Wait ‘Til the Midnight Hour

It may be midnight, but there’s always time to explore this awesome little 2D library, and possibly discover a hidden letter or two!

We recommend reading The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara (Roaring Book Press, 2014, read here by the Ingleside Public Library). Welcome to a very special library: it’s only open from midnight to dawn! The little librarian, along with her three assistant owls, work together in the dark and help the forest animals find a place to play music, read the perfect story time book, and even sign up for a library card!

You’ll need:

  • 1 midnight library template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper
  • 1 clear piece of 8.5″ x 11″ plastic (more on this below!)
  • Sharpie permanent marker
  • 1 piece of black construction paper
  • One flashlight template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • Scissors for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Optional: fine tip dry erase marker

Begin by printing the midnight library template. Then, place a piece of plastic on top of the template and trace it using a Sharpie permanent marker. We used archival mylar, but you can also use the clear cellophane rolls you find in the gift basket section of your local craft store!

Replace the paper library template with a piece of black construction paper. Tape the corners of the black construction paper to a tabletop, then tape the corners of the plastic to the tabletop as well. Really to explore the library? Slide the flashlight’s light beam between the construction paper and plastic to “illuminate” the scene!

Want to take the project up a notch? Use a fine tip dry erase marker on the plastic to “hide” letters in the library, and ask your young readers to locate them. Once all the letters have been discovered, you can erase them and start anew! You can make the letters random, or ask kids to string together various words and/or messages. For example, I’ve hidden the word “hello” on this shelf…can you find it?

Tigers on Tiptoe

Can you tiptoe your tiger through the forest without making a sound?

We recommend reading The Tiptoeing Tiger by Philippa Leathers (Candlewick Press, 2018, read here by DaddyRead2Me). When Tiger prowls the forest, the other animals NOTICE and move away. But not Little Tiger. No one is afraid of him in the slightest! So he contrives to sneakily tiptoe around the forest until he thoroughly terrifies someone. It doesn’t work with Boar, Elephant, or the monkeys…but Little Tiger might have met his match at the pond!

You’ll need:

  • 1 small oatmeal container
  • Construction paper and/or poster board
  • 2 brass fasteners
  • 2 craft sticks, approximately 3″ long
  • Scissors, tape, and box cutter for construction
  • Markers for decorating

Begin by decorating a small oatmeal container like a tiger. For added texture, we used a pair of wiggle eyes, a bit of self-adhesive foam for the nose, and twisteez wire whiskers, but you can also just use markers to add these features. The dynamic part of the project comes when you add the moveable back legs!

Use a box cutter to make small slices in the oatmeal container, then attach the tiger’s back legs to the body using brass fasteners. Next, attach two, 3″ long craft sticks to the legs, leaving plenty of room for you to grasp the sticks. To operate, move the sticks up and down while gently sliding the oatmeal container forward, and you have yourself a splendid tiptoeing tiger!

 

Studio Snapshots: Steve Light

In a very small studio in NYC, a magician creates vast worlds. Welcome to the studio of Steve Light, award-winning author and illustrator of numerous books, including Have You Seen My Dragon, SWAP!, Up Cat Down Cat, and blog favorite Zephyr Takes Flight (see the awesome project we did for it here!). Steve’s newest book is Road Trip: A Whiskers Hollow Adventure, but he’s hard at work on The Itsy Bitsy Spider, which is set to be released by Candlewick Press. Steve is often joined by studio assistant Madie the Cat.


So, I live in Manhattan where space is limited. I live in a studio apartment with my wife and cat. My studio is in an alcove off the living room, my workshop with my tools is in a walk-in closet off the alcove. To get to my studio you walk “through” our bookcase! It’s like entering the world of books.

My studio has to be very well organized to be functional. As my friend Barbara McClintock said, “It is like a pilot’s cockpit, everything is within reach at any time!” It is small but very efficient. I have created 20 books in this space.

I have all my pens, inks, and materials in the assorted cabinets. My whole desk is a light table, this allows me to see my pencil drawings under my paper when inking the final illustrations. I also have an iPod to listen to music, not my phone so I’m not tempted to look at emails or other stuff. I usually wake up at 4am and make coffee and sit right down to work. Since my workspace is steps from my bed, I can keep that half awake relaxed mindset and set right to work. It is very peaceful.

In the closet off the studio, I have all my tools. I love to make things out of wood and that’s what this space is for. I have a scroll saw, drill press, sander and many hand tools. I make sculptures, models, toys, and puppets!

I love living in New York City and love creating in my little space. I spend a lot of time sketching in museums and coffee shops. The city is endlessly inspirational to me.


Images courtesy of Steve Light