My Summer 2011 Felt Obsession

h1 June 27th, 2011 by jules

I’m not posting any picture-book art today, but I will share my project of the week: My felt-board adaptation, let’s call it, of Paul Fleischman’s and Julie Paschkis’s 2007 picture book collaboration, Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella.

Every year for my pubalic liberry’s summer reading program, I do volunteer storytelling. I try to mix things up but usually end up whippin’ out my felt board. I just can’t help it. As a wise friend said recently, “felt boards are like magic to our pixel-saturated children.” She’s right, you know. So, I always end up learning a new story and creating new felt pieces.

This year, since the summer reading program theme is “One World, Many Stories,” I decided to take Fleischman’s book and learn it, and I’m making Paschkis-inspired felt-board pieces for the journey of Cinderella around the world. My plan is to start off by asking the children to tell me the story we tend to tell in this country (based on Perrault’s version), and then I’ll run through it as Fleischman does with felt pieces representing elements of the story as it’s told all over the world. The pieces in this photo above are just a portion of the many I’ve made for this tale. (You may click on the image to enlarge it, if you’re so inclined.) This is decidedly more complicated than last year’s story, but so far, so good.

And the fairy godmother isn’t up there in that pic. Right now, I’m not pleased with her. She looks like some sort of sickly Jedi. I need to fix her. In a bad way.

I’m off now to continue cramming on this story. I’ve got some children to entertain on Wednesday. See you later this week with some actual picture book illustrations to showcase. Until then…uh, may the magic-wand force be with you.

21 comments to “My Summer 2011 Felt Obsession”

  1. I love it!
    Hooray for felt.

  2. I was going to do a post on my Spot flannel board yesterday, but my computer ate my pictures, so now I have to take new ones today. Usually my MacBook is so good to me, but I guess it doesn’t love feltboards as much as I do.

    Also, I’m still not technically done making the pieces. I have them all cut and glued, but I’m adding details and outlining. I use fabric paint for that, so I have to do it in stages and let it dry and everything. My storytelling premiere is… tomorrow. Yeah, I really should finish that. At least I don’t have to learn the story, because it’s just, “Is Spot in the cupboard under the stairs?” and etc. Pretty self-explanatory with the pieces.

    My favorite piece in your story is the white dress with the flowers. I love it in an I-want-it sort of way, like to wear, except I completely can’t wear white, as I am a klutz who is altogether too used to plopping herself on the ground whenever she feels like it. And are those the stepsisters who are all green? That’s fantastic. I remember that I read this book at some point, but I don’t remember the details. I must look at it again.

  3. Julie, thank you for your enthusiasm and for not, say, suing me for copyright infringement. (Can a person do that with felt? Ah well.)

    Adrienne: OUR STORY TIMES WILL BE ON THE SAME DAY. Rawk. Yes, those are the step-sisters. They are so sour-faced that they would curdle the milk if they looked at it twice (as Fleischman wrote for Ireland). They were used previously for other stories, but I added just a bit to them, and I made them dresses just for the ball (for when I ask the kids to help me tell the version we all know).

    Cinderella is the one in (what I hope looks like) rags, and her stepmother is in the red.

    The dress you like is from Mexico. I tried to make it look like Julie painted it, but hers is better.

    As you know, Adrienne, I’ll show you all my felt pieces later. Skater.

  4. p.s. One could go insane and make all kinds of clothes for these tales. I did make *some* but to keep things simpler, I didn’t make a dress for each culture. I could, though. I really could. One day.

    And good luck with your story!

  5. p.s. one more time: A good friend of mine is Russian and looked at me funny yesterday when I mentioned the Russian part of the tale in the book in which the young girl reaches into a birch tree when it’s time to go to the ball/festival/however it’s told in Russia. She said, “birch tree? There is totally a fairy godmother.” Anyway, I looked later, and there is more than one Russian version of the tale. Whew. At this point, my story can’t be messed with, people.

