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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Winnie

You are probably familiar with a bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. I have grown up with Mr Pooh Bear. My family are all great fans. I, myself, think that he is the greatest philosopher that ever lived! Or didn’t live. Whatever. He is one wise bear!

IMG_2366Well, did you know that the Winnie-the-Pooh in the books was inspired by a real life bear? And did you know that there is a book about this real life bear?! Well, My Mom Person, bless her heart, has presented me with a copy of this book as an early Valentine gift! Isn’t that something?!

IMG_2369WINNIE
The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
by Sally M. Walker
illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss

published by Henry Holt & Co. in 2015

a non-fiction picture book suitable for anyone who loves Winnie-the-Pooh!

themes – Winnie-the-pooh, bears, animal rescue, military, World War I

It begins –
When Harry Colebourn looked out of the train window, he couldn’t believe what he saw: a bear at the station! The train’s stop would be short, but Harry had to get off and see the bear for himself.

Harry is a young soldier going off to training camp in Quebec during World War I. He is also a veterinarian and will be with the veterinary corps taking care of horses. The bear is a small brown orphaned cub that is up for sale. Harry buys the bear for $20.00 and hops back on the train taking the little thing with him. He names the bear Winnipeg because that’s where his company is from and Winnie becomes the company mascot. She goes everywhere with the soldiers and even sleeps under Harry’s cot!

IMG_2371When the war across the Atlantic starts to get worse, Harry’s company has to ship out to England. Winnie ships out with them. But when the war continues to get worse and the company is called to the front lines in France, Harry decides to leave Winnie with the London Zoo. She was so sweet and friendly that she soon became a favorite with London kids. One in particular, a young lad named Christopher Robin, was particularly taken with the little bear, so his father, Mr A.A. Milne, took him often to visit. Christopher Robin decided to rename his own Edward Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh. And the rest is history, as they say!

A special bonus in this book is the endpapers. They are real photographs of Harry and Winnie and Christopher Robin and Mr Milne. Fantastic!! At the end of the book is a kind of epilogue about Harry and Winnie after the war and a bibliography and links to some interesting videos.

IMG_2370

Winnie was an American Black Bear. You can find out more about black bears HERE and HERE.

After reading this book about Winnie, the natural thing to do would be to read some Winnie-the-Pooh. And not those Disney books. The REAL Winnie-the-Pooh!

And to help you get in the mood here is Mr Milne himself reading from his very own book!

Now you might want to venture over to Ms Susanna Hill’s blog to check out today’s list of Perfect Picture Books. You’ll be glad you did!!!

 May you have a tiddly-pom weekend full of wonder!
Your friend
Rhythm
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Safe and Sound

Yesterday was National Seeing Eye Dog Day. We celebrated this day by visiting a third grade classroom and educating them a bit about guide dogs. Most of the kids in Glen Rose know something about working dogs from knowing me and Walker. They all know our tales of being guide dog pups in training. All the kids who knew me as a pup have moved on to college now. I’m into another bunch of young folks altogether! New ones to educate.

Copy of IMG_1536So we took Electra along in her official coat that says she’s a guide dog pup. We took her coat off while in the classroom so the kids could pet. No petting allowed when in coat! Just like a working dog in harness! NO PETTING! And we took a great little book about a working guide dog to help us tell our tale.

IMG_2353Safe and Sound
by Beth Finke
illustrated by Anthony Alex LeTourneau
published by Blue Marlin Publications in 2007

Theme – Guide dogs

This book is suitable for all ages, young and old. 3rd grade was perfect!

It begins –
Look at me! See the harness strapped to my back? I’m called a Seeing Eye dog. The harness is my uniform, and whenever I’m wearing it, I’m working. I guide my partner, Beth, where she needs to go.

This is Hanni’s story of her job keeping Beth safe in a world full of obstacles. Traffic, crowds of people, holes in the sidewalk, garbage cans, tree branches. Whew!!! It’s a crazy world out there and a guide dog must be ever vigilant!

