Michael Dooling, Author and Illustrator of Children's Books
The following are activities that relate to Michael’s books. Teachers can develop a lesson plan around them as a warm-up or as a follow-up to my visit. Students can try them on their own. Have fun!

Judge a book by its cover!

Analyze the relationship of the text and the art in one of Michael’s books. Why did he make that picture to go with those words?

Imagine that!

Think of an invention that would improve your life the way Ben Franklin did.
Design your own house the way Thomas Jefferson did. Determine the number of floors, rooms and windows? Design the landscape, as well. What type of plants and trees grow in your area?

As a boy George Washington lived by a set of good behavior rules including ‘think before you speak’ and ‘be careful to keep your promise’. Write your own story of how this advice could be important to your life. How do you think it helped George?

Draw your own memory coat and put things on it that relate to your family. Did any of your relatives come from another country? If so, interview them and write a journal. Discuss the hardships that Rachel and Grisha’s family had to endure in their travels to Ellis Island.

Write a journal as if you were Mary Anning. Sketch what you found on the beach and write a description beside it. Draw an ichthyosaur swimming in the ocean. What other dinosaurs lived in the Jurassic period? Where is Lyme Regis, England, anyway?

Everyday really is like Halloween!

Make a pirate costume out of old clothes just like Michael does for the characters in his books. Take an old big pair of pants and old shirt. Cut the pants off at the knees and tear holes in the shirt. Wrap a scarf around your waist and tie a bandana around your head. And then say, “’are mateys!”. What other costumes can you make from old clothes?

Shape up!

Set an object down on the table in front of you and draw it. Set up your object so that there is a definite light area and a definite shadow area. Maybe near a window. Then, draw all of the shadow shapes first. Try to see the shape of each shadow and continue to figure out all the shapes of the light area, as well. Where do the shapes intersect? Compare the sizes of the shapes. When you have figured out all the shapes go back over your drawing and refine your lines. Did looking at the shadow shapes first help?