfast
by Marilyn Ludolph, Ed.D, Dominican University School of Education
There are some very interesting vocabulary words used in Episode Three; important in understanding the action that is occurring!
Boppo the Clown follows Joe and Nancy. “The stealth! The daring!” What does Nancy mean when she says that?
We also discover that Boppo is narcoleptic and that changes the action in the episode! What does narcoleptic mean? How did Boppo’s narcolepsy change the action in the story?
©2009 Marilyn Ludolph