Yes, I often go into my children's bookshelf and pull out a book to create my latest art lesson. Well, "The Goodnight Gecko" was a souvenir from a vacation to Hawaii back in 1999, when my son was 4 years old. I have collected children's books since, well, I was a child. On any given trip to our local book store, my husband knows 9 times out of 10, to find me in the children's section. (And yes, I do read grown up novels :D)
I decided to adapt an art lesson for this book creating a 3D gecko over a nightime Hawaiian background. First the children looked at different varieties of geckos. I like to do my homework and give them some interesting facts. There are over 900 varieties of geckos from 3/4 of an inch to 14 inches in length. The have tiny velcro like bristles on their feet that allow them to walk on walls, glass and even ceilings. They have invisible eyelids that they clean with their tongues. Geckos are nocturnal and hunt for food at night.
After showing them several types of geckos, the children used Sharpie and watercolor to create their own. They then painted Hawaiian flora with acrylic on black board. I encouraged them to double and triple dip their brush in analagous acrylic colors to create more 3 dimensional landscapes. The geckos were cut out (admittedly a bit tricky) and glued to small strips of foam core and then glued over their nightime landscape.
The geckos shown were done by ages 5 thru 10.