IMG_2356This book presents a great picture of what it’s like to be a working dog. It’s about the job at hand, but the story is also about the relationship between Beth and Hanni. How they had to learn to trust each other because both their lives depended on that trust. How that trust was the foundation for a deep love. It’s a lovely tale.

At the end of the book there are some factual notes from Hanni about her life from pup to working guide dog. And some notes from Beth about how she became blind from juvenile diabetes and what life is like as a blind person.

There is also a list of references for further reading.
This book is also available in Braille. To learn more about Braille visit this website HERE. You might learn how to write your name in Braille!

The Learning to Give website has some good ideas for ways to use this book in a classroom. You can visit them HERE.

We had a great discussion in our classroom about how working dogs help their handlers. What senses the dogs use to do their job. You could let kids pretend they were blind and try to maneuver around the classroom. And then let someone else be their guide dog.

If there is a guide dog school near you, you might pay them a visit. Maybe even volunteer! Southeastern Guide Dogs has puppy hugging days. And volunteers come in to walk the dogs that are in training. You can find a list of guide dog schools HERE. This is the website for the National Federation for the Blind. You can find out more about blindness there as well.

For more about juvenile diabetes visit HERE.

This is PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY. For a list of more Perfect Picture Books visit Ms Susanna Hill’s blog – you’ll be glad you did!!

A guide dog faces all kinds of obstacles! —

Have a Safe and Sound weekend!!!
Your friend
Rhythm
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That Summer

There’s a word that I’ve been hearing a lot lately. A bad word. Cancer. It seems to be everywhere. There are two young people in our small town who are fighting courageous battles right now. I’m hearing of lots of prayer requests and prayer circles – sending lots of  loving energy into the world. My cousin, Romeo, has cancer. All of my special humans are having discussions about the best way to deal with this. And just today I found out that another canine friend has left us for the land of eternal tennis balls. Cancer. I suppose that everyone everywhere has a story to tell about Cancer. I have a book to share. A sad book, but a hopeful, uplifting kind of sad.

IMG_2287That Summer
by Tony Johnson
illustrated by Barry Moser
published by Harcourt, Inc. in 2002

Theme – cancer, grief, family, quilts

A fiction book suitable for 1st grade and up

It begins –
That summer began like always,
with hoots and shouts, all of us running
into the sun,
freed from school,
over the porch,
over the lawn,
down the hollows,
Joey and I ran
like there was no tomorrow.

For these two brothers, the summer begins like every other summer – fun in the sun!!! But soon they are faced with Joey getting sick. And then, too soon, they are faced with Joey dying. “What do you do when ….. your heart hurts with grieving?” You cry and you dream walk. And you start to cherish every moment.

The boys’ Gram starts a quilt. And Joey decides to make one, too. A quilt that will piece together all the things that he loves. An owl, a fishing pole, a lightening bug, a baseball glove. Throughout the summer, the two brothers and the family and their friends, find ways to capture JOY. Ways to cheat that bad word – Cancer. That word is never actually mentioned in the book. But at one point Joey loses his hair and his brother shaves his own head. The youngsters in our town who are doing their best to cheat Cancer are dealing with those kinds of things too.

IMG_2290In the end, Joey does die. He leaves behind some bursting hearts. But also a quilt – stitched with love.

My readers had a bit of a hard time with this book. Some of them know the kids at school with cancer and the story was a little too close for them. But it opened some avenues for talk – and that’s a good thing. It’s a beautifully poetic book with some incredible, emotion-filled illustrations by Mr Moser.

In my younger days I visited a Children’s Hospital. There were lots of youngsters there fighting their personal battles with cancer and other illnesses. I sooo admired those kids and their families. They are all heroes in my book.

You can find out more about Cancer issues HERE at the American Cancer Society website.
And there are some good links and resources at Kids Cancer Network HERE.

You might want to participate in a local Relay for Life event. You can get more information about that HERE.

