Learn More about Children’s Author Byron von Rosenberg

A film that brings tears to your eyes . . .   Pikachu’s Good-bye

Describe your first kiss. It’s best forgotten.

Your favorite children’s book, and why . . . I Don’t Want to Kiss a Llama! because I read it all the time and it always makes me feel better.

A cause that’s closest to your heart, and why . . .  Muscular Dystrophy Association because they helped my dad when he had ALS.

If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be? I don’t know.  I’m making this up as I go along.

Explain the worst job that you’ve held.  Scout Executive in Wichita Falls, TX although I can now thank God for sending me there.  I learned so much about people and the world, and found out how much God loves and protects us all.

 
A quote that motivates you . . .  From “Look at My Hands”  (the dedicaton to Don’t Feed the Seagulls on my website at www.idontwanttokissallama.com)  “The love that I gave him he passed on to you.  Now pass it to others and watch it renew”  which I am blessed to do on an almost daily basis.

The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island . . .  I don’t know.  They titles have deserted me already!

Three Wishes
    1.  World peace

    2.  God’s grace
    3.  a new poem!

Favorite game you played as a child . . . Peekaboo as a little child, Capture the Flag as a Boy Scout

Byron von Rosenberg

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Tatty Ratty "Baby" Book Club

     By being participants in the 2011 International Postcard Exchange, our United Kingdom pen pals, Sam, Rebekah, Jeremy, George, and Daniel recommended the picture book Tatty Ratty by Helen Cooper to us.  So, we immediately placed our order online and anxiously awaited an e-mail from our local library, Glen Carbon Centennial Library, stating our book was in.
     The image of a bunny eating a doughnut while taking a ride in the evening sky piqued our interest.  What follows is an imaginative tale of the whereabouts of a lost bunny enhanced by the reference of familiar characters from other children’s storybooks.  Thus, not only is a new tale being told, but the backstories of other famous literary figures are introduced within Tatty Ratty.  As a parent, I found the story useful as parenting advice if ever in the unfortunate predicament of a child missing a favorite toy.  As a teacher, I appreciated the introduction of allusions in this literary work.
     As a means of experiencing Tatty Ratty, the squirts dug into their own collection of stuffed animals and found their own “Tatty Ratty.”  Opting to create an adventure exclusive to our Tatty Ratty, we took turns placing Tatty Ratty in various circumstances throughout the house and then using our imaginations to explain how she arrived at each location.

Tatty Ratty taking a joy ride on the Plasma Car.

Working off some of that porridge on the treadmill.

Cleaning up after a full day’s worth of adventure.

Fresh from our Farm to Table field trips, we made a trip to the local produce stand, Norma’s Produce and Greenhouses, and selected items which a bunny would most likely enjoy.  Returning home with our bounty in tow, the squirts cleaned their (few) selected vegetables and (numerous) fruits and prepared them with minimal assistance (“I can do it!” was heard often during preparation) into a child-friendly salad.



Helen Cooper

Molly’s Magic Pencil: The Blue Genie

     Peter Davies’ second book, The Blue Genie,  in the Molly’s Magic Pencil series is an ideal picture book to use for dramatization.  With only four prominent characters in the story, our family of four had no problem in dealing with lack of participation.  Having short jumpers the squirts consider “genie” outfits, I figured the two girls would be taking turns playing the Blue Genie.  Instead, they both chose to play the protagonist’s part, Molly.
      So, we dug in closets for red (okay, hot pink) outfits to mimic Molly’s red jumper.  Then, backpacks were filled with paper and the crucial Magic Pencil.  By default, the hub played Blue Genie since he was wearing a blue shirt and blue jeans, and I was inevitably Mrs. Jones, the tearful geriatric lady (I’m being typecast already, yet still a month away from 40) whose cat, Tiddles (played by our stuffed black cat), is stranded high on a tree limb.

Tiddles stranded in the tree.

     Since each squirt wanted the spotlight to herself, we rehearsed the scene several times (more than I had planned) in our backyard (luckily, the neighbors already know we’re nutty) each time alternating the actress who portrayed Molly.                           

Take 1:  Molly #1 searching in her backpack for the Magic Pencil.

                                                                               

Take 1:  Molly #1 drawing a teapot.
Take 21:  Molly #2 searching in her backpack for the Magic Pencil.
Take 21:  Molly #2 drawing a teapot.
The Blue Genie saves Tiddles.

      When every blank space on the paper had been filled with a drawing of a teapot,  we brought the dramatization to a close by singing the first verse of, “I’m a Little Teapot.”  Bedtime was accomplished only with a sincere promise, “Yes, we will act out The Blue Genie again tomorrow.”


