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1. 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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2. 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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3. 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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4. 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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5. 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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6. 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.


8 Comments on SkADaMo 2014 Day5, last added: 11/6/2014
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7. 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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8. 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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9. 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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10. 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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11. 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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12. 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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13. 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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14. 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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15. 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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    16. 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.




    0 Comments on Frankie goes home - the true story of a lucky dog. as of 10/3/2014 6:35:00 AM
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    17. 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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    18. 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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    19. There’s bold but then there’s brazen.

    BurnedBoldAndBrazen72lg Theres bold but then theres <i />brazen</p>.So much trouble in this world could be avoided if we all simply shutted up when we did not know whereof we spoke but here I go. I have never read Alfred Ollivant’s Bob, Son of Battle, but Lydia Davis’s explanation of the changes she made for a new New York Review of Books edition makes me eager to read the original if only to defend its honour honor.

    In her afterword, Davis writes that “I did not want Ollivant’s powerful story to be forgotten simply because it was difficult to read.” (She said ominously.) Davis goes on to explain that she translated the Cumbrian dialect used heavily in the 1898 original and then thought oh, the hell with it, let’s fix this sucker:

    “I decided that I would not only change the speech of the characters but also change the way the story was told, just enough so that almost everything could be understood without any problem, and there would be nothing to get in the way of the story.”

    Trifles! I’m reminded of a letter Elizabeth once shared with me from a somewhat overconfident applicant for an editorial position who included with her letter Xeroxed pages of Steig and Lobel marked with her recommended word substitutions.

    Here, for example, is the first sentence/paragraph of Ollivant’s (from the Gutenberg edition):

    “The sun stared brazenly down on a gray farmhouse lying, long and low in the shadow of the Muir Pike; on the ruins of peel-tower and barmkyn, relics of the time of raids, it looked; on ranges of whitewashed outbuildings; on a goodly array of dark-thatched ricks.”

    Here is Davis’s:

    “The sun stared boldly down on a gray farmhouse lying long and low in the in the shadow of the sharp summit of Muir Pike; it shone on the ruins of a fortified tower and a rampart, left from the time of the Scottish raids; on rows of white-washed outbuildings; on a crowd of dark-thatched haystacks.”

    Why bold for brazen, I wonder, but even more I wonder why Davis, clearly on a labor of love, doesn’t trust  today’s children to read past the same difficulties she had with the book in her own childhood: “The odd thing is that because the story is so powerful, you can read right over these hard words and puzzling expressions and not mind, because you are so eager to know what happens next. That is what I did when I first read it.” Readers do this all the time. Feeling that a book knows something that you don’t is one of the prime pleasures of reading.

    Neither Ollivant’s original nor Davis’s adaptation are about to start a new craze for old Bob (I do admire NYRB’s optimistic publishing program), but I suspect that if I were the kind of kid who was going to read it, I would also be the kind of kid who would want to read the original, which is just what Davis has inspired me to do.

     

    share save 171 16 Theres bold but then theres <i />brazen</a></p>.

    The post There’s bold but then there’s brazen. appeared first on The Horn Book.

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    20. Disgruntled

    Disgruntled dog illustration Christine Marie Larsen

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    21. Guest Post: Why Author Jan Flores Walks Shelter Dogs…Part 1

    Animals are near and dear to my heart. In 2007, I had the privilege of working at our local animal shelter. From this experience I got an idea to write a book for my Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series—a young adult teen psychic series—now in the hands of a few reputable traditional publishers via my agents at Walden House (Books & Stuff). It was through my love of animals that I met fellow author and kindred spirit, Jan Flores, who I found loves our furry friends just as much as me. Jan has had some wonderful experiences, especially with shelter dogs, and I asked her if she’d be so kind as to share them with you. Take it away, Jan…

    Five years ago, I walked into our local animal shelter and changed my life forever.  It wasn’t easy. In fact, volunteering to walk shelter dogs was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I know that will probably sound silly to a lot of people: after all, what’s the big deal about walking dogs? Put a leash on and go.

