Hats! Hats! Hats!

IMG_1664Hats are a big deal around my house. I’m not sure why. But they happen to be all over the house and often times on my head. And Walker’s. And Electra’s. It’s all old hat to me. But Electra is new to this hat wearing fetish of the Mom Person and I have to admit that she is a pretty good sport about it.

Well the hats all came out recently because of a book. I guess books are usually the cause of hats coming out. You can look at most any of my posts and see what I mean. But this particular book is all about hats. And love. And friends. And creativity.

IMG_1615Happy Birthday
Madame Chapeau
by Andrea Beaty
with pictures by David Roberts
published by Abrams Books for Young Readers in 2014

It begins –
In a three-story house with a shop down below
lived the world’s finest hatmaker, Madame Chapeau.

Madame Chapeau is a very sad, lonely lady. She makes incredibly fancy hats for incredibly fancy people, then she dines all alone. Across from her on her table are lots of pictures of a gentleman who I suppose was once her beau. A Beau for Madame Chapeau! But he seems to no longer be around. So the lady is sad.

IMG_1618But every year on her birthday, she dresses up and puts on a special heart shaped hat and goes out to dine at a fancy restaurant. On this particular birthday event, a passing crow flies off with her hat! Her VERY SPECIAL hat! Made especially for her! As she chases after the crow, lots of gentlemen offer her their hats! But their hats are made just for them – not for her! Indeed, each man’s head is shaped exactly like his hat! Funny!!!

As she dines alone without her special hat, she is soooooo sad! But wait! There comes a little girl who has been following Madame Chapeau all through the book, and the little girl has a special birthday present for the hatmaker. The little girl has knitted a hat especially for Madame Chapeau! The best present ever!!!! The best hat ever!!!! So they become best friends and live happily ever after!

The creator of Madame Chapeau, Ms Beaty, was at the recent Texas Book Festival. The Mom Person got to hear her read the book and talk about it. Ms Beaty and the illustrator, Mr Roberts, are especially good friends. Ms Beaty wrote this story just for Mr Roberts because he once was a milliner! (That’s a fancy word for a hatmaker!) So they worked together on the book and there are lots of little special things in the illustrations that nobody knows about. Little secrets between the two of them. All of the hats in the book are real hats that were made by famous milliners. Some of them are from hats that Mr Roberts designed and made himself.

This is a really lovely book. The story is jaunty and poetic. Ms Beaty is quite a fantastic rhymer! And Mr Roberts’s illustrations and hats are quite divine!

This book has been reviewed and talked about quite a lot since it came out. You might want to see what these fine folks have to say about it —-

Julie Rowan-Zochhttps://julierowanzoch.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/ppbf-happy-birthday-madame-chapeau/

Danielle at This Picture Book Lifehttp://thispicturebooklife.com/happy-birthday-madame-chapeau-hats/

Zoe at Playing by the Bookhttp://www.playingbythebook.net/2014/10/30/hat-week-happy-birthday-madame-chapeau-and-david-roberts-previous-life-as-a-milliner/

All of these ladies have provided a plethora of fun activities to go with this book – check them out!!!

And you might want to try some Hat Juggling!

IMG_1671So, Happy Hat Day to you all!
your library friend Rhythm, and my friends
Electra and Walker
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They Say It’s My Birthday

This is the time of year for Joy and Celebration and this week has been a particularly Joyful one. We Celebrated my birthday. I don’t really “get” birthdays. The passing of time has no real meaning for me. But I do appreciate a good party! Especially when special treats and presents are involved! And good friends!

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We got to have burgers and fries from Dairy Queen!!!!! My favorite dining experience! And look at those goodies I got! My very own Tomato and Pea and Mr Wintergreen! And a new floatie for the river. And some yummie treats! What a lucky girl I am!!

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Walker decided that Mr Pea was meant for him. I don’t mind sharing.

We also partied at school and the kids did some chalk drawings of me.IMG_4567

This is an outline of my lovely self.

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We found a great book at the library. Bow-Wow Birthday by Lee Wardlaw and illustrated by Arden Johnson-Petrov. It was published by Boyds Mill Press in 1998.

IMG_4570It’s the story of a young girl who decides to have a birthday party for her Grandpa’s dog, Rambler who is about to be “about a hundred”!!! You know, kids ALWAYS want to know how old I am in dog years. What does that mean anyway? Time is a baffling thing to me. I’m told that I’ve been on this earth for 11 years. I’m told that that’s pretty old. And in Dog Years or Human Years or whatever, it’s about 80 or something. A concept that I can’t wrap my head around.

