Texas Book Festival

IMG_3912The Mom Person spent the weekend at the Texas Book Festival in our lovely state capital, Austin. I did not get to go because she did not think that dogs would be allowed. But it turned out that there were quite a few dogs there with their people! Phooey! Maybe I’ll get to go next year.

IMG_3908There were lots of people there to meet and greet all the authors and buy their books. The Mom Person saw lots and lots of bags full of books, so I imagine that all those authors are very happy about their weekend in Austin. There were a lot of authors there and the Mom Person had a hard time deciding who she wanted to see and what books she wanted to buy.

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This was the Saturday schedule for book signings. Some of the authors read their books before signing and some of them didn’t. The Mom Person said it was kind of confusing and a little crazy with everyone buying books and getting in line and trying to figure out where to be when. But everyone was very polite and nice and friendly. Even the authors!

The stars of the show seemed to be Mr Jon Scieszka and Mr Mac Barnett. And their book Battle Bunny. They did several talks and seemed to be everywhere. And they packed the tent to over flowing. And the book tent even ran out of Battle Bunny!

IMG_3893But the Mom Person managed to get me a copy! And she got it signed. They thought I must be a very smart Library Dog.

IMG_3941Battle Bunny is by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett. Pictures are by Matthew Myers.

It was published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in 2013.

According to the back of the book it is suitable for ages 5 – 87.

I would imagine that you have probably heard all about this book. It has been in the news a lot. I think because it is a very unique book. And the uniqueness has nothing to do with the story itself. It’s all about the BOOK itself. It presents itself as a kind of Little Golden Book called Birthday Bunny that was given to a young lad named Alex on his birthday. But Alex decided to turn it into a more exciting book. So he crossed out a lot of stuff and drew stuff in with pencil and now it is Battle Bunny instead of Birthday Bunny. And when Birthday Bunny encounters his friends in the forest in the original version, Battle Bunny sees them as enemies and whomps on them and explodes things in his quest to put his “evil plan” into action.  Alex must eventually come in and save the day.IMG_3942This is a really funny, crazy book! You must get your hands on it!

This crazy team of Scieszka and Barnett not only talked about their crazy book, but they also presented the master list for the Texas Bluebonnet Award books. This is a program developed through the Texas Library Association to encourage reading in young people. The master list of 20 books is presented every year at the Texas Book Festival. Then if students read, or are read to, 5 books from the list they have the opportunity to vote for their favorite book in January. The book that receives the most votes wins the Award. You can find out more about the Bluebonnet Award HERE.

And here are the Dynamic Bunny Duo presenting the list –

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Are they crazy or what?!

Well, if those pictures don’t convince you — here’s a little taste of Battle Bunny —

I wish y’all a happy, crazy week! And Happy Birthday or whatever!

Rhythm

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Koko’s Kitten PPBF

IMG_3871I have a thing for gorillas. I have my very own that kept me safe when I was a wee pup. Gorillas are special creatures that are endangered. That means that they are in danger of becoming extinct. That would be a bad thing for the world.

There is a very famous gorilla named Koko. You may have heard of her. She was born at the San Francisco Zoo in 1971 and in 1972 Ms Francine Patterson, who was working on a graduate school project, became interested in studying the language abilities of animals. She was allowed to use Koko as her subject.

Dr. Patterson taught Koko American Sign Language and claims that Koko can now communicate using over 1000 words and phrases. (Very much like Chaser the dog!) Koko and Dr. Patterson are still together, working and learning and teaching the world about gorillas.

KoKo’s Kitten is a book about Koko and her 1st pet.

It is a non-fiction story written by Dr. Francine Patterson and has photographs by Ronald H. Cohn

It was published in 1985 by Scholastic.

Theme — gorillas, endangered animals, animal communication, pets

There are a lot of words in this book so it is best for older kids – 2nd grade and up. But with some adjustments in storytelling, younger kids like this book a lot. The pictures are everything!

IMG_3869There is a preface that gives some history to Koko’s story and the story itself begins with Koko’s birthday. “Koko knows what birthdays are. When asked what she does on her birthday, Koko answered, ‘Eat, drink, old.”

