Pictures From Our Vacation

Pictures From Our Vacation
Author and Illustrator: Lynne Rae Perkins

SNAP! With their new cameras

SNAP! a brother and sister SNAP! take pictures of their family vacation.

But when they look back at their photographs they see: the back of Dad’s head, feet (not sure whose), a container of noodles. 

Even the motel was disappointing: no water in the pool, the badminton racquets were shaped like potato chips, it rained for days. When the family goes to visit relatives at the farm, everything changes.  Tasting strawberry and whipped cream dessert and making memories with cousins fills their hearts and minds with pictures like no camera ever could.

“It’s hard to take a picture of a story someone tells, or what it feels like when you’re rolling down a hill or falling asleep in a house full of cousins and uncles and aunts.  Those kinds of pictures I can keep in my mind.”

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This is a great book to share with children as they come back to school after summer break to ignite “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” discussions and journal writings.   We also chose it for our July H2L book prompt!

Mary Byrne Kline

 

 

 

 

Knots on a Counting Rope…

This is far more than a story; it is a tender dialogue between a weathered, aged Indian grandfather and his grandson around a cozy campfire as the sun is setting and darkness is quickly falling.  They sit cross-legged, facing one other, each holding onto a rope with small knots along the length of it.

“Tell me the story again, Grandfather. Tell me who I am.”

“I have told you many times, Boy.  You know the story by heart.”

Yet once again patiently and gently Grandfather relays the story of the night the child was born.  The child was not strong, but born weak and frail, and  been born with a dark curtain in front of his eyes.

Grandfather shares how he’d carried his infant grandson outside to the horses and that the boy raised his tiny arms up to touch them. With each retelling, another knot is tied in the rope.  As the boy grows, he gains strength, and Grandfather teaches the boy to ride his own pony. Every day along a trail, he follows his grandfather on his pony until he can ride holding his own reins.

One day his Grandfather tells him, “You have raced the darkness and won! You now can see with your heart,  feel a part of all that  surrounds you. Your courage lights the way.”

Far more than a story; this is a lesson in love and trust between generations that will warm your heart. You may even feel yourself lingering over the exquisitely beautiful illustrations.

Mary Byrne Kline

Review by Publisher Weekly

Gathered near a campfire under a canopy of stars, a Navaho Indian boy hears the tale of his birth from his grandfather. Born on a windy night, the child was weak and frail. In the early morning, Grandfather brought him out to meet the morning. Two blue horses galloped by, stopped and looked at him; the baby raised his arms to them. Grandfather said, “”This boy child will not die. The great blue horses have given him the strength to live.” Named Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses, the child later needs that well of strength to deal with the fact that he is blind. Rand’s atmospheric, vivid paintings evoke the tale’s sensibility as they move it along. The beauty and vastness of the Western sky and the intimacy of two loving figures by a campfire are portrayed with equal fluidity. A rich tale of intergenerational love and respect, this is bittersweet and unsentimental. It is a moving collaborative effort that reverberates long after the book is closed. Ages 5-8.

An absolutely fabulous read aloud VIDEO is available at Storyline Online  – The SAG Foundation.   Enjoy and then consider purchasing a copy for your home library!

Peter Pan

“Our newest edition of Fireflies Glow is the legendary tale of a boy who refused to grow up.  A lad of adventure including run-ins with a famous pirate captain named Hook.  A youth who lived with friends in the mysterious caves of a beautiful island known as Neverland.   His magical story begins on the next Fireflies Glow.

Gil Moegerle: Master Storyteller

Subscribe to Fireflies GLOW on iTunes  PlayerFM
Subscribe to receive notification when a new story is posted.

NOTE to parents:  There will be 9 – 30 minute podcasts of Peter Pan published.  We will begin loading them as they are produced, however you may want to wait until the book is completed before introducing it to your children…. depending on their patience levels!

FirefliesGLOW: Adventures of Sammy Squirrel

“We four siblings grew up with a large number of animal friends. They included an owl, a squirrel, a toad, a snake and half a dozen more. Maybe I should explain. Most were imaginary, given to us by a grandparent who loved flights of fantasy. We will introduce you to these companions in the next edition of FirefliesGLOW’s “Tell Me a Story.”

