Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day!

The schools here recently celebrated their 100th Day. I don’t know if this is a universal school celebration or what, but I find it to be a fun day. The kids get all excited about it and spend the whole first half of the school year in high anticipation. It’s remarkable!

We happened to visit a kindergarten class a couple of days before the BIG DAY and boy! were those kids and teachers revved up!! The big talk was all about what they were going to bring or wear in honor of the BIG DAY. 100 coins, 100 cookies, 100 cars, 100 ribbons in their hair. I have a couple of necklaces that I can choose from to wear if I happen to be at school on that 100th Day. A necklace with 100 jingle bells and one with 100 bookmarks.

On this day that we were at school, before the Day 100, they were doing lots of counting. Practicing. Getting ready. Anticipating. We read a fun book from one of my favorite illustrators –

IMG_2359Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten
by Joseph Slate
illustrated by Ashley Wolff
published by Scholastic, Inc in 1999
originally published by Dutton Children’s Books in 1998

Theme – the 100th Day

Suitable for anyone counting to 100!!

It begins –
“Tomorrow we celebrate,” says Miss Bindergarten, “the 100th day of kindergarten.”

There are several books about Miss Bindergarten in Kindergarten. She’s my kind of teacher!! Literally!! She’s a real Dog!! This is a fun one about Miss Bindergarten and her class getting ready for that 100th Day. It’s a counting book, a kind of how-to book of suggestions, and an alphabet book! Whew! So much going on!! We read it with the whole class, but I think it would be better read one on one. There is just too much going on in those illustrations!! You need to be able to spend more time on each page!

IMG_2360So, it’s the night before Day 100 and all the kids are getting their 100 things ready. We get to meet each student ALPHABETICALLY!!! From Adam to Brenda to Christopher all the way to Xavier and Yolanda and Zachary! And while the kids are all getting ready, Miss Bindergarten is, too!!! Shopping and baking and crafting and decorating. Boy, is she one busy teacher!!!!! And boy! Are those kids going to have one FUN-HUNDRED Day!!!!!

This book is chock full of ideas for teachers and students both! It is a resource in and of itself!! It should be in every classroom!! Reading this book and thinking of all the 100 things and doing all the counting made my head spin! I can count to 3 pretty good, but anything after that just puts me to sleep.

IMG_2361I hope that wherever you are, you get to celebrate the number 100! And if you have already, I hope it was a good one!!

This happens to be Friday – Perfect Picture Book Friday – as celebrated over at Ms Susanna Hill’s blog. You might want to visit her HERE and check out all the other books on today’s list!

This is not my class – I don’t know these kids, but this could be my class!! This is what my day looked like!! Just check out that Rhythm!!

I wish you a “wonderful, one-hundred-full day!!”
Your counting friend
Rhythm
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The ABCs of Oliver Jeffers

A is for AWESOME
B is for BOUNTIFUL
C is for CREATIVE GENIUS

I have GREAT Admiration for Mr Oliver Jeffers, a Brilliant Picture Book Genius Extraordinaire. His Cleverly Crafted stories are Dynamically Engaging Fables Garnished with Handworked Illustrations that take the reader on Journeys Keenly Loaded with Multitudinous Novelities Offering Peeks into Quirky Realms where you must STOP and THINK Until you realize the Veritable Wonders that eXist in these Yarns from “The Jeffers Zone!” Whew!!

I present to you Mr.Jeffers latest tome –

IMG_1815Once Upon an ALPHABET
short stories for all the
Letters

by Oliver Jeffers

published by Philomel Books in 2014

suitable for ALL ages
this is a BIG book – 112 fabulous pages!

Themes – The Alphabet!!!

It begins –
If words make up stories, and letters make up words, then stories are made of letters.
In this menagerie we have stories, made of words, made FOR all the LETTERS.

A
An Astronaut

A is for an Astronaut named Edmund who is afraid of heights. Oh my.

This book is exactly what it claims. Very short, quirky stories for each of the letters of the alphabet. All of the stories can stand on their own, but they also intermingle with each other. They are all quite humorous. Some in a rather dark way. A little reminiscent of Mr Edward Gorey. Some in an “oh my!” kind of way. Some you have to stop and think about. Ponder for a bit. You can’t read this book just once! You have to go back and read it again and again. It is a Veritable Wonder!!!!!

