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.

Two Tough Words

How strange – right behind the grouping of family pictures in the front room was a wadded pile of shiny candy kiss wrappers. I tossed them out without much thought. Later, while bending to pick something up, I noticed a similar silver slew of wrappers under the sofa.  Hm-m-m, what was going on? After finding a third metallic mess semi-hidden behind a lamp, I mentally began to put the pieces together. My festive bowl of candy kisses had been full before our grandkids had visited on Sunday. Now it held but two. I casually mentioned it to our daughter-in-law, who, after being mortified, had to agree with me that for being only 5 and 3, the boys had been quite ingenious in their hiding technique.

That evening her confrontation was met with swift denials. “We didn’t eat the candy!” ” We didn’t hide any wrappers!”  Kriss wisely knew that a forced apology wouldn’t be worth much. Her patience was rewarded, for soon after tucking in the candy culprits, they came tiptoeing down the hall, pouring out their hearts. “Oh, Mama, we sneaked Button’s (aka me-grandma) candy. I’m sorry!” “I’m sorry, too!” What sweet relief once they’d spoken those two tough words.  However, there was still one more apology to be made…

Rather than my back door being opened with a bang and a shout of “Hi, Button, we’re here!”, two mute, wide-eyed, close to tears little boys came shuffling into my kitchen.  One look at them and I almost teared up! “How would you boys like to listen to a story?”  Their eyes lit up; we piled onto the sofa, and Tumford the Terrible by Nancy Tillman opened up a time of healing and laughter.  Once my dear little ones heard how Tumford the cat overcame his difficulty in saying “I’m sorry,” they understood how important those two tough words are – both to say and to hear.

February is often the time for celebrating love.  As I reflect on what that entails, I can’t help but think of how much deeper any relationship is once those involved have been able to say the all important words, “I’m sorry”.  Did you think I was going to say, “I love you”?   Of course we want to hear that from our spouse and long for the day our children say it, but how  precious when we have situations in which those we love come to us and are able to sincerely say, “I’m sorry”.  Those are difficult words – none of us like to apologize. And yet when those words are spoken, perhaps that is when we feel the most loved. Trust is restored. It’s been several years since those two little boys hid candy kiss wrappers around my house.  They’re almost as tall as I am now. I still buy them candy kisses and tease them about what they did and we have a good “Tummy” laugh together.


Mary Kline (aka “Button”)
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Tumford the Terrible

By Nancy Tillman

If I had a nickel for every time I told my kids, “Tell your brother (or sister) you’re sorry!”, I’d be a wealthy woman! But on those occasions, the apology often came out as a whiny “So-o-o-rry”. Heartfelt it wasn’t. And if I were totally honest, I’d have to admit that I’ve also had a hard time saying those words, even knowing how much they needed to be said. Which brings me to Tumford. He isn’t really a terrible cat.

“But oh dear, and oh my, there was one small pity.  Tumford, it seems, was a most stubborn kitty.  In spite of the manners he often forgot, he would not say, “I’m sorry.”
Oh no, he would not.”

With each spill, crash and mishap, Tumford manages to hide, thus avoiding an apology. But when his enthusiasm causes a crash with the Village Fair Queen, Tumford gets a new thought that warms up his tummy and toes. His courage is sweetly rewarded.  Tillman has exquisitely captured “Tummy’s” feelings in her illustrations throughout this book. You’ll almost forget you’re looking at a cat as Tumford peers wide-eyed from his hiding places.

There is indeed a wondrous effect that takes place when “I’m sorry” is spoken from the heart – love and trust deepen to a new level of understanding.  Just like Tumford, spills, crashes and mishaps will continue to happen, but…to each of you, our precious children, you are loved…and that’s what matters.

Mary Kline
1.  Retell or read a child’s version of The Prodigal Son. What lesson did the son learn?
What lesson did Tumford learn?
2.  Why did the father forgive his prodigal son? Why do you think God forgives us?
3.  How did the son ask for forgiveness? Why is it important to ask for forgiveness?
4.  When someone asks us to forgive them, what should our response be?
5.  If someone says, “I’m sorry” but doesn’t change their behavior…were they really sorry?

My Heart is Like a Zoo Craft

All you need is some colored paper, glue, scissors, and wriggly eyes!

What a fun activity for children – anytime!  This activity is based on our book review of My Heart is Like a Zoo.

First we went to the Dollar Store and found this set of six heart shapes – yep, for just a $1.