HERE is a fun idea for a friendship quilt wall display. And another fun Quilt idea HERE at Teach Preschool.

And for some info about canine Cancer check out 2 Million Dogs HERE. A few years ago, a young man had a dog with cancer and he decided to go on a walk to generate awareness for canine cancer. So he and his 2 Great Pyrenees dogs went on a journey from Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts. And that journey has blossomed into a HUGE deal!!

And now after you’ve dried your eyes, you might want to go visit Susanna Hill’s blog where you’ll find a huge list of PERFECT PICTURE BOOKS and lots of resources to go with!

I’ll leave you with a song of hope from Mr Zach Sobiech –

I hope your tomorrows are bright and sunny!
Your ever hopeful and tail waggin’ friend
Rhythm
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Owls

I believe that I have mentioned before that once a month I pay a visit to a magical doctor who eases my sore muscles and arthritis and calms my worries. Dr Bruton has a magical assistant, Sarah. Sarah often talks to me while they are massaging and lasering and sticking needles in me. Sarah of the magical hands. During my last visit, Dr Bruton was waving his blue laser, magical wand around on all the stiff muscles and sore parts and I was just beginning to snooze and dream a bit about some serenity I have been encountering in my woods lately.

IMG_4225Lately, in the middle of the night, I have been hearing some rather loud, gentle Hoooooooing. Off in the woods behind our house. Surprisingly near. The Mom Person says that it comes from Great Horned Owls. I like the sound of these owls. They do sound so very serene. The Mom Person says that they are far from it and are hanging out at our house so as to eat our chickens. I couldn’t say about that. But anyway, I was laying there in that quiet doctor’s office thinking about that HOOOOOOOOOOing and Sarah with the magical hands said, “Owls?” I opened my eye and looked at my Mom Person. Had she been talking about our owls? No. She looked rather quizzically at Ms Sarah and said “What?” and Ms Sarah said, “Rhythm is talking about owls. Have you had owls at your house?” My Mom Person looked at Ms Sarah and looked at me and just shook her head in wonder. I smiled and went back to sleep. Ms Sarah always knows what’s going on. She’s magical.

IMG_2257Owl Moon
by Jane Yolen
illustrated by John Schoenherr
published by Philomel Books in 1987
winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal

Themes – winter, owls, nature, father/daughter relationships

Suitable for ALL ages, young and old

It begins –
It was late one winter night,
long past my bedtime,
when Pa and I went owling.

This is the book that comes to mind when I listen to our owl in the woods. It’s a rather popular book with my readers and I get to hear it quite often. It’s really a bedtime kind of story. Soft, and dark, and soothing. The narrator is a young girl going “owling” for the first time with her Pa. They tromp through the dark, quiet woods in knee deep snow. I have a hard time imagining that much snow! It’s cold, cold, cold. But a person must be quiet and brave when out owling. And they must make their own heat. The Pa and his daughter walk a long time hoping to see an owl. The Pa stops now and then to call out to the owls — Whoo-whoo-who-who-who-whooooooo. Finally, there is an echoing call — and there is the Great Horned Owl in all its dark glory!

IMG_2259Wow! We don’t have to walk very far to go owling, just out our back door. And we don’t have to tromp through any snow. But we have yet to see an actual owl. I’m happy just to listen and let that Hooooooing lull me to sleep. I think that these Great Horned Owls are rather large. Bigger than the vultures that fly around overhead all the time. A bird that big might be kind of spooky.

But there’s nothing spooky about this book. It is the height of serenity. The words and the pictures work together to entice you to be quiet and calm so the big bird will come. It invites you to savor the natural wonders in the world around us. And it celebrates the bond between a father and his daughter. A glorious book indeed.

Ms Yolen and Mr Schoenherr both took their kids owling. I think that everyone should try some owling! Out in the woods on a full moon night! What fun!!

You can find out more about Great Horned Owls HERE. And this link HERE also has a recording of that Hooo-Hoooing.

This KIDZONE link has some owl worksheets and activities.

