It’s no small secret that I love picture books. And, as much as I love sharing them with my kiddos, I also enjoy sharing them with YOU! I want teachers and parents both to know the power of good books and how transformative they can be in our curriculum, homes, and the lives of our students. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be spotlighting some of my favorite seasonally themed read-alouds, PLUS I’ll be sharing an additional engaging activity to go along with each. This week, we’re going to be taking a look at Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares, along with a simple holiday art project to extend the story even further.
Red and Lulu has quickly become the must-have book in our home. My youngest two argue over who gets to go to bed with it each night and we’ve read it no less than ten times in the past two weeks. Our original copy was from the library, but I quickly had to order it on Amazon after realizing we needed a standing copy on our shelves. It’s the kind of story you’ll continue to read, year-after-year, with its magic still in tact despite the fact you can basically recite every word, line for line.
This book tells the gorgeously illustrated story of two cardinals, Red and Lulu, who are separated when their tree is chosen as the Christmas tree for Times Square in New York City. This inspiring tale highlights the beauty of friendship and captures the spirit of the holiday season in a poignant and touching manner that will resonate deeply with its readers. (As in, the first time I read it, I CRIED. Actual happy tears!)
While I was reading it, I could envision painting with my kiddos, recreating the scene where the two birds reunite in their beautifully decorated tree. So, I did just that – put together a Red and Lulu art project using pencil, marker, crayon, and water colors. The directions are below.
MATERIALS (enough for each student):
- White paper (something heavier than copy to support water color painting)
- Water colors
- Paint brush
- Paper towel
STEP ONE: Draw branches of tree in pencil. Draw lines of varying length and add ‘Vs’ to lines to create needles.
STEP TWO: Fill page branches of evergreen tree as pictured. Don’t worry about making each branch ‘full’ of needles. Detail will be added with paint.
STEP THREE: Draw 5-6 circles within the branches. These will be lights.
STEP FOUR: Use green water color paint to trace over the branches.
STEP FIVE: Trace around circle with various bright water colors to illuminate circle. Leave center white to give the appearance of a glowing light.
STEP SIX: Fill in the rest of the branches by making “v” shapes strokes on original branches.
STEP SEVEN: While the painting is drying, color in the cardinals on the printable.
STEP EIGHT: Paste the cardinals into the painting to give the appearance of Red and Lulu as seen in the illustrations from the story.
Voila! Now you have a beautiful rendering of this beloved duo.
I don’t want to forget to let you know that I have an activity set that pairs perfectly with Red and Lulu! It focused on vocabulary, comprehension, discussion questions, and a variety of standards-based ELA skills. Go HERE or click the graphic below to learn more!
If you’d like a downloadable copy of the directions for the Red and Lulu art project seen here, simply fill out the form at the bottom of this post which will subscribe you to The Inspired Apple. As a member, you’ll not only receive this activity once you’ve confirmed your subscription, but will also be privy to exclusive content before it’s shared on the blog, email-only freebies, access to sales, and more! [Secret: Subscribers got early access to this activity and the downloadable instructions were delivered right to their inbox before it appeared live on the blog! There will be more free holiday art projects coming soon. HINT HINT HINT HINT.]
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