A Finder’s Magic

I was given a most fabulous gift this week. My favorite reading teacher, Mrs. Brandt, brought me a surprise from her recent vacation trip. A book. A most wondrous book. A book that she had a hard time finding, but one that she knew I would treasure. A book that she saw and then didn’t see and had to go on a hunt for. A book called A Finder’s Magic. And it happened to be magical that she found it!

IMG_0466A Finder’s Magic
by Philippa Pearce
illustrated by Helen Craig
published by Candlewick Press in 2008

It begins –
There was a boy who went to bed in despair. All night he dreamed his despair, and he woke to desperation. Then he slept again and dreamed, this time a short, strange dream. He dreamed of a garden gate and someone waiting there.

What a way to begin a tale! A boy in despair! What does this portend?

This tale has a fascinating back story. The author, Ms Pearce, who is the author of many award-winning children’s books, wrote this particular story for her grandsons, Nat and Will. (The name of the boy in the book is Tillawn, an anagram of Nat and Will.) Ms Pearce wrote the story specifically to be illustrated by Nat and Will’s other grandmother, Ms Craig. Ms Craig is an acclaimed illustrator of many children’s books. Can you imagine having TWO such grandmothers?! Well, Ms Pearce died about the time that Ms Craig began work on the illustrations for her story. So she never got to see the end result! I think that she would have liked it very much.

So, for the story — It’s the story of a boy who has lost his dog. A dog that he loves very, very, very much. That’s why he is in despair. The dog, Bess, is his best friend in the world. The love that the boy feels for Bess pours out of every page of this book. One day on their daily walk Bess somehow manages to come out of her collar and races ahead where she disappears in Gammer’s Meadow. Till, the boy, could not find her anywhere. Despair. Oh, I could feel his tears.
A strange man appears at Till’s gate and tells Till that he is a Finder and will find Bess. What follows is a fantabulous tale of magic and witches and mysterious goings-on. A detective fairy tale! I was on pins and needles through the whole book! But there is a most glorious ending that finds Till and his “Best in the Whole Wide World Dog” reunited in true bliss!

IMG_0471I am filled with Bliss that Mrs B found this magical book for me! And now here’s a second part to the story – We already had another Philippa Pearce book on our home bookshelf!

IMG_0468The Squirrel Wife
by Philippa Pearce
illustrated by Wayne Anderson
published by Candlewick Press in 2007

This is a lovely, lovely fairy tale about two brothers who are swineherds living at the edge of a deep, dark forest. The forest is inhabited by “the green people”, fairy people who can only be seen by moonlight and who are greatly feared by everyone outside of the forest. But one evening during a storm, the good brother, Jack, heard a voice in the woods crying for help. He could not resist the cry and ventured into the forest where he found a little green man in great distress. Jack helped him back to his family who were so grateful that they rewarded Jack with a magical ring that would bring to Jack a magical wife.

IMG_0469This is a great fairy tale about bravery and doing the right thing. About the rewards of good deeds. About judging and misjudging people without truly knowing who they really are. It’s a picture book with a lot of words. But it’s well worth the read. And the illustrations are beautiful. The story has given me a whole new perspective on all these squirrels that run around the 7 Acre Wood. I am seeing them in a new light.

Both of these books are fairy tales, but not retellings of old tales. They are new tales from the inventive mind of Ms Pearce that take you back to an old time. I think she must have had an old soul.

Find out about the Phillipa Pearce Memorial Lecture HERE.

I’ll sign off with a commercial break –

Take care of the ones that you love –
And NEVER give up on them!
Your friend
Rhythm
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Dogs in the Bed

I have a lot of choices for bedtime comfort at my house. There are dog beds in every room. The living room, the kitchen, by the computer desk, and TWO beds in the actual bedroom.

But the BEST place to sleep is in the human bed. Yes, my people allow dogs on the bed. At least me. I’m the first dog to ever be allowed on the bed at this house. And I am surely appreciative of this privilege.

IMG_0450At the library this week we read a fine little book about dogs in bed –

IMG_0296DOGS on the BED
by Elizabeth Bluemle
illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
published by Candlewick Press in 2008

I would like to present this book as an entry in the Small Fry Safari Readers Challenge put together by The Bookshelf Gargoyle. This book fits category #2 – A book with a piece of furniture in the title. You can find out more about this challenge and see all the entries by visiting Bruce the Gargoyle HERE.

Now back to the book! This is a “rollicking, rhyming romp!” My readers had a fun time reading this one. Hilarious laughter all around! Mom and the two kids are headed to bed for a night time storybook. And all the dogs want to come, too. (I can relate to that!)

