The Sun and The Moon

The Mom Person and The Big Guy With the Treats were gone to California for a long, long time. To visit the Princesses. That’s a good thing for them. Not so good for me. It was a very boring time.

CIMG7820We had some good buddies taking care of everything here. And we got our dinner and our treats and some good pats and a little bit of ball play. But it just isn’t the same without the Mom Person. She is my Sun and my Moon.

But they are home now!!!! And life is good again! It was a full moon when they arrived home. An auspicious sign! IMG_3130

And now even though it’s raining outside, my sun is shining for me! The rain is a good thing too! She has brought it all! The moon, the sun and the rain!

While they were away, I took care of the house. I slept on their bed because it smells like them. I tried to change the sheets before they got home. But those corners had me stymied.

IMG_0267The Mom Person was very appreciative of my efforts though. She said she was sure glad that she didn’t change the sheets before she left!

She brought back some really yummy treats and some new tennis balls and lots of postcards. They had a fine trip.

But let’s get back to the moon. That great big full moon. It’s nice to go walking out under the full moon. The world is bright and you don’t have to worry about stepping on snakes that you can’t see. We read a book called The Moon Jumpers by Janice May Udry and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. I love Mr Sendak. His pictures are so funny and clever. This book has black and white pictures along with 2 page spreads in color. They look about the same to me, but the Mom Person assures me that the color ones are quite lovely.

The Moon Jumpers was published in 1959 by Harper & Row. It’s a very old book, but it can still be found if you look.

IMG_0275It starts out with:
“Summer night is the cool dark grass
And big tired trees
With the moon sailing
On a wind.”

It’s a lovely story of kids going out to play at night when the moon comes out. They sing and dance and do somersaults. They climb a tree and tell ghost stories. They jump and jump, but “nobody ever has touched the moon.” And in the end they go to bed and “dream of tomorrow’s sun.” Just as I dreamed of my sun’s return.

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I’m very happy that everyone is home now. The world is right and the new year will be off to a good start. I hope that all is right in your world. And I will leave you with a little song from the Beatles to brighten your day —

Here Comes the Sun!

And if you are interested in Mr Maurice Sendak here are some interesting stories at NPR. Enjoy! And Happy New Year to you all!!

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Carl’s Christmas

It’s Friday. That means the Mom Person is gone. The Big Guy With the Treats is gone. All gone. Gone to California.

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Romeo’s Dad Person will be here with us. And he’s a pretty good guy. He’ll do for awhile I guess. Aahhummm.

Well — it’s also Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Hill’s!

I’ve picked out a quiet Christmas book. Quiet as in no words. It’s a no words kind of Friday. I like picture books with no words. That way when we read them with kids, I get a new story every time!! The book I’ve decided to share is Carl’s Christmas by Alexandra Day.

IMG_5828It was published in 1990 by Farrar Straus Giroux. It’s a fiction book suitable for all ages. I’ve read this book with 2 yr olds and adults. And everybody has there own personal take on the story.

Carl is a rottweiler with some big responsibilities that he takes very seriously. His Big People are always leaving him in charge of the baby! And they sure have fun together while those adults are away! In this Christmas book, Carl and the baby do some Christmas wrapping and decorating then go out to see the town. They enjoy the Christmas windows, win a Christmas basket from a store, give to the needy, go carolling, then realize that they might be missing Santa!! They rush back home and sit and wait for the Jolly Guy. I won’t tell you the end tho!! Whew!!

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Carl is my hero. He’s always taking care of that baby and having great adventures while he’s doing it! Ms Day’s artwork is fabulous. Carl’s world just pops out at you. Reading these mostly wordless books gets your imagination fired up. Kids have to study the pictures to see what all is going on. They have to stretch their vocabularies. No words on the printed page is sometimes a very good thing.

Melissa Taylor at Imagination Soup has a great post about wordless books with lots of things that you can do with them. You should check it out.

And Carl has a website that you might find fun.

Check out more PPBF at Susanna Hill’s blog.

And I’ll end with a little James Taylor for my Mom Person so far away — I’ll be watching for her Everyday!

Deck the Halls and Claude the Dog

What exactly does that mean anyway? Deck the Halls! I don’t really know. I do know that the Mom Person was crazy busy today with all things Christmassy. She and the Big Guy With the Treats are going on a big trip to California to visit the little Princesses. I don’t get to go on this trip but she promises to send me postcards. And maybe a little beach sand.