IMG_1819I think everyone, young and old should have to write sentences using all the letters of the alphabet. And write your own stories with all the letters of the alphabet! It makes you appreciate all those letters just a little bit more!

Orange Marmalade recently did a fun review of this book if you would like to see more HERE.

Mr Colby Sharp has some 3rd graders who actually interviewed Mr Jeffers!!! Check it out HERE!

Mr. Jeffers has a website with lots of fun activities and things to do. You can visit it HERE.

Today happens to be Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Hill’s. You might want to travel over there to see her list of Perfect Picture Books and all the fun resources to go with! You can get There from HERE!

 And here is Mr Jeffers himself!

I wish you a Picture Perfect weekend
Your Library Friend who knows the Alphabet well!
Rhythm
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Pigs From A to Z

photo 1The Mom Person took Electra/Dogzilla to her Puppy Kindergarten class the other evening. I don’t go along for these events. I’ve been there done that. BUT, they also went to my favorite shopping spot – Half-Price Books! Not fair!

IMG_0145This puppy does not appreciate a good book! But she was nice and brought me a surprise. A real treasure, in fact!!!!!

IMG_0149Another Arthur Geisert alphabet book!!!!! (You might remember that I recently did a post about another ABC book by Mr Geisert – Country Road ABC.) AND, this one is signed by Mr Geisert!!!!

To the student Friends of
Fairview Park Regional Library
Arthur Geisert
V / XVI / MCMLXXXIX

Is that not awesome?! I have no idea where that library is, but I’m sure glad the book found it’s way to our Half-Price Books! And I don’t know how Ms Electra managed to find this treasure – she says it smelled like pigs, so she thought it might taste good. Then she remembered that I liked that name. She might turn out ok after all.

Soooo –
Pigs From A to Z
by Arthur Geisert
published by Houghton Mifflin Co. in 1986

 This is a most incredible ABC book! Besides being an ABC book, it is a story and a puzzle! The story is about some little piglets building a tree house. Pigs building a tree house! Just imagine! In each illustration of each letter, there are hidden letters and hidden piglets. Each picture has seven piglets, five forms of the given letter, and one form of the letter that comes before and after the given letter. Sooo – for the letter R, there would be five Rs and one letter S and one letter Q. And they are all hidden in the fabulous detailed etchings created by Mr Geisert.

IMG_0153I had to concentrate really hard to find everything. Those little piggies hide really good! I tried to get Dogzilla to help, but she was more interested in looking for hidden cheerios in our blanket.

I hope that you can find this book and check it out! You’ll be glad that you did!

Now for some entertainment! I present — Nellie the pig!!

And a little more from Nellie —

Wishing you a week full of surprises and treasures!
Rhythm

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A Country Road

IMG_0030We live in the country on a country road. In Texas it’s called a Farm to Market Road. FM. It’s a long and windy road that begins in the town and follows the river out of town for a long long way. There aren’t a lot of houses on our road. Or much traffic. There is lots of pasture land. You might see sheep and cows and horses and goats and emus. You might see some deer or an armadillo or a road runner running by. There are even dinosaurs!!!

IMG_0675It’s a fine, fine road to live on.

We have a book about a country road and all that goes on on that road.

IMG_0033Country Road ABC
An Illustrated Journey Through America’s Farmland
by Arthur Geisert
published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children in 2010
suitable for K and up
Theme — alphabet, farming

It begins —
A
is for ammonia fertilizer

Ammonia fertilizer?! Yes, that’s right. Ammonia fertilizer. Ammonia fertilizer is well known these days as a bomb maker. It happens to be at the center of the big explosion that wiped out part of the town of West, Texas last year. But it also happens to be an important farm tool that farmers use to grow better fields of produce.

This is kind of an unusual ABC book. It is a fabulous ABC book! You not only learn your ABCs, you also learn all about farming. Like fertilizer, and D is for disking, E is for erosion, G is for grinding feed, I is for inoculate! And my favorite — K is for kick!! As in the cow kicking the farmer!

