Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara. Roaring Brook Press (October 2009); ISBN: 9781596434424; 32 pages
Book Source: Our personal library
'"Who are you?" asked the boy.
"I'm Jack Frost!" replied the figure, and he ran into the woods.'
A lonely little boy sulks about inside his house during a cold, gray winter until one morning he notices patterns on the window. When he looks outside he sees a pointy white, elfish figure, the character responsible for the patterns. The boy befriends the figure, Jack Frost, and they play together all winter long, sledding, throwing snowballs and building snowmen against a brilliant blue sky.
Kazuno Kohara's stark white linocut images dance against the blue backgrounds, beautifully conveying the the wondrous bluish hues of winter. Even though she uses limited colors, Kohara still manages to add a special vivacity to her pictures. Kohara uses a similar illustration style in her Halloween themed book, Ghosts in the House! While the newer book, Here Comes Jack Frost isn't as humorous as the ghost book, it is a lovely, playful and fun winter read and a good, simple introduction to the character of Jack Frost.
Obviously some sort of printmaking craft would be the perfect activity to accompany this Here Comes Jack Frost. But we've already tried two different printmaking techniques in January so we thought instead we'd pretend to be Jack Frost by making frost paintings using a special Epson salt solution.
I first saw instructions for the Epson salt paint on Homemade Mamas. The recipe is simple - you combine 1/4 cup boiling water with 1/4 cup Epson salt. Then you stir until the crystals dissolve and let the solution cool slightly (a few minutes). The kids dip their paintbrush in the solution and cover the page with the liquid. As the paint dries, it crystallizes and forms interesting, sparkly patterns. Unplug Your Kids also offers a detailed and interesting post about Salt Crystal Paint.
In our experience, Epson salt paint is a rather unpredictable product. Sometimes it dries and lovely crystalline patterns form and other times all you get is an even layer of powdery white frost. If you supersaturate the solution by adding more Espon salt than water, you'll end up with really thick, crusty white coverage. It's fun to experiment, but it can also be rather frustrating for the kids if they want to see fun crystal patterns in their salt paint.
We tried making two different pictures, one using crayons and another using paints. The wax in the crayon pictures seems to help break up the layer of paint and causes more puddling - thus more crystal patterns. My daughter crumpled her crayon drawing a bit before adding the paint, so that the solution could settle on an uneven surface. This also helped encourage crystal patterns and helped stop the picture from curling up as it dried.
Salt paint on my daughter's crayon picture - interesting, large crystal patterns
Salt Paint on painted picture - general frosted look
Crystal formation on my son's crayon picture
For an alternate craft to correspond with this book, visit Superheroes and Princesses. They created winter tree art using masking tape and paint.
A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Add your kids craft post to the Kid's Get Crafty linky at Red Ted Art's Blog. Join in Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word. Show off your ideas at ABC & 123 Show and Tell.
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