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.

Become Healthier with H2L!

How to Become Healthier and Sexier in 2017

Apparently Our New Heritage2Legacy Project Will Help

You might think my headline is a shameless fabrication intended to draw you into reading the thoughts that follow about our new Chasing Fireflies program (The “shameless” part might be true). However, I based it on an intriguing study I came across about the benefits of storytelling.

Before I explain, allow me to remind you about our new Heritage2Legacy resource. This set of ideas and tools is designed to help you capture and preserve for future generations your most important family stories.

For more, check out the Heritage2Legacy tab at the top of our home page – firefliesblog.com.

Elizabeth Berstein writes in The Wall Street Journal, “Since the dawn of language, people have shared stories with others to…make sense of what happened to them and to bond. Research shows that the way people construct their individual stories has a large impact on their physical and mental health.” and this type of communication “…is sexy.”

I have a reason for passing along Berstein’s observations beyond our mutual interest in good health and that other benefit. She offered several ideas for how to start preserving your family stories. Here are three you might find helpful.

  1. Set aside story time. Find a specific time and a place where you are not rushed and have fewer distractions. Agree this is a time to record, in written or audio form, family stories that help explain your history and heritage.
  1. If you have trouble getting started, try talking about your “firsts.”Tell stories about first experiences – dates, kisses, cars, children, jobs, homes, vacations, schools, hobbies.
  1. Talk about the past, present and future. Our first instinct in family storytelling might be to pass along to our children key historic memories. However, include stories explaining present family circumstances. And don’t forget stories about family dreams and bucket list items also explain to future generations important elements of their family’s heritage.

Here is a great New Year’s resolution – let’s ask the elders of our family to tell us more family stories in 2017.  In the process, during the next 12 months we’ll grow healthier and that other thing.

Gil Moegerle

The Gift of the Magi

img_8264The story was initially published in The New York Sunday World under the title, “Gifts of the Magi” on December 10, 1905.   It was first published in book form in the O. Henry Anthology The Four Million in April 1906.

We thought we would celebrate its 111th anniversary by asking Gil to read The Gift of the Magi for our Fireflies GLOW read-aloud collection.

If you are interested in having a copy of this short story in reading it to your children or perhaps purchasing it for your home library, we recommend the published version illustrated by P.J. Lynch.

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Another Fireflies GLOW episode

Enjoy listening to master storyteller, Gil Moegerle, read the classic Christmas short story, The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry.

Subscribe to Fireflies GLOW on iTunes

Subscribe to Chasing Fireflies Podcasts on iTunes

Grow a Storyteller

The goal?  To grow a storyteller;  for young children to learn to tell simple, imaginative stories.

There are no rules – except to have fun.   Moms and Dads, you must take turns as well – but keep the stories simple, so that your little ones feel that their stories are equal to your efforts.   Enjoy, laugh, create legacy family memories around a great children’s book and a storytelling prompt. You may want to use a minute timer for those who tend to create the story “that never ends”, or the child who needs to be rescued by a timer.   You know your children – just create a safe environment for storytelling…no TV, no cell phones, no computers – just family members and maybe some popcorn!  ENJOY!

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1.  Keep a recorder close by and capture each TMAS [Tell Me a Story] experience.  You don’t want to miss a single family legacy storytelling gem.
2.  After you have shared together one of this month’s Chasing Fireflies book selection, or your own favorite books about libraries and books, engage your child in conversations about the book(s) before asking them to tell their own story.  Children must have a reference point; information and pre-knowledge on which to hang their ideas.
  • Who are the characters in this book?
  • Describe each of the main characters.   What adjectives would you use to describe _____?  You want future storytellers to recognize how to paint a verbal picture of each of their characters.  Begin by having them point out the differences in the characters from the book you read together.
  • What happened in the book?   Discuss events and the order those events happened.
  • What is the setting(s) described in the book?
  • Paraphrase the plot.  Tell me what happened – problem & resolution.

Please don’t go through these questions as if you are preparing them for a test.   These questions should flow through an engaging conversation..”Who do you think……”   “How would you?”   Again – let the interest and engagement of your child guide you.   If he/she is enjoying the conversation – carry on.    If he/she is annoyed at all the questions and it is obvious you are sucking every bit of the joy out of reading the book – STOP!  I beg you – STOP!

3.  This month I didn’t fill the Chasing Fireflies’ Tell Me a Story Box with several small prompts (more on that next month for those of you who don’t know what a TMAS Box is..).   Instead, I chose to purchase a replica of the main character of Library Lion and use it as the prompt.   I just really love this book and decided to encourage children to come up with additional adventures the lion may have had.   Perhaps you can think of a great “reveal” for your lion.   Perhaps he does fit in your TMAS box (if you follow FirefliesBlog and have one)!   I purchased this one from Amazon and just love it!  Great quality and price.
4.  Be sure to make your storytelling time an event.   Your voice and body language should express excitement and anticipation.  Both should convey that something magical is about to happen!
5.  Keep storytelling time short.  Make sure your child is engaged by having them tell just one story and then pass the storytelling microphone on to the rest of the family.  Setting a timer works for some, depending on the ages of the children.  For 5-year-olds, aim for a 10 – 20 minute total experience and add 5 minutes for every year.  The bottom line? You know your child(ren) better than anyone else.  You will be able to sense when they are becoming disinterested or frustrated.  Try to end before the storytelling experience becomes a negative one.   Leave them wanting more.

Follow up:

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As I was walking through the grocery store, I spotted these and decided to try them for storytelling.  I’m not sure any of the animals are recognizable – but I’m determined to find a lion in the bag!    I’ll let you know if they were a storytelling hit – if I don’t eat them all first…a real possibility.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Choose 2 animals and share the conversation they are having.   I just have to come up with the context for the conversation.   I’m going to create 10 situations, type them up, and put them in a jar.    Example – “Your two animals are walking home discussing their first visit to the library.”  “The animals are meeting for the first time and are describing their families to each other.”

After you tell your story – you may eat the characters in your story!  Talk about motivation.

I need to work on these obviously, but you get the idea.    I think it has real potential for storytelling fun!