IMG_4572Anyway, back to the book — Little Marisa decides that Rambler needs a birthday party. She invites her friends to come celebrate. They must wear their best dog outfit. They make dog tags with their “dog” name on it to wear at the party. They have hot dogs for lunch and have a barking, howling game. Rambler just wants to nap in the sun. After the fun and games the big cake is brought out, but Rambler is no where to be found! The kids all look far and wide for the old dog. Marisa is distraught. But she eventually finds him warm and comfy in her closet. The illustrations are all cool pastel drawings – just like the kids at school did of me! The last picture is one of a smiling girl and a smiling dog. Priceless!

If you’re interested in “dog years” vs. “human years” you can find more info HERE.

I’ll leave you with a bit of Joyful Christmas Cheer —

I wish you Joy in the coming week of Christmas!

Rhythm
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Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present

It’s Birthday Season around our house. The Mom Person had a birthday in September and her sister and brother have birthdays in October. Since the birthdays come so close together, they often celebrate together with one big party. I love birthdays. They are a time for big celebrations and a time for reflection. A time for looking at a life lived and a life yet to come. A time for reflecting on what has been accomplished and on what is waiting to be discovered in the future. The big Family celebration began with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Dallas.

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After the big walk there was fellowship and memories and birthday cake and presents!!!!

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Finding the perfect present is always the challenge of a birthday. Something serious, something silly, something meaningful? The Mom Person is always on the lookout for perfect presents. It becomes a quest.

We recently read a lovely little book about finding the perfect gift.

IMG_3594Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present is a little book by Charlotte Zolotow with pictures by Maurice Sendak. It was originally published in 1962, but our book was published in 1990 by Harper Collins.

This is the story of a little girl who is looking for the perfect birthday gift for her mother and asks Mr Rabbit for help.

I don’t know why she chooses to ask Mr Rabbit for help. It just begins with that — “Mr. Rabbit,” said the little girl, “I want help.”  He’s really not much help at all, but manages to ask questions that spark ideas for the girl. All around colors. The mother likes red, and yellow, and green, and blue. With each color mentioned the girl and the rabbit must think of something that is that color that the mother might like. They talk and wonder and wander through the woods looking for just the right things for Mother. And in the end a very Lovely Present is achieved.

IMG_3596I really like this book. First off, I love Mr Sendak’s artwork. He brings a sense of magic to a story. This story is about kindness and friendship and being thoughtful. Not just anything will do for this little girl’s mother. It has to be something special that the mother will love and appreciate. She trusts her friend, Mr Rabbit, to help her find this special gift. And even though Mr Rabbit really doesn’t help much at all, he does try. And goes right along with her until the gift is ready for presentation. What a good friend he is to the little girl!! I don’t know if they ever have any more adventures together. I hope that they do. Even if Ms Zolotow didn’t write any more stories about them.

You can read more about how this story came to be by clicking HERE.

Ms Zolotow has a fascinating website that you might want to check out HERE.

There is a children’s book award named in her honor – The Charlotte Zolotow Award presented to the author of the best children’s book text published in the US. For more about this award and to see a list of recipients click HERE.

A little birthday song for you from Dolly Parton and Willy Nelson —

I wish you a Happy Day — birthday or not! And whenever your birthday is, I hope it’s full of joyful celebration. And I wish for you the perfect, lovely gift!

Rhythm

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Almost —

Yesterday, Saturday March 9, was my buddy Walker’s birthday! Birthday # 6! He had a big day playing with his brothers who he hadn’t seen in a long time. They were all prison dogs together when they were wee lads and Guide Dog Pups in Training.

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This is the 3 of them enjoying their birthday Frosty Paws. My Mom Person always makes us Frosty Paws for our birthdays. That’s Walker on the right. With Honor and Challenger. I’m almost going to have a birthday. In December. Almost.

It’s also Spring Break time here, which means no school for awhile. I miss school when we don’t go, but if it’s Spring Break then that means that Spring is almost here. Which means that Summer is almost here. Which means that it’s almost warm enough to swim in the river. Almost is such a funny word. It means soooo close, yet soooo far. Like almost dinner time. Close enough to smell it and taste it. But not quite.

We read a book called Almost. A cute book about a little boy who is almost 6 years old. (Just like Walker!) Almost is by Richard Torrey and was published by Harper Collins Children’s Books in 2009.

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Look at that cute little guy on the cover! His name is Jack. He’s almost big enough to reach those apples. I know that feeling. I’m almost big enough to reach those cookies on the counter. If the Mom Person puts them just a little bit closer, I can!  Anyway, Jack is almost 6 and in this book he talks about all the ways that he is almost grown up.

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He can almost wear his big brother’s clothes. He can almost build a real robot. He almost hit a home run in his ball game. He’s almost never afraid of the dark. It’s all ALMOST, but not quite. And I know how hard that can be!!

I really like this book. The illustrations are excellent. Lots of emotion on every page. It’s an easy read with only about 125 words. And it has a cute dog in it! I think that any little tyke waiting for a birthday will like this book!

So head over to the library and check it out!

