The Perfect Thanksgiving

It seems to be Thanksgiving time. I understand that this is a holiday set aside for eating lots of turkey and pies and thinking about all the things that a person should be thankful for. I’m hearing all about turkeys and Pilgrims and Native Americans and turkeys and feasts and family time and turkeys. The kids at school are making headbands with feathers, and turkeys with their hands, and turkeys with their feet, and eating turkey for lunch. The Mom Person is going through the recipe drawer and talking on the phone a lot about who’s bringing what. And I’m walking around drooling and no one seems to notice!

Well, today isn’t Thanksgiving. Although I am thankful, because it is Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Hill’s House. And I get to share in this event! I don’t know if she’s having turkey or not. I hope so! Just in case, I am bringing turkey – for the Perfect Thanksgiving!! IMG_1731The Perfect Thanksgiving
by Eileen Spinelli
illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi
published by Henry Holt and Co. in 2003

Themes – Thanksgiving! Family!

Suitable for young and old alike! All the family!

It begins -
Abigail Archer’s family
is perfect in every way.
Never is this more obvious
than on Thanksgiving Day.

This is a hilarious look at Thanksgiving through the eyes of one little girl. It’s told in perfectly wondrous rhyme with perfectly fabulous illustrations. And features a perfectly silly hand-print turkey and a perfectly artsy turkey.

The narrator compares her friend Abigail’s family holiday with her own family’s get together. At Abigail’s house everything is PERFECT. The table settings, the turkey cooked to perfection, the well dressed, well behaved, polite family holding hands around the PERFECT table – all PERFECT! At the narrator’s house, we see PERFECT chaos! Burnt turkey and wailing smoke alarms, crying kids, gravy and milk being spilled, belching and chomping and slurping everywhere. (It all sounds very much like my house!)

IMG_1737The narrator feels that Abigail has the PERFECT mother! Abigail’s mother wears an organdy dress with pearls and fancy shoes. She has fancy whirls on her homemade pie and her Jello mold doesn’t quiver. The narrator’s Mom wears jeans and fuzzy slippers. (Looks eerily like my Mom Person!) She serves store bought pie with no whipped topping and her Jello mold quivers!!

There is more, and more, and more about how different the two families are – But it turns out that the families have one very important element that is common to both — the LOVE that radiates from both!! And that’s something to be Thankful for!!

This book goes PERFECTLY with all the Thanksgiving activities that have been going on at school the last couple of weeks. Making turkeys and talking about Pilgrims and Native Americans and the Land that we all live in. And it offers a PERFECT opportunity to talk about our families traditions and how different they might be and how much alike!

I hope you have a PERFECT Thanksgiving celebration with your PERFECT family and are wrapped in the LOVE that I’m sure will be there.

Here is my pawprint Turkey -

img051And one of the many Turkey songs I have been hearing over, and over, and over –

And now you might want to visit Ms Hill’s blog and see if she’s serving some turkey over there! I’m sure that she will have some other fine Perfect Picture Books for you to check out!

IMG_1733I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
From MY PERFECT family to yours!!
Your friends
Walker, Electra, and St. Rhythm!
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A Bit of Magic

My Mom Person has a boy who as a little boy was fascinated with a magician and escape artist named Harry Houdini. This little Houdini wannabe was often to be found tied up somewhere trying to escape his bonds. Once he was even discovered in the swimming pool with some chains! Crazy boy!! Luckily the Mom Person was well aware of his propensity for getting himself in a fix and kept a sharp eye on him!

Well, we recently discovered a GREAT book by Mr Brian Selznick about the GREAT Houdini. The Mom Person happens to be crazy about Mr Selznick so she scooped it right up and brought it home for a good read. And a good read it is!! That Mr Selznick is magic! Now, here’s some more serendipitous magic — The very next day, we received in the mail a movie to watch. The movie was Hugo! This is a movie based on another of Mr Selznick’s books – The Invention of Hugo Cabret! The week turned into a celebration of Mr Brian Selznick!

And I’m here to share the celebration with you!! You might notice that I locked Electra in THE CAGE to see how clever she might be. My Mom Person was pleased to find that she is no Houdini.

IMG_1694and ABRACADABRA!!!!!!
The Houdini Box
by Brian Selznick
published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers in 1991

A CURIOUS STORY
OF MAGIC
AND
ESCAPOLOGY
as performed by
Harry Houdini and a
little boy named Victor,
with special appearances
by Victor’s Mother, Aunt
Harriet, and the lovely
Mrs. Houdini.

