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1. Two Middle Grade Books 2014

Middle Grade Readers

1) One Dog and His Boy- Written by Eva Ibbotson, Published by Scholastic Inc. New York, NY 2014. Hal is just an ordinary kid with a large dream of owning a dog. On his birthday Hal is allowed to choose a pet that is when Fleck becomes a part of his life and an adventure begins after Hal finds him gone on Monday. Together with a girl named Pippa Hal rescues Fleck and running away is his only option, made trickier when Pippa announces that she and the other dogs want to come along. It not only teaches your children about the power of friendship and love  but it takes them on a journey through life. I highly recommend this book for your middle graders. Get out and pick up a copy today.

2) The Path of Names- Written by Ari Goelman, Published by Scholastic Inc. New York, NY 2013. Dahlia Sherman loves magic tricks, math and video games. She is not so found of campfire songs or lighting storms or mean girls her age. When she is placed in a sleeping camp strange things start happening like ghosts of little girls and an ancient maze guarded by a mysteries caretaker. This books take her on a journey through the past to discover what all this means. It is a mystery based on ancient Jewish scripture that is much better suited for your older middle grader. The book is a fun read and has a very strong connection to Jewish traditions and mystical culture.     


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2. George Can! (And You Can Too!), by Maria Stuckey-Leach | Dedicated Review

George Can! (And You Can Too) is an affirming picture book about the wonderful powers of positive thinking. It offers young readers a playful nudge toward an optimistic attitude by utilizing the mantra “I can! I will! I believe!”

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3. Review: Mai Tai’d Up by Alice Clayton

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This is the first novel by Alice Clayton that I’ve read.  I have been avoiding reading her, because I’m getting tired of New Adult in general, but when I saw in the blurb that protagonist Chloe runs a pit bull rescue, I couldn’t start reading this fast enough.  I was expecting a spicier romp, but Mai Tai’d Up turned out to be a sweet friends to lovers story, with a great sense of humor, a heroine who won’t settle for the easy way out, and a lot of dogs.  Oh, there’s also a couple of very hot smexy times near the end of the book.

Chloe Patterson decides on the morning of her wedding that her fiancé, Charles, isn’t the man for her.  He doesn’t make her heart go pitter-patter, he’s a stick in the mud, and he has a little willy.  Sure, he’s rich and powerful, but she doesn’t love him.  And he doesn’t love her.  So she packs up her car (after getting kicked out of her pissed off mother’s house), and heads up the coast to her father’s vacation home in Monterey.

At first, I didn’t much care for Chloe.  She’s a former beauty queen, she was raised in luxury and has never wanted for anything, and she seemed very young and immature for a 24 year old.  She let her mother run her life, and she didn’t really have any goals outside of being a housewife and raising a passel of kids.  I had a hard time relating to that.  It’s not until the wedding is looming right before her that she takes a close, hard look at what her life would be like if she married Charles, and she runs like a bat out of hell in the other direction.  It’s after they have a disagreement about her volunteer work that she realizes that a future with Charles would soon be tedious and unfulfilling.

After settling in her father’s place, she takes up an offer from a friend.  While working with therapy dogs during her pageant days, she met Lou and was smitten – with his pit bull.  Lou wants to open a branch of his rescue organization in northern California, and Chloe decides to accept the challenge.  Her new home has more than enough land to host the rescue, and before you can say “Adopt me!” she’s got a game plan, as well as a life plan, and she is excited to finally have a goal that is hers and hers alone.  It’s not something that her mother wants her to do, it’s something that she wants to do. For herself.  It’s exhilarating!

All rescue organizations need help, and Lou gives Chloe a lead on a good vet to help care for her charges.  Lucas is a 3rd generation veterinarian working at his family’s clinic, and he’s gorgeous.  Chloe can’t stop drooling over him.  The problem?  Lucas is still smarting after his bride-to-be left him at the altar.  How can she possibly come clean about her past behavior when she did almost exactly the same thing?  Besides, they are both on the rebound, and Lucas is leaving the country soon for a 12 week volunteer trip to provide veterinary services in Belize.  Instead, they agree to be buddies and just hang out together.  Lucas can show Chloe around town and help her with the pit bull rescue.

I enjoyed this book so much!  It’s light and fast-paced and it never dragged.  I liked seeing the relationship between Chloe and Lucas grow and blossom into something more than friendship.  They have a lot in common, and they both have a great sense of humor.  They are also supportive of each other’s goals, and they are there for the other.  When Chloe needs help picking up a rescue, Lucas is right there to give her a hand.  When he wants company on a paddle board outing, she’s game, as long as she doesn’t see any fins in the water.

The rescue plays a big part in the plot, and because I am such a huge proponent of pet adoption, I loved all of the details.  The rescue gone wrong had me sniffling.  The dogs gave Chloe the agency to change into a more caring and compassionate person.  They also gave her the determination to stand up to her controlling mother.  And what can I say about Lucas?  I love vet heroes. 

Mai Tai’d Up is the perfect vacation read.  It’s funny and sweet, it’s about a cause I care about, and it has a super adorable hero.  It kept me up reading late into the evening, and was very hard for me to put down.  Now I’m excited to read some of the author’s backlist.  Where should I start?

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Looking for the perfect mix of smart, sexy, and sassy? Mai Tai’d Up continues New York Times bestselling author Alice Clayton’s Cocktail series, which began with Wallbanger and continued with Rusty Nailed and Screwdrivered.

The gossip mill in the seaside community of Monterey is churning about Chloe Patterson, the newcomer who is starting a sanctuary for rescued pit bulls. It’s rumored that she’s a former beauty queen (true) who ditched her fiancé the morning of their wedding (also true). And that while she’s not looking for a new man, the good-looking local veterinarian has his eye on her. Absolutely, positively true.

When Lucas Campbell isn’t at the family veterinary clinic, he’s paddle boarding in Monterey Bay. Recently single, he’s definitely not in the market for a new relationship, but he still can’t resist taking a second, third, and fourth look at the recent arrival of Miss Golden State.

Neither Lucas nor Chloe has any interest in being tied down. Being tied up, however—now there’s a thought. But are a few Mai Tais, a moonlit night, and the music of Frank Sinatra enough to allow them both to forget their past? Let’s hope Ol’ Blue Eyes knows what he’s doing.

Mix one part tiki, one part kinky, and a splash of old black magic matchmaking, and it’s time to be . . . Mai Tai’d Up.

The post Review: Mai Tai’d Up by Alice Clayton appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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4. Becoming an Author Means Embracing a Life of Crime

Before I became a writer, I had no idea being one also meant embracing a life of crime. I don’t know why. All the signs were there – the saying “every great lie has an element of truth”, T.S. Eliot’s immortal “Good authors borrow, great authors steal”, and the infamous Faulkner adage, “Kill your darlings” (Faulkner actually stole that saying from Arthur Quiller-Couch).

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6. December - Holidays Are Forever, Books, Movies, Kids and Dogs

                                             Best Wishes To All

BiscuitandGravy

  Holiday Dogs, Biscuit and Gravy, are courtesy of Richard Bradley's website, A Rock In My SHoe   

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Holiday Turning Point...

It was Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol that transformed Christmas, first in Victorian TinyTimchristmascarolJohnLeechEngland as the industrial age was barreling ahead, and then throughout Europe. Dicken's notion that the true Christmas spirit embodied caring and generouisity -- especially for those less fortunate --  influenced the thinking of multitudes and transformed the holiday.

The ancient orgins of Christmas and of Santa Claus have been traced to many cultures including Scandanavian (especially Danish), Germanic, Dutch and British. 

The legend of Santa Claus, himself, was greatly enhanced by the poem  A Visit from St Nicholas, written for his children, by the American, Clement Clarke Moore, in 1823.

Images by some of the great illustrators have deeply influenced perceptions of Santa and Chistmas. Nast-visit-st-nick This is especially true for children. However, significant impressions in the minds of adults were also made by the Dicken's illustrations of John Leech (and later by Arthur Rackham) in Great Britain, and the yearly illustrations by Thomas Nast of A Visit From St Nicholas in the USA.  

With the passing of time, the spirit of Christmas has changed. The idea of gifts for children, and then others, has evolved with stories, TV, films, merchants, and ceaseless marketing into an often overwhelming distortion of the original spirit of A Christmas Carol. But the spirit does live on.

A Christmas Carol

"Few works in the history of popular culture have had as much pronounced effect as Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, first published in 1843.  While Christmas Day had always been a sacred, Scroogesolemn feast day within the Christian faith (just as the Winter Solstice had been in many pagan cultures before it), it wasn’t until the middle part of the 1800s that many began to see it less as a site of religious devotion than as a holiday to be celebrated, and to be celebrated most specifically through the act of giving.  While A Christmas Carol didn’t spawn this tradition itself, it, more than any other force, popularized it throughout the western world.  Through its powerful, secular story of redemption through charity and love, Dickens imparted to all that Christmas was a time to celebrate all that was worthwhile about the human race, most specifically our love for one another, and our compassion for those less fortunate."...

 

To read the rest of this excellent article by Jonathan Morris, the Antiscribe, follow this link  It will take you to his comprehensive and instghtful article on the significance and lasting
Downloadimpact of Charles Dicken's and A Christmas Carol. 
Morris also provides, in this article, informed reviews of multiple film and TV versions of A Christmas Carol through the years; he includes photos and video links.
 
