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!

Copy of img311

Poetry at the Library

I hear that it is National Poetry Month. I’m seeing and hearing poetry everywhere. Bloggers are posting poems, teachers are teaching poems, students are writing poems, reviewers are reviewing books of poems. So this week at the library, we picked out a couple of interesting books of poems to read with the kids.


Toad by the Road, A Year in the Life of These Amazing Amphibians was written by Joanne Ryder and illustrated by Maggie Kneen. It was published by Henry Holt and Co. in 2007.

It begins with Spring – Summer and goes through the seasons of the year with poems about toads. Each page has a poem and at the bottom of the page is a short natural history lesson about toads. Nice.

IMG_1550I really like this book! The illustrations are softly realistic, the poems are quite Rhythmic and whimsical. (I like that word, whimsical!) I like this one —

Old Toad’s Warning
Please cross
The road
With wide-eyed care.
Be sure to look
This way
and that.
Then hop,
Don’t stop ….
Or —
You’re flat.

Now isn’t that awesome! What a fun way to learn about such silly creatures as toads!

Once I Ate a Pie is by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest and illustrated by Katy Schneider. It was published by Joanna Cotler Books in 2006. Ms MacLachlan has written several books that I like especially.


Now, this is a book of poems from dogs. 13 in all. The poems are free form and ramble around the pages. They’re fun to read and fun to look at. The illustrations are really nice. They look just like dogs! And they are illustrations of real dogs – named Smudgey, Rudy, Crazy Earl, Honey Baby, Enzo, Frozzie, Clyde, Sugar, Ella, and Wupsi! ( This according to the book jacket back flap. Some of the names attached to the poems are different?) In the poems they chase snowflakes, watch their people, sleep on their people’s pillows, play cute, run and bark, borrow things, sniff things, and eat pies. In other words, they all do dog things! I ate a chocolate cake one time. Every single crumb. And I sure did enjoy it! Until the Mom Person made me throw it all up. It wasn’t as much fun coming up as it was going down. But now I know that I have to be sneakier about forays into the kitchen.

Both of these books are very good. They are funny and cute and informative. You should check them out.

One of the classes that I have been visiting this week is writing limericks. Here is the one that I came up with while I was working really hard.


Rhythm is a Lab with a mission.
They caught her out doing some fishin’.
But instead of a hook
She was using a book
And wishin’ for kids to come listen.

What have you written today?