Category Archives: Molly the artsy corgi

Weaving the Beauty of Jesus into Every Part of Your Day, A Kid-Friendly Devotion

Look at this colorful paper weaving. For their cat on a mat project children chose their favorite color to be the lengthwise (warp) part of their weaving.

Then for the strips that weave across (weft) they painted with watercolor paints. They added colors and let them swirl and mix.

They didn’t really want to cut apart their beautiful design, but they knew a tabby weave, which goes over and under, would create an even more beautiful pattern when combined with their favorite color.

Psalm 139 says God created your inmost being and wove you together with your color hair and eyes, your favorite foods and colors, and even how tall you’d be. He has given you the ability to play music or soccer, love math or art. You are wonderfully made. And above all God has made you to be able to love and worship Him and love others as we love Him.

But it’s not always easy to do that, is it? We may get angry when our friends don’t want to do something we like. We don’t always obey our parents. We may get tired and cranky and say mean things to our brothers and sisters.

So God sent His Son, Jesus, to us. He came as a baby and grew up just like you, except that He never sinned. Jesus is more beautiful than the most beautiful watercolor painting you’ve ever seen. He showed us the perfect beauty of God’s love and care, wisdom and guidance, and understanding and forgiveness.

Jesus was willing on the cross to be cut apart, separated, from God the Father to save you and weave His beauty into your life.

You are wonderfully made, and when you allow Jesus to weave the colorful threads of His perfect love, wisdom, and forgiveness through your day, you will become an even more beautiful creation to glorify God.

When you start each day, pray and thank Jesus for coming into your life. Then watch for how He weaves His love and care over and under you at school, playing with friends, and at home with your family. Then those beautiful threads of love will show in your life, too.

 Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages. Add link

Molly and I hope you enjoyed this devotion based on our Cat on a Mat watercolor and weaving art project. If you missed it, here’s the link.

And if you’ve signed up for our newsletter, next week you’ll receive lots more connections—fun research ideas and children’s books about the Impressionists and cats, as well as links to a museum gem with online art activities for all ages.

Molly and I wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

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Cat on a Mat, An Artsy Corgi Art Activity

Let’s have fun making a cat on a mat. We’ll paint wet-in-wet with the light-filled colors loved by the Impressionists and weave the painting into a mat for a happy cat! You’ll discover how to draw a cat and learn a basic tabby weave.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Creative variations and adaptations for different ages
  • 4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn
  • 4 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Cute Molly Photo

Let’s have Fun Making Art!

Supplies:

The Mat

  • 9X12 “ Watercolor paper (smooth or rough is fine). You can find inexpensive pads or packs at craft stores and in the craft section of places like Walmart.
  • Choose your favorite color of construction paper for the loom.
  • A larger white piece of paper as a background for the mat
  • Crayons or oil pastels
  • Watercolor paint set and brush

The Cat

  • Pictures of cats
  • Drawing paper
  • Pencils, erasers, scissors
  • Crayons to color the cat
  • White glue

Directions:

The Mat

  1. With crayons draw curvy and straight lines, dots, spirals, etc. in different colors all over the watercolor paper. Leave lots of white space for the paint. These marks have to be crayon or oil pastels.
  2. Mix several puddles of watercolor paint. Your puddle should flow, but have lots of pigment.
  3. Use a large wet but not dripping brush or rag to wet paper with clear water. The paper should be a more than just damp, but no standing water.
  4. Start adding watercolors, allowing them to flow and mix . Paint right over the crayon or oil pastel. The wax resists the paint and stays bright.
  5. Allow to dry.

The Cat  (do this while your painting dries)

  • Really study pictures of cats. Notice these details:
  • the roundish shape of heads
  •  the oval shape of bodies
  •  the rounded triangular-shaped ears that are more on top of their heads
  •  the shape are eyes and pupils
  • the thickness of tails
  • cats often wrap their tails around themselves so you can’t see their paws
  1. Before drawing, picture in your mind where the cat’s head and body will be. Use your fist to help you imagine where to put the head that will leave room for both the ears and the body.
  2. Draw lightly, sketching, so you can erase a line you don’t want.
  3. Color your cat. You may want to color it in a Tabby pattern, which is stripes in any color.
  4. Cut out your cat

The Loom and Weaving

  1. Cut the painting into 1 inch strips the long way.
  2. Make a paper loom  (See pictures)
  3. Use masking tape to temporarily hold the loom on the white paper
  4. Weave the 1st watercolor strip through the loom—under, over, under, over
  5. Start the 2nd strip the opposite–over, under, over, under
  6. In tabby weave each strip should be opposite to the previous strip
  7. Keep gently pushing the strips together and up toward the top of your loom, until you run out of room for more strips

Putting It All Together

  1. Glue your mat to the white paper
  2. Glue your cat on top of the mat
  3. Draw and color cat-related designs around the border of the mat

Now display your happy cat on its colorful mat for everyone to see! Enjoy how the crayon glows through the watercolor!

More Ideas and Tips to Make Your Cat on a Mat

Helpful Hints:

  • As you paint, pick up your paper and move it around to help colors mix
  • Don’t mix too long, or colors become muddy
  • If your painted paper curls, flatten it with a book after it’s dry
  • When drawing lines for the loom and watercolor strips, do these on the back so they don’t show later
  • Masking tape holds the loom in place but can be removed without as much damage as cellophane tape

Variations and adaptations for different ages:

  • Cut wavy lines for the loom
  • If you don’t have watercolor paper, sponge paint some sturdy paper with tempera paints
  • Add ribbon or yarn bows to your cat
  • I do this project with 1st graders, and I cut the watercolor strips and make the looms, but they love doing everything else!
  • If children aren’t sure whether they want their painting to be cut, number the strips so they can weave them in order.
  • Color your cat in wild colors

4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn

  1. Crayon resist—crayon’s wax content resists water-based paints and remains bright. Oil pastels work the same way.
  2. Sketch—to draw an object with short, light strokes, sometimes lightly redrawing a line before erasing the unwanted line.
  3. Pattern—the repetition of a design. Tabby cats have a striped pattern.
  4. Tabby weave—the over and under pattern that is opposite in each row.

4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Weaving helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. Drawing helps children take time to look carefully, seeing details as well as the overall picture. Important in every subject, but especially in learning to recognize individual letters and word patterns for beginning reading.
  3. Making choices with colors, patterns, etc. enhances problem-solving skills.
  4. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.

Clean up Hints:

  • Plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Paper towels
  • A plastic dish tub holds things to be washed
  • A wastebasket for paper scraps
  • After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles and lay them flat to dry. Store with bristles up in a container.

Check out these Great Freebies Before You Go

Watch for a special thank you gift for our newsletter subscribers coming in early December. Molly the Artsy Corgi has some Christmas art ideas you and your children will love. These fun and easy projects will provide shared moments of calm and invite Jesus into your busy holidays. Don’t miss out. Sign up for our newsletter today!

