A Poke in the I

My good buddy, Bruce the Bookshelf Gargoyle posed a reading challenge at the beginning of this year. He calls it the Small Fry Safari KidLit Readers Challenge. You can find out more about it HERE on his blog. There are eight categories to this challenge. I have only completed THREE of these quests! So I need to get on the ball! (I would love to do that, if I could only find it!!)

So, without further ado, I present to you a most fabulous book that I would like to serve up for category #8. A book with some form of wordplay in the title.

IMG_1404A Poke in the I
a collection of concrete poems
selected by Paul B. Janeczko
illustrated by Chris Raschka
published by Candlewick Press in 2005

This is a book that we found at my favorite shopping spot – Half-Price Books. And the book is signed by the “selector” Mr Janeczko!!!! Can you imagine giving up a fine book that has been signed by the author!!! Crazy! It is signed “To Jack and Jessie – Keep reading. Paul B Janeczko.” At least I think that is what it says. His writing is a little hard to decipher. Poor Jack and Jessie. I wonder if they themselves gave up this book or if they know what became of it. I wonder about these kinds of things.

Copy of IMG950653But on to the book!! A book of concrete poems!!! I find these types of poems most fascinating!! I have written about other concrete poem books HERE and HERE. This book is particularly fine because it is illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Mr Raschka. His quirky style is well suited for these types of poems. Concrete poems are “a selection of words arranged into a particular shape.”  They are “visual poetry.” Hence the title of this book – A Poke in the I!

IMG_1406The book contains a feast of 30 concrete poems from a number of clever poets. The book begins with a note from the editor that explains what a concrete poem is. At the end of the book there is a section that tells where all the poems came from originally and some little bits about Mr Janeczko and Mr Raschka.

This is a most fabulously unique experience of a book and I’ll stick all four feet in the air for a waving High Sixteen!! Go check it out!

You can visit Mr Janeczko’s website HERE.

Mr Raschka on illustrating Rhythmic books –

And Mr Janeczko with A Poke In the I

Now you may go forth and create!
But don’t poke yourself in the I!!
Your library friend
Copy of img311

Jacques Cousteau

I LOVE the water! I love swimming in it and splashing in it and diving in it. Ocean, lake, river, swimming pool. Water is glorious!!

My Mom Person loves the water as well. When she was a little girl – and even a big girl – she worshiped a French man named Jacques Cousteau. She watched him on TV, she saw him in the movies, she read all his books.

We recently found, at our library!, a picture book biography of Mr Cousteau. The Mom Person was very excited!

IMG_1380The Fantastic Undersea Life of
by Dan Yaccarino
published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2009

This is a non-fiction book suitable for 1st grade and up

Themes – Jacques Cousteau, oceans, sea life, conservation

It begins –
Jacques Cousteau loved the sea.
He spent his whole life exploring it.
The ocean was the most incredible
place he’d ever seen, and he wanted
to share its beauty with the world.

This book is a great introduction to the life of Mr Cousteau. Mr Yaccarino’s illustrations have the feel of the ocean about them. In 32 pages, he manages to present a life lived large. We learned about the trials Mr Cousteau overcame as a young man. We learned about his creative genius, about his aquatic inventions that enabled him and his followers to explore the depths of the ocean.  And we learned about his passion for the sea and all the creatures in the sea. I could feel his passion as we read the book. The book offers up quotations from Mr Cousteau interspersed with the text and the lovely pictures.

“When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.”

IMG_1383Mr. Cousteau did enjoy a most extraordinary life and he did share that life generously. And now a new generation of youngsters can dream about swimming the ocean depths. I only wish that he had thought to invent a diving suit for a dog!

This book would fit in nicely with a unit on oceans or conservation. If you live close to a body of water it would be a fun field trip to go and study what you can see at the water’s edge. I know in my river there are always tiny fish and strange bugs and frogs and sometimes turtles. You might want to watch one of Mr Cousteau’s films.

Here is a little tidbit of what you might see from one of his films —

Here is a tidbit just for fun!

And now you might want to venture over to Ms Susanna Hill’s blog to find her list of Perfect Picture Books and lots of good resources for using those books! Happy Friday!!

Your friend in the water
Copy of img311

The Bravest Knight

Sometimes when I go to school we talk about jobs that dogs have, and about my job as a therapy dog and library dog, and about how I was headed towards being a guide dog but ended up taking a different path.