So there was lots of packing and wrapping of presents today. Paper and bows and cards and toys everywhere. We dogs got mainly lost in all the chaos. Eventually she decided to take a break and play a little tennis.

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This is my very favorite pink tennis ball. I love this ball with all my heart. It only comes out sometimes. And it brings me great joy!

I also got to play with my new Rabbit Buddy. I guess I’m really a pretty lucky dog. I have quite a few good toys to choose from. Balls and squeaky things and tug things. I have several nice beds to choose from and blankets to sleep with. Life here at the 7 Acre Wood is pretty good.

After we played for awhile the Mom Person read one of our Christmas books. Claude the Dog, A Christmas Story, by Dick Gackenbach.

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It’s a cute little book that we like to read to the little kids at school. It has nice big, simple pictures and nice, big simple words that are easy to read.  It’s a nice, simple story that the kids seem to like. Claude is a big, happy, Bassett Hound looking dog who gets some good Christmas presents from his boy. A nice blanket, a nice pillow and a little rubber mouse. Claude’s friend, Bummer – who doesn’t seem to have a real home –  comes to visit and when Claude hears that Bummer has no Christmas gifts — no blankets or pillows or little mice, Claude gives all his treasures to his friend. He says that Bummer needs them more than he does and anyway his best present is at home. And he runs home to his boy who loves Claude with all his heart!

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I mostly like this book a lot. It’s all about the real spirit of Christmas. Giving, sharing, loving. Being with family. What I don’t like is poor Bummer’s name! Surely Mr. Gackenbach could have come up with a better name for this little guy!

Giving, sharing, loving. It’s so simple!

I hope that you have a Christmas full of all these things! Joy to you and to the world!

For your musical pleasure I give you The Muppet Chickens and Joy to the World!

And The You Tube Animals doing Deck the Halls

A Birthday and Rejoicing Sunday!

Yesterday was Rejoicing Sunday at Church. I didn’t go to church — The Mom Person told me all about it. When I was a guide dog puppy, I went to church. It was a really nice place to go. It was warm and cozy under the pews amongst the feet. They sang nice lullabies. And the Priest had a soothing, hummy voice. I’ve been told that I snored a lot and everybody thought that was funny.

Anyway, I missed Rejoicing Sunday at Church. But yesterday was also my Birthday!! So we had a Rejoicing Sunday at Home! The Mom Person made pumpkin Frosty Paws. ( A recipe for Frosty Paws is in a previous post ) They were YUMMY!!!!

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I LOVE Frosty Paws!!  Then I got to open some presents!! I LOVE presents! And guess what I got?! A Rabbit!! I’ve been wanting a Rabbit! And there it was!! My very own! And it made squeaky noises!

IMG_5796 IMG_5793I sure LOVE my Rabbit!

But Walker wanted to play with my Rabbit, too! So he decided to trade for his giraffe. Just like that!walker

So, I let him play with it for just a little bit. It was Rejoicing Sunday after all.

Then before we went to bed, The Mom Person read me some Winnie the Pooh. That Pooh Bear is always Rejoicing!  We read Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents from the book Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne and illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard. The Mom Person has lots of different Pooh books. She loves Winnie the Pooh! The one we read from is The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh. It was published in 1994 by Dutton Children’s Books.

In the story about Eeyore’s birthday, Gloomy Eeyore is sad because no one knows that it’s his birthday. And he has no presents or cake or anything. He tells all this to Pooh who then feels very sad for Eeyore and decides to take care of the matter. So he goes home to find a present for Eeyore. He decides to give him one of his pots of Honey. When he tells Piglet about the situation, Piglet decides to give Eeyore his big red balloon and runs home to get it.

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While Pooh is going back to Eeyore with the pot of honey, he gets hungry and sits down to eat the honey! Then he’s sorry that he ate the honey he was going to give to Eeyore, but decides that a Pot to Put Things In will be nice too.

Meanwhile, Piglet is running to Eeyore with his balloon and falls and pops the balloon. But decides to give the popped balloon to Eeyore anyway. And it turns out that Eeyore is very happy to have a Pot To Put Things In and a small popped balloon to put in it! So everybody Rejoices!!

