Summer Blog Break

Posted July 25, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s that time of year!

I interrupt this blog for breaking news. “Humor Me” is taking a summer blog break to relax and celebrate August birthdays and anniversaries. Look for the next post on September 5th when this blog returns to inform and entertain the masses!

Summer Blog Break

Keep on reading!

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The Power of Reading Books Together

Posted July 18, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life and Family

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“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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One of my favorite books is Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley, the main character in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel, immediately captures the heart and soul of readers. She is an orphan with an enormous imagination and a vocabulary to match. She has a quick temper and a tendency to blurt out the first thing she thinks. But what Anne Shirley wants most is to find a loving home and a best friend – a kindred spirit. All of these characteristics make her an interesting character and an endearing heroine.

When my daughter was younger, I read this and some of my other favorite classic books to her. It was a wonderful time to bond through reading. Her love of Anne’s story led to a fabulous family vacation on Prince Edward Island where we relived Anne’s story.

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Recently, my daughter gifted me with the picture book, Goodnight, Anne written by Kallie George and illustrated by Geneviève Godbout. It’s inspired by Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. This is a sweet, heart-warming goodnight story. When Marilla tells Anne it’s time to go to bed, Anne thanks all the people, places, and things in her life that she loves. Geneviève Godbout’s illustrations done in pastels and colored pencils are whimsical and calming as a goodnight book should be. This gift was a delightful treat!

My daughter’ inscription said:  …for instilling creativity, imagination, and the happiest of memories…

It is a reminder of how powerful books and reading are when you share them with someone — especially someone you love!

 

Sneak Preview of a Fabulous Book!

Posted July 11, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Nonfiction Picture Books

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ella and marilynI had the opportunity to read Vivian Kirkfield’s upcoming nonfiction book, Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. With a lyrical quality to her writing, Vivian Kirkfield has written a beautiful story of friendship between two iconic personalities, Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. They were different in many ways, but they both had the same hopes and dreams. The author piques curiosity by giving readers a bit of background information about each woman. Ella Fitzgerald wanted to share her music with the world, and Marilyn Monroe hoped to become a great actress. How did these two women forge a life-long friendship? When Marilyn was offered a role in a musical, the first thing she did was to buy her idol’s records to listen to and study. Those records were Ella Fitzgerald’s. Marilyn’s performance in the movie was hailed by critics. This gave Marilyn a voice in her career and future projects. She immediately bought a ticket to Ella Fitzgerald’s next concert and remained afterward to thank Ella for her inspiration. A special bond formed between the two women. During that time, Ella wanted her voice to be heard by everyone, but because of racial discrimination, Ella was not allowed to perform in certain places. Marilyn stepped in to help. She made a bargain with a very popular nightclub owner promising to bring reporters to promote his club if he would hire Ella Fitzgerald to sing. It worked! After lengthy preparations, Ella Fitzgerald was finally able to share her music and voice with the world. Vivian Kirkfields’s talent for telling an inspiring story can be felt with every page turn, and Alleanna Harris’ captivating illustrations harken back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. I highly recommend adding this book to your collection.

Coming this January!

 

Happy Fourth of July!

Posted July 4, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

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Today we celebrate the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776 and the birth of our nation — the United States of America!

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“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” ~Benjamin Franklin

4th-of-july-tradition-1024x536“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”  ~John F. Kennedy

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“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” ~Harry S. Truman

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“The essence of America — that which really unites us — is not ethnicity, or nationality, or religion. It is an idea — and what an idea it is: that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from, but where you are going.” ~Condoleezza Rice

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“One cannot be an American by going about saying that one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America, and then work.” ~Georgia O’Keeffe

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“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” ~Erma Bombeck

Let's Celebrate

 

First Lines in Picture Books

Posted June 27, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Books

Tags: ,

First lines in books are extremely important. They provide a hint of what is to come in the pages that follow. They can tell readers who the main character is, what the problem or conflict is, or where the story is taking place. First lines are a golden ticket to a journey through a book.

Let’s take a look at some first lines in picture books.

 

sophieFrom Sophie’s Squash written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

One bright fall day, Sophie choose a squash at the farmer’s market.

Her parents planned to serve it for supper, but Sophie had other ideas.

Here the first lines reveal the time of year, the main character, and the fact that the squash would not be served at supper. What will Sophie do with the squash? Turn the page and read.

 

hedgehogFrom Hedgehog Needs a Hug written and illustrated by Jen Betton

When Hedgehog awoke in his cozy nest, he felt down in the snout and droopy in the prickles. I’ll feel better if I get a hug, he thought.

These first lines introduce us to the main character and his wants and needs. Included in these lines are playful descriptions that will surely delight readers.

 

hatFrom This Is Not My Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen

This hat is not mine. I just stole it. 

These are definitely not typical first lines in a story. They elicit surprise and reveal a problem which makes readers want to know what’s going to happen next.

 

house onceFrom A House That Once Was written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Lane Smith

Deep in the woods

is a house

just a house

that once was

but now isn’t a home.

Here the first lines introduce readers to the setting deep in the woods. In this case, the main character happens to be a house that now “isn’t a home.” These lines create a sense of curiosity. Why isn’t the house a home anymore? What happened? Readers will want to turn the pages to find out more.

 

lighthouseFrom Hello Lighthouse written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

On the highest rock of a tiny island

at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse.

It is built to last forever.

Sending its light out to sea,

guiding the ships on their way.

The first line captures the attention of readers, revealing where this story takes place —”the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world…”  Imagine that! The line, “It is built to last forever,” suggests many keepers of the lighthouse have tended the light, keeping ships safe. As the weather and seasons change, “Hello! …Hello! …Hello!” is repeated throughout the story, inviting readers to learn more about the lighthouse and its inhabitants.

 

When creating your masterpiece, hook readers immediately with your first lines and keep them turning the pages!

 

 

 

 

There Is A Place

Posted June 20, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Places

Tags: , , , , ,

There is a place, a Pickity Place, a magical place!

Deep in the woods of southern New Hampshire, you’ll find a little red cottage off the beaten path that has been there since 1786. It’s surrounded by luscious gardens and is a perfect spot to relax and enjoy nature.

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Pickity Place is the setting for the classic story, Little Red Riding Hood illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones. The book was published by Simon & Schuster (Little Golden Books) in 1948.

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The cottage has been transformed into an enchanting dining room where visitors can indulge in a delightful five-course gourmet lunch that includes delicious herbs from the gardens and edible flowers. The decor of the interior has numerous artifacts of Little Red Riding Hood.

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If you like a private dining experience, you can choose the Wolf Room.

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You can also visit an herb shop, a garden shop, a museum shop, and a greenhouse.

IMG_5136Found in the garden shop — a little fairy house!

A stroll through the beautiful gardens is sustenance for the body and soul.

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Herb Gardens

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Drying Shed and Flower Gardens

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There is a place, a Pickity Place, a magical place!

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Visit the Pickity Place website here.

 

 

Flag Day!

Posted June 13, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

Tags: , ,

Flag Day is tomorrow, Friday, June 14. Fly Old Glory proudly!

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“When we honor our flag we honor what we stand for as a Nation — freedom, equality, justice, and hope.”  ~Ronald Reagan

 

If you’re looking for a beautiful book to celebrate our flag and our Nation, I highly recommend this one.

Blue Sky

Blue Sky White Stars written by Sarvinder Naberhaus and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, Dial Books, 2017.


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