Bok! Bok! Chickens on the Loose!

We have chickens at our house. Chickens are strange creatures. I can never quite figure out if they are really bright or really not so bright. Whichever it is they are very loud and talkative! If they lay an egg, they want EVERYBODY to know about it. If they find a good feast of bugs or whatever, they want EVERYBODY to know about it. If they are just milling around, scratching around, they talk to themselves — a lot of mumbling. They even talk in their sleep! Fascinating!

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Now those chickens talk a lot, but I haven’t ever seen them read a book. But I have a couple of good chicken books for you. Both of them are old stories told in kind of a new way. One book features a really stupid, foolish chick and the other book features a really smart, wise hen. The 1st one is Chicken Little. This version of Chicken Little is by Rebecca and Ed Emberley. It was published by Roaring Brook Press in 2009.

IMG_0502IMG_0507IMG_0505As you can see, the illustrations are big and bright and bold. And a bit Crazy!

In the beginning, Chicken Little is bonked on the head by an acorn. We get the sounds in Big, Bold words BONK! EEP! “Oh my goodness, oh my gracious!” he exclaimed. “The sky is falling!… I must run for my life!” And he does — He runs into Henny Penny and knocks her off her feet – BONK! AWK! And so it goes. Running into all the other barnyard birds until they run into Foxy Loxy who invites them into the big dark cave (his mouth!!) to rest. And in they go! And then in a big fold out spread he SNEEZES them out!

It’s a silly, fun romp and everybody comes out fine in the end!

This is a fun, fun, crazy book. The kids loved it! (There were some words that were a little tough for them) But I loved hearing them make the sounds and laugh!

You definitely need to check this one out!

The 2nd book is The Little Red Hen. This version is by Jerry Pinkney. It was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2006. This is a very different story. The illustrations are soft and realistic. The hen in question is wise and clever.


This is the story of a hen who finds some interesting seeds and asks the other animals what they are. The dog tells her that they are wheat seeds and if she plants them they will grow into wheat for baking bread. She asks for their help and they all decline. Through the whole process of growing and harvesting and milling and baking, no one wants to help. But when it comes time to eat it, they all want to join in! And the wise hen tells them too bad! Yay for her!! This is a quieter read, but a pleasant one. I really like the illustrations.

You should check this one out as well!

Ed Emberley has a great website with lots of fun activities!

Here is a video interview with Jerry Pinkney.
And a link to his website.

And to end this romp through the chicken yard here are the Muppets Classical Chickens!

Farmyard Beat!

I have another good read aloud book for you! Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig and illustrated by Marc Brown ( of Arthur fame ). It was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2011.


The best thing about this book is the illustrations. They are paper collage, quite colorful ( so I’m told ), and crazy funny. I LOVE the pictures! The story begins with a chick hatching out of an egg saying “peep-peep-peep!” This leads to a barnyard full of animals that make a lot of racket and can’t sleep “because they got that beat!”


The chicks can’t sleep—they go peep,peep,peep and wake up the sheep who go TAT! TAT! TAT! (whoever heard a sheep go tat, tat, tat?!), and that wakes up the cat who goes PUUURRR! MEE-OOOW! and you get the picture. Lots of movement and noise making. But some of it doesn’t make sense — like sheep going tat, tat and cows going swish,clank. I never heard a cow clank! There’s lots of repetition and Rhythm in the wording. It helps reinforce the words which is a good thing with little kids.

IMG_0463I’ve heard a lot of good reviews for this book. It’s a happy book and provides for some serious singing and dancing. It might be a good addition to a preschool farm unit. You could talk about sounds that farm animals make. It would go along nicely with “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”. And what do farm animals really do at night anyway?  It would be fun to make farm collages. Like I said, I do LOVE the illustrations!

Here’s a link to a farm theme lesson plan with some interesting ideas —

And a link to a really cute chick made from an egg carton!

And the Muppets doing Barnyard Boogie with all the animal sounds!

Now you can go visit Susanna Hill and all the other great PPBFs!

Bad Apple!

Sunshine and her brother, Will, came to the library to visit us. They have been coming to read with us for a long time. When they first started coming, Sunshine couldn’t even read and now she’s reading chapter books! This evening she picked a funny book to read to us. It was called Bad Apple, A Tale of Friendship by Edward Hemingway.

IMG_0360 Bad Apple was published by Putnam Juvenile in 2012. It’s a pretty simple book and appropriate for ages 3 and up. The book is about Mac, an apple, and his strange friendship with Will, a worm. It starts with Mac taking a stroll through the rain. He falls asleep and when he wakes up there is a worm coming out of his head. This kind of freaks me out. Sunshine thought it was funny. Mac and Will become very good friends. They dig in the dirt together and fly kites and play games. But the other apples in the orchard start taunting (Sunshine’s word!) them and calling Mac rotten and a bad apple because he shouldn’t be friends with a worm! Will feels bad for Mac and leaves. But then Mac is very lonely without his worm so he goes to find Will. In the end he decides it’s better to be a “bad apple with his friend, than a sad apple without him.”


Sunshine liked this book. She thought Mac was really cute. She also thought that the story was a good one to show how you should stand up for your friends even in the face of bullying. And those things are true. The illustrations are really cute. And the storyline is a good one. But I couldn’t get passed the worm coming out of Mac’s head! It was just a little too creepy for me.  So I just give this one 2 paws. Sunshine gave it 4.