    For me, it wasn’t that simple. Blessed (or cursed) with a writer’s super-active imagination, I didn’t know what would be waiting behind the reception desk, locked away out of sight of the public. I pictured rows of dogs in wire kennels, unloved, unwanted, dropped off by owners who abdicated responsibility because the dog was sick, or old, or injured, or ill-mannered, or just something to be thrown away because it was, after all, only a dog.

    I’ll admit it: I was anxious—scared that I’d make a fool of myself by bursting into tears as soon as I saw the dogs; sure that I wouldn’t be able to turn away from all those sad faces, begging for rescue.  I was positive I’d have nightmares about frightened and confused dogs, who didn’t understand what had happened to them, or why.

    Then I saw a poster that made me feel like a coward, writing checks to assuage my conscience, donating money instead of time so I wouldn’t have to see what I didn’t want to know. The poster showed a dirty, skinny little dog with a huge chain hanging from a studded collar around a neck that looked too frail to hold it up. I couldn’t look away from the depth of pain and hopelessness I saw in that dog’s eyes. The caption under the picture read:
     
    You might not be able to help all the lost dogs in the world, but you can help the one in front of you.

    That day I walked into the shelter and volunteered to walk the dogs.

    Janis Flores was born in Montana, and raised in Colorado and California. After graduating from college, she received her license in Medical Technology, married Ray Flores, and they moved to northern California—she to supervise a laboratory, he to establish his horseshoeing business. She found time to take a class on the short story, but instead wrote her first book—a Gothic suspense titled HAWKSHEAD, which was subsequently published in hardcover by (then) Doubleday and company. Thirty-four novels—from historical to contemporary mainstream—followed.

    SWEETER THAN WINE, published by Musapublishing.com, is her first ebook.
    The award-winning TOUCHED BY FIRE has now been reissued in ebook form.

    Both titles can be found at:

    SWEETER THAN WINE:

    TOUCHED BY FIRE:

    You can find Jan on her website: www.janisflores.com

    On Twitter: @JanisOFlores

    0 Comments on Guest Post: Why Author Jan Flores Walks Shelter Dogs…Part 1 as of 8/18/2014 5:45:00 AM
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    22. August -- Enchantment and Reality, Kids, Books and Dogs

     

     

                  My-Neighbor-Totoro-Fishigonatreebranch

     

     "The authors of books for children enchant us with clarion calls that transport us to desinations in the mind, turning us into adventurous hunters, even when we are sitting still, not moving an inch." -- Maria Tatar, Enchanted Hunters,The Power of Stories In Cildhood

    My Neighbor Totoro (illustration above) is from the enchanted world of the great Japanese story teller and film director, Hayao Miyazaki.

    ...................


    Tim-BurtonQueen-s-Alice-In-Wonderland"When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast" -the Queen in Alice In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

    ..................

    Newly Discovered Fairy Tales are Coming

    TurnipPrincessLost, but now found,  Franz Xaver von Schönwerth's trove of fairy tales have been translated by Maria Tatar, and will be available as the Turnip Princess at the end of February, 2015. 

    Here's the informative announcement on Amazon :

    "With this volume, the holy trinity of tellers of fairy tales—the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersen—becomes a quartet. In the 1850s, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth traversed the depths of the Black Forest and scaled the heights of the Bavarian Alps to record fairy tales, gaining the admiration of even the Brothers Grimm. Most of Schönwerth’s work was lost—until a few years ago, when a researcher unearthed thirty boxes of manuscripts in a municipal archive in Germany.

    Now, for the first time, Schönwerth’s lost fairy tales are available in English. Violent, dark, and full of action, and upending the relationship between damsels in distress and their dragon-slaying heroes, they bring us closer than ever to the unadorned oral tradition in which fairy tales are rooted, revolutionizing our understanding of a hallowed genre."

    In 1885, Jacob Grimm said this about von Schönwerth: "Nowhere in the whole of Germany is anyone AthurRackham_sleeping1BriarRosecollecting [folklore] so accurately, thoroughly, and with such a sensitive ear." The collection includes versions of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin and tales completely new to us.

