Friends

img219A friend is a feeling of forever in the heart
Henri Nouwen

I have been blessed with a life filled with friendship. I make friends wherever I go. Mostly human friends. I have some very special friends at school and at the library. I have some very special friends who come to visit me at the 7 Acre Wood. This past week was a busy one filled with friends. My Princesses came to town! And boy, did we have some fun! Books and the river and games and hikes and snuggle time. True friends of my heart. We also had some good time with friends at the library. Books and friends – the best combination.

At the library, surrounded by Friends, we read a fun little book called — Friends!

IMG_0673Friends
written and illustrated by Helme Heine
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
(an imprint of Simon and Schuster)
in 1982

This is the story of three friends — Charlie Rooster, Johnny Mouse, and Fat Percy. They always said, “Good friends always stick together.” And that’s just what they did! First thing in the morning, they ALL went together to the barn to wake the other animals up. Then they ALL three went for their morning bicycle ride. Yes, that’s right — a bicycle ride! Up and down the roughest paths and steepest cliffs. My reader Friends thought that looked like a lot of fun. I’ve never been on a bike before so I wouldn’t know.

The three Friends had lots of fun playing together during the day. They played hide and seek. (My favorite game!!!) They found an old boat and played at being pirates. They went fishing and picked cherries. They shared the cherries and Charlie Rooster got the cherry stones. (But what are cherry stones?! I think they are the seeds!)

IMG_0677When they got back home in the evening, they decided to spend the night together, because “Good friends always stick together!” But they found that each ones house was not suited for the other friends. So they went to their own houses and there they all dreamed about each other – “the way true friends do.”

This was such a cute, happy story! The illustrations are pure JOY! My reading Friends loved this one. They laughed at the silly antics of the Friends. And we talked about what it means to be a good friend. Everyone had special Friends that they liked doing things with. I suggest you check this book out. It will make you smile!

If you happen to know some German, you might want to visit Mr. Heine’s website HERE. It looks rather fun, but I can’t make head nor tail of it.

Now to put a little Rhythm into your day — I give you Lyle Lovett and Randy Newman singing You’ve Got a Friend — enjoy!

You’ve Got a Friend in me for sure!
Rhythm

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A Finder’s Magic

I was given a most fabulous gift this week. My favorite reading teacher, Mrs. Brandt, brought me a surprise from her recent vacation trip. A book. A most wondrous book. A book that she had a hard time finding, but one that she knew I would treasure. A book that she saw and then didn’t see and had to go on a hunt for. A book called A Finder’s Magic. And it happened to be magical that she found it!

IMG_0466A Finder’s Magic
by Philippa Pearce
illustrated by Helen Craig
published by Candlewick Press in 2008

It begins —
There was a boy who went to bed in despair. All night he dreamed his despair, and he woke to desperation. Then he slept again and dreamed, this time a short, strange dream. He dreamed of a garden gate and someone waiting there.

What a way to begin a tale! A boy in despair! What does this portend?

This tale has a fascinating back story. The author, Ms Pearce, who is the author of many award-winning children’s books, wrote this particular story for her grandsons, Nat and Will. (The name of the boy in the book is Tillawn, an anagram of Nat and Will.) Ms Pearce wrote the story specifically to be illustrated by Nat and Will’s other grandmother, Ms Craig. Ms Craig is an acclaimed illustrator of many children’s books. Can you imagine having TWO such grandmothers?! Well, Ms Pearce died about the time that Ms Craig began work on the illustrations for her story. So she never got to see the end result! I think that she would have liked it very much.

So, for the story — It’s the story of a boy who has lost his dog. A dog that he loves very, very, very much. That’s why he is in despair. The dog, Bess, is his best friend in the world. The love that the boy feels for Bess pours out of every page of this book. One day on their daily walk Bess somehow manages to come out of her collar and races ahead where she disappears in Gammer’s Meadow. Till, the boy, could not find her anywhere. Despair. Oh, I could feel his tears.
A strange man appears at Till’s gate and tells Till that he is a Finder and will find Bess. What follows is a fantabulous tale of magic and witches and mysterious goings-on. A detective fairy tale! I was on pins and needles through the whole book! But there is a most glorious ending that finds Till and his “Best in the Whole Wide World Dog” reunited in true bliss!

IMG_0471I am filled with Bliss that Mrs B found this magical book for me! And now here’s a second part to the story – We already had another Philippa Pearce book on our home bookshelf!

IMG_0468The Squirrel Wife
by Philippa Pearce
illustrated by Wayne Anderson
published by Candlewick Press in 2007

This is a lovely, lovely fairy tale about two brothers who are swineherds living at the edge of a deep, dark forest. The forest is inhabited by “the green people”, fairy people who can only be seen by moonlight and who are greatly feared by everyone outside of the forest. But one evening during a storm, the good brother, Jack, heard a voice in the woods crying for help. He could not resist the cry and ventured into the forest where he found a little green man in great distress. Jack helped him back to his family who were so grateful that they rewarded Jack with a magical ring that would bring to Jack a magical wife.

