Changing of the Guard

or the pup, as the case may be. Yes, our dear Dogzilla, Electra, has gone off to college and a new pup has taken her place. It seemed to be a traumatic event for my Mom Person. She sometimes can be so emotional. But I don’t mind providing the needed comfort. We did have some good times with that crazy pup. I have to admit she was quite entertaining.

For the week before they all went off to Florida there were lots of tears flowing. For that crazy pup!!! But from what I hear, Ms Electra proved to be quite the champ on the trip. My friend, Sarah, at Dr Bruton’s office had a talk with her on our last visit there. I don’t know what exactly was said, but it must have made an impression on Electra. I’m glad she didn’t make a fool of herself.

So Electra is now off to the kennels with a new roommate to lay on. She’ll be getting some top notch schooling and I think that she will probably enjoy that. She always really liked school. Hooray for Electra! And Hooray for us!!

And now there’s a new pup in town. Her name is Marni. My Mom Person puts a lot of stock in names. Names are important. I don’t know what Marni means. It sounds kind of like a flower to me. I seem to remember that there is a movie called Marnie. That Marnie was a liar and a thief. Hmmmm. Maybe I should find a good place to hide my tennis balls. I’ll try to keep that vision of a flower in mind. I must say that Marnie’s Mom did a better job of teaching her some manners than did Ms Electra’s. Marni is pretty flighty like Electra, but much more polite about it. She’s more of a Sparky than an Electra.

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So now it starts all over again. Ah me. Well, maybe now we can get back to bookish things.

If you are at all interested in more of this tale of pups you can visit HERE.

Wishing you the JOY of new adventures!
Your friend
Rhythm
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When Pigasso Met Mootisse

My big little brother, Walker, is a pretty laid-back, unassuming kind of fellow. Rather quiet. A listener rather than a talker. I’ve never, ever heard him bark. Whine and snore, but never bark. He happens to be an artist. An artist of great renown around these parts. He paints abstract things using his tail and his feet and puts all his happy thoughts into his work. On occasion he has done exhibitions at school and art club meetings and once at the hospital.

I have talked about Walker and his painting before. You might remember. Or might not. You can see more HERE and HERE and HERE.

boys and walker may2011 011Sometimes when he visits a classroom he takes some art books with him to share and encourage some artsy conversation. We recently came across a great book by Ms Nina Laden (who wrote the great book The Night I Followed the Dog)!!!

IMG_2416When Pigasso met Mootisse
by Nina Laden
published by Chronicle Books in 1998

a fiction book suitable for kindergarten and up

Themes – art, friendship, conflict resolution

It begins –
There once was a young pig named Pigasso. While the other piglets rolled in the mud and played games, Pigasso painted. He painted anything and everything, and in a most unusual way.

This is a tale of two artists – a pig named Pigasso who painted in a “most unusual way” and a bull named Mootisse who painted “big, bold, bright pictures.” They both became very famous in their communities. (Much like my Walker.) They became art superstars and everyone wanted their paintings and their photographs and all that stuff that seems to come with being famous. They both decided they needed to get away and find a peaceful place to paint. They ended up finding farms right across the street from each other!!! And they became good friends.

IMG_2417But after awhile they started getting in fights over their work! Criticizing and complaining and calling each other names. (I’ve seen friends at school do this to each other. A very sad thing. :( ) They put up a fence right down the middle of their road! Silly artists. Then they began to miss each other. They got lonely. But they were pig-headed and bull-headed and couldn’t bring themselves to kiss and make up. But they did resolve the problem in a most unique way! With paint! Artwork really can speak volumes. And you will have to SEE how they resolved their differences when you check out this book!!!

This tale is kind of a caricature of two REAL artists – Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse and at the end of the book there is a brief biography of these two. I’ve seen quite a bit about Mr Matisse in the media lately with books like henris scissors and

matisse. Those would be some good books to read along with this one.

After reading a bit the kids in the class got to do some painting of their own! They did some fingerpainting, kind of like Walker, and kind of like Mr Pigasso and Mr Mootisse!!

IMG_2336They sure had a great time!!!! And I don’t think there was any fighting!

