My Feet Are Laughing

My name is Rhythm. The dictionary says that Rhythm is a regular repeated sound or movement. Rhythms can be found in every bit of life. In music, in poetry, in every breath that you take. My Mom Person says Rhythm is the perfect name for me. I love to sing and dance and spread the Rhythms of Joy.

IMG_3726I have come across a lovely book that is all about Rhythm.

IMG_1516My Feet Are Laughing
by Lissette Norman
pictures by Frank Morrison
published by Farrar Straus Giroux in 2006

The title itself is Rhythm to my ears! Laughing feet! Can’t you just picture it?! Feet making a Rhythm all their own?!

This is a book of poetry. Sixteen poems that give voice to the Rhythm of a young girl’s life. A Dominican American girl living in Harlem. Some of the poems are rhyming poems, some are not. But each one has a special Rhythm that flows through the words.

The first poem is called Too Much. Sadie, the young girl with the laughing feet, tells how her Aunt says that little girls should be seen and not heard, so she’s not allowed to join in when the women folk get together to laugh and tell stories. But she knows that one day they’ll want to hear her stories because she just has too much to say.

IMG_1519And she has plenty to say in these sixteen poems! About laughing feet, and little sisters who ask too many questions. About Grandmothers in Heaven and moving to Grandmother’s house with a backyard. About Mami and Pop who don’t live together anymore but are still friends. About her hair that she doesn’t want corralled because she’s afraid it won’t be able to sing. About Love – all kinds of Love. About being afraid of the dark. About being a poet – “the coolest job in the world.” About giggle jars where you store your giggles. And about dancing the merengue with Mami and little sister, Julie.

Mr Morrison’s artwork is full of Rhythm, too! You can see Sadie’s feet laughing and her hair singing! The pictures themselves are singing and dancing right off the page. Perfect for Ms Norman’s lyrical words!

I am submitting this review to The Bookshelf Gargoyle’s Small Fry Safari Readers Challenge. You can find out more about this challenge by visiting the Gargoyle’s website HERE. There are eight different categories to be fulfilled. I am entering this book in Category # 5 — A book with something that comes in pairs in the title.

For your dancing and listening pleasure, I present the “Merengue Dancing Dog!”
I DARE you not to have Laughing Feet after watching this!

Now go forth with LAUGHTER!
Your dancing friend
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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 —

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 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

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Block City

I recently had some serendipity in my life. I look for serendipitous moments. Life seems to be full of them if you are open to it. I recently read a post on Ashley Wolff’s blog about her book Block City. The story she related was kind of a circular story about the making of this book. You can read the post for yourself HERE.

I thought it was a lovely story about art and books and boys. All meshed together. Ms Wolff is a very talented artist. I really admire her work. It has so much feeling in it. Well, shortly after reading this story about Block City we made a visit to our favorite shopping spot – Half-Price Books in Dallas, Tx. And what do you think jumped right off the shelf at me? Block City! Now, how cool is that?!

And this evening we took it to the library with us and my favorite library buddy, Sunshine, showed up to read it to me and Walker!!! Now, how cool is that?! Serendipity all around.

IMG_5246Block City is a poem written by Robert Louis Stevenson and taken from his book A Child’s Garden of Verses.

Illustrated by Ashley Wolff

Published by E.P. Dutton in 1988

Theme – poetry, building, imagination, the magic of play

Suitable for 3 and up

It begins-
“What are you able to
build with your blocks?
Castles and palaces,
temples and docks.”

The story within the poem Block City is similar to Where the Wild Things Are. Without the monsters. A boy is swept away on an imaginary adventure and returns home to his loving Mom. The boy in Block City builds a city of blocks and is then whisked away to a fantastical city by the sea. There’s a kirk and a mill and a palace. (I didn’t know what a kirk was – do you? Well, it’s a CHURCH! A Scottish church.) There are ships in the harbor and all sorts of fantastic folks and animals at the palace. The young lad has a grand time in his city. Then his Mom comes home and the boy is back on his sofa and the city comes tumbling down. But he’ll always remember his town by the sea.

IMG_5249A sweet story with fabulous artwork made especially special because the boy in the book was created from a real boy. I love this book!

