Monday, May 6, 2013

Painting a Blue Horse with PowerPoint

Book:  The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse / El Artista Que Pintó un Caballo Azul by Eric Carle
Puppets:  None
Props:  Paint Brush (or broom)
Technology:  Projected Scans on Screen
Presenters:  Two (could be done with one)
Audience:  Family Storytime

We did an "Eric Carle" themed storytime recently.  Sheila's been taking Spanish classes and this seemed like a good story to do in both languages.  And since Carle's illustrations are so excellent and our crowds are too big to use the book, we did the scan and project thing, using some simple PowerPoint animation to add a bit of visual surprise.

We traced each animal on white paper and scanned that picture.  (We didn't scan the little window in the middle of the horse...that's me messing up on my copying and pasting).

Then we scanned the illustration from the book and line that up exactly even with the outline.  Then you do Animation / Appear / Fly In for the colored illustration.  If it "flies in" from right to left, and you set the time for a good 6 seconds, it looks like the outline is getting slowly filled by the colors.

So to tell the story, we'd show the outline, then I'd say "I wonder what color the artist is going to paint this animal?"  Sheila steps up with her artist clothes and a broom (to act as a giant paintbrush) and strokes along the screen as the color fills the animal.  So it kind of looks like she's painting it.

When the animal is filled in, I say the English words ("Blue Horse") and Sheila says the Spanish ones ("Caballo Azul") as the written words for both appear above the animals.

Simple to tell, and lots of fun.  I acted surprised the first few times the Artist painted an animal an unusual color, but then added comments like "I've never seen an orange lion before...but I love it!"  We do enough stories where getting something wrong is a joke, and we wanted to be sure the kids got the point that the colors the Artist chose were imaginative and creative, not "wrong" at all. 

For the last animal Sheila poked her broom/brush instead of stroking to convey the dot making for the polka dotted donkey.  A very nice touch by Carle to give us a bit of a surprise at the end....

1 comment:

  1. I just did a program last week with your "Carrot Seed" story idea and "Inch by Inch". FABULOUS!!! Received many compliments thanks to you. Inch by Inch was my first scanned story, and I'm excited to try another. I saw your idea for this Eric Carle book and I'm trying to finish scans before my program Tuesday morning (ABC Science: C is for Color). I just have to ask .......would you be willing to share your traced pattern files? My email is
    If not, I completely understand! With summer reading going on, you may not even see this.....
    But just want to share again how wonderful this site is and helpful to new librarians!