There are dogs on the bed
Like logs on the bed
Bed hogs on the bed —-
These dogs, these dogs!

IMG_0309 IMG_0300 IMG_0302 IMG_0305These folks have a LOT of dogs! All shapes and sizes. And they are all squirmy, wormy all over the bed. Then Dad comes in to join the story time and he shoos all the dogs off the bed! (Echoes of my Dad person!) The dogs are quite unhappy and make sad faces and cry and howl and go on the prowl. They all want to go out, so Mom lets them out. Then they want right back in. The family is now sleeping – all in the bed and the dogs pile on. Pushing and shoving and shedding and drooling – the family ends up on the floor! It’s COLD on the floor and the family decides that dogs are pretty good at warming things up – so the kids go off to their beds with some of the dogs and Mom and Dad bring some with them back to bed. And EVERYONE gets a good night’s sleep!

Where do your dogs like to sleep? The Dogzilla pup has to sleep in her crate. She would much prefer the bed with me and the humans. Walker likes to be on his own bed with his sleeping buddy. Sometimes he likes being in his crate. And sometimes in the middle of the night he sneaks up on the bed with us. That makes things rather cozy.

The NY Times had an interesting article about pets in bed with their humans. You can read it HERE.

Barkpost has a nice little article with 11 of the greatest dog beds in history. You can check it out HERE.

dog bedNow THIS looks like a fine bed!!

dogs on the bedI wish you a good night’s sleep!
Rhythm
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Pigs to the Rescue

I think that my life has gone to the pigs. I got involved in my buddy, Bacon’s “Blast From the Past, Show and Tell” event this weekend. If you’ve never met Bacon, he is a very fine pig fellow who posts some very funny stuff. You can visit him at the Hotel Thompson HERE if you’d like. And then this week at the library, my reading buddies picked out this book -

IMG_0358Pigs to the Rescue
by John Himmelman
published Henry Holt and Co. in 2010

Now right off from the cover you can tell that these pigs are going to be nothing but trouble. You can tell a lot by a book’s cover. This cover tells you the whole story without even opening up the pages! And that’s why my boys picked this one. They knew that this one was going to be a crazy romp! And they were right!!

Farmer Greenstalk and his family have the darndest luck. The tractor breaks down, the water hose springs a leak, a kite gets stuck in a tree, the rooster can’t crow. But never fear! The pigs are here!!! To the rescue!! They are very enthusiastic helpers, but as you might imagine they only make matters worse. What’s a family to do?! Well, you’ll have to check this one out to find out! We read this book TWICE, it was so funny!

Mr Himmelman has written like a million books. Lots of silly ones like this pig book. There’s Chickens to the Rescue and Cows to the Rescue and Duck to the Rescue!!! He has also written a whole bunch of nature books. He has a great website that I would advise you to visit. Just click HERE. You can find out all about ALL of his books and watch some cool videos and all kinds of stuff. Go THERE now!

And here’s a story about a pig who really did come to the rescue! Lulu the pig saved her Mom when Mom had a heart attack! Check it out HERE!

And MORE pigs to the rescue! HERE are some pigs who eat up poisonous acorns to save ponies!

I think pigs are pretty awesome! What do you think? Do you know any pigs?

I wish you a very lucky day!
Your library friend
Rhythm
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“A Blast From the Past”

My pig buddy, Bacon, is doing a special post on his blog today – Show and Tell. He asked all his friends to do a post about our favorite toys from our childhood. The Mom Person and I have been going down memory lane this weekend looking at pictures of my puppyhood. I was kind of a toy crazy pup, but I had a couple of favorites that I’m going to Show you and Tell you about.

This was my pony. It was one of my very first toys that was waiting for me when I arrived in Texas. I carried it with me everywhere. And I still have it today! 11 years later!

IMG_0352In the 11 years that Pony has been in my care, he has lost his brains along with his voice, and he just recently lost an arm to the Dogzilla pup. But he is still quite cuddly. I let him play with Dogzilla now and again. She likes him a lot, but is not quite so careful about him. I have to supervise their playtimes.

My other favorite toy in my younger days was an Orbee Ball from Planet Dog. My Mom Person had some tough dogs living with her – dogs who could chew through anything. She read a write up about Orbee balls that said someone had mowed over one with their lawnmower and didn’t even nick it! She decided that we needed Orbee Balls at the 7 Acre Wood! And that story about them proved to be true! They are tough as can be! My original Orbee is no where to be found these days. I think that it is probably somewhere out in those woods. But we have a couple of replacements that are just as fine. One even glows in the dark!