If you sign up, you’ll right away receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. And once a month more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources will come to your inbox.

Visit our website to get free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly the Artsy Corgi hopes you enjoy making a happy cat on a mat! You can read our first post about Renoir here, and Molly and I hope you’ll come back next time for a devotion based on our cats on a mat art activity.

And finally a cute Molly Photo

She thinks she’s helping me get ready for our walk!

 

An Artsy Corgi Art Activity Based on Lighthouse Paintings

Ahoy, Matey, let’s make a seascape with a lighthouse and lots of fun details! In this Artsy Corgi art activity, you’ll discover an easy way to draw a lighthouse, learn several fun painting techniques, and finish up with some 3-D effects. We call this type of project a mixed-media activity, because we use several different art mediums.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list It looks a little long, but most of it is stuff you may already have
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Variations and/or adaptations for different ages
  • Vocabulary and art and design elements and principles children will learn
  • 4 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Cute Molly Photo

Let’s Make a Seascape!

Supplies:

  • Sturdy light blue paper for a background (with light blue paper, you can paint clouds and water on an already sky and water colored background)
  • White foam plates make great paint palettes and can rinse off easily for reuse or be thrown away
  • Tempera paint in white, black, blue, green, and purple
  • Clean damp rags to paint with
  • White drawing paper for the lighthouse
  • Pencils, erasers, scissors
  • Colored pencils, crayons, or markers to color the lighthouse
  • Tan or white paper to spatter for sand
  • Watercolor set and 2 brushes for spattering
  • A fork or old plastic card to make sea grass
  • Small sea shells (gathered yourself, or available in craft stores)
  • White glue

Directions: (I’ve split these into sections for easier use)

Sea and Sky

  1. Lightly draw a horizon line to divide the sky and water
  2. On the palette, pour a small puddle of white and a very small puddle of black, leaving space between each puddle
  3. Scrunch up your rag or hold it over your index finger to paint
  4. After looking at clouds outside or in photos, use the rag to paint clouds. They can be fluffy or straight. You may swirl the paint to suggest movement. See the picture at #7.
  5. If you wish to add gray to clouds, put a little white in another spot on your palette and mix in a tiny bit of black to make different grays. Always mix just a little of the darker color into the lighter color. The opposite way takes way more of the lighter color to change the darker color.
  6. Add blue, green, and purple to your palette.
  7. Use these colors or mix together to make the ocean. You may make a calm sea or big swirling waves. Add white to the top of waves for foam.

Sand

  1. Sand comes in all colors, so use a sheet of white or tan paper.
  2. Swirl a wet brush into the brown pan of a watercolor set.
  3. While holding it over the paper, tap the brush against the handle of another brush to spatter paint. Use other colors if you wish—maybe some yellows and even a little green and blue for beach glass.

Lighthouse (The camera has distorted some of the lines)

  1. Look at a glass or towel tube and help children draw a cylinder’
  2. Look at a picture of a lighthouse and see that it’s a tower, which is a cylinder.
  3. Some lighthouses taper towards a narrower top, but they are still cylinders.
  4. Encourage children to look at other details, such as the rounded top or roof and the balconies with railings that often go around the outside. Keepers needed to get outside to keep the glass clean. These railings should curve.
  5. If children wish they can add some out buildings around the lighthouse tower. Don’t worry about 1-point perspective, unless they’re older and want to learn. There are lots of online tutorials for it if they do.
  6. Color the lighthouse and cut out.

Putting it all together

  1. Cut out stretches of sand and glue in place over the water.
  2. Glue the lighthouse somewhere on top of the sand.
  3. Use a fork or old plastic card to make sea grass.
  4. Glue on seashells.

And there you have it–a beautiful seascape with a lighthouse.

More Helpful Ideas and Tips for this Activity

Helpful Hints:

  • Painting with rags and spattering paint is fun and easy for all ages, but it is messy, so if the weather cooperates, you might want to do these parts outside in one session.
  • You may spatter paint with an old tooth brush and a popsicle stick, but remember to scrape towards yourself. It’s a little counterintuitive, but the other way just spatters you!
  • Paint shirts are a good idea !
  • To help prevent globs of glue, pour a small glue puddle on a plate and have children use their finger to spread the glue.
  • Place waxed paper under things as you spread glue. It keeps things from sticking in the wrong places.

Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:

  • Paint a sun setting over the horizon

    sunset over Higgins Beach, photo by author

  • Use gray paper and paint lots of black clouds over a stormy sea
  • Use black paper and use thick yellow tempera paint to show the lighthouse’s beam of light
  • Draw and cut out small ships to sail out in the ocean
  • older children may want to get more detailed with their lighthouse drawings.
  • Sometimes children get discouraged if their drawing efforts don’t look just as they’d like. Remind them that drawing is a skill just like playing soccer or making a cake. It takes practice and time. Encourage them to try and praise their efforts!
  • Younger children may need help cutting and gluing all the parts together.
  • You may need a glue gun to make the shells stick.

4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn

  1. Seascape—a painting that has views of the ocean
  2. Color: tint=a color plus white, shade=a color plus black—in this activity children learn how to mix tints and shades for the clouds and water. They also learn how to mix just a little darker color at a time into lighter colors.
  3. Texture: how something feels to the touch, rough, soft, etc. In painting we often simulate texture by spattering, etc.—as children use this different painting technique and spatter paint, they learn about putting texture into paintings.
  4. Perspective: the ways artists create the illusion of depth in a painting, creating a foreground, middle ground, and background—without getting technical, children can discover 2 ways (differences in size and overlapping objects) to create the 3 distances in paintings.

4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Using pencils, brushes, scissors, etc. helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. This activity helps develop visual/spatial skills as children create a picture with 3 distances.
  3. Making choices in creating art enhances problem-solving skills.
  4. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.

Clean up Hints:

  • Be sure to put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Have paper towels handy
  • A plastic dish tup is great to hold tools you will keep and wash
  • Keep a wastebasket handy for trash
  • After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles if needed, and lay them flat on paper towels to dry. Store with bristles up in a jar.

Before You Go, See Molly’s Photos and More about Lighthouses

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. You can also learn more about us and see more fun activities on our website

Photos of Molly the Artsy Corgi with a few ocean things

Molly was a little worried at first

then she decided a shell might be good to eat.

Finally she settled down for a good photo. She knows it means a treat!

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.  

Molly the Artsy Corgi hopes you enjoy making a mixed media art project of the sea and a lighthouse! If you missed them, be sure and go to earlier posts about lighthouses this month—Shipwrecks and Lighthouses and Lighthouses Tall and Small, A Kid-friendly Devotion about Lighthouses.

Next week in our newsletter you’ll discover connections to other subjects, a museum gem with activities for kids online, freebees, book reviews, and links to continue learning about lighthouses!

Molly and I hope to see you back here soon for a new Kathy the Picture Lady art series.