    The translator, Maria Tatar teaches folklore, children's literature, and German cultural studies at Harvard University. She chairs the Program in Folklore and Mythology.  Among her books are two that I can recommend witout reservation: Enchanted Hunters, the Power of Stories in Childhood and The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales. Her blog is Breezes from Wonderland. Ms Tatar lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    The illustration for Briar Rose (Cinderella) is by Arthur Rackham.

    .........................

     “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”...Albert Einstein

    ...................

    The Doors of Enchantment

    The Brothers Grimm, J.K. Rowling, and Linda Woolverton all have something in common...they have reached the hearts and minds of millions of children (and adults) around the world.

    Linda Woolverton 

    LindaWoolvertonWoolverton is a master of reinterpreting stories, staying true to the essence of the original, and transforming them into remarkable movies. She also guides her scripts -- maintaining their integrity and originality --  through the multiple processes and inputs that are part of theatrical movie making. Few writers, female or male, have had the ability to do this successfully. And Linda Woolverton's films are both creative and as well as box office successes. 

    In a candid interview with Aaron Couch in the Hollywood Reporter regarding the writing of Maleficent, Ms Woolverton said that even after rewriting the script a 100 times, she still choked up when she came to the kiss scene where Maleficent awakens the sleeping Aurora. I don't know if this was a true manifestation of passionate involvement in the script, however, when Couch asks her other questions in this and in her Indiewire interview (below), she is disarmingly candid and straightforward. 

    What were some of your big challenges when you were approaching this? 

    The biggest challenge was how to make a villain into a protagonist. How on earth was I going to justify that this woman would curse a baby? (Laughs.)  

    Where did that motivation start? 

    We based this on the Disney movie, not the fairy tale. I was looking at that scene, and I had done some research, and the biggest surprise is that she's a fairy, not a witch. I've always wanted to do a dark fairy Maleficent-Wings2story. Then I watched that scene where she curses the baby, and I'm thinking "well if she's a fairy, where are her wings?" Suddenly it was "boom. Lightbulb. Oh! It's the wings!" Then I worked backward from there to create the Stefan relationship. (for those who haven't seen the film, Stefan's horrendous behavior unleashes the dark side in Maleficent).

    Adapting Fairy Tales for a New Generation

    I found fascinating insights into Ms Woolverton and her work in an excellent interview by Susan Wloszczyna in Indiewire . Here are brief excerpts:


    SW: "
    Did turning a villain into the central figure in Maleficent present a greater challenge? There is a
    reason that she is often ranked high among the popular villains in Disney lore. Even Angelina Jolie, who never warmed to the princess characters, has said the evil fairy was her favorite with her wicked sense of fun and serene elegance. 

    LW: It was very difficult to turn a villain into a hero and yet keep her a villain...I had to figure out what
    MaleficentandChildpossibly could have happened to her to make her want to hurt an innocent baby. Something that would equal that act. In the animated movie, she had no wings. She just threw her robes open like wings. I thought, 'Is that it? Did someone take her wings?' They stole her soul and her heart had to turn cold. I knew that was the right answer. We depicted it in a way that is horrible, yet you can tolerate it and still feel it. Angelina does a great job in portraying her anguish. 

    SW: Yet some critics are simply interpreting her need to avenge as simply the act of a woman scorned.

    LW: That is part of it. She did love him.

    SW: This is a PG film. Was there concern that this scene and a few others might be a bit much for young children?

    Bambi'sMotherWe really didn't think that so much. It is wings, nothing that any of us have. We didn't cut off her legs. We killed Mufasa in The Lion King. We killed Bambi's mother. The world is an intense place. Storytelling helps children to be strong. Hansel and Gretel is about eating children. Fairy tales have never shied away from that..."

    Among Linda Woolverton's achievements: Beauty and the Beast (1991) including the Tony Award winning stage musical version; co-writer of the Lion King (1994), for film and stage; Alice In Wonderland (2010), directed by Tim Burton; and, Maleficent (2014). Maleficent has currently grossed over $739,000,000. Here is a lnk to the trailer that focuses on Maleficent's wings: Maleificent

     Ms Woolverton's next Disney film is her version of Lewis Carrol's Through the Looking Glass.