Gil Moegerle: Master Storyteller

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Subscribe to receive notification when a new story is posted.

A bird on the plate is worth two in the fridge….

Birds are a huge source of entertainment in this household.  The boys and I recently added a large birdfeeder outside our dining room window so we could keep better tabs on the neighborhood bird drama.  We live on the water and have feathered friends of all kind; from small sparrows to geese.  We even have one “city pigeon” that comes in every afternoon for his regular fly-by snack.  Our freezer always maintains extra bread for duck feedings and we have even had to start purchasing our bird seed from Sam’s to keep up with the high demands of our beaked buddies.
To say that the boys were excited to do a bird themed snack would be an understatement.  I knew we were going to have to provide some pretty incredible meals for my two bird-loving boys.  Thankfully, there was no shortage of ideas out there.  Since, we couldn’t choose between a few of them, we planned a whole day of bird themed meals.

BIRD’S NEST BREAKFAST

I found the idea for this on Pinterest and its just incredibly easy for a fast but adorable birdie breakfast for your babies.
All you’ll need is:
  • Bread (toasted according to your little one’s preference)
  • Hard boiled egg (we made this really easy by buying them right from the store)
  • Teensy tiniest bit of a carrot
  • Edible marker (thought you could easily use a small piece of raisin for her little eyes)
Simply cut your toast into strips.  Levi likes his with a little butter so we buttered it first.  Arrange your bread pieces in a nest shape.
Cut a small triangle shape from the end of a carrot for the birds beak and position on the egg.  With your edible marker, add two eyes.  Levi decided our bird was a girl (or “grill” as he pronounces it) so we gave her pretty little eyelashes.
Nestle her into her little warm and “toast”-y nest and serve to your overly enthusiastic little one.

FOR SNACKTIME:

Another very easy idea for a quick snack.
What you’ll need:
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Grapes
  • Carrot
  • Edible Marker

I snapped the pretzel sticks into smaller “twigs” and just tossed them into a small bowl.  Dot little eyes on grapes and set them in their “nest”.  Cut small triangles from carrots and place on the birds and you’re done!

FOR DINNER:

And finally for dinner, spaghetti noodles with bird meatballs on a celery branch.
What you’ll need:
  • Center stalk of celery (with the leaves on the end to look branch-like)
  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Meatballs or like we used, mini-hamburgers
  • Mozarella Cheese
  • Carrot
  • Edible Marker

Place celery branch across plate, use a fork and twirl a large section of spaghetti into a nest shape.  Place noodle nest on its side.  Tuck in two meatballs or mini hamburgers into the nest.  For the eyes, I cut slices of a cheese stick and used a piping tip to make a smaller circle cut out.  You could most certainly use the entire slice though.  Add a black dot in the center of the cheese slice with an edible marker or you could use a caper, piece of black olive or a piece of raisin.  Whatever you happen to have laying around in the pantry.  Position the eyes on the meatball/ hamburger.  Cut a small triangle out of a carrot and place under eyes to form the beak.

The boys loved this idea so much that we had a version of it for dinner the next night as well.  The second night, I made a nest of rice and tucked their meat into it.  Just as easy and just as entertaining for the little ones in your life.
Contributing author: Rachel Skvaril
Sugar Artist

Fireflies GLOW: The Ugly Duckling

Our latest edition of Fireflies Glow is the tale of a fine feathered friend known as The Ugly Duckling, one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most famous stories. You’ll meet a little duck who was disliked and mistreated by all the barnyard animals until they discovered who he really was.

Subscribe to our storytelling podcasts and let your children enjoy on the way to the grocery store.   You have 23 minutes to listen to this delightful reading and have peace in the car.   Priceless!  (And yes, we remember those days….)

Enjoy listening to Gil Moegerle read

The Ugly Duckling.

See our previous post where we reviewed The Ugly Duckling.

