School Days, School Days

Looks like the end of summer is here and school days are upon us. My job will shift from library duty to school duty. That’s fine by me. It’s all the same. Kids and books. School days tend to be a bit more hectic and tiring for me, but that’s ok. School is a fun place to be!

Copy of IMG_1568We had our last summer library session this week. In the summer we do our library visits in the morning, and during the school year we move the visits to evening time. It’s been a busy, fun summer with lots of kids and some fine books.

This week the books were all about school! All the kids are excited about getting back to the classroom and all their friends. Except for one little girl who is about to have her very first school day. She’s a bit nervous about the whole thing. I’ve helped many a new student get through those first day traumas. Part of my job! But let me tell you about the books we read this week. There were some good ones!

IMG_0827Dixie Loves School Pet Day
by Grace Gilman
pictures by Sarah McConnell
colors by Joe Merkel
published by Harper in 2011
This is an I Can Read Book, beginning level 1

The kids all thought that Dixie looked a lot like me! The story is about a big day for Dixie – she gets to go to school with her girl Emma. We used to have a goat named Emma. Our Emma was scary. But Dixie’s Emma seems pretty nice. Anyway, Dixie was excited about going to school and wanted to be a good girl for Emma. But alas, Dixie was so excited that mayhem ensued. 😦 In the end, Dixie saved the day and everyone made some new friends. It was a cute, fun read aloud.

IMG_0873How Will I Get to School This Year?
by Jerry Pallotta
illustrated by David Biedrzycki
published by Scholastic, Inc. in 2011

The story of a girl who decides she’s tired of riding the smelly school bus to school and imagines all the other options. This girl has a WILD imagination! My readers laughed and laughed all the way through this book! Just imagine riding an elephant to school!! Or a tarantula! Or an eagle! Our imaginations soared!! This is a good one!

IMG_0867David Goes to School
by David Shannon
published by The Blue Sky Press (an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.)
in 1999

There are quite a few books out there about this David. They are all hilarious! David is one wild kid! I love David. And my readers do, too. They all said they knew a David. I’ve run into quite a few Davids myself. This book is all about those silly, hard to follow school rules. Like no running in the halls and no chewing gum and sitting in your proper seat. David has a hard time. I can relate.

IMG_0843Little Miss Spider at Sunny Patch School
by David Kirk
published by Scholastic in 2000

It’s Little Miss Spider’s first day of school and it doesn’t go very well for her. She can’t do all the things other bugs can do – like flying and stinging. She feels like a failure. And we all feel sad for Little Miss Spider. But just like Dixie, in the end she saves the day by using the best super power of all — kindness!

And our very FAVORITE book of the day —

IMG_0881The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt
pictures by Oliver Jeffers
(I love, love, love Mr Jeffers!!!)
published by Philomel Books in 2013

I think that by now everyone is familiar with this book. It has been on all the best seller lists and all the book review lists and on every shelf at every bookstore. It has made a big splash. It’s a clever story about a box of crayons who have a lot of complaints and write letters to the boy, Duncan. Each page spread includes the letter from a particular color and coordinating illustrations that look very much like they were done by a first grader. Yay to Mr Jeffers genius! Another book that had my readers rolling on the floor laughing. We read this book through twice! The crayons’ penmanship is not the best and the kids had a little difficulty reading some of it, but it was kind of like a puzzle and they had fun deciphering it. There were also some big words that they stumbled on a bit. And what color is the sun, really?! A very cleverly done tale.

i hope that everyone has a fun, successful start to your school year – with no trouble from the crayon box!!

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I just realized that there are an awful lot of DAVIDS in this post! If you click on any of their names – or the other names, as well — you’ll be able to find out more about them.

Happy Reading!!
Your library friend
Rhythm
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Illumination

CIMG8072I am a dog. A dog who happens to like books. Crazy, I know. But there it is. I love the smell of books, the sound of pages turning, and the sound of the words coming from the voices of readers. (I used to enjoy the taste of books but I have grown beyond that now.) I am surrounded by books at my home. That’s because the people who live in my home love books as well. That’s where my book adventures began.

