A Fairy Tale | a Book Illustrated by Rebecca Jordan-Glum

Today’s spotlight goes to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Rebecca Jordan-Glum and her gorgeous, debut illustrated children’s book, Mom’s Choice Award Gold Honoree, A Fairy Tale (affiliate).

rebecca jordan-glum and rachelle doorley

Rebecca and I met on the first day of second grade under the wise supervision of our teacher, Kateri Sullivan. Our friendship was off to a rocky start over a misunderstanding that was quickly resolved (sorry again, Rebecca), and we have been friends ever since! Phew.

Our teacher was a wonderful, creative woman who taught us how to make things like latch-hook rugs and encouraged us to paint along with Bob Ross. I would truly not know a lick about Bob Ross and his happy little trees if it wasn’t for our teacher. We even, gasp, illustrated our own books in her class.

And here we are, on this poetic occasion, to celebrate Rebecca’s ongoing journey as a maker and book illustrator.

a fairy tale book cover

My five year old says of the book: “I like the pictures. Good drawings!” And I have to agree. As you can see, the colors and richness of the painting is stunning and quite sophisticated.A Fairy Tale Book | Illustrated by Rebecca Jordan-Glum

I’m happy to be giving away one copy of the book via Instagram. You can see the post here or follow me on Instagram at TinkerLab.

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment on the Instagram post and tag a friend who enjoys kids literature, and a winner will be chosen at random on Sunday, 2/21 at 5 pm PT. U.S. entries only, please.

More Book Reviews on TinkerLab

18 Picture Books about Art and Making

The Art Of Tinkering – Book Review

The Year’s Best Art and Creativity Books for Kids

12 Creative Books from our Family Bookshelf

This Book was a Tree – Book Review

The Artful Parent – Book Review and a Project

Make and Takes for Kids – Book Review

Exploralab by the Exploratorium, Book Review

The Art of Tinkering – Book Review

Art of Tinkering - Book Review

We were sent a free copy of The Art of Tinkering to review, but all ideas shared here are our own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Last year I had the good fortune of getting my hands on a copy of The Art of Tinkering by Karen Wilkinson and Mike Petrich. Karen and I went to the same grad school (different years), and she invited me to join her in a virtual hangout last year, Engaging Children with Making and Tinkering, but it wasn’t until last month that we finally met. And I was lucky enough to have her and Mike sign my book!

Art of Tinkering - Book Review

Karen and Mike work at The Tinkering Studio at San Francisco’s Exploratorium, where Karen is The Tinkering Studio’s Director and Mike is the Director of the Making Collaborative. In this capacity the two of them interact with countless artists, designers, and tinkerers who invent, build, and construct wondrous things.

The book includes behind-the-scenes peeks at the creations and inventions of 150+ makers who work at the intersection of art, science, and technology.

It’s laid out beautifully and artistically, just as you would hope a book like this would be. Each turn of the page presents the eyes with a feast of tools, textures, and materials that make you want to reach right into the book and play.

The project ideas are introduced with examples of artworks that exemplify the technique, and then followed up with a how-to, so you’re not left wondering how on earth you can tap into what seems like magic.

Take a look:

Art of Tinkering Inside Pages - Book Review

Putting it into Practice

While this book caters to an adults audience, grownups with kids in their lives will find plenty of useful takeaways. So, I sat down with my older daughter (then 5-years old) and after MUCH looking she was most inspired by the toothpick sculptures of artist Scott Weaver.

Weaver creates elaborate sculptures made of thousands of toothpicks, and you can learn more about him on the Exploratorium website.

We learned that his mega-artwork, Rolling Through the Bay (see below), a model of San Francisco itself, is made up of roughly 100,000 toothpicks, the only glue that’s holding it together is Elmer’s, and it took the artist about 3,000 hours to make…over a period of 34 years!

One more thing. Do you see those tiny balls at the bottom of the sculpture? To give you a sense of scale, those are ping pong balls that run through pathways in the sculpture.

Art of Tinkering Toothpick Sculpture - Book Review

Fully inspired, we pulled out our collection of colorful toothpicks, our trusty low-heat glue gun (neither of us had the patience for Elmer’s on this day), and started to build. My daughter was thinking more geometrically, and we started gluing squares together, which soon turned into pyramids.

Toothpick Sculpture - Art of Tinkering

And then, what began as a series of squares and triangles somehow turned into a crown! My daughter added some ribbon to tie it around her head, and voila!

Toothpick Sculpture - Art of Tinkering

The toothpick sculpture is just one idea of many that has sparked dialogue and ideas in our home. The marble run page is wild and wonderful, and will give you a feeling for the Exploratorium itself.