For this birthday, (the story does not say which birthday) Koko wanted a cat. Dr Patterson decided to get her a toy cat, but the one she chose didn’t come in time for the birthday so Koko received it at Christmas. But Koko did not want a toy cat. She wanted a real cat and was very angry about the toy one.

Some months later, some abandoned kittens were brought in and Koko got to choose which kitten she wanted for a pet. She chose one without a tail and named it All Ball. Koko loved her kitten and was very gentle with it. She treated it like a baby.

You will have to read the book to find out the rest of the story. It is a fascinating one.

To find out more about Koko and gorillas in general visit the Gorilla Foundation. Kids can even communicate with Koko!

And for more Perfect Picture Books and resources visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

Here is a video of Koko with some new kitties –

Learn about gorillas, see what you can do to help gorillas, spread the word. And make a new friend today!

Joy to you!!

Rhythm

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Tricks and Treats

img184I don’t get really excited about Halloween. It’s just another day to me. Sometimes I have to dress up in silly costumes, but that’s not much different from any other day. I’m always having to dress up for something. Halloween is about getting treats. That’s a good thing! But I get treats every day too. I always know just the right trick to get some kind of treat from somebody.

IMG_1491Halloween is also about ghosts and witches and goblins. I don’t have any use for those, except in books. And we have some books full of ghosts and witches and goblins. We’ve been reading a lot of those lately!!! Some of them have been really good! Some have been sort of good. And some have been kind of neh.

IMG_3865These are some of my favorites that we have come across. I’ll tell you a little about them.

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Sheep Trick or Treat by Nancy Shaw and illustrated by Margot Apple. Published in 1999 by Scholastic. The Sheep in a Jeep get spooky. They make spooky costumes and go trick or treating in the barn. Then have to deal with wolves on the way home. I really like these Sheep in a Jeep. No jeep this time, but lots of fun. The kids loved this one.

img445Haunted Party by Iza Trapani. Published in 2009 by Charlesbridge. A rhyming, counting party full of fun antics with ghosts and skeletons and goblins and witches and all the spookiness that Halloween calls for. This book is full of some crazy, silly characters. A great read-aloud!!

img439By the Light of the Halloween Moon by Caroline Stutson and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. Published in 1994 by Puffin Books. This is a fun,fun rhyming tale that builds on itself like The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. And the book is ALL about the illustrations! Lots of spooky characters trying to get those toes and each other. Another fun read-aloud!!! Fabulous!

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Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. This is the team that brought us The Gruffalo and quite a few other wonderful books. A joyful tale full of rhythm and rhyme. It’s about making friends and being a good friend and helping each other. This book is full of smiling faces. I love this book!!!!

This is the fun part of Halloween! Reading fun, spooky silly books while eating treats! Fantastic!!

And here’s a little Halloween ditty from one of my favorite musical groups, Trout Fishing in America

I wish you lots and lots of treats!!!

Rhythm

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A Lucky Dog!

I’m a pretty lucky dog. I’ve had a nice life with people who love me.I get to go to work with my Mom Person and play with kids. I have a lovely river not far outside my door. I have a full toy basket with LOTS of tennis balls and jars full of treats. I never have to stay out in the weather or miss meals. Life is pretty good.

IMG_2473I hear a lot about homeless dogs and dogs who live in shelters. I worry about things like that. All dogs should have a family to love and take care of. I also hear stories about lucky dogs who find those loving families by pure chance.

We read a book today about just such a dog. He not only found a great family full of love, he also found a job full of adventure and became famous along the way. He was very lucky!

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A LUCKY DOG, Owney, U.S. Rail Mail Mascot was written by Dirk Wales and illustrated by Diane Kenna. I couldn’t find much information about either Mr Wales or Ms Kenna. I did find an interesting interview with Mr Wales that you can watch HERE.

A Lucky Dog was originally published in 2003 by Great Plains Press. Our book was published in 2006 by Scholastic.

This book is suitable for K & up

Themes — working dogs, rescue dogs, postal service

The book begins — “Nameless and homeless, the small dog shivered in the gloom.”

