Friday, June 29, 2012

Sketch Workshops with Ruth McNally Barshaw


Ruth McNally Barshaw, author and illustrator of the "Ellie McDoodle" series of books, presented two sketch workshops on June 25 as part of our Summer Reading Program.

Ms. Barshaw is currently writing the fifth book in the Ellie McDoodle series. She explained the time line for its publication, discussed her writing process, and showed the children some of her illustrations for the book.

Ms. Barshaw guided the children and parents through creating their own artwork during the workshop. She began by drawing "Ellie McDoodle" words - sketches created from the letters of a word. The letter "o" in the word dog became the face of a dog, the "c" in cat became a cat, and the "p" in penguin became a penguin.

She then encouraged children to look for shapes in illustrations and to use shapes as the basis for their own drawings. After identifying shapes within other illustrators' works, she guided the participants through drawing a squirrel beginning with a triangle and circle and connecting and embellishing those shapes to create the squirrel.

Ms. Barshaw sketched additional animals at the children's request. When one requested a goose, she commented that she didn't know if she had ever drawn a goose and moved to the window to observe the geese in Wilson Park as she sketched them.  She explained various techniques for sketching new things, such as observing the animal or person, taking photographs, or looking at photographs online or in books.

During the workshop for third through fifth graders, Ms. Barshaw also discussed characterization. She guided the children through drawing a mouse and then demonstrated how to change its features to create a cute mouse, a funny mouse, and an evil mouse. Different proportions, accessories, and shading all contributed to develop the character.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun Fact Friday

Did you know an owl has three eyelids?  See photos and more information about owls here

Great horned owl who visited from Howell Nature Center during our Creatures of the Night program

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Creatures of the Night

Nancy from Howell Nature Center brought six nocturnal animals for us to see and learn about today.  We met a great horned owl, a flying squirrel, an Eastern screech owl, a European ferret, a barn owl, and an opossum.

All of the animals we saw today are from Howell Nature Center's Wild Wonders Wildlife Park which provides homes for animals and birds that are not able to live in the wild.  

Great Horned Owl
This great horned owl is 24 years old and has been living at Howell Nature Center since he was young.  He, like all owls, can fly silently due to the type of feathers at his wingtips.  He has excellent hearing which is enhanced by his ears being at slightly different heights. 

Flying Squirrel
Flying squirrels have skin stretched from their wrists to their ankles which allows them to glide similar to a kite.  Like all nocturnal animals, he has large eyes. 

Eastern Screech Owl
This owl's name is Farley.  Eastern screech owls may be red or grey;  Farley is a grey phase owl.  He, as all of the owls today, was very interested in something in the park; he kept looking out the window at the geese and other animals outside. He arrived at Howell Nature Center after his wing was injured when the tree he lived in was cut down.  Due to the damage to his wing, he can not fly.  Although this owl was quiet today, we heard a recording of a screech owl and learned that it sounds similar to a horse.

European Ferret 
Ferrets are a type of weasel and are in the Mustelidae family.  Like ferrets kept as pets, this ferret has had its scent glands removed. 

Barn Owl

This opossum loves broccoli and walked back and forth across the table to find and eat more.  Opossums are marsupials.  Baby opossums are about the size of the tip to the first knuckle of a pinkie finger.  They live in the mother's pouch for about two months. 

Usually when you find a baby animal alone, you should leave it where you find it because the mother will return.  Opossums are an exception to this rule.  Mothers often will not realize they have lost a baby, so young opossums alone should be reported to an appropriate facility to help them.

Contrary to popular belief, opossums can not hang by their tails. They can use their tails to help them climb or hold things, but their bodies are too heavy to hang by them. 

The human owl
Owls eyes are very large.  Like other nocturnal animals, their large eyes help them see at night.  If humans' eyes were proportionately the same size as owls' eyes, this is what our eyes would look like.  Our volunteer also had an owl wing to demonstrate how quietly owls can fly.

Owls' feet

Monday, June 18, 2012

Additions to our Children's Area

We have recently added a few new items to our children's area. 

A grant from The Greater Milan Area Community Foundation has provided an interactive globe and a new set of puzzles.

You can explore the world and constellations through a variety of activities on the globe.  You can learn about the population, area, national anthem, and language of each country and then see how many countries you can identify.

Our new set of puzzles features a letter of the alphabet on each puzzle.  You can discuss the letters and familiar objects that start with each letter as you enjoy putting the puzzles together.

We appreciate The Greater Milan Area Community Foundation for the grant which allowed us to provide these new opportunities in our library.

We have also added a cart for books and movies you've decided not to check out.  Putting items on this reshelving cart will help keep our children's area tidy and ready for others to use.  This cart was funded by the Mohr Walls Endowment.  Thank you to everyone who contributes to this fund. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Vacation

Summer vacation begins for many of you today.  Are you looking for things to do this summer?  Try these:

1.  Sign up for our Summer Reading Program and read or listen to books.

2.  Attend programs at the library.  See our calendar of events here.

3.  Play outside. Check out Go Out and Play for game suggestions.

4. Learn a magic trick.  See these books for ideas.

5.  Create a craft project.  Try paper crafts, dinosaur crafts, American girls' crafts, origami, or browse the children's 700 section for additional ideas.

6.  Go camping in your backyard or away from home.

7.  Explore a state park.  Check out a Park and Read pass from our library for free admission. 

8.  Visit the Hack House

9.  Watch the Olympics and learn more about them in these books

10. Plant a garden.  Try one of these books for ideas:  Show Me How I Can Grow Things, Green Thumbs: A Kid's Activity Guide to Indoor and Outdoor Gardening, and The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids

What are your favorite things to do during the summer?

Summer Reading Begins Today

Our Summer Reading Program begins today.  See more information here.