This link will enable you to download/read the original version of            A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens"

This link will take you to the 1971 Annimated version of A Christmas Carol produced by Chuck Jones, directed by Richard Williams, and with the voice of Alister Sim as Ebeneezer Scrooge. This is a classic and a favorite of Jonathan Morris: Annimated Christmas Carol

The top two illustrations on the left are by John leech. The illustration, on the right, is by Thomas Nast. The illustrator of the bottom left Christmas scene is unknown. 

Happy Holidays! 

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Vxp2_2"I don't know what to do.' cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoon of himself with his stockings. `I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody. A happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here. Whoop. Hallo.' "--
 

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

 

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   A Foxwoods Holiday Celebration

FoxwoodsBrianPattersonArtist

This wonderful illustration is by Brian Fox-Patterson for a series of children's books by Brian and his wife, Cynthia. To see more of his delightful illustrations, visit  Foxwood Tales Illustrations.


ChristmasTreeBunnies"Their first story was published in 1985, and seven more followed. SnowmanCrittersSince then the series of eight children's books have become modern classics. Over 1.3 million copies have been sold across 18 countries." (Wikipedia)  
For summaries of six of the books, visit  loveReading4Kids. A compilation of four of the Tales can be found in the book, A Foxwood Treasury.

I discovered the Foxwood Tales through the illustrations. I haven't read the books, but I wanted to share the superb illustrations.

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Kwanzaa- A Holiday Celebration 

by Holly Hartman  

"The year 2014 will see the 48th annual Kwanzaa, the African American holiday Kwanzaacelebrated from December 26 to January 1. It is estimated that some 18 million African Americans take part in Kwanzaa.

 Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, nor is it meant to replace Christmas. KwanzaaKids2It was created by Dr. Maulana "Ron" Karenga, a professor of Black Studies, in 1966. At this time of great social change for African Americans, Karenga sought to design a celebration that would honor the values of ancient African cultures and inspire African Americans who were working for progress. 

Kwanzaa is based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years."...Kwanzaa ends with a feast and gift giving... Holidays are forever

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Albus_Dumbledore
One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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RoseBig

 The Spirit of Christmas Embodied in a Therapy Dog

This is about Susan and Rose. That's Rose in the photos. It is also about the thousands of therapy dogs bringing unconditional love to young and old. Susan Purser is a retired teacher and has been working for several years with Rose in schools , hospitals, nursing homes and hospices. These are Susan's comments about working with Rose. 


“No matter who you are or why you do pet therapy, it is the dog that opens the door…doors that RoseBig4would otherwise be closed to a well meaning human...

“I consider myself a facilitator…if my dog could drive, she would not need me. Rose seems to enjoy seeing people multiple times and developing a relationship with the people… She is a working dog by nature and she just loves these jobs.  I am constantly amazed at the doors that Rose opens…she goes to places I could never get without her…reaches beyond my reach, touches a person deeper than my touch.  The restless or agitated patient who is calmed by Rose’s touch...the child in the classroom who won’t settle down and get to work but when Rose sits by them, they quiet right down and the hyperactivity seems to dissipate.  The child getting excited about reading to Rose every week; they wouldn’t do that for me, but they do it for Rose...

It is their touch or look that gives people that inner peace when their world is shrinking or spinning so fast they have lost control.  When doors begin the final closing, there is that one last smile, nod, a hand that reaches for a dog that allows some of them to say good bye and close their eyes in peace.”
The photos of Rose are courtesy of Susan Purser.

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LitWorldGroupHappyKidsThe Gift of Reading from LitWorld

Here is a joyous video from Litworld, celebrating the joy of reading, the joy of being somebody, the joy of hope. LitWorld gives the gift of reading to disadvantaged and at-risk children around the world...and they do this not only during the Christmas season, but throughout the year! 

 

LitWorld supports hopes, possibilities and lives in fourteen countries around the world! This link will take you to an interactive map of where Litworld works, from Columbia to India and from Kosovo to California. Interactive Map.

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Interview With Santa

Santa-397KBThis interview was conducted as part of a program to determine the truth behind the incredible story of The Snow Valley Heroes....

 

Interviewer: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and clarifying things. 

Santa: I’m happy that the story is finally coming out. 

Interviewer: Is it a true story? 

Santa:  Absolutely. 

Interviewer: Why haven’t we known about it before? 

Santa:  I think it was lost in the mists of time…It took place hundreds and hundreds of years ago. 

Interviewer: Is it true that there was to be no more Christmas?  Pauli&Sledge-397KB

Santa: I’m sorry to say that it’s true. Until the dogs arrived. 

Interviewer: The dogs? 

Santa: It was a surprise to all of us in Santa Claus village. None of us, and that includes all the elves,had even heard of dogs. 

Interviewer: Is that because you were so far North and rather isolated? 

Santa: Well, that and the fact that dogs has just started arriving on planet earth. Prior to that time, there had been no dogs on Earth. 

Interviewer: Really! Where did they come from? And how did they find you? 

Santa: They had started coming down from their own planet – the Planet of the Dogs. They came down to help people. Somehow, they had heard we were in trouble, and one day, there they were, just like that...

 To read all of the Interview With Santa, click this link:  Interview with Santa 

The illustrations from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, are by Stella Mustanoja McCarty

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Podmeme2Free copies of Snow Valley Heroes, a Christmas Tale; Planet Of The Dogs; and Castle In The Mist  are available  for therapy dog owners and organizations, as well as librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs. Simply email us at planetofthedogs@gmail.com with your postal address.

All of the Planet Of The Dogs series of books are available through your favorite independent bookstore and online through Barnes&Noble, Amazon, and many other sources.  

 Here is a link to sample chapters of  Snow Valley Heroes 

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Bfp_logo_header


BFPBeagles

We're on Holiday...The Beagle Freedom Project found us a new home after life in a cage as a test animal....wow!

 

"The Beagle Freedom Project is a mission to rescue beagles used in animal experimentation in research laboratories and give them a chance at life in a loving forever home." 

This wonderful organization has several excellent, touching, videos and clear, basic information: The Beagle Freedom project 

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DrSeussXmas

 

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

―Dr Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas

 

 

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FindingFidoFinding Fido for Doglovers

"Finding Fido is a book that we believe each and every PetParent should not only read, but own. Finding Fido is a PetParent’s guide to: preventing the loss of their pets in the first place & also serves as a guide to PetParents for essential steps to recovering their pets if they ever are lost. If you’re a first time Pet Parent or a long time, seasoned Pet Parent, there are tips and tricks in here that will be helpful to you!...

As great as this book truly is, we’ve got one detail to share that completely sweetens the pot…the cherry on top if you will. All proceeds from the sale of Finding Fido are donated toward the Beagle Freedom Project Kaitlin Jenkins- PetParent  The cover design and content are by author and dog advocate C.A. Wulff 

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 Holiday Season at the Movies

Fun stories.fantasy and imaginative annimation characterize the holiday movies for children...while dystopia, conflict and bloodshed continue to pour out of YA films.

My hope is that children will see the films intended for them, and stay away from the violence of current YA movies, designed, as Christopher Tolkien says below, as action movies for young people 15 to 25.

Chriestopher Tolkien

 JRR Tolkien's son, Christopher, believes that the quest for commercial success by Peter Hobbit-raft-elvesJackson and the movie industry has destoyed the essence of what his father wrote about the world of Middle Earth in the Hobbit books. Here are excerpts from a post regarding Christopher Tolkien's deep disappointment that appeared on Worldcrunch. The quotes by Tolkien are from an interview he gave to le Monde. 

"Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? 'They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,' Christopher says regretfully. 'And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film.'.. 

This divorce has been systematically driven by the logic of Hollywood. 'Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time,' Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. 'The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing' "....

Read the full article on Worldcrunch: My Father's "Eviscerated" Work - Son Of Hobbit Scribe J.R.R. Tolkien Finally Speaks Out 

The illustration,"Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raftelves, is by JRR Tolkien.

The Hobbit, Battle of the Five Armies, opens Dec 17. Here is a link to the trailer: Five Armies:

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay1


MockingjayPt1KatnissintheDistrict

The story of the Hunger Games continues through the Holiday Season and beyond, with Mockingjay 1. It opened in late November and is off to becoming another huge financial success. Audiences seem to like the film despite the fact that many critics were dissapointed.

 

Here is an excerpt from the review in the Atlantic by Christopher Orr entitled, Hunger Games: Mockingjay1, Darker, More Relentles than Ever.

 "Is the film a bit baggy in places? Sure. Might it have been better if they’d squeezed the whole book into one movie? Probably. Nonetheless, Mockingjay Part 1 is a fine entertainment, shot through with moments of surprising emotional impact."

Here is a link to the Mockingjay1 trailer.

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The Dystopian Formula 

The dystopian story appears to be a theme for success in today's YA film market. In reviewing MazeRunner3The Maze Runner, Jack Cole wrote that The Maze Runner doesn't separate itself from its YA dystopian bretheren. Here is the headline and an excerpt from Cole's insightful review:In 'The Maze Runner,' the maze itself is a letdown and the film presents boring explanations to the plot's mysteries. By Jake Coyle, Associated Press.

Has a cottage industry ever sprung up as fast as the YA land rush brought on by "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games"? I'd like to use a mortal instrument to put an ender to this game. Please, giver me a break.

But to be fair, there isn't anything inherently wrong with "The Maze Runner," directed by special effects-veteran Wes Ball. It's just that it does so little to find its own path separate from its dystopia brethren. All of the recent young-adult formulas are adhered to here: the teenage rebellion against tradition, the coming-of-age metaphors, the heavy sequel-baiting.

Here is a link to the trailer for The Maze Runner. The film has grossed over one hundred million dollars and continues to play. It was not expensive to produce. There will be a sequel.

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Movie Violence and Children...

I believe that films with relentless violence, surround sound, fearful images and often in 3-D, will HobbitsSworddisturb children. How many children, twelve and under, are seeing the current crop of violent dyustopian films?

I presume the producers of these films, and to a lesser extent, the writers of the book series on which they are based, see violence as an important aspect of marketing and audience appeal.

Perhaps, many young adult viewers, after watching the Hunger Games, are more appreciative of the world they live in and of the fact that they are not one of the 25 million refugee children across the world.

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 The Giver 

GiverSkyAfter reading Jerry Griswold's enthusiastic comments about The Giver in the Unjournal of Children's Literature, I decided to research the movie and write about it. The film was based on a controversial, but well received book by Lois Lowry.The book was published in 1993 and the movie was released in July, 2014. The Giver had a different take on dystopia and the use of violence. 

I have now decided to see the movie before writing further about The Giver. To be continued...

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Into The Woods

Into-the-woodsLRRHoodInto the Woods, which seems to be a Disney family film for children, YA, and parents, is now opening on Christmas Day, 2014. The film's slogan, "Be careful what you wish for", relates to the witch, a central character, played by Meryl Streep. Music by Stephen Sondheim, adds to the story, as it did in the original long running Broadway production.

In the story, the witch uses her magical powers to teach lessons in living to Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk. The original production was a big hit with audiences. 

Here is a link to the trailer for Into the Woods.

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 Annie


Opens Dec 18... Annie, a family movie, is based on the hit Broadway musical. The cast Annie-Movie-includes Jamie Fox, Quvenzhane Wallis and Cameron Diaz...Here is a summary from IMDB where you will also find more information, photos and trailers.

Annie looks joyous and entertaining in the trailer preview.

"Annie is a young, happy foster kid who's also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they'd be back for her someday, it's been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan. But everything's about to change..." 

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 Holiday Children's Movies Galore

Here are three more kid's films that look good in their trailers and have been generally well received by reviewers. I have previously posted good notices for the following recently opened movies: Box Trolls, Book of Life, and Hero of Color City -

 Big Hero 6 

Critics Consensus from Rotten Tomatoes :  "Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching." In 3D. Now Playing. Box office: 200 million thus far. Here is the trailer for Big Hero 6 ...Looks like fun.

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Paddington

Paddington2
 Paddington Review...Here is an excerpt from the 3 star review by Xan Brooks in the Guardian
 
"Paddington, directed by Paul King from the original Michael Bond stories, spins the tale of a small bear (voiced very ably by Ben Whishaw) weaned on marmalade jars and idealised notions of England. The film is as warm as an eiderdown and as fluffy as its feathers. Cast out of his forest home, Paddington hops a cargo ship and comes to London, where his decorous dreams bump up against modern reality"
Opening December 12. Here is the trailer: Paddington Adopted from a classic children's book.
 
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Penquins of Madagascar
 
This is one I missed before...Opened in mid-November. Here is the trailer: Penguins of Madagascar
 
Critics Consensus from Rotten Tomatoes: "Penguins of Madagascar is fast and brightly colored enough to entertain small children, but too frantically silly to offer real filmgoing fun for the whole family."
 
 

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LightsSheepSheepdogsChristmas Lights Moving Through the Hills

A Holiday treat, and a wonder to behold, the moving lights are on hundreds of sheep, running in the darkness, guided by sheepdogs...this is a classic video...Moving Lights

 

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PlanetDogFondaton-Banner

From Rescue to Reading...A Holiday Salute

Brigadoon-grantee-picWe Salute the Planet Dog Foundation for their years of support for "the exemplary work of non-profit organizations training and placing dogs working to help people in need all over the country."

Through the years, they have given over one million dollars; in 2014, alone, they have given over one hundred thousand dollars.

For more information, here is a link to the Planet Dog website 

The photo is from Brigadoon Youth and Service Dog Programs in Bellingham,WA

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Circling The Waggins at Christmas

Here is an an excerpt from the doglover's book, Circling the Waggins, by CA Wulff. The dogs seen in the ebook cover (below) are the current residents of the cabin in the woods wherein this saga of a life with rescued dogs takes place.


CtWrevisedCoverKindle
"I feel like we are haunted by the ghost dog of Christmas past. The season brings a million reminders of our Troll, a dog who had loved Christmas more than any other time of year. He would get excited at the first signs of holiday decorations, and his eyes would shine with a child’s wonder. On Christmas morning, he would race to be the first dog under the tree, to tear at the packages full of biscuits and rawhides. Each of the dogs would tear at a package, but Troll unwrapped with such gusto and fervor, that they would all abandon their presents to stand back and watch him, and then make off with whatever treats he had revealed." 

CA Wullf also created the cover for her book.

 

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Way Cool Dogs On Finding a Puppy That's Good for Kids 

Choosing the right puppy is a critical decision...here is an excerpt from a helpful article on Way Cool Dogs.


POD-Miss Merrie-blog size"How do you choose a puppy that is good for your children? It is a question every parent should ask before deciding to adopt one of the small puppy breeds for their child. Toy puppies can make great companions for kids if they are chosen properly, and the child is trained to handle small puppies properly. And to be fair, a child is the only one who can keep up with the boost of energy that puppies seem to be born with!

The good news is that you have a variety of small puppy breeds to choose from: mini Yorkies, Maltese, Havanese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and many others. Smaller dogs seem to be less intimidating around children. If the puppies are small, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be aggressive with children. You just need to be careful when choosing a perfect small puppy for your home...

The illustration, from Planet Of The Dogs, is by Stella Mustanoja McCarty

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SunbearSqBigLogo

Sunbear Squad guides good hearted people like those who sent Sunbear this post.... 

Christmas Rescue of a Lost Rescue Dog

 

scooter (5K)Are you ready for a sweet Christmas story about a little lost doggy? We were walking our two dogs a few days ago and saw a little scared pup that looked like a Shitzu/Llasa Apso mix. He was limping, his hair was shaved, he had no collar. We scooped the little guy up and brought him home with us. We drove to Petco and Petsmart to ask if they recognized him. No one did. So we had him scanned to see if he was microchipped. He wasn't. So we listed the little fella on Craigslist and a lost and found pup website also. No luck. We called around to a few vet clinics in our area ... to no avail. So we took care of this little lost boy in our home for a few days.

 

We named the little guy Buddy. He was so sweet. He stayed with us and my two little dogs who played and slept and ate along with him. He seemed to limp a little less as the days went by. We wondered how his life was before he met us. We wondered if he was limping because he may have been a caged dog used for breeding because he was not neutered. We wondered if he came from a loving home or an abusive home. We were getting worried after our fourth day of loving on the little guy...

 

Here is the link to read the complete post on Sunbear Christmas Rescue. 

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  Charles-DickensTree"Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart." -Washington Irving

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7. Meet the Reading Dogs

Today’s guest blogger is Robyn Douglas from Down East Dog Scouts Troop 159 in Hancock County, ME.

cirra

Cirra with some of her favorite books

I want to tell you about Cirra. In her six years as a reading buddy, Cirra has given hundreds of books to kids. She’s helped dozens of children improve their reading and comprehension. She loves to sit quietly and listen. She is everyone’s best friend.

Cirra is a therapy dog and a member of Downeast Dog Scouts Troop 159. I’m her handler.  Being part of the Children Reading to Dogs program is one of the most rewarding things Cirra and I have ever done.

Many of the kids that participate in our program are struggling readers and are too embarrassed to read aloud, but not with Cirra. When she walks into a school or library, the kids can’t wait to pet her and read with her.

If they stumble over a word or two, Cirra doesn’t mind. I tell them that she would love to learn the troublesome word, and the kids have fun teaching it to her.

dogs

One of the many dogs, like Cirra, who help kids become strong readers

By reading with her, Cirra’s buddies become stronger readers. They build self-confidence, empathy and a love of learning. It’s so wonderful to see them take that leap.

At the end of five reading sessions, kids receive a book of their own from Cirra. One boy was so grateful, he promised to treasure it forever and read it to his own grandchildren some day.

Some kids just need a little something extra to get them reading, and having books is the first step. Your support of First Book makes moments like these possible. Please consider making a gift today.

The post Meet the Reading Dogs appeared first on First Book Blog.

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8. Jane Hanser Talks About Dogs Don’t Look Both Ways

Jane Hanser is the writer behind the blog www.dogsdontlookbothways.com. Her first book carries the same namesake and we got to chat with Hanser about the endearing Dogs Don't Look Both Ways and the behind-the-scenes steps she took to create this joyful read.

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9. Pug Portraits: Boots & Weezy

These cute little devils are Boots & Weezy, and I was lucky enough to be commissioned to capture their full puginess in these 9x12 gouache portraits. These dignified likenesses are now in their new home in Portland. Thank you, Ame for this wonderful project!