I have come to learn that there is more to a book than intriguing smells and tasty pages. A book is more than the words that it contains. There is a history behind each book and behind books as an object of reverence. My Mom Person has read books to me about that history and about the art and craft of bookmaking. Books like A Gentle Madness and Patience & Fortitude by Nicholas A. Basbanes. and A Degree of Mastery by Annie Tremmel Wilcox. (For more about Ms Wilcox, please check out this post at Books on Books.)These books are BIG books with lots of words and lots of pages and are way beyond my canine brain’s capabilities of comprehension.

But now my Mom Person has found a book about book history that is just right for my small brain.

IMG_0787Brother Hugo and the Bear
by Katy Beebe
illustrated by S.D. Schindler
published by Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers in 2014

It begins ….
It befell that on the first day of Lent,
Brother Hugo could not return his library book.

Did you know that a way, way long time ago – way before there were printing presses and computers to print out all the pages of books and put those pages all together – books were hand made by monks? Monks are religious fellows who live together in monasteries and do religious things like praying and doing service things for God. One way that they did this way back when, was to pass on wisdom and knowledge by making copies of books. Completely by hand! They had to make the paper and the ink, then they had to write out each book, word by word and page by page – by hand. They not only wrote out the words, they also decorated the pages with beautiful illustrations and ornate lettering. They also used a lot of gold ink to reflect the light. These are called illuminated manuscripts. This is what they looked like.

from The Rohan Master -- a Book of Hours

from The Rohan Master — a Book of Hours

And that’s what this little picture book is all about.

The story is loosely based on a real letter that the author found – a letter written in the twelfth century by a Benedictine monk, Peter the Venerable, to another monastery asking if he could borrow a book because his copy had been eaten by a bear!

In Ms Beebe’s version of the tale, Hugo the monk has lost his book to a bear and must borrow one from another monastery. He must walk to the other monastery and borrow the book, then copy the whole thing before Lent is over, and return the book to its rightful owners. On his journey, he must be wary of the book eating bear!

IMG_0788This book is about books, but it’s also about friendship. When Brother Hugo returns home he is faced with the unbelievable task of copying a whole book in a short amount of time. But he has many friends at the monastery and as Brother Aelred tells him, “Friends meet every misfortune joyfully and help to bear each other’s burdens.” So, one brother gives Hugo a fluffy sheepskin, another helps him turn that sheepskin into parchment sheets, another helps him draw lines on the sheets. Goose feathers are gathered for pens and ink is made from various elements. All through the process of creating his book, Hugo has to listen to the sounds of the bear outside his window! Aaaaakkkkk! How did he manage to keep a steady hand?! And what about returning the original copy to the other monastery with the bear in hot pursuit?!!! Aaaaaakkkkkk! what a tale of suspense! I will not give the ending away – You’ll have to check this one out and see for yourself.

And please do! Because it is a fabulous book! Mr Schindler illustrated the story much like the monks illustrated their books. Stunning! At the end of the book there is a glossary and historical notes. And both Ms Beebe and Mr Schindler give us a little history behind their part in this project. It is a perfect pairing and a perfect end result. This tome will have a special place on my bookshelf!

Ms Beebe has a great website with all kinds of resources for this book – and a great book trailer! Check it out HERE.

Here’s a quick history lesson about illuminated manuscripts —

Maybe you will now be inspired to try your own hand with this art form!!

Happy calligraphy!!
your library friend
Rhythm
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My Pet Book

 

IMG_0796IMG_0674

We had a pretty relaxing visit at the library this week. Lots of kids and lots of books. Lots of hands rubbing and petting. Lots of little soft voices. Even Electra, the Dogzilla, was lulled into dream land. We heard about Lego adventures and Dora adventures and Fancy Nancy and poison ivy!! Yikes! We read about Kipper and a butterfly. That Kipper is pretty cute, I must say. We saw that crazy Pigeon get upset about a chocolate chip cookie! For Heaven’s sake!!

But the book that caught my ear and had me sit up and take notice was one about a pet book. Yes, a pet book!

IMG_0782My Pet Book
by Bob Staake
published by Random House in 2014
a brand new book!!