 

 

 

Lighthouses, Tall and Small, A Kid-Friendly Devotion about Lighthouses

Tall lighthouses have helped steer ships away from dangerous rocks and to safety for thousands of years. Almost 300 years before the birth of Jesus, the Egyptians built a lighthouse that was 330 feet tall. That’s taller than the Statue of Liberty!

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt had bronze mirrors that reflected sunlight during the day and firelight at night. That light guided ships safely into the harbor. A tall tower with a light at the top has usually been the pattern for lighthouses ever since.

Lighthouses in America

The British built the first lighthouse in America in Boston harbor in 1716. Lighthouses were costly to build, though, so just a few more were built during colonial times.

When America gained independence, it didn’t have many good roads. Travel and trade were faster and easier by sea. Lighthouses helped keep ships and their passengers and cargoes safe at sea and as they entered harbors.

In 1789, one of the first acts of the new Congress was to pass a bill to maintain existing lighthouses and build new ones. One of the first to be built was Portland Head Lighthouse in 1791. President George Washington signed the commission for Captain Joseph Greenleaf to be its first keeper.

Portland Head Lighthouse, Library of Congress photo, 1933, public domain

The Light of the World

Portland Head’s light can be seen 24 miles out to sea. That powerful light guides ships through the dark to a safe harbor. We have an even more powerful light in Jesus Christ. In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” And the place Jesus guides us to is an eternal safe harbor with Him.

Small Lighthouses

This lighthouse is also in Portland Harbor. It’s much smaller than the other lighthouses, but it has a big job to do. It guides ships safely around a breakwater.

Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, Maine, author photo

Even if you’re small like the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, you can be a light to the world, too. Whenever you say a kind word to a friend or help your parents, Jesus says your good deeds are like a light guiding others to God.

Don’t hide your light like Molly is doing in this photo!

What is one way you could shine brightly like a small lighthouse this week?

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly hopes you enjoyed this devotion and will join us next week for a fun art project about lighthouses.

 

Shipwrecks and Lighthouses

It was nighttime, August 11, 1897, and a thick fog had closed in around the Howard W. Middleton, a 3-masted schooner carrying 894 tons of coal from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine. The schooner had just passed rocky Black Point, made famous by the stormy seascapes painted by American artist, Winslow Homer.

Rather than risk sailing farther, Captain Shaw decided to put into a harbor on nearby Richmond Island, but in the swirling fog he missed the island and wrecked his ship on a rock just off a mainland beach.

sunset over Higgins Beach, photo by author

The Middleton’s crew made it to shore, and eventually tugboats from Portland retrieved much of the coal. A lot of coal also washed up on the beach, and people came from miles around to gather it for the coming winter. But with a huge hole in her hull, the Middleton was declared a loss and left on the rock. That winter a storm broke up the ship and carried it onto the beach, where today,125 years later, its seaweed-draped keel and ribs still lie half buried in the sand. I’ve walked around it many times at low tide.

Howard W. Middleton shipwreck, photo by author

If the Middleton had been able to round the next headland,

headland at Two Lights, photo by author

 

rocks and waves at Two Lights, photo by author

Several lighthouses, including Two Lights

Two Lights, photo by author

and the iconic Portland Head Lighthouse, both often painted by Edward Hopper, could have guided her into Portland’s safe harbor.

Since ancient times ships have depended on lighthouses to help them navigate dangerous waters. After independence, in 1789, the new American Congress passed a law to provide for the maintenance of existing lighthouses and for the building of new ones. Edward Hopper is famous for his paintings of lighthouses.

In this post you’ll:

  • Learn a little about Edward Hopper and his paintings of lighthouses
  • Find helpful vocabulary
  • Discover 3 activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy Hopper’s work
  • See a cute photo of Molly, the Artsy Corgi

The Artist

Edward Hopper,photo in public domain

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) was born in a small town on the Hudson River north of New York City. By the time he was 12, Hopper was already 6 feet tall, making him feel out of place and lonely. After high school he studied at the New York School of Art,

Soon after graduation from art school, Hopper traveled to Europe. He wasn’t interested in the modern art movements such as cubism. Instead he was drawn to the work of the French Impressionists. Over the next few years he made 2 more trips to Paris, studying the Impressionist’s emphasis on light and nature, their lighter colors, the cropped compositions, and the buildings many painted.

For a while Hopper struggled. His art didn’t fit either type of art that was prominent in America in the early 1900s–gritty, city scenes or idealized paintings of rural America. By the 1930s, with the help of his wife, Josephine Nivison (also an artist), people began to appreciate his work. His landscapes, and paintings of houses, lighthouses, diners, and storefronts all have a similar style that has greatly influenced American art. Hopper painted in both oil and watercolor. His most famous painting, The Nighthawks, was painted during WWII and seems to show the darkness and anxiety many people felt during those war years.

The Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, 1942, Art Institute of Chicago, public domain

Vocabulary

These words, which will be in bold green the first time they come up, will help you and your children talk more easily about different parts of the painting.

  • Impressionists:  artists who wanted to show the effects of changing light in their paintings. They also painted scenes of everyday life. Claude Monet was a leader of the French Impressionists.
  • Geometric: when used in art–simple shapes showing squares, circles, triangles
  • Mood: the way an artist uses color, shadow, and other aspects of composition to makes us feel a certain way.
  • Composition: how colors, shapes, lines, etc. are arranged in a paintign to create a balanced work.

The Paintings

Hopper’s lighthouse paintings aren’t in the public domain, so I’ll use The Nighthawks and The House by the Railroad to explain his style and then give you links to see his lighthouses.

The House by the Railroad by Edward Hopper,1925, Museum of Modern Art, public domain

Like the Impressionists, Hopper liked to show the effects of light on objects and their colors. Part of this house is in bright sunlight, while the angles of the roof and windows produce sharp shadows—some of them very deep. Unlike the Impressionists, Hopper didn’t blur the edges of objects. He used a definite line and used lots of geometric shapes.

Hopper’s compositions are spare, with just enough detail to tell you the setting of the painting. Notice that in Nighthawks, the counter is almost bare, as are the walls and the windows across the dark street.  Many of his paintings look like snapshots.

Most of Hopper’s paintings have few, if any, people, and there is often a mood of silence and even loneliness in them. The diner lights in Nighthawks are harsh. Fluorescent lights were still new, and Hopper seems to have enjoyed the eerie mood they produced.

Here are links to 2 of Hopper’s lighthouse paintings:

The Lighthouse at Two Lights

Lighthouse and Buildings, Portland Head, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Activities to Help You and Your Children further Explore Hopper’s Paintings

  1. Ask children to tell what’s going on in the paintings, (at least with Nighthawks. The others don’t have much action!) and what tells them that. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary.
  2. Talk about mood, and what colors placement and actions of people, etc., give them the mood of Nighthawks and why the other paintings seem to be so quiet and lonely.
  3. In the other paintings, ask children to find different geometric shapes. How many ovals, squares, rectangles, etc. and of what colors, can they find.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages. Add link

Here’s a photo of Molly with the canvas bag I always use to carry things back and forth to school. It has a picture of Hopper’s painting, Lighthouse and Buildings, Portland Head, Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Molly hopes you enjoyed learning about Edward Hopper and will join us next week for a devotion based on his lighthouse paintings.

