When Pigasso Met Mootisse

My big little brother, Walker, is a pretty laid-back, unassuming kind of fellow. Rather quiet. A listener rather than a talker. I’ve never, ever heard him bark. Whine and snore, but never bark. He happens to be an artist. An artist of great renown around these parts. He paints abstract things using his tail and his feet and puts all his happy thoughts into his work. On occasion he has done exhibitions at school and art club meetings and once at the hospital.

I have talked about Walker and his painting before. You might remember. Or might not. You can see more HERE and HERE and HERE.

boys and walker may2011 011Sometimes when he visits a classroom he takes some art books with him to share and encourage some artsy conversation. We recently came across a great book by Ms Nina Laden (who wrote the great book The Night I Followed the Dog)!!!

IMG_2416When Pigasso met Mootisse
by Nina Laden
published by Chronicle Books in 1998

a fiction book suitable for kindergarten and up

Themes – art, friendship, conflict resolution

It begins –
There once was a young pig named Pigasso. While the other piglets rolled in the mud and played games, Pigasso painted. He painted anything and everything, and in a most unusual way.

This is a tale of two artists – a pig named Pigasso who painted in a “most unusual way” and a bull named Mootisse who painted “big, bold, bright pictures.” They both became very famous in their communities. (Much like my Walker.) They became art superstars and everyone wanted their paintings and their photographs and all that stuff that seems to come with being famous. They both decided they needed to get away and find a peaceful place to paint. They ended up finding farms right across the street from each other!!! And they became good friends.

IMG_2417But after awhile they started getting in fights over their work! Criticizing and complaining and calling each other names. (I’ve seen friends at school do this to each other. A very sad thing. 😦 ) They put up a fence right down the middle of their road! Silly artists. Then they began to miss each other. They got lonely. But they were pig-headed and bull-headed and couldn’t bring themselves to kiss and make up. But they did resolve the problem in a most unique way! With paint! Artwork really can speak volumes. And you will have to SEE how they resolved their differences when you check out this book!!!

This tale is kind of a caricature of two REAL artists – Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse and at the end of the book there is a brief biography of these two. I’ve seen quite a bit about Mr Matisse in the media lately with books like henris scissors and

matisse. Those would be some good books to read along with this one.

After reading a bit the kids in the class got to do some painting of their own! They did some fingerpainting, kind of like Walker, and kind of like Mr Pigasso and Mr Mootisse!!

IMG_2336They sure had a great time!!!! And I don’t think there was any fighting!

For a list of PERFECT PICTURE BOOKS and accompanying resources please visit Ms Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE!

Now it’s your turn! Go out this weekend and let your feelings fly! Paint a masterpiece!!
Your tail waggin’ friend
Rhythm
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Safe and Sound

Yesterday was National Seeing Eye Dog Day. We celebrated this day by visiting a third grade classroom and educating them a bit about guide dogs. Most of the kids in Glen Rose know something about working dogs from knowing me and Walker. They all know our tales of being guide dog pups in training. All the kids who knew me as a pup have moved on to college now. I’m into another bunch of young folks altogether! New ones to educate.

Copy of IMG_1536So we took Electra along in her official coat that says she’s a guide dog pup. We took her coat off while in the classroom so the kids could pet. No petting allowed when in coat! Just like a working dog in harness! NO PETTING! And we took a great little book about a working guide dog to help us tell our tale.

IMG_2353Safe and Sound
by Beth Finke
illustrated by Anthony Alex LeTourneau
published by Blue Marlin Publications in 2007

Theme – Guide dogs

This book is suitable for all ages, young and old. 3rd grade was perfect!

It begins –
Look at me! See the harness strapped to my back? I’m called a Seeing Eye dog. The harness is my uniform, and whenever I’m wearing it, I’m working. I guide my partner, Beth, where she needs to go.

This is Hanni’s story of her job keeping Beth safe in a world full of obstacles. Traffic, crowds of people, holes in the sidewalk, garbage cans, tree branches. Whew!!! It’s a crazy world out there and a guide dog must be ever vigilant!

IMG_2356This book presents a great picture of what it’s like to be a working dog. It’s about the job at hand, but the story is also about the relationship between Beth and Hanni. How they had to learn to trust each other because both their lives depended on that trust. How that trust was the foundation for a deep love. It’s a lovely tale.

