Denise Fleming. An Author Study. Denise Fleming The Maker of Things. Denise Campbell Fleming was born January 31, 1950 in Toledo, Ohio to Frank, a realtor, and Inez, a homemaker. Every week she would ride her bike to The Sanger Branch Library and choose 3 books to read.
An Author Study
“My books do not have many words, but I start with hundreds of words—writing and rewriting until I have just the right words to tell the story.”
“I experimented with different styles of writing, different art techniques until I found my style, my technique.”
in their basement workshop where
she made things of clay, wood, paint,
wheat paste, newspaper and whatever else
The book is about a cow who lost her moo. She set
out on the farm to find her moo. She searched the
farm and visited all the animals to see which animal had her moo. As she stopped to nibble some grass the met Bee, but Bee didn’t have her moo. As she cooled her feet in the creek she met Fish, but Fish didn’t have her moo. As she crossed the meadow she met Goat, but Goat didn’t have her moo. As night began to fall on the farm Cow headed back to the barn, sad and disappointed that she had not found her moo. As she entered the barnyard she shuffled past Hen. As Cow said “Cluck, Cluck” to Hen, Hen replied with “Moo, Moo.” At last Cow had found her moo! As night fell, Cow and Hen were both very happy to have their voice back. This book is defiantly interesting to its intended audience. The illustrations extend and enhance the written text. The visual design of this book is very unique in that Denise Fleming created the illustrations using colored cotton fiber, hand-cut stencils, and squeeze bottles. Through the use of line, color and shape the illustrations appear to have texture to them. The text works with the illustrations to create a meaningful story. The artistic media defiantly enhances the the Cow in the story. The thin/light lines convey a fragile cow, not an angry cow. The diagonal lines create a sense that the cow is moving from one animal to another throughout the story. The color in this book is full spectrum which makes it fun for young readers to read.
I think this book would be a great “Copy Cat” book. Students could rewrite the story using a different animal that loses its voice. Students could choose an animal to lose its voice and choose other animals for their animal to meet along the way while searching for its voice. Students could create illustrations using paper collage to resemble the book. I think this would be a great activity for the beginning of school because all students are familiar with different kinds of animals and using the text for a model all students could be successful. This would allow children to model their individual books after Denise Fleming’s book using the repetitive writing style and papermaking technique for the illustrations.
Another classroom connection that I would make would be to introduce Vincent Van Gogh’s, The Starry Night. The picture is the night sky filled with swirling clouds, stars ablaze with luminescence, and a bright crescent moon, and compare it to the picture on the End Pages of Denise Fleming’s The Cow Who Clucked.
4.05 Write and/or participate in writing by using an author's model of language and extending the model
4.06 Compose a variety of products using a writing process.
This is a cute book about a mother cat and her
three kittens. As mother cat goes about her
day-to-day activities of being a cat two of her
kittens, Skinny and Fluffy, follow her lead, but
the third kitten, Boris just naps all day long. I love the mouse that seems to be hiding in the background on each page. How ironic, a mouse watching the cats, usually it’s the other way around. Children would love to find the “hidden” creatures on each page. The illustrations in this story are fun and very creative. Denise Fleming uses pulp painting to create an image in handmade paper. “The paper is the picture. The picture is the paper.” Fleming captures the eyes of her readers through the full spectrum of color in the visual design of this book. The vivid paper and unique coloring has the reader wanting to reach out and touch the pages in an attempt to feel the illustrations and texture they exhibit. The full-bleed illustrations extend to the edges of each page. I would say this would be a “good book” in the eyes of small children based on the visual appeal of the book. The Mama Cat’s eyes on the cover is enough to capture the attention of any young reader to want to discover the content in the book.
Using this text as a read aloud activity students could share some of the things that their mother has taught them. During Writer’s Workshop students could create a story about things they have learned from their mothers including full-bleed illustrations to go with their story.
Another activity would be visit denisefleming.com and complete the paper plate Boris and have students to write a story about Boris. They might even decide to have Boris have an adventure with the mouse in the story.
3.04 Share personal experiences and responses to experiences with text
Denise Fleming does a wonderful
job of taking the sounds and
mystery of Halloween creating a fun
“spooky” book for young children. Children love to dress up and go out on Halloween night and through this book children can enjoy the rhyme and colorful descriptive language of a “Spooky Night”. The illustrations were created by pouring colored cotton fiber through hand-cut stencils. The full-bleed images with bright colorful pages just capture the attention of young readers. The rhyme of the text allows a young audience to participate in a read aloud activity. The mysterious eyes on each page give a sense of suspense of what’s next…
I found this lesson for Pumpkin Eye I thought it was perfect.
1. To develop rhyming skills.
2. To develop the use of descriptive language.
3. To develop expressive skills by interpreting illustrations.
Ask the children to talk about their last Halloween. What did you like about it? What will you do next Halloween? Tell the children that the author of this book, Denise Fleming, loved Halloween when she was a little girl. It was a special night because she was allowed to stay out after dark, she could be anybody or anything she wanted to be, and she was allowed to ask for candy and eat it too! She decided to write this book that explores many of the sights, sounds and smells of Halloween.
1. What are some of the beautiful colors you see in Denise Fleming’s illustrations?
2. Try to remember some of the rhymes you heard. What are some of them?
3. Look at the jack-o-lanterns that line the street. What are the expressions on their faces saying to you?
4. Which of the trick-or-treaters are scary? What is scary about them?
5. There are some new words in this book. What do these words mean: wicks, pounding, spirits, eerie, swooping, tattered. What are some other words that are new to you?
1. Have a drawing activity to develop expressive skills without using verbal language. Have the children draw pumpkins and create eyes that express an emotion.