CIMG3393This sometimes leads to talk about what kids want to do when they grow up. When my Mom Person was little she wanted to be a horse. What?! I don’t think that she has achieved this goal yet. I don’t really understand this concept of “growing up.” The idea of things in the “future” is a little murky to me. My days are centered around the here and now. The future means dinner and maybe some tennis. And those dreams are for NOW! Most little kids think a lot like me. They don’t seem to know how to dream about “some day.” But those bigger kids DO! And they tend to have BIG dreams! Kids are so funny! They ALL say that they want to have lots of dogs! Then there is talk about being super heroes and conquering bad guys. Or being sports stars. Lots of kids want to be firemen. Some want to be teachers. Some want to be farmers or ranchers or rodeo stars. It’s fun to listen to imaginations going wild. Where will those imaginings take them?

We read a book this week about big dreams. About a young boy, who is obviously quite a  reader, looking for adventures.

IMG_1310The Bravest Knight
by Mercer Mayer
published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2007
originally published by The Dial Press in 1968 under the title Terrible Troll

This is a fiction book suitable for ages 4 and up

Themes would be fairy tales, knights, dreaming big, doing good deeds

It begins
I wish I lived a thousand years ago.
There would be beautiful castles, kings and queens,
good knights, bad knights, fair ladies in danger,
evil dragons from the mountains, and a giant troll
that roars and eats anything.

Are those not the words of a big dreamer! This boy imagines himself being the squire of the bravest knight in the kingdom. I’m impressed that he knows what a squire is! My readers sure didn’t!! See what kinds of doors a book can open?! Anyway, the boy squire envisions all the tasks that he would have to do as a squire and all of the adventures he would be a part of. He would help the knight in times of trouble and the knight would help him. There is quite a twist at the end of this tale that I am NOT going to reveal to you. Suffice it to say that it brought GASPS from my readers!!

IMG_1315This is an incredible picture book! It’s got it all! A fanciful tale with lots of suspense, a fantastic little hero, morals about working hard and taking care of your friends, and some incredible illustrations. I had one little reader on this day who was a real wild child. She would not sit long enough to read one page. But when she sat down with this book, she was mesmerized! We read the whole thing through and she even studied the pictures on every page. It was incredible!

Mr Mayer has a couple of websites that you might want to check out –
One is a gallery of his artwork HERE.

The other website is the Little Critters official website with lots of fun interactive stuff.
You can find it HERE.

Hear Mr Mayer talk about his name — http://www.teachingbooks.net/qlqswpm

This book is a perfect jumping off spot for some dramatics! Playing at being knights and trolls and damsels in distress. What would it be like to live in a castle? What kind of food would the kings and queens and knights eat? What kinds of pets might they have? This young squire has a cat – but no dog! What’s up with that?!

HERE is a link to some great crowns that kids could make for their play time.

And a link to a clever DIY Knight’s helmet HERE.

Susanna Leonard Hill keeps a list of Perfect Picture Books and resources to go along with these books. Fridays are devoted to these perfect books. You might want to check it out at her website HERE.

So, go slay some dragons this weekend and save some damsels in distress. And maybe toss a tennis ball to your best dog —

IMG_1329Your dreaming friend
Copy of img311

National Guide Dog Month

Rhythm in training

Rhythm in training

I’m a little late with this, but September happens to be a special month to celebrate the special works of some special dogs who are trained to assist visually impaired humans. It’s all a GRAND thing! It’s National Guide Dog Month!

To find out more about guide dogs you can check out my post from this time last year – HERE.

Petco is a big sponsor of guide dogs and every year does a fundraising campaign to celebrate National Guide Dog Month. I was actually sponsored by Petco when I was a pup! That means that they made a generous donation to Southeastern Guide Dogs for the privilege of naming one of their pups. That was me!! You can visit their website HERE and find out more about National Guide Dog Month.

img010But today I’m going to tell you about some books. Non-fiction books that will help you and yours learn about guide dogs.

IMG_1268Guide Dogs
by Charles and Linda George
published by Capstone Books in 1998
Content consultant is Carol Lippert Gray – Manager of Public Relations for The Seeing Eye

This is a really nice, easy to read, 48 page book about the history and training of guide dogs. Chapters include – History of Guide Dogs, Best Breeds, Basic Training, Guide Dogs and Their Masters, And Stories About Guide Dogs.

