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I hab a liddle toad

22 May

I woke up Friday morning in Hood River with a sore throat, the kind you get from post nasal drip. I was a little congested all weekend and felt worst Sunday morning, though I had a bad sleep last night.I medicated myself with decongestants and Emergen-C.

Little Louie, the main character of  Bob, Not Bob,  by Liz Garton Scanlon and Avery Vernick also has a cold, but he needs his Mom’s help. Unfortunately every time he calls her, his dog, Bob comes running.

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This is a great book to read aloud, with the voice of someone with a really bad cold. This could just be a silly book, but it is also a heartwarming read.

 

Lovely Louies

15 May

My Louie loved everyone.

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A cat once followed us home from the park. Fiona wanted to attack but Louie didn’t bat an eye. He was just that kind of guy. Needless to say, in the cat’s best interest, I did not invite it into the house.

Just like my Louie did, the eponymous Louie of Tony Fucile’s Poor Louie has a great life.

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Publisher’s Summary:Louie’s life is great! A walk on the leash every morning, ice cream on Sundays, snuggling in bed at night with Mom and Dad. Even the playdates with Mom’s friends — despite their little crawling creatures who pull Louie’s ears — aren’t all that bad. But then things get weird: cold food on the floor, no room in the bed, and lots of new stuff coming into the house in pairs — two small beds, two little sweaters, two seats in the stroller. Does that bode double trouble ahead, or could there be a happier surprise in store for Louie? With perfect visual pacing, Tony Fucile takes a familiar story and gives it a comic spin.

The expressive cartoon artwork takes and comic look at how childless people (like me) anthropomorphize their dogs , and at the the arrival of a new sibling.  This would be a great book to share with children about to be displaced by a new baby, or a childless couple who’s pet is about to be relegated to the floor, just like Poor Louie.

Fortunately, the ending provides an excellent solution to Poor Louie’s dilemma.

Princesses and the Rule of Three

1 May

One of my favorite memories of working in the William Walker library was reading Robert Munsch’s The Paperbag Princess to a first grade class, as part of a Robert Munsch author study.

downloadOne of the girls in that class, was obsessed with Disney princess books. When I read the end, where Princess Elizabeth tell Prince Ronald he is  a bum, the look on the girl’s face was priceless.

During our author study, we observed that Robert Munsch had each of his protagonists face their problem three times.

 

In her newest book, Princess Cora and the Crocodile, written by Laura Amy Schlitz and 61Y26+r7DzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_illustrated by Brian Floca, the protagonist has three people who stand in her way of having an enjoyable life: her nanny, he mother and her father.  Like Robert Munsch, there is a repetitive, familiar rhythm to each of these encounters that helps young readers predict and anticipate what is about to come.

Princess Cora’s problems are very much, first world problems, but many children with resonate with the lack of control in their own lives.

Publisher’s Summary: A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Medalist join forces to give an overscheduled princess a day off — and a deliciously wicked crocodile a day on.

Princess Cora is sick of boring lessons. She’s sick of running in circles around the dungeon gym. She’s sick, sick, sick of taking three baths a day. And her parents won’t let her have a dog. But when she writes to her fairy godmother for help, she doesn’t expect that help to come in the form of a crocodile—a crocodile who does not behave properly. With perfectly paced dry comedy, children’s book luminaries Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Floca send Princess Cora on a delightful outdoor adventure — climbing trees! getting dirty! having fun! — while her alter ego wreaks utter havoc inside the castle, obliging one pair of royal helicopter parents to reconsider their ways.

 

 

HUB Reading Challenge Check-in 2/26

26 Feb

I began this week with two quick reads:

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Ada Lovelace: Poet of Science, written by Diane Stanley and illustrated by Jessie Harland, seems an odd fit for the HUB Challenge. As a picture book, it was clearly written for a younger audience, but it is on the Amelia Bloomer list and so it is here.

Publisher’s Summary: From nonfiction stars Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland comes a beautifully illustrated biography of Ada Lovelace, who is known as the first computer programmer.

Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella.

Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and a creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind.

A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.

Diane Stanley’s lyrical writing and Jessie Hartland’s vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Ada Lovelace and bring her fascinating story vividly to life.

The second was Flimish, a graphic novel by Edward Ross.

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Publisher’s Summary: In Filmish, cartoonist Edward Ross takes us on an exhilarating ride through the history of cinema, using comics to uncover the magic and mechanics behind our favourite movies.

Exploring everything from censorship to set design, Ross spotlights the films and film-makers that embody this provocative and inventive medium, from the pioneers of early cinema to the innovators shaping the movies of today, from A Trip to the Moon to Inception and beyond.