2. Follow-up your drawing exercise by developing a bank of descriptive words that express varied emotions.
3. Develop rhyming skills by finding all of the rhyming words in the story. After the words from the book have been organized into different rhyming families, add words not found in the book to your lists.
4. Have the children talk about their favorite trick-or-treater in the book. What do you like about that character?
This is an adorable story with a fuzzy, yellow
caterpillar as the narrator throughout the story. He
begins his tour and crawls through the tall, tall grass on a sunny afternoon and ends as the sun goes down and the moon begins to shine. He shows us many different insects and animals we could find. As we inch our way through the grass with the friendly little caterpillar we see bees, ants, and beetles just to name a few. The caterpillar also allows us to take time and heart the sound some of these animals make.
We would read together this delightful story. I would share my personal experience about going for a walk and looking outside. I would then ask them to turn to a friend on their right and tell what they see when they play outside.
We would go outside and look around at the ground and have children tell me what they notice. At first they may only tell me they see grass or dirt. Then I would give them One Small Square made out of construction paper. I would ask them to put that square down on the ground and deeply observe really closely what they can see in their square. I would remind them to look very closely inside their square. I would also invite them to share their other senses. I would remind them that, “Good observers don’t just look with their eyes. They use their ears, their hands, all of their senses.” (A Place for Wonder p. 38).
Teaching Ideas Con’t:
Next I would model for them and show them how I had done this same assignment from home and show them in my science notebook how I had written down what I observed inside my square. I would then tell them that once they have really examined inside their square they may start writing in their science notebook what they observed. I would allow the class about 10 minutes to complete this assignment. Once we complete it, we would go back inside to class and as a whole class talk about what the children noticed in their square. The ultimate goal with children sharing is for everyone to see the details some noticed in their square. This would help our children learn to notice details and hopefully as they write these descriptions it would help them to add detail in their story writing. We would also read the book again and talk about the wonderful, rich description the author uses in her book for each insect and animal.
Science Grade 1
Goal 1: The learner will conduct investigations and make observations to build an understanding of the needs of living organisms.
This is a sweet story about a bear that sniffs the air
one day and notices that winter has come and it is
time for her nap. But first before going to sleep for the winter Bear says that she must tell Snail. Then begins a circular notion because then snail tells skunk, skunk tells turtle and so on. Each animal who tries to put off going to sleep for the winter smells, hears, or tastes the signs of winter. Finally, ladybug is the last one to be told that winter is upon them and she rushes to tell bear who is already asleep in the cave.
We would read together this delightful story. I would go back to the story and we would take the time to look at the beautifully illustrated pages in this story and talk about how the author did not draw the pictures but instead uses a special colored cotton fulp paper and hand cut stencils of the animals. Then we would talk about hibernation and what that word means. Using the Smartboard, I would have the class share what animals they think hibernate in the winter. Then we would record the animals they said hibernate. Once we checked our answers and put the correct animals that hibernate in the winter I would put students into groups of 3-4 based on their common interest in the animals they shared. I would use the animals they shared and develop Internet Workshops for students to participate in to gain information about their animal and where they go to hibernate. Using the information and pictures they find during the workshop, I would ask students to write collaboratively a nonfiction picture book about their animal. Then we would publish these books and add them to our classroom nonfiction collection for our class to read throughout the year.
Teaching Ideas Con’t:
I would provide some safe child friendly internet sites the children could use to find information about their animal:
Science – Grade 1
Competency Goal 1: The learner will conduct investigations and make observations to build an understanding of the needs of living organisms.
Objective 1.02:Investigate the needs of a variety of different animals:
Lunchtime! This is a wonderful story where a mouse is so
hungry he first sinks his teeth into a crisp white turnip and
then can’t stop eating. He then eats a tasty, orange carrot and on to sweet, yellow corn. Although the mouse gets full he continues to eat then takes a nap and then eats again at dinnertime! I like the way Denise Fleming uses bright, bold colors in her book. The background colors are the colors of the spectrum. It is interesting how she starts the book with a white background which is all colors combined. As you read the whole book you will see the colors of the spectrum that you see in a rainbow. I found it interesting that she ends the book on black which is the absence of color. All of the other colors have been used on the previous pages in the story.
We would read together this delightful story about the little mouse that loves to eat! There are several activities that we would do with this particular book. First we would have to discuss the beautiful artwork and how the author uses each color of the spectrum in her book. Then we would talk about sequencing the story. I would give each child a mouse pattern and tummy flap pattern on construction paper. Then as I reread the story the children will draw the food that I read into the mouse’s tummy. Then this would allow each child to retell the story to a friend in class, to me, or to a parent. As we study the food pyramid we would categorize the food into the correct food groups. An example the green peas, yellow corn would go in the vegetable section. Then we would put the blue berries and watermelon in the fruit section. The last activity we would do with this book is together we would list our favorite foods. Once we had our foods listed we would brainstorm together other names of foods for each letter of the alphabet. Once we had several foods listed for each letter of the alphabet, together we would create an ABC Book about our favorite foods. Each child would have a chance to create their own page in our class book by illustrating their favorite food and then write a sentence about their favorite food. Once the book is complete, we would publish our book and put it in our library so everyone would have a chance to look at our book.
Healthful Living – Grade 1
COMPETENCY GOAL 4: The learner will apply knowledge and behavior self management skills to areas of nutrition and physical activity for healthy growth, development, and maintenance.
Reading – Grade 1
COMPETENCY GOAL 2: The learner will develop and apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
Objective 2.05: Predict and explain what will happen next in stories.
Objective 2.06: Self-monitor comprehension by using one or two strategies (e.g.,questioning, retelling, summarizing).