Our science classes here at school always dissect owl pellets – the stuff that they throw up. The kids love doing this!

And here is what you might see if you get lucky!

Now be sure and go visit Ms Susanna Hill HERE and see her list of great Perfect Picture Books! It is Perfect Picture Book Friday after all!!!!

Happy Owling!!
Your friend
Rhythm
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The Perfect Christmas

Well, The Great Thanksgiving Feast of 2014 has come and gone. I hope that yours was PERFECT. Lots of PERFECT turkey and carrots and sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Lots of PERFECT fun with your family and friends. Maybe a PERFECT game of tennis? or football? Full tummies and smiles on faces. PERFECT?

Well, as I said – that’s all come and gone. It’s history. It’s now time for —-

IMG_1850The Perfect Christmas
by Eileen Spinelli
illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi
published by Christy Ottaviano Books with Henry Holt and Co. in 2011

suitable for ALL ages!

Themes – Christmas, family, traditions

It begins –
Abigail Archer’s family
is perfect as can be.
They drive into the countryside
To chop down their Christmas tree.

Back around that PERFECT Thanksgiving time, I reviewed another book by Ms Spinelli titled The PERFECT Thanksgiving! You can check out that post by clicking on that title – right there! And guess what?! Ms Spinelli herself actually read my review! Wag my tail!!!! And she thought that I might ought to read the companion book – The Perfect Christmas! Of course I needed to do that very thing!! So she had her publisher send me my very own copy of The Perfect Christmas! Now isn’t that PERFECT?! What a nice lady, right?! I think that she deserves a standing ovation! I’m standing! How bout you?!

Well, ok, now, back to the book!

The Perfect Christmas brings us the same families that we met in The Perfect Thanksgiving. The Archer family is still Martha Stewart PERFECT. Candles on the mantel and bowls full of silver balls! The narrator’s family is still eclectically PERFECT with macaroni reindeer and dented fruitcake tins! Abigail’s family enjoys PERFECT Christmas treats and sweets – they even have a poodle that eats on a PERFECT Christmas mat! While the narrator’s Christmas cookies would “bounce to Mexico”

IMG_1852Each family has their own unique style and traditions. And each family has their own version of a PERFECT Christmas! This little book shows, in a big way, that what makes Christmas PERFECT is the love that is shared with family and friends. That’s what it’s all about! A PERFECT Christmas book to share!!

My family is very much like the narrator’s family. A bit crazy. But PERFECT in all the ways that matter to them – and me! It’s a BIG family and they like to party and have a good time. They always have a theme for their get-togethers. They dress up and have appropriate food and gifts. I just wag my tail and laugh. My favorite part is the cookie bake. I get to help with clean-up! I love being a janitor!

IMG_1833What kind of traditions does your family have? Do you have a “real” tree that smells like the woods? Or do you have one that comes out of a box? Do you have fancy decorations that all match like Martha Stewart? Or do you have homemade macaroni reindeer? Do you sing Christmas songs? Do you go to church? Maybe you don’t celebrate Christmas at all!

If you are inclined to make your own PERFECT Christmas Cookies, HERE is Martha Stewart’s recipe!

And HERE is a link to some fantastic ornaments that you can make with the kids!

Whatever and However you celebrate – I hope it’s PERFECT in every way!

Whatever you might be doing this time of year
I wish you GREAT JOY!

JOYYour JOYful 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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The Perfect Thanksgiving

It seems to be Thanksgiving time. I understand that this is a holiday set aside for eating lots of turkey and pies and thinking about all the things that a person should be thankful for. I’m hearing all about turkeys and Pilgrims and Native Americans and turkeys and feasts and family time and turkeys. The kids at school are making headbands with feathers, and turkeys with their hands, and turkeys with their feet, and eating turkey for lunch. The Mom Person is going through the recipe drawer and talking on the phone a lot about who’s bringing what. And I’m walking around drooling and no one seems to notice!

