A Proper Toast

a proper toast

Meet a toast with a LOT of personality! Today’s blog post is a story time, simple project, and quick snack, all rolled into one!

We recommend Toasty by Sarah Hwang (Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House Books, 2021, read here by the Loveland Public Library). Toasty is a slice of bread, but he really wants to be a dog. Even though he knows there are differences and major challenges, the intrepid Toasty heads to the park to meet some pups. Unfortunately, all does not go as planned. But when a girl appears at the moment Toasty needs her the most, a beautiful friendship begins.

You’ll need:

  • A piece of toast
  • A toaster or oven

Why I didn’t figure out this toast drawing thing when my kids were smaller?!? It’s adorable. First, use you fingers to firmly press a design (or a letter or word) into an uncooked slice of bread. Pop the slice in the toaster, and done!

Of course, me being who I am, I did wonder if the cooking time/temperature impacted how the design appeared on the toast…

toast test 3The answer is basically no. Above you can see 3 slices of toast cooked on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd settings on my toaster. The design appears about the same. Or…maybe I did the experiment so I would have an excuse to eat three yummy slices of toast that morning? Hmmmmm. Totally not telling.

Book Art Challenge

book art challenge open tea boxToday, we present a Book Art Challenge! We get plenty of interesting items donated through our library recycling program…like this this big, 11″ x 14″ box that previously held  “Teas of the World.”

book art challenge tea box Since the box was designed to look and open like a book, we thought it would be the perfect candidate for our first Book Art Challenge. Namely turn the book into art. So here’s what I turned the box into…

finished book art challenge tea boxIt’s poster board, blue cellophane, card stock, and construction paper illuminated with a black light and my iPhone’s flashlight. It’s a little hard to see, but the woods actually layers backwards into the box.

So we’re keeping our eyes on our recycling piles for anything that remotely looks or acts like a book for our next Book Art Challenge. And I do believe it’ll be Katie’s turn! Maybe we can wrangle a couple guest artists as well…?

To Blend or Not to Blend

to blend or not to blendAlways on the lookout for literary and word games, I spotted this fantastically stylish box on the shelves of JaZams, our local independently-owned toy store. The game came highly recommended by their staff, and has won several awards to boot. Did it live up to the hype? Read on!

“The Chameleon,” released by Big Potato Games, retails for around $15. It’s a card and category game for 3-8 players. But it’s also a game of deception, because the whole point is to fake out the other players when you are the “chameleon.” The game includes 40 topic cards, 14 code cards, 2 chameleon cards, 2 die, a marker and custom card, instructions, and one super awesome Big Potato Games logo sticker. Here’s a sample of the box contents:

chameleon box contentsLet’s say there are 4 people playing this round. As you can see below, there are 3 identical Code Cards, but only 1 Chameleon Card. Each player randomly chooses a card and keeps it secret from the other players.

chameleon cardsThe dealer flips over the Topic Card and rolls the yellow and blue die. Players with Code Cards quietly match the die roll results to the appropriate category of the Topic Card. So, in the case of the roll below, the secret category is “The Three Little Pigs.”

game playStarting with the dealer, each player takes a turn describing the secret category with one word. But if you are the chameleon, you are faking your little heart out, trying to come up with a word to describe a category you have NO idea about. But you can listen to the other players and wager a pretty good guess, all the while keeping a straight face.

When everyone has said a word, the players have to guess who the chameleon is.

Having played a couple rounds, I can say that this game is a LOT of fun! The creative word usage, fake outs, shifty looks, pointing fingers, and increasingly bold accusations make it low stress, non-competitive, and utterly hilarious. The more players involved, the funnier it gets. Bonus…there’s also a blank laminated Topic Card and dry erase marker to make a custom Topic Card!

chameleon blank topic cardThe game manufacturer’s recommended age range is 14 & up, but we test ran the game with the 9-12 year-olds in Cotsen Critix, our children’s literary society (we just made sure we pulled out some of the more mature Topic Cards, like ones that included the names of alcoholic beverages). After just a touch of trouble with the instructions and locating the secret category from the dice roll, the kids were off and running!

They liked the various topics, coming up with the description word, and how funny it was to both be, and try to figure out, the chameleon. As one kid so aptly put it “Something is fun about lying to your friends’ faces.” Hah!

The beautiful packaging, clever concept, interesting topics, clear instructions, and devious social nature of this game make it extremely enjoyable. 5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended!