Happy Easter!!

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It’s Easter! What does Easter mean to you?  Around here, for the humans that I live with, it means Church and Family and Easter Egg Hunts. I like the egg hunts. I’m very good at finding yummy eggs. But for me, Easter is Springtime. It means the sweet smell of bluebonnets and the pungent aroma of skunks. Ummmmmm! It means soft, green grass to munch and roll in. It means hearing birds singing in the mornings. It usually means rain which means mud puddles and water in the river. I like Easter.

I’ve got some books to share with you. My favorite Easter ones that the Mom Person reads to me every year.

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Max’s Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 1989. I love Rosemary Wells and I love stories about bunnies and I especially love Max!  He is a particularly funny bunny. In this book he wants that chocolate chicken, but he has to find Easter eggs first and the one who finds the most gets the chicken. His sister Ruby is finding lots of eggs while Max gets distracted by mud puddles and acorns. Who will get the chicken? You must read it and find out!!

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A Surprise for Easter by Pete Bowman was published by Aladdin Books in 1992. It is a fascinating book. It’s called a revolving book. On each page is a round picture with a little tab. And if you pull the tab around the circle, the picture changes! Magic! It’s a cute story about an enormous egg that Mother Hen laid. All the other animals decide to decorate it for the fair. And they do a beautiful job! There is a big surprise at the end that you will have to read for yourself!

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The Golden Egg Book is a Little Golden Book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Lilian Obligado. It was published by Western Publishing Co. in 1975. It was originally published in 1947! This cute little bunny finds an egg. But he doesn’t know what’s inside. He imagines all kinds of things. Then he does all kinds of things to try to get whatever it is out. He shakes it and jumps on it and rolls it down a hill and throws rocks at it. What will come out?! And how long must he wait?! You must read it and find out!

IMG_1417I hope you have a bountiful Easter full of everything that is special to you. Church, Family, egg hunts, bunnies, baskets and JOY! Easter is all about JOY!!

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A Place For An Ugly Bird!

Wow! I got a package today! I thought it must be my birthday and we’d be getting some Frosty Paws, too. But the Mom Person said it wasn’t my birthday. I know it’s not Christmas because there’s no tree in the house and I haven’t seen Santa in quite awhile. The Mom Person says it’s just because I’m a Special Girl!!

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It turns out that that Special Lady, Mary Livingston, over at the Backdoor Artist, sent me this package! She wrote this book about Vultures, No Place for Ugly Birds. I told her that I thought that those birds were spooky. They swoop down low lookin’ for stuff and they’re soooo quiet about it. Spooky. So she sent me a package! With my very own Vulture! And he’s sure not spooky. He is quiet though. No squeaking from him.

And to go along with my very own non-spooky Vulture, she sent some books! I’ll have to find some non-spooky kids to read them to me and then I’ll tell you all about them. I can’t wait!

My very own package! From the UPS man! I love the UPS man. And Mary Livingston.

Thank You Ms Livingston!!!!

I have a confession to make

I have a confession to make.

When I was a wee babe, I ate books. Yes, I did. I ate them. They were right there. They smelled quite nice. And I found that they tasted pretty good.

But the Mom Person moved them out of my reach and I soon found other, better things to chew on and eat. Now, in my maturity, I enjoy books because they bring me closer to the people that I love. They bring me soft hands and soothing voices. Sometimes giggles and laughter. And sometimes I learn a thing or two.

A book that was recently read to me and brought those peals of JOY and laughter is another one by that wonder boy, Oliver Jeffers. The Incredible Book Eating Boy. It was published by Philomel Books in 2006. It is suitable for all ages. It is hilarious!

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I am a HUGE Oliver Jeffers fan! His books are incredibly unique. This story is about Henry, a boy who LOVES books! But, he loves to EAT them! He loves to eat all sorts of books. And he finds that the more he eats — the smarter he gets! And he wants to be smart, so he eats and eats. But then he finds that he is feeling very ill indeed! And all the books that he was ingesting start getting all mixed up. In his tummy and in his head. Everyone tells him he should stop eating books. So he decides that he must. Then one day he picks up a book and instead of eating it, he opens it and reads it. And, lo and behold!, he discovers that he loves to READ!

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The story is a fun one, but the book itself is a real treasure. There is a big piece of the back of the book that has been bitten off! ( I did not do it!) The kids thought that was pretty funny. But the really clever thing is that the illustrations and text are printed on copies of real book pages from found books. Mr Jeffers has said that he used pieces of paper that he got from trash bins! Who would think to do such a thing!?

The kids that read this book to me gave it a very high 5. and I give it 4 big paws up. You must check it out!
This book lends itself to a discussion of the proper care and use of books. Some resources can be found here and here.
And here is a pdf file for a bookmark with rules on it!

Now you might want to head over to Susanna Hill’s blog — It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday! and there will be lots of great books and resources for you to check out!

The Five Civilized Tribes

The Mom Person and the Big Guy With the Treats and Tennis Balls (he would prefer that I call him the Dad Person or something, but to me he’s always treats and tennis balls!) went on another road trip. And again it was No Dogs Allowed. Biiiiiggg sigh —-. They travelled up to the Ozarks in Missouri and we got a postcard –

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That’s just not right. Tell us about that wonderful stuff and then “I wish you were here”!!?? Just not right.

They did bring back a fun book though and I’m going to tell you about that. On their drive to Missouri they travelled through Oklahoma. Indian Territory of the Five Civilized Tribes. These are the Cherokee, the Chickasaw, the Choctaw, the Creeks, and the Seminoles. They lived in the Southeastern US. But in 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act which forced these tribes to move west of the Mississippi River to designated Indian Territories that eventually became the state of Oklahoma. Their journey has become known as the Trail of Tears. (I am quite the history hound!)

The book that I now have is a Chickasaw story called Nittak Hollo Nakfish! or It’s Saturday! The story is written by Laura Marshall Clark, translated by JoAnn Ellis and illustrated by Joshua D. Hinson. It was published by the Chickasaw Nation Division of Arts and Humanities in 2009. The Mom Person got this book at the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

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This is the story of Talhoffi, a young Chickasaw bunny who has grown big enough to be able to walk to his cousins’ house through the big woods all by himself. It is Saturday. The day for this big adventure. His dog, Mokie, goes with him. They are best friends! I like stories with a best friend dog! While walking through the woods, Talhoffi thinks of the stories that his father and grandfather and the elders have told him about the woods and nature. These stories help him to feel brave like a warrior and he and Mokie arrive safely and happily at the cousins’ house.

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The fun thing about this book is that it has the Chickasaw translation right along with the English translation. And a glossary in the back of the book. So you can learn some Chickasaw while reading the story!

To learn more about the Chickasaw Nation check out their website.

Top o’ the mornin’ to you!

Sunday, March 17 we will be celebrating St Patrick’s Day. I don’t know if everybody celebrates this special day, but we do. We get dressed up in green and I have to wear silly glasses and hats. And eat potatoes. That parts ok. I like potatoes.

St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland because he supposedly brought Christianity to that country. So for the last 1,000 years the Irish have celebrated a feast day for this man. And for some reason that celebration has become a very popular one for all kinds of people who may not even be Irish. It’s an odd thing.

I have done my part this week by reading a ton of books about St Patrick’s Day! Leprechauns and gold and rainbows and potatoes and green and parades and clover. And lots of weird talking! Shillelaghs and Erin go bragh! What does that mean?!  Anyway, Here are all the books that we read this week:

My favorite one was St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Jan Brett. You can’t get much better than Eve Bunting and Jan Brett! The book was published by Clarion Books in 1980.
Jamie is a wee Irish lad who very much wants to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade with his dad and brothers. But they think he’s too small to make it to the top of Acorn Hill. So early on the morning of, Jamie puts on his mom’s raincoat, his dad’s hat, his brother’s green sash and grabs the flute on the table. He sets off with his best buddy, Nell, the sheepdog. (That’s the best part! His best friend, Nell the dog!). The two of them walk through the sleeping town meeting a few nice, helpful neighbors on the way and make it all the way to the top of Acorn Hill. All by themselves! They leave a flag on the stage and head back down the hill. Thinking about how surprised everyone will be when they see the flag and wonder who has been there!
It’s a great story with some great illustrations – all in black and white and green and yellow.
You need to check this book out and go find a parade!

And to get you in a right Irish mood I give you Van Morrison and the Chieftains – and you can’t get much better than that! Makes me get up and dance!

Almost —

Yesterday, Saturday March 9, was my buddy Walker’s birthday! Birthday # 6! He had a big day playing with his brothers who he hadn’t seen in a long time. They were all prison dogs together when they were wee lads and Guide Dog Pups in Training.

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This is the 3 of them enjoying their birthday Frosty Paws. My Mom Person always makes us Frosty Paws for our birthdays. That’s Walker on the right. With Honor and Challenger. I’m almost going to have a birthday. In December. Almost.

It’s also Spring Break time here, which means no school for awhile. I miss school when we don’t go, but if it’s Spring Break then that means that Spring is almost here. Which means that Summer is almost here. Which means that it’s almost warm enough to swim in the river. Almost is such a funny word. It means soooo close, yet soooo far. Like almost dinner time. Close enough to smell it and taste it. But not quite.

We read a book called Almost. A cute book about a little boy who is almost 6 years old. (Just like Walker!) Almost is by Richard Torrey and was published by Harper Collins Children’s Books in 2009.

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Look at that cute little guy on the cover! His name is Jack. He’s almost big enough to reach those apples. I know that feeling. I’m almost big enough to reach those cookies on the counter. If the Mom Person puts them just a little bit closer, I can!  Anyway, Jack is almost 6 and in this book he talks about all the ways that he is almost grown up.

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He can almost wear his big brother’s clothes. He can almost build a real robot. He almost hit a home run in his ball game. He’s almost never afraid of the dark. It’s all ALMOST, but not quite. And I know how hard that can be!!

I really like this book. The illustrations are excellent. Lots of emotion on every page. It’s an easy read with only about 125 words. And it has a cute dog in it! I think that any little tyke waiting for a birthday will like this book!

So head over to the library and check it out!

And I’ll leave you with a Happy Birthday song from Trout Fishing In America! One of my favorite bands!

Home Run!!

I’ve been going to school for quite a few years and have seen a lot of kids growing up and becoming teenagers who don’t have the need to read to dogs anymore. I rarely see these “big” kids after they leave the elementary school. But sometimes I run into them in town or at the park or in the library. Like tonight. A couple of my favorite girls who I haven’t seen in a couple of years came by the library to see me! I was very excited to see them! And they were excited that I remembered them. I don’t know why they would be surprised about that!

They were also thrilled to read me and Walker a couple of books. They picked out some good ones, too. J plays softball and she picked out a baseball book. ( How appropriate! Since I have been fantasizing about a secret life as a ball player!) This book is about Babe Ruth who is a famous ball player. It’s called Home Run. It was written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Mike Wimmer. It was published by Harcourt Brace & Company in 1998.

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It’s probably suitable for 1st grade and up. It is a rather unique book. To begin with, there is no title on the cover! The cover looks like a folded shirt! Cool! And the story is written in kind of free verse, poetic prose. It’s lovely. First page — simply, “He is the Babe.” Second page — “He has always loved this game. This baseball. But what he does not know yet is this: He will change this game he loves. Forever.”

And on each page, along with the verse, there are boxes kind of like the backs of baseball cards that have interesting facts about baseball and Babe Ruth. The illustrations are stunning! So realistic you can hear the crack of the bat and the cheers of the crowd. You can feel the power behind that swing.

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I don’t know a lot about baseball. I’ve been to a lot of games and like the excitement of it all. I wish I could play. I’m a good catcher!! I also have never heard of Babe Ruth. But I sure know a lot about him now! Wow! If you’re at all interested in baseball, you should read this book. Just Wow!

Some of the teachers at my school use baseball in math lessons. Here’s a link to some baseball math ideas.
Kids could make their own baseball cards with their picture on the front and some facts about them on the back. When I was a Guide Dog Puppy in Training, I had a “baseball” card of myself that I gave to kids.
Just playing the game of baseball is a great activity!

And here is a video of Babe Ruth hitting his 60th homerun!

Now you can venture over to Susanna Hill’s blog for more fun picture books and resources. It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Where Does Your Dog Go at Night?!

I’ve got a FUN book for you today!!! We came across this book at the library the other day. It would be a pretty good read aloud, but you really need to read it with your eyes. It’s called The Night I Followed The Dog by Nina Laden.

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Ms Laden is new to me, but I want to find some more of her books! This one was published by Chronicle Books in 1994. It begins – “I have a dog. Nothing exotic or special, just an ordinary dog.” The dog can play games and do tricks, but he’s boring. Then one morning, the boy makes a startling discovery. He sees a limousine park in front of his house, and his dog gets out! Wearing a tuxedo!

So the next night the boy decides to follow the dog and see what’s up. He follows the limo into the city where the dog gets out at a mysterious building with big brass doors. (Oh! I do love a mystery!) Inside he finds his dog is the boss dog of a kind of night club for dogs. A place where dogs can come hang out and relax and sit on sofas! There’s music and dancing and treats. The boy is amazed! So the boy heads back home on his bike thinking about what a cool dog he has!

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Now the really cool thing about this book is the WORDS! Look at this page. The words themselves are little pictures! I’m sure that there must be some big word for this, but I don’t know what it is. But it is just totally awesome! I think that kids would have a fun time creating word/pictures like these!

Now I’ve been thinking a lot about this book. What kind of secret life would I have if I were to have a secret night life? ( I personally like my sleep.)  I’m thinking that I would probably get some buddies together for a good ball game. Go to the park for a good game of baseball or soccer. That would be my kind of fun.

If you have a dog, what kind of secret life do you think that they would have?

Here for your pleasure is William Wegman’s Dog Baseball — EnJOY!

And I’m off to the library!

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Tag I’m It!

It seems that I have been tagged in a strange human version of tag using computers! I don’t understand that really — This is my idea of tag!

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But I’ll do my best to accommodate. The witty, poetic Ms Catherine Johnson got me into this. You Humans are a strange lot. I’m supposed to answer a bunch of silly questions and then tag someone else. I was tempted to eat the homework, but The Mom Person says I need to be a good sport. What does she mean by that? I’m always good!
So here goes —

1. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten in public?
I don’t recall ever eating anything strange anywhere. But the Mom Person says she would say that eating chewing gum from under the tables in restaurants is pretty strange.

2. If you had to go on an adventure with elves, dwarves, or hobbits, who would you take and why?
Well, I do know a thing or two about those creatures! We have them popping up around our house all the time. And I think that I prefer the company of Hobbits. They’re kind of hairy and cuddly like a nice blanket.

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3. You are at a rural retreat lodge somewhere in Wisconsin or Canada. You are approached by a taxidermist who hands you a stuffed badger and asks you to put it in your lap. What do you do next?
Jump for JOY! Find the squeaker and chew the ears off.

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4. If you were given biscotti, would you prefer it with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
I don’t know what biscotti is, but I’m sure that I would eat it JOYfully with a bowl of water.

5.Funniest man or woman alive?
My buddy Mr JB!

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6. If you were given 30 sec. on television to say something, what would it be?
Hmmmmm. Depending on the treats at hand, I might sing Happy Birthday.

7. What is your idea of the most romantic date setting ever?
Where do you come up with these questions? What’s romantic? The best setting ever is the river with a basket full of tennis balls by my side.

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8. If you could go on a date with a movie or television star who would it be and why?
I’m not into movies or television, but I’m in love with Momo.  http://gofindmomo.com/

9. What is the worst song you’ve ever heard?
I don’t know of any songs that I don’t like. I even like listening to my Mom Person sing.

10. If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?
There’s no place like HOME!

11. Who – in your opinion – was the greates person to ever live?
This is the easiest one! My Mom Person of course!!!!

And now I think I’m supposed to tag some other folks. But I don’t think I can catch anyone, so I’m throwing these questions out to the wind and see where they land. And now I’m eating the homework!

ABCs Part 2

Remember the ABC binge we went on last week? Well, this is Part 2 — more Alphabet Books!!!

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Where to begin?!

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Alphabatics is by Suse MacDonald and was published by Bradbury Press in 1986. It’s an interesting kind of puzzle book. Each page has a letter that is transformed in 4 pictures from it’s letterness to a picture – like the “j” on the cover. The “j” becomes a jack in the box!  It’s pretty clever.

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A Nonsense Alphabet by Edward Lear was originally published in 1952 by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. The book contains reproductions of drawings that Mr Lear did in 1880 and gave to a boy who kept them in his possession for many years, only coming to light it 1951. Then they were acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum. The book is printed on water color paper in black and white so that children can color them! Isn’t that cool?! The text is hand written in cursive and a little hard to read, but the verses are all printed at the end of the book. “A” was a lovely apple which was very red and round, It tumbled off an apple tree and fell upon the ground.”

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Arf! Beg! Catch! Dogs From A to Z is by Henry Horenstein. It was published by Scholastic in 1999. It’s a happy, photographic look at dogs. Each page is a letter and a picture and word to correspond to that letter. “A” is for Arf! “B” is for Beg. “C” is for Catch. A simple, cute book.

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Appaloosa Zebra, A Horse Lover’s Alphabet is by Jessie Haas with pictures by Margot Apple. It was published by Greenwillow Books in 2002. A little girl dreams about having a horse farm when she is older. And imagines all the different kinds of horses she will have – from Appaloosas to Zebras. It’s a cute book with fun illustrations. If you like horses, this is a book for you!!

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Eye Spy, A Book of Alphabet Puzzles is by Linda Bourke. Published by Chronicle Books in 1991. This is a very clever word puzzle book! Each page has 4 pictures that create a kind of riddle using either homophones or homonyms. Like the cover picture that shows 3 animal “eyes” and then an “eye” from a fishing fly. And that fly is a clue to the next pages riddle. So that the book becomes a continuous chain! So very clever and thought full! I love this book. I think it is my favorite of this bunch. The discussions that the pictures could lead into I think could be very imaginative!

We still have more to come from our Alphabet Binge. But I’ll save the rest for another day. I’ll let you ponder on these for now. Go and check them out!! And then let me know some more of your favorites!!

For more on Edward Lear you might check out Project Gutenberg. They have a lot of his nonsense stuff.
And here is a Joyful Ted talk from Al Seckel about how our eyes can sometimes fool us.
And a website full of homonym fun.