Three Names

img487I don’t have three names. I have one name. One tail-wagging name. Rhythm. Makes my tail wag anyway, when I hear it. Rhythm. A catchy name. My name came from my puppy obedience trainer. I was named in memory of her favorite German Shepherd Dog. I guess there’s some meaning somewhere in that. I guess I’m carrying on some kind of legacy.

And the legacy continues, because quite a few kids in Glen Rose have named their dogs Rhythm. I guess there’s some meaning in that as well. Names do carry a lot of meaning. I don’t know about Human names, but all of my canine friends have names that fit them pretty well. Walker can’t sit still. His favorite job is walking the halls. Jolly ALWAYS has a smile and a wagging tail. Jazz is a crazy, happy girl. Hank was a good ole boy and superstar ball player. Now, here’s the thing — Do we become what our name ordains? Or are we SERENDIPITOUSLY given the name we need? I don’t know the answer to that, but I ponder it a lot.

Now all of this rambling about names leads me to my PPBF pick for the week. A book about a dog with Three Names.

Copy of IMG_4781Three Names was written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Alexander Pertzoff.

Published originally by Harper Collins in 1991 and then by Scholastic in 1994.

Suitable for ages 5-9. I think that older kids would enjoy this one as well.

This is a fictional memoir about life on the prairie “back in the day” a hundred years ago or so.

It begins, “When my great-grandfather was young – a hundred years ago, he likes to say, but that’s not true — he went to school on prairie roads in a wagon pulled by horses.” This is Great-grandfather’s tale of a year in a one room school house. When Great-grandfather went to school in that wagon, his dog went, too. Great-grandfather called the dog Three Names, because everyone in the family had a different name for him. Lily called him Ted, Mama called him Boots, and Papa called him Pal.

This book is a fictional story, but I feel like it’s kind of about me. Three Names even LOOKS like me! Three Names went to school every day with the kids. It was a long way to school, but nobody worried about the kids because Three Names was there to take care of them along the way. Three Names loved all the children, except William, “who was sly.”

IMG_4783Three Names loved going to school. And he was welcomed as one of the class. This story is about a dog named Three Names who went to school, but it’s also about the beauty and magic of the prairie and about life in a one room school house. The bigger kids took care of the smaller ones. They all were kind of a big family.

Summer on the prairie was a fine time, but the kids and Three Names missed school. Every day Three Names would prance and dance around the wagon wanting to go down the prairie road. But he would soon sigh and settle down next to Great-grandfather and the two of them would dream about school.

This is a beautifully poetic book. Ms MacLachlan has an incredible knack for putting the reader in her “place.” I felt like I was riding along in that wagon, down the dirt road with the sun beaming down and the wind blowing my ears. This book would provide great fodder for a discussion of “place” in stories. The watercolor illustrations by Mr Pertzoff are a perfect accompaniment to Ms MacLachlan’s words. Soft and breezy. Unfortunately I could find very little about Mr Pertzoff. He was an avid naturalist and died of cancer in 1995 at the age of 56. A sad loss.

Patricia MacLachlan grew up on the prairie and knows it with her heart. She has written several books about that “place” that is home for her, namely, Sarah, Plain and Tall. You can find out more about her HERE.

An interesting article about Ms MacLachlan’s father Philo Pritzkau HERE.

Scholastic has a lesson plan for Three Names HERE. And suggestions for discussion groups HERE.

If you would like to look into the meaning of your name check out Behind the Name.

For more Perfect Picture Books and resources to go with, visit Susanna Hill HERE.

What does your name say about you? What “place” holds your heart?

I send a wag and a smile and a dance out your way – from the 7 Acre Wood, the place that holds my heart!

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