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10. Dogs Don’t Look Both Ways: A Primer on Unintended Consequences, by Jane Hanser | Dedicated Review

With a humorous voice and multiple anecdotes, Joey, a chocolate Labrador who enjoys digging and escaping beyond his home’s fence, provides an entertaining narration for both children and adults.

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11. Review: Unleashed by Rachel Lacey

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I took one look at Unleashed and was smitten.  How could I resist that cute cover?  It’s like the dog is forcing his human companions into close quarters, because he knows what’s best for them.  I envy a dog’s view of the world; everything is better with company, there is never a time when play isn’t appropriate, and there is nothing to bring contentment like a cuddle and a hug.  If humans acted more like dogs, methinks the world would be a much happier place.

Matt and Cara are both stuck in neutral.  Cara, a cancer survivor, is waiting for the 10 year anniversary of her remission. Until she hits that milestone, she is afraid to live.  She’s working as a nanny, as well as volunteering at the local animal shelter, just biding her time.  She refuses to even consider a serious relationship, because what happens if her cancer comes back?  She only fosters dogs, never adopting one permanently, because what would happen to it if she fell ill again?

Matt has made plans to sell his place and move back home to be with his mom.  She’s not doing too well on her own, and he wants to help his younger brother take care of her.  He doesn’t have time to look for romance, because he’ll be leaving town soon.  But when his path collides with Cara’s, they both have some serious thinking to do.  What if this is the love of their lives, but the timing is all wrong for falling in love?

I loved this book.  Cara’s foster dogs play a huge part in the plot, and Matt is a great guy.  After their initial misunderstanding, when he accuses her of fighting her dogs (they aren’t even pit bulls, and I was getting geared up to dislike Matt because he was acting like a self-righteous ass), they start to develop feelings for each other.  They were attracted to each other immediately, but it was the shift from lust to like that resonated with me.  There wasn’t much about Unleashed that didn’t work for me.  Sure, there were little annoyances with Cara, but knowing her medical history and how fearful she was of falling ill again, her behavior made perfect sense to me.  There is even a little mystery for Matt to solve; he’s a PI, and his latest case is causing him all kinds of grief. 

Unleashed is a fun, refreshing read, and I’m so looking forward to the next book in the series.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

 

What happens when you find the right one at the wrong time?
Cara Medlen has a serious case of animal attraction. And it’s not because of all the foster dogs she’s rescued. She’s got it bad for her incredibly sexy neighbor. Her one rule: Don’t get attached. It’s served her well with the dogs she’s given to good homes and the children she’s nannied. Yet the temptation of Matt’s sexy smile might just convince her that some rules are made to be broken.

Matt Dumont doesn’t need his skills as a private investigator to detect disaster on the horizon. Cara is everything he thought he’d never find-gorgeous, funny, and caring. But there’s no way he can start a relationship just as he’s about to move to another state. Talk about bad timing. As their attraction sizzles too hot to deny, they’ll have to make a decision: forget the consequences and let loose, or forget each other and let go…

The post Review: Unleashed by Rachel Lacey appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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12. SkADaMo 2014 Day5

meowl

MEOWLS AND DIRDS

Inspired by this and this.

I mean, just saying the words make me smile!

By the way, wondering what SkADaMo is? Check this out.


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13. Two Dog Heroes of WWI

 Rags: Hero Dog of WWI, a true story
written by Margot Theis Raven, illustrated by Petra Brown

This is the story of a mongrel dog who was surviving by his wits in Paris when he was found by an American soldier named James Donovan during an air raid after the Americans entered WWI.

Private Donovan felt sorry for the hungry, scruffy, scared pup, giving him the very suitable name Rags.  When the air raid was over, Donovan took Rags back to his army base, where he was ordered to pack up this gear so he could leave for the battlefield that night.  And yes, Rags went with him.

It didn't take long for Rags to become a favorite with the soldiers and to adjust to infantry life in the trenches.  He was immediately put to work, chasing mice and rats out of the trench where Donovan was fighting.  Donovan was a radio operator and soon Rags was delivering important messages all up and down the trenches.

It didn't take long for Rags to become quite the hero.  In October 1918, little more than a month before the war ended, Donovan and Rags were both seriously injured in a terrible battle, but not before Rags got a message through that helps the Allies win the battle.  At the army hospital, a kind doctor found Rags and took care of his injuries.  From then on, Rags was blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and walked with a limp.  Sadly, Donovan did not survive his injuries.

Rags: Hero Dog of WWI is really a picture book for older readers, though there are not real resources at the back of the book.  It is well written, but though the story is based on an actual dog, it is really historical fiction.  Still, it is an inspiring work and is sure to please kids who like animal stories.  By the same token, it introduces the reader to some of the horrors of war in a gentle, age appropriate way.

The soft, muted realistic illustrations by Petra Brown are sure to tug at the heartstrings.  I know they did mine.

This book is recommended for readers age 7+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL

Stubby the Dog Soldier, World War I Hero
written by Blake Hoena, illustrated by Oliver Hurst

Like Rags, Stubby (named that because of his stubby tail) was also a scruffy stray who began to follow Private J. Robert Conroy around his army base in New Haven, CT after Conroy had given him some leftover food.  Soon, Conroy made a place for Stubby to sleep under his bed and a friendship was born.  It didn't take long for Stubby to become the mascot of the 26th Infantry Division and in August 1917, he sailed to France with the soldiers.

On the battlefield, Stubby's keen sense of smell served as a warning when the enemy starting using mustard gas to attack the soldiers.  The mustard gas would have burned their skin and lungs so they couldn't breath if Stubby hadn't warned them.  Soon, the soldiers learned to follow Stubby's cues.  He sense of hearing warned them when a bomb was coming so they could take cover, and he even helped capture a German soldier crawling over no man's land to drop a grenade in the trenches.

When the war ended, Conroy went to Georgetown Law and Stubby went with him, becoming the football team's mascot.  Stubby died in 1926.

Stubby the Dog Soldier, World War I Hero is a similar story to that of Rags, but for younger readers.  It too is well written and straightforward, with back matter that includes a glossary, books for further reading and even a Critical Thinking using the Common Core section.

Oliver Hurst's oil painted and pencil folk art type illustrations are done in a palette of browns, greens and blues, giving Stubby's story a real feeling of the battlefield, where I don't imagine there were too many bright colors anywhere, since soldiers was to blend in the background.

This book is recommended for readers age 5+
This book was received from the publisher

Dogs were not officially used in World War I, but both Rags and Stubby were two of the exceptions.  In fact, each received a write-up in the New York Times when they died.

You can read the obituary for Rags HERE and Stubby's HERE (oddly located at the bottom of the page about the Metropolitian Museum of Art)

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14. Why Dogs Are …, by Tana Thompson | Dedicated Review

Using the fictional story of how dogs came to be on Earth, author Tana Thompson weaves a delicate and soothing story that highlights God’s ability to show his love to all, including the blind and deaf.

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15. Books Gone to the Dogs!

Check out our great selection of Dog Books this week… Use the promo code “doggone” and get FREE shipping on your order. Offer ends November 3rd Top Dogs by Angela Goode A unique celebration of our remarkable Aussie working dogs, illustrated with photographs taken by the people who love them. This is a celebration of these […]

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16. A Look at the 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award Winner and Honor Books

A Look at the 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award Winner and Honor Books | Storytime Standouts

Storytime Standouts Shares Wonderful Choices for Beginning Readers












The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli 2014  Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award WinnerThe Watermelon Seed written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
Picture book for beginning readers published by Disney Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group





When a charming and exuberant crocodile explains that he loves watermelon, we are utterly convinced,

Ever since I was a teeny, tiny baby cocodile, it’s been my favorite.
CHOMP! SLURP! CHOMP!

While enthusiastically devouring his favorite fruit, the crocodile accidentally ingests a seed, his imagination runs wild and he assumes a variety of terrible outcomes.

Repetitive text, limited use of long vowel words and very good supporting illustrations make this a great choice for beginning readers.

The Watermelon Seed at Amazon.com

The Watermelon Seed at Amazon.ca



Ball by Mary Sullivan a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookBall written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan
Picture book for beginning readers published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children





There is little doubt that this dog loves his small, red ball. From the moment he wakes up, he is focused on only one thing: playing with the ball. He especially loves when the ball is thrown by a young girl but when she leaves for school there is no one available to throw it.

This is a terrific picture book that relies heavily on the illustrations for the narrative. Apart from one repeated word (ball) it could be classified as a wordless picture book.

It will be thoroughly enjoyed by dog lovers and young children – especially those who are eager for an opportunity to read independently.

Ball at Amazon.com

Ball at Amazon.ca



A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookA Big Guy Took My Ball written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Series for beginning readers published by Hyperion Books for Children





This charming story will remind readers that appearances can be deceiving and perspective is everything! Gerald and Piggie’s friendship is solid and Gerald is more than willing to stand up for Piggie when her ball is taken by a big guy.

Delightful illustrations will appeal to young readers as they effectively portray a range of emotions. The text is perfect for children who are beginning to read – lots of repetition and very few long vowel words.