Every few pages highlights a different tinkerer and his or her craft, along with plenty of inspiration and ideas for diving right in, material lists included! It’s not a how-to book in the traditional sense, but for anyone who likes to borrow ideas from the makers themselves, this book is a treasure and will not disappoint!

Order The Art of Tinkering

The Art of Tinkering on Amazon

More about the Exploratorium

Visit the Exploratorium

See our review of the book Exploralab, 150+ Ways to Investigate the Amazing Science All Around You

I was fortunate to hold my book launch party at Helix, a temporary outpost of The Exploratorium in Los Altos, CA.

The Exploratorium’s Education page has a host of valuable resources for home tinkerers and educators.

You can search part of their site for videos that explore all sorts of science + art phenomena.

Recommended Supplies

Our favorite low-heat glue gun

The Garden Classroom – Book Review

the Garden Classroom, an amazing book for families who want to spend time outdoors

The Garden Classroom

My publisher, Roost Books, just released the most gorgeous book for families who are interested in teaching through the garden. In The Garden Classroom (affiliate), author Cathy James introduces us to great ideas for integrating math, play, imagination, reading, writing, science, and art into the natural environment.

Hint: With Earth Day right around the corner, this book would be the ideal gift for the garden-loving family.

collage of garden classroom book

To make this post match the spirit of the book, I thought I would carry the book out to my garden and snap a few shots – sort of appropriate, right?

You can see one of our newest garden additions in the top left photos (above and below) – a succulent in a tea cup that we made with my mom. I’ll share a tutorial soon (it involves a power tool, so yeah, pretty fun). While my mom had it all mapped out, I loved spotting this same project in Cathy’s book as a Quirky Ecoplanter. 

garden classroom book

Whether or not you have a green thumb (or fingers, as Cathy says in the UK), this book will meet you where you are. I love my garden, but given my inclination to maximize my studio time, my garden is often ignored. Plus we’re in the middle of a looooong drought, so watering isn’t a big goal at the moment.

You may notice that my lavender is doing nicely. It gets just a smidge of water and boom, lavender. So beautiful.

Okay, back to the book. Let’s take a look inside (please excuse the rose – they only look this good for a few days and I’m kind of excited about it)…

The Garden Classroom by Cathy James

The book culminates with some wonderful handout-style activities that can be written on in the book or photocopied for further garden enrichment.

One page invites children to record all the produce in the garden

Another page invites children to create a snapshot of the garden by recording things like the weather, what they heard, and if they spotted any animals.

As I flipped through the pages, my 4-year old daughter kept making me stop so she could take longer looks. She already let me know that she wants to grow her own mini meadow (yes, I do too!) and she is already collecting tiny pinecones and other objects to place in a cement stepping stone.

#1 New Release!

The book has just been out for a few days and it’s already the #1 New Release in the Parent Participation in Education category on Amazon.

If you love to spend time outdoors and want to find ways to integrate the garden and nature with play and a child’s natural curiosities, this book is designed to help you get there, gracefully. I can’t recommend it enough!

Buy The Garden Classroom

The Garden Classroom, Amazon. It’s in stock, Prime eligible, and currently on sale for 20% off list.

Make a Painted Flower Pot

How to paint a planter with kids

Join me in the next post and I’ll share how to make a painted plant pots to hold a succulent (inspiration taken from The Garden Classroom).

Painted Flower Pot from the Garden Classroom book

I led this with my kids as well as our Daisy troop of 20 girls, and I’ll share lots of tips for setting up a successful painting sessions at home or school.

Catch you next time!

The New Playroom, an Ebook

The Art Pantry ebook, The New Playroom

The New Playroom, an Ebook Guide

You may remember that I interviewed Megan Schiller not too long ago for an inside look into her inspiring, light-filled tinkering space. If you’re thinking about setting up a creativity zone in your home, this picture-heavy interview will not disappoint! You can see the entire series here.

Here’s Megan and her children inside their converted sun porch art studio:

Art Pantry Megan and kids

Well, today is an exciting day for Megan as she’s launching her new ebook, The New Playroom: A Step-by-step Guide on how to set up a home art space for kids.

I got a sneak look at the ebook, and it’s full of lovely ideas for turning your kitchen, dining room table, or playroom into an art space that gets kids excited to create.

Not only is Megan a creative mom to two kiddos, but she also has a background in early childhood education and is the former owner of a thriving kids’ art studio in Mill Valley, CA. For the past year she’s been consulting clients who want to transform their home spaces into art-making havens, and now we all get to peek into her process.

Let’s look inside…

The Art Pantry ebook, The New Playroom

The Art Pantry ebook, The New Playroom
The Art Pantry ebook, The New PlayroomThe Art Pantry ebook, The New Playroom The Art Pantry ebook, The New Playroom

What’s Inside This Guide?