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    PuppiesNatlPuppyDayMarch23

    August 26 is the 10th annual National Dog Day. Founded in 2004 by pet lifestyle expert and author Colleen Paige. National Dog Day was created to celebrate dogs of all types, from the mutts to the purebreds, the companion animals to working dogs. It is hoped that the day will encourage dog ownership of all breeds and embrace the opportunity for all dogs to live a happy, safe and ”abuse-free life.”

    National Dog Day is against BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). Dogs should not have to lose their lives
    because of the atrocities they have been forced to endure at the hands of man. It’s a reminder to adopt from rescues or shelters where millions of dogs are euthanized each year because they are unwanted.  And if you must buy, instead of buying from pet stores, backyard breeders, the internet, newspaper ads and puppy mills, buy only from a verified reputable breeder.

    People who are not dog owners are encouraged to donate $5 to their local shelter on National Dog Day.

    In celebration of this wonderful recognition of dogs and what they mean to us in our lives,

    Barking Planet Productions is offering four titles FREE for KINDLE on August 26.

    4covers

    You can pick up your copy of Planet of the Dogs, Castle in the Mist,

    Parade of Misfits, and Circling the Wagginsby clicking the titles.

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    WCDogsLogoChildhood Cancer and Canines

    Among the array of many fascinating Dog related articles on Way Cool Dogs, Nancy Houser has posted regarding developments in the latest studies of the effects of dogs on children with cancer. Over 13,000 children in the USA are diagnosed with cancer annually. Here is an excerpt:..

    ..."The latest Vanderbilt University clinical trial on dog therapy-childhood cancer is accompanied by a grant from Thompson, to determine whether therapy dogs actually help young cancer patients. Saliva from the dogs are tested in addition to testing of the children, in order to track the dog-patient relationship.

    According to Medical MedScape, 'It really promises to be a landmark study,' said John Payne, chair of the board at the American Humane Association, which is running the trial, with funding from the Pfizer Foundation and Zoetis..."

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    Litworldbanner


    Banner-litclubsandlitcampsI believe the work done by LitWorld  in bringing the gift of reading to disadvantaged children around the world is wonderful. I highly recommend a visit to their website. Meanwhile, 
    here is an excerpt from a message by LitWorld founder, Pam Allyn:

     

    "...We started LitWorld with a small LitClub in Kibera (A Nairobi slum), and since then, LitWorld has grown to countries, cities, and towns around the world. The LitClub – a safe, nourishing space for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing – is our model for what the world should look like: a promise to all children that their voices can and should tell the future..." 

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    Littleprince


    And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 

    ― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

     

     

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    ECADlogoECAD and the Planet Dog Foundation 
     

    Imagine being a woman unable to communicate with your service dog to the point where you have lost the independence that you had once gained with your dog.
     
    ONI - A New Development
     

    ECAD5The Planet Dog Foundation (PDF) has made a grant to Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities ECAD, a multi-faceted service and therapy dog organization, to pursue the development of an imaginative solution to the problem caused by speech problems and service dogs. This innovative pilot project is called Operation New Initiative (ONI) and will use iPads and Tablets to communicate with the service dogs.
     
    ECAD has a perfect candidate, Lois, for their beta effort. Lois is "a 60 year old woman who, because of the effects of Muscular Dystrophy, has such weakened vocal chords that she can no longer verbally communicate with her service dog. The goal is to train and place the first successful dog through ONI with Lois, to enable her to go back to the independence she once knew."
     
    ECADPDF statement: "Operation New Initiative will explore the use of modern technology (i.e., iPads or Tablets) to enable adults and children who have impaired verbal abilities, or who are non-verbal due to Autism, to communicate commands to service dogs via images that are sound activated on the iPad. The Plant Dog Foundation grant will fund the acquisition of the iPads and the software necessary, and the training of instructors to train the dogs to respond to commands generated on the tablet.
     
    Planet Dog Foundation(PDF)
     
    PlanetDogFoundationpdf-logo"PDF Has contributed over $1,000,000 to support: Therapy dogs. Service dogs. Search & rescue dogs. Bomb sniffing dogs. Police dogs. In fact, The Planet Dog Foundation celebrates all "working" dogs that are enhancing and saving human lives. They do this by supporting innovative, respected and effective non-profit organizations that work tirelessly to raise, train and place the dogs."