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Christmas Child by Laura Sassi, Interviews by Kathy and Molly

Laura Sassi has been reading and writing stories and poems since she was a child. When she grew up, she became a teacher, and guess what subjects she loved best. That’s right—reading and writing! Her many books share messages of kindness, comfort, and faith with children and their families. Today Molly and I are happy to welcome Laura, along with her cockapoo, Sophie, to tell us all about their newest release, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child, A Counting Nativity Book.

Kathy’s Interview with Laura

First, I’m going to ask Laura to tell us 5 special things about herself. Then Molly and Sophie will woof about Happy Birthday Christmas Child. Translation to human provided, of course!

Kathy: Are you ready, Laura?

Laura: Yes, thank you. 

 Kathy: What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

Laura: Since we are talking about books, I would say one of my favorite memories is reading with my mom when I was the age of the readers of my books. We read aloud together everyday and not just at bedtime. Books were always around and we picked them up and enjoyed them often.

 Kathy: Your Mom gave you a very special treasure, indeed! Do you have a favorite place to read and/or write?

Laura: My favorite summer and fall writing spot is out on my front porch. In fact, that’s where I am writing right now and Sophie is right here beside me, keeping me on task. When the weather turns wintry, I like to sit at my desk in our foyer or in a cozy chair in our living room. 

 Kathy: Writing on your porch or from a cozy chair sounds delightful! Where did you get the idea to write Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Laura: The story is inspired by a favorite Christmas verse in the Gospel of Luke that describes Marys soul-filling wonder as the events surrounding the birth of Baby Jesus unfolded. It reads, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, ESV).  Likewise, I hope this simple counting story of the night Jesus was born will encourage littlest readers and their caregivers to slow down and explore and count and marvel on each and every spread. I hope readers will find the story soul-filling and fun in a joyful Christmas way.

Kathy: Slowing down to marvel at the wonder of Christ’s birth is so important, and I think Happy Birthday, Christmas Child will help children do just that! What is a favorite Christmas tradition in your family?

Laura: I asked my daughter to chime in on this one since I couldn’t decide. She said two things: decorating the Christmas tree (which involves much singing and reminiscing) and opening presents all together as a family Christmas morning. I wholeheartedly agree.

Kathy: I enjoy those traditions, too! What do you like best about school visits?

Laura: Oh, my goodness, I love everything about school visits. I used to be a teacher and there’s nothing like interacting with children using  a good book as the conversation spark. But if I had to pick one thing, I would say that my favorite part is the Q&A when we really get to interact.  I’m always impressed by the thoughtful (and sometimes humorous) questions children ask and the insightful observations they make. 

Kathy: As a teacher, I understand—children’s questions are so much fun! Thank you, Laura!

Okay the ball’s in your corner, Molly and Sophie. Go fetch it!

Molly’s Interview with Sophie

Molly: Whenever Kathy writes something, I feel a part of the project. I’m especially good at encouraging her to take breaks. I think it makes her a better writer, so I sit and stare up at her until she takes me for a walk! Sophie, what are some ways you help Laura with her writing?

Sophie: Funny you should ask. Laura recently shared about this on her Facebook Author Page as part of #FridayIntroductions Pet Edition! This is what she said: 

“Meet Sophie, adorable assistant to the author. Sophie enjoys curling up beside the author during work hours. She also enjoys reading, assisting with bookish photo shoots, delivering books to Little Free Libraries and more. Her favorite foods are kibbles and bunny poop (which we were sure she would outgrow, but she hasnt ). Her favorite Laura Sassi book?  Hmmm… not sure but maybe Bunny Finds Easter – because of her dietary tastes? In any event, she is delighted to meet you and hopes you will check out our books!”

Woof, that pretty much sums it up, with one exception. I would say that my new favorite book is actually her newest Happy Birthday Christmas Child because it’s about two of my favorite things:  Jesus and birthdays!

Molly: How about that! I help with bookish photo shoots, too, and Kathy also gets a little upset about some of my dietary choices. It sounds like you know all about Laura’s newest book, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child. Can you tell us about it?

Sophie: Yep, like I said it’s about a very special birthday – Jesus’s! It’s told in counting rhyme.  If you can count to ten, you can help tell the story! If you can’t yet count, this book is a fun way to learn.

 Molly:  I love stories of Jesus’s birthday! Who are some of your favorite characters in the story?

Sophie: Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus are my favorite human characters.  I also love the spiders – all six of them!

 Molly: Wow, six spiders! God’s creatures are so interesting! God has given us dogs great hearing, and we love to listen. Does Laura sometimes read aloud to you and try out rhymes?

Sophie: Yes. I’m one of her most dependable listeners because I am always by her side.

 Molly:  We dogs are also known for our loyalty! How do you let her know when a rhyme is just right?

Sophie: I wag my tail!

 Molly: Well, you must be wagging a lot, because Laura writes such good rhymes! Do you know how to count, Sophie? Puppy kindergarten didn’t teach me, but I think children love to count. What are a few things they’ll count in Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: There are lots of fun things to count in the book.  My favorites are the spiders, the mice and the stars.

 Molly: Spiders and mice and stars, oh my! What fun!  Sophie, I like to use my nose to check out the presents under the Christmas tree. Do you? Kathy says children don’t use their noses as much. Instead, they love to look at pictures and point to things they find. What are some things children will enjoy finding in Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: Spiders, mice, bales of hay, lanterns, stars and so much more! You can catch a glimpse of them in this book trailer:

 Molly: Your book trailer is great! You know, we dogs don’t see as many colors as people, but I bet you still have some favorite illustrations.

Sophie: I love all the illustrations, but here’s one of my favorites.  I love how it shows that even though there was no room at the inn, the stable animals welcomed Mary and Joseph in.  And you know what, I’d welcome them into my dog crate too!

Molly:  I would, too, Sophie! What are Laura’s and your hopes for what children and their families will enjoy learning from Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: Laura already stated this in her part of the interview, but I know what her greatest hope is. It’s that the book will help children and their families pause to count and look and wonder and marvel at the real gift of Christmas —JESUS!

Molly: I know it will, Sophie ! I’ve really enjoyed woofing with you about Happy Birthday, Christmas Child. I love that God sent His son to be born in a stable with lots of creatures like us around. I hope someday we can share a bone. Well . . . maybe we can each have our own. God gave us dogs lots of skills, but sharing is something children do a lot better than us!

Sophie: Woof… it’s okay. I’m on a very strict diet, so I’d be happy to instead share a game. Fetch, perhaps?