The story begins with a bit of history about Mr Houdini, a magician extraordinaire who was famous for his daring escapes from all sorts of unbelievable situations. Then we meet Victor, who is ten years old and wants to be a magician, too. He tries to escape from locked trunks and walk through walls and perform magic tricks just like his hero. With no success. Then! One day he has a chance encounter with the GREAT MAN and Mr Houdini promises to write him a letter.

IMG_1695After a long, impatient wait, a letter arrives for Victor and he is asked to come to Mr Houdini’s house. He goes there on Halloween night only to find that Mr Houdini has died just that day!!! But Mrs Houdini gives Victor a box. A small, locked box. Does this box hold all of Mr Houdini’s secrets? Will Victor now be able to become the magician he longs to be? Ahhhhh – you’ll have to read the book to find out!

At the end of the book there is a lot of back story material about Mr Houdini and about Mr Selznick’s journey in writing this book. He even includes instructions for a magic trick you can learn yourself!! And a list of resources for further reading.

IMG_1697The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a very similar book. It’s another tale about magic – and clocks and automatons and the history of the movie industry. It was published in 2007 and won the Caldecott Medal Award in 2008. It is a very BIG book. 526 pages! But many of the pages are double spread illustrations that compel you forward much like a flip book or a movie. There are nearly 300 pages of pictures! In 2011 Martin Scorsese made a movie adapted from Mr Selznick’s book. The movie is HUGO. It won 5 Academy Awards and lots of other awards. It was the book on the big screen! Absolutely incredible!! See the movie! Read the book! It will all make you want to go out and watch some silent movies!

IMG_1699Mr Selznick illustrated another Caldecott Honor book – The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins. Another incredible historical fiction book written by Barbara Kerley.

Mr Selznick writes about magic – Mr Houdini was a magician and illusionist, Georges Melies, from the Hugo Cabret book, was a magician of the cinema – creating dreams. Mr Selznick himself creates magic with pen and paper.

I will leave you with an interview with Mr Selznick discussing a musical play of The Houdini Box and also talking about the movie Hugo – enjoy!

Now go forth and find some magic in your life!
Your library friend
Rhythm
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Queen on Wednesday

Today is Wednesday. The middle of the week day. My very own special day. The day that I get to be Queen for the day and spread my JOY and magic. Wednesdays have always been set aside just for me. And maybe Walker, too, I guess. But mostly Wednesdays are all about me. On Wednesdays we go to visit our hospitals or detention centers or schools. Wednesdays are dog days.

I don’t usually do posts on Wednesdays – because I’m usually out doing my magic show, but we recently came across a most fabulous book that needed to be shared on this day!

IMG_1683Queen on Wednesday
by Gabi Swiatkowska
published by Farrar Straus Giroux in 2014

It begins -
On Wednesday, Thelma was bored.

Thelma is bored and decides that she will become a queen. On Thursday she makes the royal announcement. On Friday she chooses her royal pets. And then being a queen becomes quite complicated. She must find a suitable castle, someone to train all the pets, a maid to clean up after everyone, a cook to feed everyone. Whew!!!! Being a queen brings on a royal headache!!!! So on Tuesday she flings away her crown and stomps off. And on Wednesday — she’s bored again!!!!

IMG_1688This book is a royal romp! Ms Swiatkowska is one of my most favorite illustrators. But this is her first book all to herself. Now I want MORE!! I have talked about this talented young lady before. She illustrated Infinity and Me for Kate Hosford – Review HERE.  Also – Hannah’s Bookmobile ChristmasReview Here. Also – The Golden RuleReview Here. Yes, I really like this lady’s work!!

 A great interview with Ms Swiatkowska can be found HERE.

And here’s the REAL Queen with her grandchildren and her castle and lots of royal pets. It’s hard work being a Queen!

I hope you have a royally entertaining Wednesday!
Your friend the Queen of Wednesday
Rhythm
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Hats! Hats! Hats!

IMG_1664Hats are a big deal around my house. I’m not sure why. But they happen to be all over the house and often times on my head. And Walker’s. And Electra’s. It’s all old hat to me. But Electra is new to this hat wearing fetish of the Mom Person and I have to admit that she is a pretty good sport about it.

Well the hats all came out recently because of a book. I guess books are usually the cause of hats coming out. You can look at most any of my posts and see what I mean. But this particular book is all about hats. And love. And friends. And creativity.

