Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Murals + kids + books = fun times!

Our family bought a house over a year ago, and after years of renting I wanted the power to do something crazy.  We needed new carpet throughout, and since we closed on the house about a half month before we needed to move out of our apartment, I decided to paint the walls in the basement.

"What's the worst that can happen?" I asked my husband.  "The walls are boring white right now.  If what I paint looks terrible, we can always paint over it.  Besides, this house is ours, and we can do whatever we want!"

So I went to the local Michael's craft store, bought some paintbrushes and acrylic paint, and pulled out some of my favorite childhood books.  I chose a picture from each one, sketched it, revised a few, put them on overheads, sort of illegally borrowed (and returned!) an overhead from the high school I teach at, projected the pictures on the walls, found that some of the pictures were too small to project and freehanded those (silly mouse and spider!), painted one color at a time, then outlined each picture when I finished.  Here's the (badly-photographed) result--and you get a gold star for each source book you guess!
Here's the start...

Doesn't he look happy?  In spite of the bad flash?

My kind of girl.  And from a book by one of my two favorite authors during early elementary school.

Big, rough brushstrokes make for fun painting

You've already read about my early-reading love for this witch...

The cover picture I copied didn't actually have the complete dragon.  I had to wing--well, the wings.

I had to scrunch my writing over the outlet.

The colors and pen-and-ink feel of this one were hard to get right

Curse you, puppy with the difficult brown-gold coat!

I want cookies every time I see this.  Chocolatey ones.

He's the best to paint--very simple and neat!

I couldn't get the next two together because of that blasted ping-pong table--but they're right by each other

The  pig and spider are from my other favorite early-elementary-school author.

And the baby before this happy cat is on broom closet.  :)  This one's just outside the door!

It's all in our playroom, so here's a side view:

Look!  Toys!  You don't see most of them, though.  There's a reason I hid the floor.
 Sorry about the pictures--I had to dodge many obstacles, I experimented a little with the flash, and I went quick.  Oh, and if you're observant (of course you are!), you noticed all those little black marks running under each picture.  I'm a writer, so of course I tied everything together with words.

So if you're going through and you want a hint about a few of the books I stole pictures from, I typed up the words I wrote on sticky notes--and then scrawled beneath each mural, starting with the first picture.

Warning...the writing below is circular and dense and only some of it is from the brilliant source texts.  Some of it was written rather quickly by me, so read on only if you're truly desperate for clues:

...and begin, like every story, with A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W..X..Y..or..Z.  Big Z little z what begins with Z?  Zany Dragon Droofus, who in all the excitement lost his head--but only for a moment.  In that moment, he startled Matilda, who was reading.  She looked up, smiling.  Matilda was extraordinary, and by that I mean sensitive and brilliant.  Above all, she was brilliant.  Still, with all her brilliance she didn't know how to quiet Bruce, a great shaggy brute of a bear.  That was okay, though, because Bruce's growly guffaws made Dorrie laugh.  Dorrie is a witch.  A little witch.  Her hat is always crooked and her socks never match.  She skips with her cat, Gink, on the way to see Kazul the Dragon and her princess.  The princess comes from Linderwall, which, all in wall, was a very prosperous place.  Princesses weren't supposed to fence or study politics, though, in Linderwall.  Princess Cimorene hated it.  So she ran away to become Kazul's Chief Cook and Librarian.  She didn't have any books about penguins, unfortunately, as penguins are generally rare in magic kingdoms.  There are no pretty marching penguins and no penguins in flowered shirts like Tacky, who was an odd bird but a very nice bird to have around.  Tacky even said, "What's happening?" to Max, the king of all wild things, while Max sat high on a hill.  "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"  And so Max rumpused with the wild things while Spot crouched on his ball and smiled at the mouse.  The mouse held a cookie, which he offered to share with Harold.  However, Harold was too busy riding a purple-crayon sea serpent, and he sailed across the moon ocean at a smooth swift speed.  Harold didn't even see Wilbur prancing or Charlotte spinning her wonderful web.  It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.  Charlotte was both.  And she would have known, had she seen him, that the story of the Boy Who Lived would end...

Look!  You can see the ping-pong table on the right!  It's hard to take pictures around it, but it is fun to play on...
Needless to say, I didn't paint over my mural.  My boys love that room--and the wonderful books that inspired it.  And, let's face it, sparking a love for books was the whole point of my diabolical, paint-spattered scheme.

No comments:

Post a Comment