Sally Gets a Job

Our Perfect Picture Book Friday Pick this week is Sally Gets a Job written and illustrated by Stephen Huneck.

This is a fiction book published in 2008 by Abrams Books for Young Readers. It is suitable for ages 6 and up.

From the 1st page — “There they go, off to work and school. I wish I could go, too. Maybe I should get a job.”

Thus begins Sally’s musings about what would be the perfect job for her. Maybe she could drive a school bus, or be a teacher. Maybe a lifeguard at the beach. Maybe an archeologist or a pro ball player. So many options!

In real life there really are lots of dogs doing very important work. There are guide dogs for visually impaired people, service dogs for people with other needs, search and rescue dogs, drug sniffing dogs, bomb detection dogs, guard dogs, hunting dogs, show dogs.

I myself am a working dog with multiple titles — therapy dog, library dog, reading dog, school dog. And much like Sally, I have often dreamed about other jobs that I could do —

I have been a teacher and library dog, a farm dog, an actor, a rally competitor. It might be fun to be a fire dog. But like Sally in her book, I have found that the best job in the world is —

Taking care of my family!

There are lots of “Sally” books. She’s a very busy dog. She’s one of my very favorite book characters. And her Dad Person who was also her author and illustrator was an incredible artist using hand carved wood blocks. Mr Huneck died in 2010 but his influence on the dog and art worlds is huge. His home in Vermont has become a haven for dogs and their owners. It is called Dog Mountain. And on the mountain is a unique chapel called Dog Chapel. Dog Mountain is open to the public and they often have special events there.

If you were to read this book in your classroom it could open up lots of discussion about jobs that dogs do for people. And then you might talk about what jobs the kids’ dogs do for them. We have these talks a lot when I go to school. And there are probably dog groups of some kind in your area that probably have members that would LOVE to come visit a classroom. Dog people LOVE sharing their dogs!
Some resources that you might look into  —

Therapy Dogs International, Delta Society, Canine Companions for Independence
Guide Dog Users, Search and Rescue Dogs, Police Dogs, American Kennel Club.

So what does your dog do for you? Think on that!

And go check out Sally Gets a Job — and all the other Sally books!
And then check out the other PPBF books at Susanna Hill’s place!

The Goat Lady

My Mom Person wants to be The Goat Lady. Around our town she is known as The Dog Lady. She likes that well enough, but she wants to be The Goat Lady.

We have this book by a really lovely artist, Jane Bregoli. The book is called The Goat Lady. Appropriate. My Mom Person keeps this book prominently displayed because she LOVES the lady on the cover. This is what she aspires to. Not Grace Kelly or Princess Diana or any princess or even fabulous dog trainer Carol Lea Benjamin. She wants to be this goat lady. I think it is the look of contentment on the lady’s face.

The book was published in 2004 by Tilbury House, Publishers and is about a real person. Her name is Noelie Houle and you can watch a real video of her here.

The story is about two children and their mother ( the author and artist) who move into a new neighborhood near a rundown old farm. They like to watch the frisky goats that fill the farmyard.  After a while the kids become friends with the owner, Mrs Houle, and start helping her take care of the goats and do other chores. Mrs. Houle milks her goats every day and sells the milk to local people. She also gives goats to an organization called the Heifer Project that helps poor people in far away countries. The children get their mom to paint some portraits of Mrs Houle and she paints so many that she decides to have an art show in the local town hall. Then all the neighbors who have previously complained about the rundown farm and the unruly animals, get to know Mrs Houle and see how wonderful she really is.

This book is about tolerance and helping your neighbors and being a part of your own little community. It’s about not judging ” a book by its cover.” It’s about being happy with what you have and being resourceful. It’s about goats and about how animals provide support and understanding for their humans. It is a great book on many levels.

We have goats here. We don’t milk our goats — they are fiber goats — Angoras. The Mom Person loves those goats. Me, not so much. Sometimes they try to chase me and butt me. It’s taken me awhile to figure them out. We spend a lot of time out in the pasture with the goats. The Mom Person likes to just sit and watch them. And I like to watch her. She is The Goat Lady. But she’s also The Dog Lady. And that’s what’s important to me.

I hope you have animals to look after you. And I think everyone needs to get to know their neighbors. Do you have any neighbors that you wonder about? This is kind of the season for doing good things. Maybe you have a neighbor or friend who could use some help? Think about it!

If you would like to know more about Noelie Houle’s white goats you can check this out. And if you would like to find out more about Angora goats, you can check here.

Then check out The Goat Lady. And The Heifer Project. You’ll be glad you did!