Peter Davies

Reading Camp Rocks- Week 2

     My oldest squirt and her buddy attended Week 2 of Reading Camp offered through Saint Louis University.  We barely were able to finish the homework in time for class due to the fact my squirt was attending camp during the evenings and sleeping late throughout the mornings, and, to be honest, she felt it was “boring,” a new term she had learned and embraced wholeheartedly from some of the older girls at camp.  Anywho- workbook pages were completed, CDs were listened to, and a dramatization of a picture book completed.  Mistakenly, I had her watch with me a video intended for parents, to be fair, which was “boring.”  I loaded her into the van with her final words, “I am never going to Reading Camp again,” escaping the sliding door.  While buckling my seat belt, I assured her that one week was already down with only four more to go.  Really only three more to attend if she considered “today” as a completed Reading Camp day.  Besides, Miss Rebecca (the young, energetic teacher) would miss her . . . .
     Arriving at the high school and following last week’s route through the building, we discovered that our class was to meet in another room due to ACT testing being offered concurrently.  Thus, with both squirts leading the way by following the arrows, we made our way to the new classroom.  We decided potty breaks were needed, so all four of us hustled down towards the bathrooms so as not to miss the beginning of class.  Again, my inner immaturity (since being in a high school setting) eventually found its way out when I wet a paper towel and threw it into my friend’s stall (hey- at least I didn’t throw it up on the ceiling).  Stifling giggles, I listened closely for her reaction, but heard nothing.  When she opened her door and exited her bathroom cubby,  a mere, “Did you do that?”  She had figured her son had performed the act in question.  I suppose being out of high school for twenty plus years along with motherhood does and should mellow or mature most of us (or at least make us better examples for the youth of today . . . as my daughter watched my actions with wide-eyed amazement).
     Class started promptly on time, and questions were asked of the 4 and 5 year-old students.  Excited hands were raised, and before we knew it, it was story time with Eric Carle’s A House for Hermit Crab.

Each student was given a copy to “read along” with the teacher.  After the reading, Miss Rebecca discussed the story with the students and then wrote a short story of her own on the board and drew a house to her liking- red with green stripes.  Students then were asked to narrate his/her original story to his/her parent with the parent writing the story verbatim- taking no grammatical liberties.

  Rhyming and phonetic work ensued before class ended with a reading of Audrey Wood’s big book,  King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, an entertaining read with beautiful illustrations where each page takes on a color scheme of its own.

Class was dismissed for the week, and we plan to have our student squirts take part in a homework session together to promote the “fun” of reading and working together.  Of course, today is Tuesday, class is Saturday, and we have yet to crack the books.  Aaaaaaah . . . the humanity!!!!!

Learn More about Author Tamara Gerlach

A film that brings tears to your eyes . . .
P.S. I Love You

Describe your first kiss.
It was at our ranch. My neighbor’s cousin was visiting from Utah, he was super cute, and a “real” cowboy…so I let him kiss me. At first it was a little weird, but I liked it, so now I try to do it as much as possible.

Your favorite children’s book, and why . . .
There’s a hair in my dirt, by Gary Larson. My kids loved the story, it made us laugh, and we got to talk about nature, and cause and effect.

A cause that’s closest to your heart, and why . . .
I support quite a few, because there are so many people doing such wonderful work in the world, but one is close to my heart, PINCC- Prevention International No Cervical Cancer. Over 300,000 women needlessly die every year because of a lack of education and treatment. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December 2009. Fortunately, I got the treatment I needed, and I wish that for all the women of the world.

If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be?
Joy in Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman. She is the essence of ease and flow, carefree and completely dedicated at the same time.

Explain the worst job that you’ve held.
Honestly, I have loved all of the jobs I have ever had. One day, when I was a teen working at Kentucky Fried Chicken, a big box showed up with a chicken suit in it. I was the first to volunteer to put it on and go out on the street to dance, wave at cars, and do one-handed gymnastics moves (I had to hold the head on with the other hand). So, I’ve been a dancing chicken…and I have no complaints.

A quote that motivates you . . .
“You can love other people only to the degree that you’ve come to love and accept yourself”   ~Shakti Gawain

The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island . . .
Granny by Dave Matthews
Three Wishes
   1. That all people realize their own magnificence, freedom, and connection to  everyone and everything. Then, take care of each other and ourselves accordingly.
   2. That no one is hungry for food or love.
   3. That we practice Forgiveness, Compassion, and Love to wash away all of the fear and delusion in the world.
Favorite game you played as a child . . .
I loved to go out into the hills with friends, or even by myself, and play “explorer.” We’d pretend that we were lost in the wilderness and had to find a “new world,” build camp, and live off of the land. It has served me well since I travel all over the world and feel comfortable in any environment because I know I can figure it out. On a trip deep into the Amazon, Ron and I stayed with an Achuar tribe and spent our days (and some nights) traipsing through the forest. When it came time to leave, I didn’t want to; I just wanted to keep playing “explorer.”
I still play my favorite game daily by exploring my heart and mind.

