Grade 3 Art Lesson Plan for:

The Book That Zack Wrote

by Ethan Long 


Lesson plan created by Veronica Giles, Art Teacher

Robeson Elementary Center, Birdsboro, PA


People Through Out Time all over the World People Create Art to Convey Stories



Strand 1 Through out time and all over the world people create stories that are illustrated. 


National Core    C.C.S.S.

Arts Standards    RL-1,2,3,4,7, VA:Cr2.1.1a, VA:Cr1.2.1a, RI- 1,2,3,4,6,7, VA:Cr3.1.1a, VA:Pr5.1.1a, RF- 1a,3f, VA:Re7.1.1a, VA:Re7.2.1a, SL- 2,3,4,5, VA:Cn1.1.1a 



Students will create their own cartoon character artwork in the style of The Book That Zack Wrote by Ethan Long.  Students develop a character story in collaboration with our Librarian.


Activation: Students will see the images of books written and illustrated by Ethan Long on the Smart Board. The teacher will highlight The Book That Zack Wrote. The teacher will show the book and start to read the cover and inside cover pages then ask individual students to read the book aloud with ALL students reading the words that are onomatopoeias.


Lesson Objectives:                                                             

Art Focus: 

• Students will see text in book format and relate text to illustrations

• Students will compare the illustrators’ style from various books illustrated

• Students will create and develop their own character and write about their cartoon image

• Students will see how art can convey a personal message through cartoons

• Students will analyze how different lines are used in illustrations

CCSS Focus:

• Students will have fiction read to them in a read aloud format

• Students will relate to text

• Students will see how art and illustrated books are related

• Students will see a connection between Art and writing in the librar


Explore the Artist Images:


Studio Time

Class 1:  Students are introduced to Ethan Long’s books through his website on the Smart board. The teacher will point out The Book That Zack Wrote. The teacher will show the book and start to read the cover and inside cover pages then ask individual students to read the book aloud with ALL students reading the words that are onomatopoeias. (The Liberian will also show the book to students and discuss how the characters were developed. See Librarian’s Lesson.) The Art teacher supplies the Librarian with the correct size paper for students to use on their good copy of their character development. Students see a demonstration of how to draw a cartoon. A discussion of how some features of the character are exaggerated to create the most successful cartoons. Also discussed are how each line of text helps describe a graphic cartoon composition on the each page of the book. The Librarian and Art teacher will discuss how the words and the images go together. Once the students draw their own character on their choice of colored paper they outline it with black Sharpie and start using color pencils to add flat color to their cartoons.

Class 2:  Students will be reminded of Ethan Long’s cartoons by seeing one of his videos. You could add a site or title of video. Students will complete their characters and cut them out. Students will create a black paper using the painting style of Jackson Pollack and splatter white paint on the black paper to simulate the cover of a composition note book. (hint… use a large box or create one by connecting a bunch of pizza boxes together and have students put their paper on the bottom of the box and splatter white paint on the paper. The box keeps things tidy and contains the paint.) 

Class 3:  Students will now have their dried black and white background, cut out character and have their character development written on lined paper. Students can get a label to cut out that says The Book That _____Wrote  (see Activity page for 6 label per page). Double matting all the above before gluing all the element of the composition together makes for a stronger complete image. Students will double mat everything then glue it to the black and white paper to complete their character developed art.



Advanced students can write a longer story by adding more pages to their art. Students could also develop a picture story using a storyboard concept without writing.


Special needs students will be placed in an appropriate group with strong members. Shape tracers of geometric shapes for heads and facial features may be appropriate for some students. Templates could be created by the teacher in more organic shapes for students to trace and connect to create the shape for their cartoon. Students could trace with a black marker around the tracer, instead of drawing first with pencil and then tracing over pencil lines. Students could translate their story.


Writing Connection:

Journal writing, poems, story ideas, character development, Explaining the steps involved in creating the art.