  • 34 pages of step-by-step instructions on how to set up an art space for kids
  • Tips on measuring, layout, organizing and more!
  • Inspiring photos and stories
  • Essential art supply list plus extra goodies
  • DIY projects
  • Tips on exploring art supplies with kids and keeping them engaged over time
  • Additional resources for shopping, design, and art activities
  • Free bonus guide (PDF) Invitations To Create: 30 days of easy art prompts

Learn More About This Ebook

For a short time, readers who purchase the ebook will also receive a bonus guide, Invitations To Create: 30 days of easy art prompts. 

Grab your copy the book here: The New Playroom (affiliate)

 

The Nature Connection | Book Review

The Nature Connection by Clare Walker Leslie has been part of our book collection for over a year, and it’s been such a worthwhile book for our nature-deprived family that I thought it was high time to review it here. This book is responsible for getting my kids excited about spending time outdoors, and the activities inside are so well designed that once underway it’s close to impossible to bring them back inside.

With Earth Day right around the corner, this book would be an AWESOME gift for nature-loving kids.

Let’s take a peek…

The Nature Connection Book Review

The Nature Connection has been part of our book collection for over a year, and it’s been such a worthwhile book for our nature-deprived family that I thought it was high time to review it here. This book is responsible for getting my kids excited about spending time outdoors, and the activities inside are so well designed that once underway it’s close to impossible to bring them back inside.

The book encourages kids (ages 8-13) to get outside, and enjoy nature. And it works!

Note: The Nature Connection is designed as a interactive journal, meaning that you write and draw right on its pages. If you’re planning to use this with more than one child, you’ll want to offer them separate notebooks or buy a copy for each child.

Take a look at this video with the author and a group of school kids:

Says Leslie,

“I’m trying to win over kids who are much more interested in Game Boys and the internet because they have not had a grandfather go fishing with them. They haven’t had a grandma go berry picking with them. They haven’t had anybody take them outside and share with them the love of nature. This is why today so many kids don’t like nature. Because nobody has shown them how to be outside.”

Yes! And this is partly why my poor suburban kids, raised by a city mama, sometimes freak out at the thought of taking hikes. Sigh.

The book begins with tips on how to be a naturalist. It also includes ideas such as what to pack in your outdoor adventure kit and worksheets for tracking the phases of the moon (see the end of this review for a link to this as a FREE resource).

We’ve been carrying Adventure Kits around for a while now (we call them “Adventure Packs”) and we got some new ideas to include clips and a pen knife that weren’t already in them. This makes sense since we started carrying these packs around from age two, when pen knives weren’t exactly needed.

This introduction is followed with a month-to-month guide of twelve sections for tracking and noticing how nature changes throughout the year. You can see a few of our entries from the winter months below.

The Nature Connection has been part of our book collection for over a year, and it’s been such a worthwhile book for our nature-deprived family that I thought it was high time to review it here. This book is responsible for getting my kids excited about spending time outdoors, and the activities inside are so well designed that once underway it’s close to impossible to bring them back inside.

Each of the “month” sections invites you to do “Nature Quests” and describe what you see. The monthly sections also include short narratives, activities, and ideas for exploring the unique qualities of each season. In February we searched for animal tracks (easy to find in snow and mud) and learned about how the groundhog searches for its shadow.

This Winter we spent some time in Lake Tahoe, California, which is far more seasonal than the sunny Bay Area where we live. While you can see snow in the distant mountains, the area has had what some call the worst winter ever and that little mound of dirt just off-shore is usually underwater. The drought has been really hard on us Californians!

Family at Lake Tahoe

While walking around that mound, my 6-year old hunted for treasures amongst the small shells and discovered what she thought was a bone. Yes, I think she was right!

The Nature Connection has been part of our book collection for over a year, and it’s been such a worthwhile book for our nature-deprived family that I thought it was high time to review it here. This book is responsible for getting my kids excited about spending time outdoors, and the activities inside are so well designed that once underway it’s close to impossible to bring them back inside.

She was fascinated by it, chose it for her “Picture of the Month” drawing, and wanted to bring it into school to show her friends.

The Nature Connection Book Review

For families like ours that have to make treks to spend time in nature, this book is a goldmine. When I tell my kids that we’re going on an outdoor adventure and mention that we’re bringing this book along, excitement mounts!

Buy The Nature Connection

You can find The Nature Connection on Amazon (affiliate) and you can download free worksheets for The Nature Connection from the publisher, Storey. We haven’t started a Moon Journal yet, and my kids are excited to give it a go. Thanks, Storey!