For a list of PERFECT PICTURE BOOKS and accompanying resources please visit Ms Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE!

Now it’s your turn! Go out this weekend and let your feelings fly! Paint a masterpiece!!
Your tail waggin’ friend
Rhythm
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Madam President!

WooHoo!!! It’s President’s Day!!! I don’t have a big sale going on. I’m not even going to any sales. Although I could use some new tennis balls. Oh, I do dream! Anyway, I’m celebrating this big day with a book!!! A book about a President!! Well, it’s really about a girl, much like me, who dreams. She dreams about what life as the President would be like!!

I present to you —

IMG_2392Madam President
by Lane Smith
published by Hyperion Books for Children in 2008

It begins –
A president has many duties.

Well, of course they do!!! Many important duties – like “executive orders to give!” And “lunches to approve!” (I can do that!) And “babies to kiss!” (I can do that too!!) They must “choose a capable cabinet.”

IMG_2395(I have a very nice cabinet, full of very capable toys!) A president must have “her own theme song!” (I’m all about music and Rhythm, right?!) And “keep her head in a crisis!!!!” (Well, I don’t believe I’ve ever lost my head.) And a president must lead by example. (I certainly do that!)

IMG_5525I could be President! Easy Peasy!! But I think I kind of like the job I have, for now. And I like this book – a lot! Girls dreaming of being the president. The most important person in the world! Anything is possible! And that’s what this book is all about. Dreams and Possibilities.

Kid President isn’t a girl. But he does have Dreams –

Dream BIG!
Your friend dreaming of tennis balls
Rhythm
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Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day!

The schools here recently celebrated their 100th Day. I don’t know if this is a universal school celebration or what, but I find it to be a fun day. The kids get all excited about it and spend the whole first half of the school year in high anticipation. It’s remarkable!

We happened to visit a kindergarten class a couple of days before the BIG DAY and boy! were those kids and teachers revved up!! The big talk was all about what they were going to bring or wear in honor of the BIG DAY. 100 coins, 100 cookies, 100 cars, 100 ribbons in their hair. I have a couple of necklaces that I can choose from to wear if I happen to be at school on that 100th Day. A necklace with 100 jingle bells and one with 100 bookmarks.

On this day that we were at school, before the Day 100, they were doing lots of counting. Practicing. Getting ready. Anticipating. We read a fun book from one of my favorite illustrators -

IMG_2359Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten
by Joseph Slate
illustrated by Ashley Wolff
published by Scholastic, Inc in 1999
originally published by Dutton Children’s Books in 1998

Theme – the 100th Day

Suitable for anyone counting to 100!!

It begins –
“Tomorrow we celebrate,” says Miss Bindergarten, “the 100th day of kindergarten.”

There are several books about Miss Bindergarten in Kindergarten. She’s my kind of teacher!! Literally!! She’s a real Dog!! This is a fun one about Miss Bindergarten and her class getting ready for that 100th Day. It’s a counting book, a kind of how-to book of suggestions, and an alphabet book! Whew! So much going on!! We read it with the whole class, but I think it would be better read one on one. There is just too much going on in those illustrations!! You need to be able to spend more time on each page!

IMG_2360So, it’s the night before Day 100 and all the kids are getting their 100 things ready. We get to meet each student ALPHABETICALLY!!! From Adam to Brenda to Christopher all the way to Xavier and Yolanda and Zachary! And while the kids are all getting ready, Miss Bindergarten is, too!!! Shopping and baking and crafting and decorating. Boy, is she one busy teacher!!!!! And boy! Are those kids going to have one FUN-HUNDRED Day!!!!!

This book is chock full of ideas for teachers and students both! It is a resource in and of itself!! It should be in every classroom!! Reading this book and thinking of all the 100 things and doing all the counting made my head spin! I can count to 3 pretty good, but anything after that just puts me to sleep.

IMG_2361I hope that wherever you are, you get to celebrate the number 100! And if you have already, I hope it was a good one!!

This happens to be Friday – Perfect Picture Book Friday – as celebrated over at Ms Susanna Hill’s blog. You might want to visit her HERE and check out all the other books on today’s list!