A Big Guy Took My Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) at Amazon.com

A Big Guy Took My Ball! at Amazon.ca



Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookPenny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes
Generously illustrated chapter book series for beginning readers published by Greenwillow Books An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers





It truly is a treat to read such a beautifully-written chapter book for beginning readers. Kevin Henkes has created a new character: Penny. She is a young mouse with a sense of right and wrong. In this book, she is out with her sister when she “finds” a beautiful blue marble. She excitedly puts it into her pocket and later wonders if she did the right thing.

Lovely, full color illustrations and a thought-provoking dilemma make this a great choice for newly independent readers.

Penny and Her Marble at Amazon.com

Penny And Her Marble at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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17. Oct- The Past Is Always Present, Books, Movies, Kids and Dogs

 

             RaaseporiChurchIntCilingArch-Lohja-summer2013 051

 

Is Middle Earth the past?

Is Panem modeled after ruthless dictatorships of the past?

Is the harsh world of the Grimm's more than a reflection of the past?

Does children's literature, in books and movies, bring the past into the present?

Can childhood stories open the doors of the mind to the present -- and the future?  

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NWO1

High Stakes of YA Dystopia. 

In earlier eras, there were adult works of literature set in dystopian milieus... they includeThe Trial, Brave New World, Animal Farm, 1984, Childhood's End, The Quiet Ameriican, The Naked and the Dead, A Rumor of War, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Farenheit 451, All Quiet On the Western Front, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and many more.

To one degree or another, these books are classics. And like children's and young adult (YA) books of our current era, many were reinvented as theatre and movies.

Today, we seem to have a run of dystopian-centered books and films for young adults (YA). Many are in the form of a series and are followed by films --  also in series. The books, although some may be well written, do not pretend to be literature. Rather, the books, like the films, seem primarily designed to be popular and succeed in the marketplace.


HobbitsSwordControversy
has followed...most of the films are characterized by great violence; and they all seem to have teen age protagonists who are themselves commiting violence (usually for survival).

Crossover. I don't know if the term YA, and the definition (12-18 year olds) came from marketeers or librarians, or both. I do know that the lines have been blurred, with children and adults both crossing over into the realm of YA.  

I doubt that there will be clear lines in the future. The finacial stakes are too high. YA books and movies are a multi -billion dollar business.

Personally, I don't care if adults read YA books. Hopefully, they do so with discernment.

I do care about the amount of over-the-top violence that children are subjected to in YA movies.



GrimmHanselGretelRackham
For any child, there is a huge difference in the impact found in the brief mention of Gretel pushing the murderous witch into the oven, when compared to the long, unrelenting, realistic, hardcore violence (supported by thunderous sound and music) of the Ring movies.

Hopefully, Alice In Wonderland, Winnie-the-Pooh, Snow White, His Dark Materials, Tales from the Brothers Grimm, and other classics -- themselves often fraught with danger, fear, and violent events -- will continue as the main source for bringing the past -- or the future -- into Children's  minds.

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 Dystopia and the Grimms

The world of the Grimm's fairy tales is filled with fearful events, dark forests, curses by evil witches, and cruelty --  dystopia, but always relieved by magic, marvels, courage, beauty and happy endings...

GrimmstheRobberBridegroomJohnBGruelle"The unsparing savegry of stories like the Robber Bridegroom is a sharp reminder that fairy tales belong to the childhood of culture as much as the culture of childhood...they capture anxieties and fantasies that have deep roots in childhood experience"- Maria Tatar,The Grimm Reader: Classic Tales of the Brothers Grimm.

"It is worth noting that the lives of all people in the land of the Grimm's was in was in constant turmoil and change during the time that the Grimm's collected, wrote, and published their books." - Seth LererChildren's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter. 

The illustration from The Robber Bridegroom is by John B. Gruelle  

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Rackham_hanseGretel

"'Well, dear little children. How in the world did you get here? Just come right in, and you can stay with me. You will come to no harm in my house.' She took them by the hand and led them into her house...The old woman had only pretended to be kind." - Hansel and Gretel meet the Wicked Witch

"For children in their most impressionable years, there is in fantasy, the highest of stimulating and educational powers." -Arthur Rackham

 
 
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SheSpeaksBark-Logo_Horizontal

SheSpeaksBarkBearScooter2Kaitlin Jenkin's has two blogs, She Speaks Bark and Pet Parent. Kaitlin has a background of working in many dog related jobs, including foster care and 7 years as a shelter worker. She has two adopted dogs (seen on the left), Bear and Scooter. She recently wrote an excellent and informative review of C.A. Wulff and A.A. Weddle's  book for dog owners, Finding Fido. Here are excerpts...

"The thought of Bear or Scooter going missing, or being stolen is one that I don’t let my mind entertain. To say I’d be devastated doesn’t even begin to cover it, and I know you all feel the same about your pets! Would you know what to do if your pet suddenly went missing? Where to begin? What to do first?

FindingFidoFinding Fido is essentially a Pet Parent’s guide to preventing the loss of a pet, as well as a guide on
exactly what steps to take should that awful moment ever happen to you. Authors C.A Wulff and A.A. Weddle are the administrators of the Lost & Found Ohio Pets service and they collaborated on this helpful guide in order to address the sad reality of so many lost pets in America....

 If our pets were to become lost, it would be absolutely devastating. We may not even be able to think logically in order to act effectively to work towards their return. That’s why this book is great- it’s literally a step by step guide to finding your lost pet. Full of resources for Pet Parents to utilize, and all at the turn of a page.

... I think that Finding Fido is a great read for all Pet Parents and pet lovers. If you’re a first time Pet Parent or a long time, seasoned Pet Parent, there are tips and tricks in here that will be helpful to you! Everyone should read the sections entitled ‘Before You Lose A Pet‘" ...

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Adults Continue to Cross the Borders of Imagination Into Y.A.

As part of a post that I wrote in our September blog about the trend of adults reading Y.A. books, I quoted journalist (Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe)  Ruth Graham's article in Slate with this headline: "Read whatever you want. But you should be embarrassed when what you're reading was written for children."

JenDollGraham's article provoked substantial controversy including a very thoughtful rebuttal, in Hairpin, by journalist and author(Save The Date ) Jen Doll: The Trouble With Reader-Shaming: A Y.A.Book List
Here are excerpts from Jen Doll's rebuttal:

"The great debate over whether grownups should read young adult literature—and further, what the nature of reading should be—has come up again, thanks to a piece in Slate telling adults they should feel ashamed about reading books for kids... 

DiaryPartTimeIndianAlexie"What the piece itself rails against—that Y.A. offers pat, easy or at the very least GoingOverCover"satisfying" solutions aimed at kids and doesn’t make adults think—could be said for the very type of internet writing it embodies. Here, precisely, is how you should feel, it says. Here are the answers, tied up in a bow: You be embarrassed for wasting your time reading Y.A., because Y.A. is not for adults, and you should be reading something appropriate to your age. It is easy and not challenging. You should not be "substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature." This is an argument that speaks from a place of truth and rightness, or at least, intends to; there is little room for nuance. 

Yet, nuance persists. There are many, many factors that go into what makes something complex, great, or "appropriate to one's age,and most of all this depends on who is reading it—not based in age, because age categorizations do not always match prescribed reading levels; just ask any kid sneaking illicit tomes off her parents' bookshelf because all "her" books have already been devoured—but based in who that person is, what they want, and what they bring to the table..." 

Update: Jen Doll is now writing a column of YA book reviews for the venerable New York Times: "Y.A. Crossover". The Times they are a changing. Congratulations, Jen Doll.

The Photo is of Ms Doll. The two books pictured are from Ms Doll's Y.A. Book List. 

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Kidlitosphere_central

Jordyn castleKidLitosphere is the best source that I have found for locating children's literature blogs. KidLitosphere has helped many readers find their way to these pages. Here is an excerpt form their home page..."Some of the best books being published today are children’s and young adult titles, well-written and engaging books that capture the imagination. Many of us can enjoy them as adults, but more importantly, can pass along our appreciation for books to the next generation by helping parents, teachers, librarians and others to find wonderful books, promote lifelong reading, and present literacy ideas."

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PlanetDogFondaton-Banner

Geno is retiring. An 8 year old German Shepherd, Geno is highly regarded by the Kane County Sheriff's Office for his loyalty, courage and intelligence. Here are excerpts from his bio as posted by the Sheriff's Office:


PDF AwardK9gino"Geno has served with the KCSO since 2009. Deputy Bill Gatske, Geno’s handler, has served with the KCSO for 15 years and Geno will continue to live with Gatske and his family in retirement. Over his career, Geno has... performed numerous dignitary and presidential protective sweeps and participated in sweeps before games at Soldier Field in Chicago along with conducting countless explosive detection searches, suspect apprehensions and missing person searches. 
Geno may be most remembered, though, for his appearances with local area children where he taught the value of policing and reinforced the fact that law enforcement officers exists to serve their community"...

The cost of replacing Gino with his special skills in explosives detection, tracking, missing person searches, and more is very expensive. Once again, Planet Dog Foundation is providing support for a service dog. They have come together with the Spirit of Blue Foundation  to award the Kane County Sherrif’s Office a $12,500 grant to acquire and train a new explosives detection K9 to replace the very special Geno. 

The Planet Dog Foundation has awarded over a million dollars in funding to support dogs helping people in need.