    The funds come from Planet Dog, which sells high quality products (all guaranteed) to dog owners.
     
    Many PDF benefeciaries have been featured in this blog. We salute PDF, ECAD and all the service and therapy dog organization who continue to make life better on this planet.
     ...........................

    Alice will dance in New York

     IChristopher Wheeldon's wonderful version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 

    WheeldonAliceBalletThe Joyce Theater Foundation and the National Ballet of Canada have announced that they will present the New York premiere of Wheeldon's Alice's Adventure in Wonderland . Set to an original score by Joby Talbot and with costume and set designs by Bob Crowley, the production of the Lewis Carroll classic is scheduled to run from Sept. 9 to 14 at the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center. Mr. Wheeldon’s interpretation of “Alice” had its premiere at the Royal Opera House in London in 2011. A film was made of the original production.

    Here is a link to one minute and thirteen seconds of this lauded reimagining of Alice

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    Reimagined Fairy Tales in Early Annimation

    This link will take you to Walt Disney's Little Red Riding Hood of 1922.  

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    Therapy Reading Dogs...Children on the Road to Reading...Our Beginnings

    Our invovement with therapy reading dogs has expanded to all kinds of therapy and service dog prograns and activites. It began simply, in 2008, when I learned about and became involved with teacher Julie Hauk and Pages for Preston



    ClassroomSceneInThe PagesFofPrestonProgram"I am a third grade teacher in Sheboygan, WI, and I have developed a Therapy Dog Reading program for second and third graders at Longfellow Elementary School. The program's name is Pages for Preston, after my own therapy dog. We have read Planet of the Dogs during our reading time with the dogs and my students are absolutely enthralled with the book! I was in awe at their eagerness to learn about the characters and events in the story. Watching the students read about Miss Merrie and Lucy while reading to therapy dogs was a full circle moment for me."

    This was the beginning of my awareness. Thanks to Julie Hauk, since starting with Pages for Preston six years ago, we have been supporting therapy reading dog owners and organizations with complimentary books, and by sharing their stories on this Barking Planet blog.

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      Hansel and Gretel are running through the woods...

    Children can read the story of Hansel and Gretel and, if they visit England's Lake Country, they can see them running through the woods in Lancaster's Williamson Park.

    Clare Brennan in a Guardian article wrote"Hilltop, woodland and lake are the perfect setting for HanselGretelWilliamsonPkLancasterZosia Ward's vivid retelling of multiple fairytales...Hansel and Gretel may get top billing at the Dukes' annual outdoor production, but they are not alone. Threaded through the main story are shreds from seven fairytales, three classic children's films and one nonsense poem. Part of the fun of this show is spotting these, as you follow the abandoned twins up hill, down dale and through mysterious, wooded glades...The setting is magnificent: a hilltop memorial, swards of grass, copses and a lake. During the interval, people sit and watch the sun slip into Morcambe Bay; it is a drama in itself..."

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    NYTMotherlodeparenting_post

     

     

    Mary Laura Philpott wrote a warm family story in the New York Times:

    And Then The Dog Died: Things You Can't Plan For When Planning a Move.

    Here's an excerpt:

    When planning my family’s move to Nashville from Atlanta, one of the things I put a lot of thought into was creating a sense of consistency in order to manage how much change and disorder our children would experience this summer. I read somewhere that children need to know they can rely on some things to stay the same, even when a big transition comes along. 

    I know, I know. Makes about as much sense as a “birth plan,” doesn’t it?...Read it all: Philpott

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    NYPLlogoThe New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will host a Sesame Street themed exhibition called "Somebody Come and Play.

    SesamecastThis multimedia exhibit was organized to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the show and celebrate its 45 years of great success. It will run from September 18, 2014 through January 31, 2015. Visitors will not be charged an admissions fee.

    Our experience at Barking Planet has been that NYPL creates wonderful exhibitions.

    Also from NYPL, an invitation from librarian Elizabeth Bird..."NYPL's Children's Literary Salon is pleased to announce our next event on Saturday, September 6th at 2:00 p.m. 

