Art & Literacy: Fish Eyes by Lois Elhert

I have always liked Lois Ehlert’s illustrations (Growing Vegetable Soup, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, etc). In fact, I read many of her books on a regular basis to my own children, however, it was not until researching her life for this lesson that I feel in love. Elhert was born creating, from a young age she used a variety of materials to create art. Her mother would often give her fabric scraps and her father, a woodworker, would share bits of wood. Elhert has said that she felt the color of construction paper was ‘wimpy’ compared to the color of fabric. Like Elhert, I am not a fan of wimpy colors, I prefer mine to be of the bold variety.


To begin this lesson we read, Fish Eyes (which is wonderful). Maybe it’s because I am an art teacher, but to me, the book reads almost like an art lesson, instructing students how to assemble their own fish. Her illustrations are bold and beautiful, the large shapes make it easy for small children to emulate. Even though all the fish in the book are different, they are all beautiful (what an important lesson).


Thanks to the kind donation of a few old colored folders, we were able to create these fish inspired by Fish Eyes. Each Pre-K student drew, cut and glued their own tails and FISH EYES!

Next, we created marbleized paper using liquid watercolors and shaving cream. It may have gotten a little messier than I anticipated but….MESSY DAYS ARE THE BEST DAYS.

Ehlert used fabric in her illustrations but because fabric is difficult to cut, especially for little hands just learning to use scissors, we used the next best thing….scrapbook paper (kindly donated by a parent).



To be continued….


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