Activities for kids based on Tracey Campbell Pearson books

Summer fades…Cows moo…

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Here are the girls (Brown Swiss cows) in the meadow at Shelburne Farms…munching their lunch…yum! They are lovely company on a summer’s day…tcp

I drew one of these girls for the Shelburne Farms t-shirt.
It is fun to see these shirts on bellies around VT….on toddlers with ice cream drips and faded and covered with paint splotches on the guy painting the library on the village green…


Bob visits Brown Dog Books…painting a mural in support of an independent bookstore…

My friend and fellow children’s book author and illustrator, Amy Huntington, conspired a “play-date” in support of a wonderful local independent bookstore in Hinesburg, VT.  Without making too much of a mess…we left Natacha’s store….Brown Dog Books…with a mural painted by a group of crazy children’s book  illustrators (and authors…but no words were allowed on the mural…or that would have turned the mural into a sign)…The group included Amy and myself along with Sarah Dillard and Liza Woodruff…

Amy had the background ready for us…along with a drop cloth and supplies…she painted the frogs and the pig on the bike…Sarah painted a brown dog and Arugula, her hedgehog, Liza painted a polar bear flying a plane and I painted Bob, the rooster…(I learned how to put a paintbrush in my hair from Liza…but it is best done with a clean brush)

If painting a mural at your local bookstore is not an option…you can support yours by paying them a visit…there are surprises waiting for you in their stacks that you will never find on amazon…and it’s fun to explore new stores while traveling…


A fun day at the Eric Carle Museum…

….making bug mobiles in the art studio…and Bob in the library…

Thank you to everyone at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
What a great day.
The Art Studio was full of fun supplies for making bug mobiles…

…colored wires…pipe cleaners…popcycle sticks…stickers…colored pencils and paper…How could we NOT have a blast!

I had fun watching and working with kids…parents…grandparents…as they drew and created 3-D bugs that wiggled and jiggled…

Clearly the adults were having as much fun as the kids…

After bugs…we all went to the library…where I read some of my books.
We mooed and woofed our way through Bob. The children helped hold up my Bob dummies…(which stretched across their bellies from one end of the library to another) their parents watched.

The museum is an amazing place. Not only do you get to see a fabulous collections (changing exhibits) of original children’s book art AND read your way through their library…
…you get to PLAY in the art studio!

Trying to get out of there with out MORE picture books from their gift store…well I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

It is not my fault.

What can one do when one sees an Edward Gorey book that one does not own?

A special thank you to Abigail and to Diana for making my visit a piece of cake!…tcp


Making yum-yum-bugs and reading at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art…

Bob loves yum-yum-bugs!
He likes to eat them.
I prefer to make them.
I have bugs hanging in my studio that I made out of painted paper clay and wire

Today, I was thinking about my upcoming visit to the Eric Carle Museum…
I will be helping young artists draw their own silly yum-yum-bugs…

This evening I started playing in my studio and oops…
…Silly bugs flew out of my pen!
These bug drawings are done in pen and ink and watercolor.


At 1:00 I will be in the Art Studio helping kids with their bugs as they draw and make them wiggle and jiggle from a mobile.

At 2:00 I will be reading BOB…along with some of my other books at the story time.

Save time to see the museum.
They have 3 terrific shows right now:

SNOWY DAY and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats
OUR BRITISH COUSINS: The Magical Art of Maisy and Friends
THE ART OF ERIC CARLE: The Birth of a Book and a Museum (art from “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth…a book I bought for my son when he was 18 years old…you are never to old for picture books!)

Hear a story…make a bug…I hope to see you there……tcp


…Back in Vermont














…but NOT sitting in this chair…
…more posts coming this week…

…and Sunday, July 1st I will be at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA.
for storytime and yum-yum-bugs!

It is an amazing place….the Ezra Jack Keats exhibit opens tomorrow!
I saw it at the Jewish Museum in NY.
I can’t wait to see it again!
I hope to see you there!..tcp


…More wonderful watercolors from Chamberlin Elementary….

