Nanaimo artist Adrienne Bouchard Langlois is creating a series of videos for young children featuring a toy mouse sheltering in a dollhouse.
In the videos, Mousie’s daily activities reflect life during COVID-19. She has groceries delivered, puts hearts in her windows, reads, makes art, bakes and always remembers to wash her hands.
“I just thought of introducing the subject in a soft way just so children see that Mousie’s doing it too,” Bouchard Langlois said.
She said the videos are also a way for her to stay connected with her young grandchildren while they self-isolate, and so far “they really enjoyed seeing what Mousie was up to.” Bouchard Langlois is hoping to reach an audience beyond her grandchildren as well.
“I thought a lot of children don’t get to go out and they might enjoy something simple and something quiet,” she said. “I got some feedback on that. I didn’t realize they were going to be so simple and quiet, but adults were telling me they’re very soothing.”
The toy mouse was handmade by Bouchard Langlois’s sister and Bouchard Langlois built the house out of a large cardboard shoe organizer that she had been using to store craft items. She’s been making new accessories for Mousie, including a computer so she can take classes online, but the pandemic has forced her to improvise.
“I’m not going out at all so I can’t go to the thrift stores or the dollar stores and pick up little things. I just make do with what’s in the house and repurpose everything I can think of,” Bouchard Langlois said.
Although COVID-19 looms over the videos, Bouchard Langlois said her approach has been to avoid being “preachy” and to address the topic in an “unobtrusive” way. She said newer videos are less explicit in their messages and she’s avoided using words like ‘social distancing.’
“There are several of the videos where her friends are standing at a safe distance apart, and I do mention that, but then I thought it might be too heavy to use those terms so I stopped using those terms,” she said. “It’s pretty clear that they’re not touching but I also thought for very young children you don’t need to belabour the point. Basically I just want to give them five minutes of something that they’ll like and a little bit of fantasy.”
Adrienne Bouchard Langlois’s videos are available here.
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