IMG_0349If you have pets or kids who are hard on their toys, you might want to try an Orbee. You can find them at Planet Dog HERE.

So there you have it! My Show and Tell, Blast from the Past, Favorite toys. Now you might want to visit Bacon over at his blog,Piglove! You might find some other fun toys from the past that might take you down memory lane!

Have fun remembering!
your friend and her Pony

Rhythm
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Wolves

wolfSomewhere way back on my genetic tree I am related to wolves. Those wild, misunderstood, much maligned (big word!) canines. Canis Lupis. Wolves. Some people say that dogs, Canis lupis familiaris, still have the brain and instincts of wolves. I don’t know about that. I’m a dog, not a wolf, and I’m quite proud and happy with that fact. I have no desire to hunt small critters. I don’t want to sleep outside in the cold. I’m quite happy working for and taking care of my humans and letting them provide me with all that I need. They do a good job of that. I like having a relationship with these humans. I find them fascinating creatures. Endlessly entertaining. For me, life is all about that relationship. For me,  life is good.

At the library this week, we read a book about wolves.

IMG_0249Wolves
by Emily Gravett
published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers in 2006
the book was originally published in Great Britain in 2005 by Macmillan Children’s Books
This is a fiction book, but it has some good facts about wolves.

This was an interesting twist on a book about wolves. It begins with a rabbit. A rabbit who goes to the library and checks out a book about wolves. The reader gets to read the book with the rabbit. Pretty clever. Our reading kids thought it was pretty funny. We see a fat, cute bunny with scary, gnarly wolves looking over his shoulder! But we learned a lot about wolves. Wolves live in packs and can live just about anywhere. At the Arctic circle where it’s frighteningly cold, on the edges of towns, and in the forests. They have really sharp claws! Yikes! My Mom Person keeps my claws nice and trim so I don’t go around scratching folks. Those wolf claws are a nightmare! Wolves have bushy tails and dense fur with fleas and ticks. Ewwww. I have dense fur to keep me from getting waterlogged and cold when I’m swimming. And occasionally my fur has harbored a flea or two. Wolves have BIG teeth! Much bigger than dogs. And very powerful jaws. That’s for crunching critters in the wild.

IMG_0248And the big question for our little cute rabbit is — What do wolves eat? Ahhhh, yes. What do they eat? I wouldn’t eat a rabbit. Not one with fur on it. But would a wolf? You’ll have to read the book and see. I will tell you that a collected GASP! came from my reading buddies.

This was a pretty cute book. All my readers liked it and we even read it a second time just to study the pictures a little more.

Wolves was Ms Gravett’s 1st published book and it got it’s start as a school project. In 2005 Wolves was the recipient of the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Nestle Children’s Book Prize.

Ms Gravett is a fascinating young lady – you can find out more about her HERE and HERE.

A rather nice interview with Ms Gravett can be found at Kids’ Book Review HERE.

You can find out more about wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center HERE.

the Barkpost has an article with a list of differences between dogs and wolves. Interesting.
Psychology Today
has an interesting article about differences as well.

And here is a fascinating video about how wolves affect the world around them -

I wish you a howling good weekend!
Your wolf cousin
Rhythm
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World Giraffe Day

world giraffe daySaturday, June 21, the longest day of the year, has been designated as World Giraffe Day. A day to raise awareness of giraffe conservation. You can find out more at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation HERE.

Giraffes are pretty unique creatures. They have very long necks, even though they have the same number of vertebrae as a human person. Those bones are just really big! And even though those necks are really long, they’re too short to reach the ground!!

We have a facility here in Glen Rose, Tx called Fossil Rim Wildlife Center that is devoted to the conservation and preservation of endangered animals. It is a drive through park where you can see various animals in a natural environment. There are giraffes at Fossil Rim that will come visit you in your car. Giraffes are not on the endangered list, but their populations are unstable and are a concern. Fossil Rim is involved with the Species Survival Plan for giraffes and keeps a breeding herd. I did a post about Fossil Rim some time ago. You can check it out HERE.

So, in honor of World Giraffe Day, I have a beautiful book for you -

IMG_0254Zeraffa Giraffa
by Dianne Hofmeyr
illustrated by Jane Ray
published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books in 2014
this is a historical fiction book suitable for K and up

This is an incredibly beautiful book. Exquisitely detailed watercolors and a Rhythmic, lyrical text turn the tale of a small giraffe’s journey into magic. In 1824, a Great Pasha in Egypt decided to send a gift to the King of France. His choice for the perfect gift was a giraffe. Hunters were sent out to capture a baby. A young man was assigned as the baby’s caretaker. A journey to Paris was planned.