IMG_0034The illustrations are D is for detailed and M is for mesmerizing. Mr. Geisert illustrates all his books with hand colored etchings. A tedious process, I think. This long country road starts in the city and moves out to the countryside where the farmlands begin. You get a very good picture of life on the farm and in a small town. (like Glen Rose, Texas!)

At the end of the book is a farm glossary that gives you further explanations for all the alphabet words used in the text. There is also a big thank-you list to all the owners of the sites and farms that you get to visit in the book. It’s all REAL!

After reading this book, you might want to do an ABC story of your own town. Is your town a farming community or a big city? Or something in between. What different things do you see in the city and the country?

This book would go very nicely with any farm unit that a class may be doing.

TeachingBooks.net has a nice little video interview with Mr Geisert in which he talks about his etching process and about some of his books. You can find it HERE.

And another interview in which he talks about the making of Country Road ABC.

Now it’s time to move on down the road to Ms Susanna Hill’s blog to view the list of Perfect Picture Books that appears on her doorstep every Friday!

Have a Good One!
Your country friend
Rhythm
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And All That Jazz

Well, we have just had a few days of thoughtful remembrance and have celebrated Memorial Day in all kinds of ways. Parades, Barbecues, Picnics, Prayer gatherings, Visits to cemeteries, Waving of flags.

But did you know that Saturday, the 25th, was also National Jazz Day?! AND National Tap Dance Day?! Did you do any dancing this weekend? Well, I sure did! I don’t actually have any tap shoes, but my nails do a pretty good tapping on the tile floor! And we have a local radio station that plays some pretty good jazz!

The Mom Person has a boy who is a real jazz fan, so she decided that it would be a good thing to get him some new jazz books for Father’s Day. That will be coming up soon. He happens to be the Dad of My Princess Reading Buddies. Well, the books came in the mail today and are they ever SUPER!!!! And if you promise not to tell Mr Princess Dad, I’ll tell you all about them!

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john coltraneBefore John Was a Jazz Giant, a Song of John Coltrane is by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Sean Qualls. It was published by Henry Holt & Co. in 2008. It was a 2009 winner of a Coretta Scott King illustrator honor and a 2009 Bank Street Children’s Book of the Year. Isn’t that something?! The book is a rhythmic story of John Coltrane’s childhood and all the sounds that he heard and listened to that lead him to the sounds of jazz music. At the end of the book is an author’s note about Mr Coltrane’s real biography. And some lists of more resources. This is a fine little book, with bubbly, jazzy illustrations. It makes me want to go outside and listen to the world.

jazz flyThe Jazz Fly is written and performed by Matthew Gollub and illustrated by Karen Hanke. It was published by Tortuga Press in 2000. It comes with an audio CD!! Jazz Fly is trying to get to town but doesn’t know the way, so he stops to ask various critters for help. But he speaks Jazz and they speak whatever, so they don’t understand each other. But the Fly hears music in their words. This is such a great read aloud!! Jazz Rhythm! Some of the verses rhyme and some don’t. There is an author’s note at the end of the book to explain this. He shows you how the words are meant to be accented like jazz music. Then he says, “But don’t feel bound to the way I recite the story. Play with the phrases. Acquaint them with your mouth.” I like that. This is a really fun book!!

jazz a b zAnd the really WOW book, that the Mom Person is trying to decide if she wants to keep for herself or not, is Jazz A-B-Z, an A to Z Collection of Jazz Portraits by Wynton Marsalis and illustrated by Paul Rogers. It was published by Candlewick Press in 2005. Candlewick Press puts out the absolute best books!  This is a virtual encyclopedia of jazz! And poetry! Each letter is represented by a jazz musician and a different type of poem. So you have A is for Louis Armstrong with an Accumulative poem. H is Coleman Hawkins with a Substitution poem. N is for Nat King Cole with a nursery rhyme. Z is for Dizzy Gillespie with a Skeltonic verse. (Ms Catherine Johnson, I think you would love this book!) At the end of the book are biographical sketches of all the musicians and notes on all the different poetic forms. Incredible!!!

