Night Whispers by Michelle H. Barnes

The poem I am going to share with you today was written by Michelle H. Barnes, a member of my local SCBWI group in Gainesville. The poem is a tribute to our friend, Jan Gars, the poet veterinarian, who passed away recently.

Michelle often posted Jan’s poems on her blog and she understands his psyche and his style. Jan’s poems were often hilarious, sometimes deeply touching, and not always written for children. He could have us laughing uncontrollably or stunned into silence. It is with sorrow that I say, “Goodbye,” to Jan.

The poem, “Night Whispers,” is written in (almost perfect) Pantoum Form.  The pantoum is a form of poetry that uses repetition of lines to enforce its message and produce a powerful effect.

NIGHT WHISPERS

Michelle H. Barnes

Whispers from the shadowed night

Lonely winds of time and space

One more poem yet to write

Trapped in gravity’s embrace

Lonely winds of time and space

Glowing embers, pulsing light

Trapped in gravity’s embrace

Before the blackness turns to white

Glowing embers, pulsing light

Like eyes behind a clouded face

Before the blackness turns to white

Before you find your resting place

Like eyes behind a clouded face

There’s one more poem yet to write

Before you find your resting place

And whisper from the shadowed night.

*****

Visit Michelle’s blog, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes:

http://www.michellehbarnes.com/Home_Page.html

On the blog you will learn more about the pantoum and why Michelle chose this form in which to write her poem. And this will lead you to another writer’s blog—another you will be glad you found.

Introducing Lauri Meyers

I have a new cyber acquaintance I want to introduce you to. Her name is Lauri Meyers.

Lauri is a children’s book writer who is is retraining her brain to be creative after a decade in corporate finance. She blogs about writing for children and her messy children at http://www.laurimeyers.com

Lauri has a charming sense of humor and one that will appeal to the boys on your reading list. You will find good reviews of children’s books at her website.

Thanks, Lauri, for following this blog.

Surprise Guest at the Halloween Party

 

turkey

 

SURPRISE GUEST AT THE HALLOWEEN PARTY

by

Barbara Bockman

 

 

Tom Turkey looked through the chicken wire fence at the farmhouse. “Wish I could be at the Halloween Party.”

Tom pecked at the lock on the gate. Too hard

He fluttered up against the fence. Too high.

He scratched at the dirt, but the ground was hard as cement.

His wings might be weak, but he had gotten as fat as a pumpkin and he was strong. He pushed a box against the fence. He leaned the broomstick up against the creaky box and climbed up. Over he flew.

Tom was a hit at the party.

“See you at Thanksgiving.”

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Halloween Surprises, two stories by Barbara Bockman

Scarecrow

SURPRISE AT THE HALLOWEEN PARTY

by

Barbara Bockman

Scarecrow stood still and silent on his pole in the corn field. A witch glided in front of the big yellow moon on her broomstick.

                The farmhouse rang with loud laughter as the Halloween party got into full swing. Scarecrow saw kids bobbing for apples, roasting marshmallows, and carving pumpkins.  “I wish I could join in the fun,” muttered Scarecrow.

“Why don’t you?” asked the Thanksgiving Turkey. “I’m going.”

“Me, too,” said the Easter Bunny.

“I’m stuck here.”

The pole creaked as the Easter Bunny and Thanksgiving Turkey helped Scarecrow down.

They sure surprised everyone at the party.

 

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This is my entry to Susanne Leonard Hill’s Halloween story contest of 100 words or less.

These words are required to be in the stories: pumpkin, broomstick, creaky.

http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-4th-annual-halloweensie-writing.html
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This is another story for the contest. I will submit this one.
*******
turkey

SURPRISE GUEST AT THE HALLOWEEN PARTY

by

Barbara Bockman

Tom Turkey looked through the chicken wire fence at the farmhouse. “Wish I could be at the Halloween Party.”

Tom pecked at the lock on the gate. Too hard

He fluttered up against the fence. Too high.

He scratched at the dirt, but the ground was hard as cement.

His wings might be weak, but he had gotten as fat as a pumpkin and he was strong. He pushed a box against the fence. He leaned the broomstick up against the creaky box and climbed up. Over he flew.

Tom was a hit at the party.

“See you at Thanksgiving.”

 

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Words With Wings, my website

logo for website, Elexis King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is to introduce you to my website, Words With Wings.

It has these pages: Home, About Me, My Stories, and My Books, which is the buy page.

You will find links to this blog, Stories a la Mode, and Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Coming soon: a link to the Pens and Brushes critique group blog.

My thanks go to Elexis King for the Logo as well as the banners on the Home Page and the Books page. Thanks to Mike Boehlein, of Alta Systems, the printer of WOUNDS. And thanks and hugs to my granddaughter, Jessica, for all kinds of input and assistance.

