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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IVAN

I recently read a most wonderful book called The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. You can read my review of that book HERE. I really liked that book a lot! And a lot of other folks did too. It was (and still is!) a very popular book. Everyone who reads it falls in love with the gorilla, Ivan. The One and Only Ivan is a fictional story about a REAL gorilla. Ms Applegate decided that she needed to tell the REAL story of Ivan. In a picture book.

IMG_1538IVAN
THE REMARKABLE TRUE STORY
of the
SHOPPING MALL GORILLA
by Katherine Applegate
illustrated by G. Brian Karas
published by Clarion Books in 2014

A non-fiction book suitable for ages 4 and up

Themes – gorillas, animal welfare and conservation

It begins -
In leafy calm,
in gentle arms,
a gorilla’s life began.

This is a powerful story for all the ages – young and old alike. It is a true story of a gorilla who was born in the wilds of Africa and brought to the United States to be a sideshow attraction at a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington. The book begins with a tale of a baby gorilla’s idyllic life in the jungle with Mom and Dad and siblings and cousins. Then the baby gorilla finds himself in a dark box going on a long journey. In the beginning of his new life he was loved and coddled just like a human baby. He wore clothes and ate human food. This was long ago in the 1960s and people evidently didn’t know any better. They didn’t think about whether they were doing the right thing by this little gorilla.

IMG_1541After time, Ivan got to be too big for his fairy tale life and he was moved to a giant cement cage at the shopping mall. There was a window through which he could watch the humans who stared back at him. Long, lonely, boring years passed and then people started wondering whether the mall gorilla was at all happy about his circumstances. These people started to protest and complain and eventually, after 27 years at the mall, Ivan was moved to the Atlanta Zoo where he spent his last years with grass and trees and other gorillas. He died in 2012 – probably a happy gorilla. He was 50 years old.

Ivan’s story as told by Ms Applegate, is pure poetry. It is a brutal story, but one filled with hope and love. Ms Applegate’s words are lyrical and Rhythmic. Mr Karas’s illustrations are softened realism. Magical.

At the back of the book there is more information about Ivan and a letter from one of his keepers. There is also a list of resources for further study.

This is an incredible little book that everyone should read – along with Ms Applegate’s fictional version, The One and Only Ivan.

HERE’s a great interview with Ms Applegate.

And the original NY Times article that sparked her imagination.

Find out more about the book and see a trailer HERE.

Find out more about Gorilla conservation HERE at the International Gorilla Conservation website.

And then go visit your local zoo and study the gorillas!

Now you might want to visit Ms Susanna Hill’s blog HERE for a list of Perfect Picture Books and some great resources to go with! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!!

Ivan at the B & I Shopping Mall

Ivan at Zoo Atlanta -

May your days be filled with love and understanding
Your library friend
Rhythm

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Milking Time

IMG_2410There are quite a few animals that live here at the 7 Acre Wood. Dogs and cats and chickens and guineas and goats and a pony. And a couple of donkeys across our fence at the neighbors. But no cows. No cows at all. I don’t know much about cows. I’ve seen them here and there, but have never actually known any. But lots of my reader friends know about cows. Many of them have cows at home. Many of them show cows at county fairs. They probably know more about cows than about dogs! Imagine that?!

Well, we came across a lovely picture book about cows. Dairy cows. Where milk comes from. I don’t know much about milk either. I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted the stuff. But milk is another thing that my reader friends know all about.

IMG_1529It’s Milking Time
by Phyllis Alsdurf
illustrated by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher
published by Random House in 2012

It begins -
Every morning, every night,
it’s milking time.

This refrain is sung throughout the story. Milking cows is hard work. This is the story of a young girl helping her Dad with the milking duties. She brings the cows in from the pasture, and helps Dad get the barn ready for them so they can be fed and milked. She feeds the pen full of little calves. And helps with all the clean-up chores. It’s kind of a love story – love between girl and Dad and love for the cows who provide the milk.

IMG_1531The text is sing-song and lyrical. There seems to be some Rhythm in milking! “Cuds a-chewing, tails a-swatting, hooves a-pounding, into the barnyard they trudge.” Pure poetry. The illustrations are really lovely, soft and realistic. It’s a soft, quiet kind of book.

This book was a big hit with my readers. They chanted along with “every morning and every night.” They all knew what that was all about.

This is another entry in Gargoyle Bruce’s Small Fry Safari Reading Challenge. I believe it fits in Category #3 – A book with a specific time in the title. You can find out more about this challenge by visiting The Bookshelf Gargoyle HERE. You’ll find the whole list of categories and all the other entries.

You can find out more about dairy farming at the Dairy Farming website HERE.

And did you know that cows like jazz?

I wish for you a tall glass of milk with a little jazz on the side
every morning and every night!
Sweet dreaming to you
Your friend
Rhythm
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Amazing Babes

This has been a week for books in the mail!!! And that mail lady has brought some fine ones! I had a hard time deciding which one to talk about first!

