Our good friend Rebecca Dunn shares how to incorporate art education principles into storytime in her popular Pages to Projects series.  If you’ve been inspired by Rebecca’s projects or have used her storytime plans at your library, we’d love to hear about it!  Share your experience in the comments or on social media. ~Erinn

WIld About Shapes

by Rebecca Dunn

A favorite pastime of mine as a child was laying in the grass on a blue-sky day and watching the clouds morph into different animals. Wild About Shapes by Jérémie Fischer, a clever picture book that plays with color and shapes, reminds me of this this nostalgic childhood activity. With each turn of the page, animal silhouettes mysteriously appear, alternating between pages of brightly printed bold block colors and acetate pages.

Kids love interactive books and Wild About Shapes is no exception. The anticipation of turning each page, guessing what animals takes shape also serves as a fun tool to teach color theory and how a shape can quickly morph into something entirely different, something instantly alive.

Shape-shifting Collages

This shape-shifting collage project came to mind after reading Wild About Things, and am quite pleased with how it turned out as an extension activity. Here’s the how-to:


  •      Tissue Paper
  •      White thick paper (watercolor or construction paper will do the trick)
  •      Stick glue or liquid school glue
  •      Color overlays or color cellophane
  •      Masking tape
  •      Paintbrush (optional)

Wild About Shapes supplies

Depending on your age group, you can either cut a variety of shapes out of the tissue paper beforehand or leave blocks of tissue for the kids to cut out shapes on their own. Using glue sticks or white school glue and paintbrushes as the adhesive, invite the little artist(s) to create their own picture using tissue paper shapes on a white sheet of paper. The picture doesn’t have to resemble an animal, an object, or anything at all. Empower them to create using their imagination.

Wild About Shapes 1 Wild About Shapes 2 Wild About Shapes 3 Wild About SHapes 4

To add a little magic to the project, when a child is finished, tape a color overlay transparency or piece of color cellophane to their picture with masking tape. Depending on what color transparency the child selects as the overlay, it will mute the colors, or perhaps some shapes might disappear altogether. The collage could look completely altered. Flipping between the transparency and the original collage is an opportunity to image two entirely different depictions.

WIld About Shapes 10 Wild About Shapes 13

Shapes can be found anywhere- artwork, in the stories we read, and even in the clouds above. This book and project are a fun way to explore how shapes can reveal themselves if we look closely and use our imagination.


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IMG_2347Rebecca Zarazan Dunn is a children’s librarian and a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker.  When she’s not having fun at the library or wrangling her own kiddos, she can be found at her blog home, Sturdy for Common Things.

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