Well, today isn’t Thanksgiving. Although I am thankful, because it is Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Hill’s House. And I get to share in this event! I don’t know if she’s having turkey or not. I hope so! Just in case, I am bringing turkey – for the Perfect Thanksgiving!! IMG_1731The Perfect Thanksgiving
by Eileen Spinelli
illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi
published by Henry Holt and Co. in 2003

Themes – Thanksgiving! Family!

Suitable for young and old alike! All the family!

It begins –
Abigail Archer’s family
is perfect in every way.
Never is this more obvious
than on Thanksgiving Day.

This is a hilarious look at Thanksgiving through the eyes of one little girl. It’s told in perfectly wondrous rhyme with perfectly fabulous illustrations. And features a perfectly silly hand-print turkey and a perfectly artsy turkey.

The narrator compares her friend Abigail’s family holiday with her own family’s get together. At Abigail’s house everything is PERFECT. The table settings, the turkey cooked to perfection, the well dressed, well behaved, polite family holding hands around the PERFECT table – all PERFECT! At the narrator’s house, we see PERFECT chaos! Burnt turkey and wailing smoke alarms, crying kids, gravy and milk being spilled, belching and chomping and slurping everywhere. (It all sounds very much like my house!)

IMG_1737The narrator feels that Abigail has the PERFECT mother! Abigail’s mother wears an organdy dress with pearls and fancy shoes. She has fancy whirls on her homemade pie and her Jello mold doesn’t quiver. The narrator’s Mom wears jeans and fuzzy slippers. (Looks eerily like my Mom Person!) She serves store bought pie with no whipped topping and her Jello mold quivers!!

There is more, and more, and more about how different the two families are – But it turns out that the families have one very important element that is common to both — the LOVE that radiates from both!! And that’s something to be Thankful for!!

This book goes PERFECTLY with all the Thanksgiving activities that have been going on at school the last couple of weeks. Making turkeys and talking about Pilgrims and Native Americans and the Land that we all live in. And it offers a PERFECT opportunity to talk about our families traditions and how different they might be and how much alike!

I hope you have a PERFECT Thanksgiving celebration with your PERFECT family and are wrapped in the LOVE that I’m sure will be there.

Here is my pawprint Turkey –

img051And one of the many Turkey songs I have been hearing over, and over, and over —

And now you might want to visit Ms Hill’s blog and see if she’s serving some turkey over there! I’m sure that she will have some other fine Perfect Picture Books for you to check out!

IMG_1733I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
From MY PERFECT family to yours!!
Your friends
Walker, Electra, and St. Rhythm!
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Augustus and His Smile

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday — A day created by that “Amazing Babe” Susanna Leonard Hill to celebrate Perfect Picture Books. That’s a powerful word – PERFECT. What does it mean exactly? What IS a PERFECT Picture Book? I guess that that would be somewhat different for each reader – be they man, woman, child, or — dog!

For this library dog, a perfect picture book is one that begs to be read over and over. When my reader says “AGAIN!” — That’s PERFECT. A PERFECT picture book brings out emotions. It might be smiles and laughter. When I hear giggles and chuckles and howling laughter — That’s PERFECT. It might be sighs of wonder. “OHHHH!”  “AHHHH!” It might be sighs of sadness. “OH, NO!” — That’s PERFECT. A PERFECT picture book has fantastic illustrations that beg to be looked at closely. When I hear “don’t turn the page just yet!” — That’s PERFECT.

A PERFECT picture book pulls the reader in to become part of the story.

Today I give you a PERFECT picture book that has all of those things.

IMG_1452Augustus and His Smile
by Catherine Rayner
published by Good Books in 2006

Themes – smiles!, finding JOY!

a fiction book suitable for pre-K and up

It begins —
Augustus the tiger was sad.
He had lost his smile.

