A Poke in the I

My good buddy, Bruce the Bookshelf Gargoyle posed a reading challenge at the beginning of this year. He calls it the Small Fry Safari KidLit Readers Challenge. You can find out more about it HERE on his blog. There are eight categories to this challenge. I have only completed THREE of these quests! So I need to get on the ball! (I would love to do that, if I could only find it!!)

So, without further ado, I present to you a most fabulous book that I would like to serve up for category #8. A book with some form of wordplay in the title.

IMG_1404A Poke in the I
a collection of concrete poems
selected by Paul B. Janeczko
illustrated by Chris Raschka
published by Candlewick Press in 2005

This is a book that we found at my favorite shopping spot – Half-Price Books. And the book is signed by the “selector” Mr Janeczko!!!! Can you imagine giving up a fine book that has been signed by the author!!! Crazy! It is signed “To Jack and Jessie – Keep reading. Paul B Janeczko.” At least I think that is what it says. His writing is a little hard to decipher. Poor Jack and Jessie. I wonder if they themselves gave up this book or if they know what became of it. I wonder about these kinds of things.

Copy of IMG950653But on to the book!! A book of concrete poems!!! I find these types of poems most fascinating!! I have written about other concrete poem books HERE and HERE. This book is particularly fine because it is illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Mr Raschka. His quirky style is well suited for these types of poems. Concrete poems are “a selection of words arranged into a particular shape.”  They are “visual poetry.” Hence the title of this book – A Poke in the I!

IMG_1406The book contains a feast of 30 concrete poems from a number of clever poets. The book begins with a note from the editor that explains what a concrete poem is. At the end of the book there is a section that tells where all the poems came from originally and some little bits about Mr Janeczko and Mr Raschka.

This is a most fabulously unique experience of a book and I’ll stick all four feet in the air for a waving High Sixteen!! Go check it out!

You can visit Mr Janeczko’s website HERE.

Mr Raschka on illustrating Rhythmic books –

And Mr Janeczko with A Poke In the I

Now you may go forth and create!
But don’t poke yourself in the I!!
Your library friend
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Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Our Princesses came to visit recently, from far, far away. It’s always fun when they are here because they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE books! They go through our bookshelves like wildfire! They also love our chickens. Odd, I know. But it is what it is. They don’t have real, live chickens where they live. At least I’ve never heard tale of such a thing. So, when they are here at the 7 Acre Wood, they want to feed the chickens and play with the chickens and read all the chicken books.

They also like jokes. They are always knock, knock, knocking. I came up with the perfect book for my chicken loving comediennes —

IMG_0679Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?
This is a collection of 14 picture book artists’ answers to that age-old question.
Contributors include:
Jon Agee
Tedd Arnold
Harry Bliss
David Catrow
Marla Frazee
Mary GrandPre
Lynn Munsinger
Jerry Pinkney
Vladimir Radunsky
Chris Raschka
Judy Schachner
David Shannon
Chris Sheban
Mo Willems
This book was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2006

IMG_0684Each two page spread is given over to each artist to answer the big question in their own unique way. This page above is from Tedd Arnold, of Fly Guy fame, who says — “To show the possum that it could be done.”

IMG_0683This page belongs to Marla Frazee, of Boot & Shoe fame,  and shows one side of the road experiencing a terrible storm while the other side is Paradise. Her answer – “duh.”

Most of these were hilariously funny. Some were cute. Some had to be explained to me and the Princesses. Like the chicken who was not just free range, but de-ranged. Or the Sphinx who says “You tell me.” All the “answers” are thought provoking and make use of some outstanding artwork. Some talented individuals came together for this book.

At the end of the book is a spread titled – “Why did the artist cross the road?” Here we have little bits about each of the artists and a listing of some of the books they have illustrated.

The Princesses read this book over and over. They found something new every time. Their laughter made for a fun time for me!