    Personal Passions and Changes in Nonfiction for Children and Teens 
    Author, professor, speaker, editor and publisher by turns, Marc Aronson's love of nonfiction and his conviction that young people can read carefully, examine evidence, and engage with new and challenging ideas informs everything he does.  Join us for a conversation about the changing role of nonfiction for youth, and the special challenges and advantages of this one-of-a-kind genre.
     
    This event will be held in the Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue in the Berger Forum on the second floor.  No reservations are necessary."

     .......................... 

    UpOnTheWOOFHeaderAriel

    C.A.Wulff  

    We publish four books by C.A. Wulff. But...who is she, beyond living in a house in the woods Yelodoggiecircuitwith rescued dogs and a varying group of other saved critters during 25 years plus of multifaceted active pet rescue...

    She is an accomplished writer, artist and animal advocate.  She has written three books about her true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and Parade Of Yelodoggieporpoise_smMisfits. She has also written How to Change the World in 30 Seconds, A Guide to Animal Advocacy Using the Internet as a Tool; and Finding Fido, a handbook for dog owners who have lost their dogs or other pets.

    Wulff also writes an Animal Book Review column for the Examiner, and the Cleveland Pets Examiner;  She is a contributing editor to the animal advocate organization AnimalsVote. Her dog news and advocacy blog is Up on the Woof. The dogs that here are from her yelodoggie art work: yelodoggie .  She is also an Associate Publisher of Barking Planet Productions. She attributes her love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs. I have no idea what she does in her spare time.

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      FSDSwimEventPosterFreedom Service Dogs of America celebrate their dog fun fund raiser-- the 7th Annual Doggie Plunge

    1,000 DOGS PLUNGING INTO PIRATES COVE AQUATIC PARK 

    Date and Time: September 6, from 9am to 3pm.

    Pirates Cove 1225 West Belleview Avenue Littleton, CO 80120 USA


    FSDSwimEventIf you are in Littleton, or anywhere nearby, take the 

     Doggie Plunge at Pirates Cove Aquatic Center. Take the plunge with hundreds of four legged swimmers living it up, splashing and smiling in the last of the summer sun! 

    Throughout the day join hundreds of families enjoying food trucks, doggie activities and so much more!

     

    This is a benefit for nonprofit Freedom Service Dogs of America, tickets $15...

    "Freedom Service Dogs... enhance the lives of people with disabilities by rescuing dogs and custom training them for individual client needs. Clients include children, veterans and active duty soldiers, and other adults. Their disabilities include Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Cord Injuries, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)."  Visit their website: www.freedomservicedogs.org

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    Sunbearsquad-logo A dog is lying by the side of the road...What do I do? What are my options? I want to be helpful, but this is all new to me... For answers, examples, true stories and more, visit Sunbear Squad...Let the experience of compassionate dog lovers guide you. Here's the Link: SunbearSquad  -

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    "To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring, it was peace." - Milan Kundera 

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    23. Guest Post: Why Author Jan Flores Walks Shelter Dogs… Part 2

    Everyone is emotionally touched by an animal at some point in their lives. For me, having a dog in the house since the day I was born forever cemented canines in my heart. Some people have had terrible experiences with animals, while others can’t live without one. If you’re thinking about getting a dog or cat to add to your family, then I urge you to adopt a pet from your local animal shelter. You’ll not only help an animal in need, you’ll receive something we ALL need—unconditional love.

     And now, without further ado, part two of Jan Flores’s heartwarming tail, er tale…

    Things have changed at the shelter where I volunteer as a dog walker. It now has a Behavior and Training Department, whose members evaluate the dogs that come in to determine if they have any medical and/or behavior problems before advancing them to the adoption floor. But when I first started, it was just me, the dogs, and a slip lead (For those who don’t know what a slip lead is, it’s a long piece of material about half an inch wide with a metal “D” ring at one end. To use it, you thread the end through the ring, forming a circle that substitutes as a collar. The “slip” of the lead means that it can be adjusted to any size dog).  In those early days, I quickly learned that it wasn’t so simple as: put on a leash and go.

