Archives for August 2013


Author & Illustrator:  Holly Keller

2125471OH, DEAR!
Can friendship survive gossip?

Little Mouse has heard some very troubling news.  Maybe it’s just a rumor.  But since the news was told to him by his friend Skunk, it must be true.   After all, Skunk heard it from Fox, who heard it from… well, you know.  The news is mostly troubling because it is about Mouse’s friend Snake.  “Snakes are dangerous, especially to mice.”

Should friends stick together, no matter what?

Mouse’s friend Hedgehog tries to help. “That’s silly gossip. You know Snake would never hurt you.”  But as Mouse nervously walks along, not watching where he’s going, he falls into a hole and is s-t-u-c-k!  Try as they might, Rabbit, Hedgehog and Squirrel are unable to free Mouse from the dark hole.  Can a friend whose feelings have been hurt still care enough to help a friend in trouble?

There is an old saying that goes like this. “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”  Who do you think rescued Mouse?  There is a sweet picture of two unlikely friends hugging at the end of this story that helps us understand that not everything we hear about others may be true.
Mary Byrne Kline

When Frog and Toad sing …


Friendship makes for beautiful music in a child’s soul.

One can often hear random humming or a simple melody pouring out of a child when they are secure in a friendship. It bubbles up from their very core and creates memories that paint “forever” pictures of skipping hand in hand on the way to each other’s house, eating ice-cold popsicle on the back porch on a hot day, laying on tummies by a pond searching for tadpoles, riding bikes with the wind running through their hair … TOGETHER.

The playing of a familiar song brings to mind a favorite childhood memory of mine with my precious friend, Lisa.  There she was … standing in the huge hotel lobby in NYC waiting for ME. My heart started beating a happy tune as I raced for my friend and threw myself into her waiting arms.  At the age of 8, we didn’t have a lot of history together, but enough for me to know that she was going to be my forever friend.  We were there to record a children’s musical, but at that moment she was simply MY FRIEND. Our moms saw and cultivated that friendship between us.  Today, Lisa and I have a lifetime of sharing giggles, secrets, memories and a LOT of music.

Friendship is a gift!  It is a treasure that is rare and delightful.

Not every friendship that your child will have will be like “Frog and Toad”.  But as a parent, when you are hearing music trickle over from a happy heart in your child, take note of who they are with and cultivate that friendship!  As I have learned, those kinds of friendship could last a lifetime!IMG_0551


LYRICS: “You and ME”  [pdf.file]

 “You and Me” on YouTube!



The New Arrival

Author & Illustrator:  Vanya Nastanlieva

New Arrival

Theme: You + Me = Friends

There was once a hedgehog named Sam.

Our dear little hedgehog sets out to find a perfect home, which he does, in a hollow tree. Well, it was perfect except for just one thing – he has no friends. As Sam sets out searching through sunny meadows, under dark bushes and around big trees he is unaware that so many forest animals are watching him in fascination.  Finally, in desperation, Sam uses his quills to pin notes up on trees which read, “Wanted: A Friend. Hedgehog at the Hollow Tree”.  But when a storm blows his notes away, poor Sam worries he will never find a friend. And now his quills are gone!  Could there be a surprise waiting for Sam when he returns to his hollow tree after the storm?
Sometimes taking risks to make new friends is worth “losing a few quills,” as Sam found out.  And as one friend said, “I like you without quills ’cause hugging you doesn’t hurt.”
Mary Byrne Kline
Take a minute to enjoy this author/illustrator’s portfolio…lovely!   HERE

Art Conversations


 “An Interesting Story,” oil 1867
by Leon-Jean-Bazille Perrault , French (1832-1908)

Isn’t this precious?  This oil painting from 1867 is a lovely representation of this month’s theme, “Friends.”   The artist has captured the essence of something deep within us that loves to share a good book with a best friend. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I believe this one speaks volumes.  The subjects may be dressed differently than we dress now, but this painting captures a bit of life we still cherish and hopefully can communicate visually through art with our children.


1. Which girl is looking at you?  (The one on the left.)  Which girl is looking down?  (The girl on the right.)

2. Which girl do you notice first?  (The girl on the left that is looking at us.  We tend to make eye contact with the girl looking at us.  Her direct gaze captures our attention and draws us into the painting.  We call that a focal point.)

3.  What color is the girl on the left wearing?  (She has on a red cape.  The red also draws our eye and gives her more importance.)

4.  What do you like about this painting?  (Answers will vary.)

5.  Do you have a friend you like to share stories with?

We hope you and your child(ren) will enjoy this painting by the French artist Leon-Jean-Bzille Perrault and share special times talking about this meaningful piece of art.  May it spark many great conversations and warm memories.


Laura Bird Miller, artist/art instructor