When Pigasso Met Mootisse

My big little brother, Walker, is a pretty laid-back, unassuming kind of fellow. Rather quiet. A listener rather than a talker. I’ve never, ever heard him bark. Whine and snore, but never bark. He happens to be an artist. An artist of great renown around these parts. He paints abstract things using his tail and his feet and puts all his happy thoughts into his work. On occasion he has done exhibitions at school and art club meetings and once at the hospital.

I have talked about Walker and his painting before. You might remember. Or might not. You can see more HERE and HERE and HERE.

boys and walker may2011 011Sometimes when he visits a classroom he takes some art books with him to share and encourage some artsy conversation. We recently came across a great book by Ms Nina Laden (who wrote the great book The Night I Followed the Dog)!!!

IMG_2416When Pigasso met Mootisse
by Nina Laden
published by Chronicle Books in 1998

a fiction book suitable for kindergarten and up

Themes – art, friendship, conflict resolution

It begins –
There once was a young pig named Pigasso. While the other piglets rolled in the mud and played games, Pigasso painted. He painted anything and everything, and in a most unusual way.

This is a tale of two artists – a pig named Pigasso who painted in a “most unusual way” and a bull named Mootisse who painted “big, bold, bright pictures.” They both became very famous in their communities. (Much like my Walker.) They became art superstars and everyone wanted their paintings and their photographs and all that stuff that seems to come with being famous. They both decided they needed to get away and find a peaceful place to paint. They ended up finding farms right across the street from each other!!! And they became good friends.

IMG_2417But after awhile they started getting in fights over their work! Criticizing and complaining and calling each other names. (I’ve seen friends at school do this to each other. A very sad thing. 😦 ) They put up a fence right down the middle of their road! Silly artists. Then they began to miss each other. They got lonely. But they were pig-headed and bull-headed and couldn’t bring themselves to kiss and make up. But they did resolve the problem in a most unique way! With paint! Artwork really can speak volumes. And you will have to SEE how they resolved their differences when you check out this book!!!

This tale is kind of a caricature of two REAL artists – Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse and at the end of the book there is a brief biography of these two. I’ve seen quite a bit about Mr Matisse in the media lately with books like henris scissors and

matisse. Those would be some good books to read along with this one.

After reading a bit the kids in the class got to do some painting of their own! They did some fingerpainting, kind of like Walker, and kind of like Mr Pigasso and Mr Mootisse!!

IMG_2336They sure had a great time!!!! And I don’t think there was any fighting!

For a list of PERFECT PICTURE BOOKS and accompanying resources please visit Ms Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE!

Now it’s your turn! Go out this weekend and let your feelings fly! Paint a masterpiece!!
Your tail waggin’ friend
Rhythm
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Doodle for Google

I just discovered that Google has a contest every year to create a Google Doodle to go with a particular theme. For the 7th annual event, Google asked kids from grades K-12 to come up with an invention that would make the world a better place. They had 100,000 submissions!!!! The winner this year is 11 year old Audrey Zhang from New York.

You must see this, if you haven’t seen or read about it yet —

And for more about the contest —

https://www.google.com/doodles/doodle-4-google-2014-us-winner

There are sure some awesome, incredible young folks out there!!!!! Wow!

I wish you a Bright, Sparkling Monday!
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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The Hound Dog’s Haiku

I understand that April is National Poetry Month. I don’t know a lot about poetry. I like to listen to the Rhythm of a good poem. Poetry sounds nice to my ears. I try to get my reading buddies to read poetry to me, but I’m not always successful. When I was the official Library Dog at school I seemed to have better luck steering kids to poetry books. I even had some kids writing poems about me!

IMG_1934Here are a couple that came my way —

Rhythm
Golden fur everywhere
On the ground
or floating around.
She is sweet
She is furry.
She likes to sleep and sit.
Rhythm is who she is.

The Dog Called Rhythm
Hairy, sweet, yellow
She snores, rolls, chews all around
Rhythm is her name.

Now those are unbelievably lovely poems!! But I also have an unbelievably fantastic book for you as well! After all, this IS Perfect Picture Book Friday!

IMG_5701The Hound Dog’s Haiku
and Other Poems for Dog Lovers

by Michael J. Rosen
illustrated by Mary Azarian
Published by Candlewick Press in 2011

Theme – poetry, dogs

This is a book of Haiku poems about dogs. There are 20 dog breeds represented here. Each with an incredible wood block portrait done by Mary Azarian. Ms Azarian can create magic with a block of wood. The poem for the Labrador Retriever is –

the first duck splash-lands
speck in the iced pond’s lone eye
soon … the chase restarts

IMG_5705At the end of the book are several pages with notes about each of the breeds described in the poems. It is a book for dog lovers and lovers of poetry alike.

Of course if you are going to read a book of Haiku with your little people, then you must have them create their own Haiku!

You can read about Haiku at Poets.org HERE.
You might also visit the Haiku Society website HERE.

You might want to let your little people try their hand at print making –
Try this link from Pinterest
Or HERE for some more printmaking

And if your are really ambitious here is a video of REAL wood block art making –

And after all of that, you might want to venture over to Susanna Hill’s blog for a list of Perfect Picture Books and some great resources to go with!

Happy Rhyming!
Your friend
Rhythm

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Doggyness

Last week before all this icy weather locked us in, my buddy Walker had an opportunity to go do some painting with Mrs K’s 2nd graders. Every year they read a story about an elephant that paints and invite Walker to come demonstrate how dogs can paint too! This is the 3rd year that Walker has visited them and he sure has a fun time!

walker 5

We also went to the library last week and came home with the perfect go-along book.