The address is:  www.barbarabockman.com

 

Review of Laura Sassi’s GOODNIGHT, ARK

Goodnight, Ark

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you like surprise endings, you will LOVE  Laura Sassi’s picture book, GOODNIGHT, ARK.

This new take on the story of Noah’s ark is written in short, pithy rhymes, beginning with:

Bed are ready.

Food is stored.

Noah hollers,

“All aboard!”

The storm bringing the rain that floats the boat is a bit scary. Some of the animals find it hard to sleep. Now for the surprise: But I’m not telling.

Eventually everyone gets back to bed and

Noah smiles

In the dark.

“Goodnight, friends.”

“Goodnight, Ark.”

Sometimes kids need to know that other people (and critters) have a hard time sleeping, but going to sleep can be fun. This is a special bedtime book.

The illustrations by Jane Chapman add a whimsical aspect to the story with pairs of some of the usual—and some unusual—animals on the ark. The double-spread outside view of the ark in the storm is quite beautiful.

I am happy to share with you that Laura and I are in a critique group together, Pens and Brushes. She is an excellent critiquer and has a beautiful blog, Laura Sassi Tales,   http://laurasassitales.wordpress.com/

Laura Sassi

 

 

Laura lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie. She has a facility for telling humorous stories in rhyme. Her work has appeared in Highlights for Children, Cricket, Ladybug, Spider and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.

I recommend GOODNIGHT, ARK for people aged 3 and up.

It’s published by Zonderkidz and is available at your local bookstore and Amazon.

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sunshineaward

Lift Off to Literacy

kids reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not too late for us to participate in the International Literacy Day, which was yesterday.

Not too late, you say?

No, because part of the program calls for a 60 day extension. It’s called “60 for 60.” The program organizers are asking teachers (and why not parents, grandparents, and kids?) to expand classroom literacy routines and further the mastery of language and literature by pledging to add an extra 60 seconds a day to engaging literacy activities for 60 days. And I’m saying it can be done at home, too.

I must thank Nancy Stewart, a fellow Guardian Angel Publishing colleague, for calling my attention to this program. (And I must apologize for being a few days late in looking at Nancy’s blog, Nancy Stewart Books: http://www.nancystewartbooks.blogspot.com/

For the “Lift off to Literacy,” the International Reading Association has partnered with NASA and Story Time From Space to make this year’s International Literacy Day fun and challenging. You can download the many suggestions made by different people at this site:

http://www.reading.org/Libraries/international-literacy-day/ild-activity-kit.pdf

Here is one of the ideas: For a 60-Day Story, the teacher can set a timer for 60 seconds and ask students to write without stopping. The next day, have them continue where they left off. At the end of 60 days, invite students to share their stories. –SW

Other ideas include magnetic letters, images, and poems.

11655623-doodle-sketch-rocket-vector-illustration, rocket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kjell Lindgren, an astronaut, who will be lifting off to the International Space Station in a few months, is the spokesman for this year’s Literacy Day. He is very enthusiastic and has this to say, “Reading is like rocket fuel. It energizes the mind; it has the ability to propel us to our goals.”

I’ll bet the youngsters who participate in the “60 for 60” activities will come away just as enthusiastic as an astronaut and will make literacy “a lifelong habit.”

As Kjell Lindgren says, “Sixty seconds could change your life.”

 

Review of Penelope Anne Cole’s picture book, Ten Little Tricksters

 

You might have to scroll down to see my review.

Ten Little Tricksters by Penny Cole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This cute counting book will delight little kids with its colorful illustrations and its rhythm and repetition.

But parents beware: Once the child has mastered its rhythmic chants, you will be hearing them over and over. The Tricksters are pictured by Kevin Scott Collier

to look like kids dressed up for trick or treating. They are more funny looking than scary. Penny says on her blog that Kevin’s artwork is a “special effect” for nighttime.

You can see how well it works in the cover illustration.

Penny has given over a complete page for each of the ten various creatures, starting with ten ghosties and counting down—not up—to  a lone pumpkin.

Let me give you a taste of the book:

Eight little monsters out on Halloween.

Run monsters!

Run monsters!

Shriek!

Shriek!

Shriek!

(The monsters have a family resemblance to Frankenstein). Another fun treat from Kevin is seeing an owl who lives in one of the houses, and of course, there is a spider web.

 

Penelope Anne Cole has taught and tutored at every grade level. She enjoys writing children’s stories for read aloud time. “Reading to children is the best way to help them love literature.” She has a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and an M.A. in Education.