And I’ll leave you with a Happy Birthday song from Trout Fishing In America! One of my favorite bands!

Mr Bliss

jrrtolkienJanuary 3 is the birth date of Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien. He would be 121 years old this year! Whew! He may no longer be physically in this world, but his spirit is very much alive! There is right now a movie out about his book The Hobbit. I hear about it wherever I go.

And another topic that seems to be everywhere these days is choosing One Word to exemplify the new year. About the only word that ever comes to my mind ( besides dinner, treats, and tennis balls) is JOY. I greet each and every day with JOY. And I try to spread JOY wherever I go!

So in honor of Mr. Tolkien, and in honor of my word JOY,  I am presenting you with a review of an interesting children’s book called Mr. Bliss. This is a story that Mr. Tolkien wrote for his children around 1937, but the illustrations were too colorful and detailed for it to be economical to be published at that time. So it was not published until 1982 by Houghton Mifflin Co., long after Mr. Tolkien had passed away.

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Mr. Bliss is a very eccentric gentleman who wears very tall hats, lives in a very tall house (to have room for his hats), and has a Girabbit for a pet. (That’s a Giraffe/Rabbit animal with a very long neck!). One morning Mr. Bliss decides to buy a motor car. And a real comedy of disasters follows that decision. He has several collisions, and encounters hijacking bears and angry neighbors and shopkeepers. But all turns out well in the end and everyone becomes friends.

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The original manuscript for this story was in Mr. Tolkien’s handwriting and included his own watercolor drawings. In the 1982 publication there are replications of his original work on one page with typeset pages facing these so that you can read the story better. ( His handwriting is a bit hard to read!)

The story is suitable for grade school and all the way up to adults. All Tolkien fans probably know of this book and love it no matter what the age. If you were to read it in your classroom I think that the kids would enjoy acting it out. It would make a very fun play to do. They could also dream up their own unique pet like Mr. Bliss’s Girabbit. And make funny hats.  It would also be fun to let them make their own story and book. Caitlin over at the roommom has some great instructions for making little books.

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I hope that you will check out Mr. Bliss and sing a Happy Birthday for Mr. Tolkien.

And if you would like to see more fabulous Picture Book Reviews please visit Susanna Hill‘s blog as today is Perfect Picture Book Friday!

For your JOYFUL listening pleasure I give you the Muppets Ode to JOY!

And for you Tolkien fans, here is a recording of Mr. Tolkien reading his poem Namarie. EnJOY!

A Birthday and Rejoicing Sunday!

Yesterday was Rejoicing Sunday at Church. I didn’t go to church — The Mom Person told me all about it. When I was a guide dog puppy, I went to church. It was a really nice place to go. It was warm and cozy under the pews amongst the feet. They sang nice lullabies. And the Priest had a soothing, hummy voice. I’ve been told that I snored a lot and everybody thought that was funny.

Anyway, I missed Rejoicing Sunday at Church. But yesterday was also my Birthday!! So we had a Rejoicing Sunday at Home! The Mom Person made pumpkin Frosty Paws. ( A recipe for Frosty Paws is in a previous post ) They were YUMMY!!!!

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I LOVE Frosty Paws!!  Then I got to open some presents!! I LOVE presents! And guess what I got?! A Rabbit!! I’ve been wanting a Rabbit! And there it was!! My very own! And it made squeaky noises!

IMG_5796 IMG_5793I sure LOVE my Rabbit!

But Walker wanted to play with my Rabbit, too! So he decided to trade for his giraffe. Just like that!walker

So, I let him play with it for just a little bit. It was Rejoicing Sunday after all.

Then before we went to bed, The Mom Person read me some Winnie the Pooh. That Pooh Bear is always Rejoicing!  We read Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents from the book Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne and illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard. The Mom Person has lots of different Pooh books. She loves Winnie the Pooh! The one we read from is The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh. It was published in 1994 by Dutton Children’s Books.

In the story about Eeyore’s birthday, Gloomy Eeyore is sad because no one knows that it’s his birthday. And he has no presents or cake or anything. He tells all this to Pooh who then feels very sad for Eeyore and decides to take care of the matter. So he goes home to find a present for Eeyore. He decides to give him one of his pots of Honey. When he tells Piglet about the situation, Piglet decides to give Eeyore his big red balloon and runs home to get it.

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While Pooh is going back to Eeyore with the pot of honey, he gets hungry and sits down to eat the honey! Then he’s sorry that he ate the honey he was going to give to Eeyore, but decides that a Pot to Put Things In will be nice too.

Meanwhile, Piglet is running to Eeyore with his balloon and falls and pops the balloon. But decides to give the popped balloon to Eeyore anyway. And it turns out that Eeyore is very happy to have a Pot To Put Things In and a small popped balloon to put in it! So everybody Rejoices!!

I hope you have a Joyful Monday! I’m going to be playing with my Rabbit!!

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