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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A Finder’s Magic

I was given a most fabulous gift this week. My favorite reading teacher, Mrs. Brandt, brought me a surprise from her recent vacation trip. A book. A most wondrous book. A book that she had a hard time finding, but one that she knew I would treasure. A book that she saw and then didn’t see and had to go on a hunt for. A book called A Finder’s Magic. And it happened to be magical that she found it!

IMG_0466A Finder’s Magic
by Philippa Pearce
illustrated by Helen Craig
published by Candlewick Press in 2008

It begins —
There was a boy who went to bed in despair. All night he dreamed his despair, and he woke to desperation. Then he slept again and dreamed, this time a short, strange dream. He dreamed of a garden gate and someone waiting there.

What a way to begin a tale! A boy in despair! What does this portend?

This tale has a fascinating back story. The author, Ms Pearce, who is the author of many award-winning children’s books, wrote this particular story for her grandsons, Nat and Will. (The name of the boy in the book is Tillawn, an anagram of Nat and Will.) Ms Pearce wrote the story specifically to be illustrated by Nat and Will’s other grandmother, Ms Craig. Ms Craig is an acclaimed illustrator of many children’s books. Can you imagine having TWO such grandmothers?! Well, Ms Pearce died about the time that Ms Craig began work on the illustrations for her story. So she never got to see the end result! I think that she would have liked it very much.

So, for the story — It’s the story of a boy who has lost his dog. A dog that he loves very, very, very much. That’s why he is in despair. The dog, Bess, is his best friend in the world. The love that the boy feels for Bess pours out of every page of this book. One day on their daily walk Bess somehow manages to come out of her collar and races ahead where she disappears in Gammer’s Meadow. Till, the boy, could not find her anywhere. Despair. Oh, I could feel his tears.
A strange man appears at Till’s gate and tells Till that he is a Finder and will find Bess. What follows is a fantabulous tale of magic and witches and mysterious goings-on. A detective fairy tale! I was on pins and needles through the whole book! But there is a most glorious ending that finds Till and his “Best in the Whole Wide World Dog” reunited in true bliss!

IMG_0471I am filled with Bliss that Mrs B found this magical book for me! And now here’s a second part to the story – We already had another Philippa Pearce book on our home bookshelf!

IMG_0468The Squirrel Wife
by Philippa Pearce
illustrated by Wayne Anderson
published by Candlewick Press in 2007

This is a lovely, lovely fairy tale about two brothers who are swineherds living at the edge of a deep, dark forest. The forest is inhabited by “the green people”, fairy people who can only be seen by moonlight and who are greatly feared by everyone outside of the forest. But one evening during a storm, the good brother, Jack, heard a voice in the woods crying for help. He could not resist the cry and ventured into the forest where he found a little green man in great distress. Jack helped him back to his family who were so grateful that they rewarded Jack with a magical ring that would bring to Jack a magical wife.

IMG_0469This is a great fairy tale about bravery and doing the right thing. About the rewards of good deeds. About judging and misjudging people without truly knowing who they really are. It’s a picture book with a lot of words. But it’s well worth the read. And the illustrations are beautiful. The story has given me a whole new perspective on all these squirrels that run around the 7 Acre Wood. I am seeing them in a new light.

Both of these books are fairy tales, but not retellings of old tales. They are new tales from the inventive mind of Ms Pearce that take you back to an old time. I think she must have had an old soul.

Find out about the Phillipa Pearce Memorial Lecture HERE.

I’ll sign off with a commercial break —

Take care of the ones that you love —
And NEVER give up on them!
Your friend
Rhythm
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Mother Goose

We are at the end of April and poetry month and I thought I would close out the month with some really fine poetry. Short and sweet verses that are Rhythmic and thought provoking. Clever and full of magical imagery. It’s what poetry is all about —

IMG_5897Mother Goose is the quintessential poet. Her poems have it all – humor, tragedy, drama. They are loved far and wide by young and old alike. Mother Goose has been interpreted in countless ways over the ages. But by far the most fabulous representation of Mother Goose poetry comes from Mr William Wegman and his weimaraners.