At the end of the book there are some factual notes from Hanni about her life from pup to working guide dog. And some notes from Beth about how she became blind from juvenile diabetes and what life is like as a blind person.

There is also a list of references for further reading.
This book is also available in Braille. To learn more about Braille visit this website HERE. You might learn how to write your name in Braille!

The Learning to Give website has some good ideas for ways to use this book in a classroom. You can visit them HERE.

We had a great discussion in our classroom about how working dogs help their handlers. What senses the dogs use to do their job. You could let kids pretend they were blind and try to maneuver around the classroom. And then let someone else be their guide dog.

If there is a guide dog school near you, you might pay them a visit. Maybe even volunteer! Southeastern Guide Dogs has puppy hugging days. And volunteers come in to walk the dogs that are in training. You can find a list of guide dog schools HERE. This is the website for the National Federation for the Blind. You can find out more about blindness there as well.

For more about juvenile diabetes visit HERE.

This is PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY. For a list of more Perfect Picture Books visit Ms Susanna Hill’s blog – you’ll be glad you did!!

A guide dog faces all kinds of obstacles! —

Have a Safe and Sound weekend!!!
Your friend
Rhythm
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Owls

I believe that I have mentioned before that once a month I pay a visit to a magical doctor who eases my sore muscles and arthritis and calms my worries. Dr Bruton has a magical assistant, Sarah. Sarah often talks to me while they are massaging and lasering and sticking needles in me. Sarah of the magical hands. During my last visit, Dr Bruton was waving his blue laser, magical wand around on all the stiff muscles and sore parts and I was just beginning to snooze and dream a bit about some serenity I have been encountering in my woods lately.

IMG_4225Lately, in the middle of the night, I have been hearing some rather loud, gentle Hoooooooing. Off in the woods behind our house. Surprisingly near. The Mom Person says that it comes from Great Horned Owls. I like the sound of these owls. They do sound so very serene. The Mom Person says that they are far from it and are hanging out at our house so as to eat our chickens. I couldn’t say about that. But anyway, I was laying there in that quiet doctor’s office thinking about that HOOOOOOOOOOing and Sarah with the magical hands said, “Owls?” I opened my eye and looked at my Mom Person. Had she been talking about our owls? No. She looked rather quizzically at Ms Sarah and said “What?” and Ms Sarah said, “Rhythm is talking about owls. Have you had owls at your house?” My Mom Person looked at Ms Sarah and looked at me and just shook her head in wonder. I smiled and went back to sleep. Ms Sarah always knows what’s going on. She’s magical.

IMG_2257Owl Moon
by Jane Yolen
illustrated by John Schoenherr
published by Philomel Books in 1987
winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal

Themes – winter, owls, nature, father/daughter relationships

Suitable for ALL ages, young and old

It begins –
It was late one winter night,
long past my bedtime,
when Pa and I went owling.

This is the book that comes to mind when I listen to our owl in the woods. It’s a rather popular book with my readers and I get to hear it quite often. It’s really a bedtime kind of story. Soft, and dark, and soothing. The narrator is a young girl going “owling” for the first time with her Pa. They tromp through the dark, quiet woods in knee deep snow. I have a hard time imagining that much snow! It’s cold, cold, cold. But a person must be quiet and brave when out owling. And they must make their own heat. The Pa and his daughter walk a long time hoping to see an owl. The Pa stops now and then to call out to the owls — Whoo-whoo-who-who-who-whooooooo. Finally, there is an echoing call — and there is the Great Horned Owl in all its dark glory!

IMG_2259Wow! We don’t have to walk very far to go owling, just out our back door. And we don’t have to tromp through any snow. But we have yet to see an actual owl. I’m happy just to listen and let that Hooooooing lull me to sleep. I think that these Great Horned Owls are rather large. Bigger than the vultures that fly around overhead all the time. A bird that big might be kind of spooky.

But there’s nothing spooky about this book. It is the height of serenity. The words and the pictures work together to entice you to be quiet and calm so the big bird will come. It invites you to savor the natural wonders in the world around us. And it celebrates the bond between a father and his daughter. A glorious book indeed.

