Thursday, June 22, 2017

Little Blue Bunny Climbs

(His name is Little Blue Bunny. D says he is six years old.)

Which, by the way, is TOO YOUNG to go mountain climbing alone!!  Does this bother Little Blue Bunny?  It does not!  He is a Free Range Bunny, running wild and free.

Ready to climb.
 Because he is being brought up by squirrels, Little Blue Bunny has NO FEAR of heights.  (He is afraid of carnivores - and dryers.)

He loves to climb - towers, bannisters, just about anything.

On Tuesday he decided to climb a mountain.  Not just any mountain - oh no! - LBB wanted to climb a volcano.

D sprang into action.  Volcanoes don't just burst through the floor around here.

"I need black paper, orange paper and a stapler!"  D ordered.

In short order, a volcano appeared.

Meanwhile, Nana made Little Blue Bunny a backpack, with a water bottle and a pair of binoculars.  (I know people say "pair of binoculars" but doesn't the "bi" indicate two already?)

Have backpack!  Will Climb!

With lava flow and everything!
Bunny!  You dropped your bottle and binoculars.

 He made it to the very top but he burned his paws.  A trip to the aloe vera plant restored his paws to normal.

WARNING:  Little Blue Bunny is NOT a role model. He is a toy.  (He doesn't like to admit it, but it's true.  Just a toy.) DO NOT CLIMB A VOLCANO!  DO NOT TURN FAIRY PRINCESSES INTO FLOWERS!  DO NOT SLIDE DOWN THE EIFFEL TOWER!

Thank you.

(Next adventure:  Little Blue Bunny and the ice cream truck.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

3 Lists to OOMPH Your Summer Reading!

Need ideas to spark your reading lists for young (even if in mind only) readers?  Take a look at what the book-makers  suggest.  (That's publishers, not the other book-makers.  Kidlit, remember?)

Brightly has must-read lists for all age groups here.  Brightly is a Penguin/Random House product but their suggestions are right on target.

Griffin Teen touts it's summer list here.  Look at the line-up in THIS book.  Oooh, summer love💕💕💕

If you don't already subscribe to The Book Reporter newsletters, take a look at  With reviews written by actual readers, not just by industry spokespeople, these newsletters have a homespun, authentic feel.  PLUS, they give stuff away!!!

Monday, June 19, 2017


I am off to Emmaus Public Library, tomorrow, to start a six-session workshop on storytelling with teens (ages 12 and up.)

Workshops are a lot of fun.  I love seeing what the participants come up with, how they interpret stories, how they open up.  Sometimes, I think I like the workshops even more than telling stories.

I wrote an article for the National Storytelling League's magazine, Story Art, last year on Telling with Tots, Tweens and Teens.  Click through to read it.  Thanks to Denise McCormack for editing my article and making it more readable.

Expect a report!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday - Let's Not Forget

I found a copy of By The Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman in the sale pile at a local bookstore.  Just like that I was transported to San Francisco during the Gold Rush.  No, wait.  I was thrashing on a boat at the southern tip of South America.  No, wait.  I was stowing away on said boat as it sailed out of Boston.

Newbery Award-winner, memoirist, biographer, - Sid Fleischman wrote accessible books for kids.   This guy could write a book that kept the pages turning.  Short cliff-hanging chapters, likeable characters and the kind of historical details that stick in your cranium, Fleischman's fiction turns blah readers into RAH! readers.  (Ooh, I like that!  I think I made a meme.)

Want to explain what a tall tale is without introducing legendary characters?  Use one of Fleischman's McBroom books.  McBroom's adventures cross the line of believable, even while the character maintains that they are ab-so-lute-ly true.

Give your young readers a template for creating their own Tall Tales.  Just take the truth and stretch and stretch and s-t-r-e-t-c-h, just like Josh McBroom.

The Whipping Boy earned Sid his Newbery Award.  Jemmy is the whipping boy, a servant who is punished when the prince, Prince Brat, does something wrong.  When kidnappers sneak into the castle, they end up taking both boys. The one who can read MUST be the prince, right? Wrong...

Fleischman left us in 2010, a day after his 90th birthday but before his last book,  Sir Charlie: Chaplin, the Funniest Man in the World was published.  His books are still in stores and libraries.  They still make kids laugh and learn.

It's Friday.  Let's not forget Sid Fleischman.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

10 Kids' Book Blogs!

Children's Book Council has an informative blog.  Librarians, take note.  The June 14th entry covered a list of books for kids reading beyond their age level.  Huge help here!

My FAVE!!!  Betsy Bird at  A Fuse # 8 Production offers book reviews, book and publishing news, some opinions, lots of award predictions and good writing.  Books featured are picture book through middle grade.

First Book puts new books into the hands of very young children and into the hands of older children as well.  Dedicated to literacy, First Book has done its work for 25 years now.  Check out their book picks, articles and suggestions for literacy activities.

Like Picture Books and illustration?  Check out Seven Impossible Things before Breakfast. 

Literacious.    She is the director of a small public library.  And five days a week she posts book lists, book reviews, book news from her own library stacks and from the entire country.

 Girl Plus Book deals ONLY with YA books - books for teens and younger adults.  But that girl does a fine job of reviews. The New2YA segments let readers know what is on the bookstore shelves NOW!

 Erik started his blog when he was 9.  He's 15, now.  This Kid Reviews Book is the place for you to find the perfect book for the kid in your life. 

