Dog Breath

Today I post my last entry for the 2014 Small Fry Safari KidLit Readers Challenge! Whew! Just under the wire so to speak!

The challenge was to read and review books in the following categories –

1. A book with something related to Safari in the title.
My entry was Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham

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2. A book with a piece of furniture in the title.
My entry was Dogs on the Bed by Elizabeth Bluemle

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3. A book with a specific time in the title.
My entry was It’s Milking Time by Phyllis Alsdurf

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4. A book with someone’s name in the title.
I had two entries for this one! — Sweethearts of Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson and
    You Are My Cupcake by Joyce Wan

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5. A book with something that comes in pairs.
My entry was My Feet are Laughing by Lissette Norman

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6. A book with something precious in the title.
My entry was Water in the Park by Emily Jenkins

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7. A book with some sort of wordplay in the title.
My entry was A Poke in the I by Paul B. Janeczko

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8. And my last one! A book with something unsightly in the title.

And my contribution here is —

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Dog Breath
the Horrible Trouble
with Hally Tosis

by Dav Pilkey

published originally by Blue Sky Press in 1994
My copy is published by Scholastic in 2004

It begins –
There once was a dog named Hally,
who lived with the Tosis family.
Hally Tosis was a very good dog,
but she had a big problem.

Now I believe that poor Hally’s problems started with her name! I have a fascination with names. Names can foretell your destiny. This might have been a whole different story if this little dog had been named Molly or Susie or something.

But she wasn’t. She was named Hally. And her destiny was BAD BREATH. Her breath was so bad that when she opened her mouth, horrible things happened. Trees shriveled, wallpaper peeled off the walls, folks crossed to the other side of the street. Even skunks avoided little Hally. But Hally didn’t notice any of it. She was a happy little dog with a smile and a wagging tail.

IMG_1870But one day, Grandma came for a visit and was knocked out cold! Mr and Mrs Tosis decided that Hally had to go! Oh No!! But now comes the funny parts!! The Tosis Tots try to do something about Hally’s bad breath. They go to a mountain with a breathtaking view, and a movie and a roller coaster that are supposed to take your breath away. None of it worked. But that night, Hally became the super hero! Burglars broke in the Tosis house and Hally knocked them out cold!! Yay! Bad Breath wins the day!!!

And they all lived happily ever after!! Yay!!

Now I understand that lots of dogs have Bad Breath. I believe that that is a subjective assessment. I have found that what smells offensive to my Mom Person is usually quite pleasant to my nose. The Mom Person doesn’t like for me to have Bad Breath so she brushes my teeth pretty regularly. That’s ok by me because that chicken toothpaste stuff is really yummy! mmmmmmmm! And she says that having nice clean teeth without all the bits of goat and chicken candy will keep me healthier. Whatever.

IMG_1859Anyway, I have now completed my Quest! Yay for me! And Yay for Bruce the Bookshelf Gargoyle who initiated this Quest! You might want to go visit him on his bookshelf HERE. I don’t think he gets out much and he might like some visitors.

Stay safe and healthy – and watch your Breath!!
Your library friend with sparkling Breath
Rhythm
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Milking Time

IMG_2410There are quite a few animals that live here at the 7 Acre Wood. Dogs and cats and chickens and guineas and goats and a pony. And a couple of donkeys across our fence at the neighbors. But no cows. No cows at all. I don’t know much about cows. I’ve seen them here and there, but have never actually known any. But lots of my reader friends know about cows. Many of them have cows at home. Many of them show cows at county fairs. They probably know more about cows than about dogs! Imagine that?!

Well, we came across a lovely picture book about cows. Dairy cows. Where milk comes from. I don’t know much about milk either. I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted the stuff. But milk is another thing that my reader friends know all about.

IMG_1529It’s Milking Time
by Phyllis Alsdurf
illustrated by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher
published by Random House in 2012

It begins –
Every morning, every night,
it’s milking time.

This refrain is sung throughout the story. Milking cows is hard work. This is the story of a young girl helping her Dad with the milking duties. She brings the cows in from the pasture, and helps Dad get the barn ready for them so they can be fed and milked. She feeds the pen full of little calves. And helps with all the clean-up chores. It’s kind of a love story – love between girl and Dad and love for the cows who provide the milk.

IMG_1531The text is sing-song and lyrical. There seems to be some Rhythm in milking! “Cuds a-chewing, tails a-swatting, hooves a-pounding, into the barnyard they trudge.” Pure poetry. The illustrations are really lovely, soft and realistic. It’s a soft, quiet kind of book.

This book was a big hit with my readers. They chanted along with “every morning and every night.” They all knew what that was all about.

This is another entry in Gargoyle Bruce’s Small Fry Safari Reading Challenge. I believe it fits in Category #3 – A book with a specific time in the title. You can find out more about this challenge by visiting The Bookshelf Gargoyle HERE. You’ll find the whole list of categories and all the other entries.

You can find out more about dairy farming at the Dairy Farming website HERE.

And did you know that cows like jazz?