Ms Yolen and Mr Schoenherr both took their kids owling. I think that everyone should try some owling! Out in the woods on a full moon night! What fun!!

You can find out more about Great Horned Owls HERE. And this link HERE also has a recording of that Hooo-Hoooing.

This KIDZONE link has some owl worksheets and activities.

Our science classes here at school always dissect owl pellets – the stuff that they throw up. The kids love doing this!

And here is what you might see if you get lucky!

Now be sure and go visit Ms Susanna Hill HERE and see her list of great Perfect Picture Books! It is Perfect Picture Book Friday after all!!!!

Happy Owling!!
Your friend
Rhythm
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Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck. That’s an interesting word. Wonderstruck. The dictionary says it means – struck with wonder; feeling admiration, surprise, etc. I like this word. I don’t believe that I have ever been struck before. But I like the idea of being struck with wonder. I think that I am Wonderstruck over Mr Brian Selznick. His books fill me with admiration and surprise. We’ve been kind of on a roll lately with his books. The latest to cross our threshold is called Wonderstruck.

IMG_1934Wonderstruck
by Brian Selznick
published by Scholastic Press in 2011

suitable for grades 3-7

themes – deaf culture, museums, chasing your dreams

it begins –
(The book actually begins with several pages of illustration of wolves running toward the reader.)
The first text begins on page 16 –
Something hit Ben Wilson and he opened his eyes. The wolves had been chasing him again and his heart was pounding.

This is another really BIG book by Mr Selznick. 637 pages! Another really BIG mostly picture book that can be read in a short amount of time. I’ve noticed that a lot of my readers in 3rd and 4th grade like to check out BIG books. I think they like the look and feel of BIG books. But most BIG books are a little much for some of them to handle. Mr Selznick’s BIG books are delightful! Lots of great illustrations that are filled with story.

This book – Wonderstruck – is actually TWO stories being told at the same time! One in text and one in pictures! Both stories kind of parallel each other throughout the book, but then in the end they intersect. Ben Wilson’s story begins in words in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota in 1977. His mom has recently died, he doesn’t know anything about his father, and he is living with his aunt and uncle. He was born deaf in one ear.

IMG_1936Rose Kincaid’s story begins in pictures in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1927. She seems to be obsessed with an actress and has a scrapbook of stories and pictures about her. It turns out that Rose is deaf and unhappy. Ben gets struck by lightening and becomes totally deaf. Both kids run away from home and venture to New York City. Rose, in search of her mother and brother. Ben in search of his unknown father. Their lives intersect at the Natural History Museum. And that’s as much as I’m going to tell you!! You’ll have to solve the mystery yourself!

This book is a thrilling mystery filled with Wonder. The wonder of a museum and all that is in it. The wonder of the universe. The wonder of being deaf and learning to get along in a hearing world. The wonder of friendship. The wonder of finding yourself.

Mr. Brian Selznick is a Wonder.

Ben kept a treasure box full of wonders that he found around him. Rocks and bones and fossils, twigs, a baby tooth, a game piece, My Mom Person is a collector like this. She doesn’t have a special box – she just kind of makes little shrines all over the house. But I think that kids might like to make a treasure box like Ben’s. What kinds of things would go in your treasure box? Do you keep a box like this?

A trip to a Natural History Museum would be in order after reading this book. And a planetarium! I’ve been to a Natural History Museum. There were BIG animals behind glass that were kind of scary. They looked real, but they could sure stand really still! I’m sure that there is probably a Natural History Museum in your area. If you would like to learn more about the one in New York that is talked about in the book you can visit their website HERE.

HERE is a link to information and teacher resources about American Sign Language.

This happens to be Friday. Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday. It’s USUALLY PPBF. But today, Ms Hill is announcing the winners of her writing contest. So you might want to venture over her way and check that out.

This is a song that plays a big part in Ben’s story. It was his mom’s favorite song and Ben liked to pretend that Major Tom was his dad. The song is Space Oddity by David Bowie — I think that Ben may have been a little odd.