    There are SO many versions, too, that it’s wild. Fascinating. I wish I were a folk tale/fairy tale scholar. Maria Tatar’s intern. My favorites are the Appalachian ones — like this:

    Also, I’m hoping things like Godfather Snake up there in my photo (he’s from India and brings rice to the young girl, since her grouchy stepmother feeds her only scraps) keeps the boys in attendance from rolling their eyes the whole time over a tale mostly about slippers and dresses and flirting with princes/kings/headmans’ sons.

  6. I love love love when the felt board is used for storytimes. It’s one of my fondest memories ever associated with librarians.

    I like the white dress with flowers, too, but also think that footman is pretty spiffy. I can see how much fun it would be to design all kinds of clothes for the characters (kind of like paper dolls only cuddlier). Can’t wait for the unveiling of the fairy godmother and the other pieces. Will there be sparkly glass slippers?

  7. Ooooo. I love these. We used to make felt stories all the time, thanks for the reminder. Not quite this elaborate, though. These figures are awesome-ly cool and hilarious.

  8. OBVIOUSLY I’ve missed out in life – I’ve only ever seen store-bought felts for church, and it never even occurred to me to make my own.

    THIS would be an awesome activity!!! I agree with Jams — paper dolls but cuddlier!! Love it.

  9. Beautiful, warm felt creations, Jules!

  10. How inspiring! My favorite is the giraffe…exposing yourself to so much great art seems to rub off. I look forward to hearing how it went.

  11. As a Scorpio writer, I like that red scorpion!

  12. Thanks, you all! You’re making me feel better about my last-minute cramming.

    Shelley, the scorpion is from Iraq. “I picked up the scorpion with my own hands,” the young girl evidently says in that version of the tale, when realizing she begged her own father to marry her mean, new step-mother.

  13. Jules,
    It never fails!!! Every time I visit your blog I get blown away by your amazing creativity and ability to inspire. I am an art teacher (yes, enjoying my summer vacation immensely) who aspires to add ‘children’s book illustrator’ to my resume. My biggest obstacle to staying on track seems to be that I MUST try every art technique imaginable. I’ve never made a felt board before. Just THINK of the fun we will have in my high school art class with this project. Girl, you’re awesome!

  14. I am over here loving your felt board – wonderful!!

  15. Well, DANG, my friends. You are seriously pumping me up for my story tomorrow with my little humble felt pieces! I feel like I could storytell to the world now, just hand out felt to every child I see.

    No, really, thank you all, especially Debbi. *Blush*.

    So, I practiced the story today (though I’m actually still, ahem, cramming too), and my seven-year-old, when I made fun of my own fairy godmother, blurted out, ‘yes, she looks like a drunk Jedi!’ She must have heard me mutter that to my husband. Oh my, little people, big ears. How much did I threaten she not repeat that? A lot.

  16. I love felt and I love Julie Paschkis’s work! Have fun at story time. If I had the energy, post ALA, I would crash that shindig and give YOU a standing ovation.

  17. Jules–
    Do you have the Judy Sierra book about Cinderella. I do and it is really good. Not for you today…but someday.

  18. Color me impressed, Jules! I need to do some new felt-board pieces for stories, and I surely wish that you were close by so that we could “bunny-cut” (as my mom terms it) together.

    I also have some lovely pieces of fabric designed by the great Julie Paschkis, but am I sewing them? Nooo, I am not. There’s a pair of pj’s hiding in the blue heart pattern fabric that is just begging to come to form.

  19. Robin, I do not. I know that Fleischman used it as his primary resource for the book, so I called Barnes & Noble in M’boro at the last minute to see if they had it, but no. Library doesn’t have it either. (Not the one here.) One day I’ll get a copy.

    Farida, I always wish we were close by. I just made Adrienne a RAMBLY (as in, LORDHAVEMERCY CAN I EVER STOP TALKING) video, showing each felt piece. We’ve been talking shop, and I promised her I would. (I’m hoping she recorded her actual Spot storytelling today.) If you want to see my felt pieces, Farida, holler — and I’ll send you the video too. But I WARN YOU: I ramble. Good heavens.

  20. […] Jules over at 7-Imp was making a feltboard story at the same time I was (a far more complicated one!) for a storytime on the exact same day I would […]

  21. If you like felt stories, you should definitely check out Flannel Friday:

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