Sally Gets a Job

Our Perfect Picture Book Friday Pick this week is Sally Gets a Job written and illustrated by Stephen Huneck.

This is a fiction book published in 2008 by Abrams Books for Young Readers. It is suitable for ages 6 and up.

From the 1st page — “There they go, off to work and school. I wish I could go, too. Maybe I should get a job.”

Thus begins Sally’s musings about what would be the perfect job for her. Maybe she could drive a school bus, or be a teacher. Maybe a lifeguard at the beach. Maybe an archeologist or a pro ball player. So many options!

In real life there really are lots of dogs doing very important work. There are guide dogs for visually impaired people, service dogs for people with other needs, search and rescue dogs, drug sniffing dogs, bomb detection dogs, guard dogs, hunting dogs, show dogs.

I myself am a working dog with multiple titles — therapy dog, library dog, reading dog, school dog. And much like Sally, I have often dreamed about other jobs that I could do —

I have been a teacher and library dog, a farm dog, an actor, a rally competitor. It might be fun to be a fire dog. But like Sally in her book, I have found that the best job in the world is —

Taking care of my family!

There are lots of “Sally” books. She’s a very busy dog. She’s one of my very favorite book characters. And her Dad Person who was also her author and illustrator was an incredible artist using hand carved wood blocks. Mr Huneck died in 2010 but his influence on the dog and art worlds is huge. His home in Vermont has become a haven for dogs and their owners. It is called Dog Mountain. And on the mountain is a unique chapel called Dog Chapel. Dog Mountain is open to the public and they often have special events there.

If you were to read this book in your classroom it could open up lots of discussion about jobs that dogs do for people. And then you might talk about what jobs the kids’ dogs do for them. We have these talks a lot when I go to school. And there are probably dog groups of some kind in your area that probably have members that would LOVE to come visit a classroom. Dog people LOVE sharing their dogs!
Some resources that you might look into  —

Therapy Dogs International, Delta Society, Canine Companions for Independence
Guide Dog Users, Search and Rescue Dogs, Police Dogs, American Kennel Club.

So what does your dog do for you? Think on that!

And go check out Sally Gets a Job — and all the other Sally books!
And then check out the other PPBF books at Susanna Hill’s place!

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!

Looking Out for Sarah, a guide dog’s job —

Today we’re going to be joining Susanna Leonard Hill and her Perfect Picture Book Friday.

I want to introduce you to my favorite book – Looking Out for Sarah. This book is written and illustrated by Glenna Lang.

Here are some other useful details from the book:
It’s a non-fiction book published in 2001 by Charlesbridge Publishing. It would be suitable reading for kids in kindergarten thru elementary school. And for dogs who care about their people!

My Mom Person got this book for me when I was a wee pup. She read it to me often and told me that this is what my life would be someday. Things didn’t really work out that way tho. I didn’t become a guide dog. But I have an important job just the same. Looking out for my Mom Person!

The book, Looking Out for Sarah, tells us about Perry, the guide dog, and his days taking care of his person, Sarah. It begins in the morning as Perry is waiting for Sarah to wake up. I like when it says, “A wag filled Perry’s tail and traveled up his back.”  He loves his Sarah. Perry guides Sarah through her very busy day, ignoring yummy food on the sidewalk, watching out for obstacles and traffic, and waiting while Sarah does the things she has to do. They go shopping, ride the train, and visit school — just like me!!  But the book isn’t just about how Perry takes care of Sarah — it’s also about how Sarah takes care of Perry. They are a working team, dependent on each other.

This book could provide a good opportunity to have talks about blind people and other people who might be different in some way. They still do all the same stuff everybody does.  There might be a guide dog school near you with puppy raisers or trainers who could come visit your school. We have some puppy raiser friends who love to talk about their pups!  You could get some really good info about blind people and all the cool stuff they have to help them get around in the world from the National Federation of the Blind  . You could also have a talk about our senses and how if one doesn’t work too well, you have to rely on others. You know, dogs have a really really good sense of smell! And here’s one more link to a site that has a lesson plan using another book about a guide dog, Safe and Sound.

