Read + Create: Loving Landscape

This project is inspired by the children’s book, The Lumberjack, written by Beau Gray and illustrated by Morgan Wagner. Use various materials and collage techniques to create your own landscape to lovingly watch over, and like the illustrator, explore drawing several types of lines. Through this project and story, celebrate the importance of caring for each other. 

This project is designed by the Museum’s Teaching Artists and inspired by our Reading Two-Gether Author Visit series, which provides early learning literacy opportunities for children. 

guidelines + materials

 AGE: 4+ (with adult support)


Download Loving Landscape Lesson Plan Here


  • Sheet of cardstock (with pre-punched hole in top left corner)
  • Sheet of transparency paper (with pre-punched hole in top left corner)
  • Colored pencils
  • Glue stick
  • 1 Brad (paper fastener)
  • Wet/dry erase marker
  • Scissors
  • Half sheet of green construction paper
  • Half sheet of brown construction paper


1. Read the Story: Start by reading The Lumberjack by Beau Gray and illustrated by Morgan Wagner with your child (or listen to the acoustic song version at This is a story about compassion and the power of helping others. As you read it together, talk about the changes the Lumberjack character makes throughout the story and how he becomes a protector for the village as well as a beloved friend. Point out to your child the beautiful and unique illustrations in the book. Look for items such as trees, water, houses, etc., and notice how the artist uses lines of varied sizes, shapes and patterns to create these items. 

2. Shape Your Landscape: Now it’s time to create a Loving Landscape Art piece. Begin with bigger shapes. Have your child cut out shapes from the sheets of construction paper to represent large parts of their landscape (e.g., mountains or hills). Then, have them glue those pieces onto their cardstock. Think about the placement of these objects. Are they in the foreground (front), background (furthest back) or middle ground (in the middle)?

3. Add Details and a Story:  Invite your child to add smaller shapes into their landscape using leftover construction paper. Then use colored pencils to draw a village. How can your child create a place where people come together to help each other like in The Lumberjack? For these drawings, your child can do them in their own style or get inspired by the line style used in the book’s illustrations. Encourage them to use various shapes and line work such as curves, dots and zig zags to represent the objects in their landscape. Then, invite your child to add a daytime sky and other land features.

4. Include a Night Sky: Have your child place the transparency sheet over their cardstock. Line up the holes in the top left corner on both sheets. Then, insert the brad or paper fastener to hold the sheets together. Use the dry erase marker to draw a night sky on top of the transparency sheet. How might they make glowing stars like those found in The Lumberjack?

5. Reflect and Share: After your child is finished with their Loving Landscape Art, look at it with them and ask your child to talk about it with you. What did they enjoy? What surprised them? What choices did they make for it? Find a special place together to display their finished landscape!

Additional Learning Activities

Children enjoy storytelling and related activities like this one that allow them to engage with what they have heard and seen. This activity is also a way for learners to explore materials and to use their imagination. To further extend and build upon learning opportunities, consider exploring one or more of the additional activities below. 

Caring Acts Story
What does “Be good to others, and they’ll be good to you” mean to your child? Have your child create a story to describe how, as the Lumberjack, they would care for and protect the village.

Picture Hunt
Create a scavenger hunt in your child’s landscape. Help your child to create a list of items that can be found in their work and challenge a friend or family member to find them. 

Act it Out
Create a play or new story using the Loving Landscape Art as a backdrop. Have your child consider what might happen in this landscape. How might this story begin and how will it end? 

Recommended Related Reading (Ages 4-8) 

  • Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Jen Hill 
  • Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown and illustrated by AG Ford 
  • The Lost Horse: A Chinese Folktale by Ed Young and illustrated by Tracey Adams 

Preschool Learning Foundation Standards (Visual Arts and Literacy) 

Age 60 Months: 

  • Begin to plan art and show increasing interest and persistence in completing it. 
  • Recognize and name materials and tools used for visual arts. 
  • Use language to construct extended narratives that are real or fictional. 

CA Arts Standards for Visual Art (Grades K – 5) 

  • Engage in exploration and imaginative play with various arts materials. 
  • Explore uses of materials and tools to create works of art or design. 
  • Discuss and reflect with peers about choices made in creating artwork. 

This project is made possible through program funding from

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