I present to you –

Mother Goose
by William Wegman
published by Hyperion Books for Children in 1996

The Cast of Characters includes Batty, Chundo, Crooky, and Chip. And Buster as Old Mother Hubbard’s pup.

The book includes 19 classic Mother Goose nursery rhymes in astonishing vignettes. You won’t believe your eyes!!

IMG_5903Jack Sprat could eat no fat and his wife could eat no lean — had Electra wanting to eat the book!

William Wegman is an extraordinary creative genius. You can find out all about him at his website HERE. And HERE.
There is an interesting article about him at the Guardian HERE.

I have talked about some of his other works before — The Night Before Christmas HERE.
William Wegman’s ABC HERE.
One of his movies – The Hardly Boys in Hardly Gold HERE.
And Flo and Wendell HERE.

I leave you with a performance of the ever popular Rub a Dub Dub – Three Men in a Tub

I wish for you a poetic week!
Your friend in the library
Rhythm
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The Easter Chick

This is a pretty special time of the year. Spring is here! The earth is awakening after the long cold winter. New life is emerging everywhere. The Church is celebrating rebirth with a lovely holiday called Easter. I don’t know what “Easter” means. Easter is an unusual celebration, with rabbits laying colored eggs and kids eating lots of chocolate. I like eggs myself, but I’m not allowed the chocolate variety. I also like to join in the hunts for those colored ones. It’s my favorite game!

We have chickens here at the 7 Acre Wood and sometimes we have to hunt for eggs for real. Even when it’s not Easter.

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Sometimes those eggs hatch and we get little baby chicks running around. They can be quite amusing.

At the library this week, we read a cute book about a little chick who wanted to hatch on Easter day and be an Easter Chick. Our friend Allie helped us read this one.

IMG_5870The Easter Chick
by Geraldine Elschner
illustrated by Alexandra Junge

This book was first published in Switzerland in 2003 under the title Das Osterkuken.
It was translated to English in 2004 by Marianne Martens and published by North-South Books

Theme: Easter, chickens, dreams can come true

Suitable for ages 4 and up

It begins –
Hilda had laid the most beautiful egg, and she fussed over it lovingly………Suddenly she heard a little voice. “Mother, when is Easter?”

Hilda is a lovely little orange hen with little lacy bloomers on her legs. She is worried about her egg that hasn’t hatched after several weeks. Then the egg starts talking to her! She is quite surprised!  The voice comes from the little chick inside the egg who has decided that it wants to hatch on Easter and be an Easter Chick. But it doesn’t know when Easter is. (Does anyone ever know when Easter is?) Hilda goes in search of the answer. She asks all the animals in the barnyard, but none of them knows when Easter is. They suggest that she ask Max the Owl.

Max tells her that three things must happen. First she must wait for the first day of spring. On that evening he will hoot once and Hilda must meet him by the barn. When March 21 arrives, Max hoots and Hilda rushes to meet him. He tells her that now she must wait for the next full moon. That night he will hoot two times. Now the illustrations show us the different phases of the moon as Hilda and her chick wait. When Hilda hears the two hoots, Max tells her that the next Sunday will be Easter. “Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon that comes after the first day of spring.” Whew!!

On Saturday night before the next Sunday, Max hooted three times and the chick knew that it was time to hatch. Everyone was happy and excited to have a little chick born on Easter.

IMG_5871This is a really fine little picture book. I like how it explains about when Easter is. Easter is not on any specific day like most holidays. It’s rather complicated. The illustrations are quite lovely and humorous. Ms Elschner has taken a serious subject and given it a light touch that makes it more accessible for youngsters. I think that Allie liked this one. I sure did. It had my mind thinking and wondering.

To find out about Easter and where that word comes from check HERE.

Backyard Chicken has instructions for incubating and hatching eggs.

Pinterest has bunches of fun chicken crafts for kids. And GAMES using plastic Easter eggs.