I hope you have a Joyful Monday! I’m going to be playing with my Rabbit!!

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The Biblioburro

I’m a library dog and I’m interested in all things library. I love my local public library and the libraries at the local schools. They are fabulous, magical places always filled with kids. Kids that are travelling to far away places in their imaginations.  But did you know that there are places in the world that don’t have libraries? Can you imagine being a child and not being able to visit a library? Imagine not having books in your home or at your school? Imagine not having a school?! There are places like this for real! Not just imaginary places.

I found a book about just such a place. In Columbia, which is far away in South America. The book is called Biblioburro. It is written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. ( This is the author who gave us another book about a library — The Librarian of Basra.) It was published in 2010 by Beach Lane Books. It’s suitable for ages 6 and up.

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This is a true story about a truly remarkable man. From the book – “Deep in the jungles of Colombia, there lives a man who loves books. His name is Luis. As soon as he reads one book, he brings home another. Soon the house is filled with books.”  He needs to find something to do with all of his books!  So Luis decides he can share them with people in the faraway hills who have no books.

He gets 2 donkeys to carry the books and paints a sign to hang on their backs: BIBLIOBURRO. Which means donkey library! Every week he loads books onto the donkeys and travels far away through rivers and jungles, over mountains and past bandits until he reaches a village where the kids have no library and no school and no books. And he tells them stories and reads them books and leaves each child with a book to take home. Then Luis makes the long trek back to his own home to read his own book.

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This is such a heartwarming story! It’s nice to think that there are people like Luis in the world who can make such a positive difference in a child’s life! The illustrations in the book are quite lovely as well. They are big and bright and give the feel of the jungle and the happy kids.

We read this book with some 4th graders and had a nice discussion about what it would be like to not have a library. Then we talked about how special Luis is. The kids tried to come up with ways that they could be special, too. They thought about learning about other places that might not have books and about trying to collect books to donate to kids who need them. We even have kids in our own community who don’t have books at home. That’s a sad thing. Books are powerful things and have the ability to connect us all.

Luis really is a real person and some time ago we watched a show about him on PBS. Here is a link to a video about Luis.

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So now your heart is warmed and full and you can go check out the book — Biblioburro!  You’ll be glad you did!

And then you can check out all the other Perfect Picture Books at Susanna Hill’s blog. Enjoy! And go out and do something powerful!

Art Loves Art!!!

Since I’m on kind of an artsy roll right now, I thought I would share with you a magical book called ART by Patrick McDonnell. Mr McDonnell is also the creator of the comic strip “Mutts”. He is a very clever gentleman.

IMG_5765ART was published in 2006 by Little, Brown and Co. It is suitable for every age. It has 39 pgs. and 154 words. Very sparse, but lots of art! And Walker thinks the art looks very much like his art! Walker loves this book. He likes a book that is mostly pictures.

Art is a little boy who loves art. He spends all his time drawing and painting and doodling. He paints zigs and zags and scribbles and squiggles. Dots of all colors and splotches and blotches and curly cues. He is a busy, imaginative boy.

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This is a book about the pure joy of creation. What makes art art? Perfect lines and dots? Or chaotic splatters and splotches? Is art in the eye of the beholder or the brush ( or tail!) of the artist? This is a simple little book with some big thoughts to ponder. It is a real treasure!

Now go pull out your paints and brushes and have some fun! Have a party! Create some fabulousness!  And check out ART! You’ll be glad you did!

Paint Spatters

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I’m going off road a bit today and looking into the art world. My live in buddy and work partner, Walker, is quite the artist and recently spent some time with some 2nd graders splattering some paint around. So I thought I would tell you all about Walker and his world.

Walker is a 5 yr old black Lab who, like me, was career changed from Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. in Palmetto, Fl.  He was career changed because he was evidently being a fool with some of his dog buddies and hurt his knee bad enough that the trainers and veterinarians at the school felt like it would limit his working life. So he came back to live with us.

Walker hurt his knee,( which is perfectly fine now ), but his tail works overtime. He is one happy boy! So one day the Mom Person decided to put his tail to work, and the artist was born.

dec 2012 walkerIt takes a lot of preparation to create his masterpieces, so he doesn’t paint often. He uses acrylics or water colors on paper.  He says he gets a little nervous painting in front of a bunch of kids. But laughter makes him happy and it’s hard to rein in that tail!

