Posts tagged ‘songs’

TAKING A DEEP BREATH

The Barnyard Friends: STOP for Peace
Written by Julie Penshorn
Illustrated by Jorry Keith

The animals in the barnyard were enjoying a peaceful day until the rains came. A horse named King stood under the barn roof remaining dry, while the rest of the animals whined and paced outside getting soaking wet. Mrs. McCloud urged the animals to calm down and stop and think. After a while, the animals were able to express how they felt. They succeeded in brainstorming ideas to solve the problem. In the end, King moved over and the rest of the animals found shelter.

The STOP method for conflict resolution involves four steps:
1 Stop and breathe
2 Tell how you feel
3 Open your mind
4 Plan ahead

This book is designed to help children and adults resolve conflicts peacefully. At the end of the story, the creators provide a guide for teachers on how to present the lesson effectively. Suggestions for follow-up and a song that reinforces the lesson is provided. The story and lesson are specially designed for students in kindergarten through third grade.

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MONKEYING AROUND

The 3 Monkeys Christmas Treehouse (Monkey Tales Book 5)

Written by Rob “Nanook” Natiuk

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This is my first time reading a book in this series. Delightful story about three monkey siblings, Booey, Fooey and Hooey and their Jungle friends. The book is an interactive reading experience with ample opportunities for the reader to pause and allow the listeners to blurt out their responses by repeating, singing, or animating the sounds and actions of the characters in the stories.

In the first tale the three siblings receive a gift from their Grandpa Monk. At first they are puzzled by the red, white and green Christmas balls and stringed lights. Booey, the female, figures out they must be ornaments for a Christmas tree like the one she saw in the town. So they set off to find the perfect Christmas tree. Readers will meet some of their friends like the gorilla, crocodile and turtle. In the end, they find the perfect tree right under their noses. Tale two finds our friends looking over their Christmas list. As they travel to Coconut Town, they sing clever monkey songs adapted to familiar Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells,” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” They knock on doors of animal friends seeking to find the true meaning of Christmas. Finally, they discover that, “ A friend in need is a friend indeed.” In tale three, wise old Grandpa Monk tells his grandchildren the story of Santa Paws in the Jungle with his circus wagon pulled by eight zebras. Will the siblings find presents under the tree? The fourth tale speaks of the let down feeling many of us experience in the days after Christmas. Our friends have already tired of their presents; they ponder their New Year’s Resolutions. What do they share with their readers?

This book is perfect for elementary school children. Older siblings can read to younger brothers and sisters or the family can share the reading experience. Young children will love the repetition and songs. I will be reading other books in this series. Very entertaining, clever, and highly recommended.

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A DIFFERENT SIDE OF SYRIA

Syrian Folktales

Written by Muna Imady

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For more than a year, Syria has been in the news due to the horrific civil war that has torn it apart and inflicted misery and suffering upon its civilian population. In Syrian Folktales, the reader is introduced to a different perspective. Muna Imady grew up in Syria. She  presents the tales of her oral heritage beginning with the words “once upon a time…” ( Kan ya ma kan), that were passed down to her by her grandmother. (Tete) The author provides the reader with a glossary of Syrian terms for reference.

In the overview, Imady informs us that Syria is a country with a population of eighteen million spread out into fourteen distinct administrative units called Muhafazat. The Syrian Arab Republic lies at the crossroads of trade routes linking Africa, Asia and Europe. Turkey lies to its north, Iraq to its east, Jordan and Palestine to the south, and Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the east.

The author divides the book by these fourteen areas. Not only does she present a folktale or two for each of them, she entices us with recipes, riddles, street peddler songs, and a Hadith.

What is a Hadith? It is a saying from the Holy Prophet of Muslim. Here is one of the riddles: I come from water and I die in water. What am I?

I will retell a folktale from Dara’a, a province that contains many archaeological sites which date back to Roman times aptly titled, The Sky is Raining Meat. The tale tells of a farmer and his wife who live an ordinary but comfortable existence. There is one big problem. The wife talks too much. One day the farmer finds a jug full of gold coins. He is afraid that the landlord will discover his good fortune so he buries the jug. Then he secretly kills and cooks a sheep. Next he ascends to the roof of his dwelling and throws chunks of meat from the roof. His wife observes his strange behavior but happily runs to gather up the meat. Later, the farmer takes his wife to the place where he buried the coins and tells her of their good fortune. Sure enough, the wife begins to spread the good news. The landlord arrives to demand the gold. When the wife informs him, they found the gold the same day that the sky was raining meat, the landlord decides she must be crazy! After that day no one believed anything the wife said. The farmer and his wife lived happily ever after.

Many of the tales from Syria bear similarities in characters and themes to those of Western culture. There are tales of the raven and the fox, a wicked stepmother, the sly fox, a woodcutter, dragons, witches, and  three pigs. While reading though them, I was reminded of The Frog and the Prince, Snow White, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast. Imady has done an admirable job in presenting the traditions of this region which date back to the fourth millennium B.C. Parents and teachers who want to explore what Syria is really about should take a look. Appropriate for children age ten and above.

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