I hope that you find Wonder in this holiday season.
Your Wonderstruck friend
Rhythm
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The Perfect Christmas

Well, The Great Thanksgiving Feast of 2014 has come and gone. I hope that yours was PERFECT. Lots of PERFECT turkey and carrots and sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Lots of PERFECT fun with your family and friends. Maybe a PERFECT game of tennis? or football? Full tummies and smiles on faces. PERFECT?

Well, as I said – that’s all come and gone. It’s history. It’s now time for —-

IMG_1850The Perfect Christmas
by Eileen Spinelli
illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi
published by Christy Ottaviano Books with Henry Holt and Co. in 2011

suitable for ALL ages!

Themes – Christmas, family, traditions

It begins –
Abigail Archer’s family
is perfect as can be.
They drive into the countryside
To chop down their Christmas tree.

Back around that PERFECT Thanksgiving time, I reviewed another book by Ms Spinelli titled The PERFECT Thanksgiving! You can check out that post by clicking on that title – right there! And guess what?! Ms Spinelli herself actually read my review! Wag my tail!!!! And she thought that I might ought to read the companion book – The Perfect Christmas! Of course I needed to do that very thing!! So she had her publisher send me my very own copy of The Perfect Christmas! Now isn’t that PERFECT?! What a nice lady, right?! I think that she deserves a standing ovation! I’m standing! How bout you?!

Well, ok, now, back to the book!

The Perfect Christmas brings us the same families that we met in The Perfect Thanksgiving. The Archer family is still Martha Stewart PERFECT. Candles on the mantel and bowls full of silver balls! The narrator’s family is still eclectically PERFECT with macaroni reindeer and dented fruitcake tins! Abigail’s family enjoys PERFECT Christmas treats and sweets – they even have a poodle that eats on a PERFECT Christmas mat! While the narrator’s Christmas cookies would “bounce to Mexico”

IMG_1852Each family has their own unique style and traditions. And each family has their own version of a PERFECT Christmas! This little book shows, in a big way, that what makes Christmas PERFECT is the love that is shared with family and friends. That’s what it’s all about! A PERFECT Christmas book to share!!

My family is very much like the narrator’s family. A bit crazy. But PERFECT in all the ways that matter to them – and me! It’s a BIG family and they like to party and have a good time. They always have a theme for their get-togethers. They dress up and have appropriate food and gifts. I just wag my tail and laugh. My favorite part is the cookie bake. I get to help with clean-up! I love being a janitor!

IMG_1833What kind of traditions does your family have? Do you have a “real” tree that smells like the woods? Or do you have one that comes out of a box? Do you have fancy decorations that all match like Martha Stewart? Or do you have homemade macaroni reindeer? Do you sing Christmas songs? Do you go to church? Maybe you don’t celebrate Christmas at all!

If you are inclined to make your own PERFECT Christmas Cookies, HERE is Martha Stewart’s recipe!

And HERE is a link to some fantastic ornaments that you can make with the kids!

Whatever and However you celebrate – I hope it’s PERFECT in every way!

Whatever you might be doing this time of year
I wish you GREAT JOY!

JOYYour JOYful friend
Rhythm
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The Perfect Thanksgiving

It seems to be Thanksgiving time. I understand that this is a holiday set aside for eating lots of turkey and pies and thinking about all the things that a person should be thankful for. I’m hearing all about turkeys and Pilgrims and Native Americans and turkeys and feasts and family time and turkeys. The kids at school are making headbands with feathers, and turkeys with their hands, and turkeys with their feet, and eating turkey for lunch. The Mom Person is going through the recipe drawer and talking on the phone a lot about who’s bringing what. And I’m walking around drooling and no one seems to notice!

Well, today isn’t Thanksgiving. Although I am thankful, because it is Perfect Picture Book Friday over at Susanna Hill’s House. And I get to share in this event! I don’t know if she’s having turkey or not. I hope so! Just in case, I am bringing turkey – for the Perfect Thanksgiving!! IMG_1731The Perfect Thanksgiving
by Eileen Spinelli
illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi
published by Henry Holt and Co. in 2003

Themes – Thanksgiving! Family!

Suitable for young and old alike! All the family!

It begins –
Abigail Archer’s family
is perfect in every way.
Never is this more obvious
than on Thanksgiving Day.

This is a hilarious look at Thanksgiving through the eyes of one little girl. It’s told in perfectly wondrous rhyme with perfectly fabulous illustrations. And features a perfectly silly hand-print turkey and a perfectly artsy turkey.

