Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Great Lakes Folktale: The Voyageur's Paddle

It is Poppins Book Nook time again! Every month a group of bloggers participate in a virtual kids book club. We each share children's books based on a theme and the crafts and fun these books inspired.   

This month's theme was Folktales. My first thought was "wait on, didn't we do fairy tales and Myths and legends already?". 

Before we even selected a book I realized we need to start with a lesson about the differences and similarities between folktales, fables, fairy tales, myths, egends and tall tales

We used this anchor chart from The Book Fairy-Goddess to touch on the elements on each story type. 

While looking through the folktale section, we happened upon The Voyageur's Paddle by Kathy-Jo Wargin and illustrated by David Geister. This is tale is based on the folklore and customs of the Great Lakes Settlers in late 1700s.  Jacques is a young boy living in this era whose father is a Voyageur, a trader who travels by canoe in unforgiving conditions. One day Jacque dreams of following his fathers footsteps to be able to become a voyageur. 

The prose and amazing paintings describe the lives of the families that await the return of their husbands and fathers. 
From davidgeister.com
We can also see the hardships the Voyageurs faced. At one point in the journey, they would throw offerings to La Veille or 'the old woman of the wind' who is told to be the unpredictable North-west wind. The wind was important for these men for several reasons. If they were able to coax the wind to blow, they were able to put up small sails and take a rest from paddling. It could also cool them down in hot weather and blow away biting insects.
From davidgeister.com
This book was an excellent introduction to the history and geography of the American Great Lakes for preschool to upper elementary age children.  For us, it also led to more reading on the history of the French Canadian Voyageurs. It was very interesting to learn about the kinds of items they carried in their canoes and the physical feats they need to perform to become a new recruit. 

Our craft is inspired by the folklore of La Veille. We used repurposed an oatmeal container and some pretty left over napkins to create a tissue painted wind sock. To make your own and find out how to 'paint napkins' visit the tutorial here.

Thanks for visiting and please take a look at all the other books linked up at the bottom of this post.

Now onto the monthly giveaway...you are going to love this one because it is a book AND a unit study from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom!

Poppins Book Nook Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky entrant will win a copy of the E.H.M. curriculum Journey into the World of Folktales (PDF) and one copy of the book that is required to teach it called Around the World in 80 Tales by Saviour Pirotta to further their learning all about folktales. Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Raffle copter terms and conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here.  Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tissue 'Painted' Wind Sock craft

Wind Socks are a great way for kids to 'see' the wind. During spring the kids flew their kites a lot. This craft lets us remember all the fun every time we catch sight of the wind sock hanging on the balcony.

Our Wind sock is made from a repurposed items and good ol' school glue! If you want to make your own I have outlined how we did it below:

Materials to gather together:

White School Glue
Old Mixing bowl
Large Paint brush
Empty oatmeal container
Patterned Napkins 
String or yarn

In the bowl, mix 1 part glue and water 

Unfold napkins and separate it's layers they have a plain white liner (you just need the patterned side)

Drape the napkin over the container and begin painting glue onto the surface.  Continue covering the napkin with glue until it is completely soaked. Repeat with more napkins until the container is completely covered.

 Depending on the colors and patterns on the napkins you may need to add a second layer to make sure the print on the oatmeal container doesn't show.

When the glue is completely dry use a sharp needle or compass to make some holes in the base -which is going to be the top of the wind sock ;-). This will be where you can thread the yarn or string you will hang it up by.

We used attached fabric wired ribbons to the open end of the container but regular ribbon, metallic ribbon, yarn or strips of fabric would look great too!

Thanks for taking a look at our project, I hope you get a chance to make your own!