That would be a homeless little dog in Albany, New York in 1889 who was lucky to find an open door into a dry, warm post office with nice, soft mail bags to curl up on. Then he was lucky to be found by a nice young postal worker named Owen who had a nice supervisor who let the dog stay. They all called the dog Owney because he was Owen’s dog. Owney became the Post Office mascot and got to go wherever the workers went. Even on the rail cars that carried the mail across the country! Owney was lucky to be able to travel all over the country and eventually around the world with the mail! At all the places he stopped on his travels he received a bagging tag and acquired so many that they had to make a special coat for him to hold them all.

owney_postal_dogMs Kenna’s illustrations are quite nice. Simple with a lot of emotion. They make you feel like you’re riding the rails with Owney! We had a fun time reading this book. The kids all agreed that Owney was indeed a very lucky dog! They had never ridden on a train before. Lucky Owney! The book has a railroad map from 1890 that was pretty cool to look at. We couldn’t find Glen Rose – the words are VERY tiny, but it showed that Owney stopped at a few places in Texas.

It would be interesting to have a bigger discussion about some of the places that Owney travelled along with the mail.
If you happen to be lucky enough to live near Washington DC or lucky to travel there, you could visit the National Postal Museum and see Owney himself, stuffed and wearing all his tags. You can click here and learn more.

Here’s a little video about Owney —

The Postal Museum has actually created a curriculum guide for teachers. You can find that HERE.

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday and there are a lot of great picture books to be found at Susanna Hill’s blog. You might want to check it out! You might get lucky!

I hope you have a lucky day today! I have a day off and will be taking it easy!

rhythm sleepingRhythm

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Dancing in the Moonlight

More connections. They seem to be everywhere! We heard a song on the radio – one of the Mom Person’s favorites – Dancing in the Moonlight. It is a dancing song and we got to dancing!

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All that dancing made the Mom Person think of some books that we have in our library, so we pulled them out for a read. Both books are about Dancing in the Moonlight!

IMG_3745The Dancing Tiger is by Malachy Doyle with beautiful, stunning artwork by the mighty duo of Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. I love the work of this team!!! Our book was published in 2005 by Viking.

This is an enchanting tale of a “quiet, gentle tiger” who dances in the woods when the moon is full. The narrator is a young girl who discovers the dancing tiger one moonlit night. He tells her that if she will promise to keep his secret, she can dance with him. So through the seasons and the years they meet in the woods under the full moon and dance. A lovely tale told in verse with a waltzing rhythm. Ahhhhh!

IMG_3741 Midnight Farm is by Carly Simon (yes, THE Carly Simon) and illustrated by David Delamare. This book is a regular farmyard hootenanny! When the moon is high in the sky, it rains down magic. All the animals and plants come alive and commence to jumping and jiving. The narrator of this story is a young boy, and he and his brother are awakened one night by a field mouse who invites them to join the party. And what a crazy party it is! With cantaloupe and flamingoes and raccoons and mosquitoes all playing music and dancing.

This is a great, fun read aloud book.

It’s not a full moon tonight. That happens on Friday night. But I hope that you step out and waltz in the moonlight. It’s a good thing.

Copy of IMG_3727And here’s the song that started it all  — Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest —

Happy Dancing!
Rhythm

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Winter Holding Spring

img438You know how when you see someone smile, it makes you smile too?  A smile or a good deed can travel far and wide. It can connect us to our neighbors and to others around the world. When my tail wags it starts all kinds of waves that connect me to everyone around. People and pets are all connected somehow, someway. When a person tells a story about their dog, it makes you think of a story about your dog. And on and on. We’re all connected. Each one of us to our neighbor. And on and on.

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I think books are like that, too. All the books are somehow connected in a kind of web. A book web. Like when you find a book that you really like, you want to read more books by that author. Or you want to find more books from the illustrator. Or more books on the same subject. And on and on. They’re all connected. Each one connected to its neighbor.

