Bas-Relief Book Report

Bas-Relief Book Report lesson plan

Looking for a pizzazzy book report format? Try bas-relief sculpture to add a new dimension to your next presentation!

  • 1.

    What is bas-relief? It is a French term meaning 3-dimensional modeling that is raised slightly above a flat background. This kind of sculpture is meant to be seen from only one direction, unlike most other sculpture, which is viewed from all sides. Look for bas-relief borders or friezes on building walls in your community. You’ll find them lots of places!

  • 2.

    Choose a book for your report. This example uses Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. Notice how Miss Rumphius completed three important goals she set for herself when she was young. She traveled around the world, made the world more beautiful by planting lupines, and finally lived by the sea. Choose the most important parts of the book you read to illustrate.

  • 3.

    To make your bas relief sculpture, find a lid from a recycled box such as a shoebox. You could use a round lid for circular story events, as in <U>Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Doctor deSoto</U>, or <U>Waiting for Wings</U>.

  • 4.

    Use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils to draw the background clouds and sky. If you change your mind, just erase and start again!

  • 5.

    Smooth on a layer of blue Model Magic to create the sea. Mix blue and yellow Model Magic to create a bright green for the grass. Layer grass near the sea.

  • 6.

    Form a yellow road and a red cottage. Add details to the scene.

  • 7.

    Mix red and green to form brown for the cottage roof, tree trunks, and island. Add them to the scene.

  • 8.

    Mix varying colors of green for more visual interest. Experiment with yellow, blue, and white modeling compound to create tree tops, stems, leaves, palm trees, and mounds of grass. Apply them.

  • 9.

    To make lupines, roll tiny balls of blue Model Magic. Press masses of balls together above the green stems. Mix red and white modeling compound to create pink lupines and red, blue, and white to create lavender lupines.

  • 10.

    Add a red sailboat, yellow sail, and brown mast to the sea. Press gently into the scene.

  • 11.

    Blend thin ropes of blue and white Model Magic to create light blue ripples. Press lightly. Air-dry your book report.

  • 12.

    Present your book report to small groups, so they can see the details in your bas relief.


  • Students read books about how decisions and choices made in childhood can determine the quality of a characters’ adulthood.
  • Students analyze story events and summarize them in one illustration, suitable for a book jacket cover.
  • Students gather information about bas-relief sculpture and use the technique to create a book report to present to others.


  • Plant flower seeds, including lupines. Record the growth of the flowers in journals. Include sketches of the stages of growth, numbers of days until blooms appear, and any additional notes. Take flowers home to plant outside, or create a colorful window b
  • Buddy up to share book reports with younger students. Listen as younger buddies read a favorite book, then work together to make bas-relief book reports.
  • Create a collection of math story problems based on each book you read. Write the problem on one side of an index card and draw an illustration on the other. Create an assortment of problems dealing with time, measurement, fractions, and money, as well as the usual addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems. Store cards in a box labeled with the name of the book. Work on problems during unstructured time or take out cards during regular math time. Include a solution sheet inside the box.