Pumpkin Time!

It’s Halloween! Trick or Treat Time! Dress up Time! Squeals and Screams Time!  Candy Time! For me it’s more about Pumpkin Time!  When our Music Boys were little guys , I would get dressed up and do the trick or treating thing with them. It meant walks in the dark with lots of other weird kids, going to lots of houses and knocking on front doors, lots of hands reaching to pet and lots of ” Oh! Look at the cute dog!”

These days the Boys are too “big” for that sort of thing and I just get dressed up for school. I’m more into Pumpkin Time than dress up time. Pumpkins are ripe this time of year and we can get them at the grocery store or at the Pumpkin Patches which seem to be everywhere. I LOVE pumpkin!!

I want to share a couple of Pumpkin books with you. The 1st one is Dr. Pompo’s Nose by Saxton Freymann.

Dr. Pompo is a pumpkin and while “rolling around on his morning rounds”, he happens upon something on the ground. And he can’t quite figure out what it is. Some of his pumpkin friends happen by and make suggestions as to what they think it is.

I think that this is a hilariously funny book! All of the Pumpkins are crazy real looking. But we read it to the Ladybug Princess and she didn’t get it. It was somehow over her head. And she is a brilliant almost 5 year old. So, I don’t know what you might think of it.

The 2nd book is called It’s Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall and illustrated by Shari Halpern.

A cute yellow dog ( kind of like me!) is the star of this book about growing  pumpkins from seed. The illustrations are bright and cute. And that cute yellow dog is on nearly every page, helping the kids plant and take care of the pumpkins. Then they make a jack o’ lantern and go trick or treating. A cute book that you could make a whole class lesson out of. Maybe even plant some pumpkin seeds like the kids do in the book.

For more information about Mr Freymann and his interesting work carving food you should check out this video of him talking about his books. He is a rather interesting character!

And Ms Halpern who illustrated It’s Pumpkin Time! has a lovely website that you might want to visit.

And now if you’ll excuse me — I’m going to eat some pumpkin! Hope you have a fruitful Halloween!

Max’s Bunny Business

The barefoot, freckled face boys visited the library this week. I love these boys! They kick their shoes off as soon as they come in and they always are covered with good smells!. Smells of dirt and woods and lunch. Love smells. And they love the library and books and Labrador retrievers!

Caleb always wants to walk us around the library and show us all of the beautiful books. But Eli just wants to read. Book after book after book. He doesn’t read much himself. He likes for the Mom Person to read to us, but he’s learning a little.

This trip he brought his little bunny to share with us. And picked out a book with a bunny. Max’s Bunny Business by Rosemary Wells.

I like that Max bunny. He’s kind of a crazy little guy. And he reminds me of the barefoot boys! In this book, his sister, Ruby, and her friend, Louise, set up a lemonade stand to make some money to buy some sparkly jewelry. Max wants to help, but the girls won’t let him. Poor Max.

But Max comes up with an idea all his own and “turns the table” on those girls!  This is a funny, cute book. The pictures are big and bright. The words are pretty simple and easy to read. And the story offers a lot of points to think about. I like stories that make kids think! Eli liked it alot. We read it a couple of times. I think that his bunny liked it, too. And Caleb even sat and listened for the whole book!

I give Max’s Bunny Business 4 paws. You should check it out!

And Rosemary Wells has a great website that you should check out as well!

Meow, Ruff — A Story in Concrete Poetry

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday at Susanna Hill’s and I’m going to share some poetry with you!

The book I’ve chosen is called Meow Ruff,  A Story in Concrete Poetry
Written by Joyce Sidman and Illustrated by Michelle Berg
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company in 2006
This book is probably suitable for 2nd grade and up. The story is pretty simple, but some of the words might be difficult for younger kids.

From the front cover — “On a clear, sunny day, a small adventure begins. First, a dog slips joyfully out of his house. Next, a car pulls up to the curb, leaving a white cat alone. Then, slowly. a storm begins to brew over the park.”

This is a funny, word-filled adventure where the cat and dog, who think they should be enemies, end up becoming friends. I like the dog and cat. They are pretty cute and don’t know what to think about the big world around them. Those crows are kind of annoying though!

A concrete poem is one that takes the shape of its subject. I think they are really cool!  In this book the tree is made of words, the ground is made of words, and the clouds are made of words. And the clouds change from a “wisp” to a “dense dark drenching murk.” And the rain goes from a “drip, drop” to “stinging ropes of water”. Whew!

Lots of Rhythm!  Love it! This book is a visual buffet!

I think that if I had opposable thumbs and could write, making a concrete poem would be a fun activity to do. Since most kids DO have those thumbs and can hold a pencil, I think that they would probably like to create a concrete poem themselves. Ms Sidman has a great website where you can find info about all of her books and resource info for using her books in the classroom. Check it out! You can also find a short, useful lesson for creating concrete poems here. Or here. And examples of concrete poems here.

I hope you have some fun with concrete poems. And check out Meow Ruff — you’ll be glad you did!