Kids Book Review is Australian      Features Australian publishers and authors but also talks about international English language books for toddlers through teens

Children's Book Daily.   Those Aussies!  This blogger is a writer, a librarian and a book reviewer.

Big Book Little Book is British.  It features lots and lots of book reviews divided into age groups.

Blogs are ephemeral.  I tried to pick useful blogs that have posted within the last two months.  So many great blogs have dropped into disuse because their writers found full-time employment, family life intervened - or in my case when I drop from view - distraction!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Further Adventures - Little Blue Bunny

(His name is Little Blue Bunny.  D says he is six years old.)    

Yesterday, Nutty Romomlia, celebrated her fifth birthday.  Little Blue Bunny wasn't going to give her a present.  She is just his little sister, after all.

But Nana found something that he could give her so he wrapped it up in aluminum foil.

Everyone wore stickers on their tummies (except Cuttlefish.  She hardly has a tummy.).  Nutty Romomlia was so excited.  D made an oreo cake and almost didn't have enough (imaginary) oreos to complete it.  Then she wrecked the icing and had to do it over.  Such drama for a small person birthday!
See the invisible cake?  It's on the green plate.  YUM!

The presents were wonderful; a pinecone, a wiggily head turtle, a huge noise maker, a box of crayons(!!) and a picture of stars!  Nutty Romomlia loved all of them.
Nutty and her presents and someone blue.

Little Blue Bunny had to wash up afterwards and that made him mad.  It WAS his turn to wash the dishes but there were so many of them.  Boy, he splashed and crashed and rattled those dishes clean.  And, then.... and then.... (DUM, DUM, DUMMMMM)

He left the (pretend) water faucet running - ON PURPOSE.  (D insisted that LBB did it on purpose.  The game had changed to Little-Blue-Bunny-Gets-In-Trouble-One-Last-Time, except even D realizes that it is never a "last" time.)

The (invisible) water overflowed the sink and soaked the floor and D slipped and slid and fell and couldn't get up.

Little Blue Bunny didn't even know about it.  He was off somewhere playing with his friends.

Nana had to help poor D who was now (pretend) cold and wet and sad and D had to huddle under a blanket while Nana made sure she was warm.

What a shock!  Nana called the water removal pros with their suctioning device and Little Blue Bunny got sucked up into the device!

Nana suggested that Little Blue Bunny be washed down the sewer - quite an adventure THAT would have been!- but D said No!.  LBB had to pay for making her wet and cold and possibly even sick.  So instead, the water was emptied into the sink and LBB climbed out, none the worse for wear.  Actually, he thought the whole thing was a riot!!

But NOT when Nana got hold of him.  Oh, he got such a talking to!  AND he got time-out.  AND he had to write D an apology.  AND he has to wash the dishes every night this week - WITHOUT overflowing the sink or breaking anything or making a mess.

Little Blue Bunny is sorry.  He's not sorry about the water overflowing, or the mess.  He's not at all sorry about the water suctioning pros - that was fun!  He's sorry that D got cold and wet and caught the (imaginary) sniffles.  Little Blue Bunny loves D.  She's his favorite "cousin" in the whole world.

Hmmm, what will happen to Little Blue Bunny today?

Monday, June 12, 2017

5 Things About Me - and the New Back Porch

1. I decided to get voice lessons. I have thought about doing this for YEARS. I found someone on Thumbtack.  And now I am making strange noises with my voice.

2.  I don't pay attention to detail.  Sometimes, this works out to my advantage.  More on that later.

3. I make up songs all the time.  I can't say I write songs because I rarely put them down on paper.

4. I am easily frustrated.  That might have something to do with #2.

5. People confound me.  Sometimes, I think hermits have the right idea.

So about #2 and that new back porch....

Our enclosed back porch had not been renovated since it was enclosed around 1926. 
The original porch railing and posts were still visible.  Above that railing two tall sets of windows had been sort of tacked in place.  This filled the porch with sunlight making it an oven in the summer.  BUT, since the windows weren't weatherproofed, the porch was a freezer in the winter.

I decided to get rid of those big drafty windows and replace them with a sliding glass door and put a window in where the original door was.

What I envisioned was a space full of sunlight in which I could grow plants during the winter.

The contractor did not offer me drawings of the finished project. We just talked it out.  (See #2 above.)  I expected a tall window where the door had been but I NEVER gave a size and he never offered a size to me.  He suggested a small overhang over the sliding door to minimize rain and snow hitting the glass,  but he did not explain what that would do to the quality of light.

With the overhang and the smaller window, what I HAVE is a clean, cool shaded area.  It's a wonderful mud room with built in enclosed storage.  It is not a quasi-greenhouse.

Right now, it is 90 degrees outside.  As soon as I step onto my new back porch from the deck, I feel the temperature drop. 

Maybe, it's not the back porch I envisioned. This back porch will keep us cooler this summer and that is no mean feat.  It is weather tight and that will keep us warmer in the winter.
Taken from my new kitchen window.

HOWEVER, I hope I learned something.
1.  When significantly remodeling an area, (changing door  or window or plumbing fixture placement), INSIST on drawings.
2.  Make sure you understand how the light or airflow or water runoff will be impacted with any built on improvement.
3.  Pay attention to details.  (In my case? HA! to that.)