For our first Leo Lionni book we decided to read Swimmy. Swimmy tells the tale of a little black fish who finds the courage to explore his world. He then uses his bravery and clever thinking to encourage a school of fish to work together so they too can explore the ocean. Big Brother was really interested in the creatures Swimmy meets along his journey but he wasn't sure what they all were. We did a quick search on YouTube to look for videos of the creatures. We loved seeing some of the amazing underwater videos of jellyfish, tuna fish, eels, schools of fish, and lobsters.
In this book Leo Lionni used several different materials to paint and print the illustrations. For our project we sponge painted ocean scenes. Before the project I cut several sponges into different shapes. Some shapes were recognizable, for example the fish shape, but others were generic like the half circle and rectangle.
|Material notes: For the sponge painting we needed lots of flat surfaces or trays for the paint. We used the lids of strawberry containers. We also kept a bowl of water for rinsing the sponges in between colors.|
First we painted a background by sponging on several different shades of blue and white. We let this dry for a little while.
Next Big Brother used the different colors and shapes to create some of the creatures he remembered. He was most intrigued by the jellyfish videos we had watched, especially an orange one which looked like it was made of fire, so he started by creating the jellyfish with the half circle.
He also added in seaweed and an eel. Of course then we had to add in the fish. He grouped them together just like the school of fish in the story and videos. He made most of the fish red, with one black fish (just like Swimmy) on each page.
The finished paintings:
Big Brother really connected both to the story and the videos in order to create his paintings. The sponge painting process allows for using the same materials to create different scenes. They definitely will be used again!