This is not my class – I don’t know these kids, but this could be my class!! This is what my day looked like!! Just check out that Rhythm!!

I wish you a “wonderful, one-hundred-full day!!”
Your counting friend
Rhythm
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Edmund Pickle Chin

I’ve got a fun little book to share with you today!! It’s a true story about a lucky little donkey who was rescued from a bad place and carried off to a wonderful place called Evermay Farm. Evermay Farm is a Heart Place that was established by Susan April Elwood to provide a safe, happy home for abused animals. This lucky little donkey was the first of many to arrive.

IMG_2271Edmund Pickle Chin
A Donkey Rescue Story
by Clara Bowman-Jahn and Susan April Elwood
illustrated by Lynne Bendoly
published by eTreasures Publishing in 2014

based on a True Story!

It begins
The frightened donkey snorted and shivered.
Whenever anyone came near him, he would back away. Not so long ago he was treated poorly and he was confused.

We took this book to school with us and my readers fell in love with Edmund Pickle Chin. Is that not a funny name?! It seems to fit him though. The kids liked that this tale was based on a true story about a real donkey. Ryan particularly liked the cover with that happy donkey face, and wanted to read it himself to the class.

Copy of IMG_2300That was certainly alright by me!!!! And he did a fine job with it, too! This is the story of Edmund Pickle Chin and his transition from shy, scared, confused donkey to happy, self-assured ambassador for the farm. It took a lot of time and patience for Ms Elwood to win his trust. But she seems to be filled with love and patience. Ryan is a farm boy and he knows about patience and earning the trust of an animal. When other animals started arriving at Evermay, Edmund knew how to make them feel welcome. The kids really liked how kind Edmund was, taking care of the goats and rabbits and ponies that came to live with him. This is a story all about big hearts and being kind.

IMG_2273We really liked the illustrations. That Edmund sure has a winning smile!! At the end of the book there are a few real pictures of the real Edmund and some of his friends at Evermay Farm. You can find out more about Evermay Farm at their website HERE.

One of the authors, Ms Clara Bowman-Jahn has a fine blog of her own that you can visit HERE. She does book reviews and writer talk. You might want to go visit!

You can find out more about the illustrator, Lynne Bendoly, HERE on Ms Bowman-Jahn’s blog.

Did you know that donkeys are used as guard animals to take care of sheep and goats? There are lots of sheep and goats around where I live and most of those herds have donkeys that stay with them and watch out for predators like coyotes and mountain lions. We have some donkeys that live with our neighbors and visit us over our fence. They don’t have any sheep or goats. Just us to visit with.

IMG_2387Here’s a little lesson all about donkeys –

Spread some kindness today and keep smiling!
Your wagging, smiling friend
Rhythm
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Winnie

You are probably familiar with a bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. I have grown up with Mr Pooh Bear. My family are all great fans. I, myself, think that he is the greatest philosopher that ever lived! Or didn’t live. Whatever. He is one wise bear!

IMG_2366Well, did you know that the Winnie-the-Pooh in the books was inspired by a real life bear? And did you know that there is a book about this real life bear?! Well, My Mom Person, bless her heart, has presented me with a copy of this book as an early Valentine gift! Isn’t that something?!

IMG_2369WINNIE
The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
by Sally M. Walker
illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss

published by Henry Holt & Co. in 2015

a non-fiction picture book suitable for anyone who loves Winnie-the-Pooh!

themes – Winnie-the-pooh, bears, animal rescue, military, World War I

It begins –
When Harry Colebourn looked out of the train window, he couldn’t believe what he saw: a bear at the station! The train’s stop would be short, but Harry had to get off and see the bear for himself.

Harry is a young soldier going off to training camp in Quebec during World War I. He is also a veterinarian and will be with the veterinary corps taking care of horses. The bear is a small brown orphaned cub that is up for sale. Harry buys the bear for $20.00 and hops back on the train taking the little thing with him. He names the bear Winnipeg because that’s where his company is from and Winnie becomes the company mascot. She goes everywhere with the soldiers and even sleeps under Harry’s cot!