I wish for you a tall glass of milk with a little jazz on the side
every morning and every night!
Sweet dreaming to you
Your friend
Rhythm
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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
Rhythm
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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 –
http://www.teachingbooks.net/author_collection.cgi?id=39

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
Rhythm
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Never Ever

IMG_6028The landscape around here is pretty dry and crunchy. We haven’t had any rain in quite a long time. The Mom Person worries that we will “Never Ever” have rain again! She gets these crazy thoughts sometimes.

IMG_5261Walker worries that we will “Never Ever” have any peace and quiet again with Dogzilla living with us. He’s a big worrier.

I sometimes read with kids who say they will “Never Ever” be able to read all those words. That makes me sad. I don’t know a lot about time. But I believe that Never Ever is a very long time. Kind of like infinity!

I’m not a “Never Ever” kind of girl. I’m more a “Maybe Soon” kind of girl. My eyes are always open looking for possibilities. I KNOW that eventually tennis balls and french fries will fall from the sky. You just have to be ready for it with your eyes open!

Some folks are always walking around with their eyes closed and miss all those possibilities that are out there all around.

This little book – NEVER EVER is about a little girl like that.

never everNever Ever
by Jo Empson (who also did that incredible book Rabbityness)
published by Child’s Play in 2012

It begins —
Nothing exciting ever happens to me!
Never, ever!
Humph…..

This is a wondrous book! And so fun to read with a buddy! A cute little red headed girl wanders through the countryside carrying her stuffed rabbit and complaining about how NOTHING exciting EVER happens to her! There aren’t a lot of words here. Lots of never, ever, ever, never, ever, never. But a whole lot of story is going on in the illustrations! Everywhere she steps she juuuusssttt misses something pretty exciting. If she would only open her eyes!!!! It’s hard not to yell that at her! OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!! LOOK AT THE WORLD AROUND YOU!

never ever 2But she never ever does.

I am participating in a reading challenge posed by Bruce at The Bookshelf Gargoyle. The Small Fry Safari has 8 categories of titles to be completed. I believe that Never Ever falls into category #3, a book with a specific time in the title. To see the complete list of categories and books visit Mr Bruce on his bookshelf HERE.

Never say never – and always be open to possibility!

Keep your eyes and your heart open!
Wishing you a world of possibilities – and the eyes to see it with!
Rhythm
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Water is a Precious Thing

Saturday, March 22, 2014 is World Water Day

CIMG6942I love the water. I love to splash in the pools in the river. I love to feel it raining down on me. I love to drink and slurp it. I love to shake it all over everything. Water is a precious thing. We live in a place that doesn’t get a whole lot of water raining down. We do happy dances when rain comes. Rain makes the river flow with JOY. Rain makes grass and flowers pop out all over. Rain means our well won’t run dry. Water is a very precious thing. My Mom Person worries when the rains don’t come. She worries when the river goes dry and the trees start to die. She worries when she passes by houses with sprinklers going. She likes living here at the 7 Acre Wood, but she likes the rains to come.

IMG_0286Water conservation is a really important thing. Water is precious. I understand that there are some places in the world that have more water than they can deal with. And there are some places that have less water than what we get here in Glen Rose, Texas. There are people in some parts of the world who don’t have clean water to drink and bathe in. That’s a sad thing. Water is sooooo precious.

I have a book about water. It’s a cute book about a summer day in the life of a city park where water is an important part of the daily cycle.

IMG_4745Water in the Park

written by Emily Jenkins
illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
published by Schwartz & Wade Books in 2013

A note from the author about the story reads –

“The story comes from my spending early mornings and evenings in Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, New York, one summer when we had many, many ninety-eight-degree days. I watched the people and thought about the way the park’s water is used differently by all the inhabitants of the neighborhood, human and animal.”

This neighborhood seems to have plenty of water. The people here do not seem to worry about a lack of water. But the water in the park is precious to them nonetheless.

The story begins in the early morning when the park is quiet and empty and the turtles come out of the pond to sun themselves on the rocks. Then the dog walkers come to let their dogs have a romp in the pond. They are very lucky dogs!! As the day progresses the neighborhood awakens and more and more people come to enjoy the park. They play in the pond and the sprinkler pool. They drink from the water fountains. Kids fill water balloons and pour buckets of water in the sandbox. They pour water down the slide to cool it off. Birds and squirrels come to play and bathe in the water. Workers come to water the gardens. The pond and the fountains are a haven for everyone. At the end of the day the rains come. Everything in the park is now wet with glorious water. Water is a precious thing for sure!!

IMG_4747I really liked this book. It’s not a conservation book. It’s kind of like you’re sitting on a park bench watching the day go by. But the day is filled with water. And I like a day filled with water. The illustrations are great with lots of details to catch the eye. I will be looking out for more books by both Ms Jenkins and Ms Graegin.

There are quite a few organizations that work to provide clean drinking water for people around the world who are without this most precious commodity.
Living Water International
Goodnet.org has a list of seven non-profit organizations that provide safe water solutions for developing countries. You can check out the list HERE.

I am submitting this post to The Small Fry Safari Reading Challenge at The Bookshelf Gargoyle as an entry for Category # 6, A book with something PRECIOUS in the title.

