Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Colouring Gift From Me To You

(Image No Longer Available)

PARENTS AND EDUCATORS ARE WELCOME to enlarge and print Penelope Puddle’s new West Coast Christmas colouring page for a limited time only. Children are encouraged to add (in freehand) raindrops, clouds, snowflakes or any other BC weather to the background.

Penelope, with her sidekick umbrella and seagull friend, finds the perfect Christmas tree. Since she has no idea how to bring the tree home, she starts to decorate it outdoors with paper cutouts of umbrellas and more.

Children can explore different Penelope antics in With My Umbrella, I Can: The Magical Journey of Penelope Puddle which is available online or can be borrowed from the Fraser Valley Regional Library.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

All-Weather Daze

THE PAST TWENTY-FOUR HOURS in BC is a good example of why puzzled Westcoasters often don’t know what they should wear when they step outdoors. One minute it’s hot and the next ... well, it's definitely not. Walkers were exposed to a whirlwind mix of hail and stinging rain needling their faces. Wildly strong winds whipped at clothing and tousled hairdos into a frenzy. Hands, with grips less than sturdy, found inverted umbrellas and hats had swiftly escaped in the air. There were also moments of calm with sudden bursts of sunlight and warmth. Messy slick sidewalks, strewn with evergreen foliage, looked as if a very big salad had been tossed everywhere. A 6.6 earthquake off BC's Central West Coast, which thankfully caused no significant damage, added to the muddle. Further south at Crescent Beach, daring adventurers were spotted, illustrating a Penelope-like can-do spirit as they braved chilly, choppy waters to go windsurfing.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Graffiti Combats Conflict

SOMEONE PAINTED a Stop War sign on the sidewalk that I happened to step on one day. I took its picture because it was a rare piece of graffiti that I could appreciate. Perhaps they left their mark (however small) to combat apathy over chronic global conditions of war.

On Remembrance Day we respect and appreciate anew the military and their families who sacrificed and still sacrifice for those who do not take such risks. However, may we also remember not to glamorize war or ever forget its destructive consequences, particularly to children of both friend and foe.

The Stop War statement is a minor resistance movement against the tragic fact that mankind has not yet learned how to solve its most vexing conflicts peacefully. The graffiti on the sidewalk was a reminder that had lasting impact on me, even though the West Coast rain soon washed the sign away leaving no trace it had ever existed.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

With My Umbrella, I Can: The Magical Journey of Penelope Puddle

THE ORIGINAL WEST COAST character that inspires this site was first created by my now grown daughter, Holly, when she was small. The art evolved into a line of greeting cards and is featured in a children's book called With My Umbrella, I Can: The Magical Journey of Penelope Puddle.

Penelope Puddle's authentically portrayed West Coast environment shows a little girl thinking creatively with a small black umbrella at her side. Although a tangle of windswept hair and hat conceal her facial expressions, her body language and clever creations speak volumes.

It is easy to see Penelope relishes every sunbeam, drizzle and drop of life in such rhythmic phases as:

Wheee! I can swing in the rain and get very wet ...

I can build a nest for a feathery guest ...

I can float in a boat on the pond, with my wand ...

I can cross to a bog on a slippery log ...

I can teach my toes a trick that is slick ...

I can go to the beach with a treat that is sweet ...

I can put on a costume and ride on my broom ...

I can stare at a storm and roar, crash, bang, boom ...

Benefits to teachers, parents and children when reading the story are:

 Advances listening skills through rhymes and alternating rhythm

 Expands imagination and differentiates between fact and fantasy

 Builds observational skills, comprehension and recall of details

 Guides toward logical conclusions and making predictions

 Stimulates the development of reasoning and judgement

Penelope and her sidekick umbrella are the stars of the story that facilitate curiosity, endless discussion and opportunities to learn:

 Where does Penelope live and under what weather conditions

 What seasonal and/or geographical changes are illustrated in the story

 What causes Penelope to imagine her umbrella has special qualities

 In what ways is the umbrella more like a friend to Penelope

 When does the umbrella function as it would in reality

 How does the umbrella function purely as fantasy

 The umbrella sometimes is a substitute for what objects

 What drawings show the umbrella opened … closed … inside out

 What words would you use to describe Penelope’s umbrella

 If you could choose any umbrella, what would it look like

 How would you decorate YOUR special umbrella

 What TWO WORDS in the story make the umbrella magical

 How would you use your umbrella, IF it were magical

Postscript, 2014:

Maria Pavlik withdrew the (Trafford, 2008) paperback version of With My Umbrella, I Can: The Magical Journey Of Penelope Puddle with light cover and internal wear several years ago. There are possibly previously purchased copies being sold now by unassociated third parties but no such new books are authorized to be produced or distributed.

The author (and originator of this blog) maintains exclusive rights to the book and all future versions of it as well as any other products representing the Penelope Puddle character. Although Pavlik plans to redesign and eventually present the work under different formats, the primary illustrations, concept and storyline will remain unchanged.