IMG_0255Zeraffa traveled by boat up the Nile river, across the Mediterranean Sea, up the coast to Marseilles, France. People in Europe had never seen a giraffe before! Zeraffa made for quite a spectacle and people came from far and wide to see her. After their long boat ride, the giraffe and her caretaker, Atir,  had to WALK 550 miles to get to Paris!! The entire trip took 2 1/2 years! That’s one long trip!! Whew! At the end of this book is a factual, historical write up of the story. You must check this book out!

And to go along with the picture book about Zeraffa, there is a non-fiction, adult type version as well.

img003Zarafa
A Giraffe’s True Story, from Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris
by Michael Allin
published by Walker and Co. in 1998

My Mom Person read this one to me long ago. It is a truly fascinating tale. You can listen to an NPR interview with Mr Allin HERE.

You might also be able to find this interesting tale of raising a giraffe in Africa -

img005The home of the Melville’s in Kenya where they raised Daisy and established a giraffe sanctuary was turned into a hotel where you can stay and breakfast with giraffes! You can find out more about it HERE.

Another fun book about giraffes, with lots of interesting facts and information is

img004I hope that you can find a way to celebrate World Giraffe Day. If you happen to be in Texas you can come out to Fossil Rim and learn all about giraffes and even feed some! If you can’t make it to Fossil Rim, I’ll bet your local zoo might have some giraffes to visit. And grab one of these books and get carried away!

For your viewing pleasure –

Enjoy your weekend! and feed a giraffe! Or go view a giraffe. Or draw a giraffe. Or write a poem about a giraffe. Or pretend you’re a giraffe.

Your library friend on safari
Rhythm
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What’s a Liebster?

Ms Lorian Lipton at DogDaz (a blog all about life with her dogs Louise and Sofie and their cats – the Zoo) has honored me with an award!!! A Liebster Award!

liebsteraward_3lilapplesNow, I’m not sure exactly what a Liebster is so I looked it up. It seems that Liebster means beloved. That’s a nice thing. I also found a couple of fine ladies who put a lot of time and energy into researching the origins of this award. You might want to visit Lorraine Reguly at Wording Well and Sopphey Vance at Sopphey Says to find out more about the history and the rules. Basically it’s a way to connect with kind of new blogs or blogs without a big readership. A way to connect. That’s the key!

One of the rules of this award is that I have to answer some questions posed by Ms Lipton. So here goes!

1. What is your favorite hiding place?
I guess that depends on how you interpret that question. I like to hide my tennis ball under the bookcase or under a storage chest. My humans have a hard time finding them there.

IMG_4068I like to hide myself behind the curtains by the big glass window/doors. Then I can watch the world outside and no one can see me.

IMG_30672. If you could talk to your Human for 5 minutes in their language, what would you say?
That’s an easy one! My Mom Person and I speak the same language! We talk all the time! She’s a pretty good listener. The Dad Person speaks pretty good dog as well. He plays a good game of hide and seek!

3. What is your most favorite food?
I don’t know that I have a favorite. I am rather fond of french fries and banana chips.

IMG_24814. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
There’s no place like home!!!!

IMG_49765. Do you have a hero?
I think that my Mom Person is my greatest hero and my biggest fan. She’s my Wonder Woman!

img0026. Do you have a bedtime?
HA! That’s a funny one! I wish I had a bedtime. I wish the Mom Person had a bedtime. I have a hard time getting her to go to bed so that I can get some good sleep.

7. What makes you laugh?
Life makes me laugh! :D Except when the Mom Person up and leaves. :( But then JOY, JOY when she returns!!!  :D Life is Good!

IMG_44378. What do you do that makes others laugh?
It seems that most everything I do makes people laugh! I guess I’m a real comedienne!

IMG_02969. Does anything scare you?
Snakes!!!!

IMG_0161
10. Do you know how to dance?
Do I know how to dance?! My name is Rhythm! Yes! I can sing and dance – and I love to sing and dance!  :)

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Now the rules say that I am supposed to nominate 10 blogs to pass this award on to. But it’s hard to choose. So what I’d like to do instead is ask you to comment after this post and tell me some random fact about yourself. Then visit Ms Lipton and her little Zoo by clicking HERE.

Then look over at my sidebar and find the section that lists Friends in the Neighborhood and stop in to visit some of these folks. They are all good, friendly folks. You might find some humans and you might find some canines. It will be a treasure hunt!

