Score One for the Sloths

I’m working on my serene attitude this year. Finding my own personal Zen place. Serenity is my goal. I mostly don’t have much problem finding the calm in a storm. My Mom Person calls me the Queen of Serene. But I’m trying to find more of that quiet stuff in my days. We came across a funny little book this week. About sloths. Now, I don’t know much about sloths. They don’t seem to live in my woods. But from what I’ve been told, sloths appear to be oddly serene. As in they seem to be odd creatures who know how to stay calm and tranquil in all situations. So this little book caught my eye on a couple of levels. Serenity and Oddness.

My friend Bruce the Bookshelf Gargoyle, has presented a new challenge for 2015. The Oddity Odyssey. Wherein we are supposed to read Odd books. You can find out more about this Odd Challenge by visiting Bruce on his bookshelf HERE. I have committed to reading 16 or more Odd books so that I might become Audaciously Odd! I am submitting this book as my Odd book # 1.

IMG_2255Score One for the Sloths
by Helen Lester
illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
published by Houghton Mifflin Co. in 2001

It begins –
Ho-dee-hum.
It was another day at Sleepy Valley Sloth School, and all
the sloths were just hanging around.

Which is what sloths do! Right?! This book is hilarious! It made me smile and chuckle and want to take a nap. The little student sloths had lessons in yawning, and snoring, and rolling over. I think that I could excel at this sloth school! Most of the time they slept and were “content in their slothfulness.”

IMG_2256Life was grand at Sleepy Valley Sloth School. Until – a new sloth came to school. A girl sloth named Sparky who was full of vim and vigor! Sparky did not want to sleep all day! She wanted to DO things! Read and play music and build castles! Oh! The other sloths were sooooooo boring! They even put me to sleep!

IMG_2265Then an official from administration came to visit and said that Sleepy Valley Sloth School had done dreadful on all the tests!! He wanted to close the school! But Sparky, the “mover and shaker” came up with a plan to save the school. I won’t give the ending away, but suffice it to say that Sparky saved the day! And the school! And it was all very odd indeed!

Here’s a little video of a real sloth. In the wild – not in school.

Take it slow and easy this week.
Take some time to be mindful of the world around you.
Your napping friend
Rhythm
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Until the Cows Come Home

I recently did a post about cows and milking time. You can read it HERE if you like. My friend, Gargoyle Bruce, commented that I could read that book until the cows came home! I thought that was funny, but it reminded me that we have a book on our shelf called — Until the Cows Come Home! I love those Serendipity kind of moments!

Until the cows come home is kind of a funny thing to say. In the book, Milking Time, the cows came home every morning and every evening to be milked. But I think that maybe a really long time ago cows didn’t come home so often and now to say “until the cows come home” means a really, really long time. As in – “I’ll be waiting for some rain until the cows come home.”

IMG_1572Until the Cows Come Home
written and illustrated with hand-colored photographs
by Patricia Mills
published by North-South Books in 1993

This is a lovely, quiet picture story of life in the country. Barn and hayfields, sheep and bluebirds, barns full of stacked wood and barns full of corncobs. Grapes on the vines and vegetables in the garden. Flowers in the fields and a quiet river. Lazy, quiet visions – all “until the cows come home.”

There is a note from the author in the back of the book that tells how she took two years to photograph the life around her at her cabin retreat in West Virgina. (It took until the cows came home!) She says of the book – “I hope that in a quiet way this book will open children to the simple pleasures and the great beauty of unspoiled rural life.”

IMG_1574You should check this book out and see for yourself!

Here are the cows coming home in Ft Worth, Texas!

I hope you have a peaceful week filled with quiet pleasures –
until the cows come home!
Your 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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