So there you have it! Jazz and more Jazz! ( I have a friend named Jazz who is a crazy, jazzy golden retriever!)

And now for a little music from Wynton Marsalis and Norah Jones —

and a little Tapping with Eleanor Powell to go with —

ABCs in the USA

I’ve done a little traveling in my time. Not a lot. But some.

I’ve lived in T is for TexasIMG_5532

and in F is for Florida.palm beach      I’ve seen a lot of Texas. Not so much of Florida. Just the Tampa area where I was in training to be a

G is for guide dog.img338

In Texas, I’ve seen some big cities, like D is for DallasIMG_2911.

And little towns, like G is for Glen Rose.IMG_1601  where we have

D is for dinosaurs.dino valley 3-08 014 and R is for rivers.031911173620

Recently my friend Macy read me a really cool alphabet book — ABC  USA by Martin Jarrie. It was published by Sterling Publishing Co. in 2005.

IMG_1375Each letter of the alphabet is represented by something related to the USA! From A is for Alligator to G is for the Grand Canyon to P is for Pilgrims to Z is for Zydeco. Zydeco. Cool word. We had to look that one up and see what it was about. It’s about cool music!

At the back of the book is a glossary that tells you about each word. Did you know that the alligator is the largest reptile in North America and is the state reptile of F is for Florida?!

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The illustrations are pretty awesome. Kind of old fashioned and quirky. I like quirky. It was fun reading this book with Macy. She laughed at a lot of the pictures and asked a lot of questions. Why did they do T is for Tractors instead of T is for Texas? What’s Jazz? What’s the Underground Railroad? It made for a good history lesson.

It was a fun book and I think you should check it out!

And in case you’re unfamiliar with Zydeco —

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.

Learning My ABCs

We’ve been on a book binge! An ABC Book Binge! I like the sound of that — Book Binge. It seems to happen a lot around here. I’m not sure what precipitated (nice word!) this particular binge. I think the Mom Person was cleaning book shelves and got stuck on the shelf with the alphabet books. She kind of likes ABC books and is always on the lookout for interesting ones. We have quite a collection. So anyway, she got stuck enjoying the ones on our shelves and then we went to the library and found some more.

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There sure are a lot of different ways to learn the alphabet!!! I know some of the alphabet. “R” means river, “C” means come to the Mom Person. That snaky sound “S” means sit. “D” means down. And the “enh,enh” sound means don’t do that!  I know that that’s not the whole alphabet. And I don’t think that it’s in the correct order. But I’m learning.

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One of the books that we looked at was a mixed up alphabet. Alpha Oops! The Day Z Went First. Written by Alethea Kontis and illustrated by Bob Kolar. Published by Candlewick Press in 2006. This book was pretty silly. Z decided it should be able to go 1st. Then all the other letters decided to go in a different place. And then they argued about who got the most words attached to their letter. It started with Z is for Zebra. And ended with A is for apple, accident, accordion, acorn, acrobat, airplane …………….

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A Farmer’s Alphabet is a beautifully simple book written and illustrated by Mary Azarian. It was published by David R. Godine in 1981. It’s a straight forward book with A is for apple, D is for dog, …….. Z is for zinnia. But it has some beautiful woodcut prints to go with each letter. At the end is a 2 page “note” from the author about the making of the book and about the process of woodcut prints. This is a treasure of a book.

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An Alphabet in Five Acts by Karen Born Andersen with pictures by Flint Born is a very unique ABC book. It was published by Dial Books in 1993. It is a play! A play on words you might say! It begins with Act 1Another Bad Cat Doesn’t Eat. This book is soooo funny! The pictures are kind of mish mash photos and artwork. There is a note at the end of the book about how they were created. The Mom Person particularly likes this book because it is one of her favorite games. When we drive in the car she’s always making up alphabet sentences. ” A Ball Can Drop Eleven Feet ……. She always gets my attention with the “B” for Ball! Then she drones on.

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The Handmade Alphabet is by Laura Rankin. It was published by Scholastic in 1993. It’s another pretty straight forward ABC book. But it has no words. Just the letter and a picture. What is unique about it is that each letter shows the corresponding hand sign from the American Sign Language. And in each picture the hand is making the sign and holding an object that starts with that letter. Some of the kids that we visit use this alphabet. I know the sign for “more” and “enough”!