    I chose to work with the clinic/hospital dogs instead of those already up for adoption because they seemed to be most in need of help and attention. They didn’t know where they were, or why their family had left them behind in a strange place.  I wasn’t a familiar face, but I could be a helping hand, letting them know—for the brief time I was there on my volunteer day—that they weren’t alone.

    It was an experiment for both of us. In those early days, I had no way of knowing when I entered a kennel what I was about to face. Some dogs “shut down” in depression and turned away; others became aggressive because they were uncertain and scared. But most were so glad to see me that they almost vibrated with excitement.  A leash, a leash, we’re going for a walk! I could see it in their faces, and it makes me smile every time.  Their joy at such a simple act almost makes me forget why they are here. Almost.

    It was a shock to learn that only a minority of the shelter dogs are strays (at least in our shelter); the majority have been brought in by owners with various excuses (see Part I) about why they can’t  keep the dog any longer. But one justification I’ll never understand, is “We just don’t want him anymore.”

    How can you not want a dog who has been a faithful family member for years? How can you throw him away for someone else to take care of just because he has silver around the muzzle, or cataracts in his eyes, or limbs crippled with arthritis? To see such a dog watching his former family walking away without looking back is simply gut-wrenching.

    I always pay special attention to these old dogs. The look in their eyes just breaks my heart.

    On a brighter note, here are some of the special dogs I’ve met at the shelter:

    HOLLY:  (so named because she was found in a parking lot at Christmas). We never knew what happened to this white, bright-eyed little Maltese cross—whether it was abuse, or being hit by a car—that caused paralysis in both hind legs. I admit to mixed emotions when they fitted her with a canine version of a wheelchair. It seemed so unnaturalto me. But when I saw Holly’s joy at being able to race around—sometimes on one wheel—I had to admit that, for her, it was the right prescription.

     LEO: a small boxer cross that came from Mexicowith what appeared at first to be a tumor the size of a small grapefruit under his chin. I won’t go into the medical details this dog suffered; suffice to say he became one of the most loved because of his resilience, determination, and sheer refusal to lose to a deadly disease.

    STEVIE: a black, blind terrier cross with eyes that looked like silver coins. He was found wandering on a busy thoroughfare. It was a miracle he wasn’t killed. The shelter vet reluctantly determined that it was too late to restore his vision, but he didn’t let his blindness stop him. Whenever he heard the jingle of a harness and a leash, he whirled in circles, eager to go outside for a walk.

    CHANCE: a beautiful 25-pound American Eskimo, with the blackest eyes and a blindingly white coat (once he’d had a bath to wash away the street grime). He had many physical problems, but he didn’t let that stop him. Sometimes he just wanted to sit with my arm around him while we watched the world go by.

    FLOWER: an abused pit bull with so much potential. Black with a little white on her chest; eyes gleaming with intelligence. We worked hard getting her aggression under control so she could be adopted, only to have her returned in a semi-crazed state with no explanation about what had happened. Despite our best efforts, she quickly developed “shelter stress”, and even though it was the best thing for her, it was a sad day for us all when she was put down. Such a loss for a dog who had tried so hard.

    ABBIE: an extremely shy Aussie, with a beautiful “Autumn” coat. She would retreat to the opposite of her kennel and shake when anyone tried to get near her, but with a lot of patience we brought her out of her shell and into a new life.

    BRIE: another Aussie. She had to have her front leg amputated because her owner left a home-made, too-tight bandage on and left it on too long, destroying the circulation in that leg. She was a brave and uncomplaining girl who just wanted to be loved. That’s what we gave her—until her new family came along, fell in love, and adopted her.

    There are so many more that I could go on and on. They pass through my mind like a fancy shuffle, with the cards falling in a waterfall, moving so fast I can’t see the faces. But I know they were there, and I believe I did my own small part in helping them. What they did for me—and continue to do—is more than I can say.

    Janis Flores was born in Montana, and raised in Colorado and California. After graduating from college, she received her license in Medical Technology, married Ray Flores, and they moved to northern California—she to supervise a laboratory, he to establish his horseshoeing business. She found time to take a class on the short story, but instead wrote her first book—a Gothic suspense titled HAWKSHEAD, which was subsequently published in hardcover by (then) Doubleday and company. Thirty-four novels—from historical to contemporary mainstream—followed.

