Posts tagged ‘teasing’

SOMEDAY…

A Farm Called Someday: A Novel of 1950s Montana

Written by Penelope Merrell

This middle-grade novel provides a fascinating glimpse into one family’s growth and evolution. The narrator is one of four sisters who describes her coming of age within a family that matures along with her.

Valene loves to write. The reader is treated to her reminiscences through her journal. It describes the struggles of a family who are fiercely devoted to each other yet defined by distinct differences. Valene loves horses and dreams of owning one Her family needs to make many sacrifices before they can buy their own farm. The word someday always seems far off. That is why Valene thinks it is the perfect name for their farm.

Readers learn what life is like growing up on a farm. How does one feed and care for animals, and live without conveniences like central heat and running water? Merrell’s drawings help readers visualize what a 50s washing machine and iron look like. She describes the stringing of lines for telephones, and the Sears Wish Book Catalog.

Many of the trials and tribulations of growing up have not changed. Teasing, bullying, and jockeying for power among siblings are still present. Merrell brings her characters to life. Today’s youth learn a lot about the past and how to appreciate modern conveniences, while getting a good flavor of living on a 1950s Montana farm.

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Check out learning opportunities for the whole family at http://www.LittleMIssHISTORY.com

#WARMING UP…

Kai and His Magical Bobo (Kai Panducorn Book 2)

Written by Kathy V. Tran

Illustrated by Aiki Tran

Kai comes from a magical family. His father is a panda from a warrior family focusing on strength and bravery. Kai’s mother is a unicorn from a family entrusted with maintaining peace and balance. Today he is excited and nervous. Five-year-old Kai will begin school.

Kai stuffs Bobo, his blanket into his backpack. Bobo gives him courage and the strength to be a brave adventurer. Mrs. Kathy introduces him to the other children. When a handicapped fox walks into the room and falls, Kai does not join in the laughter of the other children. He decides to cheer him up. Kai will soon learn that the children have fears like his own. What does Kai find out about himself? Can Kai translate what he learns to the wider community in which he lives?

The illustrations remind me of Manga-style cartoons. The text is a combination of dialogue and character thoughts. I would recommend this book to parents of children beginning nursery school or kindergarten. Children a little bit older can use the discussion questions at the end to explore mindfulness concepts and read the text independently.

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FRUSTRATED?

THE CHICK WHO COULD NOT KICK

Written by Tim Zak

 

This is an exciting day at the chicken coop. soccer tryouts are about to begin. Chuck desperately wants to make the team. He tries his best but his legs are shorter than the rest of the chicks. Chuck refuses to give up, even though everyone else is laughing at him. Chuck comes up with a plan that just might provide a solution to his problem and help the team.

This is a simple book with two lines of rhyming text on each page. Some of the rhymes come off as forced. Recommended for toddlers and preschoolers, particularly children who love soccer.

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PUPPY LOVE

Pippy and Beth

Written by Graham Denny

PippyandBethpic

This book explores the devastating issue of loss confronting a family when a pet dies. Denny writes a powerful tale to illustrate that journey of  a child named Beth, the young protagonist we meet at the beginning of the story who shares a wonderful relationship with her dog, Pippy.  The reader is introduced to Beth’s sad family at the vet’s office where they have brought Pippy to be put to sleep. Beth is distraught and has a tummy ache from eating too much of the ice cream at the fancy restaurant her parents have brought her to in an effort to distract her. Once back at home, Beth kisses Pippy’s picture and finally falls asleep.

Beth is soon awakened by a scratching sound. At first she thinks it is Valerie and Shelley, those horrible twins who make her life miserable at school. As she yells at them to go away, Beth realizes that Pippy is in the room and that he is TALKING TO HER! He warns her to hurry and leads her out the sliding door into the night. Pippy introduces Beth to other talking animal friends including sparrows, mice, a fox, a badger, rabbits and two cats. All of these are dressed eloquently like humans and act as if they were human. Beth finally gets the courage to ask Pippy if he knows that he has died. He explains that of course he does and continues to lead her through the woods to a grassy clearing. After eating a huge breakfast, they reach the top of a hill shrouded in mist. There is music, dance and laughter as Pippy walks down to the other side after saying his goodbyes.

Beth is saddened. What does all this mean? She does not know how to go on. But her parents have a solution, and Beth will eventually find the strength and courage to deal with Pippy’s death and all her other problems at school.

This book is a wonderful read as simply a love story between a child and pet, but it is such a valuable resource to help a family cope with loss turning that tragedy into a vehicle to make themselves stronger. Parents and teachers can use it as a guide for discussion on a very difficult topic.

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