And here is a little video of some musical goats. I don’t know what kind of goats these are but they are pretty cute!

Pete’s a Pizza!!!

Today I want to share with you one of the funnest, funniest books I have ever experienced! Pete’s A Pizza by William Steig. That Mr Steig is one crazy guy!
This book was published in 1998 by Scholastic, Inc. and is suitable reading for elementary kids.

This is the story of Pete who is really bummed out because he’s supposed to play ball with his friends but it’s raining. What a way to ruin a guy’s day! But Pete has a clever Dad who thinks “it might cheer Pete up to be made into a pizza.”

This is such a fun book to read with kids! Talk about hilarious uproarious laughter! Usually I get to play the part of Pete —

First you have to knead the dough — my favorite part!

Then you add cheese —

Then pepperoni — yum!

And when the pizza is all made and the kids have finished laughing, I get my own cheese!Like I said, this is a great book!

It’s easy for kids to read, it’s fun to read, it’s fun to say — Pete’s a Pizza!

Go check it out at your favorite library!

I’m in a Warhol state of mind —

The last few days have been all about Andy Warhol for me. He’s been everywhere! Stalking me or something. Mrs. B, the Super Woman Reading Teacher, shared a book called Uncle Andy’s by Andy Warhol’s nephew James Warhola.

The book was published in 2003 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. It is written and illustrated by James Warhola and is a story about a trip that his family took in 1962 to visit his Uncle Andy in New York City.

James’ father Paul was a junk man. That was his real business. He collected it and sorted it and made interesting things with it. He and his wife, Ann, lived way out in the country with their 7 children and junk all around. A truly glorious life for those kids!

Sometimes they made trips into NYC to visit Paul’s brother Andy who was a famous artist. They took junk to him so that he could make things with it. Uncle Andy lived in a fantastical house with their grandmother, Bubba. Andy was always painting and making important art stuff out of odd things. He had 25 cats, all named Sam! And he went to late night parties and he wore wigs. He had all kinds of wigs and gave the old ones to James’ dad so that the kids could all play with them!

The pictures in this book are fantastical as well. Lots of details that make the Warhola world spring to life. I would have liked to live with them!

From his father and his famous uncle, James learned that “real art knows no boundaries” and that “the most ordinary of everyday things can inspire a work of art.”

What a great thing to learn!

I loved this book! It was funny and inspiring and a very good read!

But I told you that Mr. Warhol has been following me around. This book was not my only encounter with the great artist!

Over the weekend the Mom Person and the Big Guy Who Keeps the Treats went to a museum to see an art exhibit featuring the Wyeths, N. C., Andrew, and Jamie. ( Some more famous artists!) Well, it turns out that Jamie was friends with Mr. Warhol! And at that exhibit was a painting that Mr. Jamie Wyeth had done of Mr. Andy Warhol!

And then when she came home she had this comic strip in her mailbox —

Now is that too crazy or what?!

I don’t know if I care for Mr Warhol’s art or not. It is famous stuff so it must be good. But I think I like his nephew’s art better!

You should check out Uncle Andy’s! I think you will be inspired! And then check out some of James Warhola’s other work as well!

A Gargie Award!!

This was quite a weekend for me!  I found out that I am a recipient of the 1st ever Gargie Award! This award was created by Bruce the Gargoyle over at The Bookshelf Gargoyle

Bruce says that I deserve this award for my services to canine – fleshling literacy development. Whew! That’s some big words to live up to! But I thank you Bruce!! And I would like to thank all the kids that read to me for making this all possible!

There are some obligations attached to this award.

I need to display the award badge, which I will do proudly.
I need to publish a post to inform the world of my great achievement. I think that this post will serve that purpose.
I need to nominate some fellow bloggers who have been outstanding in their field — and to that end I would like to nominate:

Julie Rowan -Zoch for her outstanding talent and inspiration.

Cindy Kilpatrick at Going Beyond Survival in a School Library for her uncanny ability to find the most incredible bits of literary news and trivia.

And to The Family at Creative Family Moments 
because they are lots of fun and I think the kids will like this!

And lastly I need to let my nominees know that they are receiving this award!

So I congratulate my nominees and pass the torch and the obligations attached to it on to you! (if you are inclined to accept) Thank you for your inspiring posts!

Apples on Top!!

We’ve been spending a lot of time this week with kindergarteners. And the Hands Down Favorite book all week has been Ten Apples Up On Top! We’ve read it over and over and over!

I have found over the years of my reading career that this book is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser! It is an interactive book that the little guys and girls can help read. It has hilarious illustrations. The characters get involved in crazy antics. And what’s not funny and engaging about apples on top of somebody’s head?!