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And my favorite for today! An Alphabet Book of Cats and Dogs by Sheila Moxley. Published by Little, Brown, and Co. in 2001. This book cracks me up!!! The illustrations are photo collages with cats and dogs in silly situations. It starts with “Aa – Arnold is an amazing aviator.”  Notice that cute yellow Lab on the cover? It’s not me, but it could be.

Tomorrow I might tell you about some of the others that we read. But for now you can mull over these and then go out and find some ABC Books for yourself! If you have any interesting ones you would like to recommend, it would be muchly appreciated!

And while you are perusing (fancy word!) your ABCs you might want to sit back and listen to Patti Labelle sing the ABC Song with the Muppets

What Pete Ate

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Hill’s and my contribution today is another alphabet book : What Pete Ate from A – Z by Maira Kalman.

It was published in 2001 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. I would recommend it for maybe 1st grade and up. It is an alphabet book, but it has some higher level concepts that I think would be over a kindergarteners head.

From the author — “What Pete Ate from A – Z where we explore the English Alphabet ( in its entirety) in which a certain Dog DEVOURS a MYRIAD of ITEMS which he should NOT.”  Sounds like a Lab to me!

And it starts with  ” A  — He ate cousin Rocky’s accordion.  All of it.”

I LOVE this book! It is soooo funny. I know alot of dogs who eat some strange stuff, but nothing like this Pete!  Not only does he eat accordions, but he eats cameras and dolls and balls and money and , well — you’ll just have to read it to see what else! Ms Kalman has filled this book with some zany illustrations. She must be a pretty Zany person. I like that word Zany.

I’ve been known to eat what my Mom Person says is pretty weird stuff. I love “G” for grass. And I like “A” and “L” for arms and legs off of toys. I love “C” for chicken feed. And I once ate a whole “C” for chocolate cake. It sure was yummy! But the Mom Person ruined it by becoming the Person who makes her dog throw up! My buddy, Walker, REALLY likes “S” for sticks and “B” for bark and “R” for rocks and “D” for dried up leaves. We might could write our own alphabet book!

And that might be a fun thing to let your school kids do! Make their own book of weird stuff to eat! And while you’re at it, maybe talk about what’s good to eat and what’s not. You could have a big discussion about training and  taking care of dogs. What happens if your dog eats an accordion?!

If you’d like to see more of Ms Kalman’s work you can visit her website.

So have a Zany Day! And check out this Zany book!  You’ll be glad you did!

ABCs with Mr Wegman

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Hill’s and I’ve got a good one for you.

William Wegman’s ABC
Published by Hyperion Books in 1994

  I guess that this is a non-fiction book and I would recommend it for any age, but I guess especially for kids and dogs who are just learning to read.

ABC books are fabulous books. They’re open-ended and so can be anything that you want. They’re all about the pictures. And when you look at the pictures of the letters, you can make up whatever words you want to go along with them! When we look at ABC books with kids we make all the letter sounds and then make up all kinds of silly words to go along with the letters.

These books can be really FUN!  And this particular one is particularly perfect! I talked about William Wegman and his crazy dogs in my last post, but I’m happy to talk about him again. Mr. Wegman is a unique artist and his dogs are unique in the animal world.  Batty and Chundo and Fay Ray are the cleverest dogs around. In this ABC book, the dogs get together to form all the different letters!  Too, too clever!  But I can make letters, too!

W, U, V !!  And what does that spell? I don’t know. Wuv? — I wuv you?

If you wanted to share this book with your class, you could let your kids make the letters like Batty and Chundo and Fay Ray do.
You might also find some really fun alphabet stuff to do at Preschool Alphabet by Lindsy.
And you can find out more about William Wegman and all his dogs at his website.

And for your listening pleasure here are the Muppets and Ladysmith Black Mambazo

And Mr. Bobbie McFerrin singing the Alphabet Song!

I hope you go find this book at your library and check it out! You’ll be glad you did!

Remember — William Wegman ABC!