The narrator compares her friend Abigail’s family holiday with her own family’s get together. At Abigail’s house everything is PERFECT. The table settings, the turkey cooked to perfection, the well dressed, well behaved, polite family holding hands around the PERFECT table – all PERFECT! At the narrator’s house, we see PERFECT chaos! Burnt turkey and wailing smoke alarms, crying kids, gravy and milk being spilled, belching and chomping and slurping everywhere. (It all sounds very much like my house!)

IMG_1737The narrator feels that Abigail has the PERFECT mother! Abigail’s mother wears an organdy dress with pearls and fancy shoes. She has fancy whirls on her homemade pie and her Jello mold doesn’t quiver. The narrator’s Mom wears jeans and fuzzy slippers. (Looks eerily like my Mom Person!) She serves store bought pie with no whipped topping and her Jello mold quivers!!

There is more, and more, and more about how different the two families are – But it turns out that the families have one very important element that is common to both — the LOVE that radiates from both!! And that’s something to be Thankful for!!

This book goes PERFECTLY with all the Thanksgiving activities that have been going on at school the last couple of weeks. Making turkeys and talking about Pilgrims and Native Americans and the Land that we all live in. And it offers a PERFECT opportunity to talk about our families traditions and how different they might be and how much alike!

I hope you have a PERFECT Thanksgiving celebration with your PERFECT family and are wrapped in the LOVE that I’m sure will be there.

Here is my pawprint Turkey –

img051And one of the many Turkey songs I have been hearing over, and over, and over —

And now you might want to visit Ms Hill’s blog and see if she’s serving some turkey over there! I’m sure that she will have some other fine Perfect Picture Books for you to check out!

IMG_1733I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
From MY PERFECT family to yours!!
Your friends
Walker, Electra, and St. Rhythm!
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Augustus and His Smile

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday — A day created by that “Amazing Babe” Susanna Leonard Hill to celebrate Perfect Picture Books. That’s a powerful word – PERFECT. What does it mean exactly? What IS a PERFECT Picture Book? I guess that that would be somewhat different for each reader – be they man, woman, child, or — dog!

For this library dog, a perfect picture book is one that begs to be read over and over. When my reader says “AGAIN!” — That’s PERFECT. A PERFECT picture book brings out emotions. It might be smiles and laughter. When I hear giggles and chuckles and howling laughter — That’s PERFECT. It might be sighs of wonder. “OHHHH!”  “AHHHH!” It might be sighs of sadness. “OH, NO!” — That’s PERFECT. A PERFECT picture book has fantastic illustrations that beg to be looked at closely. When I hear “don’t turn the page just yet!” — That’s PERFECT.

A PERFECT picture book pulls the reader in to become part of the story.

Today I give you a PERFECT picture book that has all of those things.

IMG_1452Augustus and His Smile
by Catherine Rayner
published by Good Books in 2006

Themes – smiles!, finding JOY!

a fiction book suitable for pre-K and up

It begins —
Augustus the tiger was sad.
He had lost his smile.

With the very first words and the very first picture you are sucked right in to this story! You can feel the tiger’s sadness. It makes your mouth droop. Right off, my readers were sighing “Oh, poor tiger!” And the search began to find Augustus’s smile. The words are spare and the illustrations are big and bold – like a tiger. Augustus searched high and low and far and wide. And with each page turn you can see just an inkling of an upturned mouth on Augustus. I heard “LOOK! Look at his mouth! It’s there Augustus! It’s there!” “Oh look! He found it!” “Read it again!”

IMG_1454Augustus found that his smile was with him all the time! He only had to follow his JOY to bring it out! And it sure brought out smiles on my readers!! A most PERFECT picture book!!

What brings a smile to your face? My Mom Person plays a game with My Favorite Girl. “Three Things I Love.”  Each morning or evening, they each have to tell three things that they love. Three things that bring a smile. And that little game always makes them both smile!

In your classroom, or whatever, you could have your readers make lists or draw pictures of things that make them smile.

Gather some rocks and paint them with big happy face smiles. Let them sit on the kids’ desks or tables and every time you look at them — guess what? SMILE!