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PoodleAdWCD_aug_2012_j“We dogs are happy and help each other because love is the most important part of our lives. When you give love,” she said, “You bring out love in others. If we come to Planet Earth, and people spend time with us, there will be fewer lonely people and more happy people.”
- Miss Merrie, Queen of the Dogs

 

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WindWillowsMole

 “But Mole stood still a moment, held in thought. As one wakened suddenly from a beautiful dream, who struggles to recall it, but can recapture nothing but a dim sense of the beauty in it, the beauty! Till that, too, fades away in its turn, and the dreamer bitterly accepts the hard, cold waking and all its penalties.” -- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows               Illustration by E.H. Shepherd


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Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale at the Independent Publishers of New England Exhibits (IPNE)

If you are a New England librarian and headed to Boxborough, MA, for the NELA IPNE.fwConvention (October19-21), we invite you to visit the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE) exhibit where you will find Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale.

If you are a New England book lover and are headed to the Boston Book Festival (BFF) 0n October 25, we invite you to the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE) exhibit where you will also find Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale.

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Littleprince
Children's Literary Salon...New York Public Library

Saturday, November 1, 2014, 2PM, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium...Speaker: Howard Scherry...Hosted by Elizabeth Bird 

Margaret Wise Brown & Antoine de Saint-Exupery: Parallels in Their Life, Comparison in Their Literature...free admission


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 The Past is Always Present

UPDATE: Y.A. Distopian Movies Keep Coming -- And Making Money...Variations and Reinterpretations of Books of the Past by Movies are Omnipresent ...

Mockingjay teaser comic conNo one is safe...not family, nor friends, nor any of the good folks in Katniss' "hometown" -- District 12. Empire. Oppression, and teen warriors again prevail as the Hunger Games story of resistance and survival continues.
Dystopia will mean box office dollars when this third episode (there will be one more) of the        Hunger Games, Mockingjay-Part1, opens in theaters worldwide, starting on November 19 -- November 21 in the USA.  

Here is a trailer for Mockingjay Part 1

For some perspective on the Hunger Games series, take a look at this review from Salon by Andrew O'Hehir "Whose Revolution Is It It?" 

Mockingjay_poster"Much of the genius of the “Hunger Games” franchise lies in its portrayal of a dystopian future society that lacks any specific ideological character. Panem, the deep-future dictatorship that has apparently replaced present-day America after an unspecified combination of civil war, social meltdown and ecological catastrophe, has the semiotic appearance of fascism – white-helmeted storm troopers and barbed-wire walls – but is really more like an old-fashioned feudal society, concerned entirely with maintaining its internal order. In reviewing the first “Hunger Games” movie, I observed that the relentless media onslaught of the Information Age has been rolled back, in author  Suzanne Collins’ fictional universe, to one TV network and one reality show. Politics has been stripped down too: There is nothing except Empire and Resistance."

The Hunger Games Films have thus far grossed over 1.5 billion dollars

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1-divergent-logo  Divergent620x330

The critics were generally hard on Divergent, but the Box office has been excellent - over 288 million dollars thus far - and two sequels will follow. Based on a very popular Y.A. series by Veronica Roth. Here is an excerpt from a review by Brad Keefe in ColumbusAlive.  

... “Divergent” is an adaptation of a popular young adult fiction trilogy featuring a smart, underdog heroine who fights against a corrupt power system in a dystopian future. 

Divergent-2014-Movie-Poster1If you haven’t read the books, you’ll see “Divergent” as a convoluted “Hunger Games” knock-off. If you have, you’ll find the production values and performances are solid. But the movie is still convoluted. 

In the crumbling ruins of a near-future Chicago, a post-war society has established peace by creating five “factions” of the population based on character traits (brains, brawn, compassion, etc.). Teens are tested for their aptitude in these fields, but they can choose their own faction (as long as they don’t mind leaving their family). 

It’s like society based on a high-school clique system, so it resonates with teens (along with themes of non-conformity). And our heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley) embodies that moment of 'what do I do with my life' confusion."
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MazeRunner(1)

Earlier this Fall, we had The Maze Runneranother YA movie set in a YA Dystopia. In less than a month, the Maze Runner has grossed over 83 Million dollars.

Also based on a successful book series (by James Dasher), it was described by Ben Kienigsberg in the International New York Times as a "perfectly serviceable entry in the young-adult dystopian sweepstakes. It combines elements of “Lord of the Flies” with the Minotaur and Orpheus myths, but it plays as something closer to “The Hunger Games” experienced through a dissociative fog. Much suspense comes from wondering which favored Hollywood twist the movie will employ...."
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Even if one adjusted the figures for inflation etc, I doubt if the combined monies made by the books of Anderson, Dodson, St. Exuprey, the Brothers Grimm et al could compare with the box office receipts of these Y.A. movies.

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BattleofFive Armies
More violence arrives in time for Christmas. The Hobbit, Battle of the 5 Armies opens on December 17. Here is a link to the trailer: Battle

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If you've had enough of YA Dystopian Violence there is good news for children's films...


BoxtrollsBoyBoxtrolls is doing well
and the Tale of Princess Kaguya, from Ghibli Studios is coming. Advance reports on Princess Kaguya s
uggest another outstanding film from the studio that gave us Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away.   

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Blocks

Building Blocks in the past...Minecraft today and tomorrow

In case you were unaware of the scope of Minecraft, here is the opening of the excellent and comprehensive article by Stuart Dredge in the Guardian. The article is entitled: Minecraft movie will be 'large-budget' but unlikely to arrive before 2017. The article also contains videos that will take you into the digital world of Minecraft. 


Minecraft2

"What is Minecraft? It’s a game, obviously: one that its developer Mojang has sold nearly 54m copies of across computers, consoles and mobile devices so far. 

It’s a series of books published by Egmont that sold more than 1.3m copies in the UK alone in the first eight months of 2014. It’s a range of Lego kits that have been selling out rapidly, as well as the source for a line of plush toys, hoodies and other products sold from Mojang’s online store. 


MinecraftVillageBut Minecraft is also an educational tool in schools through the MinecraftEduinitiative, and the driver for Block by Block, a partnership with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme to get young people involved in planning public urban spaces, starting with a pilot in Kenya.
 

Minecraft is also one of YouTube’s most popular video categories – right up there with music – fuelling hugely popular channels..."

Read it all: Stuart Dredge

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  NewYorkTimesLogoAmazon-Hachette Battle Continues with Authors United

Power, money, books, writers and control are all involved as this battlle continues...Here are excerpts from a New York Times article by David Streitfeld.

 

"Amazon is at war with Hachette, and it sometimes seems as if it has always been that way.

HachetteBooksAs a negotiating tool in the battle, which is over the price of e-books, Amazon is discouraging its customers from buying the publisher’s printed books. After six months of being largely cut off from what is by far the largest bookstore in the country, many Hachette writers are fearful and angry. So...they are trying a new tactic to get the
ir work unshackled.

Authors United, a group of Hachette writers and their allies, is appealing directly to Amazon’s board. It is warning the board that the reputation of the retailer, and of the directors themselves, is at risk.

'Efforts to impede or block the sale of books have a long and ugly history,' reads a letter being posted to the group’s website on Monday morning. 'Do you, personally, want to be associated with this?'

The letter warns the directors that the discontent might spread...'if this is how Amazon continues to treat the literary community, how long will the company’s fine reputation last?'”

BookshelvesGaimanViaDigitalcompostingRonBrinkmanHere is the Link to read it all: New York Times

UPDATE...This battle has expanded to include many prominent writers who are not published by Hachette. David Streifeld continues his coverage in what has become a series  in the New York Times. 
Here is an updated excerpt...

"Now, hundreds of other writers, including some of the world’s most distinguished, are joining the coalition. Few if any are published by Hachette. And they have goals far broader than freeing up the Hachette titles. They want the Justice Department to investigate Amazon for illegal monopoly tactics..."


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HeroColorCity The Hero of Color City

This film opened in early October to mediocre reviews, but  very young kids seem to like it.You be the judge. Here is the trailer: Hero of Color City

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Complimentary Holiday Dog Books for Therapy Reading Dogs…

SVH--cut-72 res-8x6cm-3 by 2.5 inchesChristmas is coming and Barking Planet Productions is sending complimentary reader copies of our holiday book, Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, Volume 3 in the Planet of the Dogs series, to libraries and teachers participating in therapy reading dog programs and to therapy reading dogs owners and organizations.

To receive your copy, email us at planetofthedogs@gmail.com

Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, is an illustrated first chapter fantasy-adventure book for children 6-12 and dog lovers of all ages. 

Long, long ago, there were no dogs on planet Earth. It was during that time that two of Santa’s reindeer went missing and there could be no Christmas.

Northern lights-397KBFar out in space is the Planet of the Dogs. Dogs have always lived there in peace and happiness.

 When the dogs learned that there would be no more Christmas, they came down to planet earth to challenge the King of the North, free the reindeer from the Ice Castle, and save Christmas for children everywhere.


To read sample chapters, visit: www.planetofthedogs.net.

 

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Insights on Visual Storytelling

LizzyBurnsLizzy Burns is a proilfic, outspoken, caring and engaging blogger (A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy )  


Ms. Burns is also a dedicated Librarian and Author
(Pop Goes the Library). 

She usually reviews YA books and strongly supports those she likes. I'm interested in younger readers, however, I find her YA reviews to be insightful and very lively reading.

