My artist book is a story about a stuffed animal puppy named Piddles. I was inspired to write this book because I have had Piddles since I was six months old and because travel is extremely important to my family. It helped shape who I am and what I value in life. Piddles came on every single trip I have ever gone on, no matter how far or long. Piddles was my “safety blanket” or “pacifier” and made me feel comfortable no matter where I was in the world.
My artist book focuses on a touch and feel aspect, as well as an interactive play aspect. I collected many different elements to include in my book. I found the actual book I am using in a Marshall’s clearance section. The first page shows Piddles getting on a plane; the reader must buckle Piddles in. I tried to use as many found items as I could. I found fake grass samples from Home Depot and sample swatches from when my mom was trying to pick a new couch. I raided Target’s dollar section for anything and everything I could find.
I planned a total of twelve different locations for Piddles to visit. The Florida page focuses on the Daytona race track. I set up a mini race course for the reader to play with and have a hot wheels car for them to use. For Iceland, I set up a similar racetrack except this one is more like a slide format and is going to be used with the sled in the luggage. In California, the reader can play with the kinetic sand located on the cover of the book. In Arizona, Piddles sees the Grand Canyon and feels different pebbles. Piddles travels to Canada next. In Canada, Piddles sees a narwhal and gets to feel their sparkly horn. When Piddles travels to Ireland, he feesl the green grass and sees a castle. In Peru, Piddles feels the fur of an alpaca and sees Machu Picchu. Piddles travels to Tanzania, Africa. Here, he sees animals on his safari. The reader can feel the different animal textures. In Australia, Piddles is surprised by fake spiders that jump off the page! The last three stops are Hawaii, China, and Amsterdam. Piddles sees jellyfish, pandas, and rides his bike around. Finally, Piddles returns home and ends his journey.
Making my book was definitely challenging. Between every page was an unnecessary cloudy sheet of paper. This was useless to me and I had to remove it from every single page. Because of this removal, the binding of the book got weaker. The book I used has many pages, giving me the flexibility to seal them together and adjust the thickness of the pages as I need– Mod Podge became my best friend in this project. I had to rebind the book three times to make it as long-lasting as possible. Another challenge I had was the bulkiness of the book. To solve this problem, I created a luggage on the cover that Piddles could carry around his extra toys in. This allowed me to keep the kinetic sand, fidget spinner, and more in the book. This also helps keep the novel organized. I am really happy with the finished result and I hope the reader will be, too.
I hope that by writing this sensory touch book, I can help children feel more comfortable in my classroom when I am a teacher. I want to inspire my students to feel comfortable going out into the world, open-minded and yearning to explore. I also wanted to include a “sensory” element in it so my students could read it to relax or reward themselves after a busy day.