Friday, September 23, 2011

Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage - Book Review and Walrus's Whiskers Craft

I've featured a number of wordless picture books on my blog, but the truth is wordless picture books weren't really on my radar before I had kids. However, after having kids I quickly realized the value of a book without words. Wordless picture books provide a wonderful tool to encourage interaction while reading together. They also help young children develop their oral communication skills and heighten their observation skills. Elementary-aged kids can use the books as a writing tool and write their own story to accompany the illustrations.

One of our favorite new wordless picture books is Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage. My preschool-age son has wanted to "read" this walrus book nearly every day for the past month!

Where's Walrus? by Stephen Savage. Scholastic Press (February 2011); ISBN 9780439700498; 32 pages
Book Source: Copy from public library

All is quiet and peaceful at the zoo but Walrus apparently needs a change of pace. He decides to escape from the confines of the boring zoo and explores the city, careful to remain hidden from a searching zookeeper who tries to discern Walrus's whereabouts. To disguise himself Walrus literally tries on all sorts of different "hats," different life experiences. He blends in with firefighters, cabaret dancers, painters and more. Eventually he plunges headfirst into a perfect opportunity.

First of all, the design and straightforward illustrations in this book are fantastic. The uncluttered images and bold clean lines show off Savage's stellar graphic design talents and look modern and retro at the same time. Although Walrus tries to blend into various scenes, he's ridiculously and joyously easy to find (for all except the zookeeper...all those hats sure trick him). Kids won't have any problems spotting Walrus in the pictures, thus no frustration. In fact, when reading the book, my kids point out ways walrus could better camouflage himself. Did Walrus escape the zoo with a plan in mind or did he just luck out in life? Guess Savage leaves that part of the story up to the reader's imagination.

Related Links:
Stephen Savage - Website
Stephen Savage - Twitter

☆ ☆ ☆ Letter "W" Where's Walrus's Whiskers Craft ☆ ☆ ☆

OK, Mr. Savage. We fully enjoyed the "Where's Walrus" search, but one question lingering on our minds is where are Walrus's whiskers? There is a hint of a few whiskers opposite the copyright, dedication page but for the remainder of the book, Walrus's whiskers seem to have vanished! The zookeeper has a nice full "walrus" mustache but poor Walrus is without his characteristic thick and bushy stache. We know full well from our research that a walrus depends on his whiskers to help locate food.

We decided to help Walrus out with a Letter "W" Where's Walrus's Whiskers craft! To make this craft, I traced Walrus's face onto a piece of gray paper, using the large walrus image opposite the copyright page as a guide. My son and I discussed how Walrus's mouth is shaped like the letter "W" while we glued the walrus picture onto a white sheet of paper. My son then broke thin spaghetti into small pieces. He glued the spaghetti pieces onto Walrus's snout and added two paper tusks. Finally, Walrus has found his whiskers!

Shibley Smiles
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. Wrote a post about play? Join the It's Playtime party! Find more great book tie-ins at JDaniel4's Mom Read, Explore, Learn link-up. Browse more book posts at Little Sprout Books' Feed Me Books Friday.

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Amanda said...

I really like the illustrations in this book. It seems like many of the "Wheres __?" books are very busy and my visually impared daughter has a very challenging time with them. This book would expose her to the concept without the frustration. AND your craft project is adorable. I could see the kids making their own litt book adding the walrus to their own illustrations of their favorite places.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

We made a wonderful apple crisp! The recipe for it will go up on Monday!

maggy, red ted art said...

Oh my the walrus is soooo cute! and what a lovely activity!

Thank you for linking to Kids Get Crafty!


kewkew said...

My girls loved this book. i am,not a fan of wordless books, but this one was so cute. the craft is adorable