Berry Smudges and Leaf Prints: Finding and Making Colors from Nature

Overview

In this unique craft book, outdoor enthusiast and former teacher Ellen B. Senisi encourages children to create art with colored objects found in nature. In alternating spreads, she shows the beauty of each color, its special significance to the plant and animal world, and related crafts. Kids can put away their store-bought supplies-here are more than a dozen projects, all made with plants, fruits, and other natural objects that they can find in yards, parks, gardens, or the grocery store. Children will discover ...
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Overview

In this unique craft book, outdoor enthusiast and former teacher Ellen B. Senisi encourages children to create art with colored objects found in nature. In alternating spreads, she shows the beauty of each color, its special significance to the plant and animal world, and related crafts. Kids can put away their store-bought supplies-here are more than a dozen projects, all made with plants, fruits, and other natural objects that they can find in yards, parks, gardens, or the grocery store. Children will discover that green leaves make printed patterns, spinach can be simmered into ink, certain flowers and berries work like paint, and more.

Nature inspires so much of art. In this book it provides the materials, too. For young artists, this is a new, intimate way to think about color and its essential role in nature and art.

Author Biography: Ellen B. Senisi is a former teacher and lifelong outdoor enthusiast.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
More than just a craft book, Senisi gets the reader to think about color and its psychological impact on humans. She explains that "red is the color of excitement and happiness," and that "blue is a restful color," while yellow, " a hopeful happy color...has some negative meanings." Readers can make berry and spinach ink, leaf prints on muslin, collages, pressed flower bookmarks, a nature weaving and more. Her directions for making dyes from natural products remind the reader to have adult supervision when using knives and the stove. Directions are provided for making red, yellow, blue, green, orange, brown, purple and black using the heating method, the soaking method and the straight method. A brief history of natural dyes and their uses includes a discussion of the impact of the discovery of chemical dyes. The scientific explanations of color are presented in a question and answer format in the last two-page section. The explanations are clear and easy to follow, and will enhance the reader's understanding of color. Well-organized and presented, this is a perfect book for classroom projects in science and art, for homeschoolers and for anytime kids are feeling "crafty." 2001, Dutton Children's Books, $16.99. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Although this book will likely find its home in craft sections, it is so much more than a project book. Initially, readers are invited to think about color in nature and the way it has been used by humans throughout history. The next few chapters each deal with a specific color and begin with a dramatic, full-page photo of objects or scenes that exemplify the featured hue. The facing page has smaller, but no less attractive photos, many of which show children of various ethnic backgrounds. The text discusses each color's traditional symbolism, its role in nature, and the type of mood it creates, and offers directions for two activities that utilize natural dyes made from berries, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, or other products available from the grocery store, garden, or field. The step-by-step, illustrated crafts encourage children to try many different types of media and techniques including dried flowers, leaves, yarn, drawing, tie-dying, printmaking, weaving, and collage. A separate section lists plants that yield dyes of various colors and includes directions for producing them. Some steps involve a stove or knife, and children are advised to seek adult help. Two final sections describe the use of dyes in various cultures and the nature of color itself. This is, indeed, a unique book.-Lynda Ritterman, Atco Elementary School, Waterford, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A dozen nature craft projects are displayed in vivid, color photographs, as the author/photographer of Hooray for Pre-K (2000) here explores finding and making colors from nature. Introducing each color, she attempts to explain where it is found, its function in nature, and how it affects us. For example, "Red is an attention getting color . . . Red flowers, berries, and fruits seem to say, ‘Look at me!' " She explains that the red apple or other fruit is eaten by animals who carry its seeds away to grow more trees. This explanation is somewhat limited, as it does not explain why some birds, beetles, and frogs are red. Surely not to encourage others to eat them! She notes that the color red is associated with emergencies, love, and anger. Following the introduction, she shows two crafts using red pigment: "berry smudges" (painting with red berries), and making potato-print wrapping paper with red dye made from cabbage leaves. She gives a list of materials, step-by-step directions, a warning when adult assistance is needed, and provides several photographs of young children creating projects. She also includes directions for making dyes from natural materials using heat, soaking, or "straight" methods. She offers a slim history of color used in dyeing faces and fabrics and more about the science of color, concluding with a brief bibliography. Though children will enjoy the striking full-color photographs of plants in nature, the text and project directions are more appropriate for a parent or teacher than the young crafters shown in the photos. Where additional craft titles are wanted, this is an attractive supplemental purchase. (Nonfiction. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525461395
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 5/7/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 10.33 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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