A witty and insightful reflection on the enduring power of the cinema, Filmish is a lucid and lively guide to the stars and stories that have shaped our lives for more than a century.

I am reading a longer novel now, but will tell you about it next Sunday.

My never ending TBR pile

6 Feb

The TBR pile never seems to get any smaller. That’s not a complaint, just a fact. And a good problem to have.

Besides binge watching season 2 of Narcos  this unexpectedly long weekend,   I read two picture books from my pile. Bothe are  nominees for the Oregon Book Award’s  ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE.

First,was Hannah and Sugar by Kate Berube. This is a sweet story about a girl overcoming her fear of dogs. This can be a difficult thing to do. I once brought Clara to the kindergarten summer school for migrant kids I was working in because they were so scared of dogs.

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Publisher’s Summary: Every day after school, Hannah’s school bus is greeted by her classmate’s dog, Sugar. All of the other kids love Sugar, but Hannah just can’t conquer her fear of dogs. Then, one day, Sugar goes missing, so Hannah joins the search with her classmates. Will Hannah find a way to be brave, and make a new friend in the process?

Next, I read The Otter, the newest in The Lighthouse Family  series by Cynthia Rylant.

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Publisher’s Summary: Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant brings the peaceful sounds, sights, and characters of the coast vividly to life in the sixth book of the Lighthouse Family series, in which the family assists an otter in need.

On a lovely summer day, the lighthouse family hears the bell on the fog buoy ringing. It is an otter, whose sister is trapped in an old fishing net! With the help of some friendly dolphins and sawfish, the lighthouse family devises a plan to free the trapped otter—and makes two new friends along the way.

 

Of hats and other hand knits

12 Dec

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This book, A Hat for Mrs. Goldman, by Michelle Edwards sums up why I knit; why all knitters knit.  It’s subtitle is A Story About Knitting and Love. It is sort of predictable, but that doesn’t diminish the beauty and truth of the story it tells.

Publisher’s Summary: Mrs. Goldman always knits hats for everyone in the neighborhood, and Sophia, who thinks knitting is too hard, helps by making the pom-poms. But now winter is here, and Mrs. Goldman herself doesn’t have a hat—she’s too busy making hats for everyone else! It’s up to Sophia to buckle down and knit a hat for Mrs. Goldman. But try as Sophia might, the hat turns out lumpy, the stitches aren’t even, and there are holes where there shouldn’t be holes. Sophia is devastated until she gets an idea that will make Mrs. Goldman’s hat the most wonderful of all. Readers both young and old will relate to Sophia’s frustrations, as well as her delight in making something special for someone she loves.

It even includes a simple hat pattern in the back…with a pompom!

I am currently knitting a hat in a style I wouldn’t have chosen. It’s for the PussyHat Project.

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The Pussyhat Project aims to provide the people of the January 21, 2017 “Women’s March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard” and “provide people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent themselves and support women’s rights”.

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On Wednesday, I am meeting the counselor from my old school at a yarn shop. She keeps chickens and refers to her birds as “the girls”. When I saw this pattern in the Winter 2016 edition of Knitty, I contacted her and offered to make it for her.

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If you are a knitter and know a chicken lover, you can access the pattern for free HERE.

My friends, this is why knitters knit.

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Why we read

2 Oct

In 2013, Neil Gaiman delivered a speech entitled “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming” to The Reading Agency in London. You can watch the speech on Youtube,  listen watch and read the text on The Reading Agency’s website, or simply hold the text in your hands and read it, along with many other essays, in Gaiman’s recent collection of essays, The View From the Cheap Seats. 

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I highly recommend that you make the effort to see what Gaiman has t say on this topic. You will nod your head in agreement because, if you read this blog, you are a reader.

Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston clearly believe in the same power of books and reading. His new picture boo, A Child of Books,  says the same thing as Gaiman, though in simpler language.

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Publisher’s Summary: New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers and fine artist Sam Winston deliver a lyrical picture book inspiring readers of all ages to create, to question, to explore, and to imagine.

A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and calling him away on an adventure. Through forests of fairy tales and across mountains of make-believe, the two travel together on a fantastical journey that unlocks the boy’s imagination. Now a lifetime of magic and adventure lies ahead of him . . . but who will be next? Combining elegant images by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston’s typographical landscapes shaped from excerpts of children’s classics and lullabies, A Child of Books is a stunning prose poem on the rewards of reading and sharing stories—an immersive and unforgettable reading experience that readers will want to pass on to others.

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