Pepe Says Okay

Posted December 27, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Laughter

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Maybe I had too much cleaning, too much cooking, and too much family. Picking up scraps of leftover wrapping paper, ribbons, and food hiding in the carpet and furniture wasn’t on my list of priorities. Whatever the case, I wasn’t in my usual jovial holiday mood on Wednesday, okay.

I decided it was “me time.” So I sat down with a book my daughter received as a gift for Christmas. The book appealed to me. It offered lots of white space for a quick read, and I knew it wouldn’t tax my tired brain. The book in hand was It’s Hard Out Here For A Shrimp by Pepe the King Prawn.

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Let it be known, our family is crazy for Muppets, okay. During the Christmas holiday, we watched Muppets from Space, and on Christmas night, we all fell asleep watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. It’s a tradition – not to fall asleep during the movie, but to watch the Muppets. So reading Pepe the King Prawn’s book was a welcome escape, okay.

Kermit the Frog’s introduction put a smile on my face, and Pepe’s forward started me laughing. Giggles and snorts followed as I read page after page of Pepe’s thoughts and advice on life, love, and living large. This book is irreverently funny, but so on target, okay. My laughter caught the attention of my family. Perhaps they were wondering if I had finally gone off the deep end. Then I started sharing some of Pepe’s words of wisdom with them, and they knew.

Pepe’s thoughts on families:

My family embarrasses me,

makes me mad,

and drives me crazy.

That’s how I know they’re my family.

This is a great book to take your mind off the things that really don’t matter – like picking up dog poop from the yard when it’s twenty-three degrees. I suggest you put this book on your to read list for the New Year, okay.

(Just in case you didn’t know, Pepe often adds okay after he says something, okay.)

Christmas Books Worth Reading: Don’t Be a Scrooge!

Posted December 20, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Holiday Books

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, …”

“Humbug!”

What the dickens am I blathering about? Charles Dickens, of course. You know – the Charles Dickens of David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and Oliver Twist fame. He also wrote a slew of other books. I’m well acquainted with Dickens. His books were required reading in high school, and I have to admit I found them a bit depressing. Okay, I’m a Scrooge but not a total Scrooge. One of my favorite Christmas stories written by the same Charles Dickens is A Christmas Carol. You know the story. If you don’t, shame on you. It’s a must read!

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Scrooge is the perfect curmudgeon. He’s a character you love to hate. Tight-fisted, mean, and heartless are just a few words to describe him. When his dead-as-a-door-nail business partner, Jacob Marley, pays an unexpected ghostly visit to Scrooge, the fun begins. A stern warning to change his ways and a promise of three more ghosts follow Marley’s early evening visit to Scrooge. The Spirits of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet To Come  force Scrooge to face the person he has become. It’s not a pretty picture. By observing the love and caring of those around him, especially a certain Tiny Tim, Scrooge has an aha moment and realizes how empty and worthless his life has become. Thus begins his transformation.

There is great satisfaction in reading this book, knowing that change for the better is always possible. It is a heart-warming story filled with themes of family, love, and kindness. It will touch your heart.

Don’t be a humbug. Remember it is better to give than receive. So give yourself a gift this year. Read this Christmas classic and keep the true meaning of Christmas alive throughout the year.

In the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us every one!”

 

 

In Memory

Posted December 17, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Uncategorized

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”
― St. Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi

May the light of that candle shine brightly in memory of all those who died at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

Christmas Books Worth Reading: Santa Mouse

Posted December 13, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Holiday Books

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There has been a mouse in my house for years. Normally, I would hunt it down and dispose of it immediately, but this mouse is special. This mouse is SANTA MOUSE!IMG_3111

SANTA MOUSE was published in 1966. It’s a simple rhyming story written by Michael Brown and illustrated by Elfrieda De Witt. It has lots of charm which is why it’s been a favorite of mine for such a long time. Santa Mouse is no ordinary mouse. He is thoughtful and kind. On Christmas Eve he wraps a special piece of cheese he has been saving all year long and leaves it for Santa. Because of his unselfish gesture, Santa makes him his helper.

“You know, I need a helper

As I travel house to house,

And I shall give a name to you:

I’ll call you Santa Mouse.”