And here are the pertinent FACTS about this book: It was written by Theo. LeSieg (aka Dr. Seuss) ( and did you know that LeSieg was the name that he used when someone else illustrated the book and it is Geisel spelled backwards and that Geisel is Dr. Seuss‘s real name?) This book is illustrated by Roy McKie. Burgin Streetman did a nice interview with him on her blog Vintage Kids Books My Kid Loves.

Ten Apples Up On Top! was published in 1961 by Random House. It is an I Can Read It All By Myself Beginner Book for those with a 75 word vocabulary.

This is such a great book for a classroom read! It is a counting book. From 1 – 10. It is a mystery book – What will happen next?!  It is a book that young readers can read along with. It is a science book – How do you balance so many apples?! I’m sure that teachers have been using this book in their classrooms since 1961, but here is a link to some classroom activities. And Annie at Kindergarten at Heart had a nice post with some fun activities that you might check out. And there is the fabulous Seussville website with games and activities and videos and all sorts of Seuss stuff.

This lovely classic book is probably on the PPBF list already, but I thought that I would add my pawprint to it.

You might want to check it out if you haven’t already! And while you’re at it check out the other Perfect Picture Books on Susanna Hill’s blog!

Rolling on the River —

We got to play in the river today!!  YaHoo!! I LOVE the river! I like to swim and fetch my toy. And roll in stuff. Walker likes to get wet and run, run, run. He’s like a black gazelle. The Mom Person likes to explore. And throw my toy. And take pictures. And throw my toy. The trees along the bank are all losing their leaves and the river is full of pretty color. It’s the purple season — purple flowers and purple leaves and purple berries. And you thought dogs were color blind. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife. A lot of little frogs. And a fisherman up river a bit.

We’ve got this really nice book called Where the River Begins by Thomas Locker. It is filled with the most beautiful, serene paintings by Mr Locker.  The story is about 2 boys who live next to a river and wonder where the river begins. So their grandfather takes them on a camping trip to see if they can find the beginning of the river. They have a nice, leisurely trek all the way up the river. It’s a companionable trip with just the 2 boys, their grandfather and their dog. And all of the natural world around them.

I don’t know where this book river is. It doesn’t look much like my river, except that it’s not very big. My river has big rocks and cliffs and thick forests along the bank. I think about swimming up river as far as I can go. But I think that it would be a long way. Sometimes in the summer our river goes dry and then we can walk up the river bed and find fossils and dinosaur tracks  and other treasures. We’ve walked up a couple of miles before, but then we just turned back and went home.

Rivers are magical places. The sounds and the smells and the wildlife. I recommend a river trip for everyone. Whether to find the beginning of one or the end. To swim or to fish. To ride the rapids in a kayak or tube the slow parts. A river is full of stories.

The beginning of my river, The Paluxy River, is up there somewhere. For now I’ll just stick with my little part of it.

Thomas Locker has written and illustrated many similar books for children. He died this year and I’m glad that I got to know him a little through his work. I hope that you will check out Where the River Begins or one of his other fine books.

And Happy Drifting!

The Librarian of Basra

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!  We came across a really interesting book about a heroic librarian. ( I actually think all librarians are pretty heroic!).

The book is called The Librarian of Basra, a True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter.

It is a non-fiction book published by Harcourt, Inc. in 2005.

I think that it would be suitable for elementary age kids.

The book tells the story of Alia Muhammad Baker, the librarian in Basra, Iraq. “Her library is a meeting place for all who love books. They discuss matters of the world and matters of the spirit.” Alia loves her books and loves her library. When war, with its bombs and fires, comes to her city, she worries about the books being destroyed. So secretly in the night she and her neighbors move all the thousands of books to a nearby restaurant. When the war moves on from her city, leaving the library in ruins, she moves all the books again — to her own house and the houses of friends. And there she and the books wait for the end of war and she dreams of a new library.

This is a sad, but uplifting story. The book is a picture book and does not provide a lot of detailed information about the war or Iraq, but the illustrations are quite lovely, bright and simple and filled with emotion.

“Part of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to a fund administrated by the American Library Association to help rebuild the book collection of Basra’s Central Library.”

That sounds like a good cause! And maybe a classroom or school might like to do a fundraiser for the library. Or even for their own local library!

You might want to read the original article from the NY Times that inspired Ms Winter to write this book. Or maybe an interview with Ms Winter herself! Jeanette Winter is an interesting lady and has written other books. You can read a nice article about her here.