Please note that the version read on Fireflies GLOW is the original which is in
public domain and not the version depicted above or Pinkney’s adaptation.

Subscribe to Fireflies GLOW on iTunes  PlayerFM

Poem Share: Red Bird

The First Red Bird

by Evaleen Stein

I heard a song at daybreak,
So honey-sweet and clear,
The essence of all joyous things
Seemed mingling in its cheer.

The frosty world about me
I searched with eager gaze,
But all was slumber-bound and wrapped
In violet-tinted haze.

Then suddenly a sunbeam
Shot slanting o’er the hill,
And once again from out the sky
I heard that honied trill.

And there upon a poplar,
Poised at its topmost height,
I saw a little singer clad
In scarlet plumage bright.

The poplar branches quivered,
By dawn winds lightly blown,
And like a breeze-swept poppy-flower
The red-bird rocked and shone.

The blue sky, and his feathers
Flashed o’er by golden light,
Oh, all my heart with rapture thrilled,
It was so sweet a sight!

Another delightful interpretation of The First Red Bird by Sierra Valone.
“Thank you, Sierra, for reading this month’s poem for us!”

You Are My Work of Art!

From the Author, Sue DiCicco

You Are My Work of Art”,  was in development for many years. The fine art world is difficult for some to appreciate, the notion being pervasive that it is hard to understand, and beyond the average person to grasp. It frightens many away from something that has always brought me a tremendous amount of joy. As my son was growing up, our goal was to introduce him to the world of art and have him feel it was created for him and speaking to him, no matter what avocation he eventually would choose to pursue.
How does one instill a sense of belonging in children and forever cast away the sense of intimidation that has perpetuated in the world of fine art? How does one connect a young child to the iconic images of the art world, and instill an early sense of joy when encountering great art?
We actively toured museums around the world with our son, and engaged him in conversations about the images and how they related to him and his own world.

I wondered how to share the experience with other children that had limited opportunities for such field trips. The sketches developed over the years, eventually finding their way into book form. The poem followed as the images were assembled, designed to introduce any child (and perhaps even their parent) to 8 famous paintings for the very first time. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to hearing your review.

Sue DiCicco
August 2011

From Deni:

 

I found this book several years ago, a week before heading to DC to await the arrival of my third grandchild.  I immediately fell in love with it, so into the suitcase it went.   Even though it is geared towards very young children (it’s a board book), it perfectly captures what I was talking about in an early Fireflies’ post – Training your child to appreciate art. The author had the same desire that I had as a young mom; to introduce my children to art masterpieces.  Not only does DiCicco introduce major works of art in her board book, she emphasizes a theme that is dear to my mom’s heart – that our children are OUR works of art.

That night as I was working on posts for Fireflies, I received a text from my friend Julie Hagan – “You have to see this wonderful book I’ve found.”   It was You are my Work of Art, by Sue DiCicco.  She then linked the book to a song that had been very special to both of us as new moms.  If you know it, the mention of it will bring tears to your eyes.  If you don’t, then I’m excited to introduce this song to you; Masterpiece by Sandi Patty.   (Thanks for reminding me, Julie!)   I’ve posted the lyrics to Masterpiece below.  It has been remastered from when we first heard it (in the ’80s – I know…it’s ancient – as are we).

Enjoy, as we celebrate the masterpieces created by God’s hands and placed in ours!

Click here to listen to the song.

 

Before you had a name or opened up your eyes
Or anyone could recognize your face.

You were being formed so delicate in size
Secluded in God’s safe and hidden place.

With your little tiny hands and little tiny feet
And little eyes that shimmer like a pearl

He breathed in you a song and to make it all complete
He brought the masterpiece into the world.

You are a masterpiece
A new creation He has formed

And you’re as soft and fresh as a snowy winter morn.
And I’m so glad that God has given you to me

Little Lamb of God, you are a masterpiece.

And now you’re growing up your life’s a miracle
Every time I look at you I stand in awe

Because I see in you a reflection of me
And you’ll always be my little lamb from God

And as your life goes on each day
How I pray that you will see
Just how much your life has meant to me.