Look for Looking Out for Sarah at your library! And check it out! You’ll be glad you did!

Relax!!

Today was about relaxing and de-stressing. Those detention boys sure need alot of that!  We put on some good Native American music with flutes and birds and the guys laid down on mats and the therapist was saying, ” Relax this muscle, relax that muscle, visualize your best place.”  I had that hand rubbing my head –You talk about relaxing!  I went fast asleep.

Do your dogs ever get stressed out? Like when you leave them all alone? Or they can’t find their favorite tennis ball? Or strangers come to visit? We have some music that my Mom Person plays for us that we all like alot. It’s called Through a Dog’s Ear.  My Mom Person got it because one of my housemates is really scared of thunder. He gets really upset. This music helps him feel a little better. And it puts me right to sleep.

What do you do for your dogs to help them chill out? I’d like to know what kinds of things bother other dogs. I hope you have happy dogs!

Check out Through a Dog’s Ear! And have a chillin’ day!

May I Pet Your Dog?

When I go to school, all the kids are excited to see me. Especially when school first starts after the summer and they haven’t seen me for awhile.  They like to yell my name – ” Look! Rhythm’s here!!!!” then run to give me a hug!  This is when my Mom Person says -” Whoa!!  Let’s be a little more polite to Rhythm!”  Then we all talk about what dogs like and don’t like about being petted. Most of the time I don’t mind when kids run up to me to say hello. But I know some dogs who really freak out when that happens. And I really like getting petted, but I’m not crazy about getting hugs. If somebody really needs a hug, then I can let it happen because I know it makes them feel better. But I’d rather just get a nice pat and maybe an ear rub.  I know some dogs who really like being hugged. They just go right up to people and ask for hugs! Dogs are all different just like people are.

What do your dogs like? Do they like kids or are they scared of those little whirlwinds? Are they ok with strangers or do they need some encouragement from you? Are they cuddly or not so much? And when you meet a new dog friend, what do you do? Do you bend down in its face to say hello or do you give it a little space? Do you first reach for its head or go around to the side? Things to think about?

We found a really nice book called May I Pet Your Dog? by Stephanie Calmenson. And it has some really great pictures by Jan Ormerod. She gets all the right expressions on the dogs’ faces. This book tells with pictures how someone should come up to a dog to say “Hello”.  It shows how some dogs like kids and some are a little afraid.  I wish everybody would read this book. It would make meeting new friends alot nicer for me and all my dog buddies.

Go check it out!

Do you Clicker?

We got to play clicker games with the detention center girls! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE clicker games!!!!!  We were playing easy ones because the girls were just learning how. They thought that I was sooooo smart!  Which I am! Clicker games make me think alot because the clicker person just stands there and lets me make up my own stuff. So I do all my tricks. I lay down, I roll over, I play dead, I dance, I sing, I go to the mat — aahhaa! There’s that click! And there’s that treat landing on the mat!!  WooHoo! Wag, Wag! I’ll try that again!  Yes!!  That’s all there is to it!  Easy, Peasy, Fun!  Uh,oh! Now why did they put that chair there? I’d better check it out. Aahhaa! There’s that click again! And there’s that treat on the chair!!  I’ll try that again!

I never know what kind of treat I’ll get. It might be apples, or green beans, maybe cheese (yum) or hot dogs ( even yummier!). All of it makes me happy!

My buddy Walker doesn’t like the clicker games quite like I do. He likes to hear that click and get that treat! But he doesn’t want to think too much about it. If he doesn’t get some hints about what the clicker person wants, I can see him kind of zone out. He’s a funny guy. I guess he’s training the clicker person!

Do you play clicker games with your dog? Do you play any kind of games with your dog? All the dogs I know love to play. But everyone seems to like different stuff. What kind of things do your dogs like to play?

You can find out more about clickers if you want to try it with your dog. There are lots of books out there that can help. Karen Pryor is the Queen of clickers. I like being the Queen of the Library!

Go check out clicker books today!  Or tomorrow.