Doctor De Soto by William Steig

     As part of the homework assignment for Reading Camp, we were to choose a picture book from the reading list provided and then partake in a dramatization of the story.  As luck would have it, William Steig’s Doctor De Soto, a Newberry Honor Book happened to be on our bookshelf.  No hasty trips to the library for this assignment.  Score!
     Main characters Dr. De Soto and his wife, Mrs. De Soto, work tirelessly on various patients’ teeth such as moles, chipmunks, and pigs.  Due to De Soto being a mouse, he took extra precautions against any potential patients that may cause harm to himself or his wife.  Outside the office, a wailing fox begged for treatment, and De Soto and his wife, from the kindness of their hearts, relented and decided to treat him.  A fox is a fox is a fox, so inevitably, his ulterior motives surfaced.  Yet, in the end, De Soto and his wife were able to successfully outfox the fox.
     A perfect choice to read before a dental visit or perhaps a field trip to a dentist’s office.  In our case, the squirts and I each chose a character from the story to reenact.  Being the largest of the bunch, I was the sly fox and used my spooky voice in the retelling.  My girls furiously worked on my teeth with their invisible instruments and finally sent me on my way with an intentional dose of artificially created lockjaw.
      For snack, an ideal time to reaffirm the healthy snack option- Green Meanies, mouths made from healthy food options – in lieu of sugary snacks as an attempt to keep dental work at bay.  If there is time, I have found that I cannot go wrong with sticker scenes with my squirts and their friends.  Oriental Trading offers Make-a-Dental Sticker Sheets which reaffirms the theme of the story.

Reading Level:  Ages 4-8
William Steig

Hello Baby!

     Mem Fox’s Hello Baby! offers a simple, yet effective first look at animals through colorful illustrations set against a clean, white backdrop.  Direct questions to the reader are followed by rhyming responses on adjacent pages.  Without a doubt, the cadence of this story engages the young reader.
     Initially, the zoo comes to mind as a means of experiencing this children’s book.  However, with 91 degree weather looming outside, Momma decides to come up with a cool plan B.  Thus, The Painted Zebra, an air-conditioned pottery studio, works since the striped zebra is one of the animals discussed in Hello Baby!.  Here, each squirt including Momma picks a piece of pottery in the shape of an animal of her choosing and then paints the piece to her heart’s desire.  In a week’s time, we pick up our fired objets d’art creating the perfect opportunity to revisit Fox’s Hello Baby! for reading reinforcement.  For snack, animal crackers appease rumbling tummies after an intense painting session.  Mem Fox

Duck! Rabbit! Book Club Ideas

     Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Duck! Rabbit! engages the young reader through simple illustrations and text while teaching them to compare and contrast.  Giggling youngsters will inevitably engage in friendly debate regarding the identity of the main character.
     To further experience this children’s read, access Duck! Rabbit through the Tumblebooks Library where the sound effects are provided much to the emergent reader’s delight.
     For snack, a nice carrot cupcake would please not only the rabbit supporter, but also fulfill the bread-loving needs of a duck.  You may have the kiddos ice the cupcakes with white icing using Popsicle sticks and place the one eyeball on the cupcake using either a raisin, m&m, or chocolate chip.  For the ears/bill, place white-chocolate-covered potato chips into the icing.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Learn More about Children’s Author Peter Davies

A film that brings tears to your eyes – This has got to be the squirrel in the animation film “Ice Age” his antics as he tries to save his acorn had me laughing so much it brought tears to my eyes. Brilliant!
Describe your first kiss – In a romantic context I don’t remember much about it as I had my eyes closed at the time.
Your favorite children’s book and why – “Mr. Ben” by David McKee I read these stories to my son Richard when he was young and then made up adventures along the same theme that we called “The Magic Cupboard” where Richard was the main character which he thoroughly enjoyed.
A cause that is closest to your heart and why – The prevention of cruelty to animals the reasons why are obvious.
If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be? – Agatha Christie’s “Poirot”, I would have loved to experience the genteel life of the 1920’s traveling on the Orient Express, visiting Europe and Africa when the pace of life was slower and you took time to enjoy the pleasures of exploring places before mass tourism was possible and beautiful remote locations were spoilt by the development of ‘resorts’. Add to that the challenge of solving the many mysteries of murder and you have (for me) the sublime lifestyle.
Explain the worst job that you’ve held – Being a “cold call” salesman. You have to have a particularly resilient personality to be able to walk in unannounced and try to sell someone something they don’t really want when your earnings are dependent on commission from sales. I don’t have that sort of personality and so I wasn’t successful.
A quote that motivates you – “Do or do not, there is no try!” (Yoda)
The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island – Anything by Roy Orbison but probably “Pretty Woman”
Three wishes – Health, wealth and happiness takes a lot of beating.
Favorite game played as a child – Hide and Seek I loved the suspense and the challenge of trying to out think the other kids.

Peter Davies