IMG_4234Rabbityness is written and illustrated by Jo Empson. It was published in 2012 by Child’s Play. (Please click on Ms Empson’s name and visit her lovely website!)

The artwork in this book is extraordinary! The story is reminiscent of the Heart and the Bottle. It begins “Rabbit liked doing rabbity things.” Like hopping and jumping and washing his ears. Each of these pages shows a black rabbit on a white page in sparse green grass doing rabbity things. Then we see “Rabbit also liked doing unrabbity things.” “He liked painting …”

IMG_4235And there suddenly is a BURST of color like fireworks. Painting and music made Rabbit very happy and he filled the woods with both. This made all the other rabbits happy too. But one day Rabbit disappeared. Now the book is back to black and gray. The other rabbits were very sad and didn’t know what to do. They bottled up their hearts. Then they found that Rabbit had left a deep, dark hole and in the hole were some gifts — paints and musical instruments. The rabbits unbottled their hearts and started filling the woods with color and music and discovered that this let them remember Rabbit and they were all happy again.

Rabbityness is about individuality and knowing your own heart. Like the Heart and the Bottle, Rabbityness is also about loss and finding your heart again. The two books are so alike and yet so different. This one is very “Walker” with his splashes of color everywhere. He likes doing undoggy things like painting. And eating bark off of trees. But he sure spreads JOY along with paint splatters with his happy tail.

walker painting 4I wish you a Doggyness day full of laughter and color and music. Dance and be creative and Joyful!

Tis the season!

Your friend
Rhythm

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Inspiration in a Brush Stroke

The best thing about Picture Books is —- the Pictures!! I love art and admire folks who can turn some brush strokes into something inspirational.

Walker and I paint a bit. To entertain and, I suppose, inspire somewhat. Walker paints with his tail and we both do some pretty awesome pawpainting.

walkerimg222

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But lately I’ve been hearing a lot about a young man who is an incredible artist — and he’s blind. Yes, blind. He can not SEE what he paints. At least not in the same way that we see. Also, he’s from Texas – so he’s doubly blessed!

I just want to share his story with you — You will be amazed and inspired. And grateful that there are people in the world like John Bramblitt.

Mr Bramblitt has a website HERE that you might want to check out to see more of his work.

And a memoir titled Shouting in the Dark, My Journey Back to the Light

And that’s all for today. I think it’s enough.

Think on that

Rhythm

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Gone Fishing

We had a pretty good rain recently that put some water back in our river. Hallelujah!! So the Mom Person decided we should go down and do a little fishing. Fishing?!

This is my idea of Fishing —

CIMG7125This is the Mom Person’s idea of Fishing —

IMG_3571Now tell me — does that look like fun?!

We didn’t catch any fish. We saw some fish. And a crawdad. And some raccoon tracks. We did not catch any fish. So we went back to the house to read some books about catching fish. The Mom Person’s answer to every problem.

IMG_3576Gone Fishing, a Novel in Verse is an excellent book by Tamera Will Wissinger and illustrated with much whimsy by Matthew Cordell. It was published in 2013 by Houghton Mifflin.

Ms Wissinger “was inspired to write this novel in verse, her first book, after writing ‘Night Crawlers,’ a poem that stemmed from childhood memories of night crawler hunting with her mom and dad before fishing trips.” This is a thoroughly FUN book! It is a collection of poems that fit together one right after another to tell a story about a young lad, Sam, who is sooooooooo looking forward to going fishing tomorrow with JUST his DAD. But then his little sister Lucy wants to come too! And Dad lets her!! Sam goes through a lot of frustration and anger at first, but then discovers that sisters aren’t all that bad. A great book about sibling rivalry and finding a common bond.

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At the back of the book is The Poet’s Tackle Box with lots of information about writing poetry. An excellent resource!

I love this book!!

The next book we read was a shorter, more flamboyant book – Fishing in the Air. This one is by one of my all time favorite authors, Sharon Creech, who wrote Love That Dog. And Fishing in the Air is illustrated by another favorite – Chris Raschka who did The Daisy Books and several cool Jazz books. Fishing in the Air is another tale of boy and Dad going fishing. No sister this time. They dig up worms and pack two poles and a sack of sandwiches. And Dad says “We’re going on a journey. To a secret place. We’ll catch the air! We’ll catch a breeze!” This is a story about the magical world all around us. Where street lamps become moons and trees become soldiers and birds become singing angels. The boy and his Dad fish in the clear, cool river and talk about when the Dad was a boy. This is a magical book with magical pictures and a clear, cool river. Ahhhhhhh!

IMG_3582

I love this book, too!!

I hope that you will visit the author and illustrator websites by clicking on their names above. I think that you will find yourself entertained.

And here is a little video of Mr Raschka in his studio – enjoy!

I wish you Joyful days of fishing for magic in the clear, cool river —

Rhythm

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Saturday Surprise!

I got a big surprise in the mail on Saturday!! IMG_3047Ms Karin Naylor from Rosemary, Lavender and Thyme had a drawing and I was the lucky winner of one of her chicken paintings!!!! Isn’t she a lovely little hen? She has soft eyes. I haven’t figured out where I’m going to hang it yet. I’d like to hang it next to my bed, but the Mom Person is afraid I might drool on it too much. Moms.

IMG_3049So while we ponder the best home for Miss Welsummer Sis, you might want to visit Ms Naylor at her blog here. It’s a relaxing place to learn about chickens and gardening.

To see more of Ms Naylor’s artwork visit her other blog, A Little Corner of the Artist In Me. I think you will like what you find there!

Thank you Ms Naylor!!!!
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 —