This book could provide a good history lesson about Iraq and the war there. And about libraries in general. A history of libraries would be fascinating. Kids might like to do a play about the Librarian saving her books.

A study guide for this book and another book about the Basra Library called Alia’s Mission by Mark Alan Stamaty, can be found here.

I would sure not like to have to move all the books from our Somervell Co. Library!  Whew! What a task! I can’t even imagine how a few people could do something like that in a night!   You know, that might be a good math problem for big kids to figure out! How many books could you move in a night?!
I hope your libraries are all safe and sound. I hear that some bookstores in the northeast got flooded when Sandy came to visit. It’s a sad thing to lose books like that.

Go check out The Librarian of Basra and — Treasure your books! And if you want to check out some more great picture books you can visit Susanna Hill’s blog!

I’m Confused!

I am so confused! My alarm went off at 6:00 this morning and I bounced up to greet the day. Woke up the Mom Person with my cheery slurp and she grumbled! “Go back to sleep! It’s only 5:00! I explained this to you last night!”

She did ramble on last night something about clocks moving backwards. Some such silly stuff. Clocks can’t go backwards! I don’t understand you humans. She says that she explains this to me every fall, but all I know is what MY clock tells me. Which is — breakfast is at 6:00 and dinner is at 5:00. So will I have to wait for dinner as well? Or will it come early? I’m so confused!

I don’t understand time. I know when things are supposed to happen during my day and I try to be ready for those events. Like breakfast and dinner and going to school and going to the library and going to visit the hospital. I know what days they happen and what times. But sometimes you humans get confused!

We have a great little book by Dan Harper and illustrated by that awesome guy Barry Moser and his daughter Cara. It’s called Telling Time with Big Mama Cat. Big Mama Cat knows how to tell time. And she knows when things are supposed to happen. Her day “begins at 6:00 with a big stretch.” And continues on to breakfast at 7, helping the rest of the family with various activities throughout the day and going to bed at midnight. On each page there is a clock that shows what time it is. And it even has a fold – out clock so that you can move the hands as Big Mama goes through her day.

This is a most fabulous book. That Big Mama Cat is one smart kitty. And as always with Mr Moser, the illustrations are incredible. It hasn’t helped me figure out what’s going on with the clocks today. But I’m hoping things will get worked out before my dinner time. In the meantime, I’m thinking that it’s nap time. I’ll have to go check with the Mom Person and make sure.

I hope you’re on time for all of your events today! And if you have time, you might want to  check out Telling Time with Big Mama Cat!

Seaman’s Journal — A Newfoundland’s Tale

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday at Susanna Hill’s and I have an adventure story for you!

Seaman’s Journal written and illustrated by Patricia Reeder Eubank.
Published by Ideals Children’s Books in 2002.

A fiction book based on a true story. Suitable for elementary age kids.

This is the story of Seaman, a Newfoundland belonging to Merriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame who explored the Pacific Northwest. It is based on “true entries in Lewis’s own journal describing his dog Seaman.”  And from the 1st page — ” Here is my story of the greatest adventure a dog ever had when I followed Lewis and Clark all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back again.”

I love this book. The illustrations by Ms Eubank are beautiful. Each page is full of bits of wildlife and plantlife that the explorers encountered on their adventure. They traveled in boats down rivers meeting Native Americans and chasing off bears and bison. Seaman was right in the middle of it all, looking after Mr. Lewis. What a story!  When I go down to my river to play, I sometimes dream of adventures like this one.

This book even comes with an attached bookmark that is Seaman himself!  How cool is that?! And at the end of the book is a recipe for Pemmican, which is something that they snacked on while travelling. And does it ever sound yummy!!  Newfoundlands are BIG, courageous dogs. I’ve known a few in my day. Kids love these dogs!  And they love kids!  They also love water and are often used for water rescue work.

I have seen several books about Seaman. I guess he’s a pretty inspirational guy. One is Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog’s Tale by Laurie Myers. And another is The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe by Roland Smith. These books are also told by Seaman himself, but they are for older kids and don’t have as many pretty pictures. But you might want to check them out as well if you’re interested in dog adventurers.

This would be an excellent book to use in the classroom to learn about Lewis and Clark, Native Americans, life on the western frontier in the 1800’s, Newfoundland dogs and all that they can do. You might could do a natural history lesson about wildlife and where animals live and what they need to survive. And talk about the impact that man has had on animal habitats and populations.

Ms Eubank has a very nice website that you might like to visit. You can find more of her books there.

I highly recommend this book on many levels. It’s a lovely, lovely book. I give it 4 paws and hope that you will check it out!