IMG_2371When the war across the Atlantic starts to get worse, Harry’s company has to ship out to England. Winnie ships out with them. But when the war continues to get worse and the company is called to the front lines in France, Harry decides to leave Winnie with the London Zoo. She was so sweet and friendly that she soon became a favorite with London kids. One in particular, a young lad named Christopher Robin, was particularly taken with the little bear, so his father, Mr A.A. Milne, took him often to visit. Christopher Robin decided to rename his own Edward Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh. And the rest is history, as they say!

A special bonus in this book is the endpapers. They are real photographs of Harry and Winnie and Christopher Robin and Mr Milne. Fantastic!! At the end of the book is a kind of epilogue about Harry and Winnie after the war and a bibliography and links to some interesting videos.

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Winnie was an American Black Bear. You can find out more about black bears HERE and HERE.

After reading this book about Winnie, the natural thing to do would be to read some Winnie-the-Pooh. And not those Disney books. The REAL Winnie-the-Pooh!

And to help you get in the mood here is Mr Milne himself reading from his very own book!

Now you might want to venture over to Ms Susanna Hill’s blog to check out today’s list of Perfect Picture Books. You’ll be glad you did!!!

 May you have a tiddly-pom weekend full of wonder!
Your friend
Rhythm
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Safe and Sound

Yesterday was National Seeing Eye Dog Day. We celebrated this day by visiting a third grade classroom and educating them a bit about guide dogs. Most of the kids in Glen Rose know something about working dogs from knowing me and Walker. They all know our tales of being guide dog pups in training. All the kids who knew me as a pup have moved on to college now. I’m into another bunch of young folks altogether! New ones to educate.

Copy of IMG_1536So we took Electra along in her official coat that says she’s a guide dog pup. We took her coat off while in the classroom so the kids could pet. No petting allowed when in coat! Just like a working dog in harness! NO PETTING! And we took a great little book about a working guide dog to help us tell our tale.

IMG_2353Safe and Sound
by Beth Finke
illustrated by Anthony Alex LeTourneau
published by Blue Marlin Publications in 2007

Theme – Guide dogs

This book is suitable for all ages, young and old. 3rd grade was perfect!

It begins –
Look at me! See the harness strapped to my back? I’m called a Seeing Eye dog. The harness is my uniform, and whenever I’m wearing it, I’m working. I guide my partner, Beth, where she needs to go.

This is Hanni’s story of her job keeping Beth safe in a world full of obstacles. Traffic, crowds of people, holes in the sidewalk, garbage cans, tree branches. Whew!!! It’s a crazy world out there and a guide dog must be ever vigilant!

IMG_2356This book presents a great picture of what it’s like to be a working dog. It’s about the job at hand, but the story is also about the relationship between Beth and Hanni. How they had to learn to trust each other because both their lives depended on that trust. How that trust was the foundation for a deep love. It’s a lovely tale.

At the end of the book there are some factual notes from Hanni about her life from pup to working guide dog. And some notes from Beth about how she became blind from juvenile diabetes and what life is like as a blind person.

There is also a list of references for further reading.
This book is also available in Braille. To learn more about Braille visit this website HERE. You might learn how to write your name in Braille!

The Learning to Give website has some good ideas for ways to use this book in a classroom. You can visit them HERE.

We had a great discussion in our classroom about how working dogs help their handlers. What senses the dogs use to do their job. You could let kids pretend they were blind and try to maneuver around the classroom. And then let someone else be their guide dog.

If there is a guide dog school near you, you might pay them a visit. Maybe even volunteer! Southeastern Guide Dogs has puppy hugging days. And volunteers come in to walk the dogs that are in training. You can find a list of guide dog schools HERE. This is the website for the National Federation for the Blind. You can find out more about blindness there as well.

For more about juvenile diabetes visit HERE.

This is PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY. For a list of more Perfect Picture Books visit Ms Susanna Hill’s blog – you’ll be glad you did!!

A guide dog faces all kinds of obstacles! –

Have a Safe and Sound weekend!!!
Your friend
Rhythm
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National Seeing Eye Dog Day

img431Today, January 29, is National Seeing Eye Dog Day. A day to recognize the JOY that is a working guide dog. A seeing eye dog becomes the eyes for someone who cannot see. They become an unbeatable team!