So maybe you should check it out and see what you think!

For your Monday morning pick me up here is Scooter from the Muppets singing a worm song “There’s a New Sound“! EnJOY!

293 more to go!

Mr Bliss

jrrtolkienJanuary 3 is the birth date of Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien. He would be 121 years old this year! Whew! He may no longer be physically in this world, but his spirit is very much alive! There is right now a movie out about his book The Hobbit. I hear about it wherever I go.

And another topic that seems to be everywhere these days is choosing One Word to exemplify the new year. About the only word that ever comes to my mind ( besides dinner, treats, and tennis balls) is JOY. I greet each and every day with JOY. And I try to spread JOY wherever I go!

So in honor of Mr. Tolkien, and in honor of my word JOY,  I am presenting you with a review of an interesting children’s book called Mr. Bliss. This is a story that Mr. Tolkien wrote for his children around 1937, but the illustrations were too colorful and detailed for it to be economical to be published at that time. So it was not published until 1982 by Houghton Mifflin Co., long after Mr. Tolkien had passed away.


Mr. Bliss is a very eccentric gentleman who wears very tall hats, lives in a very tall house (to have room for his hats), and has a Girabbit for a pet. (That’s a Giraffe/Rabbit animal with a very long neck!). One morning Mr. Bliss decides to buy a motor car. And a real comedy of disasters follows that decision. He has several collisions, and encounters hijacking bears and angry neighbors and shopkeepers. But all turns out well in the end and everyone becomes friends.

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The original manuscript for this story was in Mr. Tolkien’s handwriting and included his own watercolor drawings. In the 1982 publication there are replications of his original work on one page with typeset pages facing these so that you can read the story better. ( His handwriting is a bit hard to read!)

The story is suitable for grade school and all the way up to adults. All Tolkien fans probably know of this book and love it no matter what the age. If you were to read it in your classroom I think that the kids would enjoy acting it out. It would make a very fun play to do. They could also dream up their own unique pet like Mr. Bliss’s Girabbit. And make funny hats.  It would also be fun to let them make their own story and book. Caitlin over at the roommom has some great instructions for making little books.


I hope that you will check out Mr. Bliss and sing a Happy Birthday for Mr. Tolkien.

And if you would like to see more fabulous Picture Book Reviews please visit Susanna Hill‘s blog as today is Perfect Picture Book Friday!

For your JOYFUL listening pleasure I give you the Muppets Ode to JOY!

And for you Tolkien fans, here is a recording of Mr. Tolkien reading his poem Namarie. EnJOY!

ABCs with Mr Wegman

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Hill’s and I’ve got a good one for you.

William Wegman’s ABC
Published by Hyperion Books in 1994

  I guess that this is a non-fiction book and I would recommend it for any age, but I guess especially for kids and dogs who are just learning to read.

ABC books are fabulous books. They’re open-ended and so can be anything that you want. They’re all about the pictures. And when you look at the pictures of the letters, you can make up whatever words you want to go along with them! When we look at ABC books with kids we make all the letter sounds and then make up all kinds of silly words to go along with the letters.

These books can be really FUN!  And this particular one is particularly perfect! I talked about William Wegman and his crazy dogs in my last post, but I’m happy to talk about him again. Mr. Wegman is a unique artist and his dogs are unique in the animal world.  Batty and Chundo and Fay Ray are the cleverest dogs around. In this ABC book, the dogs get together to form all the different letters!  Too, too clever!  But I can make letters, too!

W, U, V !!  And what does that spell? I don’t know. Wuv? — I wuv you?

If you wanted to share this book with your class, you could let your kids make the letters like Batty and Chundo and Fay Ray do.
You might also find some really fun alphabet stuff to do at Preschool Alphabet by Lindsy.
And you can find out more about William Wegman and all his dogs at his website.

And for your listening pleasure here are the Muppets and Ladysmith Black Mambazo

And Mr. Bobbie McFerrin singing the Alphabet Song!

I hope you go find this book at your library and check it out! You’ll be glad you did!

Remember — William Wegman ABC!

Dancin’ in July!

Aaaaahhhh! Summertime!

We got a new book called July. It’s all about summertime. Summer is over here and we’re starting back to school. I like going to school and I’ve missed all my school friends, but I sure do like summer and playing in the river.
The book July is written by James Stevenson. He’s remembering his summers as a boy. And boy did he have some fun, busy summers! He spent them with his grandparents at the beach!  Grandparents and the beach! You can’t hardly beat that!  This book has great pictures!  You can just feel those kids racing around on their bikes. And feel the wind and rain as they stand in the storm. He talks about his grandparents and the neighbors and his friends and all the fun things that they do. And they’re NEVER in the house except to eat dinner!

I spent alot of my summer playing in the river. That’s the place to be when it’s hot!

What was your summer like? Did you visit the beach? Visit grandparents? Play in the river? Read a good book?

My Mom Person and I like to dance and I’m going to leave you with a couple of our favorite songs so you can dance too! And celebrate summer!

The 1st song is Good Day Sunshine!

And next we have My Girl!

Check out July! You’ll be glad you did!