Paws UP to Barry Moser, Artist

Today I’d like to do a tribute to Barry Moser, artist, illustrator, author. A unique individual. We have quite a few of his books in our home library. And I like reading some of them to kids.

Mr Moser is especially good at capturing feelings.

When I look at the picture on the cover of Grandpa’s Gamble, I can just feel the joy between the man and the little girl. And those kids running down the road in Appalachia have me running along with them.

When I read about the cats, Nick and Nora, I can see what a mischievous little girl those cats have to deal with and the expressions on their faces are priceless! They are really tolerant cats!

That pup in Our New Puppy is one little trouble maker! Poor Rosie!

And that Brer Fox and Brer Raccoon in Jump Again! are down right stinkers.

Mr Moser uses watercolors to create wonderfully realistic worlds. He also does magical things with wood engravings. He has won many awards for his book illustrations and has displays in several museums. He is a most prolific artist and the list of books that he has written or illustrated or contributed to in some way is astounding. From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Moby Dick and the Bible.  You can check out the whole list on his website. And more of his artwork here at R. Michelson Galleries.

I hope that everyone is already familiar with this man’s fine work, but if not I hope that you will consider checking it out! There’s a lot to choose from!

Catch a Falling Star

We spent a good part of last night laying outside under the clouds. We were supposed to be laying out under the stars, but you couldn’t see the stars for the clouds. And we were  doing this because there was supposed to be a big meteor shower.

I don’t think we saw any meteors. And I only know this because there wasn’t any ooohing and aahing coming from the Mom Person. She was very quiet. Which was nice. I just laid my head on her tummy and listened to all the nice nighttime noises. Her tummy rumbling, the crickets and frogs, a whippoorwill somewhere, the neighbors radio, dogs barking somewhere, the Mom Person singing silly songs. I went to sleep. It was all really nice.

So the Mom Person was very disappointed not to see those falling stars, but I sure enjoyed some “quality” time with her.

We have alot of books about stars and I have one to recommend to you if you ever want to go lay outside and look at them. It’s The Stars by H.A. Rey ( the man who gave us Curious George!). It was originally published in 1952. It’s kind of an old book. Our version is a kind of newish one. It’s really kid friendly with funny illustrations and good star maps. It tells you all about the constellations and how to find them in the sky.

This meteor shower was supposed to come from Orion. According to the book, Orion is a hunter with a shield and a club. You have to have a really good imagination to see these things. Orion has some animals that hang out with him — a hare and a unicorn and a bull and a dove. I hope they are not what he’s hunting! He has a big dog and a little dog. And in the Big Dog you will find the Dog Star, Sirius, the brightest star in the sky! Of course!

And for your Sunday morning amusement, in case you were up all night watching clouds, I give you Perry Como singing Catch a Falling Star

So happy star hunting! And watch out for falling stars!

What Pete Ate

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Hill’s and my contribution today is another alphabet book : What Pete Ate from A – Z by Maira Kalman.

It was published in 2001 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. I would recommend it for maybe 1st grade and up. It is an alphabet book, but it has some higher level concepts that I think would be over a kindergarteners head.

From the author — “What Pete Ate from A – Z where we explore the English Alphabet ( in its entirety) in which a certain Dog DEVOURS a MYRIAD of ITEMS which he should NOT.”  Sounds like a Lab to me!

And it starts with  ” A  — He ate cousin Rocky’s accordion.  All of it.”

I LOVE this book! It is soooo funny. I know alot of dogs who eat some strange stuff, but nothing like this Pete!  Not only does he eat accordions, but he eats cameras and dolls and balls and money and , well — you’ll just have to read it to see what else! Ms Kalman has filled this book with some zany illustrations. She must be a pretty Zany person. I like that word Zany.

I’ve been known to eat what my Mom Person says is pretty weird stuff. I love “G” for grass. And I like “A” and “L” for arms and legs off of toys. I love “C” for chicken feed. And I once ate a whole “C” for chocolate cake. It sure was yummy! But the Mom Person ruined it by becoming the Person who makes her dog throw up! My buddy, Walker, REALLY likes “S” for sticks and “B” for bark and “R” for rocks and “D” for dried up leaves. We might could write our own alphabet book!

And that might be a fun thing to let your school kids do! Make their own book of weird stuff to eat! And while you’re at it, maybe talk about what’s good to eat and what’s not. You could have a big discussion about training and  taking care of dogs. What happens if your dog eats an accordion?!

If you’d like to see more of Ms Kalman’s work you can visit her website.

So have a Zany Day! And check out this Zany book!  You’ll be glad you did!

Give This Dog a Bone!

Kindergarten day today!  I sure like these little guys and girls. They really know how to have a good time.  I got to pick the book for today and I chose Give the Dog a Bone by Steven Kellogg. Can you guess why I chose this one?!  Mr. Kellogg is a real dog lover. And his illustrations are so funny!!  This book is a retelling of the song “This Old Man”. Lots of Nick Nack Paddywack — wacky!  The book is a little different from the song. A lot more silly. There are chickens and velociraptors and mean men stealing baby chicks and snowmen and dogs and dogs and more dogs. And LOTS of bones!  At the end of the book Mr Kellogg tells us that there are 250 dogs in the book!!  We didn’t count them all, tho.

