The Story of Ferdinand

As I begin packing my suitcase for an 8 day road trip through Spain, I thought I’d revisit an old favorite whose setting is my destination: The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.


I remember being introduced to this book (one of the bestselling children’s books of all time) when I was in college – in my Children’s Lit class.    I don’t remember the details of WHY I fell in love – but I know WHO stole my heart…Ferdinand.  His joy and contentment captivated me.   He made me smile.   As a result of a series of events (a bee sting) he is chosen for the full fights in Mardrid.  Why?  Because he is the “biggest, fastest, roughest bull” of all!

The day of the bullfight is incredible, with flying flags, bands playing, and lovely ladies with flowers in their hair. The parade into the bullring includes the Banderilleros, the Picadores, the Matador and then comes the bull.

Ferdinand is a dear story that will have appeal simply for its humor and for its happy ending.

There are those who considered The Story of Ferdinand to have a political agenda since it was published in September of 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. However it was actually written in October of 1935 and Leaf and his family always denied any political intentions. According to Munro Leaf, “it’s ‘a happy-ending story about being yourself.’ ”
(Source: School Library Journal)

Asking questions and extending learning while reading a children’s book is an art form.  The best teacher (mom/dad) slips in a question without disrupting the flow of the story while keeping the story momentum flowing.

Some questions to consider:

  1. How is Ferdinand different from all the other little bulls?
  2. Why do you think Ferdinand’s mother began to worry?
  3. Why did the men choose Ferdinand?
  4. In a bull fight, what do you think are the jobs of the Banderilleros, the Picadores, and the Matador?
  5. Do you think there is a life lesson in this story?  ExplainBut better than letting my canned questions drive you – let your child’s curiosity drive your conversation.  Now, back to packing…

CLICK HERE for a comprehensive Lesson Plan.

Don’t miss Mary Kline’s read aloud in FirefliesGLOW!   Coming soon.

Click here for learning & craft ideas to go along with this delightful book.  Pinterest

This book is worth a $2.oo investment…

Velveteen Rabbit – Conclusion

Here comes the suspenseful conclusion of the Velveteen Rabbit. What will happen to our rabbit friend who is stuck in a trash bag out back of the garden with throw-away items set to be burned in the morning? The final episode of a Chasing Fireflies classic storybook reading is ready for your enjoyment.

The Velveteen Rabbit   Part 1   Part 2
Coming next?  Peter Pan!

Gil Moegerle: Master Storyteller

Subscribe to Fireflies GLOW on iTunes  PlayerFM

If you are interested in discussing possible voice over work with Gil,
you may contact him
here.

Velveteen Rabbit – Part 2

Welcome to another Fireflies GLOW episode

Enjoy listening to one of our Master Storytellers, Gil Moegerle, read part 2 of
The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams Bianco.

Gather ‘round for part two of the adventures of the Velveteen Rabbit, written by Margery Williams. Last time, we found out how a velvety stuffed rabbit became real because of the love of a little boy. They had great fun together until, here in part two, something unexpected happens that is a big problem for these two friends.

Gil Moegerle: Master Storyteller

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to Fireflies GLOW on iTunes  PlayerFM

If you are interested in discussing possible voice over work with Gil,
you may contact him
here.

Childhood Pets and Family Peccadillos

As we come to the end of our focus on best friends…our pets, Gil shares a Heritage 2 Legacy short story entitled:

Childhood Pets and Family Peccadillos

By Gil Moegerle

Here is an aspect of the family legacy shared by my three siblings and I that is somewhat checkered. We are not all pet lovers. Truth be told, some of us are probably pet disparagers.
My hand is in the air. Those of us who have brought this stain upon our family heritage are working on it…a little at a time…maybe.  (more)

For the “rest of the story”, listen to the podcast below.

We invite you to subscribe to Chasing Fireflies Podcasts on iTunes  PlayerFM

A REAL Favorite

Another Fireflies GLOW episode

Enjoy listening to master storyteller, Gil Moegerle, read
The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams Bianco.


Having just celebrated birthday 73, I find Margery Williams’ writing poignant. The new velveteen rabbit asks the old toy horse how long it took him to become “real” through the love of a child. The horse responds, “Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly.” Yep. That’s how it feels.

Master Storyteller – Gil Moegerle

Subscribe to Fireflies GLOW on iTunes  PlayerFM

Poem: The Turtle

Poetry is so important for language development because of the “music” of the words as well as the rhythm and rhyme of the word combinations used in the poem.   This simple poem is a prime example.  I encourage you to print out a copy of The Turtle and enjoy it together with your child(ren).

By the way – do you know anyone who has a pet turtle?  I do!

The Turtle

Jack Prelutsky

The turtle’s always been inclined
to live within his shell.
But why he cares to be confined,
the turtle does not tell.

The turtle’s always satisfied
to slowly creep and crawl,
and never wanders far outside
his living room or hall.

So if you wish to visit him
in his domestic dome,
just knock politely on his shell,
you’ll find the turtle home.

CLICK HERE
to download this free “T is for Turtle” coloring sheet & poem.

Looking for a classic book about a snapping turtle?

Minn of the Mississippi 
Author:  Holling C. Holling

The journey of Minn, a snapping turtle, is followed from northern Minnesota to the bayous of Louisiana. The turtle’s adventures with people, animals, and the changing seasons are vividly described, and bring the river’s history to life. Wonderful drawings and maps accompany the story.  A Newbery honor book.

Meet A Cat Who is Helping Children Read!

 

Do you have a pet? I do! 5 years ago I adopted my fluffy, friendly cat named Mush Mush from a local pet store. Not only is he the best lap cat around, he is helping beginner readers learn to read all across America!