It begins ……
Most pets, you know, are cats and dogs.
Go out and take a look.
But there’s a boy in Smartytown
Whose pet is ….. a little book.

Just imagine that! A book as a pet!! How clever is that! Clever of the boy to think of it! And clever of Mr Staake to write about it!! It is a very clever story. It’s full of rhyme and rhythm and shapes and color! I don’t notice the color part so much, but the kids sure did! “Look! All the people are different colors! And they’re squares and circles!”  Much laughter throughout this book.

IMG_0784The boy in the book didn’t want a pet that needed to be fed and walked or one that shed hair and fleas. He wanted an easy care pet so his parents took him shopping at a book store. Oh! There were sooooo many to choose from! He decided on a bright red hardcover, put a leash on it and walked it home. Throughout the book that we were reading you see the boy enjoying HIS book – surrounded by all sorts of folks with their pets doing all the things that his pet didn’t do. My reading kids liked studying these illustrations and making note of all the activity.

IMG_0783Now one of the reasons that the boy thought that a book would be a good pet was because it wouldn’t ever run away. But lo and behold! The Red Book got lost!! What a calamity! Oh, man! All the emotion! Mr Staake is an absolute genius! Who could imagine that a square and a rectangle could produce such emotion! Quite an adventure ensues as the boy and his maid search for the dear lost book. But all comes well in the end.

This is a fabulous little book. Well, it’s actually kind of a big picture book. But fabulous either way. The kids LOVED it! And it brought about a great discussion about pets. Those kids all had quite an assortment of pets, but no one ever thought about a pet book! We have LOTS of books at my house, and I have some very favorites, but I never thought of any of them as a pet. I will now be looking at all those books a little differently, I think.

Jackie at My Little Bookcase, has a great post about playing with books! Check out her list of 10 fun ways to play with books and help kids connect with reading. Awesome!!

Now watch as Mr Staake creates a character on his computer!!

Enjoy your pets, be they dog or book!
And come back again for another look
At a dog with a book in a reading nook!
Your library friend
Rhythm
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Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Our Princesses came to visit recently, from far, far away. It’s always fun when they are here because they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE books! They go through our bookshelves like wildfire! They also love our chickens. Odd, I know. But it is what it is. They don’t have real, live chickens where they live. At least I’ve never heard tale of such a thing. So, when they are here at the 7 Acre Wood, they want to feed the chickens and play with the chickens and read all the chicken books.

They also like jokes. They are always knock, knock, knocking. I came up with the perfect book for my chicken loving comediennes —

IMG_0679Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?
This is a collection of 14 picture book artists’ answers to that age-old question.
Contributors include:
Jon Agee
Tedd Arnold
Harry Bliss
David Catrow
Marla Frazee
Mary GrandPre
Lynn Munsinger
Jerry Pinkney
Vladimir Radunsky
Chris Raschka
Judy Schachner
David Shannon
Chris Sheban
Mo Willems
This book was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2006

IMG_0684Each two page spread is given over to each artist to answer the big question in their own unique way. This page above is from Tedd Arnold, of Fly Guy fame, who says — “To show the possum that it could be done.”

IMG_0683This page belongs to Marla Frazee, of Boot & Shoe fame,  and shows one side of the road experiencing a terrible storm while the other side is Paradise. Her answer – “duh.”

Most of these were hilariously funny. Some were cute. Some had to be explained to me and the Princesses. Like the chicken who was not just free range, but de-ranged. Or the Sphinx who says “You tell me.” All the “answers” are thought provoking and make use of some outstanding artwork. Some talented individuals came together for this book.

At the end of the book is a spread titled – “Why did the artist cross the road?” Here we have little bits about each of the artists and a listing of some of the books they have illustrated.

The Princesses read this book over and over. They found something new every time. Their laughter made for a fun time for me!

Clicking on the names of the artists above will take you to their websites or some other link with more info about them. Please check them ALL out!

Now for a little science behind the famous joke —

Now go enjoy your weekend – Have a picnic, eat some chicken, read a good book, tell a few jokes and be careful crossing the road!

Your wondering friend
Rhythm
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