Today, we finished reading and illustrating our book, A Study in Emerald. To celebrate, we munched on Frogwiches (homemade gingerbread sandwich cookies), and we made sock puppets of all the major characters in our story. When the kids were done, we got out the old doorway puppet theatre I made way back before Bea was born, and they put on a puppet production of the story! I’ve posted a Gallery of pictures just below, and a DIY/How-to for the puppets at the bottom of the page.
Sir Lochrann Holmes and Seann McUaitson
Detectives Gallagher and Na’Sraide
Siobhan/Cailloan and Haggerty
The Pythons: Strangerson and Drebber
Wiggins, the snake-urchin and Mrs. Houghston, the landlady
Mrs. Limerick and her son, David
(Seann Clancy was not availble for a photo today.)
DIY Snake Sock Puppets
Hot Glue and Gun
A large, old wooden or metal spoon
Choose a pairs of googly eyes, and a few inches of ribbon into a forked tongue for each puppet.
Wiggle the sock down over a large old spoon.
Glue eyes just below the seam at the foot of the sock.
Flip spoon around so that you can’t see the eyes/seam of the sock.
Glue about 1 inch of the ribbon down, pattern side down down the centre towards the tip.
Let cool for a moment before removing the puppet from spoon.
We just finished reading and illustrating A Study in Emerald! Today, the kids used chalk pastels dipped in water, oil pastels, and woodless coloured pencils to complete their cover pages for the book, as well as their illustrations for the seventh and final chapter. Afterwards, they indulged in Gallagher’s Favourite Frogwiches (ginger sandwich cookies) and they made Snake Sock Puppets, putting on a condensed puppet production of the entire book! I’ve provided something of a summary of our final chapter, below. A gallery of the kids’ illustrations follows.
Summary: A Study in Emerald, Chapter Seven, A Light in the Darkness
Na’Sraide shares the details of Strangerson’s murder. Since he hasn’t returned to the serpent police station yet, he has some of the evidence from the crime-scene with him. Insepcting a bakery box of Amphibian Farls, which, unlike Mrs. Houghston’s lovely frog breads, appear to be full of small bones and soaked in what appears to be some kind of syrup, Holmes exclaims that he has solved the case. He then feeds the farls to McUaitson’s pet doormouse, Edgar Allen, in order to test his theories, exulting in the dramatic conclusio to the old mouse’s life (no worries, he’s packing an antidote!). Gobsmacked, Gallagher and Na’Sraide appeal to Holmes to reveal the name of the culprit. Rather than naming the murderer, however, Holmes, with the help of the street-urchin Wiggins, lures the culprit right up into the coiling-room of 221B Barrow street. But who dunnit, in the end? And who was the murderer’s wily, female-snake of an accomplice? And just why were they bent on seeking “Revenge”? You didn’t think we were going to let the snake out of the bag, did you? …. Ah now, you’ll just have to wait for us to edit and publish our story… We WILL tell you, however, that while the case comes to a full resoultion, A Study in Emerald concludes with the suggestion of a fresh new adventure for McUaitson and Holmes. Later that morning, the mysterious Eireen Adder steals her way into the coiling-room at 221B, begging for assistance… It seems she thinks she’s being followed.
Cover Art & Illustrations
We’re on day four of our five day Illustrate-Your-Own Book project. The kids have been trying different artistic techniques each day to create illustrations for the story I wrote for them, The Adventures of Sir Lóchrann Holmes: A Study in Emerald. Today, after we made our Python Masks, we read chapter six (of seven) out loud to Blaise, who was home for the day. Since I had to leave for an appointment, he took charge of the illustrations. Now, he’s actually an artist, so today’s explorations of MIXED MEDIA proved to be the kids’ best efforts to date!!! Illustrations to follow today’s plot summary, as usual.
Summary: A Study in Emerald, Chapter Six, “Tobias Gallagher Shows What He Can Do”
McUaitson discusses the contents of his scrapbook: news coverage of the crime. The serpent papers, the television news, and the online community were in a frenzy about the “Wolfe Tone Mystery.” First and foremost, they wonder about the presence of a Python in Ireland. Then, they increase the tension by revealing that the murdered Python, Drebber, had a secretary named Strangerson who may yet be on the loose in Dublin. The two pythons stayed at the boarding house of a Mrs. Limerick, near the docklands. Next, Holmes then receives a visit by a whole knot of street snake urchins who inform him that they haven’t yet found the serpent he is looking for. Just as the urchins disperse to go back to their spying, Gallagher arrives, claiming that he has arrested the murderer, young David Limerick, and laughing at his colleague Na’Sraide, who has gone off after Strangerson. Gallagher reports that during his visit to Mrs. Limerick’s boarding house, Mrs. Limerick’s daughter, Cailloan, convinces her mother to “Tell the truth” to him. Mrs. Limerick confesses that the afternoon before the murder, her son David chased Drebber out of the house with a Shillelagh after he found an inebriated Drebber assaulting his mother in the coiling room. The young Limerick’s alibi for the time of the murder is a lie, Gallagher claims. Just as Gallagher is wrapping up the conversation about his prisoner, Na’Sraide enters with news that he has just found the other python, Strangerson, dead in a rooming house near the ferry dock.
“Snakesung” brand television, tuned to the “Fork-Tongue Channel,” where the anchor reports a murder, with and inset video of the crime scene over at Wolfe Tone Stret.
Collage, crayon, oil pastel, watercolour.
In the story I wrote for the kids to illustrate, A The Adventures of Sir Lochrann Holmes: A Study in Emerald, a pair of pythons named Drebber and Strangerson have landed in Ireland, disrupting the life of the grass snakes who live in secret there. Today, we made python masks so that the kids could act out a scene from the sixth chapter of our piece!
DIY Python Masks
Stiff Watercolour OR Plain Paper
Watercoulours and Brushes OR Markers, Paints, Crayons, etc
A few feet of Elastic OR string
Computer/Printer or Permanent Marker
My Hand-drawn Template: (just right-click on the image to the side and copy)
Copy and print out the template on watercolour paper you’ve cut down to 81/2×11 size or plain paper. OR, Hand-draw a similar mask with permanent marker on watercolour or plain paper.
Watercolour the mask, or use the art supplies of your choice. You’ll notice that the printer ink will mix with the watercolours in interesting ways.
Cut out the mask via its outline.
Bend the paper slightly to create an incision in each dark eye.
Cut a large circle around the black eye circle. You may want to place the mask up to the face at this point and adjust by making the eye holes a bit larger towards the centers or faraway sides. We made ours pointier at the top.
Use the tip of the scissors or a skewer to make a small hole in or near the dark circles on either side of the mask.
Insert elastic or string in one of the holes from front to back.
Knot several times at back of mask and then pull taught.
Insert other end of elastic or string in the hole on the front of the other side of the mask.
Raise mask to face and pull elastic or string tight enough to hold mask to face without either slipping off or pinching too tight.
Place a mark on the elastic/string if so desired.
Knot elastic or string at back of mask.
Trim the free ends of the elastic or string near the knots.
Quick Links for Mobile Users
The Lunchbox Season : Summer of Funner : In Defense of Burning