Time to Get Back to Work!

The Mom Person seems to think that my little brain has been idle long enough. It’s been a busy summer. For her, maybe. For me, it’s been all about Relaxation! That’s a good thing! But now the smells of school are in the air. Time to get myself back in shape for walking the halls and sniffing out backpacks.

We have been doing quite a bit of reading this summer. We go to the library once a week and those kids sure do like to read!!! That’s a good thing, too! All my readers are starting to talk about school, too. It’s kind of exciting to move up a grade and have new teachers and new routines.

And I have the PERFECT book for back to school!!!!

IMG_1193SmartyPants
(Pete in School)
(doesn’t that look a bit like me on the cover?!)

by
Maira Kalman
(You can check out her website HERE)

published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in 2003

This is kind of a sequel to one of my very FAVORITE books –
What Pete Ate from A – Z by Ms Kalman
I talked about this book some time ago and if you’d like to see what I had to say about it, you can check it out HERE.

This SmartyPants book is also about Pete – a dog who likes to eat strange things. (I even think some of his chosen edibles are a bit strange!)  What Pete Ate is an alphabet book and a list of all kinds of stuff that that crazy Pete eats.  SmartyPants begins with a kind of short summary of the previous book, but this tale is really about going back to school. Summer is over and Pete’s girl, Poppy Wise, is contemplating what that means. All the things she Hates about school, and all the things she Loves about school.

Copy of IMG_1194We get introduced to her teachers and her principal and her classmates. Then one day – out of the blue – her dog, Pete, shows up at school and starts eating stuff! The blackboard and Mr. Spitzer’s PANTS!! Pete creates HAVOC all over the school and has to go to the principal’s office!! While there, he eats an Encyclopedia About Everything! And guess what!!! He becomes REALLY smart!!!!! So they sneak him back into school and let him answer all the questions! Pete was the STAR of the DAY!!!

Mr. SMARTYPANTS!!!!

That Ms Kalman is a crazy, clever lady! Her artwork is so fun to look at! Quirky and Zany and Extravagant! This is such an excellent book! I want to read it again!! It makes me roll on the floor laughing! It makes me hungry!! I need to go eat something!

IMG_1191Go check this book out! And I’ll see you later!

Your ready for school friend
Rhythm
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Changing of the Guard

or the pup, as the case may be. Yes, our dear Dogzilla, Electra, has gone off to college and a new pup has taken her place. It seemed to be a traumatic event for my Mom Person. She sometimes can be so emotional. But I don’t mind providing the needed comfort. We did have some good times with that crazy pup. I have to admit she was quite entertaining.

For the week before they all went off to Florida there were lots of tears flowing. For that crazy pup!!! But from what I hear, Ms Electra proved to be quite the champ on the trip. My friend, Sarah, at Dr Bruton’s office had a talk with her on our last visit there. I don’t know what exactly was said, but it must have made an impression on Electra. I’m glad she didn’t make a fool of herself.

So Electra is now off to the kennels with a new roommate to lay on. She’ll be getting some top notch schooling and I think that she will probably enjoy that. She always really liked school. Hooray for Electra! And Hooray for us!!

And now there’s a new pup in town. Her name is Marni. My Mom Person puts a lot of stock in names. Names are important. I don’t know what Marni means. It sounds kind of like a flower to me. I seem to remember that there is a movie called Marnie. That Marnie was a liar and a thief. Hmmmm. Maybe I should find a good place to hide my tennis balls. I’ll try to keep that vision of a flower in mind. I must say that Marnie’s Mom did a better job of teaching her some manners than did Ms Electra’s. Marni is pretty flighty like Electra, but much more polite about it. She’s more of a Sparky than an Electra.

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So now it starts all over again. Ah me. Well, maybe now we can get back to bookish things.

If you are at all interested in more of this tale of pups you can visit HERE.

Wishing you the JOY of new adventures!
Your friend
Rhythm
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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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Edmund Pickle Chin

I’ve got a fun little book to share with you today!! It’s a true story about a lucky little donkey who was rescued from a bad place and carried off to a wonderful place called Evermay Farm. Evermay Farm is a Heart Place that was established by Susan April Elwood to provide a safe, happy home for abused animals. This lucky little donkey was the first of many to arrive.

IMG_2271Edmund Pickle Chin
A Donkey Rescue Story
by Clara Bowman-Jahn and Susan April Elwood
illustrated by Lynne Bendoly
published by eTreasures Publishing in 2014

based on a True Story!

