Wednesday, 12 July 2017

PAGES TO PROJECTS: Color Tamer Face Drawing

This post originally appeared on the LAIP in July 2017.

In a place where colors ran wild, there lived a girl who was wilder still. Her name was Swatch, and she was a color tamer. She was small, but she was not afraid.

Swatch The Girl Who Loved Color + Face Painting Fun

by Rebecca Dunn

Open Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color by Julia Denos (public library) and experience a stampede of color.  Young Swatch is a collector. Like most kids who are passionate about collecting, they try the best they can to accumulate as much of their desired object as possible. But unlike most kids, Swatch collects colors. She’s a color tamer who enthusiastically plucks, nets, tames, and traps an array of every color she comes across. When she calls out their name “Bravest Green,” “Just Laid Blue,” and “Rumble-Tumble Pink” the colors come to her and she bottles them up to be added to the rainbow of colors already captured.


But one day, instead of calling out the name of “Yellowest Yellow,” a coveted shade, she asks the color instead of calling it to her. “Yellowest yellow…would you like to climb into this jar?” The shade politely declines.  Instead of plucking it up nonetheless, Swatch leaves it be, and something spectacular happens.

Swatch the Girl Who Loved Color

Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color is not only visually stunning, but the story stars a strong, courageous female character–we can never ever have enough strong female characters in books for young children–and demonstrates what happens when we let go and allow creativity to flourish.

Swatch the Girl Who Loved Color 1

Color Tamer Face Drawing

Throughout the story, Swatch seems to always have paint on her face (as a true color tamer should!) and since face painting isn’t necessarily the most realistic option for most libraries, adapt this concept into a Swatch-style face drawing sessions with washable markers. Kids will be able to explore coloring on a canvas they’re very familiar with, their own faces!


  • Mirrors
  • Washable markers in a variety of colors
  • Baby wipes

To start, have mirrors set up so kids can easily see themselves: hand mirrors, cosmetic mirrors–whatever works best for the size and age of your storytime group. A dollar store near you will have a variety of inexpensive options if you don’t already have mirrors on hand. After reading Swatch, prompt children to be their own color tamers and have fun drawing on their very own faces. There will be shock, laughter, and maybe even a bit of apprehension from the audience when you explain their post-storytime project, but it will surely be one they’ll enjoy and remember. Prompt them to draw designs or a favorite animal or whatever seems to spark their interest that day. There is no wrong or right when it comes to color taming.




Keep baby wipes on hand for easy, breezy color removal afterwards if the kids or their caregiver don’t want to leave the library with a rainbow forehead. If you’re nervous about kids drawing on faces, try making this Color Tamer Mask instead. If you do happen to try this out, be sure to have a camera on hand to capture the wide-grinning smiles.

For similar ideas, be sure to check out Read Sing Play’s hilarious baby storytime where she prompts caregivers to draw eyebrows and mustaches on their children’s faces in Eyebrows, Mustaches, Oh My!. For more Swatch specific activities, coloring sheets, an interview with author Julia Denos, and behind the scenes making of the book, hop on over to All The Wonders.

This post was adapted for Library as Incubator Project from a post featured on Sturdy for Common Things in May 2016.

Want More?

If you’ve been inspired by Rebecca’s projects or have used her storytime plans at your library, we’d love to hear about it!  Share your experience in the comments or on social media!


IMG_2347Rebecca Zarazan Dunn is a children’s librarian and a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker.  When she’s not having fun at the library or wrangling her own kiddos, she can be found at her blog home, Sturdy for Common Things.

from Library as Incubator Project

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