“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." - Cyril Connolly

Friday, August 28, 2015

Library Time: Week 3

This week's holiday observance is National Dog's Day on August 26.  Let's just say that this was interesting. Since most of the kids have or have had a dog, I put about ten minutes in the schedule for stories. I noticed as the kids got younger, the stories got sadder.  I heard everything: how kids got their dogs, dogs jumping of students, dying dog stories, dog pooping and peeing stories, cat stories (from those wanting to share despite the fact they do not own a dog).

After their stories, I read two books:


The Great Big Scary Dog
by Libby Gleeson

This is a cute story about a little girl named Jen who is a afraid of the big, scary dog down the street.  With the help from her big brother and their friend, Diep, the put of a Chinese New Year's dragon mask and plan to go "scare the dog out of its wits". The dog that can't jump the fence or crawl under the gate is out on the path when the three children approach.  The dog ends up being more curious and friendly than big and scary, so the children remove the dragon costume to pet the dog. Jen is no longer afraid of the dog, and in return, the dog seems pleased to see them when they walk by.

This short story, despite the ill advice from the parents on how to avoid the dog, can help the children realize that things are not always as scary as they appear.

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The second story almost wasn't read this week.  I told my first class of the week that I had another book picked out, but I thought it was sad and didn't want to read it.  The kids found the book and read it quickly (yes, it is that short and easy) and declared that it was NOT a sad book.  So, I decided to read it to my classes and take a vote

City Dog, Country Frog
by Mo Willems


No matter how I feel about the book, this book is an endearing story of an unexpected friendship between a dog and a frog.  They both share their "games" with each other as the seasons change until the time of winter. City dog mourns the loss of country frog during the winter season until spring again.  At that time, city dog finds a new friend in country chipmunk.  Believe it or not the reviews of this book on Amazon are pretty intense. Some debate the meaning of loss, friendship, whether the dog's is teaching a negative lesson by replacing a friend so easily or whether it is teaching a positive lesson by being open to finding friendships in unexpected places.

I, personally, didn't have time to debate that with my students, but I did take that vote.  I didn't count for accurate numbers, but the consensus overall from my kindergartners to my third-graders is that this story is both happy and sad.  I was proud of my little ones for being able to understand loss (whether they truly understood the frog had died or not), and for understanding the happiness of finding a new friend.  Guess I am out-voted on this one.


Books are linked but no compensation is received.  Just wanted you to know where to find them if you wanted them.

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