Michael Jernigan_Brittani-web

Michael Jernigan and his guide dog Brittani

It all started with a serendipitous intertwining of a few forward thinking individuals. A lot of veterans came away from the terror that was World War I, blinded and in need of assistance. A school was set up in Germany to train German Shepherd Dogs to assist these veterans. An American lady, Ms Dorothy Eustis, happened to be in Switzerland and learned about this German school. She was so impressed that in 1927 she wrote an article for “The Saturday Evening Post” about these “seeing eye dogs.” And she began her own training school. In America, a blind man, Mr Morris Frank was read the article by his father and he decided that a seeing eye dog was just what he needed! He contacted Ms Eustis to see if he could come train with her and receive one of her dogs. He promised to come back to the United States and teach others.

morris-frank-and-buddy-2In 1928 Buddy, the German Shepherd, became the first seeing eye dog in the United States and Mr Frank was the first blind person in the US to use a seeing eye dog! And in 1929 The Seeing Eye Guide Dog School was established in Nashville, Tennesseee. In 1966 the school moved to its present location, Morristown, New Jersey. It is the oldest existing guide dog school in the US.

I came from a Guide Dog school, myself. Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Florida.

img338That ultimately was not my destiny, but we stay connnected to the school and continue to raise pups for them. Our little Dogzilla, Electra, is one such pup. And we also like to educate folks about guide dogs.

jolly last day 004This is our friend Mr Allen Preston and his guide dog Jolly doing a presentation at our school. Jolly was a pup that we raised for Southeastern Guide Dogs and ultimately for Mr Preston.

For more information about Guide Dogs visit The National Association of Guide Dog Users website HERE.

For more information about blindness visit the National Federation of the Blind website HERE.

To find out what day to day life is like for a working guide dog team visit Jo and Wiley at their blog Daily Life of a Guide Dog HERE.

Find out more about Michael Jernigan HERE and HERE.

And here is Mr Morris Frank in his own words —

I hope that you will do a little research today and learn what you can about Seeing Eye Dogs and the kind of difference they make in a blind person’s life.

Wishing you a day of thankful independence!
Your friend
Rhythm
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Latke, the Lucky Dog

I’m a pretty lucky dog. I have a nice home and a lovable family that I live with. I have several nice, comfy beds and lots of toys to choose from. I get fed pretty regularly with plenty of snacks to go along with meals. I have a fine job where I get to visit with lots of great folks. Life is pretty good, I’d say.

I hear that some dogs are not so lucky. Some dogs don’t have nice homes and families. I’ve never come across one of these dogs, but I hear the stories. One of the books I received in the mail recently is about a lucky dog who didn’t have a home, but then found one!! This book was sent to me from Ms Sue Heavenrich. You might want to visit her at her blog home HERE. It’s a pretty nice place to visit!

IMG_2279Latke, the Lucky Dog
by Ellen Fischer
illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
published by Kar-Ben Publishing in 2014

 Latke is a shelter dog, which means he lives in a kennel with lots of other dogs – all waiting for someone to come visit and decide that “THIS pup is the one for ME”!!! For Latke, that day came in December when a family walked in looking for a present for Hanukkah. I don’t know anything about Hanukkah. It’s a holiday celebrated by Jewish people. But according to this book, it is “an eight-day Festival of Lights that celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the mighty armies of the Syrian King Antiochus.” That’s a lot of history for another day, I think. Anyway, this family wanted to celebrate by getting a dog for their home. And a medium-sized, brown dog was just what they were looking for. They named him Latke because he was the color of a fried latke. And what is a latke I ask?! a latke is a fried potato pancake! Yummmmmmm!

IMG_2281So, little brown Latke goes home with his new family. But now he has to learn all the rules of his new home! It’s very hard and he makes lots of mistakes. And gets into quite a bit of trouble. But LUCKY for him, he has been chosen by a forgiving and patient family. He begins to learn the rules and finds that having a home and a family is GREAT! He really is a LUCKY dog!!

This was a cute, informative tale. We learned about some Jewish history and traditions. We talked about shelter dogs. Some of my readers have dogs who came from shelters. We talked about house rules and dog training and caring for dogs. Wow! Lots of talk generated by this little book!!!