And what activity to go along with a reading of this book? Well, pour out the blocks and build!!
Zoe at Playing by the Book has a really cool idea for making your own building blocks. You can check it out HERE.

And for a list of more Perfect Picture Books visit Susanna Hill’s blog.

Here’s a clip from Sesame Street that might provide some inspiration –

Now go out and PLAY!
That’s what I’m going to do!
Your friend at the library

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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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Take Your Poet to Work Day

According to Book Patrol, today was Take Your Poet to Work Day!

We didn’t take a poet, but we did take some poetry to work! Work being the library today. And not that the library doesn’t have it’s own share of poetry, but we have a couple of good books that I wanted to share on Poet Day.

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Both of these books, Loose Leashes and Dog-Gone School are by a husband and wife team – Ron and Amy Schmidt. Ron does the photography and Amy does the poems. And what a great team they make!!

We have had Loose Leashes in our home library for quite some time and use it a lot. It has inspired quite a few detention kids to write their own poems. It was published in 2009 by Random House Children’s Books. Each page spread has a full page photo of a dog or dogs doing some silly things – like driving a car or going surfing or cutting down trees. And each photo is accompanied by a poem. Some are short and some are rather long. These poems probably work well for 3rd grade and up. But younger kids will enjoy the photos.

Dog-Gone School, I think, works well for the younger set. The poems are a little simpler. There is a note in the front of the book that tells what kind of poem each of them is. This is a new book just published in 2013 by the same publisher, Random House Children’s Books.

Here is a link to the Loose Leashes Facebook page.

And since the day was about poetry, the girls who read with us today picked out a hilarious book from the library shelves. The Great Nursery Rhyme Disaster by David Conway and illustrated by Melanie Williamson. You can find out more about them by clicking on their names.

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This book was published in 2008 by Tiger Tales. This is one crazy book and had everybody laughing! It starts with Little Miss Muffet being bored with being in the same old nursery rhyme and wanting a change. So she jumps onto another page of the book to see if she will like another rhyme better. She goes from one rhyme to the next, never finding one that she’s happy with and creating chaos wherever she lands. In the end, all of the nursery rhymes are all mixed up, nobody is in the right rhyme and Miss Muffet decides to tiptoe back to her own. EEEEEEEK!

This was a fun, fun read aloud book!

And here is Kermit the Frog interviewing Little Miss Muffet –

Now go check out some poets!
And thanks for visiting — Rhythm

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I don’t bark. Not usually anyway. I tend to sing alot. I have found that that translates into more treats than does barking. But lately my singer isn’t working quite right and it comes out as a bark. It’s embarrassing.

But this really has nothing to do with today’s post. Today’s post is about a BOOK.


The book is titled BARK and the detention boys read it to us this evening. It was “stress reduction” evening for the boys. I think that this is the same thing as recess at school. Some of the boys took turns reading this book to us. Some of them brushed us. Some played dominoes or cards. It was a pleasant evening.

Anyway, back to the book! Bark is subtitled Selected Poems About Dogs. It was compiled and illustrated by Ferris Cook who has a very good eye for dogs. It was published by Little, Brown and Company in 2000.

The book contains 26 poems from all sorts of poets — Dorothy Parker, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, Langston Hughes, John Updike, Louise Gluck, Ogden Nash, William Wordsworth and some others that I am not familiar with. Like Marck Beggs. I like his name.


Some are very short — like this one from Robert Frost —
The Span of Life
The old dog barks backward without getting up.
I can remember when he was a pup.


Or this one by Langston Hughes

Poor Rover
Rover was in clover
With a bone
On the front lawn —
But Rover’s fun was over
When his bone
Was gone.
Poor Rover!

Some of the poems are quite long. The poem by Marck Beggs is titled Kilty Sue and is a sort of long poem about an overprotective border collie.

The boys all liked the poems a lot. It’s kind of funny and cool to hear these “gangster” boys reading dog poems. I’m hoping maybe it will inspire them to write some.

And tomorrow we are heading back to West for a visit. I’m hoping we get to hang out in the library. We’ll see when we get there. I’m noticing on Facebook that a lot of dogs and cats are being reunited with their families! So there should be some happy kids in West.

I’ll keep you posted. Be sure and say your prayers today and remember the folks in West.

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?