IMG_1615Happy Birthday
Madame Chapeau
by Andrea Beaty
with pictures by David Roberts
published by Abrams Books for Young Readers in 2014

It begins -
In a three-story house with a shop down below
lived the world’s finest hatmaker, Madame Chapeau.

Madame Chapeau is a very sad, lonely lady. She makes incredibly fancy hats for incredibly fancy people, then she dines all alone. Across from her on her table are lots of pictures of a gentleman who I suppose was once her beau. A Beau for Madame Chapeau! But he seems to no longer be around. So the lady is sad.

IMG_1618But every year on her birthday, she dresses up and puts on a special heart shaped hat and goes out to dine at a fancy restaurant. On this particular birthday event, a passing crow flies off with her hat! Her VERY SPECIAL hat! Made especially for her! As she chases after the crow, lots of gentlemen offer her their hats! But their hats are made just for them – not for her! Indeed, each man’s head is shaped exactly like his hat! Funny!!!

As she dines alone without her special hat, she is soooooo sad! But wait! There comes a little girl who has been following Madame Chapeau all through the book, and the little girl has a special birthday present for the hatmaker. The little girl has knitted a hat especially for Madame Chapeau! The best present ever!!!! The best hat ever!!!! So they become best friends and live happily ever after!

The creator of Madame Chapeau, Ms Beaty, was at the recent Texas Book Festival. The Mom Person got to hear her read the book and talk about it. Ms Beaty and the illustrator, Mr Roberts, are especially good friends. Ms Beaty wrote this story just for Mr Roberts because he once was a milliner! (That’s a fancy word for a hatmaker!) So they worked together on the book and there are lots of little special things in the illustrations that nobody knows about. Little secrets between the two of them. All of the hats in the book are real hats that were made by famous milliners. Some of them are from hats that Mr Roberts designed and made himself.

This is a really lovely book. The story is jaunty and poetic. Ms Beaty is quite a fantastic rhymer! And Mr Roberts’s illustrations and hats are quite divine!

This book has been reviewed and talked about quite a lot since it came out. You might want to see what these fine folks have to say about it —-

Julie Rowan-Zochhttps://julierowanzoch.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/ppbf-happy-birthday-madame-chapeau/

Danielle at This Picture Book Lifehttp://thispicturebooklife.com/happy-birthday-madame-chapeau-hats/

Zoe at Playing by the Bookhttp://www.playingbythebook.net/2014/10/30/hat-week-happy-birthday-madame-chapeau-and-david-roberts-previous-life-as-a-milliner/

All of these ladies have provided a plethora of fun activities to go with this book – check them out!!!

And you might want to try some Hat Juggling!

IMG_1671So, Happy Hat Day to you all!
your library friend Rhythm, and my friends
Electra and Walker
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Where Does Your Dog Go at Night?!

readingwithrhythm:

Tomorrow, Thursday, November 6, 2014 is the 20th anniversary of the publication of Nina Laden’s first book – The Night I Followed the Dog. I did a post about this book some time ago and am reblogging it here to commemorate those 20 years! If you happen to be in the Seattle, Washington area you might go join the celebration! You can find out more about it HERE — https://www.facebook.com/events/858388854205368/?ref=22
Now go Follow Your Dog and have a good day!!!

Originally posted on Reading With Rhythm:

I’ve got a FUN book for you today!!! We came across this book at the library the other day. It would be a pretty good read aloud, but you really need to read it with your eyes. It’s called The Night I Followed The Dog by Nina Laden.

IMG_1126

Ms Laden is new to me, but I want to find some more of her books! This one was published by Chronicle Books in 1994. It begins – “I have a dog. Nothing exotic or special, just an ordinary dog.” The dog can play games and do tricks, but he’s boring. Then one morning, the boy makes a startling discovery. He sees a limousine park in front of his house, and his dog gets out! Wearing a tuxedo!

So the next night the boy decides to follow the dog and see what’s up. He follows the limo into the city where…

View original 234 more words

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

The year has moved on to the month of November. And November happens to be Picture Book Month! An event created by Ms Dianne de Las Casas to celebrate the genius of the Picture Book. I think that really EVERY month is Picture Book Month, but November has been set aside to show especial appreciation for this type of reading material. There is a website attached to this most sacred of months – you can visit it HERE – and find out more about why Picture Books are sooooooo important!!

To start off my celebration of the Picture Book, I present a very special book written and illustrated by two incredibly special young men!