And I’m so proud of you
What else is there to say?
Just be the masterpiece He created you to be.

Slightly Bird-Brained

How did you get my daddy to go to sleep when he was little?” asked my young granddaughter.  “Oh, dear one, let me tell you a story. . .”  And my mind wandered back many years, to The Trumpet of the Swan, and how Louis was determined to become a trumpeter.  Our boys loved the story, especially since their daddy played the trumpet.  They were almost sad when, after many days of reading, we finally completed the book.  Even today when they hear, “Day is done, gone the sun…,” they immediately think of Louis the Swan.  

Slightly Bird-Brained

Growing up in North Dakota and Iowa should have caused me to be a much heartier person. It didn’t.  Each winter I endured the blizzards and ice storms while counting the days until once again a crocus or daffodil would peak through and announce that color was returning to my world.  Oh, what joy when the first robin was spotted!  When at last the sweet chirping of birds could be heard, I knew that warmth was returning as well.

The Byrne childhood home

There was, however, an unfortunate downside to my fondness for the returning bird population.  My dear mother was concerned that should there not be sufficient seeds, worms, etc. available upon their immediate return, I should begin taking out all leftover bread after supper each evening. This should be torn up into teensy little bits and distributed around the yard, particularly under the trees. We had trees everywhere! At first I didn’t mind.  Then after about two days my teensy bits became “bits”, then “chunks”, and soon I just tore the pieces of bread in half, figuring those old birds could figure it out for themselves.

My next chore was to clean out the birdbath. This not only meant making sure that the water in it didn’t get a layer of ice so the birdies couldn’t bathe (heaven forbid we have dirty birdies!), but I was to keep the basin and water clean. Hauling water in my little bucket took a lot of time. If you’ve ever had a birdbath you know how gross cleaning one can be, if not, just don’t ask.

Earlier I mentioned something about not being hearty. That also involves a real distaste for any type of bug or creepy crawly. Therefore, my last spring bird job caused me a great deal of anxiety.  I was to  “till” a small area in our garden since the ground was still quite hard from being frozen all winter. This was to allow the birds to peck more easily for worms. You can’t imagine my delight at unearthing one while digging! Yet even though I may have done my chores slightly bird-brained, our yard always abounded with birds of every color and species. For this I am eternally grateful!

How thankful I am to now be living in a year-round warm climate.  I don’t tear up bread, don’t own a birdbath, and will never dig for worms! But I still love listening to sweet chirping, watching nests be built, and catching a glimpse of a cardinal with its mate on our back fence.

I think it’s time to dust off  The Trumpet of the Swan, and curl up on the couch with all of my dear grandchildren.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of daddies even wanted to take a turn at reading a chapter or two aloud.  And maybe when we finish the book, PopPop may surprise them with a little “Louis” song of his own!!

“All is well, safely rest. . . God is nigh.”

Love,

Button

Mary Byrne Kline

Mary Byrne Kline . aka Button

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us as we create Heritage 2 Legacy memories
through the delight of a children’s book.

 

 

Feathers for Lunch

Author & Illustrator:  Lois Ehlert

This is a book that is never read once, for as soon as it is finished you will hear, “Read it again!”  PLEASE

We have a very hungry cat on the loose, determined to make lunch of some birds. He’s sneaking around the backyard and his adventure is an engaging and entertaining rhyme.

“His food in a can is tame and mild,
so he’s gone out for something wild.”

Will the cat be successful in his attempts at catching a bird?

“But cats can’t fly and they can’t soar,
and birds know what their wings are for.”

At first glance it may appear to simply be a short quick read, but look closely and you will find some hidden treasures.  Each bird is identified, along with the plant or shrub upon which it is resting. All birds illustrated in the story are portrayed life sized and true in their coloring.

At the end of the book the reader is given the factual treat of “The lunch that got away.” These four pages are filled with information on the twelve birds our poor cat couldn’t catch.

Here are some delightful learning (play?) opportunities that go along with Feathers for Lunch.  Enjoy!   PINTEREST (images and ideas)

Mary Byrne Kline