How’s your summer going? I am hoping that it is fun and relaxing, busy and creative. When vacation started I thought I would write 3 posts a week: once for reading, once for math and once for fun. That’s been challenging – my fun isn’t 4th grade exciting. It’s calm and mostly related to nature, some to art. This summer I’ve seen a pair of red-eyed vireos in our yard. For two weeks they chased and terrorized any blue jay that flew into the open. They chittered up behind the jay, snapping their wings like whips and swooping in around their heads until the jays fled back into the woods. Now both types of birds can be in the yard together. I am guessing that means the vireo babies have fledged.
I saw a red-bellied woodpecker for the first time Friday. Wow, do they have red heads and black and white checkerboard backs. I didn’t see its belly so I don’t know what color that is, but what an amazingly beautiful bird. When I was little a story in one of my mom’s books told of a lady making poppy seeds cakes. She didn’t want to share them with hungry travelers. Each time someone asked for one, she would make it even smaller than the cake before. Eventually her stingy nature caused her to turn into a woodpecker dressed in the colors of the clothes she had worn – a red cap, a white shawl, a black skirt and white apron. The final picture showed the woodpecker. That picture always bothered me I because it wasn’t real. It didn’t look like the woodpeckers I had seen – that is until Friday. Finally after all these years I understand. ( I copied both of the bird pictures from www.allaboutbirds.org from Cornell Lab of Ornithology.)
I have begun a mini-inquiry about dragonflies. I am trying to keep track of the types I see and I am hoping to discover if there will be more of them now that there are less bats since they both eat mosquitos. I’ll let you know what I discover. So you can see my “fun” is not very exciting, but it’s just right for me.
Reading though – of course I can share some of what I am reading. Here’s my stack so far. The new ones that I think you all might like are at the top: The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors and The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan. I bet you can imagine what encouraged me to buy The Sasquatch Escape! It is the first in The Imaginary Veterinary series. It takes place in Buttonville. There is nothing much happening there since the factory closed. Ben is staying the summer with his grandfather and he can’t think of anything worse. On the way from the airport Ben looks up and sees a bird (?) as big as a helicopter (?) with a tail (?) and suddenly Buttonville doesn’t seem too dull. Pearl, from the Dollar Store, saw it too and she thinks it landed at the abandoned factory. Before they can go to check it out, Barnaby, Grandpa Abe’s cat drops a bat on Ben’s bed. “Grreeaaatt,” he thinks, except it’s not a bat. It’s a baby dragon. And that’s when the adventure begins where the Imaginary World and the Real World meet. Yes, there is a Sasquatch along with the dragon – well, rightly called a wyvern -which makes this a perfect book for lots of readers from our class. You’ll have fun with it.
The Truth of Me is a gentle story. I was thinking about how all Patricia MacLachlan books make me feel calm. I like how they just make me stop and think. Robert is going to stay with his grandmother while his musician parents are on tour. That’s great with Robert because it means he’ll be spending each day with his two summer best friends; Ellie, his dog and Maddy, his grandma. She is special.
Maddy has powers all her own. Powers that other people don’t have.
Jack and Lizzie (Robert’s school time best friends) know this, too. They have met Maddy.
“Maddy had gifts,” says Lizzie.
“Do you mean magic?” I ask.
“No. Gifts,” says Lizzie. “That’s different. Remember when she was here and the birds came down from the trees to see her?”
“And a fox came?” says Jack. “It came right up to her? The animals seem to know that she is safe.”
“They want to be close to her,” says Lizzie. “That’s her gift. They trust her.”
During the summer, Robbie (what Maddy calls him) discovers a bit about his gifts and a bit about the truths that make him who he is. It’s nice to know what makes you a special person in the world. I wonder what your small truths are.
I hope every thing is great – I’m thinking about you and hoping you are doing everything that’s fun.