Young listeners and readers enjoy the pictures of Santa Mouse playing with his imaginary friends and preparing for Santa’s Christmas visit. Extended activities can include, making a Santa Mouse stick puppet to act out stories and matching the rhyming words found in the story.

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It’s nice to have a mouse in your house especially when it’s Santa Mouse!

Christmas Books Worth Reading

Posted December 6, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Literature

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Christmas books are my extreme passion. When I find one that makes my heart sing, I add it to my collection.

During the year, I keep the books in a cozy place on one of our many bookshelves. When the Christmas Season arrives in our house — the day after Thanksgiving — I display the books around the house in places where they can be picked up and enjoyed. Christmas books in the bathroom. Christmas books in the bedrooms. Christmas books in the kitchen. Christmas books in the family room. Pick one up and read it.

I can’t tell you which book is my favorite because they’re all my favorites!

One I particularly enjoy is The Reader’s Digest Book of Christmas. It was the first book I added to my collection after I got married. It has everything in it, including an additional booklet called Reader’s Digest Christmas Decorating Ideas. The ideas are dated, but they provide a hint of nostalgia.

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The book itself is filled with gorgeous pictures and covers topics such as The Birth of Christ, The History of Christmas, The Literature of Christmas (my favorite), and Christmas Around the World. There are sidebars on various pages that include pictures, artifacts, quotes from well-known people, lyrics from songs, prayers, and superstitions.

It was in this book I found a traditional prayer to be said when the Yule Log is lighted. This prayer is one of our family traditions when we light our Yule Log each year.

May the fire of this log warm the cold; may the hungry be fed; may the weary find rest, and may all enjoy Heaven’s peace.

Like the other books in my collection, this book is a good friend. It’s always there to share its secrets and keep me company.

Picture Book Month: A-CHOO!

Posted November 29, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Picture Books

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Stand back! I’m going to sneeze! Those children of mine – those cute little kiddos who sit on the library rug every Tuesday – gave me a special gift for Thanksgiving. Cold germs! So on Thanksgiving Day I wasn’t at the top of my game. There was no clever repartee from this girl, and my appetite just wasn’t there for all that yummy food. Oh, pshaw!

Seeing the expressions on family faces as I was about to sneeze was priceless. It brought back fond memories of a book that was a family favorite. Stand Back,” Said The Elephant, “I’m Going To Sneeze!” *

The original version, as seen above, was published in 1971. This entertaining book was written by Patricia Thomas and illustrated by Wallace Tripp. The rhyming text flows easily, and humor abounds as the water buffalo, monkeys, parrot, bees, bear, crocodile, and a bevy of other animals politely ask the elephant not to sneeze. As the animals run for cover to escape the aftermath of the sneeze, a little gray mouse scares the elephant — eek — and stops the sneeze. When the elephant realizes the mouse doesn’t want to hurt him, the pachyderm has a shivering, shaking, quivering, quaking laugh that causes chaos among the animals. Tripp’s illustrations, done in black and white with shades of yellow and green, provide humor for everyone.

This past Tuesday my sneezes were animated and real as I shared this classic story with my students. This book is nothing to sneeze at!

*This is the 1990 full-color version of the book.

Picture Book Month: Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted November 22, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Special Days

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Wishing everyone a bountiful Thanksgiving!

And don’t forget to thank Sarah Hale, the woman who saved Thanksgiving.

Thank You, Sarah The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving was written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Matt Faulkner.

This book is a wonderful nonfiction addition to Thanksgiving stories. Laurie Halse Anderson cleverly tells the story of Sarah Hale, a superhero, who set out to right the wrongs in our society and make Thanksgiving a national holiday. Anderson reveals how Sarah Hale wrote thousands of letters to politicians and presidents, trying to convince them to make Thanksgiving a day everyone in America celebrated together. It took her thirty-eight years, and, finally, President Abraham Lincoln agreed! Anderson’s story and Matt Faulkner’s humorous illustrations beg readers to keep turning the pages. Anderson has also included “A Feast of Facts” at the end of the story which is filled with a bounty of information. This book gives readers a lot to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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