We used the shapes to trace several different sized hearts on various colored sheets of card stock purchased from our local Michael’s.
I was excited to be able to cut out various shades of some colors – because I’d rather give children three shades of yellow to work with, instead of just “yellow”.   But that’s just me.  (and why I love the Pantone Colors book for children – see REVIEW here.
After reading our CLIP pick book for February, My Heart is Like a Zoo, give your child the palette of heart shapes & colors, some wiggly eyes and let them create.
Mount on a sheet of black or white card stock and display for all to see!
A few more details and our creation will be complete.  Cute!

Encourage original animal creations, or allow children to replicate an animal from the book. It doesn’t matter as long as you are having fun creating together!

Oh, and check out this cute idea!

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CLICK HERE for pattern.
From Mrs. T’s First Grade Class

Enjoy!

Deni Corbett

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Create your own Valentines!

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CLICK HERE

to download a free Valentine’s booklet from Family Fun magazine
with complete instructions on making the following:

Mice to Know You!

Animal Attraction

Plane Awesome

Treat Transmitters

Jolly Lollies

Have a Ball

Give a Hoot

Catch of the Day

In the kitchen, we can build a snowman

Powdered Doughnut Snowmen

Doesn’t this face make you smile?  As soon as I saw this idea on Pinterest,

I knew I needed to make these with my little men.  One look at that little chocolate dotted face and knew that our family needed this snowy man in our life….and that he needed to have rosy cheeks.  If you were standing outside all day long and make of snow, I’m 100 percent positive that YOU would have rosy cheeks as well.

Look at them all clustered together on a pretty pedestal. Personally, I can’t help but giggle when I see them.  On a side note, for that snowman hat in the middle of the pedestal, I used the same chocolate dipped marshmallow on an Oreo idea that I shared in Thanksgiving post, just leave off the buckle for a plain top hat.

The base ingredients for this food project are these little guys:

One bag of powdered doughnuts was more than enough to make my boys their own snowmen and a little igloo (not shown – long story).
Other ingredients you need are:

  • White chocolate
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Shish kebab sticks
  • An orange candy of some sort.  I used an orange dot on the snowman above just cut one end into a tip and worked the cut end into a smooth point by rubbing it between my fingers.  Master Chef Noah opted to just plop an orange Skittle in there.
  • Optional: Candies for “buttons” (as shown in the above snowmen) and petal dust if you too think that rosy cheeks are a must.
  • A dull knife
 Melt your white chocolate candy coating according to the directions on the package until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Joining us today for our foodie project is my oldest chef, Noah who will be instructing you all today on the fine art of making a powdered sugar doughnut snowman.

As you see, Chef Noah has cleaned his hands and has gathered his ingredients on a sheet of wax paper so any mess will be contained.

The first thing Noah needs to do is pick out the three best powdered sugar doughnuts from the pile.  He doesn’t approve of any cracked doughnuts for this project.

Noah does a trial run of what his snowman will look like by laying them vertically on his workspace.  He wants to be sure that these doughnuts are up to par.

After they have undergone his scrutiny and passed his final testing, Noah then slides each doughnut onto the shish kebab stick.

You will be using the white chocolate candy coating as glue, so get a tiny bit on the end of your dull knife and fill the top doughnut hole with white chocolate.  Before it sets up, place the orange candy into the white chocolate.

Continue adding small amounts of white chocolate where the eyes and mouth will be placed or as Chef Noah has illustrated, just dump a bunch of white chocolate all over the top doughnut.  Place two mini chips for the eyes above the orange nose and form a smile with the mini chips under his nose.

Such concentration displayed by my little chef during this delicate procedure.

Continue to add buttons down the “snowman’s” front, let it set up and there you have it!

Banana Snowman

My little overachiever decided to make up his own snowman project to be included in this month’s post.

The ingredients list:

  • Banana
  • Raisins
  • Pretzel Rods (though sticks would have been easier to use and would have been a better size)

First step:  Peel the banana and immediately start acting like a monkey.

After Mom finally calms you down and gets you back in your seat again, use your dull knife to cut the banana.

Look at these sweet fingers.

Line up three banana slices.

Stick mini chocolate chips in place for his eyes and mouth, raisins for his buttons and rods for his arms.

Two fun recipes for you to share with your little ones this month.
Rachel Skvaril, Sugar Artist
www.fondantflinger.com
And don’t forget to visit Fondant Flinger’s Etsy shop to order your Valentine’s Day cupcake toppers; the perfect addition to your cupcakes for those class parties!

