Beautiful Oops!
It's Valentine's Day


Dear Friends,

Sometimes inspiration creeps up on  you. On this first read-through of this book, we weren't sure that this was the right choice to feature here on the blog. We weren't sure what activities we could develop to go with it, until we gave it that second read. Then the "aha" moment occured. Suddenly we wanted to go through the day painting drawing and doodling with joy and abandonment. So we channeled that inspiration and created big art and salad full of shapes and colors that will inspire you and your young reader (and maybe your cat) to fill your day with splotches and curliques and squiggles. 

Walter the Art Cat




by Patrick McDonnell

Can you think of a better way to spend time than running through colorful squiggles, splotches, dots, and doodles? That is exactly how young Art and his faithful doodled dog love to fill their days and they create one art-filled creation after another.

Art - Off the Shelf

Art - Off the Shelf

Art (the book) is full of energy and imagination and inspires readers to turn sheets of blank paper into wonderful creations of their own. The rhyming text is brief and simple and allows the art to truly tell the story of the joy and freedom art brings to children. Art is a celebration of creativity and imagination that is sure to make readers smile each and every time it is pulled off the shelf. 

Art - Off the Shelf

Art - Off the Shelf

In this Issue


Do a Curlicue Creative Movement

Art's art has a lot of freedom of movement as well as wonderful shapes. If you need to banish some boredom and or help your young reader burn off some extra energy, try these fun creative movement prompts to create art in the air! 

  • Make curlicues on the floor with your toes or great big ones in the air with your arm
  • Draw squiggles in the air over your head
  • Move your hips to make zigzags
  • How would you move to make a splotch?  
  • Put on some fun music and do a shape dance!
  • Use the book as inspiration to come up with your own movements


Big Squiggle Art

Now that you're warmed up with making big shapes in the air, put them on paper! 

  Big Squiggle Art - Art by Patrick McDonnell - Off the Shelf  Big Squiggle Art - Art by Patrick McDonnell - Off the Shelf

Why We Like It

Having a large canvas encourages freedom of expression and inspires creativity.

Big Squiggle Art

What You Will Need

  • Paper
  • paint
  • paintbrushes

How to Do It

  1. Lay out a looooong piece of paper (if you don't have a roll of paper to cut from, you could tape or glue several sheets together). 
  2. Set out several colors of paint, and paintbrushes, and invite your young readers to create big squiggles, splotches, zigzags, and curlicues, or any other shapes and doodles. 

 Other loooong art activities: My Garden MuralMagnificent Hats!


Shapes and Colors Pasta Salad

Shapes and Colors Pasta Salad - Art by Patrick McDonnell - Off the Shelf

Inspired by the shapes and colors of Art, we created a salad filled with circles, squares, lines, and curlicues. As you add each ingredient, discuss the shapes and color with your young reader, and where you saw each one in the pages of the book.

Shapes and Colors Pasta Salad - Art by Patrick McDonnell - Off the Shelf
Curlicue veggie spiral pasta, circle cheese, square yellow bell pepper, line carrots, red dot tomatoes

Young Readers in the Kitchen

Kids can slice cheese with a plastic knife, stir together the ricotta and pesto, and add ingredient and stir to combine. 

Shapes and Colors Pasta Salad


  • 8 ounces tricolor rotini pasta
  • olive oil
  • 10 ounces grape tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 string cheese sticks
  • 1/2 cup low fat ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon pesto
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop bell pepper into 3/4 inch squares. Drizzle a rimmed baking sheet lightly with olive oil. Place bell pepper squares and tomatoes on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. 
  3. Shred carrot. Slice string cheese into 1/4 inch rounds. Add bell pepper, tomatoes, carrot, and string cheese to pasta.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together ricotta and pesto. Add to pasta and stir to combine, using reserved cooking liquid to thin to desired consistency. Serve warm or cold. 


One Year Ago: On The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond, Cornelia Augusta gets caught in the most unusual downpour and is thrilled with the situation. She collects as many hearts as she can hold in her hands and in the pockets of her slicker and then takes her hearts home to put them to good use.

Two Years Ago: Get in the spirit of Valentine's Day with The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Jan Brett. Celebrating Valentine’s Day is a tradition Mr. And Mrs. Bear have always missed due to their long winter nap. Determined to not miss it yet again, Mrs. Bear makes preparations very early, then sets her clock for the special day. 


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