Now you might want to skip on over to Susanna Hill’s blog and see what she’s hatching today! It is Perfect Picture Book Friday and there should be a big list of Perfect Picture Books for you to browse.

I hope all your Easter dreams come true!
Your egg hunting friend
Rhythm

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The Hound Dog’s Haiku

I understand that April is National Poetry Month. I don’t know a lot about poetry. I like to listen to the Rhythm of a good poem. Poetry sounds nice to my ears. I try to get my reading buddies to read poetry to me, but I’m not always successful. When I was the official Library Dog at school I seemed to have better luck steering kids to poetry books. I even had some kids writing poems about me!

IMG_1934Here are a couple that came my way —

Rhythm
Golden fur everywhere
On the ground
or floating around.
She is sweet
She is furry.
She likes to sleep and sit.
Rhythm is who she is.

The Dog Called Rhythm
Hairy, sweet, yellow
She snores, rolls, chews all around
Rhythm is her name.

Now those are unbelievably lovely poems!! But I also have an unbelievably fantastic book for you as well! After all, this IS Perfect Picture Book Friday!

IMG_5701The Hound Dog’s Haiku
and Other Poems for Dog Lovers

by Michael J. Rosen
illustrated by Mary Azarian
Published by Candlewick Press in 2011

Theme – poetry, dogs

This is a book of Haiku poems about dogs. There are 20 dog breeds represented here. Each with an incredible wood block portrait done by Mary Azarian. Ms Azarian can create magic with a block of wood. The poem for the Labrador Retriever is –

the first duck splash-lands
speck in the iced pond’s lone eye
soon … the chase restarts

IMG_5705At the end of the book are several pages with notes about each of the breeds described in the poems. It is a book for dog lovers and lovers of poetry alike.

Of course if you are going to read a book of Haiku with your little people, then you must have them create their own Haiku!

You can read about Haiku at Poets.org HERE.
You might also visit the Haiku Society website HERE.

You might want to let your little people try their hand at print making –
Try this link from Pinterest
Or HERE for some more printmaking

And if your are really ambitious here is a video of REAL wood block art making –

And after all of that, you might want to venture over to Susanna Hill’s blog for a list of Perfect Picture Books and some great resources to go with!

Happy Rhyming!
Your friend
Rhythm

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A Good, Good Day

Saturday was a Good, Good Day here at the 7 Acre Wood! The rains came!!!

Not a whole bunch of rain, but rain nonetheless. Enough to perk up the bluebonnets and make the river bubble with JOY!

IMG_5423The rain also provided a training opportunity for Little Miss Electra. She came here from Florida so I’m sure she’s seen lots of rain, but I don’t know about umbrellas and thunder. She was not bothered by any of it. We all had a nice rain walk.

As I said, this was a Double Good Day — The mail lady came to our house and delivered TWO, yes, TWO surprise packages for ME! I love that mail lady!

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One of the packages was from our friend Kay. It was actually for all of us Pups to welcome the “new addition” to the family. TWO bags of yummy treats!!!! From the Canine Cookie Company in McKinney, Texas. One bag had tiny treats for Electra and the other had nice big treats shaped like squirrels! All chicken flavored! MMMMMMM! They sure know how to make some GOOD snacks in McKinney!! There was also a bear for Electra. Walker thinks it was meant for him.

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The second package came from the Mom Person’s friend Rhonda. It was a new book! A new book of my Hero, Momo. The book is called Find Momo. Momo is a border collie who likes to hide. We follow Momo on Facebook where he posts pictures every day of good hiding places. He is a GOOD hider. And I am a GOOD finder! I’ll tell you more about this awesome book after I’ve had a chance to peruse it and find him.

In the meantime you can check on Momo and his hiding places on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gofindmomo

And if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation spot you might check out Rhonda’s inn in Arkansas – Mountain Thyme Bed & Breakfast. I understand that she is a very GOOD cook!

And some more GOOD cooks are found at the Canine Cookie Company! You can visit their website HERE and order some of those GOOD snacks for yourself!

I hope you had as fine a weekend as I had!

Now I will wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
May your day be filled with rainbows!

IMG_5488Your friend in the clover patch
Rhythm

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Be My Valentine

Valentine’s Day is this week. The day to celebrate love and friendship and giving. I found a couple of lovely little books that we will be sending to my Princesses.

IMG_4923I Haiku You is a little book of loving haiku. I’m hoping that it will inspire the Ladybug Princess to spread her ladybug wings and dream up some poetry of her own. It was written and illustrated by Betsy Snyder and published by Random House Children’s Books in 2012.

This book is filled with haiku poems and pictures of young people going through their day, filling it with joy for their friends and life around them. My favorite is:

wiggle-wag tail love,
sloppy-smoochy-poochy love,
true-furry-friend love!

IMG_4928This is a really cute book. The poems and the illustrations are simple and cheery. A perfect treat for my valentines!

The Valentine by Monique Felix was published by Creative Editions, originally in 1991, but we have a newer copy published in 2013.

The is a very different little book. A wordless book. I love wordless books. They leave so much to the imagination! It begins with a picture of a mouse. A sad little mouse. I’m thinking that the mouse is trying to imagine the perfect valentine. And then he gets a great idea! He starts with a piece of paper and proceeds to chew a hole in it. The hole takes the shape of a heart! Then he chews around the edges and does some folding and Voila!! He has a house with a heart shaped hole in the roof! To share with his friend!

IMG_4927Ms Snyder was featured on the Writing and Illustrating blog with a nice interview.

You can find a list of more books by Monique Felix at Goodreads HERE.

I present to you a trailer for I Haiku You

And I leave you with a haiku from my own brain –

Ears prick to listen
Rhythm” floats in on the wind
Love calls me – Mom

This week also happens to be Random Acts of Kindness week. The official RAK website is a grand place for Kindness Inspiration. Another grand place for a Kindness and Joy fix is a blog belonging to Ms Barbara Gruener called The Corner on Character. Ms Gruener is a school counselor who radiates Kindness and Joy. You might pay her a visit!

And here’s a little video that she posted this weekend that will fill you with hope and JOY —

I hope you find some good books for your special Valentine and maybe you will be inspired to write some Haiku of your own! Or send someone a letter!
With LOVE and LICKS
From you library friend
Rhythm
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A Bumpy Ride

I like road trips. Most dogs I know do. I’ve never been on a really long road trip. My longest trip was to the beach on the Gulf Coast of Texas. That drive took FOREVER! The Mom Person says it was really only 5 hours. I don’t know “only 5 hrs.” Trust me, it was FOREVER. But I forgot all about that when we hit that beach!!

I’ve got a book here about a road trip. And this one was a ROAD TRIP! As in BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS ROAD TRIP!

IMG_4920Jackson and Bud’s Bumpy Ride, America’s First Cross-Country Automobile Trip.

Written by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff
Illustrated by Wes Hargis

Published by Millbrook Press in 2009.

This is a fictional story of a true event — The first automobile trip across the United States.

Theme: Historical automobile travel

Suitable for 2nd grade and up

May 19, 1903 – The University Club, San Francisco, California

“I bet fifty dollars no one can ride in a horseless buggy across America.” says a man.

Horatio Jackson sits up straight. Of course it can be done, he thinks. Those new automobiles can do anything.

And Mr. Jackson sets out to do just that! He hires a mechanic named Crocker, and buys a used 1903 Winton automobile. On May 23, the two men set out from San Francisco on their quest to reach the other side of the United States. It turns out to be quite an adventure, with car troubles, weather disasters, and roads not meant for car travel. But they meet some nice, helpful folks along the way. At one point they encounter a man on the side of the road selling a bulldog. They buy the pup and name him Bud. Bud gets to ride up front and wear some cool goggles.

IMG_4921On July 26, after sixty-three days, twelve hours, and thirty minutes they drive into New York City at 4:30 in the morning. They had made history and won that fifty dollar bet!

There is an afterword at the end of the book with real photos from the adventure and more facts. There is also a bibliography and resources for more information.

This is a most excellent book! The only thing that bothered me some, was the fact that the mechanic, Crocker, didn’t get mentioned in the title of the book! The story itself is an incredible one. I now dream about being Bud out on the road. The illustrations are great. Mr Hargis has added a touch of whimsy to this otherwise frightening endeavor. I will be looking for more of his work.

You can visit both Ms Pentacoff and Mr Hargis at their websites by clicking on their names above.

PBS made a film about this cross country adventure. You can find out more about it HERE. It can be found on Netflix. Or on Amazon Prime

For a list of Perfect Picture Books and resources to go along with, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog. You’ll be glad you did!

And here’s a little taste of that PBS film by Ken Burns

I wish you safe driving, wherever the road may take you!

Copy of IMG_4916Your friend at the library
Rhythm

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Waiting

It seems that I spend a lot of my time waiting.

IMG_4702Waiting for dinner

IMG_1533Waiting for someone to play with me

IMG_4704Sometimes, just waiting – for I’m not sure what

Waiting can be very difficult. Sometimes I get very impatient. Sometimes it’s hard to get anyone to understand what it is that I want. I find that some people can “hear” me better than others. Some of the little kids at school try to do things for me whether I want it or not. They bring me things that I don’t know what to do with. Like cars and trucks. Or dolls. Or their shoes. Or they try to wrap me up when they think I’m cold. Or they feed me stuff. I like when they do that! But the Mom Person doesn’t so much. I usually just sigh and wait for them to decide to take me for a walk or read me a book or feed me something without the Mom Person seeing.

We have a funny little book on our bookshelves about waiting.

IMG_4850He Was There From the Day We Moved In. Story by Rhoda Levine. Drawings by Edward Gorey.

This is a New York Review Book published in 2012. The book was originally published in 1968!

It begins – “He was there from the day we moved in. He was there sitting in the garden.” “He” is a rather large sheepdog. The family can’t figure out why he’s there. The narrator, a boy of maybe 9 or 10, thinks the dog is waiting for something. The little brother, 4 yr old Ogdon, is determined to find what the dog is waiting for. He jumps up and down and turns somersaults. The Mother thinks he’s waiting for something to eat and brings him an assortment of food choices. The dog eats, but continues to wait. He waits in the rain, refusing to come in. When it gets cold, they cover him up.

IMG_4852Ogdon continues to bring the dog things – string, a stray cat, crayons and a calendar. One day he just sat and talked to the dog. After some time, the narrator boy decides that the dog is waiting for a NAME! He decides he must think of the perfect name and starts making a list.

Now I’ve previously pondered over names and what they mean. What makes for a perfect name? That is the big question. Ogdon thinks he knows the perfect name and whispers it in the dog’s ear. But the dog gets up and walks away! Ogdon had called the dog Marilyn! The big brother runs after the dog and pleads with him to give them another chance. Please, be a good friend and be patient! So the dog stays. And he’s still sitting and waiting.

The End.

An odd ending. A not very satisfying ending. A strange, quirky tale. Names. They can be uplifting or they can create a nightmare. I’m hoping they will find the right name for the poor dog before too long. A hard situation for everyone.

In spite of the lack of a real ending, I like this book. It is a very humorous tale, with the dog a permanent fixture in the yard and Odgon trying so hard to get a reaction from him. I like Mr Gorey’s illustrations. I like Ogdon’s enthusiasm. He reminds me of the kids at school. I like the big brother’s persistence. And I guess in the end, the reader is left to come up with a personally satisfying name for the dog that will tie everything up nicely.

If you happen to be in Maine, you might like to visit Mr Gorey’s house! Check the website HERE.

Ms Dina at The World According to Dina recently had a lovely post about Waiting as well. You might want to check it out HERE.

And here is a look at a dog waiting for something — maybe dinner, maybe a treat, maybe the perfect name —

May your waits be short and sweet!
Rhythm

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