With the very first words and the very first picture you are sucked right in to this story! You can feel the tiger’s sadness. It makes your mouth droop. Right off, my readers were sighing “Oh, poor tiger!” And the search began to find Augustus’s smile. The words are spare and the illustrations are big and bold – like a tiger. Augustus searched high and low and far and wide. And with each page turn you can see just an inkling of an upturned mouth on Augustus. I heard “LOOK! Look at his mouth! It’s there Augustus! It’s there!” “Oh look! He found it!” “Read it again!”

IMG_1454Augustus found that his smile was with him all the time! He only had to follow his JOY to bring it out! And it sure brought out smiles on my readers!! A most PERFECT picture book!!

What brings a smile to your face? My Mom Person plays a game with My Favorite Girl. “Three Things I Love.”  Each morning or evening, they each have to tell three things that they love. Three things that bring a smile. And that little game always makes them both smile!

In your classroom, or whatever, you could have your readers make lists or draw pictures of things that make them smile.

Gather some rocks and paint them with big happy face smiles. Let them sit on the kids’ desks or tables and every time you look at them — guess what? SMILE!

For your smiling pleasure – some happy, smiley tigers!

Now you might want to drop by Ms Susanna Hill’s blog and check out the other PERFECT Picture Books and all the fun resources to go with!

SMILE!!!
Your friend
Rhythm
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IVAN

I recently read a most wonderful book called The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. You can read my review of that book HERE. I really liked that book a lot! And a lot of other folks did too. It was (and still is!) a very popular book. Everyone who reads it falls in love with the gorilla, Ivan. The One and Only Ivan is a fictional story about a REAL gorilla. Ms Applegate decided that she needed to tell the REAL story of Ivan. In a picture book.

IMG_1538IVAN
THE REMARKABLE TRUE STORY
of the
SHOPPING MALL GORILLA
by Katherine Applegate
illustrated by G. Brian Karas
published by Clarion Books in 2014

A non-fiction book suitable for ages 4 and up

Themes – gorillas, animal welfare and conservation

It begins –
In leafy calm,
in gentle arms,
a gorilla’s life began.

This is a powerful story for all the ages – young and old alike. It is a true story of a gorilla who was born in the wilds of Africa and brought to the United States to be a sideshow attraction at a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington. The book begins with a tale of a baby gorilla’s idyllic life in the jungle with Mom and Dad and siblings and cousins. Then the baby gorilla finds himself in a dark box going on a long journey. In the beginning of his new life he was loved and coddled just like a human baby. He wore clothes and ate human food. This was long ago in the 1960s and people evidently didn’t know any better. They didn’t think about whether they were doing the right thing by this little gorilla.

IMG_1541After time, Ivan got to be too big for his fairy tale life and he was moved to a giant cement cage at the shopping mall. There was a window through which he could watch the humans who stared back at him. Long, lonely, boring years passed and then people started wondering whether the mall gorilla was at all happy about his circumstances. These people started to protest and complain and eventually, after 27 years at the mall, Ivan was moved to the Atlanta Zoo where he spent his last years with grass and trees and other gorillas. He died in 2012 – probably a happy gorilla. He was 50 years old.

Ivan’s story as told by Ms Applegate, is pure poetry. It is a brutal story, but one filled with hope and love. Ms Applegate’s words are lyrical and Rhythmic. Mr Karas’s illustrations are softened realism. Magical.

At the back of the book there is more information about Ivan and a letter from one of his keepers. There is also a list of resources for further study.

This is an incredible little book that everyone should read – along with Ms Applegate’s fictional version, The One and Only Ivan.

HERE’s a great interview with Ms Applegate.

And the original NY Times article that sparked her imagination.

Find out more about the book and see a trailer HERE.

Find out more about Gorilla conservation HERE at the International Gorilla Conservation website.

And then go visit your local zoo and study the gorillas!

Now you might want to visit Ms Susanna Hill’s blog HERE for a list of Perfect Picture Books and some great resources to go with! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!!

Ivan at the B & I Shopping Mall

Ivan at Zoo Atlanta –

May your days be filled with love and understanding
Your library friend
Rhythm

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