My final choice is a book that I won!!!! :) In a drawing!!!! :) From Danielle Davis at This Picture Book Life!!! :) And it’s signed by the author and the illustrator!!!!  :)

IMG_1526Amazing Babes
A Picture Book for Kids & Adults
words by Eliza Sarlos
drawings by Grace Lee
published by Scribe Publishing in 2013

suitable for maybe 2nd grade and all the way up!
younger ones might enjoy the illustrations

Theme – incredible women! Girl Power!

It begins –
As I grow ——
I want the COURAGE of Aung San Suu Kyi

On our bookshelves here at home we have LOTS of books about “amazing babes.” Women who made adventure part of their lives. Women who inspired generations of young folks with their spirit and heart and courage. Women who left their signatures in the annals of history. My Mom Person says that I am an “amazing babe” in my own right! That’s an interesting thought!

This picture book, Amazing Babes, is a most uniquely, incredible book that celebrates the lives of twenty incredible women. I don’t know how Ms Sarlos decided on these particular twenty, but it is a diverse and fascinating group.

From the back of the book — “Amazing Babes was originally written as a gift from a mother to her son. ……All the women in this book had the ideas, determination, and creativity to bring about change in the world, and in learning about their stories we honour their achievements.”

This is a BIG picture book – 12″ x 10″. The words are BIG, the pictures are BIG, the inspiration is BIG! Each page spread has a picture of a uniquely inspirational woman and a brief note about what she represents to the world – from courage, to compassion, to conviction, to heart, to vision, to fervour, and more. Some of the names are familiar to me. I’ve heard them talked about. But some of the names were totally new. To me, anyway.

At the back of the book there are brief bios of all the women. It all makes you yearn for the whole story! This book will have readers scrambling to find out more! Oh! I can envision the discussions that will be happening! What can be learned from these women? What other women could belong with this group? Who do you know that could be considered “an amazing babe?!”

IMG_1528The illustrations are incredible as well. The pictures, the words, the design of it all! Perfection! A PERFECT PICTURE BOOK for Perfect Picture Book Friday!!

I first learned about this book from Ms Davis at This Picture Book Life. She did an inspiring review about it there and you can visit her HERE.

The book has it’s own website! with more information and a video. Check it out HERE.

A young lady who is featured in the book is Tavi Gevinson who started a style blog at the age of 12 — Here she is with Jimmy Fallon —

Now you might want to visit another inspiring woman, who is not in this book, but maybe should be! — Ms Susanna Leonard Hill who has her own incredible blog where she keeps a list of Perfect Picture Books and some great resources to go with. This is, after all, Perfect Picture Book Friday!!!! :D

And now you can go forth and conquer the world!!!!!
Your wagging friend
Rhythm
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My Feet Are Laughing

My name is Rhythm. The dictionary says that Rhythm is a regular repeated sound or movement. Rhythms can be found in every bit of life. In music, in poetry, in every breath that you take. My Mom Person says Rhythm is the perfect name for me. I love to sing and dance and spread the Rhythms of Joy.

IMG_3726I have come across a lovely book that is all about Rhythm.

IMG_1516My Feet Are Laughing
by Lissette Norman
pictures by Frank Morrison
published by Farrar Straus Giroux in 2006

The title itself is Rhythm to my ears! Laughing feet! Can’t you just picture it?! Feet making a Rhythm all their own?!

This is a book of poetry. Sixteen poems that give voice to the Rhythm of a young girl’s life. A Dominican American girl living in Harlem. Some of the poems are rhyming poems, some are not. But each one has a special Rhythm that flows through the words.

The first poem is called Too Much. Sadie, the young girl with the laughing feet, tells how her Aunt says that little girls should be seen and not heard, so she’s not allowed to join in when the women folk get together to laugh and tell stories. But she knows that one day they’ll want to hear her stories because she just has too much to say.

IMG_1519And she has plenty to say in these sixteen poems! About laughing feet, and little sisters who ask too many questions. About Grandmothers in Heaven and moving to Grandmother’s house with a backyard. About Mami and Pop who don’t live together anymore but are still friends. About her hair that she doesn’t want corralled because she’s afraid it won’t be able to sing. About Love – all kinds of Love. About being afraid of the dark. About being a poet – “the coolest job in the world.” About giggle jars where you store your giggles. And about dancing the merengue with Mami and little sister, Julie.

Mr Morrison’s artwork is full of Rhythm, too! You can see Sadie’s feet laughing and her hair singing! The pictures themselves are singing and dancing right off the page. Perfect for Ms Norman’s lyrical words!

I am submitting this review to The Bookshelf Gargoyle’s Small Fry Safari Readers Challenge. You can find out more about this challenge by visiting the Gargoyle’s website HERE. There are eight different categories to be fulfilled. I am entering this book in Category # 5 — A book with something that comes in pairs in the title.

For your dancing and listening pleasure, I present the “Merengue Dancing Dog!”
I DARE you not to have Laughing Feet after watching this!