When not writing stories or reviewing children’s books, Ms. Cole enjoys dog walking, reading, gardening, church and choir activities. Ms. Cole is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Fremont Area Writers of the CA Writers Club, and is a Certified Reading Therapist with Read America. Ms. Cole reviews books on her blog at

http://penelopeannecole.blogspot.com

 

TEN LITTLE TRICKSTERS is recommended for readers ages 4-7. It is available at Amazon.

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Stories a la Mode

Fabulous Blog Ribbon2

 

gold Seal

 

 

Review of Jayne Moraski’s pb How Alligator Got His Smile Back

GAP logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First I want to welcome Jayne Moraski to the the Guardian Angel Publishing Family.

Congratulations, Jayne, on publishing your first picture book.

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000444_00047]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What made alligator lose his smile in the first place? For the answer, we must take a look at this “just so” story made up by Jayne Moraski and illustrated by Carl Kocich.

HOW ALLIGATOR GOT HIS SMILE BACK begins in the murky past when Tadpole Frog and Alligator had no feet, only flippers. They lived in the water and Alligator smiled a lot. These two were friends and loved to play together until the Tadpole Frog became too boastful. He thought so highly of himself he didn’t realize Alligator let him win the race. Then eventually, Frog developed legs and hopped onto land, and his pride really took off. He sang, “Frogs are special. We are grand. We live in water and on land.”

This hurt Alligator’s feelings and Alligator cried and cried salty tears. He cried so much he turned the fresh-water swamp salty. The cypress trees had to pull away from the salty water.

Alligator’s friends, the little plover birds, asked the Great Spirit for help. The Great Spirit granted Alligator one wish. Alligator simply wanted to have legs. The wish was granted.

Now Alligator walks on land the same as Frog. And he SMILES! Frog wonders about that smile. And when he sees Alligator smiling that mysterious smile, he stops his loud croaking. There’s no boasting in Alligator’s presence.

The pictures by illustrator Carl Kocich are too pleasant to scare a little child. The early ones of the distant past give a dreamy cast to the atmosphere. And when Alligator cries, the reader feels sympathy for him. The bordering around each page is a bonus that adds to the beauty of the book.

Some of this story is made up, but the book also has interesting facts that make learning about swamps and amphibians (that’s what Frog is) and reptiles (Alligator is one) lots of fun. There are also suggestions for activities in which kids compare and contrast the two species in the book using textual clues. Some students in classrooms have already enjoyed doing the activities.

(A note about “just so” stories. That is the term Rudyard Kipling used when he made up pretend ways that animals changed from some original form to the one we know today. “The Elephant’s Child” or “How the Elephant Got its Trunk” is one of the best. I love this kind of story). Jayne calls her story a modern myth with a science twist.

HOW ALLIGATOR GOT HIS SMILE BACK is published by Guardian Angel Publishing and is available here: http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/alligator.htm

go ANGELS           and       go GATORS!

 

 

Gatsby’s Grand Adventure, 2, by Barbara Cairns

guardianangelheader-sm

We enjoyed Gatsby’s first grand adventure so much, I think we should take a look at his second.

If you remember, Gatsby is the cat that lives with Miss Annabelle. He just can’t resist jumping into the paintings in Miss Annabelle’s art gallery. His first adventure was with the boys playing snap the whip in Winslow Homer’s “Snap the Whip.” The second adventure, by Barbara Cairns, is titled Gatsby’s Grand Adventure, 2: August Renoir’s “The Apple Seller.”

Everything would be fine if Gatsby remembered to leave the paintings before daybreak. But sometimes, time gets away from him.

That’s what happened when Gatsby is chased up a tree by the little black dog in Pierre August Renoir’s “The Apple Seller.” The apple seller with her basket of apples, two little girls, and the mother of the two girls, run after the animals, and finally, one of the little girls scoops up the dog. He escapes from her, but in the meantime, Gatsby gets away and returns to the art gallery. UT OH! He left behind a mess!

It takes Gatsby two more nights of jumping into the painting to set things straight.

Eugene Ruble’s illustrations again show Gatsby as the enthusiastic, bouncy ball of grey and white fur. The line drawings filled with watercolor depict the scenery and characters of the story in pleasant pastels with lots of movement and activity. In contrast, the apple seller is dressed in dark colors and the little dog is black. The apples are a delicious red.

It’s a treat to see a small reproduction of Renoir’s “The Apple Seller,” rendered in the artist’s soft, feathery style. The biography of Renoir at the end of the book is an excellent introduction to this great artist.

Mrs. Cairns has promised us more adventures starring the inquisitive cat, Gatsby.

Gatsby Grand Adventures series can be found at Guardian Angel Publishing bookstore, as well as other bookstores.

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The Booker Award

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