IMG_1611

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Jon Klassen
published by Candlewick Press in 2014

There has been lots and lots of talk about this book – even before it came out. It MUST be a Perfect Picture Book! It has generated sooooo much attention and soooo much conversation! And it is a PERFECT blend of text, illustration, and design! All very simple, but oh so PERFECT!

It begins -
On Monday Sam and Dave dug a hole.

The story is about two boys who decide to dig a hole. A universal subject! Everyone likes to dig holes!! I, myself, have been known to dig a hole or two.

DSCF0016I never found anything too spectacular – just some pretty yummy roots. But Sam and Dave are on a quest to find “something spectacular.” They won’t stop until they do! And OH! they come ever so close!! But not quite! My readers were right along for the dig! Moaning and groaning with each page turn. With each shovelful of dirt. Sam and Dave have a helper – a little dog – who seems to be much smarter than the boys. The dog tries very hard to indicate where they need to dig. But Sam and Dave do not pay him any attention.

IMG_1613Those silly boys! They dig for a very long time – deeper and deeper. Until they are too tired to dig any more and they fall asleep. The little dog keeps digging though – going after something spectacular and ends up with a real hole that tumbles them all through time and space until they land – right back where they started on the soft dirt next to the little tree. But is it really where they started? That’s the big question.

Oh! the discussion!!! In the classroom with my readers – “What just happened?!” “Why is everything different?” Where’s the hole?” “Are they on the other side of the world?”

On The Horn Book website HERE.

On Publisher’s Weekly HERE.

On 100 Scope Notes HERE.

Mr Barnett was in Texas recently at our Texas Book Festival in Austin. He read this book and talked about it. He even had the crowd sing Happy Birthday to the book!!! He noted all the differences at the end of the book – the tree, the weathervane, the flower, the cat. He asked the questions. But he gave no answers. Just leaves you hanging! With MUCH to ponder.

IMG_1592Mr. Shu at Watch, Connect, Read had Mr Barnett and Mr Klassen come visit his school library! Can you imagine that?! What a fantastic day that would be! You can see all the fun they had and watch a book trailer at his website HERE.

The Horn Book has a great interview by Mac Barnett with Jon Klassen.

And here’s a great TED talk -

So! Happy Picture Book Month to you!
May you always find something spectacular when you go digging!
Your library friend
Rhythm
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A Bit of Spook

img184It seems to be that time of year – Halloween. The time for spooks and goblins and weird costumes. The time for dressing up and being silly or scary or silly scary. Halloween doesn’t mean much to me. It seems like just about every day is Halloween around here. I’m always being dressed in some silly costume. For some reason my Mom Person gets a kick out of making me look silly. It’s kind of fun to get a laugh from the kids though.

halloween 06 006The Mom Person likes Halloween a bit. It provides an excuse to send packages to my Princesses who are far away. She and Electra did some Halloween book shopping at Half-Price Books and they found a couple of good ones that are going in this year’s Halloween package.

IMG_1566The Candy Witch
by Steven Kroll
illustrated by Marylin Hafner
published by Scholastic in 1986 (originally published by Holiday House in 1979)

This is a pretty cute story about a family of witches that like to cast GOOD spells for people. Mama Witch and Papa Warlock and Brother John are always doing spells like turning garbage into fruit trees and giving bald men hair. Maggie does GOOD spells, too, but no one seems to notice. She finds it very frustrating. So in order to get noticed, she tries doing some crazy spells, like having lizards come out of a friend’s bathroom faucet and turning a chair into a blueberry pie. But STILL nobody notices. So on Halloween night she made all the kids’ bags of candy disappear.

IMG_1568This made all the kids very sad and some even cried. That made Maggie feel sad and very sorry for what she had done. Maggie began to cry. Her family noticed this! What was wrong with Maggie?! When she told them how she was trying to be noticed, the family felt very bad. Now everyone is feeling bad! But Maggie has a great idea for fixing the whole thing and make everyone happy again. And if you read the book, you will find out what she did!! It will make you smile and cheer!!

IMG_1564Ghosts in the House!
by Kazuno Kohara
published by Scholastic (originally published by Square Fish, an imprint of Macmillan, in 2008)
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book

This is a pretty unique little picture book — it’s all orange and black and white!! Orange pages, Black illustrations, and White Ghosts! This is about a little girl and her cat who move into a house that turns out to be haunted! (I don’t know where this girls parents are. No where to be seen. She’s all alone except for her cat!) But the girl is not afraid of a haunted house, because —– She’s a Witch!! And she knows how to catch ghosts! She caught them all, washed them in the washing machine, hung them out to dry, then decorated her house with them! Very clever and silly! A very cute book!!

