Tag Archives: Oxford University Museums

Friday Pick{ture Book} #10: Winnie’s Dinosaur Day

Winnie's Dinosaur Day: Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Winnie’s Dinosaur Day: Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul
(Oxford University Press, 2012)

This is quite a special Winnie the Witch book. Not only is it published in Winnie’s 25th anniversary year but it’s the 13th picture book in the series, and Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul have really excelled themselves with both a wonderful story and some of my absolute favourite illustrations so far.

Her drawing looked exactly like the triceratops.
Well, it looked quite like the triceratops.

It helps that I am Oxfordshire born and bred, because the first page just jumps out for me: it’s the Natural History Museum! Or to give it the correct title, Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Instead of twelve roof windows, there’s thirteen (of course) but what a lovely sight for an Oxford girl like me! Er, yes, there’s apparently tons of Oxford references in all of Korky’s illustrations, but I’m a bit slow… 😆

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Museum from Winnie's Dinosaur Day

Museum from Winnie’s Dinosaur Day (image from Wikipedia)

Korky’s illustrations really make the Winnie the Witch books and Valerie’s text is perfect with some subtle dry humour for older readers as well as being enjoyable stories from a young age. In Dinosaur Day, Winnie and Wilbur are coming back from the library when they see something happening in the museum courtyard: a drawing competition! Winnie wants to win, and being Winnie she takes a non standard route to enter. Poor Wilbur unhappily tags along, but in the end everyone is happy even without winning.

I don’t know where to start with how perfect this book is. It’s got dinosaurs; and drawing; and visiting museums & libraries; and not having to win to be happy; and thinking ‘outside the box’ to solve problems; and dinosaurs! Did I mention the dinosaurs?!

DG is a fidget when it comes to reading, she always wanders about, and she talks about all the pictures whereas MG listens to the story first and then wants to go back through. DG also questions everything:

“… Winnie got out her drawing book and her coloured pencils. …”
“Is not pencils, is a paint brush! Look!”
“Yes… But there are pencils there too…”
“Okay.”

MG said the book was both “Brilliant!” and “Magnificent!” I didn’t even know she knew the word magnificent. Her favourite parts were the end papers (if you’ve not read any Winnie the Witch books, all the end papers are drawn by various children); “Big dinosaurs, enormous dinosaurs, gigantic dinosaurs!”; and the final double spread (which is another moment of comic brilliance but I won’t post a picture so as not to ruin the ending.)

'I think we all know who has won the competition.'

One of my favourite parts is all the different dinosaur pictures for the competition, and the lovely little touches like the number 25 appearing on all the paint tubes 🙂

At time of posting, the hardback is only £3.99 with Red House (free P&P if you’re an Extra member, or if you spend over £15), so there’s no reason not to buy several copies to give to every child you know 🙂

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Making Hats at Pitt-Rivers Museum

During the Easter school break, I took MG and DG to Oxford Natural History and Pitt-Rivers museums, something I don’t do nearly as often as I should considering how easy they are to get to. This turned out to be a fairly short trip in terms of looking at anything in the museums, because we found the craft area and the girls spent most of their time there making Wellington Soldier hats, or Pirate hats as DG has it – Arrr, mateys!

I shall write about how awesome both the Natural History and Pitt-Rivers museums are in another post at some point, but in summary they are wonderful with supportive staff, lots of interesting things to see and regular family-friendly events. As MG and DG get older, we’ll go to more events as they’re still quite young.

These Wellington Soldier hats are so simple to make and look great.

Materials:

  • 2 pieces of black A3 card
  • one long strip of card (any colour, about 5cm wide)
  • scissors
  • glue
  • lots of bits and pieces for sticking

Firstly, you need to cut the shape in the picture above from the two pieces of A3 card. It takes up most of the card length but a little less than the height. There were templates provided at Pitt Rivers for the children to draw round and cut. (I tried to create the template on my computer but I have zero artistic talent so failed miserably!)

Once the two sides of the hat have been cut, they need to be decorated however you wish. There were lots of beautiful parent-designs on the day, but I like to let my girls do their own crafts so they may not have perfect hats, but they’re theirs 🙂

Once each of the two hat pieces have been decorated (one side only), put them together with the decorated sides outwards and staple the top edges together. Take the long strip of card and measure the child’s head, stapling a circle that fits the child together, then staple the circle card into the bottom opening of the hat.

Such a simple and effective craft, MG and DG thoroughly enjoyed it. Huge thanks to Pitt-Rivers’ for an idea for an easy craft we can modify and do again and again!

Little Pirate Wellington Soldier (who didn’t want her picture taken!)

I’m linking this up to A Mummy’s View’s #ArtAttackTuesday.