Beginning Sounds with “Snowballs”

Winter!   What a beautiful season! Unfortunately, I don’t get to experience nature’s true winter here in Florida. Oh how I would love to run out in the snow and make a snow angel or roll a big snowman… but for now, I only get to experience it through books like, “Snowballs.”

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert is a true classic. It’s simple sentence structure, unique pictures, and clever humor (I mean fish for the snow cat’s eyebrows… that’s funny!) captures children’s attention and heart.

In Snowballs, each “snowman” created is part of a snow family. Teaching Kindergarten, I used this book to nonchalantly reinforce beginning sounds. I focused on the words and names that make up a family: dad, mom, boy, girl, baby, dog, and cat. (Yes, pets are family!!)

 While you read, reinforce the beginning sounds of these words:

  • /d/ /d/   dad
  • /m/ /m/  mom
  • /b/ /b/  boy  (discuss that a boy in the family can be a /b/  /b/  brother)
  • /g/ /g/  girl  (discuss that a girl in the family can be a  /s/  /s/   sister)
  • /b/ /b/  baby
  • /d/ /d/  dog
  • /c/ /c/   cat

Ask what TWO family names begin with the same sound?

  • Dad & Dog
  • Boy & Baby

Discuss where they feel movement in their mouth when they make these sounds. For example, the /d/ sound sure feels different than the /b/ sound! Go ahead… say these two sounds and feel for yourself!

The family words used in “Snowballs” are in your child’s daily vocabulary, therefore are great to use when discussing beginning sounds because they are familiar. Using words your little learner uses daily or are able to see and touch are the best words to use when you start teaching beginning sounds because they are able to make personal connections to the words.


 

Click HERE to visit my TeachersPayTeachers store to download and print my *mini snowfamily interactive reader* called, “My Snow Family.”   (pictured above) Practice reading the sentences with your little learner. Encourage them to put their finger on the paw prints as they read each word and say the sounds. Then they can illustrate each snow family member!  1= READ  2= ILLUSTRATE  3= CUT  4= READ 🙂  It is FREE to download for the next few days.

I hope you enjoy talking about your family with your little learner and illustrating what you all would look like as snow people! Please tag me on Instagram if you use my snowfamily interactive reader! I would love to see it in action.

Joanna and Mush Mush

 

I invite you to visit my website and read up on my newly published,
early sight word books called,
“Mush Mush Readers.”
www.mushmushreaders.com
@mushmushreaders
mushmushreaders@gmail.com
#mushmushreaders
#firefliesblog
#author

Hans Brinker

Retold by:  Bruce Coville
Illustrated by:  Laurel Long

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I was delighted to find this charming classic reintroduced in a glorious picture book version for young readers.  Coville has masterfully adapted and interwoven three tales involving young Hans and his sister, Gretel, in this story of a family sticking together through hardship, and wondering if wishes will come true.

The first tale revolves around Hans and Gretel desiring to compete in an important ice-skating race on a Holland canal.  They, however, are too poor to afford anything but wooden skates, knowing they won’t be fast enough to win. How they wish they could win the prize of the new silver skates!

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Then there is the mystery of the loss of the family’s savings, which occurred at the same time Han’s father had a serious accident at work years earlier.  Hans finds a capable Doctor, but will he be willing to help the family?  They’ve wished for years for the renewed health of their father.

The Dutch doctor who Hans brings to help his ailing father has a burden of his own.  It seems that his hard and rough exterior is due to a heart that is full of loneliness.  What secret wish does the Doctor keep?

Acts of generosity are woven throughout these  intertwining tales, including the efforts of Hans and Gretel’s friends to help them upgrade from their wooden skates to faster, newer skates.  Will all of these wishes come true?  Are the wishes somehow related to each other?

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This is the best kind of fairy tale, when we realize that being selfless often sets a miraculous series of events in motion.  And wishes have a way of coming true – just in the nick of time!

The  illustrations are breathtaking and luminous.  They also provide visual features of Dutch architecture, culture, and society.

HANS BRINKERMary Byrne Kline
CONTACT

1.  What was the reason for Annie asking Hans to carve her a wooden chain?

2.  How did the case holding the silver skates lead to solving Dr. Boekman’s wish?

3.  What facts in the story prove that Hans was selfless, and put others ahead of himself?