This all comes to mind because this connectedness was set in motion the other day with a post that I did about a book called Mr Rabbit and the Lovely Present. This book was written by Charlotte Zolotow. When we were researching Ms Zolotow, we found that she has a daughter named Crescent Dragonwagon. A very unique name, right? A name that would be hard to forget. And I knew that I had heard that name before. And then I remembered a book that my girl, Brenna, had once read to me. A book that she really, really liked. So I went to the bookshelves and looked and looked at all the connected books. Books that were connected by Brenna. Books that she had read to me and that connected the two of us together.

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And I found it! The book is Winter Holding Spring by Crescent Dragonwagon. It’s illustrated by Ronald Himler and was published in 1990 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

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The book itself is all about connections. It’s the story of a young girl, Sarah, whose mother died the previous year. She misses her mom and  finds memories of her everywhere. She and her dad talk about the memories and the missing. And they talk about time and how time flows into itself. At the end of summer, you find bits of fall coming — a lone, yellow leaf falling down. At the end of fall, you find bits of winter coming — pumpkins waiting for pumpkin pie. At the end of winter, there are bits of spring — bulbs breaking thru the snow. And spring holds a whole lot of summer — seed catalogs, vacation plans. Each ending brings a new beginning. And fresh hope for a new way to look at the world, and at life, and at sorrow.

This is a lovely, poetic book. My Brenna girl felt particularly connected to it because her mom had died as well. She knew just how Sarah in the book was feeling. And she listened to the words that Sarah’s Dad gave to Sarah.

Brenna reads Toot and Puddle

Brenna reads Toot and Puddle

Brenna is a big girl now and lives far away so I don’t see her very often. But I sure do love it when she comes back to visit. She still reads to me, but we haven’t thought about this book in a long time. That Mr Rabbit with the lovely present brought it all back.

img219We’re all connected – people, pets, books, ideas, and on and on.

I hope that you discover some connections today.

Have a good one!

Rhythm
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Max’s Words

Words are pretty important to humans. Not so much to canines. Dogs usually pay more attention to a tone of voice than to actual words. I like words. At least I like to hear words spoken by humans. It’s really more about the sound than the actual word. I have some particular favorites — treat, French Fries, ball, river, YES!, find it, library, kids, Dr Bruton, Ms Brandt, Good Girl! And there are some words that I don’t like to hear — No!, leave it, no more, go lay down, that’s enough, off, not today. There are a lot of words that I like the sound of when I hear them spoken, but I don’t know what they mean.

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Mrs Brandt, my favorite reading teacher who always has banana chips and the best pillows, has a great book called Max’s Words about a boy who collects words.

Max’s Words is written by Kate Banks and illustrated by Boris Kulikov. Now that’s a nice sounding name!

Max’s Words was published in 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

It is suitable for Pre-K through 3rd grade or so —

Theme – words, writing

IMG_3705Opening — “Max’s brother Benjamin collected stamps.”

Max has a brother who has a fabulous stamp collection that everyone admires. And he has another brother with a coin collection that everyone admires. Max wants a collection for himself and decides to collect words. He starts with simple words that he cuts out of magazines and newspapers. His collection grows and grows and he starts sorting them in different orders. Then he discovers that when he puts his words together in different ways, they become a thought. And those words and thoughts can be strung together to create a story! Now his brothers get interested in Max’s word collection and they all end up working together to create a magical story.

IMG_3706The illustrations in this book are as fabulous as the words. They build on what the words are saying and make those words come alive.

This is a most fabulous book all around!!!

Following in Max’s footsteps would be a fun thing to do with a class. Let them start their own word collection. (Or you might give them a whole bunch of already cut out words). Then see what kind of stories they can create. Some magazines and some scissors can make magic happen!

A favorite game at my house is the Dictionary Game. One person looks up a word in the dictionary and says the word to the other players. Then those players write down what they think the word means. The word person collects all the definitions along with the real one that he has written down and reads each one out loud. The other players pick the one that they think is the real definition. If you get it right you get a point. If you wrote a definition that fools the others you get a point.

When we’re in a classroom, sometimes we play another dictionary game where everyone has a dictionary. The Mom Person says a word and the 1st one to find it wins a point.