Molly: Count me in! I love fetch and you and I are about the same size, so we’d be a good team!

Kathy and Molly: Hugs and woofs to you, Laura and Sophie, for sharing with us about your very special new book, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child, A Counting Nativity Book! Molly and I know children and their families will love sharing its colorful illustrations and beautiful message!

Where You Can Find Happy Birthday, Christmas Child

Kathy and Molly:  Where can our readers buy Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Laura and Sophie: It’s available wherever books are sold! If you place a pre-order before October 4th, be sure to visit the book’s landing page at  https://happybirthdaychristmaschild.com to get your own activity kit that goes with the book!

Kathy and Molly: That’s terrific! Activity kits are so much fun! And, Readers, you can learn lots more about Laura Sassi and all her terrific books on her website, Laura Sassi Tales!

Before You Go

Molly and I have enjoyed learning about all these special children’s books this past month, and we hope you have, too! Our newsletter next week will recap all 6 books, so you can review them all in one place. And we’ll tell you about an amazing museum you won’t want to miss!

So be sure to sign up for our newsletter. You’ll also receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. 

In October we’ll be back to our regular schedule with activities and devotions centered around an art masterpiece. We hope you’ll join us!

You may also visit our website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bedtime with Daddy by Nancy I. Sanders, Interviews by Kathy and Molly

Little ones love to snuggle with their mommies and daddies before bed, and Nancy I. Sanders’ board book, Bedtime with Daddy, joins her previous board book, Bedtime with Mommy, to help make those times extra special. Prayers and songs, stories and colorful illustrations about animal daddies and their little ones will send children off to sleep, feeling safe and loved.

Molly and I are thrilled to welcome Nancy and her kitties, Sandman and Pitterpat to our blog today!

Nancy and her husband, a retired elementary teacher, live in southern California. Nancy began writing when their sons were young. Today those 2 sons are grown, with families of their own, and Nancy is an award-winning children’s author of more than 100 books!

Kathy’s Interview with Nancy

Kathy: Nancy, let’s find out a little more about you before we let Molly and Sandman and Pitterpat blend their meows and woofs to chat about Bedtime with Daddy. Have you always lived in California?

Nancy: I grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania. I moved out here to California when I was 20. I met my husband, Jeff, here and decided to stay!

Kathy: What a very special reason to stay! What are your favorite things to write about?

Nancy: I love writing about God and Jesus and prayers and Bible facts! Plus, I enjoy writing stories about nature and God’s amazing creation.

Kathy: Your books sure show those loves! What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Nancy: Right now I’m sewing a Farmer’s Daughter’s patchwork quilt along with one of my sisters. We’re each making our own Christmas quilt but following the same pattern of 111 different quilt blocks! I’m nearly halfway done. I also enjoy gardening and hiking with my husband. And, of course, spending time with grandchildren tops the list!

Kathy: I’ve never heard of that kind of quilt. It sounds amazing! Do you have a favorite place you’ve visited?

Nancy: For our 35th anniversary, Jeff and I took a Jane Austen tour and walked in her footsteps around England from birth to death. It was the dream of a lifetime.

Kathy: What a wonderful trip! What’s your very favorite animal?

Nancy: Cats. And birds. A funny combination, right? Southern California is an amazing place to live in if you like birds. Many migrate here for the winter and end up in our backyard. Others come for the summer. I’m trying to entice swallows to build nests in our eaves!

Molly’s Interview with Sandman and Pitterpat

Okay, Pitterpat and Sandman, Molly has promised she won’t chase you, so we’re looking forward to hearing from you about Bedtime with Daddy.

Molly: I love to lie next to Kathy while she works. And when it’s winter I keep her feet warm because I’m so furry. How do you two help Nancy with her writing?

Sandman and Pitterpat: We’re actually writers, too, so we help Nancy with all sorts of writing advice. We even have our own website with tips and freebies. It’s the cat’s meow! You can visit us at https://writingaccordingtohumphrey.wordpress.com/

Molly: Your very own website! I can’t wait to visit it! I also love cuddling with Kathy when she reads books. In this picture of her reading Bedtime with Mommy, I was enjoying the rhymes and prayers. Do you have favorite rhymes and prayers from Bedtime with Daddy?

Pitterpat: I like the seahorse rhyme where the daddy seahorse prays for his baby.

It’s bedtime in the OCEAN.

The water’s dark and deep.

My daddy prays a blessing now.

I settle down to sleep.

“Dear God, pour out Your blessings,” I hear my daddy pray.

“And teach my child to follow You

In every single way.”

 

Molly: I love seahorses! I think they’re so cool . . . water/cool . . . get it? And such a wonderful prayer for children! What did you think when you saw a lion, one of your wild cousins, on the cover of Bedtime with Daddy?

Sandman: That’s MY favorite! One day I plan to save up money from all the empty tuna fish cans I recycle. My bucket list includes going on a safari in Africa where I meet some of my lion cousins. It will be like a family reunion!

Molly: That will be a reunion to ROAR about! I especially love the penguins. Did you help Nancy choose the animal daddies?

Sandman: Of course! First, I helped her brainstorm the settings to choose the different habitats around the world. I even have a freebie that you can download to help you brainstorm your settings, too! You can download and print it out from this link:

https://writingaccordingtohumphrey.wordpress.com/setting/brainstorm-your-storys-setting/

Pitterpat: And I helped her pick the daddies for the different settings. I suggested she choose some of the best daddies around!

Molly: I like that the animal daddies and babies come from 8 different habitats. I think even my thick fur wouldn’t keep me warm in Antarctica. If you could live in a different habitat, which one would you choose?

Sandman: The grasslands in Africa. With my cousins, of course!

Pitterpat: The tundra. I’d love to watch the northern lights each night before I got to bed.

Molly: I think those would be great places to visit! Children sometimes have trouble settling down to sleep. I do, too, especially if there’s thunder. How do you think Bedtime with Daddy will help little ones feel safe and secure?

Pitterpat: Bedtime with Daddy helps remind families to pray, sing songs of praise, and read a Bible verse when they are settling down to sleep. This helps little ones end their day comforted and filled with peace that their heavenly Father is watching over them.

Sandman: Plus, there are lots of snuggles and hugs in this book to remind them their own daddy loves them, too!

Molly: We’ve been reading Bedtime with Daddy and I get snuggles and hugs before bed! So much fun! I’ve enjoyed chatting with you, Sandman and Pitterpat! I feel like I’ve made some new friends that have changed my opinion of cats! If you’re ever in Colorado, we should hang out!

Sandman and Pitterpat: We’ll bring some doggie treats to share! We’ll ask Lira, our neighborhood corgi, to give us some of hers to bring along.

