On Saturday, my husband and I took the kids to the art museum a few towns over for the Grand Opening of their renovated Children’s Center.
The gallery was filled with original illustrations by Eric Carle, Leo Leonni, Ted Arnold (My Working Mom)*, and many others, including a series by John Par Miller, which kept Sunny busy finding the little turtle in every single picture and kept me busy trying not to drop her as she leaned waaay out of my arms with her finger extended because she wasn’t supposed to touch the art and I kept backing away from it.
We enjoyed the illustrations for so long, we were too late to get into the auditorium to hear the speeches—oh, well—so we wandered into one of the studios, where tables had been set up with tons of craft materials: construction paper, markers, pencils, crayons, glue sticks, paper plates, sticks . . . and some pre-stapled little books.
Janie and I made a beeline for those, while my husband doodled some excellent steampunk airships and cartoon characters and Sunny stuck together a few collage turtles on paper plates and provided me with rhyming assistance and art direction in exchange for my (barely) more skilled scissor work. When she’d done everything she could do with her turtles, she helped me glue.
I think that deserves co-author/illustrator credit, don’t you? She did.
She also wanted me to put it on the blog, Mommy, so please for to witness the blog debut of I Am One, by Sarah and Sunny Wesson.**
Authors’ Note: That thing on page Six? It’s a table, not a chimney. So there.
Janie wouldn’t let anyone see her book until she was done. When I was finally allowed to read it, I was blown away. Seriously.
The drawings are cute, the perspective is interesting, the plot has an environmental message . . . and she wrote it in ocean language.***
It’s untitled, mostly because she keeps changing her mind, but Whale Saves the Party** was my personal favorite:
He swam underneath a big boat.
The people were dumping garbage on Little Star’s Party!
Whale took care of that!
The boat flipped over. Little Star gave Whale a hug.
The people promised to never dump garbage in the ocean again.
It was a very good day.
Janie claims that the dolphin in the next-to-the-last page isn’t actually sticking its tongue out at the people—it’s a bottlenose. She also says that Whale’s name is Whale and didn’t provide a clear answer as to whether he’s a killer whale or a whale-whale.^
But I do know the starfish hug is adorable—and the retribution is hilarious—both my kids are brilliant, and you have to love a museum that allows the parents to play, too.
*Lyra, look at this one—I have a feeling your crew will like it
**©2012, all rights reserved, get your own stapler and make your own book.
***And, I might add, in better handwriting that her homework folder has ever seen.
^Instead, she gave me the I’m the Writer And Does Precise Fin Placement Really Matter To The Integrity Of The Message Look. I know that look—I’ve often given variations on it myself—so I didn’t follow up.