Now here is a little bit of connected trivia. I love connections. I recently did a post about a book written by Charlotte Zolotow. There is a book award named after Ms Zolotow. Another book written by Ms Banks, the Night Worker, won the Charlotte Zolotow Award!

This is Perfect Picture Book Friday and if you would like to find a great list of books and resources to use in you classroom or at home, you should visit Susanna Leonard Hill at her blog HERE.

Here’s a video about a DOG who collects words! —

And if you would like the longer NOVA version  —

IMG_5511I’m working on my collection! How about you? Any favorite words? Do you have enough words for a story?

Happy Hunting —
Rhythm
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Tuesday Mischief

Some of my dog blog buddies do a blog hop tour on Mondays called Monday Mischief. I like to see what kind of mischief they all get into. It makes me smile to imagine all the fun. I’m not usually into that mischief stuff. But today I kind of got a wild hair or a bee in my bonnet or something.

IMG_2802Our morning routine is to go out and feed the goats and the pony and the chickens and then go walking. I usually let the Mom Person go feed everybody and I wait at the top of the hill. But I got bored today. She was taking too long. So I went wandering instead.

IMG_2255And while I was wandering, the Mom Person was wondering where I was. You see, I never stray far from her. I usually like to keep my eye on her. But like I said, that bee was buzzing in my bonnet.

She claims that she called my name a lot — “RHYTHM!!!”. And that she blew that shrill whistle — “TWEEEEET!!” that I ALWAYS come running to because it means GOOD TREATS. But I never heard any of it. I was enjoying the cool morning and all the nature around me. I made my way back to the house where she eventually found me. She was kind of overly joyful at the sight of me. It’s always good to get that love!

And where was I wandering? I’ll never tell!

IMG_5645Mischief?! Me?!

I hope you have a fun week full of happy surprises! But watch out for those bees! They can get you in trouble!

Rhythm (the Mischief Chief)

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Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present

It’s Birthday Season around our house. The Mom Person had a birthday in September and her sister and brother have birthdays in October. Since the birthdays come so close together, they often celebrate together with one big party. I love birthdays. They are a time for big celebrations and a time for reflection. A time for looking at a life lived and a life yet to come. A time for reflecting on what has been accomplished and on what is waiting to be discovered in the future. The big Family celebration began with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Dallas.

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After the big walk there was fellowship and memories and birthday cake and presents!!!!

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Finding the perfect present is always the challenge of a birthday. Something serious, something silly, something meaningful? The Mom Person is always on the lookout for perfect presents. It becomes a quest.

We recently read a lovely little book about finding the perfect gift.

IMG_3594Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present is a little book by Charlotte Zolotow with pictures by Maurice Sendak. It was originally published in 1962, but our book was published in 1990 by Harper Collins.

This is the story of a little girl who is looking for the perfect birthday gift for her mother and asks Mr Rabbit for help.

I don’t know why she chooses to ask Mr Rabbit for help. It just begins with that — “Mr. Rabbit,” said the little girl, “I want help.”  He’s really not much help at all, but manages to ask questions that spark ideas for the girl. All around colors. The mother likes red, and yellow, and green, and blue. With each color mentioned the girl and the rabbit must think of something that is that color that the mother might like. They talk and wonder and wander through the woods looking for just the right things for Mother. And in the end a very Lovely Present is achieved.

IMG_3596I really like this book. First off, I love Mr Sendak’s artwork. He brings a sense of magic to a story. This story is about kindness and friendship and being thoughtful. Not just anything will do for this little girl’s mother. It has to be something special that the mother will love and appreciate. She trusts her friend, Mr Rabbit, to help her find this special gift. And even though Mr Rabbit really doesn’t help much at all, he does try. And goes right along with her until the gift is ready for presentation. What a good friend he is to the little girl!! I don’t know if they ever have any more adventures together. I hope that they do. Even if Ms Zolotow didn’t write any more stories about them.

You can read more about how this story came to be by clicking HERE.

Ms Zolotow has a fascinating website that you might want to check out HERE.

