My Little Story Corner

For the love of picture books


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Visiting Mr Huff and his creator, Anna Walker.

Just like her picture books, Anna Walker is sweet, gentle and thoughtful, and as well as being down-to-earth, she’s also exceptionally gifted. Meeting her at her Mr Huff Exhibition at the gallery in Melbourne’s CBD was like a dream becoming reality. Her books are well-loved and highly treasured in our household, and for so long I have longed to make contact but didn’t have the courage.

  
But now I’ve done it! Face-to-face! I felt like a brave little chicken being swept away with the excitement in the city!
Anna was simply delightful. She answered all my questions generously and politely, even the silly ones! And her work, well, you think it’s enchanting in the books? Yes. But even more so to view up close and personal! Just sublime. The amount of detail with individually cut and pasted floorboards, leaves, tiny characters all with their very unique personalities. The level of skill in her intricate watercolour paintings, etches and sketches, and miniature models is simply extraordinary.   

   
   
  
Backtrack a bit… This was the second attempt at making the trip into the city, but as it turned out, the weather was (slightly) better, and we (Miss 5 and I) had time to prepare a little gift for the talented author / illustrator (one of our faves), just to show how much we love her. With some prior planning, (and a little bit of help from me), Miss 5 drew and painted her favourite Anna Walker characters in what we thought turned out to be quite a whimsical piece.

  
The teacher in me was happy to see her drawing on her knowledge of various Walker tales and creating an innovative pictorial story. “Alfie is searching for Sharkie and he’s shouting so loud that he’s blowing Peggy away with the wind from his mouth!” (Can you spot Sharkie?!)
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But did Anna Walker like it? She certainly seemed impressed and complimented Miss 5 on her artistic skills.:)
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So, for a glorious half hour or so, we had Anna Walker and her magical ‘Mr Huff’ world all to ourselves (pretty much), feeling absolutely enchanted by her brilliant words and images. Wow! An experience to remember!  

Inside Scoop!

 Anna is currently working on a new story about a little girl on a ‘flowery’ kind of adventure! It sounds absolutely magical. Only to be released in two to three years, though. But her new ‘What Do You Wish For?’ Christmas book with Jane Godwin will be out soon! Yay!  

See more of Anna Walker and her books on her website.

Buy Mr Huff here (affiliate link).

Written and photographed by Romi Sharp, 2015.  


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Peggy: Teaching Notes

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Peggy
Anna Walker

My Little Question Time!

Before reading:
What do you know about chickens? Where do they live? What do you know about pigeons? Where do you see them? Can chickens and pigeons be friends?
Look at the cover. Where do you think this chicken is? How do you think she got there?

Show Anna Walker’s book trailer of Peggy. See it here.

Have you been to the city? How did you get there? What can you do there? How is it similar or different to where you live?
What are the four seasons? List them and typical weather features for each season.

During reading:
What do you notice about the weather changes in the pictures? What season do you think it’s showing here?, etc. How does Peggy feel about being in the city?  What kinds of things is Peggy discovering? What is it that reminds Peggy of her home?

After reading:
What was the same and what was different about the things that Peggy did at the start and at the end of the story? Discuss Peggy’s friendship with the pigeons. How does she feel now about taking a trip to the city?

Complete a Home vs City Venn Diagram, brainstorming similarities and differences (sounds, sights, busyness, things to do, etc) – click Peggy venn diagram to download the pdf.
Variation: Chickens vs Pigeons, Summer vs Winter or Autumn vs Spring.

Listen to songs about chickens.

My Little Learning Time!

Literacy:
Reading

– Read other books about chickens.
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Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox. Fancy That! by Pamela Allen

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Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins. Big Red Hen and the Little Lost Egg by Margaret Wild

– Read books about seasons.
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A Year on Our Farm by Penny Matthews. All Through the Year by Jane Goodwin
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My Boots in Season by Kerryn Pascoe. A Perfect Day by Carin Berger

Writing
– Make a book about seasons, drawing and/or writing about activities you enjoy doing in each season.
– Write a story about an adventure to the city.
– Write a diary entry about Peggy’s day.  

Drama / I.T
– Make your own book trailer of Peggy. Include a backdrop showing the different scenery, and puppets or figures to play the character/s. Can be recorded via photos / computer slideshow or video.  
See our version here: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=C6fwlJxNoMM

Mathematics
Space/Location

– Studying Maps. Look at a map of the city. Discuss orientation and coordinates on the grid. Draw / construct a map or maze showing the journey of Peggy (complexity depends on the level of the child).
– For younger children set up an obstacle course with furniture / objects, representing home, trampoline, buildings, nesting chair, train, and so on.
Use prepositional language to instruct / child to describe where s/he is going. Eg. Sitting ‘inside’ my home, bouncing ‘on’ the trampoline, walking ‘through’ / ‘between’ the buildings, etc.  

Time
– Sing about and discuss the months of the year, and the seasons throughout the year.
– List special events on a calendar.
– Make a chart showing activities / routines throughout the day (morning, lunch, evening, night).
– Draw a timeline or clock face of Peggy’s day showing her activities with corresponding clock times.
We made a clock face and used cut out drawings, magazine clippings, and a split pin for the clock hands to create Peggy’s day out from morning to night.
Peggy clock empty Peggy clock hands Peggy clock left Peggy clock right Peggy clock nine

Art
Landscape Painting

– Use watercolour paint and photos / magazine cuttings to illustrate a scene of your choice.  

Construction
Box Chicken Coop or City Buildings

– Use a range of materials, including different sized boxes, wooden blocks, containers, bottle lids, fabric, paper, watercolour paint and photos/ magazine cuttings, paste, etc to construct and decorate either Peggy’s home, or the city, or both.  

Kite (or puppet) Peggy
Outcomes:
Understanding – Recounting the story, ‘Peggy’.
Fine motor skills – Cutting, painting, sticking, tying a knot.
Dramatic role play – Understanding of the character and events in the story.  

– Outline beginning, middle and end. What was the ‘problem’ and ‘resolution’?
– To make a Peggy kite or flapping chicken puppet:
Materials: Peggy template, paint or crayons, scissors, ribbon, sticky tape or glue, split pins (optional).
1. Cut out Peggy Kite or Puppet Template (body and wings).
2. Colour with paint or crayons.
3. Sticky tape or glue (alternatively use split pins) to attach the wings.
4. Measure and cut two straws to fit horizontally and vertically on the back of the body. Stick down.
5. Cut a long piece of ribbon and tie to a straw (if making a kite).
6. Peggy is ready to fly away! (or dance away, flap away, strut away, whatever she wants!)
Peggy kite wings Peggy kite back Peggy kite front

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