IMG_0469This is a great fairy tale about bravery and doing the right thing. About the rewards of good deeds. About judging and misjudging people without truly knowing who they really are. It’s a picture book with a lot of words. But it’s well worth the read. And the illustrations are beautiful. The story has given me a whole new perspective on all these squirrels that run around the 7 Acre Wood. I am seeing them in a new light.

Both of these books are fairy tales, but not retellings of old tales. They are new tales from the inventive mind of Ms Pearce that take you back to an old time. I think she must have had an old soul.

Find out about the Phillipa Pearce Memorial Lecture HERE.

I’ll sign off with a commercial break —

Take care of the ones that you love —
And NEVER give up on them!
Your friend
Rhythm
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Dogs in the Bed

I have a lot of choices for bedtime comfort at my house. There are dog beds in every room. The living room, the kitchen, by the computer desk, and TWO beds in the actual bedroom.

But the BEST place to sleep is in the human bed. Yes, my people allow dogs on the bed. At least me. I’m the first dog to ever be allowed on the bed at this house. And I am surely appreciative of this privilege.

IMG_0450At the library this week we read a fine little book about dogs in bed —

IMG_0296DOGS on the BED
by Elizabeth Bluemle
illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
published by Candlewick Press in 2008

I would like to present this book as an entry in the Small Fry Safari Readers Challenge put together by The Bookshelf Gargoyle. This book fits category #2 – A book with a piece of furniture in the title. You can find out more about this challenge and see all the entries by visiting Bruce the Gargoyle HERE.

Now back to the book! This is a “rollicking, rhyming romp!” My readers had a fun time reading this one. Hilarious laughter all around! Mom and the two kids are headed to bed for a night time storybook. And all the dogs want to come, too. (I can relate to that!)

There are dogs on the bed
Like logs on the bed
Bed hogs on the bed —-
These dogs, these dogs!

IMG_0309 IMG_0300 IMG_0302 IMG_0305These folks have a LOT of dogs! All shapes and sizes. And they are all squirmy, wormy all over the bed. Then Dad comes in to join the story time and he shoos all the dogs off the bed! (Echoes of my Dad person!) The dogs are quite unhappy and make sad faces and cry and howl and go on the prowl. They all want to go out, so Mom lets them out. Then they want right back in. The family is now sleeping – all in the bed and the dogs pile on. Pushing and shoving and shedding and drooling – the family ends up on the floor! It’s COLD on the floor and the family decides that dogs are pretty good at warming things up – so the kids go off to their beds with some of the dogs and Mom and Dad bring some with them back to bed. And EVERYONE gets a good night’s sleep!

Where do your dogs like to sleep? The Dogzilla pup has to sleep in her crate. She would much prefer the bed with me and the humans. Walker likes to be on his own bed with his sleeping buddy. Sometimes he likes being in his crate. And sometimes in the middle of the night he sneaks up on the bed with us. That makes things rather cozy.

The NY Times had an interesting article about pets in bed with their humans. You can read it HERE.

Barkpost has a nice little article with 11 of the greatest dog beds in history. You can check it out HERE.

dog bedNow THIS looks like a fine bed!!

dogs on the bedI wish you a good night’s sleep!
Rhythm
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Pigs to the Rescue

I think that my life has gone to the pigs. I got involved in my buddy, Bacon’s “Blast From the Past, Show and Tell” event this weekend. If you’ve never met Bacon, he is a very fine pig fellow who posts some very funny stuff. You can visit him at the Hotel Thompson HERE if you’d like. And then this week at the library, my reading buddies picked out this book –

IMG_0358Pigs to the Rescue
by John Himmelman
published Henry Holt and Co. in 2010

Now right off from the cover you can tell that these pigs are going to be nothing but trouble. You can tell a lot by a book’s cover. This cover tells you the whole story without even opening up the pages! And that’s why my boys picked this one. They knew that this one was going to be a crazy romp! And they were right!!

Farmer Greenstalk and his family have the darndest luck. The tractor breaks down, the water hose springs a leak, a kite gets stuck in a tree, the rooster can’t crow. But never fear! The pigs are here!!! To the rescue!! They are very enthusiastic helpers, but as you might imagine they only make matters worse. What’s a family to do?! Well, you’ll have to check this one out to find out! We read this book TWICE, it was so funny!

Mr Himmelman has written like a million books. Lots of silly ones like this pig book. There’s Chickens to the Rescue and Cows to the Rescue and Duck to the Rescue!!! He has also written a whole bunch of nature books. He has a great website that I would advise you to visit. Just click HERE. You can find out all about ALL of his books and watch some cool videos and all kinds of stuff. Go THERE now!

And here’s a story about a pig who really did come to the rescue! Lulu the pig saved her Mom when Mom had a heart attack! Check it out HERE!

And MORE pigs to the rescue! HERE are some pigs who eat up poisonous acorns to save ponies!

I think pigs are pretty awesome! What do you think? Do you know any pigs?

I wish you a very lucky day!
Your library friend
Rhythm
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