For your smiling pleasure – some happy, smiley tigers!

Now you might want to drop by Ms Susanna Hill’s blog and check out the other PERFECT Picture Books and all the fun resources to go with!

SMILE!!!
Your friend
Rhythm
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Amazing Babes

This has been a week for books in the mail!!! And that mail lady has brought some fine ones! I had a hard time deciding which one to talk about first!

My final choice is a book that I won!!!! 🙂 In a drawing!!!! 🙂 From Danielle Davis at This Picture Book Life!!! 🙂 And it’s signed by the author and the illustrator!!!!  🙂

IMG_1526Amazing Babes
A Picture Book for Kids & Adults
words by Eliza Sarlos
drawings by Grace Lee
published by Scribe Publishing in 2013

suitable for maybe 2nd grade and all the way up!
younger ones might enjoy the illustrations

Theme – incredible women! Girl Power!

It begins —
As I grow ——
I want the COURAGE of Aung San Suu Kyi

On our bookshelves here at home we have LOTS of books about “amazing babes.” Women who made adventure part of their lives. Women who inspired generations of young folks with their spirit and heart and courage. Women who left their signatures in the annals of history. My Mom Person says that I am an “amazing babe” in my own right! That’s an interesting thought!

This picture book, Amazing Babes, is a most uniquely, incredible book that celebrates the lives of twenty incredible women. I don’t know how Ms Sarlos decided on these particular twenty, but it is a diverse and fascinating group.

From the back of the book — “Amazing Babes was originally written as a gift from a mother to her son. ……All the women in this book had the ideas, determination, and creativity to bring about change in the world, and in learning about their stories we honour their achievements.”

This is a BIG picture book – 12″ x 10″. The words are BIG, the pictures are BIG, the inspiration is BIG! Each page spread has a picture of a uniquely inspirational woman and a brief note about what she represents to the world – from courage, to compassion, to conviction, to heart, to vision, to fervour, and more. Some of the names are familiar to me. I’ve heard them talked about. But some of the names were totally new. To me, anyway.

At the back of the book there are brief bios of all the women. It all makes you yearn for the whole story! This book will have readers scrambling to find out more! Oh! I can envision the discussions that will be happening! What can be learned from these women? What other women could belong with this group? Who do you know that could be considered “an amazing babe?!”

IMG_1528The illustrations are incredible as well. The pictures, the words, the design of it all! Perfection! A PERFECT PICTURE BOOK for Perfect Picture Book Friday!!

I first learned about this book from Ms Davis at This Picture Book Life. She did an inspiring review about it there and you can visit her HERE.

The book has it’s own website! with more information and a video. Check it out HERE.

A young lady who is featured in the book is Tavi Gevinson who started a style blog at the age of 12 — Here she is with Jimmy Fallon —

Now you might want to visit another inspiring woman, who is not in this book, but maybe should be! — Ms Susanna Leonard Hill who has her own incredible blog where she keeps a list of Perfect Picture Books and some great resources to go with. This is, after all, Perfect Picture Book Friday!!!! 😀

And now you can go forth and conquer the world!!!!!
Your wagging friend
Rhythm
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The Adventures of a Chicken

IMG_0010

We recently got some new baby chicks. They came in the mail. Little baby chicks chirping in the box. It must have been quite an adventure for these tiny things. I wonder what they were thinking in that box. With my big eyes and nose staring at them.

I happen to like chickens. (I like to EAT chicken!) But right now I’m talking about real live chickens that chirp and squawk and have feathers. Feathers do not taste good.

IMG_0011

I like to watch real live chickens strutting around and doing their pecking  and digging  and flapping. I find them amusing. I often lay in the shade of a nice tree and watch them scratching around in the dirt or chasing a grasshopper and I wonder what kinds of things they might dream about. What kinds of imaginations can be found in those tiny brains?

There happens to be an amusing little book by Kate DiCamillo about a chicken with a big imagination.

IMG_0129Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken
by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Harry Bliss
published by Joanna Cotler Books
(an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers)
in 2008
Fiction

Suitable for 1st grade and up

Themes – chickens, adventure, “There’s no place like home.”