…continued from my June 5th post…

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
all love to be out by the light of the moon…

Mrs. Simpson’s 2nd graders use their community to illustrate Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem THE MOON.
(please visit June 5th’s post for an explanation of the project and to see more wonderful watercolors!)….tcp


The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson shines on Chamberlin Elementary…

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall:
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbor quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees….

The students at Chamberlin Elementary in S. Burlington, VT and their librarian Mrs. Flickinger…were busy long before I arrived for my visit to their school.

What a great classroom project!

After reading my version of THE MOON, the 2nd graders re-illustrated Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem using their hometown of South Burlington and Burlington, Vermont. They chose Lake Champlain, the Echo Center in Burlington, their town park and their back yards for inspiration for the setting of the poem.

As these students learned about how words and pictures work together to tell a story, they also learned a lot about their own community.

Artwork by Mrs. Payson/Boudreau’s 2nd graders…

What a great idea….What fun it would be to see what students in New York City, Florida,Texas or Ohio would do with this poem using their own communities!

Thank you Mrs. Flickinger and to the students and teachers at Chamberlin Elementary for sharing your talent with me.
Your paintings are lovely.
I even see some double page spreads….cool…tcp

PS…For the curious…here is a link to my book and the story behind the story:
(warning…it is hard to compete with these young artists!)


In and out of the garden…questions from Mr. Owen’s first graders…


Do you like to pick flowers?

Yes I love flowers. I like to pick flowers and I like to grow flowers.
Sometimes when I go to the grocery store….flowers end up in my cart along with my groceries!
Here is the last bouquet that….oooops landed in my cart!

Do you have a garden?

Yes. We have flower gardens and one big vegetable garden.
My favorite thing to grow…purple carrots!
…time to plant my seeds.

My lupines are in full bloom.
…time to read one of my favorite books.
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.
I bet you can find this book in your local library!

What do you like to eat?

Purple carrots of course! They are purple on the outside and orange on the inside…

…and I like dark chocolate.

Do you like going to people’s schools?

Yes! It is fun to travel to schools around the country and spend time with students and teachers who love to read books. I love making books and I love sharing the process with others.

I really enjoyed meeting you and spending time at Brookside Elementary. You have a great school. Say hello to everyone for me!

Do you like kids?

Yes. Very much.
I even have a couple.

A boy and a girl.
Now they are all grown up….but they are still my kids…and I still like them…a lot.

We have lots of great kids in our neighborhood. They are tons of fun!

How do you make the book covers hard?

It is the publisher’s job to make the cover.
My job is to draw the picture for the cover.
The publisher will  print copies of my illustrations (pictures) and a machine will glue them to cardboard.

You can do the same thing. You don’t need a machine. Just a picture, cardboard and some glue. Give one of your own stories a “hardcover”.

You can make your own book!


School Visit…Questions from students in Yorktown Heights, NY

What fun it was to see the students come to my presentation wearing their “Bob Crowns” with yum-yum bugs wiggling!

I enjoyed my visit with the first graders at Brookside Elementary earlier this month. It is a lot of work for librarians and teachers to prepare their students before an author visit….it is wonderful to see libraians take the time to work with their students and send follow up questions…after the visit. Thank you Mrs. Menzie!

Here are answers to some of the questions from the first graders. (I sent answers for all of your questions to Mrs. Menzie….you can find her in the library!)

Ms. Cohen and Mrs. Frey’s 1st grade 

What is your favorite book that you wrote and do you have any ideas for a new story (after the elephant book)?

It is hard to decide which is my favorite book. Right now I have been working on Elephant and I think it is my favorite book. But when I was working on Bob, I thought it was my favorite book. When I worked on Myrtle, I thought it was my favorite book!


My editor, Margaret sent me a new manuscript for a new picture book that was written by a different author. It is very sweet. I will be spending the next few months working on the illustrations for this book. Maybe it will be my favorite book until…

…I jump into my next book…which I will write and illustrate…and might just be my favorite book!

 Do you know why a picture book is only 32 pages long?