IMG_1267There is also some reference material in the back of the book – a glossary and index to other guide dog material. A very fine little book.

IMG_1261Guide Dogs
Seeing for People Who Can’t
by Alice B. McGinty
a “Dogs Helping People” book published by The Rosen Publishing Group’s PowerKids Press in 1999

This is another fine little chapter book with much of the same information in a more condensed format. Only 24 pages. It also has a glossary and some nice photos. It actually has some of the very same photos as the other book Guide Dogs!

IMG_1269IMG_1265A Guide Dog Puppy Grows Up
written by Caroline Arnold
photographs by Richard Hewett
published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1991

This book is a little different from the other two. It’s about the puppy raising experience from birth to becoming a working guide dog. The book was endorsed by Guide Dogs for the Blind, a guide dog school in San Rafael, California. My Mom Person’s first guide dog pup came from this school a long time ago.

This is not a chapter book but it is a lovely story. In a way, it’s my story! And it’s one of those books that makes the Mom Person cry when she reads it.

IMG_1263Now you might notice that in my pictures today, I am trying to read these books to Ms Electra. This is her future in these books! But she just can’t be serious for one little minute. Ah, me. What’s a teacher to do?! What do you teachers out there do with the class clowns?!

Well, anyway, I would like for you to know that there are quite a few accredited Guide Dog Schools in the United States. You can find a list of all of them HERE on the National Federation of the Blind website. I think if there is one near you, you should go for a visit this month. Hug some puppies! Meet some future guide dogs! Become a puppy raiser!

Have a good weekend! and enjoy the month!
I’m going to go celebrate with some yummy treats!
Copy of img311


9/11 – a day of sadness, reflection, commitment, and hope. A day to remember those who were lost, those who were found, and those who worked tirelessly in the rescue efforts.

I was not alive when all this happened. I only know from what I hear from those humans around me, but I understand that almost 100 dogs made their way to New York and worked tirelessly and enthusiastically alongside their handlers and other folks involved in rescue efforts. Those dogs helped save many lives. I am in awe of these heroes.

In 2011, there was a nice article about these dogs — you can view it HERE. I hope that you do.

And remember.

Your humble friend
Copy of img311

Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go to Sleep

I like to sleep

Any time, any place, any how

Most dogs are pretty good sleepers. I understand that dogs tend to sleep about 14 hours a day. If they have nothing better to do. We can drop and sleep or jump up and go – whatever circumstances call for. I don’t know of any dog night owls. Even our Dogzilla pup sleeps at night. All night. Every night.

But I guess not all critters are as flexible and adaptable as dogs. We recently read a really funny book about some sheep that couldn’t sleep. I don’t think sheep are very bright, when it comes down to it.

IMG_0298Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go to Sleep
by Bruce Arant
published by Peter Pauper Press, Inc. in 2013

It begins –
Farmer Simpson works all day.
He plants his corn and beans and hay.
His feet get tired, his nose gets red.
At night, he likes to go to bed.

Farmer Simpson is a hard working gentleman. He deserves a good night’s rest. Most of his farm animals like their sleep, too. The cows and the pigs and the chickens all fall asleep like they should. But not those silly sheep! They find all kinds of excuses not to. Poor Farmer Simpson! It’s enough to make a guy weep! Those sheep who won’t sleep! What’s a man to do?! IMG_0313Well, I won’t tell you his secret. But, that farmer is one clever guy. He does come up with a cozy solution to the problem at hand.

My readers laughed a lot at those silly sheep! And at the silly illustrations of piles of cows and pigs and chickens snoozing and snoring away. The story itself is kind of like a Rhythmic lullaby. Those kids told me stories about putting their animals to bed at night. They all had dogs who slept with them in bed! That’s an excellent thing! Nobody had any sheep though, so I don’t know if this sleepless sheep thing is universal or not.

I know that my Mom Person sometimes doesn’t want to go to sleep at night. And I think there are some youngsters who have that same problem. This might be a good book to talk about those kinds of things. What do you need to get to sleep? Some hot cocoa? A cuddly teddy bear? A warm, cuddly dog? A lullaby?

Now I wish you a good night and sweet dreams

Your library friend
Copy of img311