Now go forth with LAUGHTER!
Your dancing friend
Rhythm
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:) World Smile Day :) 2014 :)

world smile dayToday, the first Friday in October, is World Smile Day!!! A day set aside for smiling and happiness and being kind to one another. The idea is to create a ripple effect of kindness. One person passing it on to another and another and ………..

I love ripple effects. I know that when I wag my tail at school, every person in that building feels it somehow. Awesome!

This world famous Smiley Face was created by Mr Harvey Ball in 1963. FIFTY years ago!!!! For a history of Mr Ball’s creation you can visit the Smile Day website HERE.

For my part today, I’m going to share with you a fun little smiley book –

IMG_1448Smile
by John A. Rowe
a minedition book
published by Penguin Young Readers Group in 2008

suitable for ages 3 and up

Themes – smiles, kindness, joy

It begins –
Once upon a time in a far away land there lived a king who never, ever smiled. He was called  King Grumpy.

The cover of this book features the cutest little pup with the happiest little grin. Greatness!!

But back to King Grumpy — he rules in Grumpy Land. The Queen is Grumpy and the five princes are all grumpy. Everyone in the land is grumpy. It’s a dark, dark place. Then, little Prince number six is born and chaos ensues! There is something wrong with his little face!!! Call all the doctors in the land! The pup is ill! He might be contagious!!

IMG_1450And contagious he was!! That strange thing on his face happens to be a smile! And over time it spread throughout the castle and then throughout the land. The King started smiling, then the Queen and all the little princes, then all the folks everywhere became happy! Light and Joy filled the land. Prince Smiley “reminded people how to smile again.”

Smiling IS contagious! Try it! Spread the JOY!!

Please visit the website for the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation for more ways of spreading JOY throughout the world.

Here is an inspiring little story that I came across. It will make you smile!

I have a friend, Ms Barbara Gruener, who is all about Smiles and Kindness and Spreading Joy. She has a website called Corner on Character and every post she puts out there is an inspiration and a call to spread kindness. She recently had a post about a little girl at her school who wanted to spread some of that JOY. Read the story HERE. PLEASE read the story! And then go get some sticky notes. You’ll be glad you did!

big_smiley_face_sticky_notepadYou can find some Smiley Face Sticky Notes at Cafepress HERE.

Make some of these yummy, smiley cookies! You might even think about using bacon instead of chocolate!

Smiley-Face-chocolate-chip-cookiesThe World Smile Day website has a whole list of activities and printable materials to help you celebrate this big day.

Your next stop should be to visit Susanna Hill’s blog where she keeps a list of Perfect Picture Books and lots of useful and fun resources! This post is brought to you by — Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And here’s a little song to sing you on your way! The Smiley Face Song from Mr Harvey Ball! He’s got some Rhythm!

Now go out and spread some joy!
One little SMILE at a time!
Your wagging, smiling friend
Rhythm
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A Poke in the I

My good buddy, Bruce the Bookshelf Gargoyle posed a reading challenge at the beginning of this year. He calls it the Small Fry Safari KidLit Readers Challenge. You can find out more about it HERE on his blog. There are eight categories to this challenge. I have only completed THREE of these quests! So I need to get on the ball! (I would love to do that, if I could only find it!!)

So, without further ado, I present to you a most fabulous book that I would like to serve up for category #8. A book with some form of wordplay in the title.

IMG_1404A Poke in the I
a collection of concrete poems
selected by Paul B. Janeczko
illustrated by Chris Raschka
published by Candlewick Press in 2005

This is a book that we found at my favorite shopping spot – Half-Price Books. And the book is signed by the “selector” Mr Janeczko!!!! Can you imagine giving up a fine book that has been signed by the author!!! Crazy! It is signed “To Jack and Jessie – Keep reading. Paul B Janeczko.” At least I think that is what it says. His writing is a little hard to decipher. Poor Jack and Jessie. I wonder if they themselves gave up this book or if they know what became of it. I wonder about these kinds of things.

Copy of IMG950653But on to the book!! A book of concrete poems!!! I find these types of poems most fascinating!! I have written about other concrete poem books HERE and HERE. This book is particularly fine because it is illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Mr Raschka. His quirky style is well suited for these types of poems. Concrete poems are “a selection of words arranged into a particular shape.”  They are “visual poetry.” Hence the title of this book – A Poke in the I!

IMG_1406The book contains a feast of 30 concrete poems from a number of clever poets. The book begins with a note from the editor that explains what a concrete poem is. At the end of the book there is a section that tells where all the poems came from originally and some little bits about Mr Janeczko and Mr Raschka.

This is a most fabulously unique experience of a book and I’ll stick all four feet in the air for a waving High Sixteen!! Go check it out!

You can visit Mr Janeczko’s website HERE.

Mr Raschka on illustrating Rhythmic books -
http://www.teachingbooks.net/author_collection.cgi?id=39

And Mr Janeczko with A Poke In the I

Now you may go forth and create!
But don’t poke yourself in the I!!
Your library friend
Rhythm
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