Thirty two pages fits very well on a printing press. A picture book is printed on one big piece of paper. When you fold and cut that  paper it needs to be in multiples of 8. This means…

A book could be 8 pages (very short)
16 pages (still short but just the right length for many board books)
32 pages is just right for a picture book…

…just the right for a parent to hold a child in their lap and read the book from cover to cover.

Or….for a child to read to herself!

Wendy Watson is doing a wonderful job explaining this and more about the process of making a picture book on her blog. She is a wonderful author and illustrator and a great friend. You should go to your library and check out her books…I am sure your library is full of them! My all time favorite…Father Foxes Penny Rhymes.

Here is a link to Wendy’s Blog:

 Do you plan to write any adult books?

No. I love to read adult books. I love to write and illustrate children’s books.

We think you should illustrate a book of nursery rhymes

I love nursery rhymes. I made individual board books using nursery rhymes….Little Bo Peep, Hector Protector, Little Miss Muffet and Diddle Diddle Dumpling. I designed these books so babies can sit in a parent’s lap and listen to…

…one rhyme at a time!


It would be fun to make a book full of rhymes. It is on my “to do” list!

 Mrs. Foley’s First Grade

Do you like skiing or rock climbing or other sports?  

I love skiing. I have been skiing since I was 12 years old. Now I do a lot more cross country skiing than downhill skiing. I can cross country ski right out my door…in the winter time.

I have not tried rock climbing….Except I do love to hike and some trails make me feel like I am rock climbing!

Hiking the Cascades in Washington State with my big sister.

 What others things do you like to do?

I also love to swim. I love to bike. I love to travel (with my sketchbook)
I go to concerts and listen to music and sketch in my sketchbook. I visit art museums and art galleries. I like to sit on my front porch and read a good book or in the winter sit by the wood stove and read. I enjoy gardening. We grow vegetables, flowers and berries. My husband makes great jam with our berries. We love to go out to eat and try new and different foods.

Front porch…a favorite place to read

What is your favorite food?

First favorite…Chocolate!
My second favorite food…purple carrots. They are delicious! They are purple on the outside and orange on the inside. They are very cool. You can grow them in a garden or sometimes find them at a farmer’s market.

Do you like writing or illustrating best?

I love to write and illustrate. I have to say the illustrating is easier for me. It takes me a long time to write just a few words. I love being able to do both.

 Ms. Jacob’s First Grade Class

 How are you doing today?

I am doing well. Thank you for asking. I spent the day with students at Chamberlin Elementary in South Burlington, Vermont. Now I am back in my studio.

Oops! I forgot to put dinner in the oven!

Excuse me…..

Now I am back.

Lasagna is in the oven.

 Do you write about your friends?

Sometimes friends, family and even neighbors get into my books. I included people I know in Where Does Joe Go and in The Purple Hat.

Mrs. Day’s First Grade Class

Why did you put Bob in Guinea Pigs Add Up and where DOES Joe go in real life?

You are very observant! I put Bob, (just part of him flying in from the corner of the page), in Guinea Pigs Add up because I thought it would be fun for kids to see him. I love painting his spots. I think Bob would make a great classroom pet!

As for Joe, it really is a mystery!

Why don’t you put one of your books on a T-shirt?

I have designed lots of T-shirts, but not using my books.
If you come to Vermont and visit the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms you will see the staff wearing my drawings of a cow or a chicken on their shirts. You can also visit with the chickens, cows, goats, sheep, pigs and other animals…and walk the trails…see them make cheddar cheese…yum!

Here is a link to Shelburne Farms website and if you click on “watch the video” for milking a cow you will see how they milk a cow in one of my chicken T-shirts!

I see someone is wearing my cow shirt when they show kids how to milk a goat. How silly…. a chicken shirt to milk a cow and a cow shirt to milk a goat!

I hope I have answered your questions. If you have any more…just ask Mrs. Menzie…she knows where to find me!
Keep reading…Keep writing…Keep Drawing…and have fun!
I enjoyed meeting you…thanks for the fun day…tcp