Kathy: Molly, I’m so proud of how well you and Sandman and Pitterpat got along! Thank you, Nancy, Sandman, and Pitterpat, for sharing with us about Bedtime with Daddy. It’s such a sweet companion book to Bedtime with Mommy, and we know it will help daddies and their little ones have lots of snuggly good times before bed!

Where You Can Get Bedtime With Daddy

Kathy: Nancy, would you tell us where we can learn more about you and find Bedtime with Daddy and Bedtime with Mommy, too?

Nancy: So many folks tell me they like to order batches of these little books. They’re perfect for baby showers, neighborhood new baby gifts, Christmas gifts, and for sharing in your local Little Free Libraries, too!

You can order in both books from your favorite local or online bookstore. Or you can order directly from the publisher (End Game Press often has amazing deals!) at https://www.endgamepress.com/store/p/bedtime-with-daddy

You can learn more about Bedtime with Daddy and Bedtime with Mommy at my website at:  http://nancyisanders.com/bedtime-board-books/

Follow me on your favorite social media sites under Nancy I. Sanders and follow my blog for children’s writers at: https://nancyisanders.wordpress.com/

Kathy: those are such good resources and ways to enjoy Bedtime with Daddy! Thank you, Nancy, Pitterpat, and Sandman for visiting with us today!

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas from Molly and me for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!

You may also visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roxie the Traveling Rocker, by Becky Van Vleet, Interviews by Kathy and Molly

Do you have favorite family stories or treasures handed down from your parents, grandparents, or even great grandparents? Becky Van Vleet has a passion to create and preserve family memories and traditions as well as share family stories. In her traveling series of picture books, Becky has done just that, first with a little skirt, then a harmonica, and now a rocking chair in Roxie, the Traveling Rocker.

Becky is a retired teacher/principal, and she and her husband live in Colorado Springs. She was inspired to write her first book, Talitha, the Traveling Skirt, because a little plaid skirt had been traveling around in her family for three generations. That’s more than 70 years!

Kathy’s Interview with Becky

Kathy: So, Becky, are you ready to answer a few questions before we let Molly take over to interview Roxie herself?

Becky: Yes, Kathy. You first, then Molly!

Kathy: What were some of your favorite books as a child?

Becky: My absolute favorite books as a child were the Henry Huggins series by Beverly Cleary. I still have my Henry Huggins book I bought with my allowance money in my home today.

Kathy: How special that you still have that book! I loved Beverly Cleary’s books, too! What do you enjoy most about writing for children?

Becky: I like to write a book that will take children places in their imaginations. I want them to feel like they are right in the story.

Kathy: Well, I know they’ll feel part of your traveling series of stories! What was your favorite subject when you were in school?

Becky: No surprise here—it was reading!

Kathy: Mine, too. What else do you like to do for fun?

Becky: In this golden season of my life, I like to travel to places I’ve never been before, sometimes right in my city.

Kathy: You have several grandchildren. What is your favorite thing to do with them?

Becky: Oh, it’s hard to name one thing. We enjoy making caves and hideouts with blankets and flashlights and playing together outside. But reading books to my grandchildren is certainly at the top of the list!

Molly’s Interview with Roxie

Okay, Molly and Roxie, rock on!

 

 

 

 

 

Molly:  What was it like to ride home from the store in an old pickup truck?

Roxie: It was a bumpy ride, but very exciting.

Molly: I bet you were especially excited to arrive at the farm. I’d love to live on a farm and chase chickens and dig in the mud with the pigs. What was your favorite thing to do?

Roxie: The best thing ever was to rock and read with my children that I lived with.

Molly: That does sound like fun. Did you always stay on the farm?

Roxie: No. I traveled with my children to a small town, then to a large city, and my last place to travel to was a school. And I’m still at that school, rocking and reading with hundreds of children!

Molly:  Wow, a whole school of readers! I’m not very old, but I’ve seen that children grow bigger pretty fast. One little boy in our family shot up several inches in one year and his legs outgrew his pants. Did your children ever outgrow you, Roxie?

Roxie: No, when Mary and Sue and JD got bigger, I got bigger too, just like magic!

Molly:  Hmm, I wonder if that would work on my short corgi legs.

Roxie: Molly, with great imagination, I think you could have the magic too.

Molly:  I’ll have work on my imagination skills. But it sounds like fun. I had a doggie sister named Amber, who used to love when children read to her. And I have other doggie friends who go to schools and libraries to help children read. Do you think when your children read to you that it helped them learn to read and love books?

Roxie: Oh, yes, most definitely. Great question, Molly!

Molly: Thank you, Roxie, for telling me about your adventures. I hear there’s a surprise for you in your last home. I love surprises, especially special treats, like cheerios, cheese, bacon . . . Oh wait, I guess rockers don’t eat, but I sure hope your surprise is special, too!

Roxie: In my last home, the school, you would not believe my surprise. JD sat me in the corner of his classroom so I could rock and read with hundreds of children all the time!

Kathy: Thank you, Becky and Roxie, for sharing with us about this newest book in your traveling series! We know children will love reading Roxie, the Traveling Rocker and enjoying the super cute illustrations by Courtney Smith. You ladies rock!

Where You Can Find Roxie the Traveling Rocker and Help Libraries and Schools

Kathy: Becky, one last thing before you and Roxie go. Can you tell us where we can find Roxie, the Traveling Rocker, and your other books, Harvey, the Traveling Harmonica, and Talitha, the Traveling Skirt?

Becky: You can purchase all the children’s picture books in my “traveling” series at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I’d love for you to check it out. But, Molly, there’s one more thing—guess what? If you go to my website and click on the tab, “Just for Fun”, you can fill out a form to request one of my books to be donated to your school or preschool. I love to donate books! www.beckyvanvleet.com

Molly: Bow WOW! That sounds like a great way to help out libraries and schools!

More about Becky: Becky Van Vleet is a retired teacher and principal. She and her husband make their home near Colorado Springs, where Becky enjoys oil painting, gardening, eating cotton candy, and hiking and biking in the great outdoors. Becky relishes spending time with her family and especially reading books to her grandchildren. Her website is devoted to creating and preserving family memories while connecting generations.

https://www.facebook.com/becky.t.vanvleet

https://www.pinterest.com/beckyvanvleet/

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas from Molly and me for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!

You may also visit our website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

 

 

 

Review of Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes, a Zuggy the Rescue Pug Flip Book by Jean Alfieri

Jean Alfieri loves all dogs. Older dogs and puppies. Dogs with pointy ears and dogs with floppy ears! Dogs with long, bushy tails and dogs with short, curly tails! She loves dogs so much that Jean began volunteering at the Humane Society, and now works there full-time helping animals find forever homes.

But sometimes one dog takes up an extra special spot in our hearts. For Jean, that one was Zuggy, a little rescue pug, who became Jean’s constant companion and the inspiration for the Zuggy, the Rescue Pug stories.

Jean turned some of the fun experiences she and Zuggy shared into 7 picture books.

