We have been doing a lot of reading and learning about the Arctic this month, starting with Polar Bears! And while we’ve read many, many nonfiction books about these amazing animals, I couldn’t wait to share the Story Art project we did to go along with the adorable fiction book, Panda and Polar Bear by Matthew Baek.
In the book, a little polar bear tumbles over the edge of a cliff and into a mud puddle. Now, with mud covering his arms, legs and eyes, a panda bear finds him and mistakes him for a fellow panda. The two become friends and play together, until the polar bear’s muddy splotches wash off after a swim. Polar bear worries that panda won’t want to be his friend anymore, but instead, panda is fascinated by their differences and his stories of snow. When polar bear begins to grow homesick, the two build a ladder out of bamboo, allowing each to visit the other’s home (which you don’t find out until the very end is) in the zoo!
We started our project by comparing the differences between panda and polar bear. We looked at their own personal features as well as the differences in their watercolor backgrounds – the colors and the strokes that were used for each. Then, we folded a sheet of watercolor paper in half to give us 2 sides to work with: one for polar bear and one for panda.
We started creating panda bear’s background on one-half of the sheet, by using various shades of yellow and green watercolor paints to create the bamboo.
Then, on the other side, we used various shades of blues, purples, and even a dab of green to create polar bear’s snowy background.
Note: Before beginning this project with the kids, I had previously cut a head, a body, and arms and legs, for the pandas and the polar bears out of white felt.
To make the panda bear, we glued the felt body and the felt head onto the bamboo side of our paper. But before adding the arms and legs, we poured a little black paint onto a paper plate to serve as our “mud puddle”. Then, we dipped them into the “mud puddle”, until (just like in the story), they resembled a panda bear.
Finally, using the end of a paintbrush that’d been dipped in black paint, we added black markings for panda’s eyes, nose and ears.
For the polar bear, we simply glued his white felt body, head, arms and legs onto the snowy side of our paper and used the rounded end of the paintbrush to add his eyes, nose, and paw markings.
Here’s a peek at the girls’ finished works of art: