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    The following Chartreuse Press Teachers' Guides provide teachers and parents with information on how to best enhance and enrich the educational value and enjoyment of these books for children. We hope you enjoy them.

    What if... Michelangelo was a Picklemaker?

    For Teachers: How to Use This Book to Teach Art in the Elementary Grades

    The study of images is central to the teaching of art. The goal of this book is to present the study of art historical images in an entertaining, yet instructional manner. Humor draws children into the works, the bright, vivid colors hold their attention, while the reference images teach them about famous works of art. Moreover, the concept of parody - or the method whereby the characteristic style or content of another work is imitated in a satirical or humorous way - is an approach frequently used by artists. Paintings such as Mona Lisa, American Gothic, and Washington Crossing the Delaware have served as the inspiration for many parodies created by artists. Therefore, this book can be used to teach: the concept of parody, art criticism activities, and a variety of studio projects.

    National Standards:
    Content Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes.
    Content Standard 2: Using knowledge of structures and function.
    Content Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas.
    Content Standard 5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.

    1. Students will read the book -- “What if ... Michelangelo was a Picklemaker?” in order to study the concept of warm and cool colors, mood created by colors, and the concept of pattern.
    2. Students will study the images in the book -- “What if ... Michelangelo was a Picklemaker?” to use for numerous studio production activities and studio lessons integrated with creative writing activities.

    Art Criticism Questions (Color and Texture):
    1. Look at the picture: What if Dr. Frankenstein brought Frida Kahlo back to life? Discuss the following: Describe the colors of the painting. Are they warm (reds, yellows, oranges, pinks) or cool (greens, blues, purples)? Name the complementary colors or colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel —yellow/purple, red/green/ and blue/orange.
    2. What is the mood or feeling of the painting? Do the colors help to create the mood? If so, tell how.
    3. Look at the picture: What if Leonardo da Vinci studied wormholes in Paris? Describe three examples of pattern and texture. Pattern is the repetition of line, color, or shape. Texture is the surface “feel ” of an object which is often created through the use of pattern.

    Studio Production and Creative Writing Integration Lessons:
    Grades K-2:
    1. Show students examples of parodies. Collect examples of well-known works of art and pictures of everyday products such pop cans, cereal box images, etc. and iconic images such as the McDonalds’ arches, sports imagery, and the Starbucks’ logo. Have students choose a famous work and an everyday image or icon. Have students draw a copy of the everyday icon or image and place it on the famous work to create a parody. Finally, have students share the example and write a sentence(s) about the new work.

    2. Collect examples of famous works of art that have people in them. Whiteout or blur the faces and photocopy the images. Have students create a parody by drawing new features, eye patches, glasses, scars, etc, to create a humorous parody.

    Grades 2-5:

    1. Teach the concept of alliteration by having students brainstorm other questions that relate to the Frida Kahlo painting that also start with the letter “f.” For example: What if Frida was a: farmer? A fairy? A fool? A forklift driver? A frog? A frankfurter? Then, have students draw and paint their versions. Share the student’s works to see how each person solved the artistic problem.

    2. Teach the concept of rhyming by giving students a list of artists’ last names and have them think up words that rhyme with the names. Then, create a sentence using the name and rhyming word in order to create a painting.

    3. Study the self-portraits of Vincent van Gogh and Frida Kahlo since many of their works are based on experiences in their lives. Have the students keep a diary of their life experiences for one week and paint a self-portrait from something that happened during the week/month/year.

    4. Design a book cover for the next book in this series—“When Dairy Cassatt met Georgia O’Beefe.” Study the work of Mary Cassatt and Georgia O’Keefe prior to creating the cover picture in order to inform the students of each artists’ work and life. Next, have students write the plot for the book and share it with their classmates.

    5. Study how to create a realistic self-portrait. Next, create another self-portrait that answers the question—What if Dr. Frankenstein recreated your self-portrait? Or, explore the self-portraits of many artists such as Rembrandt, van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Albrecht Durer, Max Beckman, and Kathe Kollwitz in order to create another portrait of a famous artist that might have been designed by Dr. Frankenstein.

    6. Study the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Next, provide the sentence—What if da Vinci ate too much spaghetti? Or, study the works of Picasso and Georgia O’Keefe in order to paint the following questions: What if Picasso was a pirate? What if Georgia O’Keefe liked beef? Have students create their version of a painting to fit the sentence. Or, give students a list of artists and have them write their own sentences to illustrate.

    7. Provide students with examples of famous works such as the Mona Lisa, Guernica, and American Gothic. Have students create a humorous version of the works such as in the work--American Gothic, the farmer could be holding a broom instead of a pitchfork. Discuss works that are commonly used as the basis for humor and tell why they are often used. Resources: For excellent examples of parodies for children, see:, and the text—The Theory of Parody: The Teachings of 20th Century Art Forms by Linda Hutcheon, University of Illinois Press, 2000. Bird painting

    You Can't Make an Elephant Paint

    Four Notes to Consider When Enjoying This Book:
    1. The drawn images of the animals are not meant to be replicas of the particular animals that are named, but rather are general representations.

    2. Below the text on each page are two icons: a paw print and a question mark. The question mark lists questions that ask the reader to think critically about the animals and their creations. There areclearly no right or wrong answers. By discussing such questions and giving reasons why the reader thinks the way that they do elicits higher ordered thinking.

    3. The suggested websites are listed so that the reader can pursue more information if desired. A word of caution, however, is raised. As with all Internet searches, I recommend that parents/guardians preview the websites first before sharing them with children.

    4. The animals represented in this book are trained by experts and professionals. If the readers wish to try art projects with animals, they need to respect them. Do not force an animal to do something that they do not wish to do. Also, ALWAYS use non-toxic paints and art supplies!

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