It begins
The frightened donkey snorted and shivered.
Whenever anyone came near him, he would back away. Not so long ago he was treated poorly and he was confused.

We took this book to school with us and my readers fell in love with Edmund Pickle Chin. Is that not a funny name?! It seems to fit him though. The kids liked that this tale was based on a true story about a real donkey. Ryan particularly liked the cover with that happy donkey face, and wanted to read it himself to the class.

Copy of IMG_2300That was certainly alright by me!!!! And he did a fine job with it, too! This is the story of Edmund Pickle Chin and his transition from shy, scared, confused donkey to happy, self-assured ambassador for the farm. It took a lot of time and patience for Ms Elwood to win his trust. But she seems to be filled with love and patience. Ryan is a farm boy and he knows about patience and earning the trust of an animal. When other animals started arriving at Evermay, Edmund knew how to make them feel welcome. The kids really liked how kind Edmund was, taking care of the goats and rabbits and ponies that came to live with him. This is a story all about big hearts and being kind.

IMG_2273We really liked the illustrations. That Edmund sure has a winning smile!! At the end of the book there are a few real pictures of the real Edmund and some of his friends at Evermay Farm. You can find out more about Evermay Farm at their website HERE.

One of the authors, Ms Clara Bowman-Jahn has a fine blog of her own that you can visit HERE. She does book reviews and writer talk. You might want to go visit!

You can find out more about the illustrator, Lynne Bendoly, HERE on Ms Bowman-Jahn’s blog.

Did you know that donkeys are used as guard animals to take care of sheep and goats? There are lots of sheep and goats around where I live and most of those herds have donkeys that stay with them and watch out for predators like coyotes and mountain lions. We have some donkeys that live with our neighbors and visit us over our fence. They don’t have any sheep or goats. Just us to visit with.

IMG_2387Here’s a little lesson all about donkeys —

Spread some kindness today and keep smiling!
Your wagging, smiling 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.

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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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Latke, the Lucky Dog

I’m a pretty lucky dog. I have a nice home and a lovable family that I live with. I have several nice, comfy beds and lots of toys to choose from. I get fed pretty regularly with plenty of snacks to go along with meals. I have a fine job where I get to visit with lots of great folks. Life is pretty good, I’d say.

I hear that some dogs are not so lucky. Some dogs don’t have nice homes and families. I’ve never come across one of these dogs, but I hear the stories. One of the books I received in the mail recently is about a lucky dog who didn’t have a home, but then found one!! This book was sent to me from Ms Sue Heavenrich. You might want to visit her at her blog home HERE. It’s a pretty nice place to visit!

IMG_2279Latke, the Lucky Dog
by Ellen Fischer
illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
published by Kar-Ben Publishing in 2014

 Latke is a shelter dog, which means he lives in a kennel with lots of other dogs – all waiting for someone to come visit and decide that “THIS pup is the one for ME”!!! For Latke, that day came in December when a family walked in looking for a present for Hanukkah. I don’t know anything about Hanukkah. It’s a holiday celebrated by Jewish people. But according to this book, it is “an eight-day Festival of Lights that celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the mighty armies of the Syrian King Antiochus.” That’s a lot of history for another day, I think. Anyway, this family wanted to celebrate by getting a dog for their home. And a medium-sized, brown dog was just what they were looking for. They named him Latke because he was the color of a fried latke. And what is a latke I ask?! a latke is a fried potato pancake! Yummmmmmm!

IMG_2281So, little brown Latke goes home with his new family. But now he has to learn all the rules of his new home! It’s very hard and he makes lots of mistakes. And gets into quite a bit of trouble. But LUCKY for him, he has been chosen by a forgiving and patient family. He begins to learn the rules and finds that having a home and a family is GREAT! He really is a LUCKY dog!!

This was a cute, informative tale. We learned about some Jewish history and traditions. We talked about shelter dogs. Some of my readers have dogs who came from shelters. We talked about house rules and dog training and caring for dogs. Wow! Lots of talk generated by this little book!!!

Thanks Ms Heavenrich for your generous heart!

Here are some LUCKY dogs! My dreams —

I hope you find some luck in your days this week!
Your lucky friend
Rhythm
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The Legend of Dust Bunnies

I LOVE my mail lady!!! Sometime before Christmas she brought me a slew of mail!! And some of that mail was books!! She must really like me. But the books weren’t really from the mail lady. She was the go-between. The books came from friends far and wide. Well, I don’t think the friends are particularly wide. Anyway, I received The Legend of Dust Bunnies from Ms Michelle Eastman. Annie’s Special Day and Edmund Pickle Chin from Ms Clara Bowman-Jahn. And Latke, the Lucky Dog from Ms Sue Heavenrich. Aren’t I the lucky dog?!!

