Monday, October 27, 2014

Babar: To Duet or Not to Duet

This week, we ended our "tour of Paris" by rowing Babar: To Duet or Not to Duet, based on the characters created by Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff, story by Elaine Waisglass.  This was a great book study for Maggie, as she has been learning to play the piano for the last year and a half.
After we read the book, we watched the animated film at  (Sorry, I was unable to imbed the video.)
Then, we placed our story disk for this book on our world map, another visit to Paris!  (Some say there is no true setting for this book, but the names are all French and in the animated film (the link is just above), there is a framed picture in the house of the Eiffel Tower.  We're calling it Paris!)
For a fun snack, we made the Peanut Butter Bars out of The Five in a Row Cookbook for this read (page 62).  Here, Maggie is crushing up graham crackers.
And here, she is spooning the melted chocolate over our bar mixture!
Looks good, Mags!
Once they hardened and were cut, our bars looked so yummy!
 Later, we talked about the formality of some of the words in the book (since Babar is a king and is treated as such).  We talked about formal speech and manners and then read another Parisian-based book, Madeline Says Merci: The-Always-Be-Polite Book by John Bemelmans Marciano.
 Then it was time for some art, particularly music.  At the suggestion of our FIAR manual, I decided to let her make some "potato print notes," using paint on potato stamps (music notes cut from potatoes).  First, I made some staff lines on 12"x18" white paper.
While I set up the paper, my husband cut some musical notes out of a baking potato.  They looked great, but we realized afterwards that he should have cut them backwards, so they wouldn't stamp backwards.  Oh well.
 We painted over them with tempera paints ...
 ... and stamped them onto our staff lines.  Again, they were backwards, but it was still fun.
 Yay, Mags!  Now, we should try to play it on her piano!
 When we read Mirette on the High Wire, we talked extensively about promotional posters.  We noticed one in this book, announcing the Great Leopold's duet with Babar, and decided to make one of our own.
 Here it is!  I gave her some musical notes I had cut out of cardstock and it turned out so great!
We also read M is for Melody: A Music Alphabet by Kathy-jo Wargin (a GREAT addition to this FIAR read) ...
 ... Orchestranimals by Vlasta van Kampen (a PERFECT addition to this book study) ...
... and Those Amazing Musical Instruments! by Genevieve Helsby.
 It was then time to learn more about Franz Joseph Haydn, the composer of the piece that Babar played with the Great Leopold, Surprise Symphony.  We started by reading Famous Children: Haydn by Ann Rachlin ...
... and Franz Joseph Haydn: Great Man of Music by Carol Greene.
We then listened to his Surprise Symphony on YouTube (video below).
 The neat thing is that Maggie actually learned to play a part of this already in her lessons!  Here is her piece from Surprise Symphony that she learned last year!
 And here she is, playing it for you!
Later, we listened to more of Haydn's music on YouTube (video below).
This developed into a study of our ears.  For the same, we read My Ears by Lloyd G. Douglas ...
... Hearing by Helen Frost ...
... and Hearing by Rebecca Olien.  (We also looked at the parts of the ear and how our brains interpret sound.)
Then, it was time to read more about elephants.  We read Usborne's Elephants by Kate Davies ...
... Elephants by Amelie von Zumbusch ...

... and Big, Rough, and Wrinkly: What Am I? by Moira Butterfield.
The last thing we did in our study of elephants and this FIAR book was this "Measure the Elephant!" worksheet we found at
 That wraps up our study of Babar: To Duet or Not to Duet!  Tomorrow, we leave for vacation to SC and NC, so we won't be adding another FIAR read for a couple of weeks!  Until then, happy rowing!


  1. I had an old, ragged copy of a Babar book when I was a child. I do not own this particular FIAR title yet, but I have been curious about it since I loved the other one so much as a child. (Although, as I remember, it was an unusual book. Not bad....just different.)

    Your potato stamps are WONDERFUL! What a fun activity!

    The best part of this post is seeing her play the piano....what a great job!!!! Very cute video.

    Have a fabulous time on your trip. My eldest is in college, not far from the NC border. She just texted me several pictures today of the fall is STUNNING there right now. You will enjoy some amazing "leaf peeping" as they call it. I'll look forward to your next row in a few weeks!! Happy Trails!!! :-)

    1. Hi, Brooke! I wouldn't say Babar was a great book. Like you, I would say it was different. I liked the musical elements for Maggie, though.

      We leave for NC in about ten minutes. I can't wait! We will be in Southern Pines, near Fayetteville. I will, hopefully, blog with some pictures next week! :)