This class had read a story about an elephant who paints. Their teacher, who happens to be the Mom Person’s daughter, asked Walker to come do a painting demonstration for them. So, Walker painted for the kids. They will all get their very own Walker originals after he signs them all. Then the kids did some pictures for Walker! Now isn’t that cool!  So I’m sharing with you some of their artwork as well. It’s just an artsy day!

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We ended this artistic trail with a fabulous blog post from Kristin Nador. She has a great post about “getting your creative groove on” with a fun, fun video of the television painter Mr. Bob Ross. I think you should visit Ms Nador and check it out!

Now go get your groove on and do something creative today!

The Night Before Christmas – with Mr. Wegman!

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William Wegman and his magical weimaraners are back for Christmas!
My PPBF pick for today is William Wegman’s version of The Night Before Christmas, starring Batty, Chip, Chundo, and Crooky.

This book was published in 2000 by Hyperion Books for Children. It is appropriate for ALL ages.

It is the classic Christmas tale written by Clement C. Moore for his family in 1822. Mr. Moore called his poem A Visit From St. Nicholas and it is probably now the most popular and well known Christmas story in history.

Mr. Wegman’s take on this story is quite unique. His dogs play the parts of reindeer, Santa, and all the other characters in the story. And they do a very fine job!!

IMG_5714Every year at Christmas, we read this book to the kindergarteners and pre-schoolers. Those kids LOVE it! You just can’t help but chuckle at that “right jolly old elf”!

I don’t really have any lesson plans for this book. It’s just a fun book to read. I suppose that you could talk about the history of The Night Before Christmas. And I’ll give you a link here. You might also act out the story with the kids as the reindeer and Santa. Or you might have a talk about how you train a dog to do these silly things!

Mr. Wegman and his dogs did quite a few bits for Sesame Street. Here is their take on Rub a Dub Dub.

If you would like to know more about Mr. Wegman here is a video interview with him talking about his work. It’s rather long, but worth the view.

Just remember — William WegmanThe Night Before Christmas. Check it out! You’ll be so glad you did!

And for more awesome Picture Book reviews visit Susanna Hill!

An Ode to Jamie Wyeth, St. Gretta, and St. Alex

The Mom Person went off this weekend to spend some time with one of her Very Special Friends. I didn’t get to go, but it seems that she had a great time. They became friends a very long time ago when they each had a different dog than they have now. The Mom Person had a black Lab — St. Gretta. Kay had a Great Pyrenees that I’m guessing was a saint as well. His name was Alex. And the 4 of them spent a lot of time together visiting hospitals and such, doing Animal Assisted Therapy and doing their part to make the world a little bit better for lots of kids.

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The Mom Person and Kay have a mutual admiration for the Wyeth family of artists. N.C., Andrew, and Jamie. And this weekend Kay gave the Mom Person a treasure of a book that is illustrated by Jamie Wyeth. The book is titled Sammy in the Sky, and is written by Barbara Walsh. It was published in 2011 by Candlewick Press.

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It is a love story between a dog and his girl. “My dad said Sammy was the best hound dog in the whole world. All I knew was that I loved Sammy and Sammy loved me.” But dogs don’t live as long as little girls and when Sammy’s life on earth comes to an end, the girl and her family find a way to celebrate the joy that was Sammy.  This is a BooHoo kind of story. My Mom Person was shedding a lot of tears. Ultimately that’s what loving a dog is all about. Tears of joy, tears of triumph, tears of frustration, tears of sadness. And lots of laughter to go along with the tears. We dogs have pretty strong spirits. The Mom Person still sees St Gretta around sometimes and I know that when I leave this world I really won’t be gone.

For me, this book was all about smiles. Sammy had a great family who loved and cherished him for the dog that he was. And they kept that love strong even after he was gone. What more could a dog ask for?

Death is not a happy topic of conversation, but it is a part of everyone’s life. Ms. Walsh has created a lovely story of a blissful relationship between a girl and a dog. And Mr. Wyeth’s paintings are a perfect fit. Sammy in the Sky is a beautiful celebration of a super dog. It is truly a treasure book. You should check it out.