IMG_2307We put all of these fine books in my school book bag this week and shared them with my friends at school. Now, I’ll share them with you!

Today I’ll tell you about the Dust Bunnies!! We happen to have quite a colony of these critters at our house! I thought I knew all about those Bunnies!

IMG_2285The Legend of Dust Bunnies
by Michelle R. Eastman
illustrated by Kevin Richter
published by Byway Press in 2014

My readers learn about “blurbs” in their reading classes. The blurb on the back of this book reads –
Join the Dust Fairies on their messy nighttime adventures, and discover how one misfit fairy uses his talent to create something legendary. His story will have families looking at dust bunnies in a new light and may actually give kids an excuse NOT to clean their rooms.

My readers were sure ready to find that excuse!!

It begins –
The Legend of Dust Bunnies
began long ago,
in a house just like this one,
and here’s how it goes ….

Well, let me tell you! This tale is enlightening! Did you know that in the dark of night, little fairies fly into your house and scatter dust and crumbs and grime all over?! I knew it wasn’t me!! They seem to have a grand ole time flitting around your house spreading stuff for vacuum cleaners to scarf up!

IMG_2282But what about those Dust Bunnies? Well, according to this legend, there once was a Dust Fairy named Artie who didn’t like spreading the crumbs around. He liked to collect hair and fur and lint instead. The other Fairies made fun of him. He was kind of like the Rudolph the Reindeer whose friends wouldn’t let him join in any games. So Artie decided to gather all his fiber goodies and make his very own friend. And – Voila! – a Dust Bunny was born!

IMG_2286Now all the other fairies were really impressed with Artie’s little bunny. So, of course, they all had to have one as well! And now ALL Dust Fairies carry around their little bunnies while they’re spreading their grime! And sometimes Dust Bunnies get left behind. 😦 I guess those Dust Fairies aren’t too careful with their treasures. So, if you happen to find any Dust Bunnies around your house, you need to treat them with care! A Dust Fairy will be looking for it, and I don’t know what that Fairy would do if she couldn’t find her Bunny!

My readers liked this book a lot. First, we talked about what a Legend is. We had quite a discussion about that one. Is a legend true? The same thing as a myth? Fiction? or Non-fiction? We decided that a legend is a story that can’t be proven to be true, but is usually accepted as being true. We accept this legend as being true!! The pictures are pretty cool – bright and colorful. Those fairies are a bit wild looking! The tale is told in Rhyme – and I always like some Rhythm in my stories. And we are all going to be on the lookout for Dust Bunnies now!!

My Mom Person made a Bunny once. Not out of my hair that she collected, but from goat hair that she collected. She got a whole big pile of that goat hair (I think it’s called mohair). (We once had a goat named Mo. I guess his hair really was Mohair.) Then she washed that stuff and combed it and spun it on her spinning wheel and made some yarn out of it. And knitted it into a bunny!

IMG_5822I think that Artie used a little more magic than My Mom Person. There weren’t any spinning wheels mentioned in this story.

You can visit Ms Eastman at her website HERE and find out more about the Dust Bunnies.

The next time you pull out that vacuum cleaner – STOP! and THINK! about what might be under your bed – or couch —

And use that vacuum on your dog instead!

Your furry, hairy, vacuum loving 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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Serenity

The new year has begun. I see everyone making resolutions and talking about all the possiblities and hope that this new year has to offer. I don’t know about making resolutions, but I do have high hopes for my new year. This year that has just flown by like a jet plane has been a time of high energy thanks in part to our high-voltage Electra.

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Who ME?

In this coming year, I will be looking for some peace and quiet – some calm and SERENITY. Last year I was looking for SERENDIPITY, and I found it quite often. It’s a wondrous thing. But this year I’m taking that DIP out and looking for the calm in the storm. Electra will be leaving us at the end of February – going off to college at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Florida. She has been an amusing entertainment, but she makes me tired just watching her. There will be another pup coming home with the folks. I’m hoping with all my heart that it will come with the name SERENITY.

serenityThe dictionary defines SERENITY as the state of being calm, tranquil. What a lovely state to be in. That’s where I’m headed for the next year. However long that may be.

IMG_2802Mr James Taylor is the king of SERENITY. I often put his music on to calm Ms Electra –

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I hope you are able to enjoy some SERENITY in your new year!
Looking for the calm
Rhythm
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