Today Molly and I are happy to welcome Jean and Zuggy’s younger sister, Princess Zoey, to our blog to tell us about their latest Zuggy book.

First, I’ll ask Jean to tell us 5 special things about herself, and then we’ll let Molly and Princess Zoey take over to have a good tail-wagging time telling us about Zuggy the Rescue Pug—Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes. Oh wait, pugs and corgis don’t have very big tails, so it’s more like a tail-wiggle!

Kathy’s Interview with Jean

Kathy: Are you ready Jean?

 Kathy: Did you have a dog when you were a child?

Jean: Yes. I grew up with a beautiful red Doberman, named Rumble. He came to our home as a pup when I was seven years old and grew to a 105-pound bemouth of a dog.

 Kathy: Wow, that is a large dog, and one with an unusual name, too! How many fur buddies do you have now?

Jean: My husband and I care for three vintage puppies: Reggie, our 6-pound toothless chihuahua. Don’t let his small size fool you. He’ll always be the biggest dog in the house and turns 16 years young this month. Princess Zoey, our precious 12-year-old blind pug who stars as Zuggy’s little sister. And Silly Sally, our 10-year old Airedale, who has her own claim-to-fame as a former show-dog.

 Kathy:  Such a great variety—I’m sure they keep you busy! What’s one of the funniest experiences you and Zuggy had?

Jean: It was that time Zuggy got an unpleasant surprise when he rambled off the sidewalk during one of our walks. It was an early January morning. The sun was out but a thin layer of snow had fallen overnight, so we could see our breath. Zuggy tugged on his leash, barreling off the sidewalk and stepped directly into a big dog-poop. Just slightly frozen, his back paw slid in, and the stinky poop glommed on. The embarrassing story (and its funny conclusion) is captured in Zuggy’s “Six Tales” book.

 Kathy: Yikes, that is embarrassing! Let’s move right on to Zuggy’s favorite toys and treats.

Jean: He and Princess Zoey have very similar snack preferences. You’d better be willing to share your popcorn, and don’t try to take the hedgehog away!

 Kathy: Hedgehog toys are precious here, too. Do you and Princess Zoey have a favorite place to read and/or write?

Jean: Yes – the office couch. It sits right in front of a window that looks over our front yard. Reggie sits on a pillow atop the couch, surveying his domain and barks at everyone who comes to pick up mail from the community mailbox. Silly Sally lays on the floor, while Princess Zoey curls up on either end of the couch (her choice, and it varies). I get comfy on the opposite side with a book (preferably hard cover) or my notebook (yes, I still like longhand) and get to it … while she snores!

Molly’s Interview with Princess Zoey

 Kathy: Okay, Molly and Princess Zoey, take it away!

Molly: (after bowing) Thank you, Your Highness, for graciously meeting with me. I’m a rescue corgi, but some of my relatives live in Buckingham Palace in London, so I know how to talk to princesses!

Princess Zoey: Ooooo-la-la. Wait, that’s French. I love pizza. Errr, umm. That’s Italian. I’m sorry. I don’t know ‘princess.’ Let’s just doggie-talk!

Molly: Doggie-talk sounds good to me! Can you tell us about your newest book about Zuggy? Kathy told me it’s a flip book. How do Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes works as a flip book?

Princess Zoey: Sure thing! When Momma-Jean read it to me, she started with Baby’s First Friend. I was worried it wouldn’t have a happy ending, but it did! Then she closed the book, gave me a kiss on the top of my head, and flipped the book over and upside down. Just like magic – it was a whole different book! (Don’t tell, but I think the trick was the kiss on my head!)

 Molly: It sounds like Baby really loves Zuggy at first. But something happens. Can you tell us a little about that? 

Princess Zoey: I don’t know, Molly. Sometimes family dynamics (that means, how we all get along) can be hard. I’m still not sure why she was a-scared of Zuggy, but I’m so glad they worked it out.

Molly: I’m glad, too! I love being around my family, and they help me when I’m afraid of storms or strangers. Does Baby have someone to help her when she’s afraid?

Princess Zoey:  Yes, baby always has the love and support of her family. We all get afraid sometimes. It’s good to have people (and pups) that offer us comfort.

 Molly: Pups are the best! Is Baby’s First Friend told in rhyme like other Zuggy books? And Rocking Chair Rhymes has lots of fun poems, too, right?

Princess Zoey: Yes – and Yes. So many fun poems! And remember, you and I are offering a FREE copy to whoever wins our raffle because we want everyone to enjoy it.

 Molly: A free copy? Wow, that’s even better than a doggy biscuit . . .ummm . . . er . . . well, I guess that’s true for our readers! Do you like to help Jean write rhymes? I bet you snuggle while she reads them aloud to you.

Princess Zoey: To be honest, I’m pretty much stretched-out napping while she works. But I’m quick with the constructive feedback when she’s at the ‘read-aloud’ stage. And I’m always there to help when she needs a snack!

 Molly: For us dogs, books don’t have much to smell, but children like pictures. Which pictures do you think children and their families will like the most? Which ones would have the best smells?

 Princess Zoey: This one of Zuggy in a bunny-costume! It’s a classic, for sure. And the one with the pug (who shall remain nameless) getting a kiss on the lips by a frog. Ewwww – can’t you just smell that!

 

Molly: Ewwww, is right! What do you and Jean hope children will enjoy the most about your new book?

Princess Zoey: The “flip” feature is really so super-great. You have to check it out. (But remember to kiss the top of my head before you try to make it work!)

 Molly: Do you think it’ll work if children kiss the top of their dog’s heads? One last question that I’ve been dying to ask you. I’ve always wondered about the curly tail pugs have. Do you have to curl it each day when you get up?

Princess Zoey: It’s really more effort than you’d expect. When I’m sad it unfurls into an unremarkable long, straight tail. I can’t do a thing with it. But when I’m happy (which is most of the time) it zings right into place. Don’t even need to think about it!

 Molly: What a great tail–it tells your moods! Thank you so much for joining me today, Princess Zoey! I think we should get together to play sometime! But we should probably bring our own hedgehog toys! PAWS-atively. I’d love to!

 Kathy and Molly: Lots of tail-wiggling thanks to you, Jean and Princess Zoey, for telling us about your new Zuggy the Rescue Pug book–Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes! Molly and I know children and their families will love finding out how Zuggy and Baby become friends again!

A Giveaway and Where to Find Jean and Zuggy’s books

Kathy: How can readers enter the giveaway for a copy of Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes?

Jean: Enter our raffle to win a copy of Zuggy’s new book by answering this question:

Zuggy’s favorite breakfast is doggie donuts and pupacinos! What is YOUR favorite breakfast?

Answers from either pets OR hoomans are welcome!

One answer per household. Reply (in the comments) or via email: ZuggythePug@gmail.com by midnight on September 17, 2022 and be entered in a raffle. Winning name selected and announced on September 18, 2022 and contacted via messenger or email. Will mail within the continental US.