Thanks Ms Heavenrich for your generous heart!

Here are some LUCKY dogs! My dreams —

I hope you find some luck in your days this week!
Your lucky friend
Rhythm
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The Legend of Dust Bunnies

I LOVE my mail lady!!! Sometime before Christmas she brought me a slew of mail!! And some of that mail was books!! She must really like me. But the books weren’t really from the mail lady. She was the go-between. The books came from friends far and wide. Well, I don’t think the friends are particularly wide. Anyway, I received The Legend of Dust Bunnies from Ms Michelle Eastman. Annie’s Special Day and Edmund Pickle Chin from Ms Clara Bowman-Jahn. And Latke, the Lucky Dog from Ms Sue Heavenrich. Aren’t I the lucky dog?!!

IMG_2307We put all of these fine books in my school book bag this week and shared them with my friends at school. Now, I’ll share them with you!

Today I’ll tell you about the Dust Bunnies!! We happen to have quite a colony of these critters at our house! I thought I knew all about those Bunnies!

IMG_2285The Legend of Dust Bunnies
by Michelle R. Eastman
illustrated by Kevin Richter
published by Byway Press in 2014

My readers learn about “blurbs” in their reading classes. The blurb on the back of this book reads –
Join the Dust Fairies on their messy nighttime adventures, and discover how one misfit fairy uses his talent to create something legendary. His story will have families looking at dust bunnies in a new light and may actually give kids an excuse NOT to clean their rooms.

My readers were sure ready to find that excuse!!

It begins –
The Legend of Dust Bunnies
began long ago,
in a house just like this one,
and here’s how it goes ….

Well, let me tell you! This tale is enlightening! Did you know that in the dark of night, little fairies fly into your house and scatter dust and crumbs and grime all over?! I knew it wasn’t me!! They seem to have a grand ole time flitting around your house spreading stuff for vacuum cleaners to scarf up!

IMG_2282But what about those Dust Bunnies? Well, according to this legend, there once was a Dust Fairy named Artie who didn’t like spreading the crumbs around. He liked to collect hair and fur and lint instead. The other Fairies made fun of him. He was kind of like the Rudolph the Reindeer whose friends wouldn’t let him join in any games. So Artie decided to gather all his fiber goodies and make his very own friend. And – Voila! – a Dust Bunny was born!

IMG_2286Now all the other fairies were really impressed with Artie’s little bunny. So, of course, they all had to have one as well! And now ALL Dust Fairies carry around their little bunnies while they’re spreading their grime! And sometimes Dust Bunnies get left behind. :( I guess those Dust Fairies aren’t too careful with their treasures. So, if you happen to find any Dust Bunnies around your house, you need to treat them with care! A Dust Fairy will be looking for it, and I don’t know what that Fairy would do if she couldn’t find her Bunny!

My readers liked this book a lot. First, we talked about what a Legend is. We had quite a discussion about that one. Is a legend true? The same thing as a myth? Fiction? or Non-fiction? We decided that a legend is a story that can’t be proven to be true, but is usually accepted as being true. We accept this legend as being true!! The pictures are pretty cool – bright and colorful. Those fairies are a bit wild looking! The tale is told in Rhyme – and I always like some Rhythm in my stories. And we are all going to be on the lookout for Dust Bunnies now!!

My Mom Person made a Bunny once. Not out of my hair that she collected, but from goat hair that she collected. She got a whole big pile of that goat hair (I think it’s called mohair). (We once had a goat named Mo. I guess his hair really was Mohair.) Then she washed that stuff and combed it and spun it on her spinning wheel and made some yarn out of it. And knitted it into a bunny!

IMG_5822I think that Artie used a little more magic than My Mom Person. There weren’t any spinning wheels mentioned in this story.

You can visit Ms Eastman at her website HERE and find out more about the Dust Bunnies.

The next time you pull out that vacuum cleaner – STOP! and THINK! about what might be under your bed – or couch –

And use that vacuum on your dog instead!

Your furry, hairy, vacuum loving friend
Rhythm
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