IMG_1567

Here is a reading of Ghosts in the House – in Japanese!

I hope that my Princesses like these Spooky books! It’s that time of year!

Hope you have a Spooky Halloween!
But not tooooo Spooky!
Your library friend
Rhythm
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Augustus and His Smile

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday — A day created by that “Amazing Babe” Susanna Leonard Hill to celebrate Perfect Picture Books. That’s a powerful word – PERFECT. What does it mean exactly? What IS a PERFECT Picture Book? I guess that that would be somewhat different for each reader – be they man, woman, child, or — dog!

For this library dog, a perfect picture book is one that begs to be read over and over. When my reader says “AGAIN!” — That’s PERFECT. A PERFECT picture book brings out emotions. It might be smiles and laughter. When I hear giggles and chuckles and howling laughter — That’s PERFECT. It might be sighs of wonder. “OHHHH!”  “AHHHH!” It might be sighs of sadness. “OH, NO!” — That’s PERFECT. A PERFECT picture book has fantastic illustrations that beg to be looked at closely. When I hear “don’t turn the page just yet!” — That’s PERFECT.

A PERFECT picture book pulls the reader in to become part of the story.

Today I give you a PERFECT picture book that has all of those things.

IMG_1452Augustus and His Smile
by Catherine Rayner
published by Good Books in 2006

Themes – smiles!, finding JOY!

a fiction book suitable for pre-K and up

It begins –
Augustus the tiger was sad.
He had lost his smile.

With the very first words and the very first picture you are sucked right in to this story! You can feel the tiger’s sadness. It makes your mouth droop. Right off, my readers were sighing “Oh, poor tiger!” And the search began to find Augustus’s smile. The words are spare and the illustrations are big and bold – like a tiger. Augustus searched high and low and far and wide. And with each page turn you can see just an inkling of an upturned mouth on Augustus. I heard “LOOK! Look at his mouth! It’s there Augustus! It’s there!” “Oh look! He found it!” “Read it again!”

IMG_1454Augustus found that his smile was with him all the time! He only had to follow his JOY to bring it out! And it sure brought out smiles on my readers!! A most PERFECT picture book!!

What brings a smile to your face? My Mom Person plays a game with My Favorite Girl. “Three Things I Love.”  Each morning or evening, they each have to tell three things that they love. Three things that bring a smile. And that little game always makes them both smile!

In your classroom, or whatever, you could have your readers make lists or draw pictures of things that make them smile.

Gather some rocks and paint them with big happy face smiles. Let them sit on the kids’ desks or tables and every time you look at them — guess what? SMILE!

For your smiling pleasure – some happy, smiley tigers!

Now you might want to drop by Ms Susanna Hill’s blog and check out the other PERFECT Picture Books and all the fun resources to go with!

SMILE!!!
Your friend
Rhythm
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Until the Cows Come Home

I recently did a post about cows and milking time. You can read it HERE if you like. My friend, Gargoyle Bruce, commented that I could read that book until the cows came home! I thought that was funny, but it reminded me that we have a book on our shelf called — Until the Cows Come Home! I love those Serendipity kind of moments!

Until the cows come home is kind of a funny thing to say. In the book, Milking Time, the cows came home every morning and every evening to be milked. But I think that maybe a really long time ago cows didn’t come home so often and now to say “until the cows come home” means a really, really long time. As in – “I’ll be waiting for some rain until the cows come home.”

IMG_1572Until the Cows Come Home
written and illustrated with hand-colored photographs
by Patricia Mills
published by North-South Books in 1993

This is a lovely, quiet picture story of life in the country. Barn and hayfields, sheep and bluebirds, barns full of stacked wood and barns full of corncobs. Grapes on the vines and vegetables in the garden. Flowers in the fields and a quiet river. Lazy, quiet visions – all “until the cows come home.”

There is a note from the author in the back of the book that tells how she took two years to photograph the life around her at her cabin retreat in West Virgina. (It took until the cows came home!) She says of the book – “I hope that in a quiet way this book will open children to the simple pleasures and the great beauty of unspoiled rural life.”

IMG_1574You should check this book out and see for yourself!

Here are the cows coming home in Ft Worth, Texas!

I hope you have a peaceful week filled with quiet pleasures -
until the cows come home!
Your friend
Rhythm
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