Masai Animal Masks

Who’s in Rabbit’s House is a Masai tale told from the perspective of a play within a play. A monster has invaded Rabbit’s house, and the other animals must gather to help investigate and scare the monster away. This story teaches children it is important to help each other in times of need. Leo and Diane Dillon used pastel and tempera to create this artwork. The eyes of all characters in this book are very expressive. The illustrations in this book evoke a feeling of a stage performance.

Based on:

Who's in the Rabbit House? illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon


  • Construction paper
  • Paper plates
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Scissors


Based on Masai tribal costume masks, students will design original artworks. While doing so, identify art elements such as color, texture, form, line, and space and art principles such as emphasis, pattern, and rhythm.

Going About your Artwork
Select an animal you like or from Who's in the Rabbit House?, a book by by Leo and Diane Dillon. Observe the animals carefully. Can you see shapes in their faces? Identify the geometric shapes that make up the animals face. Do you see circles for eyes? Identify which colors, whether realistic or not, you will use to create your mask. Collect all materials (construction paper, poster board circle, glue, scissors) and cut out the shapes identified earlier. Assemble the shapes in the correct layout and glue to poster board circle backing. Let dry. Wear your mask!

Extension Activities

  1. Write a play. Remember to include your setting, plot, characters and dialogue. How will you use your masks? Masks are a covering for all or part of the face, usually worn to conceal one's identity. Now often used in theatrical settings, masks have been used for centuries in story telling. Use your masks to tell your own story.
  2. Students used geometric shapes to crate their Masai animal masks. Introduce the concept of Organic shape to the students. A shape found in nature, more loosely or naturally formed is referred to as an organic shape. Let your students try their hand at decorating their masks using organic shapes.
  3. Other students can learn to identify stories and compare content in artworks from the past and present for various purposes such as telling stories and documenting history and traditions.