There is a children’s book award named in her honor – The Charlotte Zolotow Award presented to the author of the best children’s book text published in the US. For more about this award and to see a list of recipients click HERE.

A little birthday song for you from Dolly Parton and Willy Nelson —

I wish you a Happy Day — birthday or not! And whenever your birthday is, I hope it’s full of joyful celebration. And I wish for you the perfect, lovely gift!

Rhythm

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:) World Smile Day :)

world-smile-day-2013-poster2-176x233Today happens to be World Smile Day. Doesn’t it make you smile just to hear that?! World Smile Day was created in 1999 by the inventor of that ever present Happy Face, Mr. Harvey Ball. He decided that the world should devote a day each year to sharing smiles and acts of kindness. 🙂

You can find out more about World Smile Day at their website HERE. 🙂 They have lots of fun stuff to do. 🙂

Walker and I did our part today by going to school and spreading our joy throughout the halls. We visited the office ladies and read with kids in the library.

IMG_3588I wish I could show you the big smiles on those kids faces! They know how to spread smiles and JOY! 🙂

We also visited with the 4th grade class of one of my favorite teachers – Ms Beauregard!

IMG_3597She is always very kind to us — sharing her banana chips. 😀 We picked out a couple of books to share with her kids. 🙂

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My favorite was Willy and Hugh by Anthony Browne. I have a real soft spot in my heart for Mr Browne’s work.

This book was published in 1991 by Dragonfly Books.

It is suitable for ages 5-9. Our 4th graders enjoyed it and My Mom Person, who is an adult, loves it!

Themes are friendship and kindness

Opening — Willy was lonely. Everyone seemed to have friends. Everyone except Willy.

Willy is a lonely little chimp with a very sad face. Wandering through the park, he passes lots of other apes who are playing and enjoying the day with their friends. Suddenly a huge ape, named Hugh Jape, (isn’t that GREAT!!) ran right SMACK into Willy. They were both quite startled and apologetic. And instantly became friends. When Willy’s nemesis, Buster Nose, tried to pick on Willy, Hugh stood up for his new friend. They went off together and had a fun day. They even visited the library where Willy read to Hugh. When Hugh was terrified by a spider, Willy moved the spider away. And they were friends happily ever after. 🙂

Mr Browne has a unique way of bringing apes to human-like life. Their expressions are full of emotion. There is lots of humor in his work. From funny names to funny details in his artwork. Willy and Hugh visit the zoo and the picture shows the two of them standing outside the cage with a human family sitting on a couch inside the cage. 🙂

The kids in Mrs B’s class were doing a project about feelings and being empathetic. We had to look that word up in the dictionary. It means being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. My Mom Person puts me in her shoes sometimes. She thinks that’s funny. But to be kind to someone is to put yourself in their shoes and be empathetic. Willy and Hugh did that when they helped each other. 🙂 This is a great book to use as a jumping off point into a discussion about what it means to be a good friend. What are things that friends do for each other?

I hope that you go out and celebrate World Smile Day. It doesn’t take much. As Princess Reason in The Phantom Tollbooth says – “Whatever we do affects everything and everyone else, if even in the tiniest way …. when a housefly flaps his wings, a breeze goes round the world … and whenever you laugh, gladness spreads like the ripples in a pond.”

To find out more about chimpanzees and how you can help with conservation visit the Jane Goodall Institute HERE.

Ms Barbara Gruener is a lady who is all about smiles and kindness. She is a counselor at a school in Friendswood, Tx. She recently took on a challenge to do one act of kindness each day for 21 days! And I’m just asking you to do one day! She did an interesting post on her blog the other day about filling buckets. The comments were what particularly caught my attention — all the ways that people spread kindness and joy. You might check it out at Ms Gruener’s blog, Corner on Character.

Here’s a little video of Willy and Hugh made by “the Legends”, the Year 1 class of Warren Hills Primary School in Coalville — this is FANTASTIC!!

Think of ways that you can spread some JOY today! Spread Smiley Faces around your personal world! Let me know about what happens! Just SMILE!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

And you might want to visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog for Perfect Picture Book Friday and find more wonderful books and resources to go with them.

Rhythm

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