The book and the song are all about counting. And silly words. And rhyming. (I like rhyming). And body motion. It’s fun to act out all the things the old man nick nack paddywacks on. Some of the kids knew the song, and some of them had never heard it. I tried to sing a little for them.

It was a good book for kindergarteners. They liked it alot. And most of the words are pretty simple. Silly, but simple.

I think you should check this one out! And then go give your dog a bone!

And for a little entertainment I give you Carol Burnett and the Jackson 5 singing this lovely song — This Old Man — enjoy —

Star Wars 3D!!!

We visited 4th graders today. Those kids sure work hard!!  We talked about adjectives. Do you know what an adjective is? It’s a big word for one thing!  Adjective. It’s even hard to say! But the kids figured it out pretty quick. They had all kinds of adjectives for me. Funny, hairy, colorful, beautiful, cute, smart, sleepy.

We also learned about Native Americans in Texas. That was pretty interesting. Did you know that the Caddos made houses that looked like beehives? And the Karankawas were wiped out by the Europeans?!  Sad, sad.

But after all the hard work and sad stories, the kids got to read just to me! And guess what they chose?  Star Wars Episode 1, the Phantom Menace in 3D by Pablo Hidalgo! This is one weird book! You have to wear special glasses to read it.

I couldn’t see a thing!  All I could hear was “OOOOOH! Cool! Awesome! Wow! Weird!” Lots of adjectives. I couldn’t really tell you what this book is about, but I think the kids really liked it. They didn’t really read it, just ooohed and aaahed about the pictures. They said it made you feel like you were really in outer space. I don’t think the words in the book mattered, and I don’t think that that fact mattered. The kids just had a great time with the glasses and feeling like they were on a space ship flying around the universe.

So, I guess overall it must be a pretty good book. Like I said — I couldn’t see anything.

But you might want to check it out and SEE for yourself!  

A Dark and Stormy Night

We had a terrible storm here last night. At least that’s what my Mom Person tells me. I slept thru it all.

But my buddy, Cisco, had a terrible time. He’s very afraid of thunderstorms. That’s about all he’s afraid of, but it’s enough. The Mom Person gives him some special calming medicine and puts on special music for him and makes him a special tent to hide under. It all seems to help him some. But I don’t think anyone gets much sleep. Except me and Walker. And the Big Guy Who Always Has The Treats. He sleeps thru anything.

It all reminds me of a book that I like a lot called Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watts. We don’t have this book at our house. I read it in Mrs. B’s reading class. It’s a really funny book about a squirrel who is afraid of EVERYTHING!  He won’t come out of his tree because he can only think about all the bad things that could happen to him. But one day he falls out of his tree and then —-

You’ll have to read the book to see what happens! 

I’m not afraid of anything. The Mom Person says that gets me in trouble sometimes. I have friends who are afraid of different stuff. Walker used to be REALLY afraid of the vacuum cleaner!  And we had a guide dog pup once who was afraid of car tires. I know some dogs who are afraid of little kids and some who are afraid of big people. I guess we all have different outlooks on the world.

Are there things that you or your dogs are afraid of? What do you do about it?

I hope you all had a good night’s sleep.

Look for Scaredy Squirrel at your library and check it out!

And here’s a link to Melanie Watt’s website. It’s got some really cool stuff to look at!

And here’s my favorite rainy night song by Eddie Rabbit. Enjoy!

ABCs with Mr Wegman

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Hill’s and I’ve got a good one for you.

William Wegman’s ABC
Published by Hyperion Books in 1994

  I guess that this is a non-fiction book and I would recommend it for any age, but I guess especially for kids and dogs who are just learning to read.

ABC books are fabulous books. They’re open-ended and so can be anything that you want. They’re all about the pictures. And when you look at the pictures of the letters, you can make up whatever words you want to go along with them! When we look at ABC books with kids we make all the letter sounds and then make up all kinds of silly words to go along with the letters.

These books can be really FUN!  And this particular one is particularly perfect! I talked about William Wegman and his crazy dogs in my last post, but I’m happy to talk about him again. Mr. Wegman is a unique artist and his dogs are unique in the animal world.  Batty and Chundo and Fay Ray are the cleverest dogs around. In this ABC book, the dogs get together to form all the different letters!  Too, too clever!  But I can make letters, too!

W, U, V !!  And what does that spell? I don’t know. Wuv? — I wuv you?

If you wanted to share this book with your class, you could let your kids make the letters like Batty and Chundo and Fay Ray do.
You might also find some really fun alphabet stuff to do at Preschool Alphabet by Lindsy.
And you can find out more about William Wegman and all his dogs at his website.

And for your listening pleasure here are the Muppets and Ladysmith Black Mambazo

And Mr. Bobbie McFerrin singing the Alphabet Song!

I hope you go find this book at your library and check it out! You’ll be glad you did!

Remember — William Wegman ABC!