I recently did a post about a Listening Walk. What about a Water Walk? How far would you go for Water?

Enjoy YOUR Water Day!
Your friend at the river
Rhythm

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What’s in a Name?

Gargoyle Bruce, the famous Bookshelf Gargoyle, has posed a reading challenge for 2014 — The Small Fry Safari Readers Challenge. I am offering up my second entry for this challenge — Category #4A book with someone’s name in the title.

We recently had a SERENDIPITOUS visit to my favorite book store, Half-Price Books and found TWO fabulous books with TWO fabulous NAMES! So, I have TWO books to offer up! Double Duty for this one.

First up!

IMG_4966Sweethearts of Rhythm, The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World

Written by Marilyn Nelson and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Published by Dial Books in 2009

This is a most fabulous book!!! Not just because it’s about Rhythm (ME!) It’s fabulous because it is!! It’s about an all-girl jazz band put together in the 1940s during the war years. From the dustjacket – “They dared to be an interracial group despite the cruelties of Jim Crow laws, and they dared to assert their talents although they were women in a “man’s” profession. The story is told through the voices of the instruments. In verse.

“I led the band in an artillery
of wittlily syncopated quarter notes,
or with the buttery longing her strong lips drew from me
until a warbling April morning filled my throat!”

Heart thumping. And the artwork is mesmerizing. Mr Pinkney lets you feel the RHYTHM on every page. Magic.

IMG_4968At the back of the book is a chronological history of the Sweethearts of Rhythm. In 1909 Laurence C. Jones founded the Piney Woods Country Life School in Piney Woods, Mississippi for poor and orphaned African American children. In 1937 he organized an all-girl band of students from the school. The band included a Chinese saxophonist, a Hawaiian trumpeter, and a Mexican clarinetest along with all the African American musicians, so he called the band the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. They started touring to raise money for the school.

There is also a “note” from the author and one from the artist. Both give some background about the birth of this book. And a bibliography for further research.

I am in love with this book! It is a magical journey — and my feet can’t be still. Dancing to the RHYTHM!

Whew! Now onto my Second selection for the NAME category —

IMG_4963You Are My Cupcake (Cupcake is my good buddie and the star of Cupcake Speaks)

This is a little board book done by Joyce Wan.

Published by Scholastic Cartwheel Books in 2011.

It is a cute menu of endearments often spoken to small ones and dogs and loved ones. As in “you are my cupcake!” And “my mushy little sweet pea.” That’s what my Mom Person calls me a lot – Sweet Pea. Not mushy though. Maybe she will add mushy to it now after reading this book. It is a cute book with big bold words and pictures. Pastel colors with sprinkles on top!

IMG_4965Ms Wan has a great website where you can see more of her work – including cards and books and fun stuff!

So there you have it folks! Two for the price of one – going on safari! Be sure and mosey on over to Bruce’s Shelf and see what other safari titles you might find.

And for your listening enjoyment, here’s a taste of those Sweethearts of Rhythm

I wish you a day of song and dance and plenty of sweet treats!
Your dancing friend
Rhythm

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A River Safari

IMG_4718For my first entry in the Small Fry Safari Reading Challenge I bring you a book with Safariness in the title Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham. Published by Henry Holt & Co. in 1971. Mr. Burningham happens to be the husband of Ms Helen Oxenbury. What a truly talented pair!!

Now, you may know that I have a passion for rivers — my river, the Paluxy, in particular. It’s the only river I’ve ever actually explored. But I figure that all rivers must be as fine as my Paluxy River.

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IMG_4742Mr. Gumpy’s Outing is about a “safari” on the river. Mr. Gumpy liked to go out on the river in his boat. One day some children asked if they could come along. Mr. Gumpy said, “Yes, if you don’t squabble.” As they floated down the river they encountered a rabbit who wanted to join them. Mr. Gumpy said ok, “but don’t hop about.” They continued to meet up with various animals who wanted to join them on their “river safari” and Mr Gumpy allowed each animal to come aboard if they promised to behave in their own way. So the traveling group grew to include a cat, a dog, a pig, a sheep, a chicken, a calf, and a goat. That was one loaded down, crowded boat!! Putting together all those different personalities in a small space is surely a recipe for diasaster!

IMG_4743 But they all traveled merrily along, until — the goat kicked. And it all went downhill from there, with each animal in turn doing that which it had promised not to do, until —- the boat tipped over and everyone fell in the river! They all swam out and lay on the river bank to dry out in the sun. Then they all walked back to Mr Gumpy’s house across the long, endless fields, and had tea.

What a great lovely adventure! With a lovely ending. I surely do like Mr Gumpy!

Now you may ask, ” where is the safari in a float down a river?” Well, in Swahili the word safari means a long journey. Mr Gumpy’s outing was certainly a long journey that included lots of animals. It was quite a grand journey for them all.

To find out more about Mr Burningham and see a gallery of his artwork visit HERE.
And a fun interview with him HERE.

If you might be looking for more adventure, you might travel over to visit Gargoyle Bruce at his safari station HERE.

IMG_2438I wish for you many fun adventures in the coming year,
and may you meet lots of friends along the way!
Happy floating!

Rhythm
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