 

I am excited to share how my published, early sight word books called, “Mush Mush Readers,” came to fruition and how they can help your beginning reader!

 

DID YOU KNOW that in the beginning of Kindergarten, the teacher assesses each child’s reading ability? As a former Kinder teacher I assure you it’s true! After I assessed each child, I placed them into one of three ‘Reading Groups:’ BEGINNING/LOW, AVERAGE/ON, or ABOVE. Over time, I noticed that the children who were in my ‘Beginning/Low’ & ‘Average/On’ groups all had something in common= they lacked a knowledge of sight words*(What is a sight word? See explanation below). Yes, they knew letters and how to blend sounds together to make words, but when it came to reading sentences – they fell short because they could not read sight words!

When I went to look for books to match their developmental needs- I found nothing appropriate! The books were too advanced, contained too many reading concepts, and had too many words per page. These books left the children feeling frustrated and defeated. So, I decided to write 10 early sight word readers to fill in this beginning reader resource gap. It is VITAL to have developmentally appropriate books in the hands of  our most vulnerable readers; therefore Mush Mush Readers was born!

How can Mush Mush Readers help your beginning reader? Below I outline 6 reading areas my books focus on that are sure to help!

  • Reading Confidence- Each book contains 5 pages and a repetitive sentence structure. The sentences are made up of sight words  and picture words. The reader only learns one sight word per book so they are able to master it. Also, each word has a paw print under it to help guide the reader through the sentence. All of these components help ease reading anxiety and boost reading confidence!

  • Sight Word Fluency- Each reader has the sight word and ‘review’ sight words printed on the back for easy practice. Seeing it repetitively as they read and hearing how the word is used in context, both help the reader master the sight word with ease. 
  • Vocabulary- Each book has a theme, such as, animals, fruits, or shapes. I used themes that children are familiar with so they can make connections from the book to their real life! The picture-words within the sentences and child-friendly illustrations help build conversation and expand vocabulary.  
  • 1-1 Correspondence- This simply means one spoken word means one written word. I put Mush Mush’s paw print under each word so the reader knows only to say one word for each word they read (This is a hard concept for beginning readers! They want to add words on to the sentences they read). The paws help lessen anxiety because they help guide the reader through the sentences.  
  • Concepts of Print- The pages are thick and are great for learning how to turn book pages! The pictures of a pencil and paintbrush on the front cover serve as a great visual clue for discussing the role of the author & illustrator. Also, the few words per page help the reader distinguish between words and pictures.
  • Comprehension- At the end of each book, there are 2 ‘higher-order thinking’ questions to help the reader think about what they just read and connect more to the book.

Mush Mush would love to join your library and beginning reader’s reading journey! My fluffy, friendly kitty is more than just a pet… he is a reading advocate and partner. I invite you to visit my website & Instagram to learn more about us!  www.mushmushreaders.com   @mushmushreaders

Here is to helping all beginning readers feel confident and successful!

Joanna & Mush Mush

*What are sight words? Sight words are a group of 220 words that are taught to children between Pre-Kindergarten and 3rd grade. Sight words are difficult to sound out and decode, therefore, they must be memorized in order to achieve reading fluency. Click HERE to review the list of words! They make up 60-85% of words in early readers. It is near impossible to read sentences and children’s books with fluency and accuracy without mastering sight words.

The Velveteen Rabbit

Some pets are real and some are…

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day.  “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real”

There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid.

“Real” is a magical word to the Velveteen Rabbit — he doesn’t know quite what it means. But the Skin Horse, who is old and wise, knows, and he shares the secret: Being Real means being loved.

Margery Williams’s classic story of how a boy’s love transforms a velveteen rabbit into a real one has resonated in the hearts of children for decades.  Here is a feast for both eye and ear — the perfect book for any child who cherishes a stuffed animal.

Below is a literature guide that was created as teacher guides prior to attending a theatrical production of The Velveteen Rabbit.  It has a lot of great information and support images.

Velveteen Rabbit Curriculum Guide

 

A gift from Eric Carle

A gift from Eric Carle – a free Valentine’s Day card!

CLICK HERE

Lassie Come Home

Lassie is Joe’s prize collie and constant companion. But when Joe’s father loses his job, Lassie must be sold. Three times she escapes from her new owner, and three times she returns home to Joe, until finally she is taken to the remotest part of Scotland—too far a journey for any dog to make alone.

But Lassie is not just any dog.

First published in 1940, Lassie Come-Home has become one of the best-loved dog stories in the world. This beautiful edition showcases the original text and illustrations within a striking new jacket.

Eric Knight at home with his dog, Tootsie.    The story of Lassie was based on Tootsie.

When is the last time you read this book, if ever?  It doesn’t matter how many times you have seen the movie – don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy Eric Knight’s classic, Lassie Come Home in print.

From BookRags:

1. Why are Lassie and the Carraclough family so devoted to each other? How do each of those characters benefit from the other characters’ love? In what ways do they treat each other the same, and how do they treat each other differently? How does Lassie connect the three Carracloughs as a family?

2. Compare and contrast the Duke of Rudling, his granddaughter Priscilla, and the kennel man Hynes with the Carracloughs. Do you think Knight selected those characters’ names to suggest socioeconomic and personality traits such as rudeness? What do these characterizations reveal about class in Great Britain?

3. Discuss the Carracloughs’ strategies to persevere despite lean and discouraging times. How do their efforts parallel Lassie’s journey?

4. How do the dog characters resemble human characters? Does Knight describe animals and humans with any physical attributes which are clues to their inherent goodness or unsavoriness?

Make treats for your pets:

Peanut Butter Puppy Poppers (Treat for your Dog!)
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375’F. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Bake for 15-20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown. The cookies burn easily, so watch carefully.  Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container.