Prefer Kindle reading? The new Zuggy book is FREE to kindleUnlimited users! Check it out on Amazon. (Zuggy the Rescue Pug – Baby’s First Friend: Rocking Chair Rhymes – Kindle edition by Alfieri, Jean. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.)

You can also learn more about Jean, Zuggy, and their books on their website here.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!

You may also visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Glenys Nellist and Little Mole from Little Mole Goes to School

Hello, Glenys and Little Mole! Molly, my artsy corgi, and I are so glad to welcome you to our blog today. We’d like to get to know you a little bit, Glenys, and then Molly will take over to talk with Little Mole about your newest picture book, Little Mole Goes to School!

Interview with Glenys

Author, Glenys Nellist

Kathy: Glenys, could you tell us a little about yourself and how you began writing.

Glenys: Thanks so much for chatting with me, Kathy. I’m excited to be here. I’ve always loved to write but it wasn’t until I worked as a Children’s Ministry Director in a small church that the door into the publishing world opened for me. Since curriculum was expensive, I decided to write my own. In rewriting the great stories of the Bible, I just found myself falling in love with the creative process, and how there’s always a new way to tell the old, old stories.

Kathy: It’s so wonderful how God gives each one of us creative gifts. What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

Glenys: I was a real tomboy when I was young! I loved to climb trees and bounce around on my pogo stick, but I also loved to read.

Kathy: Climbing trees and bouncing on a pogo stick sound like fun! What were some of your favorite childhood books?

Glenys:  I imagine that most of your American audience might not have heard of these books, but my absolute favorite stories as a child were called The Famous Five, or The Secret Seven, written by the prolific Enid Blyton. They were adventure stories, and the children in the books always had mysteries to solve. A good writer will draw you into the story so that you feel like you’re part of the tale. I vividly remember joining those characters on their adventures and devouring every book in those series (of which there were many!)

Kathy: Those stories sound exciting! What do you like to do for fun?

Glenys: My husband (who is a pastor) built a small wooden houseboat that we enjoy floating around in (and sometimes living on) during the summer. It’s also my favorite place to write. When I’m not on the houseboat though, I love to spend time with my four young grandchildren.

Glenys and her husband on their houseboat

Kathy: That’s so special that you sometimes live and write on a houseboat! What is something not too many people know about you?

Glenys:  Unless you’ve heard me speak, most people don’t know that although I live in Michigan, I was born and raised in a little town in northern England, and even though I’ve lived here for twenty years, I still call England home.

The Inspiration for The Little Mole Books

Kathy: Molly and I understand how important home is! Little Mole Goes to School is the third book in a series. Little Mole is such an adorable character. Where did you get the idea for the stories about him?

Glenys: The inspiration for the first title in the series came from a book of Bible stories I was writing, where I explored the idea that hope is hiding, even in the darkest place. In taking that idea a little further, I was inspired to write my first fiction story about an animal character who lived in the dark, and who was able to find hope. That idea became the premise of Little Mole Finds Hope, where Little Mole and his mama go on a walk together and discover that hope is everywhere, if you know here to look. The second book, Little Mole’s Christmas Gift, is a simple story of kindness and finally, Little Mole Goes to School celebrates our unique gifts and using them for the common good.

I know, Molly. Hang on. It’s almost time for you! One last question for Glenys:

Kathy: Oh, Molly and I like how Little Mole and his mama discover hope everywhere, and we’ll look forward to reading both of those books! That’s so important for children and adults to remember. And that leads me to this question, Glenys. In each of the three books Little Mole has concerns and fears just like children everywhere. I love that in each book you’ve ended with discussion questions and helps for caregivers. What further suggestions do you have for parents or grandparents to help children with their concerns?

Glenys:  The publisher of the Little Mole series, Beaming Books, has a plethora of useful discussion guides on their website. That’s a great place for caregivers to find resources.

Kathy:That will be such a help to caregivers! Okay, Molly. I know you and Little Mole are getting impatient to talk, so it’s your turn!

Molly and Little Mole Talk Together

Molly: I don’t know much about moles. What kind of house do you live in?

Little Mole: A lovely one, under the ground. It has different rooms inside, my favorite of which is the kitchen, where I have a huge stack of worms piled up for my lunch.

Molly: I like the kitchen, too. Lots of treats there! But I prefer cheese to worms! Outside my house is my fenced-in yard.

Molly in her yard

I love to bark at dogs who go by. What’s outside your house, and what do you enjoy doing there?

Little Mole: Outside my house is a lovely wood where I dig lots of tunnels, hunt for worms and play with my friends.

Little Mole in the Woods

Molly: Digging tunnels sounds like so much fun! I once had a golden retriever friend named Amber. Who are your friends?

Little Mole: My friends are Little Hare, Little Squirrel and Little Lark. You can meet them in my new book!

Molly: My friends and I like to chase balls and each other. What do you and your friends like to do?

Little Mole: We like to chase each other too!

Molly: How about that! I think many children like chasing games, too, like tag! When I was younger, I went to puppy kindergarten. I was pretty scared at first. I wondered if I could learn to sit and come. I’m pretty good at those now, but, as you saw, I’m still trying to learn more patience! Was there anything that you worried about learning in your school?

Little Mole: I was worried about everything! But Mrs. Badger is a great teacher, and Little Lark helped me learn my ABCs.

Molly:  My human, Kathy, stayed with me and helped me when I was afraid. What helped you get over your fears about school?

Little Mole: Well, it helped that I had a great first day, because once I got over that hurdle, I knew that I’d be fine. I didn’t think I was good at anything, but on the very first day, I used what I’m good at to help my friends out! (You’ll have to read the book to find out what happened!)  But you can go here for short videos about my books.

Where You Can Learn more about Glenys and all three Little Mole Books AND a Free Activity Pack

Kathy: Glenys, where can readers learn more about you and your upcoming projects?

Glenys: You can learn all about me at my website: www.glenysnellist.com

Kathy: And where can readers find your books?

Glenys: You can visit my Amazon Author page here, or find my titles wherever good books are sold.

Kathy: Glenys, you and Little Mole also have a colorful activity pack to download. Would you tell our readers a little bit about that?

Glenys:  The free download contains colorings, a maze, fun activity sheets, games, and tips for helping a child learn the alphabet.

Kathy: Thank you, Glenys, for telling us a little about yourself and your writing.

Thanks to Molly and Little Mole, too, for talking with us about friendships and school. Those are super important to all our readers and we know they’ll enjoy Little Mole Goes to School!

Before You Go

This was such a great interview about Glenys and Little Mole! And Molly and I hope you’ll come back next week for another fantastic interview and picture book review by Molly the Artsy Corgi and me! Sign up for our blogs above.

You may also be interested in a children’s devotion I wrote for DevoKids this month. DevoKids is part of Christian Devotions Ministries. Here’s link to  “Little Flowers with Super Powers.”

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.