Clicking on the names of the artists above will take you to their websites or some other link with more info about them. Please check them ALL out!

Now for a little science behind the famous joke —

Now go enjoy your weekend – Have a picnic, eat some chicken, read a good book, tell a few jokes and be careful crossing the road!

Your wondering friend
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IMG_6145The Mom Person is going to a big family gathering this weekend. These affairs are quite common with her family. They love to party. Most of the time when they have these gatherings, there is a theme to go along with the event. The theme for this weekend seems to be Super Heroes. The Mom Person is going as Wonder Woman. As in ” I wonder …….” woman. She has spent some time wondering about the best way to do her costume. We have spent some time talking about what Wonder Woman wonders about. Does she ever wonder about how to wear her hair? Does she ever wonder if she looks fat in that outfit? Does she wonder about the magic in that lasso of hers?

I spend a lot of time wondering. I wonder when my next meal is coming. I wonder if it’s my day to go to school. I wonder what kids I will get to see. I wonder when I will get to go to the river. I wonder where my tennis ball is.

Copy of IMG950653Right now I’m wondering about the book that we’ve chosen for Perfect Picture Book Friday. It’s a story about wonder. The world is filled with wonder and I’m guessing that most folks spend quite a bit of time wondering about the world around them.

IMG_6146Little Black Crow
by Chris Raschka (one of my very favorite author/illustrators!)
published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers in 2010
A Richard Jackson Book
A fiction book suitable for ages 4-7

Themes- the wonder of wondering, crows

It begins –
Little black crow,
where do you go?
Where do you go
in the cold white snow?

This is a brilliantly simple tale of a little boy sitting on a fence watching a crow overhead and wondering about the life that the crow lives and if the crow wonders about anything. The rhyming text is spare and lyrical. The illustrations are simple water color and ink brush strokes. Mr Raschka uses a simple palette of blues and browns and pinks. I wonder how such a simple little book can contain such depth of thought.

IMG_6151I found a TED talk presented by a young man named Joshua Klein who has spent a lot of time wondering about crows. You might want to view it HERE. It’s quite fascinating.

PBS Nature series has an episode about crows. You can find out more about it and view the episode HERE.

Now go out on a Wonder Walk and look at the world just outside your door. Do a little wondering as you wander. See any crows? What are they doing?
When you return from your wondering, you might try writing some little poems and doing some painting in the style of Mr Raschka.

and you might want to listen to Mr Paul McCartney while you’re working —

Now you might want to travel over to visit Ms Susanna Hill and check out the list of Perfect Picture Books that show up on her doorstep every Friday.

Now go spread your wings and enjoy your weekend!
Wondering what’s in store for me …..
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No Words Necessary

i have become a big fan of Picture Book author and illustrator, Mr Chris Raschka. I first made his acquaintance some time ago with a book called A Ball For Daisy.

IMG_4049A Ball for Daisy was published in 2011 by Schwartz & Wade Books. It was the 2012 Caldecott Medal Winner.

There are no words in A Ball for Daisy. Just pictures of a happy little dog who receives a new red ball. No words are necessary to see the JOY that comes from having a new red ball! It is written in the sparkle in Daisy’s eyes. Daisy’s girl takes Daisy and her new ball to the park to play, and oh dear! Another dog steals Daisy’s ball! And bursts it! No words are necessary to see the devastation that comes from losing your new red ball. It’s there in the hanging head and tail. Poor Daisy. But the next day the owner of the murderous dog presents a new blue ball to Daisy. Oh JOY! No words are necessary to see the relief and forgiveness. It’s there in Daisy’s prance. This book is an emotional roller coaster. Laughter and tears and cheering. I love reading this book with kids. They GET it!

Well, Mr Raschka was at the Texas Book Festival recently talking about his new book — Daisy Gets Lost. Published in 2013 by Schwartz & Wade Books.