I have excerpted comments on her emotional response to the Y.A. book and movie, If I Stay, and her insights into visual storytelling...

"Here is the thing. I cried at the trailers for this film. I cried when I read the book. I knew all the plot points. There were no surprises. And yet...I cries through the whole film. 

Why?

Because sometimes, it's not what happens. It's the emotional journey. And no matter how many times you go on that journey, it remains heart wrenching...

One thing I like about visual storytelling is it can show me things, reveal things, that I may not have picked up in the book. And yes, sometimes this is because of changes in the adaptation, but i IfIStayMoviet's often about staying true to the spirit of the book if not the text. So, for me, the movie made me understand more how Mia viewed her father leaving his band to pursue a job that was more stable as something he did because of her younger brother, Teddy -- never realizing it was also for her.

The movie is true to the book, but something happened at one point where I both feared and hoped that a change had been made and I said to myself, please please please even though there was no way, no way, and it was just like in the book BUT STILL MY FOOLISH HEART, IT HOPED...."

Here the  link to her review/article of If I Stay. When she isn't blogging, Elizabeth Burns is the Youth Services Librarian for the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center. Here is a link to her blog.  

Here is a Link to the If I Stay movie trailer.

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WCDogsLogo Dog Diet - Avoiding the Confusion

Nancy Houser has another excellent article that solves questions about feeding dogs and taking into account breed, age, health condition -- and she's not selling dog food, not pushing a brand. Here is an excerpt and a link: 


"Dog diet is one of the most confusing aspects of taking care of your dog, a vital part of its Dog 1.26 by 2.173 inchescare. Deciding on the correct dog diet and how to feed your dog is considered a highly complicated task.

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18. Illustration Inspiration: Ruth Paul

Ruth Paul is an award-winning author and illustrator of ten picture books, including Hedgehog’s Magic Tricks. She works from a small straw-bale studio in the middle of a pasture just outside Wellington, New Zealand.

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19. #650 – The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey by Gregory E. Bray & Holly J. Bray-Cook

cover 2 mzzox

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The “Tail” of a Boy Named Harvey

Written by Gregory E. Bray
Illustrated by Holly J. Bray-Cook
Published by Gregory E. Bray         6/01/2013
978-1-488271465-4
Age 4 to 8              32 pages
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“Harvey is always playing with his pets, but his pets don’t like the way he plays with them. When the tables have turned, will he enjoy the way he’s played with?”

Opening

“Harvey was an energetic boy. He loved playing sports.”

The Story

Harvey is a typical five-year-old. He is rambunctious, energetic, imaginative, and self-centered. Harvey loves playing with his pets: a dog and a cat (names not given). Being a young boy, he does not think of either pet’s feelings or consider how they might like to play. The pets are like large dolls that breathe. Harvey puts clothes on them, uses the cat as a basketball, and dresses both up in military garb when he wants to play army—sending the cat up into the air so it may return in a parachute. To say Harvey plays rough with his companions is a mild way of describing his actions. Harvey plays like a little boy plays, with energy and enthusiasm.

The poor dog and cat are not happy and try to avoid Harvey at all costs. His parents cannot figure out why the pets react so adversely to their son, until the day mom catches Harvey ready to catch his parachuting kitty.

“She sent him to his room after dinner and he was only allowed to come out for school and meals.”

Harvey’s response to his punishment further shows he has no idea what he did to get into so much trouble.

“Stupid pets!”  [Harvey said, while lying in bed.]

Review

spread1

I really like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. Subconsciously, Harvey understood what he did was wrong. In his dream, he is the “pet” and the pets “own” him. The pets play with Harvey exactly as he played with them—thrown up in the air, dressed up, and abruptly awakened. Harvey hates this “playing.” The army games the pets play with Harvey terrify him enough to jolt him awake. Mom tells him it is only a dream, but Harvey has other thoughts on his mind,

“I’m sorry guys. I didn’t know how bad I treated you. I promise to play nice with you for now on!”

I like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey because animal abuse starts with that first inappropriate action. While most kids do not continue on abusing animals—and later extend the abuse to humans—the sooner they learn to respect their pets, the faster they will learn to respect other people and themselves. Harvey’s self-centeredness, typical for his age, opened up a notch with his revelation. I love that Harvey came to this realization mainly by himself, though he would have gotten there much slower had mom not punished him. This is a perfect example of how kids learn. The author’s inspiration for the book came in part from his son Liam and their cat Harvey. The author got it right.

spread2

Now, what I do not like about The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. I am not a fan of the 8 x 8 format mainly because little hands need the stronger pages of a traditional picture book format. A couple of pages came loose from the binding in my copy. The main problem with the story is the lack of action. The narrator tells us 90 percent or more of what is happening instead of letting the characters do this. The story would be more engaging had this happened. The reader would also be able to add to the story by adopting character voices and further charm their child. Please remember the key maxim: Show not Tell.

The illustrations are good, not traditional looking picture book illustrations, but nicely done. The pets are great at showing their dislike through facial expressions, though my cat would have simply hissed or bit, then run away. When the pets do run away, their fast retreat is nicely illustrated. The illustrator made sure we understood Harvey’s point of view drastically changes when he becomes the pet. The dog and cat (wish they had names) are adorable. Nice job with the little details I love so much.

spread3

I think kids will like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. Young kids will appreciate the story and laugh at Harvey’s predicament. Those with pets will quickly learn from Harvey and that is a great thing to happen. Classrooms with a pet would do well to read this story, as would any child soon to get their first pet. The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey is the author’s, and the illustrator’s, first children’s book. They both did a nice job bringing the story of Harvey (the cat or the boy, I am no longer sure which) to life.

THE TAIL OF A BOY NAMED HARVEY. Text copyright © 2013 by Gregory E. Bray. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Holly J. Bray-Cook. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Gregory E. Bray, Sacramento, CA.

For a young lad’s critique, click HERE

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Purchase The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey at Amazon—B&N—CreateSpace—Gregory Bray—your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey HERE

Meet the author, Gregory E. Bray, at his blog:   http://gregoryebrayauthor.blogspot.com/

Meet the illustrator, Holly J. Bray-Cook, at her website:

Gregory E. Bray published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

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tail of a boy named harvey

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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A Little about Gregory E. Bray

gregory e bray authorx

“Gregory E Bray (1967-present) was born and raised in Sacramento, CA where he still resides He was a film major in college who now works in the IT industry. He has written scripts for corporate videos and shorts and uses humor in everything he writes. He uses his humor in this, his first children’s book, to help get the books message out to children. His inspiration for writing this children’s book comes from his wife Lita, their son Liam and their cat Harvey.”

How to Find Gregory E. Bray

Website:

Blog:   http://gregoryebrayauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/gregoryebray

Goodreads Author Page:   https://www.goodreads.com/geb1967

Amazon Author’s Page:    amazon.com/author/gregorybray


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: be kind to pets, cats, children's book reviews, dogs, Gregory E. Bray, Holly J. Bray-Cook, imagination, pets, picture books, relationships, respect

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20. Guinness World Records Dogs Create a Caption

guinness_world_records_2015Create a Caption for These Amazing Dogs!

Also amazing? The world record, at 6.56 seconds, for the fastest 10 meters (32 feet) walked on hind legs by a dog. It’s currently held by rising celebrity dog Jiff, who apparently has appeared in a Katy Perry music video. Jiff also holds the world record for fastest 5 meters (16 feet) walked on front legs by a dog, clocking in at 7.76 seconds.

Obviously, you guys need to see photos of these awesome dogs in action. What do you think Jiff and Norman would be saying in these photos?

Norman: “WHEEEEEEE!”

Dog Riding Skateboard

Kevin Scott Ramos/Guinness World Records

Jiff: “Seriously? I’m famous now. You couldn’t find me an outfit with more pizzazz? Also–someone fetch me a Diet Coke, stat!”

Dog on Hind Legs

Kevin Scott Ramos/Guinness World Records

We wanna hear what wacky, hilarious, clever, and interesting captions you’d give these talented pups. Share in the Comments below!

image from kids.scholastic.com— En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

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21. I'm My Own Dog - I love it!

Stein, David Ezra. 2014. I'm My Own Dog. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.


I've got a few deadlines to meet so this will be short, but I couldn't let another day go by without shouting out to the virtual world, "I love this book!"

Funny, inventive, clever and touching, this book will work its way into your heart even as it has you laughing out loud.

This is no ordinary dog.  No one owns him, no sir!

Every morning when I look
in the mirror, I lick my own
face because I am so happy
to see me.
I say, "GOOD DOG.
I AM A GOOD DOG."
You'll think so, too!

Don't just take my word for it.  See more great reviews at

From the end papers,
The illustrations' line work was created using pen as well as a kids' marker hacked to dispense India Ink; it was then photocopied onto watercolor paper.  The painting was done in liquid watercolor, with a hint of crayon on the dog's muzzle.
Ingeniously childish - a perfect presentation of a delightfully independent dog with a soft spot as big as his heart.

Click here to see an inside spread from I'm My Own Dog.

0 Comments on I'm My Own Dog - I love it! as of 9/17/2014 7:56:00 AM
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22. Frankie goes home - the true story of a lucky dog.

