Ezra Jack Keats was a Caldecott Medal-winning picture book author and illustrator. His books include Peter's Chair, Whistle for Willy, and the timeless classic The Snowy Day. Use these activities and lessons to introduce students to Keats's work.
Part of the Ezra Jack Keats Author Study
The author-illustrator uses collage materials to create the illustrations for Peter's Chair.
1. Have the class examine the book, page by page, to see if they can identify the common materials Keats incorporated into the illustrations (e.g., wallpapers, lace doilies and newspaper). Provide the children with similar materials, along with catalogs featuring housewares and furniture. Also, provide each student with a piece of lightweight cardboard or oaktag (approximately 9 inches by 12 inches).
2. Have students cover the cardboard with glued-on pieces of wallpaper scraps (gluing a strip of contrasting paper along the bottom of the cardboard to create a ground line). Encourage the children to add a construction paper window or a door to the collage.
3. Then, have children cut items from the catalog and glue these onto the wallpaper to design a room of their dreams.
4. Have children share their results. How many of them incorporated similar elements into their rooms? Do any of the rooms look exactly alike? Why or why not?