Louise is a plump white chicken with big eyes and a big imagination. She looks like any other chicken on her farm. But she happens to have a real longing for some adventure. So one day she heads out in search of some. She finds LOTS of adventure. Maybe more than she bargains for. She has a scary time on a pirate ship, a heart stopping adventure with a circus, and a narrow escape from an exotic bazaar. Through all of her adventures she exhibits great naivete and is blessed with the greatest of luck! She also finds that she misses her cozy home and longs for her sister hens.

IMG_0131This was a really fun, swash-buckling book to read! It’s a big picture book with 56 pages. And it has chapters! Four! Each adventure is a new chapter. It also has some interesting words like fricasse and auditions and aerialist and “mon cheri” and mundane and coq au vin. There is some violence and some scary moments that make your heart beat a little faster. This story is anything but mundane! And it is hilarious! My readers loved it! We loved the story and the illustrations. Ms DiCamillo and Mr Bliss are quite an incredible duo!

My reader kids talked about what kinds of adventures they would have if they could. They all liked the idea of pirate ships. One wanted to go diving in the ocean with sharks! One wanted to race cars and one wanted to go on a safari. No one thought that they were brave enough to just leave home and go find adventure all on their own. They all thought Louise was very brave to do that. I just thought she was a little crazy.

There is an interesting interview with Ms DiCamillo on the Amazon page for this book. Visit it HERE. You’ll have to scroll down the page to find the interview.

Harper Collins has some teacher activities HERE.

Kids could make a paper plate chicken like these —

and take them on some adventures!

I leave you with a little entertainment – (I think that this is what my chickens do at night) —

Now skip on over to Susanna Hill’s blog HERE to check out the list of Perfect Picture Books that she keeps. You could make a reading adventure of it!!!!!

Be safe in all your adventures!
Your chicken loving friend
Rhythm

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My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me

maya angelouMs Maya Angelou died this week. A very sad time for the literary world and the world at large. Before this week I did not know much about this lovely lady. Most of her writings, I believe, are a little heavy for the kids who read to me. But I am a bit familiar with her. I have heard her enchanting voice on the radio and seen her face in magazines. And we do have one of her books on my bookshelf. A picture book that we like to take to school to share with my reading buddies.

IMG_0125My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me
by Maya Angelou
photographs by Margaret Courtney-Clarke
designed by Alexander Isley Design
published by Clarkson Potter in 1994

Themes – South African culture, traditions

Suitable for ages 3 and up

It begins ….
Hello Stranger-friend
I am Thandi, an Ndebele girl in South Africa.
I am eight years old, and my best friend is a chicken.

This is a fascinatingly unique book. It is filled with beautiful photographs of Ndebele women, children, and painted houses. It is also filled with the rhythmic words of Ms Angelou painting a picture of life in a South African village. A life quite alien to what my reading buddies are used to. Many of the kids in Glen Rose have chickens. And some even talk to their chickens like Thandi does. Thandi has a mischievous younger brother that she would like to give away. Many of my readers can sympathize with those feelings! But Thandi’s village life is quite a bit different from our small town life. For one thing, Thandi and her friends don’t wear much clothing! Mostly LOTS of beads. And they are quite proud of their beadwork. The women do all the beading and Thandi looks forward to one day being able to make her own beaded apron. The women also paint their houses in fantastic geometric patterns – using chicken feathers as brushes! These are traditions that will be passed down to Thandi and her girl friends.

IMG_0128Thandi says that Ndebele people do not call anything beautiful. They say that the best thing is GOOD. This is a very GOOD book full of joy and the music of hope.

When we read this book, we have Good discussions about different cultures and traditions and how traditions get handed down from one generation to the next. We talk about family traditions that the kids might have.

It would be fun, if you have thumbs, to try painting some pictures using the Painted Houses as a model – and paint them with feathers!

To learn more about the art of the Ndebele visit HERE.

Here are some instructions for GOOD beaded snowflake or star ornaments.

Have some fun and laugh and play like Thandi and her friends!

And try this little game!

Now you might want to venture over to the GOOD Ms Susanna Hill’s blog where she keeps a list of Perfect Picture Books.

I challenge you to go out and find your Rhythm
and Dance!
In memory of the GOOD Ms Maya Angelou
Your dancing friend
Rhythm
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