Author, Lon Lon’s Big Night
Miri Leshem-Pelly presents the following program in preschool and elementary classrooms throughout Israel.
She welcomes teachers elsewhere to utilize her ideas, and to modify the program so that it works for their students.
The Lon-Lon’s program takes about one hour and it is divided to Four Parts:
A Magical Night in the Israeli Desert
The night I met real sand foxes!
I am telling about my exciting experience at the Hai-Bar zoo, near Eilat.
The Hai-Bar is a special zoo, located in the desert and showing only desert animals.
I decided to visit the Hai-Bar zoo, as part of my research for writing and illustrating the book. The Hai-Bar workers were happy to help me, and therefore they invited me for a special visit – a night visit! At night I could see all the night animals (like the sand fox), in their activity time. So, I came there at night, and met the guy who takes care of
the night animals. He opened the gates of the zoo for me and than asked me if I would like to get inside the sand foxes cage! Yes! I told him, stopping my self from jumping up and down with joy… And so I went inside their cage and spent 30 minutes inside, watching them and taking pictures, seeing them fighting over the food, and even digging in the sand to hide some food.
During my story of the visit to the sand foxes cage, I show photos that I took inside the cage. After that, I am telling about my work at home, painting the illustrations for the book, and how the photos that I took of the sand foxes helped me with my illustrations.
I show some of the original illustrations and tell a little about the technique, using colored pencils on colored papers, and about the texture of the paper, which added the effect of grainy sand to the illustrations.
Meet the Israeli Desert Animals
In this part I am making a fun picture-quiz, asking questions about the desert. The answers to the questions are not in words, but by picking up the right picture. The questions are easy and funny, and throughout the quiz, the children learn about the
Israeli desert and meet all the characters of the Lon-Lon story.
The pictures used in the quiz, are big colorful cutouts I painted, showing things in the desert like sand dunes, rocks and all the animals taking part in the story.
After each question, a child comes and chooses the picture that answers the question.
Example – “I have wings, but I am not a bird. Who am I?” (Answer – the bat picture).
During the quiz, each picture is placed on a large board, creating a desert picture. And then comes the special surprise
I turn off all the lights, and turn on the music. In the dark, the desert picture is transformed. In this picture there are hidden elements, painted with a white paint, which glows in the dark. Suddenly the sun turns into a glowing moon, surrounded by sparkling stars and all the animals’ eyes are shining brightly. We hear soft music of the desert, played by a Israeli instrumental band, with flute and darbuka drums.
In the last part of the program, I am reading the story “Lon-Lon’s Big Night”. I am reading the story in the dark, while slides of the illustrations are projected on a big screen. Hearing the story in the dark and watching the luminous illustrations, makes the reading of the story to a very unusual experience.
I turn on the lights, and answer some questions from the audience.