As many of you already know Terry (my husband) is a freelance photographer.  He is usually out and about photographing sporting events or fetes but a few weeks ago he was asked to cover something completely different.  This is the headline that subsequently appeared in the press

A runaway dog has been dubbed a real-life 'Littlest Hobo' after covering an epic 120 miles across five counties during two months on the run. 

and this is the story, with thanks to Terry Fisher for the photograph and to the Western Daily Press & Western Gazette for the words.

Rescue dog Frankie slipped his lead on his very first walk with his new owner James Brooks, 56, who posted an appeal on a lost dog website.

Over the following weeks the Labrador-cross was spotted in 14 towns and villages across Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, West Berkshire, Somerset and Dorset.

The three-year-old was finally captured after taking refuge in a cowshed after being bitten by a badger. Bedraggled Frankie was battered, bruised and emaciated following his adventure but is now on the road to recovery after being reunited with James.

His epic tale mirrors the popular Littlest Hobo TV series of the 1960s, 70s and 80s where stray Hobo the German Shepherd travelled from town to town despite attempts to adopt him.

Mr Brooks said: "We were only able to track him down thanks to talking to people to spread the word, people phoning me and messages on the website."He crossed five counties during his time away. He has certainly got a great story to tell, if only he could talk."He was in pretty bad shape when we got the call from the vets to say they thought they had our dog, but it certainly shows he is a strong one.

"I don't think there is any doubt that he will be able to enjoy long walks."

Mr Brooks, his wife Emma and daughter Becky, 16, adopted Frankie from a rescue home in Derby, on June 27, as a companion for their black Labrador Jay. But when Mr Brooks tried to introduce the two pets, Frankie – who had anxiety issues – slipped his lead and darted into a field near their home in Stanford in the Vale, in the Cotswolds.

The family spotted him in nearby villages over the following days but were unable to catch the frightened dog, and posted an appeal on www.doglost.co.uk. Sightings immediately flooded in from Wicklesham, Faringdon, Longcot and Woolstone in Oxfordshire, before a horse rider spotted him in Upper Lambourn in West Berkshire.

The daring pet – which has distinctive horizontal ears – was next spotted by builders in Baydon, Wiltshire, who fed him sandwiches. He crossed main roads and farms until he was seen in Lambourn, West Berkshire, rifling through a skip in mid-July.

Miraculously the Labrador-German shepherd cross even returned home at the end of the month, but ran off before baffled Mr Brooks was able to catch him. "I was sitting in the garden and I heard the metal gate rattle," said Mr Brooks. "I went to look and I couldn't believe it – there he was running off. "We even cooked sausages in the garden to see if we could tempt him back."

The trail went cold for three weeks before, incredibly, a report came in from Bruton, Somerset, to say a very skinny Frankie has been spotted on August 14. Five days later a dairy farmer found him cowering in a shed in nearby Sherborne, Dorset, and took him to a vet, who diagnosed Frankie with blood poisoning after a badger or fox bite to the cheek.

Staff at Kingston Veterinary Group nursed him back to health – thanks to donations from local animal lovers – and were able to track down Mr Brooks through the lost dog website.

The family took him home last Thursday and he settled in immediately "We are taking him for longer and longer walks and he is putting on much-needed weight. Of course, we have now had him chipped."


I'm so pleased the story had a happy ending – how different it could have been.  Thinking about Frankie and dogs in general inspired me to share a few pretty book covers with you. I hope you enjoy looking at them.


All featured books are available (unless sold) at March House Books


We've been enjoying some beautiful autumn days in the UK but on the other side of the world, it’s the beginning of spring.

Here are two spring time photographs of our gorgeous granddaughters enjoy the sunshine. They are just getting over a nasty bout of flu so it’s nice to see them looking so well.

Zoe Rose

Lilly Grace 

Photograph's courtesy of our daughter in law Karen Fisher, you can see more of her work at; Family Tree Photography

Have a wonderful weekend, thank you for your visit. I look forward to coming over to say hello to you all.




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23. Sam & Dave Dig a Hole: diamonds, a dog and deadpan humour

samanddaveSam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen is full of near misses but ends up being one big hit. Forget the treasure that may or may not be buried under your feet, pick this book up and you’ll have a real gem in your hands.

It starts like this:

Apropos of seemingly nothing, Sam and Dave decide to dig a hole.

They’re only going to stop when they find “something spectacular”.

They don’t have much luck, but… in a brilliantly crafted piece of drama they come oh so painfully, excruciatingly close.

Many picture book creators have talked about how they see their books as mini pieces of theatre, and this book delivers a very special theatrical experience; like in a pantomime when you might call out “He’s behind you!”, only for the innocent character on stage to turn and see nothing, the reader/listener has special knowledge that poor Sam and Dave do not. With beautifully textured, muted illustrations revealing something quite different to what is known from the text, children treated to this story get a special thrill from “being in the know”, from seeing the truly spectacular buried treasure that the poor protagonists keep missing.

This empowering experience is doubled up through association with Sam and Dave’s little dog. Despite being small and just a side kick (like many children sometimes feel), the dog seems to have all the brains. He is the one who keeps sensing just how close the diamonds are. He is the one who makes the breakthrough, resulting in Sam and Dave appearing to have dug all the way through to …

…well, to what? To where? Although this book was authored by Barnett, the ending feels like classic Klassen: It’s full of ambiguity and multiple possible readings. Have Sam and Dave dug all the way through from one side of the earth to the other? Have they managed through some Möbius-strip-like convolution to dig all the way through to end up back where they started? Or have they discovered something genuinely spectacular – some new dimension where slightly different rules are at play?

Finely honed, pared-back text and seemingly quiet illustrations which actually pack a very funny punch combine to make this a winner. Do look out for Sam & Dave Dig a Hole!

Inspired by Sam and Dave’s digging we decided to do a little bit of digging ourselves. Using these guidelines from Suffolk County Council, we dug what is known by archaeologists as a “test pit” in the middle of the lawn in our back garden.

We marked out a square and I took off the top layer of turf before the girls started digging down, retrieving any “treasure” they found on the way.

digging3

They used a large garden sieve to go through the soil they removed, and a toothbrush to wash what they found.

digging4

As you can see we found quite a lot of “treasure” including something metal but unidentifiable (top left of the photo below), a section of Victorian clay pipe stem, several pieces of pottery and a surprising number of large bones! (oh, and a hippo…..)

diggging1

At some point when my back was turned the game developed into something a little different – M made a “time capsule” in an old icecream tub and insisted that it got buried when the time came to fill in our hole.

digging2

So I guess this means we’ll be digging another hole at some point in the future. Given how much fun we had with this one, I won’t be complaining.

We weren’t listening to music whilst we dug our hole, but were we to choose some music to match Sam & Dave Dig a Hole we might include these in our playlist:

  • The Hole in the Ground sung by Bernard Cribbins – I have to admit, a favourite from my own childhood
  • Diggin’ a Hole to China by The Baby Grands (you can listen for free here on Vimeo!)
  • Diggin’ in the Dirt by Peter Gabriel

  • Other activities you could enjoy along side reading this hilarious book include:

  • Watching Mac Barnett give a Ted Talk about “writing that escapes the page, art as a doorway to wonder”

  • Helping Sam and Dave find their way through a maze using this activity sheet from the publishers.
  • Indoor hole digging. One of my kids’ favourite activities when they were younger, and one which saved my life several times by providing me with a good few minutes to get on with making supper or tidying up, was digging in an indoor sand tray. I had an old roasting tray filled with sand and a few spoons and yoghurt pots which I kept in the cupboard and would bring out for the girls to play with at the table. Yes sand would get spilt as they dug the sand, but all it took was a quick hoover to tidy up.
  • Taking a look at these VERY big holes around the world….
  • Reading The Something by Rebecca Cobb, another very lovely, very different book all about the possibilities a hole offers.
  • What’s your favourite hole? A hole you made? A hole you visited? A hole which allows you to sneak through into some secret space?

    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book from the publisher but was under no obligation to review it and received no payment for doing so.

    2 Comments on Sam & Dave Dig a Hole: diamonds, a dog and deadpan humour, last added: 10/6/2014
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    24. Ask Anna

    Ask Anna
    Author: Dean Koontz & his dog Anna
    Publisher: Center Street
    Genre: Humor / Dogs
    ISBN: 978-1-4555-3079-3
    Pages: 96
    Price: $20.00

    Author’s website
    Buy it at Amazon

    Dean Koontz was surprised to find that his dog, Anna, was giving advice to other dogs. In Ask Anna, she shares her advice with the furry and forlorn.

    Trouble with the cat next door? Anna can help. Body image problem – legs too short, tongue too long? Anna knows exactly what to do about it. Behavior issue – digging, chewing, scratching? Anna has the answer.

    Filled with photos of dogs along with their various questions, Ask Anna is the perfect Christmas gift for your canine companion. And if you’re curious what he’s thinking, it might be wise to get yourself a copy, too. This adorable book is perfect for anyone who loves dogs.

    100% of what the author receives from the sale of Ask Anna will be donated to Canine Companions for Independence, the nonprofit organization that trains service dogs for people with disabilities.

    Reviewer: Alice Berger


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    25. Puddle Pug, by Kim Norman | Book Review

    Puddle Pug, by Kim Norman, is a beautifully illustrated hardcover book that tells the story of a pug in the search for a perfect pond.

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