In Daisy Gets Lost, Daisy and her girl go to the park with Daisy’s blue ball. Daisy gets distracted by a squirrel and chases it into the woods. Uh oh! Daisy’s lost in the woods! She doesn’t know where her girl is! And her girl doesn’t know where she is! Now we have the 1st words in the book “DAISY!!!!” We see the girl and the dog running back and forth frantically. Then Daisy howls! And her girl can find her. Yay! Happy reunion!! Another emotional story. The Mom Person got me my very own copy of Daisy Gets Lost and Mr Raschka signed it for me —

IMG_3891We read this book to some kindergarteners recently. They were supposed to write a story, but they didn’t know how to write the words!! So we showed them how a story didn’t really need written words. You could do it all with pictures! They were quite excited! No letters and no words to write. They could do that! And they did. They did some awesome stories!

I love wordless books. They spark imaginations and one story can become lots of stories.

Mr Raschka has written and illustrated many, many books. I have enjoyed several of them (I reviewed Fishing in the Air by Sharon Creech and illustrated by Mr Raschka here.) and want to find more. His artwork is big and bold and loose and free and full of emotion. Not all of his books are wordless. He does a nice job with poetic verse as well. He has done several books about jazz musicians in which you can feel the Rhythm and beat.

For such a prolific author and illustrator I could find no website for Mr Raschka. But you can read about him HERE and HERE and HERE

A video of Mr Raschka talking books –

Now I’m off to play with my red ball —

IMG_4043I hope you have a JOYous week! And don’t get lost!

Your friend in the woods

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Gone Fishing

We had a pretty good rain recently that put some water back in our river. Hallelujah!! So the Mom Person decided we should go down and do a little fishing. Fishing?!

This is my idea of Fishing —

CIMG7125This is the Mom Person’s idea of Fishing —

IMG_3571Now tell me — does that look like fun?!

We didn’t catch any fish. We saw some fish. And a crawdad. And some raccoon tracks. We did not catch any fish. So we went back to the house to read some books about catching fish. The Mom Person’s answer to every problem.

IMG_3576Gone Fishing, a Novel in Verse is an excellent book by Tamera Will Wissinger and illustrated with much whimsy by Matthew Cordell. It was published in 2013 by Houghton Mifflin.

Ms Wissinger “was inspired to write this novel in verse, her first book, after writing ‘Night Crawlers,’ a poem that stemmed from childhood memories of night crawler hunting with her mom and dad before fishing trips.” This is a thoroughly FUN book! It is a collection of poems that fit together one right after another to tell a story about a young lad, Sam, who is sooooooooo looking forward to going fishing tomorrow with JUST his DAD. But then his little sister Lucy wants to come too! And Dad lets her!! Sam goes through a lot of frustration and anger at first, but then discovers that sisters aren’t all that bad. A great book about sibling rivalry and finding a common bond.


At the back of the book is The Poet’s Tackle Box with lots of information about writing poetry. An excellent resource!

I love this book!!

The next book we read was a shorter, more flamboyant book – Fishing in the Air. This one is by one of my all time favorite authors, Sharon Creech, who wrote Love That Dog. And Fishing in the Air is illustrated by another favorite – Chris Raschka who did The Daisy Books and several cool Jazz books. Fishing in the Air is another tale of boy and Dad going fishing. No sister this time. They dig up worms and pack two poles and a sack of sandwiches. And Dad says “We’re going on a journey. To a secret place. We’ll catch the air! We’ll catch a breeze!” This is a story about the magical world all around us. Where street lamps become moons and trees become soldiers and birds become singing angels. The boy and his Dad fish in the clear, cool river and talk about when the Dad was a boy. This is a magical book with magical pictures and a clear, cool river. Ahhhhhhh!


I love this book, too!!

I hope that you will visit the author and illustrator websites by clicking on their names above. I think that you will find yourself entertained.

And here is a little video of Mr Raschka in his studio – enjoy!

I wish you Joyful days of fishing for magic in the clear, cool river —


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