Thank you Ms Lipton for including me amongst the beloved! I certainly love visiting your zoo!

I wish you a week full of beloved friends and family!

img219Your Liebster friend
Rhythm
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The Adventures of a Chicken

IMG_0010

We recently got some new baby chicks. They came in the mail. Little baby chicks chirping in the box. It must have been quite an adventure for these tiny things. I wonder what they were thinking in that box. With my big eyes and nose staring at them.

I happen to like chickens. (I like to EAT chicken!) But right now I’m talking about real live chickens that chirp and squawk and have feathers. Feathers do not taste good.

IMG_0011

I like to watch real live chickens strutting around and doing their pecking  and digging  and flapping. I find them amusing. I often lay in the shade of a nice tree and watch them scratching around in the dirt or chasing a grasshopper and I wonder what kinds of things they might dream about. What kinds of imaginations can be found in those tiny brains?

There happens to be an amusing little book by Kate DiCamillo about a chicken with a big imagination.

IMG_0129Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken
by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Harry Bliss
published by Joanna Cotler Books
(an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers)
in 2008
Fiction

Suitable for 1st grade and up

Themes – chickens, adventure, “There’s no place like home.”

Louise is a plump white chicken with big eyes and a big imagination. She looks like any other chicken on her farm. But she happens to have a real longing for some adventure. So one day she heads out in search of some. She finds LOTS of adventure. Maybe more than she bargains for. She has a scary time on a pirate ship, a heart stopping adventure with a circus, and a narrow escape from an exotic bazaar. Through all of her adventures she exhibits great naivete and is blessed with the greatest of luck! She also finds that she misses her cozy home and longs for her sister hens.

IMG_0131This was a really fun, swash-buckling book to read! It’s a big picture book with 56 pages. And it has chapters! Four! Each adventure is a new chapter. It also has some interesting words like fricasse and auditions and aerialist and “mon cheri” and mundane and coq au vin. There is some violence and some scary moments that make your heart beat a little faster. This story is anything but mundane! And it is hilarious! My readers loved it! We loved the story and the illustrations. Ms DiCamillo and Mr Bliss are quite an incredible duo!

My reader kids talked about what kinds of adventures they would have if they could. They all liked the idea of pirate ships. One wanted to go diving in the ocean with sharks! One wanted to race cars and one wanted to go on a safari. No one thought that they were brave enough to just leave home and go find adventure all on their own. They all thought Louise was very brave to do that. I just thought she was a little crazy.

There is an interesting interview with Ms DiCamillo on the Amazon page for this book. Visit it HERE. You’ll have to scroll down the page to find the interview.

Harper Collins has some teacher activities HERE.

Kids could make a paper plate chicken like these –

and take them on some adventures!

I leave you with a little entertainment – (I think that this is what my chickens do at night) –

Now skip on over to Susanna Hill’s blog HERE to check out the list of Perfect Picture Books that she keeps. You could make a reading adventure of it!!!!!

Be safe in all your adventures!
Your chicken loving friend
Rhythm

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Thunderstorm

DSCN0171Whew! We just had quite the exciting Monday morning! It was raining cats and dogs here. I was waiting for tennis balls to drop from the sky, but no such luck.  :(  It was quite nasty outside. The wind was howling, the thunder was barking, and the lightening was tearing up the sky. And the Mom Person was dancing and singing Yahooooo!!

We happen to have the PERFECT Book for a day like this! ANOTHER Arthur Geisert book!!

IMG_0183Thunderstorm
by Arthur Geisert
published by Enchanted Lion Books in 2013

This is another fascinating Arthur Geisert masterpiece! An incredible amount of detail is found in his hand colored etchings. The “story” follows a thunderstorm as it moves across the farmlands, almost minute by minute, throughout the afternoon and into the evening. We see all the havoc that is wrought on the landscape by this terrible storm. Lightening strikes and wind and even a tornado! We see the farmers trying to prepare for the coming storm and we see all the little critters in their burroughs under the ground and in the trees. Soooo many raccoons!!!! Aaacckkk! One thing that struck me while studying the pictues is that none of the people seemed at all distressed by all that was going on around them. They seemed to be just taking it all in stride. And after the storm moved on, all the neighbors gathered together to help out with clean up and repairs. There are no words in this book other than notations at the bottom of pages telling the time. And no words are needed!

IMG_0184For more about Mr Geisert and the making of Thunderstorm visit HERE.

And an NPR story about the book HERE.

Now Mr Geisert welcomes you to his studio! This video is a little long, but very amusing.

I wish you clear skies and bright mornings!
Your library friend
Rhythm
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