    SWEETER THAN WINE, published by Musapublishing.com, is her first ebook.
    The award-winning TOUCHED BY FIRE has now been reissued in ebook form.

    Both titles can be found at:

    SWEETER THAN WINE:

    TOUCHED BY FIRE:

    You can find Jan on her website: www.janisflores.com

    On Twitter: @JanisOFlores

    0 Comments on Guest Post: Why Author Jan Flores Walks Shelter Dogs… Part 2 as of 8/25/2014 5:37:00 AM
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    24. Dash by Kirby Larson

    Last year, Kirby Larson introduced us to Hobie Hanson and his dog Duke.  Hobie somewhat reluctantly volunteered Duke to be part of the country's Dogs for Defense program.  This year, Larson introduces us to Mitsi Kashino and her dog Dash.

    It's January 1942, one month after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  So far, things haven't been very different for Mitsi, 11, and her family, Japanese Americans living in Seattle, Washington.  But on the first day back to school, after the Christmas holidays, all that suddenly changes.  First, Mitsi's two best friends aren't at their usual meeting place, and at school they give her a cold shoulder.  Other classmates also ignore her in class and at recess.  On the way home from school in the rain, she is surrounded by a group of high school boys, who trip her causing her to fall and who tear up and kick everything in her school bag into puddles.  Luckily, a new neighbor, Mrs. Bowker comes along and breaks it up.

    Change becomes even more apparent.  Cameras and radios had to be turned into the government, some of the Japanese men are being taken away by the FBI and even Mitsi's grandmother, Obaachan, must register as an alien because she was born in Japan.  Getting to know Mrs. Bowker seems to be one part of Mitsi's life that is pleasant, that and the comfort of her beloved little dog Dash.

    But then April comes and with it the news that the Kashino family, along with all the other Japanese American families living in Seattle are to be sent to an internment camp for the duration of the war.  Each family member can being just one suitcase.  Naturally, Mitsi assumes she can bring Dash with her, but when she finds out that no pets are allowed in the camp, she is devastated.  What can she do with Dash to keep him safe?  Knowing that Mrs. Bowker lives alone, and might want some company, Mitsi asks her if she would be willing to take care of Dash temporarily.  Luckily, kind-hearted Mrs. Bowker agrees.

    Losing everything, including her dog and her two best friends was a hard blow for Mitsi.  Now, Mitsi and her family must adjust to their new life behind a barbed-wire fence, surrounded by soldiers with rifles watching their every move.  One bright spot for Mitsi are the wonderful letters she receives from Dash, telling her about life with Mrs. Bowker.  But even that isn't quite enough to pull Mitsi out of the depression she falls into.  But a new best friend just might do the trick.

    I have always believed that every persons experience of World War II is similar but different from everyone else.  And each novel I read reflects that.  Dash is based on a true story and much of what Mitsi does is taken from that story, giving the novel its sense of reality.

    Dash spends a lot of time what life was like between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and life in an internment camp.  It would seem that it took a while after the initial shock of the bombing on December 7, 1941 for people began to be aware of such anti-Japanese feelings that they could turn on old friends and neighbors so vehemently, as it did with Mitsi and the kids she went to school with.  In that respect, Larson gives the reader a good picture of what it was like.

    Larson also gives a good depiction of the internment camps, which were really fit only for the horses many of them were meant to house, and life was always dirty and unpleasant.  She really conveys the sense of betrayal, loneliness and the fear of the family coming apart that Mitsi experiences on top of losing everything she has known her whole life.

    I like the way Larson shows the reader that even in times of great distress and hardship, good things can happen and in the end this is a story about the strength of family, the value of true friendship and learning to appreciate what is really important.

    Dash will be of special interest to anyone who is a dog lover, or has an interest in WWII history on the home front.

    This book is recommended for readers age 9+
    This book was obtained from the publisher

    0 Comments on Dash by Kirby Larson as of 8/25/2014 11:03:00 AM
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    25. #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.

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    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.

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    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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