Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Review: "Chicago Treasure"

This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated with a free product sample 
            in exchange for my honest review. Opinions and photographs are my own.

Larry Broutman has done it again!

Months ago, I reviewed his pictorial volume, "Chicago Unleashed," sharing a rollicking journey through vibrant streets, each one punctuated with wildlife casually romping and rolling along "as if they owned the place!" You loved it! 

And you're going to love this one, too! 

Back on the road again, camera in hand, Broutman enlists a talented duo (Green and Rabias), specialists in illustration, text, and digital effects. Their collective mission is to showcase the true treasure of Chicago: its beautiful children! But what warms the heart beyond the technical skill exhibited between covers of Chicago Treasure is the commitment to inclusion. You see, many of the featured children are visually impaired. They attend the Judy and Ray McCaskey Preschool Program at The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Disabled, learning alongside classmates without visual disabilities. And, once again, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Access Living will share author profits from the sale of Broutman's book. 

Anxious for a tour? So am I! Let's Go! 

Chicago Treasure comes to you in three parts: "Just Imagine!", "Now Showing!", and "Sightings!" - each one a playful paradise of color, charm, and fun adaptation.

"Just Imagine!" pictures children in story book settings whimsically described in front page news items from the "Chicago Pretender." 😉 That's how we learn that the young prince who rescued Rapunzel transported her back to his home base in Chicago on horseback - an impressive 7,000+ kilometer journey!

Sweet Snow White is here, too. She's finally awake, happily married to her handsome prince, and enjoying the company of her forest friends. Her wicked nemesis, the poison-apple-bearing queen is nowhere to be seen! Good riddance!

I have a few personal favorites from this section - the largest in the book....

Oh, to be Hermione Granger if only for a moment! She's just one part of the fantasy world that draws from nursery rhymes, folk tales, and even pop culture, like Disney's Toy Story!

And imagine being this lucky little dude! "The ride of a lifetime"? Indeed!

"Now Showing!" follows with a stroll through the galleries of the Chicago Art Institute. Children populate the parks, avenues, and living spaces of French and American masterworks so unobtrusively that a blink of the eye might mean missing them! What fun it is to carefully inspect each scene in search of modern day additions! I choose Wood's American Gothic stoic young visitor.... 

and Rockwell's puzzled observer as my personal favorites! 
Our journey concludes with "Sightings!" You'll enjoy views of familiar Chicago landmarks, each one, again, digitally visited by beautiful children occasionally accompanied by such randomness as a cheetah trio, koala family, or firmly leashed tiger! 

Photos of The Chicago River Walk, Museum of Science and Industry, Navy Pier, and State Street Bridge brought back fond memories of my own visits to that magical city!

I look forward to sharing this 168 page treasury with each of my grandchildren. It's truly one to return to over and over again, uncovering new dimensions every time. Together we'll recall fairy tales and recite nursery rhymes. We'll talk about visual impairment and other disabilities and how they are overcome with wheelchairs and guide dogs and competency in Braille. We'll identify famous art work and compare and contrast moods and methods in works by Rockwell and Hopper and more. I will describe the hustling bustle of Chicago, promising that, one day, each of my grandchildren will experience the allure of this remarkable city the way I have - in person, and again and again through the pages of this delightful volume! 

PURCHASE Chicago Treasure here:

Everything Goes Media - use code CTBLOG15 for a 15% discount on total order!

and at Chicagoland book stores and gift shops

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Love Bug Valentine Party Game

Years ago, if one of my high school students had presented this cacophony of eye popping shapes, sizes, and color to me for appraisal, I might have coupled my admiration of her skilled use of principals and elements of design with gentle admonishment: "My goodness, dear! Next time give your eye a place to rest!"

But this twittering twirl of love bugs wasn't born of academic propriety! Grandma-hood has spiked my response to family requests for artsy-craftsy help, and enthusiastic "over-the-topness" is the means by which challenges are currently met. This time, I was asked for a game suitable for Kindergarten students to play at their classroom Valentine's Day party.....

Once circles were cut from scrapbook paper, there was no turning back! Love bugs built from them, glued to a 24" x 36" background tacked to a lightweight bulletin board, filled the field, inviting players to hit numbers with toy "sticky darts" (shown in top picture). They'll tally their scores after three successful hits. Purple hearts net one bonus point each. Adjust rules for age of participants.

If you're going to make a Love Bug dart game, you can substitute a mat or foam board background. Assemble a group of paper punches or round things to trace in a variety of sizes. Collect paper scraps in red, pink, purple, and white. Two identical sized circles make a body and head. Smaller, concentric ones make eyes. Wings are oval shaped or fancy cuts from punches. Use craft foam hearts to accent antennae. Rubber cement best adheres each assembled love bug. Cut or punch heart shapes for targets, adding hand printed numbers or purchased stickers. Draw legs and mouths with black marker.

Find sticky darts at Amazon - or do a Google search for them that will direct you to other sources. Sticky darts will leave a residue on your game board (or any other surface) but they are safe fun for kids and really do last 20+ uses each, as promised. Besides that, they are inexpensive. Kids love them! And so does grandma!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!